EVERY THING ORDAINED IN THE LIFE OF GOD’S ELECT 

EVERY THING ORDAINED IN THE LIFE OF GOD’S ELECT

 “Things that accompany Salvation.” [Hebrews 6:9]

 C.H. Spurgeon

 IN THE MARCHES OF TROOPS AND ARMIES, THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE OUTRIDERS, AND GO FAR AHEAD OF THE OTHER TROOPS. So in the march of Salvation, which have far preceded it to clear the way. I will tell you the names of these stupendous Titans who have gone before. The first is ELECTION, the second is PREDESTINATION, the third is REDEMPTION and the COVENANT is the captain of them all. Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.

Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road. In the everlasting decree of the Sovereign God, the footsteps of Mercy were every one of them ordained. As nothing in this world revolves by chance—as even the foreknown station of a rush by the river is as fixed as the station of a king—it was not meet that Salvation should be left to chance; and therefore God has mapped the place where it should pitch its tent, the manner of its footsteps to that tent, and the time when it should arrive there.

Then came Redemption. The way was rough; and though Election had marked the house, and Predestination had mapped the road, the way was so impeded that Salvation could not travel it until it had been cleared. Forth came Redemption, it had but one weapon; that weapon was the all-victorious cross of Christ. There stood the mountains of our sins; Redemption smote them, and they split in halves and left a valley for the Lord’s redeemed to march through. There was the great gulf of God’s offended wrath; Redemption bridged it with the cross, and so left an everlasting passage by which the armies of the Lord may cross. Redemption has tunnelled every mountain; it has dried up every sea, cut down every forest; it has levelled every high hill, and filled up the valleys, so that the road of Salvation is now plain and simple. God can be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.

Now, this sacred advance-guard carry for their banner the Eternal Covenant. Election, Predestination, and Redemption—the things that have gone before, beyond the sight, are all rallied to the battle by this standard—the Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure. We know and believe that before the morning star startled the shades of darkness, God had covenanted with his Son that he should die and pay a ransom price, and that, on God the Father’s part, he would give to Jesus “a number whom no man could number,” who should be purchased by his blood, and through that blood should be most securely saved. Now, when Election marches forward, it carries the Covenant. These are chosen in the Covenant of grace. When Predestination marcheth, and when it marketh out the way of Salvation, it proclaims the Covenant. “He marked out the places of the people according to the tribes of Israel.” And Redemption also, pointing to the precious blood of Christ, claims Salvation for the blood-bought ones, because the Covenant hath decreed it to be theirs.

Now, my dear hearers, this advance-guard is so far ahead that you and I cannot see them. These are true doctrines, but very mysterious; they are beyond our sight, and if we wish to see Salvation, we must not stop until we see the van-guard, because they are so far off that only the eye of faith can reach them. We must have that sacred glass, that divine telescope of faith, or else we shall never have the evidence of things not seen. Let us rest certain, however, that if we have Salvation we have Election. He that believeth is elected and whoever casts himself on Christ as a guilty sinner, is certainly God’s chosen child. As sure as ever you believe on the Saviour, and go to him, you were predestinated to do so from all eternity, and your faith is the great mark and evidence that you are chosen of God, and precious in his esteem.

Dost thou believe? Then Election is thine. Dost thou believe? Then Predestination is as surely thine as thou art alive. Dost thou trust alone in Jesus? Then fear not, Redemption was meant for thee. So then, we will not be struck with terror at that grand advance-guard that hath already gained the celestial hill, and have prepared the place where the elect shall for ever repose upon the bosom of their God.

But mark, we are about to review THE ARMY THAT IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES SALVATION; and first, in the forefront of these, there marches one whose name we must pronounce with sacred awe. It is God, the Holy Spirit. Before anything can be done in our salvation, there must come that Third Person of the Sacred Trinity. Without him, faith, repentance, humility, love, are things quite impossible. Even the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot save until it has been applied to the heart by God the Holy Spirit. Before we notice the grand army, then, that immediately precedes Salvation, let us be cautious that we do not forget Him who is the leader of them all. The great King, Immortal, invisible, the Divine person, called the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit: it is he that quickens the soul, or else it would lie dead for ever; it is he that makes it tender, or else it would never feel, it is he that imparts efficacy to the Word preached, or else it could never reach further than the ear; it is he who breaks the heart, it is he who makes it whole: he, from first to last, is the great worker of Salvation in us just as Jesus Christ was the author of Salvation for us.

O soul, by this mayest thou know whether Salvation has come to thine house—art thou a partaker of the Holy Spirit? Come now, answer thou this question—hath he ever breathed on thee? Hath he ever breathed into thee? Canst thou say that thou hast been the subject of his supernatural influence? For, if not, remember except a man be born of the Spirit from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Thy best exertions will be all unavailing unless the Holy Ghost shall work in thee, to will and to do of God’s good pleasure.

The highest efforts of the flesh can never reach higher than the flesh, just as water of itself will never run higher than its source. You may be moral, you may be strictly upright, you may be much that is commendable, but unless you be partakers of the Holy Spirit, salvation is as impossible to you as it is even to the lost. We must be born again, and born again by that divine influence, or else it is all in vain. Remember, then, that the Spirit of God always accompanies Salvation.

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THE  COVENANT REMEMBERING GOD [Gen 9:15]

THE  COVENANT REMEMBERING GOD [Gen 9:15]

C.H. Spurgeon

Mark the form of the promise. God does not say, “And when ye shall look upon the bow, and ye shall remember my covenant, then I will not destroy the earth,” but it is gloriously put, not upon OUR MEMORY, which is fickle and frail, but upon GOD’S MEMORY, which is infinite and immutable. “The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant.”

Oh! it is not MY remembering God, it is GOD’S remembering me which is the ground of my safety; it is not MY laying hold of His covenant, but His covenant’s laying hold on me. Glory be to God! the whole of the bulwarks of salvation are secured by divine power, and even the minor towers, which we may imagine might have been left to man, are guarded by almighty strength. Even the remembrance of the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget, but our Lord cannot forget the saints whom he has graven on the palms of his hands. It is with us as with Israel in Egypt; the blood was upon the lintel and the two side-posts, but the Lord did not say, “When you see the blood I will pass over you,” but “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”

My looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God’s looking to Jesus which secures my salvation and that of all his elect, since it is impossible for our God to look at Christ, our bleeding Surety, and then to be angry with us for sins already punished in him. No, it is not left with us even to be saved by remembering the covenant. There is no linsey-wolsey here -not a single thread of the creature mars the fabric. It is not of man, neither by man, BUT OF THE LORD ALONE. We should remember the covenant, and we shall do it, through divine grace; but the hinge of our safety does not hang there – IT IS GOD’S REMEMBERING US, NOT OUR REMEMBERING HIM; and hence the covenant is an everlasting covenant. – Hallelujah!

ALL OF GOD’S ELECT SHALL COME TO CHRIST

ALL OF GOD’S ELECT SHALL COME TO CHRIST

 by C.H. SPURGEON

 All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”—John 6:37.

Look at the text before us. Here we have, in two small sentences, the sum and substance of all theology. The great questions which have divided the Church in all ages, the apparently contradictory doctrines which have set one minister of Christ against his fellow, are here revealed so simply and plainly, “that he may run that readeth it” (Habakkuk 2:2).

Even a child may understand the Words of Christ, though perhaps the loftiest human intellect cannot fathom the mystery hidden therein.

Take the first sentence of my text: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” What a weighty sentence! Here we have taught us what is called, in the present day, “High Calvinistic doctrine”—the purpose of God; the certainty that God’s purpose will stand; the invincibility of God’s will; and the absolute assurance that Christ “shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.”

Look at the second sentence of my text: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Here we have the richness, the fullness, the unlimited extent of the power of Christ to save those who put their trust in Him. Here is a text upon which one might preach a thousand sermons. We might take these two sentences as a life-long text, and never exhaust the theme.

It rests, you perceive, not on something which man does, but on something which God the Father does. The Father gives certain persons to His Son, and the Son says, “All that the Father giveth Me Shall come to Me.” I take it that the meaning of the text is this,—that, if any do come to Jesus Christ, it is those whom the Father gave to Christ. And the reason why they come,—if we search to the very bottom of things,—is, that the Father puts it into their hearts to come.

The reason why one man is saved, and another man is lost, is to be found in God; not in anything which the saved man did, or did not do; not in anything which he felt, or did not feel; but in something altogether irrespective of himself, even in the sovereign grace of God. In the day of God’s power, the saved are made willing to give their souls to Jesus.

Miss Much-afraid, and Mrs. Despondency, and Mr. Feeble-mind, shall as certainly come to the arms of Christ, as Mr. Great-heart, and Mr. Faithful, and Mr. Valiant-for-Truth. If one jewel were lost from Christ’s crown, then Christ’s crown would not be all-glorious. If one member of the body of Christ were to perish, Christ’s body would not be complete. If one of those who are one with Christ should miss his way to eternal life, Christ would not be a perfect Christ.

OBJECTION:

But suppose it should be one of those who are living in the interior of Africa, and he does not hear the gospel; what then?” He shall hear the gospel; either he shall come to the gospel, or the gospel shall go to him. Even if no minister should go to such a chosen one, he would have the gospel specially revealed to him rather than that the promise of the Almighty God should be broken.

“But suppose there should be one of God’s chosen who has become so bad that there is no hope for him? He never attends a place of worship; never listens to the gospel; the voice of the preacher never reaches him; he has grown hardened in his sin, like steel that has been seven times annealed in the fire; what then?” That man shall be arrested by God’s grace, and that obdurate, hard-hearted one shall be made to see the mercy of God; the tears shall stream down his cheeks, and he shall be made willing to receive Jesus as Saviour. I think that, as God could bend my will, and bring me to Christ, He can bring anybody.

Why was I made to hear His voice,

And enter while there’s room;

When thousands make a wretched choice,

And rather starve than come?

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast,

That sweetly forced me in;

Else I had still refused to taste,

And perished in my sin.”

 

OUR CROWN BELONGS TO THE LORD WHO GAVE IT

OUR CROWN BELONGS TO THE LORD WHO GAVE IT

C.H. Spurgeon

Will you wear a crown, believer? Will you accept one jot or tittle of the glory? O no, you will each of you disown anything like the Arminian’s proud boast of free selfwill! It will be grace, grace, divine grace, alone, in heaven! There will be no division and no discord in that eternal hymn. We will cast our crowns at once before Him, and we will say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be all the praise.” [Psalm 115:1] Before the Throne of our Sovereign God our gratitude is mingled with humility.

It is said they cast their crowns before the Throne. They know where they got them, and they know to whom to ascribe the praise. Their crowns are their own, and, therefore, they wear them on their heads. Their crowns were Jesus’ gift, and, therefore, they cast them at His feet. They wear their crown, for He has made them kings, and they cannot refuse the dignity; but they cast the crown at His feet, for they are only kings by right received from Him, and acknowledge Him thus to be King of kings, and Lord of lords.
It was a custom, you know, in imperial Rome, for those kings who held dominion under the emperor, on certain occasions, to take off their crowns and lay them down before the emperor, so that when he bade them put them on again, they had fully recognized that their rights of kingship flowed only through him. So do they who are before the throne of God! With what rapture, with what joy, with what delight, do they cast their crowns there! To think they have a crown, and a crown to cast before Him!

Brothers and sisters, I am afraid when you and I get any graces, or have been made useful in Christ’s cause, we are glad for the thing’s sake; but we are not right, if so; we should be glad because we have something to cast at His feet. Have you faith? I must thank Him for faith, I must lay it at His feet and say, “Jesus, use my faith for Your glory, for You are its author and finisher.” If you and I shall, by divine grace, persevere to the end, and shall arrive at heaven, it will be a joy to think that we are saved, but we will lay it all at the door of divine love!

Why, then, you ask now, do they cast their crowns at the foot of the Throne? There are four answers which may very properly be given.

The first, no doubt, is for the reason of solemn reverence. They see more of God than we do, therefore are they more filled with awe and thrilled with admiration. From what we—who worship, as it were, in His outer courts and get but distant glimpses of His majesty and His mercy—from what we at present know of God we should be constrained to say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory for Your mercy and Your Truth’s sake.” But where God more gloriously reveals Himself and where His attributes are more clearly seen, no doubt there is more overwhelming emotion and more intense reverence—therefore at once, and of spontaneous impulse—the soul pays all the homage that it can before the Throne of God.

I think it would seem to them as though it could not be that they could sit with crowned heads in the Presence of the King of kings! That head that once was crowned with thorns, when we see it adorned with the royal diadem, surely we should not bear to be crowned in the Presence of such an One! For what are we, and what is our Father’s house? God has done all He can for us, yet what shall we be as compared with Him, the Infinite and Eternal! And as compared with Christ, the ever-blessed who died for us? O, our reverence will always make us feel in the lowest state of self-abasement at the foot of the Throne!

Moreover, they are, no doubt, actuated by sincere humility. Reverence to God always brings a humble opinion of one’s own self. Here below, Beloved, we sometimes murmur at the Divine will when His appointments cross and foil our inclinations. Were we more humble and less self-opinionated we should utterly distrust ourselves and put implicit confidence in Him. We should at once cast our wills at the Lord’s feet. Here we set up our own opinion in opposition to the revealed will of God. We would not do that if we knew ourselves, but we should lay our judgment at the foot of the Throne. But up there they judge righteous judgments and, knowing God and beholding His Glory, they shrink into nothing and lay themselves at His feet—much more do they renounce their will.

They feel, they know, they confess that any honor or desert they have has been obtained through the Grace of God— that they must fully, heartily, unreservedly ascribe to Grace that which they dare not arrogate to themselves. Doubtless, also, they do this for another reason, namely, because of their profound gratitude. They bless God that they are where they are and what they are. If you ask those before the Throne, they will tell you that not only do they owe their crowns to Grace, but every single gem in their crowns. They have not one single star in their diadem but what the Lord put there and there is not a single sparkle of any crystal sapphire that is in their coronet but what they may trace the flashing gleam to the Sovereign Grace of God.

Therefore, how could they keep anything to themselves? Gratitude constrains them to lay their crowns where their crowns came from. And, above all, they are actuated by intense affection. They love their Lord, and loving their Lord they do anything to adore Him. Self-denial is the name we give on earth to that Grace which not only ignores but consumes one’s self in the fervor of zeal, in the passion of love. What word would answer for the like?—Though the greater vehemence of those in Heaven I cannot tell. They are glad to fling their richest goods, their choicest trophy, their most cherished treasure at His feet—they love Him so. Here we love ourselves and cherish some fond attachment to our fellow creatures, also. And our hearts are stolen away by some earthly object. But there they love God intensely, continually, undividedly, without a flaw—and consequently they cast everything down before Him—and they lay their crowns at His feet.

As we see what they do, let us consider what we should do, and anticipate what we shall do when we join that august assembly. I would like to have a bright crown, bright with many gems of souls turned to righteousness, for they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as stars forever. But I think the sweetness will be to have a bright crown to lay at His feet, not for the sake of wearing it but giving it, if thereby a saved one might give honor to His Savior. You will notice they do not attempt to put the crown upon the Lord’s head. No, we cannot add to His splendor! He is infinitely glorious! Without creatures, without servants, without saints He is glorious—we cannot add to His Glory—we can but lay our crowns at His feet. We cast them at the feet though we cannot put them on the monarch’s head.

And would not we wish to have as bright a crown as possible for the sake of placing it there? O, fight, you soldier of Christ, and bear hardness that your crown may be a precious one! Pray, minister of God, that you may preach with all your heart and soul and strength, that your diadem may be a sparkling one! Dear Sister in your tent, or dear Brother out in the battle, be valiant for God, for we all agree in this, that whatever the crown shall be, at His dear feet we cast it!

I CANNOT KEEP MYSELF SAVED

I CANNOT KEEP MYSELF SAVED

C.H. Spurgeon

Salvation is the work of God. It is HE ALONE who quickens the soul “dead in trespasses and sins,” and it is He also who MAINTAINS THE SOUL in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.” “Salvation is OF THE LORD.” If I am prayerful, GOD makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because HE upholds me with His hand.

I DO NOTHING WHATEVER TOWARDS MY OWN PRESERVATION, EXCEPT WHAT GOD HIMSELF FIRST DOES IN ME.

WHATEVER I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, THAT IS MY OWN; but wherein I act rightly, THAT is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm. Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but CHRIST who liveth in me.

Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I FIND IN MYSELF NOTHING BUT SIN AND MISERY. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help cometh from heaven’s hills: WITHOUT JESUS I CAN DO NOTHING.

As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him. What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet:

“Salvation is of the Lord!” Hallelujah!

Our all shall be Thine, Thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved!

Our all shall be Thine, Thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved!

C.H. Spurgeon

“All manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.” [Sos 7:13]

The spouse desires to give to Jesus all that she produces. Our heart has “all manner of pleasant fruits,” both “old and new,” and they are laid up for our Beloved. At this rich autumnal season of fruit, let us survey our stores. We have new fruits. We desire to feel new life, new joy, new gratitude; we wish to make new resolves and carry them out by new labours; our heart blossoms with new prayers, and our soul is pledging herself to new efforts.

But we have some old fruits too. There is our first love: a choice fruit that! and Jesus delights in it. There is our first faith: that simple faith by which, having nothing, we became possessors of all things. There is our joy when first we knew the Lord: let us revive it. We have our old remembrances of the promises. How faithful has God been! In sickness, how softly did He make our bed! In deep waters, how placidly did He buoy us up! In the flaming furnace, how graciously did He deliver us. Old fruits, indeed! We have many of them, for His mercies have been more than the hairs of our head. Old sins we must regret, but then we have had repentances which He has given us, by which we have wept our way to the cross, and learned the merit of His blood.

We have fruits, this morning, both new and old; but here is the point-they are all laid up for Jesus. Truly, those are the best and most acceptable services in which Jesus is the solitary aim of the soul, and His glory, without any admixture whatever, the end of all our efforts. Let our many fruits be laid up only for our Beloved; let us display them when He is with us, and not hold them up before the gaze of men. Jesus, we will turn the key in our garden door, and none shall enter to rob Thee of one good fruit from the soil which Thou hast watered with Thy bloody sweat. Our all shall be Thine,Thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved! Amen!

The Doctrine most comforting to God’s Elect 

The Doctrine most comforting to God’s Elect

C.H. Spurgeon

There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—the kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne.

On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a foot-ball, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah.

MEN WILL ALLOW GOD TO BE EVERYWHERE EXCEPT ON HIS THRONE.

They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his almonry to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an ENTHRONED GOD, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, FOR GOD ON HIS THRONE IS NOT THE GOD THEY LOVE.

They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his sceptre in his hand and his crown upon his head. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon his throne whom we trust.

All our blessings are gifts and that we have NO CLAIM TO THEM by our own merit. This I think every considerate mind will grant. And this being admitted, we shall endeavour to show that he has a right, seeing they are his own to do what he wills with them—to withhold them wholly as he pleaseth—to distribute them all if he chooseth—to give to some and not to others—to give to none or to give to all, just as seemeth good in his sight. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”  [From Spurgeon’s sermon – Divine Sovereignty]

“Now God did not place Adam upon a footing of conditional, creature responsibility, because it was right He should so place him. No, IT WAS RIGHT BECAUSE GOD DID IT. God did not even give creatures being because it was right for Him to do so, i.e., because He was under any obligations to create; but IT WAS RIGHT BECAUSE HE DID SO. God is sovereign. His will is supreme. So far from God being under any law of “right,” HE IS A LAW UNTO HIMSELF, so that whatsoever HE does IS right. And woe be to the rebel that calls His sovereignty into question:

“Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker. Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the thing say to Him that fashioned it, What makest Thou?” (Isaiah 45:9).” [A.W. Pink]

Christ’s Distinguishing Love for the Church – His Lily 

Christ’s Distinguishing Love for the Church – His Lily

C.H. Spurgeon

“As the lily among thorns, so is My Love among the daughters.” [Sos 2:2]

He styles her, “My Love” i.e. “My darling.” An exquisitely sweet name; as if His love had all gone forth from Him, and had become embodied in her. The first point then of her relation to Christ is that she has His DARLING. Think of it, and let the blessed truth dwell long and sweetly in your meditations. The Lord of life and glory, the Prince of the kings of the earth, has such a loving heart that He must have an object upon which to spend His affection; and His people, chosen from among men, whom he calls His church, these are they who are His “love,” the object of His supreme delight. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”

He looked on His people and he exclaimed, “as the Father has loved me even so have I loved you.” Every believer, separated from mankind, and called unto the fellowship of Christ, is also the peculiar object of His love. Not in name only, but in deed and in truth, does Jesus love each one of us who have believed on Him. You may each one of you say with the apostle, “He loved me”; you may read it in any tense you please- He loved me; He loves me; He will love me, for He gave Himself for me. This shall be your song in heaven, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory.”

This love is DISTINGUISHING love, for in its light one special object shines as a lily, and the rest, “the daughters,” are as thorns. Love has fixed on its chosen object, and compared with the favored one all others are as nothing. There is a love of Jesus which goes forth to all mankind, for “the Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works”; but there is a special and peculiar love which He bears to His own.

As a man loves his neighbors but still he has a special affection for his own wife, so is the church Christ’s bride, beloved above all the rest of mankind, and every individual believer is the favored one of heaven. The saint is united to Christ by a mystical union, a spiritual marriage bond, and above all others, Christ loves the souls espoused to Him. He said once, “I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me;” thus indicating that there is a specialty about His intercession.

We rejoice in the largeness and the width of Jesus’ love, but we do not therefore doubt its specialty. The sun shines on all things, but when it is focussed upon one point, ah, then there is a heat about it of which you little dreamed! The love of Jesus is focussed on those whom the Father has given Him. Upon you, my brother or sister, if indeed you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Lord’s heart is set, and he speaks of you in the words of the text as “my love,” loved above all the daughters, precious in His sight and honorable, so that he will give men for you and people for your life.

Observe that this is a love which he OPENLY AVOWS. The bridegroom speaks and says before all men, “As a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the daughters.” He puts it upon record in that book which is more widely scattered than any other, for he is not ashamed to have it published on the housetops. The love of Christ was at first hidden in His heart, but it soon revealed itself, for even of old His delights were with the sons of men, and he bent His steps downward to this world in divers forms before ever Bethlehem’s song was sung. And now, since the incarnate God has loved, and lived, and died, He has unveiled His love in the most open form, and astonished heaven and earth thereby.

On Calvary He set up an open proclamation, written in His own heart’s blood, that He loved His own people even unto the end. He bids His ministers proclaim it to the world’s end, that many waters could not quench His love, neither could the floods drown it; and that neither life, nor death, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He would have it known, for he is not ashamed to call His people “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” He declares it that His adversaries may know it, that He has a people in whom His heart delights, and these he will have and hold as His own, when heaven and earth shall pass away.

Note, too, that He who gave the beauty is the first to see it. While they are unknown to the world Jesus knows His own. Long before anybody else sees any virtue or any praise in us, Jesus observes it, and is pleased therewith. He is quick to say, “Behold, he prays,” or “Behold, he repents.” He is the first to say, “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.”

Love’s eyes are quick, and her ears are open. Love covers a multitude of faults, but it discovers a multitude of beauties. Can it be so, O my soul, can it be so that Christ has made you lovely in His loveliness? Has He shed a beauty upon you, and does He Himself look complacently upon it? He whose taste is exquisite, and whose voice is the truth, who never calls that beautiful which is not beautiful, can he see a beauty in your sighs and tears, in your desires after holiness, in your poor attempts to aid His cause, in your prayers and in your songs, and in your heart’s love towards Him.

Can He see a beauty in these? Yes, assuredly He can, or He would not speak as He does in this text. Let His condescending discernment have all honor for this generous appreciation of us. Let us bless and love Him because he deigns to think so highly of us who owe everything to Him. “You are,” says He, “my darling, as the lily.”

“As the lily among thorns” wears also another meaning. Dr. Thompson writes of a certain lily, “It grows among thorns, and I have sadly lacerated my hands in extricating it from them. Nothing can be in higher contrast than the luxuriant, velvety softness of this lily, and the withered, tangled hedge of thorns about it.” Ah, beloved, you know who it was that in gathering your soul and mine, lacerated not His hand only, but His feet, and His head, and His side, and His heart, yes, and His inmost soul. He spied us out, and said, “Yonder lily is mine, and I will have it”; but the thorns were a terrible barrier; our sins had gathered round about us, and the wrath of God most sharply stopped the way. Jesus pressed through all, that we might be His; and now when he takes us to Himself he does not forget the thorns which girded His brow, and tore His flesh, for our sakes.

This then is a part of our relationship to Christ, that we cost Him very dear. He saw us where we were, and He came to our deliverance; and now, even as Pharaoh’s daughter called the young child’s name “Moses,” “because,” said she, “I drew him out of the water,” so does Jesus call His chosen “the lily among thorns,” because such she was when he came to her rescue. Never will he forget Calvary and its thorns, nor should His saints allow the memory thereof to fade. Amen!

THE GENTLENESS OF GOD

THE GENTLENESS OF GOD

C.H. Spurgeon

“Thy gentleness hath made me great!” [Psalm 18:35]

The words are capable of being translated, “Thy goodness hath made me great.” David gratefully ascribed all his greatness not to his own goodness, but the goodness of God. “Thy providence,” is another reading; and providence is nothing more than goodness in action. Goodness is the bud of which providence is the flower, or goodness is the seed of which providence is the harvest. Some render it, “Thy help,” which is but another word for providence; providence being the firm ally of the saints, aiding them in the service of their Lord.

Or again, “Thy humility hath made me great.” “Thy condescension” may, perhaps, serve as a comprehensive reading, combining the ideas mentioned, including that of humility. It is God’s making himself little which is the cause of our being made great. We are so little, that if God should manifest His greatness without condescension, we should be trampled under His feet; but God, who must stoop to view the skies, and bow to see what angels do, turns His eye yet lower, and looks to the lowly and contrite, and makes them great.

There are yet other readings, as for instance, the Septuagint, which reads, “Thy discipline”-Thy fatherly correction-“hath made me great;” while the Chaldee paraphrase reads, “Thy word hath increased me.” Still the idea is the same. David ascribes all his own greatness to the condescending goodness of his Father in heaven. May this sentiment be echoed in our hearts this evening while we cast our crowns at Jesus’ feet, and cry, Thy gentleness hath made me great.”

How marvellous has been our experience of God’s gentleness! How gentle have been His corrections! How gentle His forbearance! How gentle His teachings! How gentle His drawings! Meditate upon this theme, O believer. Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened ere thou fallest asleep to-night.

PRAYER OF THE REPENTENT SINNER

PRAYER OF THE REPENTENT SINNER

C.H. Spurgeon

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” [Psalm 51:10]

CREATE. What! has sin so destroyed us, that the Creator must be called in again? What ruin then doth evil work among mankind! CREATE IN ME. I, in my outward fabric, still exist; but I am empty, desert, void. Come, then, and let thy power be seen in a new creation within my old fallen self. Thou didst make a man in the world at first; Lord, make a new man in me! A CLEAN HEART. In the seventh verse he asked to be clean; now he seeks a heart suitable to that cleanliness; but he does not say, “Make my old heart clean” he is too experienced in the hopelessness of the old nature. He would have the old man buried as a dead thing, and a new creation brought in to fill its place.

NONE BUT GOD CAN CREATE EITHER A NEW HEART OR A NEW EARTH.

Salvation is a marvellous display of supreme power; the work IN us as much as that FOR us is wholly of Omnipotence. The affections must be rectified first, or all our nature will go amiss. The heart is the rudder of the soul, and till the Lord take it in hand we steer in a false and foul way. O Lord, thou who didst once make me, be pleased to new make me, and in my most secret parts renew me. RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME. It was there once, Lord, put it there again. The law on my heart has become like an inscription hard to read: new write it, gracious Maker.

Remove the evil as I have entreated thee; but, O replace it with good, lest into my swept, empty, and garnished heart, from which the devil has gone out for a while, seven other spirits more wicked than the first should enter and dwell. The two sentences make a complete prayer. CREATE what is not there at all; RENEW that which is there, but in a sadly feeble state.