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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Micah 5

Verse 2

The Incarnation and Birth of Christ

December 23, 1855

by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."--Micah 5:2 .

This is the season of the year when, whether we wish it or not, we are compelled to think of the birth of Christ. I hold it to be one of the greatest absurdities under heaven to think that there is any religion in keeping Christmas-day. There are no probabilities whatever that our Saviour Jesus Christ was born on that day, and the observance of it is purely of Popish origin; doubtless those who are Catholics have a right to hallow it, but I do not see how consistent Protestants can account it in the least sacred. However, I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt labouring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us; particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus. We do not wish to be classed with those

"Who with more care keep holiday The wrong, than others the right way."

The old Puritans made a parade of work on Christmas-day, just to show that they protested against the observance of it. But we believe they entered that protest so completely, that we are willing, as their descendants, to take the good accidentally conferred by the day, and leave its superstitions to the superstitious.

To proceed at once to what we have to say to you: we notice, first, who it was that sent Christ forth. God the Father here speaks, and says, "Out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel." Secondly, where did he come to at the time of his incarnation? Thirdly, what did he come for? "To be ruler in Israel." Fourthly, had he ever come before? Yes, he had. "Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

I. First, then, WHO SENT JESUS CHRIST?

The answer is returned to us by the words of the text. "Out of thee" saith Jehovah, speaking by the mouth of Micah, I out of thee shall he come forth unto me." It is a sweet thought that Jesus Christ, did not come forth without his Father's permission, authority, consent, and assistance. He was sent of the Father, that he might be the Saviour of men. We are, alas! too apt to forget, that while there are distinctions as to the persons in the Trinity, there are no distinctions of honor; and we do very frequently ascribe the honor of our salvation, or at least the depths of its mercy and the extremity of its benevolence, more to Jesus Christ than we do to the Father. This is a very great mistake. What if Jesus came? Did not his Father send him? If he was made a child did not the Holy Ghost beget him? If he spake wondrously, did not his Father pour grace into his lips, that he might be an able minister of the new covenant? If his Father did forsake him when he drank the bitter cup of gall, did he not love him still? and did he not, by-and by, after three days, raise him from the dead, and at last receive him up on high, leading captivity captive? Ah! beloved, he who knoweth the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost as he should know them, never setteth one before another; he is not more thankful to one than the other; he sees them at Bethlehem, at Gethsemane, and on Calvary, all equally engaged in the work of salvation. "He shall come forth unto me." O Christian, hast thou put thy confidence in the man Christ Jesus? Hast thou placed thy reliance solely on him? And art thou united with him? Then believe that thou art united unto the God of heaven; since to the man Christ Jesus thou art brother and holdest closest fellowship, thou art linked thereby with God the Eternal, and "the Ancient of days" is thy Father and thy friend. "He shall come forth unto me". Did you never see the depth of love there was in the heart of Jehovah, when God the Father equipped his Son for the great enterprise of mercy? There had been a sad day in Heaven once before, when Satan fell, and dragged with him a third of the stars of heaven, and when the Son of God launching from his great right hand the Omnipotent thunders, dashed the rebellious crew to the pit of perdition; but if we could conceive a grief in heaven, that must have been a sadder day, when the Son of the Most High left his Father's bosom, where he had lain from before all worlds "Go," saith the Father, "and thy Father's blessing on thy head!" Then comes the unrobing. How do angels crowd around to see the Son of God take off his robes He laid aside his crown; he said, "My father, I am Lord over all, blessed for ever, but I will lay my crown aside, and be as mortal men are." He strips himself of his bright vest of glory; "Father," he says, "I will wear a robe of clay, just such a men wear." Then he takes off all those jewels wherewith he was glorified; he lays aside his starry mantles and robes of light, to dress himself in the simple garments of the peasant of Galilee. What a solemn disrobing that must have been!

And next, can you picture the dismissal! The angels attend the Saviour through the streets, until they approach the doors: when an angel cries, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, and let the king of glory through!" Oh! methinks the angels must have wept when they lost the company of Jesus--when the Sun of Heaven bereaved them of all its light. But they went after him. They descended with him; and when his spirit entered into flesh and he became a babe, he was attended by that mighty host of angels, who after they had been with him to Bethlehem's manger, and seen him safely, laid on his mother's breast, in their journey upwards appeared to the shepherds and told them that he was born king of the Jews. The Father sent him! Contemplate that subject. Let your soul get hold of it, and in every period of his life think that he suffered what the Father willed; that every step of his life was marked with the approval of the great I AM. Let every thought that you have of Jesus be also connected with the eternal, ever-blessed God; for "he," saith Jehovah, "shall come forth unto me." Who sent him, then? The answer is, his Father.

II. Now, secondly, WHERE DID HE COME TO?

A word or two concerning Bethlehem. It seemed meet and right that our Saviour should be born in Bethlehem and that because of Bethlehem's history, Bethlehem's name, and Bethlehem's position--little in Judah.

1. First, it seemed necessary that Christ should be born in Bethlehem, because of Bethlehem's history. Dear to every Israelite was the little village of Bethlehem. Jerusalem might outshine it in splendour; for there stood the temple, the glory of the whole earth, and "beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth was Mount Zion;" yet around Bethlehem there clustered a number of incidents which always made it a pleasant resting-place to every Jewish mind; and even the Christian cannot help loving Bethlehem. The first mention, I think, that we have of Bethlehem is a sorrowful one. There Rachel died. If you turn to the 35th of Genesis you will find it said in the 16th verse--"And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath; and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave, that is the pillar of Rachel_s grave unto this day." A singular incident this--almost prophetic. Might not Mary have called her own son Jesus, her Ben-oni; for he was to be the child of Sorrow? Simeon said to her--"Yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." But while she might have called him Ben-oni, what did God his Father call him? Benjamin, the son of my right hand. Ben-oni was he as a man; Benjamin as to his Godhead.

This little incident seems to be almost a prophecy that Ben-oni--Benjamin, the Lord Jesus, should be born in Bethlehem. But another woman makes this place celebrated. That woman's name was Naomi. There lived at Bethlehem in after days, when, perhaps, the stone that Jacob's fondness had raised had been covered with moss and its inscription obliterated, another woman named Naomi. She too was a daughter of joy, and yet a daughter of bitterness. Naomi was a woman whom the Lord had loved and blessed, but she had to go to a strange land; and she said, "Call me not Naomi (pleasant) but let my name be called Mara (bitter) for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me." Yet was she not alone amid all her losses, for there cleaved unto her Ruth the Moabitess, whose Gentile blood should unite with the pure untainted stream of the Jew, and should thus bring forth the Lord our Saviour, the great king both of Jews and Gentiles. That very beautiful book of Ruth had all its scenery laid in Bethlehem. It was at Bethlehem that Ruth went forth to glean in the fields of Boaz; it was there that Boaz looked upon her, and she bowed herself before her lord; it was there her marriage was celebrated; and in the streets of Bethlehem did Boaz and Ruth receive a blessing which made them fruitful so that Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. That last fact gilds Bethlehem with glory--the fact that David was born there--the mighty hero who smote the Philistine giant, who led the discontented of his land away from the tyranny of their monarch, and who afterwards, by a full consent of a willing people, was crowned king of Israel and Judah. Bethlehem was a royal city, because the kings were there brought forth. Little as Bethlehem was, it was much to be esteemed; because it was like certain principalities which we have in Europe, which are celebrated for nothing but for bringing forth the consorts of the royal families of England. It was right, then, from history, that Bethlehem should be the birth-place of Christ.

2. But again: there is something in the name of the place. "Bethlehem Ephratah." The word Bethlehem has a double meaning. It signifies "the house of bread," and "the house of war." Ought not Jesus Christ to be born in "the house of bread?" He is the Bread of his people, on which they feed. As our fathers ate manna in the wilderness, so do we live on Jesus here below. Famished by the world, we cannot feed on its shadows. Its husks may gratify the swinish taste of worldlings, for they are swine; but we need something more substantial, and in that blest bread of heaven, made of the bruised body of our Lord Jesus, and baked in the furnace of his agonies, we find a blessed food. No food like Jesus to the desponding soul or to the strongest saint. The very meanest of the family of God goes to Bethlehem for his bread; and the strongest man, who eats strong meat, goes to Bethlehem for it. House of Bread! whence could come our nourishment but from thee? We have tried Sinai, but on her rugged steeps there grow no fruits, and her thorny heights yield no corn whereon we may feed. We have repaired even to Tabor itself, where Christ was transfigured, and yet there we have not been able to eat his flesh and drink his blood. But Bethlehem, thou house of bread, rightly wast thou called; for there the bread of life was first handed down for man to eat. And it is also called "the house of war;" because Christ is to a man "the house of bread," or else "the house of war." While he is food to the righteous he causeth war to the wicked, according to his own word-- "Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I am not come to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in- law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Sinner! if thou dost not know Bethlehem as "the house of bread," it shall be to thee a "house of war." If from the lips of Jesus thou dost never drink sweet honey--if thou art not like the bee, which sippeth sweet luscious liquor from the Rose of Sharon, then out of the selfsame mouth there shall go forth against thee a two-edged sword; and that mouth from which the righteous draw their bread, shall be to thee the mouth of destruction and the cause of thine ill. Jesus of Bethlehem, house of bread and house of war, we trust we know thee as our bread. Oh! that some who are now at war with thee might hear in their hearts, as well as in their ears the song--

"Peace on earth, and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled."

And now for that word Ephratah That was the old name of the place which the Jews retained and loved. The meaning of it is, "fruitfulness," or "abundance." Ah! well was Jesus born in the house of fruitfulness; for whence cometh my fruitfulness and any fruitfulness, my brother, but from Bethlehem? Our poor barren hearts ne'er produced one fruit, or flower, till they were watered with the Saviour blood. It is his incarnation which fattens the soil of our hearts. There had been pricking thorns on all the ground, and mortal poisons, before be came; but our fruitfulness comes from him. "I am like a green fir-tree; from thee is my fruit found." "All my springs are in thee." If we be like trees planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth our fruit in our season, it is not because we were naturally fruitful, but because of the rivers of water by which we were planted. It is Jesus that makes us fruitful. "If a man abide in me," he says, "and my words abide him, he shall bring forth much fruit." Glorious Bethlehem Ephratah! Rightly named! Fruitful house of bread--the house of abundant provision for the people of God!

3. We notice, next, the position of Bethlehem. It is said to be "little among the thousands of Judah." Why is this? Because Jesus Christ always goes among little ones. He was born in the little one "among the thousands of Judah." No Bashan's high hill, not on Hebron's royal mount, not in Jerusalem's palaces. but the humble, yet illustrious, village of Bethlehem. There is a passage in Zechariah which teaches us a lesson:--lt is said that the man on the red horse stood among the myrtle-trees. Now the myrtle-trees grow at the bottom of the hill; and the man on the red horse always rides there. He does not ride on the mountain-top; he rides among the humble in heart. "With this man will I dwell, saith the Lord, with him who is of a humble and contrite spirit, and who trembleth at my word." There are some little ones here this morning--"little among the thousands of Judah." No one ever heard your name, did they? If you were buried, and had your name on your tombstone, it would never be noticed. Those who pass by would say, "it is nothing to me: I never knew him." You do not know much of yourself, or think much of yourself; you can scarcely read, perhaps. Or if you have some talent and ability, you are despised amongst men; or, if you are not despised by them, you despise yourself. You are one of the little ones. Well, Christ is always born in Bethlehem among the little ones. Big hearts never get Christ inside of them; Christ lieth not in great hearts, but in little ones. Mighty and proud spirits never have Jesus Christ, for he cometh in at low doors, but he will not come in at high ones. He who hath a broken heart, and a low spirit, shall have the Saviour, but none else. He healeth not the prince and the king, but "the broken in heart, and he bindeth up their wounds." Sweet thought! He is the Christ of the little ones. "Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel."

We cannot pass away from this without another thought here, which is, how wonderfully mysterious was that providence which brought Jesus Christ's mother to Bethlehem at the very time when she was to be delivered! His parents were residing at Nazareth; and what should they want to travel at that time for? Naturally, they would have remained at home; it was not at all likely that his mother would have taken journey to Bethlehem while in so peculiar a condition; but Caesar Augustus issues a decree that they are to be taxed. Very well, then, let them be taxed at Nazareth. No; it pleases him that they should all go to their city. But why should Caesar Augustus think of it just at that particular time? Simply because, while man deviseth his way, the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord. Why, what a thousand chances, as the world has it, met together to bring about this event! First of all, Caesar quarrels with Herod; one of the Herods was deposed; Caesar says, "I shall tax Judea, and make it a province, instead of having it for a separate kingdom. Well, it must be done. But when is it to be done? This taxing, it is said, was first commenced when Cyreneus was governor. But why is the census to be taken at that particular period--suppose, December? Why not have had it last October and why could not the people be taxed where they were living? Was not their money just as good there as anywhere else? It was Caesar's whim; but it was God's decree. Oh! we love the sublime doctrine of eternal absolute predestination. Some have doubted its being consistent with the free agency of man. We know well it is so, and we never saw any difficulty in the subject; we believe metaphysicians have made difficulties; we see none ourselves. It is for us to believe, that man does as he pleases, yet notwithstanding he always does as God decrees. If Judas betrays Christ, "thereunto he was appointed;" and if Pharaoh hardens his heart, yet, "for this purpose have I raised thee up, for to show forth my power in thee." Man doth as he wills; but God maketh him do as he willeth, too. Nay, not only is the will of man under the absolute predestination of Jehovah; but all things, great or little, are of him. Well hath the good poet said, "Doubtless the sailing of a cloud hath Providence to its pilot; doubtless the root of an oak is gnarled for a special purpose, God compasseth all things, mantling the globe like air."

There is nothing great or little, that is not from him. The summer dust moves in its orbit, guided by the same hand which rolls the stars along; the dewdrops have their father, and trickle on the rose leaf as God bids them; yea, the sear leaves of the forest, when hurled along by the tempest, have their allotted position where they shall fall, nor can they go beyond it. In the great, and in the little, there is God--God in everything, working all things according to the counsel of his own will; and though man seeks to go against his Maker, yet he cannot. God hath bounded the sea with a barrier of sand; and if the sea mount up wave after wave, yet it shall not exceed its allotted channel. Everything is of God; and unto him. who guideth the stars and wingeth sparrows, who ruleth planets and yet moveth atoms, who speaks thunders and yet whispers zephyrs, unto him be glory; for there is God in everything,

III. This brings us to the third point: WHAT DID JESUS COME FOR?

He came to be "ruler in Israel." A very singular thing is this, that Jesus Christ was said to have been "born the king of the Jews." Very few have ever been "born king." Men are born princes, but they are seldom born kings. I do not think you can find an instance in history where any infant was born king. He was the prince of Wales, perhaps, and he had to wait a number of years, till his father died, and then they manufactured him into a king, by putting a crown on his head; and a sacred chrism, and other silly things; but he was not born a king. I remember no one who was born a king except Jesus; and there is emphatic meaning in that verse that we sing

"Born thy people to deliver; Born a child, and yet a king."

The moment that he came on earth he was a king. He did not wait till his majority that he might take his empire; but as soon as his eye greeted the sunshine he was a king; from the moment that his little hands grasped anything, they grasped a sceptre, as soon as his pulse beat, and his blood began to flow, his heart beat royally, and his pulse beat an imperial measure, and his blood flowed in a kingly current. He was born a king. He came "to be ruler in Israel. "Ah!" says one, "then he came in vain, for little did he exercise his rule; _he came unto his own, and his own received him not;' he came to Israel and he was not their ruler, but he was _despised and rejected of men,' cast off by them all, and forsaken by Israel, unto whom he came." Ay, but "they are not all Israel who are of Israel," neither because they are the seed of Abraham shall they all be called. Ah, no! He is not ruler of Israel after the flesh, but he is the ruler of Israel after the spirit. Many such have obeyed him. Did not the apostles bow before him, and own him as their king? And now, doth not Israel salute him as their ruler? Do not all the seed of Abraham after the spirit, even all the faithful, for he is "the father of the faithful," acknowledge that unto Christ belong the shields of the mighty, for he is the king of the whole earth? Doth he not rule over Israel? Ay, verily he doth; and those who are not ruled over by Christ are not of Israel. He came to be a ruler over Israel.

My brother, hast thou submitted to the sway of Jesus? Is he ruler in thine heart, or is he not? We may know Israel by this: Christ is come into their hearts, to be ruler over them. "Oh!" saith one, "I do as I please, I was never in bondage to any man." Ah! then thou hatest the rule of Christ. "Oh!" says another, "I submit myself to my minister, to my clergyman, or to my priest, and I think that what he tells me is enough, for he is my ruler." Dost thou? Ah! poor slave, thou knowest not thy dignity; for nobody is thy lawful ruler but the Lord Jesus Christ. "Ay," says another, "I have professed his religion, and I am his follower." But doth he rule in thine heart? Doth he command thy will? Doth he guide thy judgment? Dost thou ever seek counsel at his hand in thy difficulties? Art thou desirous to honor him, and to put crowns upon his heart? Is he thy ruler? If so, then thou art one of Israel; for it is written, "He shall come to be ruler in Israel." Blessed Lord Jesus! thou art ruler in thy people's hearts, and thou ever shalt be; we want no other ruler save thyself, and we will submit to none other. We are free, because we are the servants of Christ; we are at liberty, because he is our ruler, and we know no bondage and no slavery, because Jesus Christ alone is monarch of our hearts. He came "to be ruler in Israel;" and mark you, that mission of his is not quite fulfilled yet, and shall not be till the latter-day glories.

In a little while you shall see Christ come again, to be ruler over his people Israel, and ruler over them not only as spiritual Israel, but even as natural Israel, for the Jews shall be restored to their land, and the tribes of Jacob shall yet sing in the halls of their temple; unto God there shall yet again be offered Hebrew songs of praise, and the heart of the unbelieving Jew shall be melted at the feet of the true Messias. In a short time, he who at his birth was hailed king of the Jews by Easterns, and at his death was written king of the Jews by a Western, shall be called king of the Jews everywhere--yes, king of the Jews and Gentiles also--in that universal monarchy whose dominion shall be co-extensive with the habitable globe, and whose duration shall be coeval with time itself. He came to be a ruler in Israel, and a ruler most decidedly he shall be, when he shall reign among his people with his ancients gloriously.

IV. And now, the last thing is, DID JESUS CHRIST EVER COME BEFORE?

We answer, yes: for our text says, "Whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting."

First, Christ has had his goings forth in his Godhead. "From everlasting." He has not been a secret and a silent person up to this moment. That new- born child there has worked wonders long ere now; that infant slumbering in its mother_s arms is the infant of to-day, but it is the ancient of eternity; that child who is there hath not made its appearance on the stage of this world; his name is not yet written in the calendar of the circumcised; but still though you wist it not, "his goings forth have been of old, from everlasting."

1. Of old he went forth as our covenant head in election, "according as he hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world." Christ be my first elect, he said, Then chose our souls in Christ our Head."

2. He had goings forth for his people, as their representative before the throne, even before they were begotten in the world. It was from everlasting that his mighty fingers grasped the pen, the stylus of ages, and wrote his own name, the name of the eternal Son of God; it was from everlasting that he signed the compact with his Father, that he would pay blood for blood, wound for wound, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of his people; it was from everlasting that he gave himself up, without a murmuring word, that from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot he might sweat blood, that he might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, suffer the pain of death, and the agonies of the cross. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hadst goings forth in the person of Jesus from everlasting. Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but his delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did he think of them; from everlasting to everlasting he had set his affection upon them. What! believer, has he been so long about thy salvation, and will he not accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will he lose me now? What! has he had me in his hand, as his precious jewel, and will he now let me slip between his precious fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep scooped out, and will he lose me now? Impossible!

"My name from the palms of his hands Eternity cannot erase; Impress'd on his heart it remains, In marks of indelible grace."

I am sure he would not love me so long, and then leave off loving me. If he intended to be tired of me, he would have been tired of me long before now. If he had not loved me with a love as deep as hell and as unutterable as the grave, it he had not given his whole heart to me, I am sure he would have turned from me long ago. He knew what I would be, and he has had long time enough to consider of it; but I am his choice, and there is an end of it; and unworthy as I am, it is not mine to grumble, if he is but contented with me. But he is contented with me--he must be contented with me--for he has known me long enough to know my faults. He knew me before I knew myself; yea, he knew me before I was myself. Long before my members were fashioned they were written in his book, "when as yet there were none of them," his eyes of affection were set on them. He knew how badly I would act towards him, and yet he has continued to love me;

"His love in times past forbids me to think. He'll leave me at last in trouble to sink."

No; since "his goings forth were of old from everlasting," they will be "to everlasting."

Secondly, we believe that Christ has come forth of old, even to men, so that men have beheld him. I will not stop to tell you that it was Jesus who walked in the garden of Eden in the cool of the (lay, for his delights were with the sons of men; nor will I detain you by pointing out all the various ways in which Christ came forth to his people in the form of the angel of the covenant, the Paschal Lamb, the and ten thousand types with which the sacred history is so replete; but I will rather point you to four occasions when Jesus Christ our Lord has appeared on earth as a man, before his great incarnation for our salvation. And, first, I beg to refer you to the 18th chapter of Genesis, where Jesus Christ appeared to Abraham, of whom we read, "The Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground. "But whom did he bow to? He said "My Lord,"only to one of them. There was one man between the other two, the most conspicuous for his glory, for he was the God-man Christ; the other two were created angels, who for a time had assumed the appearance of men. But this was the man Christ Jesus. "And he said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree." You will notice that this majestic man, this glorious person, stayed behind to talk with Abraham. In the 22nd verse it is said,--And the men turned their faces from thence and went towards Sodom;" that is, two of them, as you will see in the next chapter-- "but Abraham stood yet before the Lord." You will notice that this man, the Lord, held sweet fellowship with Abraham, and allowed Abraham to plead for the city he was about to destroy. He was in the positive form of man; so that when he walked the streets of Judea it was not the first time that he was a man; lie was so before, in "the plain of Mamre, in the heat of the day."

There is another instance-his appearing to Jacob, which you have recorded in the 32nd chapter of Genesis and the 24th verse. All his family were gone, "And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And be said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God." This was a man, and yet God. "For as a prince bast thou power with God and with men, and bast prevailed." And Jacob knew that this man was God, for he says in the 30th verse: ,for I have seen God face to face. and my life is preserved."

Another instance you will find in the book of Joshua When Joshua had crossed the narrow stream of Jordan, and had entered the promised land, and was about to drive out the Canaanites, lo! this mighty man-God appeared to Joshua. In the 5th chapter, at the 13th verse, we read- And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went unto him, and (like a brave warrior, as he was,) said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come." And Joshua saw at once that there was divinity in him; for Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said to him, "What saith my lord unto his servant?" Now, if this had been a created angel lie would have reproved Joshua, and said, "I am one of your fellow servants." But no; "the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so."

Another remarkable instance is that recorded in the third chapter of the book of Daniel, where we read the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being cast into the fiery furnace, which was so fierce that it destroyed the men who threw them in. Suddenly the king said to his counsellors- Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, 0 king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." How should Nebuchadnezzar know that? Only that there was something so noble and majestic in the way in which that wondrous Man bore himself, and some awful influence about him, who so marvellously broke the consuming teeth of that biting an I devouring flame, so that it could not so much as singe the children of God. Nebuchadnezzar recognized his humanity. He did not say,"I see three men and an angel," but he said, "I see four positive men, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.' You see, then, what is meant by his goings forth being I from everlasting:'

Observe for a moment here, that each of these four great occurrences happened to the saints when they were engaged in very eminent duty, or when they were about to be engaged in it. Jesus Christ does not appear to his saints every day. He did not come to see Jacob till he was in affliction; he did not visit Joshua before he was about to be engaged in a righteous war. It is only in extraordinary seasons that Christ thus manifests himself to his people. When Abraham interceded for Sodom, Jesus was with him, for one of the highest and noblest employments of a Christian is that of intercession, and it is when he is so engaged that he will be likely to obtain a sight of Christ. Jacob was engaged in wrestling, and that is a part of a Christian's duty to which some of you never did attain; consequently, you do not have many visits from Jesus. It was when Joshua was exercising bravery that the Lord met him. So with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: they were in the high places of persecution, on account of their adherence to duty, when he came to them, and said, "I will be with you, passing through the fire." There are certain peculiar places we must enter, to meet with the Lord. We must be in great trouble, like Jacob; we must be in great labour, like Joshua; we must have great intercessory faith, like Abraham; we must be firm in the performance of duty, like Shadrach Meshach, and Abednego; or else we shall not know him ,whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting;" or, if we know him, we shall not be able to "comprehend with all the saints what is the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,"

Sweet Lord Jesus! thou whose goings forth were of old, even from everlasting, thou hast not left thy goings forth yet. Oh! that thou wouldst go forth this day, to cheer the faint, to help the weary, to bind up our wounds, to comfort our distresses! Go forth, we beseech thee, to conquer sinners, to subdue hard hearts-to break the iron gates of sinners' lusts, and cut the iron bars of their sirs in pieces! O Jesus! go forth; and when thou goest forth, come thou to me! Am I a hardened sinner? Come thou to me; I want thee: "

Oh! let thy grace my heart subdue; I would be led in triumph too; A willing captive to my Lord, To sing the honours of thy word."

Poor sinner! Christ has not left going forth yet. And when he goes forth, recollect, he goes to Bethlehem. Have you a Bethlehem in your heart? Are you little? will go forth to you yet. Go home and seek him by earnest prayer. If you have been made to weep on account of sin, and think yourself too little to be noticed, go home, little one! Jesus comes to little ones; his goings forth were of old, and he is going forth now. He will come to your poor old house; he will come to your poor wretched heart; he will come, though you are in poverty, and clothed in rags, though you are destitute, tormented, and afflicted; he will come, for his goings forth have been of old from everlasting. Trust him, trust him, trust him; and he will go forth to abide in your heart for ever. Amen.

Verse 4

Christ is Glorious Let Us Make Him Known

March 20th, 1864 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)

"And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth." Micah 5:4 .

You have a very vivid idea of the sufferings of Christ. Your faith has seen him sweating great drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane. You have looked on with amazement while he gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them who plucked off the hair, and hid not his face from shame and spitting. With sorrowful sympathy you have followed him through the streets of Jerusalem, weeping and bewailing him with the women. You have sat down to watch him when he was fastened to the tree; yon have wept at his hitter complaint "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and you have rejoiced in his shout of victory "It is finished!" With Magdalene and Nicodemus, you have followed his dead body to the tomb, and seen it wrapped about with spices, and left to its lonely sleep. Are your perceptions quite as keen concerning the glory which did follow and is following? Can you see him quite as distinctly when on the third morn the Conqueror rises, bursting the bonds of death with which he could not be holden? Can yon as clearly view him ascending up on high, leading captivity captive? Can you hear the ring of angelic clarions, as with dyed garments from Bozrah the Yictor returns from the battle, dragging death and hell at his chariot wheels? Do you plainly perceive him as he takes his seat at the right hand of the Father, henceforth expecting until his enemies be made his footstool? And can you be as clear this morning about the reigning Christ as you have been about the suffering Christ? Lo! my brethren, "the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof!" At this hour he goeth forth, riding upon his white horse, conquering and to conquer. Lo! at his girdle swing the keys of heaven, and death, and hell, for "the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, T he everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." "God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow." Behold him, my brethren, in his present plenitude of glory, and endeavor to get as clear a perception of it as you have had of his shame. Not only weep at his burial, but rejoice at his resurrection; not only sorrow at his cross, but worship at his throne. Do not merely think of the nails and of the spear, but behold the imperial purple which hangs so nobly upon his royal shoulders, and of the divine crown which he wears upon his majestic brow. I want to conduct you in such a frame of mind through the glories of my text. First, bidding you observe the perpetual reign of Christ: "He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God;" then I shall beg you to observe that flowing from this is the perpetual continuance of his church: "and they shall abide;" and then proceeding both from his continued reign and from the Church's consequent perpetual existence comes the greatness of our King: "for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth." I. At the outset, observe carefully THE PERPETUAL REIGN OF CHRIST. He lives, he reigns, he is king over his people. Notice first, that his reign is shepherd-like in its nature. The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, but our Master washed his disciples' feet. Earthly monarchs are often tyrants; their yoke is heavy, and their language domineering; but it is not so with our King; his yoke is easy, and his burden is light, for he is meek and lowly of heart. He is a shepherd-king. He has supremacy, but it is the superiority of a wise and tender shepherd over his needy and loving flock; he commands and receives obedience, but it is the willing obedience of the well-cared-for sheep, rendered joyfully to their beloved Shepherd, whose voice they know so well. He rules by the force of love and the energy of goodness. His power lies not in imperious threatenings, but in imperial lovingkindness. Let the children of Zion he joyful in their King, for "men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed." Never people had such a king before. His service is perfect freedom; to be his subject is to be a king; to serve him is to reign. Blessed are the people who are the sheep of his pasture; if they follow in his footsteps their road is safe; if they sleep at his feet no lion can disturb their peace; if they are fed from his hand they shall lie down in green pastures, and know no lack; if they abide close to his person they shall drink of rivers of delight. Righteousness and peace are the stability of his throne, joy and gladness are the ornaments of his reign. Oh! how happy are we who belong to such a prince. Thou King in Jeshurun, we pay thee homage with loyal hearts; we come into thy presence with thanksgiving, and into thy courts with praise, for thou art our God, and we are the people of thy pasture, and the sheep of thy hand. Notice that the reign of Jesus is practical in its character. It is said "he shall stand and feed." The great Head of the Church is actively engaged in providing for his people. He does not sit down upon the throne in empty state, or hold a scepter without wielding it in government. No, he stands and feeds. The expression "feed," in the original is like an analogous one in the Greek, which means to shepherdize, to do everything expected of a shepherd: to guide, to watch, to preserve, to tend, as well as to feed. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Head of the Church, is always actively engaged for the Church's good. Through him the Spirit of God constantly descends upon the members of the Church; by him ministers are given in due season, and all Church-officers in their proper place. When he ascended up on high he received gifts for men; "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Our Lord does not close his eyes to the state of his Church. Beloved, he is not a listless spectator of our wants. He is this day standing and feeding his people. They are scattered, I know, wide as the poles asunder, but our mighty Shepherd can see every sheep and lamb of his flock, and he gives them all their portion of meat in due season. He it is that like a mighty Breaker, goes forth at the head of his flock, and they follow where he clears the way, "He shall stand and feed." Oh! blessed carefulness and divine activity of our gracious King! always fighting against our enemies, and at the same the shedding his benignant influences upon his friends. Consider again, for it is in our text, that this active reign is continual in its duration. It is said, "He shall stand and feed;" not " he shall feed now and then, and then leave his position;" not, "he shall one day grant a revival, and then next day leave his Church to barrenness." Beloved, there is no such pastor as Christ. "I know my sheep," he can say, in a very high and peculiar sense. He knows them through and through; he feels with them; in all their afflictions he is afflicted; he is one with them eternally. There is no such wakeful watchman as the Lord Jesus. Is it not written, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." Those eyes never slumber, and those hands never rest; that heart never ceases to beat with love, and those shoulders are never weary of carrying his people's burdens. The Church may go through her dark ages, but Christ is with her in the midnight. She may pass through her fiery furnace, but Christ is in the midst of the flame with her. Her whole history through, wherever you find the Church, there shall you find the Church's Lord. The head is never severed from the body, nor is the watchful care of this gracious husband towards his spouse suspended for an instant. I beseech you labor to realize the noble picture. Here are his sheep in these pastures this morning, and here is our great Shepherd with the crown upon his head, standing and feeding us all; nay, not us all alone, but dispensing his tender mercies to all the multitudes of his elect throughout the whole world. He is at this moment King in Zion, ruling, and overruling, present everywhere, and everywhere showing himself strong in the defense of his saints. I would that our Churches could be more influenced by a belief in the abiding power, presence, and pre-eminence of their living and reigning Lord. He is no dead King whose memory we are bidden to embalm, but a living Leader and Commander whose behests we must obey, whose honor we must defend. Do not fail to discern that the empire of Christ in his Church is effectually powerful in its action; "He shall feed in the strength of Jehovah." Wherever Christ is, there is God; and whatever Christ does is the act of the Most High. Oh! it is a joyful truth to consider that he who redeemed us was none other than God himself, he who led oar captivity captive was Jehovah-Jesus; he who stands to-day representing the interests of his people is very God of very God, he who has sworn that every one of his people whom he hath redeemed by blood shall be brought safe to his Father's right hand, is himself essential Deity. O my brethren, we rest upon a sure foundation when we build upon the Incarnate God; and O ye saints of God, the interests of each one of you, and of the one great Church, must be safe, because our champion is God; Jehovah is our Judge, Jehovah is our Lawgiver, Jehovah is our King, he will save us. How can he fail or be discouraged? When he maketh bare his arm, who shall stand against him? Let us rehearse the mighty deeds of the Lord and tell of his wonders of old. Remember how he got him victory upon Pharaoh and the pride of Egypt! Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?" Ten plagues of terrible majesty taught the boaster that the Lord was not to be despised, and the humbled tyrant bade the people go their way. With a high hand and an outstretched arm did the Lord bring forth his people from the house of bondage. When the proud high stomach of Egypt's king again rose against the Most High, the Lord knew how to lay his adversary lower than the dust. Methinks I see the hosts of Mizraim, with their horses and their chariots, hurrying after the Lord's fugitives. Their mouths are foaming with rage. "The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them." See how they ride in all their pompous glory, swallowing the earth in their fury. O Israel, where shall be thy defense? How shalt thou escape from thy tyrannic master? Be still, O ye seed of Jacob; ye sons of Abraham, rest ye patiently, for these Egyptians whom ye see to-day, ye shall see no more for ever. With their horses and their chariots the fierce foemen descended into the depths of the sea, but the Lord looked upon them, and troubled them. "Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters." The depths have covered them; they sank into the bottom like a stone. "Let us sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." Surely it shall be so at the last with Jesus our King, and all his saints; we also shall sing "the song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb," in that day when the arch-enemy shall be overthrown, and the hosts of evil shall be consumed, and they who hate the Lord shall become as the fat of rams, into smoke shall they consume, yea, into smoke shall they consume away. One other word remains; our Lord's kingdom is most majestic in its aspect. You will observe it is written by the prophet "He shall feed in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God." Jesus Christ is greatly to be reverenced; the familiarity with which we approach him is always to be tempered with the deepest and most reverent adoration. He is our brother, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, but still he counteth it not robbery to be equal with God. I know he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and he calleth himself to-day our husband, and maketh us to be members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones; but yet we must never forget that it is written, "Let all the angels of God worship him," and "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Yes, Christ is majestic in his Church. I would, brethren, we always thought of this. There is a glory and a majesty about all the laws of Christ, and all his commands, so that whether we baptize at his command, or break bread in remembrance of him, or lift up his cross in ministry in whatever we do, in his name, which is in fact, what he does through us, there is an attendant majesty which should make our minds feel perpetually reverent before him. O that the world could see the glory of Christ in the Church! O that the world did but know who it is that is in the midst of the few, the feeble, the weak, the foolish as they call them. O Philistia! if thou didst but know who is our champion, thy Goliath of Gath would soon hide his diminished head. O Assyria, if thou didst but know that the ancient might of him who smote Sennacherib, still abideth with us, thy hosts would turn their backs and yield us an easy victory. There is a true and mysterious presence of Christ with his people, according to the promise "Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world;" it is because the world ignores this that she despises and sneers at the Church of God. Therein is our comfort and our glory. We have a majesty about us if we be the people of God, which is not to be gainsayed; angels see it and wonder a majesty of indwelling Godhead, for the Lord is in the midst of us for a glory and around us for a defense. II. We will now occupy one or two minutes with THE CONSEQUENT PERPETUITY OF THE CHURCH. Because of the unseen but most certain presence of Christ as King in the midst of his people, his Church ABIDES so says the text. Here reflect first that a Church exists. What a wonder this! It is perhaps, the greatest miracle of all ages that God has a Church in the world. You who are conversant with human history will hear me out when I say that the whole history of the Church is a series of miracles, a long stream of wonders! A little spark kindled in the midst of oceans, and yet all her boisterous waves cannot quench it! Here is the great wonder which John saw in vision, and which history reveals in solemn, sober fact. A woman, "being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon . . . stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born." The man-child who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron, was brought forth and caught up to God and to his throne. As for the woman, the Church, she fled as on eagles' wings to her wilderness-shelter prepared of God, until, in great wrath, the dragon pursued and persecuted her. Apt enough is that metaphor, "The serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood . . . And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Yet, my brethren, as surely as that glorious man-child, the Lord Jesus, lives and sits upon the throne, so surely shall the woman, the poor afflicted Church, live on until the dragon's time is over, and the King shall reign upon the earth. To what trials, my brethren, has not the Church of God been subjected? What new invention can Satan bring forth? The fire, the rack, imprisonment, banishment, confiscation, slander, all these have been tried, and in them all the Church has been more than conqueror through him who loved her. False doctrine without, heresy and schism with in, hypocrisy, formalism, fanaticism, pretences of high spirituality, worldliness, these have all (lone their worst. I marvel at the wondrous ingenuity of the great enemy of the Church, but methinks his devices must nearly have come to an end. Can he invent anything further? We have been astounded in these ages by the prodigy of an infidel bishop; we have been struck dumb with sorrow and amazement at a decree which declares that a Church professing to be a Church of Christ must permit men to be her ministers who deny the inspiration of Holy Scripture. This is a new thing under the sun. Popery and infidelity are to be both legalized and fostered in a Church professing to be Christian and Protestant. What next? and what next? Bat what of all this? The Church, I mean the company of the Lord's called and faithful and chosen still exists; the Lord has his elect people who still hold forth the Word of truth, and in the most reprobate Church still he may say, "I hay e a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy." Observe, the text says, "she abides," which means, not that she exists now and then by starts and spasms, but she exists always. This is wonderful! Always a Church! When the full force of the Pagan Emperors came like a thundering avalanche upon her, she shook off the stupendous load as a man shaketh the flakes of snow from his garment, and she lived on uninjured. When papal Rome vented its malice yet more furiously and ingeniously; when cruel murderers hunted the saints among the Alps, or worried them in the low country; when Albigenses and Waldenses poured out their blood in rivers, and dyed the snow with crimson, she lived still, and never was in a healthier state than when she was immersed in her own gore. When after a partial reformation in this country, the pretenders to religion determined that the truly spiritual should be harried out of the land, God's Church did not sleep or suspend her career of life or service. Let the covenant signed in blood witness to the vigor of the persecuted saints. Hearken to her psalm amidst the brown heath-clad hills of Scotland, and her prayer in the secret conventicles of England. Hear ye the voice of Cargil and Cameron thundering among the mountains against a false king and an apostate people; hear ye the testimony of Bunyan and his compeers who would sooner rot in dungeons than bow the knee to Baal. Ask me "Where is the Church?" and I can find her at any and every period from the day when first in the upper room the Holy Ghost came down even until now. In. one unbroken line our apostolic succession runs; not through the Church of Rome; not from the superstitious hands of priest-made popes, or king-created bishops, (what a varnished lie is the apostolic succession of those who boast so proudly of it!) but through the blood of good men and true, who never forsook the testimony of Jesus; through the loins of true pastors, laborious evangelists, faithful martyrs, and honorable men of God, we trace our pedigree up to the fishermen of Galilee and glory that we perpetuate by God's grace that true and faithful Church of the living God, in whom Christ did abide and will abide until the world's crash. Observe, dear friends, that in the use of the term "Abide," we have not only existence, and continued existence, but the idea of quiet, calm, uninjured duration. It does not say she lingers, hunted, tempted, worried, but she abides. Ohm! the calmness of the Church of God under the attacks of her most malicious foes. Thou crue1 adversary, the virgin daughter of Zion hath shaken her head at thee and laughed thee to scorn! She abides in peace when the world rages against her. It is most noteworthy how in most instances the Church of God still keeps her foothold where she has been most savagely persecuted. In modern times we find in Madagascar, after years of exterminating persecution, the Church of God rises from her ashes, like the phoenix from the flames. The chief wonder is that she abides perfect. Not one of Cod's elect has gone back; not one of the blood-bought has denied the faith. Not one single soul which ever was effectually called call be made to dolly Christ, even though his flesh should be pulled from his bones by hot pincers, or his tormented body flung to the jaws of wild beasts. All that the enemy has done has been of no avail against the Church. The old rock has been washed, and washed, and washed again by stormy waves, and submerged a thousand times in the floods of tempest, hut even her angles and corners abide unaltered and unalterable. We may say of the Lord's tabernacle, not one of he stakes thereof has been removed, nor one of her cords boom broken. The house of he Lord from foundation to pinnacle is perfect still: "The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house and it fell not;" nay, nor a single stone of it "for it was founded upon a rock." But why all this, dear friends, why is it that we have seen the Church endure to this day? How is it that we are confident that even should worse times arrive, the Church would weather the storm and abide till moons shall cease to wax and wane? Why this security? Only because Christ is in the midst of her. You do not believe, I hope, in the preservation of orthodoxy by legal instruments and trust deeds. This is what too many Dissenters have relied upon. We certainly cannot depend upon creeds; they arc good enough in their way, as trust deeds are too, but they are as broken reeds if we rely upon them. We cannot depend upon parliament, nor kings, nor queens. We may draw up the most express and distinct form of doctrine, but we shall find that the next generation will depart from the truth unless God shall be pleased to give it renewed grace from on high. You cannot, by Presbytery, or Independency, or Episcopacy, secure the life of the Church I find the Church of God has existed under an Episcopacy a form of government not without its virtues and its faults. I find the Church of God flourish under a Presbytery, and decay under it too. I know it can be successful under an Independent form of Church government and can decline into Arianism quite as easily. The fact is that forms of government have very little to do with the vital principle of the Church. The reason why the Church of God exists is not her ecclesiastical regulations, 11cr organization, her formularies, her ministers, or her creeds, but the presence of the Lord in the midst of her; and while Christ lives, and Christ reigns, and stands and feeds his Church, she is safe; but if he were once gone, it would be with her as it is with you and with me when the Spirit of God has departed from us, we are weak as other men, and she would be quite as powerless. III. But now, thirdly, flowing from both these, from the perpetual presence of Christ and from the continued existence of his Church, is THE GREATNESS OF OUR KING. "Now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth." Christ is great in his Church. Oh! how great in our hearts where he reigns supreme! My heart, it doth leap at the sound of his name

"Jesus, the very thought of thee, With rapture fills may breast."

O for crowns! for golden crowns! Let us crown him King in Zion! O for a well-tuned harp, and for David's feet, to dance before the ark at the very mention of Jesus' name! Now shall he be great indeed in our hearts! But he is to be great to the ends of the earth. That is a promise, of which we will say it is accomplished in a measure even now. Christ is made great ill the conversion of every sinner. When he suppliant penitent cries, "God be merciful to me a sinner," and the peace-speaking blood comes dropping upon the troubled conscience, and the soul bows meekly to accept he finished righteousness, then is Christ great. And he is great in the consecration of every one of his bloodbought saints; when they live for him; when in their prayers they make mention of him; when they give him their heart's music, their life's light, and their hips' testimony; when they feel that tribulation is joyous if endured for him, and the sternest toil a dear delight when undertaken for his sake then Christ is great. Think, my brethren, this morning, how many ships are now furrowing the blue sea in which there are hearts which love the name of Jesus. Hark! across the waves of the Atlantic and the Pacific I hear the sound of prayer and praise from many a vessel bearing the British flag. From many an islet of the sea the song is borne upon the breeze. And there across the waters in the land of our American brethren, now so sadly chastened with war, multitudes of hearts beat as high as ours at the mention of the Savior's name. Here across you narrow Channel, in Holland, in Sweden, in Germany, in Switzerland, and even in France and Italy, how many own his name and praise him this day! We speak of our Queen's dominions and say that the sun never sets upon them. We may in truth say this of our Lord Jesus; men of all colors trust in his blood; they who look upward to the southern cross and they who follow the Polar star, alike worship his dear name; and when England ceases her strain of joy, in the hush of night, Australia takes up the song, and so from land to land, and from shore to shore, a sacrifice of a pure offering is brought to his shrine. It is accomplished, in some degree, but oh! how small the degree when we think of the thick darkness which covers the multitude of the people. Again, it is a promise which is guaranteed as to its fulfillment in the fullest sense. Courage! brethren, courage! the night is not for ever, the morning cometh! Watchman, what sayest thou? Are there not streaks reddening the east? Hath not the God of day, the Lord Jesus, began to shoot his divine arrows of light upwards into the thick darkness? It is even so. As I think of the signs of the times, I would fondly hope that we shall live to see brighter and better days. "Now," says the text, "shall he be great unto the ends of the earth." Prophet, I would that thy "now" were true this day. Now, even mow, let him reign! why doth he tarry? Why are his chariots so long in coming? Will it be, my brethren, that Christ will come before the world is converted? If so, welcome Jesus. Or will the world be converted first? If so, thrice welcome the mercy. But whether or no, this we do know, he shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river even unto the ends of the earth. They who dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. The day shall come when the fifth great monarchy shall be co-extensive with the world's bounds, and everywhere the Great Shepherd shall reign. But remember, dear friends, that while this promise is thus guaranteed as to its fulfillment, it is to be prayed for as to its accomplishment. "I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." The mountain of the Lord shall be in the latter days, but mark you, though there be no sound of trowel or a hammer, there will be heard be sound of prayer and praise, as upward the mountain of Cod's house shall ascend. You know the picture. The prophet had seen the Lord's house standing, as it were, in a valley, and as he looked upon it, presently it became a little hill; the ground began to heave; by-and-by it had swollen from a little hill into a lofty mountain, and up it rose, and grew more great before his eyes, till Alps were dwarfed and Himalayas were stunted, and up it still went, not the house only, but the mountain too, till infinitely higher than the projected tower of Babel, which man meant to be the world's center, this house stood out clear and sharp above the clouds, having pinnacles high up in God's heaven, and yet deep foundations in man's earth, and all nations began to flow to it as to the great center. What a dream! What a vision! Yet such shall it be. The Church is as it were, in a plain just now, she begins to misc. Oh! stupendous movement! she begins to rise, her mountains swell and grow; she attracts observers; she cannot he held down. Who can attempt to restrain the swelling mass? Who shall prevent the gigantic birth? Up rises the mountain, as though swollen by some inward fire, anti up it swells, and swells, and swells, till earth touches heaven, and God communes with men. Then shah be heard the great hallelujah, "The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them." But then, and this is the conclusion, and I hope God may help me to press it on your hearts. All this is to be labored for as well as prayed after. My soul pants and pines to see Christ glorious in the eyes of men. Lives there a Christian here with soul so dead that he does not desire the extension of his Master's kingdom? Sirs, is there one among you who counts it little to see Jesus Christ lifted up in men's hearts? I know I speak to a people and the Lord knoweth it to many of whom Christ is he dearest of all which is beloved, the fairest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely. Now, if Christ is to be glorified, he must be glorified by you; if his kingdom is to come, it must come through you. God works, but God works by means. He worketh in you "to will and to do of his own good pleasure." Souls are to be saved, but they are not saved without instruments. The feast is to be furnished with guests, but you are to go into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in. I know my Master is to have many crowns, but they are to be crowns for which you grace, and which you have fought, which you have won through his you place at his feet, that he may honor you by wearing them upon his brow. Now we, as a people, have been greatly blessed and helped of God, and I believe the Master has a very high claim upon us. We, above all the Churches in the world are indebted to the grace and mercy of God, and we ought to be doing something for the extension of the Savior's kingdom. We cannot boast of wealth; we cannot profess to build all over London a multitude of Churches as the Bishop hopes to do. Any scheme of raising three millions of money by us, must be looked upon as being entirely a dream; we cannot attempt such a. thing; if London is to be converted by money we must give up the task. We have no mitred bishops, no queens to subscribe, and no nobles and dukes, and the like to add their thousands and their tens of thousands of pounds. We are a feeble folk; what then can we do for Cod? Why, do as much as the strong! What call we do for God? Do as munch as the mighty! Nay, my brethren, our very weakness and want of power shah be our adaptation to Cod's work; and he who often putteth by the sword of Saul, and the armor of the son of Kish, will use David, and his sling and his stone, and smite Goliath's brow therewith. I have been musing all this week upon that celebrated scene in ancient history, which seems to me to be so much like the state of our Church just now; the story of Gideon, the son of Joash, threshing wheat in the winepress, because he was afraid to be seen; the Midianites having spoiled the land. Now we, as Baptists, have generally been too much afraid to be seen; we have threshed our corn somewhere away in the winepress up a back court down a narrow street; any dirty hole would do to build a chapel in; so long as people could not find it tine site was thought advantageous; and if nobody could ever see it that was the place for our fathers, and for some who still linger among us. It was threshing wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the enemy. Well now, I think the time has come that we should not be afraid of these Midianites any longer. Long has he Church of God been oppressed and kept back; she has been content to let the world devour liner increase. There have been few additions to the Churches; they remain very much what they were twenty or thirty years ago; but, my brethren, some of us think that we have seen our fleece wet with dew, while all around was dry; and we believe the Lord has said to us, "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor." We think we have had the Lord's commission, "Go in this thy strength." We do not expect all of you to go with us, for the people are too many. We expect that there are many of the trembling and faint-hearted who will step back from the battle; men who are look ill for their families, mind must provide for them; men who are saving up money, and grudge their sovereigns, and so on these of course will stand back, and let them; such men encumber our march. We fear that you are not all men who lap; but we have a few who care ery little for the ease and repose of life, but who snatch a hasty draught as they run, and with heat, and zeal, and passionate earnestness run to meet the adversary. Now, these we expect to go with us to the fray. In the name of the Lord, I proclaim a new crusade against the sin and vice of this huge city. What are we to do? The hosts of Midian are to be counted by millions. Here in this great city we have three millions of people, and what if I were to say, two-and-half millions of them do not know their right hand from their left in matters of religion, I believe I should speak too charitably; for if I could believe there were half a million of true believers in London, I should have vastly greater hopes of it than I have now. But, alas! that is not the case. Millions, millions are gathered in he valley of indecision who are not upon the Lord's side. What can you and I do? We can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do everything by he help of our God. Where Christ is there is might and where God is there is strength; let us therefore in God's name determine to plant new Churches wherever openings occur. Like Gideon's men let us rally under our Church-officers, and follow where a warm heart leads the way. Gideon took his men, and bade them do two things; covering up a torch in an earthen pitcher, he bade them, at an appointed signal, break tine pitcher and let the light shine, and then sound with their trumpets, crying, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon! the sword of he Lord and of Gideon!" This is just what all Christians must do. First, you must shine; break the pitcher which conceals you; throw aside the bushel which has been hiding your candle, and shine. Let your light shine before men; let your good works be such, that when they look upon you, they shall know that you have been with Jesus. There is much good done by the shining. Then there must be the sound, the blowing of the trumpet. O dear friends, the great mass of London will never hear r the gospel, unless you go and blow the trumpet in their ears. Many who are members of this Church never heard a gospel sermon, until they heard some of you preaching in the street. "Why," said one "I never went to a place of worship; but I went down a street, and there stood a young man at the corner; I listened to him, and God was pleased to send tine arrow to my conscience, and I came into the house of God afterwards." Take the gospel to them; carry it to their door; put it in their way; do not suffer them to escape it; blow the trumpet right against their ears. In the name of God, I pray you do this. Remember that the true war cry of the Church is Gideon's war-cry, "The sword of the Lord!" God must do it, it is God's work. But we are not to be idle; instrumentality is to be used "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" Mark you, if we only cry, "The sword of the Lord!" we shall be guilty of an idle presumption, and shall be tempting God to depart from his fixed rule of procedure. This is the cry of every, lazy lie-n-bed. What good ever comes of saying, "The Lord will do his own work, let us sit still?" Nor must it be "The sword of Gideon" alone, for that were idolatrous reliance on an arm of flesh; we can do nothing of ourselves. Not "The sword of the Lord" only, that were idleness; but the two together, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon." O my brethren, God help you to learn this lesson well, and then you will go forth shining and sounding, living and teaching, testifying and living out the truth? Ye shall most assuredly make the kingdom of Christ to come, and his name shall be honored if you will do this. It seems to me that now is a glorious opportunity. There is a spirit of hearing upon the people. Almost anyone may get a hearing who is willing to preach Christ. Now or never! Sons of Jacob! Ye are to be like a lion among the flock of sheep, and will ye lie down and slumber? Up and every man to the prey! Sons of Jacob! ye are to be as dew upon the grass, and will ye tarry for men and wait for the sons of men? No. In God's name, go forward, and let something be done for God, and for his Christ, for a perishing age, for a dark world, for heaven's glory, and for hell's defeat. Up! ye who know the Lord; ye swordsmen of our Israel, up and at them, and God give you a great victory and deliverance! I want you to make some practical point of these things to-day. God has been pleased to put a sword into my hand, and to give me my lamp and my pitcher; my College of young men is now become in the Lord's hands a marvellous power for good. A blessing greater than I could have expected rests on this work. We are continually sending them out, and God owns them in the conversion of souls. I have never seen any agency more blessed to the conversion of souls, than the agency of our College. Without saying anything to depreciate other efforts, I do believe God has conferred on our Institution a crowning and special blessing, and will continue to do so yet more and more. I want you all, both hearers and readers of my sermons, to feel that this is your work, and to help me in it while I continue to cry, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon! God works, and therefore we work; God is with us, and therefore we are with God, and stand on his side. Inasmuch as many of these men raise Churches, we want you to help to build the places where the new congregations can be accommodated afterwards; and to that end we have striven to raise a fund of five thousand pounds, to be lent out to these new Churches on loan to be repaid by installments without interest. It is but a small sum, but it is as much as I think we can do, and frugal care will turn it to good account. Some three thousand pounds have been promised by our seven shepherds and principal men; but there are many who have not promised anything yet, and we shall be glad if they will come forward, for otherwise this useful fund cannot be raised. When this is done with, once for all, we will go on and do something else for Jesus. Do break this pitcher; get this done, and let tine light of this thing shine. We must be doing something for God. I speak to you now upon the practical point, and come to it at once. If you are content to live without serving God, I am not; and if you are willing to let these hours roll by without doing something to extend the kingdom of Jesus, let me be gone from you; let me be gone from you to those of warmer spirits and of holier aspirations, for I must fight for God! there must be victories won for him! We must extend the range of the gospel; we must find places where souls can be brought to hear the Word. Hell shall not for ever laugh at our inactivity, and heaven shall not eternally weep at our sloth! Let us be up and doing, and let this thing be done by the mainly, the few have already done their parts. Promises reaching over five years are asked of you, you can all do something. And then, every one of you, when you have done your share in this, go out personally and serve with your flaming torch of holy example, and with your trumpet tones of earnest declaration and testimony serve your Lord, and God shall be with you, and Midian shall be put to confusion, and the Lord of hosts shall reign for ever and ever. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Hear ye that note, O dead souls, and live. Amen.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Micah 5". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/spe/micah-5.html. 2011.