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The Abiding of the Spirit the Glory of the Church
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, September 5th, 1886, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not." Haggai 2:4-5 .
SATAN is always doing his utmost to stay the work of God. He hindered these Jews from building the temple; and to-day he endeavours to hinder the people of God from spreading the gospel. A spiritual temple is to be builded for the Most High, and if by any means the evil one can delay its uprising he will stick at nothing: if he can take us off from working with faith and courage for the glory of God he will be sure to do it. He is very cunning, and knows how to change his argument and yet keep to his design: little cares he how he works, so long as he can hurt the cause of God. In the case of the Jewish people on their return from captivity he sought to prevent the building of the temple by making them selfish and worldly, so that every many was eager to build his own house, and cared nothing for the house of the Lord. Each family pleaded its own urgent needs. In returning to a long-deserted and neglected land, much had to be done to make up for lost time; and to provide suitably for itself every family needed all its exertions. They carried this thrift and self-providing to a great extreme, and secured for themselves luxuries, while the foundations of the temple which had been laid years before remained as they were, or became still more thickly covered up with rubbish. The people could not be made to bestir themelves to build a house of God, for they answered to every exhortation, "The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." A more convenient season was always looming in the future, but it never came. Just now it was too hot, further it was too cold; at one time the wet season was just setting in, and it was of no use to begin, and soon the fair weather required that they should be in their own fields. Like some in our day, they saw to themselves first, and God's turn was very long in coming; hence the prophet cried, "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?"
By the mouth of His servant Haggai stern rebukes were uttered, and the whole people were aroused. We read in verse twelve of the first chapter, "Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord." All hands were put to the work; course after course of stone began to rise; and then another stumbling-block was thrown in the way of the workers. The older folks remarked that this was a very small affair compared with the temple of Solomon, of which their fathers had told them; in fact, their rising building was nothing at all, and not worthy to be called a temple. The prophet describes the feeling in the verse which precedes our text. "Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" Feeling that their work would be very poor and insignificant, the people had little heart to go on. Being discouraged by the humiliating contrast, they began to be slack; and as they were quite willing to accept any excuse, and here was an excuse ready made for them, they would soon have been at a standstill had not the prophet met the wiles of the arch-enemy with another word from the Lord. Nothing so confounds the evil one as the voice of the Eternal. Our Lord Himself defeated Satan by the word of the Lord; and the prophet Haggai did the same. The subtle craft of the enemy is defeated by the wisdom of the Most High, which reveals itself in plain words of honest statement. The Lord cuts the knots which bind His people, and sets them at liberty to do His will. He did this by assuring them that He was with them. Twice the voice was heard "I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts." They were also assured that what they builded was accepted, and that the Lord meant to fill the new house with glory; yea, He meant to light it up with a glory greater than that which honoured the temple of Solomon. They were not spending their strength for nought, but were labouring with divine help and favour. Thus they were encouraged to put their shoulders to the work: the walls rose in due order, and God was glorified in the building up of His Zion.
The present times are, in many respects, similar to those of Haggai. History certainly repeats itself within the church of God as well as outside of it; and therefore the messages of God need to be repeated also. The words of some almost-forgotten prophet may be re-delivered by the watchman of the Lord in these present days, and be a timely word for the present emergency. We are not free from the worldliness which puts self first and God nowhere, else our various enterprises would be more abundantly supplied with the silver and the gold which are the Lord's, but which even professing Christians reserve for themselves. When this selfish greed is conquered, then comes in a timorous depression. Among those who have escaped from worldliness there is apt to be too much despondency, and men labour feebly as for a cause which is doomed to failure. This last evil must be cured. I pray that our text may this morning flame from the Lord's own mouth with all the fire which once blazed about it. May faint hearts be encouraged and drowsy spirits be aroused, as we hear the Lord say, "My spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not."
I shall enter fully upon the subject, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, by calling your attention to discouragement forbidden. Then I shall speak of encouragement imparted; and, having done so, I shall linger with this blessed text, which overflows with comfort, and shall speak, in the third place, of encouragement further applied. Oh that our Lord, who knows how to speak a word in season to him that is weary, may cheer the hearts of seekers by what shall be spoken under this last head of discourse!
I. To begin with, here is DISCOURAGEMENT FORBIDDEN. Discouragement comes readily enough to us poor mortals who are occupied in the work of God, seeing it is a work of faith, a work of difficulty, a work above our capacity, and a work much opposed.
Discouragement is very natural: it is a native of the soil of manhood. To believe is supernatural, faith is the work of the Spirit of God; to doubt is natural to fallen men; for we have within us an evil heart of unbelief. It is abominably wicked, I grant you; but still it is natural, because of the downward tendency of our depraved hearts. Discouragement towards good things is a weed that grows without sowing. To be faint-hearted and downcast happens to some of us when we are half drowned in this heavy atmosphere, and it also visits us on the wings of the east wind. It takes little to make some hands hang down: a word or a look will do it. I do not, therefore, excuse it; but the rather condemn myself for having a nature prone to such evil.
Discouragement may come and does come to us, as it did to these people, from a consideration of the great things which God deserves at our hands, and the small things which we are able to render. When in Haggai's days the people thought of Jehovah, and of the temple for Him, and then looked upon the narrow space which had been enclosed, and the common stones which had been laid for foundations, they were ashamed. Where were those hewn stones and costly stones which, of old, Solomon brought from far? They said within themselves, "This house is unworthy of Jehovah: what do we by labouring thus?" Have you not felt the depressing weight of what is so surely true? Brethren, all that we do is little for our God; far too little for Him that loved us and gave Himself for us. For Him that poured out His soul unto death on our behalf the most splendid service, the most heroic self-denial, are all too little; and we feel it so. Alabaster boxes of precious ointment are too mean a gift. It does not occur to our fervent spirit to imagine that there can be any waste when our best boxes are broken and the perfume is poured out lavishly for Him. What we do fear is that our alabaster boxes are too few, and that our ointment is not precious enough. When we have done our utmost in declaring the glory of Jesus, we have felt that words are too poor and mean to set forth our adorable Lord. When we have prayed for His kingdom we have been disgusted with our own prayers; and all the efforts we have put forth in connection with any part of His service have seemed too few, too feeble for us to hope for acceptance. Thus have we been discouraged. The enemy has worked upon us by this means, yet he has made us argue very wrongly. Because we could not do much, we have half resolved to do nothing! Because what we did was so poor, we were inclined to quit the work altogether! This is evidently absurd and wicked. The enemy can use humility for his purpose as well as pride. Whether he makes us think too much or too little of our work, it is all the same to him as long as he can get us off from it.
It is significant that the man with one talent went and hid his Lord's money in the earth. He knew that it was but one, and for that reason he was the less afraid to bury it. Perhaps he argued that the interest on one talent could never come to much, and would never be noticed side by side with the result of five or ten talents; and he might as well bring nothing at all to his Lord as bring so little. Perhaps he might not have wrapped it up if it had not been so small that a napkin could cover it. The smallness of our gifts may be a temptation to us. We are consciously so weak and so insignificant, compared with the great God and His great cause, that we are discouraged, and think it vain to attempt anything.
Moreover, the enemy contrasts our work with that of others, and with that of those who have gone before us. We are doing so little as compared with other people, therefore let us give up. We cannot build like Solomon, therefore let us not build at all. Yet, brethren, there is a falsehood in all this; for, in truth, nothing is worthy of God. The great works of others, and even the amazing productions of Solomon, all fell short of His glory. What house could man build for God? What are cedar, and marble, and gold as compared with the glory of the Most High? Though the house was "exceeding magnifical," yet the Lord God had of old dwelt within curtains, and never was His worship more glorious than within the tent of badger's skins; indeed, as soon as the great house was built, true religion declined. What of all human work can be worthy of the Lord? Our little labours do but share the insignificance of greater things, and therefore we ought not to withhold them: yet here is the temptation from which we must pray to be delivered.
The tendency to depreciate the present because of the glories of the past is also injurious. The old people looked back to the days of the former temple, even as we are apt to look upon the times of the great preachers of the past. What work was done in those past days? What Sabbaths were enjoyed then! What converts were added to the church! What days of refreshing were then vouchsafed! Everything has declined, decreased, degenerated! As for the former days, they beheld a race of giants, who are now succeeded by pigmies. We look at one of these great men, and cry,
"Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves."
But, brethren, we must not allow this sense of littleness to hamper us; for God can bless our littleness, and use it for His glory. I notice that the great men of the past thought of themselves even as we think of ourselves. Certainly they were not more self-confident than we are. I find in the story of the brave days of old the same confessions and the same lamentations which we utter now. It is true that in a spiritual strength we are not what our fathers were; I fear the Puritanic holiness and truthfulness of doctrine are dying out, while adherence to principle is far from common; but our fathers had also faults and follies to mourn over, and they did mourn over them most sincerely. Instead of being discouraged because what we do is unworthy of God, and insignificant compared with what was done by others, let us gather up our strength to reform our errors, and reach to higher attainments. Let us throw our heart and soul into the work of the Lord, and yet do something more nearly in accordance with our highest ideal of what our God deserves of us. Let us excel our ancestors. Let us aspire to be even more godly, more conscientious, and more sound in the faith than they were, for the Spirit of God remaineth with us.
Brethren, it is clear that discouragement can be produced by these reasons, and yet they are a mere sample of a host of arguments which work in the same direction: hence discouragement is very common. Haggai was sent to speak to Zerubbabel, the governor, and to Joshua, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people. The great man may become discouraged: he that leads the van has his fainting fits; even Elijah cries, "Let me die!" The consecrated servant of God whose life is a priesthood is apt to grow discouraged, too: standing at God's altar, he sometimes trembles for the ark of the Lord. The multitude of the people are all too apt to suffer from panic, and to flee at the sight of the enemy. How many are they who say, "The old truth cannot exceed: the cause of orthodoxy is desperate; we had better yield to the modern spirit"! This faith-heartedness is so common that it has been the plague of Israel from her first day until now. They were discouraged at the Red Sea, at the mere rattling of Pharaoh's chariots; they were discouraged when they found no water; they were discouraged when they had eaten up the bread which they brought out of Egypt; they were discouraged when they heard of the giants, and of the cities walled to heaven. I need not lengthen the wretched catalogue. What has not cowardice done? The fearful and unbelieving have brought terrible disasters upon our camps. Discouragement is the national epidemic of our Israel. "Being armed and carrying bows" we turn back in the day of battle. This is as common among Christians as consumption among the inhabitants of this foggy island. Oh that God would save us all from distrust, and cause us to quit ourselves like men!
Wherever discouragement comes in it is dreadfully weakening. I am sure it is weakening, because the prophet was bidden to say three times to the governor, high priest, and people, "Be strong." This proves that they had become weak. Being discouraged, their hands hung down, and their knees were feeble. Faith girds us with omnipotence, but unbelief makes everything hang loose and limp about us. Distrust, and thou wilt fail in everything; believe, and according to thy faith so shall it be unto thee. To lead a discouraged people to the Holy War is as difficult as for Xerxes' commanders to conduct the Persian troops to battle against the Greeks. The vassals of the great king were driven to the conflict by whips and sticks, for they were afraid to fight: do you wonder that they were defeated? A church that needs constant exhorting and compelling accomplishes nothing. The Greeks had no need of blows and threats, for each man was a lion, and courted the encounter, however great the odds against him. Each Spartan fought con amore; he was never more at home than when contending for the altars and the hearths of his country. We want Christian men of this same sort, who have faith in their principles, faith in the doctrines of grace, faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and who therefore contend earnestly for the faith in these days when piety is mocked at from the pulpit, and the gospel is sneered at by professional preachers. We need men who love the truth, to whom it is dear as their lives; men into whose hearts the old doctrine is burned by the hand of God's Spirit through a deep experience of its necessity and of its power. We need no more of those who will parrot what they are taught, but we want men who will speak what they know. Oh, for a troop of men like John Knox, heroes of the martyr and covenanter stock! Then would Jehovah of hosts have a people to serve Him who would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Discouragement not only weakens men, but it takes them off from the service of God. It is significant that the prophet said to them, "Be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work." They had ceased to build: they had begun to talk and argue, but they had laid down the trowel. They were extremely wise in their observations, and criticisms, and prophecies; but the walls did not rise. One person knew exactly how big the former temple was; another declared that their present architect was not up to the mark, and that the structure was not built in a scientific manner: one objected to this, and another to that; but everyone was wiser than all the rest, and sneered at old-fashioned ways. It is always so when we are discouraged: we cease from the work of the Lord, and waste time in talk and nonsensical refinements. May the Lord take away discouragement from any of you who now suffer from it! I suppose some of you do feel it, for at times it creeps over my heart and makes me go with heaviness to my work. I believe that God's truth will come to the front yet, but it hath many adversaries to-day. All sorts of unbeliefs are being hatched out from under the wings of "modern thought." The gospel seems to be regarded as a nose of wax, to be altered and shaped by every man who wishes to show his superior skill. Nor is it in doctrine alone, but in practice also, that the times are out of joint. Separateness from the world, and holy living, are to give place to gaiety and theatre-going. To follow Christ fully has gone out of fashion with many of those from whom we once hoped better things. Yet are there some who waver not, some who are willing to be in the right with two or three. For my own part, even should I find none around me of the same mind, I shall not budge an inch from the old truth, nor sweat a hair of fear of its overthrow; but I shall abide confident that the eternal God, whose truth we know and hold, will vindicate Himself ere long, and turn the wisdom of the world into babble, and its boasting into confusion. Blessed is the man who shall be able to stand fast by his God in these evil days. Let us not in any wise be discouraged. "Be strong; be strong; be strong," sounds as a threefold voice from the Triune God. "Fear not" comes as a sweet cordial to the faint: therefore let no man's heart fail him. Thus much about the discouragement.
II. Secondly, here is THE ENCOURAGEMENT IMPARTED, which is the grand part of our text. "According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not." God remembers His covenant and stands to His ancient promises. When the people came out of Egypt, the Lord was with them by His Spirit; hence He spoke to them by Moses, and through Moses He guided, and judged, and taught them. He was with them also by His Spirit in inspiring Bezaleel and Aholiab, as to the works of art which adorned the tabernacle. God always finds the workmen for His work, and by His Spirit fits them for it. The Spirit of God rested upon the elders who were ordained to relieve Moses of his great burden. The Lord was also with His people in the fiery cloudy pillar which was conspicuous in the midst of the camp. His presence was their glory and their defence. This is a type of the presence of the Spirit with the church. At the present day, if we hold the truth of God, if we live in obedience to His holy commands, if we are spiritually-minded, if we cry unto God in believing prayer, if we have faith in His covenant and in His Son, the Holy Spirit abideth among us. The Holy Ghost descended upon the church at Pentecost, and He has never gone back again: there is no record of the Spirit's return to heaven. He will abide with the true church evermore. This is our hope for the present struggle. The Spirit of God remaineth with us.
To what end, my brethren, is this Spirit with us? Let us think of this, that we may be encouraged at this time. The Spirit of God remaineth among you to aid and assist the ministry which He has already given. Oh, that the prayers of God's people would always go up for God's ministers, that they may speak with a divine power and influence which none shall be able to gainsay! We look too much for clever men; we seek out fluent and flowery speakers; we sigh for men cultured and trained in all the knowledge of the heathen: nay, but if we sought more for unction, for divine authority, and for the power which doth hedge about the man of God, how much wiser should we be! Oh,m that all of us who profess to preach the gospel would learn to speak in entire dependence upon the direction of the Holy Spirit, not daring to utter our own words, but even trembling lest we should do so, and committing ourselves to that secret influence without which nothing will be powerful upon the conscience or converting to the heart. Know ye not the difference between the power that cometh of human oratory, and that which cometh by the divine energy which speaks so to the heart that men cannot resist it? We have forgotten this too much. It were better to speak six words in the power of the Holy Ghost than to preach seventy years of sermons without the Spirit. He who rested on those who have gone to their reward in heaven can rest this day upon our ministers and bless our evangelists, if we will but seek it of Him. Let us cease to grieve the Spirit of God, and look to him for help to the faithful ministers who are yet spared to us.
This same Spirit who of old gave to His church eminent teachers can raise up other and more useful men. The other day, a brother from Wales told me of the great men he remembered: he said that he had never heard such a one as Christmas Evans, who surpasses all men when he was in the hwyl. I asked him if he knew another Welsh minister who preached like Christmas Evans. "No," he said, "we have no such man in Wales in our days." So in England we have neither Wesley nor Whitefield, nor any of their order; yet, as with God is the residue of the Spirit, He can fetch out from some chimney-corner another Christmas Evans, or find in our Sunday-school another George Whitefield, who shall declare the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Let us never fear for the future, or despair for the present, since the Spirit of God remaineth with us. What if the growing error of the age should have silenced the last tongue that speaks out the old gospel, let not faith be weakened. I hear the tramp of legions of soldiers of the cross. I hear the clarion voices of hosts of preachers. "The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those that published it." Have faith in God through our Lord Jesus Christ! When He ascended on high He led captivity captive, and received gifts for men. He then gave apostles, teachers, preachers, and evangelists, and He can do the like again. Let us fall back upon the eternal God, and never be discouraged for an instant.
Nor is this all. The Holy Spirit being with us, He can move the whole church to exercise its varied ministries. This is one of the things we want very much that every member of the church should recognise that he is ordained to service. Everyone in Christ, man or woman, hath some testimony to bear, some warning to give, some deed to do in the name of the holy child Jesus; and if the Spirit of God be poured out upon our young men and our maidens, each one will be aroused to energetic service. Both small and great will be in earnest, and the result upon the slumbering masses of our population will surprise us all. Sometimes we lament that the churches are so dull. There is an old proverb which says of So-and-so, that he was "as sound asleep as a church." I suppose there is nothing that can sleep so soundly as a church. But yet the Spirit of God still remaineth, and therefore churches go to be awakened. I mean that not only in part but as a whole, a church may be quickened. The dullest professor, the most slovenly believer, the most captious and useless member of a church, may yet be turned to good account. I see them like a stack of faggots, piled up, dead and dry. Oh for the fire! We will have a blaze out of them yet.
Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, brood over the dark, disordered church as once thou didst over chaos, and order shall come out of confusion, and the darkness shall fly before the light. Only let the Spirit be with us, and we have all that is wanted for victory. Give us His presence, and everything else will come in its due season for the profitable service of the entire church.
If the Spirit be with us, there will come multitudinous conversions. We cannot get at "the lapsed masses," as they are pedantically called. We cannot stir the crass infidelity of the present age: no, we cannot, but He can. All things are possible with God. If you walk down to our bridges at a certain hour of the day you will see barges and vessels lying in the mud; and all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot stir them. Wait until the tide comes in, and they will walk the water like things of life. The living flood accomplishes at once what no mortals can do. And so to-day our churches cannot stir. What shall we do? Oh, that the Holy Spirit would come with a flood-tide of His benign influences, as He will if we will but believe in Him; as He must if we will but cry unto Him; as He shall if we will cease to grieve Him. Everything will be even as the saints desire when the Lord of saints is with us. The hope of the continuance and increase of the church lies in the remaining of the Spirit with us. The hope of the salvation of London lies in the wonder-working Spirit. Let us bow our heads and worship the omnipotent Spirit who deigns to work in us, by us, and with us.
Then, brethren, if this should happen and I see not why it should not then we may expect to see the church put on her beautiful garments; then shall she begin to clear herself of the errors which now defile her; then shall she press to her bosom the truths which she now begins to forget; then will she go back to the pure fount of inspiration and drink from the Scriptures of truth; and then out of the midst of her shall flow no turbid streams, but rivers of living water. If the Holy Ghost will work among us we shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the name of our God.
When once the Spirit of God putteth forth His might all things else will be in accord with Him. Notice that in the rest of the chapter which I shall read now, not as relating to that temple at all, but to the church of God there is great comfort given to us. If the Holy Spirit be once given, then we may expect providence to co-operate with the church of God. Read verse 6: "Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake heaven and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. I will shake all nations." Great commotions will co-operate with the Holy Spirit. We may expect that God will work for His people in an extraordinary fashion if they will but be faithful to Him. Empires will collapse, and times will change, for the truth's sake. Expect the unexpected, reckon upon that which is unlikely, if it be necessary for the growth of the kingdom. Of old the earth helped the woman when the dragon opened his mouth to drown her with the floods that he cast forth: unexpected help shall come to us when affairs are at their worst.
Specially do I look for a shaking among the hosts of unbelief. How often did the Lord of old rout His enemies without Israel drawing sword! The watchword was, "Stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord." The adversaries of old fell out among themselves; and they will do so again. When Cadmus slew the dragon with his javelin, he was bidden to sow its teeth in the earth. When he did so, according to the classic fable, he saw rising out of the ground nodding plumes, and crested helmets, and broad shoulders of armed men. Up from the earth there sprang a host of warriors; but Cadmus needed not to fly; for the moment they found their feet, these children of the dragon fell upon each other till scarcely one was left. Error, like Saturn, devours its own children. Those that fight against the Lord of hosts are not agreed among themselves; they shall sheathe their swords in each other's bosoms.
I saw in the night vision the sea, the deep and broad sea of truth, flashing with its silver waves. Lo, a black horse came out of the darkness and went down to the deep, threatening to drink it dry. I saw him stand there drinking, and swelling as he drank. In his pride he trusted that he could snuff up Jordan at a draught. I stood by and saw him drink, and then plunge further into the sea, to drink still more. Again he plunged in with fury, and soon he lost his footing, and I saw him no more, for the deep had swallowed him that boasted that he could swallow it. Rest assured that every black horse of error that comes forth to swallow up the sea of divine truth shall be drowned therein. Wherefore be of good courage. God, who maketh the earth and the heavens to shake, shall cause each error to fall like an untimely fig.
And next, the Lord in this chapter promises His people that they shall have all the supplies they need for His work. They feared that they could not build His house, because of their poverty; but, saith the Lord of hosts, "The silver and the gold are mine." When the church of God believes in God, and goes forward bravely, she need not trouble as to supplies. Her God will provide for her. He that gives the Holy Ghost will give gold and silver according as they are needed; therefore let us be of good courage. If God is with us, why need we fear? One of our English kings once threatened the great city of London that if its councillors talked so independently, he would yes he would, indeed he would take his court away from the city. The Lord Mayor on that occasion replied, that if his majesty would graciously leave the river Thames behind him, the citizens would try to get on without his court. If any say, "If you hold to these old-fashioned doctrines you will lose the educated, the wealthy, the influential," we answer: But if we do not lose the godly and the presence of the Holy Ghost we are not in the least alarmed. If the Holy Ghost remaineth with us, there is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God. Brethren, my heart leaps within me as I cry, "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." "Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea."
The best comfort of all remained: "The desire of all nations shall come." This was in a measure fulfilled when Jesus came into that latter house and caused all holy hearts to sing for gladness; but it was not wholly fulfilled in that way; for if you notice, in the ninth verse it is written, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former; and in this place will I give peace," which the Lord did not fully do to the second temple, since that was destroyed by the Romans. But there is another advent, when "the desire of all nations shall come" in power and glory; and this is our highest hope. Though truth may be driven back, and error may prevail, Jesus comes, and He is the great Lord and patron of truth: He shall judge the world in righteousness, and the people in equity. Here is our last resource; here are God's reserves. He whom we serve liveth and reigneth for ever and ever; and He saith, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
III. I should have done if it had not been that this text seemed to me to overflow so much, that it might not only refresh God's people, but give drink to thirsty sinners who are seeking the Lord. For a moment or two I give myself to ENCOURAGEMENT FURTHER APPLIED.
It is at the beginning of every gracious purpose that men have most fear, even as these people had who had newly begun to build. When first the Holy Spirit begins to strive with a man to lead him to Jesus, he is apt to say "I cannot; I dare not; it is impossible. How can I believe and live?" Now I want to speak to some of you here who are willing to find Christ, and to encourage you by the truth that the Spirit lives to help you. I would even like to speak to those who are not anxious to be saved. I remember that Dr. Payson, an exceedingly earnest and useful man of God, once did a singular thing. He had been holding inquiry meetings with all sorts of people, and great numbers had been saved. At last, one Sunday he gave out that he should have a meeting on Monday night of those persons who did not desire to be saved; and, strange to say, some twenty persons came who did not wish to repent or believe. He spoke to them and said, "I am sure that if a little film, thin as a web of the gossamer, were let down by God from heaven to each one of you, you would not push it away from you. Although it were almost invisible, you would value even the slightest connection between you and heaven. Now, your coming to meet me to-night is a little link with God. I want it to increase in strength till you are joined to the Lord for ever." He spoke to them most tenderly, and God blessed those people who did not desire to be saved, so that before the meeting was over they were of another mind. The film had become a thicker thread, and it grew and grew until the Lord Christ held them by it for ever. Dear friends, the fact of your being in the Tabernacle this morning is like that filmy thread: do not put it away. Here is your comfort, the Holy Ghost still works with the preaching of the word. Do I hear you say, "I cannot feel my need of Christ as I want to feel it"? The Spirit remaineth among us. He can make you feel more deeply the guilt of sin and your need of pardon. "But I have heard so much about conviction and repentance; I do not seem to have either of them." Yet the Spirit remaineth with us, and that Spirit is able to work in you the deepest conviction and the truest repentance. "O sir, I do not feel as if I could do anything": but the Spirit remaineth with us, and all things that are needful for godliness He can give. He can work in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure. "But I want to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Who made you want to do that? Who but the Holy Spirit? Therefore He is still at work with you; and though as yet you do not understand what believing is, or else I am persuaded you would believe at once, the Spirit of God can instruct you in it. You are blind, but He can give you sight; you are paralyzed, but He can give you strength the Spirit of God remaineth.
"Oh, but that doctrine of regeneration staggers me: you know, we must be born again." Yes, we are born again of the Spirit, and the Spirit remaineth still with us; He is still mighty to work that wondrous change, and to bring you out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son. The Spirit remaineth with us, blessed be His name! "Ah, dear sir," says one, "I want to conquer sin"! Who made you desire to conquer sin? Who, but the Spirit that remaineth with us? He will give you the sword of the Spirit and teach you how to use it, and He will give you both the will and the power to use it successfully. Through the Spirit's might you can overcome every sin, even that which has dragged you down and disgraced you. The Spirit of God is still waiting to help you. When I think of the power of the Spirit of God, I look hopefully upon every sinner here this morning. I bless His name that He can work in you all that is pleasing in His sight. Some of you may be very careless, but He can make you thoughtful. Coming up to London to see the Exhibition, I hope you may yourselves become an exhibition of divine grace. You think not about things, but He can make you feel at this moment a sweet softness stealing over you, until you long to be alone and to get home to the old arm-chair and there seek the Lord. You can thus be led to salvation.
I thought when I came in here that I should have a picked congregation; and so I have. You are one of them. Wherever you come from, I want you now to seek the Lord. He has brought you here, and He means to bless you. Yield yourselves to Him while His sweet Spirit pleads with you. While the heavenly wind softly blows upon you open wide every window. You have not felt that you wanted it; but that is the sure proof that you need it; for he that does not know his need of Christ, is most in need. Open wide your heart that the Spirit may teach you your need; above all, breathe the prayer that He would help you this morning to look to the Lord Jesus Christ, for "there is life in a look at the Crucified One there is life at this moment for you." "Oh," you say, "if I were to begin I should not keep on." No; if you began perhaps you would not; but if He begins with you He will keep on. The final perseverance of saints is the result of the final perserverance of the Holy Spirit; He perseveres to bless, and we persevere in receiving the blessing. If He begins, you have begun with a divine power that fainteth not neither is weary. I wish it might so happen that on this fifth day of the ninth month, not the prophet Haggai, but I, God's servant, may have spoken to you such a word by the witness of the Holy Ghost, "From this day will I bless you"! Go away with that promise resting upon you. I would like to give a shake of the hand to every stranger here this morning, and say, "Brother, in the name of the Lord I wish you from this day a blessing." Amen and amen.
PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON Haggai 1:0 ; Haggai 2:1-9 .
The Desire of All Nations
August 25th, 1870 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts." Haggai 2:7 .
The second temple was never intended to be as magnificent as the first. The first was to be the embodiment of the full glory of the dispensation of symbols and types, and was soon to pass away. This comparative feebleness had been proved by the idolatry and apostasy of the people Israel, and when they returned to Jerusalem they were to have a structure that would be sufficient for the purposes of their worship, but they were not again to be indulged with the splendours of the former house which God had erected by the hand of Solomon. Had it been God's Providence that a temple equally magnificent as the first should be erected, it might have been very readily accomplished. Cyrus appears to have been obedient to the divine will, and to have been a great favourer of the Jews, but he expressly by edict diminished the length of the walls and gave express command that the walls should never be erected so high as before. We have also evidence that a like decree was made by Darius, an equally great friend of the Jews, who could with the lifting of his finger have outdone the glory of Solomon's temple, but in God's Providence it was not arranged that so it should be, and though Herod, not a Jew, and only a Jew by religious pretence to suit his own particular purpose, lavished a good deal of treasure upon the second temple, for the pleasure of the nation he ruled, and to gain some favour from them, yet he rather profaned than adorned the temple, since he did not follow the prescribed architecture by which it ought to have been built, and he had not the divine approval upon his labours. No prophet ever commanded, and no prophet ever sanctioned, the labours of such a horrible wretch as that Herod. The reason seems to me to be this. In the second temple, during the time it should stand, the dispensation of Christ was softly melted into the light of spiritual truth. The outward worship was to cease there. It seems right that it should cease in a temple that had not the external glory of the first. God intended there to light up the first beams of the spiritual splendour of the second temple, namely, his true temple, the Church, and he would put a sign of decay on the outward and visible in the temple of the first. Yet he declares by his servant, Haggai, that the glory of the second temple should be greater than the first. It certainly was not so as in respect of gold, or silver, or size, or excellency of architecture; and yet it truly was so, for the glory of the presence of Christ was greater than all the glory of the old temple's wealth; and the glory of having the gospel preached in it, the glory of having the gospel miracles wrought in its porches by the apostles and by the Master, was far greater than any hecatombs of bullocks and he-goats the glory of being, as it were, the cradle of the Christian Church, the nest out of which should fly the messengers of peace, who, like doves, should bear the olive branch throughout the world. I take it that the decadence of the old system of symbols was a most fitting preparation for the incoming of the system of grace and truth in the person of Jesus Christ; and the second temple hath this glory which excelleth, that while the first was the glory of the moon in all its splendour, the second is the moon going down: the sun is rising beyond her, gilding the horizon with the first beams of the morning. I intend to speak to you at this time about the true spiritual temple; the true second temple, the spiritual temple, which, I think, is here spoken of although the second temple literally is also intended the true spiritual temple built up, according to the text, of the desire of all nations. I find this passage a very difficult one in the original; and it bears several meanings in itself. The first meaning that I give you, though it runs contrary to the great majority of Christian expositors, is the most accurate explanation of the original. We shall bring in the other explanations by-and-by. Reading it thus, "I will shake all nations," and the desire the desirable persons, the best part, or as the Septuagint reads it, the elect of all nations shall come. They shall come the true temple of God, and they shall be the living stones that shall compose it; or, as others read it, "The desirable things of all nations shall come," which is, no doubt, the meaning, because the eighth verse gives the key: "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts." The desirable things of all nations are to be brought in as voluntary offerings to this true second temple, this spiritual living temple. Let us begin, then, and take that sense first, and in this case we are told, in the text concerning this second temple, what these living stones are: I. THE HISTORICAL DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME. The choice men, the pick, the best of all men shall come and constitute the true temple of God. Not the kings and princes, not the great and noble after the flesh these are but the choice of men after the manner of man's choice; but not many great men after the flesh, not many mighty are chosen and called; but still, those whom God chooses must be the choice ones of mankind. They will not claim to be so by nature; on the contrary, they will repudiate any idea of any natural betterness in themselves. But God sees them as what they are to be, as what he intends them to be, as what he makes them to be, and in this respect they are the desire, they are the choice of all nations. To God, his people are his royal treasure, his secret jewels, the treasury of kings they are very precious in his sight. Their very death is precious. He keeps record of their bones, and will raise their dust at the last day. If the nation did but know it, the saints in a nation are the aristocracy of that nation. Those who fear God are the very soul, and marrow, and backbone of a nation. For their sakes God has preserved many a nation. For their sakes he gives unnumbered blessings. "Ye are the salt of the earth": the earth were putrid without them. "Ye are the light of the world": the world would be dark without them. They are the desire, I say, though often the world treats them with contempt, and would cast them out. It has ever been thus with the blind world to treat its best friends worst, and its worst enemies often receive the most royal entertainment. Now what a joy it is to us to think that God has been pleased to make unto himself a people according to his own sovereign will and good pleasure, and that he has made these to be the desirable ones out of all nations that with these choice and elect ones he will build up his Church. But the text not only tell us of the stones, but of the remarkable mode of architecture. "The desire of all nations shall come" they shall be brought together. Human means shall be used to bring each one to its place, to excavate each one from its quarry; but while it is God who speaketh, he speaks like God, for he uses shalls and wills most freely, and according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus, or ever the earth was, so shall the fulfilment be. We who preach the gospel may preach with devout assurance of success. The desire of all nations shall come. Out of this congregation the truly desirable ones shall come to Christ. Out of the soil in which the sower sowed the honest and good ground is brought forth the harvest. Out of the nations are some choice spirits who come; some whom the Lord looks upon with great delight, and these shall come. We do not labour in vain, neither do we spend our strength for nought. We fall back upon the doctrine of divine working and divine choice for consolation certainly not for an excuse for indolence, but for consolation when we have done our best, that God is glorified in the end "the desire of all nations shall come." And if you will notice in the whole text, it appears that they do not come without much shaking. In one sense, no man comes to God with compulsion; and in another sense, no man comes without compulsion. You see two boxes opened. There are two ways of opening them. You see one box wrenched: there has been used evidently rough means. Who opened it? A thief. God never opens men's hearts in that way. You see another box open no sign of damage, no sign of any particular labour. Who opened it? The person who had the key probably the owner. Hearts belong to God, and he has the keys and opens them sweetly opens them. And yet, though no force is used, that puts aside the positive, free agency of man which God interferes not with; yet there is a spiritual force which may well be described as a shaking. It is only when the tree of the nation has a thorough shaking, that at last the prime, ripe fruit will drop down into the great Master's lap. He shakes by Providence, by the movement of the human conscience. He shakes by the impulses of his Holy Spirit; he shakes the spirit, and as the result the desirable persons out of all the nations are brought to himself. Stones that he would have, come at last out of the quarry, and he builds them up into a temple. And now observe that these persons, according to another rendering of the text, when they come to build up the Church, they always bring their desire with them they bring with them the most desirable thing. The desirable things of all nations shall give the silver, and the gold, and so on. He that comes to Christ brings with him all he has, and he has not come to Christ who has left his true substance behind him. What, now, is the desire of all the nations when hearts are renewed? Well, silver and gold will always be desirable, and men who give their hearts to Christ will bring that they have of that to Christ. But the most desirable things of manhood are not metals dirt, mere dross, hard materialisms no, the desirable things of manhood are things of the soul, the heart, the spirit; and into the temple, the great second temple, there shall come, not masses of gold and silver merely, that can adorn with outward splendour, but also love, and faith, and holy virtue, more priceless than gems, far richer in value than rarest mines. Oh! what a sight the Church of God is when holy angels look upon it. We hear of some of the first Spanish invaders going into the temple of Peru, and seeing floors, roofs, and walls made of slabs of gold, and standing astonished. But oh! in the Church there are slabs of faith on the floor of that great temple, and walls of love, of Christian self-sacrifice, and roofs of holy joy and Christian consolation. It is a temple that makes spiritual eyes flash with gladness. What care they for the splendour of kings and princes? But they care much for the true, desirable things of nations holy emotions, holy desires, ascriptions of gratitude, and devout acts of service of the Lord God. Oh! how glorious is the second temple then, when the desirable men come to it, and bring with them all the desirable things to make it glorious in the sight of God. And then this temple, thus built and thus adorned, will continue. The text implies that "I will shake all nations." The apostle says that this signifies the things that can be shaken; that the things that cannot be shaken will remain, and that the desire of all nations must be put down as a thing that cannot be shaken. The Church, then, shall never be shaken, and the precious things that the Church gives to her God shall not be shaken. Time will change many things. Great princes will be considered mere beggars by-and-by in the esteem of men who know how to judge by character. Great men will shrivel into very small things when they come to be tried, even by posterity. And the judgement-day ah! how will that try the great ones of this earth? But the Christian Church the very gates of hell shall not prevail against her. Time shall not be able so much as to chip one of her polished stones. Her treasures of faith, and what not, the rich things that God hath given her these things shall never be stolen: they can never be shaken. And then the crown of all is, "I will fill this house with my glory," saith the Lord. This is the reason, the great charm of it all. God himself dwells, as he dwells nowhere else, in his glory. The Church, which we think two, and call militant and triumphant, is but one, after all, and God dwelleth in it. Oh! if we had but eyes to see it, the glory of God on earth is not much less than the glory of God in heaven, for the glory of a king in peace is one thing, but the glory of a conqueror in war is another thing, though I know which I prefer; yet if I transfer the figure, I have no preference between the glory of the God of peace in the midst of his obedient servants in his ivory palaces, and the glory of the Lord of Hosts in the thick of this heavenly war, as he conflicts with human evil, and brings forth glory to his saints out of all the mischief that Satan seeks to do to his throne and to his sceptre. God is known in the Jerusalem below, as well as in the Jerusalem above. "The Lord is in the midst of her." Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved; and though the kings gather together for her destruction, yet his presence is the river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. Yes, glorious things may well be spoken of Zion when we have such stones as precious men, such gifts as precious graces, such abiding character as God gives, and such a presence as the presence of God Himself. But now in the next place, if we take the other rendering of the text:
II. THE GLORY OF THE SPIRITUAL SECOND TEMPLE IS ACTUALLY THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST. "I will shake all nations," and he who is the desire of all nations shall come a rendering which is not incorrect, and is established by a great mass of theologians, though, according to some of the ablest critics, a rendering scarcely to be sustained by the original. He who is the desire of all nations shall come, and that shall be the glory of the second spiritual temple. Jesus Christ, then, is the desire of all nations, if so we read the text, and this is doubtless true. All nations have a dark and dim desire for him. I say a dark desire, for without that adjective I could scarcely speak the truth. Most interesting chapters have been written by students of the history of mankind upon the preparedness of men's hearts for the coming of Christ at his incarnation. It is very certain that almost all nations have a tradition of the coming one. The Jews, of course, expected the Messiah. There were persons instructed according to the culture of various nations, which, though they do not expect the Messiah quite so clearly as the Jews, had almost as shrewd a guess as to what he might be and do as the mere ritualistic and Pharisaic Jews had. There was a notion all over the world at that time of Christ's coming, that some great one was to descend from heaven, and to come into this world for this world's good. He was in that respect darkly and dimly the desire of all nations. But in all nations there have been some persons more instructed to whom Christ has really been the object of desire with much more of intelligence. Job was a Gentile and a fearer of God. We have no reason to believe that Job was a solitary specimen of enlightened persons: we have reason rather to hope that in all countries all over the world God has had a chosen people, who have known and feared him, who have not had all the light which has been given to us, but who better used what light they had, and were guided by his secret Spirit to much more of light, perhaps, than we think it right, with our little knowledge, to credit them with. These, then, as representatives of all the nations, were desiring the coming of the great Deliverer, the incarnate God; and in this sense, representatively, the whole of the world was desiring Christ in that higher sense, and he was the desire of all nations. But, my brethren, does this mean, or does it not mean, that Christ is exactly what all the nations need? If they did but know, if they could but understand him, he is just what they would desire and should desire. Were their reason taught rightly, and were their minds instructed by the Spirit to desire the best in all the world, Christ is just what they want. All the world desire a way to God. Hence men set up priests and anoint them with oil, and smear them with I know not what, only that they may be mediators between them and God. They must have something to come between their guilt and God's glorious holiness. Oh; if they knew it, what they want is Christ. You want no priest, but the great "Apostle and High Priest of our profession." You want no mediator with God, but the one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus, who is also equal with God. Oh! world, why wilt thou gad about to seek this priest and that other deceiver, when he whom thou wantest is appointed by the Most High? He whom Jacob saw in his dream as the ladder which reached from earth to heaven is the only means the Son of Man and yet the Son of God. The world wants a peacemaker; oh! how badly it wants it now! I seem as I walk my garden, as I go to my pulpit, as I go to my bed, to hear the distant cries and moans of wounded and dying men. We are so familiarised each day with horrible details of slaughter, that if we give our minds to the thought, I am sure we must feel a nausea, a perpetual sickness creeping over us. The reek and steam of those murderous fields, the smell of the warm blood of men flowing out on the soil, must come to us and vex our spirits. Earth wants a peacemaker, and it is he, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, and the friend of Gentiles, the Prince of Peace, who will make war to cease unto the ends of the earth. Man wants a purifier. Very many nations feel, somehow or other, that political affairs do not go as one could wish. There are great exellences in personal government, but great disadvantages. There are great excellences in republican government, but great disadvantages. There are supreme excellences, as we think, in our own form of government, but a great many things to be amended, for all that; and this world is altogether out of joint; it is a crazy old concern, and does not seem as if it could be amended with all the tinkering of our reformers in the lapse of years. The fact is, it wants the Maker, who made it, to come in and put it to rights. It needs the Hercules that is to turn the stream right through the Aegean stable; it wants the Christ of God to turn the stream of his atoning sacrifice right through the whole earth, to sweep away the whole filth of ages, and it never will be done unless he does it. He is the one, the true Reformer, the true rectifier of all wrong, and in this respect the desire of all nations. Oh! i If the world could gather up all her right desire; if she could condense in one cry all her wild wishes; if all true lovers of mankind could condense their theories and extract the true wine of wisdom from them; it would just come to this, we want an Incarnate God, and you have got the Incarnate God! Oh! nations, but ye know it not! Ye, in the dark, are groping after him, and know not that he is there. Brethren, I may add, Christ is certainly the desire of all nations in this respect, that we desire him for all nations. Oh! that the world were encompassed in his gospel! Would God the sacred fire would run along the ground, that the little handful of corn on the top of the mountains would soon make its fruit to shake like Lebanon. Oh! when will it come, when will it come that all the nations shall know him? Let us pray for it: let us labour for it. And one other meaning I may give to this: he is the desirable one of all nations, bringing back the former translation of this text. He is the choice one of all nations. He is the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely. He, whom we love, is such an one that he can never be matched by another, his rival could not be found amongst the sons of men. There is none like him; there is none like him amongst the angels of light; there is none that can stand in comparison with him. The desire, the one that ought to be desired, the most desirable of all the nations, is Jesus Christ, and it is the glory of the Christian Church, which is the second temple that Christ is in her, her head, her Lord. It is never her glory that she condescends to make an iniquitous union with the State. It is her glory that Christ is her sole King; it is her glory that he is her sole Prophet, and that he is her sole Priest, and that he then gives to all his people to be kings and priests with him, himself the centre and source of all their glory and their power. I cannot stay longer, though the theme tempts me, but must just give you the last word, which is this, the visible glory of the true second temple will be Christ's second coming. He, himself, is her glory, whether at his first coming, or at his second coming. The Church will be no more glorious at the second coming than now. "What!" say you, "no more glorious!" No; but more apparently glorious. Christ is as glorious on the cross as he is on the throne; it is the appearance only that shall alter. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father," but they evermore are brightness itself, in the person of Jesus Christ. Now, brethren, we are to expect, as long as this world lasts, that all things will shake that are to be moved. They will go on shaking. We call the world sometimes "terra firma"; it is not this world, surely, that deserves such a name as that; there is nothing stable beneath the stars; all things else will shake, and as the shaking goes on, Jesus Christ will, to those who know him, become more and more their desire. I suppose, if the world went on, in some things mending and improving, and were to go up to a point, we should not want Christ to come in a hurry; we would rather that things should be perpetuated; but the shaking will make Christ more and more the desire of the nations. "The whole creation groaneth," is groaning up to now, but it will groan more and more "in pain together travailing" the apostle saith "even until now." The travailing pains grow worse and worse, and worse, and it will be so with this world; it will travail till at last it must come to the consummation of her desire. The Church will say, "Come, Lord Jesus." She will say it with gathering earnestness; she will continue still to say it, though there are intervals in which she will forget her Lord, but still her heart's desire will be that he will come; and at last he will surely come and bring to this world not only himself, the desire of all nations, but all that can be desired, for those days of his, when he appeareth, shall be to his people as the days of heaven upon earth, the days of their honour, the days of their rest the day in which the kingdoms shall belong unto Christ. Oh! brethren, it is not for me to go into details on a subject which would require many discourses, and which could not be brought out in the few last words of a discourse. But here is the great hope of that splendid building, the Church, which is desired. Her glory essentially lies in the Incarnate God, who has come into her midst. Her glory manifestly will lie in the second coming of that Incarnate God, when he shall be revealed from heaven to those that look and are waiting for and hasting unto the coming of the Son of God looking for him with gladsome expectation. And this is the joy of the Church. He has gone, but he has left word, "I will come again, and will receive you unto myself, that where I am, ye may be also." Remember the words that were spoken of the angels to the Church, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye here, gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who is gone up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go up into heaven." In propria persona in very deed and truth, he shall come:
"These eyes shall see him in that day, The God that died for me: And all my rising bones shall say, Lord, who is like to thee?"
Then shall come the adoption, the raising of the body, the reception of a glory to that body re-united to the soul, such as we have not dreamed of, for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God hath prepared for them that love him. Though he hath revealed them unto us by His Holy Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God, yet have our ears heard but little thereof, and we have not received the full discovery of the things that shall be hereafter. The Lord bless you! May you all be parts of his Church, have a share in his glory, and a share in the manifestation of that glory at the last. Dear hearer, I would send thee away with this one query in thine ear Is Christ thy desire? Couldest thou say, with David, "He is all my salvation and all my desire"? Could you gather up your feet in the bed, with dying Jacob, and say, "I have waited for thy will, O God"? By your desire shall you be known. The desire of the righteous shall be granted. Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desire of thine heart. But the desire of many is a grovelling desire: it is a sinful desire: it is a disgraceful desire a desire which, if it be attained, the attainment of it will afford very brief pleasure. Oh! sinner let thy desires go after Christ. Remember, if thou wouldest have him, thou hast not to earn him fight for him win him but he is to be had for the asking. "Lay hold," says the apostle, "on eternal life." As if it were ours, if we did but grip it. God give us grace to lay hold on eternal life, for Jesus from the cross is saying, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth," and from his throne of glory he still is saying, "Come unto me," exalted on high, to give repentance and remission of sin, and he will give them both to those who seek him. Seek him, then, this night. God grant it for his Son's sake. Amen.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Haggai 2". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29