HAPPY IS THAT PEOPLE WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD

HAPPY IS THAT PEOPLE WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD

C.H. Spurgeon

The believer who has thus taken God to be his God is happy because he has a portion with which he never can grow discontented. Men outgrow their books. Students come to look on the volumes they once valued as being worn-out things. Men outgrow their friends—those that were once their superiors, they can outstrip. Men outgrow their substance and their wealth. The comfort they once had in these things they find no longer. The most pleasant pleasures of the world are the first to expire as men advance— especially as they grow old—that which once contented them becomes vanity of vanities in their account!

But no man outgrows his God! No soul ever runs at such a rate that he passes beyond the powers that God has given him! No, beloved, but the more our capacities are enlarged and our desires expanded, the more perfectly satisfied are we with the Lord our God!

He that has this portion has one that can never be taken away from him. The world did not give it and the world cannot steal it. The devil has tried full often to take away from us our God, but he shall never do that. Time may rob us of our health. The world may rob us of our wealth. Sickness may deprive us of a thousand comforts, but there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord! Our inheritance cannot be alienated—it is where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal!

Hence the Lord’s people are a happy people because they have a portion they can die with. They have a pleasure that can make their dying pillow soft! And they have riches they can take with them through the last grim river—can pass its floods without losing a single farthing of their heritage—no, can pass the flood and land upon the other shore to enter more fully into the bliss which God has prepared for them that love Him!

Yes, Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD! [Psalm 144:15]

Praise the LORD!

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NO MATTER HOW POOR OR WRETCHED YOU ARE – IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD THE LORD THINKS UPON YOU

NO MATTER HOW POOR OR WRETCHED YOU ARE – IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD THE LORD THINKS UPON YOU

C.H. Spurgeon

“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me!” [Psalm 40:17] 

It is not everybody who would like to apply to himself the first part of the text. Perhaps we, most of us, accept it because it happens to be Scriptural language—and yet we might not spontaneously say of ourselves, “I am poor and needy.” Some would even wish us to believe the very opposite, for if I read their hearts aright, they say, “I am not poor, nor needy.” They have enough of this world’s goods and as for spiritual matters, they are strong and self-reliant. All this comes of vainglory and, in the long run will end in vanity and vexation of spirit—for if a man can do without God, it is certain that God can do without him—and the day will come when God will do without him, according to His Word, “I will ease Me of My adversaries.” [Isa 1:24]

He who has tried throughout life to do without God will inherit remorse forever and ever. It is well to begin, continue and end in this life with God’s favor, that we may enjoy it world without end! I therefore trust that none among you would wish to say, “I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing,” for that would be tantamount to a proud resolve to do without God—and it will end in your eternal ruin!

There are some who cry, “I am poor and needy, woe is me that I should be so! But the Lord does not think of me. I have looked up to Heaven, but no eye of pity looks down upon me in the depth of my misery.” Many a wretched mind, many a bereaved spirit, many a downcast heart has cried, “The Lord has forgotten me! He counts the number of the stars and calls them by their names, but as for me, I am too little, too insignificant, too obscure—I cannot believe that God thinks upon me.” Dear Friend, I hope you will be converted from this unbelief! I pray that you may not only be able to join in one half of my text by saying, “I am poor and needy,” but that you may humbly unite in the second declaration, “Yet the Lord thinks upon me.” Despite your insignificance and unworthiness, you may yet learn that the Lord has thoughts of love towards you and is causing all things to work together for your external, internal and eternal good!

Do not let it surprise you that one of old should say, “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinks upon me,” for God has often thought of poor and needy persons. Look at Joseph when he was in prison and the iron entered into his soul— his reputation was gone, he was reproached and even punished unjustly—yet we read that the Lord was with Joseph and, in due time He brought him out and set him on the throne of Egypt!

Ruth, the Moabitess, came penniless to Israel’s land and she went to glean among the sheaves as a poor and needy peasant woman. But the Lord was thinking upon her and so provided for her that she rose to an honorable estate and her name is written among the progenitors of our Lord Jesus!

To give you a more modern instance—the Apostles were poor fishermen with their little boats and well-worn nets, upon the Lake of Galilee—yet the Lord looked upon them—unlearned and ignorant men as they were, and made them to be the pioneers of His Kingdom! Never mind how poor and needy you are, you may yet be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ!

“Alas,” you say, “my trouble is not a poverty of gold and silver, but I am poor as to anything like goodness in the sight of God. I feel so guilty and so far from being what I ought to be.” Yet the Lord has oftentimes thought of such people as you! Look at the blessed Master sitting on the well at Sychar, talking with that wanton woman who had had five husbands and he whom she then had was not her husband—she was a woman whom none would honor—but the blessed Savior thought upon her! Remember, too, the thief dying upon the cross next to the Redeemer—with all his sins red upon him, for he had been a robber and probably a murderer, too—his prayer, “Lord, remember me,” touched the heart of Jesus and, “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise” was the gracious response! The Lord thought on him and yet there was never one more poor and needy than he!

There, too, was Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor, breathing out threats and slaughter against the Church of God! But the Merciful One in Heaven, who saw his sin, thought on him with love and said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Poverty of all merit and need of all Grace do not prevent the Lord from thinking upon men! Is not this fact as clear as the sun in the heavens?

However spiritually poor you may be, you may yet partake of the riches of His Grace and so become rich in faith—indeed, none but consciously needy ones ever obtain the privilege of saying, “Yet the Lord thinks upon me.”

FROM ADOPTION TO WORSHIP TO SANCTIFICATION TO GLORY

FROM ADOPTION TO WORSHIP TO SANCTIFICATION TO GLORY

C.H. Spurgeon

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name! etc” [Matthew 6:9]

This prayer begins where all true prayer must commence, with the spirit of adoption, “Our Father.” There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, “I will arise, and go unto my Father.” This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father “in heaven,” and ascends to devout adoration, “Hallowed be thy name.” The child lisping, “Abba, Father,” grows into the cherub crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

There is but a step from rapturous worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of filial love and reverent adoration–“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence upon God–“Give us this day our daily bread.” Being further illuminated by the Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but sinful, hence he entreats for mercy, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:” and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he humbly supplicates for holy perseverance, “Lead us not into temptation.”

The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification. “Forgive us our debts,” that is justification; “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms.

As the result of all this, there follows a triumphant ascription of praise, “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.” We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of His dominion there shall be no end. Thus from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul.

Lord, teach us thus to pray.

IF A MAN LOVES CHRIST IT IS BECAUSE CHRIST FIRST LOVED HIM

IF A MAN LOVES CHRIST IT IS BECAUSE CHRIST FIRST LOVED HIM

C.H. Spurgeon

“We love Him because He first loved us.” [1 John 4:19]

There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from the sun; and there is no true love to Jesus in the heart but that which comes from the Lord Jesus himself.

From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, all our love to God must spring. This must ever be a great and certain truth, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us. Our love to Him is “the fair offspring” of His love to us.

Cold admiration, when studying the works of God, anyone may have. But the warmth of love can only be kindled in the heart by God’s Spirit.

How great the wonder that such as we should ever have been brought to love Jesus at all! How marvellous that when we had rebelled against Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. No! never should we have had a grain of love towards God unless it had been sown in us by the sweet seed of His love to us.

Our love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed abroad in the heart: but after it is thus divinely born, it must “be divinely nourished”.

Love is an exotic– it is not a plant which will flourish naturally in human soil, it must be watered from above. Love to Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts it would soon wither.

As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on high.

Love must feed on love.
The very soul and life of our love to God is His love to us.

“I love Thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord; but all the love is Thine,
For by Thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in Thee.”

If Christ has our love…

If Christ has our LOVE He has our ALL; and Christ never has what He deserves from us, until He has our love! True love withholds nothing from Christ, when it is sincerely set upon Him. If we actually love Him, He will have our time, and He will have our service. He will have the use of all our resources, and gifts, and graces. Indeed, then He shall have our possessions, and our very lives, whenever He calls for them.

In the same way, when God loves any of us, He will withhold nothing from us that is truly good for us. He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? [Rom.8:32]

When Christ loves us, He gives us everything we need – His merits to justify us, His Spirit to sanctify us, His grace to adorn us and His glory to crown us. Therefore, when any of us love Christ sincerely, we lay everything down at His feet, and give up all to be at His command and service. ”

“The desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee. With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early!” [Isaiah 26:8,9]

A CHRISTIAN MUST READ

A CHRISTIAN MUST READ

C.H. Spurgeon

“The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments!” [2Tim 4:13]

We will look at Paul’s books. We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them.

Even an apostle must read. Some of our brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains–oh! THAT is the preacher. How rebuked are they by the apostle!

He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading!” [1Tim 4:13]

The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.

Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read! Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be reading or praying.

You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”–join the cry.

Imitate Apollos, who is referred in the scriptures as one “mighty in the scriptures!” [Acts 18:24] – M.J.

 

THY ONE DESIRE SHOULD BE JESUS CHRIST

THY ONE DESIRE SHOULD BE JESUS CHRIST

C.H. Spurgeon

“Sir, we would see Jesus!” [John 12:21] 

Evermore the worldling’s cry is, “Who will show us any good?” He seeks satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the quickened sinner knows of only one good. “O that I knew where I might find Him!” When he is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say, “Take it away: I want to find Him!”

It is a blessed thing for a man, when he has brought his desires into a focus, so that they all centre in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a mire of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields. Happy is he who hath one desire, if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have been realized.

If Jesus be a soul’s desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, “I want Christ; I must have Him–mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want Himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul’s desire. I would see Jesus!”

Is this thy condition, my reader, at this moment? Hast thou but one desire, and is that after Christ? Then thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven. Hast thou but one wish in thy heart, and that one wish that thou mayst be washed from all thy sins in Jesus’ blood? Canst thou really say, “I would give all I have to be a Christian; I would give up everything I have and hope for, if I might but feel that I have an interest in Christ?” Then, despite all thy fears, be of good cheer, the Lord loveth thee, and thou shalt come out into daylight soon, and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free.

THE REASON I AM SAVED

THE REASON I AM SAVED

By C.H. SPURGEON

“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” [John 15:16]

Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone.

I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit.

Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun, but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life—no, I rather kicked, and struggled against the things of the Spirit: when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him: there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me—warnings were cast to the wind—thunders were despised; and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, sure I am, I can say now, speaking on behalf of myself, “He only is my salvation.” It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him. I can in very deed, say with Doddridge and Toplady—
“Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o’erflow;”

and coming to this moment, I can add—
“‘Tis grace has kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.”

Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me.

I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul—when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man—that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, HOW DID YOU COME TO BE A CHRISTIAN? I sought the Lord. BUT HOW DID YOU COME TO SEEK THE LORD? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to MAKE ME seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, HOW CAME I TO PRAY? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. HOW CAME I TO READ THE SCRIPTURES? I did read them, but what led me to do so?

Then, in a moment, I saw that GOD WAS AT THE BOTTOM OF IT ALL, and that HE was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”

The FIRST CAUSE of your union with Christ lies in the PURPOSE OF GOD who gave you grace in Christ Jesus from before the foundation of the world. And as to the purpose, so to the power of God is your union with Christ to be attributed. HE brought you into Christ; you were a stranger, HE brought you near; you were an enemy, He reconciled you.

You had never come to Christ to seek for mercy if first of all the Spirit of God had not appeared to you to SHOW YOU your need, and to LEAD YOU to cry for the mercy that you needed. Through God’s operation as well as through God’s decree you are this day in Christ Jesus. It will do your souls good, my brethren, to think of this very common-place truth. Many days have passed since your conversion, it may be, but do not forget what a high day the day of your new birth was; and do not cease to give glory to that mighty power which brought you out of darkness into marvellous light.

YOU DID NOT CONVERT YOURSELF; IF YOU DID, YOU STILL HAVE NEED TO BE CONVERTED AGAIN!

Your regeneration was not of the will of man, nor of blood, nor of birth; if it were so, let me tell you the sooner you are rid of it the better. THE ONLY TRUE REGENERATION IS OF THE WILL OF GOD AND BY THE OPERATION OF THE HOLY GHOST. “By the grace of God I am what I am.” He “has begotten us again unto a lively hope.” “He that hath wrought us to the selfsame thing is God.” “OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus.” Through the operation and will and purpose of God are you this day a member of Christ’s body and one with Jesus.

Give all the glory, then, to the Lord alone!

THE CHRISTIAN’S ANCHOR SECURED BEYOND THE VEIL

THE CHRISTIAN’S ANCHOR SECURED BEYOND THE VEIL

C.H. Spurgeon

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec!” [Heb 6:19,20]

The design of an ANCHOR, of course, is to hold a vessel firmly to one place when winds and currents would otherwise remove it. God has given us certain truths which are intended to hold our minds fast to truths of God, holiness, and His perseverance—in a word, to hold us to Him. But why hold the vessel? The first answer which would suggest itself would be to keep it from being wrecked. The ship may not need an anchor in calm waters, when upon a broad ocean a little drifting may not be a very serious matter, but there are conditions of weather in which an anchor becomes altogether essential. When a gale is rushing towards the shore, blowing great guns and the vessel cannot hold her course, and must surely be driven upon an iron-bound coast, and then an anchor is worth its weight in gold!

If the good ship cannot be anchored there will be nothing left of her in a very short time except for here and there a spar; the gallant vessel will go to pieces, and every mariner drowned; now is the time to let down the anchor, the best bower anchor if you will, and let the good ship defy the wind. Our God does not intend His people to be shipwrecked—shipwrecked and lost forever; however, they would be if they were not held fast in the hour of temptation. Brothers and sisters, if every wind of doctrine whirled you about at its will, you would soon be drifted far away from the truth as it is in Jesus—and concerning it you would make shipwreck; but you cost your Lord too dear for Him to lose you; He bought you at too great a price, and sets too great a store by you for Him to see you broken to pieces on the rocks; therefore He has provided for you a glorious holdfast, that when Satan’s temptations, your own corruptions, and the trials of the world assail you, hope may be the anchor of your soul both sure and steadfast.

How much we need it! For we see others fall into the error of the wicked, overcome by the deceivableness of unrighteousness, and left forever as castaways. “Having no hope and without God in the world.” If you have done business on the great waters for any length of time, you must be well aware that were it not for everlasting truths of God which hold you fast, your soul had long since been hurried into everlasting darkness, and the proud waters had long before this have gone over your soul. When the mighty waves have lifted themselves up your poor boat has seemed to go down to the bottom of the mountains, and had it not been for His unchanging Love and immutable faithfulness, your heart had utterly fainted. Nevertheless here you are today convoyed by grace, provisioned by mercy, steered by heavenly Wisdom, and propelled by celestial power!

Thanks to the anchor, or rather to the God who gave it to you, no storm has overwhelmed you; you are under way for the port of glory! Hallelujah!

A WORD FROM A.W. PINK ON THE WORD ‘ANCHOR’

Below we give the literal rendering of Bagster’s Interlinear. “Which as an anchor we have of the soul both certain and firm, and entering into that within the veil”. Now an anchor is used for securing a ship, particularly in times of storm, to prevent it from DRIFTING. It is an INVISIBLE thing, sinking down beneath the waters and gripping firmly the ground beneath. The winds may roar and the waves lash the ship, but it rides them steadily, being held fast by something outside itself. Surely the figure is plain.

The “anchor” is CHRIST HIMSELF, sustaining His people down here in this world, in the midst of the wicked, who are likened unto “the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” ( Isaiah 57:20). Did He not declare, “Neither shall any pluck them out of My hand” ( John 10:28)? Certainly there is nothing in us “both sure and steadfast”: it is the love ( John 13:1), power ( Matthew 28:18,20), and faithfulness ( Hebrews 7:25) of Christ which is in view. “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (verse 20).

Surely this explains for us the previous verse: it was the entrance of Christ into Heaven which settles fast the “Anchor” within the veil! It was FOR US Christ has gone on High! A “forerunner” is one who has already traversed every step of the race which is set before us ( Hebrews 12:1,2), and who has entered into possession of that toward which he ran. Because Christ has been where we now are, we shall soon be where He now is. Thus, the force of this figurative title of our Redeemer is not only designed to give assurance of our security, but to show us WHERE that security lies entirely outside of ourselves: held fast by a triumphant and ascended Christ. Hence the force of His name here: “Jesus”, who “shall save his people from their sins” ( Matthew 1:21).

Praise the Lord!

AN EXHORTATION TO PRAY

AN EXHORTATION TO PRAY

C.H. Spurgeon

“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things,which thou knowest not.”— Jer 33:3

GOD encourages us to PRAY. They tell us that PRAYER is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the PRAYER of His servant. Let us CALL UPON Him again and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters?

God will answer His PLEADING people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of heaven to succor them, if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will CALL UPON Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our PRAYERS at once.

SINS OF PRESUMPTION

SINS OF PRESUMPTION

C.H. Spurgeon

“Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!” [Psalm 19:13]

ALL SINS are great sins, but yet some sins are greater than others. Every sin has in it the very venom of rebellion, and is full of the essential marrow of traitorous rejection of God. But there be some sins which have in them a greater development of the essential mischief of rebellion, and which wear upon their faces more of the brazen pride which defies the Most High. It is wrong to suppose that because all sins will condemn us, that therefore one sin is not greater than another. The fact is, that while all transgression is a greatly grievous sinful thing, yet there are some transgressions which have a deeper shade of blackness, and a more double scarlet-dyed hue of criminality than others.

“Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins!”

Will you just note, that this prayer was the PRAYER OF A SAINT, the prayer of a holy man of God! Did David need to pray thus? Did the “man after God’s own heart” need to cry, “Keep back Thy servant?” Yes, he did. And note the beauty of the prayer. If I might translate it into more metaphorical style, it is like this: “Curb Thy servant from presumptuous sin.” “Keep him back or he will wander to the edge of the precipice of sin. Hold him in, Lord; he is apt to run away; curb him; put the bridle on him; do not let him do it; let Thine overpowering grace keep him holy; when he would do evil, then do Thou draw him to good, and when his evil propensities would lead him astray, then do Thou check him.” “Check Thy servant from presumptuous sins.”

What then? Is It true that the best of men may sin presumptuously? Ah! it is true. It is a solemn thing to find the Apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome of sins. He says, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, inordinate affection,” and such like. What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do.

THE HIGHEST SAINTS MAY SIN THE LOWEST SINS, UNLESS KEPT BY DIVINE GRACE!

You old experienced Christians, boast not in your experience; you may trip yet, unless you cry, “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.” Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes an bright, say not “I shall never sin,” but rather cry out, “Lord, lead me not into temptation, and when there leave me not there; for unless Thou hold me fast I feel I must, I shall decline, and prove an apostate after all.” There is enough tinder in the hearts of the best men in the world to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God should quench the sparks as they fall.

There is enough corruption, depravity, and wickedness in the heart of the most holy man that is now alive to damn his soul to all eternity, if free and sovereign grace does not prevent. O Christian, thou hast need to pray this prayer. But I think I hear you saying, “Is thy servant a dog, that I should do this thing?” So said Hazael, when the prophet told him that he would slay his master; but he went home and took a wet cloth and spread it over his master’s face and choked him, and did the next day the sin which he abhorred before. Think it not enough to abhor sin, you may yet fall into it.

Say not, “I never can be drunken, for I have such an abhorrence of drunkenness;” Thou mayest fall where Thou art most secure. Say not, “I can never blaspheme God, for I have never done so in my life;” take care; you may yet swear most profanely. Job might have said, “I will never curse the day of my birth;” but he lived to do it. He was a patient man; he might have said, “I will never murmur; though He slay me, yet will I trust in him;” and yet he lived to wish that the day were darkness wherein he was brought forth. Boast not, then, O Christian; by faith thou standest. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

But if this need to be the prayer of the best, how ought it to be the prayer of you and me? If the highest saint must pray it, O mere moralist, thou hast good need to utter it. And ye who have begun to sin, who make no pretensions to piety, how much need is there for you to pray that you may be kept from presumptuously rebelling against God.

Instead, however, of enlarging upon that point, I shall close my few remarks this morning by just addressing myself most affectionately to such of you as are now under a sense of guilt by reason of presumptuous sins. God’s Spirit has found some of you out this morning. I thought when I was describing presumptuous sin that I saw here and there an eye that was suffused with tears; I thought I saw here and there a head that was bowed down, as much as to say, “I am guilty there.” I thought there were some hearts that palpitated with confession, when I described the guilt of presumption. I hope it was so. If it was I am glad of it. If I hit your consciences, it was that I meant to do. Not to your ears do I speak, but to your hearts. I would not give the snap of this my finger to gratify you with mere words of oratory, with a mere flow of language. No, God is my witness. I never sought effect yet, except the effect of hitting your consciences. I would use the words that would be most rough and vulgar in all our language, if I could get at your heart better with them than with any other; for I reckon that the chief matter with a minister is to touch the conscience.

If any of you feel, then, that you have presumed against God in sinning, let me just bid you look at your sin, and weep over the blackness of it; let me exhort you to go home and bow your heads with sorrow, and confess your guilt, and weep over it with many tears and sighs. You have greatly sinned, and if God should blast you into perdition now, He would be just; if now His fiery thunderbolt of vengeance should pierce you through, if the arrow that is now upon the string of the Almighty should find a target in your heart, he would be just. Go home and confess that, confess it with cries and sighs. And then what next wilt thou do? Why, I bid thee remember that there was a man who was a God. That man suffered for presumptuous sin. I would bid thee this day, sinner, if thou knowest thy need of a Saviour, go up to thy chamber, cast thyself upon thy face, and weep for sin; and when thou hast done that, turn to the Scriptures, and read the story of that man who suffered and died for sin. Think you see him in all his unutterable agonies, and griefs, and woes, and say this—

“My soul looks back to see
The burdens thou didst bear
When hanging on the accursed tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.”

Lift up your hand, and put it on His head who bled, and say,

“My faith would lay its hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin.”

Sit down at the foot of his cross, and watch Him till your heart is moved, till the tears begin to flow again, until your heart breaks within you; and then you will rise and say—

“Dissolved by His mercy, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found.”

O sinner, thou canst never perish, if thou wilt cast thyself at the foot of the cross. If thou seekest to save thyself thou shalt die; if thou wilt come, just as thou art, all black, all filthy, all hell-deserving, all ill-deserving, I am my Master’s hostage, I will be answerable at the day of judgment for this matter, if He does not save thee, I can preach on this subject now, for I trust I have tried my Master myself. As a youth I sinned, as a child I rebelled, as a young man I wandered into lusts and vanities: my Master made me feel how great a sinner I was and I sought to reform, to mend the matter; but I grew worse. At last I heard it said, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;” and I looked to Jesus. And O! my Saviour, Thou hast eased my aching conscience, Thou hast given me peace; Thou hast enabled me to say;

“Now, freed from sin I walk at large;
My Saviour’s blood’s a full discharge
At His dear feet my soul I lay,
A sinner saved, and homage pay.”

And O! my heart pants for you. O that you who never knew Him could taste His love now. O that you who have never repented might now receive the Holy Ghost who is able to melt the heart! And O that you who are penitents would look to Him now! And I repeat that solemn assertion—I am God’s hostage this morning; ye shall feed me on bread and water to my life’s end, ay, and I will bear the blame for ever, if any of you seek Christ and Christ rejects you. It must not, it cannot be. “Whosoever cometh,” He says, “I will in no wise cast out.” “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.” May God Almighty bless you; and may we meet again in yonder Paradise; and there will we sing more sweetly of redeeming love and dying blood, and of Jesus’ power to save;

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save:
I’ll sing Thy power to save.