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Coming to Christ
Published on Thursday, April 27th, 1916.
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
On Lord's-day Evening, June 17th, 1868.
"To whom coming." 1 Peter 2:4
IN THESE three words you have, first of all, a blessed person mentioned, under the pronoun "whom"?"To whom coming." In the way of salvation we come alone to Jesus Christ. All comings to baptism, comings to confirmation, comings to sacrament are all null and void unless we come to Jesus Christ. That which saves the soul is not coming to a human priest, nor even attending the assemblies of God's saints; it is coming to Jesus Christ, the great exalted Saviour, once slain, but now enthroned in glory. You must get to him, or else you have virtually nothing upon which your soul can rely. "To whom coming." Peter speaks of all the saints as coming to Jesus, coming to him as unto a living stone, and being built upon him, and no other foundation can any man lay than that which is laid, and if any man say that coming anywhere but to Christ can bring salvation, he hath denied the faith and utterly departed from it. The coming mentioned in the text is a word which is sometimes explained in Scripture by hearing, at other times by trusting or believing, and quite as frequently by looking. "To whom coming." Coming to Christ does not mean coming with any natural motion of the body, for he is in heaven, and we cannot climb up to the place where he is; but it is a mental coming, a spiritual coming; it is, in one word,a trusting in and upon him. He who believes Jesus Christ to be God, and to be the appointed atonement for sin, and relies upon him as such, has come to him, and it is this coming which saves the soul. Whoever the wide world over has relied upon Jesus Christ, and is still relying upon him for the pardon of his iniquities, and for his complete salvation, is saved.
Notice one thing more in these three words, that the participle is in the present. "To whom coming," not "To whom having come," though I trust many of us have come, but the way of salvation is not to come to Christ and then forget it, but to continue coming, to be always coming. It is the very spirit of the believer to be always relying upon Christ, as much after a life of holiness as when he first commenced that life; as much when he has been blessed with much spiritual nearness of access to God, and a holy, heavenly frame of mind; as much then, I say, as when, a poor trembling penitent, he said, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." To Christ we are to be, always coming; upon him always relying, to his precious blood always looking.
So I shall take the text, then, this evening thus:?These three words describe our first salvation, describe the life of the Christian, and then describe his departure, for what even is that but to be still coming to Christ, to be in his embrace for ever? First, then, these three words describe, and very accurately too:
I. THE FIRST SALVATION OF THE BELIEVER.
It is coming to Christ. I shall not try to speak the experience of many present; I know if it were necessary you could rise and give your "Yea, yes" to it. In describing the work of grace at the first, I may say that it was indeed a very simple thing for us to come to Christ, but simple as it was, some of us were very long in finding it out. The simplest thing in all the world is just to look to Jesus and live, to drink of the life-giving stream, and find our thirst for ever assuaged. But though it is so plain that he who runs may read, and a man needs scarce any wit to comprehend the gospel, yet we went hither and thither, and searched for years before we discovered the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus. Most of us were like Penelope, who spun by day, and then unwound her work at night. It was even so we did. We thought we were getting up a little. We had some evidence. We said, "Yes, we are in a better state; are shall yet be saved." But ere long the night of sorrow came in. We had a sight of our own sinfulness, and what we had spun, I say, by day, we unwound again quite as quickly by night. Well, there are some of you much in the same way now. You are like a foolish builder who should build a wall, and then should begin to knock down all the stones at once. You build, and then pull down. Or, like the gardener who, having put into the ground his seeds and planted his flowers, is not satisfied with them, and thinks he will have something else, and so tries again. Ah! the methods and the shifts we will be at to try and save ourselves, while, after all, Christ has done it all. We will do anything rather than be saved by Christ's charity. We do not like to bow our necks to take the mercy of God, as poor undeserving sinners. Some will attend their church or their chapel with wonderful regularity, and think that that will ease their conscience, and when they get no ease of conscience from that, then they will! try sacraments, and when no salvation comes from them, then there will be good works, Popish ceremonies, and I know not what besides. All sorts of doings, good, bad, and indifferent, men will take to, if they may but have a finger in their own salvation, while all the while the blessed Saviour stands by, ready to save them altogether if they will but be quiet and take the salvation he has wrought. All attempts to save ourselves by our own works are but a base bargaining with God for eternal life, but he will never give eternal life at a price, nor sell it, for all that man could bring, though in each hand he should hold a star; he will give it freely to those who want it. He will dispense it without money and without price to all who come and ask for it, and, hungering and thirsting, are ready to receive it as his free gift, but:
"Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorred,
And the fool with it, who insults his Lord,"
by bringing in anything that he can do as a Around of dependence, and putting that in the place of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I said, dear friends, that it was very simple, and indeed it is so, a very simple thing to trust Jesus and be saved, but it cost some of us many a day to find it out. Shall I just mention some of the ways in which persons are, long before they find it out. Some ask, "What is the best way to act faith? What is the best way to get this precious believing that I hear so much spoken of?" Now the question reminds me of a madman who, standing at a table which is well spread, says to a person standing there, "Tell me what is the best way to eat. What is the philosophy of eating?" "Why," the man replies, "I cannot be long about that; I need not write a long treatise on it: the best way I know of is to eat." And when people say, "What is the best way to get faith?" I say, "Believe." "But what is the best way to believe?" Why, believe. I can tell you nothing else. Some may say to you, "Pray for faith." Well, but how can you pray without faith? Or if they tell you to read, or do, or feel, in order to get faith, that is a roundabout way. I find not such exhortations as these put down as the gospel, but our Master, when he went to heaven, bade us go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; and what was that gospel to me? His own words are, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," and we cannot say anything clearer than that. "Believe"?that is, trust?"and be baptized," and these two things are put before you as Christ's ordained way of salvation. Now you want to philosophise, do you? Well, but why should a hungry man philosophies about the bread that it before him? Eat, sir, and philosophise afterwards. Believe in Jesus Christ, and when you get the joy and peace which faith in him will be sure to bring, then philosophize as you will.
But some are asking the question, "How shall I make myself fit to be saved?" That is similar to, a man who, being very black and filthy, coming home from a coal mine or from a forge, says, seeing the bath before him: "How shall I make myself fit to be"? You tell him at once that there cannot be any fitness for washing, except filthiness, which is the reverse of a fitness. So there can be no fitness for believing in Christ, except sinfulness, which is, indeed, the reverse of fitness. If you are hungry, you are fit to eat; if you are thirsty, you are fit to drink; if you are naked, you are fitted to receive the garments which charity is giving to those who need them; if you are a sinner, you are fitted for Christ, and Christ for you; if you are guilty, you are fitted to be pardoned; if you are lost, you are fitted to be saved. This, is all the fitness Christ requireth, and cast every other thought of fitness far hence; yea, cast it to the winds. If thou be needy, Christ is ready to enrich thee. If thou wilt come and confess thine offences before God, the gracious Saviour is willing to pardon thee just as thou art. There is no other fitness wanted.
But then, if you have answered that, some will begin to say, "Yes, but the way of salvation is coming to Christ and I am afraid I do not come in the right way." Dear, dear, how unwise we are in the matter of salvation! We are much more foolish than little children are in common, everyday life. A mother says to her little child, "Come here, my dear, and I will give you this apple." Now I will tell you what the first thought of the child is about; it is about the apple; and the second thought off the child is about its mother; and the very last thought he has is about the way of coming. His mother told him to come, and he does not say, "Well, but I do not know whether I shall come right." He totters along as best he can, and that does not seem to occupy his thoughts at all. But when you say to a sinner, "Come to Christ, and you shall have eternal life," he thinks about nothing but his coming. He will not think about eternal life, nor yet about Jesus Christ, to whom he is bidden to come, but only about coming, when he need not think of that at all, but just do it?do what Jesus bids him?simply trust him." "What kind of coming is that," says John Bunyan, "which saves a soul?" and he answers, "Any coming in all the world if it does but come to Jesus." Some come running; at the very first sermon they hear they believe in him. Some come slowly; they are many years before they can trust him. Some come creeping; scarcely able to come, they have to be helped by others, but as long as they do but come, he has said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." You may have came in the most awkward way in all the world, as that man did who was let down by ropes through the ceiling into the place where Jesus was, but Christ rejects no coming sinner, and you need not be looking to your coming, but looking to Christ. Look to him as God?he can save you; as the bleeding, dying Son of Man?he is willing to save you, and flat before his cross, with all your guilt upon you, cast yourself, and believe that he will save you. Trust him to do it, and he must save you, for that is his own word, and from it he cannot depart. Oh! cease, then, that care about the calling, and look to the Saviour.
We have met with others who have said, "I Well, I understand that, that if I trust in Christ, I shall be saved, but?but?but?I do not understand that passage in the Revelation: I cannot make out that great difficulty in Ezekiel; I am a great deal troubled about predestination and free will, and I cannot believe that I shall be saved until I comprehend all this." Now, my dear friend, you are altogether on the wrong tack. When I was going from Cook's Haven to Heligoland to the North of Germany, I noticed when we were out at sea, far away from the sight of land, innumerable swarms of butterflies. I wondered whatever they could do there, and when I was at Heligoland I noticed that almost every wave that came up washed ashore large quantities of poor dead, drowned butterflies. Now do you know those butterflies were just like you? You want to go out on to the great sea of predestination, free will, and I do not know what. Now there is nothing for you there, ant you have no more business there than the butterfly has out at sea. It will drown you. How much better for you just to come and fly to this Rose of Sharon?that is the thing for you. This Lily of the Valley?come and light here. There is something here for you, but out in that dread-sounding deep, without a bottom or a shore, you will be lost, seeking after the knowledge of difficulties, which God has hidden from man, and trying to pry into the thick darkness where God conceals truth which it were better not to reveal. Come you to Jesus. If you must have the knots untied, try to untie them after you get saved, but now your first business is with Jesus; your first business is coming unto him; for if you do not, your ruin is certain, and your destruction will be irretrievable. But I must not enlarge. Coming to Christ is very simple, yet how long it takes men to find it out!
Again, we, bear our witness to-night, that nothing but coming to Christ ever did give us any peace. In my own case I was distracted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted for some years, and I never could believe my sin forgiven or have any peace by day or night until I simply trusted Jesus, and from that time my peace has been like a river. I have rejoiced in the certainty of pardon, and sung with triumph in the Lord my God, and many of you are constantly doing the same, but until you looked to Christ, you had not any peace. You searched, and searched, and searched, but your search was fruitless until you looked into the five wounds of the expiring Saviour, and there you found life from the dead.
And once more, when we did come to Christ, we came very tremblingly, but he did not cast us out. We thought he never died for us, that he could not wash our sins away. We conceived that we were not of his elect; we dreamed that our prayers could only echo upon a brazen sky, and never bring us an answer. But still we came to Christ, because we dared not stop away. We were like a timid dove that is hunted by a hawk, and is afraid. We feared we should be destroyed, but he did not say to us, "You came to me tremblingly, and I will reject you." Nay, but into the bosom of his love he received us, and blotted out our sins. When we came to Jesus, we did not come bringing anything, but we came to him for everything. We came strictly empty-handed, and we got all we wanted in Christ. There is a piece of iron, and if it were to say, "Where am I to get the power from to cling to the loadstone?" the loadstone would say, "Let me get near you, and I will supply you with that." So we sometimes think, "How can I believe? How can I hope? How can I follow Christ?" Ay, but let Christ get near us, and he finds us with all that. We do not come to Christ to bring our repentance, but to get repentance. We do not come to him with a broken heart, but for a broken heart. We do not so much even come to him with faith, as come to him for faith.
"True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings us nigh;
Come to Jesus Christ, and buy."
This is the first way of salvation?simply trusting and looking up to Christ for everything. But, then, we did trust. There is a difference between knowing about trust and trusting. By God's Holy Spirit, we were not left merely to talk about faith, nor to think about it, but we did believe. If the Government were to announce that there would be ten thousand acres of land in New Zealand given to a settler, I can imagine two men believing it. One believes it and forgets it; the other believes it and takes his passage to go out and get the land. Now the first kind of faith saves nobody; but the second faith, the practical faith, is that which, for the sake of seeking Christ, gives up the sins of this life, the pleasures of it?I mean the wicked pleasures of it?gives up all confidence in everything else, and casts itself into the arms of the Saviour. There is the sea of divine love; he shall be saved who plunges boldly into it, and casts himself upon its waves, hoping to be upborne. Oh! my hearer, hast thou done this? If so, thou art certainly a saved one. If thou hast not, oh! may grace enable thee to do it ere yet that setting sun has hidden himself beneath the horizon. Hast thou known this before, that a simple trust in Christ will save thee? This is the one message of this inspired Volume. This is the gospel according to Paul, the one gospel which we preach continually. Try it, and if it save thee not, we will be bondsmen for God for thee. But it must save thee, for God is true, and cannot fail, and he has declared, "He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the Son of God."
Thus I have tried to explain as clearly as I can that coming to Jesus is the first business of salvation. Now, secondly, and with brevity. This is:
II. A GOOD DESCRIPTION OF THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
The Christian is always coming to Christ. He does not look upon faith as a matter of twenty years ago, and done with, but he comes today and he will come to-morrow. He will come to Jesus Christ afresh to-night before he goes to bed. We come to Jesus daily, for Christ is like the well outside the cottager's house. The man lets down the bucket and gets the cooling draught, but he goes again to-morrow, and he will have to go again at night if he is to leave a fresh supply. He must constantly go to the same place. Fishes do not live in the water they were in yesterday; they must be in it to-day. Men do not breathe the air which they breathed a week ago; they must have fresh air into the lungs moment by moment. Nobody thinks that he can be fed upon the fact that he did have a good meal six weeks ago; he has to eat continually. So "the just shall live by faith." We come to Jesus just as we came at first, and we say to him:
"Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked come to thee for dress,
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die."
This is the daily and hourly life of the Christian.
But while we thus come daily, we come more boldly than we used to do. At first we came like cringing slaves; now we came as emancipated men. At first we came as strangers. Now we come as brethren. We still come to the cross, but it is not so much to find pardon for past sins, for these are forgiven, as to find fresh comfort from looking up to him who wrought out perfect righteousness for us.
We come, also, to Jesus Christ, more closely than we used to do. I hope, brethren and sisters, you can say that you are not at such a distance from Christ now as you once were. We ought to be always getting nearer to him. The old preachers used to illustrate nearness to Christ by the planets. They said there were Jupiter and Saturn far away, with very little light and very little heat from the sun, and then they have their satellites, their rings, their moons, and their belts to make for that. Just so they said, with some Christians. They get worldly comforts?their moons, and their belts?but they have not got much of their Master; they have got enough to save them, but oh! such little light. But, said they, when you get to Mercury, there is a planet without moons. Why, the sun is its moon, and, therefore, what does it want with moons when it has the full blaze of the sun's light and heat continually pouring upon it? And what a nimble planet it is; how it spins along in its orbit, because it is near the sun! Oh! to be like that?not to be far away from Jesus Christ, even with all the comforts of this life, but to be near him, filled with life and sacred activity through the abundance of fellowship and communion with him. It is still coming, but it is coming after a nearer sort.
And I may say, too, that it is coming of a dearer sort, for there is more love in our coming now than there used to be. We did come at first, not so much loving Christ, as venturing to trust him, thinking him, perhaps, to be a hard Master; but now we know him to be the best of friends, the dearest of husbands. We come to his bosom, and we lean our heads upon it. We come in our private devotion; we tell him all our troubles; we unburden our hearts, and get his love shed abroad in our hearts in return, and we go away with a joy that makes our heart to leap within us and to bound like a young roe over the mountain-tops. Oh! happy is that man who gets right into the wounds of Jesus, and, with Thomas, cries, "My Lord and my God!" This is no, fanaticism, but a thing of sober, sound experience with some of us. We can rejoice in him, having no confidence in the flesh. It is still coming but it is coming after a dearer fashion.
Yet, mark you, it is coming still to the same person, coming still as poor humble ones to Christ. I have often told you, my dear brethren and sisters, that when you get a little above the ground, if it is only an inch, you get too high. When you begin to think that surely you are a saint, and that you have some good thing to trust to, that rotten stuff must all be pulled to pieces. Believe me, God will not let his people wear a rag of their own spinning; they must be clothed with Christ's righteousness from head to foot. The old heathen said he wrapped himself up in his integrity, but I should think he did not know what holes there were in it, or else he would have looked for something better. But we wrap ourselves in the righteousness of Christ, and there is not a cherub before the throne that wears a vestment so right royal as the poor sinner does when he wears the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Oh! child of God, always live upon your Lord. Hang upon him, as the pitcher hangs upon the nail. Lean on your Beloved; his arm will never weary of you. Stay yourselves upon him; wash in the precious fountain always; wear his righteousness continually; and be glad in the Lord, and your gladness need never fail while you simply and wholly lean upon him. And now, not to detain you longer, I come to the last point, upon which we will only say a word or two. The text is:
III. A VERY CORRECT DESCRIPTION OF OUR DEPARTURE.
"To whom coming." We shall soon, very soon, quit this mortal frame. I hope you have learned to think of that without any kind of shudder. Can you not sing:
"Ah! I shall soon be dying,
Time swiftly glides away;
But on my Lord relying
I hail the happy day."
What is there that we should wait here for? Those who have the most of this world's cods have found it paltry stuff. It perishes in the using. There is a satiety about it; it cannot satisfy the great heart of an immortal man. It is well for us that there is to be an end of this life, and especially for us to whom that end is glowing with immortality. Well, the hour of death will be to us a coming to Christ, a coming to sit upon his throne. Did you ever think of that? "To him that overcometh will I give to sit upon my throne." Lord, Lord, we would be well content to, sit at thy feet. 'Twere all the heaven we would ask if we might but creep behind the door, or stand and be manual servants, or sit, like Mordecai, in the king's court.' No; but it must not be. We must sit on his throne, and reign with him for ever and ever. This is what death will bring you?a glorious participation in the royalties of your ascended Lord.
What is the next thing? "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." So that we, are to be going to Christ ere long to behold his glory, and what a sight that will be! Have you ever thought of that too? What must it be to behold his glory? Some of my brethren think that when they get to heaven they shall like to behold some of the works of God in nature and so on. I must confess myself more satisfied with the idea that I shall behold his glory, the glory of the Crucified, for it seems to me that no kind of heaven but that comes up to the description of the Apostle when he saith, "Eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." But to see the stars, has entered into the heart of man, and to behold the works of God in nature, has been conceived of; but the joys we speak of are so spiritual that the Apostle says, "He has revealed them unto us by his Spirit," and this is what he has revealed, "That they may behold my glory." St. Augustine used to say there were two sights he would like to have seen?Rome in her splendour, and Paul preaching?the last the better sight of the two. But there is a third sight for which one might give up all, give up seeing Naples, or seeing anything, if we might but see the King his beauty. Why, even the distant glimpse which we catch of him through a glass or a telescope darkly ravishes the soul. Dr. Hawker was once waited upon by a friend, who asked him to go and see a naval review. He said, "No, thank you; I do not want to go." "You are a loyal man, doctor, and you would like to see the defences of your country." "Thank you, I do not wish to go." "But I have got a ticket for you, and you must go." "No," he said, "thank you," and after he had been pressed hard he said, "You have pressed me till I am ashamed, and now I must tell you?mine eyes have seen the King in his beauty, and the land which is very far off, and I have not any taste now for all the pomps that this world could possibly show." And if such a distant sight of Jesus can do this, what must it be to behold his glory with what the old Scotch divines used to call "a face-to-face view"; when the veil is taken down, when the clouds are blown away, and you see him face to face? Oh! long-expected day begin, when we shall be to him coming to dwell with him.
Once more only. Recollect we shall come to Christ not only to behold his glory, but to share in it. We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Whatever Christ shall be, his people shall be, in happiness, riches, and honour, and together they shall take their full share. The Church, his bride, shall sit on the same throne with him, and of all the splendours of that eternal triumph she will have her half, for Christ is no niggard to his imperial spouse, but she whom he chose before the world began, and bought with blood, and wrapped in his righteousness, and espoused to himself for ever, shall be a full partaker of all the gifts that he poses world without end. And this shall be, and this shall be, and this shall be for ever; for ever you shall be with Christ, for ever coming to him. When the miser's wealth has melted; when the honours of the conqueror have been blown away or consumed like chaff in the furnace; when sun and moon grow dim with age, and the hoary pillars of this earth begin to rock and reel with stern decay; when the angel shall have put one foot on the sea and the other on the land, and shall have sworn by him that liveth that time shall be no more; when the ocean shall be licked up with tongues of fire, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth and all the works that are therein shall be burnt up?then, then shall you be for ever with the Lord, eternally resting, eternally feasting, eternally magnifying him; being filled with all his fulness to the utmost capacity of your enlarged being, world without end.
So God grant it to us, that we may come to Christ now, that we may continue to come to Christ, that we may come to Christ then, lest rejecting him to-night we should be rejecting him for ever; lest refusing to trust him, we should be driven from his presence to abide in misery for ever! May we come now, for Christ's sake.
Christ Precious to Believers
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 13th, 1859, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"Unto you therefore which believe he is precious."-- 1 Peter 2:7
THIS TEXT CALLS to my recollection the opening of my ministry. It is about eight years since as a lad of sixteen, I stood up for the first time in my life to preach the gospel in a cottage to a handful of poor people, who had come together for worship. I felt my own inability to preach, but I ventured to take this text, "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious." I do not think I could have said anything upon any other text, but Christ was precious to my soul and I was in the flush of my youthful love, and I could not be silent when a precious Jesus was the subject. I had but just escaped from the bondage of Egypt, I had not forgotten the broken fetter; still did I recollect those flames which seemed to burn about my path, and that devouring gulf which opened its mouth as if ready to devour me. With all these things fresh in my youthful heart, I could speak of his preciousness who had been my Saviour, and had plucked me as a brand from the burning, and set me upon a rock, and put a new song in my mouth, and established my goings. And now, at this time what shall I say? "What hath God wrought?" How hath the little one become a thousand, and the small one a great people? And what shall I say concerning this text, but that if the Lord Jesus was precious then, he is as precious now? And if I could declare then , that Jesus was the object of my soul's desire, that for him I hoped to live, and for him I would be prepared to die, can I not say, God being my witness, that he is more precious to me this day than ever he was? In the recollection of his unparalleled mercy towards the chief of sinners, I must anew devote myself to him, and afresh surrender my heart to him who is Lord and King.
This remark is uttered by way of introduction, it may seem egotistical, but that I cannot help. I must give glory to God in the midst of the great congregation, and pay my vows to the Lord now in the midst of all his saints, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.
My text states a positive fact, namely, that Christ is precious to believers. This shall be the first part of our discourse; then in the second we will try to answer the question, why is Jesus Christ so precious to his believing people And conclude by declaring the test whereby you may try yourselves whether you are believers or not; for if you be believers in Christ, then Christ is precious to you, and if you think little of him, then rest assured you have not a true and saving faith in him.
I. First, this is a positive fact, that UNTO BELIEVERS JESUS CHRIST IS PRECIOUS. In himself he is of inestimable preciousness, for he is the very God of very God. He is moreover, perfect man without sin. The precious gopher wood of his humanity is overlaid with the pure gold of his divinity. He is a mine of jewels, and a mountain of gems. He is altogether lovely, but, alas! this blind world seeth not his beauty. The painted harlotries of that which, Madam Bubble, the world can see, and all men wonder after her. This life, its joy, its lust, its gains, its honours,--these have beauty in the eye of the unregenerate man, but in Christ he sees nothing which he can admire. He hears his name as a common word, and looks upon his cross as a thing in which he has no interest, neglects his gospel, despises his Word, and, perhaps, vents fierce spite upon his people. But not so the believer. The man who has been brought to know that Christ is the only foundation upon which the soul can build its eternal home, he who has been taught that Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, the author and the finisher of faith, thinks not lightly of Christ. He calls him all his salvation and all his desire; the only glorious and lovely one.
Now, this is a fact which has been proved in all ages of the world. Look at the beginning of Christ's appearance upon earth. Nay, we might go farther back and mark how Christ was precious in prospect to those who lived before his incarnation; but, I say, since he has come into the world, what abundant proofs have we that he is precious to his people! There were men found who were not unwilling to part with houses, and lands, and wife, and children, and country, and reputation, and honour, and wealth, nay, with life itself, for Christ's sake. Such was the charm that Christ had for ancient Christians, that if they must renounce their patrimony and their earthly wealth for his sake, they did it cheerfully and without a murmur. Nay, they could say, that what things were gain they counted but loss for Christ's sake, and did esteem them but as dross and dung if they could win Christ and be found in him.
We talk lightly of these things, but these were no mean sacrifices. For a man to leave the partner of his bosom, to be despised by her who ought to honour him, to be spit upon by his own children, to be driven out by his countrymen, and have his name mentioned as a hissing, and a reproach, and a bye-word; this is no easy matter to bear; and yet the Christians in the first ages took up this cross, and not only carried it patiently, but carried it joyfully; rejoicing in tribulations, if those tribulations fell upon them for Christ's sake and the gospel. Nay, more than this, Satan has been permitted to put forth his hand and touch Christ's people, not only in their goods and in their families, but in their bone and in their flesh. And mark how Christ's disciples have reckoned nothing to be a loss, so that they might win Christ. Stretched upon the rack, their strained nerves have only made them sing the louder, as though they were harp strings, only put in tune when they were drawn out to their extreme length. They have been tortured with hot irons and with the pincers; their backs have been ploughed with scourges, but when have you found any of the true followers of Christ flinch in the hour of pain? They have borne all this, and challenged their persecutors to do more, and invent fresh arts and devices, fresh cruelties, and try them. Christ was so precious, that all the pain of the body could not make them deny him, and when at last they have been taken forth to a shameful death--let the axe and the block, let the cross of crucifixion, let the spear, let the fire and the stake, let the wild horse and the desert testify that the believer has always been a man, who would suffer all this, and vastly more, but who would never renounce his confidence in Christ. Look at Polycarp before the lions, when he is brought into the midst of the assembly, and it is demanded of him that he will deny his God. Thousands of savage eyes look down upon him, and there he stands, a feeble man, alone in the arena, but he tells them that "he has known his Lord these many years and he never did him a displeasure, and he will not deny him at the last." "To the lions!" they cry, "To the lions!" and the lions rush upon him, and he is speedily devoured; but all this he would have borne at the mouths of a thousand lions, if he had a thousand lives, rather than he would have thought anything amiss against the Majesty of Jesus of Nazareth. The whole history of the ancient church of Christ, proves that Jesus has been an object of his peoples' highest veneration; that they set nothing in rivalry with him, but cheerfully and readily, without a murmur, or a thought, gave up all for Jesus Christ, and rejoiced to do so.
And this is just as true to-day as it was then. If to-morrow the stake could be set in Smithfield, Christian people are prepared to be fuel for the flame. If once more the block fixed on Tower hill, and the axe were brought forth from its hiding place, the heads of Christ's people would be cheerfully given, if they might but crown the head of Jesus and vindicate his cause. Those who declare that the ancient valour of the church is departed, know not what they say. The professing church may have lost its masculine vigour; the professors of this day may be but effeminate dwarfs, the offspring of glorious fathers; but the true church, the elect out of the professing church, the remnant whom God hath chosen, are as much in love with Jesus as his saints of yore, and are as ready to suffer and to die. We challenge hell and its incarnate representative, old Rome herself; let her build her dungeons, let her revive her inquisitions, let her once more get power in the state to cut, and mangle, and burn; we are still able to possess our souls in patience. We sometimes feel it were a good thing if persecuting days should come again, to try the church once more, and drive away the chaff, and make her like a goodly heap of wheat, all pure and clean. The rotten branches of the forest may tremble at the hurricane, for they shall be swept away, but those that have sap within them tremble not. Our roots are intertwisted with the Rock of Ages, and the sap of Christ flows within us and we are branches of the living vine, and nothing shall sever us from him. We know that not persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, shall divide us from the love of Christ, for in all these things we shall be as the church has been, more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Does any one think that I exaggerate? Mark, then, if what I have said be not true, then Christ has no church at all; for the church that is not prepared to suffer, and bleed and die for Christ, is not Christ's church. For what does he say? "He that loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."-- Matthew 10:37-38 . Albeit that Christ may not put us fully to the test, yet, if we be true, we must be ready for the ordeal; and if we be sincere, though we may tremble at the thought of it, we shall not tremble in the endurance of it. Many a man who says in his heart, "I have not a martyr's faith," has really that noble virtue; and let him but once come to the push, and the world shall see the grace that has been hidden, rising a giant from his slumbers. The faith which endures the relaxing of the world's sunshine, would endure the cutting frost of the world's persecution. We need not fear; if we be true to-day, we shall be true always.
This is not mere fiction, many are the proofs that Christ is still precious. Shall I tell you of the silent sufferers for Christ, who at this day suffer a martyrdom of which we hear not, but which is true and real? How many a young girl there is who follows Christ in the midst of an ungodly family; her father upbraids her, laughs at her, makes a scoff of her holiness, and pierces her through the heart with his sarcasm! Her brothers and her sisters call her "Puritan," "Methodist," and the like, and she is annoyed day by day with what the apostle calls, "Trial of cruel mockings." But she bears all this, and though the tear is sometimes forced by it from her eye, yet though she should weep blood she would "resist unto blood, striving against sin." These sufferers are unrecorded, they are not put into a Book of Martyrs. We have no Fox to write their martyrology, they have not the flesh-contenting knowledge that they shall be publicly honoured; but they suffer alone and unheard of, still praying for those who laugh at them: bowing themselves before God on their knees in agony, not on account of the persecution, but in agony of soul for the persecutors themselves, that they may be saved. How many there are of such young men in workshops, employed in large establishments, who bend their knee at night by the bed-side, in a large room where there are many scoffers. Some of us have known this in our youthful days, and have had to endure it; but Christ is precious to the silent sufferings of his people; these unhonoured martyrdoms prove that his church has not ceased to love him, not to esteem him precious.
How many there are, too--how many thousands of unseen and unknown labourers for Christ, whose names cannot be here declared. They toil from morning till night all through the week, and the Sabbath day should be a day of rest to them; but they work more on the Sabbath day than on any other day. They are visiting the beds of the sick; their feet are weary, and nature says rest, but they go into the lowest dens and haunts of the city to speak to the ignorant, and endeavour to spread the name and honour of Jesus where it has not been known. There are many such who are working hard for Christ, though the church scarce knows of it. And how many, too, there are who prove that they love Christ by the continual liberality of their offerings. Many are the poor people I have discovered, who have denied themselves of this and that, because they would serve Christ's cause. And many there are, too--every now and then we find them out--in the middle ranks of society, who give a hundred times as much to the cause of Christ as many of the rich and wealthy; and if you knew to what little trials they are put, to what shifts they are driven in order to serve Christ, you would say, "The man that can do this proves clearly that Christ is precious to him." And mark this, the reason why the church is not more laborious, not more generous in its gifts to the offertory of the Saviour, is just this, because the church of the day is not the church of Christ in its mass and bulk. There is a church of Christ within it, but the visible church, as it stands before you, is not to be considered the church of Christ; we must pass it through the fire, and bring the third part through the flame; for this is the day when the dross is mingled with gold. How hath the much fine gold become dim; how hath the glory departed. Zion is under a cloud. But mark, though you see it not, there is a church, a hidden church; an unmoving centre amidst the growing of profession, there is a life within this outward fungus of a growing Christianity; there is a life that is within, and to that hidden host, that chosen company, Christ is precious--they are proving it every day by their patient sufferings, by their laborious efforts, by their constant offerings to the church of Christ. "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious."
I will tell you one thing that proves--proves to a demonstration, that Christ is still precious to his people, and it is this:--send one of Christ's people to hear the most noted preacher of the age, whoever that may be; he preaches a very learned sermon, very fine and magnificent, but there is not a word about Christ in that sermon. Suppose that to be the case, and the Christian man will go out and say, "I did not care a farthing for that man's discourse." Why? "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. I heard nothing about Christ." Send that man on the Sabbath morning to hear some hedge and ditch preacher, some one who cuts the king's English about never so badly, but who preaches Jesus Christ--you will see the tears rolling down that man's face, and when he comes out he will say, "I do not like that man's bad grammar; I do not like the many mistakes he has made, but oh! it has done my heart good, for he spoke about Christ." That, after all, is the main thing for the Christian; he wants to hear about his Lord, and if he hears him magnified he will overlook a hundred faults. In fact, you will find that Christians are all agreed, that the best sermon is that which is fullest of Christ. They never like to hear a sermon unless there is something of Christ in it. A Welsh minister who was preaching last Sabbath at the chapel of my dear brother, Jonathan George, was saying, that Christ was the sum and substance of the gospel, and he broke out into this story:--A young man had been preaching in the presence of a venerable divine, and after he had done he went to the old minister, and said, "What do you think of my sermon?" "A very poor sermon indeed," said he. "A poor sermon?" said the young man, "it took me a long time to study it." "Ay, no doubt of it." "Why, did you not think my explanation of the text a very good one?" "Oh, yes," said the old preacher, "very good indeed." "Well, then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn't you think the metaphors were appropriate and the arguments conclusive?" "Yes, they were very good as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon." "Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?" "Because," said he, "there was no Christ in it." "Well," said the young man, "Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text." So the old man said, "Don't you know young man that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?" "Yes," said the young man. "Ah!" said the old divine "and so form every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And my dear brother, your business in when you get to a text, to say, 'Now what is the road to Christ?' and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis--Christ. And," said he, "I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that has not a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savour of Christ in it." Now since you say amen to that, and declare that what you want to hear is Jesus Christ, the text is proved--"Unto you therefore which believe he is precious."
But if you want to try this again and prove it, go and see some of our sick and dying friends; go and talk to them about the Reform Bill, and they will look you in the face and say, "Oh, I am going from this time-state: it is a very small matter to me whether the Reform Bill will be carried or not." You will not find them much interested in that matter. Well, then, sit down and talk to them about the weather, and how the crops are getting on--"Well, it is a good prospect for wheat this year." They will say, "Ah, my harvest is ripening in glory." Introduce the most interesting topic you can, and a believer, who is lying on the verge of eternity, will find nothing precious in it; but sit down by the bedside of this man, and he may be very near gone, almost unconscious, and begin to talk about Jesus--mention that precious soul-reviving, soul-strengthening name Jesus, and you will see his eye glisten, and the blanched cheek will be flushed once more--"Ah," he will say, "Precious Jesus, that is the name which calms my fears, and bids my sorrows cease." You will see that you have given the man a strong tonic, and that his whole frame is braced up for the moment. Even when he dies, the thought of Jesus Christ and the prospect of seeing him shall make him living in the midst of death, strong in the midst of weakness, and fearless in the midst of trembling. And this proves, by the experience of God's people, that with those who believe in him, Christ is and ever must be a precious Christ.
II. The second thing is, WHY IS CHRIST PRECIOUS TO THE BELIEVER? I observe--and I shall run over those particulars very briefly, though they would be worthy of a long, long sermon--Jesus Christ is precious to the believer, because he is intrinsically precious. But here let me take you through an exercise in grammar; here is an adjective, let us go through it. He is precious positively; he is more precious than anything comparatively; he is most precious of all things, and most precious even if all things were rolled into one and put into competition with him; he is thus precious superlatively. Now, there are few things you can thus deal with. You say, a man is a good man, he is good positively, and you say he is a great deal better than many other people; he is good comparatively: but you can never truly say to any man that he is good superlatively, because there he would still be found short of perfection. But Christ is good positively, comparatively, and superlatively.
Is he good positively Election is a good thing; to be chosen of God, and precious; but we are elect in Christ Jesus. Adoption is a good thing; to be adopted into the family of God is a good thing--ah, but we are adopted in Christ Jesus and made joint-heirs with him. Pardon is a good thing--who will not say so?--ay, but we are pardoned through the precious blood of Jesus. Justification--is not that a noble thing, to be robed about with a perfect righteousness?--ay, but we are justified in Jesus. To be preserved--is not that a precious thing?--ay; but we are preserved in Christ Jesus, and kept by his power even to the end. Perfection--who shall say that this is not precious? Well, but we are perfect in Christ Jesus. Resurrection, is not that glorious? We are risen with him. To ascend up on high, is not that precious? But he hath raised us up and made us sit together with him in heavenly places in Jesus Christ--so that Christ must be good positively, for he is all the best things in one. And if all these be good, surely he must be good in whom, and by whom, and to whom, and through are all these precious things.
But Christ is good comparatively. Bring anything here and compare with him. One of the brightest jewels we can have is liberty. If I be not free, let me die. Put the halter to my neck but put not the fetter to my wrist--a free man I must be while I live. Will not the patriot say that he would give his blood to buy liberty, and think it a cheap price? Ay, but put liberty side by side with Christ, and I would wear the fetter for Christ and rejoice in the chain. The apostle Paul himself could say, "I would that ye were altogether such I am,"--and he might add, "except these bonds," but though he excepted bonds for others, he did not except them for himself, for he rejoiced in the chain and counted it as a mark of honor. Besides liberty, what a precious thing is life! "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath, will he give for his life." But let a Christian--a true Christian, once have the choice between life and Christ,--"No," says he, "I can die, but I cannot deny; I can burn, but I cannot turn. I confess Christ and perish in the flame; but I cannot deny Christ, even though you exalt me to a throne." There would be no choice between the two. And then whatever earthly good there may be in comparison with Christ, the believer's testimony goes to prove that Christ is precious comparatively, for there is nothing that can match with him.
And then to go higher still--Christ is good superlatively. The superlative of all things is heaven, and if it could be possible to put Christ in competition with heaven, the Christian would not stop a moment in his choice; he would sooner be on earth with Christ than be in heaven without him. Nay, I do not know whether he would not go almost as far as Rutherford, who said, "Lord, I would sooner be in hell with thee than in heaven without thee; for if I were in heaven without thee it would be a hell to me, and if I were in hell with thee it would be a heaven to me." We may put it so, and every Christian will subscribe to it. Now, come ye messengers of the world and take on your shoulders all its treasures. CÃ¦sar, pour out thy gold in one glittering pile; CÃ¦sar, lay down thine honours here in one gaudy heap; here, Tiberius, bring all the joys of Capri's lust and vice; Solomon, bring here all the treasures of wisdom; Alexander, bring all thy triumphs; Napoleon, bring thy wide-spread empire and thy fame, put them all here, all that earth calls good; and now come, thou bleeding Lamb of God, thou marred and matchless Saviour, come here and tread these beneath thy feet, for what are all these compared with thee? I pour contempt on them all. Now am I dead to all the world, and all the world is dead to me. The whole realm of nature is small in comparison with thee, as a drop in the bucket when compared with a boundless ocean. Jesus Christ, then, is precious superlatively.
2. What more can we say? Still to answer this question again: Why is Christ precious to the believer more than to any other man? Why it is the believer's want that makes Christ precious to him. That is one answer. We have been having a small shower of rain lately, and I dare say there are very few of you who felt grateful for it; since it gave you a little wetting coming here. But suppose that shower of rain could have fallen on the desert of Arabia, what a precious thing it would have been. Yea, every rain drop would have been worth a pearl; and as for the shower, though it had rained gold dust, the rich deposit would not have been comparable to the flood when it descended from on high. But what is the reason that water is so precious there? Simply because it is so rare. Suppose I am in England; there is abundance of water and I cannot sell it; water is so common, and therefore so cheap. But put a man in the desert and let the water-skin be dried up, let him come to the well wherein he expected to find water, and it has failed him; can you not conceive that that small drop of water might be worth a king's ransom? Nay, that a man might hoard it up, and conceal it from all his comrades, because on that small drop of water depended his life? The way to prize water is to value it with a tongue like a firebrand, and with a mouth like an oven. Then can I estimate its value when I know its want. So with Christ. The worldling does not care for Christ, because he has never hungered and thirsted after him; but the Christian is athirst for Christ; he is in a dry and thirsty land, where not water is, and his heart and his flesh pant after God, yea for the living God; and as the thirsty soul dying, cries out water, water, water, so the Christian cries out Christ, Christ, Christ! This is the one thing needful for me, and if I have it not, this thirst must destroy me.
Mark, too, that the believer may be found in many aspects, and you will always find that his needs will endear Christ to him. Here is a man about to be tried for his life. Before he had committed the wrong, he used to say, "Lawyers, attornies, pleaders, away with them, what is the good of them?" Now he has got into prison he thinks very differently. He says, "I wish I could get a good special pleader to plead my cause;" and he runs over the roll to see the best man to plead for him. At last he says, "Here is a man, if he could plead my cause I might hope to escape, but I have no money with which to engage him;" and he says to his wife--"Wife, we must sell our house;" or, "We must get money somehow, for I am on trial for my life, and I must have an advocate." And what will not a woman do to get an advocate for her husband? Why, she will pledge the last rag she has to get one. Now, does not the believer feel himself to be in just such a position? He is a poor sinner on trial for his life, and he wants an advocate; and every time he looks on Christ pleading his cause before the Father's throne, he says, "O what a precious Christ he is to a poor sin-destroyed sinner, for he pleads his cause before the throne."
But suppose another case; that of a man drawn for a soldier. In such times men always look out for substitutes. I remember when the ballot was coming for the militia, how every man joined a substitute club in order that if he were drawn he might not go himself. Now suppose a man had been drawn, how valuable would a substitute have been--for no man in his senses likes to be food for powder--he would rather a man without brains go and do such work as that, but as for him he estimates himself at too high a price. But suppose he is not only drawn for a soldier, but condemned to die. See yon poor wretch coming up the gallows stairs; some one whispers to him, "What would you give for a substitute now? What would you give for some one to come and bear this punishment?" See his eye rolls madness at the thought. "A substitute," says he, "I could not buy one for the whole world. Who would be a substitute for me, to swing into eternity amidst the yellings of a crowd?" But suppose--and we are only supposing what has actually occurred--suppose this man saw not only the gallows and the drop, but hell fire before him, and it were said to him, "You must burn in that for ever unless you find a substitute," would not that be a precious one? Now, mark, that is just our position. The Christian feels that hell is before him, if it were not that he has a glorious substitute. Jesus came forward, and said, "I will bear that punishment; pour hell on me, my Father let me drink damnation dry;" and he did it; he endured all those pains, or an equivalent for them; he suffered in the rebel's stead; and now, through him the substitute, we are absolved and free. Oh, must not he be a precious Christ
But think of Christ again, and then think of the believer's wants. I will try and run over a number of them. The believer is a silly sheep. What a precious thing is a shepherd, and how precious are green pastures and still waters. The believer is like a desolate woman. What a precious thing is a husband who shall provide for her, and shall console and cherish her. The believer is a pilgrim, and the hot sun beats on him. What a precious thing is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The believer is a bond-slave by nature. What a precious thing is the trump of jubilee, and the ransom-price that sets him free. The believer, by nature, is a sinking, drowning man. How precious to him is that plank of free-grace, the cross of Christ, on which he puts his poor trembling hand and secures glory. But what more shall I say? Time would fail me to tell of all the wants of the believer, and of the all-abounding and ever-flowing streams of love that flow from Christ, the fountain that fills the believer to the brim. O say, ye children of God, is he not while ye are in these lowlands of want and suffering, inconceivably, unutterably, superlatively precious to you
3. But once more. Look at the believer not only in his wants, but in his highest earthly state. The believer is a man that was once blind and now sees. And what a precious thing is light to a man that sees. If I, as a believer, have an eye, how much I need the sun to shine. If I have no light my eye becomes a torture, and I might as well have been blind. And when Christ gives sight to the blind he makes his people a seeing people. It is then that they find what a precious thing is the sight, and how pleasant a thing it is for a man to behold the sun. The believer is a man that is quickened. A dead corpse wants no clothing, for it feels no cold. Let a man once be quickened and he finds himself naked, and wants clothing. From the very fact that the Christian is a quickened man, he values the robe of righteousness that is put about him. Christ touches his people's ears and opens them; but it were better for man to be deaf than to hear for ever doleful groans and hissings. But such must he have been, ever hearing it if it were not for Christ playing sweet music to him every day, and pouring streams of melody into his ears through his promises. Yes, I say, the very new-born powers of the Christian would be very channels for misery if it were not for Christ. Even in his highest estate the Christian must feel that Christ is necessary unto him, and then he must conclude that Christ is precious to him.
But believer, how precious is Christ to thee in the hour of conviction of sin, when he says, "Thy sins which are many, are all forgiven thee." How precious to thee in the hour of sickness, when he comes to thee and says, "I will make all thy bed in thy sickness." How precious to thee in the day of trial, when he says, "All things work together for thy good." How precious when friends are buried, for he says, "I am the resurrection and the life." How precious in thy grey old age, "even in old age I am with thee, and to hoary hairs will I carry you." How precious in the lone chamber of death, for "I will fear no evil, thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff comfort me." But, last of all, how precious will Christ be when we see him as he is. All we know of Christ here is as nothing compared with what we shall know hereafter. Believer, when thou seest Christ's face now, thou only seest if through a veil--Christ is so glorious, that like Moses he is compelled to put a veil upon his face, for his poor people while they are here are so feeble that they could not behold him face to face. And if he be lovely here, when he is marred and spit upon, how lovely must he be when he is adored and worshipped. If he is precious on his cross, how much more precious when he sits on his throne. If I can weep before him, and love him, and live to him, when I see him as the despised man of Nazareth; Oh, how shall my spirit be knit to him, how shall my heart be absorbed with love to him, when I see his face and behold his crown of glory, when I mark the harpings of the never-ceasing harpers who harp his praise. Wait awhile, Christian. If he is precious to the believer now, when faith is turned to sight he will be more precious still. Go out of this hall, and cry, "O Lord Jesus, I must love thee, I must serve thee better, I must live for thee; I must be ready to die for thee--for
'Thou art precious to my soul,
My transport and my trust.'"
This brings me to conclude--and here I want your solemn and earnest attention while each one for himself shall answer this question--my hearer, is Christ precious to you? My young brother, you of the same age as myself, is Jesus precious to you in your youth? Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? only by taking heed thereto according to Christ's word, and by walking in his footsteps. Ye men and women of middle age, is Christ precious to you? Remember that this world is but a dream, and if you have not something more satisfactory than that, you will be disappointed, even though you succeed beyond your highest wishes. And ye grey headed men, who are going tottering to your graves, whose life is like a candle-snuff, almost expiring, like a lamp whose oil is spent. Is Christ precious to you, ye with the bald head, and with the hoary lock, is Jesus precious to your soul? Remember, on your answer to this question depends your condition. You believe, if he is precious to you, but if he is not precious, then you are not believers, and you are condemned already because you believe not on the Son of God. Now, which is it? Oh, methinks some of you feel as if you could spring from your seats, and say, "Yes, he is precious to me, I cannot deny it." Once there was a good minister who was catechising his class, and he said to the young people, "The question which I am about to ask is such that I want none of you to answer but those who can answer from your heart." The congregation was gathered together, and he put this question to them concerning Christ--"Suppose Christ was here, and should say, 'Lovest thou me?' what would be your reply?" He looked around, and glanced upon all the young men and the young women, and said, "Jesus speaks to you the first time, and says, 'Lovest thou me?' He speaks a second time, and he says, 'Lovest thou me?'" There was a solemn pause and no one answered; and the congregation looked at the class, and at last the minister said once more, "Jesus speaks by me a third time, and says, 'Lovest thou me?'" Up rose a young woman, who could keep her seat no longer, and, bursting into tears, said, "Yea, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." Now, how many are there here who could say that? Could not you now, if this were the time--although you might be bashful in the midst of so many--could you not, if Christ asked you the question, boldly say, though in the midst of enemies--"Yea, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." Well, if you can give such an answer as that, go home and pray that others may be brought to love him, for you yourselves are saved; but if you are compelled to be silent to such a question as that, O may God lead you to seek Christ, may you too be driven to the cross, may you there see his dear bleeding wounds, may you behold his open side, and falling at his feet, may you say, "I trust thee, I rely upon thee, I depend upon thee," and he will say, "I have saved thee;" and then will you spring to your feet, and say, "Lord I love thee, because thou hast first loved me." May such be the end of this sermon, and to God be all the glory.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26