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Christ Perfect Through Sufferings
Delivered on Sunday Morning, November 2nd, 1862, by
Rev. C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Hebrews 2:10 .
BELIEVING THAT GOD foreknoweth all things, we cannot but come to the conclusion that he foreknow the fall, and that it was but an incident in the great method by which he would glorify himself. Foreknowing the fall, and fore-ordaining and predestinating the plan by which he would rescue his chosen out of the ruins thereof, he was pleased to make that plan a manifestation of all his attributes, and, to a very great extent, a declaration of his wisdom. You do not find in the method of salvation a single tinge of folly. The Greeks may call it folly, but they are fools themselves. The gospel is the highest refinement of wisdom, ay, of divine wisdom, and we cannot help perceiving that not only in its main features, but in its little points, in the details and the minutiae, the wisdom of God is most clearly to be seen. Just as in the making of the tabernacle in the wilderness not a single loop or tache was left to human chance or judgment, so in the great scheme of salvation, not a single fragment was left to the human will or to the folly of the flesh. It appears to be a law of the divine action that everything must be according to the fitness and necessity involved in perfect wisdom "It behoved that Christ should suffer;" and in our text we find, "It became him from whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, that he should make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." It seemed to be but the order of natural fitness and congruity, in accordance with the nature and character of God, that the plan of salvation should be just what it is. Oh! how careful should we be who have to preach it never to alter it in the slightest degree. How should we lift our prayers to heaven that God would give us a clear understanding, first, of what we have to teach, and then a clear method of teaching what we have learned, so that no mistake may be made here, for a mistake here would mar that express image of God which shines in the gospel, and prevent our hearers from seeing the beautiful fitness and proportion which are so adapted to reveal the perfect character of God. We say the plan must be what it is; it could not be otherwise so as to be in keeping with the divine character; and, therefore, it is imperative upon us that we make no alteration in it, no, not of a word, lest we should hear the Apostle's anathema hissing through the air like a thunderbolt from God "If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel than that ye have received let him be accursed!" I. To begin, then, first of all with the joyous thought, so well known to you all, but so necessary still to be repeated, that THE LORD JESUS IS A PERFECT SAVIOR. And as he was adapted in his nature, so, beloved, it is very clear to us that he was also adapted by his experience. A physician should have some acquaintance with disease; how shall he know the remedy if he be ignorant of the malady. Our Savior knew all because "he took our infirmities and he bare our sicknesses. He was tempted in all points, like as we are." He looked not at sin from the distance of heaven but he walked, and lived in the midst of it. He did not pass hurriedly through the world as one might hastily walk through an hospital without clearly understanding the disease, but he lived his more than thirty years in the very center of it, seeing sin in all its shapes; yes, seeing it in shapes that you and I have not yet seen. He saw it in demoniac forms, for hell was let loose for a season, that the combat might be the more terrible and the victory the more glorious. He saw sin carried to its most aggravated extent, when it crucified God himself, and nailed Jesus, the heir of heaven, to the accursed tree. He understood the disease; he was no empiric; he had studied the whole case through; deceitful as the human heart is, Jesus knew it; fickle as it is in its various appearances Protean as it is in its constantly varying shapes, Christ knew and understood it all. His life-long walking of the hospital of human nature had taught him the disease. He knew the subjects, too, upon whom to operate. He knew man, and what was in man; yes, better than the most skilled surgeon can know by experiment. He knew by experience. He himself took our infirmities and bare our sorrows. He was himself the patient, himself the medicine. He took upon himself the nature of the race he came to save, and so every feeling made him perfect in his work; every pang instructed him; every throb of anguish made him wise, and rendered him the more accomplished to work out the purposes of God in the bringing of the many sons unto glory. If you will add to his perfect experience his marvellous character, you will see how completely adapted he was to the work. For a Savior, we need one who is full of love, whose love will make him firm to his purpose, whose love will constrain him to yoke every power and talent that he has to the great work. We want one with zeal so flaming, that it will eat him up; of courage so indomitable, that he will face every adversary rather than forego his end; we want one, at the same time, who will blend with this brass of courage the gold of meekness and of gentleness; we want one who will be determined to deal fearlessly with his adversaries, who will put on zeal as a cloak, and will deal tenderly and compassionately with the disease of sin-sick men, such an one we have in Christ. No man can read the character of Christ with any sort of understanding without saying, "That is the man I want as my friend." The argument which Christ used was a very powerful one "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me." Why? "For I am meek and lowly in heart." The character of Christ qualifies him to be the world's Savior, and there is something in his character, when properly understood, which is so attractive, that we may well say
"His worth if all the nations knew, Sure the whole world would love him too."
If we had to make a Savior ourselves, and it were left to a parliament of the wisest senators of the race to form an ideal personage who should just meet man's case, if the Divine One had lent us his own wisdom for the occasion, we could only have desired just such a person as Christ is. In character, we should have needed just such traits of nature and of spirit as we see in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. We think, therefore, we may safely say to every unconverted man, Christ is adapted to be a Savior to you. We know that the saints, without our saying it, will respond, "Ay, and he is just fitted to be a Savior to us." Man, yet God; bone of our bone, and yect counting it no robbery to be equal with God; sufferer like ourselves, bearer of all the ills of manhood, and yet, unlike us, free from sin, holy, harmless, undefiled: qualified in all respects to undertake and accomplish the great work; Jesus, thou art a perfect Savior to us. 3. Once more, let me remind you that Christ is a perfectly successful Savior. I mean by this that, in one sense, he has already finished the work of salvation. All that has to be done to save a soul Christ has done already. There is no more ransom to be paid; to the last drachma he hath counted down the price. There is no more righteousness to be wrought out; to the last stitch he has finished the garment. There is nothing to be done to reconcile God to sinners; he hath reconciled us unto God by his blood. There is nothing wanted to clear the way to the mercy-seat; we have a new and living way through the veil that was rent, even the body of Christ. There is no need of any preparation for our reception on the part of God. "It is finished," was the voice from Calvary; it meant what it said, "It is finished." Christ hath finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. And, as he has been successful in doing all the work for us, so, in every case where that work has been applied, perfect success has followed. Produce a single case where an application has been made to Christ without success. Find a single soul in whom Christ has commenced his work, and then left it. You do hear of some who fall from grace: produce them. We are told of some who are children of God to-day, and children of the devil to-morrow: produce them. We are told that whom once he loves he may leave; produce those whom he has ever left. Let them be seen. Hold them up to the gaze of men and devils the patients in whom Christ's medicine did work awhile, but failed to produce a lasting cure. Heaven were clothed in sackcloth if such a discovery were made, for if he hath failed to keep on earth, why not in heaven? Hell were echoing with infernal laughter if one such instance were found, for where were the honor of God's word and promise? We challenge you, ye princes of darkness, and ye who make the vast assembly of the damped in hell, we challenge you to produce in all your ranks a single case of one who trusted in Christ that he would deliver him and yet Christ cast him away; or one in whom the new spirit was infused and regeneration wrought, and who yet, after all fell and perished like the rest. Lift up your eyes to heaven; innumerable as the stars are the spirits redeemed by blood; so many as they are, they are all witnesses to the fact that Christ is a perfect Savior; that he is no professor who does not perform, for he has carried them all there, and as we gaze upon them are can say, "Thou hast redeemed them unto God by thy blood;" thou canst save, and perfectly save, O Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, Paul calls our God "him by whom are all things." It would be inconsistent with the character of him by whom are all things if he had sent a part-Savior; for us to do part ourselves, and for Christ to do the rest. Look at the sun. God wills for the sun to light the earth; doth he ask the earth's darkness to contribute to the light? Doth he question night, and ask it whether it has not in its sombre shades something which it may contribute to the brightness of noon? No, my brethren, up rises the sun in the morning, like a giant to run his race, and the earth is made bright. And shall God turn to the dark sinner, and ask him whether there is anything in him that may contribute to eternal light? No; up rises the face of Jesus, like the Sun of Righteousness, with healing beneath his wings, and darkness is, at his coming, light. See ye, too, the showers. When the earth is thirsty and cracking, doth the Lord say unto the clouds, "Wait ye until the earth can help ye, and can minister unto its own fertility?" Nay, verily, but the wind bloweth and the clouds cover the sky, and upon the thirsty earth the refreshing showers come down. So is it with Christ; waiting not for man, and tarrying not for the Son of Man; asking nothing from us, he giveth us of his own rich grace, and is a complete and perfect Savior. II. CHRIST WAS MADE A PERFECT SAVIOR THROUGH SUFFERING. By his sufferings he became perfect as a Savior from having offered a complete expiation for sin. Sin could not have been put away by holiness. The best performance of an unsuffering being could not have removed the guilt of man. Suffering was absolutely necessary, for suffering was the penalty of sin. "In the day thou eatest thereof," said God to Adam, "thou shalt surely die." Die then he must. Nothing short of death could meet the case. Christ must go to the cross; he must suffer there; ay, and he must bow his head and give up the ghost, or else no atonement for sin had been possible. The curse came upon us as the result of sin. "Curseth is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." Now had Christ been never so perfect, yet had he never suffered he never could have taken our curse. "Cursed is every one that hangeth on the tree," but without the tree, without the cross, Christ had not been our substitute, and all he did could have been of no sort of use to us. Being crucified he became accursed; being crucified he died, and thus he could make perfect expiation for sin. Sin demanded punishment; punishment must consist of loss and of pain; Christ lost everything, even to the stripping of his garment; his glory was taken from him; they made nothing of him; they spat in his face; they bowed the knee, and mocked him with bitter irony. There must be pain too, and he endured it; in his body there were the wounds and the fever which the wounds produced, and in his soul there was an exceeding heaviness even unto death, and an agony which no tongue can tell, for we have no words in which to speak of it. We believe that this agony was commensurate with the agonies of the lost in hell; not the same agony, but an equivalent for it; and remember, not the equivalent for the agony of one, but an equivalent for the hells of all that innumerable host whose sins he bore, condensed into one black draught to be drained in a few hours; the miseries of an eternity without an end, miseries caused by a God infinitely angry because of an awful rebellion, and these miseries multiplied by the millions for whom the man Christ Jesus stood as covenant head. What a draught was that, men and brethren! Well might it stagger even him! And yet he drained that cup, drained it to its utmost dregs not a drop was left. For thee, my soul, no flames of hell; for Christ the Paschal-lamb has been roasted in that fire. For thee, my soul, no torments of the damned, for Christ hath been condemned in thy stead. For thee, my spirit, no desertion of thy God, for He was forsaken of God for thee. 'Tis done, 'tis finished, and by thy sufferings, Jesus, thou hast become perfect as the expiation of thy people's sins. Do, my brethren, remember that your sins are perfectly expiated. Do not let them trouble you as to punishment; the punishment has gone. Sins cannot lie in two places at one time; they were put on Christ, and they cannot be on you. In fact, your sins are not to be found; the scapegoat has gone, and your sins will never be found again. Your sins, if they were searched for, could not be discovered, nor by the piercing eye of God can a single blemish be found in you. So far as the punishment of the law is concerned it is finished, and Christ is a perfect Savior. Yet, thirdly, it was necessary that Christ should suffer to make him a perfect Savior so far as his sympathy goes. After sin is washed away, and righteousness imputed, we yet want a friend, for we are in a land of troubles and of sorrows. Now, if Christ had not suffered he could not have been a faithful high-priest, made like unto his brethren. We should never have had that sweet text "He was tempted in all points, like as we are, yet without sin," if he had not suffered. But now he knows all shapes of suffering. It is not possible that even out of the thousands now in this house there should be one heart whose case Christ cannot meet.
"In every pang that rends the heart The man of sorrows had a part."
Disease, sickness of body, poverty, need, friendlessness, hopelessness, desertion he knows all these. You cannot cast human suffering into any shape that is new to Christ. "In all their afflictions he was afflicted." If you feel a thorn in your foot, remember that it once pierced his head. If you have a trouble or a difficulty, you may see there the mark of his hands, for he has climbed that way before. The whole path of sorrow has his blood-bedabbled footsteps all along, for the Man of Sorrows has been there, and he can now have sympathy with you. "Yes," I hear one say, "but my sorrows are the result of sin." So were his; though not his own, yet the result of sin they were. "Yes," you say, "but I am slandered, and I cannot bear it." They called him a drunken man, and a wine-bibber. Why, when you once think of the sufferings of Christ, yours are not worth a thought. Like the small dust of a balance that may be blown away with the breath of an infant, such are our agonies and our trials when compared with his. Drink thy little cup; see what a cup he drained. The little vinegar and gall that fall to thy share thou mayest gladly recede, for these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, are not worthy to be compared to the sufferings through which he passed. III. And now, lastly, our point CHRIST'S HAVING BEEN MADE PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERING WILL ENNOBLE THE WHOLE WORK OF GRACE. How greatly will God be exalted that day in the eyes of lost spirits. Ah! ye that shall perish God grant there may be none such here! if you shall ever perish in hell, you will have to glorify God as you see Christ, who was made perfect through suffering, reigning there. You will not be able to say, "My damnation lies at God's door," for you will see in Christ a suitable Savior. You will have to look up and say, "Yes, he who was preached to me on Sabbath-days was God; he could save me. He whom I was bidden to trust in was man, and could sympathise with me, but I would not come unto him that I might have life." In letters of fire ye shall see it written, "Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not;" and even your moans and groans as ye suffer shall be but an utterance of this awful truth "Great God, thou art just, nay, thou art doubly just; just, first, in damning me for sin, just, next, in trampling me under foot, because I trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God and counted his covenant an unholy thing." Your weepings and wailings shall be but the deep bass of the awful praise which the whole universe, willingly or unwillingly, must give to him who has provided a perfect Savior, and made him perfect through suffering. "Oh, my brethren, what delight and transport will seize the minds of those who are redeemed! How will God ho glorified then! Why, every wound of Christ will cause an everlasting song. As we shall circle his throne, rejoicing, will not this be the very summit of all our harmony "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us unto God by thy blood." We must not say what God could do or could not do, but it does seem to me that by no process of creation could he have ever made such beings as we shall be when we are brought to heaven; for if he had made us perfect yet then we should have stood through our own holiness; or if he had forgiven us without an atonement then we should never have seen his justice, nor his amazing love. But in heaven we shall be creatures who feel that we have everything but deserve nothing; creatures that have been the objects of the most wonderful love, and therefore so mightly attached to our Lord that it would be impossible for a thousand Satans ever to lead us astray. Again. We shall be such servants as even the angels cannot be, for we shall feel under deeper obligation to God than even they. They are but created happy; we shall be redeemed by the blood of God's dear Son, and I am sure, brethren, day without night we shall circle God's throne rejoicing, having more happiness than the angels, for they do not know what evil is, but we shall have known it to the full, and yet shall be perfectly free from it. They do not know what pain is, but we shall have known pain, and grief, and death, and yet shall be immortal. They do not know what it is to fall, but we shall look down to the depths of hell and remember that these were our portion. Oh! how we will sing, how we will chant his praise, and this, I say again, shall be the highest note, that we owe all to that bright one, that Lamb in the midst of the throne. We will tell it over, and over, and over again, and find it an inexhaustible theme for melodious joy and song that he became man, that he sweat great drops of blood, that he died, that he rose again. While the angels are singing "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" we will bid them stop the song a moment, while we say, "He whom ye thus adore was once covered with bloody sweat." As we cast our crowns at his feet, we will say, "And he was once despised and rejected of men." Lifting up our eyes and saluting him as God over all, blessed for ever, we will remember the reed, the sponge, the vinegar, and the nails; and as we come to him and have fellowship with him, and he shall lead us beside the living fountains of water, we will remember the black brook of Kedron of which he drank, and the awful depths of the grave into which he descended. Amid all the splendours of heaven, we shall never forget the agony, and misery, and dishonor of earth; and even when they sing the loudest sonnets of God's love, and power, and grace, we will sing this after all, and before all, and above all, that Jesus the Son of God died for us, and this shall be our everlasting song "He loved us and gave himself for us, and we have washed our robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
The Destroyer Destroyed A Sermon
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 6, 1857, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil" Hebrews 2:14 .
IN GOD'S ORIGINAL empire everything was happiness, and joy, and peace. If there be any evil, any suffering and pain, that is not God's work. God may permit it, overrule it, and out of it educe much good; but the evil cometh not of God. He himself standeth pure and perfect, the clean fountain out of which gusheth forth ever more sweet and pure waters. The devil's reign, on the contrary, containeth nought of good, "the devil sinneth from the beginning," and his dominion has been one uniform course of temptation to evil and infliction of misery. Death is a part of Satan's dominion, he brought sin into the world when he tempted our mother Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, and with sin he brought also death into the world, with all its train of woes. There had been likely no death, if there had been no devil. If Satan had not tempted, mayhap man had not revolted, and if he had not revolted he would have lived for ever, without having to undergo the painful change which is caused by death. I think death is the devil's masterpiece. With the solitary exception of hell, death is certainly the most Satanic mischief that sin hath accomplished. Nothing ever delighted the heart of the devil so much as when he found that the threatening would be fulfilled, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," and never was his malicious heart so full of hellish joy as when he saw Abel stretched upon the earth, slain by the club of his brother. "Aha!" said Satan, "this is the first of all intelligent creatures that has died. Oh how I rejoice! This is the crowning hour of my dominion. It is true that I have marred the glory of this earth by my guileful temptation; it is true the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain by reason of the evil that I have brought into it; but this, this is my masterpiece; I have killed man; I have brought death into him, and here lieth the first the first dead man." Since that time Satan hath ever gloated over the death of the human race, and he hath had some cause of glory, for that death has been universal. All have died. Though they had been wise as Solomon, their wisdom could not spare their head; though they had been virtuous as Moses, yet their virtue could not avert the axe, All have died; and therefore the devil hath boasted in his triumph. But twice hath he been defeated; but two have entered heaven without dying, but the mass of mankind have had to feel the scythe of death; and he has rejoiced because this, his mightiest work, has had foundations broad as earth, and a summit that reached as high as the virtues of mankind could climb. And death is very lovely to the devil for another reason not only because it is his chief work on earth, but because it gives him the finest opportunity in the world for the display of his malice and his craft. The devil is a coward, the greatest of cowards, as most wicked beings are. A Christian in health he will seldom attack; a Christian who has been living near his Master, and is strong in grace, the devil will leave alone, because he knows he will meet his match then; but if he can find a Christian either weak in faith, or weak in body, then he thinks it a fair opportunity for attack. Why, there are many persons here present who have such notion of religion that they conceive it to be a thing of happiness and pleasure, and delight, and living near the fountain of all bliss, that is their God, their path is filled with sunshine, and their eye sparkles with perpetual happiness. They bear the trials of this life manfully as Christians should; they take afflictions from the hand of God with all resignation and patience. Now the devil says, "It is of no use my meddling with that man with doubting thoughts; he is too mighty for me; he is powerful on his knees, and he is powerful with his God." "Hands off!" says the Christian to the devil then. But when we begin to be weak, when our mind through the influence of the body begins to be sad, when we have either been starving ourselves by some wicked religious asceticism, or when the rod of God hath bruised us, then in our evil plight the foe will beset us. And for this reason the devil loves death, and hath the power over it, because it is the time of nature's extremity, and therefore is the time of the devil's opportunity. I. Let us begin, then, at the beginning. BY THE DEATH OF CHRIST THE DEVIL'S POWER OVER DEATH IS TO THE CHRISTIAN UTTERLY DESTROYED. The devil's power over death lies in three places, and we must look at it in three aspects. sometimes the devil hath power in death over the Christian, by tempting him to doubt his resurrection, and leading him to look into the black future with the dread of annihilation. We will look at that first, and we will endeavor to show you that by the death of Christ that peculiar form of the devil's power in death is entirely removed. When the poor spirit lieth on the verge of eternity, if faith be weak, and if the eye-sight of hope be dim, the Christian will most likely look forward into what? Into a world unknown, and the language of even the infidel sometimes rush into the lips of the most faithful child of God.
"My soul looks down on what? A dread eternity; a dreary gulf."
You may tell him of the promises; you may try to cheer him by reminding him of the certain revelations of the future; but apart from the death of Christ, I say, even the Christian himself would look forward to death as being a dreary goal, a dark cloudy end to a life of weariness and woe. Whither am I speeding? An arrow shot from the bow of God's creation! Whither am I speeding? And the answer cometh back from blank nothingness thou camest, and thou art speeding to the same; there is nought to thee; when thou diest thou art lost. Or if reason has been well tutored it may perhaps reply to him, "Yes, there is another world, but reason can only tell him that it thinks so. It dreams of it. but what that other world shall be, what its tremendous mysteries, what its gorgeous splendors, or what its horrible terrors, reason cannot tell." And the sting of death would be to such a man, who had no view of immortality in Christ, the thought that he was to be annihilated not to exist or if to exist that he knew not how, or where. But, beloved, by the death of Christ all this is taken away. If I lie a-dying, and Satan comes to me and says, "Thou art to be annihilated, thou art now sinking beneath the waves of time, and thou shalt lie in the caverns of nothingness for ever; thy living, leaping spirit, is to cease for ever and be not." I reply to him, "No, not so: I have no fear of that; O Satan, thy power to tempt me here faileth utterly and entirely. See there my Saviour! He died he died really and actually, for his heart was pierced, he was buried, he lay in his grave three days; but, O Devil, he was not annihilated, for he rose again from the tomb on the third day, and in the glories of the resurrection he appeared unto many witnesses, and gave infallible proofs that he was risen from the dead. And now, O Satan, I tell thee, thou canst not put an end to my existence, for thou couldst not put an end to the existence of my Lord. As the Lord the Saviour rose, so all his followers must. 'I know that my Redeemer liveth,' and therefore I know that though the 'worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.' Thou tellest me, O Satan, that I am to be swallowed up, and be a thing of nought, and sink into the bottomless pit of nonenity. I reply to thee, thou liest. My Saviour was not swallowed up, and yet he died, he died, but could not long be held a prisoner in the tomb. Come, death, and bind me, but thou canst not destroy me. Come on, O grave; open thy ghastly mouth, and swallow me up; but I shall burst thy bonds another day. When that all-glorious morning shall dawn, I having a dew like the dew of herbs upon me, shall be raised up and shall live in his sight. Because he lives I shall live also." So, you see, Christ, by being a witness to the feet of the resurrection, has broken the power of the devil in death. In this respect he has prevented him from tempting us to fear annihilation, because, as Christians, we believe that because Christ rose again from the dead, even so they that sleep in Jesus will the Lord bring with him. Once more, you may suppose a Christian who has firm confidence in a future state. The evil one has another temptation for him.."It. may be very true," saith he, "that you are to live for ever and that your sins have been pardoned; but you have hitherto found it very hard work to persevere, and now you are about to die you will be sure to fail. When you have had troubles you know you have been half inclined to go back again to Egypt. Why, the little hornets that you have met have worried you, and now this death is the prince of dragons; it will be all over with you now. You know that when you used to go through a cart-rut you were crying for fear of being drowned: what will you do now that you have got into the swellings of Jordan? "Ah!" says the devil, "you were afraid of the lions when they were chained: what will you do with this unchained lion? How will you come off now? When you were a strong man and had marrow in your bones, and your sinews were full of strength, even then you trembled at me: now I shall have at you, when I get you in your dying-time and your strength fails, and if I once get the grip of you
'That desperate tug your soul shall feel, Through bars of brass and triple-steel.'
Ah! you will then be overcome." And sometimes the poor feint-hearted Christian thinks that is true; I shall surely fall one day by the hand of the enemy. Up gets the Arminian divine, and says, "that is a very proper sort of feeling, my friend; God often does desert his children and cast them away." To which we reply "Thou liest, Arminian; shut thy mouth, God never did desert his children, neither can he, nor will he." But please to notice, that this answer springs and arises from Christ's death. Let us just picture a scene. When the Lord Jesus came down to earth, Satan knew his errand. He knew that the Lord Jesus was the Son of God, and when he saw him an infant in the manger, he thought if he could kill him and get Him in the bonds of death what a fine thing it would be! So he stirred up the spirit of Herod to slay him; but Herod missed his mark. And many a time did Satan strive to put the personal existence of Christ in danger, so that he might get Christ to die. Poor fool as he was, he did not know that when Christ died he would bruise the devil's head. Once, you remember, when Christ was in the synagogue, the devil stirred up the people, and made them angry; and he thought, "Oh! what a glorious thing it would be if I could kill this man; then there would be an end of him, And I should reign supreme for ever." So he got the people to take him to the brow of the hill, and he gloated over the thought that now surely he would be cast down headlong. But Christ escaped. He tried to starve him, he tried to drown him; he was in the desert without food, and he was on the sea in a storm; but there was no starving or drowning him, and Satan no doubt panted for his blood and longed that he should die. At last the day arrived; it was telegraphed to the court of hell that at last Christ would die. They rung their bells with hellish mirth and joy. "He will die now," said he, "Judas has taken the thirty pieces of silver. Let those Scribes and Pharisees get him, they will no more let him go than the spider will a poor unfortunate fly. He is safe enough now." And the devil laughed for very glee, when he saw the Saviour stand before Pilate's bar. And when it was said, "Let him be crucified," then his joy scarce knew bounds, except that bound which his own misery must ever set to it. As far as he could he revelled in what was to him a delightful thought, that the Lord of glory was about to die. In death, as Christ was seen of angels, he was seen of devils too; and that dreary march from Pilate's palace to the cross was one which devils saw with extraordinary interest. And when they saw him on the cross, there stood the exulting fiend, smiling to himself. "Ah! I have the King of Glory now in my dominions, I have the power of death, and I have the power over the Lord Jesus." He exerted that power, till the Lord Jesus had to cry out in bitter anguish, "My God, my God, Why hast thou forsaken me?" But ah! how short-lived was hellish victory! How brief was the Satanic triumph! He died, and "It is finished!" shook the gates of hell. Down from the cross the conqueror leaped, pursued the fiend with thunder-bolts of wrath; swift to the shades of hell the fiend did fly, and swift descending went the conqueror after him; and we may conceive him exclaiming
"Traitor! this bolt shall find and pierce thee through, Though under hell's profoundest wave thou div'st, To find a sheltering grave."
And seize him he did chained him to his chariot wheel; dragged him up the steps of glory; angels shouting all the while, "He hath led captivity captive, and received gifts for men." Now, devil, thou saidst thou wouldst overcome me, when I came to die. Satan I defy thee, and laugh thee to scorn! My Master overcame thee, and I shall overcome thee yet. You say you will overcome the saint, do you? You could not overcome the saint's Master, and you will not overcome him. You once thought you had conquered Jesus: you were bitterly deceived. Ah! Satan, thou mayest think thou shalt overcome the little faith and the faint heart; but thou art wondrously mistaken for we shall assuredly tread Satan under our feet shortly; and even in our last extremity, with fearful odds against us, we shall be "more than conquerors through him that loved us." II. But now, I want just a moment or two, whilst I try to show you that not only has Christ by his death taken away the devil's power in death; but HE HAS TAKEN AWAY THE DEVIL'S POWER EVERYWHERE ELSE OVER A CHRISTIAN. "He hath destroyed," or overcome, "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Satan, my brethren, may to-morrow get much power over you, by tempting you to indulge in the lusts of the flesh, or in the pride of life; he may come to you and say, "Do such-and-such a thing that would be dishonest, and I will make you rich; indulge in such-and-such a pleasure, and I will make you happy. come," saith Satan, "yield to my blandishments; I will give you wine to quaff that shall be richer than ever came from the wine-vats of Holy Scripture; I will give you bread to eat that you know not of. Eat thou the tempting fruit; it is sweet; it will make thee like a god.". "Ah!" saith the Christian, "but Satan, my Master died when he had to do with thee, and therefore I will have nothing to do with thee. If thou didst kill my Lord, thou wilt kill me too if thou canst, and therefore away with thee! but inasmuch as thou layest down silver for me, and tellest me I can have it if I do wrong, lo, Satan, I can cover thy silver with gold, and have ten times as much to spare afterwards. Thou sayest I shall get gain if I sin. Nay, but the treasures of Christ are greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. Why, Satan, if thou wert to bring me a crown, and say, 'There! thou shalt have that if thou wilt sin.' I should say, 'Poor crown! Why, Satan, I have got a better one than that laid up in heaven, I could not sin for that, that is a bribe too paltry," In he brings his bags of gold. and he says, "Now, Christian, sin for them." The Christian says, "Why fiend, that stuff is not worth my looking at. I have an inheritance in a city where the streets are paved with solid gold; and, therefore, what are these poor chinking bits to me? Take them back!" He brings in loveliness, and he tempts us by it. but we say to him, "Why, devil, what art thou at? What is that loveliness to me? Mine eyes have seen the King in his beauty and the land that is very far oft; and by faith I know that I shall go where beauty's self, even in her perfection, is excelled where I shall see my Saviour, who is 'the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.' That is no temptation to me! Christ has died, and I count all these things but dross, that I may win Christ and be found in him." So that you see, even in temptation, the death of Christ has destroyed the devil's power Some people say they don't believe in a devil. Well, I have only to tell them I don't believe in them because if they knew themselves much they would very soon find a devil. But it is quite possible that they have very little evidence of there being any devil; for you know the devil never wastes his time. He comes up a street, and he sees a man engaged in business, hoarding, covetous, grasping. He has got a widow's house in his throat, he has just swallowed the last acre of a poor orphan's lands. "Oh," says the devil, "drive by, I shall not stop there; he does not need me; he will go to hell easily enough." He goes to the next house: there is a man there, a drunkard. spending his time in riotousness: he marches by, and says, "There's no need for me here; why should I trouble my own dear friends? Why should I meddle with those whom I am sure to have at last? There's no need to tease them." He finds a poor saint upon his knees, exercising but very little power in prayer. "Oh!" says the devil, "I shant have this creature at last; I'll howl at him now." There is a poor sinner just returning from his evil ways and crying, "I have sinned and done evil in thy sight; Lord, have mercy upon me " "Losing a subject," says Satan; "I'll have him; I'm not going to lose my subjects like this." So he worries him. The reason why you don't believe there is a devil, very likely is, that the devil very seldom comes to you because you are so safe that he does not take any trouble to look after you, and you have not seen him, because you are too bad for him to care about, and he says, "Oh no, there's no need for me to waste time to tempt that man, it would be carrying coals to Newcastle to tempt him, for he is as bad as he can be, and therefore let him alone." But when a man lives near to God, or when a man's conscience begins to be aroused, then Satan cries, "To arms! to arms! to arms!" For two good reasons: first, because he wants to worry him, and secondly, because he wants to destroy him. Well, we bless God that though the devil may direct his utmost scorn and craft and malice against the Christian, the Christian is safe behind the rock Christ Jesus, and may rest secure. O children of God! death hath lost its sting, because the devil's power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Thou knowest what death is: look him in the face, and tell him thou art not afraid of him. Ask grace from God, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of thy Master's death, thou mayest be strengthened for that dread hour. And mark me, if thou so livest, thou mayest be able to think of death with pleasure, and to welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is sweet to die: to lie upon the breast of Christ, and have one's soul kissed out of one's body by the lips of divine affection. And you that have lost friends, or that may be bereaved, sorrow not as those that are without hope; for remember the power of the devil is taken away. What a sweet thought the death of Christ brings us concerning those who are departed! They are gone, my brethren; but do you know how far they have gone? The distance between the glorified spirits in heaven and the militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home.
"One gentle sigh the spirit breaks, We scarce can say 'tis gone, Before the ransomed spirit takes Its station near the throne."
And now I close by saying this word to the sinner O thou that knowest not God, thou that believest not in Christ, death is to thee a horrible thing. I need not tell thee that; for thine own conscience tells it to thee. Why, man, thou mayest laugh sometimes at religion; but in thine own solitary moments it is no laughing thing. The greatest brags in the world are always the greatest cowards. If I hear a man saying, "Oh, I am not afraid of dying, I don't care about your religion," he does not deceive me; I know all about that. He says that to cover up his fears, when he is alone of a night. You should see how white his cheek is if a leaf falls against the window When there is lightning in the air you should look at him. "Oh that flash" he says. Or if he is a strong man perhaps he does not say a word, but he feels in such horror all the time the storm is on. Not like the Christian man: not like the man who has courage. Why, I love the lightnings; God's thunder is my delight. I never feel so well as when there is a tremendous thunder and lightning storm. Then I feel as if I could mount up, and my whole heart sings. I love then to sing
"This awful God is mine My Father and my love, He shall send down his heavenly powers To carry me above.
Yes, you are afraid of dying I know; and what I shall say to you is this _ You have good need to be afraid of dying, and you have good need to be afraid of dying now. Because you have escaped many times you think you shall never die. Suppose we should take a man and tie him to that pillar, and a good marksman should take bow and arrows and shoot at him. Well, one arrow might glance and strike some one that sits at the right, and another might glance and strike some one that is to the left; one might go above his head, and another beneath his feet, but you cannot suppose that man would laugh and mock, when the arrows were flying about his ears, and if he was quite certain that it only wanted the marksman to take an aim at him, and he would be shot, then, my friends, you cannot conceive how he would tell you what terror he would experience. But certainly there would be no laughter. He would not say, "Oh! I shall not die, see, the man has been shooting all these others." No, the risk of dying would be enough to steady him and the thought that that marksman had an eye so true and a hand so steady that he had but to pull the string, and the arrow would certainly reach his heart, would be enough at least to sober him, and keep him always watchful; for in a moment, when he thought not that arrow might fly. Now, that is you to-day, God puts the arrow to the string: your neighbor is dead on the right, and another on the left; the arrow will come to you soon, it might have come before, if God willed it. Oh, mock not at death, and despise not eternity, but begin to think whether you are prepared for death, lest death should come and find you wanting. And remember, death will make no delays for you. You have postponed the time of thought: death will not be postponed to suit you, but when you die, there will be no hour allowed for you in which then to turn to God. Death comes with its first blow; damnation comes afterwards, without the hope of reprieve. "He that believeth and is immersed shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned." Thus do we preach the Gospel of God unto you as God would have us. "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." "Go ye and teach all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Behold, I tell you, faith in Jesus is the soul's only escape; profession of that in immersion is God's own way of professing faith before men. The Lord help you to obey him in the two great gospel commandments, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
Men Chosen Fallen Angels Rejected A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, June 29, 1856, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon At Exeter Hall, Strand.
"Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Hebrews 2:16 .
The Almighty God, who dwelt alone, was pleased to manifest himself by created works, which should display his wisdom and his power. When he set about the mighty work of creation, he determined in his own mind that he would fashion a variety of works, and that all his creatures should not be of one form, nature, grandeur, or dignity; hence he made some grains of dust, and others mountains of stupendous magnitude; he created some drops and some oceans; some mighty hills and some valleys. Even in his inanimate works he preserved a wonderful variety; he gave not to all stars the same glory, neither to all worlds the same ponderous mass; he gave not to all rocks the same texture, nor unto all seas the same shape of fashion, but he was pleased, in the work of his hands, to observe an infinite variety. When he came to create living creatures, there, too, are distinctions that we must note. From the worm up to the eagle, from the eagle to the man, from the man to the angel; such are the steps of creating goodness in the fashion of things that are animate. He hath not made all creatures eagles, neither hath he fashioned al beings worms, but having a right to do what he wills with his own, he has exercised the right in making one creature the majestic lion king of the forest, and another, the harmless lamb, which shall be devoured, without power to resist its enemy, or defend itself. He has made his creatures just as it seemed him fit; he has given to one swiftness of foot, to another, speed of wing; to one, clearness of eye, to another, force of sinew. He hath not followed any fixed rule in his creation; but he hath done exactly as it pleased him in the arrangement of the forms which he hath animated. So, also, we must observe a great difference in the rational beings which he has created. He has not made all men alike; they differ mightily; from the man of the smallest intellect to the man of majestic mind, there are no few steps. And then there is the higher order of rational creatures, more superior to unrenewed man than man ever can be to his fellows; namely the order of angels. And in the fashioning of angels and men, God, again, has exercised his own right to create as he pleases; to do just as he wills with his own. Thence, all angels may not be alike in dignity, and all men are not alike in intellect. He hath made them to differ. I. In the first place, the translation of our authorised version runs thus: " He took not on him the nature of angels ." Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when he came from heaven to die, did not take upon himself the nature of angels. It would have been a stoop, more immense than if a seraph should have changed himself into an emmet, for the Almighty Son of God to have been clothed in the garb of even the archangel Gabriel; but his condescension dictated to him, that if he did stoop, he would descend to the very lowest degree; that if he did become a creature, he would become, not the noblest creature, but one of the most ignoble of rational beings, that is to say, man; therefore, he did not stoop to the intermediate step of angelship, but he stooped right down and became a man . "He took not on him the nature of angels: but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Let us notice the wisdom and the love of this, and I think there will be something to cause us to glorify God for so doing. 2. Had our Saviour become an angel, we must note, in the next place, that he would never have been a fitting example for us . I cannot imitate an angelic example in all points, it may be very good, so far as I can imitate, but it cannot, in all points, be my pattern. If you would give me something to imitate, give me a man like myself; then I may attempt to follow him. An angel could not have set us the same holy and pious example that our Saviour did. Had he descended from on high in the garb of one of those bright spirits, he might have been a fine example for those brilliant cherubs who surround his throne; but we, poor mortal men, condemned to drag the chain of mortality along this earthly existence, would have turned aside and said, "Ah! such a thing is too high for us, we cannot attain unto it;" and we, therefore, should have stopped short. If I am to carve marble, give me a marble statue which I am to copy; and if this mortal clay is to be cut out into the very model of perfection, as it is to be by God's Spirit, then give me man for my example; for a man I am, and as a man, I am to be made perfect. Not only could not Christ have been a Redeemer, but he could not have been our exemplar, if he had taken upon himself the nature of angels. 4. Once more, Christ became a man, and not an angel, because he desired to be one with his dear church . Christ was betrothed to his church ere time began; and when he came into the world he virtually said, "I will go with thee, my bride, and I will delight myself in thy company. Angels' garments were not a fitting wedding dress for me to wear, if I am to be bone of thy bone, and flesh of thy flesh. I am allied to thee by a union firm and strong. I have called thee Hephzibah, my delight is in thee; and I have said, thy land shall be called Beulah, that is, married. Well, if I am married to thee, I will live in the same condition with thee; it were not fit that husband should live in palace, and that wife would live in cottage; it were not meet that husband should be arrayed in gorgeous robes, and wife in meaner garments." "No," said he to his church, "if thou dwellest upon earth, I will; if thou dwellest in a tabernacle of clay, I will do the same;
"Yea, said the Lord, with her I'll go, Through all the depths of care and woe, And on the cross will even dare The bitter pangs of death to bear."
Christ cannot bear to be different from his church. You know, he would not be in heaven without her, therefore, did he make that long, long journey, to redeem her and visit her, and when he came on this good errand, he would not that she should be made of clay, and he should not be made of clay too; he was the head, and it would have been out of order that the head should have been of gold, and the body of clay; it would have been like Nebuchadnezzar's image, that must be broken. "Since the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he must also take part in the same," for he became "perfect through suffering," since he was "the captain of our salvation." Thus, again, you see his love and his wisdom, that he "took not on him the nature of angels, but took upon him the seed of Abraham." II. Thus I have tried to explain the first part of the subject; and now for the second. The literal translation, according to the marginal reading, is, " He took not up angels, but he took up the seed of Abraham ," by which is meant, that Christ did not die to save angels, though many of them needed salvation, but he died to save fallen man. Now, I like every now and then to give the opponents of the great doctrines of grace something hard to put between their teeth. I have often been told, that election is a most dreadful doctrine and to teach that God saves some, and lets other perish, is to make God unjust. Sometimes I have asked how that was; and the usual answer I have got is this: Suppose a father should have a certain number of children, and he were to put some of his children into a terrible dungeon, and make the rest of them happy, would you think that father was just? Well, I reply, you have supposed a case, and I will answer you. Of course I should not: the child has a claim upon his father, and the father is bound to give him his claim; but I want to know what you mean by asking that question. How does that apply to the case of God? I did not know that all men were God's children; I knew that they were God's rebellious subjects, but I did not know that they were his children. I thought they did not become his children till they were born again, and that when they were his children, he did treat them all alike, and did carry them all to heaven, and give them all a mansion; and I never did hear that he sent any of his children to hell; true, I have heard you say so; I have heard you say that some of his children fall from grace, and he therefore sends them to hell, and I leave you to solve the problem how that is just; but, sir, I do not allow that all God's creatures are his children, and I have got a small question for you. How do you explain this that the devils and fallen angels are all lost, and yet, according to your own showing, fallen men have all a chance of being saved? How do you make that out? "Oh!" say you, "that is a different matter; I was not calculating about fallen angels." But if you were to ask the devil about it, he would not tell you it was a different matter; he would say, "Sir, if all men are God's children, all devils are quite as much so. I am sure they ought to stand on the same footing as men, and a fallen angel has as much right to call himself one of God's children as a fallen man." And I should like you to answer that devil on that subject on your own hypothesis. Let Satan, for once, ask you a question, "You say it is unfair of God to send one of his children to hell, and take another to heaven. Now, you have said all creatures are his children. Well, I am a creature, and, therefore, I am his child. I want to know, my friend," says Satan, "how you make it just that my Father should send me to hell, and let you go to heaven?" Now, you must settle that question with the devil; I will not answer for you. I never supposed such a case; my views never bring me into such a dilemma, but you are in for the trouble, and you may get out of it the best way you can. On my principle, the deed is just enough; men and devils have both sinned and have both deserved to be damned for their sins; God, if he shall so resolve, can justly destroy them all, or he may save them all, if he can do it with justice; or, he may save one of them if he pleases, and let the others perish; and if as he has done, he chooses to save a remnant, and that remnant shall be men, and if he allows all the fallen angels to sink to hell, all that we can answer is, that God is just, and he has a right to do as he pleases with his creatures. You know, you give to the queen the right to pardon a rebel when she sees fit, and will you not give that right to God? "No," say you, "not unless he pardons all." Well, sir, then there were no right at all in that; the queen would not thank you if you gave her liberty to pardon all; she would say, "No, there are instances where it is to my honor and to the honor of my laws not to pardon, and, therefore, I will not do it; there are other instances where it is to the honor of my clemency, and not hurtful to my laws, and, therefore, these I pardon, and I uphold my right to do it." Now, what you will give to a king or an emperor you will deny to God; but I stand here to claim this right for him, and deny it, if you please; you will have to deny it in the teeth of the Scriptures, for they do authoritatively declare, that God is a Sovereign; that he "hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardens." 1. In the first place, I do not think it is because of any difference in the sin . When two criminals are brought before a judge, if one of them is to be saved, and the other punished, very likely the judge will say, "Who is the greatest offender? Let the greatest offender die, and let the less offender be saved." Now, I do not know that Satan was a greater offender than man; I am not sure that the fallen angels sinned more than man did. "Why, sir," you say, "man's sin was a very little one; he only stole some of his Master's fruit." Ay, but if it was such a thing to do, what a little thing it would have been not to do it! If it were so little a thing, how easily he might have avoided it! and, therefore, because he did it, it became all the greater sin. "Oh!" you say, "but Satan was proud, and the fallen angels were proud." And are not you pretty tolerably in the same direction my friend? at any rate, Adam was. "But," you say, "Satan was rebellious." Well if you were not a rebel, you would not talk so; if you had not rebelled against God, you would not set yourself up to deny his sovereignty. "But," you say, "the devil was a liar from the beginning." I wonder how long it is since you have spoken the truth, sir; you know how to lie as well as he, and though you may not have developed your sin as much as the fallen angels have done, if God were to let you alone, and take the curb off, I wonder that would be the difference between you and the devil. I believe, that if men were allowed to do just as they liked, and there were no government over them, they would almost go beyond Satan. Look at Robespierre, in France; look at the doings of the Reign of Terror; turn to heathen countries; I dare not tell you what abominable vices, what lascivious sins are committed there in public; I point you to Sodom and Gomorrah, and I ask you what man may become; and I say that I do not know but that a man might become as vile as a devil, if God's restraining mercy were taken from him; at any rate I do not say but that Adam's sin was as great as Satan's. "Ah!" you say, "but Adam was tempted to do it." Yes, that was some excuse; but so were the greater part of the devils. It is true, Satan was not tempted; he did it of his own free will; but he tempted the other spirits, and therefore, the excuse which will do for man will do for the great mass of fallen spirits; and why did not God, therefore, select a portion of the fallen spirits to be saved? I answer, that you can never find any reason except this, "Shall I not do what I will with mine own;" and we must fall down, and breathlessly admire the infinite sovereignty that passed by angels, and saved man. 3. Another thought. Sometimes the government will say, "Well, here are two persons to be executed; we desire to save one; which of the two would be the most dangerous character to allow to continue an enemy ?" Now, which could hurt God the most, speaking as man would speak, a fallen angel, or a man? I answer, that fallen man can do but little injury to divine government, compared to a fallen angel; a fallen angel is so subtle, so powerful, so swift, so able to fly on the lightning's wings, that he can do ten times more injury to his Maker, if indeed, his Maker can be injured, than ever man could do; so that if there had been any consideration of this kind in the divine mind, God would have selected the devils to save them, since they could, if saved, do him the most glory, and if not saved, do him the most injury. If Satan had entered heaven, it would have been like a restoration an old king come back to his ancient throne; but when man goes there, it is like a king going to a new dynasty a new kingdom; it is man entering into the angel's place; and for that you know, there must be sanctifying grace and purchasing love. That might have been needed for fallen angels, but certainly not more for them than for fallen man. Here, then, we are brought back to the one only answer, that God saves men, and not angels, just because he chooses to do it; and he says to angels who have perished, "nay, but O! Satan, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?" But I think I hear some one whispering again, "Ay, but I do not see that first part: you said, that you did not know but the sin of man was as great as the sin of Satan." Well, I beg to repeat it; and I say another thing, that, mighty wise as you may be, you do not know any difference either; for do you think, if the sins were different, the punishment would be the same? Certainly not, you say; the same punishment for the same sin. Well, now, devils and men are to be in the same hell; the lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels is the place into which men are cast; and therefore I defy you to prove that their sin is not the same. I believe, if it be not the same in degree, it is the same in quality, and the same in nature. And, therefore, a fallen angel and a fallen man stand on a par; so that if God makes a difference, he makes it only because he will make it, and gives no account of his dealings. This is a knife which cuts up root and branch everything like merit; it takes away from the free-willer any chance of charging God with injustice; for how can he prove God unjust in saving one man and not another, when he dares not hint that he is unjust in saving some men, and letting devils perish? But another practical conclusion. If you do feel this to be true, that God has a right to send you soul to hell, and that if he saves another, and not you, he will be just, but if he save you it will be an act of free distinguishing love, you show a spirit which is very near to the kingdom of heaven. I do not think a man will admit this truth unless he has a change of heart: he may admit it in his mind, but he will not feel it to be true, unless he has got a new heart and a right spirit. I will not go so far as to say that a man who believes divine sovereignty must be a Christian; that were to stretch the truth; but I do say, that if a man is humble enough, meek enough, contrite enough, to lay himself down at the Saviour's feet with this,
"Nothing in my hands I bring;"
"I have no righteousness, no claims; if thou shouldst damn me, thou wouldst be just; if thou savest me I will thank thee for ever;" such a man must have had a work of grace in his heart to bring him to such a conclusion. If thou canst say that, then, poor sinner, come to Jesus, come to Jesus; for he will never cast you out. Let me tell you a story about the prodigal, and then I have done. The prodigal set out one morning, and he had a long, long journey to go; he had a high hill to climb, called the hill of his own sins and follies. He had scarcely got to the top of it, and was getting near the tower, called the tower of true repentance, when his father, who was sitting on the top of the house, saw him; and when he saw him, he ran out immediately, and ere his son had got to the door, he had fallen on his neck and kissed him. He took his son into his house, and a feast was prepared, and they sat down to it; but after the son had sat down, the farther turned his eye to him, and he was not eating, but the tears were rolling down his cheeks. "My son," said the father, "why don't you eat? Why dost thou weep, my son? The feast is all prepared for thee." Bursting into tears, the son said, "Father, dost thou forgive me all?" "Yes," says the father, "I do. Eat my son. Do not weep." The prodigal went on. The father turned his eye to the other guests, and by-and-bye, looking on his son, he saw that he was weeping again, and not eating. Said the father, "Son, why don't you eat? The feast is all for you. Why do you weep, my son?" "Father," said he, with the tears rolling down his cheeks again, "will you let me stay here?" "Oh, yes, my son," said the father, "eat; do not weep; you shall stay here; you are my beloved son." Well, the prodigal went on, and the father looked at the other guests; but by-and-bye he turned his eyes again, and there was his son weeping once more. "My dear son," he asks, "why do you weep?" "Oh, father," said he, "will you keep me here? for if you do not, I know I shall run away. Father, will you make me stop here?" "yes, my son," said he, "that I will."
"My grace shall like a fetter bind That wandering heart to me."
The son wiped his eyes, went on with his meal, and never wept again. There, poor prodigal, there is something for thee; if thou wilt come to Christ, thou shalt always stay there; and over and above that, he will keep thee there. Therefore rejoice; for though he has a right to destroy thee, recollect, he will not; for his heart is full of love and pity towards thee. Only come to him, and thou shalt be saved.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Hebrews 2". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany