ADDING A STITCH TO THE CELESTIAL GARMENT OF MY RIGHTEOUSNESS

ADDING A STITCH TO THE CELESTIAL GARMENT OF MY RIGHTEOUSNESS

C.H. Spurgeon

If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of my righteousness, which I am to insert myself, then I am lost. If there be one drachma in the price of my redemption which I am to make up, then must I perish. If there be one contingency—one “if,” or “though,” or “but,” about my soul’s salvation, THEN AM I A LOST MAN! 

“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me.” [Psalm 138:8]

But THIS is my confidence, the Lord that began will perfect. He HAS done it ALL, MUST do it ALL, he WILL do it ALL. My confidence must not be in what I can do, or in what I have resolved to do, but entirely in what THE LORD WILL DO!

How often do you and I stand star-gazing into the future, and trembling, because we think we see divers portents, and strange sights, which portend some future trouble. O child of God! leave the future to thy God. O leave everything that is to come in the hand of him to whom the future is already present, and who knows beforehand everything that shalt befall thee. Draw from the present living water with which to moisten the arid desert of the future; snatch from the altar-fires of to-day a torch with which to light up the darkness of that which is to come. Depend on it, that He who is to-day thy sun, shall be thy sun for ever—even in the darkest hour he shall shine upon thee; and he who is to-day thy shield shall be thy shield for evermore; and even in the thickest part of the battle he shall catch the dart, and thou shalt stand unharmed.

The faith of our text is a personal faith. “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” Here is the loudest note of all; this is the handle whereby we must lay hold of this sword if we would use it aright—”that which concerneth me.” Oh, it is a sweet truth to know and believe that God will perfect all his saints; ’tis sweeter still to know that “he will perfect me.” It is blessed to believe that all God’s people shall persevere; but the essence of delight is to feel that I shall persevere through him. Many persons are contented with a kind of general religion, an universal salvation. They belong to a Christian community; they have joined a Christian church, and they think they shall be saved in the lump—in the mass; but give me a personal religion.

What is all the bread in the world, unless I myself feed upon it? I am starved, though Egypt be full of corn. What are all the rivers that run from the mountains to the sea, if I be thirsty? Unless I drink myself, what are all these? If I be poor and in rags, ye do but mock me if ye tell me that Potosi’s mines are full of treasure? You do but laugh at me if you speak of Golconda’s diamonds. What care I for these, unless I have some participation for myself? But if I can say even of my crust, “It is my own,” then I can eat it with a grateful heart. That crust which is my own is more precious than all the granaries of Egypt if they are not my own, and this promise even if it were smaller would be more precious than the largest promise that stands in the Bible, if I could not see my right to it personally myself. But now, by bumble faith, sprinkled with the blood of Christ, resting in his merits, trusting in his death, I come to the text, and say throughout this year, and every year, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me”—unworthy me. Lost and ruined me. He will yet save me; and

“I, among the blood-wash’d throng,
Shall wave the palm, and wear the crown,
And shout loud victory.”

This, then, is the believer’s confidence. May God grant you the same!

“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me.” [Psalm 138:8]

[Quoted from Spurgeon’s sermon – ‘Faith in Perfection’]

WHAT CAN I RENDER UNTO THE LORD?

WHAT CAN I RENDER UNTO THE LORD?

C.H. Spurgeon

“What shall I render unto the LORD for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the LORD.” [Psalm 116:12,13]

I will take the cup of salvation. “I will take” is a strange answer to the question, “What shall I render?” and yet it is the wisest reply that could possibly be given.

“The best return for one like me,
So wretched and so poor,
Is from His gifts to draw a plea
And ask Him still for more.”

To take the cup of salvation was in itself an act of worship, and it was accompanied with other forms of adoration, hence the Psalmist says, and call upon the name of the LORD. He means that he will utter blessings and thanksgivings and prayers, and then drink of the cup which the Lord had filled with His saving grace. What a cup this is! Upon the table of infinite love stands the cup full of blessing; it is ours by faith to take it in our hand, make it our own, and partake of it, and then with joyful hearts to laud and magnify the gracious One who has filled it for our sakes that we may drink and be refreshed.

We can do this figuratively at the sacramental table, and we can do it spiritually every time we grasp the golden chalice of the covenant, realizing the fulness of blessing which it contains, and by faith receiving its divine contents into our inmost soul. Beloved reader, let us pause here and take a long and deep draught from the cup which Jesus filled, and then with devout hearts let us worship God.

Let God’s afflictions be what they can be, yet I will always acknowledge they can never be in any degree so great as His benefits: and oh, that I could think of something that I might render to Him for all his benefits: for shall I receive such great, such infinite benefits from Him, and shall I render nothing to Him by way of gratefulness? But, alas, WHAT HAVE I TO RENDER? ALL MY RENDERING TO HIM WILL BE BUT TAKING MORE FROM HIM: for all I can do is but to take the cup of salvation, and call upon His Name, and what rendering is there in this taking?

If I could take the cup of tribulation, and drink it off for His sake, this might be a rendering of some value; but this, God knows, is no work for me to do. It was His work, who said, “Can ye drink of the cup, of which I shall drink?” Indeed, HE drank of the cup of tribulation, to the end that WE might take the cup of salvation; but then in taking it we must call upon His name; UPON HIS NAME AND UPON NO OTHER; or else we shall make it a CUP OF CONDEMNATION, seeing there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN, IN WHICH WE MAY BE SAVED, BUT ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS!

COVETOUSNESS – A VICE MOST CONTRARY TO TRUE RELIGION

COVETOUSNESS – A VICE MOST CONTRARY TO TRUE RELIGION

C.H. Spurgeon

“And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” [Luke 12:15]

Of all the vices, none is more contrary to true religion than COVETOUSNESS. Grace may exist where there are many occasional sins, but never where there is abiding Covetousness.

Covetousness, which few men will confess, is yet a very common sin of professing Christians.

Beware of growing Covetous, for this is of all sins one of the most insidious.

Many a man, when he begins to accumulate wealth, begins also to ruin his soul.

Instead of doing more for God he does less. The more he saves the more he wants, and the more he wants of this world, the less he craves for the world to come.

This disease creeps upon men as slowly as certain infectious diseases, which slumber in the blood for months, until they find occasion to manifest themselves.

Watch against a grasping spirit, dear friend.

If you find the money stick to your hands, mind what you are at. It is all well enough for you to seek to make all you can rightly; you are bound to do so, and to use it properly.

But when the gold begins to cleave to you, it will eat as a canker, and will soon prove your ruin unless God prevent it.

Take a bright knife from your table and bury it into the earth in your garden, and leave it there, and see how it will rust. This is what will become of your soul: put it into the earth, and keep it there, it must corrode.

Let us not be content to tarry down below in the marshland of the poor poverty stricken religion of this present day. But let us climb the high mountains where the sun of God’s grace is shining brightest, and stand there enjoying communion with Him, leaving the world beneath.

THE GOD WHO FEEDS HIS CHILDREN ALL THEIR LIVES

THE GOD WHO FEEDS HIS CHILDREN ALL THEIR LIVES

C.H. Spurgeon

The old man’s voice faltered as he said, “The God which fed me all my life long.” The translation would be better if it ran, “The God which shepherded me all my life long.”

He spoke of the Lord as his Shepherd. Jacob had been a shepherd and, therefore, he knew what shepherding included—the figure is full of meaning. There had been a good deal of Jacob about Jacob and he had tried to shepherd himself. Poor sheep that he was, while under his own guidance he had been caught in many thorns and had wandered in many wildernesses. Because he would be so much a shepherd to himself, he had been hard put to it. But over all, despite his wilfulness, the shepherding of the Covenant God had been exercised towards him and he acknowledged it.

O dear saints of God, you to whom years are being multiplied, give praise to your God for having been your Shepherd! You delight in the 23rd Psalm—sing it sometimes with variations by using the past tense—”The Lord has been my Shepherd and I have known no need. He has made me to lie down in green pastures; He has led me beside the still waters. Yes, though I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death in times of great darkness, yet I have feared no evil: for He has been with me, His rod and His staff have comforted me.” Bear your witness to the shepherding of God, for this may lead others to become the sheep of His pasture.

This shepherding had been perfect. Our version rightly says that the Lord had fed Jacob all his life long. Take that sense of it and you who have a daily struggle for subsistence will see much beauty in it. Jacob had a large family and yet they were fed. Some of you say, “It is all very well of you to talk of Providence when you have few to provide for.” I answer, it is better, still, to talk of Providence where a large household requires large provision! Remember Jacob had 13 children, yet his God provided them bread to eat and clothes to put on. None of that large company were left to starve.

You think, perhaps, that Jacob was a man of large estate. He was not so when he began life. He was only a working man—a shepherd. When he left his father’s house he had no attendants with camels and tents. I suppose he carried his little bit of provision in a handkerchief and when he laid down that night to sleep, with a stone for his pillow, the hedges for curtains, the heavens for his canopy, and the earth for his bed, he had no fear of being robbed.

God was with him, but apart from that, he had nothing to begin life with but his own hands. Whatever he received from his father Isaac afterwards, he had at first to fight his own way—but he knew no lack either at the beginning or at the end, for he could speak of the great Elohim as, “the God which fed me all my life long.” Hundreds of us can say the same! I remember one who came to be wealthy who used to show me with great pleasure the tree axle of the truck in which he used to wheel his goods through the streets when he began in business—I liked to see him mindful of his original.

Mind you do not go and say, “See how I have got on by my own talents and industry!” Talk not so proudly, but say, “GOD HAS FED ME.” Mercies are all the sweeter when seen to come from the hand of God.
But besides being FED, Jacob had been LED, even as sheep are guided by the shepherd who goes before them. His journeys, for that period, had been unusually long, perilous and frequent. He had fled from home to Padanaram. After long years he had come back to Canaan and had met his brother, Esau. And after that, in his old age he had journeyed into Egypt. To go to California or New Zealand in these times is nothing at all compared to those journeys in Jacob’s day! But he says, “God has shepherded me all my life long” and he means that the great changes of his life had been wisely ordered. At home and in exile, in Canaan and in Goshen, God had been a shepherd to him. He sees the good hand of God upon him in all his wanderings, until he now finds himself sitting up on his bed and blessing Joseph through his sons.

Oh that the Holy Spirit may make you feel that you need God with you with wealth as much as your fathers needed God without wealth! You may yet come to beggary with all your inheritance if you cast off the fear of the Lord and fall into sin. You who begin life with nothing but your own brains and hands, trusting in your father’s God, shall yet have to sing as your fathers sang, “the God which fed me all my life long.”

Young men and young women beginning life, I charge you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness! It is not life to live without God—you miss the kernel, the cream, the crown of life if you miss the Presence of God! Life is but a bubble blown up of toil and trouble without God! Life ends in blighted hope if you have not hope in God. But with God you are as a sheep with a Shepherd—cared for, guided, guarded, fed, led—and your end shall be peace without end!

THERE ARE NO ATHEISTS IN HELL

THERE ARE NO ATHEISTS IN HELL

C.H. Spurgeon

How will unbelief look in the flames of hell?

There are no infidels anywhere but on earth!
There are none in heaven, and there are none in hell.

Atheism is a strange thing. Even the devils never fell into that vice, for “the devils believe and tremble.”

And there are some of the devil’s children that have gone beyond their father in sin, but how will it look when they are forever lost?

When God’s foot crushes them, they will not be able to doubt His existence!

When He tears them in pieces and there is none to deliver, then their sophistical syllogisms, their empty logic, their brags and bravadoes, will be of no avail!

Oh, that they had been wise and had not darkened their foolish hearts, but had turned unto the living God!

MAKE THY FACE TO SHINE UPON THY SERVANT

MAKE THY FACE TO SHINE UPON THY SERVANT

C.H. Spurgeon

“And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.” [Ex 34:35]

A FAST of forty days does not improve the appearance of a man’s countenance: he looks starved, wrinkled, old, haggard. Moses had fasted forty days twice at the least; and according to many competent authorities the tenth chapter of Deuteronomy seems to imply that he fasted forty days three times in quick succession. I will not assert or deny the third forty days; but it is certain that, with a very slight interval, Moses fasted forty days, and then forty days more; and it is probable that to these must be added a third forty. Small attractiveness would naturally remain in a face which had endured so stern an ordeal; but the Lord whom he served made his face brilliant with an unusual lustre. The glory of the light of God upon his countenance may have been the reason why he remained so hale in after years of old age.

With this as my preface, I shall now come immediately to my subject. Here is Moses with a strange glory upon his countenance. We will first answer the question, HOW CAME THIS GLORY TO BE THERE? The skin of Moses’ face shone: how came it to do so?

The answer is, first, it was a reflection of the glory which he had seen when he was with God in the holy mount. It was the result of that partly-answered prayer, “I beseech thee, show me Thy glory.”

God is light, and they that look upon him are enlightened, and reflect light around them. Moses spake with God face to face as a man speaketh with his friend, and this made his countenance glow. As the sun shining upon a reflector has its light thrown back again, often in a most brilliant fashion, so that the reflector looks like a minor sun; so was it with, the face of Moses when it reflected the glory of the Lord. The face of Moses was to God what the moon is to the sun. A saint shines on men when God has shone on him. We are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the presence of the Lord. Would you shine in the valley?— first go up the mount, and commune with God. Would you shine, my brethren, with superior radiance? then be this your fervent prayer, “Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant.” If the Lord lift upon thee the light of His countenance, there will be no lack of light in thy countenance. In God’s light thou shalt give light.

The light on the face of Moses was the result of fellowship with God. That fellowship was of no common order. It was special and distinguished. I do not doubt that Moses walked with God after the fashion of believing men in the pursuit of his daily calling; but he spent two periods, of forty days each, in solitary fellowship with God. Everybody was away; Aaron, Joshua, and all the rest were far down below, and Moses was alone with God. His intercourse with God was intense, close, and familiar; and that not for one day, but for eighty days, at the least. Protracted fellowship brings a nearness which brief communion cannot attain. Each morning’s sun found him still in the light of God; each evening’s dew found his soul still saturated with the divine influence. What must be the effect of such whole-hearted, undisturbed fellowship with God? He heard no hum of the camp below; not even the lowing of cattle, or bleating of sheep came up from the foot of the mount.

Moses had forgotten the world, save only as he pleaded for the people in an agony of prayer. No interests, either personal or family, disturbed his communion; he was oblivious of everything but Jehovah, the Glorious One, who completely overshadowed him. Oh, for the enjoyment of such heavenly communion! My brothers and sisters, have we not lost a great deal by so seldom dwelling apart, so little seeking continuous, absorbing fellowship with the Most High? I am sure we have. We snatch a hasty minute of prayer; we afford a hurried quarter of an hour for Bible reading, and we think we have done well. Very far am I from saying that it is not well. But if for minutes we had hours, the gain might increase in proportion.

Oh, for nights of prayer! Oh, for the close shutting of the closet door, and a believing drawing nigh to God! There is no limit to the power we might obtain if such were the case. Though our faces might not be lit up with splendour, our lives would shine, our characters would become more pure and transparent; and our whole spirit would be so heavenly, that men would regard with wonder the brightness of our being. Thus, you see, the face of Moses shone because he had long looked upon the face of God.

What honour God may put upon any one of us if we really put honour upon Him! My brothers, my sisters, if you are consecrated to God as Moses was, He can give you an unconscious influence which others will be compelled to recognize. Upon your brow the heavenly light of grace will rest; from your eyes the lamp of truth will shine. Walk in the light, as God is in the light, and have fellowship with Him; and then you, too, shall shine as God’s light-bearers, and your whole life shall be as the star which guided the wise men to Christ. Influencing men for God, the gracious will follow you, and the wicked will be awed by you, even as “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy.”

O LORD make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; and teach me Thy statutes. Amen! [Psalm 119:135]

Christ’s Discriminating Love for His Lily – The Church

Christ’s Discriminating Love for His Lily – The Church

C.H. Spurgeon

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

He styles her, “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!

 IN HEAVEN THERE WILL BE NO TEARS

 IN HEAVEN THERE WILL BE NO TEARS

C.H. Spurgeon

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes!” [Rev 7:17]

It is an evil thing to be always mourning, sighing, and complaining concerning the present. However dark it may be, we may surely recall some fond remembrances of the past. There were days of brightness, there were seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Be not slow to confess, O believing soul, that the Lord has been your help! And though now your burden is very heavy, you will find an addition to your strength in the thought of seasons long since past, when the Lord lightened your load, and made your heart to leap for joy. Yet more delightful will it be to expect the future. The night is dark, but the morning comes. Over the hills of darkness, the day breaks. It may be that the road is rough, but its end is almost in view. You have been clambering up the steep heights of Pisgah, and from the brow thereof you may view your glorious heritage.

True the tomb is before you, but your Lord has snatched the sting from death, and the victory from the grave. Do not, O burdened spirit, confine yourself to the narrow miseries of the present hour, but let your eye gaze with fondness upon the enjoyment of the past, and view with equal ardor the infinite blessings of old eternity, before you existed, but when God set you apart for himself, and wrote your name in his book of life. Also let your glance flash forward to the future eternity, the mercies which shall be yours even here on earth, and the glories which are stored up for you beyond the skies. I shall be well rewarded this morning if I shall minister comfort to one heavy spirit by leading it to remember the glory which is yet to be revealed.

Coming to our text, we shall observe, in the first place, that as God is to wipe away tears from the faces of the glorified, we may well infer that their eyes will be filled with tears until then. And in the second place, it is worthy of reflection that as God never changes, even now he is engaged in drying tears from his children’s eyes. And then, coming right into the heart of the text, we shall dwell upon the great truth- that in heaven Divine Love removes all tears from the glorified. And so we shall close, by making some inquiry as to whether or not we belong to that happy company.

 Our first subject of meditation is the inference that TEARS ARE TO FILL THE EYES OF BELIEVERS UNTIL THEY ENTER THE PROMISED REST.

There would be no need to wipe them away if there were none remaining. They come to the very gates of heaven weeping, and accompanied by their two comrades- sorrow and sighing. The tears are dried, and sorrow and sighing flee away. The weeping willow grows not by the river of the water of life, but it is plentiful enough below- nor shall we lose it until we change it for the palm-branch of victory! Sorrow’s dewdrop will never cease to fall until it is transformed into the pearl of everlasting bliss. “The path of sorrow, and that path alone, Leads to the place where sorrow is unknown.”

True religion brings deliverance from the curse, but not exemption from trial. The ancients were accustomed to use bottles in which to catch the tears of mourners. Methinks I see three bottles filled with the tears of believers.

The first is a common bottle, the ordinary lachrymatory containing griefs incidental to all men, for believers suffer even as the rest of the race. Physical pain by no means spares the servants of God. Their nerves, and blood-vessels, and limbs, and inward organs, are as susceptible of disease as those of unregenerate men. Some of the choicest saints have lain longest on beds of sickness, and those who are dearest to the heart of God have felt the heaviest blows of the chastening rod. There are pains which, despite the efforts of patience, compel the tears to wet the cheeks. The human frame is capable of a fearful degree of agony, and few there be who have not at some time or other watered their couch with tears because of the acuteness of their pains.

Coupled with this, there are the losses and crosses of daily life. What Christian among you trades without occasional difficulties and serious losses? Have any of you a lot so easy that you have nothing to deplore? Are there no crosses at home? Are there no troubles abroad? Can you travel from the first of January to the last of December without feeling the weariness of the way? Have you no blighted field, no bad debt, no slandered name, no harsh word, no sick child, no suffering wife to bring before the Lord in weeping prayer? You must be an inhabitant of another planet if you have had no griefs, for man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. No ship can navigate the Atlantic of earth without meeting with storms. It is only upon the Pacific of heaven that all is calm for evermore. Believers must through much tribulation, inherit the kingdom of heaven. “Trials must and will befall.”

Death contributes to our woes- the heirs of immortality are often summoned to gather around the tomb. Who has not lost a friend? If Jesus wept, expect not that we shall be without the tears of bereavement. The well-beloved Lazarus died, and so will our choicest friends. Parents will go before us, infants will be snatched from us, brothers and sisters will fall before the scythe of death. Impartial foe of all, you spare neither virtue nor vice, holiness nor sin- with equal foot you tread on the cherished loves of all!

The Christian knows also disappointments as bitter and as keen as other men. Judas betrays Christ, Ahithophel is a traitor to David. We have had our Ahithophels, and we may yet meet with our Judas. We have trusted in friends, and we have found their friendships fail. We have leaned upon what seemed a staff, and it has pierced us like a spear. You cannot, dear friends, traverse the wilderness of this world without discovering that thorns and thistles grow plenteously in it, and that, step as you may, your feet must sometimes feel their power to wound. The sea of life is salt to all men. Clouds hover over every landscape. We may forget to laugh, but we shall always know how to weep. As the saturated fleece must drip, so must the human race, cursed by the fall, weep out its frequent griefs.

I see before me a second bottle, it is black and foul, for it contains tears distilled by the force of the fires of sin. This bottle holds more than the first, and is far more regularly filled. Sin is more frequently the mother of sorrow than all the other ills of life put together. Dear brothers and sisters, I am convinced that we endure more sorrow from our sins than from God’s darkest providence. Mark our rebellious lack of resignation! When a trouble comes it is not the trial which makes us groan so much as our rebellion against it. It is true the ox goad is thrust into us, but we kick against it, and then it hurts us far more. Like men with naked feet we kick against the pricks. We head our vessel against the stream of God’s will, and then murmur because the waves beat violently upon us. An unsubdued will is like a maniac’s hand which tears himself. The chastisements which come directly from our heavenly Father are never so hard to bear as the frettings and fumings of our unhumbled self-will. As the bird dashes against the wires of its cage and breaks its own wing, even so do we. If we would take the cross as our gracious Father gives it, it would not gall our shoulders, but since we revolt from it and loathe the burden, our shoulders grow raw and sore, and the load becomes intolerable. More submission, and we should have fewer tears.

There are the tears, too, of wounded, injured pride, and how hot and scalding they are! When a man has been ambitious and has failed, how he will weep instead of standing corrected, or be gathering up his courage for a wiser venture. When a friend has spoken slightingly of us, or an enemy has accused us, how we have had to put our fingers to our hot eye-lids to keep the tears from streaming out, and have felt all the while as full of wretchedness as we well could be. Ah, these are cruel and wicked tears. God wipe them away from our eyes now! Certainly he must do it before we shall be able to enter heaven.

How numerous, too, are the tears of unbeliefWe manufacture troubles for ourselves by anticipating future evils which may never come, or which, if they do come, may be like the clouds, all “big with mercy,” and “break with blessings on our head.” We get supposing what we should do if such-and-such a thing occurred, which thing God has determined never shall occur. We imagine ourselves in positions where Providence never intends to place us, and so We Feel a Thousand Trials in Fearing One! That bottle, I say, ought never to carry within it a tear from a believer’s eyes, and yet it has had whole floods poured into it. Oh, the Wickedness of Mistrust of God, and the bitterness with which that distrust is made to curse itself. Unbelief makes a rod for its own back. Distrust of God is its own punishment. It brings such lack of rest, such worries, such tribulation of spirit into the mind, that he who loves himself and loves pleasure, had better seek to walk by faith and not by sight.

Nor must I forget the scalding drops of anger against our fellow-men, and of petulance and irritation, because we cannot have our way with them- these are black and horrid damps, are as foul-smelling as the vaults of Tophet. May we ever be saved from such unholy tears.

Sometimes, too, there are streams which arise from depressed spirits, hearts desponding because we have neglected the means of grace and the God of grace. The consolations of God are small with us because we have been seldom in secret prayer- we have lived at a distance from the Most High, and we have fallen into a melancholy state of mind. I thank God that there shall never come another tear from our eyes into that bottle when eternal love shall take us up to dwell with Jesus in his kingdom.

We would never overlook the third bottle, which is the true crystal lachrymatory into which holy tears may drop, tears like the lachrymae Christi, the tears of Jesus, so precious in the sight of God. Even these shall cease to flow in heaven. Tears of repentance, like glistening dewdrops fresh from the skies, are stored in this bottle; they are not of the earth, they come from heaven, and yet we cannot carry them there with us. Good Rowland Hill used to say, repentance was such a sweet companion that the only regret he could have in going to heaven, was in leaving repentance behind him, for he could not shed the tears of repentance there. Oh, to weep for sin! It is so sweet a sorrow that I would a constant weeper be!

Like a dripping well, my soul would ever drop with grief that I have offended my loving, tender, gracious God. Tears for Christ’s injured honor and slightedness glisten in the crystal of our third bottle. When we hear Jesus’ name blasphemed among men, or see his cause driven back in the day of battle, who will not weep then? Who can restrain his lamentations? Such tears are diamonds in Christ’s esteem; blessed are the eyes which are mines of such royal treasure. If I cannot win crowns I will at least give tears! If I cannot make men love my Master, yet will I weep in secret places for the dishonor which they do him. These are holy drops, but they are all unknown in heaven. Tears of sympathy are much esteemed by our Lord; when we “weep with those that weep” we do well; these are never to be restrained this side the Jordan. Let them flow! The more of them the better for our spiritual health. Truly, when I think of the griefs of men, and above all, when I have communion with my Savior in his suffering, I would cry with George Herbert-

“Come all you floods, you clouds, you rains,
Dwell in my eyes! My grief has need
Of all the watery things that nature can produce!
Let every vein suck up a river to supply my eyes,
My weary, weeping eyes, too dry for me,
Unless they get new conduits, fresh supplies,
And with my state agree.”

It were well to go to the very uttermost of weeping if it were always of such a noble kind, as fellowship with Jesus brings. Let us never cease from weeping over sinners as Jesus did over Jerusalem; let us endeavor to snatch the firebrand from the flame, and weep when we cannot accomplish our purpose.

These three receptacles of tears will always he more or less filled by us as long as we are here, but in heaven the first bottle will not be needed, for the wells of earth’s grief will all be dried up, and we shall drink from living fountains of water unsalted by a tear. As for the second, we shall have no depravity in our hearts, and so the black fountain will no longer yield its nauseous stream. And as for the third, there shall he no place among celestial occupations for weeping even of the most holy kind. Until then, we must expect to share in human griefs, and instead of praying against them, let us ask that they may be sanctified to us. I mean of course those of the former sort. Let us pray that tribulation may work patience, and patience experience, and experience the hope which makes not ashamed.

Let us pray that as the sharp edge of the graving tool is used upon us it may only remove our sins and faults, and fashion us into images of our Lord and Master. Let us pray that the fire may consume nothing but the dross, and that the floods may wash away nothing but defilement. May we have to thank God that though before we were afflicted we went astray, yet now have we kept his word. And so shall we see it to be a blessed thing, a divinely wise thing, that we should tread the path of sorrow, and reach the gates of heaven with the tear drops glistening in our eyes.

Secondly, EVEN HERE IF WE WOULD HAVE OUR TEARS WIPED AWAY WE CANNOT DO BETTER THAN RETURN TO OUR GOD. Jesus is the great tear wiper. Observe, brethren, that God can remove every vestige of grief from the hearts of his people by granting them complete resignation to his will. Our selfhood is the root of our sorrow. If self were perfectly conquered, it would be equal to us whether love ordained our pain or ease, appointed us wealth or poverty. If our will were completely God’s will, then pain itself would be attended with pleasure, and sorrow would yield us joy for Christ’s sake. As one fire puts out another, so the master passion of love to God and complete absorption in his sacred will quenches the fire of human grief and sorrow. Hearty resignation puts so much honey in the cup of gall that the wormwood is forgotten. As death is swallowed up in victory, so is tribulation swallowed up in complacency and delight in God.

He can also take away our tears by constraining our minds to dwell with delight upon the end which all our trials are working to produce. He can show us that they are working together for good, and as men of understanding, when we see that we shall be essentially enriched by our losses, we shall be content with them. When we see that the medicine is curing us of mortal sickness, and that our sharpest pains are only saving us from pains far more terrible, then shall we kiss the rod and sing in the midst of tribulation, “Sweet affliction!” sweet affliction! since it yields such peaceable fruits of righteousness.

Moreover, he can take every tear from our eye in the time of trial by shedding abroad the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts more plentifully. He can make it clear to us that Christ is afflicted in our affliction. He can indulge us with a delightful sense of the divine virtue which dwells in his sympathy, and make us rejoice to be co-sufferers with the angel of the covenant. The Savior can make our hearts leap for joy by re-assuring us that we are written on the palms of his hands, and that we shall he with him where he is. Sick beds become thrones, and hovels ripen into palaces when Jesus is made sure to our souls. My brethren, the love of Christ, like a great flood, rolls over the most rugged rocks of afflictions, so high above them that we may float in perfect peace where others are a total wreck. The rage of the storm is all hushed when Christ is in the vessel. The waters saw you, O Christ, the waters saw you and were silent at the presence of their king.

The Lord can also take away all present sorrow and grief from us by providentially removing its cause. Providence is full of sweet surprises and unexpected turns. When the sea has ebbed its uttermost, it turns again and covers all the sand. When we think the dungeon is locked, and that the bolt is rusted in, he can make the door fly open in a moment. When the river rolls deep and black before us, he can divide it with a word, or bridge it with his hand. How often have you found it so in the past? As a pilgrim to Canaan you have passed through the Red Sea, in which you once feared you would be drowned; the bitter wells of Marah were made sweet by God’s presence; you fought the Amalekite, you went through the terrible wilderness, you passed by the place of the fiery serpents, and you have yet been kept alive, and so shall you be. As the clear shining comes after rain, so shall peace succeed your trials. As fly the black clouds before the compelling power of the wind, so will the eternal God make your griefs to fly before the energy of his grace. The smoking furnace of trouble shall be followed by the bright lamp of consolation.

Still, the surest method of getting rid of present tears, is communion and fellowship with God. When I can creep under the wing of my dear God and nestle close to his bosom, let the world say what it will, and let the devil roar as he pleases, and let my sins accuse and threaten as they may, I am safe, content, happy, peaceful, rejoicing.

“Let earth against my soul engage,
And hellish darts be hurled;
Now I can smile at Satan’s rage,
And face a frowning world.”

To say, “My Father, God,” to put myself right into his hand, and feel that I am safe there. To look up to him though it be with tears in my eyes and feel that he loves me, and then to put my head right into his bosom as the prodigal did, and sob my griefs out there into my Father’s heart, oh, this is the death of grief, and the life of all consolation. Is not Jehovah called the God of all comfort? You will find him so, beloved. He has been “our help in ages past;” he is “our hope for years to come.” Had he not been my help, then had my soul perished utterly in the day of its weariness and its heaviness. Oh, I bear testimony for him this day that you cannot go to him and pour out your heart before him without finding a delightful solace.

When your friend cannot wipe away the tear; when you yourself with your strongest reasonings, and your boldest efforts cannot constrain yourself to resignation; when your heart beats high, and seems as if it would burst with grief, then pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us. He is our castle and high tower, our refuge and defense. Only go to him, and you shall find that even here on earth God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes.

III. Now we shall have to turn our thoughts to what is the real teaching of the text, namely, THE REMOVAL OF ALL TEARS FROM THE BLESSED ONES ABOVE. There are many reasons why glorified spirits cannot weep. These are well known to you, but let us just hint at them. All outward causes of grief are gone. They will never hear the toll of the death knell in heaven. The mattock and the shroud are unknown things there. The horrid thought of death never flits across an immortal spirit. They are never parted; the great meeting has taken place to part no more. Up yonder they have no losses and crosses in business. “They serve God day and night in his temple.” They know no broken friendships there. They have no ruined hearts, no blighted prospects. They know even as they are known, and they love even as they are loved. No pain can ever fall on them; as yet they have no bodies, but when their bodies shall he raised from the grave they shall he spiritualized so that they shall not be capable of grief. The tear-gland shall be plucked away. Although much may be there that is human, at least the tear-gland shall be gone, they shall have no need of that organ. Their bodies shall be unsusceptible of grief. They shall rejoice for ever. Poverty, famine, distress, nakedness, peril, persecution, slander, all these shall have ceased. “The sun shall not light on them, nor any heat.” “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more,” and therefore well may their tears cease to flow.

Again, all inward evils will have been removed by the perfect sanctification wrought in them by the Holy Spirit. No evil of’ heart, nor unbelief in departing from the living God, shall vex them in Paradise. No suggestions of the arch enemy shall be met and assisted by the uprisings of iniquity within. They shall never be led to think harshly of God, for their hearts shall be all love. Sin shall have no sweetness to them, for they shall be perfectly purified from all depraved desires. There shall be no lusts of the eye, no lusts of the flesh, no pride of life to be snares to their feet. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They are forever blessed, because they are without fault before the throne of God. What a heaven must it be to be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing! Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin.

All fear of change also has been for ever shut out. They know that they are eternally secure. Saints on earth are fearful of falling, some believers even dream of falling away- they think God will forsake them, and that men will persecute and take them. No such fears can vex the blessed ones who view their Father’s face. Countless ages may revolve, but eternity shall not be exhausted, and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessedness shall co-exist with it. They dwell within a city which shall never be attacked, they bask in a sun which shall never set, they swim in a flood-tide which shall never ebb, they drink of a river which shall never dry, they pluck fruit from a tree which shall never be withered. Their blessedness knows not the thought, which would act like a canker at its heart, that it might, perhaps, pass away and cease to be. They cannot, therefore, weep, because they are infallibly secure, and certainly assured of their eternal blessedness.

Why should they weep, when every desire is gratified? They cannot wish for anything which they shall not have. Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, every faculty shall be satisfied. All their capacious powers can wish, they shall continually enjoy. Though “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard the things which God has prepared for them that love him,” yet we know enough, by the revelation of the Spirit, to understand that they are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They Bathe Themselves in the Bottomless, Shoreless Sea of Infinite Joy.

Still, dear friends, this does not quite account for the fact, that all tears are wiped from their eyes. I like better the text which tells us that God shall do it, and I want you to think with me, of fountains of tears which exist even in heaven, so that the celestial ones must inevitably weep if God did not by a perpetual miracle take away their tears. It strikes me, that if God himself did not interfere by a perpetual outflow of abundant consolations, the glorified have very deep cause for weeping. You will say, “How is this?”

Why, in the first place, if it were not for this, what regrets they must have for their past sins. The more holy a man is, the more he hates sin. It is a token of growth in sanctification, not that repentance becomes less acute, but that it becomes more and more deep. Surely, dear friends, when we shall be made perfectly holy, we shall have a greater hatred of sin. If on earth we could be perfectly holy, why, methinks we should do little else than mourn, to think that so foul, and black, and venomous a thing as sin had ever stained us- that we should offend against so good, so gracious, so tender, so abundantly loving a God. Why, the sight of Christ, “the Lamb in the midst of the throne,” would make them remember the sin from which he purged them. The sight of their heavenly Father’s perfection would be blinding to them, if it were not that by some sacred means, which we know not, God wipes away all these tears from their eyes. And though they cannot but regret that they have sinned, yet perhaps they know that sin has been made to glorify God by the overcoming power of Almighty grace- that sin has been made to be a black foil, a sort of setting for the sparkling jewel of eternal, sovereign grace, and it may be that for this reason they shed no tears over their past lives. They sing, “Unto him that has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood!” -and they sing that heavenly song without a tear in their eyes. I cannot understand how this may be, for I know I could not do so as I now am; let this be the best reason, that God has wiped away the tears from their eyes.

Again, do you not think, beloved, that the thought of the vast expense of shame and woe which the Savior lavished for their redemption must, in the natural order of things, be a constant source of grief? We sing sometimes that hymn which reminds us of the angelic song before the throne, and in one of its verses the poet says-

“But when to Calvary they turn,
Silent their harps abide;
Suspended songs a moment mourn
The God that loved and died.”

Now, that is natural and poetical, but it is not true, for you know very well that there are no suspended songs in heaven, and that there is no mourning even over Christ “that loved and died.” It seems to me, that unless I were thoroughly spiritualized and in such a holy state as those are in heaven, I could not look at the Lamb without tears in my eyes. How could I think of those five wounds; that bloody sweat in Gethsemane; that cruel crowning with the thorns in Gabbatha; that mockery and shame at Golgotha- how could I think of it without tears? How could I feel that he loved me and gave himself for me, without bursting into a passion of holy affection and sorrow? Tears seem to be the natural expression of such hallowed joy and grief- 

“Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears his feet I’ll bathe.”

I must think it would be so in heaven, if it were not that by a glorious method, I know not how, God shall wipe away even those tears from their eyes. Does it not need the interference of God to accomplish this wonder?

Is there not another cause for grief, namely, wasted opportunities. Beloved, when we once ascend to heaven, there will be no more feeding of Christ’s hungry people; no giving drink to the thirsty; no visiting his sick ones, or his imprisoned ones; no clothing of the naked; there will be no instructing the ignorant; no holding forth the Word of God among “a crooked and perverse generation.” It has been often and truly said, if there could be regrets in heaven, those regrets would be, that we have wasted so many opportunities of honoring Christ on earth- opportunities which will then be past forever. Now in heaven their hearts are not steeled and hardened, so that they can look back upon sins of omission without sorrow. I believe there will be the tenderest form of conscience there, for perfect purity would not be consistent with any degree of hardness of heart.

If they are sensitive and tender in heart, it is inevitable that they should look back with regret upon the failures of the life below unless some more mighty emotion should overwhelm that of contrition. I can say, beloved, if God would take me to heaven this morning, if he did not come in, and by a special act of his omnipotence, dry up that fountain of tears, I should almost forget the glories of Paradise in the midst of my own shame, that I have not preached more earnestly, and have not prayed more fervently, and labored more abundantly for Christ. That text, to which we heard a reference from a dear brother during the week, where Paul says, “I call God to witness that for the space of three years I ceased not night and day with tears, to warn every one of you,” is a text that none of us can read without blushes and tears. And in heaven, methinks, if I saw the Apostle Paul, I must burst out into weeping, if it were not for this text, which says that “God shall wipe away all tears,” and these among them. Who but the Almighty God could do this!

Perhaps, again, another source of tears may suggest itself to you; namely, regrets in heaven for our mistakes, and misrepresentations, and unkindnesses towards other Christian brethren. How surprised we shall be to meet in heaven some whom we did not love on earth! We would not commune with them at the Lord’s table. We would not own that they were Christians. We looked at them very askance if we saw them in the street. We were jealous of all their ministries. We suspected their zeal as being nothing better than rant, and we looked upon their best exertions as having sinister motives at the bottom. We said many hard things, and felt a great many more than we said.

When we shall see these unknown and unrecognized brethren in heaven will not their presence naturally remind us of our offenses against Christian love and spiritual unity? I cannot suppose a perfect man, looking at another perfect man, without regretting that he ever ill-treated him. It seems to me to be the trait of a gentleman, a Christian, and of a perfectly sanctified man above all others, that he should regret having misunderstood, and misconstrued, and misrepresented one who was as dear to Christ as himself. I am sure as I go round among the saints in heaven, I cannot (in the natural order of things) help feeling “I did not assist you as I ought to have done. I did not sympathize with you as I ought to have done. I spoke a hard word to you. I was estranged from you.” And I think you would all have to feel the same; inevitably you must, if it were not that by some heavenly means, I know not how, the eternal God shall so overshadow believers with the abundant bliss of his own self that even that cause of tears shall be wiped away.

Has it never struck you, dear friends, that if you go to heaven and see your dear children left behind unconverted, it would naturally be a cause of sorrow? When my mother told me that if I perished she would have to say “Amen” to my condemnation, I knew it was true and it sounded very terrible, and had a good effect on my mind. But at the same time I could not help thinking, “Well, you will be very different from what you are now.” I thought “Well, I love to think of your weeping over me in this world, far better than to think of you as a perfect being, with a tearless eye, looking on the damnation of your own child.”

It really is a very terrible spectacle- the thought of a perfect being looking down upon hell, for instance, as Abraham did, and yet feeling no sorrow. For you will recollect that, in the tones in which Abraham addressed the rich man, there is nothing of pity, there is not a single syllable which betokens any sympathy with him in his dreadful woes. And one does not quite comprehend that perfect beings, God-like beings, beings full of love, and everything that constitutes the glory of God’s complete nature, should yet be unable to weep, even over hell itself. They cannot weep over their own children lost and ruined! Now, how is this? If you will tell me, I shall be glad, for I cannot tell you. I do not believe that there will be one atom less tenderness, that there will be one fraction less of amiability, and love, and sympathy- I believe there will be more- but that they will be in some way so refined and purified, that while compassion for suffering is there, detestation of sin shall be there to balance it, and a state of complete equilibrium shall be attained. Perfect acquiescence in the divine will is probably the secret of it. But it is not my business to guess. I do not know what handkerchief the Lord will use, but I know that he will wipe all tears away from their faces, and these tears among them.

Yet, once again, it seems to me that spirits before the throne, taking, as they must do, a deep interest in everything which concerns the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ, must feel deeply grieved when they see the cause of truth imperilled, and the kingdom of Christ, for a time struggling. Think of Luther, or Wycliffe, or John Knox, as they see the advances of Popery just now. Take John Knox first, if you will. Think of him looking down and seeing cathedrals rising in Scotland, dedicated to the service of the Pope and the devil. Oh, how the stern old man, even in glory, methinks, would begin to shake himself; and the old lion lash his sides once more, and half wish that he could come down and pull the nests to pieces that the rooks might fly away. Think of Wycliffe looking down on this country where the gospel has been preached so many years, and seeing monks in the Church of England, and seeing spring up in our national establishment everywhere, not disguised Popery as it was ten years ago, but stark naked Popery, downright Popery that unblushingly talks about the “Catholic Church,” and is not even Anglican any longer. What would Wycliffe say?

Why, I think as he leans over the battlements of heaven, unless Wycliffe be mightily altered, and I cannot suppose he is (except for the better, and that would make him more tender-hearted and more zealous for God still), he must weep to think that England has gone back so far, and that on the dial of Ahaz the sun has beat a retreat. I do not know how it is they do not weep in heaven, but they do not. The souls under the altar cry, “How long? how long? how long?” There comes up a mighty intercession from those who were slaughtered in the days gone by for Christ- their prayer rises, “How long? how long? how long?” and God as yet does not avenge his own elect though they cry day and night unto him. Yet that delay does not cost them a single tear! They feel so sure that the victory will come, they anticipate so much the more splendid a triumph because of its delay, and therefore they do both patiently hope and quietly wait to see the salvation of God.

They know that without us they cannot be made perfect, and so they wait until we are taken up, that the whole company may be completed, and that then the soul may be dressed in its body, and they may be perfected in their bliss- they wait but they do not weep. They wait and they cry, but in their cry no sorrow has a place. Now I do not understand this, because it seems to me that the more I long for the coming of Christ, the more I long to see his kingdom extended, the more I shall weep when things go wrong, when I see Christ blasphemed, his cross trampled in the mire, and the devil’s kingdom established; but the reason is all in this, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

I thought I would just indicate to you why it says that God does it. It strikes me that these causes of tears could not be removed by an angel, could not be taken away by any form of spiritual enjoyment apart from the direct interposition of Almighty God. Think of all these things and wonder over them, and you will recall many other springs of grief which must have flowed freely if Omnipotence had not dried them up completely. Then ask how it is that the saints do not weep and you cannot get any other answer than this- God has done it in a way unknown to us, Forever Taking Away from Them the Power to Weep.

1. And now, beloved,SHALL WE BE AMONG THIS HAPPY COMPANY? Here is the question, and the context enables us to answer it. “They have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” There is their character. “Therefore are they before the throne of God.” The blood is a sacred argument for their being there- the precious blood. Observe, “they washed their robes.” It was not merely their feet, their worst parts, but they washed their robes, their best parts. A man’s robes are his most honored attire, he puts them on, and he does not mind our seeing his robes. There may be filthiness beneath, but the robes are generally the cleanest of all. But you see they washed even them.

Now it is the mark of a Christian that he not only goes to Christ to wash away his black sins, but to wash his duties too. I would not pray a prayer unwashed with Jesus’ blood. I would not like a hymn I have sung to go up to heaven except it had first been bathed in blood. If I would desire to be clothed with zeal as with a cloak, yet I must wash the cloak in blood. Though I would be sanctified by the Holy Spirit and wear imparted righteousness as a raiment of needlework, yet I must wash even that in blood. What do you say, dear friends? Have you washed in blood? The meaning of it is, have you trusted in the atoning sacrifice? “Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” Have you taken Christ to be your all in all? Are you now depending on him? If so, out of deep distress you shall yet ascend leaning on your Beloved to the throne of God, and to the bliss which awaits his chosen.

But if not, “there is no other name,” there is no other way. Your damnation will be as just as it will be sure. Christ is “the way,” but if you will not tread it you shall not reach the end. Christ is “the truth,” but if you will not believe him, you shall not rejoice. Christ is “the life,” but if you will not receive him you shall abide among the dead, and be cast out among the corrupt. From such a doom may the Lord deliver us, and give us a simple confidence in the divine work of the Redeemer, and to him shall be the praise eternally. Amen.

GOD DETERMINES THE OUTCOME OF THE ROLLED DICE AND YOUR WHOLE LIFE

GOD DETERMINES THE OUTCOME OF THE ROLLED DICE AND YOUR WHOLE LIFE

C.H. Spurgeon

If the fall of the dice is under the Lord’s control—then WHOSE is the arrangement of our whole life? If the simple casting of the dice is guided by Him—how much more the events of our entire life—especially when we are told by our blessed Savior, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered! Not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father!” It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this. It would so relieve your mind from worry—that you would be the better able to walk in patience, calmness, and cheerfulness, as a Christian should.

When a man is anxious—he cannot pray with faith, or serve his Master. When you worry and fret about your lot and circumstances, you are meddling with Christ’s business, and neglecting your own! You have been attempting “providing” work—and forgetting that it is yours to “obey”. Be wise and attend to the obeying—and let Christ manage the providing.

Come and survey your Father’s storehouse, and ask whether He will let you starve—while He has laid up so great an abundance in His garner! Look at His heart of mercy—and ask if that heart can ever prove unkind! Look at His inscrutable wisdom—and ask if that wisdom can ever be at fault. Above all, look to Jesus Christ your Intercessor, and ask yourself, while He pleads, can your Father deal ungraciously with you? If He remembers even sparrows, will He forget one of His poor children?

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved”. [Psalm 55:22]

THE LORD SAVES MEN THAT DO NOT SEEK HIM

THE LORD SAVES MEN THAT DO NOT SEEK HIM

C.H. Spurgeon

If any man be saved, he is saved by Divine grace, and BY DIVINE GRACE ALONE; and the reason of his salvation is NOT TO BE FOUND IN HIM, BUT IN GOD. 

We are not saved as the result of anything that WE DO or that we will; but we will and do as the result of God’s good pleasure, and the work of His grace in our hearts. No sinner can prevent God; that is, he cannot go before Him, cannot anticipate Him; GOD IS ALWAYS FIRST IN THE MATTER OF SALVATION. He is before our convictions, before our desires, before our fears, before our hopes. All that is good or ever will be good in us, is preceded by the grace of God, and is the effect of a Divine cause within.

Now in speaking of God’s gracious acts of salvation, this morning, I notice first, that they are entirely UNMERITED. You will see that the people here mentioned certainly did not merit God’s grace. They found him, BUT THEY NEVER SOUGHT FOR HIM; he was made manifest to them, but THEY NEVER ASKED FOR HIM.

THERE NEVER WAS A MAN SAVED YET WHO MERITED IT.

Ask all the saints of God, and they will tell you that their former life was spent in the lusts of the flesh; that in the days of their ignorance, they revolted against God and turned back from his ways, that when they were invited to come to Him THEY DESPISED THE INVITATION, AND, WHEN WARNED, CAST THE WARNING BEHIND THEIR BACK. They will tell you that their being drawn by God, was not the result of any merit before conversion; for some of them, so far from having any merit, WERE THE VERY VILEST OF THE VILE: they plunged into the very kennel of sin; they were not ashamed of all the things of which it would be a shame for us to speak; they were RINGLEADERS IN CRIME, very princes in the ranks of the enemy; and YET sovereign grace came to them, and they were brought to know the Lord.

They will tell you that it was not the result of ANYTHING GOOD IN THEIR DISPOSITION, for although they trust that there is now something excellent implanted in them, yet in the days of their flesh they could see no one quality which was not perverted to the service of Satan. Ask them whether they think they were chosen of God because of their courage; they will tell you, no; if they had courage it was defaced, for they were COURAGEOUS TO DO EVIL. Question them whether they were chosen of God because of their talent; they will tell you, no; they had that talent, but THEY PROSTITUTED IT TO THE SERVICE OF SATAN. Question them whether they were chosen because of the openness and generosity of their disposition; they will tell you that that very openness of temper, and that very generosity of disposition, led them to plunge deeper into the depths of sin, than they otherwise would have done, for they were “hail fellow, well met,” with every evil man, and ready to drink and join every jovial party which should come in their way. There was in them NO REASON WHATEVER why God should have mercy upon them, and THE WONDER TO THEM IS THAT HE DID NOT CUT THEM DOWN IN THE MIDST OF THEIR SINS, BLOT OUT THEIR NAMES FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE, AND SWEEP THEM INTO THE GULF WHERE THE FIRE BURNETH. THAT SHALL DEVOUR THE WICKED.

But some have said that God chooses His people because He foresees that after he chooses them, they will do this, that, and the other, which shall be meritorious and excellent. Refer again to the people of God, and they will tell you that since their conversion they have had much to weep over. Although they can rejoice that God has begun the good work in them, THEY OFTEN TREMBLE LEST IT SHOULD NOT BE GOD’S WORK AT ALL. They will tell you that if they are abundant in faith yet THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THEY ARE SUPERABUNDANT IN UNBELIEF; that if sometimes they are full of works of holiness, yet there are times when they weep many tears to think that those very acts of holiness were stained with sin. The Christian will tell you that he weeps over his very tears; he feels that THERE IS FILTH EVEN IN THE BEST OF DESIRES; THAT HE HAS TO PRAY TO GOD TO FORGIVE HIS PRAYERS, FOR THERE IS SIN IN THE MIDST OF HIS SUPPLICATIONS, and that he has to sprinkle even his best offerings with the atoning blood, for he never else can bring an offering without spot or blemish.

You shall appeal to the brightest saint, to the man whose presence in the midst of society is like the presence of an angel, and he will tell you that he is still ashamed of himself. “Ah!” he will say, “you may praise me, but I cannot praise myself, you speak well of me, you applaud me, but if you knew my heart you would see abundant reason to think of me as a poor sinner saved by grace, who hath nothing whereof to glory, and must bow his head and confess his iniquities in the sight of God.”

GRACE, THEN IS ENTIRELY UNMERITED.

Again, the grace of God is SOVEREIGN. By that word we mean that God has an absolute right to GIVE THAT GRACE WHERE HE CHOOSES, and to WITHHOLD IT WHEN HE PLEASES. HE IS NOT BOUND TO GIVE IT TO ANY MAN, MUCH LESS TO ALL MEN; and if He chooses to give it to one man and not to another, His answer is, “Is thine eye evil because mine eye is good? Can I not do as I will with mine own? I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” Now, I want you to notice the sovereignty of Divine grace as illustrated in the text: “I was found of them that sought Me not, I was made manifest to them that asked not after Me.” You would imagine that if God gave His grace to any He would wait until he found them earnestly seeking Him. You would imagine that God in the highest heavens would say, “I have mercies, but I will leave men alone, and when they feel their need of these mercies and seek Me diligently with their whole heart, day and night, with tears, and vows, and supplications, then will I bless them, but not before.”

But, beloved, God saith no such thing. It is true He doth bless them that cry unto Him, but He blesses them before they cry, for their cries are not their OWN CRIES, BUT CRIES WHICH HE HAS PUT INTO THEIR LIPS; their desires are not of their own growth, but desires which He has cast like good seed into the soil of their hearts.

GOD SAVES THE MEN THAT DO NOT SEEK HIM.

Oh, wonder of wonders! It is mercy indeed when God saves a seeker; but how much greater mercy when He seeks the lost himself! Mark the parable of Jesus Christ concerning the lost sheep; it does not run thus: “A certain man had a hundred sheep, and one of them did go astray. And he tarried at home, and lo, the sheep came back, and he received it joyfully and said to his friends, rejoice, for the sheep that I have lost is come back.” NO; he WENT AFTER the sheep: it never would have come after Him; it would have wandered farther and farther away. He went after it; over hills of difficulty, down valleys of despondency He pursued its wandering feet, and at last He laid hold of it; He did not drive it before him, He did not lead it, but He carried it himself all the way, and when He brought it home He did not say, THE SHEEP IS COME BACK,” BUT, “I HAVE FOUND THE SHEEP WHICH WAS LOST.

MEN DO NOT SEEK GOD FIRST; GOD SEEKS THEM FIRST; AND IF ANY OF YOU ARE SEEKING HIM TO-DAY IT IS BECAUSE HE HAS FIRST SOUGHT YOU.

If you are desiring him He desired you first, and your good desires and earnest seeking will not be the CAUSE of your salvation, but the EFFECTS of previous grace given to you. “Well,” says another, “I should have thought that although the Saviour might not require an earnest seeking and sighing and groaning, and a continuous searching, after Him, yet certainly He would have desired and demanded that every man, before he had grace, should ask for it.” That, indeed, beloved, seems natural, and God will give grace to them that ask for it; but mark, the text says that he was manifested “to them that asked not for Him.” That is to say, BEFORE we ask, God gives us grace.

THE ONLY REASON WHY ANY MAN EVER BEGINS TO PRAY IS BECAUSE GOD HAS PUT PREVIOUS GRACE IN HIS HEART WHICH LEADS HIM TO PRAY.

I remember, when I was converted to God, I WAS AN ARMINIAN THOROUGHLY. I thought I had begun the good work myself, and I used sometimes to sit down and think, “Well, I sought the Lord four years before I found him,” and I think I began to compliment myself upon the fact that I had perseveringly entreated of Him in the midst of much discouragement. But one day the thought struck me, “How was it you came to seek God?” and in an instant the answer came from my soul, “Why, because He led me to do it; He must first have shown me my need of Him, or else I should never have sought Him; He must have shown me His preciousness, or I never should have thought Him worth seeking;” and AT ONCE I SAW THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE.

GOD MUST BEGIN. Nature can never rise above itself. You put water into a reservoir, and it will rise as high as that, but no higher if let alone. Now, IT IS NOT IN HUMAN NATURE TO SEEK THE LORD. HUMAN NATURE IS DEPRAVED, and therefore, there must be the extraordinary pressure of the Holy Spirit put upon the heart to lead us first to ask for mercy. But mark, we do not know any thing about that, while the Spirit is operating; we find that out AFTERWARDS. We ask as much as if we were asking all of ourselves. Our business is to seek the Lord as if there were no Holy Spirit at all. But although we do not know it, there must always be a previous motion of the Spirit in our heart, before there will be a motion of our heart towards Him.

[Read the full sermon – http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0207.htm ]