JOSEPH ATTACKED BY THE ARCHERS -Gen 49:23-24 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippets)

“The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence is the Shepherd, the stone of Israel.”
—Gen. 49:23, 24.

It must have been a fine sight to see the hoary-headed Jacob sitting up in his bed whilst he bestowed his parting benediction upon his twelve sons. [O]h! when he came to Joseph, his youngest son but one—when he looked on him, I picture that old man as the tears ran down his cheeks. He has only one more blessing to give; but surely this was the richest which he conferred on Joseph.

Joseph is dead, but the Lord has his Josephs now. There are some still who understand by experience—and that is the best kind of understanding—the meaning of this passage, “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.”

First, then, we commence with the cruel attack. “The archers have sorely grieved him.” [T]here seems something more cowardly in the attack of the archer, than in that of the swordsman…the archer stands at a distance, hides himself in ambuscade, and, without your knowing it…they shoot the bow from a distance. The archers sorely grieved poor Joseph.

Joseph had to endure the archers of envy. Oh! how his father loved him! for in his fond affection, he made him a princely coat of many colours, and treated him better than the others—a natural but foolish way of showing his fondness. Therefore, his brethren hated him. [T]hey put him into a pit…They then sold him for the price of a slave, stripped him of his coat, and sent him naked, they knew not, and they cared not whither, so long as he might be out of their way, and no longer provoke their envy and their anger.

But blessed be God’s name, it is sweet to be informed that “his bow abode in strength.” None of you can be the people of God without provoking envy; and the better you are, the more you will be hated. The ripest fruit is most pecked by the birds, and the blossoms that, have been longest on the tree, are the most easily blown down by the wind. But fear not; you have nought to do with what man shall say of you. If God loves you, man will hate you; if God honors you, man will dishonor you.

But a worse trial than this was to overtake him. The archers of temptation shot at him. Sold to a master who soon discovered his value, Joseph was made the bailiff of the house, and the manager of the household. His wanton mistress fixed her adulterous love on him; and he, being continually in her presence, was perpetually, day by day, solicited by her to evil deeds. Constantly did he refuse still enduring a martyrdom at the slow fire of her enticements. Oh! there was a power indeed within that heart of his; there was an inconceivable might, which made him turn away with unutterable disgust, with fear and trembling, while he said, “How can I? how can I—God’s Joseph—how can I—other men might, but how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God.”

Then another host of archers assailed him: these were the archers of malicious calumny. Seeing that he would not yield to temptation, his mistress falsely accused him to her husband and his lord believing the voice of his wife, cast him into prison. It was a marvellous providence that he did not put him to death, for Potiphar, his master, was the chief of the slaughtermen. Oh! it is no easy thing to feel your character gone, to think that you are slandered, that things are said of you that are untrue. So shall it be always with those who preach God’s truth, and all the followers of Christ—they must all expect it; but blessed be God, they have not said worse things of us than they said of our Master. Ah! friends, some now present know this verse by heart, “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him.” Expect it; do not think it a strange thing; all God’s people must have it.

We have seen these archers shoot their flights of arrows; we will now go up the hill a little, behind a rock, to look at the shielded warrior and see how his courage is while the archers have sorely grieved him. What is he doing? “His bow abideth in strength.”

First, we notice that he has a bow himself, for we read that “his bow abode in strength.” Mark well his quietness. His bow “abideth.” It is not rattling, it is not always moving, but it abides, it is quite still; he takes no notice of the attack. The archers sorely grieved Joseph, but his bow was not turned against them, it abode in strength. He turned not his bow on them. Doth the sun stop in its course because of the officious cloud which veils it? Or doth the river stay because the willow dippeth its leaves into its waters? Ah! no; God’s universe moves on, and if men will oppose it, it heeds them not. It is as God hath made it; it is working together for good, and it shall not be stayed by the censure, nor moved on by the praise of man. Let your bows, my brethren, abide. Do not be in a hurry to set yourselves right. God will take care of you.

But we must not forget the next word. “His bow abode in strength.” Though his bow was quiet, it was not because it was broken. His chastity was his bow, and he did not lose that: his faith was his bow, and that did not yield, it did not break; his courage was his bow, and that did not fail him; his character, his honesty was his bow; not did he cast it away. Fear not, Christian. Let slander fly, let envy send forth its forked tongue, let it hiss at you, your bow shall abide in strength. Oh! shielded warrior, remain quiet, fear no ill; but, like the eagle in its lofty eyrie, look thou down upon the fowlers in the plain; turn thy bold eye upon them and say, “Shoot ye may, but your shots will not reach, half way to the pinnacle where I stand.

The third thing in our text is the secret strength. “The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” It was real potency, true muscle, real sinew, real nerve. It was not simply slight of hand—the power of moving his fingers very swiftly—but the arms of his hands were made strong. I should not like to have a combat with one of God’s Josephs. I should find their blows very heavy. But they are a patient generation, enduring ills without resenting them, suffering scorn without reviling the scoffer. O ye foes of God, ye think God’s people are despicable and powerless; but know that they have true strength from the omnipotence of their Father, a might substantial and divine.

[O]bserve that the strength of God’s Joseph is divine strength. If I had a stone to lift, to work my own salvation, without God’s help to do that, I must be lost, even though it were so little. There is nought that we can do without the power of God. “[T]he arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” Marvellous condescension! Ye stars of glory, have ye ever witnessed such stoops of love? God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from his throne and lays his hand upon the child’s hand, stretching his arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong!

This strength was covenant strength, for it is said, “The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you may know that that respects God’s covenant with Jacob. Christ made the covenant to pay a price, and God made the covenant that he should have the people. Christ has paid the price, and ratified the covenant, and I am quite sure that God will fulfil his part of it, by giving every elect vessel of mercy into the hands of Jesus.

[O]ur fourth point—a glorious parallel. “From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel.” Christ came into the world as a shepherd. As soon as he made his appearance, the Scribes and Pharisees said, “Ah! we have been the shepherds until this hour: now we shall be driven from our honours, we shall lose all our dignity, and our authority. It was the shepherds that hated him, because he took away their traffic, because he turned the buyers and sellers out of the temple, diminished their dignity and ignored their pretensions; therefore, they could not endure him. The Shepherd of Israel was despised, incarnate virtue was hated and abhorred; therefore, fear not Christians, take courage, for if your Master passed through it, surely you must.

To conclude: the text calls Christ the stone of Israel. He was a plebeian; he was of poor extraction; he was a man acquainted with sinners, who walked in poverty and meanness; hence the worldly-wise despised him. But when God shall gather together, in one, all things that are in heaven and that are in earth, then Christ shall be the glorious consummation of all things.


PAUL’S FIRST PRAYER – Acts 9:11 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippets)

“For, behold, he prayeth.”
—Acts 9:11.

God has many methods of quenching persecution. In two ways he usually accomplishes his end: sometimes by the confusion of the persecutor, and at others in a more blessed manner, by his conversion. [The latter] was the case with Saul. Christ met him, unhorsed him, threw him on the ground, and questioned him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” He then graciously removed his rebellious heart—gave him a new heart and a right spirit. Jesus from heaven descended, came in a vision to Ananias, and said, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.”

First, here was an announcement; “Go enquire for Saul of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth. It was the announcement of a fact which was noticed in heaven. Oh! it is a glorious fact that prayers are noticed in heaven. [W]herever there is a heart big with sorrow, wherever there is an eye suffused with tears, wherever there is a lip quivering with agony, wherever there is a deep groan, or a penetential sigh, the ear of Jehovah is wide open. Oh! poor sinner, of the blackest and vilest character, thy prayers are heard, and even now God hath said of thee, “Behold he prayeth.

Again; this was the announcement of a fact joyous to heaven. Our text is prefaced with “Behold,” for, doubtless, our Saviour himself regarded it with joy. Behold,” I have won the heart of my enemy; I have saved my persecutor; even now he is bending the knee at my footstool; “Behold, he prayeth. [V]erily I tell you, “there is joy in heaven among the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” They watch us till we pray, and when we pray, they say, “Behold, he prayeth.”

Then in the next place, this was an event most astonishing to men. Ananias lifted up both his hands in amazement. “O my Lord, I should have thought anybody would pray but that man! Is it possible!” Somehow God does choose the last men; he does not care for the diamond, but he picks up the pebble stones, for he is able, out of “stones, to raise up children unto Abraham. The conversion of Saul was a strange thing; but, beloved, was it stranger than that you and I should have been Christians?

The last thing I have to say here, is this—this fact was a novelty to Saul himself. Behold, he prayeth.” What! had he never prayed before? No, never. All he had ever done before went for nothing; it was not prayer. He had pronounced his magniloquent orations, but they were all good for nothing. He had prayed his long prayers for a pretence; it had all been a failure.

Secondly, we have here an argument. “For behold, he prayeth.” It was an, argument, first of all, for Ananias’ safety. Poor Ananias was afraid to go to Saul; he thought it was very much like stepping into a lion’s den. God says, “Behold, he prayeth.” “Well,” says Ananias, “that is enough for me. If he is a praying man, he will not hurt me; if he is a man of real devotion, I am safe.”

But more than this. Here was an argument for Paul’s sincerity. Secret prayer is one of the best tests of sincere religion. If Jesus had said to Ananias, “Behold, he preacheth,” Ananias would have said, “that he may do, and yet be a deceiver.” If he had said, “He is gone to a meeting of the church,” Ananias would have said, “He may enter there as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” But when he said, “Behold, he prayeth,” that was argument enough. Praying will make you leave off sinning, or sinning will make you leave of praying Prayer in the heart proves the reality of conversion.

But one more thought, and I will leave this subject. It was a proof of this man’s election, for you read directly afterwards, “Behold, he is a chosen vessel.” Some say, “How can I discover whether I am God’s elect? I am afraid I am not God’s elect.” Do you pray? If it can be said, “Behold, he prayeth,” it can also be said, “Behold he is a chosen vessel.” Have you faith? If so, you are elect.

Now for the application. First, allow me to address the children of God. Do you not see, my dear brethren, that the best mark of our being sons of God is to be found in our devotion? “Behold, he prayeth.” Well then, does it not follow as a natural consequence that the more we are found in prayer the brighter will our evidences be? O Christians, would you be happy? Be much in prayer. Would ye be victorious? Be much in prayer. Prayer is the ship which bringeth home the richest freight. It is the soil which yields the most abundant harvest. The reason we have not more true religion now, is because we have not more prayer. Oh! may God awaken us all, and stir us up to pray, for when we pray we shall be victorious.

And now my last word is to the ungodly. Oh, sirs! I could fain wish myself anywhere but here; for if it be solemn work to address the godly, how much more when I come to deal with you. We fear lest on the one hand we should so speak to you, as to make you trust in your own strength; while on the other hand, we tremble lest we should lull you into the sleep of sloth and security. O may the Holy Spirit enable us to keep the beacon fire blazing, to warn you of the rocks, shoals, and quicksands, which surround you, and may we ever guide you to Jesus, and not to free-will or creature merit. I want to do as God bids me, and if he tells me to speak to the dry bones and they shall live, I must do it, even if it does not please others; otherwise I should be condemned in my own conscience, and condemned of God.

Let me ask you, sirs, whether you have ever thought in what an awful state you are? You are far from God, and therefore God is angry with you; for “God is angry with the wicked every day” Oh sinner! lift thine eyes, and behold the frowning countenance of God, for he is angry with you. Sirs, if ye would escape eternal torments, if ye would be found amongst the numbers of the blessed, the road to heaven can only be found by prayer—by prayer to Jesus, by prayer for the Spirit, by supplication at his mercy-seat.

THE BIBLE -Hosea 8:12 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippets)

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.
”—Hosea 8:12.

This is God’s complaint against Ephraim. It is no mean proof of his goodness, that he stoops to, rebuke his erring creatures. He might, if he pleased, wrap himself with night as with a garment; engrossed within his own being, swallowed up within himself, living alone and retired.

But it is not so, beloved. Our God is of another order. He notices every one of us. There is not a sparrow or a worm, but is found in his decrees. We see from our text that God looks upon man. [S]ee how when he observes the sin of man he does not dash him away and spurn him with his foot; he comes down from heaven to plead with his creatures. God has written to you the great things of his law, but they have been unto you as a strange thing.

First, then, concerning this book, who is the author? This volume is the writing of the living God: each letter was penned with an Almighty finger; each word in it dropped from the everlasting lips, each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit.

How do you know that God wrote the book? I might, tell you, if I pleased, that the grandeur of the style is above that of any mortal writing, and that all the poets who have ever existed, could not, with all their works united, give us such sublime poetry and such mighty language as is to be found in the Scriptures. I might insist upon it, that the subjects of which it treats are beyond the human intellect; that man could never have invented the grand doctrines of a Trinity in the Godhead; man could not have told us anything of the creation of the universe; he could never have been the author of the majestic idea of Providence, that all things are ordered according to the will of one great Supreme Being, and work together for good. I might enlarge upon its honesty, since it tells the faults of its writers; its unity, since it never belies itself; its master simplicity, that he who runs may read it; and I might mention a hundred more things, which would all prove to a demonstration, that the book is of God. But I come not here to prove it.

There may be some one here to-night who has come without faith, a man of reason, a free-thinker. With him I have no argument at all. I profess not to stand here as a controversialist, but as a preacher of things that I know and feel. But I too have been like him. I have sailed that perilous voyage; I have come safe to land. Ask me again to be an infidel! No; I have tried it; it was sweet at first, but bitter afterwards.

First, my friends, stand over this volume, and admire its authority. If these words were written by man, we might reject them; but oh, let me think the solemn thought—that this book is God’s handwriting, that these words are God’s.

Then, since God wrote it, mark its truthfulness. O Bible! it cannot be said of any other book, that it is perfect and pure; but of thee we can declare all wisdom is gathered up in thee, without a particle of folly. This is the judge that ends the strife where wit and reason fail. This is the book untainted by any error; but is pure, unalloyed, perfect truth. I have heard minister’s alter God’s Bible, because they were afraid of it Have you never heard a man say, “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not,”—What does the Bible say? “shall be damned.” But that does not happen to be polite enough, so they say, “shall be condemned.” Gentlemen! pull the velvet out of your mouths; speak God’s word; we want none of your alterations. I have heard men in prayer, instead of saying, “Make your calling and election sure,” say, “Make your calling and salvation sure.” Pity they were not born when God lived, far—far back, that they might have taught God how to write. Oh ye who dislike certain portions of the Holy Writ, rest assured that your taste is corrupt. God wrote what you do not like; he wrote the truth. Oh! let us bend in reverence before it, for God inspired it.

Yet once more, before we leave this point, let us stop and consider the merciful nature of God, in having written us a Bible at all. Ah! he might have left us without it, to grope our dark way, as blind men seek the wall; he might have suffered us to wander on with the star of reason as our only guide.

If this be the Word of God, what will become of some of you who have not read it for the last month? “Month, sir! I have not read it for this year.” There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingers. What will God say at last? “I wrote you a letter of mercy; did you read it?” “Wretch!” says God, “then thou deservest hell, if I sent thee a loving epistle and thou wouldst not even break the seal: what shall I do unto thee?”

Our second point is, the subjects on which the bible treats. The Bible treats of great things, and of great things only. Some people think it does not matter what doctrines you believe; that it is immaterial what church you attend; that all denominations are alike. Now, I believe that a man may be saved in any church…[b]ut when I say that, do you imagine that I think them all on a level? Are they all alike truthful? One sect says infant baptism is right, another says it is wrong, yet you say they are both right. I cannot see that. One teaches we are saved by free grace; another says that we are not, but are saved by free will; and yet you believe they are both right. I do not understand that.

Never say it doesn’t matter. It does matter. Whatever God has put here is of eminent importance: he would not have written a thing that was indifferent. By this I stand, by this I fall. Search and see but don’t say, “It does not matter” If God says a thing, it must always be of importance. But while all things in God’s Word are important, all are not equally important. There are certain fundamental and vital truths which must be believed, or otherwise no man would be saved. If you want to know what you must believe if ye would be saved, you will find the great things of God’s law between these two covers; they are all contained here.

But then, poor unregenerate soul, the Bible says, if thou art lost, thou art lost for ever; it tells thee, that if thou diest without Christ, without God, there is no hope for thee, that there is a place without a gleam of hope, where thou shalt read in burning letters, “Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not;” it tells you that ye shall be driven from his presence with a “depart ye cursed.”

Our last point is the treatment which the poor bible receives in this world. It is accounted a strange thing. What does that mean—the Bible accounted a strange thing? In the first place, it means that it is very strange to some people, because they never read it. Many of you will read a novel from beginning to end, and what have you got? A mouthful of froth when you have done.

Others there be who read the Bible, but when they read it, they say it is so horribly dry. You do not love the Bible, do you? “No, there is nothing in it which is interesting.” Ah! I thought so. But a little while ago I could not see anything in it. Do you know why? Blind men cannot see, can they? But when the Spirit touches the scales of the eyes they fall off, and when he puts eye-salve on, then the Bible becomes precious. If you have tried God’s word and proved it; if it is precious to your souls, then you are Christians; but those persons who despise the Bible, have “neither part nor lot in the matter.” If it is dry to you, you will be dry at last in hell.

Alas! alas! the worst case is to come. There are some people who hate the Bible, as well as despise it. In vain dost thou jeer and mock, for eternal verities are mightier than thy sophistries: nor can thy smart sayings alter the divine truth of a single word of this volume of Revelation.

Wise and foolish, babes and men, grey-headed sires, youths and maidens,—I speak to you, I plead with you, I beg of you respect your Bibles and search them out, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Christ.

THE VICTORY OF FAITH -1 John 5:4 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippets)

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
—1 John 5:4.

First, the text speaks of a Great Victory—the victory of victories—the greatest of all. A tough battle, sirs, I warrant you. [W]ho, but a raw recruit to-day, puts on his regimentals, and foolishly imagines that one week of service will ensure a crown of glory. Nay, sirs, it is a life-long war—a fight needing the power of all these muscles, and this strong heart; a contest which shall want all our strength, if we are to be triumphant. This fight with the world is not one of main force, or physical might; if it were, we might soon win it; but it is all the more dangerous from the fact that it is a strife of mind, a contest of heart, a struggle of the spirit, a strife of the soul. Until you die, you will always have fresh appearances of the world to wrestle with. Let me just mention some of the forms in which the Christian overcomes the world.

He overcomes the world when it sets up itself as a legislator, wishing to teach him customs. [H]e who does not choose to go according to the fashion of the world, is under the ban of society. Most of you do just as everybody else does, and that is enough for you. If you see so-and-so do a dishonest thing in business, it is sufficient for you that everybody does it. If ye see that the majority of mankind have certain habits, ye succomb, ye yield. Ye think, I suppose, that to march to hell in crowds, will help to diminish the fierce heat of the burning of the bottomless pit, instead of remembering that the more faggots the fiercer will be the flame. Men usually swim with the stream like a dead fish; it is only the living fish that goes against it. [W]e care not what others do; custom to us is a cobweb; we count it folly to be singular; but when to be singular is to be right, we count it the proudest wisdom; we overcome the world; we trample on her customs; we walk as a distinct people, a separate race, a chosen generation, a peculiar people. If we go to the house of God, and profess to love him, we love him everywhere; we take our religion with us into the shop, behind the counter; into our offices; we must have it everywhere, or else God knows it is not religion at all.

What is then the behaviour of the Lord’s warrior, when he sees the world take up arms against him, and when he sees all earth, like an army, coming to chase him, and utterly destroy him? Does he yield? Does he yield? Does he bend? Does he cringe? Oh, no! Like Luther, he writes “Cedo nulli” on his banner—“I yield to none;” and he goes to war against the world, if the world goes to war against him. He counts all things but loss, that he may win Christ—that he may be found in him.

Well,” saith the world, “I will try another style,” and this believe me, is the most dangerous of all. Oh, believe me, Christians are not so much in danger when they are persecuted as when they are admired. When we stand upon the pinnacle of popularity, we may well tremble and fear. It is not in the cold wintry wind that I take off my coat of righteousness, and throw it away; it is when the sun comes, when the weather is warm, and the air balmy, that I unguardedly strip off my robes, and become naked. Good God! how many a man has been made naked by the love of this world. But the true child of God is never so; he is as safe when the world smiles, as when it frowns; he cares as little for her praise as for her dispraise.

Sometimes, again, the world turns jailer to a Christian. “Poor prisoner, I have a key that will let you out. You are in pecuniary difficulties; I will tell you how you may get free. Put that Mr. Conscience away.” No,” says the Christian, “my Father sent me into want, and in his own time he will fetch me out; but if I die here I will not use wrong means to escape. My Father put me here for my good, I will not grumble; if my bones must lie here—if my coffin is to be under these stones—if my tombstone shall be in the wall of my dungeon—here will I die, rather than so much as lift a finger to get out by unfair means.”

But my text speaks of a Great Birth. “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” This new birth is the mysterious point in all religion. If you preach anything else except the new birth you will always get on well with your hearers; but if you insist that in order to enter heaven there must be a radical change, though this is the doctrine of the Scripture, it is so unpalateable to mankind in general that you will scarcely get them to listen.

What is it to be born again, then? Very briefly, to be born again is to undergo a change so mysterious, that human words cannot speak of it. As we cannot describe our first birth, so it is impossible for us to describe the second. But while it is so mysterious, it is a change which is known and felt. Whilst we are passing from death unto life, there is an experience which none but the child of God can really understand.

Let me tell you, moreover, that this change is a supernatural one. It is not one that a man performs upon himself. It is not leaving off drinking and becoming sober; it is not turning from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant; it is not veering round from a Dissenter to a Churchman, or a Churchman to a Dissenter. It is a vast deal more than that. It is a new principle infused which works in the heart, enters the very soul, and moves the entire man. Not a change of my name, but a renewal or my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus.

[T]his new birth is an enduring change. [W]herever God has begun a good work he will carry it on even to the end; and that whom he once loves, he loves to the end. [I]f I am really born again, with that real supernatural change, I shall never fall away, I may fall into a sin, but I shall not fall finally.

To conclude. There is a Great Grace. The text says, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Christians do not triumph over the world by reason. Not at all. Reason is a very good thing, and nobody should find fault with it. Reason is a candle: but faith is a sun. I use my reason as a Christian man; I exercise it constantly: but when I come to real warfare, reason is a wooden sword; it breaks, it snaps; while faith, that sword of true Jerusalem metal, cuts to the dividing of soul and body.

Who are the men that do anything in the world? Are they not always men of faith? Take it even as natural faith. Who wins the battle? Why, the man who knows he will win it, and vows that he will be victor. Who never gets on in the world? The man who is always afraid to do a thing, for fear he cannot accomplish it. Who climbs the top of the Alps? The man who says, “I will do it, or I will die.” Let such a man make up his mind that he can do a thing, and he will do it, if it is within the range of possibility. Who have done great things? Not men of fear and trembling, men who are afraid; but men of faith. Leonidas fought in human faith as Joshua in divine. Xenophon trusted to his skill, and the sons of Matthias to their cause.” Faith is mightiest of the mighty. It is the monarch of the realms of the mind.

The want of faith makes a man despicable, it shrivels him up so small that he might live in a nutshell. Give him faith, and he is a leviathan that can dive into the depths of the sea; he is a war horse. Give us faith and we can do all things.

But before I have done, O that I may have a word with your souls. How many are there here who are born again? Some turn a deaf ear, and say, “It is all nonsense; we go to our place of worship regularly; put our hymn books and Bibles under our arm! and we are very religious sort of people.” Ah, soul! if I meet you at the bar of judgment, recollect I said—and said God’s word—“Except ye be born again ye shall not enter the kingdom on heaven.” Sirs, it is not the cloak of religion that will do for you; it is a vital godliness you need; it is not a religious Sunday, it is a religious Monday; it is not a pious church, it is a pious closet; it is not a sacred place to kneel in, it is a holy place to stand in all daylong. O, my friends, is it worth your while to run the risk of an eternity of woe for a hour of pleasure?

God send the truth home, and then we shall rejoice together, both he that soweth and he that reapeth, because God has given us the increase. God bless you! may you all be born again, and have that faith that overcometh the world!


“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
—2 Corinthians, 1:5.

[B]lessed be God, we have consolation, we have joy in the Holy Ghost. We find it nowhere else. We have raked the earth through, but we have discovered ne’er a jewel; we have turned this dung-hill-world o’er and o’er a thousand times, and we have found nought that is precious; but here, in this Bible, here in the religion of the blessed Jesus, we, the sons of God, have found comfort and joy.

There are four things in my text to which I invite your attention.

Our first division then is, the sufferings to be expected. Jesus Christ himself said, “Count the cost.” He wished to have no disciple who was not prepared to go all the way—“to bear hardness as a good soldier.” it is not true that Christianity will shield a man from trouble; nor ought it to be so represented. In fact, we ought to speak of it in the other way. Soldier of Christ, if thou enlisteth, thou wilt have to do hard battle. If I had no trouble, I would not believe myself one of the family. If I never had a trial, I would not think myself a heir of heaven. Children of God must not, shall not, escape the rod. [I]f thou art a child of God, believe it, look for it, and when it comes, say, “Well suffering, I foresaw thee; thou art no stranger; I have looked for thee continually.” You cannot tell how much it will lighten your trials, if you await them with resignation. In fact, make it a wonder if you get through a day easily. If you remain a week without persecution, think it a remarkable thing; and if you should, perchance, live a month without heaving a sigh from your inmost heart, think it a miracle of miracles. Stand here a moment, my brother, and I will show thee four reasons wherefore thou must endure trial.

Look upward, Dost thou see thy heavenly Father, a pure and holy being, spotless, just, perfect? Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like him? Thinkest thou that thou wilt easily come to be conformed to his image? Lift up thine eye again; dost thou discern those bright spirits clad in white, purer than alabaster, more chaste, more fair than Parian marble? O ye noble army of martyrs, ye glorious hosts of the living God. Must ye swim through seas of blood, and shall I hope to ride to heaven wrapped in furs and ermine? Did ye fight and then reign, and must I reign without a battle.

Next, Christian, turn thine eyes downward. Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet? There are hell and its lions against thee. Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects. He will always be at thee, for thine enemy, “like a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.”

Then, man of God, look around thee. Do not be asleep. Open thine eyes, and look around thee. Where art thou? Is that man a friend next to thee? No; thou art in an enemy’s country. This is a wicked world. I tell thee O child of light, that where thou meetest one sincere man, thou wilt meet twenty hypocrites; where thou wilt find one that will lead thee to heaven, thou wilt find a score who would push thee to hell. Thou art in a land of enemies, not of friends. O Christian! the world is not thy friend. If it is, then thou art not God’s friend; for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God; and he who is despised of men, is often loved of Jehovah.

But then, look within thee. There is a little world in here, which is quite enough to give us trouble. [F]or one moment, peep into the window of thine heart, to observe what is there. Sin is there—original sin and corruption; and, what is more, self is still within. Ah! if thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, thou wouldest tempt thyself; if there were no enemies to fight thee, thyself would be thy worst foe; if there were no world, still thyself would be bad enough; for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” When the arrows fly fast, the shield of faith catches them all; and when the enemy is most angry, God is most pleased. So, for aught we care, the world may go on, the devil may revile, flesh may rise; “for we are more than conquerers through him that hath loved us.” Therefore, all honor be unto God alone. Expect suffering—this is our first point.

Now, secondly, there is a distinction to be noticed. Our sufferings are said to be the sufferings of Christ. Now, suffering in itself is not an evidence of Christianity. There are many people who have trials and troubles who are not children of God. [T]here is a distinction to be noticed. Are these sufferings the sufferings of Christ, or are they not? Take heed, beloved, that your sufferings are the sufferings of Christ; be sure they are not your own sufferings; for if they are, you will get no relief. It is only when they are the sufferings of Jesus that we may take comfort.

The trials of a true Christian are as much the sufferings of Christ, as the agonies of Calvary. they are the trials of Christ, if you suffer for Christ’s sake. If you are called to endure hardness for the sake of the truth, then those are the sufferings of Christ. Christian, thou fightest side by side with Jesus; Christ is with thee; every blow is a blow aimed at Christ; every slander is a slander on Christ; the battle is the Lord’s; the triumph is the Lord’s; therefore, still on to victory!

Our third point is, a proportion to be experienced. As the sufferings of Christ abound in us so the consolations of Christ abound. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy.

The first reason is, because trials make more room for consolation. There is nothing makes a man have a big heart like great trial. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. [F]or the lower we lie, the nearer to the ground we are—the more our troubles humble us—the more fit we are to receive comfort; and God always gives us comfort when we are most fit for it.

Then again, trouble exercises our graces, and the very exercise of our graces tends to make us more comfortable and happy. Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest.

Another reason why we are often most happy in our troubles is this—then we have the closest dealings with God. We never have such close dealings with God, as when we are in tribulation. When the barn is full, man can live without God. It is a fine day, and the child walks before its father; but there is a lion in the road, now he comes and takes his father’s hand. He could run half-a-mile before him when all was fine and fair; but once bring the lion, and it is “father! father!” as close as he can be. It is even so with the Christian. Let all be well, and he forgets God.

But if trials be weights, I will tell you of a happy secret. There is such a thing as making a weight lift you, if I have a weignt chained to me, it keeps me down; but give me pulleys and certain appliances, and I can make it lift me up. Yes, there is such a thing as making troubles raise me towards heaven. Blessed fact—as our troubles abound, our consolations also abound.

There is a person to be honoured. It is a fact that Christians can rejoice in deep distress; it is a truth, that put them in prison, and they still will sing. But to whom shall we give the honor? To whom shall the glory be given? Oh! to Jesus, to Jesus; for the text says it is all by Jesus.

I have a word with you who are expecting troubles, and are very sad because you are looking forward to them. Take the advice, of the common people, and “never cross a bridge till you get to it.” Follow my advice never bring your troubles nearer than they are, for they will be sure to come down upon you soon enough.

Then Christian in trouble, I have a word to say with thee. So my brother, thou art in trouble; thou art come into the waves of affliction, art thou? No strange thing, is it brother? Thou hast been there many times before. “Ah,” but sayest thou, “this is the worst I ever had. I have come up here this morning with a millstone round my neck; I have a mine of lead in my heart: I am miserable, I am unhappy, I am cast down exceedingly.” Well, but brother, as thy troubles abound, so shall thy consolation. Instead of being distressed about thy trouble, rejoice in it; thou wilt then honor God, thou wilt glorify Christ, thou wilt bring sinners to Jesus, if thou wilt sing in the depths of trouble.

Then one word with you who are almost driven to despair. [W]hat shalt thou do now? Do? why lie upon the sea of trouble, and float upon it; be still, and know that God is God, and thou wilt never perish. All thy kicking and struggling will sink thee deeper; but lie still, for behold the life-boat cometh.

THE PECULIAR SLEEP OF THE BELOVED -Psalm 127:2 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippets)

“For so he giveth his beloved sleep.”
—Psalm 127:2

Sleep is the gift of God. Have you not known what it is at times to lie upon your bed and strive to slumber? and as it is said of Darius, so might it be said of you: “The king sent for his musicians, but his sleep went from him.” O my friends, how thankful should we be for sleep. Sleep is the best physician that I know of. Sleep hath healed more pains of wearied bones than the most eminent physicians upon earth.

Sleep is sometimes used in a bad sense in the Word of God, to express the condition of carnal and worldly men. Some men have the sleep of carnal ease and sloth: of whom Solomon tells us, they are unwise sons that slumber in the harvest, causing shame; so that when the harvest is spent, and the summer is ended, they are not saved.

In other places you find sleep used as the figure of carnal security, in which so many are found. Look at Saul, lying asleep in fleshly security—not like David, when he said, “I will lay me down and sleep, for thou Lord makest me to dwell in safety.”

Then there is also mentioned in Scripture, a sleep of lust, like that which Samson had when he lost his locks, and such sleep as many have when they indulge in sin, and wake to find themselves stripped, lost, and ruined. There is also the sleep of negligence, such as the virgins had, when it is said, “they all slumbered and slept;” and the sleep of sorrow, which overcame Peter, James, and John. But none of these are the gifts of God. They are incident to the frailty of our nature; they come upon us because we are fallen men; they creep over us because we are the sons of a lost and ruined parent. We now come to tell you what those sleeps are, which he does bestow.

First, there is a miraculous sleep which God has sometimes given to his beloved. Into that kind of miraculous sleep, or rather trance, fell Adam, when he slept sorrowfully and alone. The same sleep Abram had, when it is said that a deep sleep came on him, and he laid him down, and saw a smoking furnace and a burning lamp, while a voice said to him, “Fear not, Abram; I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Such a hallowed sleep also was that of Jacob. Dreaming, he saw a ladder set upon the earth, the top of which reached to heaven, the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. Joseph, when he dreamed. Daniel, when he said, “I was asleep upon my face, and behold the Lord said unto me, Arise, and stand upon thy feet.”

He gives his beloved, in the second place, the sleep of a quiet conscience. Did you ever notice that remarkable passage, where it is said that Herod intended to bring out Peter on the morrow; but, behold, as Peter was sleeping between two guards, the angel smote him? Sleeping between two guards, when on the morrow he was to be crucified or slain! He cared not, for his heart was clear; he had committed no ill. Sin puts a dagger in a man’s bed, so that whichever way he turns it pricks him. But a quiet conscience is the sweetest music that can lull the soul to sleep. But let me tell you who have no knowledge of your election in Christ Jesus, no trust in the ransom of a Saviour’s blood—you, who have never been called by the Holy Ghost—you, who never were regenerated and born again—let me tell you that you do not know this slumber. Ye do not know this sleep, but the Christian does, for all his sins were numbered on the “scape-goat’s head of old.” Christ has died for all his sins, however great or enormous; and there is not now a sin written against him in the Book of God.

Again: there is the sleep of contentment which the Christian enjoys.

     ‘Mortals cease from toil and sorrow;
     God provideth for the morrow.’ ”

How few there are who have that blessed contentment—who can say, “I want nothing else; I want but little here below—yea, I long for nothing more—I am satisfied—I am content.” Could you say there was nothing you wanted on earth, save Jesus? Did you mean that you are perfectly content—that you had the sleep of contentment? Man always looks for a yet-beyond; he is a mariner who never gets to port; an arrow which never reaches the target. Go ye, overreaching misers! Go ye, grasping ambitious men! I envy not your life of inquietude. The sleep of statesmen is often broken; the dream of the miser is always evil; the sleep of the man who loves gain is never hearty; but God “giveth,” by contentment. “his beloved sleep.”

Once more: God giveth his beloved the sleep of quietness of soul as to the future. All persons have need to dread the future, except the Christian. God giveth to his beloved a happy sleep with regard to the events of coming time.

     “What may be my future lot,
     High or low concerns me not;
     This doth set my heart at rest,
     What my God appoints is best.”

It is a blessed thing to be able to say with Madame Guyon—

     “To me ‘tis equal, whether love ordained,
     My life or death, appoint me pain or ease;
     My soul perceives no real ill in pain,
     In ease or health, no real good she sees.
     One good she covets, and that good alone,
     To choose thy will, from selfish bias free,
     And to prefer a cottage to a throne,
     And grief to comfort, if it pleases thee.
     That we should bear the cross is thy command—
     Die to the world, and live to sin no more;
     Suffer unmoved beneath the rudest hand,
     As pleased when shipwrecked, as when safe on shore.”

In the fifth place: there is the sleep of security. Solomon slept with armed men round his bed, and thus slumbered securely; but Solomon’s father slept one night on the bare ground—not in a palace—with no moat round his castle wall,—but he slept quite as safely as his son, for he said, “I laid me down and slept, and I awaked, for the Lord sustained me.”

     “I to the end shall endure,
     As sure as the earnest is given;
     More happy, but not more secure,
     Are the glorified spirits in heaven.”

I love to know, that if I am predestinated according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, I must be saved; if I was purchased by the Son’s blood, I cannot be lost, for it would be impossible for Jesus Christ to lose one whom he has redeemed, otherwise he would be dissatisfied with his labours.

The last sleep God giveth his beloved, is the sleep of a happy dismission. Oh! happy sleep! This world is a state of tossing to and fro; but in that grave they rest. No sorrows there; no sighs, no groans, to mingle with the songs that warble from immortal tongues. Sleep on, brother! Thy soul sleepeth not, for thou art in heaven; but thy body sleepeth. Do you know that heaven is just across that narrow stream? Are you afraid to plunge in and swim across? Do you fear to be drowned? I feel the bottom—it is good. Dost thou think thou shalt sink? Hear the voice of the Spirit: “Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, I am thy God: when thou passest through the river, I will be with thee, and the floods shall not overflow thee.” Death is the gate of endless joys, and dost thou dread to enter there? What! fear to be emancipated from corruption? Oh! say not so! but rather, gladly lay down and sleep in Jesus, and be blesssed.

I have done. Now let me beseech, you, by the frailty of your own lives—by the shortness of time—by the dreadful realities of eternity—by the sins you have committed—by the pardon that you need—by the blood and wounds of Jesus—by his second coming to judge the world in righteousness—by the glories of heaven—by the awful horrors of hell—by time—by eternity—by all that is good—by all that is sacred—let me beg of you, as you love your own souls, to search and see whether ye are amongst the beloved, to whom he giveth sleep. God bless you.

THE PEOPLE’S CHRIST -Psalm 89:19 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippets)

“I have exalted one chosen out of the people.”
—Psalm 89:19.

Originally, I have no doubt, these words referred to David. However, in this sermon we shall not speak of David, but of the Lord Jesus Christ: for David, as referred to in the text, is an eminent type of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who was chosen out of the people; and of whom his Father can say “I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” As “very God of very God” he was not chosen out of the people[, but] when we speak of Jesus as being chosen out of the people, we must speak of him as a man. We are, I conceive, too forgetful of the real manhood of our Redeemer. He was not man and God amalgamated—the two natures suffered no confusion—he was very God, without the diminution of his essence or attributes; and he was equally, verily, and truly, man. It is as a man I speak of Jesus this morning.

We will commence with our Saviour’s EXTRACTION. Though he sits high on his Father’s throne, he was “one chosen out of the people. Christ is not to be called the aristocrat’s Christ, he is not the noble’s Christ, he is not the king’s Christ; but he is “one chosen out of the people.”

Christ by his very birth, was one of the people. Mark ye well the place of his nativity. Born in a stable—cradled in a manger where the horned oxen fed—his only bed was their fodder, and his slumbers were often broken by their lowings. He might be a prince by birth; but certainly he had not a princely retinue to wait upon him. [T]he magi and the shepherds; both knelt round that manger, to show us that Christ was the Christ of all men; that he was not merely the Christ of the magi, but that he was the Christ of the shepherds—that he was not merely the Saviour of the peasant shepherd, but also the Saviour of the learned.

His education, too, demands our attention. He was not taken as Moses was, from his mothers breast, to be educated in the halls of a monarch. “Fit place,” a quaint author says, “for Jesus; for he had to make a ladder that should reach from earth to heaven. And why should he not be the son of a carpenter?”

When our Lord entered into public life, still he was the same. What was his rank? Did he array himself in scarlet and purple? Oh! no: he wore the simple garb of a peasant. He spared no class of sinners: rank and fortune made no difference to him. He uttered the same truths to the rich men of the Sanhedrim, as to the toiling peasants of Galilee. He was “one of the people.”

Notice his doctrine. Jesus Christ was one of the people in his doctrine. His gospel was never the philosopher’s gospel, for it is not abstruse enough. [I]t is so simple that he who can spell over, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” may have a saving knowledge of it. Ah! much as I love true science and real education, I mourn and grieve that our ministers are so much diluting the Word of God with philosophy…well fitted for a room full of college students and professors of theology, but of no use to the masses, being destitute of simplicity, warmth, earnestness, or even solid gospel matter. [B]e it known that the doctrine of Christ is the doctrine of the people. Christ’s ministers should be the friends of manhood at large, remembering that their Master was the people’s Christ.

Our second point was ELECTION. God says, “I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” Jesus Christ was elected—chosen. Oh! there be some, the moment they hear that word, election, put their hands upon their foreheads, and mutter, “I will wait till that sentence is over; there will be something I shall like better, perhaps.” Some others say, “I shall not go to that place again; the man is a hyper-Calvinist.” But the man is not a hyper-Calvinist; the man said what was in his Bible—that is all.

Now, what does [election] mean, but that Jesus Christ is chosen? Election is no blind thing. God chooses sovereignly, but he always chooses wisely. There is always some secret reason for his choice of any particular individual; though that motive does not lie in ourselves, or in our own merits, yet there always is some secret cause far more remote than the doings of the creature; some mighty reason unknown to all but himself. In the case of Jesus, the motives are apparent.

First, we see that justice is thereby fully satisfied by the choice of one out of the people. Suppose God had chosen an angel to make satisfaction for our sins. [J]ustice would never have been satisfied, for this one simple reason, that the law declares,—“The soul that sinneth it shall die.” Now, man sins, and therefore man must die.

But there is another reason why Jesus Christ was chosen out of the people. It is because thereby the whole race receives honor. [T]here is a dignity about manhood—a dignity lost one day in the garden of the fall but regained in the garden of resurrection. It is a fact, that a man is greater than an angel—that in heaven humanity stands nearer the throne than angelic existence. Why man—elect man—is the greatest being in the universe, except God. [For] he hath crowned us, his elect, with glory and honor, and hath set us at his right hand in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.

[Jesus Christ was chosen out of the people] that he might be able to be thy brother, in the blest tie of kindred blood? Oh! what relationship there is between Christ and the believer? I may be poor, but I have a brother who is rich; I have a brother who is a king; I am brother to the prince of the kings of the earth; and will he suffer me to starve, or want, or lack, while he is on his throne? Oh! no; he loves me; he has fraternal feelings towards me; he is my brother.

Christ was chosen out of the people—that he might know our wants and sympathize with us. I believe some of the rich have no notion whatever of what the distress of the poor is. They do not know anything about it; and when we put men in power who never were of the people, they do not understand the art of governing us. But our great and glorious Jesus Christ is one chosen out of the people; and therefore he knows our wants…temptation and pain…sickness…weariness…poverty. In all places whithersoever we go, the angel of the covenant has been our forerunner; each burden we have to carry, has once been laid on the shoulders of Immanuel.

I know many Christians who say, “Well, I hope I have come to Christ; but I am afraid I have not come right.” Now, no man can come except the Father draw him; so I apprehend, if they come at all, they cannot come wrong. If Her Majesty were to send for me to-morrow morning, I dare say I should feel very anxious about what kind of dress I should wear, and how I should walk in, and how I should observe court etiquette, and so on; but if one of my friends here were to send for me, I should go straight off and see him, because he is one of the people, and I like him. Some of you say, “How can I go to Christ? What shall I say? What words shall I use?” If thou wert going to one above thee, thou mightest say so: but he is one of the people. Go as thou art, poor sinner—just in thy rags, just in thy filth—in all thy wickedness, just as thou art. O conscience-stricken sinner, come to Jesus! He is one of the people.

And now I am to close up with his EXALTATION. “I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” You will recollect, whilst I am speaking upon this exaltation, that it is really the exaltation of all the elect in the person of Christ; for all that Christ is, and all that Christ has, is mine.

First, dear friends, it was exaltation enough for the body of Christ, to be exalted into union with the divinity.

Again: Christ was exalted by his resurrection.

But how exalted was he in his ascension! [A]s he went, I think I see the angels looking down from heaven’s battlements, and crying, ‘See the conquering hero comes!’ The glorious hosts within scarce ask the question, “Who is the king of glory; The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” See how kingdoms and powers fall down before him! Crowns are laid at his feet, and his Father says, ‘Well done, my Son, well done!’

The last exaltation of Christ which I shall mention is that which is to come, when he shall sit upon the throne of his Father David, and shall judge all nations…“and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.”

Oh, despisers! I warn ye of that day when the placid brow of the Man of Sorrows shall be knit with frowns; when the eye which once was moistened by dew-drops of pity, shall flash lightning on its enemies; and the hand, which once was nailed to the cross for our redemption, shall grasp the thunderbolt for your damnation; while the mouth which once said,” Come unto me, ye weary,” shall pronounce in words louder and more terrible than the voice of the thunder, “Depart ye cursed!” Sinners! ye may think it a trifle to sin against the Man of Nazareth, but ye shall find that in so doing ye have offended the Man who shall judge the earth in righteousness; and for your rebellion ye shall endure waves of torment in the eternal ocean of wrath. Oh! if thou wouldst shun this, list to me, whilst—for I have but one moment more—I tell thee yet again of the Man who was “chosen out of the people.”

Thou must stoop, proud man! Thou must bow, proud lady! Thou must lay aside thy pomp, or else thou wilt ne’er be saved; for the Saviour of the people must be thy Saviour.

My Master tells me to say this morning,—“Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”