WE WILL begin with OUR ARMOURY. That armoury is to me, at any rate—and I hope it is to each one of you—THE BIBLE. To us Holy Scripture is as “the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” If we want weapons we must come here for them, and here only. Whether we seek the sword of offence or the shield of defence, we must find it within the volume of inspiration. If others have any other storehouse, I confess at once I have none. I have nothing else to preach when I have got through with this book. Indeed, I can have no wish to preach at all if I may not continue to expound the subjects which I find in these pages. What else is worth preaching? Brethren, the truth of God is the only treasure for which we seek, and the Scripture is the only field in which we dig for it.
We need nothing more than God has seen fit to reveal. Certain errant spirits are never at home till they are abroad: they crave for a something which I think they will never find, either in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth, so long as they are in their present mind. They never rest, for they will have nothing to do with an infallible revelation; and hence they are doomed to wander throughout time and eternity, and find no abiding city. For the moment they glory as if they were satisfied with their last new toy; but in a few months it is sport to them to break in pieces all the notions which they formerly prepared with care, and paraded with delight. They go up a hill only to come down again. Indeed, they say that the pursuit of truth is better than truth itself. They like fishing better than the fish; which may very well be true, since their fish are very small, and very full of bones. These men are as great at destroying their own theories as certain paupers are at tearing up their clothes. They begin again de novo, times without number: their house is always having its foundation digged out. They should be good at beginnings; for they have always been beginning since we have known them. They are as the rolling thing before the whirlwind, or “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” Although their cloud is not that cloud which betokened the divine presence, yet it is always moving before them, and their tents are scarcely pitched before it is time for the stakes to be pulled up again. These men are not even seeking certainty; their heaven lies in shunning all fixed truth, and following every will-o’-the-wisp of speculation: they are ever learning, but they never come to the knowledge of the truth.
“The Greatest Fight in the World: A Final Manifesto.”
Let us all feel, dear brethren, that, though we have each one a work to do, and are personally fitted to do it, we are not the only workers in the world. Brother, you are not the only lamp to enlighten earth’s darkness, you are not the only sower to sow the field of the world with the good seed, you are not the only trumpet through which God proclaims His jubilee, yours is not the only hand by which He feeds the multitudes. You are only one member of the mystic body, one soldier of the grand army. This thought should encourage you, and relieve the despondency engendered by loneliness. When God sent the flies, and locusts, and caterpillars to conquer Egypt, Pharaoh might have ridiculed any one of those insignificant warriors, and said, “What can this caterpillar do? I defy the Lord and His caterpillars.” But the caterpillar might have answered, “Beware, O king, for there are ten thousand times ten thousand of us! We come in mighty armies, and will cover all the land. Weak as we are one by one, the Lord will evidence His omnipotence by the multiplication of our numbers.” Thus was it in the early days of Christianity. Christians came into Rome,—a few poor Jews they were, and they dwelt in the Ghetto, in obscurity; by-and-by, there were more. Meanwhile, a few had passed over into Spain; soon there were more. A few had reached Britain; soon there were more. The nations, angry at this invasion, set to work to destroy those pests of society, which turned the world upside down. They tormented, burned, and destroyed them; but they continued to come in shoals and swarms, and though they were slain without mercy, there were always more to follow. The foes of God could not possibly stand against the vast host that pressed forward. “The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it.” Even so it is at this day. You are not alone in sounding the praises of Christ, your voice is but one, of a mighty orchestra. The whole world is full of the praises of God: “their line is gone out through all the earth; and their words to the end of the world.”
I think that, to any young man, or any young woman either, who has had a godly father and mother, the best way of life that they can mark out for themselves is to follow the road in which their father’s and mother’s principles would conduct them. Of course, we make great advances on the old folks, do we not? The young men are wonderfully bright and intelligent, and the old people are a good deal behind them. Yes, yes; that is the way we talk before our beards have grown. Possibly, when we have more sense, we shall not be quite so conceited of it. At any rate, I, who am not very old, and who dare not any longer call myself young, venture to say that, for myself, I desire nothing so much as to continue the traditions of my household. I wish to find no course but that which shall run parallel with that of those who have gone before me. And I think, dear friends, that you who have seen the holy and happy lives of Christian ancestors will be wise to pause a good deal before you begin to make a deviation, either to the right or to the left, from the course of those godly ones. I do not believe that he begins life in a way which God is likely to bless, and which he himself will, in the long run, judge to be wise, who begins with the notion that he shall upset everything, that all that belonged to his godly family shall be cast to the winds. I do not seek to have heirlooms of gold or silver; but, though I die a thousand deaths, I can never give up my father’s God, my grandsire’s God, and his father’s God, and his father’s God. I must hold this to be the chief possession that I have; and I pray young men and women to think the same. Do not stain the glorious traditions of noble lives that have been handed down to you; do not disgrace your father’s shield, bespatter not the escutcheons of your honoured predecessors by any sins and transgressions on your part. God help you to feel that the best way of leading a noble life will be to do as they did who trained you in God’s fear!
If I were to see a needle running across the table all by itself, I should know that under-the-table a magnet was at work out of sight. When I see a sinner running after Christ, I feel certain that divine love is drawing him: the cords may be invisible, but we are quite sure that they are there. If you are seeking Christ, it is because he is seeking you. The desire for grace is caused by the very grace which we desire. You must not dare to charge the Lord Jesus with unwillingness to save, seeing he has laid down his life to prove his eagerness to redeem. No, it is not possible that there can be any backwardness with the Saviour; the backwardness lies with you. Get rid of the unbelieving in dishonouring notion that Jesus is unwilling to forgive, and at once throw yourself into his arms. He thirsts to bless men; it is his meat and his drink in this respect to do the will of him that sent him. You were being drawn by his loving hands; those warm desires for salvation are created in you by his Holy Spirit: believe this, and thus recognize the bond which unites you to the Lord; by faith that bond will become consciously stronger from day-to-day. Trust wholly and Jesus, and the work is done. Trust him simply, trust him solely, trust him without hesitation and you are saved.
Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting: Studies on Prayer Meetings and Prayer Meeting Addresses
Now, what is meant by the word “preach”? I take its meaning in this place to be very extensive. Some can literally preach— that is, act as heralds, proclaiming the gospel as the town crier proclaims in the street the message which he is bidden to cry aloud. The town crier is, in fact, the world’s preacher, and the preacher of the gospel is to be a crier, crying aloud and sparing not, the truth of Christ. I do not believe that Christ tells us to go and play the orator to every creature. Such a command would be impracticable to most of us, and useless to any of us. Of all the things that desecrate the Sabbath and grieve the Spirit, attempts at high-flown oratory and gorgeous eloquence in preaching I believe are about the worst. Our business is just to speak out the gospel simply and plainly to every creature. We do not actually preach the gospel to a man if we do not make him understand what we are talking about. If our language does not come down to his level, it may be the gospel, but it is not the gospel to him. The preacher should adopt language which shall be suitable to all his congregation—in preaching he should strive to instruct, to enforce, to explain, to expound, to plead and to bring home to every man’s heart and conscience, as in the sight of God, as far as his ability goes, the truth which beyond all argument or cavil has the seal and stamp of divine revelation.
“Never was man blamed in heaven for preaching Christ too much; nay, not even on earth to the sons of God was the cross ever too much spoken of. Outsiders may say, ‘This man harps only upon one string.’ Do you wonder? The carnal mind is enmity against God, and it specially shows its hatred by railing at the cross. Saintly ones find here, in the perpetual monotony of the cross, a greater variety than in all other doctrines put together. Preach you Christ, and Christ, and Christ, and Christ, and nothing else but Christ.”
O Thou Lord of our hearts, go with us! Home will not be home without Thee. Life will not be life without Thee. Heaven itself would not be heaven if Thou wert absent. Abide with us. The world grows dark, the gloaming of time draws on. Abide with us, for it is toward evening. Our years increase, and we near the night when dews fall cold and chill. A great future is all about us, the splendours of the last age are coming down; and while we wait in solemn, awe-struck expectation, our heart continually cries within herself, “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my Beloved, and be Thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of division.”
“Hasten, Lord! the promised hour; Come in glory and in power; Still Thy foes are unsubdued; Nature sighs to be renew’d. Time has nearly reach’d its sum, All things with Thy bride say ‘Come;’ Jesus, whom all worlds adore, Come and reign for evermore!”
Spurgeon, Till He Come: Communion Meditations and Addresses
The grandest fact under heaven is this—that Christ by His precious blood does actually put away sin, and that God, for Christ’s sake, dealing with men on terms of divine mercy, forgives the guilty and justifies them, not according to anything that He sees in them, or foresees will be in them, but according to the riches of His mercy which lie in His own heart. This we have preached, do preach, and will preach as long as we live. “It is God that justifieth”—that justifieth the ungodly; He is not ashamed of doing it, nor are we of preaching it.
THE resurrection of our divine Lord from the dead is the cornerstone of Christian doctrine. Perhaps I might more accurately call it the keystone of the arch of Christianity, for if that fact could be disproved the whole fabric of the gospel would fall to the ground. If Jesus Christ be not risen then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain; ye are yet in your sins. If Christ be not risen, then they which have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, and we ourselves, in missing so glorious a hope as that of resurrection, are of all men the most miserable.
Because of the great importance of his resurrection, our Lord was pleased to give many infallible proofs of it, by appearing again and again m the midst of his followers. It would be interesting to search out how many times he appeared; I think we have mention of some sixteen manifestations. He showed himself openly before his disciples, and did eat and drink with them. They touched his hands and his side, and heard his voice, and knew that it was the same Jesus that was crucified. He was not content with giving evidence to the ears and to the eyes, but even to the sense of touch he proved the reality of his resurrection. These appearances were very varied. Sometimes he gave an interview to one alone, either to a man, as to Cephas, or to a woman, as to Magdalen. He conversed with two of his followers as they went to Emmaus, and with the company of the apostles by the sea. We find him at one moment amongst the eleven when the doors were shut for fear of the Jews, and at another time in the midst of an assembly of more than five hundred brethren, who years after were most of them living witnesses to the fact. They could not all have been deceived. It is not possible that any historical fact could have been placed upon a better basis of credibility than the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. This is put beyond all dispute and question, and of purpose is it so done, because it is essential to the whole Christian system.