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Mr. Fearing Comforted and Carte Blanche
Mr. Fearing Comforted
April 3rd, 1859 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:31 .
It seems as if doubt were doomed to be the perpetual companion of faith. As dust attends the chariotwheels so do doubts naturally becloud faith. Some men of little faith are perpetually enshrouded with fears; their faith seems only strong enough to enable them to doubt. If they had no faith at all, then they would not doubt, but having that little, and but so little, they are perpetually involved in distressing surmises, suspicions, and fears. Others, who have attained to great strength and stability of faith, are nevertheless, at times, subjects of doubt. He who has a colossal faith will sometimes find that the clouds of fear float over the brow of his confidence. It is not possible, I suppose, so long as man is in this world, that he should be perfect in anything; and surely it seems to be quite impossible that he should be perfect in faith. Sometimes, indeed, the Lord purposely leaves his children, withdraws the divine inflowings of his grace, and permits them to begin to sink, in order that they may understand that faith is not their own work, but is at first the gift of God, and must always be maintained and kept alive in the heart by the fresh influence of the Holy Spirit. I take it that Peter was a man of great faith. When others doubted, Peter believed. He boldly avowed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, for which faith he received the Master's commendation, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." He was of faith so strong, that at Christ's command he could tread the billow and find it like glass beneath his feet, yet even he was permitted in this thing to fall. Faith forsook him, he looked at the winds and the waves, and began to sink, and the Lord said to him, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" As much as to say, "O Peter, thy great faith is my gift, and the greatness of it is my work. Think not that thou art the author of thine own faith; I will leave thee, and this great faith of thine shall speedily disappear, and like another who hath no faith, thou shalt believe the winds, and regard the waves, but shalt distrust thy Master's power, and therefore shalt thou sink." I think I shall be quite safe in concluding this morning, that there are some here who are full of doubting and fearing. Sure I am that all true Christians have their times of anxious questioning. The heart that hath never doubted has not yet learned to believe. As the farmers say, "The land that will not grow a thistle, will not grow wheat;" and the heart that cannot produce a doubt has not yet understood the meaning of believing. He that never doubted of his state he may, perhaps he may, too late. Yes, there may be timid ones here, those who are always of little faith, and there may be also great hearts, those who are valiant for truth, who are now enduring seasons of despondency and hours of darkness of heart. Now in endeavoring to comfort you this morning, I would remark that the text goes upon a very wise principle. If a man believes in anything it is always proper to put to him the question, "Why do you believe? What evidence have you that what you believe is certainly correct?" We believe on evidence. Now the most foolish part of many men's doubts, is, that they do not doubt on evidence. If you should put to them the question, "Why do you doubt?" they would not be able fairly to answer. Yet mark, if men's doubts be painful, the wisest way to remove them is by simply seeing whether they have a firm basis. "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" If you believe a thing you want evidence, and before you doubt a thing you ought to have evidence too. To believe without evidence is to be credulous, and to doubt without evidence is to be foolish. We should have ground for our doubts as well as a basis for our faith. The text, therefore, goes on a most excellent principle, and it deals with all doubting minds by asking them this question, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" I shall endeavor to exhort you on the same plan this morning. I shall divide only sermon into two parts. First, I shall address myself to those of you who are in great trouble with regard to temporal circumstances, you are God's people, but you are sorely tried, and you have begun to doubt. I shall then deal with you upon spiritual matters there are some here who are God's true, quickened, and living people, but they are doubting to them also I shall put the same question, "O thou of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt?" I. First, then, in TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCES, God has not made for his people a smooth path to heaven. Before they are crowned they must fight; before they can enter the celestial city they must fulfill a weary pilgrimage. Religion helps us in trouble, but it does not suffer us to escape from it. It is through much tribulation that we inherit the kingdom. Now the Christian when he is full of faith passes through affliction with a song in his mouth; he would enter the fiery furnace itself, fearless of the devouring flame, or with Jonah he would descend into the great deeps, unalarmed at the hungry sea. As long as faith maintains its hold, fear is a stranger; but at times, during sundry great and sore troubles, the Christian begins to fear that surely at last he shall be overcome, and shall be left to himself to die and perish in despair. Now, what is the reason why you doubt? I must come to the plan of the text and put the great question, "O thou of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt?" Here it will be proper for us to enquire: Why did Simon Peter doubt? He doubted for two reasons. First, because he looked too much to second causes and secondly, because be looked too little at the first cause. The answer will suit you also, my trembling brother. This is the reason why you doubt, because you are looking too much to the things that are seen, and too little to your unseen Friend who is behind your troubles and who shall come forth for your deliverance. See poor Peter in the ship his Master bids him come; in a moment he casts himself into the sea, and to his own surprise he finds himself walking the billows. He looks down, and actually it is the fact; his foot is upon a crested wave, and yet he stands erect; he treads again, and yet his footing is secure. "Oh!" thinks Peter, "this is marvellous." He begins to wonder within his spirit what manner of man he must be who has enabled him thus to tread the treacherous deep; but just then, there comes howling across the sea a terrible blast of wind; it whistles in the ear of Peter, and he says within himself, "Ah! here comes an enormous billow driven forward by the blast now, surely, I must, I shall be overwhelmed." No sooner does the thought enter his heart than down he goes; and the waves begin to enclose him. So long as he shut his eye to the billow, and to the blast, and kept it only open to theLord who stood there before him, he did not sink; but the moment he shut his eye on Christ, and looked at the stormy wind and treacherous deep, down he went. He might have traversed the leagues of the Atlantic, he might have crossed the broad Pacific, if he could but have kept his eye on Christ, and ne'er a billow would have yielded to his tread, but he might have been drowned in a very brook if he began to look at second causes, and to forget the Great Head and Master of the Universe who had bidden him walk the sea. I say, the very reason of Peter's doubt was, that he looked at second causes and not at the first cause. Now, that is the reason why you doubt. Let me just probe you now for a while. You are in despondency about temporal affairs: what is the reason why you are in trouble? "Because," say you, "I never was in such a condition before in my life. Wave upon wave of trouble comes upon me. I have lost one friend and then another. It seems as if business had altogether run away from me. Once I had a flood-tide, and now it is an ebb, and my poor ship grates upon the gravel, and I find she has not water enough to float her what will become of me? And, oh! sir, my enemies have conspired against me in every way to cut me up and destroy me; opposition upon opposition threatens me. My shop must be closed; bankruptcy stares me in the face, and I know not what is to become of me." Or else your troubles take another shape, and you feel that you are called to some eminently arduous service for your Lord, and your strength is utterly insignificant compared with the labor before you. If you had great faith it would be as much as you could do to accomplish it; but with your poor little faith you are completely beaten. You cannot see how you can accomplish the matter at all. Now, what is all this but simply looking at second causes? You are looking at your trouble, not at the God who sent your trouble; you are looking at yourselves, not at the God who dwells within you, and who has promised to sustain you. O soul! it were enough to make the mightiest heart doubt, if it should look only at things that are seen. He that is nearest to the kingdom of heaven would have cause to droop and die if he had nothing to look at but that which eye can see and ear can ear. What wonder then if thou art disconsolate, when thou hast begun to look at the things which always must be enemies to faith? But I would remind you that you have forgotten to look to Christ since you have been in this trouble. Let me ask you, have you not thought less of Christ than you ever did? I will not suppose that you have neglected prayer, or have left your Bible unread; but still, have you had any of those sweet thoughts of Christ which once you had? Have you been able to take all your troubles to him and say "Lord, thou knowest all things; I trust all in thy hands?" Let me ask you, have you considered that Christ is omnipotent, and therefore able to deliver you; that he is faithful, and must deliver you, because he has promised to do so? Have you not kept your eye on his rod, and not on his hand? Have you not looked rather to the crook that smote you, than to the heart that moved that crook? Oh, recollect, that you can never find joy and peace while you are looking at the things that are seen, the secood causes of your trouble; your only hope, your only refuge and joy must be to look to him who dwells within the veil. Peter sunk when he looked to outward providences, so must you. He would never have ceased to walk the wave, never would he have begun to sink, if he had looked alone to Christ, nor will you if you will look alone to him. And here let me now begin to argue with such of you as are the people of God, who are in sore trouble lest Christ should leave you to sink. Let me forbid your fears by a few words of consolation. You are now in Peter's condition; you are like Peter; you are Christ's servant. Christ is a good master. You have never heard that he suffered one of his servants to be drowned when going on his errands. Will he not take care of his own? Shall it be said at last that one of Christ's disciples perished while he was in obedience to Christ. I say he were a bad master if he should send you on an errand that would involve your destruction. Peter, when he was in the water, was where his master had called him to be, and vou in your trouble now, are not only Christ's servant, but you are where Christ has chosen to put you. Your afflictions, remember, come neither from the east nor from the west, neither doth your trouble grow out of the ground. All your suffering is sent upon you by your God. The medicine which you now drink is compounded in heaven. Every grain of this bitterness which now fills your mouth was measured by the heavenly physician. There is not an ounce more trouble in your cup, than God chose to put there. Your burden was weighed by God before you were called to bear it. The Lord who gave you the mercy has taken it away; the same God who has blessed you with joy is he that hath now ploughed you with grief. You are where God put you. Ask yourself this question then: Can it be possible that Christ would put his own servant into a perilous condition and then leave him there? I have heard of fiends, in fables, tempting men into the sea to drown them; but is Christ a syren? Will he entice his people on to the rocks? Will he tempt them into a place where he shall destroy them? God forbid. If Christ calls thee into the fire, he will bring thee out of it; and if he bids thee walk the sea, he will enable thee to tread it in safety. Doubt not, soul; if thou hadst come there of thyself, then thou mightest fear, but since Christ put thee there, he will bring thee out again. Let this be the pillar of thy confidence thou art his servant, he wilt not leave thee; thou art where he put thee, he cannot suffer thee to perish. Look away, then, from the trouble that surrounds thee, to thy Master, and to his hand that hath planned all these things. Remember too, who it is that hath thee where thou art. It is no harsh tyrant who has led thee into trouble. It is no austere unloving heart who hath bidden thee pass through this difficulty to gratify a capricious whim. Ah, no, he who troubles thee is Christ. Remember his bleeding hand; and canst thou think that the hand which dropped with gore can ever hang down when it should be stretched for thy deliverance? Think of the eye that wept over thee on the cross; and can the eye that wept for thee be blind when thou art in grief? Think of the heart that was opened for thee; and shall the heart that did bleed its life away to rescue thee from death, be hard and stolid when thou art overwhelmed in sorrow? It is Christ, that stands on yonder billow in the midst of the tempest with thee. He is suffering as well as thou art. Peter is not the only one walking on the sea; his master is there with him too. And so is Jesus with thee to-day, with thee in thy troubles, suffering with thee as he suffered for thee. Shall he leave thee, he that bought thee, he who is married to thee, he that hath led thee thus far, hath succoured thee hitherto he who loves thee better than he loves himself, shall he forsake thee? O turn thine eyes from the rough billow, listen no longer to the howling tempest, turn thine eyes to him thy loving Lord, thy faithful friend, and fix thy trust on him, who even now in the midst of the tempest, cries, "It is I, be not afraid." One other reflection will I offer to such of you as are now in sore trouble on account of temporal matters, and it is this Christ has helped you hitherto. Should not this console you? Ah, Peter, why couldest thou fear that thou shouldest sink? It was miracle enough that thou didst not sink at first. What power is it that hath held thee up till now? Certainly not thine own. Thou hadst fallen at once to the bottom of the sea, O man, if God had not been thy helper; if Jesus had not made thee buoyant, Peter, thou wouldest soon have been a floating carcase. He who helped thee then to walk so long as thou couldest walk, surely he is able to help thee all the way until he shall grasp thy hand in Paradise to glorify thee with himself. Let any Christian look back to his past life, and he will be astonished that he is what he is and where he is. The whole Christian life is a series of miracles, wonders linked into wonders, in one perpetual chain. Marvel, believer, that thou hast been upheld till now; and cannot he that hath kept thee to this day preserve thee to the end? What is yon roaring wave that threatens to overwhelm thee what is it? why thou hast endured greater waves than these in the past. What is yon howling blast? Why, he has saved thee when the wind was howling worse than that. He that helped thee in six troubles will not forsake thee in this. He who hath delivered thee out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, he will not, he cannot forsake thee now. In all this, I have labored to turn your eyes from what you are seeing to that which you cannot see, but in which you must believe. Oh! if I might but be successful, though feeble my words, yet mighty should be the consolation which should flow therefrom. A minister of Christ, who was always in the habit of visiting those whom he knew to be eminent for piety, in order that he might learn from them, called upon an aged Christian who had been distinguished for his holiness. To his great surprise, however, when he sat down by his bedside, the erred man said, "Ah! I have lost my way. I did think at one time that I was a child of God, now I find that I have been a stumbling-block to others; for these forty years I have deceived the church and deceived myself, and now I discover that I am a lost soul." The minister very wisely said to him, "Ah! then I suppose you like the song of the drunkard and you are very fond of the amusements of the world and delight in profanity and sin?" "Ah! no," said he, "I cannot bear them, I could not endure to sin against God." "O then," said the minister, "then it is not at all likely that God will lock you up in hell with men that you cannot bear here. If now you hate sin, depend on it God will not shut you up for ever with sinners. But, my brother," said the minister "tell me what has brought you into such a distressed state of mind?" "O sir, "said he, "it was looking away from the God of providence, to myself I had managed to save about one hundred pounds, and I have been lying here ill now this last six months, and I was thinking that my one hundred pounds would soon be spent, and then what should I do. I think I shall have to go to the workhouse, I have no friend to take care of me, and I have been thinking about that one hundred pounds of mine. I knew it would soon be gone, and then, then, how could the Lord provide for me. I never had either doubt or fear till I began to think about temporal matters. The time was when I could leave all that with God. If I had not had one hundred pounds, I should have felt quite sure he would provide for me; but I begin to think now that I cannot provide for myself. The moment I think of that, my heart is darkened." The minister then led him away from all trust in an arm of flesh, and told him his dependence for bread and water was not on his one hundred pounds, but on the God who is the possessor of heaven and earth that as for his bread being given him and his water being sure God would take care of that, for in so doing he would only be fulfilling his promise. The poor man was enabled in the matter of providence to cast himself entirely upon God, and then his doubts and fears subsided, and once more he began to walk the sea of trouble, and did not sink. O believer, if thou takest thy business into thine own hands, thou wilt soon be in trouble. The old Puritan said, "He that carves for himself will soon cut his fingers," and I believe it. There never was a man who began to take his own matters out of God's hand that was not glad enough to take them back again. He that runs before the cloud runs a fool's errand. If we leave all our matters, temporal as well as spiritual, in the hand of God, we shall lack no good thing, and what is better still, we shall have no care, no trouble, no thought; we shall cast all our burden upon him for he careth for us. There is no need for two to care, for God to care and the creature too. If the Creator cares for us, then the creature may sing all day long with joy and gladness:
"Mortals cease from toil and sorrow, God provideth for the morrow."
II. But now, in the second part of the discourse, I have to speak of SPIRITIUAL THINGS. To the Christian, these are the causes of more trouble than all his temporal trials. In the matters of the soul and of eternity many doubts will arise. I shall, however, divide them into two sorts doubts of our present acceptance, and doubts of our final perseverance. Many there are of God's people who are much vexed and troubled with doubts about their present acceptance. "Oh," say they "there was a time when I knew I was a child of God; I was sure that I was Christ's, my heart would fly up to heaven at a word; I looked to Christ hanging on the cross, I fixed all my trust on him, and a sweet, calm, and blessed repose filled my spirit.
"What peaceful hours I then enjoyed; How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void, The world can never fill.'
And now," saith this doubting one, "now I am afraid I never knew the Lord; I think that I have deceived myself, and that I have been a hypocrite. Oh that I could but know that I am Christ's, I would give all I had in the world, if he would but let me know that he is my beloved, and that I am his." Now, soul, I will deal with thee as I have been just now treating of Peter. Thy doubts arise from looking to second causes, and not to Christ. Let us see if this is not the truth. Why do you doubt? Your answer is, "I doubt, because I feel my sin so much. Oh, what sins have I committed! When first I came to Christ I thought I was the chief of sinners; but now I know I am. Day after day I have added to my guilt; and since my pretended conversion," says this doubting one, "I have been a bigger sinner than ever I was before. I have sinned against light and against knowledge, against grace, and mercy, and favor. O never was there such a sinner under God's heaven out of hell as I am." But, soul, is not this looking to second causes? It is true, thou art the chief of sinners; take that for granted, let us not dispute it. Thy sins are as evil as thou sayest they are, and a great deal more so. Depend on it, thou art worse than thou thinkest thyself to be. Thou thinkest thou art bad enough, but thou art not so bad in thine own estimation as thou really art. Thy sins seem to thee to be like roaring billows, but in God's sight they are like towering mountains without summit. Thou seemest to thyself to be black black as the tents of Kedar; in God's eyes thou art blacker still. Set that down, to begin with, that the waves are big, and that the winds are howling, I will not dispute that. I ask thee, what hast thou to do with that? Does not the Word of God command thee to look to Christ. Great as thy sins are, Christ is greater than they all. They are black; but his blood can wash thee whiter than snow. I know thy sins deserve damnation; but Christ's merits deserve salvation. It is true, the pit of hell is thy lawful portion, but heaven itself is thy gracious portion. What! is Christ less powerful than thy sin? That cannot be! To suppose that were that to make the creature mightier than the Creator. What! is thy guilt more prevalent with God than Christ's righteousness? Canst thou think so little of Christ as to imagine that thy sins can overwhelm and conquer him? O man, thy sins are like mountains; but Christ's love is like Noah's flood; it prevaileth twenty cubits, and the tops of the mountains are covered. It Is looking at sin and not looking to the Saviour that has made thee doubt. Thou art looking to the second cause, and not to him who is greater than all. "Nay, but," you reply, "it is not my sin, sir, that grieves me; it is this: I feel so hardened, I do not feel my sin as I ought. Oh if I could but weep as some weep! If I could but pray as some pray! Then I think I could be saved. If I could feel some of the terrors that good men have felt, then I think I could believe. But I feel none of these things. My heart seems like a rock of ice, hard as granite, and as cold as an iceberg. It will not melt. You may preach, but it is not affected; I may pray, but my heart seems dumb, I may read even the story of Christ's death, and yet my soul is not moved by it. Oh surely I cannot be saved!" Ah this is looking to second causes, again! Hast thou forgotten that Word which saith, "God is greater than our hearts?" Hast thou forgotten that? O child of God! shame on thee that thou dost look for comfort where comfort never can be found. Look to thyself for peace! Why, there ne'er can be any in this land of war. Look to thine own heart for joy! There can be none there, in this barren wilderness of sin. Turn, turn thine eye to Christ: he can cleanse thine heart, he can create life, and light, and truth in the inward parts; he can wash thee till thou shalt be whiter than snow, and cleanse thy soul and quicken it, and make it live, and feel, and move, so that it shall hear his simplest words, and obey his whispered mandate. O look not now at the second cause; look thou at the great first cause; otherwise I shall put to thee again the question, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubts" "Still," says another, "I could believe, notwithstanding my sin and my hardness of heart; but, do you know, that of late I have lost communion with Christ to such an extent that I cannot help thinking that I must be a cast-away. Oh! sir, there were times when Christ used to visit me, and bring me such sweet love-tokens. I was like the little ewe lamb in the parable; I did drink out of his cup, and feed from his table, and lie in his bosom; often did he take me to his banqueting-house, his banner over me was love. What feastings I then had! I would bask in the sunlight of his countenance. It was summer with my soul. But now it is winter, and the sun is gone, and the banqueting-house is closed. No fruits are on the table; no wines are in the bottles of the promise; I come to the sanctuary, but I find no comfort; I turn to the Bible, but I find no solace; I fall on my knees, but even the stream of prayer seems to be a dry brook. Ah! soul, but art thou not still looking to second causes? These are the most precious of all secondary things, but yet thou must not look to them, but to Christ. Remember, it is not thy communing that saves thee, but Christ's dying; it is not Christ's comfortable visit to thy soul, that ensures thy salvation; it is Christ's own visit to the house of mourning, and to the garden of Gethsemane. I would have thee keep thy comforts as long as thou canst; but when they die, believe on thy God still. Jonah had a gourd once, and when that gourd died he began to mourn. Well might some one have said to him, "Jonah! thou hast lost thy gourd, but thou hast not lost thy God." And so might we say to you: you have not lost his love; you have lost the light of his countenance, but you have not lost the love of his heart; you have lost his sweet and gracious communion, but he is the same still, and he would have thee believe his faithfulness and trust him in the dark and rely upon him in the stormy wind and tempest. Look to none of these outward things, but look alone to Christ Christ bleeding, Christ dying Christ dead, Christ buried, Christ risen, Christ ascended, Christ interceding. This is the thing thou art to look to Christ, and him only. And looking there, thou shalt be comforted. But look to aught else, and thou shalt begin to sink; like Peter, the waves shall fail thee, and thou shalt have to cry, "Lord, save me, or I perish." But, again, to conclude: others of God's people are afraid that they shall never be able to persevere and hold out to the end. "Oh!" says one, "I know I shall yet fall away and perish, for look! look what an evil heart of unbelief I have; I cannot live one day without sin; my heart is so treacherous, it is like a bomb-shell; let but a spark of temptation fall upon it and it will blow up to my eternal destruction. With such a tinder-box heart as I have, how can I hope to escape, while I walk in the midst of a shower of sparks." "Oh!" saith one, "I feel my nature to be so utterly vile and depraved that I cannot hope to persevere. If I hold on a week or a month it will be a great work; but to hold on all my life until I die oh! this is impossible." Looking to second causes again, are you not? Will you please to remember that if you look to creature strength it is utterly impossible that you should persevere in grace, even for ten minutes, much less for ten years! If your perseverance depends upon yourself you are a lost man. You may write that down for a certainty. If you have one jot or one tittle to do with your own perseverance in divine grace you will never see God's face at last; your grace will die out; your life will be extinguished, and you must perish, if your salvation depends upon yourself. But remember, you have already been kept these months and these years: what has done that? Why, divine grace; and the divine grace that has held you on for one year can hold you on for a century, nay, for an eternity, if it were necessary. He that has begun can carry on and must carry on too, otherwise he were false to his promise and would deny himself. "Ah! but," you say, "sir, I cannot tell with what temptations I am surrounded; I am in a workshop, where everybody laughs at me; I am called nicknames because I follow the cause of Christ. I have been able hitherto to put up with their rebukes and their jests; but now they are adopting another plan; they try to tempt me away from the house of God, and entice me to the theater, and to worldly amusements, and I feel that, placed as I am, I never can hold on. As well might a spark hope to live in the midst of an ocean as for grace to live in my heart." Ah! but, soul, who has made it to live hitherto? What is it that hath helped thee up till now to say, "Nay," to every temptation? Why, the Lord thy Redeemer. Thou couldst not have done it so long, if it had not been for him; and he that hath helped thee to stand so long will never put thee to shame. Why, if thou be a child of God, and thou shouldst fall away and perish, what dishonor would be brought on Christ! "Aha!" the devil would say, "here is a child of God, and God has turned him out of his family, and I have got him in hell at last. Is this what God doth with his children loves them one day, and hates them the next tells them he forgives them, and yet punishes them accepts them in Christ, and yet sends them into hell?" Can that be? Shall it be? Never: not while God is God. "Aha!" again, says Satan, "believers have eternal life given to them. Here is one that had eternal life, and this eternal life has died out. It was not eternal. The promise was a lie. It was temporary life; it was not eternal life. Aha!" says he, "I have found a flaw in Christ's promise; he gave them only temporary life, and called it eternal." And again, the arch-fiend would say, if it were possible for one child of God to perish: "Aha! I have one of the jewels of Christ's crown here;" and he would hold it up, and defy Christ to his very face, and laugh him to scorn. "This is a jewel that thou didst purchase with thine own blood. Here is one that thou didst come into the world to save and yet thou couldst not save him. Thou didst buy him, and pay for him, and yet I have got him, he was a jewel of thy crown, and yet here he is, in the hand of the black prince, thine enemy. Aha! king with a damaged crown! thou hast lost one of thy jewels." Can it be so? No, never, and therefore every one that believeth is as sure of heaven as if he were there. If thou casteth thyself simply on Christ, nor death, nor hell, shall ever destroy thee. Remember what good old Mr. Berridge said, when he was met by a friend one morning, "How do you do, Mr. Berridge?" "Pretty well, I thank you," said he, "and as sure of heaven as if I were there; for I have a solid confidence in Christ." What a happy man such a man must be, who knows and feels that to be true! And yet, if you do not feel it, if you are the children of God, I put to you this question, "Wherefore dost thou doubt?" Is there not good reason to believe. "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" If thou hast believed in Christ, saved thou art, and saved thou shalt be, if thou hast committed thyself to his hands: "I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him." "Yes." says one. "this is not the fear that troubles me; my only doubt is whether I am a child of God or not." I finish, therefore, by going over the old ground. Soul, if thou wouldst know whether thou art a child of God, look not to thyself, but look to Christ. Ye who are here to-day, who desire to be saved, but yet fear you never can be, never look to yourselves for any ground of acceptance before God. Not self, but Jesus; not heart, but Christ; not man, but man's Creator. O sinner! think not that thou art to bring anything to Christ to recommend thee. Come to him just as thou art. Me wants no good works of thine no good feelings either. Come, just as thou art. All that thou canst want to fit thee for heaven, he has bought for thee, and he will give thee; all these freely thou shalt have for the asking. Only come, and he will not cast thee away. But do you say, "Oh, I cannot believe that Christ is able to save such a sinner as I am. "I reply, "O thou of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt?" He has already saved sinners as great as thou art; only try him, only try him.
"Venture on him, venture wholly; Let no other trust intrude."
Try him, try him; and if you find him false, then tell it everywhere that Christ was untrue. But that shall never be. Go to him; tell him you are a wretched undone soul, without his sovereign grace; ask him to have mercy on you. Tell him you are determined, it you do perish, that you will perish at the foot of his cross. Go and cling to him, as he hangs bleeding there; look him in the face, and say, "Jesus, I have no other refuge; if thou spurn me, I am lost; but I will never go from thee; I will clasp thee in life, and clasp thee in death, as the only rock of my soul's salvation "Depend upon it, you shall not be sent empty away; you must, you shall be accepted, if you will simply believe. Oh, may God enable you, by the divine influence of his Holy Spirit, to believe; and then, shall we not have to put the question, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" I pray God now apply these words to your comfort. They have been very simple, and very homely words; but nevertheless, they will suit simple, homely hearts. If God shall bless them, to him be the glory!
March 20, 1890 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Matthew 15:28 .
I mean to dwell specially upon those words at the end of the verse, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt;" but before we consider them, I should like again to remind you, as I did in the reading, that our Lord admired this woman's faith. He said unto her, "O woman, great is thy faith." She was humble, she was patient, she was persevering, she was affectionate towards her child; but our Savior did not mention any of these things, for he was most of all struck by her faith. What other good things she had, sprang out of her faith; so the Lord Jesus went at once to the root of the matter, and, as it were, held up his hands in astonishment, and exclaimed, "O woman, great is thy faith." Her faith really was great, extremely great, when you consider that she was a Gentile, and one of a race that had ages before been doomed, the Canaanitish race, in whose nature idolatry seemed to be ingrained; yet this woman showed that she had greater faith than many a Jew. There are two cases of extraordinary faith recorded in the early part of Matthew's Gospel; and in both of these instances where our Savior expressed his astonishment at the greatness of the faith, the believers were Gentiles. Of the centurion at Capernaum he said, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." It is a wonderful thing when persons who have lived in ignorance and vice exhibit great faith. We are glad when those who have been brought up religiously and morally are led to believe in Christ; but we are often more astonished when the immoral, those who have previously known nothing of true godliness, are enabled by grace to exercise great faith in Christ. "O woman, great is thy faith," said our Lord, for it was great even apart from her being a Gentile, for it had been sorely tried. Trials of faith from disciples are often very severe, and the disciples had put her aside, and even besought their Lord to "Send her away." But trials of faith from the Master himself are still more severe. To have Christ's deaf ear and dumb lips, this was a trial indeed; and, worse than that, to have rough words from such a loving and tender Teacher as he was, and even to be called a dog by the great Shepherd of Israel, and to be told that it was not meet to give her the children's bread, these were heavy tests of her confidence; but she had such faith that she bore up under all, and still pressed her suit with the Son of David, the Lord of mercy. We cannot but feel that Christ did her justice when he said, "O woman, great is thy faith." Our Savior seems to have been specially struck with the ingenuity of her faith. Little faith always lacks ingenuity, it must have everything very plain or else it cannot move at all; but great faith makes crooked things straight, sees light in the midst of darkness, and gathers comfort out of discouragement. For this woman to turn Christ's word inside out, as it were, and when he said, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs," for her to say, in effect, "I do not ask to have it cast to me; only let me have the crumbs which fall by accident from the children themselves when they have brought the dogs under the table,"-this was indeed extraordinary faith and wonderful pleading." If thou wilt heal my daughter, there will be none the less of thy marvellous power for the children of Israel, for thou canst heal them, too. If thou dost give me this that I ask, great as it is to me, it is only like a crumb to thee, thy table is so lavishly provided for by thine omnipotence of grace. Even this great boon that I ask of thee will be nothing more to thee than a chance crumb that falls from the children's table." This was splendid pleading, and the Savior saw the force of it at once. He loves ingenuity on the part of those who come to him. He is so ingenious himself in devising means of bringing back his banished ones, that he is glad to see ingenuity in the banished ones themselves when they desire to come back to him. He therefore cries in holy astonishment, "O woman, great is thy faith." Taking the case of the woman as a whole, I think that it must have been her pertinacity, her firmness, that surprised the Lord. Others are so easily put off, but she would not be put off. Others need encouragement, but she encouraged herself. When the door is shut in her face, she only knocks at it; and when Christ calls her "Dog," she only picks up what Christ has said, as a good dog will pick up his master's stick, and bring it right to his feet. There was no baffling her. If all the devils in hell had been about the business, not merely that terrible one that possessed her daughter, she would have beaten them all, for she had such faith shall I not say? such dogged faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that she could even get comfort out of being called a dog. She had such resolute faith that she must have what she sought, and she would not go away without it. If she does not succeed at first, she will battle on until she does win the victory; she will continue pleading till she carries her suit. Our Lord was not only, to speak after the manner of men, astonished at her faith; but, with reverence we may say that he was conquered by it. He yielded to her faith, and he yielded unconditionally. He gave her much more than she asked, for she had not asked that her daughter might be healed the selfsame hour. She had hardly got as far as the asking at all; and as to mentioning the details, she had only pleaded with him in general; but Christ gave her definitely what he knew she wished for, and gave it to her at once. And what is more, he did, as it were, hand her over the keys of his house. "There," said he, "my good woman, I so admire your faith that I say to you, Go and help yourself. You may have whatever you like. Whatever treasure of grace I have, is yours if you want it; be it unto thee even as thou wilt." He gave her the keys of the heavenly cash-box. Some time ago, a lady wishing to help the Orphanage, sent me a cheque, and she did a very unwise thing indeed, for she signed the cheque, but she did not fill up the amount. Never do that; you see, I might have put all her fortune down, and filled up the cheque to any amount that the lady had in the bank. She evidently trusted me very largely, but I sent her cheque back to her, saying that I did not know what amount to put down. Of course, she intended to give a guinea, or £5, or something of the kind, but she forgot to say how much; and that is a very dangerous plan indeed with most people. So, our Savior gave this woman a blank cheque. "Fill it up for what you like," he said. "Great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. Whatever it is that you wish for, you shall have. Your faith has won from me this boon, that I now put at your disposal all my power to bless. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." I am going to talk specially about that point, and first, I will try to answer the question, How far did this carte-blanche extend? Then, secondly, when is it safe for the Lord to give such a carte-blanche as that? And, thirdly, if he did give us such power, how would we use it? I. First, then, dear friends, HOW FAR DID THIS CARTE-BLANCHE EXTEND when the Savior said to the woman "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt"? In answer to which I would say, first, that it went so far as to baffle all the powers of hell. This woman's child was grievously vexed with a devil, and we read, "her daughter was made whole from that very hour." "For this saying, go thy way;" said Christ, according to Mark's account, "the devil is gone out of thy daughter." Now, Satan is very mighty; there is not one of us, nor all of us put together, who can be equally matched with him. He takes small account of ten thousand men; he is more crafty and cunning than all the wise men, and more powerful than all the mighty men who ever came together, and yet the Savior seems to say, "I have heard thee, good woman, I have seen thy faith; I will rebuke the demon, I will send the evil spirit back to his own place, and your child shall be snatched out of his cruel grasp." Beloved, if you have faith enough, Christ will give you power even to cast out devils. If you can only trust him, trust him without measure or stint, and believe in him as this woman did, he will give you power to make Satan fall like lightning from heaven, and flee before you. "Jesus I know," said the evil spirit at Corinth, "and Paul I know," and the devil still knows those who make him know them. Through faith in Jesus, they speak to him with authority, and he must flee from them. So, if you have faith, you shall resist the devil, and even he, powerful as he is, shall turn his back, and flee from you; and, as Luther said, though there were as many devils as the tiles upon the housetops, yet would faith in God give you grace to vanquish them all. Remember that glorious promise, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." So this carte-blanche, when he said to the woman, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," meant, "The devils themselves are now subject to thy will." Next, it meant that it was the will of the Lord to heal her daughter completely. She had come all the way from Syrophoenicia to the borders of the land of Israel that she might plead with Christ about her daughter, her dear child, perhaps her only child. This sorrow pressed very heavily on her heart, so she cried unto the Lord, "Have mercy on me." She so identified herself with her child that she did not know any difference between herself and her child. They had seemed to grow into one in the great trouble that they had at home. I have known many a mother who certainly would far rather have suffered herself than that her child should suffer, so completely had she identified herself with her child. Now, beloved, if you can plead with Christ with this woman's heroic faith, if you can fully believe in him, and not dare to doubt him, you shall have your children put at your disposal. He will deal graciously with them, with the girl for whom you are pleading, with the boy over whom your heart is aching. He will say to you, dear mother, "O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt." The boy shall repent, the girl shall believe, the children shall come to Jesus's feet, and become your comfort and joy through their early conversion to Christ. Is not this a great blessing? Ay, and the woman had such faith in Christ that this blank cheque further meant her to have this boon at once. "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt, now, at once." So she willed at once, of course, that the devil should go out of her daughter, and out the devil had to go, for her will had become God's will, and Christ had infused into her will a mighty power which even Satan could not resist. Oh, if you have faith enough, you may get the blessing you desire even now! It may be that, while sitting in this Tabernacle, breathing a prayer for your child, God may bless your child before you get home. If you can but have faith enough, he has power enough; and if he deigns to say, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," I know that it will be your will, not that your girl may be converted when she becomes a woman, not that your boy may be saved when he becomes a man, but that the blessed miracle may be wrought at once, even now. What parents want to let the devil have their children even for an hour? O Jesus, turn him out at once! Let us see our children, our children's children, our brothers and sisters and friends, converted now, for while now is the accepted time with God, now is the time which every earnest Christian will prefer for the conversion of those for whom he prays. A splendid promise is this concerning great blessings to be had, and to be had at once: "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." I must go a little further, and say that I think our Lord, when he said to the woman, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," permitted her to eat the children's bread. She had before said, "The little dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table," and "then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." I think this means that, instead of having the privilege to go and roam like a dog under the table, and eat what she could pick up, she was made into a child, and was permitted to sit at the table, and eat of all that the Lord had provided. O poor sinner, you came in here to-night feeling like a whipped dog, did you not? You said to yourself, "There will not be anything for me in the sermon;" but, by-and-by, as you heard of the great grace of Christ to this poor woman, you thought that there might be hope even for you, and now you begin to think that there is a possibility that even you may be blessed. Well, well, I venture to say to you that, if you wish to eat the children's bread, you may. "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Lord, we do not ask of thee that we may be treated better than the rest of thy family! If any of you pray to God to make a distinction, and to give you more than he gives his other children, I do not think you are likely to get it. If you come to Christ, as Mrs. Zebedee did, and begin asking that James and John may sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left, you will not get what you ask; but if you say, "O Lord, thou art my God; I love thy people, let me fare as they do. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. I do not ask to be exempt from tribulation, for all the heirs of salvation have to endure it. I only ask that I may eat what thy children eat. If they have bread, Lord, I will be happy to have bread; I ask for no dainties. If they drink water from the rock Lord, let me have a draught of the same; I ask for nothing more." Jesus says, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt. If you are content to sit at the table with my children, come along with you. If you sigh after their bread, which came down from heaven, if you will take 'scot and lot' with them, there is nothing to hinder you. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Surely, also, when the Savior spoke thus to the Syrophoenician woman, he meant to make reference to her first prayer. She cried unto him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David." "Yes," said he, "now be it unto thee even as thou wilt. I have mercy on thee. If thou hast sinned, I forgive thee. If thou art hard of heart, I will soften thy heart. If thou hast been an ignorant heathen, I will enlighten thee, and bring thee to my feet. I will be to thee the Son of David, and thou shalt be one of mine own chosen people, and I will care for thee, and protect thee, and deliver thee, as David did the many for whom he fought." O souls, if any one of you is crying, "Lord have mercy upon me," if you have faith in Christ, and he deserves to be trusted; there is none like him; he deserves to be trusted without a single doubt, for he never failed anyone, and he never lied to anyone, therefore let no wicked mistrust come in to weaken thy faith, if thou canst trust him, he says to thee, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Take mercy; take mercy, and more mercy, and yet more mercy. Come to the table of love, and sit among the children of the Lord, and feed on heavenly bread. Put up thy prayer for thy child, pleading the promise to the jailor, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Come to Christ with all the torment thou hast felt from the devil's possession of thee; the horrible thoughts, the blasphemous insinuations, the desperate doubts, and hear the Savior say to thee, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." The devil shall be made to depart from thee. Thy poor head shall lose the fever from the burning brow; thy heart shalt beat at its even pace, and thou shalt be at peace again. The Lord shall rebuke thine adversary. In this confidence, say unto the demon even now, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise." Oh, this is a grand, grand word from our Lord's lips! It is a wonderful cheque, signed by our Savior's own hand, and left in blank for faith to fill up. We might have half thought that he would have said, "O woman, your faith is too big for me to trust you with unlimited prayer. If you had only a little faith, I would go as far as your little faith would go, and keep pace with you." But no, no; that is not Christ's method of acting. He says, "O woman, great is thy faith and as thou canst trust me, I can trust thee. Cry as thou wilt, for so be it unto thee. Thou hast firmly resolved to have no doubt about my power and willingness, and to trust me without reserve; so I trust thee without reserve, be it unto thee even as thou wilt." II. So now I pass to our second question, which is this. WHEN IS IT SAFE FOR THE LORD TO TRUST ANYBODY WITH SUCH A PROMISE AS THIS, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt"? It would be very unsafe thus to trust some of you. Why, there is one man here who, if it was said to him, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," would at once pray for well, I do not know how many thousand pounds; and when he got home, he would be discontented, and say, "What a fool I was not to ask two or three times as much!" Ah! yes, yes, yes; but the Lord does not trust greedy people in that way. Not while there is any idea of your own merit left, will Christ trust you at all. Not while there is a fraction of self-will left, will Christ trust you at all, and not while doubt remains. That must go, for the whole verse says, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." He trusts faith; he will not trust unbelief, he will not trust self-confidence, he will not trust human merit; but where there is faith, there he gives over the keys of his treasury, and says, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." When will the Lord thus trust us? Well, I think, first, when we agree with Christ, when we are like this woman who had no quarrel with the Savior. Whatever he said was right in her eyes. If he called her a dog, she said, "Truth, Lord." When you and Christ agree, and there is no quarrel between you, then he says, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." If you do not yield to him, he will not yield to you; but when you just end all disputing, and say, "Lord, I have done with all quibbling and quarrelling; I will never raise another question, and never harbour another doubt. I believe thee. I believe thee. As a child believes its mother, I believe thee. When I cannot understand thee, when thou dost distress me, still I do believe thee." Ah! when you come to that point, then the Lord will say, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Next, when our soul is taken up with proper desires. This woman had no idea of asking for a hundred thousand shekels of silver, or a wedge of gold, or a goodly Babylonish garment. One thought alone possessed her, "My child! My child! Oh, that the devil might be cast out of my child!" "Now," says Christ, "be it unto thee even as thou wilt." And when you have great desires for heavenly things, when your desires are such as God approves of, when you will what God wills, then you may will what you like. When it comes to this, that you have dropped your own desires of an inferior and grovelling kind, and you are taken up with desires for necessary things, desires that come to you from Christ himself, when you desire the bread, not from the devil's oven, but from Christ's table, when that is what you crave, then it shall be unto you even as you will. Next, it shall be to us even as we will when we see our Lord in his true office. This woman saw that Christ was a Healer, and she appealed to him as a Healer. If you see Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, you may go and ask of him as a Prophet what a prophet is ordained to give, or as a Priest what a priest is intended to bestow, or as a King what a king is set upon the throne to do. You may go to Christ as he really is, and if you see that he is ordained for this purpose and for that, then keep in tune with what he is ordained to be, and you may ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. You must not try to take Christ away from his offices. Christ is not sent of God to make you a rich man; he is sent of God to make you a saved man, so you may go to him as a Savior, for that is his office. You may go to him as a Priest, for it is his office to cleanse, to offer sacrifice, to make intercession. Take Christ as God sets him forth, and then be it unto thee even as thou wilt. Next, it will be to us even as we will when we can believe about the distinct object that is before us. This woman pleaded for her child. All her faith went out towards her child. I love the prayer that has in it faith concerning the thing for which it pleads. There are many Christian people who say they have faith about twenty things; but then the thing that they cannot believe about is the twenty-first. You must have a faith that can not only cover twenty-one things, but that can cover everything. We say, "Oh! I could believe if my trouble were like So-and-so's." You could not believe at all unless you can believe about your present trouble; and you must believe about the object for which you are praying, that it can be given you, that it will be given you in answer to your prayer; and then Jesus will say to you, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Again, we can have whatever we like when our heart seeks only God's glory; when what we pray for is not for wealth, nor with a desire for our own honor, but when even what we want for ourselves is asked with the higher motive that God may be glorified in us by our obtaining such-and-such a gift, or being delivered from such-and-such a trial. When God's glory is-thy one aim, thou mayest ask what thou wilt, and it shall be given unto thee. And above all, when we always keep to what I have already mentioned, when we only ask for the children's bread, then the Lord will give us what we crave. If you ask for what God gives his elect, for what Christ has bought for his redeemed, if you ask for what the Holy Ghost works in the minds of men converted by his power, if you ask for what God has promised, if you ask for what it is customary for God to bestow upon his waiting people, then "be it unto thee even as thou wilt." No wild fancy, no rhapsody, no whim that makes thee wish for this or that, is worthy to come within the compass of my text; but that which the Lord waits to give thee, that which he knows would be good for thee, that which will be an honor to him, and which will help thee to honor him, thou mayest ask without any stammering or fear; and thou shalt have it, for he says to thee, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." I do not know; but I think that I am speaking personally to somebody here in trouble, who has been long pleading and praying, and has never got an answer yet. "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Hannah, the woman of a sorrowful spirit, sits in this house, bowed down in soul, and pouring out before the Lord her silent prayer. Let her take this message from the Lord's servant, or, better still, from the Lord himself, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." But then I only dare to say it to one to whom I could also say, "O woman, great is thy faith." If you have not any faith, how are you to have it? Here is a soup-kitchen opened for the poor, and they are told to bring their jugs, their mugs, their basins, anything they like. A woman comes, and says, "I have not a mug." "Have you a basin?" "No." Well, you say to her, "You can have the soup;" but then, you see, she cannot carry it home without a basin, or a jug. So, here is the mercy of God, and many lack it; here is a blessing rich and rare, and many cannot carry it home because they have no faith; but Christ could say to the Syrophoenician, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." III. Now I finish by asking another question. Suppose this blank cheque to be given to us, HOW WILL IT BE USED? Well, first, I should use it upon that thing about which I have been praying most. I will not say what it is. This woman had been praying most about her daughter, so, when the Savior said, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," she did not say a single word, but she just willed in her mind that the devil should be driven out of her daughter. Oh, that you might have faith enough to be able to will the right thing! If Christ leaves his own will in your hands, and feels safe in doing so, oh, will strongly! It is for God, you know, to give a fiat; but Christ here gives a fiat to the woman. As I read the text, he says to her, "Be it unto thee,"-"So let it be." "Be it so," says he, "as thou wilt." Behold, the fiat of God goes forth to thee, believer, to let it be even as thou dost will it to be. Now, can you not will for the child for whom you have been praying? Do you not will for the congregation that lies on your heart? Do you not will for that friend with whom you have been speaking in order to try to bring him to Christ? Will for the distinct object for which you have been praying; and then, may the will of the Lord be done, and may your will also be done because it is an echo of the will of the Lord! Next, I think that, if we had this said to each one of us; "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," we should first will our own salvation. Pray, as we sang just now,
"With my burden I begin Lord, Remove this load of sin; Let thy blood, for sinners spilt, Let my conscience free from guilt.
"Lord! I come to thee for rest, Take possession of my breast; There thy blood-bought right maintain, And without a rival reign."
Let each one of us pray, "Lord, save me! Lord, make sure work of it; save me from sin, save me from self, save me from everything that dishonors thee." I was talking, the other day, with a man who was saying that he attended a ministry where he heard very little about holy living. He thought that he was a believer, though he was living in sin, and continued to live in sin. He knows now that he was no believer, or else he could not have lived in sin as he did; and now he prays to God not for salvation while he is living in sin, but for salvation from sin. So, we will first ask of God our own full salvation, and we know that his answer will be, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Have we not all a prayer also for our children, or our friends, or those who lie near to our hearts? Then let us pray on, with great faith, till we hear Christ say, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt;" and then let us go home, and expect to see the work of grace begun in our children. Watch for it, O parent; and carefully nurture it as soon as you see the first beginnings of it! About this matter also Jesus says, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." I think that, if I were asked to pray now for something very special, and that I might have whatever I asked, my prayer would be, "Lord, make me grow in grace. Give me more faith. If I have great faith, give me more. If I have much love to thee, give me more love to thee. If I know my Lord, I pray that I may know more of him, and know him to a fuller and intenser degree." My prayer shall be,
"Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee."
Let that be the prayer of each one of you to whom it is left to fill up this blank cheque. Then there is another prayer that I am sure I should remember, if nobody else here did, and that would be concerning Christ's kingdom. If it is to be unto me as I will, then I will it that God's truth should be preached everywhere, and that false doctrines should be made to fly like chaff before the wind. If our prayer be heard, and we are permitted to have what we will, our will is that God may send us Luthers and Calvins, and brave men like John Knox back again, men with bones in their backs, and fire on their lips, with hearts that burn and words that glow with holy fervor; we want them so badly now. The Lord have mercy upon the Free Church of Scotland, and give her back faithful covenanting men and women! The Lord have mercy upon our own poor denomination, and give us those who love the truth of God, and dare to stand up for it come what may! Oh, for such a prayer as that! Lord, revive thy Church! Lord, lift up a banner because of the truth! Lord, put thine adversaries to the rout!
"Fight for thyself, O Jesus, fight, The travail of thy soul regain!"
Oh, to hear in our hearts this gracious word from the King himself, as we plead with him concerning his kingdom, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." By-and-by, you and I shall lie sick and ill, and they will say, "His days are numbered:" Then, if the Lord shall visit us in answer to our prayers, and whisper to us, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," oh then, the promise will road in a very different sense from what I can read it now! Then will the poor tent begin to be taken down; well, it never was worth much. Fearfully and wonderfully made is this mortal frame, but it is capable of bringing us great pain and much sorrow, and also of deadening our devotion, and hampering us in our work for God. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." "Ah, well!" says the Lord, "you shall be rid of your flesh one day. It shall be unto thee even as thou wilt." You have sung, sometimes,
"Father, I long, I faint to see The place of thine abode; I'd leave thine earthly courts, and flee Up to thy seat, my God!"
"Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." A dear sister, who was buried to-day, said when they told her that she could not live another day, "Does it not seem wonderful? Is it not a grand thing to know that I am going to see the Lord Jesus Christ to-day?" And she lay on her bed saying this to all who came, "It seems too good to be true, that I should be so near that for which I have longed those many years; I am going to-day to see the King in his beauty." Ah, thank God, we too shall come to that last day of our earthly life! Unless the Lord descend quickly, we too shall come to our dying bed, and then we shall hear our Savior say, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt," and oh! we shall will to see his face, and to be for ever with the Lord, and to praise him with infinite rapture for ever and ever. Blessed be his name, we have faith to believe that it will be even so. Then we will tell him what we cannot tell him now, how much we love him, how deeply we feel our indebtedness to him, and we will give all the glory of our salvation to his holy name for ever and ever. God grant that this may be the happy lot of every one of us, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 15". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Seventh Week after Easter