A Sermon Delivered By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. 4/25/2011*4/25/2011
He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust. (Psalms 91:4)
1. What condescending words! I cannot express the sense I feel of the great lovingkindness of the Lord to us in using such a simile to illustrate his protecting care of his people. If any poet had suggested the metaphor, we might have recoiled from it as unseemly, or rejected it as profane. It really is so familiar and so homely, that unless God himself had spoken it by the mouth of his Holy Spirit, we might have accounted it impertinent for any human being to have used the comparison. The Lord here compares himself to a hen covering her brood, and he speaks not only of the wing, which gives shelter, but he enters into detail, and speaks of the feathers, which give warmth, and comfort, and repose. “He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust.” Using thus the maternal instinct as an emblem of his own parental tenderness, God compares himself to the mother bird, which fosters, cherishes, and protects her little ones.
You have stood sometimes in the farmyard, and there you have noticed
the little chicks as they cowered down under the hen. She has given
some note of warning that indicated danger; perhaps your very
presence disquieted her, and made her betray some little fluttering
of fear. She called her little ones by her particular cry; they came
to her, and then stooping down and spreading out her wings, she
covered them, and they were safe. You would have noticed that after
they were safely nestled there, the warmth of her feathers made them
seem particularly happy and at ease. You could hear them clucking to
one another, and playfully pushing one another sometimes out of their
places, but evidently cheerful, contented, and peaceful. It was
something more than the protection which a soldier would give to a
comrade: it was the protection of a mother for her young. There was
love in it, there was homeliness, relationship, kindliness, heart
working in it all. It was not the relief merely that might supply a
little cold comfort, but the breast feathers came down upon the
little ones, and there they rested cosily and comfortably, serene and
unmolested. Well now, that is precisely the idea that the text
teaches. So, at least, as I understand it. So also Dr. Watts thought,
when he wrote the well known paraphrase —
Just as a hen protects her brood,
From birds of prey that seek their blood,
Under her feathers, so the Lord
Makes his own arm his people’s guard.
There is even more fulness of meaning than the doctor has stated. Not only is protection from danger bestowed, a sense of comfort and happiness is communicated, making the child of God feel that he is at home under the shadow of the Almighty; that he has all the comforts that he can need when he has once come to cower down under a blessed sense of the divine presence, and to feel the warm outflowing of the very heart of God, as he reveals himself in the tenderest relationship towards his weak and needy servants.
3. Carrying this picture in your mind’s eye, may it often cheer and encourage you. Although I have nothing new, no bewitching novelty to introduce to you, I want to bring the old, old truth vividly before your minds, to examine it in detail, and press it home to your souls.
4. I. Let our starting point be a question — a question of paramount interest — WHEN MAY THIS TEXT BE RELIED UPON BY A BELIEVER? “He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust.”
5. Well, it may be relied upon in cases of extreme peril. I do not doubt that servants of God in times of danger at sea, when the huge billows have roared and the tempest has raged, and the vessel seemed likely to go to pieces, have often cheered their hearts with such a thought as this. “Now, he who holds the waters in the hollow of his hand, will take care of us, and cover us with his feathers, and under his wings we may trust.” Perhaps at this very moment, down in some cabin, or amid the noise and tumult, and the raging of the ocean, when many are alarmed, there are Christians with calm faces, patiently waiting on their Father’s will, whether it shall be to reach the port of heaven, or to be spared to come again to land, into the midst of life’s trials and struggles once more. They feel that they are well cared for, they know that the storm has a bit in its mouth, and that God holds it in, and nothing can harm them; nothing can happen to them except what God permits. On the dry land, too, the same blessed text has often comforted the Lord’s people. Some are particularly timid in times of storm, when the thunder comes peal upon peal, and the lightning flashes follow each other, when it seems as if the very earth trembled, and the skies fled away from the glance of an angry God. Oh! how it calms the anxious heart, stills the foreboding fears, and makes the heart tranquil, to feel that he covers us with his feathers, and that under his wings we may trust. I always feel ashamed to keep indoors when peals of thunder shake the solid earth, and lightnings flash like arrows from the sky. Then God is abroad, — and I love to walk out in the open space, and to look up and notice the opening gates of heaven, as the lightning reveals far beyond, and enables you to look into the unseen. I like to hear my heavenly Father’s voice, but I do not think we could ever come to a state of peace in such times as those if we did not feel that he was near, that he was our friend, that he would not harm the children of his own love. It would be contrary to his own nature, and altogether apart from the kindliness of his character, as well as the constancy of his covenant engagements, that he should allow anything to touch his people that could do them real harm. Nor is it only from violent commotions in the physical world that you are liable to suffer shocks. Many of you have known times of disruption in the mercantile world, which have been the occasion of frightful horror. The wheels of business have gone off the rails through some violent collision of opposing interests. Or on a larger scale the whole system of commerce may appear to have collapsed as with an earthquake. Great houses, whose very names were the bulwarks of credit, have suddenly tottered and fell. While curious eyes have looked on with marvel, many have been the humble people struggling hard for a bare livelihood who were involved in loss and disaster which paralysed all their efforts. What though panic has prevailed on every side, has it not been sweet, surpassingly sweet, to find help under the wings of the Almighty, and hear his voice saying to you, “Trust in the Lord, and do good, so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.” I know that such calamities are heavy and hard to bear. If it were not so we would never have been furnished with such strong consolation. When the foundations of enterprise are slackened, and gigantic schemes burst like a bubble; when the mill is at rest, and looks like the hulk of a disabled vessel; when the workshops are closed, and the artisans skilled for labour, seek a pauper’s pittance at the gates of the union; or when the affliction falls upon the fields and the folds, a blight destroying the crops, and rinderpest (a) cutting down the oxen; these are the sorrows of the world, and chosen men of old have trusted in God nor found him to fail in straits like these. So one said, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no food; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Yet more, brethren, who among you needs to be reminded of the fears that seize the heart when pestilence is spreading through the land, and rumours that it has approached your own doors have reached your ears. Neighbours or relatives are cut down without warning. With anxious looks and eager enquiries you listen for news that it was almost death to hear. Have you never counted the watches of the night, dreading every sound, and pondering every sensation you felt, as if it were an ominous portent? When the cholera has been raging, or the fever has been wreaking havoc; when science has been baffled to find out the cause or cure of some insidious disease that walks in darkness, and wastes at noonday; when those who were accustomed to jeer at religion and laugh at prayer, have uttered pious outbursts, and said, “This is no doubt a visitation by God.” Well, at such times has it not been good for you to seek the covert of his wings, and rely on the gracious promise, “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation; no evil shall befall you there, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling?” In all times of public calamity, in any time of domestic grief, and on every occasion of personal danger, I beseech you, do not cast away your confidence which has a great reward, for if your faith will not bear up under such trials as these, what is it good for? What anchorage is there for your soul? If you cannot bear these little alarms, how will you do in the swellings of Jordan, when grim death appears in view? And amidst the terrors of the world to come, when the very pillars of the universe shall reel, and all things shall pass away, how will you be able to stand calmly and serenely, if these things move you? Indeed, beloved, let the weakest of you play the man, and since you have believed in your God, be ashamed of craven fear, just as Ezra was when having once made a protest, he resolved to abide by it at all risks. “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek him, and his wrath is against all those who forsake him.” Pluck up courage, and say within yourselves, “Now I will prove that promise true, ‘He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust.’ ”
6. But texts of Scripture like this are not made to be hung up on the nail and only taken down now and then in stress of weather. Blessed be God, the promise before us is available for sunshiny days, yes, for every hour of this mortal life. When you leave your house tomorrow morning, little you know what peril may befall you during the day. “At least,” said an old divine, who was accustomed to spend the most part of his time in his study — “at least the studious man is safe from the accidents which shorten the lives of others,” so he vainly thought. The very day after he had used the expression, a stack of chimneys fell through his study, and had he happened to have been sitting where he customarily did, he would have been crushed to pieces. There are dangers everywhere, and the guardian care of God can never be safely dispensed with. If we walk properly, we shall never venture upon a single day without first seeking divine protection. How many who have escaped out of terrible storms, have nevertheless died in a calm! Where some have passed through battles without a scar, they have afterwards been killed by an accident so slight that they would utterly have despised a precaution to avoid it. You always need divine protection, and, believer in Christ, you shall always have it, for “he shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust.” This is for you tonight when you take off your clothes and lay your weary body upon your bed; then you may say, “Now, Lord, cover me with your feathers.” And it is for you tomorrow, when you are going out to your daily labour, not knowing what may befall you, you can use the same petition, “Today, oh God, grant that under your wings I may trust.”
7. When — shall I ask again — may this promise be relied upon? Well, beloved, it may be particularly relied upon in times of temptation. Earnest Christian men are not so much afraid of trials as of temptations. If you could extract the tempting element from our afflictions you would have rendered the gall devoid of at least half its bitterness. To suffer is little, but to be provoked to sin — this is the great reason for fear. “Give me neither poverty nor riches,” said the wise man; but why? It was not because poverty would be inconvenient, but lest he should sin through poverty. “Do not give me riches,” he said; not because riches might not be desirable, but lest he should sin through the deceitfulness of wealth. The great horror of a Christian is sin. Find him a place on earth where he could live without sin, and there he would make his residence, not asking you whether it were a dungeon or a palace. If there were a place where my temper could never be ruffled, where, I could never be agitated into pride or be silenced into cowardice; if I could find a place where sloth would never molest me, or where earthly passions would never rise up for my casting down, thrice happy would I be to borrow the wings of a dove and fly there at once. Since your temptations are just the things which you dread, it behoves you to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation,” but remember, if the Providence of God should at any other time constrain you to go where you are tempted, and must be tempted, you may then fall back upon this gracious word — “He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust.” Do you know, I have noticed that young people who are often exposed to severe temptations are very generally preserved from falling into sin; but I have noticed that others, both old and young, whose temptations were not remarkably severe, have been generally those who have been the first to fall. In fact, it is a lamentable thing to have to say, but it is lamentably true, that at the period of life when you would consider, from the failure of the passions, the temptation would be less vigorous, that very time is marked more than any other by the most solemn transgressions among God’s people. I think I have heard that many horses fall at the bottom of a hill because the driver thinks the danger is past and the need to hold the reins with firm grip less pressing since they are just about to renew their progress and begin to ascend again. So it is often with us when we are not tempted through imminent danger we are the more tempted through slothful ease. I think it was Ralph Erskine who said, “There is no devil so bad as no devil.” The worst temptation that ever overtakes us, is, in some respects, preferable to our being left alone altogether without any sense of caution or stimulus to watch and pray. Be always on your watchtower and you shall always be secure. In looking forward to the temptations of next week — you working men who labour side by side with sceptics; you young women living in graceless families; you merchants who have to go among others whose mode of conducting business is not honest (all of you know the temptations common to your own lot in the busy commonwealth), resolve in the strength of God that you will walk uprightly, and that as Christians you will not soil your garments, and then you may come to your heavenly Father for his protection, and say to him, “My God, I am more afraid of sin than I am of lightning, or of fire, or of the murderer’s dagger; keep me day by day from sin, defend me from evil, ‘cover me with your feathers, for under your wings I will trust.’ ”
8. So, again, this text may be very blessedly applied to our souls, and I hope it will be, in times of expected trials. I do not know that it is right for us to anticipate trials at all. “Sufficient for the day is its evil.” We ought never to sit down and begin fretting ourselves about what may happen, because the evil we dread may never come to pass. Many a true servant of God has said to himself — “What shall I do when I get old? I am just able now to earn a living, but what shall I do when these withered limbs can no longer avail to earn my daily bread?” Do? Why, you will have the same Father then as you have now to help you, and you will have the same Providence then as now to supply your needs. You thank God for your daily bread now, and you shall have your daily bread then, for he will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust. Some of God’s servants who have been thus afraid have had no cause for complaint, for their latter days have been blessed, they have been placed in comfortable circumstances, and they have had to wonder at the liberal hand which furnished their table, and to chide the unbelief of their own fretful spirits. Others of them have been taken away from the evils they forecast and conveyed to heaven long before they had reached anything like the period of bodily infirmity or the mental imbecility they dreaded. So it is with you, dear friends. God will take care of you; only rest on him. It is bad to make troubles. I always say about homemade troubles, that they are very like homemade clothes, they never fit well, and they are generally a long while before they are worn out. You had better take the troubles God sends you; they are more suitable for you; you will be able to carry them, and you will be able to get over them by his grace. Do not begin to think of what you will do thirty years from now. Why, Jesus Christ may come before then, or you may be absent from the body and present with him before then. But, if you are of such a nervous temperament that you cannot help sometimes anticipating, or if you are so speculatively disposed that you will carry your almanacs with you, and chronicle black days in the coming years, then just make a note of this in the margin, “He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust.” Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may, it cannot bring us anything except what God shall bear us through. So let it come and let it go. May the Lord’s name be praised. We shall bless his name in it and after it, and why not before it?
9. There is another hour in which this text will be particularly consoling to us, and that is the hour of death. Ah! we may sing what we wish, and say what we wish, but dying is no child’s play. Thank God, it is going home; we know that it is not death in some respects. It is only a change in our mode of life. Absent from the body we are present with the Lord. But still we cannot think of that death dew which will lie cold on our brow, the failing voice, and the glazing eye, without some natural fears. When we would gladly go out to meet it, we shrink back again to life — “Fond of our prison and our clay.”
10. But what shall we do when we come to die, when the physician can no longer help us, and the beatings of the pulse become faint and few? Why, then, “he shall cover us with his feathers, and under his wings we shall trust.” Oh! it will be so blessed to go cowering down right under the shadow of the Almighty, hiding ourselves as the little chickens do in the hen’s feathers; losing our own individuality in the realisation of our union to Christ; finding that it is not death to die, but coming nearer to God in very deed, in blissful experience, nearer than we ever were before. Looking forward into that unknown future, across the shoreless sea, and listening to the billows as we hear them sounding in the dark, we thank God that they are not billows of fire to us, that they are not waves of everlasting wrath, but that they are waves of eternal bliss. But, whatever they are, whatever there may be in the future, whatever may be meant by the millennium, and the burning of the earth, and the wreck of nature, whatever may be meant by vials and trumpets, and by all besides in the mysteries of prophecy, “he shall cover us with his feathers, and under his wings we shall trust,” and amidst the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds, safe, safe, safe, and near our God, and blessed eternally we shall be. Beloved, in such an hour may such an oracle as this come rolling sweetly into your souls to cheer and comfort you.
11. II. Having thus answered a first question, and told you when this promise may be relied upon, let us proceed to answer another question — HOW MAY WE EXPECT THE TEXT TO BE FULFILLED?
12. It may possibly be verified to us by our being preserved altogether from the danger which we dread. God has often, as predicted in the present Psalm, in times of pestilence, and famine, and war, preserved his people by remarkable providences. Especially has this been the case in the experience of those of his people who have been lively in their faith, and careful to follow his instructions. Now, if there is one instruction that Jesus Christ has plainly given to a Christian, it is this — “I say to you, ‘Do not resist an evil person.’ ” (Matthew 5:39) Our brethren of the Society of Friends have been admirably firm and consistent in their declaration, that they have no right to bear arms. In the times of the massacre in Ireland:, when Protestants took a town, they generally cut the throats of the Catholics; and when Roman Catholics took a town, they always returned the compliment by killing the Protestants, but the cry always was — “Spare the Quakers! Spare the Quakers!” They had harmed no one; they had taken up no arms. Strange to tell, through that long and bitter warfare only three Quakers died, and those three had fled from their homes to find a refuge in a neighbouring castle with the troops. Of course they rested on an arm of flesh and it failed them. When the British shells were flying through Copenhagen fast and furious, and the Danish town seemed given over to destruction by Nelson’s terrific bombardment, there was one house upon which not a shot or shell ever fell. Nelson and the British knew nothing of that house of course, but there it stood as safely as old Rahab’s house when the walls of Jericho fell down. It was the house of a Quaker, who when an order was given for all to defend their houses in a particular way, said he had nothing to do with fighting. The man rested in God, and God’s protection was wonderfully spread over him. In the literature of the Society of Friends, there is a large number of anecdotes showing how God has especially marked out times of peril for preserving those men, who scrupulously refused to defend themselves, and rested on the promise of their faithful God. We all know how singularly the Lord has shielded those who trusted in him in the times of pestilence. That old house, still standing in the High Street at Chester, is a lasting proof of the power of faith, with its old letters cut in the black wood “God’s Providence is my inheritance.” When everyone else was fleeing out of Chester into the country, the man who lived in that house just wrote that inscription up over the door, and stayed in the town, depending on God that he should be preserved, and no one in his house fell a victim to that black death which was killing its thousands on all sides. Strong faith always has a particular immunity in times of trouble. When a man has really, under a sense of duty, under a conscientious conviction, rested in God alone, he has been enabled to walk where the thickest dangers were flying, all unharmed. He has put his foot upon the adder, and he has trampled the young lion and the dragon under his feet. Having confidence in God, God has verified and vindicated his promise, and the child of God that could so trust has never been put to confusion.
13. There are some dangers from which the Providence of God does not preserve the Lord’s people, but still he covers them with his feathers in another sense, by giving them grace to bear up under their trouble. It little matters, you know, whether a man has no burden and no strength, or a heavy burden and great strength. Probably of the two, if it were asked of most of us, we should prefer to have the burden and the strength. I know I should. Now, there is generally this for you, that if you have little trouble, you will have little faith; but if you have great faith, you must expect to have great trouble. A manly spirit would choose to take the trouble, and take the faith too. Well, then, God will give you this covert with his feathers — although you have to carry the load you shall have strength enough to carry it. Indeed, you shall find, as a dear saint once said, that the sweetest thing next to Christ in all the world, was Christ’s cross, and that to carry Christ’s cross was the next best thing to seeing his glory. You shall find your afflictions become your mercies, and your trials become your comforts. You shall glory in tribulation, and find light in the midst of gloom, and have joy unspeakable in the season of your sorrow. So God covers us as with his feathers.
14. In yet another way God sets his seal to this promise when by his grace having sustained his servants in their trouble he brings them out of it greatly enriched by it. Oh! it is a great blessing to be put through the fire, if you come out purified. It is a sweet mercy to have to go through the floods, if some filthiness may be removed by it. The children of Israel went down to Egypt to sojourn there, but after hard servitude and cruel oppression they came up out of it with silver and gold, much enriched by their bondage. Did you ever notice that memorable passage, in which the Lord has borne witness to his gracious care for them before he brought about their deliverance? “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect for them.” Comment is needless. In the time of their direst grief God was all in all to them. And you, child of God, shall lose nothing by your losses; you shall be a gainer by them, a greater gainer than others by their gains; for all your losses and troubles shall not touch your immortal soul. Just as bars of iron do not make a prison or a cage to a free soul, so afflictions that are merely temporal and bodily shall not hamper or lessen the joy of an immortal spirit. Indeed, we shall mount above the billows of our griefs, and sing as we lift our heads above the spray. We shall rise above the clouds of our present afflictions, and look down upon them as they float beneath our feet, rejoicing that the Lord has borne us, as upon wings, above them all, to bring us to himself.
15. So you see, either by keeping us out of trouble, by helping us to bear it, or by bringing us through it with great gain to ourselves, “he shall cover us with his feathers, and under his wings we shall trust.”
16. III. A third enquiry suggests itself to me, in responding to which I shall be very brief: WHY MAY WE BE QUITE SURE THAT IT SHALL BE SO?
17. You may find a strong reason for personal assurance in the fact that faith enlists the sympathy of God. Faith seems to me to enlist everyone’s sympathy. There is a blind man going along, and he wants to get across the street, and he puts perfect confidence in you; though he cannot see you, and does not know you, he feels sure that you will lead him across. Now, I know you will. If there was a little child who had lost his way, and he came running up to you, big, tall man, and said, “Oh sir! I do not know my way home, nor where I came from, but I feel quite sure you will take care of me until I have found my mother.” Well, not one of you would turn around and chase him away; you would feel as if you were firmly held with chains around you. Somehow or other, when others have faith in us we do not like, if we can help it, not to come up to their standard of opinion about us. We want to be as good as they think us to be, and we always try to be so. Now, it is a point with God that he always will be as good as you think him to be, indeed, and a great deal better; and if you only think that he will be a gracious and merciful God to you, and so rely on him as his child, it is not in the heart of God to turn away from a humble faith that dares to lay hold upon his skirts. Try it, dear friends, and you will prove it to be true.
18. But, you may be quite sure that he will cover you with his feathers, because we have hundreds of promises to that effect. There is not time to quote them all, but there is one like this, “He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ ”; and here is another, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you.” And then there is this, “Do not fear; for I am with you: do not be dismayed; for I am your God! I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” “Do not fear; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be confounded.” There are hundreds of promises like these, and will he break them? You keep your promise to your child, and will not God keep his promise to you? Oh rest in him, then; he shall cover us with his feathers, for his own word declares it.
19. Moreover, you are his child, and what will a father not do for his own dear child? If he were a stranger you might take little heed although he were in trouble, in danger, or in deep distress — but your child, your own child — oh! you cannot rest while he suffers. How agitated we are when our little ones are sick; how we get the best advice for them; when they are in pain how willingly would we take their pain if we could relieve them, and spare those cries that seem to pierce our heart as well as our ears! If anyone harms them, why the most placid of us find our temper soon aroused. “And shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night to him, although he bears long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” Although he bears long with their adversaries, yet he will come to the help of his own beloved ones, for he is fatherly in all the sensitiveness of his heart, as well as in all the judiciousness of his chastisements. He will protect his own.
Remember there is one point of which God is always jealous, that is
his own honour. There is no verse of any hymn we ever sing more
scriptural than that one we were singing just now —
His honour is engaged to save
The meanest of his sheep;
All that his heavenly Father gave
His hands securely keep.
Christ must convoy even the smallest bark safe into the port of Paradise. He must not allow one of these little ones to perish, for such is not the will of our Father who is in heaven. Come then, you tremblers, you doubters, you little ones, you who think you cannot have a part in the promise, come now, come nestle down under those great wings which seem so close to you. The wings that are lined with the feathers of the Eternal will be strong wings, as though they were bars of iron, through which no storms of trouble can ever beat; through which the enemy, though he comes from hell itself, shall not be able to drive his spears — strong wings, and yet so softly feathered, so tenderly lined with lovingkindness and affection, that the weakest and most trembling may find comfort there.
21. And now, dear friends, although I have not said anything new, yet I know that this is full of comfort for God’s people. It must be so, at least, if I am one of them, I know it is, for it has often greatly cheered and gladdened me in the times of darkness and despondency (and I have plenty of such times), to feel that I could abide under the wings of my God, and all was well and all was safe.
22. But what must it be to be without a God? Blessed be his name, we do not mean to try it, but what must it be? “Sam,” said a man once to his negro, “would you give up your religion and be made a king, or would you keep your Jesus Christ and be flogged to death?” “Oh! Massa,” he said, “give me Jesus Christ, and flog me to death twenty times if you wish; I could never give him up; he is my joy and my comfort.” And truly we can say that. Only give us a sense of divine love, and we will not complain about our condition; only to know that God is our friend we will not ask who else is on our side, for having God we have all: no matter who our enemies are, all must be well when God befriends us.
23. What must some of you be without a God? You may be trying to satisfy your soul with the love of relatives; your wife and children are your only inheritance under the sun. That is better than some men strive after. But they are dying comforts; there is a thorn in all these roses, sweet roses as they are. I do not think the dearest wife and the most beloved children can really fill the heart to satiety. I know you want something more sometimes: I know you do. Others of you have been trying to fill your hearts full with those idle associates of yours, those drinking companions, those jolly fellows, just the kind you delight to spend an evening with. They are poor comforts when you are sick, and they will be poorer comforts still when you come to die. You must not suppose that if you loved Jesus Christ and put your trust in him, you would give up the joy of life. You would only have just found it! You would then begin to be happy, because you would have found what your soul needs to fill it. As quaint old Quarles says — “The heart is a triangle, and all the world is a globe, and you cannot fill a triangle with a globe. It is nothing but the Trinity that can fill the heart.” Let Father, Son, and Spirit, get into the heart by a living faith, and the heart is full to the brim, and the man is content in all his trials. I wish you had Christ to be yours. He is to be had, my friend. Whoever trusts in him is saved. He is God — worthy to be trusted: moreover he died, the just for the unjust, bearing our sins. Depend upon the merit of that death of his, and you shall be saved.
May God bring you into a state of faith, and bless you now for
Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Portion of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Psalms 91]
(a) Rinderpest: A virulent, infectious disease affecting ruminant animals, esp. oxen, characterised by fever, dysentery, and inflammation of the mucous membranes; a cattle plague. OED.