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ROWLAND HILL AND LADY ERSKINE

ONCE when Rowland Hill was preaching, Lady Ann Erskine happened to be driving by: she was in the outer ring of the circle, and she asked the coach-man, what all the people were there for. He replied, “They are going to hear Rowland Hill.” Well, she had heard a great deal about this strange man, accounted to be the very wildest of preachers, and so she drew near. No sooner did Rowland Hill see her, than he said, “Come, I am going to have an auction, I am going to sell Lady Ann Erskine.” She of course stopped, and she wondered how she was going to be disposed of. “Who will buy her?” Up comes the world. “What will you give for her?” “I will give her all the pomps and vanities of this present life; she shall be a happy woman here, she shall be very rich, she shall have many admirers, she shall go through this world with many joys.” You shall not have her; her soul is an everlasting thing; it is a poor price you are offering; you are only giving a little; and what shall it profit her if she gain the whole world and lose her own soul?

Here comes another purchaser — here is the devil. “What will you give for her?” “Well,” says he, “I will let her enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; she shall indulge in everything her heart shall set itself unto; she shall have everything to delight the eye and the ear; she shall indulge in every sin and vice that can possibly give a transient pleasure.” Ah, Satan! What will you do for her for ever? You shall not have her, for I know what you are; you would give a paltry price for her, and then destroy her soul to all eternity.

But, here comes another — I know him — it is the Lord Jesus. “What will you give for her?” Says he, “It is not what I will give, it is what I have given; I have given my life, my blood for her; I have bought her with a price, and I will give her heaven for ever and ever; I will give her grace in her heart now and glory throughout eternity.”

O Lord Jesus Christ,” said Rowland Hill, “thou shalt have her. Lady Ann Erskine, do you demur to the bargain?” She was fairly caught; there was no answer that could be given. “It is done,” he said, “it is done; you are the Savior’s; I have betrothed you unto him; never break that contract.” And she never did. From that time forth, from being a gay and volatile woman she became one of the most serious persons, one of the greatest supporters of the truth of the gospel in those times, and died in a glorious and certain hope of entering the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever is willing to have Christ, Christ is willing to have him.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘Rowland Hill and Lady Erskine’

That which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven: Miniature pictures of yourself

SpurgeonLet us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

2. But I must take it in another sense. “The sting of death is sin:” that is to say, that which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven….

Thus, then, having painted two full-length pictures, I might give each one of you miniatures of yourselves. I might picture, O drunkard, when thy cups are drained, and when thy liquor shall no longer be sweet to thy taste, when worse than gall shall be the danties that thou drinkest, when within an hour the worms shall make a carnival upon thy flesh; I might picture thee as thou lookest back upon thy misspent life. And thou, O swearer, methinks I see thee there with thine oaths echoed back by memory to thine own dismay. And thou man of lust and wickedness thou who hast debauched and seduced others, I see thee there and the sting of death to thee, how horrible, how dreadful! It shall not be that thou art groaning with pain, it shall not be that thou art racked with agony, it shall not be that thy heart and flesh faileth; but the sting, the sting shall be thy sin. How many in this place can spell that word “remorse?” I pray you may never know its awful meaning. Remorse, remorse! You know its derivation: it signifies to bite. Ah! Now we dance with our sins-it is a merry life with us-we take their hands, and sporting in the noontide sun, we dance, we dance, and live in joy. But then those sins shall bite us. The young lions we have stroked and played with shall bite; the young adder, the serpent whose azure hues have well delighted us, shall bite, shall sting when remorse shall occupy our souls. I might, but I will not tell you, a few stories of the awful power of remorse: it is the first pang of hell, it is the ante-chamber of the pit. To have remorse is to feel the sparks that blaze upwards from the fire of the bottomless Gehenna; to feel remorse is to have eternal torment commenced within the soul. The sting of death shall be, unforgiven, unrepented sin.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

THE VICARIOUS SACRIFICE

SOME time ago an excellent lady sought an interview with me, with the object, as she said, of enlisting my sympathy upon the question of “Anti- Capital Punishment.” I heard the excellent reasons she urged against hanging men who had committed murder, and though they did not convince me, I did not seek to answer them. She proposed that when a man committed murder, he should be confined for life. My remark was, that a great many men who had been confined half their lives were not a bit the better for it; and as for her belief that they would necessarily be brought to repentance, I was afraid it was but a dream. “Ah!” she said, good soul as she was, “that is because we have been all wrong about punishments. We punish people because we think they deserve to be punished. Now, we ought to show them,” said she, “that we love them; that we only punish to make them better.” “Indeed, madam,” I said, “I have heard that theory a great many times, and I have seen much fine writing upon the matter, but I am no believer in it. The design of punishment should be amendment, but the ground of punishment lies in the positive guilt of the offender. I believe that when a man does wrong, he ought to be punished for it, and that there is a guilt in sin which justly merits punishment.” “Oh, no!” she could not see that. Sin was a very wrong thing, but punishment was not a proper idea. She thought that people were treated too cruelly in prison, and that they ought to be taught that we love them. If they were treated kindly in prison, and tenderly dealt with, they would grow so much better, she was sure.

With a view of interpreting her own theory, I said, “I suppose, then, you would give criminals all sorts of indulgences in prison. Some great vagabond, who has committed burglary dozens of times — I suppose you would let him sit in an easy chair in the evening before a nice fire, and mix him a glass of spirits and water, and give him his pipe, and make him happy, to show him how much we love him.” “Well, no, she would not give him the spirits, but still, all the rest would do him good.” I thought that was a delightful picture, certainly. It seemed to me to be the most prolific method of cultivating rogues which ingenuity could invent. I imagine that you could grow any number of thieves in that way; for it would be a special means of propagating all manner of roguery and wickedness. These very delightful theories, to such a simple mind as mine, were the source of much amusement; the idea of fondling villains, and treating their crimes as if they were the tumbles and falls of children, made me laugh heartily. I fancied I saw the Government resigning its functions to these excellent persons, and the grand results of their marvelously kind experiments. The sword of the magistrate transformed into a gruel-spoon, and the jail become a sweet retreat for injured reputations.

Little, however, did I think I should live to see this kind of stuff taught in pulpits; I had no idea that there would come out a divinity, which would bring down God’s moral government from the solemn aspect in which Scripture reveals it, to a namby-pamby sentimentalism, which adores a Deity destitute of every masculine virtue. But we never know to-day what may occur to-morrow. We have lived to see a certain sort of men — thank God they are not Baptists, though I am sorry to say there are a great many Baptists who are beginning to follow in their trail — who seek to teach nowadays that God is a universal Father, and that our ideas of his dealing with the impenitent as a Judge, and not as a Father, are remnants of antiquated error. Sin, according to these men, is a disorder rather than an offense, an error rather than a crime. Love is the only attribute they can discern, and the full-orbed Deity they have not known. Some of these men push their way very far into the bogs and mire of falsehood, until they inform us that eternal punishment is ridiculed as a dream. In fact, books now appear which teach us that there is no such thing as the Vicarious Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. They use the word Atonement, it is true, but in regard to its meaning they have removed the ancient landmark. They acknowledge that the Father has shown his great love to poor sinful man by sending his Son, but not that God was inflexibly just in the exhibition of his mercy, not that he punished Christ on the behalf of his people, nor that, indeed, God ever will punish anybody in his wrath, or that there is such a thing as justice apart from discipline. Even sin and hell are but old words employed henceforth in a new and altered sense. Those are old-fashioned notions, and we poor souls who go on talking about election and imputed righteousness are behind our time.

I have often thought the best answer for all these new ideas is, that the true gospel was always preached to the poor — “The poor have the gospel preached to them.” I am sure that the poor will never learn the gospel of these new divines, for they cannot make head or tail of it, nor the rich either; for after you have read through one of their volumes, you have not the least idea of what the book is about, until you have read it through eight or nine times, and then you begin to think you are a very stupid being for ever having read such inflated heresy, for it sours your temper and makes you feel angry, to see the precious truths of God trodden under foot. Some of us must stand out against these attacks on truth, although we love not controversy. We rejoice in the liberty of our fellow-men, and would have them proclaim their convictions; but if they touch these precious things, they touch the apple of our eye. We can allow a thousand opinions in the world, but that which infringes upon the precious doctrine of a covenant salvation, through the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, against that we must, and will, enter our hearty and solemn protest, as long as God spares us. Take away once from us those glorious doctrines, and where are we, brethren? We may lay us down and die, for nothing remains that is worth living for. We have come to the valley of the shadow of death, when we find these doctrines to be untrue. If these things be not the verities of Christ, if they be not true, there is no comfort left for any poor man under God’s sky, and it were better for us never to have been born. I may say what Jonathan Edwards says at the end of his book, “If any man could disprove the doctrines of the gospel, he should then sit down and weep to think they were not true, for,” says he, “it would be the most dreadful calamity that could happen to the world, to have a glimpse of such truths, and then for them to melt away in the thin air of fiction, as having no substantiality in them.” Stand up for the truth of Christ; I would not have you be bigoted, but I would have you be decided. Do not give countenance to any of this trash and error which is going abroad, but stand firm. Be not turned away from your steadfastness by any pretense of intellectuality and high philosophy, but earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and hold fast the form of sound words which you have heard of us, and have been taught, even as ye have read in the Book, which is the way of everlasting life.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘Capitol Punishment’

That which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven: Second picture of this

Spurgeon 1Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

2. But I must take it in another sense. “The sting of death is sin:” that is to say, that which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven….

Or suppose another character-a minister. He has stood before the world, proclaiming something which he called the gospel. He has been a noted preacher: the multitude have been hanging on his lips, they have listened to his words, before his eloquence a nation stood amazed, and thousands trembled at his voice. But his preaching is over; the time when he can mount the pulpit is gone; another standing-place awaits him, another congregation, and he must hear another and a better preacher than himself. There he lies. He has been unfaithful to his charge. He preached philosophy to charm his people, instead of preaching truth and aiming at their hearts. And as he pants upon his bed, that worst and most accursed of men-for sure none can be worse than he-there comes up one, a soul from the pit, and looking him in the face, says, “I came to thee once trembling on account of sin, I asked thee the road to heaven, and thou didst say, ‘Do such-and-such good works,’ and I did them, and am damned. Thou didst tell me an untruth; thou didst not declare plainly the word of God.” He vanishes only to be followed by another, he has been an irreligious character, and as he sees the minister upon his death-bed, he says, “Ah! And art thou here? Once I strolled into thy house of prayer, but thou hadst such a sermon that I could not understand. I listened; I wanted to hear something from thy lips, some truth that might burn my soul and make me repent; but I knew not what thou saidst, and here I am.” The ghost stamps his foot, and the man quivers like an aspen leaf, because he knows it is all true. Then the whole congregation arise before him as he lies upon his bed, he looks upon the motley group; he beholds the snowy heads of the old, and the glittering eyes of the young; and lying there upon his pillow, he pictures all the sins of his past life, and he hears it said, “Go thou! Unfaithful to thy charge: thou didst not divest thyself of thy love of pomp and dignity; thou didst not speak

As though thou ne’er might’st speak again,

A dying man to dying men.”

Oh! it may be something for that minister to leave his charge, somewhat for him to die; but worst of all, the sting of death will be his sin, to hear his parish come howling after him to hell, to see his congregation following behind him in one mingled herd, he having led them astray, having been a false prophet instead of a true one, speaking peace, peace, where there was no peace, deluding them with lies, charming them with music, when he ought rather to have told them in rough and rugged accents the word of God. Verily it is true, it is true, the sting of death to such a man shall be his great, his enormous, his heinous sin of having deluded others.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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AN INN-KEEPER’S PRAYER

IT is said that Rowland Hill once had to put up in a village where there was no other house to put up at but a tavern; and having a pair of horses to bait, and going into the best room of the inn, he was considered to be a valuable guest for the night. So the host came in, and he said, “Glad to see you, Mr. Hill.” “I am going,” was the reply, “to stay with you to-night.

Will you let me have family prayer to-night in this house?” “I never had such a thing as family prayer here,” said the landlord, “and I don’t want to have it now.” “Very well; then just fetch my horses out; I can’t stop in a house where they won’t pray to God. Take the horses out.” Now, being too good a guest to lose, the man thinks better of it, and promises to have family prayer. “Ah, but,” said Hill,” I’m not in the habit of conducting prayer in other people’s houses. You must conduct it yourself.” The man said he could not pray. “But you must,” said Rowland Hill. “Oh, but I never did pray.” “Then, my dear man, you will begin to-night,” was the answer. So when the time came, and the family were on their knees, “Now,” said Rowland Hill, “every man prays in his own house: you must offer prayer to-night.” “I can’t pray, I cant,’“ said the landlord. “What, man, you have had all these mercies to-day, and are you so ungrateful that you cannot thank God for them? Besides, what a wicked sinner you have been! Can’t you tell God what a sinner you’ve been, and ask for pardon?” The man began to cry, “I can’t pray, Mr. Hill, I can’t, indeed I can’t.” “Then tell the Lord, man, you can’t; tell him you can’t pray,” said Mr. Hill, “and ask him to help you.” Down went the poor landlord on his knees. “O Lord, I can’t pray: I wish I could.” “Ah! You have begun to pray,” said Rowland Hill, “you have begun to pray, and you will never leave off. As soon as God has set you to pray, faint though it be, you will never leave off. Now I’ll pray for you.” And so he did, and it was not long before the Lord was pleased, through that strange instrumentality, to break the landlord’s hard heart, and to bring him to Christ. Now, I say if any of you can’t pray, tell the Lord you can’t. Ask him to help you to pray: ask him to show you your need to be saved; and if you can’t pray, ask him to give you everything that you need. Christ will make as well as take the message. He will put his own blood upon your prayer; and the Father will send down the Holy Ghost to you to give you more faith and more trust in Christ.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘An Inn-Keeper’s Prayer’

That which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven: First picture of this

Spurgeon 3Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

2. But I must take it in another sense. “The sting of death is sin:” that is to say, that which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven. If that be not the exact meaning of the apostle, still it is a great truth, and I may find it here. If sin lay heavy on me and were not forgiven-if my transgressions were unpardoned, if such were the fact (though I rejoice to know it is not so) it would be the very sting of death to me. Let us consider a man dying and looking back on his past life: he will find in death a sting, and that sting will be his past sin. Imagine a conqueror’s death-bed. He has been a man of blood from his youth up. Bred in the camp, his lips were early set to the bugle, and his hand, even in infancy, struck the drum. He had a martial spirit; he delighted in the fame and applause of men, he loved the dust of battle and the garment rolled in blood. He has lived a life of what men call glory. He has stormed cities, conquered countries, ravaged continents, overrun the world. See his burners hanging in the hall, and the marks of glory on his escutcheon. He is one of earth’s proudest warriors. But now he comes to die; and when he lies down to expire what shall invest his death with horror? It shall be his sin. Methinks I see the monarch dying; he lies in state; around him are his nobles and his counsellors; but there is someone else there. Hard by his side there stands a spirit from Hades; it is the soul of a departed woman. She looks on him and says, “Monster! My husband was slain in battle through thy ambition: I was made a widow, and my helpless orphan and myself were starved.” And she passes by. Her husband comes, and opening wide his bloody wounds, he cries, “Once I called thee monarch; but by thy vile covetousness, thou didst provoke an unjust war. See here these wounds-I gained them in the siege. For thy sake I mounted first the sealing ladder; this foot stood upon the top of the wall, and I waved my sword in triumph, but in hell I lifted up my eyes in torment. Base wretch, thine ambition hurried me thither!” Turning his horrid eyes upon him, he passes by. Then up comes another, and another, and another yet: waking from their tombs, they stalk around his bed and haunt him; the dreary procession still marches on, looking at the dying tyrant. He shuts his eyes, but he feels the cold and bony hand upon his forehead; he quivers for the sting of death is in his heart. “O Death!” says he, “to leave this large estate, this mighty realm, this pomp and power-this were somewhat, but to meet those men, those women, and shoes orphan children, face to face, to hear them saying, ‘Art thou become like one of us?’ while kings whom I have dethroned, and monarchs whom I have cast down shall rattle their chains in my ears, and say, “Thou wast our destroyer, but how art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou brought down as in a moment from thy glory and thy pride!’” There you see the sting of death would be the man’s sin. It would not sting him that he had to die but that he had sinned, that he had been a bloody man, that his hands were red with wholesale murder-this would plague him indeed, for “the sting of death is sin.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

Categories: Gospel Tags: , , , ,

SLEEP A GIFT OF GOD

September 30, 2021 Leave a comment

THE sleep of the body is the gift of God. So said Homer of old, when he described it as descending from the clouds, and resting on the tents of the warriors around old Troy. And so sang Virgil, when he spoke of Palinurus falling asleep upon the prow of the ship. Sleep is the gift of God. We think that we lay our heads upon our pillows, and compose our bodies in a peaceful posture, and that, therefore, we naturally and necessarily sleep. But it is not so. Sleep is the gift of God; and not a man would close his eyes, did not God put his fingers on his eyelids — did not the Almighty send a soft and balmy influence over his frame which lulled his thoughts into quiescence, making him enter into that blissful state of rest which we call sleep. True, there be some drugs and narcotics whereby men can poison themselves well-nigh to death, and then call it sleep; but the sleep of the healthy body is the gift of God. The Lord of love bestows it; his tenderness rocks the cradle for us every night; his kindness draws the curtain of darkness about us, and bids the sun cover his blazing lamp. Love comes and says, “Sleep sweetly, my child; I give thee sleep.” Have you not known what it is at times to lie upon your bed and strive in vain to slumber? 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.” You have attempted to seize sleep, but it escaped you: the more you tried to sleep the more surely were you awake. It is beyond our power to procure a healthy repose. You imagine if you fix your mind upon a certain subject until it shall engross your attention, you will then sleep; but you find yourself unable to do so. Ten thousand things drive through your brain as if the whole earth were whirled before you. You see all things you ever beheld dancing in a wild confusion before your eyes. You close your eyes, but still you see; and there be things in your ear, and head, and brain, which will not let you be quiet. Sleep has forsaken the couch whereon you court its power. It is God alone, who alike seals up the sea-boy’s eyes upon the giddy mast, and gives the monarch rest: for with all appliances and means to boot, the king could not sleep without the aid of God, but would toss to and fro, and envy his slave to whom sheer weariness became the friendly administrator of slumber. It is God who steeps the mind in Lethe, and bids us sleep, that our bodies may be refreshed, so that for to-morrow’s toil we may rise recruited and strengthened.

How thankful should we be for sleep! Sleep is the best physician that I know off Sleep hath healed more pains of wearied heads, and hearts, and bones than the most eminent physicians upon earth. It is the best medicine; the choicest thing of all the names which are written in all the lists of pharmacy. No magic draught of the physician can match with sleep. What a mercy it is that it belongs alike to all? God does not make sleep the boon of the rich man; he does not give it merely to the noble, or the rich, so that they can monopolize it as a peculiar luxury for themselves; but he bestows it upon the poorest and most obscure. Yea, if there be a difference, the sleep of the laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much. He who toils hardest sleeps all the sounder for his work. While luxurious effeminacy cannot rest, tossing itself from side to side upon a bed of eiderdown, the hard-working laborer, with his strong and powerful limbs, worn out and tired, throws himself upon his hard couch and sleeps: and waking, thanks God that he has been refreshed. Ye know not how much ye owe to God, that he gives you rest at night. If ye had sleepless nights, ye would then value the blessing. If for weeks ye lay tossing on your weary beds, ye then would thank God for this favor. As sleep is the merciful appointment of God, it is a gift most precious, one that cannot be valued until it is taken away; yea, even then we cannot appreciate it as we ought.

The Psalmist says there are some men who are so foolish as to deny themselves sleep. For purposes of gain, or ambition, they rise up early and sit up late. We may have been guilty of the same thing. We have risen early in the morning that we might turn over the ponderous volume, in order to acquire knowledge; we have sat at night until our burned-out lamp has chidden us, and told us that the sun was rising; while our eyes have ached, our brain has throbbed, our heart has palpitated. We have been weary and worn out; we have risen up early, and sat up late, and have in that way come to eat the bread of sorrow by failing health and depressed spirits. Many of you business men are toiling in that fashion. We do not condemn you for it; we do not forbid rising up early and sitting up late; but we remind you of this text: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”

Sleep is frequently 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. Sleep often expresses a state of sloth, of deadness, of’ indifference, in which all ungodly men are found, according to the words, “It is high time for us to awake out of sleep.” “Let us not sleep as do others, but let us who are of the day be sober.” There be many who are sleeping the sluggard’s sleep, who are tossing upon the bed of indolent ease; but an awful waking awaits them, when they shall find that the time of their probation has been wasted; that the golden sands of their life have dropped unheeded from the hour-glass; and that they have come into that world where there are no acts of pardon passed, no hope, no refuge, no salvation.

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. He is not like David, who said, “I will lay me down and sleep, for thou Lord only makest me to dwell in safety.” Abner, the captain of Saul’s host, was there, and all the troops lay around him, but Abner slept. Sleep on, Saul! Sleep on! Abishai is standing at thy pillow, and with a spear in his hand he says, “Let me smite him even to the earth at once.” Still he sleeps: he knows not that he is on the brink of the sleep eternal! Such are many of you, sleeping in jeopardy of your souls; Satan is standing over you, the law is ready to smite, vengeance is prepared; even Providence seems to say, “Shall I smite him? I will smite him but this once, and he shall never wake again.” Jesus, the interposer, cries, “Stay, vengeance, stay.” Lo, the spear is even now quivering — “Stay! Spare the sleeper yet another year, in the hope that he may yet awake from this long sleep of sin.” Like Sisera, I tell thee, sinner, thou art sleeping in the tent of the destroyer; thou mayest have eaten butter out of a lordly dish; but thou art sleeping on the doorstep of hell. Even now the enemy is lifting up the hammer and nail, to smite thee through thy temples, and fasten thee to the earth, that there thou mayest lie for ever in that death of everlasting torment, which is so much worse than common death.

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, in the garden of Gethsemane. 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. These sleeps are not the benisons of God; nor does he bestow them on his beloved.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘Sleep a Gift of God’

Sin brought death into the world

September 27, 2021 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 6Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

1. First, sin puts a sting into death from the fact that sin brought death into the world. Men could be more content to die if they did not know it was a punishment. I suppose if we had never sinned there would have been some means for us to go from this world to another. It cannot be supposed that so huge a population would have existed that all the myriads who have lived from Adam down till now could ever have inhabited so small a globe as this, there would not have been space enough for them. But there might have been provided some means for taking us off when the proper time should come, and bearing us safely to heaven. God might have furnished horses and chariots of fire for each of his Elijahs; or as it was said of Enoch, so it might have been declared of each of us, “He is not, for God hath taken him.” Thus to die, if we may call it death, to depart from this body and to be with God, would have been no disgrace; in fact it would have been the highest honor: fitting the loftiest aspiration of the soul, to live quickly its little time in this world, then to mount and be with its God; and in the prayers of the most pious and devout man, one of his sublimest petitions would be, “O God, hasten the time of my departure, when I shall be with thee.” When such sinless beings thought of their departure they would not tremble, for the gate would be of ivory and pearl-not as now, of iron-the stream would be as nectar, far different from the present “bitterness of death.” But alas! How different! Death is now the punishment of sin. “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” “In Adam all die.” By his sin every one of us become subject to the penalty of death, and thus, being a punishment, death has its sting. To the best man, the holiest Christian, the most sanctified intellect, the soul that has the nearest and dearest intercourse with God, death must appear to have a sting, because sin was its mother. O fatal offspring of sin, I only dread thee because of thy parentage! If thou didst come to me AS an honor, I could wade through Jordan even now, and when its chilling billows were around me I would smile amidst its surges; and in the swellings of Jordan my song should swell to, and the liquid music of my voice should join with the liquid swellings of the floods, “Hallelujah! It is blessed to cross to the land of the glorified.” This is one reason why the sting of death is sin.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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AT THE SIEGE OF COPENHAGEN

September 23, 2021 Leave a comment

THE QUAKERS IN IRELAND.

A NAVAL officer tells the following singular story concerning the siege of Copenhagen, under Lord Nelson. An officer in the fleet says: — “I was particularly impressed with an object which I saw three or four days after the terrific bombardment of that place. For several nights before the surrender, the darkness was ushered in with a tremendous roar of guns and mortars, accompanied by the whizzing of those destructive and burning engines of warfare, Congreve’s rockets. The dreadful effects were soon visible in the brilliant lights through the city. The blazing houses of the rich, and the burning cottages of the poor, illuminated the heavens; and the wide-spreading flames, reflecting on the water, showed a forest of ships assembled round the city for its destruction. This work of conflagration went on for several nights; but the Danes at length surrendered; and on walking, some days after, among the ruins, consisting of the cottages of the poor, houses of the rich, manufactories, lofty steeples, and humble meeting-houses, I descried, amid this barren field of desolation, a solitary house, unharmed; all around it a burnt mass, this alone untouched by the fire, a monument of mercy. Whose house is that?’ I asked. ‘That,’ said the interpreter, ‘belongs to a Quaker. He would neither fight nor leave his house, but remained in prayer with his family during the whole bombardment.’ ‘Surely’, thought I, it is well with the righteous. God has been a shield to thee in battle, a wall of fire round about thee, a very present help in time of need.” It might seem to be an invention of mine, only that it happens to be as authentic a piece of history as any that can be found.

There is another story told, somewhat similar, of that Danish war. “Soon after the surrender of Copenhagen to the English, in the year 1807, detachments of soldiers were, for a time, stationed in the surrounding villages. It happened one day that three soldiers, belonging to a Highland regiment, were set to forage among the neighboring farmhouses. They went to several, but found them stripped and deserted. At length they came to a large garden, or orchard, full of apple trees, bending under the weight of fruit. They entered by a gate, and followed a path which brought them to a neat farmhouse. Everything without bespoke quietness and security; but as they entered by the front door the mistress of the house and her children ran screaming out by the back. The interior of the house presented an appearance of order and comfort superior to what might be expected from people in that station, and from the habits of the country. A watch hung by the side of the fireplace, and a neat book-case, well filled, attracted the attention of the elder soldier. He took down a book: it was written in a language unknown to him, but the name of Jesus Christ was legible on every page. At this moment the master of the house entered by the door through which his wife and children had just fled. One of the soldiers, by threatening signs, demanded provisions: the man stood firm, and undaunted, but shook his head. The soldier who held the book approached him, and pointing to the name of Jesus Christ, laid his hand upon his heart, and looked up to heaven. Instantly the farmer grasped his hand, shook it vehemently, and then ran out of the room. He soon returned with his wife and children laden with milk, eggs, bacon, etc., which were freely tendered; and when money was offered in return it was at first refused; but as two of the soldiers were pious men, they, much to the chagrin of their companion, insisted upon paying for all they received. When taking leave the pious soldiers intimated to the farmer that it would be well for him to secrete his watch; but by the most significant signs, he gave them to understand that he feared no evil, for his trust was in God; and that though his neighbors, on the right hand and on the left, had fled from their habitations, and by foraging parties had lost what they could not remove, not a hair of his head had been injured, nor had he even lost an apple from his trees.” The man knew that “He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword;” so he just tried the non-resistant principle; and God, in whom he put implicit confidence, would not let him be injured.

It was a remarkable thing that in the massacre of the Protestants in Ireland, a long time ago, there were thousands of Quakers in the country, and only two of them were killed; and those two had no faith in their own principles; one of them ran away and hid himself in a fastness, and the other kept arms in his house; but the others, unarmed. Walked amidst infuriated soldiers, both Roman Catholics and Protestants, and were never touched, because they were strong in the strength of Israel’s God, and put up their sword into its scabbard, knowing that to war against another cannot be right, since Christ has said, “Resist no evil; if any man smite thee on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” “Be kind, not only to the thankful, but to the unthankful and to the evil.” “Forgive your enemies.” “Bless them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.” But we are ashamed to do that; we do not like it; we are afraid to trust God; and until we do it we shall not know the majesty of faith, nor prove the power of God for our protection. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘At the Seige of Copenhagen’

The Sting of Death

September 20, 2021 Leave a comment

SpurgeonWhen I select such a text as this, I feel that I cannot preach from it. The thought overmasters me, my words do stagger: there are no utterances that are great enough to convey the mighty meaning of this wondrous text. If I had the eloquence of all men united in one, if I could speak as never man spake, (with the exception of that one godlike man of Nazareth) I could not compass so vast a subject as this. I will not therefore pretend to do so, but offer you such thoughts as my mind is capable of producing To night we shall speak of three things: first, the sting of death; secondly, the strength of sin; and thirdly, the victory of faith.

I. First, THE STING OF DEATH. The apostle pictures death as a terrible dragon or monster, which, coming upon all men, must be fought with by each one for himself. He gives us no hopes whatever that any of us can avoid it. He tells us of no bridge across the river Death; he does not give us the faintest hope that it is possible to emerge from this state of existence into another without dying: he describes the monster as being exactly in our path, and with it we must fight, each man personally, separately, and alone; each man must die; we all must cross the black stream; each one of us must go through the iron gate. There is no passage from this world into another without death. Having told us, then, that there is no hope of our escape, he braces up our nerves for the combat; but he gives us no hope that we shall be able to slay the monster; he does not tell us that we can strike our sword into his heart, and so overturn and overwhelm death; but pointing to the dragon, he seemed to say. “Thou canst not slay it, man, there is no hope that thou shouldst ever put thy foot upon its neck and crush its head; but one thing can be done-it has a sting which thou mayest extract; thou canst not crush death under foot, but thou mayest pull out the sting which is deadly, and then thou needst not fear the monster, for monster it shall be no longer, but rather it shall be a swift winged angel to waft thee aloft to heaven.” Where, then, is the sting of this dragon? Where must I strike? What is the sting? The apostle tells us that “The sting of death is sin.” Once let me cut off that, and then, though death may be dreary and solemn, I shall not dread it; but holding up the monster’s sting, I shall exclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Thoughts on the last battle, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, at Exerter Hall Strand, May 13, 1855

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