998. More and More

by Charles H. Spurgeon on May 30, 2012

Charles Spurgeon discusses how believers can praise God more and more every day.

A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, July 2, 1871, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. 7/31/2011*7/31/2011

But I will hope continually, and will still praise you more and more. (Psalms 71:14)

1. When sin conquered the realm of manhood, it killed all the minstrels except those of the race of Hope. For humanity, amid all its sorrows and sins, hope sings on. To believers in Jesus there remains a royal race of bards, for we have a hope of glory, a living hope, an eternal and divine hope. Because our hope remains, our praise continues — “I will hope continually, and will still praise you.” Because our hopes grow brighter, and are every day nearer and nearer to their fulfilment, therefore the volume of our praise increases. “I will hope continually, and still praise you more and more.” A dying hope would bring forth declining songs; as the expectations grew more dim, so the music would become more faint; but an immortal and eternal hope, flaming forth each day with more intense brightness, brings out a song of praise which, just as it shall always continue to arise, so shall it always gather new force. Look well, my brethren, to your faith, and your faith and hope, for otherwise God will be robbed of his praise. It will be in proportion as you hope for the good things which he has promised to your faith, that you will render to him the praise which is his royal revenue, acceptable to him by Jesus Christ, and abundantly due from you.

2. David had not been slack in praise: indeed, he was a sweet singer in Israel, a very choirmaster to the Lord; yet he vowed to praise him more and more. Those who do much already, are usually the people who can do more. He was old. Would he praise God more when he was infirm than he had done when he was young and vigorous? If he could not excel with loudness of voice, yet he would with eagerness of heart; and what his praise might lack in sound, it should gain in solemn earnestness. He was in trouble too, yet he would not allow the heyday of his prosperity to surpass in its notes of loving adoration the dark hour of his adversity. For him on no account could there be any going back. He had adored the Lord when he was only a youth and kept his father’s flock. Harp in hand, beneath the spreading tree, he had worshipped the Lord his Shepherd, whose rod and staff were his comfort and delight. When an exile he had made the rocky fortresses of Adullam and Engedi resound with the name of Jehovah. Later on, when he had become king in Israel, his psalms had been multiplied, and his harp strings were daily accustomed to the praises of the God of his salvation. How could that zealous songster make an advance in praise? See him there dancing before the ark of the Lord with all his might: what more of joy and zeal can be revealed? Yet he says: “I will still praise you more and more.” Recently his troubles had been multiplied, and his infirmities too, yet for all that, no murmuring escapes him, but he resolved that his praise should rise higher and higher until he continued it in better lands for ever and ever.

3. Beloved, it is an intense joy for me to address you this morning after so long and sad an absence, (a) and I pray that the Holy Spirit may make my word stimulating to you all. Our subject is that of our praising God more and more. I do not intend to exhort you to praise God; but shall take it for granted that you are doing so, though I fear it will be a great mistake in the case of many. We must, however, take that fact for granted in those to whom we address ourselves upon our particular topic; for those who do not praise God at all cannot be exhorted to praise him more and more. To those I direct my speech who now love to praise God; I would charge them to resolve with the psalmist: “I will still praise you more and more.”

4. I. Our first business shall be, to URGE OURSELVES TO THIS RESOLUTION. Why should we praise God more and more? Here I am embarrassed with the multitude of arguments which surround me. So many crowd around me that I cannot number them in order, but must seize them somewhat at random.

5. It is humbling to remember that we may very well praise God more than we have done, for we have praised him very little as yet. What we have done, as believers, in glorifying God falls far, far short of his due. Personally, upon consideration, we shall each acknowledge this. Remember, my dear brother, or sister, what the Lord has done for you. Some years ago you were in your sin, and death, and ruin; he called you by his grace. You were under the burden and curse of sin; he delivered you. Did you not expect in the first joy of pardon to have done more for him, to have loved him more, to have served him better? What are the returns which you have made for the blessings which you have received? Are they at all fitting or adequate? I look at a field loaded with precious grain and ripening for the harvest: I hear that the farmer has spent so much in rent, so much upon the ploughing, so much upon enriching the soil, so much for seed, so much more for needful weeding. There is the harvest, and it yields a profit: he is contented. But I see another field: it is my own heart; and, my brother, yours is the same. What has the Farmer done for it? He has reclaimed it from the wild waste, by a power no less then omnipotent. He has fenced it, ploughed it, and cut down the thorns. He has watered it as no other field was ever watered, for the bloody sweat of Christ has bedewed it, to remove the primeval curse. God’s own Son has given his whole self so that this barren waste may become a garden. What has been done it would be hard to sum up: what more could have been done no one can say. Yet what is the harvest? Is it equal to the labour expended? Is the tillage remunerative? I am afraid if we cover our faces, or if a blush shall serve us instead of a veil, it will be the most fit reply to the question. Here and there a withered ear of grain is a poor reward for the tillage of infinite love. Let us, therefore, be shamed into a firm resolve, and say with resolute spirit: “By the good help of infinite grace, I, at any rate, having been so great a laggard, will quicken my pace; I will still praise you more and more.”

6. Another argument which presses upon my mind is this: that for which we have praised God up until now, we have not found the service to be a weariness to ourselves, but it has always been for us both a profit and a delight. I would not speak falsely even for God, but I bear my testimony that the happiest moments I have ever spent have been occupied with the worship of God. I have never been so near heaven as when adoring before the eternal throne. I think every Christian will bear the same witness. Among all the joys of earth, and I shall not depreciate them, there is no joy comparable to that of praise. The innocent mirth of the fireside, the chaste happinesses of household love, even these are not to be mentioned side by side with the joy of worship, the rapture of drawing near to the Most High. Earth, at her best, yields only water, but this divine occupation is like the wine of Cana’s marriage feast. The purest and most exhilarating joy is the delight of glorifying God, and so anticipating the time when we shall enjoy him for ever. Now, brethren, if God’s praise has been no wilderness to you, return to it with zest and ardour, and say: “I will still praise you more and more.” If anyone supposes that you grow weary with the service of the Lord, tell him that his praise is such freedom, such recreation, such felicity, that you never desire to cease from it. As for me, if men call God’s service slavery, I desire to be such a bondslave for ever, and would gladly be indelibly branded with my Master’s name. I would have my ear bored to the doorpost of my Lord’s house, and go out no more. My soul joyfully sings — 

   Let thy grace, Lord, like a fetter,
   Bind my wandering heart to thee.

This shall be my ambition — to be more and more subservient to the divine honour. This shall be my gain — to be nothing for Christ’s sake. This shall be my all in all — to praise you, my Lord, as long as I have any being.

7. A third reason readily suggests itself. We ought surely to praise God more today than at any other previous day, because we have received more mercies. Even of temporal favours we have been large partakers. Begin with these, and then rise higher. Some of you, dear brothers and sisters, may well be reminded of the great temporal mercies which have been lavished upon you. You are today in a similar state with Jacob when he said: “with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands.” When you first left your father’s house to follow a toilsome occupation, you had a scant enough purse, and very poor prospects; but where are you now concerning temporal circumstances and position? How highly God has favoured some of you! Joseph has risen from the dungeon to the throne, David has gone up from the sheepfolds to a palace. Look back to what you were, and give the Lord his due. He lifts up the poor from the dust, and sets them among princes. You were unknown and insignificant, and now his mercy has placed you in prominence and esteem. Is this nothing? Do you despise the bounty of heaven? Will you not praise the Lord more and more for this? Surely, you should do so, and must do so, or else feel the withering curse which blasts ingratitude wherever it dwells. Perhaps divine providence has not dealt with you exactly in that way but with equal goodness and wisdom has revealed itself to you in another form. You have continued in the same sphere in which you began life, but you have been enabled to pursue your work, have been preserved in health and strength, have been supplied with food and clothing and what is best, have been blessed with a contented heart and a gleaming eye. My dear friend, are you not thankful? Will you not praise your heavenly Father more and more? We ought not to overestimate temporal mercies so as to become worldly; but I am afraid there is a greater likelihood of our underestimating them, and becoming ungrateful. We must beware of so underestimating them as to lessen our sense of the debt in which they involve us before God. We speak sometimes of great mercies. Come now, I will ask you a question: Can you count your great mercies? I cannot count mine. Perhaps you think the numeration is easy! I find it to be endless. I was thinking the other day, and I will venture to confess it publicly, what a great mercy it was to be able to turn over in bed. Some of you smile, perhaps. Yet I do not exaggerate when I say, I could almost clap my hands for joy when I found myself able to turn in bed without pain. Today, it is to me a very great mercy to be able to stand upright before you. We carelessly imagine that there are only a score or two of great mercies, such as having our children around us, or enjoying health and so on; but in trying times we see that innumerable minor matters are also great gifts of divine love, and entail great misery when withdrawn. Sing, then, as you draw water at the lower springs, and as the brimming vessels overflow, praise the Lord still more and more.

8. But ought we not to praise God more and more when we think of our spiritual mercies! What favours have we received of this higher kind! Ten years ago you were bound to praise God for the covenant mercies you had even then enjoyed; but now, how many more have been bestowed upon you; how many cheerings amid darkness; how many answers to prayer; how many directions in dilemma; how many delights of fellowship; how many helps in service; how many successes in conflict; how many revelations of infinite love! To adoption there has been added all the blessings of heirship; to justification, all the security of acceptance; to conversion, all the energies of indwelling. And, remember, just as there was no silver cup in Benjamin’s sack until Joseph put it there, so there was no spiritual good in you until the Lord of mercy gave it. Therefore, praise the Lord. May the song still be louder and louder. Praise him on the high sounding cymbals. Since we cannot hope to measure his mercies, let us immeasurably praise our God. “I will still praise you more and more.”

9. Let us now go on a little further. We have been proving through a series of years the faithfulness, immutability, and veracity of our God — proving these attributes by our sinning against God, and their bearing the strain of our misbehaviour — proving them by the innumerable benefits which the Lord has bestowed upon us. Shall all this experience end in no result? Shall there be no advance in gratitude where there is such an increase of obligation? God is so good that every moment of his love demands a life of praise.

10. It should never be forgotten that every Christian as he grows in grace should have a loftier idea of God. Our highest conception of God falls infinitely short of his glory, but an advanced Christian enjoys a far clearer view of what God is than he had at the first. Now, the greatness of God is always a claim for praise. “Great is the Lord, and” — what follows? — “greatly to be praised.” If, then, God is greater to me than he was, let my praise be greater. If I think of him now more tenderly as my Father — if I have a clearer view of him in the terror of his justice — if I have a clearer view of the splendours of his wisdom by which he devised the atonement — if I have larger thoughts of his eternal, immutable love — let every advance in knowledge constrain me to say: “I will still praise you more and more.” I heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you: therefore while I abhor myself in dust and ashes, my praise shall rise even more loftily; my song shall ascend up to your throne. I only saw as it were the skirts of your garment, but you have hidden me in the cleft of the rock Christ Jesus, and made your glory pass before me, and now I will praise you even as the seraphs do, and vie with those before the throne in magnifying your name. We learn very little in Christ’s school, if its practical result shall not be to make us cry: “I will still praise you more and more.”

11. Still culling here and there a thought out of thousands, I would remind you that it is a good reason for praising God more that we are getting nearer to the place where we hope to praise him, world without end, in a perfect way. Never have we made these walls ring more joyously than when we have united in singing about our Father’s house on high, and the tents pitched — 

   “A day’s march nearer home.”

Heaven is indeed the only home of our souls, and we shall never feel that we have come to our rest until we have reached its mansions. One reason why we shall be able to rest in heaven, is because we shall there be able perpetually to achieve the purpose of our creation. Am I nearer heaven? then I will be doing more of the work which I shall do in heaven. I shall soon use the harp: let me be carefully tuning it: let me rehearse the hymns which I shall sing before the throne; for if the words in heaven shall be sweeter and more rich than any that poets can put together here, still the essential song of heaven shall be the same as what we present to Jehovah here below.

   They praise the Lamb in hymns above,
      And we in hymns below.

The essence of their praise is gratitude that he should bleed: it is the essence of our praise too. They bless Emmanuel’s name for undeserved favours bestowed upon unworthy ones, and we do the same. My aged brethren, I congratulate you, for you are almost home; be even more full of praise than ever. Quicken your footsteps as the glory land shines more brightly. You are close to the gate of pearl; sing on, dear brother, though infirmities increase, and let the song grow sweeter and louder until it melts into the infinite harmonies.

12. Shall I need to give another reason why we should praise God more and more? If I must, I would throw this one into the scale, that surely at this present juncture we ought to be more earnest in the praise of God, because God’s enemies are very earnest in labouring to dishonour him. These are times when scoffers are boundlessly impudent. Did it not make your blood chill when you heard revolutionists in unhappy Paris talk of having “demolished God?” It struck me as almost a sadder thing when I read the proposition of one of their philosophers who would have them become religious again, that they should bring God back again for ten years at least — an audacious recommendation as blasphemously impertinent as the insolence which had proclaimed the triumph of atheism. But we need not look across the Channel; perhaps they speak more honestly on that side than we do here; for among ourselves we have abounding infidelity, which pretends to reverence Scripture while it denies its plainest teachings; and we have what is quite as bad, a superstition which thrusts Christ aside for the human priest, and makes the sacraments everything, and simple trust in the great atonement to be as nothing. Now, my brethren, those who hold these views are not sleepers, nor do they relax their efforts. We may be very quiet and lukewarm about religion (alas! that we should be); but these people are earnest propagators of their faith, or no faith — they encompass sea and land to make one proselyte. As we think of these busy servants of Satan, we ought to chide ourselves and say: “Shall Baal be diligently served, and Jehovah have such a sleepy advocate? Be stirred, my soul! Wake up, my spirit! Arouse at once, and praise your God more and more!”

13. But, indeed, while I give you these few arguments out of many that come to my mind, the thought cheers my spirit that with those of you who know and love God, there is little need for me to mention reasons, for your own souls are hungering and thirsting to praise him. If you are debarred for a little time from the public service of God, you pant for the assemblies of God’s house, and envy the swallows that build their nests beneath the eaves. If you are unable to accomplish service which you were accustomed to perform for Christ’s church, the hours drag very wearily along. As the Master found it his food and his drink to do the will of him who sent him, so when you are unable to do that will, you are like a person deprived of his food and drink, and an insatiable hunger grows within you. Oh Christian brother, do you not pant to praise God? I am sure you feel now: “Oh that I could praise him better!” You are perhaps in a position in which you have work to do for him, and your heart is saying, “How I wish I could do this work more thoroughly to his praise!” Or possibly you are in such a condition of life that it is little you can do, and you often wish if God would make a change for you, not that it should be one more full of comfort, but one in which you could be more serviceable. Above all, I know you wish you were rid of sin, and everything which hinders your praising God more and more. Well, then, I need not argue, for your own heart pleads the holy cause.

14. Allow me to conclude this heading with a fact that illustrates the point. I know one, who has been long privileged to lift his voice in the choir of the great King. In that delightful labour no one is more happy than he. The longer he was engaged in the work the more he loved it. Now, it came to pass that on a certain day, this songster found himself excluded from the choir; he would have entered to take his part, but he was not permitted. Perhaps the King was angry; perhaps the songster had sung carelessly; perhaps he had acted unworthily in some other matter; or possibly his master knew that his song would grow more sweet if he were silenced for awhile. How it was I do not know, but this I know, that it caused great searching of heart. Often this chorister begged to be restored, but he was as often repulsed, and somewhat roughly too. I think it was more than three months that this unhappy songster was kept in enforced silence, with fire in his bones and no vent for it. The royal music went on without him; there was no lack of song, and in this he rejoiced, but he longed to take his place again. I cannot tell you how eagerly he longed. At last the happy hour arrived, the king gave his permission, he might sing again. The songster was full of gratitude, and I heard him say — you shall hear him say it: “My Lord, since I am again restored, I will hope continually, and will still praise you more and more.”

15. II. Now let us turn to another point. Let us in the Spirit’s strength DRIVE AWAY WHAT HINDERS US FROM PRAISING GOD MORE AND MORE.

16. One of the deadliest things is dreaminess, sleepiness. A Christian readily falls into this state. I notice it even in the public congregation. Very often the whole service is gone through mechanically. That same dreaminess falls upon many professors and remains with them, and instead of praising God more and more, it is all they can do to keep up the old strain — and barely that. Let us shake ourselves from all such sleep. Surely if there were any service in which a man should be altogether and completely awake, it is in praising and magnifying God. It would be ridiculous to imagine a sleepy seraph before the throne of Jehovah, or a cherub nodding during sacred song. And shall such an insult to the majesty of heaven be seen on earth? No! Let us say to all that is within us, “Awake! awake!”

17. The next hindrance would be divided purposes. We cannot, however we may resolve, praise God more and more, if, as we grow older, we allow this world to take up our thoughts. If I say, “I will praise God more and more,” and yet I am striking out right and left with projects of amassing wealth, or I am plunging myself into greater business cares unnecessarily, my actions undermine my resolutions. Not that we would squelch enterprise. There are times in life when a man may be enabled to praise God more and more by expanding his business; but there are people whom I have known who have praised God very well in a certain condition, but they have not been content to let well enough alone, and they have been for aggrandising themselves, and they have had to give up their Sunday School class, or the village preaching, or attendance at the visiting committee, or some other form of Christian service, because their monetary pursuits demanded all their strength. Beloved, you shall find it small gain if you gain in this world, but lose in praising God. As we grow older, it is wise to concentrate more and more of our energies upon the one thing, the only thing worth living for — the praise of God.

18. Another great obstacle to praising God more is, self-content; and this, again, is a condition into which we may very easily fall. Our belief is, only we must not affirm it when we may be overheard, we are all very fine fellows indeed. We may confess when we are praying, and at other times, that we are miserable sinners — and I daresay we have some belief that it is so — but for all that, there is within our minds the conviction that we are very respectable people, and are doing exceedingly well on the whole; and comparing ourselves with other Christians, it is much to our credit that we are praising God as well as we are. Now, I have put this very roughly, but is it not what the heart has said to us at times? Oh, loathsome thought! that a sinner should grow content with himself. Self-satisfaction is the end of progress. Dear friend, why compare yourself with the dwarfs around you? If you must compare yourself with your fellow men, look at the giants of other days; but, better still, relinquish the evil habit altogether; for Paul tells us it is not wise to compare ourselves among ourselves. Look to our Lord and Master, who towers so high above us in peerless excellence. No, no, we dare not flatter ourselves, but with humble self-condemnation we resolve to praise the Lord more and more.

19. To rest on the past is another danger concerning this matter. We did so much for God when we were young. I occasionally encounter drones in the Christian hive, whose boast is that they made a great deal of honey years ago. I see men resting on their oars today, but they startle me with a description of the impetus they gave to the boat years ago. You should have seen them when they were master rowers, in those former times. What a pity that these brethren cannot be aroused to do their first works; it would be a gain to the church, but it would be an equal benefit for themselves. Suppose God should say, “Rest on the past. I gave you great mercies twenty years ago; live on them.” Suppose the eternal and ever beloved Spirit should say, “I preformed a work in you thirty years ago; I withdraw myself, and I will do no more.” Where would you be then? Yet, my dear brother, if you still have to draw afresh upon the eternal fountains, do, I beseech you, praise the ever blessed source of all.

20. May God help us then to shake off all those things which would prevent our praising him! Possibly there is some afflicted one here, in so low a state, so far pressed by poverty or bodily pain, that he is saying: “I cannot praise God more and more: I am ready to despair.” Dear brother, may God give you full resignation to his will, and the greater your troubles the sweeter will be your song. I found in an old divine a short but sweet story, which touched my heart. A poor widow and her little child were sitting together in great poverty, both feeling the pinch of hunger, and the child looked up into the mother’s face, and said: “Mother, God won’t starve us, will he?” “No, my child,” said the mother; “I do not think he will.” “But, mother,” said the child, “if he does, we will still praise him as long as we live, won’t we, mother?” May those who are grayheaded be able to say what the child said, and to carry it out. “Though he kills me, yet I will trust in him.” We have received good at the hands of the Lord; shall we not also receive evil? “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” “I will still praise you more and more.”

21. III. Very briefly LET US APPLY OURSELVES TO THE PRACTICAL CARRYING OUT OF THIS RESOLUTION. I have given you arguments for it, and tried to move away impediments. Now for a little help in the performance of it. How shall I begin to praise God more and more?

22. Earnestness says: “I shall undertake some new duty this afternoon.” Stop, dear brother, for just a minute. If you want to praise God, would it not be as well first to begin with yourself? The musician said: “I will praise God better”; but the pipes of his instrument were dirty; he had better look after them first. If the strings have slipped from their proper tension, it will be well to correct them before beginning the tune. If we would praise God more, it is not to be done as boys rush into a bath — head first. No; prepare yourself; make your heart ready. You need the Spirit’s aid to make your soul fit for praising God. It is not every fool’s work. Go then to your bedroom, confess the sins of the past, and ask the Lord to give you much more grace so that you may begin to praise him.

23. If we would praise God more and more, let us improve our private devotions. God is much praised by really devout prayer and adoration. Preachings are not fruits: they are sowings. True song is fruit. I mean this, that the green blade of the wheat may be the sermon, but the ear of wheat is the hymn you sing, the prayer in which you unite. The true result of life is praise to God. “The chief end of man,” says the catechism, and I cannot put it better, “is to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever”; and when we glorify God in our private devotion, we are accomplishing the true purpose of our being. If we desire to praise God more, we must ask for grace so that our private devotions may rise to a higher standard. I am more and more persuaded from my own experience, that in proportion to the strength of our private life with God will be the force of our character, and the power of our work for God among men. Let us look well to this.

24. Again, however, I hear the zealous young man or woman saying: “Well, I will attend to what you have said. I will see to private prayer and to heart work, but I mean to begin some work of usefulness.” Quite right; but pause for a little. I want to ask you this question: “Are you sure that your own personal conduct in what you call your everyday life has as much of the praise of God in it as it might have?” It is all a mistake to think that we must come here to praise God. You can praise God in your workshops, and in your kitchens, and in your bedrooms. It is all a mistake to suppose that Sunday is the only day to praise God in. Praise him on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, every day, everywhere. All places are holy for holy people, and all engagements holy for holy men, if they do them with holy motives, lifting up their hearts to God; and whether a man swings the blacksmith’s hammer, or lays his hand upon the plough handle, that is true worship which is done as to the Lord and not to men. I like the story of the servant maid, who, when she was asked on joining the church, “Are you converted?” “I hope so, sir.” “What makes you think you are really a child of God?” “Well, sir, there is a great change in me from what there used to be.” “What is that change?” “I do not know, sir, but there is a change in all things; but there is one thing, I always sweep under the mats now.” Many a time she had hidden the dust under the mat. It was not so now; it is a very excellent reason for believing that there is a change of heart when work is conscientiously done. There is a set of mats in all our houses where we are accustomed to hide the dirt under; and when in his business a man starts to sweep from under the mats — you merchants have your mats, you know, when you avoid the evils which custom tolerates but which God condemns, then you have signs of grace within. Oh, to have a conduct moulded by the example of Christ! If any man lived in a holy manner, though he never preached a sermon or even sang a hymn, he would have praised God; and the more conscientiously he acted, the more thoroughly would he have done so.

25. These inner matters being considered, let us go on to increase our actual and direct service for God. Let us do what we have been doing of Christian teaching, visiting, and so on; but in all let us do more, give more, and labour more. Who among us is working at his utmost, or giving at his utmost? Let us quicken our speed. Or suppose we are already doing so much that all the time we can possibly spare is fully occupied, let us do what we do better. In some Christian churches they do not need more societies, but they need more force put into them. You may skip over the sand of the seashore and scarcely leave an impression, but if you take heavy steps there is a deep footmark left behind each time. May we in our service for God tread heavily, and leave deep footprints on the sands of time. Whatever you do, do it heartily; throw yourselves into it; do it with your might. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” Oh, to be enabled to serve God in this way — this would be to praise him more and more! Though I do not say that you can always tell how far a man praises God by the quantity of work that he does for God, yet it is not a bad gauge. It was an old aphorism of Hippocrates, the old physician, that you could judge a man’s heart by his arm; by which he meant that by his pulse he judged his heart: and as a rule, though there may be exceptions, you can tell whether a man’s heart beats truly for God, by the work that he does for God. You who are doing much, do more; and you who are doing little, multiply that little, I urge you, in God’s strength, and so praise him more and more.

26. We should praise God much more if we threw more of his praise into our common conversation — if we spoke more of him when we are by the way or when we sit in the house. We should praise him more and more if we fulfilled our consecration, and obeyed the precept, “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” We would do well if we added to our godly service more singing. The world sings: the millions have their songs; and I must say the taste of the populace is a very remarkable taste just now concerning its favourite songs. Many of them are so absurd and meaningless as to be unworthy of an idiot. I would insult an idiot if I could suppose that such songs as people sing nowadays would really be agreeable to him. Yet these things will be heard from men, and places will be thronged to listen to hear the stuff. Now, why should we, with the grand psalms we have of David, with the noble hymns of Cowper, of Milton, of Watts — why should we not sing as well as they do? Let us sing the songs of Zion. They are as cheerful as the songs of Sodom any day. Let us drown the howling nonsense of Gomorrha with the melodies of the New Jerusalem.

27. But to conclude, I wish that every Christian here would labour to be impressed with the importance of the subject which I have tried to bring before you. And when I say every Christian, I may correct myself and say, every person here present. “I will still praise you more and more.” Why, some of you present have never praised God at all! Suppose you were to die today, and soon you must: where would you go? To heaven? Where would heaven be for you? There can be no heaven for you. They praise God in the only heaven I have ever heard of. The element of heaven is gratitude, praise, adoration. You do not know anything of this, and therefore it would not be possible for God to make a heaven for you. God can do all things except make a sinful spirit happy, or violate truth and justice. You must either praise God or be wretched. Oh my hearer, there is a choice for you: you must either worship the God who made you, or else you must be wretched. It is not that he kindles a fire for you, nor that he casts upon it the brimstone of his wrath, though that is true; but your wretchedness will begin within yourself, for to be unable to praise is to be full of hell. To praise God is heaven. When completely immersed in adoration, we are completely filled with felicity; but to be totally devoid of gratitude is to be totally devoid of happiness. Oh that a change might come over you who have never blessed the Lord, and may it happen this morning! May the work of regeneration take place now! There is power in the Holy Spirit to change your heart of stone in a moment into a heart of flesh, so that instead of being cold and lifeless, it shall palpitate with gratitude. Do you not see Christ on the cross dying for sinners? Can you look on that selfless love, and not feel some gratitude for such love as is displayed there? Oh, if you can look to Jesus and trust him, you shall feel a flash of life come into your soul, and with it shall come praise, and then you shall find it possible to begin the happy life, and it shall be certain for you that as you shall praise God more and more, so shall that happy life be enriched, and be perfected in bliss.

28. But Christians, the last word shall be for you. Are you praising God more and more? If you are not, I am afraid of one thing, and that is, that you are probably praising him less and less. It is a certain truth that if we do not go forward in the Christian life, we go backwards. You cannot stand still; there is a drift one way or the other. Now he who praises God less than he did, and goes on to praise him less tomorrow, and less the next day, and so on — where will he end up? and what is he? Evidently he is one of those who draw back to perdition, and there are no people upon whom a more dreadful sentence is pronounced, often spoken about by Paul, and most terribly by Peter and Jude. Those “Trees twice dead, plucked up by the roots”; the “Wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” It would have been infinitely better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, after a fashion, to have turned aside! Better never to have put their hand to the plough, than having done so, after a fashion, to turn back from it.

29. But, beloved, I am persuaded of better things about you, and things that accompany salvation, though I speak like this. I pray that God will lead you on from strength to strength, for that is the path of the just. May you grow in grace, for life is proven by growth. May you march like pilgrims towards heaven, singing, all the way. The lark may serve us as a final picture, and an example of what we all should be. We should be mounting: our prayer should be, “Nearer, my God, to thee.” We should be mounting: our motto might well be, “Higher! higher! higher!” As we mount, we should sing, and our song should grow louder, clearer, more full of heaven. Upward, brother! sing as you soar. Upward, sing until you are dissolved in glory. Amen.

[Portion of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Psalms 71]

(a) Spurgeon was bedridden and in great pain for the three months preceding this sermon. Editor.

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