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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Isaiah 53

Verse 3

The Despised Friend


Charles H. Spurgeon


This updated and revised manuscript is copyrighted ã 1999 by Tony Capoccia. All rights reserved.

“We esteemed Him not.” (Isaiah 53:3 )

It would not be easy for some of us to remember the hour when we first heard the name of Jesus. From infancy, for many of us, His sweet name was as familiar to our ear as the sound of a lullaby. Our earliest memories are of the church, the family altar, the Bible, the sacred hymns, and fervent prayer. Like the young boy Samuel, we made our way to bed at night by the lighted lamps of the sanctuary, and were awakened by the sound of the morning hymn. Many times a man of God, visited our home because of our parent's hospitality, and would ask God to bless us, praying with all sincerity that we might, early in life, cry out to Jesus, our blessed Redeemer; and to his petition a mother's solemn and earnest “Amen” was always heard. Ours early years were happy circumstances and godly heritages; but nevertheless, we were “sinful at birth, sinful from the time our mothers conceived us,” therefore, these heavenly privileges did not of themselves help us to give our love to Jesus and to receive forgiveness by His blood.

We often feel compelled to weep over our sins that are exposed to the light of the Word; a light as bright as the noonday sun. Sins, such as; belittling the Lord’s Supper because of its very frequency; despising warnings from our tearful parents, and hostility felt in the heart against those very blessings which are the rich graces of heaven. We are abundantly aware of our own innate depravity, the birth plague of man; and can testify to the doctrine that grace, and grace alone, can change the heart. The words of Isaiah are definitely ours, for despite all the holy influences on our lives, the disobedience of our childhood, the companions of our youth, and the sins of our manhood, unanimously confirm our truthfulness in uttering the confession, “We esteemed Him not.”

So from our own experience, we can infer that those who were denied our advantages of a Christian upbringing will certainly be compelled to say the same thing. If the child of godly parents, who by divine power was brought to know the Lord, feels constrained to acknowledge that once he did not esteem the Savior, then will the man who had a godless education, a rebellious childhood, a wicked youth, and a criminal manhood, be able to adopt any less humiliating language? No; we believe that all men of this class, who are now redeemed from the hand of the enemy, will readily acknowledge that they blindly neglected the beauties of our glorious Emmanuel. Yes, we will even challenge the “Church of the first born” to produce a single saint who did not, at some point in their lives, show indifference, if not contempt, to the cross of Christ.

Whether we examine the “noble army of martyrs,” the fellowship of the prophets,” “the glorious company of the apostles,” or “the holy Church throughout all the world,” we will not find one single lover of the adorable Redeemer who will not join in with the general confession, “We esteemed him not.”

Pause, and ask yourself whether you do, in fact, esteem Him now; for it may be possible that you have not as yet seen in Him any “beauty or majesty that would cause you to desire Him,” nor can you subscribe to the statement by the Bride in Song of Solomon, “He is altogether lovely.” If this should be your unhappy condition, then it will be very useful for you to meditate, under the Holy Spirit's influence, on the person of Christ. And I beg you, while we unfold the secrets of what once was our prison, to strongly desire by any means possible you also may escape a bondage which presently deprives you of joy, and will shut you out of bliss in the world to come.

Today, we will first endeavor to closely examine the fact of our shallow appreciation of Jesus; then, secondly, we will discuss the causes of this foolishness; and, thirdly, seek to excite our emotions for a proper response as we correctly contemplate the person of Jesus Christ.

I. Let us go to the potter’s house, and look at the unshaped clay which we once were; let us remember “the rock from which we were cut,” and the “quarry from which we were carved out,” that we may with deeper feeling repeat the text, “We did not esteem Him.” Let us seriously search our minds for the many times when we have been guilty of a lack of respect and appreciation for Christ.

First, let us pause and consider our overt acts of sin, for these appear as immense boulders on the sides of the hill of life, giving clear evidence of the rock inside.

Few men would dare to read their own autobiography, if all their deeds were recorded in it; few can look back on their entire life without being embarrassed. “For we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” None of us can lay any claim to perfection. True, at times we may forget who we really are and exalt ourselves about the virtues of our lives; but when our faithful memory awakens, she instantly dispels the illusion! She waves her magic wand, and the king’s palace is filled with multitudes of frogs; she glances at the pure rivers and they become blood; the whole land becomes repulsive. Where we thought things were pure, flaws and defects were found. The wreath of our satisfaction that was made out of pure white, glistening snow melts before the sun of truth; the sweet bowl of compliments is made bitter by our sad recollection of our past; while, being examine under the magnifying glass of honesty, the deformities and irregularities of a life that we thought was correct and proper, becomes all too visible.

Let the Christian, whose hair has turned white by age, tell the story of his life. He may have been a very upright and moral person, but there will be at least one dark period in his history, which he will shed a sorrowful tear because then he did know the fear of the Lord. Let the heroic warrior of Jesus describe his deeds; but he too points to deep scars from wounds received in the service of the Evil One. Some of our most chosen Christians, in their days of unbelief and separation from God, were notorious for their sins, and could easily agree with Bunyan, “As for my own natural life, for the time that I was without God in the world, it was, indeed, according to the ways of this world and the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient [Ephesians 2:2 , Ephesians 2:3 ]. It was my delight to be taken captive by the devil to do his will [2 Timothy 2:26 ], being filled with all unrighteousness; which was strongly at work, both in my heart and life, that I had but few equals, both for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.” Suffice it to say, however, that each of us have been committed many outward sins, which prove that “we esteemed Him not.”

Could we have rebelled against our Father, if his Son had been the object of our love? Could we have perpetually trampled on the commands of a holy Jesus? Could we have despised his authority, if our hearts had been knit to His precious person? Could we have sinned so terribly, if Calvary had been dear to us? No; surely our many sins testify to our former lack of love towards Him. Had we esteemed the God-man, then could we so entirely have neglected His claims? Could we have wholly forgotten His loving words of command? Do men insult the persons they admire? Will they commit high treason against a king they love? Will they slight the person they esteem, or flagrantly make sport of him they venerate? And yet we have done all of this, and more; such that the least word of flattery concerning any natural love to Christ is rendered to our now honest hearts as hateful as the serpent's hiss. These iniquities might not so sternly prove us to have despised our Lord had they been accompanied by some service to Him. Even now, when we do love His name, we are often unfaithful, but before not one of our acts were seasoned with the salt of sincere affection, but were all full of bitterness. O beloved, let us not seek to avoid the weight of this evidence, but let us acknowledge that our gracious Lord has plenty to convict us with, since we chose to obey Satan rather than the Captain of salvation, and preferred sin to holiness.

Let the conceited Pharisee boast that he was born free we see on our wrists the red marks of the iron shackles of slavery; let him glory that he was never blind our eyes can still remember the darkness of Egypt, in which we could not discern the morning star. Others may desire the honor of a deserved salvation we know that our highest ambition can only hope for pardon and acceptance by grace alone; and we can easily remember the hour when the only channel of that grace was despised or neglected by us.

The Book of Truth will be the next witness that speaks against us. The time is not yet erased from our memory when this sacred source of living water was un

opened by us, our evil hearts placed a stone over the mouth of the well, which even conscience could not remove. Bible dust once defiled our fingers; the blessed volume was the least sought after of all the books in the library.

Though now we can truly say that His word is, “a matchless temple where we delight to be, to contemplate the beauty, the symmetry, and the magnificence of the structure, to increase our awe, and excite our devotion to the Deity there preached and adored;” yet at one sad period of our lives we refused to tread the jeweled floor of the temple, or when for the sake of custom we entered it, we quickly ran walked through it, being unmindful of its sanctity, careless of its beauty, ignorant of its glories, and unrestrained by its majesty.

Now we can appreciate Herbert's ecstatic affection expressed in his poem:

“Oh book! infinite sweetness! let my heart

Suck every letter, and some honey gain,

Precious for any grief found in any part;

To clear the breast, to soothe all pain.”

But back then, every brief poem or trivial novel could move our hearts a thousand times more easily than this “old book.” Yes, this neglected Bible clearly proves that we have lightly esteemed Jesus. Truly, had we been full of love to Him, we should have sought Him in His Word. Here He exposes Himself, showing us His inmost heart. Here each page is stained with drops of His blood, or indelibly marked with rays of His glory. At every turn we see Him, as divine and human, as dying and yet alive, as buried but now risen, as the victim and the priest, as the prince and savior, and in all those various offices, relation

ships and conditions, each one of them render Him dear to His people and precious to His saints. Oh let us kneel before the Lord, and own that “we esteemed Him not,” or else we should have walked with Him in the fields of Scripture, and held communion with Him in the gardens of inspiration.

The Throne of Grace, so long unvisited by us, equally proclaims our former guilt. Seldom were our cries heard in heaven; our petitions were formal and lifeless, dying on the lip which carelessly pronounced them. Oh what a sad state of crime, when the holy offices of adoration were unfulfilled, the censer of praise did not smoke with a savor acceptable to the Lord, nor were the vials of prayer fragrant with precious odors!

Due to our lack of devotion, the days of our lives were black with sin; unrestrained due to our lack of prayer, the angel of judgment speeded his way to our destruction. At the thought of those days of sinful silence, our minds are humbled; and we can never visit God’s mercy seat without adoring the grace which provides those who despised the Savior a ready welcome.

But why didn’t our hearts make a pilgrimage to Christ? Why didn’t we sing to Him who is to be feared? Why didn’t we allow ourselves to be fed at “the Church's banquet of this exalted manna?” What answer can we give more full and complete than this ”We esteemed Him not?” Our lack of regard of Jesus kept us from His throne: for true affection would have taken advantage of the ready access which prayer affords of Jesus, and therefore we would have been filled with His love. Can we now forsake the throne? No; our happiest moments are spent on our knees, for there Jesus manifests Himself to us. We prize the friendship of this best of friends. We delight to often come in times of secret prayer, for there our Savior allows us to share the joys and sorrows of our hearts, and cast them all on Him.

O Lamb of God! Our lack of prayer calls us to confess that once we considered You to have neither beauty nor majesty.

Furthermore, our avoidance of the people of God confirms the humiliating truth. We who now stand in the “sacred host of God's elect,” glorying in the brotherhood of the righteous, were once “strangers and foreigners.” The language of God’s people was to our ear either unintelligible babble at which we scoffed, a harsh jargon which we did not want imitate, or an “unknown language” above our powers of interpretation. The heirs of eternal life were either despised as “earthen vessels,” being the work of the hands of the potter, or we avoided their company, conscious of the fact that we were not fit companions for “the precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold.” Many times during a sermon we cast a weary look at our watches, when the theme was too spiritual for our understanding; often we have preferred the friendship of the laughing world to that of the more serious believer.

Need we ask the source of this aversion to the things of God? The bitterness of our heart is not silent as to its source, “You did not love the servants of God, because you did not esteemed their master; you did not live among the brethren, for you had no friendship towards the firstborn of the family.”

One of the clearest evidences of alienation from God is a lack of fondness towards His people. In a greater or lesser degree this condition once existed in each of us. True, there were some Christians whose presence always afforded us pleasure; but we must be aware that our delight in their company was caused more by the pleasantness of their manners, or the winning style of their speech, than by the fact of their intrinsic excellence. We valued the gem for its setting, but a common pebble in the same ring would have equally engrossed our attention. The saints, as saints, were not our chosen friends, nor could we say, “I am a friend to all who fear you.” All honor to You, leader of the host! We boldly admit that from the moment when we first loved You, all Your followers have been dear to us, there's not a lamb among thy flock we would ignore to feed; Your servants maybe mocked by contempt, persecuted by cruelty, branded with disgrace, oppressed by power, humbled by poverty, and forgotten by fame; but to us they are the “superior of the earth,” and we are not ashamed to call them brethren.

Such sentiments are the finest products of esteem for the Redeemer, and their former absence is conclusive evidence that then “we esteemed Him not.”

Neglected Sunday worship starts like a warrior from the wild wasteland of neglected time; they point to the deserted sanctuary, for which they would execute a terrible revenge were it not for the shield of Jesus that covers us; for, look! their bows are stringed with neglected observances of the Lord’s Table and Baptisms, and their arrows are despised messages of mercy.

But where are the accusers? Conscience the sentinel of the soul, has seen enough. He will affirm that he has seen the ear closed to the wooing voice of the friend of sinners; that often the eyes have turn away from the cross when Jesus Himself was visibly set forth. Let him report his own evidence. Listen to Him. He says, “I have witnessed the blocking of the heart to the entrance of Jesus; I have seen the man working hard to repair the fractures of the hard heart which a powerful minister had caused; I have been present when the struggle against the Savior has been as fierce as the ravenous wolf. In vain the sprinkled blood of Christ tried to gain his attention but he would not hear of Calvary or Gethsemane, this mad soul refused to see the beauties of the Prince of Life, but rather spurned Him from the heart which was His lawful throne. The sum and substance of my declaration is, “We esteemed Him not.”

We know that without the sovereign influence of God's extraordinary and immediate grace, men will very rarely put off their pride, until they are about to put on their grave clothes;” but if you feel nothing can lay you in the grave, then maybe just reflecting on our treatment of our loving Lord might do it. Pause then, 0 Christian, and thus recount: “I once scorned Him who loved me with an everlasting love, I once thought Him to be useless to my life. I did not serve him, I did not care for His blood, His cross, or His crown; and yet I have now become one of His own children. Truly, by grace I will forever sing:

“Great God of wonders! all thy ways

Are matchless, godlike, and divine,

But the fair glories of thy face

More godlike and unrivalled shine:

Who is a pardoning God like thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?'”

II. We now examine the hidden causes of this sin. When the disease is removed, it may be useful to learn its origin, that we may serve others and benefit ourselves.

Our coldness towards the Savior resulted primarily from the natural evil of our hearts. We can easily discern why the wicked and immoral have little or no affection for purity and excellence: the same reason may be given for our disregard of the incarnation of virtue in the person of our Lord Jesus. Sin is a madness, disqualifying the mind for sober judgment; a blindness, rendering the soul incapable of appreciating moral beauty; it is in fact such a perversion of all the faculties, that under its terrible influence men will “call evil good and good evil, and they put darkness for light and light for darkness, and put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” [Isaiah 5:20 ] To us in our fallen condition demons often appear more favorable than angels, we mistake the gates of hell for the door of bliss, and prefer the garnished lies of Satan to the eternal truths of the Most High. Revenge, lust, ambition, pride, and self-will, are too often exalted as the gods of man's idolatry; while holiness, peace, contentment, and humility, are viewed as unworthy of a serious thought.

O sin, what have you done! or rather, what have you undone! You have not been content to rob humanity of its crown, to drive it from its happy kingdom, to mar its royal garments, and spoil its treasure; but you has done more than this!

It was not enough to degrade and dishonor; you have even wounded your victim; you have blinded his eyes, sealed up his ears, intoxicated his judgment, and gagged his conscience; yes, the poison of your venom has poured death into the fountain. Your hostility has pierced the heart of mankind, and thereby you have filled his veins with corruption and his bones with depravity. Yes, O monster, you have become a murderer, for you have made us dead in trespasses and sins!

What we have just said opens up the entire mystery; for if we are spiritually dead, it is of course impossible for us to know and reverence the Prince of glory. Can the dead be moved to ecstasies, or corpses excited to joy? Exercise your skill on the dead lifeless body. It has not yet been decomposed by the maggots. The body is still complete, though lifeless. Bring the flute and harp; let melodies most sweet, and harmonies unequalled, attempt to move the man to pleasure: he does not smile at the sound of the music, nor does it make him cry, yes, if the orchestra of the redeemed poured forth their music, he would be deaf to the celestial charm.

If music won’t wake him up then try another way. Place before his death-stare eyes the choicest flowers that were grown since Eden's plants were cursed. Does he regard the loveliness of the rose or the whiteness of the lily? No, the man knows nothing of their sweetness. Let the winds blow the spicy odors of a flower garden; let the incense of frankincense and myrrh, smoke before him; yet, motion

less as a statue, the nostril does not respond, nor does the smile of pleasure come to his lips. Yes, and can try even more powerful means. You may combine the crash of the avalanche, the roar of the waterfall, the fury of the ocean, the howling of the winds, the rumbling of the earthquake, and the roll of the thunder: but these sounds, united into one almighty shout, could not arouse the dead from his death bed. One word will solve the mystery he is dead. So we also, though made alive by the Holy Spirit, were once dead in our sin, and hence “we esteemed Him not.” Here is the root of all our evil deeds, the source of all our sins.

When we are asked to point out the source of light, we point our finger to the sun above; and if the question is asked, “Where does evil come from?” we point within us to an evil heart of unbelief which is opposed to the living God.

The secondary causes of the foolishness which we once committed lies very near the surface, and needs to be examined. Self-esteem had a lot to do with our ill

treatment of “the sinner's Friend.” Our own conceit made us indifferent to the claims of One who had procured for us a perfect righteousness. “The healthy do not need a doctor;” and we felt insulted by the language of a gospel which spoke to us as undeserving beings. The Cross has very little power where pride conceals the necessity of a pardon; a sacrifice is little valued when we are unconscious of our need for it. In our own opinion we were once most noble creatures; the Pharisee's self-righteous opinion of themselves could have easily been ours. Mainly, we thought of ourselves as “Rich; with acquired wealth and not in need of a thing;” and even when we heard the powerful voice of the law of God and were made aware of our poverty, yet we still hoped by our future “works” of obedience to re

verse the sentence, and were utterly unwilling to accept a salvation which required a denial of all “good works” and simple trust in the crucified Redeemer. Never until all the work of our hands had been unraveled, and our fingers themselves had become powerless, would we cease from our own labor, and leaving the spider's web of man’s works, array ourselves in the garment of free justification. No man will ever think much of Christ until he thinks little of himself. The lower our own views of ourselves become, the higher will our thoughts of Jesus be raised; and only when we die to self will the Son of God be our “all in all.”

Conceit and self-esteem are the fruitful parents of evil. The early Church Father Chrysostom calls self-love one of the devil’s three great traps; and another writer calls them “an arrow which pierces the soul, and kills it; a sly insensible enemy who sneaks up on us.” Under the sad influence of this power we commonly end up loving him best who does us the most harm; for the flatterer who feeds our vanity with pleasing cries of “peace, peace,” is often regarded more than that sincere friend, the blessed Jesus, who earnestly warns us of our lost state. But when self-confidence is removed when the soul is stripped by conviction when the light of the spirit reveals the detestable state of the heart when the power of the creature fails, how precious Jesus is then! As the drowning sailor clutches the floating piece of the ship as the dying man looks to some great physician as the criminal values his pardon, so do we then esteem the deliverer of our souls as the Prince of the kings of the earth. A hatred of self produces an eager passion for the gracious “lover of our souls,” but being self-satisfied hides His glories from us.

Love of the world also leads us to think little of this Dear Friend. When He knocked at the door we refused him admittance, because another had already entered. Without knowing it we had each chosen another husband to whom we gave away our hearts. “Give me wealth,” said one. Jesus replied, “Here am I; I am better than all the riches of Egypt, and my reproach is to be desired more than hidden treasure.” The answer was, “You are not the wealth that I seek for; I do not pant for an spiritual wealth like Yours, O Jesus! I do not care for a future wealth in heaven I desire a wealth here in the present; I want a treasure that I can grab onto; I want earthly gold that will buy me a house, a farm, and estate; I long for the dazzling jewel that will adorn my fingers; I do no ask You for the future heavenly gold; I will seek for that when my years are almost all spent.”

Another of us cried, “I ask for health, because I am sick.” The Great Physician appears, and gently promises, “I will heal your soul, take away your leprosy, and make you whole.” “No, no,” we answered, “I do not ask for that, O Jesus! I ask for a earthly body that is strong, that I may run like Asahel, who was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. I want to wrestle like Hercules; I long to be freed from bodily pain, and am not asking for health of soul, that is not what I require.” A third pleaded for happiness. “Listen to Me,” said Jesus, “My ways are ways of pleasantness, and all my paths are peace.” “That is not the kind of joy for which I long for,” we hastily replied; “I ask that the cup be filled to the brim, that I may drink it merrily; I love the happy evenings, and the joyous days; I want the dance, the party, and other fun things of this world; give your future delights to those who are zealots let them live on hope; I prefer this world and the present.”

Yes, each one of us, in a different way have set our minds on earthly things, and despised the things above. Surely he was an excellent painter who sketched us true to form with his graphic pencil: “The painter sketched two persons, and one of them was a man that would only look down, and in his hand was a shovel that was scooping up manure; another stood over his head with a heavenly crown in His hand, and offered him that crown in exchange for his manure shovel; but the man refused to look up or to pay any attention to Him, but continued to shovel the manure onto the pile.”

While we love the world, “the love of the Father is not in us;” nor the love of Jesus the Son. (1 John 2:15 ) We cannot serve two masters. The world and Jesus will never agree. We must be able to sing the first portion of Madame Guion's stanza before we can truly join in its concluding words:

“Adieu! you vain delights of earth,

Insipid sports, and childish mirth,

I taste no sweets in you;

Unknown delights are in the Cross,

All other joys is to me dross;

And Jesus thought so too.”

It would be a great error if we did not note that our ignorance of Christ was a main cause of our lack of love towards him. We now see that to know Christ is to love Him. It is impossible to have a vision of His face, to behold His person, or understand His offices, without feeling our souls warmed towards Him. Such is the beauty of our blessed Lord, that all men, except the spiritually blind, will honor and reverence Him. We do not need eloquence to present Christ to those who see Him by faith, for in truth He is His own spokesman; His glory speaks, His humility speaks, His life speaks, and, above all, His death speaks ; and what these utter without sound, the heart willingly receives.

Jesus is hidden from the sight of the shameful world by the willful unbelief of mankind, or else the sight of Him would have generated veneration to Him. Men do not know the gold which lies in the mine of Christ Jesus, or surely they would dig for it night and day. They have not yet discovered the “pearl of great price,” or they would have sold all they had to buy the field in which it lies. Words of eloquence fail to describe the person of Christ; it paralyzes the artist's arm when he would try to portray Him; it would overwhelm the sculptor to carve His image even were it possible to chisel it in a massive block of diamond. There is nothing in nature com

parable to Him. In comparison to His radiance the brilliance of the sun is nothing but a dim light; yes, nothing can compete with Him, and heaven itself blushes at its own plainness when His “altogether lovely” person is beheld. Ah, for you who pass Him by without regard, it is well said by Rutherford, “Oh if you knew Him, and saw His beauty, your love, your heart your desires, would want Him and cleave to Him. By nature, love, when it sees, cannot help but thrust its spirit and strength upon sweet and beautiful objects, and good things, and things worthy of love; and what is there more wonderful and precious than Christ! The Jewish world crucified Him because they did not recognize their king; and we rejected Him because we had not seen His value to us, and did not believe the love He gave for our souls. We can all say with Augustine:

There was a great dark cloud of vanity before my eyes, so that I could not see the sun of justice and the light of truth; I, being the son of darkness, was involved in darkness; I loved my darkness, because I did not know Your light; I was blind, and loved my blindness, and walked from darkness to darkness; but Lord, You are my God, who has led me from darkness and the shadow of death; You have called me into this glorious light, and behold I see.” Those days of our darkened souls are gone, but we can never cry over them too much. Sad were those hours when the “morning star” did not shine, when the Cross had no charms, and the glorious Redeemer no esteem; could tears obliterate them from the archives of our past, even if our eyes should flow with tears every time our cheeks would dry. Could prayers remove the darkness of those days, if so we would besiege the throne with incessant supplications. With great sorrow we must admit that those days are gone. Even the arm of the Omnipotent God could not restore them; but we rejoice to see that our sin during that time of darkness was blotted out and entirely covered at the Cross.

The river of sinful neglect of Jesus has doubtless other tributary sources which we cannot now take time to examine. Contemplation does not need to wander in a maze, she has a path laid out straight before her; unchain her feet and ask her to guide you over the field of memory, that with her you may count the other streams which fed this noxious river of neglect.

III. We now come to the practical part of our meditation, and consider the emotions which ought to be excited by it.

First, we think of deep repentant sorrow will fit us well. As tears are the moisture for the grave, as ashes are a fit crown for the head of mourning, so are repentant feelings the proper mementos of conduct now forsaken and abhorred. We cannot under stand the Christianity of those men who can narrate their past history of wickedness with a kind of a self-boasting. We have met with some who will recount their former crimes with as much gusto as the old soldier tells his feats in battles. Such men will go to great extremes to show how wicked they were to make their case more worthy of regard, and glory in their past sins as if they were ornaments to their new life. To such we say, Paul never thought this way; when speaking to the Romans, he said, “the things you are now ashamed of.” There are times when it is proper, beneficial, and praiseworthy for a converted man to tell the sad tale of his former life; free grace is thus glorified, and divine power extolled, and such a story of experience may serve to bring about faith in others who think themselves too vile; but then let it be done in the right spirit, with expressions of genuine regret and repentance. We do not object to the narration of the deeds of our unregenerate condition, but to the mode in which it is too often done. Let sin have its monument, but let it be a heap of stones cast by the hands of loathing not a mausoleum erected by the hands of affection. Give it the burial of Absalom do let it not sleep in the tomb of the kings.

Beloved, can we enter the dark vault of our former ignorance without a feeling of oppressive gloom? Can we walk through the ruins of our misspent years without sighs of regret? Can we behold the havoc of our sin, and smile at the destruction? No. We must grieve over what we cannot obliterate, and abhor what we cannot retract.

O fellow-heir of the kingdom, let us go together to the throne of Jesus, that our tears may bathe His feet; that, like Mary, we may make our grief a worshipper of His person. Let us find some alabaster box of very precious perfume by which to anoint Him, or at any rate let our eyes supply a tribute of true gratitude. We approach His sacred person, and on His feet we see the marks of His love cut deep by the piercing nails. Come now, my heart! Weep over that wound, for you made it; the soldier who drove the nail was but your servant who did your bidding but the cruel act was yours. Note well His hands which firmly hold you; they too have their scars; and weep at the remembrance that these were made for you. For you He bore the disgrace of the cross, the pain of crucifixion. Do not turn away your eyes until the hole on His side has been pondered. See that frightful looking gash, whose depth reaches all the way to His heart. And this, my soul, was done for you!

Do you not love the sufferer? Yes, you do, with a love as deep and bottomless as the ocean; but do not forget that once you despised him. Many times you have slighted this gracious friend; your husband was once hated by you; your beloved has often received arrogance and scorn from you. Not long ago you mocked, despised, and insulted Him. You have spoken cruel words about Him, and you have done evil things to Him. You disregarded His affection, you trampled under foot His tender offerings of love, and the deep anguish which He endured for you was to your ears just an idle tale. What! are the fountains dry? When will your sorrow find a better reason to cause tears to flow? Can you shed a “tear or two” over a silly story of a love-sick maiden, and shall not this yourself and Jesus move your soul? He loved, and you hated; He died, yet you scoffed at His agonies; He saved you, and yet you refused to be His child. O what ingratitude! Often we are as hard as the granite rock of a mountain, and as cold as the snow that covers it, refusing to let it melt and fill the rivers. We should long to feel the sweet and uncommon pleasure of repentance. Howe has wonderfully described the joy of repentance in his article “Delight in God:”

“There is pleasure mingled with tears, with those grievings that bring hope, and which naturally flow without force from a living principle within, as waters from their still freshly springing fountain. When the soul finds itself set free and at liberty, when it can freely pour itself out to God, gently dissolve and melt before Him, it does it with regret at what it has done and been, not at what it is now doing, except that it cannot lament more; desiring to grieve infinitely, while it yet realizes that it must be confined within some bounds. It loves to lie in the dust and abase itself; and is pleased with the humiliation, contrition, and brokenness of heart which repentance towards God includes in it. So that as God is delighted with this sacrifice, so it is with the offering of it up to Him. Many men perceive a certain sweetness in revenge; such a person finds it only in this just revenge upon himself. How inexpressible the pleasure that accompanies its devoting of itself to God, when lamenting itself, and returning with weeping and supplication, it says, ‘Now, look! I come to You, You are the Lord my God, I have brought You back Your own, what I had sacrilegiously alienated and stolen away, the heart which was gone astray, that has been for a long time a vagabond and fugitive from Your blessed presence, service, and communion. Now take the soul which You have made; rightfully possess it; enter into it; stamp it with the impression of Your own seal, and mark it for Yourself. Other lords will no longer have dominion over it. What have I to do any more with the idols which I used to provoke You to jealousy? I will now speak only of Your name, and of Yours only. I bind myself to You with everlasting bonds, in a covenant never to be forgotten.’”

Do not the gift of tears be the only offering at the shrine of Jesus; also be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. If we need to lament over our sins, so also we must even more rejoice at our pardon! If our previous state moves us to tears, will not our new condition cause our hearts to leap for joy? Yes, we must, we will praise the Lord for His sovereign, distinguishing grace. We owe Him an eternal song for this change in our position; He has made us new, and this solely from His unmerited mercy, since we, like others, “esteemed Him not.” He certainly did not elect us to the high dignity of union with Himself because of any love we had toward Him, for we admit the very reverse. It is said of the writer's revered predecessor, Dr. Rippon, that when asked why God chose His people, he replied, “Because He chose them; “ and when the question was repeated, he answered yet again, “Because he did choose them, and if you ask me a hundred times I can give you no other reason.” Truly it is because “this was [the Father’s] good pleasure.” (Matthew 11:26 ) Let our gratitude for divine grace leap for praise; let our whole self speak of the honor of He who has elected us in sovereignty, redeemed us by blood, and called us by grace.

Shouldn’t we also be moved to the deepest prostration of spirit at the remembrance of our guilt? Ought not the subject of our present contemplation to be a stab in the very heart of pride? Come here, Christian, and though you are now arrayed in the garments of salvation, look back to your former nakedness. Do not boast of your riches, remember what a sorry beggar you once were. Do not glory in your virtues, they are foreigners in your heart; remember the deadly plants the native growth of that evil soil. Bow down low to the ground, and though you cannot hide yourself with wings as angels do, let repentance and self-hatred serve as your covering instead. Do not think that humility is weakness; it will supply strength to your bones. Lower yourself, and conquer; bow yourself down, and become invincible. The proud man has no power over his fellowmen; the beasts of the forest do not tremble at the height of the giraffe, rather they are in fear of the crouching lion the monarch of the plain. He who has little regard of himself, has an advantage over his fellowmen. He who has felt his own ruin will not imagine any to be hopeless; nor will he think them too fallen to be worthy of his regard. Though he may be a priest or Levite in the temple of his God, he will not feel degraded if he stain his hands in ministering to the wounds of the victims of evil. Like the friend of tax-collectors and sinners, he will seek out the sick who need a physician. Christianity has founded a colony for the outcasts of society. The founder of Rome welcomed to his newly built city the dregs of all the nations of the earth; so let every Christian believe that Zion's inhabitants are to be gathered from haunts of sin and vice. We are very prone to judge the masses of men to damnation! How often do we write in our book of doom the names of many whom we afterwards discover to have been “appointed for eternal life!” The astronomer will believe that the most erratic comet will yet accomplish its journey, and revisit our sphere; but we give up those for lost, who have not wandered even one-half the distance from the center of light and life. We will often find an excuse for inaction in the imagined hopelessness of sinners, when in reality out own critical fault-finding spirit seeks to mask our laziness and pride. If we had correct views of ourselves, we would not judge anyone as being too wicked to be saved, and should consider it a disgrace to bear on the shoulders of our sympathy, the most wandering of the flock. We have among us too much of the spirit of being “holier than thou.” Those whom Jesus would have clutched by the hand, we will scarcely touch with a pair of tongs; such is the pride of many professing Christians, that they lack only the name to be recognized at once as the true successors of the ancient Pharisees. If we were more like Christ, we would be more ready to have hope for the hopeless, to value the worthless, and to love the depraved. The following illustrative story, which the writer received from the lips of an esteemed minister of the Church of England, may perhaps, as a fact, plead more forcibly than words.

A pastor of a church in Ireland, in the course of his visitations, had called on every one of his flock with only one exception. This was a woman of a most wicked character, and he feared that by entering her house he might give occasion of offense to those who oppose the church, and bring dishonor on his profession. One Sunday, he observed her among the frequenters of his church, and for weeks after that he noticed her attention to the Word of Life. He thought, too, that amid the sound of the responses he could detect one sweet and earnest voice, solemnly confessing sin, and imploring mercy. The heart of his pity yearned over this fallen daughter of Eve; he longed to ask her if her heart were indeed broken on account of sin; and he intensely desired to speak with her concerning the abounding grace which, he hoped, had plucked her from the burning fire. Still, the same reluctant modesty kept him from entering her house; time after time he passed her door with a longing look, anxious for her salvation, but jealous of his own honor. This lasted for a long time, but finally it ended. One day, she called him to her house, and with overflowing tears which well betrayed her breaking heart, she said, “O sir! if your Master had been in this village half as long as you have, he would have called to see me long ago; for surely I am the chief of sinners, and therefore have the most need of his mercy.” We may conceive the melting of the pastor's heart, when he saw his conduct that was condemned by a comparison with his loving Master. From that time on he resolved to neglect no one, but to gather even the “outcasts of Israel.”

Should we, by our reflection on this story, be compelled to do likewise, we will have derived a great benefit, and possibly some soul may have reason to bless God that our thoughts were directed into such a channel.

May the gracious Spirit, who has promised to “guide us into all truth” by His holy influences, bless this visit to the home of our new birth, exciting in us all those emotions which are agreeable to the subject, and leading us to actions in harmony with the grateful retrospect.


My Friend Although this book was written chiefly for the Lord's family, yet it may please the gracious Spirit to bless it to your own soul. With this desire let me seriously beg you to consider the condition you are in. You are one who does not esteem Jesus. This is a sad state, because of your loss of present delight in Him; but how much more terrible if you do not remember the eternal consequences of refusing Christ. He is your only real hope, and yet you are rejecting Him. Your salvation can only come through Him, and yet you willfully refuse to come to Him. A few more years will bring you to the threshold of another world. It will be terrible for you if you still “ignore such a great salvation.” Death will soon destroy your strength. What will you do in the last hour of your life without a Savior? Judgment will follow on the heels of death; and when the insulted Savior is seated on the judgment seat, then how will your face Him? Will you be able to bear the fury of His incensed majesty? As oil, the softest of all substances, burns the most fiercely, so does love when it is angered. I beg you to think of yourself, how will you endure His fury? The eyes which once flowed with tears will flash lightnings on you. The hands which were nailed to the cross of redemption will seize the thunderbolts of vengeance , and the soft and gentle voice which once said, “Come, you that are weary,” will pronounce in thundering words the sentence, “Depart from me, you who are cursed!”

Are you so drunk as to venture on so hazardous a course as continued rebellion? Do you wish to lie down in torment, and make your bed in hell?

Oh my immortal brother! Remain here and ponder your woeful state; and may the Spirit now show to you your lost and helpless condition, that, so stripped of self, you may seek my Master’s righteousness. He says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”

Verse 5

A Simple Remedy

September 1st, 1872 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

With his stripes we are healed Isaiah 53:5 .

Ever since the fall, healing has been the chief necessity of manhood.

There was no physician in paradise, but outside that blissful enclosure professors of the healing art have been precious as the gold of Ophir. Even in Eden itself there grew the herbs which should in after days yield medicine for the body of man. Before sin came into the world, and disease, which is the consequence of it, God had created plants of potent efficacy to soothe pain, and wrestle with disease. Blessed be His name, while thus mindful of the body, He had not forgotten the direr sickness of the soul; but He has raised up for us a plant of renown, yielding a balm far more effectual than that of Gilead. This He had done before the plague of sin had yet infected us. Christ Jesus, the true medicine of the sons of men, was ordained of old to heal the sickness of His people.

Everywhere, at this present hour, we meet with some form or other of sickness; no place, however healthful, is free from cases of disease, it is all around us, and we are thankful to add that the remedy is everywhere within reach. The beloved physician has prepared a healing medicine which can be reached by all classes, which is available in every climate. at every hour, under every circumstance, and effectual in every case where it is received. Of that medicine we shall speak this morning, praying that we have God's help in so doing.

It is a great mercy for us who have to preach, as well as for you who have to hear, that the gospel healing is so very simple; our text describes it "With his stripes we are healed." These six words contain the marrow of the gospel, and yet scarcely one of them contains a second syllable. They are words for plain people, and in them there is no affectation of mystery or straining after the profound. I looked the other day into old Culpepper's Herbal. It contains a marvelous collection of wonderful remedies. Had this old herbalist's prescriptions been universally followed, there would not long have been any left to prescribe for; the astrological herbalist would soon have extirpated both sickness and mankind. Many of his receipts contain from twelve to twenty different drugs, each one needing to be prepared in a peculiar manner, I think once counted forty different ingredients in one single draught. Very different are these receipts, with their elaboration of preparation, from the Biblical prescriptions which effectually healed the sick such as these: "Take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil," or that other one: "Go and wash in Jordan seven times"; or that other: "Take up thy bed and walk." One cannot but admire the simplicity of truth, while falsehood conceals her deformities with a thousand trickeries. If you would see Culpepper's Herbal carried out in spiritual things, go and buy a Directory for the carrying on of the Ritualistic services of the Church of England, or the Church of Rome. You shall find there innumerable rules as to when you shall bow, and to what quarter of the heavens you shall look: when you shall stand up, and when you shall kneel: when you shall dress in black, in white, in blue, or in violet: how you shall pray, and what you shall pray, a collect being appointed for today, and another for tomorrow. On the other hand, if you would know the true way of having your souls healed, go to the word of God, and study such a text as this: "With his stripes we are healed." In the one case all is mysterious, in the other all is simple and clear. Quackery cannot live without mystery, show, ceremony, and pretense. But the truth is as plain as a pikestaff, legible as though it were written on the broad heavens, and so simple that a babe may comprehend it. "With his stripes we are healed." I saw in Paris, years ago, a public vendor of quack medicines, and an extraordinary personage he was. He came riding in to the market-place with a fine chariot drawn by horses, richly comparisoned, while a trumpet was sounded before him. This mighty healer of all diseases made his appearance clothed in a coat of as many colors as that of Joseph, and on his head was a helmet adorned with variegated plumes. He delivered himself of a jargon which might be French, which might also be Latin, or might be nonsense, for no one in the crowd could understand it. With a little persuasion the natives bought his medicines, persuaded that so great and wise a man could surely cure them. Truly, this is one reason why there is an adoption in the Romish Church of the Latin tongue, and why in many other churches there is an affectation of a theological jargon which nobody can comprehend, and which would not be of any use to them if they did comprehend it; the whole is designed to delude the multitude. To what purpose arc fine speeches in the gospel ministry? Sicknesses are not healed by eloquence. It was an ill day in which rhetoric crept into the church of God, and man attempted to make the gospel a subject for oratory. The gospel wants no human eloquence to recommend it. It stands most securely when without a buttress. Like beauty, it is most adorned when unadorned the most. The native charms of the gospel suffice to commend it to those who have spiritual eyes, and those who are blind will not admire it, deck it as we may. I shall, therefore, content myself this morning with declaring the gospel to you in the plainest possible language, without any attempts at excellency of speech. I know it to be the gospel of God; I know it will save you if you receive it; it has saved me; it has saved thousands more. I shall put it before you in plain, unvarnished language. I beseech you to receive it; and I pray that God's Holy Spirit may lead you so to do.

Coming at once to our text, we observe, first, that these are sad words "With his stripes we are healed"; we remark, secondly, that these are glad words ; and, then, we shall notice, thirdly, that these are very suggestive words.

I. THESE ARE SAD WORDS. They are part of a mournful piece of music, which might be called "The Requiem of the Messiah." Hear ye its solemn notes: "surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did not esteem him stricken, smite of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Do you not feel that the song of softly plaintive has touched your heart to pity, and moistened your eye with tears. "With his stripes we are healed." This is not the brine of woe, but yet it is salt with sorrow. The sun is not eclipsed, but it shines through a cloud. No one reads the inner sense of these words without feeling grief of soul. This is caused by the fact, that the words imply the existence of disease, and speak of great suffering connected with the remedy.

I say these are sad words, because they imply disease. "With his stripes we are healed." This "we," comprehends within itself all the saints, and hence it is clear that all the saints needed healing. Those who are today before the throne of God, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, were once defiled as the lepers who were shut out of the camp of Israel. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David Elijah, Hezekiah, Daniel all these were once sick of the accursed malady of sin. All the excellent of the earth among us now, who have been saved by sovereign grace, were once heirs of wrath even as others; as surely sharpened in iniquity and conceived in sin as the rest of mankind. There is a confession here, by implication, of all who are washed in the blood of Jesus, that they needed washing; of all who are healed by His stripes, that they were sore sick with sin. This confession is true, every child of God will join in it, and he that know himself best will make it with greatest emphasis. We were so diseased, that nothing could have restored us but the precious blood of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is a dread fact that sin has infected the entire family of man. We are all sinful, sinful through and through, corrupt with evil passions and depraved desires. Our fathers were fallen men, and so are we, and so will our children be. The putting of bitter for sweet, and of sweet for bitter, of darkness for light, and light for darkness, is engendered in all of us. "Every one of them is gone back; they are altogether become filthy, there is none that doeth good, no not one."

Oh, mournful, miserable fact in a fair world, "where every prospect pleases" beneath a glorious sky where stars peer down upon us like the eyes of God, man lives a rebel to his God, a traitor to the truth, an enemy of good, a slave of evil. He who was made to rule not himself. Fashioned for wisdom, he drivels like a fool ordained for immortality, he labors for the wage of sin, which is death. Sin has dimmed his eye, hardened his heart, uncrowned his head, weakened his strength, filled him with putrefying sores, and left him naked to his shame.

The disease of sin is of the most loathsome character. Supposing it possible for every man to have had the leprosy, and yet for no man to have had sin that would have been no calamity at all compared with that of our becoming sinful. If it could so have happened that we could have been deprived of our most useful faculties, and yet had remained innocent, that would have been a small catastrophe compared with this depraving of our nature by sin. To inoculate the parent stock with evil was the great design of Satan, for he knew that this would work the worst conceivable ill to God's creatures. Hell itself is not more horrible than sin. No vision ghastly and grim can ever be so terrible to the spiritual eye as the hideous, loathsome thing called sin. Remember that this dread evil is in us all. We are at this day, every one of us, by nature only fit to be burned up with the abominations of the universe. If we think we are better than that we do not know ourselves. It is a part of the infatuation of evil that its victims pride themselves upon their excellence. Our infernal pride makes us cover our leprous foreheads with the silver veil of self-deception. Like a foul bog covered over with greenest moss, our nature hides its rottenness beneath a film of suppositions righteousness.

And, brethren, while sin is loathsome before God at the present time, it will lead to the most deadly result in due season. There is not a man, or woman among us that can escape the damnation of hell apart from the healing virtue of the Savior's atoning sacrifice. No, not one. Yon lovely little girl is defiled in heart, albeit that as yet nothing worse than childish folly is discoverable; leave but that little mind to its own devices, and the fair child will become an arch-transgressor. Yonder most amiable youth, although no blasphemous word has ever blackened his lip, and no lustful thought has yet inflamed his eye, must yet be born again, or he may wander into foulest ways; and yonder most moral tradesman, though he has as yet done justice to his fellow men, will perish if he be not saved by the grace of God through Christ Jesus. Sin dwelleth in us, and will be deadly in the case of every one among us, without a solitary exception, unless we accept the remedy which God has provided.

Ah, dear friends, this disease is none the better because we do not feel it. It is all the worse. It is one of the worst symptoms in some diseases, when men become incapable of feeling. It is dreadful when the delirious sick man cries out, "I am well enough; I will leave this bed; I will go to my business." Hear how he raves; must we not put him under restraint? The louder his boasts of health the more sad the delirious patient's condition. When ignorance is known and felt it is not dense, but he who knows nothing, and yet fancies that he knows everything, is ignorant indeed.

Sin is also a very painful disease when it is known and felt. When the Spirit of God leads a man to see the sin which is really in himself, then how he changes his note. Oh, children of God, have you forgotten how acutely sin made you smart? Those black days of conviction! my soul hath them still in remembrance, remembering the wormwood and the gall. The period of my conviction of sin is burnt into my memory as with a red-hot iron: its wounds are cured, but the scars remain. As Habakkuk has well put it, "When I heard, my belly trembled, my lips quivered at the voice, rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself." Oh, `tis a burden, this load of sin, a burden which might crush an angel down to hell. There I stood, and seemed like another staggering Atlas, bearing up a world of sin upon these shoulders, and fearing every moment lest I should be crushed into the abyss and justly lost forever. Only let a man once feel sin for half-an-hour, really feel its tortures, and I warrant you he would prefer to dwell in a pit of snakes than to live with his sins. Remember that cry of David, "My sin is ever before me"; he speaks as though it haunted him. He shut his eyes but he still saw its hideous shape; he sought his bed, but like a nightmare it weighed upon his breast; he rose, and it rose with him; he tried to shake it off among the haunts of men, in business and, in pleasure, but like a blood-sucking vampire it clung to him. Sin was ever before him, as though it were painted on his eye-balls, the glass of his soul's window was stained with it. He sought his closet but could not shut it out, he sat alone but it sat with him; he slept, but it cursed his dreams. His memory it burdened, his imagination it lit up with lurid flame, his judgment it armed with a ten-thonged whip, his expectations it shrouded in midnight gloom. A man needs no worse hell than his own sin, and an awakened conscience. Let this be instead of racks and whips of burning wire. Conscience once aroused will find in sin the worm undying, the unquenchable fire, and the bottomless pit. Though God Himself will punish sin, yet it is a wolf which tears its own flesh, a viper which turns its envenomed fang upon itself. Peradventure many of you may reply, "But we do not feel this!" True, because you have contrived for the present to give sedatives to conscience. I pity you because you are not aware of the truth. I see how it is with you. You think your money making, or spending your days pleasantly, or your performance of your daily labor, is all you need consider; but if you were not deceived by sin you would know better; you would understand that you are God's creatures and that God did not make you to live for yourselves. Which among you builds a house and does not intend either to live in it or gain something by the letting of it? And do you think God made you without designing to glorify Himself in you? Oh, men and women, did your Creator make you that you might live only for yourselves, and make your bellies your gods? Do you dream that you may miss the end of your being, and not have it required at your hands? Will He suffer you to rob Him of your service, and wink at your rebellion, and treat it as if it were nothing? It shall not be so, as ye will find to your cost. Oh, may you be taught now the evil of sin. Spirit of God, it is thine office to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; do thine office now, for none will apply for healing till they feel the smart, none will look to the stripes of Jesus till they feel the wounds of sin. When sin is bitter, Christ is sweet; but only then. When death threatens, then do men fly to Christ for life. No man ever loves Christ till he loathes himself; no man ever cares for Jesus till he comes to see that out of Jesus he is a lost, ruined, and undone soul. Oh, may God grant you that the sorrowful part of these words may ring in your ears till you mourn your grievous sin.

But there is a second sorrow in the verse, and that is sorrow for the suffering by which we are healed . "With his stripes we are healed." I find that the word here used is in the singular, and not as the translation would lead you to suppose. I hardly know how to translate the word fully. It is read by some as "weal," "bruise," or "wound," meaning the mark or print of blows on the skin; but Alexander says the word denotes the tumor raised in flesh by scourging. It is elsewhere translated "blueness," "hurt," and "spots," and evidently refers to the black and blue marks of the scourge. The use of a singular noun may have been intended to set forth that our Lord was as it were reduced to a mass of bruising, and was made one great bruise. By the suffering which that condition indicated we are saved.

Our text alludes partly to the sufferings of His body, but much more to the agonies of His soul. The body of our Lord and Savior was bruised. Scourging under the Jewish law was always moderate; there was a pause made at a point which mercy had appointed. Thirty-nine stripes were all that could be given. But our Lord was not beaten according to the Jewish law; He was scourged by Pilate, and the scourging of the Romans was peculiarly brutal. They stopped not at the forty stripes save one, they smote at random, according to their own will. The Savior endured a scourging which was intended to be a substitute for death "I will scourge him and release him," said Pilate but instead of its being a substitute for death it became a prelude to it. Probably most men would prefer to die rather than to be scourged after the Roman fashion, and might be wise in making such a choice. Sinews of oxen were intertwisted with knuckle bones of sheep, and these were armed with small slivers of bone, so that every stroke gashed the flesh deeply, and caused fearful wounds and tearings; as saith the prophet, "the plowers made deep furrows." Our Savior's back was plowed and furrowed deeply in the day of His scourging. Now you may look at the Person of Jesus, your Substitute and Sacrifice, covered with livid bruises by human cruelty, and say, "With his stripes we are healed."

But you must not stop there and think that flesh wounds were all His stripes, for our Lord bore more terrible stripes in His soul. He was smitten in His heart every day of His life. He had to suffer the ills of providence. Being a man he had sympathy with us in all those stripes which are the inheritance of Adam's sons; He felt the stripes of poverty, stripes of weariness, stripes of sickness, stripes of heaviness, stripes of bereavement; above all others, he was a "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Moreover, He had to run the gauntlet of all mankind. Stripes fell upon our Savior from all sorts of men, for every man's sin laid a stroke upon His shoulder. When He was here on earth, if He saw men sin, that smote Him; if He heard them speak a wrong word, that smote Him; having sinned, we have been hardened by sin; but He was pure and perfect, and it was a bruise to Him to come into contact with sin. You know how His adversaries called Him a drunken man and a wine-bibber; how they said He had a devil. and was mad. Thus they were all striking Him; each man laying on his blow with all his might. Worse than all, He was wounded in the house of His friends. Was any blow equal to that which Judas lay upon those shoulders? And next to that, could anything surpass in pain the blows which Peter gave when he said, "I know not the man!" There was a cruel process in the English navy, in which men were made to run the gauntlet all along the ship, with sailors on each side, each man being bound to give a stroke to the poor victim as he ran along. Our Savior's life was a running of the gauntlet between His enemies and His friends, who all struck Him, one here and another there. By those sorrowful and shameful stripes we this day are healed.

Satan, too, struck Him. I think I see the Arch-fiend ascend from the pit with haste, and, lifting himself upon his dragon wings, come forward to strike the Savior, daring to inflict upon His soul the accursed temptations of hell. He smote Him in the desert, and in the garden, till beneath that smiting great drops of blood crimsoned His face. But this was nothing, compared with the fact that He was smitten of God. Oh, what a word is that! If God were to lay His finger on any one of us this morning, only His finger, we should be struck with sickness, paralysis, aye, and death. Then think of God smiting! God must smite sin wherever He sees it; it is just that He should do so; it is as much an essential part of God's nature that He should crush sin, as that He should love, for, indeed, it is only hive in another form that makes Him hate that which is evil. So when He saw our sin laid upon His Son, He smote Him with the blows of a cruel Not one, till beneath that smiting His Son cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He was bearing in that moment all the crushing blows of that great sword of vengeance, of which we read in the prophets "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord."

Put these things all together as best you can, for I lack words with which fitly to describe these bruises from the ills of life; bruises from friends and foes, stripes from Satan, and smiting from God, and surely it is the most sorrowful story that ever was told.

O king of grief! (a title strange, yet true; To thee, of all kings, only due). O king of wounds! how shall I grieve for thee Who in all grief outrunnest me? Shall I weep blood? why, thou has wept such store, That all thy body was one sore. Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold? 'Tis but to tell the tale is told; My God, my Cod, who dost thou part from me, Was such a grief as cannot be.

One needs to be a Niobe, a dripping well of tears, to mourn the chief among ten thousand made the chief of sufferers. That the ever blessed Not one should suffer! That the Lord of life should bleed! The angels worship Him, and yet Jehovah smote Him! He is so fair, that nothing else is beautiful to any eye that has once gazed upon Him, and yet they spit in His face and mar His lovely countenance with cruel blows of fatal fists! He is all tenderness, but they are all cruelty! He is harmless as a lamb, He never thought nor spoke a thing of wrong to mortal man, but yet they strike Him as though He were a fierce beast of prey, fit only to be bruised to death. He is all love, and, when they smite Him worst, He doth but pray for them, yet smite they still! No curses drop from those dear lips, but words of pity only, and of sweet intercession, follow each blow, yet still they wound and buffet, and blaspheme! Oh, grief, far deeper than the sea! Oh, woe immeasurable! They smite Him for whom they ought to have gladly died, Him for whom the noble army of martyrs counted it all joy to render up their lives. They-despitefully entreat Him who came on errands of pure mercy and disinterested grace. Oh, cruel whips and cruel hands, and yet more cruel hearts, of wicked men! Surely we should never read such words as these without feeling that they call for sorrow sorrow, which if mingled with spiritual repentance, will be a fit anointing for His burial, or, at least, a bath in which to wash away the blood stains from His dear and most pure flesh.

II. Next and may the Spirit of God help us with fresh power THESE ARE GLAD WORDS.

"With his stripes we are healed." They are glad words, first, because they speak of healing. "We are healed." Understand these words, Oh, beloved, of that virtual healing which was given you in the day when Jesus Christ died upon the Cross. In the moment when Christ yielded up the ghost, all His elect might have said, and said with truth, "We are healed"; for, from that moment their sins were put away; a full atonement was made for all the chosen. Christ had laid down His life for His sheep; He had redeemed His saints from among men; the ransom price was fully paid; for sin a complete expiation was made; the redeemed were clear. Let us this morning walk up and down with perfect peace and confidence, for from the day that Jesus died we were perfectly clear before the judgment seat of God. "With his stripes we are healed," or rather "we were healed," for the words are in the past in the original Hebrew. "With his stripes we were healed." My sins, they ceased to be, centuries ago; my debts, my Savior paid them before I was born, and nailed up the receipted bill to His Cross, and I can see it there. The handwriting of ordinances that was contrary to us, He took it away and nailed it to His Cross. I can see it. And while I read the long list of my sins oh, how long, what a roll it wanted to contain them yet I see at the bottom, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." It matters not how long that roll was; the debt is all discharged. I am acquitted before God, and so is every believer in Jesus. Every soul that rests in Jesus was at the time when Jesus died, there and then absolved before the sacred judgment seat. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" is a fit challenge to ring forth from the Cross where atonement was finished.

But, dear friends, there is an actual application of the great expiation to us when by faith we receive it individually, and it is that also which is intended here. To as many as have believed in Jesus, His stripes have given the healing of forgiveness of sin, and, moreover, it has conquered the deadly power of sin. Sin no longer hath dominion over them, for they are not under the law but under grace. Nothing ever delivers a man from the power of sin like a sight of the suffering Savior. I have heard of a man who had lived a dissolute life, who could never be reclaimed from it by any means, but at last, when he saw his mother sicken and die from grief at his ways, the thought that she had died because of his sins touched his heart, and made him repent of his ungodliness. If there was such efficacy to cause repentance in that form of suffering, much more is there when we come to see Jesus die in our stead. Then our heart melts with love to Him; then hatred of sin takes possession of the soul; and the reigning power of evil is therefore destroyed. Christ's stripes have healed us of all love of sin. Faith in the Crucified Not one has healed our eyes: once they were blind, for "when we saw him, there was no beauty that we should desire him." Now, since we have seen His stripes, we see all beauties unite in His adorable Person. I know, beloved, if you have put your trust in the sufferings of Jesus you think Him to be the most precious of beings, you see a loveliness in Him which all heaven's angels could not rival. The stripes of Immanuel have also healed our hearts. "We hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not," but now our hearts delight in Him, and we turn our faces towards Him as the flowers look to the sun. We only wish that we could see Him face to face. And He has healed our feet, too, for they were prone to evil; note the verse that follows our text, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" A sight of His stripes has brought us back; and, charmed by the disinterested love which suffered in our stead, we follow the great bishop and shepherd of our souls, and desire never again to wander from His commands. From head to foot His stripes have bound up our wounds, and mollified them with ointment. He forgiveth all our iniquities, He healeth all our diseases. Beloved, if you would be cured of any sin, however spreading its infection, fly to Jesus' wounds. This is the only way to be rid of the palsy of fear, the fever of lust, the sore blains of remorse, or the leprosy of iniquity; His stripes are the only specific for transgression.

Men have tried to overcome their passions by the contemplation of death, but they have failed to bury sin in the grave; they have striven to subdue the rage of lust within their nature by meditating upon hell, but that has only rendered the heart hard and callous to love's appeals. He who once believingly beholds the mystery of Christ suffering for him, shakes of the viper of sin into the fire which consumed the great sacrifice. Where falls the blood of the atonement, sin's hand is palsied, its grasp is relaxed, its sceptre falls, it vacates the throne of the heart; and the spirit of grace, and truth, and love, and righteousness occupies the royal seat.

I may be addressing some this morning who despair of being saved. Behold Christ smarting in your stead, and you will never despair again. If Jesus bore the transgressors' punishment there is every room for hope. Peradventure your disease is love of the world and a fear of man; You dare not become a Christian because men would laugh at you. If you could hear the scourges fall upon the Savior's back, you would henceforth say, "Did He suffer thus for me? I will never be shamed of Him again," and instead of shunning the fight you would seek out the thick of the fray. "With his stripes we are healed." It is a universal medicine. There is no disease by which your soul can be afflicted, but an application of the blue bruises of your Lord will take out the deadly virus from your soul. Are you ambitious? This will bring you down. Are you desponding? This will lift you up. Are you not with passion? This will cool you. Are you chill with indolence? This will stimulate you. The Cross! The Cross! The Cross of Christ! What power dwells in it! Full sure if even for Satan that Cross had been set up on earth, it would have lifted him from hell to heaven! But it is not for him; it is, however, for the vilest of the sons of men; and there are no sons of men so corrupt that the Cross of Christ can not purge them of all evil. Bear ye this gospel into Africa, where superstitious sorcery holds men's minds in thraldom, it will uplift before all eyes the charter of Africa's liberty; Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands, liberated from her chains, when she shall see a Crucified Savior. Bear ye the Cross amongst the Brahmins or among the Soodras of Hindostan, preach the Cross amongst a race of men who boast their wisdom; and they shall become ignorant in their own esteem but truly wise before the Lord, when they shall see the light that streams from Immanuel's wounds . Even Oriental cunning and lasciviousness are thus healed.

Do not tell me that we ought mainly to preach Christ exalted. I will preach my Lord upon the throne and delight therein, but the great remedy for ruined manhood is not Christ in glory, but Christ ill shame and death. We know some who select Christ's Second Advent as their one great theme, and we would not silence them; yet do they err. The second coming is it glorious hope for saints, but there is no cure in it for sinners; to them the coming of the Lord is darkness and not light; but Christ smitten for our sins, there is the star which breaks the sinner's midnight. I know if I preached Christ on the throne many proud hearts would have Him; but, Oh, sirs, ye must have Christ on the Cross before ye can know Him on the throne. Ye must bow before the Crucified, ye must trust a dying Savior, or else if ye pretend to honor Him by the glories which are to come, ye do but belie Him, and ye know Him not. To the Cross, to the Cross, to the Cross! Write that upon the sign-posts of the road to the city of refuge! Fly there, ye guilty ones, as to the only sanctuary for the sinful, for "with his stripes we are healed." There is joy in this.

There is another joy in the text joy in the honor which it brings to Christ . The stripes, let us lament them; the healing let us rejoice therein; and then, the physician, let us honor Him. "With his stripes we are healed." Jesus Christ works real cures. We are healed, effectually healed. We were healed when we first believed, we are healed still. Abiding cure we have, for still to His wounds we fly. An eternal cure have we, for never man was healed by Christ and then relapsed and died. "With his stripes we are healed," by nothing else; by no mixture of something else with those stripes; not by priestcraft, not by sacraments, not by our own prayers, not by our own good works. "With his stripes we are healed" healed of all sin of every kind, of sins past, of sins present, and sins to come; we are healed, completely healed of all, and that in a moment; not through long years of waiting and of gradually growing better, but "With his stripes we are healed," completely healed, even now. Blessed be His name. Now, child of God, if thou wouldst give glory to God, declare that thou art healed this morning. Be not always saying, "I hope I am saved." The man who says he hopes he is cured does not greatly recommend the physician; but the man who knows he is, he is the man who brings him honor. Let us speak positively: we can do so. Let us speak out in the face of all mankind, and not be ashamed. Let us say, "As surely as we were diseased, so surely are we healed through the stripes of our Lord Jesus Christ." Let us give Jesus all glory, let us magnify Him to the utmost.

I see now in vision a company of men gathering herbs along the slopes of the Seven Hills of Rome; with mystic rites they cull those ancient plants, whose noxious influence once drugged our fathers into deadly slumbers. They are compounding again the cup of Rome's ancient sorcery, and saying: "Here is the universal medicine! The great catholic remedy." I see them pouring their Belladonna, Monkshood, and deadly Henbane, into the great pot forever simmering on the Papal hearth. Think you the nations are to be healed by this accursed amalgam? Will not the end be as in the days of the prophets, when one gathered wild gourds, and they cried out, "there is death in the pot?" Ay, indeed, so it will he, even though Oxford and Canterbury set their seal upon the patent medicine. Come, ye brave sons of protesting fathers! Come and overturn this witches' caldron, and spill it back into the hell for which alone it is fit. Pity that even old Tiber's tawny flood should be poisoned with it, or bear its deadly mixture to that sea across which once sailed the apostolic bark. The wine of Rome's abominations is now imported into this island, and distributed in a thousand towns and villages by your own national clergy, and all classes and conditions of men are being made drunk therewith. Ye lovers of your race, and of your God, stop the traffic, and proclaim around the Popish caldron, "There is no healing there." No healing plants ever grew upon the Seven Hills of Rome, or are the roots improved in virtue if transplanted to Canterbury. or the city on the Isis. There is one divine remedy, and only one. It is no mixture. Receive ye it and live "With his stripes we are healed." No sprinkling can wash out sin, no confirmation can confer grace, no masses can propitiate God. Your hope must be in Jesus, Jesus smitten, Jesus bruised, Jesus slain, Jesus the Substitute for sinners. Whosoever believes in Him is healed, but all other hopes are a lie from top to bottom. Of sacramentarianism, I will say that its Alpha is a lie, and its Omega is a lie, it is false as the devil who devised it; but Christ, and only Christ, is the true Physician of souls, and His stripes the only remedy. Oh, for a trumpet to sound this through every town of England! Through every city of Europe! Oh, to preach this in the Colosseum! Or better still from the pulpit of St. Peter's! "With his stripes we are healed." Away, away ye deceivers, with your mixtures and compounds: away ye proud sons of men with your boastings of what ye feel, and think, and do, and what ye intend and vow. "With his stripes we are healed." A crucified Savior is the sole and only hope of a sinful world.

III. Now, I said this is a VERY SUGGESTIVE TEXT

But I shall not give you the suggestions, for time has failed me, except to say that whenever a man is healed through the stripes of Jesus, the instincts of his nature should make him say, "I will spend the strength I have, as a healed man, for Him who healed me." Every stripe on the back of Christ cries to me, "Thou art not thine own; thou art bought with a price." What say you to this you who profess to be healed? Will you live to Him? Will you not say, "For me to live is Christ. I desire now, having been healed through His precious blood, to spend and be spent in His service." Oh, if you all were brought to this it would be a grand day for London if we had a thousand men who would preach nothing but Christ and live nothing but Christ, what would the world see? A thousand? Nay, give us but a dozen men on fire with the love of Jesus, and if they would preach Christ out and out and through and through, and nothing else, the world would know a change before long We should hear again the cry, "The men that turn: the world upside down have come hither also." Nothing beneath the sun is so mighty as the gospel. Believe me, there is nothing so wise as Christ, and nothing so potent over human hearts as the Cross. Vain are the dreams of intellect, and the boasts of culture. Give me the Cross and keep your fineries.

You will know this when you come to die, beloved. You will find nothing able to cheer your departing moments but the Savior on the bloody tree. When the man is panting for existence, and the breath is hard to fetch, and the spirit faces eternity, you want no priest, no dead creed, no gaudy oratory, no sacraments, no dreams, you will demand certainties, verirties, divine realities; and where find you them but in the divine Substitute? Here is a rock to put your foot on, here are the rod and the staff of God Himself to comfort you. Then nothing will seem more admirable than the simple truth that God became man and suffered in man's stead, and that God has promised that whosoever believeth in His Son shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Beloved, if you know that Jesus has healed you, serve Him, by telling others about the healing medicine. Whisper it in the ear of one; tell it in your houses to the twos; preach it, if you can, to the hundreds and thousands; print it in the papers; write it with your pen; spread it through every nook and corner of the land. Tell it to your children; tell it to your servants; leave none around you ignorant of it. Hang it up everywhere in letters of boldest type. "With his stripes we are healed." Oh, sound it! Sound it! Sound it loud as the trump of doom! Make men's ears to hear it, whether they will or no! The Lord bless you with this healing. Amen.

Verse 6

Two Sermons: Individual Sin Laid on Jesus and Sin Laid Upon Jesus

Individual Sin Laid on Jesus

April 10 th , 1870 by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”--Isaiah 53:6

I think I addressed you from this text four years ago, but I feel quite safe in re-turning to it, for we shall never exhaust it; it is a verse so wealthy in meaning, that I had during the whole four years dilated upon in it every Sabbath, it would be my fault if the theme were stale. On this occasion I desire mainly to draw attention to a part of the text upon which little was said on the former occasion. The vine is the same, but we shall gather clusters from a bough ungleaned before. The jewels are the same, but we will place them in another light and view them from another angle. May God grant that some who derived no comfort from our former word may be led to find peace and salvation in Christ this morning. The Lord in His infinite mercy grant it may be so.

I shall first give a general exposition of the text , then in the second place, shall dwell upon the special doctrine which I wish to teach ; and then, thirdly, we shall draw from that special doctrine a special lesson .

I. First, we will give A GENERAL EXPOSITION OF THE TEXT, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The text naturally breaks itself up into these three heads-- is a confession general to all penitents, "All we like sheep have gone astray"; a personal confession peculiar to each one, "We have turned one to his own way"; and then, the august doctrine of substitution , which the very soul and spirit of the entire gospel, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Our exposition, then, begins with the confession which is universal to all penitents ---it is acknowledged here by the person speaking, who call themselves "all we”---that they all had like sheep, broken the hedge of God’s law, forsaken good and ever blessed Shepherd, and wandered into paths perilous and pernicious. A comparison is here used, and its use shows that the confession was a thoughtful one, and not a matter of careless form. Man is here compared to a beast, for sin brings out the animal part of us, and while holiness allies us to angels, sin degrades us to brutes. We are not likened to one of the more noble and intelligent animals, but to a silly sheep. All sin is folly, all sinners are fools. Sheep are dishonored by the comparison here used, for with all their silliness they have never been known to rush into the fire after having felt the flame. You will observe that the creature selected for comparison is one that cannot live without care and attention. There is no such thing as a wild sheep. There could not long be sheep unless they were tended and cared for by a shepherd. The creature's happiness, its safety, and very existence, all depend upon its being under a nurture and care far above its own. Yet for all that, the sheep strays from the shepherd. Man's happiness lies in being under the direction of the Lord, in being obedient to God, in being in communion with God, and departure from God is death to all his highest interests, destruction to all his best prospects; yet for all that, as the sheep goeth astray, even so doth man.

The sheep is a creature exceedingly quick-witted upon the one matter of going astray. If there be but one gap in the hedge the sheep will find it out. If there be but one possibility out of five hundred that by any means the flock shall wander, one of the flock will be quite certain to discover that possibility, and all its companions will avail themselves of it. So is it with man. He is quick of understanding for evil things. God made man upright, but he bath sought out many inventions, the inventions being all to destroy his own uprightness, and to do despite to the law of God. But that very creature which is so quick-witted to wander is the least likely of all animals to return. The ox knoweth its owner, and the ass knows its master's crib; even the swine that will wander by day will return to the trough by night, and the dog will scent out his master over many a league, but no so the sheep. Sharp as it is to discover opportunities for going astray, it seems to be bereft of all wit or will to come back to the fold. And such is man wise to do evil, but foolish towards that which is good. With a hundred eyes, like Argus, he searches out opportunities for sinning; but, like Bartimeus, he is stone blind as to repentance and return to God.

The sheep goes astray, it is said, all the more frequently when it is most dangerous for it to do so; propensities to stray seem to be developed in the very proportion in which they ought to be subdued. Whereas in our own land a sheep might wander with some safety, it wanders less than it will do in the Oriental plains, where for it to go astray is to run risks from leopards and wolves. Those very men who ought to be most careful, and who are placed in positions where it is best for them to be scrupulous, are those who are most prone to follow after evil, and with heedless carelessness to leave the way of truth.

The sheep goes astray ungratefully. It owes everything to the shepherd, and yet forsakes the hand that feeds it and heals its diseases. The sheep goes astray repeatedly. If restored today it may not stray today if it cannot, but it will tomorrow if it can. The sheep wanders further and further, from bad to worse. It is not content with the distance it has reached, it will go yet greater lengths; there no limit to its wandering except its weakness. See ye not your own selves; my brethren, as in a mirror? From Him that has blessed you have gone astray; to Him you owe your all, and yet, from Him you continually depart. Your sins are not occasional, they are constant, and your wanderings are not slight, but you wander further and further, and were it not for restraining grace which has prevented your footsteps you would have wandered even now to the utmost extremities of guilt, and utterly destroyed your souls.

"All we like sheep have gone astray." What, is there not one faithful soul? Alas! No! "There is none that doeth good, no not one." Search the ranks of the blessed in heaven, and there is not one saint before the throne who will boast that when on earth he never sinned. Search the church of God below, and there is not one, however closely he walks with God, but must confess that he has erred and strayed from God's ways like a lost sheep. Vain is the man who refuses to confess this, for his hypocrisy or his pride, whichever may be the cause of such a nonconfession, proves that he is not one of God's chosen, for the chosen of God unanimously, mournfully, but heartily take up this cry, "All we like sheep have gone astray." A general confession, then, is uttered in our text.

This confession by the mass is backed up by a personal acknowledgment from each one, "We have turned every one to his own way." Sin is general but yet special; all are sinners, but each one is a sinner with an emphasis. No man has of himself turned to God's way, but in every case each one has chosen "his own way." The very gist of sin lies in our setting up our own way in opposition to the way and will of God. We have all done so, we have all aspired to be our own masters, we have all desired to follow our own inclinations, and have not submitted ourselves to the will of God. The text implies that each man has his own peculiarity and specialty of sin; all diseased, but not all precisely with the same form of disease. It is well, my brethren, if each of us in examining himself has found out what is his own peculiar transgression, for it is well to know what evil weeds flourish most readily in the soil of our heart, what wild beast that is most native to the forests of our soul. Many have felt that their peculiar sin was so remarkably evil and so surpassingly vile, that it separated them altogether from the common rank of sinners. They felt that their iniquities were unique, and like lone peaks lifted themselves defiantly towards the pure heavens of God, provoking the fiercest thunderbolts of wrath. Such persons have almost been driven to despair under the belief that they were peculiarly great sinners, as Paul puts it, the very chief of sinners. I should not wonder if this feeling which each one imagines to be peculiar to himself may have come over very many of us, for it is no unusual thing for an awakened conscience to feel its own sinfulness to be above measure and parallel, the worst that has ever defiled mankind.

As this specialty of sin happens to be the point to which I desire to call your attention, as I wish to show that the atoning sacrifice of Christ not only applies to sin in the general, since “all we like sheep gave gone astray,” but applies to sin in the special, “we have turned every one to his own way" I pass it over slightly now, and introduce you further in the exposition of the text, to what I called the August doctrine of the substitution of Christ, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,”

We have seen the confession of sin made by the mass, we lightly touched the peculiar confession made by each awakened individual, put all these together and you see a mass of sin did I say you see it? It is a mass of sin too great to be beheld by the human understanding, an enormous load of iniquity against God. What is to be done with the offenders? The only thing that can be done with them, in the ordinary rule of justice, is to punish them for their offenses; and that punishment must be such as was threatened, indignation, wrath, destruction, death. That God should punish sin is not a matter of caprice with Him; it was not with Him an alternative as to whether He might or might not punish sin. We speak always with holy awe when we speak of anything concerning Him, but with reverence we say it was not possible that God should wink at the iniquity of man; it was not possible that He should treat it with indifference. His attribute of justice, which is as undoubtedly a part of His glory as His attribute of love, required that sin should be punished. Moreover, as God had been pleased to make a moral universe to be governed by laws, there would be an end of all government if the breaking of law involved no penalty whatever. If, after the great King of all the earth had promulgated a law, with certain penalties annexed to the branch of it, He did not cause those penalties to be exacted, there would be an end to the whole system of His government, the foundations would be removed; and if the foundations be removed what shall the righteous do?

It is infinitely benevolent of God, I will venture to say, to cast evil men into hell. If that be thought to be a hard and strange statement, I reply that inasmuch as there is sin in the world, it is no benevolence to tolerate so great an evil; it is the highest benevolence to do all that can be done to restrain the horrible pest. It would be far from benevolent for our government to throw wide the doors of all the jails, to abolish the office of the judge, to suffer every thief and every offender of every kind to go unpunished; instead of mercy it would be cruelty; it might be mercy to the offending, but it would be intolerable injustice towards the upright and inoffensive. God's very benevolence demands that the detestable rebellion of sin against His supreme authority should be put down with a firm hand, that men may not flatter themselves that they can do evil and yet go unpunished. The necessities of moral government require that sin must be punished. The effeminate and sentimental talkers of this boastful age represent God as though He had no attribute but that of gentleness, no virtue but that of indifference to evil; but the God of the Bible is glorious in holiness, He will by no means spare the guilty at His bar every transgression is meted out its just recompense of reward. Even in the New Testament, wherein stands that golden sentence, “God is love,” His other attributes are by no means cast into the shade. Read the burning words of Peter, or James, or Jude, and see how the God of Sabbath abhorreth evil! As the God who must do right, the Lord cannot shut His eyes to the iniquities of man; He must visit, transgression with its punishment. He had done it, has done it terribly, and He wills do it; even to all eternity He will show Himself the God that hateth iniquity and sin.

What then, is to become of man? "All we like sheep have gone astray"; sin must be punished; what, then, can become of us? Infinite love has devised the expedient of representation and substitution. I call it an expedient, for we can only use the lan-guage of men. You remember, brethren, that you and I fell originally from our first estate by no act of our own, we all of us fell in the first Adam's transgression. Now, had we fallen individually and personally, in the first place, apart from another, it may be that our fall would have been hopeless, like the fall of the apostate angels, who hav-ing sinned one by one and nor representatively, are reserved in chains of darkness forever under the condemnation and wrath of God; but inasmuch as the first fountain of evil came to us through our parent, Adam, there remained for God a loophole through which His divine love might enter without violation of justice. The principle of representation wrecked us, the principle of representation rescues us. Jesus Christ the Son of God becomes a man and re-heads the race, becomes the second Adam, obeys the law of God, bears the penalty of sin, and now stands as the Head of all those who are in Him: and who are these but such as repent of sin and put their trust in Him? These get out of the old headship of the first Adam wherein they fell, and through the atoning sacrifice are cleansed from all personal guilt, brought into union with the second Adam, and stand again in Him, abiding forever in acceptance and felicity. See, then, how it is that God has been pleased to deliver His people. It has been through carrying out a principle with which the very system of the universe commenced, namely, that of representation. I repeat it, had we been always and al-together separate units, there might have been no possibility of our salvation; but though every man sins separately, and the second clause of our text confesses that fact, yet we all sin in connection with others. For instance, who shall deny that each man receives propensities to sin from his parents, and that we transmit peculiarities of sin to our own children? We stand in connection with race, and there are sins of races peculiar to races and to nationalities. We are never put on a probation of entire sep-aration; we always stand in connection with others, and God has availed Himself of this which I called a loophole to bring in salvation for us, by virtue of our union with another man, who is also more than man, the Son of God and yet the son of Mary, the infinite who once became an infant, the Eternal who lived, and bled, and died as the Representative of all who put their trust in Him.

Now you will say, perhaps, that still, albeit this might have been at the bottom of the whole system of moral government, you do not quite see the justice of it. The reply to that remark is this, if God sees the justice of it you ought to be content with it. He it was against whom every sin was aimed, and if He pleased to gather up the whole bun-dle of the sin of His people, and say to His beloved Son, "I will visit thee for all these," and if Jesus our Representative joyously consented to bear our sins as our Represen-tative, who are you and who am I that we should enter any caveat against what God the infinitely just One consents to accept? The text does not say that our sins were laid on Christ Jesus by accident, but “ the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." We sing sometimes, "I lay my sins on Jesus"; that is a very sweet act of faith, but at the bot-tom of it there is another laying, namely, that act in which it please the Lord to lay our sins on Jesus, for apart front Lord’s doing it our sins could never have been transferred to the Redeemer. The Lord is so just, that we dare not think of examining His verdicts, so infinitely pure and holy, that what He does we accept as being necessarily right; and inasmuch as we derive such blessed results from the divine plan of substitution, far be it from us to raise any question concerning it. Jesus was accepted as the natural substitute and representative of all those who trust Him, and all the sin of these was laid on Him, so that they we re freed from guilt. Jesus was regarded as if all these sins were His sins, and was punished as if these were His sins, was put to shame, forsaken of God, and delivered to death as if He had been a sinner; and thus through divine grace those who actually committed the sins are permitted to go free. They have satisfied justice through the sufferings of their substitute. Beloved brethren, the most fit person to be a substitute for us was Christ Jesus; and why? Because He had been pleased to take up His people into union with Himself. If He was our Head, and He had made us to be members of His body, who more fit to suffer for the body than the Head? If He had, and Scripture tells us so, entered into a mysterious conjugal union with us, who more fit to suffer for the spouse than her Husband? Christ is man, hence His fitness and adaptation to be a substitute for man. The creature that sins must be the creature that suffers; man breaks God’s law, and man must honor it. As by man came death, by man also must come the resurrection from the dead, and Jesus Christ was undoubtedly man of the substance of His mother. He was fit to be our substitute because He was a pure man. He had no offense in Him; neither Satan, nor the more searching eye of God could find any evil in Him; He was under no obligation to the law except as He put Himself under the law; He owed nothing to the great moral Governor until He voluntarily became a subject of His moral government on our behalf. Hence, being without obligation Himself, having no debts of His own, He was fit to take upon Himself our liabilities; and as He was under no obligations for Himself, He was a fitting One to become under obligations for us. Moreover, He did all this voluntarily, and His fitness much lies here. If a substitute should be dragged to death for us unwillingly, if such could be the case, an injustice would be perpetrated in the very act, but Jesus Christ taking up His cross, and going forth willingly to suf-fer for us, proved His fitness to redeem us. Once more, His being God as well as man, gave Him the strength to suffer; gave Him the power to stoop. If He had not been so lofty as to be fellow with the eternal God, He would not have stooped so low as to re-deem us, but

From the highest throne in Glory,

To the cross of deepest woe,

was such a descent that there was an infinite merit in it; when He stooped, even to the grave itself, there was an infinite merit by which justice was satisfied, the law was vindicated, and those for whom. He died were effectually saved.

I do not want to proceed to the other point until every one here has got the thought, and grasped it, and received it; we have gone astray, but the strayings of many of us as believe were laid on Christ; we have each chosen our own way of sin, but those sins are not ours now, they are laid on our great Substitute if we are trusting in Him; He has paid to the utmost farthing all the debt of those sins, has borne the fullness of divine wrath, and there is no wrath against us. Just as the bullock was laid on the altar to be burnt, God's wrath came like consuming fire and burnt the bullock, and there was no fire left; so when the wrath of God fell on Christ, it consumed Him, and there was no fire left, no wrath left, it spent itself. God has no anger against a soul that believes in Jesus, neither has that soul any sin, for its sin has been laid on Christ and it cannot be in two places at once: Christ has carried it, and the sin has ceased lo be and the believing soul though in itself as black as hell, is now as bright as Christ Himself when He was transfigured, for Christ has fin-ished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. Thus we conclude our general exposition al the verse.

II. I now desire for a short time, but with all the earnestness of my soul, to dwell on THE SPECIAL DOCTRINE taught in the central clause of the text "We have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Each man and each woman, from a natural difference of constitution, from the variations in education, and the diversities of circumstances, has sinned some-what differently from every other. Two brothers educated by the same parents will yet display diversities of transgression. No man treads exactly in the same footsteps as an-other, and some take roads which, though equally wrong, are diametrically opposite. One turns to the right hand, and another to the left, both equally renouncing the on-ward path. Now, the glory of the text that I want to bring out is this, that if thou be-lievest in Jesus Christ, this special sin of thine was laid on Him, as well as all those thine other sins, in which thou standest on an equality with thy fellow men. There was a publican, he had been a common, gross offender, rough and harsh to his brother Jews, in demanding an inordinate tax; he was a man of low habits, in-dulging in drunkenness, unchastity, and other defilements, yet when that publican went up to the house of God and said, "God be merciful to me a sinner," the atone-ment just met the publican's iniquity, and exactly took away the publican’s trans-gression.

But, on the other hand, there was a Pharisee, the opposite of the publican, proud and self-righteous, not submitting himself to the righteousness of God, but con-sidering himself to be in all things better than other men, yet you will remember that when he fell from off his horse as he was riding to Damascus, and heard a voice that said, "Why persecutest thou me?" that very same Pharisee said, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," for there was in Christ pre-cisely that which met the Pharisee's sin. In our Lord's day there were Sadducees, too that is, men who said there is neither angel nor spirit, infidels, skeptics, free-thinkers, your Broad Church sinners. Now, these men neither went into coarse transgression with the publican nor into superstition with the Pharisee, but they had their direct antagonism to the truth of God, and I doubt not cases occurred to prove that in the pardoning blood of Christ the Sadducee's case was met. No matter in what peculiar direction any one of the Lord’s sheep has gone astray, the Lord has laid that partic-ular straying upon the Savior. I want to speak now so as to fetch forth some individuals here this morning. It may be that one here today is saying, “I sinned against and early Christian training, no one had a better -mother or a tenderer father; I knew the Word of God, like Timothy, from my youth; but I did despite to all this teaching, and sinned, with what aggravation of infamy I sinned against the clearest light!" Brother, thy sin is very great, but the Lord hath laid on Jesus thine iniquity. Look thou to the cross, and see it laid there.

"Ay," saith another, "but I have had the strivings of God's Spirit; in addition to an early Christian education, I have sat under an earnest gospel ministry; I have often been impressed; I have been driven to my chamber to pray, but I have quenched the holy emotions, and have continued in sin.” O guilty one, the Lord has laid on His dear Son thine iniquity. Canst thou look to Jesus now and trust Christ, "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world?" Then this offense of thine against the Holy Ghost is put away. "But," saith another, "I am conscious of having had naturally a remarkable tenderness of spirit; from my early childhood I knew right from wrong, and when I sinned it cost me much trouble to sin; I have had to wound my conscience before I could speak an ill word, or commit an evil action." Ah! my brethren, that is a very condemning thing to sin against a tender conscience. It is a great boon, and in this age a very unusual boon, to have much sensitiveness and delicacy of moral constitution, and if you have violated it, it is certainly a great transgression, but though "we have turned every one to his own way, the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Let no despairing thought come upon thee as though this sin were unpardonable. "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Look thou, now, by faith to Jesus, and thou shalt find that thy sin is blotted out.

There may be one in this place who says, "Sir, I committed a sin under certain remarkable circumstances which I would not, could not, mention, but the remem-brance of that one sin rankles in my soul at this hour; if I had not deliberately and with malice aforethought, not having the fear of God before mine yes, chosen that sin, there might have been hope, but that sin like a millstone is about my neck and will sink me forever and ever." Hark thee, soul, canst thou see Christ on the cross? Wilt thou now confide in Him? If so, though thy sin be as scarlet it shall be as wool, though it be red like crimson, it shall be as snow. 1 know not what thy sin may have been, but if it were murder itself, if thou wouldst now trust the Son of God, thy sin should vanish quite away from thee, and thou shouldst be clean, clean every whit, before the all-seeing eye of eternal justice. O that thou wouldst believe, and this should be true to thee. "Nay," cries another, "but mine has been a life of peculiarly gross sin; I would not have my character unmasked before this congregation on any account." Consider then, my friend, what it will be to have it published before a greater congregation, before the entire universe? "Ah," sayest thou, "I fear my condemnation is certain, for my trans-gressions have not been those of thought merely, but of act; the members of my body have been the instruments of uncleanness." Listen, I pray thee, "All manner of sin and of iniquity shall be forgiven unto men." There is no sin so black, save only one, but it may find forgiveness; ay, and without exception, there is no sin that is possible to man but what it shall be forgiven to any man who comes to Christ, and with simple -trust doth cast himself on Him. Thine extreme evil was laid on Christ; though thou hast turned unto thine own way, yet this too was laid on Him.

Do I not hear here and there in the congregation hearts sighing out. "He does not strike my case yet; mine has nor been gross sin, but I have hardened my heart; I used to feel at one time; I had great drawings towards the Lord Jesus, but I gave Him up; I have backslidden, I have from time to time rejected gospel invitations, until now at last the Lord has sworn in His wrath that I shall not enter into His rest; my trans-gressions have gone over my head like overflowing waters, I sink in them as in deep mire where there is no standing." Ay, but soul, I must bring thee back to the text. Thou has turned to this iniquity also; if thou will trust Him, thy hardenings of heart shall now be forgiven thee. 'Thou art not too late, the gate of mercy still stands open wide; if thou trustest in Jesus this iniquity shall be blotted out. "Alas!" saith another, "but I have been a hypocrite; I have come to the Lord's table, and yet I have never had an interest in Christ; I have been baptized, but yet I never had true faith.' 'Well, now, I will say this to end all matters if thou has perpetrated all the sins that ever were committed by men or devils, if thou hast defiled thyself with all the blackness that could he raked out of the lowermost kennels of hell, if thou hast spoken the most damnable blasphemies and followed the most outrageous vices, yet Jesus Christ is an infinite Savior, and nothing can exceed the merit of His precious blood. "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Canst thou believe this? Canst thou do Christ the honor to believe this, and come and crouch at the feet that once were pierced? Ah! man, thou shalt find mercy now, and thou shalt clap thine hands and say, "He hath blotted out my sins like a cloud, and like a thick cloud mine iniquities."

I am afraid I do not convey to you the pleasure of my own soul in turning over this thought, but it has charmed me beyond measure. Here were Lot's sins, scandalous sins, I cannot mention them, they were very different from David's sins. Black sins, scarlet sins, were those of David, but David’s sins are not at all this those of Manasseh; the sins of Manasseh were not the same as those of Peter Peter sinned in quite a dif-ferent track; and the woman that was a sinner, you could not liken her to Peter, nei-ther if you look to her character could you set her side by side with Lydia; nor if you think of Lydia, can you see her without discovering a great divergence between her and the Philippian jailer. They are all alike, they have all gone astray, but they are all different, they have turned every one to his own way; but here is the blessed gather-ing up of them all, the Lord hath made to meet on the Redeemer, as in a common focus, the iniquity of all these; and tip yonder Magdalena’s song joins sweetly with that of the woman who was a sinner, and Lydia, chaste, but yet needing pardon, sings side by side with Bathsheba and Rahab; while David takes up the strain with Samson and Gideon, and these with Abraham and with Isaac, all differently sinners, but the atonement meeting every case. We always think that man a quack who advertises a medicine as healing every disease, but when you come to the great gospel medicine, the precious blood of Jesus Christ, you have there in very deed what the old doctors used to call a catholicon, a universal medicine which meets every case in its distinctness, and puts away sin in all its separateness of guilt as if it were made for that sin, and for that sin alone.

III. My time has gone, and therefore I must close with this, A SPECIAL DUTY ARISING -OUT OF THE SPECIAL DOCTRINE.

My dear brother, if in my discourse I have at all described you, or if not having described you, I have yet from that very reason indicated you as an indescribable, look thou to Christ and find mercy, and then ever afterwards make it a rule with thy soul, that as thou hast been a special sinner thou wilt have special love and special grati-tude, and do thy Lord special service. Oh! if it takes twenty times the grace to save me that it does another, then I will render to my Savior twenty times the love and twenty times the service. If I am an out-of-the-way straying sheep, peculiarly and spe-cially black, defiled and disgraced, then if He loves me I will go upon this rule, that having had much forgiven I will love much.

Brethren and sisters, I wish you did feel, more and more the peculiarity of the weight of our personal sin, for I am sure it is the way to drive us into manliness of Christian service. If you perform homage to Christ as one of a crowd, you do but lit-tle, and that little badly. For eminent service you need to get away from the crowd, and serve the Lord personally by yourself, and as an individual. Get alone, I mean in a sense of obligation, separate yourself; as if you were a marked man, and must serve Jesus Christ in a marked way. The separation of pride is detestable, but indi-viduality of service is admirable. Those who stand steadily in the rank and file do well, but those who step forward to lead the forlorn do better. O for more Davids to come forth and say, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" O that the Christian church had more self-sacrificing men, like old Curtius, who, when there is a chasm to fill up, leap into it, and feel it an honor to be swallowed up for Christ’s sake and the truth's sake. O for many a Christian Scaevola, who, like the Roman hero, will hold his hand in the fire if need be, and flinch not, feeling that all suffering were little to bear for One who bled for us. We want more consecrated men. May God raise them up; and He will if you who feel your special sinnership find special mercy, and then render to God special returns.

It has struck me that we want more and more in the pulpit, and in the pew, in-dividuality in our Christian experience and service. You see we are all individuals in sinning, we have turned every one to his own way, and yet many Christian people want to have their experience modeled after the example of someone else. They do not like to grow like God's trees in the forest, with their gnarled roots and twisted boughs; they want to be clipped like Dutch trees into one uniform stiffness. Why, you lose the beauty of Christianity when you lose the individuality of Christians. In preaching and Sunday school teaching, and everything else, the tendency is to go too much in ruts and grooves; one might fancy that men and women were made by machinery like pens at Birmingham, all of a sort. We would have every man in grace as individual as he was in sin. We need the originality of saintly life as well as of sinnership. It were well if a Christian man would step out of the beaten track and carry out his individuality, and be what God especially meant him to be. Brethren, there is a part of this world which can never get a blessing except through you. Christ has power over all flesh, and He has given His servants power over their little portions of that great mass. All the ministers that ever lived cannot bring to Christ those souls whom God has ordained that I shall be the means of turning to Christ; and neither I nor my brethren, preach as we may, can bring to Christ the man whom God has ordained to save through yon-der obscure village local preacher who is now standing on a log on the village green, or holding forth in a wooden shed in the backwoods of America. There is a place for every man, and the way for every man to find that out is to be himself and nobody else; as he used to be himself when he was a sinner, so let him be himself now he has be-come a saint, and follow out, under God's guidance, the movements of his own in-dividualities, the singularities of his own nature. Hush, about planing off your angles and getting rid of the points God has made in you distinct from other men. It will never do. You lose of Christianity the very beauty and excellence if you do this. Your fine critics would have Rowland Hill preach like Thomas Chalmers; Rowland Hill must never utter a witticism in the pulpit, yet he could not be Rowland Hill if he did not; he must, therefore, be transmogrified into someone else, for these superfine gentlemen will not allow that Rowland Hill as Rowland Hill can honor God. Wisdom will be jus-tified of all her children. Whether you speak of the learning of Apollos, or with the elo-quence of a Paul, or with the blunt homeliness of a Cephas, the Lord will get to Himself honor, if you speak sincerely; and it is not for Paul to mimic Cephas, nor for Cephas to ape Apollos. As we have turned every one to his own way, and our pecu-liar sin has been laid on Christ, so It t each believer now in his own way, under the di-rection of Christ, seek to serve his Lord and Master.

My great practical lesson from it is this. You are always seeing new inventions in the world, men are evermore bringing out some new system or scheme; we tunnel the earth, we split the clouds, we speak by lightning, we ride on the wings of the wind, but in the Christian church how few inventors we have! Robert Raikes invented the Sunday-school, John Pounds invented Ragged Schools; have we come to the end of gracious ingenuity? Oh, if we loved Christ better, every man would invent some-thing, he would have a mode of action growing out of his own peculiar capacities; he would feel that God meant to meet a case by him that would never be met by any-body else. Men are all alive about this world, and all asleep about the world to come. I would urge you each to have a mission, to espouse a work, to obtain a call-ing. Ask God not to put you into the Sunday-school as a matter of mere provi-dence, but as a matter of special ordination; and if you are ordained to be a Sunday-school teacher, ask Him to put you into some particular class, not as by an ac-cident, but as a special sphere for your special character and taste, and mode of thought, and manner of action. Follow out as God the Holy Spirit shall help you, the promptings of the divine life that God has put within you, and as you served Satan with all your individuality, even so serve Him upon whom the Lord of old did lay your iniquity. The Lord bless you for Christ’s sake.

Sin Laid on Jesus

June 10th, 1866 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6 .

The verse opens with a confession of sin common to all the persons intended in the verse. The whole of the elect people of God seem to me to be here represented; they have all fallen, those of them who have lived to years of responsibility have all actually sinned, and therefore in common chorus they all say from the first who entered heaven to the last who shall enter there, "All we like sheep have gone astray." But the confession while thus hearty and unanimous, is also special and particular: "We have turned every one to his own way." There is a peculiar sinfulness about every one of the individuals; all are sinful, but each one with some special aggravation not found in his fellow. It is the mark of genuine repentance that while it naturally associates itself with other penitents, it also feels that it must take up a position of loneliness. "We have turned every one to his own way" is a confession importing that each man had sinned against light peculiar to himself, or sinned with an aggravation which he at least could not perceive in his fellow. This confession being thus general and particular has many other traits of excellence about it of which we cannot just now speak. It is very unreserved. You will observe that there is not a single syllable by way of excuse; there is not a word to detract from the force of the confession. It is moreover singularly thoughtful, for thoughtless persons do not use a metaphor so appropriate as the text: "All we like sheep have gone astray." Not like the ox which "knoweth its owner," nor even like the ass which "remembers its master's crib nor even like the swine which if it wandereth all day long cometh back to the trough at night, but "like sheep we have gone astray;" like a creature cared for but not capable of grateful attachment to the hand that cares for it; like a creature wise enough to find the gap in the hedge by which to escape, but so silly as to have no propensity or desire to return to the place from which it had perversely wandered; like sheep habitually, constantly, wilfully, foolishly, without power to return, we have gone astray. I wish that all our confessions of sin showed a like thoughtfulness, for to say that we are "miserable sinners" may be an increase of our sin unless we have really felt it, to use words of general confession without our soul entering into them may be but a "repentance that needeth to be repented of," an insult and mockery to high Heaven vented in that very place where there ought to have been the greatest possible tenderness and holy fear. I like the confession of the text because it is a giving up of all pleas of self-righteousness. It is the declaration of a body of men who are guilty, consciously guilty; guilty with aggravations, guilty without excuse; and here they all stand with their weapons of rebellion broken in pieces, saying unanimously, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way." I hear no dolorous wailings attending this confession of sin; for the next sentence makes it almost a song. "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." It is the most grievous sentence of the three; but it is the most charming and the most full of comfort. Strange is it that where misery was concentrated mercy reigned, and where sorrow reached her climax there it is that a weary soul finds sweetest rest. The Savior bruised is the healing of bruised hearts. I want now to draw the hearts of all who feel the confession to the blessed doctrine set forth in the text: the Lord hath laid on Christ the iniquity of us all. We shall take the text first by way of exposition; then by way of application; and we shalt conclude with serious and I hope profitable contemplation. I. First, let us consider the text by way of EXPOSITION. 1. It may be well to give the marginal translation of the text, "Jehovah hath made to meet on him the iniquity of us all." The first thought that demands notice is the meeting of sin. Sin I may compare to the rays of some evil sun. Sin was scattered throughout this world as abundantly as light, and Christ is made to suffer the full effect of the baleful rays, which stream from the sun of sin. God as it were holds up a burning glass, and concentrates all the scattered rays in a focus upon Christ. That seems to be the thought of the text, "The Lord hath focused upon him the iniquity of us all." That which was scattered abroad everywhere is here brought into terrible concentration; upon the devoted head of our blessed Lord all the sin of his people was made to meet. Before a great storm when the sky is growing black and the wind is beginning to howl, you have seen the clouds hurrying from almost every point of the compass as though the great day of battle were come, and all the dread artillery of God were hurrying to the field. In the center of the whirlwind and the storm, when the lightnings threaten to set all heaven on a blaze, and the black clouds fold on fold labor to conceal the light of day, you have a very graphic metaphor of the meeting of all sin upon the person of Christ; the sin of the ages past and the sin of the ages to come, the sins of those of the elect Who were in heathendom, and of those who were in Jewry; the sin of the young and of the old, sin original and sin actual, all made to meet, all the black clouds concentrated and brought together into one great tempest that it might rush in one tremendous tornado upon the person of the great Redeemer and substitute. As when a thousand streamlets dash down the mountain side in the day of rain, and all meet in one deep swollen lake; that lake the Savior's heart, those gushing torrents the sins of us all who are here described as making a full confession of our sins. Or to take a metaphor not from nature but from commerce; suppose the debts of a great number of persons to be all gathered up, the scattered bonds and bills that are to be honored or dishonored on such and such a day, and all these laid upon one person who undertakes the responsibility of meeting every one of them without a single assistant; such was the condition of the Savior; the Lord made to meet on him the debts of all his people so that he became responsible for all the obligations of every one of those whom his Father had given him whatsoever their debts might be. Or if these metaphors do not suffice to set forth the meaning, take the text in our own version, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all;" put upon him as a burden is laid upon a man's back all the burdens of all his people; put upon his head as the high priest of old laid upon the scape-goat all the sin of the beloved ones that he might bear them in his own person. The two translations you see are perfectly consistent; all sins are made to meet, and then having met together and been tied up in one crushing load the whole burden is laid upon him. 2. The second thought is that sin was made to meet upon the suffering person of the innocent substitute. I have said "the suffering person" because the connection of the text requires it. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." It is in connection with this, and as an explanation of all his grief, that it is added, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." The Lord Jesus Christ would have been incapable of receiving the sin of all his people as their substitute had he been himself a sinner: but he was, as to his divine nature, worthy to be hymned as "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;" and, as to his human nature, he was by miraculous conception free from all original sin, and in the holiness of his life he was such that he was the spotless Lamb of God, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and therefore he was on all accounts capable of standing in the room, place, and stead of sinful men. The doctrine of the text is, that Jesus Christ, who was man of the substance of his mother, and who was, nevertheless, very God of very God, most true and glorious Creator, Preserver, did stand in such a position as to take upon himself the iniquity of all his people, remaining still himself innocent; having no personal sin, being incapable of any, but yet taking the sin of others upon himself it has been the custom of theologians to say by imputation; but I question whether the use of that word, although correct enough as it is understood by us, may not have lent some color to the misrepresentations of those who oppose the doctrine of substitution. I will not say that the sins of God's people were imputed to Christ, though I believe they were; but it seems to me that in a way more mysterious than that which imputation would express, the sins of God's people were actually laid upon Jesus Christ; that in the view of God, not only was Christ treated as if he had been guilty, but the very sin itself was, I know not how, but according to the text it was somehow laid upon the head of Christ Jesus: "For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Is it not written, "He shall bear," not merely the punishment of their sin, nor the imputation of their sin, but "He shall bear their iniquities"? Our sin is laid on Jesus in even a deeper and truer sense than is expressed by the term imputation. I do not think I can express it, nor convey the idea that I have in my own mind, but while Jesus never was and never could be a sinner, God forbid that the blasphemous thought should ever cross our lips or dwell upon our heart! yet the sin of his people was literally and truly laid upon him. 3. It has been asked, Was it just that sin should thus be laid upon Christ? Our reply is fourfold. We believe it was rightly so, first because it was the act of him who must do right, for "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Jehovah, he against whom the offense was committed, and who has ordained that the sin of the people spoken of should be laid upon Christ. To impugn this, then, would be to impugn the justice of Jehovah, and I pray that none of us may have the hardihood to do that. Shall the potsherd venture to strive with the potter? shall the thing formed contend with the Creator of all things? Jehovah did it; and we accept it as being right, caring not what men may think of Jehovah's own deed. Remember, moreover, that Jesus Christ voluntarily took this sin upon himself. It was not forced upon him, he was not punished for the sins of others with whom he had no connection and against his will; but He his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, and while bearing it said, "No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself." It was according to his own eternal agreement made with the Father on our behalf; it was according to his own expressed desire, for he had a baptism to be baptized with, and he was straitened until it was accomplished; and therefore whatever of injustice might be supposed, it is removed by the fact that he who was mainly concerned in it was himself voluntarily placed in such a position. But I would have you remember, beloved, that there was a relationship between our Lord and his people, which is too often forgotten, but which rendered it natural that he should bear the sin of his people. Why does the text speak of our sinning like sheep? I think it is because it would call to our recollection that Christ is our Shepherd. It is not, my brethren, that Christ took upon himself the sins of strangers. Remember that there always was a union of a most mysterious and intimate kind between those who sinned and the Christ who suffered. What if I say that it is not unjust but according to law that when a woman gets into debt her husband should bear it? And the church of God sinning it was but right that her Husband, who had espoused her unto himself, should become the debtor on her behalf. The Lord Jesus stood in the relationship of a married husband unto his church, and it was not, therefore, a strange thing that he should bear her burdens. It was natural for the next of kin to redeem the inheritance, it was most seemly that Immanuel, the next of kin, should redeem his lost church by his own blood. Recollect that there was a union closer even than the marriage bond, for we are members of his body. You shall not punish this hand of mine without making the sentient nature which dwells in the brain to suffer therewith; and does it seem strange to you that when the inferior members of the body have transgressed the Head should be made to suffer? It seems to me, my brethren, that while substitution is full of grace, it is not unnatural, but according to the laws of everlasting love. Yet there is a fourth consideration that may remove the difficulty of sin being laid upon Christ. It is not only that God laid it there, that Jesus voluntarily took it, and moreover was in such a union with his church that it was natural that he should take it, but you must remember that this plan of salvation is precisely similar to the method of our ruin. How did we fall, my brethren? Not by any one of us actually ruining himself. I grant you that our own sin is the ground of ultimate punishment, but the ground of our original fall lay in another. I had no more to do with my fall than I have to do with my restoration; that is to say, the fall which made me a sinner was wholly accomplished long before I was born by the first Adam, and the salvation by which I am delivered was finished long before I saw the light by the second Adam on my behalf. If we grant the fall, and we must grant the fact, however we may dislike the principle, we cannot think it unjust that God should give us a plan of salvation based upon the same principle of federal head-ship. Perhaps it is true, as has been conjectured by many, that because the fallen angels sinned one by one, there was no possibility of their restoration; but man sinning, not one by one in the first place, but transgressing under a covenant head, there remained an opportunity for the restoration of the race by another covenant head-ship. At any rate we, accepting the principle of the federal head-ship in the fall, joyfully receive it as to the restoration in Christ Jesus. It seems right, then, on these four grounds, that the Lord should make the sins of all his people to meet upon Christ. 4. I beg you to observe in the fourth place, that lying upon Christ brought upon him all the consequences connected with it. God cannot look where there is sin with any pleasure, and though as far as Jesus is personally concerned, he is the Father's beloved Son in whom he is well pleased; yet when he saw sin laid upon his Son, he made that Son cry, "My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" It was not possible that Jesus should enjoy the light of his Father's presence while he was made sin for us; consequently he went through a horror of great darkness, the root and source of which was the withdrawing of the conscious enjoyment of his Father's presence. More than that, not only was light withdrawn, but positive sorrow was inflicted. God must punish sin, and though the sin was not Christ's by his actually doing it, yet it was laid upon him, and therefore he was made a curse for us. What were the pangs, which Christ endured? I cannot tell you. You have read the story of his crucifixion. Dear friends, that is only the shell, but the inward kernel who shall describe? It is certain that Christ not only bore all that humanity could bear, but there was a Deity within which added extraordinary strength to his humanity, and enabled it to bear far more than it would otherwise have been able to endure. I doubt not that in addition to this the Godhead within gave a peculiar sensitiveness to the holiness of Christ's nature, so that sin must have become even more abhorrent to him than it would have been to a merely perfect man. His griefs are worthy to be described according to the Greek Liturgy as "unknown sufferings." The height and depth, the length and breadth of what Jesus Christ endured nor heart can guess, nor tongue can tell, nor can imagination frame; God only knows the griefs to which the Son of God was put when the Lord made to meet upon him the iniquity of us all. To crown all there came death itself. Death is the punishment for sin, and whatever it may mean, whatever over and beyond natural death was intended in the sentence, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," Christ felt. Death went through and through him, until "he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." "He became obedient to death, even to the death of the cross." 5. Dear friends, for a moment think of the result of all this. Sin meets on Christ and Christ is punished for sin, and what then? Why then sin is put away. If the penalty be endured justice asks no more. The debt discharged there is no debt; the claim made and the claim met the claim ceases to be. Though we could not meet that claim in our proper persons, yet we have met it in one who is so united and allied to us that we are in him even as Levi was in the loins of Abraham. Jesus himself also is free. Upon him the gathered tempest has spent itself, and not a single cloud lingers in the serene sky. Though the waters came his love has dried them up, his suffering has opened the sluices, and made the floods for ever spend themselves. Though the bills were brought he has honored them all, and there is not one outstanding account against a single soul for whom he died as a substitute. 6. We cannot close the exposition of this verse without just remarking upon the "us" here intended. "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." It is usually conceded by us who hold the doctrine of particular redemption that there was in the death of Christ very much of generality and universality. We believe that the atonement of Christ was infinite in value, and that if Christ had decreed to save every man of woman born, he need not have suffered another pang; there was sufficient in his atonement if he had so willed it to have redeemed the entire race. We believe also that by the death of Christ there is a general and honest invitation given to every creature under heaven in terms like these: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." We are not prepared, however, to go an inch beyond that. We hold that from the very nature of the satisfaction of Christ it could not have been made for any but for his elect; for Christ either did pay the debts of all men or he did not; if he did pay the debts of all men they are paid, and no man can be called to account for them. If Christ was the surety of every man living, then how in the name of common justice is Christ to be punished, and man punished too? If it be replied that the man would not accept the atonement, then I ask again, Was there a satisfaction given, for if so it was given whether the man accepts it or not, or else satisfaction by itself is powerless until man puts efficacy in it, which is preposterous to suppose. If you take away from us the fact that Christ did really satisfy for those for whom he stood, we cry like Jacob, "If I am bereaved I am bereaved;" you have taken away all that is worth having, and what have you given us in its place? You have given us a redemption, which confessedly does not redeem; you have given us an atonement, which is made equally for the lost in hell and for the saved in heaven; and what is the intrinsic value of such an atonement? If you tell us that Christ made a satisfactory atonement for every one of the human race, we ask you how it was that he made an atonement for those that must have been in the flames of hell thousands of years before he came into this world? My brethren, ours has the advantage of universality in its proclamation and in its bona fide offer, for there is no man living who shall believe in Jesus who shall not be saved by Christ; but it has a greater advantage than this; namely, that those who do believe are saved by it, and they know that Christ made such an atonement for them that for them to be punished for sin would be as much a violation of justice as it would of mercy. O my soul! thou knowest this day that all thy sins were made to meet on Christ, and that he bore the punishment for them all.

"He bore that we might never bear, His Father's righteous ire."

Here is a rock to stand on, a safe resting-place for those who trust in Jesus. As for you who trust him not, your blood be upon your own heads! If ye trust him not, ye have no part nor lot in this matter, ye shall go down to your own punishment to bear it yourselves; the wrath of God abideth on you; you shall find that the blood of Jesus has made no atonement for your sins. You have rejected the invitation that was given, and put far from you the cross of Christ, and upon your heads the pardoning blood shall never drop, and for you it shall never plead, but you must perish under the law, seeing you refuse to be saved under the gospel. II. Let us come briefly to the APPLICATION. Dear hearer, a friend now puts a question to you. There is a countless company whose sins the Lord Jesus bore; did he bear yours? Do you wish to have an answer? Are you unable to give one? Let me read this verse to you and see if you can join in it. I do not mean join in it saying, "That is true," but feeling that it is true in your own souls. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." If there be in you this morning a penitential confession which leads you to acknowledge that you have erred and strayed like a lost sheep, if there be in you a personal sense of sin which makes you feel that you have turned to your own way, and if now you can trust in Jesus, then a second question is not wanted; the Lord hath laid on him your iniquity, and the iniquity of all such as confess their sin and look alone to Christ. But if you will not trust to Christ, I cannot say to you that the Lord hath taken the sin from you and laid it upon Christ, for in my soul I know that living and dying as you now are, that sin of yours will rise up in judgment against you to condemn you. Dear friend, I will venture to say to you, are you reconciled to God's way of getting rid of sin? Do you feel any joy in your heart at the thought of Jesus bearing sin for you and suffering for you? If you do not, I cannot offer you the consolation, which the text gives to those who submit to it. But let me ask you, do you mean to bear your sin yourself? Do you know what that means? Jesus smarted when he bore the sin of his people, but what a smart shall yours be when you bear your own! "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." There are some now-a-days who are mightily angry at the doctrine of everlasting punishment; I, too, might be angry at it if it were an invention of man; but when it is most certainly threatened in God's Book, it is vain for me to kick against the pricks; my question should not be, "How can I dispute against it?" but "How can I escape from it?" Dear hearer, do not venture into God's presence with your sins upon yourself; even our God is a consuming fire, and his fury will break forth against you when you come to stand there. Have you an imagination that your own merits may make atonement for sin? I pray you think what Christ had to do before he could cast sin off from himself, what griefs he bore, through what an ocean of wrath he passed; and do you think that your poor merits, if they be merits, can ever avail to do what the Savior suffered so much to accomplish? Do you hope to escape without a punishment? If you do, let me pray you to think the matter over; for if God smote his own Son, do you think he will permit you to go scot-free? If the King of Glory, when he only takes others' sins upon him, must needs die, what think you will become of you, poor worm of the dust? Think you that God will be unjust in order to save you? Do you suppose that he will be hail fellow, well met! with you, and revoke his own sentence, because you do not choose to be saved by a plan which is both just to him and safe to you? Shall God be unjust to pander to your fancies, or indulge your lusts? Sinner, bow the knee to this plan of salvation, for be it known to you and I speak now, knowing what I say, and coolly too there is, none other plan of salvation under heaven. There may be other ways of salvation preached, but other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, Jesus Christ the Righteous. If thou shalt struggle after salvation individually, and hope to get to heaven apart from the head-ship of Christ, thou mayest struggle, but thou shalt be like the Jews of old, who had a zeal for God but not according to knowledge; if thou shalt be going about to establish thine own righteousness, but not submitting thyself to the righteousness of Christ, thou shalt perish. But let me ask thee, does not this plan commend itself to thee? If I trust Jesus, this is to me the evidence that he took my sins and suffered in my stead. Oh the joy it gives me! I speak to you honestly of my own experience now; there is no doctrine that fires my soul with such delight as that of substitution. The doctrine of atonement, as it is often preached, is a hazy, misty doing of something by which the law is honored, or perhaps dishonored, for I scarce know which to call it; this yields me no joy; but when I know that Christ was literally and positively, not metaphorically and by way of figure, but literally and positively the substitute for his own people, and when I know that trusting in him I have the evidence of being one of his people, why my soul begins to say, Now let me live! I'm clean, through Jesu's blood I'm clean. Now let me die! for I shall boldly stand in the day of resurrection, through Jesus my Lord. Why, soul, it seems to me as if it were enough to make you leap into the arms of Christ, crucified! covered with blood for you! disinterestedly suffering for his own enemies that they might live! Oh stay not away!

"Come, guilty souls, and flee away Like doves to Jesu's wounds; This is the welcome gospel-day, Wherein free grace abounds.

God loved the church, and gave his Son To drink the cup of wrath; And Jesus says he'll cast out none That come to him by faith."

III. Now consecrate a few minutes to hallowed CONTEMPLATION. You do not want talk, you want thought: I will give you four things to think of. The first is the astounding mass of sin that must have been laid on Christ. Now do not jump at it, and say, "Yes, the sins of the millions of his elect." Do not leap at that, get at it by degrees. Begin with your own sin. Have you ever felt that? your own sin. No, you never felt the full weight of it; if you did you would have been in hell. It is the weight of sin that makes hell. Sin bears its own punishment in its own weight. Do you remember when you felt that the pains of hell get hold upon you, and you found trouble and sorrow? That hour when you called upon the name of the Lord, saying, "O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul!" Then you only felt as it were the little end of your sins, but all your sins, what must they weigh! How old are you? You know not how old you may be before you enter into rest, but all the sins of all your years he carried. All the sins against light and knowledge, sins against law and gospel, week-day sins, Sabbath sins, hand sins, lip sins, heart sins, sins against the Father, sins against the Son, sins against the Holy Ghost, sins of all shapes, all laid upon him; can you get the thought now? Now multiply that. Think of the sins of all the rest of his people; persecutions and murders at the door of such an one as Saul of Tarsus; adultery at the door of David sins of every shape and size, for God's elect have been among the chief of sinners; those whom he has chosen have not been the best of men by nature, but some of them the very worst, and yet sovereign grace delighted to find a home for itself where seven devils had dwelt before, nay, where a legion of devils held their carnival. Christ looks abroad among the sons of men, and while a Pharisee is passed by, Zaccheus the publican is selected and the sins of all these with their full weight laid upon him. The weight of sin would have crushed all these into hell for ever, and yet Christ bore all that weight; and what if I venture to say the very eternity and infinity of wrath that was due for all that mass of sin, the Son of God, marvellously sustained by the infinity of the Godhead within, bore and sustained the whole. I would like to stop a minute and let you turn it over, but when you go home perhaps you will spend half an hour very profitably in thinking that

"The enormous load of human guilt Was on my Savior laid; With woes as with a garment he For sinners was array'd."

2. The next subject I offer you for contemplation is this, the amazing love of Jesus, which brought him to do all this. Remember Paul's way of putting it. "Scarcely for a righteous (or strictly just) man will one die; peradventure for a good (or benevolent) man one might even dare to die; but God commendeth his love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly." When Christ has renewed us by his Spirit, there may be a temptation to imagine that some excellency in us won the Savior's heart; but, my brethren, you must understand that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. Not that infant washed and swaddled, not that fair maiden with the jewel in her ear, and with the pure golden crown upon her head, not that lovely princess, presented like a chaste virgin to her husband; no, that was not what Jesus saw when he died. He saw all that in the glass of his prescience, but the actual condition of that fair maid was very different when he died for her; she was cast out, unwashed, unsalted, unswaddled, in her blood, a foul, filthy thing. Ah! my brethren, there is no filthy thing under heaven so filthy as a filthy sinner. When there was not a ray of beauty to be discovered in us, when neither without nor within a single thing could be found to commend us, but we were morally altogether abhorrent to the Holy nature of Christ, then oh wondrous grace! he came from the highest heaven that the mass of our sin might meet on him. I met with this question the other day, which seemed a novel one to me. The question was asked thus: "Suppose you had a child that had the leprosy, or some other foul disease. Suppose this dear child of yours was infected and contaminated to the most loathsome degree in every part, till the eyes were blinded and the hands were rotting, and the heart was turning to stone, and the whole body was covered with wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores. Now, suppose there were no cure for this child but for your perfectly sane and healthy soul, suppose it to be such, to be put into that child's body, and for you to bear that child's diseases instead of that child; would you consent to it?" I can suppose a mother's love yielding even to that; but the more disgusted you had been with those putrifying sores, the more terrible would the task become. Now, that only touches the fringe of the work, which Jesus did for us when he himself took our sins and bore our sicknesses. Such a wonderful union is there between Christ and the sinner that I venture to say there are some expressions in the New Testament and in the Old with regard to Christ's connection with the sin of man that I would not dare to use except as direct quotations from Holy Writ; but being there you shall see how wondrously the love of Jesus Christ induced him to take upon himself our sad condition and plight. But, oh the love! oh the love! Nay, I will not speak of it; ye must muse upon it. Silence is sometimes the best eloquence; and it will he best for me to say to you, oh the depths of the love of Jesus! unsearchable, past finding out! God over all, blessed for ever, should have laid on him the iniquity of us all! 3. Wonder of wonders that I need another minute to set you thinking on another subject, the matchless security which this plan of salvation offers. I do not see in what point that man is vulnerable who can feel and know that Christ has borne his sin. I look at the attributes of God, and though to me, as a sinner, they all seem bristling as with sharp points, thrusting themselves upon me; yet when I know that Jesus died for me, and did literally take my sin, what fear I the attributes of God? There is justice, sharp and bright, like a lance; but justice is my friend. If God be just, he cannot punish me for sin for which Jesus has offered satisfaction. As long as there is justice in the heart of Deity, it cannot be that a soul justly claiming Christ as his substitute can himself be punished. As for mercy, love, truth, honor, everything matchless, Godlike and divine about Deity, I say of all these, "You are my friends; you are all guarantees that Mince Jesus died for me I cannot die." How grandly does the apostle put it! It seems to me as if he never was worked up by the Holy Spirit to such a pitch of eloquence as when speaking about the death and resurrection of the Savior, he propounds that splendid question, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" There, where eternal justice sits upon a flaming throne, the apostle gazes with eye undimmed into the ineffable splendor, and though some one seems to say, "The Judge will condemn," he replies, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." Can he justify and then condemn us? He justifies those for whom Christ died, for we are justified by his resurrection. How then shall he condemn? And then he lifts up his voice yet again "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who sitteth at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." On other grounds a man must feel unsafe, but here he may know himself sure. Go ye that will, and build upon your sandy foundations; run up your superstructures till they are as high as Babel's tower, and tumble about your ears unable to support their own weight; but as for me, my soul shall rest upon this solid rock of substitution; and clinging to the rock with confident resolve, I know that I have no cause for fear since Jesus died for me. 4. Lastly, I desire to give you as a subject for contemplation, and I pray you do not forget it, this question, What then are the claims of Jesus Christ upon you and upon me? Brethren and sisters, I have sometimes wished to be eloquent; never when I had a cause to plead in which I was myself involved, but when I have had to speak for Jesus. But indeed, there is no need of eloquence here. Your hearts shall be the pleaders, his agonies shall be the plea. Did our blessed Lord take your sin, my brethren, and suffer all its terrific consequences for you, so that you are delivered. By his blood and wounds, by his death, and by the love that made him die, I conjure you treat him as he should be treated! Love him as he should be loved! Serve him as he should be served! You will tell me that you have obeyed his precepts. I am glad to hear it. Are you sure that you have? "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Have you kept the ordinances as he delivered them? Have you sought to be obedient to him in all respects? In all your Lord's appointed ways have you scrupulously pursued your journey? If you can say this I am not content; it does not seem to me that with such a leader as Christ mere. obedience should be all. Napoleon singularly enough had power to get the hearts of men twisted and twined about him; when he was in his wars theme were many of his captains and even of his private soldiers who not only marched with the quick obedience of a soldier wherever they were bidden, but who felt an enthusiasm for him. Have you never heard of him who threw himself in the way of the shot to receive it in his bosom to save the Emperor? No obedience, no law could have required that of him, but enthusiastic love moved him to it; and it is such enthusiasm that my Master deserves in the very highest degree from us. It is out of and beyond all categories of law, it is far exceeding all that law ventured to ask, and yet not supererogation for all that, for ye are not under the law but under grace; and ye will do more out of love than ye would have done out of the compulsion of demand. What shall I do for my Master? What shall I do for my Lord? How shall I set him forth? My brethren and sisters, my highest aim before God, next to the conversion of the unconverted among you, is this, that you who do love Christ may really love him and act as if you (lid. 1 hope you will never become a dead cold church. Oh may my ministry never help to lull you into such a state as that! If Jesus Christ does not deserve everything of you he does not deserve anything; you do not know anything of his claims if you do not feel that

"If you could make some reserve, And duty did not call; You love the Lord with zeal so great That you must give him all."

Christ stands for me, oh may I learn to stand for him, and plead for him, and live for him, and suffer for him, and pray for him, and preach and labor for him as he may help me! May I remind you each individually as you all followed your own way, and individually had some sin to increase that burden, pay him individual service? Contribute of your substance to the common work of the church, and do that constantly, and as a matter of delight. Our College, which is doing so much service greatly needs, and demands the help of all who love our work, and love the Lord's truth. But in addition to that, do something for yourself, speak for Christ yourself, have some work in hand on your own account. Do, I say again, at all times assist the work of the combined body, for that will be a great work, God being in us as our life and stay, and let no man withhold of his substance from Christ's cause; but still that is not all, he does not ask your pocket only but your heart. It is not the pence, it is the activities of the soul; it is not the shillings and the guineas and so on, but it is your very inmost soul, the core of your spirit. O Christian, by the blood of Jesus devote yourself to him again! In the old Roman battles it sometimes happened that the strife seemed dubious, and a captain inspired by superstitious patriotism would stand upon his sword and devote himself to destruction for the good of his country, and then, according to those old legends, the battle always turned. Now, men and brethren, sisters, every one of you who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, devote yourselves this day to live, to die, to spend, and to be spent for King Jesus. You will be no fool, for no man ever had an ambition more worthy. You will not be devoting yourself to one who does not deserve it. You know how much you owe him; nay, you do not know, to the fullest extent, the depth of your obligation, but you know you owe him all that you have; your escape from hell and your hope of heaven. Follow me this morning in these verses

"'Tis done, the great transaction's done; I am my Lord's, and he is mine: He drew me, and I follow'd on, Charm'd to confess the voice divine.

Now rest, my long-divided heart; Fix'd on this blissful center rest; With ashes who would grudge to part, When call'd on angel's bread to feast?

High heaven, that heard the solemn vow, That vow renew'd shall daily hear; Till in life's latest hour I bow, And bless in death a bond so dear."

Verse 10

The Death of Christ

A Sermon

(No. 173)

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 24, 1858, by the

REV. C. H. Spurgeon

at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.


"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." Isaiah 53:10 .

WHAT myriads of eyes are casting their glances at the sun! What multitudes of men lift up their eyes, and behold the starry orbs of heaven! They are continually watched by thousands but there is one great transaction in the world's history, which every day commands far more spectators than that sun which goeth forth like a bridegroom, strong to run his race. There is one great event, which every day attracts more admiration than do the sun, and moon, and stars, when they march in their courses. That event is, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. To it, the eyes of all the saints who lived before the Christian era were always directed; and backwards, through the thousand years of history, the eyes of all modern saints are looking. Upon Christ, the angels in heaven perpetually gaze. "Which things the angels desire to look into," said the apostle. Upon Christ, the myriad eyes of the redeemed are perpetually fixed; and thousands of pilgrims, through this world of tears, have no higher object for their faith, and no better desire for their vision, than to see Christ as he is in heaven, and in communion to behold his person. Beloved, we shall have many with us, whilst this morning we turn our face to the Mount of Calvary. We shall not be solitary spectators of the fearful tragedy of our Saviour's death: we shall but dart our eyes to that place which is the focus of heaven's joy and delight, the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Taking our text, then, as a guide, we propose to visit Calvary, hoping to have the help of the Holy Spirit whilst we look upon him who died upon the cross. I would have you notice this morning, first of all, the cause of Christ's death "It pleased the Lord to bruise him." "It pleased Jehovah to bruise him," saith the original; "he hath put him to grief." Secondly, the reason of Christ's death "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin." Christ died because he was an offering for sin. And then, thirdly, the effects and consequences of Christ's death. "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." Come, Sacred Spirit, now, whilst we attempt to speak on these matchless themes.

I. First, we have THE ORIGIN OF CHRIST'S DEATH. "It pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to griefs." He who reads Christ's life, as a mere history, traces the death of Christ to the enmity of the Jews, and to the fickle character of the Roman governor. In this he acteth justly, for the crime and sin of the Saviour's death must lay at the door of manhood. This race of ours became a deicide and slew the Lord, and nailed its Saviour to a tree. But he who reads the Bible with the eye of faith, desiring to discover its hidden secrets, sees something more in the Saviour's death than Roman cruelty, or Jewish malice: he sees the solemn decree of God fulfilled by men, who were the ignorant, but guilty instruments of its accomplishment. He looks beyond the Roman spear and nail, beyond the Jewish taunt and jeer, up to the Sacred Fount, whence all things flow, and traces the crucifixion of Christ to the breast of Deity. He believes with Peter "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." We dare not impute to God the sin, but at the same time the fact, with all its marvelous effects in the world's redemption, we must ever trace to the Sacred Fountain of divine love. So cloth our prophet. He says, "It pleased Jehovah to bruise him. He overlooks both Pilate and Herod, and traces it to the heavenly Father, the first Person in the Divine Trinity. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief."

Now, beloved, there be many who think that God the Father is at best but an indifferent spectator of salvation. Others do belie him still more. They look upon Him as an unloving, severe Being, who had no love to the human race, and could only be made loving by the death and agonies of our Saviour. Now, this is a foul libel upon the fair and glorious grace of God the Father, to whom for ever be honor: for Jesus Christ did not die to make God loving, but he died because God was loving.

"Twas not to make Jehovah's love

Toward his people flame,

That Jesus from the throne above,

A suffering man became.

"Twas not the death which he endured,

Nor all the pangs he bore,

That God's eternal love procured,

For God was love before."

Christ was sent into the world by his Father, as the consequence of the Father's affection for his people. Yea, he "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The fact is, that the Father as much decreed salvation, as much effected it, and as much delighted in it, as did either God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. And when we speak of the Saviour of the world, we must always include in that word, if we speak in a large sense, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, for all these three, as one God, do save us from our sins. The text puts away every hard thought concerning the Father, by telling us that it pleased Jehovah to bruise Jesus Christ. The death of Christ is traceable to God the Father. Let us try if we can see it is so.

1. First it is traceable in decree. God, the one God of heaven and earth, hath the book of destiny entirely in his power. In that book there is nothing written by a stranger's hand. The penmanship of the solemn book of predestination is from beginning to end entirely divine.

"Chained to his throne a volume lies,

With all the fates of men,

With every angel's form and size

Drawn by th' eternal pen."

No inferior hand hath sketched even so much as the least minute parts of providence. It was all, from its Alpha to its Omega, from its divine preface to its solemn finis, marked out, designed, sketched, and planned by the mind of the all-wise, all-knowing God. Hence, not even Christ's death was exempt from it. He that wings an angel and guides a sparrow, he that protects the hairs of our head from falling prematurely to the ground, was not likely, when he took notice of such little things, to omit in his solemn decrees the greatest wonder of earth's miracles, the death of Christ. No; the blood-stained page of that book, the page which makes both past and future glorious with golden words, that blood-stained page, I say, was as much written of Jehovah, as any other. He determined that Christ should be born of the Virgin Mary, that he should suffer under Pontius Pilate, that he should descend into Hades, that thence he should rise again, leading captivity captive, and then should reign for ever at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Nay, I know not but that I shall have Scripture for my warrant when I say, that this is the very core of predestination, and that the death of Christ is the very center and main-spring by which God did fashion all his other decrees, making this the bottom and foundation-stone upon which the sacred architecture should be builded. Christ was put to death by the absolute foreknowledge and solemn decree of God the Father, and in this sense "it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief."

2. But a little further, Christ's coming into the world to die was the effect of the Father's will and pleasure. Christ came not into this world unsent. He had laid in Jehovah's bosom from before all worlds, eternally delighting himself in his Father, and being himself his Father's eternal joy. "In the fullness of time" God did rend his Son from his bosom, his only-begotten Son, and freely delivered him up for us all. Herein was matchless, peerless love, that the offended judge should permit his co-equal Son to suffer the pains of death for the redemption of a rebellious people. I want your imaginations for one minute to picture a scene of olden times. There is a bearded patriarch, who rises early in the morning and awakes his son, a young man full of strength, and bids him arise and follow him. They hurry from the house silently and noiselessly, before the mother is awake. They go three days, journey with their men; until they come to the Mount, of which the Lord hath spoken. You know the patriarch. The name of Abraham is always fresh in our memories. On the way, that patriarch speaks not one solitary word to his son. His heart is too full for utterance. He is overwhelmed with grief. God has commanded him to take his son, his only son, and slay him upon the mountain as a sacrifice. They go together; and who shall paint the unutterable anguish of the father's soul, whilst he walks side by side with that beloved son, of whom he is to be the executioner? The third day has arrived; the servants are bidden to stay at the foot of the hill, whilst they go to worship God yonder. Now, can any mind imagine how the father's grief must overflow all the banks of his soul, when, as he walked up that hill-side, his son said to him, "Father, behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?" Can you conceive how he stifled his emotions, and, with sobs, exclaimed, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb." See! the father has communicated to his son the fact that God has demanded his life. Isaac, who might have struggled and escaped from his father, declares that he is willing to die, if God hath decreed it. The father takes his son, binds his hands behind his back, piles up the stones, makes an altar, lays the wood, and has his fire ready. And now where is the artist that can depict the anguish of the fathers countenance, when the knife is unsheathed, and he holds it up, ready to slay his son? But here the curtain falls. Now the black scene vanishes at the sound of a voice from heaven. The ram caught in the thicket supplies the substitute, and faith's obedience need go no further. Ah! my brethren, I want to take you from this scene to a far greater one. What faith and obedience made man do, that love constrained God himself to do. He had but one son, that son his own heart's delight: he covenanted to yield him up for our redemption, nor did he violate his promise; for, when the fullness of time was come, he sent his Son to be born of the Virgin Mary, that he might suffer for the sins of man. O! can ye tell the greatness of that love, which made the everlasting God not only put his Son upon the altar, but actually do the deed, and thrust the sacrificial knife into his Son's heart? Can you think how overwhelming must have been the love of God toward the human race, when he completed in act what Abraham only did in intention? Look ye there, and see the place where his only Son hung dead upon the cross, the bleeding victim of awakened justice! Here is love indeed; and here we see how it was, that it pleased the Father to bruise him.

3. This allows me to push my text just one point further. Beloved, it is not only true that God did design and did permit with willingness the death of Christ; it is moreover, true that the unutterable agonies that clothed the death of the Saviour with superhuman terror, were the effect of the Father's bruising of Christ in very act and deed. There is a martyr in prison: the chains are on his wrists, and yet he sings. It has been announced to him that to-morrow is his burning day. He claps his hands right merrily, and smiles while he says, "It will be sharp work to-morrow, I shall breakfast below on fiery tribulations, but afterward I will sup with Christ. Tomorrow is my wedding-day, the day for which I have long panted, when I shall sign the testimony of my life by a glorious deaths." The time is come; the men with the halberts precede him through the streets. Mark the serenity of the martyrs countenance. He turns to some who look upon him, and exclaims, "I value these iron chains far more than if they had been of gold; it is a sweet thing to die for Christ. There are a few of the boldest of the saints gathered round the stake, and as he unrobes himself, ere he stands upon the fagots to receive his doom, he tells them that it is a joyous thing to be a soldier of Christ, to be allowed to give his body to be burned; and he shakes hands with them, and bids them "Good by" with merry cheer. One would think he were going to a bridal, rather than to be burned. He steps upon the fagots; the chain is put about his middle; and after a brief word of prayer, as soon as the fire begins to ascend, he speaks to the people with manful boldness. But hark! he sings whilst the fagots are crackling and the smoke is blowing upward. He sings, and when his nether parts are burned, he still goes on chanting sweetly some psalm of old. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble; therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea."

Picture another scene. There is the Saviour going to his cross, all weak and wan with suffering; his soul is sick and sad within him. There is no divine composure there. So sad is his heart, that he faints in the streets. The Son of God faints beneath a cross that many a criminal might have carried. They nail him to the tree. There is no song of praise. He is lifted up in the air, and there he hangs preparatory to his death. You hear no shout of exultation. There is a stern compression of his face, as if unutterable agony were tearing his heart as if over again Gethsemane were being acted on the cross as if his soul were still saying, "If it be possible let this cross pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Hark! he speaks. Will he not sing sweeter songs than ever came from martyr's lips? Ah! no; it is an awful wail of woe that can never be imitated. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The martyrs said not that: God was with them. Confessors of old cried not so, when they came to die. They shouted in their fires, and praised God on their racks. Why this? Why doth the Saviour suffer so? Why, beloved, it was because the Father bruised him. That sunshine of God's countenance that has cheered many a dying saint, was withdrawn from Christ; the consciousness of acceptance with God, which has made many a holy man espouse the cross with joy, was not afforded to our Redeemer, and therefore he suffered in thick darkness of mental agony. Read the 22nd Psalm, and learn how Jesus suffered. Pause over the solemn words in the 1st, 2nd, 6th, and following verses. Underneath the church are the ever lasting arms; but underneath Christ there were no arms at all, but his Father's hand pressed heavily against him; the upper and the nether mill-stones of divine wrath pressed and bruised him; and not one drop of joy or consolation was afforded to him. "It pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief." This, my brethren, was the climax of the Saviour's woe, that his Father turned away from him, and put him to grief.

Thus have I expounded the first part of the subject the origin of our Saviour's worst sufferings, the Father's pleasure.

II. Our second head must explain the first, or otherwise it is an insolvable mystery how God should bruise his Son, who was perfect innocence, while poor fallible confessors and martyrs have had no such bruising from him in the time of their trial. WHAT WAS THE REASON OF THE SAVIOUR'S SUFFERING? We are told here, "Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin." Christ was thus troubled, because his soul was an offering for sin. Now, I am going to be as plain as I can, while I preach over again the precious doctrine of the atonement of Christ Jesus our Lord. Christ was an offering for sin, in the sense of a substitute. God longed to save; but, if such a word may be allowed, Justice tied his hands. "I must be just," said God; "that is a necessity of my nature. Stern as fate, and fast as immutability, is the truth that I must be just. But then my heart desires to forgive to pass by man's transgressions and pardon them. How can it be done? Wisdom stepped in, and said, "It shall be done thus;" and Love agreed with Wisdom. "Christ Jesus, the Son of God, shall stand in man's place, and he shall be offered upon Mount Calvary instead of man. Now, mark: when you see Christ going up the Mount of Doom, you see man going there: when you see Christ hurled upon his back, upon the wooden cross, you see the whole company of his elect there; and when you see the nails driven through his blessed hands and feet, it is the whole body of his Church who there, in their substitute, are nailed to the tree. And now the soldiers lift the cross, and dash it into the socket prepared for it. His bones are every one of them dislocated, and his body is thus torn with agonies which can not be described. 'Tis manhood suffering there; 'tis the Church suffering there, in the substitute. And when Christ dies, you are to look upon the death of Christ, not as his own dying merely, but as the dying of all those for whom he stood as the scape-goat and the substitute. It is true, Christ died really himself; it is equally true that he did not die for himself, but died as the substitute, in the room, place, and stead of all believers. When you die you will die for yourselves; when Christ died, he died for you, if you be a believer in him. When you pass through the gates of the grave, you go there solitary and alone; you are not the representative of a body of men, but you pass through the gates of death as an individual; but, remember, when Christ went through the sufferings of death, he was the representative Head of all his people.

Understand, then, the sense in which Christ was made a sacrifice for sin. But here lies the glory of this matter. It was as a substitute for sin that he did actually and literally suffer punishment for the sin of all his elect. When I say this, I am not to be understood as using any figure whatever, but as saying actually what I mean. Man for his sin was condemned to eternal fire; when God took Christ to be the substitute, it is true, he did not send Christ into eternal fire, but he poured upon him grief so desperate, that it was a valid payment for even an eternity of fire. Man was condemned to live forever in hell. God did not send Christ forever into hell; but he put on Christ, punishment that was equivalent for that. Although he did not give Christ to drink the actual hells of believers, yet he gave him a quid pro quo something that was equivalent thereunto. He took the cup of Christ's agony, and he put in there, suffering, misery, and anguish such as only God can imagine or dream of, that was the exact equivalent for all the suffering, all the woe, and all the eternal tortures of every one that shall at last stand in heaven, bought with the blood of Christ. And you say, "Did Christ drink it all to its dregs?" Did he suffer it all? Yes, my brethren, he took the cup, and

"At one triumphant draught of love,

He drank damnation dry."

He suffered all the horror of hell: in one pelting shower of iron wrath it fell upon him, with hail-stones bigger than a talent; and he stood until the black cloud had emptied itself completely. There was our debt; huge and immense; he paid the utmost farthing of whatever his people owed; and now there is not so much as a doit or a farthing due to the justice of God in the way of punishment from any believer; and though we owe God gratitude, though we owe much to his love, we owe nothing to his justice; for Christ in that hour took all our sins, past, present, and to come, and was punished for them all there and then, that we might never be punished, because he suffered in our stead. Do you see, then, how it was that God the Father bruised him? Unless he had so done the agonies of Christ could not have been an equivalent for our sufferings; for hell consists in the hiding of God's face from sinners, and if God had not hidden his face from Christ, Christ could not I see not how he could have endured any suffering that could have been accepted as an equivalent for the woes and agonies of his people.

Methinks I heard some one say, "Do you mean us to understand this atonement that you have now preached as being a literal fact?" I say, most solemnly, I do. There are in the world many theories of atonement; but I can not see any atonement in any one, except in this doctrine of substitution. Many divines say that Christ did something when he died that enabled God to be just, and yet the Justifier of the ungodly. What that something is they do not tell us. They believe in an atonement made for every body; but then, their atonement is just this. They believe that Judas was atoned for just as much as Peter; they believe that the damned in hell were as much an object of Jesus Christ's satisfaction as the saved in heaven; and though they do not say it in proper words, yet they must mean it, for it is a fair inference, that in the case of multitudes, Christ died in vain, for he died for them all, they say; and yet so ineffectual was his dying for them, that though he died for them they are damned afterward. Now, such an atonement I despise I reject it. I may be called Antinomian or Calvinist for preaching a limited atonement; but I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than an universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it. Why, my brethren, if we were only so far atoned for by the death of Christ that any one of us might afterward save himself, Christ's atonement were not worth a farthing, for there is no man of us can save himself no, not under the gospel; for if I am to be saved by faith, if that faith is to be my own act, unassisted by the Holy Spirit, I am as unable to save myself by faith as to save myself by good works. And after all, though men call this a limited atonement, it is as effectual as their own fallacious and rotten redemptions can pretend to be. But do you know the limit of it? Christ hath bought a "multitude that no man can number." The limit of it is just this: He hath died for sinners; whoever in this congregation inwardly and sorrowfully knows himself to be a sinner, Christ died for him; whoever seeks Christ, shall know Christ died for him; for our sense of need of Christ, and our seeking after Christ, are infallible proofs that Christ died for us. And, mark, here is something substantial. The Arminian says Christ died for him; and then, poor man, he has but small consolation therefrom, for he says, "Ah! Christ died for me; that does not prove much. It only proves I may be saved if I mind what I am after. I may perhaps forget myself; I may run into sin and I may perish. Christ has done a good deal for me, but not quite enough, unless I do something." But the man who receives the Bible as it is, he says, "Christ died for me, then my eternal life is sure. I know," says he, "that Christ can not be punished in a man's stead, and the man be punished afterwards. No," says he, "I believe in a just God, and if God be just, he will not punish Christ first, and then punish men afterwards. No; my Saviour died, and now I am free from every demand of God's vengeance, and I can walk through this world secure; no thunderbolt can smite me, and I can die absolutely certain that for me there is no flame of hell, and no pit digged; for Christ, my ransom, suffered in my stead, and, therefore, am I clean delivered. Oh! glorious doctrine! I would wish to die preaching it! What better testimony can we bear to the love and faithfulness of God than the testimony of a substitution eminently satisfactory for all them that believe on Christ? I will here quote the testimony of that pre-eminently profound divine, Dr. John Owen: "Redemption is the freeing of a man from misery by the intervention of a ransom. Now, when a ransom is paid for the liberty of a prisoner, does not justice demand that he should have and enjoy the liberty so purchased for him by a valuable consideration? If I should pay a thousand pounds for a man's deliverance from bondage to him that retains him, who hath power to set him free, and is contented with the price I give, were it not injurious to me and the poor prisoner that his deliverance be not accomplished? Can it possibly be conceived that there should be a redemption of men, and those men not redeemed? That a price should be paid and the ransom not consummated? Yet all this must be made true, and innumerable other absurdities, if universal redemption be asserted. A price is paid for all, yet few delivered; the redemption of all consummated, yet, few of them redeemed; the judge satisfied, the jailer conquered, and yet the prisoners inthralled! Doubtless 'universal,' and 'redemption,' where the greatest part of men perish, are as irreconcilable as 'Roman, and 'Catholic.' If there be a universal redemption of all, then all men are redeemed. If they are redeemed, then are they delivered from all misery, virtually or actually, whereunto they were inthralled, and that by the intervention of a ransom. Why, then, are not all saved? In a word, the redemption wrought by Christ being the full deliverance of the persons redeemed from all misery, wherein they were inwrapped, by the price of his blood, it can not possibly be conceived to be universal unless all be saved: so that the opinion of the Universalists is unsuitable to redemption."

I pause once more; for I hear some timid soul say "But, sir, I am afraid I am not elect, and if so, Christ did not die for me." Stop sir! Are you a sinner? Do you feel it? Has God, the Holy Spirit, made you feel that you are a lost sinner? Do you want salvation? If you do not want it it is no hardship that it is not provided for you; but if you really feel that you want it, you are God's elect. If you have a desire to be saved, a desire given you by the Holy Spirit, that desire is a token for good. If you have begun believingly to pray for salvation, you have therein a sure evidence that you are saved. Christ was punished for you. And if now you can say,

"Nothing in my hands I bring,

Simply to the cross I cling."

you may be as sure you are God's elect as you are sure of your own existence; for this is the infallible proof of election a sense of need and a thirst after Christ.

III. And now I have just to conclude by noticing the BLESSED EFFECTS of the Saviour's death. On this I shall be very brief.

The first effect of the Saviour's death is, "He shall see his seed." Men shall be saved by Christ. Men have offspring by life; Christ had an offspring by death. Men die and leave their children, and they see not their seed; Christ lives, and every day sees his seed brought into the unity of the faith. One effect of Christ's death is the salvation of multitudes. Mark, not a chance salvation. When Christ died the angel did not say, as some have represented him, "Now by his death many may be saved;" the word of prophecy had quenched all "buts" and "peradventures;" "By his righteousness he shall justify many. There was not so much as an atom of chance work in the Saviour's death. Christ knew what he bought when he died; and what he bought he will have that, and no more, and no less. There is no effect of Christ's death that is left to peradventure. "Shalls" and "wills" made the covenant fast: Christ's bloody death shall effect its solemn purpose. Every heir of grace shall meet around the throne,

"Shall bless the wonders of his grace,

And make his glories known."

The second effect of Christ's death is, "He shall prolong his days." Yes, bless his name, when he died he did not end his life. He could not long be held a prisoner in the tomb. The third morning came, and the conqueror, rising from his sleep burst the iron bonds of death, and came forth from his prison house, no more to die. He waited his forty days, and then, with shouts of sacred song, he "led captivity captive, and ascended up on high." "In that he died he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth he liveth unto God," no more to die.

"Now by his Father's side he Sits,

And there triumphant reigns,"

the conqueror over death and hell.

And, last of all, by Christ's death the Father's good pleasure was effected and prospered. God's good pleasure is, that that this world shall one day be totally redeemed from sin; God's good pleasure is, that this poor planet, so long swathed in darkness, shall soon shine out in brightness, like a new-born sun. Christ's death hath done it. The stream that flowed from his side on Calvary shall cleanse the world from all its blackness. That hour of mid-day darkness was the rising of a new sun of righteousness, which shall never cease to shine upon the earth. Yes, the hour is coming when swords and spears shall be forgotten things when the harness of war and the pageantry of pomp shall all be laid aside for the food of the worm or the contemplation of the curious. The hour approacheth when old Rome shall shake upon her seven hills, when Mohammed's crescent shall wane to wax no more, when all the gods of the heathens shall lose their thrones and be cast out to the moles and the bats; and then, when from the equator to the poles Christ shall be honored, the Lord paramount of earth, when from land to land, from the river even to the ends of the earth, one King shall reign, one shout shall be raised, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth." Then, my brethren, shall it be seen what Christ's death has accomplished, for "the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand."

Preface from Mr. Spurgeon

TO MY READERS AND FRIENDS, If you accept the great truths set forth in this Manifesto, please circulate it widely. I could not make the sermon shorter, so as to bring it into a single number, or I should have had to leave out some important point; and I think the shorter sermon is a very fitting accompaniment of it. It is a common saying with the opponents of the old faith, that Mr. Spurgeon is a "pessimist," and takes gloomy views of things. Nothing can be more untrue; and this sermon may help to show that I am full of hope and confidence. The days are evil, but the Lord is good. Men forsake the faith, but God is faithful still. I hope soon to be lifting up my voice again. Refreshed and rested, I look up to the Lord, who can nerve my arm for the conflict, which every day demands more faith and decision. "The Church of the Future," vainly so galled, threatens to overthrow the Church of the living God. It is to run a theater and a public-house, and include atheists in its membership. It is well to know whither the age is driving. With its theater and public-house, it carries on its back two of the greatest instruments of evil yet known. We have no weapon against this monster, with the double tower on its back, but the gospel of the grace of God. It is a sharp sword with two edges, if it be preached as it was delivered at the first. Advices to adapt it to the age are temptations to destroy its forge; and to these we can have no respect. Should I conceal those parts of divine truth which are obnoxious to the carnal mind, I should be unfaithful to God, untrue to my galling, and guilty of the blood of souls. Brethren, pray for me, and all who are faithful to the truth of God, that we may be upheld in our steadfastness. The truth will conquer, for God makes it his banner, and his holy arm upholds it; but the end is not yet, unless, indeed, our Lord should suddenly appear.

Menton, Jan. 15, 1891.

Yours in waiting hope, C. H. SPURGEON.

Our Expectation

by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"He shall see his seed." Isaiah 53:10 .

The first thought suggested by this text is, that Jesus is still alive; for to see anything is the act of a living person. Our Lord Jesus died. We know that he died. We are glad that there is overwhelming evidence that, not in appearance, but in fact, he died. His side was pierced; he was given up by the Roman authorities for burial; the imperial authorities were sure of his death. The soldier had made assurance doubly sure by piercing his side. His disciples buried him. They would not have left him in the cave if they had felt any doubt about his death. They went in the morning after the Sabbath to embalm him. They were all persuaded that he had really died. Blessed be the dying Christ! Here our living hopes take their foundation. If he had not died, we must have died for ever. The more assured we are of his death, the more assured we feel of the life of all who are in him. But, my brothers, he is not dead. Some years ago, someone, wishing to mock our holy faith, brought out a handbill, which was plastered everywhere "Can you trust in a dead man?" Our answer would have been, "No; nobody can trust in a man who is dead." But it was known by those who printed the bill that they were misrepresenting our faith. Jesus is no longer dead. He rose again the third day. We have sure and infallible proofs of it. It is an historical fact, better proved than almost any other which is commonly received as historical, that he did really rise again from the grave. He arose no more to die. He has gone out of the land of tears and death. He has gone into the region of immortality. He sits at the right hand of God, even the Father, and he reigns there for ever. We love him that died, but we rejoice that he who died is not dead, but ever liveth to make intercession for us. Dear children of God, do not be afraid that Christ's work will break down because he is dead. He lives to carry it on. That which he purchased for us by his death, he lives to secure for us by his life. Do not let your faith be a sort of dead faith dealing with a dead man; let it be instinct with life, with warm blood in its veins. Go to your own Christ, your living Christ; make him your familiar Friend, the Acquaintance of your solitude, the Companion of your pilgrimage. Do not think that there is a great gulf between you, a living man, and him. The shades of death do not divide you from him. He lives, he feels, he sympathizes, he looks on, he is ready to help, he will help you even now. You have come in to the place where prayer is wont to be made, burdened and troubled, and you seek relief; let the thought that your Lord is a living Friend ease you of your burden. He is still ready to be your strong Helper, and to do for you what he did for needy ones in the days of his sojourn here below. I want even you, who do not know him, to remember that he lives, that you may seek him to-night that ere another sun shall rise you may find him, and, finding him, may yourselves be found, and saved. Do not try to live without the living, loving Friend of sinners. Seek his healing hand; then beg for his company; get it; keep it; and you shall find that it makes life below like heaven above. When you live with the living Christ, you will live indeed. In him is light, and the light is the life of men. And now to the text itself, with brevity. I have to observe upon it, first, that Christ's death produced a posterity. "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed." Evidently the death of Christ was fruitful of a seed for him. Secondly, that posterity remains. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not look to-day on emptiness: he is not bereaved of his household, but still he sees his seed. And, thirdly and lastly, that posterity is under his immediate eye at all times, for "He shall see his seed." I. Well, first of all, THE DEATH OF CHRIST AS PRODUCED A POSTERITY. We do not read here that the Lord Christ has followers. That would be true; but the text prefers to say he has a seed. We read just now that the Lord Jesus has disciples. That would be distinctly true; but the text does not so read. It says, "He shall see his seed." Why his seed? Why, because everyone, who is a true follower or disciple of Christ, has been born by a new birth from him into the position of disciple. There is no knowing Christ except through the new birth. We are naturally sold under sin, and we cannot discern the spiritual and real Christ until we have a spirit created within us by the new birth, of which he said, "Ye must be born again." This is the gate of entrance into discipleship. None can be written in the roll of followers of Christ unless they are also written in the register of the family of God "this and that man was born there." Other men can get disciples for themselves by the means that are usual for such ends; but all the disciples of Christ are produced by miracle. They are all discipled by being newly-created. Jesus, as he looks upon them all, can say, "Behold, I make all things new." They all come into the world, of which he is King, by being born into it. There is no other way into the first world but by birth: and there is no other way into the second world, wherein dwelleth righteousness, but by birth, and that birth is strictly connected with the pangs of the Savior's passion, "when thou shalt make his soul an of offering for sin, he shall see his seed." See, then, the reason why we have here the remarkable expression "his seed." Learn from this that all who truly follow Christ, and are saved by him, have his life in them. The parent's life is in the child. From the parent that life has been received. It is Christ's life that is in every true believer "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory." We have our natural life, and this makes us men: we have our spiritual life, and this makes us Christians. We take life from our parents, this links us with the first Adam: we have taken life from Christ, and this joins us to the second Adam. Do not mistake me; that same life which abides in Christ, at the right hand of God, is that everlasting life which he has bestowed upon all those who put their trust in him. That water springing up into everlasting life he gave us. He made it to be in us a well of water springing up. The first drops of that living spring, the whole outcome of the spring, and the spring itself, came from him. Let me put it to you, beloved hearers. Do you know anything about this new birth? Do you know anything about this divine life? There are multitudes of religious people, very religious people; but they are as dead as door-nails. Multitudes of religious persons are like waxworks, well-proportioned, and you might mistake them by candle-light for life; but in the light of God you would soon discover that there is a mighty difference, for the best that human skill can do is a poor imitation of real life. You, dear hearer, dressed in the garments of family religion, and adorned with the jewels of moral virtue, may be nothing beyond "a child of nature finely dressed, but not the living child." God's living children may not seem to be quite so handsome, nor so charmingly arrayed as you are, and in their own esteem they may not be worthy to consort with you; but there is a solemn difference between the living child and the dead child, however you may try to conceal it. Righteous men know themselves to be sinners: sinners believe themselves to be righteous men. There is more truth in the fear of the first than there can be in the faith of the second; for the faith of the second is founded on a falsehood. Beloved, we become, I say again, the followers of Christ by being made partakers of his life, and unless his life be in us, we may say what we will about Christ, and profess what we like about following him; but we are not in the secret. We are out of the spiritual world altogether that world of which he is the Head, the Creator, the Lord. You see why the word "seed" is used. We come to him by birth: we are partakers of his life. Furthermore, believers in our Lord are said to be his seed because they are like him. I wish that I could say this with less need to qualify it; but the man who really believes in Jesus, and in whom the diving life is strong and powerful, is like to Jesus, and especially like to Jesus in this that, as the Christ consecrated himself wholly to God's service and glory, so has this believer done; and as the Christ founded his successes on being dead and buried, surrendering honor, and comfort, and life itself, for his work, so should the true believer be willing to give up anything and everything, that he may achieve his life-purpose, and bring glory to God. "As he is, so are we in this world" that is, we are bent upon the glory of God; filled with love to men, and anxious for their salvation, that God may be glorified thereby. You know best, brothers and sisters, whether this is true of you; but if we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his. If we are not like Christ, it is not possible that we are his seed, for the seed is like the parent. Surely, children are like their father not all to the same degree; but still there is the evidence of their sonship in their likeness to him from whom they came. Our Lord's true people are like him, or they could not be styled "his seed." Alas, the old nature blots and blurs the resemblance! The stamp of the first Adam is not altogether removed; but it ought to grow fainter and fainter, while the lines of the divine portrait should grow stronger and clearer. Is this the experience of our life in Christ? I pray that it may be so. It should cause us great searching of heart if there is not in us an increasing likeness to our Lord. There is this to be said also for those who are called his seed that they prosecute the same ends, and expect to receive the same reward. We are towards Christ, his seed, and thus we are heirs to all that he has heirs to his business on earth, heirs to his estate in heaven. We are to be witnesses to the truth as Jesus was, and to go about doing good as he did, and to seek and save the lost after his example. This we must inherit, as a son follows his father's business. All that Christ has belongs to his seed. As a man hands down to his posterity his possessions, Christ Jesus has made over to his people all that he is, and all that he has, and all that he ever will be, that they may be with him, and behold his glory, and shine with him as the stars for ever and ever. We are his seed in this respect that he has taken us into his family, and given us the family patrimony, and made us partakers of all things in himself. Now, beloved, this is all through his death. We are made his seed through his death. Why through his death principally? Why, because it was by reason of his death for us that the Father could come and deal with us, and the Spirit could breathe upon us, and new-create us. There was no dealing with us by a just God until the atoning Sacrifice had rolled away the stone that blocked the way, namely, the necessity that sin should be punished. Christ having died for us, we came into another relation to justice, and it became possible for us to be regenerated, and brought into the household of God. Beloved, I think that you know, in your own experience, that it was his death that really operated most upon you in the matter of your conversion. I hear a great talk about the example of Christ having great effect upon ungodly men; but I do not believe it, and certainly have never seen it. It has great effect upon men when they are born again, and are saved from the wrath to come, and are full of gratitude on this account; but before that happens, we have known men admire the conduct of Christ, and even write books about the beauty of his character, while, at the same time, they have denied his Godhead. Thus they have rejected him in his essential character, and there has been no effect produced upon their conduct by their cold admiration of his life. But when a man comes to see that he is pardoned and saved through the death of Jesus, he is moved to gratitude, and then to love. "We love him because he first loved us." That love which he displayed in his death has touched the mainspring of our being, and moved us with a passion to which we were strangers before; and, because of this, we hate the sins that once were sweet, and turn with all our hearts to the obedience that once was so unpleasant. There is more effect in faith in the blood of Christ to change the human character than in every other consideration. The cross once seen, sin is crucified: the passion of the Master once apprehended as being endured for us, we then feel that we are not our own, but are bought with a price. This perception of redeeming love, in the death of our Lord Jesus, makes all the difference: this prepares us for a higher and a better life than we have ever known before. It is his death that does it. And now, beloved, if by his death we have become his seed (and I think I speak at this time to many who can truly say they hope that it is so with them), then let us consider the fact for a minute. We are his seed. They speak of the seed royal. What shall I say of the seed of Christ? Believer, you may be a poor person, living in an obscure lane, but you are of the imperial house. You are ignorant and unlettered, it may be, and your name will never shine in the roll of science, but he who is the divine Wisdom owns you as one of his seed. It may be that you are sick: even now your head is aching, your heart is faint; you feel that by-and-by you will die. Ah, well! but you are of his seed who died, and rose, and is gone into glory. You are of the seed of him "who only hath immortality." You may put away your crowns, ye kings and emperors earth, yellow earth, hammered, and decorated, with other sparkling bits of soil you may put them all away, as altogether outdone in value! We have crowns infinitely more precious, and we belong to a royal house transcendently more glorious than any of yours. But then it follows, if we are thus of a seed, that we ought to be united, and love each other more and more. Christian people, you ought to have a clannish feeling! Oh," says one, "you mean that the Baptists ought to get together!" I do not mean anything of the kind. I mean that the seed of Christ should be of one heart; and we ought to recognize that, wherever the life and love of Jesus are to be found, there our love goes out. It is very delightful, at Christmas time, or perhaps at some other time in the year, for all the family to meet; and though your name may be "Smith" or "Brown," yet you feel there is some importance in your name, when all your clan have met together. It may be a name that is very common, or very obscure; but, somehow, you feel quite great on that day when all the members of the family have joined to keep united holiday. Your love to one another gathers warmth, as the glowing coals are drawn together. So may it be in your heart towards all those that belong to Christ! You are of the blood royal of heaven. You are neither a Guelph nor a Hohenzollern, but you are a Christian; and that is a greater name than all. He has a seed even he whom, unseen, we this night adore. My inmost soul glories in the Head of my clan in him of the pierced hands, and the nailed feet, who wears for his princely star the lance-mark in his side! Oh, how blessedly bright is he! How transcendently glorious are the nail-prints! We adore him in the infinite majesty of his unutterable love. We are of his seed, and so we are near akin to him. Do not think that I am too familiar. I go not beyond the limit which this word allows me, nay, I have scarcely come up to the edge of it. We are truly of the seed of Jesus, even as the Jews are of the seed of Israel not born after the flesh, for he had none born to him in that way; but born after the Spirit, wherein his seed is as the stars of heaven. We rejoice with exultation as we read the text, "He shall see his seed." Thus much on our first point. II. Now, my second point is, THAT POSTERITY OF HIS REMAINS. Our Lord always has a seed. That seems to me to be clear from the indefiniteness of the text. It does not say that he shall see his seed for so long, and then no longer; but it stands as a prophecy fulfilled, always fulfilling, and always to be fulfilled: "He shall see his seed." Christ will always have a seed to see. His church, then, will never die out while the world standeth; and throughout eternity that seed must still exist in the endless state; for world without end our Lord Jesus shall see his seed. I notice that the word is in the plural He shall see his seeds," as though some were truly his seed, and yet for a time, at least, differed from the rest. Our Lord said of those not yet converted, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring;" and again, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." Christ will see generation after generation of those redeemed by his blood who shall be born into his family, and shall call him blessed. Instead of the fathers shall be the children, whom he will make princes in all the earth. The Septuagint reads it, "He shall see a long-lived seed." Though I do not think that the version is correct, it shows that still it was thought and believed that the Messiah would have a perpetual seed. Certainly it is so. Beloved, if it had been possible to destroy the church of God on earth, it would have been destroyed long ago. The malice of hell has done all that it could do to destroy the seed of Christ the seed that sprang from his death. Standing in the Colosseum at Rome, I could not, as I looked around on the ruins of that vast house of sin, but praise God that the church of God existed, though the Colosseum is in ruins. Anyone standing there, when the thousands upon thousands gloated their eyes with the sufferings of Christians, would have said, "Christianity will die out; but the Colosseum, so firmly built will stand to the end of time;" but lo, the Colosseum is a ruin, and the church of God more firm, more strong, more glorious than ever! Only read the story of the persecutions under Nero, and under Diocletian, in the olden times, and you will wonder that Christianity survived the cruel blows. Every form of torture which devils could invent was inflicted upon Christian men and women. Not here and there, but everywhere, they were hunted down and persecuted. It makes one thrill with horror as he reads of women tossed on the horns of bulls, or set in red-hot iron chairs; and men smeared with honey to be stung to death by wasps, or dragged at the heels of wild horses, or exposed to savage beasts in the amphitheatre. But I will say no more about it. The gallant vessel of the church ploughed the red waves of a crimson sea, her prow scarlet with gore, but the ship itself was the better for its washing, and sailed all the more gallantly because of boisterous winds. As to our own country, read the story of persecutions here. You will have enough if you only read Foxe's "Book of Martyrs." I wish that every house had in it a large-typed copy of the "Book of Martyrs." Well do I recollect, as a child, how man hours, how many days, I spent looking at the pictures in an old-fashioned "Book of Martyrs," and wondering how the men of God suffered, as they did, so bravely. I recollect how I used to turn to that boy of Brentford, who was first beaten with rods, and afterwards tied to the stake, cheerfully to burn for Christ's sake. I am reminded, by the effect which it had upon my mind, of what was said of a certain ancient church in this city of London, which was greatly persecuted. Many, many years ago, a number of persons were noticed to be going towards Smithfield, early one morning, and somebody said, "Whither are you going?" "We are going to Smithfield." "What for?" "To see our pastor burnt." "Well, but what, in the name of goodness, do you want to see him burnt for? What can be the good of it?" They answered, "We go to see him burn that we may learn the way." Oh, but that was grand! "To learn the way!" Then the rank and file of the followers of Jesus learned the way to suffer and die as the leaders of the church set the example. Yet the church in England was not destroyed by persecution, but it became more mighty than ever because of the opposition of its foes. Since then there have been laborious attempts to destroy the church of Christ by error. One hundred years ago or so, throughout the most of our Dissenting churches, a sort of Unitarianism was triumphant. The essential doctrines of the gospel were omitted, the pith of it was taken away, the marrow was torn out of its bones. The Church of England was asleep, too; and everywhere it seemed as if there was a kind of orthodox heterodoxy that did not believe anything in particular, and did not hold that there was a doctrine worth anybody's living for or dying for, but that all religious teaching should be like a nose of wax, that you might shape whichever way you liked. It looked as if the living church of God would be extinguished altogether; but it was not so, for God did but stamp his foot, and, from all parts of the country, men like Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitefield, came to the front, and hundreds of others, mighty men of valor, proclaimed the gospel with unusual power, and away went the bats and the owls back to their proper dwelling-place. The same mischievous experiment is being tried now, and there will be the same result; for the living Christ is still to the front. The King is not off the ground yet: the battle will be won by his armies. Jehovah has declared his decree, "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." Our Lord shall see his seed on the conquering hand yet. Worldliness has gone a long way to destroy the church of God. I judge it to be the worst cankerworm that assails us. Persons come into the church with a profession which they never carry out. Have we not all around us persons who say that they are Christians, and are not, but do lie. And many who, we hope, are Christians, are but very poverty-stricken specimens of the race, with little love, little zeal (indeed, they are afraid to be too zealous), little searching of the Word, little prayer, little consecration, little communion with God. They are enough to kill all hope of better things. The Lord have mercy upon his poor church when she comes to be neither cold nor hot, so that he is ready to spue her out of his mouth! Yet, still the lukewarm can be heated: the cause is not dead. "He shall see his seed." Take it as a standing miracle that there are any godly people on the face of the earth; for there would not be one were it not for the exertion of miraculous power. Christianity is not a natural growth: it is constantly a divine creation. Christian life needs to have daily the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The church must perpetually receive fresh light and life from above, or else it would die; but still stands the promise, "He shall see his seed." While sun and moon endure, there shall be a people who follow the Lamb; and even though they be so few that Elias might say, "I, only I, am left, and they seek my life to take it away," God will reserve to himself thousands that have not bowed the knee to Baal. III. And now I am to wind up with this third thought: THIS POSTERITY IS ALWAYS UNDER THE IMMEDIATE EYE OF CHRIST. "He shall see his seed." Oh, I like this, "He shall see his seed"! He sees them when they are first born anew. I keep looking out from this pulpit for that small portion of them that may be born in this place; and there are many watchful brethren and sisters here, who try to speak to all that come into the place in whom there are movings of the Spirit. If there is an anxious soul, they seek to find him out. We cannot see them all; but HE shall see his seed. Sometimes it is a question whether they are his seed or not a very great question with themselves, but none with him: he sees his seed. Some are seeking; they have hardly found; they are longing; they have scarcely realized the way of faith. Ah, well! he sees your first desires, your humble breathings, your lowly hopes, your trembling approaches. He sees you. There is not a child of his, born in any out-of-the-way place, but what he perceives him at once. The first living cry, the first living tear, he observes. "He shall see his seed." What a mercy to have such a Watcher! We poor earthly pastors are of small use; but this great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, with an eye that never misses a single new-born lamb of grace what a mercy to have such a Shepherd to look after the whole flock!" He shall see his seed." Yes, and ever afterward, wherever his seed may wander, he still sees them. Some of you, perhaps, have lived long in England, but you are contemplating going far away to Australia or America. You wonder whether you will meet with any friend who will help you spiritually. Do not fear. "He shall see his seed." "Rivers unknown to song, are not unknown to God." And if you should have to dwell quite alone in the bush, and have no Christian acquaintance, still go direct to the Son of God, for "He shall see his seed." The eye of Christ is never off from the eye of faith. If you look to him, rest you well assured that he looks to you. The beauty of it is, that this look of Christ, whereby he sees his seed, is one of intense delight. I cannot preach upon that most precious topic, but I wish you to think it over: it is a divine pleasure to the Lord Jesus to look at you: it is promised him as a reward for his death. Mother, you know yourself what a pleasure it has been for you to look at your daughter, and to see her grow up. You would not like to tell her all you have thought of her: you have looked at her with intense delight. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ looks at you in just the same way. Love is blind, they say. Jesus is not blind; but he does see in his people much more than they ever will see in themselves. He sees their hopes, their desires, their aspirations; and he often takes the will for the deed, and marks that for a beauty which now may be half-developed, and therefore not all we could wish it to be. It is, at present, the caricature of a virtue; but it is well meant, and will come right, and the Lord sees it as it will be, and he rejoices in it. Oh, what blessed eyes those are of his that can spy out beauties which only he can see! Since he has created them, and put them there himself, he sees them. He shall see his seed." He suffered so much for our redemption, that he must love us. We cost him so much, that he must delight in us.

"The Son with joy looks down, and sees The purchase of his agonies."

"He shall see his seed." Brethren, our Savior will always behold his redeemed ones. He will see all his seed to the last. When they come to the river which divides them from the celestial country, "he shall see his seed." It may possibly be gloomy with some of you; but it is not often dark at death-time. Many of the Lord's children have a fine candle to go to bed with. Even if they go to bed in the dark, they fall asleep the sooner; but in either case, their Lord will see them if they cannot see him. When you can see nothing, and the brain begins to reel, and thought and memory flee, he sees his seed. But what a seed he will have to see in the morning! I am not yet an old man, as some suppose from the many years of my ministry, but I am often looking forward to that blessed morning, when all the sacred seed shall meet around the throne. I believe the Christ will come in to see all his beloved purchased ones; and he will search to see whether we are all there. Then shall the sheep pass again under the hand of him that telleth them, and he will count them, for he knows whom he bought with his blood, and he will see that they are there in full tale. I think that I hear the reading of the register, the muster-roll. Will you be there to answer to your name? Dear friends, all the Lord's seed will be there all that were born into his house with a new birth. They shall answer, "Ay, ay, ay, we are here; we are here!" Oh, but the joy we shall have in being there the delight in beholding his face; yet, if all our joys are put together, they will not equal the joy that he will have when he finds them all there for whom he shed his blood all whom the Father gave him all who gave themselves to him all who were born as his seed not one lost! "Of all whom thou hast given me, I have lost none." Oh, the joy, the delight, of our Well-beloved in that day! Then shall he see his seed! And I believe that it will be a part of his heaven for him to look upon his redeemed. He is the Bridegroom, they make up the bride; and the bridegroom's joy is not in seeing his bride for once on the wedding-day, but he takes delight in her as long as they both live. A true husband and a true spouse are always lovers: they are always linked together by strong ties of affection; and it is so with that model husband, the Lord Christ, and his perfect church above. He loves his people no less, and he could not love them any more, than when he died for them, and so for ever "he shall see his seed." Thus have I talked with you in a very poor and feeble way, as far as my speech is concerned: but the doctrine is not feeble, the gospel is not poor. O you that are the seed of Christ, go out and magnify him by your lives! Be worthy of your high calling. Show the nobility of your pedigree by the magnanimity of your lives. And, you that are not among his seed, see where you are! What can you do? All that you can do will bring you no further: you must be born again; and this is the work of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God works the new birth in his own way, but he works according to the gospel. What is the gospel? "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." I give you the gospel without mutilating it, just as I get it in the gospel by Mark, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Obey the precept, and the promise is yours. God help you to believe in the Lord Jesus, and so to have eternal life! The moment you believe in Jesus Christ youare born again. May he, by his Holy Spirit, seal the message with his blessing to everyone in this house, for his own name's sake! Amen.


by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin." Isaiah 53:10 .

Both Jews and Gentiles knew pretty well what an offering for sin meant. The Gentiles had been in the habit of offering sacrifices. The Jews, however, had by far the clearer idea of it. And what was meant by a sin-offering? Undoubtedly, it was taken for granted by the offerer, that without shedding blood there was no remission of sin. Conscious of guilt, and anxious for pardon, therefore he brought a sacrifice, the blood of which should be poured out at the foot of the altar feeling persuaded that without sacrifice there was no satisfaction, and without satisfaction there was no pardon. Then the victim to be offered was, on all occasions, a spotless one. The most scrupulous care was taken that it should be altogether without blemish; for this idea was always connected with a sin-offering, that it must be sinless in itself; and being without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, it was held to be a competent victim to take the offender's place. That done, the victim being selected, the offerer put his hand upon the sin-offering and this indeed was the essence of the whole transaction putting his hand on the victim, he confessed his sin, and a transferrence took place, in type at least, from the offender to the victim. He did, as it were, put the sin from off his own shoulders on to those of the lamb, or the bullock, or the he-goat which was now about to be slaughtered. And, to complete the sin-offering, the priest draws his knife and kills the victim which must be utterly consumed with fire. I say this was always the idea of a sin-offering, that of a perfect victim; without offense on its own account, taking the place of the offender; the transferrence of the offender's sin to that victim, and that expiation in the person of the victim for the sin done by another. Now, Jesus Christ has been made by God an offering for sin; and oh that to-night we may be able to do in reality what the Jew did in metaphor! May we put our hand upon the head of Christ Jesus; as we see him offered up upon the cross for guilty men, may we know that our sins are transferred to him, and may we be able to cry, in the ecstasy of faith, "Great God, I am clean; through Jesus' blood I am clean." I. In trying now to expound the doctrine of Christ's being an offering for sin, we will begin by laying down one great axiom; which is, that SIN DESERVES AND DEMANDS PUNISHMENT. Certain divines have demurred to this. You are aware, I suppose, that there have been many theories of atonement; and every new or different theory of atonement involves a new or different theory of sin. There are some who say that there is no reason in sin itself why it should be punished, but that God punishes offenses for the sake of society at large. This is what is called the governmental theory, that it is necessary for the maintenance of good order that an offender should be punished, but that there is nothing in sin itself which absolutely requires a penalty. Now, we begin by opposing all this, and asserting, and we believe we have God's warrant of it, that sin intrinsically and in itself demands and deserves the just anger of God, and that that anger should be displayed in the form of a punishment. To establish this, let me appeal to the conscience I will not say to the conscience of a man who has, by years of sin, dwindled it down to the very lowest degree, but let me appeal to the conscience of an awakened sinner, a sinner under the influence of the Holy Spirit. And are we ever in our right senses, brethren, till the Holy Spirit really brings us into them? May it not be said of each of us as it was of the prodigal, "He came to himself?" Are we not beside ourselves till the Holy Spirit begins to enlighten us? Well, ask this man, who is now really in the possession of his true senses, whether he believes that sin deserves punishment; and his answer will be quick, sharp, and decisive. "Deserve it," saith he, "ay, indeed; and the wonder is that I have not suffered it. Why, sir, it seems a marvel to me that I am out of hell, and Wesley's hymn is often on my lips,

'Tell it unto sinners, tell, I am, I am out of hell.'"

"Yes, sir," says such a sinner, "I feel that if God should smite me now, without hope or offer of mercy, to the lowest hell, I should only have what I justly deserve; and I feel that if I be not punished for my sins, or if there be not some plan found by which my sin can be punished in another, I cannot understand how God can be just at all: how shall he be Judge of all the earth, if he suffer offenses to go unpunished?" There has been a dispute whether men have any innate ideas, but surely this idea is in us as early as anything, that virtue deserves reward, and sin deserves punishment. I think I might venture to assert that if you go to the most degraded race of men, you would still find, at least, some traces of this shall I call it tradition? or is it not a part of the natural light which never was altogether eclipsed in man? Man may put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; darkness for light, and light for darkness; but this follows him as a dog at the heels of its master, a sense that virtue should be rewarded, and that sin must be punished. You may stifle this voice, if you will, but sometimes you will hear it; and terribly and decisively will it speak in your ears to say to you, "Yes, man, God must punish you; the Judge of all the earth cannot suffer you to go scot free." Add to this another matter; namely, that God has absolutely declared his displeasure against sin itself. There is a passage in Jeremiah, the forty-fourth chapter and the fourth verse, where he calls it "That abominable thing which I hate." And then, in Deuteronomy, the twenty-fifth chapter, at the sixteenth verse, he speaks of it as the thing which is an abomination to him. It must be the character of God, that he has a desire to do towards his creatures that which is equitable. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" If there is anything in them which deserves reward, rest assured he will not rob them of it; and, on the other hand, he will do the right thing with those who have offended, and if they deserve punishment, it is according to the nature and character of a just and holy God that punishment should be inflicted. And we think there is nothing more clear in Scripture than the truth that sin is in itself so detestable to God that he must and will put forth all the vigor of his tremendous strength to crush it, and to make the offender feel that it is an evil and a bitter thing to offend against the Most High. Beware, ye who forget God in this matter, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you. Sin must be punished. The other idea, that sin is only to be punished for the sake of the community, involves injustice. If I am to be damned for the sake of other people, I demur to it. No, sir: if I am to be punished, Justice says; at any rate, that it shall be for my own sins, but if I am to be eternally a castaway from God's presence merely as a sort of trick of government to maintain the dignity of his law, I cannot understand the justice of this. If I am to be cast into hell merely that I am to teach to others the tremendousness of the divine holiness, I shall say there is no justice in this; but if my sin intrinsically and of itself deserves the wrath of God, and I am sent to perdition as the result of this fact, I close my lips, and have nothing to say. I am speechless; conscience binds my tongue. But if I am told that I am only sent there as a part of a scheme of moral government, and that I am sent into torment to impress others with a sense of right, I ask that some one else should have the place of preacher to the people, and that I may be one of those whose felicity it shall be to be preached to; for I see no reason in justice why I should be selected as the victim. Really, when men run away from the simplicities of the gospel in order to make Jehovah more kind, it is strange how unjust and unkind they make him. Sinner, God will never destroy you merely to maintain his government, or for the good of others. If you be destroyed, it shall be because you would not come to him that you might have life; because you would rebel against him; because sin from stern necessity did, as it were, compel the attribute of divine justice to kindle into vengeance, and to drive you from his presence for ever. Sin must be punished. The reverse of this doctrine, that sin demands punishment, may be used to prove it; for it is highly immoral, dangerous, and opens the floodgates of licentiousness to teach that sin can go unpunished. O sirs, it is contrary to fact. Look ye! Oh! if your eyes could see to-night the terrible justice of God which a being executed now, if these ears could but hear it, if ye could be appalled for a moment with

" The sullen groans and hollow moans And shrieks of tortured ghosts,"

you would soon perceive that God is punishing sin! And if sin deserve not to be punished, what is Tophet but injustice on a monstrous scale? What is it but an infinite outrage against everything which is honest and right, if these creatures are punished for anything short of their own deserts. Go and preach this in hell, and you will have quenched the fire which is forever to burn, and the worm of conscience will die. Tell them in hell that they are not punished for sin, and you have taken away the very sting of their punishment. And then come to earth, and go, like Jonah went, though with another message than Jonah carried, through the highways and the broadways, the streets and thoroughfares of the exceeding great city, and proclaim that sin is not to be punished for its own intrinsic desert and baseness. But if you expect your prophecy to be believed, enlarge the number of your jails, and seek for fresh fields for transportation in the interests of society; for if any doctrine can breed villains, this will. Say that sin is not to be punished, and you have unhinged government; you have plucked up the very gate of our commonweal; you have been another Samson to another Gaza; and we shall soon have to rue the day. But, sirs, I need not stop to prove it; it is written clearly upon the consciousness of each man, and upon the conscience of every one of us, that sin must be punished. Here are you and I to-night brought into this dilemma. We have sinned; we all like sheep have gone astray; and we must be punished for it. It is impossible, absolutely, that sin can be forgiven without a sacrifice. God must be just, if heaven falls. If earth should pass away and every creature should be lost, the justice of God must stand, it cannot by any possibility be suffered to be impugned. Let this, then, be fully established in our minds. You need not to be told, as for the first time, that God in his infinite mercy has devised a way by which justice can be satisfied, and yet mercy can be triumphant. Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, took upon himself the form of man, and offered unto Divine Justice that which was accepted as an equivalent for the punishment due to all his people. II. Now, the second matter that I wish to bring under your notice is this, THAT THE PROVISION AND ACCEPTANCE OF A SUBSTITUTE FOR SINNERS IS AN ACT OF GRACE. It is no act of grace for a person to accept a pecuniary debt on my behalf of another person. If I owe a man twenty pounds, it is no matter to him whatever who shall pay the twenty pounds so long as it is duly paid. You know that you could legally and at once demand a receipt and an acquittance from any one who is your creditor, so long as his debt is discharged, though it is discharged by another, and not by you. It is so in pecuniary matters, but it is not so in penal matters. If a man be condemned to be imprisoned, there is no law, there is no justice which can compel the lawgiver to accept a substitute for him. If the sovereign should permit another to suffer in his stead, it must be the sovereign's own act and deed. He must use his own discretion as to whether he will accept the substitute or not; and if he do so, it is an act of grace. In Gods case, if he had said in the infinite sovereignty of his absolute will, "I will have no substitute, but each man shall suffer for himself, he who sinneth shall die," none could have murmured. It was grace, and only grace which led the divine mind to say, "I will accept of a substitute. There shall be a vicarious suffering; and my vengeance shall be content, and my mercy shall be gratified." Now, dear friends, this grace of God is yet further magnified not only in the allowance of the principle of substitution, but in the providing of such a substitute as Christ on Christ's part that he should give up himself, the Prince of Life to die; the King of glory to be despised and rejected of men; the Lord of angels to be a servant of servants; and the Ancient of days to become an infant of a span long. Think of the distance

"From the highest throne in glory To the cross of deepest woe,"

and consider the unexampled love which shines in Christ's gift of himself. But the Father gives the Son. "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." To give your wealth is something, if you make yourself poor; but to give your child is something more. When the patriot mother tears her son from her bosom, and cries, "Go, my first-born, to your country's wars; there, go and fight until your country's flag is safe, and the hearths and homes of your native land are secure," there is something in it; for she can look forward to the bloody spectacle of her son's mangled body, and yet love her country more than her own child. Here is heroism indeed; but God spared not his own Son, his only-begotten Son, but freely delivered him up for us all. "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." I do implore you, do not look upon the sacrifice of Christ as an act of mere vengeance on the Father's part. Never imagine, oh! never indulge the idea, that Jesus died to make the Father complacent towards us. Oh, no, dear friends: Jesus' death is the effect of overwhelming and infinite love on the Father's part; and every blow which wounds, every infliction which occasions sorrow, and every pang which rends his heart, speaks of the Father's love as much as the joy, the everlasting triumph, which now surrounds his head. Let us add, however, to this, that, although Jesus Christ's dying as a substitute does give to him lawful right to all promised privileges, and does make him, as the covenant head of his people a claimant of the divine mercy, yet it does not render any of the gifts which we receive from God the less gifts from God. Christ has died; but still everything that we receive comes to us entirely as a gratuitous outflow of God's great heart of love. Never think you have any claim to anything because Christ purchased it. If you use the word claim at all, let it always be in so humble and modified a sense that you understand that you are still receiving, not of debt, but of grace. Look upon the whole transaction of a substitute, and of Christ becoming the second Adam, as being a matter of pure, rich, free, sovereign grace, and never indulge the atrocious thought, I pray you, that there was justice, and justice only here; but do magnify the love and pity of God in that he did devise and accomplish the great plan of salvation by an atoning sacrifice. III. But now to go a step further, and with as much brevity as possible. The Lord having established the principle of substitution, having provided a substitute, and having through him bestowed upon us gratuitously innumerable mercies, let us observe THAT JESUS IS THE MOST FITTING PERSON TO BE A SUBSTITUTE, AND THAT HIS WORK IS THE MOST FITTING WORK TO BE A SATISFACTION. Let every sinner here who desires something stable to fix his faith upon, listen to these simple truths, which I am trying to put as plainly as possible. You do understand me, I trust, that God must punish sin; that he must punish you for sin unless some one else will suffer in your stead; that Jesus Christ is the person who did suffer in the room and place of all those who ever have believed on him who do believe in him, or ever shall believe in him, making for those who believe on him a complete atonement by his substitution in their place. Now we say that Christ was the best person to be a substitute; for just consider what sort of a mediator was needed. Most absolutely he must be one who had no debt of his own. If Christ had been at all under the law naturally, if it had been his duty to do what it is our duty to do, it is plain he could only have lived for himself; and if he had any sin of his own, he could only have died for himself, seeing his obligations to do and to suffer would have been his just due to the righteousness and the vengeance of God. But on Christ's part there was no natural necessity for obedience, much less for obedience unto death. Who shall venture to say that the Divine Lord, amidst the glories of heaven, owed to his father anything? "Who shall say it was due to the Divine Father that Christ should be nailed to the accursed tree, to suffer, bleed, and die, and then be cast into the grave? None can dare to say such a thing. He is himself perfectly free, and therefore can he undertake for others. One man who is drawn for the militia cannot be a substitute for another person so drawn, because he owes for himself his own personal service. I must, if I would escape, and would procure a substitute, find a man who is not drawn, and who is therefore exempt. Such is Jesus Christ. He is perfectly exempt from service, and therefore can volunteer to undertake it for our sake. He is the right person. There was needed, also, one of the same nature with us. Such is Jesus Christ. For this purpose he became man, of the substance of his mother, very man, such a man as any of us. Handle him, and see if he be not flesh and bones. Look at him, and mark if he be not man in soul as well as in body. He hungers; he thirsts, he fears, he weeps, he rejoices, he loves, he dies. Made in all points and like unto us, being a man, and standing exactly in a man's place, becoming a real Adam, as true an Adam as was the first Adam, standing quite in the first Adam's place, he is a fit person to become a substitute for us. But please to observe (see if you cannot throw your grappling-hooks upon this), the dignity of his sacred person made him the most proper person for a substitute. A mere man could at most only substitute for one other man. Crush him as you will, and make him feel in his life every pang which flesh is heir to, but he can only suffer what one man would have suffered. He could not, I will venture to say, even then have suffered an equivalent for that eternal misery which the ungodly deserve; and if he were a mere man, he must suffer precisely the same. A difference may be made in the penalty, when there is a difference in the person; but if the person be the same, the penalty must be precisely and exactly the same in degree and in quality. But the dignity of the Son of God, the dignity of his nature, changes the whole matter. A God bowing his head, and suffering and dying, in the person of manhood, puts such a singular efficacy into every groan and every pang that it needs not that his pangs should be eternal, or that he should die a second death. Remember that in pecuniary matters you must give a quid pro quo, but that in matters of penal justice no such thing is demanded. The dignity of the person adds a special force to the substitution; and thus one bleeding Saviour can make atonement for millions of sinful men, and the Captain of our salvation can bring multitudes unto glory. It needs one other condition to be fulfilled. The person so free from personal service, and so truly in our nature, and yet so exalted in person, should also be accepted and ordained of God. Our text gives this a full solution, in that it says, "He shall make his soul an offering for sin." Christ did not make himself a sin-offering without a warrant from the Most High: God made him so. "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." It was the sovereign degree of heaven which constituted Christ the great substitute for his people. No man taketh this office upon himself. Even the Son of God stoopeth not to this burden uncalled. He was chosen as the covenant-head in election; he was ordained in the divine decree to stand for his people. God the Father cannot refuse the sacrifice which he has himself appointed. "My son," said good old Abraham, "God shall provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering." He has done so in the Saviour; and what God provides, God must and will accept. I wish to-night that I had power to deal with this doctrine as I would. Poor trembling sinner, look up a moment. Dost thou see him there him whom God hath set forth? Dost thou see him in proper flesh and blood fastened to that tree? See how the cruel iron drags through his tender hands! Mark how the rough nails are making the blood flow profusely from his feet! See how fever parches his tongue, and dries his whole body like a potsherd! Hearest thou the cry of his spirit, which is suffering more than his body suffers "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" This is none other than God's only-begotten Son; this is he who made the worlds; this is the express image of his Father's person, the brightness of Jehovah's glory! What thinkest thou, man? Is there not enough there to satisfy God? Truly it has satisfied God: is there not enough there to satisfy thee? Cannot thy conscience rest on that? If God's appointed Christ could suffer in thy stead, is it not enough? What can Justice ask more? Wilt thou now trust Christ with thy soul? Come, now, sir, wilt thou now fall flat at the foot of the cross, and rest thy soul's eternal destiny in the pierced hands of Jesus of Nazareth? If thou wilt, then God has made him to be a sin-offering for thee; but if thou wilt not, beware, lest he whom thou wouldst not have to be thy Saviour should become thy Judge, and say, "Depart, thou cursed one, into everlasting fire in hell!" IV. We come now to our fourth remark, THAT CHRIST'S WORK, AND THE EFFECTS OF THAT WORK, ARE NOW COMPLETE. Christ becomes a substitute for us. We have seen how fit and proper a person he was to be such. We hinted that from the dignity of his person the pains he suffered were a good and sufficient equivalent for our own suffering on account of sin. But now the joyous truths come up that Christ's work is finished. Christ has made an atonement so complete that he never need suffer again. No more drops of blood; no more pangs of heart; no more bitterness and darkness, with exceeding heaviness, even unto death, are needed.

"'Tis done the great transaction's done."

The death-knell of the penalty rings in the dying words of the Saviour, "It is finished." Do you ask for a proof of this? Remember that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. If he had not completed his work of penalty-suffering, he would have been left in the tomb till now; our preaching would have been in vain, and your faith would have been in vain; ye would have been yet in your sins. But Jesus rose. God's sheriff's officer let him out of "durance vile" because the account had been discharged, and God's great Court of King's Bench sent down the mittimus to let the captive go free. More than that: Christ has ascended upon high. Think you he would have returned thither with unexpiated sin red upon his garments? Do you suppose he would have ascended to the rest and to the reward of an accomplished work? What! sit at his Fathers right hand to be crowned for doing nothing, and rest until his adversaries are made his footstool, when he has not performed his Father's will! Absurd! Impossible! His ascension in stately pomp, amidst the acclamations of angels, to the enjoyment of his Father's continued smile, is the sure proof that the work is complete. Complete it is, dear brethren, not only in itself, but, as I said, in its effects; that is to say, that there is now complete pardon for every soul which believeth in Christ. You need not do anything to make the atonement of Christ sufficient to pardon you. It wants no eking out. It is not as if Christ had put so much into the scale and it was quivering in the balance; but your sins, for all their gravity, utterly ceased their pressure through the tremendous weight of his atonement. He has outweighed the penalty, and given double for all your sins. Pardon, full and free, is now presented in the name of Jesus, proclaimed to every creature under heaven, for sins past, for sins present, and for sins to come; for blasphemies and murders; for drunkenness and whoredom; for all manner of sin under heaven. Jesus Christ hath ascended up on high, and exalted he is that he may give repentance and remission of sin. Ye have no need of shillings to pay the priests; nor is baptismal water wanted to erect the pardon: there is no willing, doing, being, or suffering of yours required to complete the task. The blood has filled the fountain full: thou hast but to wash and be clean, and thy sins shall be gone forever. Justification, too, is finished. You know the difference. Pardon takes away our filth, but then it leaves us naked; justification puts a royal robe upon us. How no rags of yours are wanted; not a stitch of yours is needed to perfect what Christ has done. He whom God the Father hath accepted as a sin offering hath perfected forever thou who are set apart. Ye are complete in Christ. No tears of yours, no penance, no personal mortifications, nay, no good works of yours, are wanted to make yourself complete and perfect. Take it as it is. O sirs! may you have grace to take it as it is freely presented to you in the gospel. "He that believeth on him is not condemned;" "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." Trust Christ implicitly trust Christ; and all that he did shall cover you, while all that he suffered shall cleanse you. Remember, too, that acceptance is finished. There are the Father's arms, and here are you, a black sinner to-night. I do not know you, but it may be you have trodden the pavements, or you have gone further than that, and added drunkenness to shame; you have gone to the lowest vice, perhaps to robbery, who knoweth what manner of person may step into this place? but the great arms of the Eternal Father are ready to save you as you are, because the great work of Christ has effected all that is wanted before God for the acceptance of the vilest sinner. How is it that the Father can embrace the prodigal? Why! he is fresh from the swine-trough! Look at him: look at his rags; how foul they are! We would not touch them with a pair of tongs! Take him to the fire and burn the filth! Take him to the bath and wash him! That lip is not fit to kiss; those filthy lips cannot be permitted to touch that holy cheek of the glorious Father! Ah! but it is not so. While he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, rags and poverty and sin and filth and all, and he did not wait till he was clean, but ran and fell upon his neck and kissed him, just as he was. How could he do that? Why, the parable does not tell us; for it did not run on with the subject to introduce the atonement. But this explains it, when God accepts a sinner, he is, in fact, only accepting Christ. He looks into the sinner's eyes, and he sees his own dear Son's image there, and he takes him in. As we have heard of a good woman, who, whenever a poor sailor came to her door, whoever he might be, would always make him welcome, because, she said, "I think I see my own dear son who has been these many years away, and I have never heard of him; but whenever I see a sailor, I think of him, and treat the stranger kindly for my son's sake." So my God, when he sees a sinner long for pardon and desirous of being accepted, thinks he sees his Son in him, and accepts him for his Son's sake. Do not imagine that we preach a gospel in this place for respectable, godly people. No: we preach a gospel here for sinners. I heard, the other day, from one who told me that he believed we were saved by being perfect, that when we committed sin we at once fell out of God's mercy. Well now, supposing that were true, it would not be worth making a large splutter about. It would not be worth angels singing "Glory to God in the highest" about it, I should think. Any fool might know that God would accept a perfect man. But this is the thing of marvel, for which heaven and earth shall ring with the praises of the Mediator, that Jesus Christ died for the ungodly, that Jesus Christ gave himself for their sin; not for their righteousness, not for their good deeds. If he had looked to all eternity, he could not have seen anything in us worthy of so great a suffering as that which he endured; but he did it for charity's sake, for love's sake. And now, in his name, oh that I could do it with his voice and with his love and with his fervor! I do beseech you to lay hold upon him. No matter who you may be, I will not exclude you from the invitation. Hast thou piled thy sins together till they seem to provoke heaven? Do thy sins touch the clouds? Yet come, and welcome; for God has provided a sin-offering. Has man cast thee out? Say, poor woman, does the dreary river seem to invite thee to the fatal plunge? God has not cast thee out. O thou who feelest in thine own body the effect of thy sin, till thou art loathing thyself, and wishing thou hadst never been born perhaps thou sayest, like John Bunyan, "Oh that I had been a frog, or a toad, or a snake, sooner than have been a man, to have fallen into such sin, and to have become so foul!" Have courage, sinner; have courage. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Do not doubt this message: God has sent it to you. Do not reject it: you will reject your own life if you do. Turn you at his rebuke! It is a loving voice which speaks to you, and that would speak, perhaps, better and more forcibly if it were not choked with love. I do implore thee, sinner, come to Jesus! If thou art damned it is not for want of invitation. If thou wilt perish, it is not for want of earnest pleading with thee. I tell thee, man, there is nothing of thine own wanted. All this is found in the sin-offering; for thou needest not find it. There is no merit of thine needed; there is merit enough in Christ. Is it not the old proverb that you are not to take coals to Newcastle? Do not take anything to Christ. Come as you are just as you are. Nay, tarry not till you go out of this house. The Lord enable you to believe in Jesus now, to take him now as a complete and finished salvation for you, though you may be the most sunken and abandoned and hopeless of all characters. Why did God provide a sin-offering but for sinners? He could not have wanted to provide it if there was no necessity. You have a great necessity. You have, shall I say? compelled him to it. Your sins have nailed Christ's hands to the cross, your sins have pierced his heart; and his heart is not pierced in vain, nor are those hands nailed there for naught. Christ will have you, sinner, Christ will have you. There are some of God's elect here, and he will have you. You shall not stand out against him. Almighty love will have you. He has determined that you shall not do what you have vowed. Your league with hell is broken to-night, and your covenant with death is disannulled. The prey shall not be taken from the mighty; the lawful captive shall be delivered. The Lord will yet fetch you up from the depths of the sea. Oh! what a debtor to grace you will be! Be a debtor to that grace to-night. Over head and ears in debt, plunge yourself by a simple act of trusting in Jesus, and you are saved. Pray, ye who know how to pray, that this message may be made effective in the hand of God. And you who have never prayed before, God help you to pray now. May he now be found of them who sought not for him, and he shall have the glory, world without end. Amen.

Verse 12

The Friend of Sinners


A Sermon

(No. 458)

Delivered on Sunday Morning, June 29th, 1862, by


At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington


"He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:12 .

A VAGUE notion is abroad in the world that the benefit of Christ's passion is intended only for good people. The preaching of some ministers, and the talk of some professors, would lead the uninstructed to imagine that Christ came into the world to save the righteous, to call the godly to repentance, and to heal those who never were sick. There is in most sinners' consciences, when they are aroused, a frightful fear that Christ could not have come to bless such as they are, but that he must have intended the merit of his blood and the efficacy of his passion for those who possess good works or feelings to recommend them to him. Dear friends, you will clearly see, if you will but open one eye, how inconsistent such a supposition is with the whole teaching of Scripture. Consider the plan itself. It was a plan of salvation and of necessity it was intended to bless sinners. Wherefore salvation if men be not lost, and for whom salvation but for the ruined? The plan was based in grace, but how "grace" unless it was meant for persons who deserve nothing? If you have to deal with creatures who have not sinned, and have been obedient, what need of grace? Build then on justice; let merit have its way. But as the whole covenant is a covenant of grace, and as in the whole matter it was ordained that grace should reign through righteousness unto eternal life, it is plain enough from the very plan itself that it must have to do with sinners and not with the righteous. Moreover, think of the work itself. The work of Christ was to bring in a perfect righteousness. For whom, think you? For those who had a righteousness? That were a superfluity. Why should he weave a garment for those who were already clothed in scarlet and fine linen? He had, moreover, to shed his blood. For whom his blood? Wherefore the agony in the garden? Wherefore the cry upon the cross? For the perfect? Surely not, beloved. What need had they of an atonement? Verily, brethren, the fact that Jesus Christ bled for sin upon the cross bears, on its very surface, evidence that he came into the world to save sinners. And then look at God's end in the whole work. It was to glorify himself, but how could God be glorified by washing spotless souls, and by bringing to everlasting glory by grace those who could have entered heaven by merit? Inasmuch as the plan and design both aim at laying the greatness of human nature in the dust, and exalting God, and making his love and his mercy to be magnified, it is implied as a matter of necessity, that it came to deal with undeserving, ill-deserving sinners, or else that end and aim never could be accomplished. Salvation needs a sinner as the raw material upon which to exercise its workmanship; the precious blood that cleanses needs a filthy sinner upon whom to show its power to purge; the atonement of Christ needs guilt upon which to exercise itself in the taking of it away; and it is absurd, it is ridiculous, it is unworthy of God, to suppose a scheme of salvation, a work so tremendous as the atonement of Christ, and an aim so splendid as the glorification of God, unless there be sinners to be the instruments of God's glory through being the partakers of God's grace. A moment's thought will be enough to convince us that the whole plan is made for sinners, and that "Jesus Christ died for the ungodly." Indeed, dear friends, it is only when we get this view very clearly before us that we see Jesus in his glory. When does the shepherd appear most lovely? It is a fair picture to pourtray him in the midst of his flock, feeding them in the green pastures, and leading them beside the still waters; but if my heart is to leap for joy, give me the shepherd pursuing his stray sheep over the mountains; let me see him bringing home that sheep upon his shoulders rejoicing; let me hear his song of mirth when he calleth upon his friends and neighbours to rejoice with him because he has found the sheep which was lost. When looks our God most like a loving and tender father? Truly he looketh blessed when he divideth his inheritance among his sons, but I never saw him so resplendent in his fatherhood as when he runneth out to meet the prodigal, throweth his arms about his neck, and kisseth him, crying "My son that was dead is alive again." Indeed, for some offices of Christ, it is absolutely necessary that there should be a sinner for us to see any meaning in them at all. He is a priest. What need of a priest except for the sins of the people? Why, I dare to say it, Christ's priesthood is a mockery and Christ's sacrifice is ridiculous unless there be sin in the world, and sinners whom Jesus came to save. Brethren, how is he a Saviour except to the lost? How is he a physician but to the sick? How is he like the brazen serpent if he doth not save the sin-bitten, or how the scapegoat if he doth not bear the sin of transgressors?

Our text, in its threefold character, shows the intimate connection which exists between Jesus and sinners, for in none of its sentences is there meaning unless there be a sinner, and unless Christ has come into connection with him. It is this one point which I want to work out this morning, and may God bless it to many a sinner's troubled conscience. "He was numbered with the transgressors; he bare the sin of many, and he made intercession for the transgressors." It is for transgressors all the way through. Bring in a company of righteous people who think they have no sin and they cannot appreciate the text; in fact it can have no meaning to them.

I. We shall begin then, by taking the first sentence. To the sinner, troubled and alarmed on account of guilt, there will be much comfort in the thought that CHRIST IS ENROLLED AMONG SINNERS. "He was numbered with the transgressors."

In what sense are we to understand this? "He was numbered with the transgressors."

He was numbered with them, first, in the census of the Roman empire. There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed, and the espoused wife of Joseph, being great with child, must travel to Bethlehem that Christ may be born there, and that he may be numbered with the transgressing people who, for their sins, were subject to the Roman yoke.

Years rolled on, and that child who had been early numbered with transgressors, and had received the seal of transgression in the circumcision, which represents the putting away of the flesh that child, having come to manhood, goes forth into the world and is numbered with transgressors in the scroll of fame. Ask public rumour "What is the character of Jesus of Nazareth?" and it cannot find a word in its vocabulary foul enough for him. "This " they sometimes said; and our translators have inserted the word "fellow" because in the original there is an ellipsis, the evangelists, I suppose, hardly liking to write the word which had been cast upon Christ Jesus. Fame, with her lying tongue, said he was a drunken man and a wine-bibber, because he would not yield to the asceticism of the age. He would not, since he came to be a man among men, do other than eat and drink as other men did. He came not to set an example of asceticism but of temperance; he came both eating and drinking, and they said at once, "Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber." They called him mad. His warm enthusiasm, his stern and unflinching rebukes of wickedness in high places, brought upon him the accusation that he had a devil. "Thou has a devil and art mad," said they. They called the Master of the house Beelzebub! Even the drunkards made him their song, and the vilest thought him viler than themselves, for he was, by current rumour, numbered with the transgressors.

But to make the matter still more forcible, "he was numbered with transgressors in the courts of law." The ecclesiastical court of Judaism, the Sanhedrim, said of him, "Thou blasphemest;" and they smote him on the cheek. Written down among the offenders against the dignity of God against the security of the Jewish Church, you find the name of Jesus of Nazareth which was crucified. The courts civil also asserted the same. Pilate may wash his hands in water, and say, "I find no fault in him," but still, driven by the infernal clamours of an angry people, he is compelled to write, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews;" and he gives him up to die as a malefactor who has rebelled against the sovereign law of the land. Herod, too, the Jewish tetrarch, confirms the sentence, and so, with two pens at once, Jesus Christ is written down by the civil leaders among transgressors.

Then, the whole Jewish people numbered him with transgressors; nay, they reprobated him as a more abominable transgressor than a thief and a murderer who had excited sedition. Barabbas is put in competition with Christ, and they say, "Not this man, but Barabbas." See, brethren, his being numbered with transgressors is no fiction. Lo, he bears the transgressor's scourging! He is tied to the whipping-post, his back is marred and scarred; the ploughers make deep furrows, and the blood flows in streams. He is numbered with transgressors, for he bears the felon's cross; he comes into the street bowed down with the weight of his own gibbet, which he must carry upon his raw and bleeding shoulders; he goes along to the place of doom; he comes to Calvary the place of a skull and there, hoisted upon the cross, hanging in mid-air, as if earth rejected him and heaven refused him shelter, he dies the ignominious death of the cross, and is thus numbered with transgressors. But will there be none to enter a protest? Will no eye pity? Will no man declare his innocence? None; they are all silent! Silent, did I say? 'Tis worse! All earth holds up its hands for his death; it is carried unanimously. Jew and Gentile, bond and free, they are all there. They thrust out the tongue; they hoot; they laugh; they cry, "Let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him." His name is written in the calendar of crime by the whole universe; for he is despised and rejected of men; of all men is he accounted to be the off-scouring of all things, and is put to grief. But will not heaven interfere? O God, upon thy throne, wilt thou let the innocent suffer? He is fast nailed to the tree, and cries in agony, "I thirst." Wilt thou permit this man to be numbered with transgressors? Is it rightly done? It is; heaven confirms it. He has no sin of his own, but he has the sin of his people upon his shoulders; and God, the Eternal Judge, shows that he too considers him to be in the roll of transgressors, for he veils his face; and the Eternal Father betakes him to his hiding-place, and Christ can neither see a smile nor a glance of his Father's face, till he shrieks in agony so unutterable, that the words cannot express the meaning of the Redeemer's soul, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The only answer from heaven being, "I must forsake transgressors; thou art numbered with them, and therefore, I must forsake thee." But surely the doom will not be fulfilled? Certainly, he will be taken down ere he dies? Death is the curse for sin; it cannot come on any but transgressors; it is impossible for the innocent to die, as impossible as for immortality to be annihilated. Surely, then, the Lord will deliver his Son at the last moment, and having tried him in the furnace, he will bring him out? Nay, not so; he must become obedient to death, even the death of the cross. He dies without a protest on the part of earth, or heaven, or hell; he that was numbered with the transgressors, having worn the transgressor's crown of thorns, lies in the transgressor's grave. "He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." It is a marvellous thing, brethren, a marvellous thing! Who ever heard of an angel being numbered with devils? Who ever heard of Gabriel being numbered with fiends? But this is more marvellous than that would be. Here is the Son of God numbered, not with the sons of men (that were a gracious act) but numbered with transgressors; numbered, not with the faithful who struggle after purity; numbered, not with those who repel temptation and resist sin; numbered, not with those who earn unto themselves a good degree and much boldness in the faith that were a marvellous condescension; but here it is written, "He was numbered with the transgressors."

I must pause here a moment, and get you to think this matter over a little. It is a strange and wonderful thing, and ought not to be passed by in silence. Why, think you, was Christ numbered with transgressors? First, surely, because he could the better become their advocate. I believe, in legal phraseology, in civil cases, the advocate considers himself to be part and partner with the person for whom he pleads. You hear the counsellor continually using the word "we;" he is considered by the judge to represent the person for whom he is an advocate. In some suits of law, there is on the part of the bar and the bench, a perfect identification of the counsellor with the client; nor can they be looked upon in the eye of the law as apart from one another. Now, Christ, when the sinner is brought to the bar, appears there himself. The trumpet sounds; the great assize is set. Come, come, ye sinners, come to the bar to be tried. There stands the man whose hands are pierced; he standeth numbered with transgressors. Let the trial proceed. What is the accusation? He stands to answer it; he points to his side, his hands, his feet, and challenges Justice to bring anything against the sinners whom he represents; he pleads his blood, and pleads so triumphantly, being numbered with them and having a part with them, that the Judge proclaims, "Let them go their way; deliver them from going down into the pit, for he at their head hath found a ransom."

But there is another reason why Christ was numbered with transgressors, namely, that he might plead with them. Suppose a number of prisoners confined in one of our old jails, and there is a person desirous to do them good, imagine that he cannot be admitted unless his name is put down in the calendar. Well, out his abundant love to these prisoners he consents to it, and when he enters to talk with them, they perhaps think that he will come in with cold dignity; but he says, "Now, let me say to you first of all that I am one of yourselves." "Well," they say, "but have you done aught that is wrong?" "I will not answer you that," saith he; "but if you will just refer to the calendar you will find my name there; I am written down there among you as a criminal." Oh, how they open their hearts now! They opened their eyes with wonder first, but now they open their hearts, and they say, "Art thou become like one of us? Then we will talk with thee." And he begins to plead with them. Sinner, dost thou see this? Christ puts himself as near on a level with thee as he can. He cannot be sinful as thou art, for he is God and perfect man; but he so puts his name down in the list that when the roll is called his name is called over with thine. Oh, how near doth he come to thee in thy ruined state!

Then he does this that sinners may feel their hearts drawn to him. What dost thou become poor as I am that I may be made rich? Jesu, Son of God, dost thou allow thyself to be numbered among lost ones that thou mightest find me? Oh, then my soul shall open itself to give thee a hearty reception. Come in, thou loving Saviour, abide with me, and go no more out for ever. There is a tendency in awakened sinners to be afraid of Christ; but who will be afraid of a man that is numbered with us, and put down in the same list with us? Surely now we may come boldly to him, and confess our guilt. He that is numbered with us cannot condemn us. He whose name is down in the same indictment with ourselves, cometh not to condemn, but to absolve; not to curse, but to bless.

He was put down in the transgressors' list that we might be written in the red roll of the saints. He was holy, and written among the holy; we were guilty, and numbered among the guilty; he transfers his name from yonder list to this black indictment, and ours are taken from the indictment, foul and filthy, and written in the roll which is fair and glorious, for there is a transfer made between Christ and his people. All that we have goes to Christ, sin and all; and all that Christ has comes to us. His righteousness, his blood, and everything that he hath belongeth unto us.

Dear hearers, before I leave this point I want to put this to you. Is this yours by faith? Remember, faith is wanted here; nothing else. "He was numbered with transgressors." Oh, soul, can thy heart say, "Then if he was numbered with me, if he put his name down where mine stands in that terrific roll, then I will believe in him that he is able and willing to save me, and I will trust my soul in his hands?" I conjure thee by the living God do it, man, and thy soul is saved. Oh, by him who from the highest throne in glory stooped to the cross of deepest ignominy, trust thy soul with him. It is all he asks of thee, and this he gives thee. Blessed Master, would that thou couldst stand here, and say, "Sinners, full of iniquity, I stood with you; God accounted me as if I had committed your sin, and visited me as if I had been a transgressor; trust me; cast your souls upon my perfect righteousness; wash in my cleansing blood, and I will make you whole, and present you faultless before my Father's face."

II. We are taught in the next sentence, that Christ "BARE THE SINS OF MANY."

Here it is as clear as noon-day, that Christ dealt with sinners. Do not say Christ died for those who have done no wrong. That is not the description given. It is clear, I say, to everyone that chooses to look, that Christ could not bear the sins of those who had no sins, but could only bear the sins of men who were sinful and guilty. Briefly, then, but very plainly, to recount the old, old story over again: man stood with a load of sin upon his shoulders, so heavy that it would have crushed him lower than the lowest hell; Christ Jesus came into the world, stood in the room, place, and stead of his people; and he did, in the expressive words of the text, bear their sins that is to say, their sins were really, not in a legal fiction, but really transferred from them to him. You see, a man cannot bear a thing which is not on his back; it is impossible that he can bear it unless it is actually there. The word "bear," implies weight, and weight is the sure indicator of reality. Christ did bear sin in its fulness, vileness, and condemnation upon his own shoulders. Comprehend this, then, and you have the marrow of the subject. Christ did really, literally, and truly, take the sins that belonged to all who do believe on him, and those sins did actually and in very deed become his sins; (not that he had committed them, nor that he had any part or lot in them, except through the imputation to which he had consented, and for which he came in to the world,) and there lay the sins of all his people upon Christ's shoulders.

Then notice, that as he did bear them, so other texts tell us that he did bear them away. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Sin being on his head, the scape-goat took it away, away, away. Where? Into the wilderness of forgetfulness. If it be sought for it shall not be found; the Everlasting God seeth it no more, it hath ceased to be, for he hath finished iniquity and made an end of sin; and when there is an end of it what more can be said? Christ took our debts, but he was not long before he paid them all. Where, then, are the debts? There are no debts now; there is not one in God's book against his chosen, for Jesus died. If Christ hath paid the debt, then there is no debt left; it is gone. I can rejoice in its discharge; I can mourn that ever I cast myself into such a position, but the debt itself I gone. "I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day." "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." "I will cast their sins into the midst of the sea." And yet again, "I will put away thy sin like a cloud, and thine iniquity like a thick cloud." Now, there were some clouds during the last week, but where are they now? They have turned to rain; they are gone; no strong-winged angel could find those clouds again; there are no such things; they are gone. And so with believers' sins, they were black, thick, thick clouds; full of tempests; big with lightnings and with thunder; but they are gone. The drops have fallen upon Christ; the thunder and the lightning have spent their fury upon him, and the clouds are gone, for Christ has taken them away. "He bare the sins of many," and he bore them away for ever.

And then, beloved, you must understand that if it be so, if Christ did really bear his people's sins, and did bear them away and since a thing cannot be in two places at one time, there is now no sin abiding upon those for whom Jesus died. "And who are they?" you say. Why, all those who trust him. Any man whatsoever, the wide world over, who shall ever trust Christ, may know that no sin can be with him because his sin was laid on Christ. Oh, I do delight in this precious doctrine! If anything could unloose my poor stammering tongue, this might, to see sin literally transferred so that there is none left! I cannot express the delight and joy of my soul at this moment, in contemplation of the blessed deliverance and release which Christ has given. I can only sing out again with Kent

"Sons of God, redeemed by blood,

Raise your songs to Zion's God

Made from condemnation free,

Grace triumphant sing with me."

Now, do you not see that his must be for sinners? See, you black ones, you filthy ones, you lost ones, you ruined ones, this is for sinners. You see it does not say it was for sensible sinners; no, no, but sinners. It does not say, "He was numbered with awakened transgressors;" no, it is "transgressors." It does not say that he bare the sins of tender-hearted sinners; no, but "he bare the sin of many." This is the only description I can find in my text. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and if in very deed and truth I know myself to be this day a sinner, I may trust Christ, and trusting Christ I may know, as surely as there is a God in heaven, that Jesus Christ took my sins and carried them all away. Now, I want to know whether you have got this by an act of faith this morning. "Oh," says one, "I am a sinner, but, but ." Well, what but? If you be a sinner, you are commanded to trust Christ this morning. "Oh, but ." I will have no "buts," sir, no "but" whatever. Are you a sinner? Yes or no. If you say "No," then I have nothing to say to you; Jesus Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. If you are a sinner, to you is the Word of this salvation sent. "But I have been a thief!" I suppose a thief is a sinner? "But I have been a drunkard!" A drunkard is a sinner. "But I have been an unclean liver!" You are a sinner, then. "But I have such a hard heart!" Well, to have a hard heart is one of the greatest sins in the world. "But I am unbelieving!" Well, that is a sin too. You come in under the list of sinners, and I say that such Christ contemplated, and the two sentences we have already considered prove this to a demonstration. He contemplated such as you are when he came to save, for "he was numbered with transgressors," and "he bare" not the virtues of many, not the merits of many, not the good works of many, but "the sin of many." So, if you have any sin, here is Christ the sin-bearer; and if you are a sinner, here is Christ, numbered with you. "Oh!" says one, "but what is faith? I want to know at once." Faith, sinner, is to believe in Jesus, and to trust in Jesus now. Saving faith can sing this verse

"Just as I am, and waiting not

To rid my soul of one foul blot,

To thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come."

It is as sinners, not as sensible sinners, not as repenting sinners, that Jesus died for us. Sinners as sinners, Jesus Christ has chosen, redeemed, and called; in fact, for them, and for only such, Jesus Christ came into the world.

III. Our third sentence tells us that JESUS INTERCEDES FOR SINNERS. "And made intercession for the transgressors."

He prays for his saints, but, dear friends, remember that by nature they are transgressors, and nothing more.

What does our text say? He intercedes for transgressors! There is a transgressor here this morning. He has been hearing the gospel for many years for many years; and he has heard it preached faithfully too. He is growing grey now; but while his head is getting white his heart is black; he is an old hard-hearted reprobate, and by-and-bye, unless grace prevents but I need not tell that story. What is that I hear? The feet of justice, slowly but surely coming. I hear a voice saying "Lo, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree and find none; cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" The woodman feels his axe; it is sharp and keen. "Now," says he, "I will lay to at this barren tree, and cut it down." But hark! There is one that maketh intercession for transgressors, hear him, hear him, "Spare it yet a little while, till I dig about it and dung it, and if it bear fruit well; but if not, after that thou shalt cut it down." You see there was nothing in that tree why he should plead for it, and there is nothing in you why he should plead for you, yet he does it. This very morning, perhaps, he is crying "Spare him yet a little while; let him hear the gospel again; let him be entreated once more; oh! let him have another sickness that it may make his conscience feel; let me have another endeavour with his hard heart; it may be, it may be that he will yield." O sinner, bless God that Jesus Christ pleads for you in that way.

But that done, he pleads for their forgiveness. They are nailing him to the cross; the wretches are driving iron through his hands; but even while they fasten him to the tree hear him "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Oh, I spoke to a brother this week, whose heart all-conquering love touched. He had been a great blasphemer, and when we were talking together about the fact that Jesus Christ loved him even when he was cursing, I saw how it broke his heart; and it broke mine too, to think that I could rebel against Christ whilst he was loving me; that I could despise him while he was putting himself in my way in order to do me good. Oh! it is this that breaks a man's heart; to think that Christ should have been loving me, with the whole force of his soul, while I was despising him, and would have nothing to do with him. There is a man there who has been cursing, and swearing, and blaspheming, and the very man whom he has cursed has been crying "Father, forgive him, for he knows not what he does." O sinner, I would this might break thy heart, and bring thee to the Saviour.

Nor does he end there. He next prays that those for whom he intercedes may be saved, and may have a new life given them. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive." Every soul that is quickened by the Holy Spirit is so quickened as the result of his intercession for transgressors. His prayer brings down the life, and dead sinners live. When they live he does not cease to pray for them, for by his intercession they are preserved. They are tempted and tried, but hear what he says. "Satan hath desired to have thee that he may sift thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy strength fail not." Yes, brethren, beloved, and this is the reason why we are not condemned, for our Apostle puts it "Who is he that condemneth?" and the answer he gives is, "Christ hath died, yea, rather, hath risen again, who ever maketh intercession for us;" as if that intercession choked at once the advocate of hell, and delivered us from condemnation. And more, our coming to glory is the result of the pleading of Christ for transgressors. "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory."

There are a great many sermons preached that have not the gospel in them, especially those sermons the drift of which is to tell the sinners "Go home and pray; go home and pray." That is very good advice, but it is not the gospel. The sinner might answer me, "How can I come before God as I am; I cannot plead before him, for I am a wretch undone; if I should stand in his presence he would drive me from him." Behold Jesus Christ maketh intercession for transgressors. It is a common saying in the world, that a man who pleads his own cause has a fool for his client, certainly it is so in heaven. But when Christ comes in, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, he takes up the brief, and now the adversary trembles, for no sooner does he find that the suit is put into the hands of him who is the advocate of his people than he knows that his case is lost, and that the sinner will go free. So, sinner, you are safe if he pleads for you. "Ah," say you, "but if he asks me what he should plead I have nothing to tell him." You know the counsellor goes into the cell, and he says to the prisoner "Now, just tell me the case; what can I say in your favour?" The criminal replies, "Well, there is so-and-so, and so-and-so," and perhaps he is able to say "Why, sir, I am as innocent as a new-born babe of the whole affair, and I can prove an alibi, or I can do this or that." Very well; the advocate having ground to go upon, pleads the case in the court right confidently. But now I hear you say, "Ah, I cannot tell the Lord Jesus Christ what he is to plead, for I have nothing to plead; the fact is I am guilty, and thoroughly guilty too, and I deserve to be punished, and must be; I have nothing to plead." Now what does our blessed Advocate say? "Oh," saith he, "but I have the plea in myself;" and up he rises in the court of law, and when the accusation is read he puts in this to that accusation "In the name of the sinner for whom I intercede, and with whom I am numbered, I plead absolution and forgiveness through punishment already borne." "How?" saith Justice. And he shows the nail-prints in his hands, and lays bare his side, and says, "I suffered for that sinner; I was punished with the sinner's punishment, and therefore I claim, as the reward of my passion and my agony, that the sinner should go his way." Do you not see that Christ is a precious pleader because he can appear for us, and what is more, he can find a plea for us. "Ah!" I hear you say, "but I have no means of getting such an advocate as that; I wish I had, but I have nothing to give him; if he asks any fees I have nothing; I do not deserve the love of Christ; I do not know why he should take up my cause; if he would I should be saved, but I cannot think he will, for I cannot hope to pay him." "Nay," says he, "but I will take up your cause freely, willingly, cheerfully, and I will make intercession for you, not because you deserve it, but because you need it; not because you are not a transgressor, but because you are." That very thing, sinner, that makes you think Christ will not look at you, is the very reason why he will. You are full of disease. "Ah!" say you, "the physician will never look at such an arm as that;" but because the ulcer is reeking, that is why he stops and says, "I will cure that." Your qualification is your disqualification, and what you think to be the reason why he never will look at you, is certainly the only reason you can plead why he should. You are nothing; you are utterly lost; you have no merit; you have nothing unless the Lord Jesus Christ make prevalent, acceptable, and perpetual intercession for transgressors.

I come to a conclusion reluctantly; but I must say these few words. There are some of you that make very light of sinning. I pray you be reasonable, and think this matter over. It was no light thing for God to save a sinner, for the Son of God himself must be numbered with sinners, and smart and die for sinners, or else they could not be saved. Touch not the unclean thing; hate it. If it is deadly to a holy Christ, it must be damnable to you. Oh! pass it by, and loathe it as the Egyptians loathed the water of the river when it was turned to blood in their sight.

To you who make but little of Christ, there is this word: you know what sin means; I do not think you can ever make too much of sin, but I pray you do not make too little of Christ. To you who think you have no qualifications for Christ, I say this closing sentence: I do beseech you get rid of that foul, that legal, that soul-destroying idea that Christ wants any preparation by you or in you before you come to him. You may come to him now; nay, more, you are commanded to come to him now, just as you are. And to every man among you to-day, and to every woman and child, I preach this gospel in the name of Jesus Christ: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Trust him now in your seat standing in the aisles crowded in these galleries trust him now; God commands you. "This is the commandment, that ye believe on Jesus Christ whom he hath sent." As Peter said, so say I, "Repent and be converted, every one of you;" and as Paul said to the Philippian jailer, so say I, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." If you do not, this shall condemn you; not your sin, but your unbelief; for they that believe not are condemned already, Why, why are such condemned? Because they believe not. That is the accusation; that is the damning crime and curse. "Well," says one, "then if God commands me to trust Christ, though I certainly have no reason why I should, then I'll do it." Ah! soul, do it then. Can you do it? Can you trust him now? Is it a full trust? Are you leaning on your feelings? Give them up. Are you depending a little on what you mean to do? Give that up. Do you trust him wholly? Can you say, "His blessed wounds, his flowing blood, his perfect righteousness, on these I rest. I do trust him, wholly?" Are you half afraid to say you do? Do you think it is such a bold thing? Do it then; do a bold thing for once! Say, "Lord, I'll trust thee, and if thou cast me away, I'll still trust thee; I bless thee that thou canst save me, and that thou wilt save me." Can you say that? I say, have you believed in him? You are saved, then; you are not in a salvable state, but you are saved; not partly, but wholly saved; not some of your sins blotted out, but all; behold the whole list, and it is written at the bottom of them all: "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." But I hear one say, "It is too good to be true!" Soul, wilt thou be lost through thinking little things of Christ? "Ah!" says another, "it is too simple; if this be the gospel, we shall have all the ragamuffins in the streets believing in Christ and being saved." And glory be to God if it be so! For my part I am never afraid of big sinners being saved. I would have every harlot, I would have every whoremonger and adulterer to be saved. I would not be afraid that they would go on in their sins if they believed in Christ. Oh! no; faith in Christ would change their nature; and it will change yours too; for this is salvation: to have the nature changed, to be made a new creature in Christ, and to be made holy. Come, soul, wilt thou trust him? I do not like you all to go away after crowding in here without getting that blessing. Some of you have come up to the Handel Festival; but here is better music if you trust Christ, for you shall hear the bells of heaven ringing, and all the music of the angels as they rejoice over you as a brother redeemed. Many of you have come up to see the Great Exhibition; but here is a greater wonder than that, if you came into this place this morning in a state of nature, and go out in a state of grace, only to wait a little while, and then to reach a state of glory! Some of you have come up to see the great Cattle Show; but here is something better to see than ever was reared on English pasture; here is food for your souls; here is that whereof if a man eateth he shall live for ever; and here it is held out to you. Nothing can be plainer. Trust Christ and you are saved. Outside in the street there is a drinking-fountain. When you get there, if you are thirsty go to it; you will find no policeman there to send you away. No one will cry, "You must not drink because you do not wear a satin dress." "You must not drink because you wear a fustian jacket." No, no, go and drink; and when you have hold of the ladle and are putting it to your lips, if there should come a doubt "I do not feel my thirst enough," still take a drink whether you do or not. So I say to you, Jesus Christ stands like a great flowing fountain in the corners of the street, and he inviteth every thirsty soul to come and drink. You need not stop and say, "Am I thirsty enough? Am I black enough?" You do want it whether you think you do or not. Come as you are; come as you are. Every fitness is legality; every preparation is a lie; every getting ready for Chrst is coming the wrong way. You are only making yourselves worse while you think you are making yourselves better. You are like a boy at school who has made a little blot, and he gets out his knife to scratch it out, and makes it ten times worse than before. Leave the blots alone. Come as you are. If you are the blackest soul out of hell, trust Christ, and that act of trust shall make you clean. This seems a simple thing, and yet it is the hardest thing in the world to bring you to it; so hard a thing that all the preachers that ever preached cannot make a man believe in Christ. Though we put it as plainly as we can, and plead with you, you only go away and say, "It is too good to be true;" or else you despise it because it is so simple; for the gospel, like Christ, is despised and rejected of men, because it has no form and comeliness, and no beauty in it that they should desire it. Oh! may the Holy Ghost lay this home to you; may he make you willing in the day of his power. I hope he has; I trust he has, so that ere we go we may all join in singing this one verse, and then separate;

"A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,

On Christ's kind arms I fall;

He is my strength; my righteousness,

My Jesus, and my all."

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 53". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.