Friday, December 26, 2008
To all our readers,
I hope your Christmas Day was wonderful and I wanted to let you know that The Daily Spurgeon will be on vacation until after the first of the year.
Thanks for your readership and support during the past year - we've been brushing 300 RSS subscribers here and there and I hope you continue to be blessed by these words. May the Lord bless you all richly in 2009!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.” -Luke 1:46, 47.
Observe, this morning, the sacred joy of Mary that you may imitate it. This is a season when all men expect us to be joyous. We compliment each other with the desire that we may have a “Merry Christmas.” Some Christians who are a little squeamish, do not like the word “merry.” It is a right good old Saxon word, having the joy of childhood and the mirth of manhood in it, it brings before one’s mind the old song of the waits, and the midnight peal of bells, the holly and the blazing log. I love it for its place in that most tender of all parables, where it is written, that, when the long-lost prodigal returned to his father safe and sound, “They began to be merry.” This is the season when we are expected to be happy; and my heart’s desire is, that in the highest and best sense, you who are believers may be “merry.”
Mary’s heart was merry within her; but here was the mark of her joy, it was all holy merriment, it was every drop of it sacred mirth. It was not such merriment as worldlings will revel in today and tomorrow, but such merriment as the angels have around the throne, where they sing, “Glory to God in the highest,” while we sing “On earth peace, goodwill towards men.” Such merry hearts have a continual feast. I want you, ye children of the bride-chamber, to possess today and tomorrow, yea, all your days, the high and consecrated bliss of Mary, that you may not only read her words, but use them for yourselves, ever experiencing their meaning: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
From a sermon entitled "Mary's Song," delivered December 25, 1864. Image: Adoration of the Shepherds, by Michelangelo Caravaggio; Public Domain.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Dost thou understand him as the sin-bearer, taking away transgression? Canst thou see him bleeding as the substitute for men? Dost thou accept him as such? Does thy faith put all her dependence upon what he did, upon what he is, upon what he does? Then Christ is conceived in thee, and thou mayest go thy way with all the joy that Mary knew; and I was half ready to say, with something more; for the natural conception of the Savior’s holy body was not one-tenth so meet a theme for congratulation as the spiritual conception of the holy Jesus within your heart when he shall be in you the hope of glory.
My dear friend, if Christ be thine, there is no song on earth too high, too holy for thee to sing; nay, there is no song which thrills from angelic lips, no note which thrills Archangel’s tongue in which thou mayest not join. Even this day, the holiest, the happiest, the most glorious of words, and thoughts, and emotions belong to thee. Use them! God help thee to enjoy them; and his be the praise, while thine is the comfort evermore. Amen.
From a sermon entitled "Mary's Song," delivered December 25, 1864. Image by Pieter Paul Rubens, "The Adoration of the Shepherds;" in the public domain.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Mary is all heart; evidently her soul is on fire; while she muses, the fire burns; then she speaks with her tongue. May we, too, call home our wandering thoughts, and wake up our slumbering powers to praise redeeming love. It is a noble word that she uses here: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” I suppose it means, “My soul doth endeavor to make God great by praising him.” He is as great as he can be in his being; my goodness cannot extend to him; but yet my soul would make God greater in the thoughts of others, and greater in my own heart. I would give the train of his glory wider sweep; the light which he has given me I would reflect; I would make his enemies his friends; I would turn hard thoughts of God into thoughts of love. “My soul would magnify the Lord....”
It is as if she wanted to get more of God into her, like Rutherford, when he says, “Oh! that my heart were as big as heaven, that I might hold Christ in it;” and then he stops himself- “But heaven and earth cannot contain him. Oh, that I had a heart as big as seven heavens, that I might hold the whole of Christ within it.” Truly this is a larger desire than we can ever hope to have gratified; yet still our lips shall sing, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”
From a sermon entitled "Mary's Song," delivered December 25, 1864. Image: Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli (1503); in the public domain.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Let us dream no longer in somber sadness that we cannot draw near to God so that he will really hear our prayer and pity our necessities, seeing that Jesus has become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, born a babe as we are born, living a man as we must live, bearing the same infirmities and sorrows, and bowing his head to the same death.
O, can we not come with boldness by this new and living way, and have access to the throne of the heavenly grace, when Jesus meets us as Immanuel, God with us? Angels sung, they scarce knew why. Could they understand why God had become man? They must have known that herein was a mystery of condescension; but all the loving consequences which the incarnation involved even their acute minds could scarce have guessed; but we see the whole, and comprehend the grand design most fully. The manger of Bethlehem was big with glory; in the incarnation was wrapped up all the blessedness by which a soul, snatched from the depths of sin, is lifted up to the heights of glory. Shall not our clearer knowledge lead us to heights of song which angelic guesses could not reach?
From a sermon entitled "Mary's Song," delivered December 25, 1864. Image: one of the 18 Renaissance stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Auch by Arnaud de Moles; in the public domain.
Friday, December 19, 2008
May I beg you carefully to judge every preacher, not by his gifts, not by his elocutionary powers, not by his status in society, not by the respectability of his congregation, not by the prettiness of his Church, the grandeur of the ceremonial, or the peculiar beauty of his vestments, but by this - does he preach the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation? If he does, your sitting under his ministry may prove to you the means of begetting faith in you; but if he does not, you cannot expect God’s blessing, for you are not using God’s ordinance, but the ordinance of man.
From a sermon entitled "The True Position Of Assurance," delivered October 2, 1864. Image by joiseyshowaa under Creative Commons License.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The wise man saith, “Where the word of a king is, there is power.” What power must there be where there is the word of the King of kings who ruleth over all! We are not left to conjecture as to the power of the divine Word, for we know that “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Out of nothingness the glorious Creation leaped at the bidding of the Most High; and when the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, there was nothing wanted but that solemn voice, “Light be,” and straightway light was. God’s word was sufficient in itself to build the temple of the universe; and to finish it from its foundations to its pinnacles.
That same word upholdeth by its power, and ruleth all things by its might. The pillars of heaven stand because the divine Word hath fixed them upon their bases, nor shall they be shaken until that same almighty word shall bid them remove; then, as a moment’s foam dissolves into the wave which bears it and is gone for ever, so shall the whole creation melt away. His word, which created, shall also destroy; but until that word be spoken every atom of this world is imperishable.
Consider, my brethren, what power is concentrated in him who is clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and whose name is “THE WORD OF GOD.” With what glorious power our Lord Jesus Christ uplifted the burden of our sins, carried the load up to the tree, and cast it for ever into the Red Sea of his own atoning blood. Ye know how he burst the bars of death, tore away the gates of the grave, overthrew all the hosts of hell, and dragged the mightiest principalities of darkness as captives at his chariot wheels. At this day the government is upon his shoulders and his name is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. Heaven and earth salute him as the omnipotent Word. He sustains the spiritual life of all his people by feeding them upon himself; and he shall, in due time, perfect his saints and present them without spot before his Father’s throne. We ought therefore to bow with reverence to that which is truly the Word of God, since it contains within itself the highest degree of power, and is ever the way in which divine omnipotence manifests itself.
From a sermon entitled "Thus Saith The Lord," delivered September 25, 1864. Image by Aaron Escobar under Creative Commons License.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Is it not a gross mistake to attach so much importance to this poor body of clay, and forget the priceless jewel of the immortal soul? Why think so much of a world in which we only tarry for a few evil years, and neglect the world where we must dwell for ever? Such folly is most shameful in one who was once a professed Christian, because he knew, or professed to know, somewhat of the superiority of the eternal over the temporal; of the vanity of things earthly and the glory of things heavenly.
Yet because things go well with him - because his wife is in health, his children blooming, his house well furnished, his property increasing, he saith, “Soul, take thine ease,” and disturbs not himself though heaven is black with lowering tempest, and the light of God’s countenance is hidden from him. The loss of God’s presence the man thinks to be a trifle, because he is succeeding in the world; as though a man should count it nothing to lose his life if he may but
keep his raiment whole to be buried in. O fools, thus to put the last things first, and the first things last.
From a sermon entitled "The Backslider's Way Hedged Up," delivered September 18, 1864. Image by Jack Wolf under Creative Commons License.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The Christian is never to feel himself at ease so long as he is on this side of Jordan. This is an enemy’s land. Expect a foe behind every bush, look to hear the shot come whistling by, and each night adore almighty grace that you have not fallen a prey to your cruel and remorseless foes.
The Christian is engaged throughout his whole life as a soldier - he is so called in Scripture- “A good soldier of Jesus Christ”; and if any of you take the trouble to write out the passages of Scripture in which the Christian is described as a soldier, and provision is made for his being armed, and directions given for his warfare, you will be surprised to find there are more of this character than concerning any other metaphor by which the Christian is described in the Word of God. His chief and main business seems to be, like his Master, to bear witness for the truth; “For this purpose was I born and sent into the world”; and though in himself a man of peace, yet he can say with his Master, “I came not to send peace but a sword”; for wherever he goes, he finds that his presence is the signal for war - war within him and war without him: he is a man of peace, and yet a man of war because a man of peace.
The Christian is engaged in warfare with sin, Satan, error, and falsehood, and sometimes he is called to fight for erring friends.
From a sermon entitled "Jesus Meeting His Warriors," delivered September 11, 1864. Image by Kevin Dooley under Creative Commons license.
Monday, December 15, 2008
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth.”
As men shout when they welcome a king, so must we. Loud hosannas, full of happiness, must be lifted up. If ever men shout for joy it should be when the Lord comes among them in the proclamation of his gospel reign. John Wesley said to his people, “Sing lustily, and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.”
“Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise;”
or “Burst forth, and sing, and play.” Let every form of exultation be used, every kind of music pressed into the service till the accumulated praise causes the skies to echo the joyful tumult. There is no fear of our being too hearty in magnifying the God of our salvation, only we must take care that the song comes from the heart, otherwise the music is nothing but a noise in his ears, whether it be caused by human throats, or organ pipes, or far-resounding trumpets. Loud let our hearts ring out the honours of our conquering Saviour; with all our might let us extol the Lord who has vanquished all our enemies, and led our captivity captive. He will do this best who is most in love with Jesus: -
“I've found the pearl of greatest price,
My heart doth sing for joy;
And sing I must, a Christ I have,
Oh, what a Christ have!”
From the Treasury Of David, exposition of Psalm 98:4. Image by David Conner under Creative Commons license.
Friday, December 12, 2008
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when lie was yet a great way off his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” — Luke 15:20.
Sinner, thou knowest that God sees thee this morning; sitting in this house thou art observed of the God of heaven. There is not a desire in thy heart unread of him, nor a tear in thine eye which he doth not observe. I tell thee he has seen thy midnight sins, he has heard thy cursings and thy blasphemies, and yet he has loved thee notwithstanding all that thou hast done. Thou couldst
hardly have been a worse rebel against him, and yet he has noted thee in his book of love, and determined to save thee, and the eye of his love has followed thee whithersoever thou hast gone. Is there not some comfort here? Why could not he see his father? Was it the effect of the tears in his eyes that he could not see? or was it that his father was of quicker sight than he? Sinner, thou canst not see God, for thou art unbelieving, and carnal, and blind, but he can see thee; thy tears of penitence block up thy sight, but thy Father is quick of eye, and he beholds thee and loves thee now; in every glance there is love. “His father saw him.”
From a sermon entitled "The Prodigal's Reception," delivered September 4, 1864. Flickr photo by Becky; some rights reserved.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
“Oh !” said Caesar, “we will soon root up this Christianity, off with their heads.” The different governors hastened one after another of the disciples to death, but the more they persecuted them the more they multiplied. The pro-consuls had orders to destroy Christians; the more they hunted them the more Christians there were, until at last men pressed to the judgment seat and asked to he permitted to die for Christ. They invented torments, they dragged the saints at the heels of wild horses, they laid them upon redhot gridirons, they pulled off the skin from their flesh piece by piece, they were sawn asunder, they were wrapped up in skins and daubed with pitch, and set in Nero’s gardens at night to burn, they were left to rot in dungeons, they were made a spectacle to all men in the amphitheatre, the bears hugged them to death, the lions tore them to pieces, the wild bulls tossed them upon their horns and yet Christianity spread.
All the swords of the legionaries which had put to rout the armies of all nations, and had overcome the invincible Gaul and the savage Briton, could not withstand the feebleness of Christianity, for the weakness of God is mightier than men.
From a sermon entitled "God's Strange Choice," delivered August 28, 1864. Flickr photo by Paul Russell; some rights reserved.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
“Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”-1 Samuel 3:9.
In the days of Eli the word of the Lord was precious, and there was no open vision. It was well when the word did come, that one chosen individual had the hearing ear to receive it, and the obedient heart to perform it. Eli failed to tutor his sons to be the willing servants and the attentive hearers of the Lord’s word. In this he was without the excuse of inability, since he successfully trained the child Samuel in reverent attention to the divine will. O that those who are diligent about the souls of others, would look well to their own households.
Alas, poor Eli, like many in our day, they made thee keeper of the vineyards, but thine own vineyard thou hast not kept. As often as he looked upon the gracious child, Samuel, he must have felt the heartache. When he remembered his own neglected and unchastened sons, and how they had made themselves vile before all Israel, Samuel was the living witness of what grace can work where children are trained up in God’s fear, and Hophni and Phineas were sad specimens of what parental indulgence will produce in the children of the best of men. Ah, Eli, if thou hadst been as careful with thine own sons as with the son of Hannah, they had not been such men of Belial, nor would Israel have abhorred the offering of the Lord because of the fornication which those priestly reprobates committed at the very door of the tabernacle. O for grace so to nurse our little ones for the Lord, that they may hear the Lord when he shall be pleased to speak unto them.
From a sermon entitled "The Child Samuel's Prayer." Flickr photo by Calum Davidson; some rights reserved.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Untried faith is always small in stature; and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. There is no room in the placid pools of ease for faith to gain leviathan proportions, she must dwell in the stormy sea if she would be one of the chief of the ways of God. Tried faith brings experience; and every one of you who are men and women of experience, must know that experience makes religion become more real to you. You never know either the bitterness of sin or the sweetness of pardon, till you have felt both.
You never know your own weakness till you have been compelled to go through the rivers, and you would never have known God’s strength had you not been supported amid the water-floods. All the talk about religion which is not based upon an experience of it, is mere talk. If we have little experience, we cannot speak so positively as those can whose experience has been more deep and profound. Once when I was preaching upon the faithfulness of God in time of trial in the earlier days of my ministry, my venerable grandfather was sitting in the pulpit behind me; he suddenly rose up and took my place, and coming to the front of the pulpit, said, “My grandson can preach this as a matter of theory, but I can tell you it as a matter of experience, for I have done business upon the great waters, and have seen the works of the Lord for myself.” There is an accumulation of force in the testimony of one who has personally passed through the things whereof others can only speak as though they had seen them in a map or in a picture. Travellers who write from their easy chairs what they have seen from their bedchambers, may indite books to beguile the idle hours of those who stay at home; but he who is about to traverse regions full of danger, seeks a guide who has really trodden the road. The writer may excel in florid words, the veritable traveler has real and valuable wisdom. Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more she is exercised with tribulation, and the more she hath been cast down, and lifted up again.
Let not this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without your seeking for them; the full portion will be measured out to you in due season. Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have. Praise him for that whereunto you have attained; walk according to that rule, and you shall yet have more and more of the blessing of God, till your faith shall remove mountains, and conquer impossibilities.
From a sermon entitled "A Mystery! Saints Sorrowing And Jesus Glad!," delivered August 7, 1864. Flickr photo by Calum Davidson; some rights reserved.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Brethren and sisters, you and I have no right to want to go to heaven till our work is done. There is a desire to be with Christ which is not only natural but spiritual; there is a sighing to behold his face, which if a man be without I shall question if he be a Christian at all; but to wish to be away from the battle before we win the victory, and to desire to leave the field before the day is over, were but lazy and listless;therefore let us pray God to save us from it.
Whitfield and a company of ministers were talking together and expressing their desire to go to heaven. Good Mr. Tennant was the only man who differed from them. He said he did not wish to die; and he thought that if his brother Whitfield would but consider for a time, he would not wish to be gone either; for he said, if you hire a man to do a day’s work, and he is saying all the day, “I wish it were evening, I wish it were time to go home,” you would think,” what a lazy fellow he is,” and you would wish you had never engaged him. “So,” he said, “I am afraid, it is nothing but our idleness that often prompts us to desire to be away from our work.” If there be a soul to win, let me stop until I have won it. Truly some of us might summon up courage enough to say, “I would fain barter heaven for the glory of Christ, and not only wait twenty years out of heaven if I may have twenty years of glorifying him the better, but wait out altogether if I may outside heaven sing to him sweeter songs, and honor him more than I can inside its walls;. for outside heaven shall be heaven to me if it shall help me to glorify my Lord and Master the better.”
From a sermon entitled "A Hearer In Disguise," delivered July 31, 1864. Flickr photo by Sir Mervs; some rights reserved.
Friday, December 5, 2008
There shall be victory in every place and spot; and the conquest of Jesus shall be complete and perfect. We believe, then, that in this very earth, where superstition has set up its idols, Jesus Christ shall be adored. Here, where blasphemy has defiled human lips, songs of praise shall rise from islands of the sea and from the dwellers among the rocks. In this very country, among those very men who became the tools of Satan, and whose dwelling-places were dens of mischief, there shall be found instruments of righteousness, lips to praise God, and occasions of eternal glory unto the Most High.
O Satan, thou mayst boast of what thou hast done, and thou mayst think thy scepter still secure, but he cometh, even he who rides upon the white horse of victory; and when he comes, thou shalt not stand against him, for the two-edged sword which goeth out of his mouth shall drive thee and thy hosts back to the place from whence thou camest. Let us rejoice that Scripture is so clear and so explicit upon this great doctrine of the future triumph of Christ over the whole world!
From a sermon entitled "The Lamb - The Light," delivered July 31, 1864. Flickr photo by Nick Russill; some rights reserved.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
But still, the main thing which we have to preach about is Christ. Depend upon it, dear brethren, the best sermons which we ever preach are those which are fullest of Christ. Jesus the Son of David and the Son of God; Jesus the suffering Savior by whose stripes we are healed; Jesus able to save unto the uttermost - here is the most suitable subject for Gentiles, and God has fashioned all hearts alike, and therefore, this is also the noblest theme for Jews. Paul loved his countrymen; he was no simpleton; he knew what was the best weapon with which to assail and overcome their prejudices, and yet he could say, “I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Lift up the Messiah, then, both before Jew and Gentile. Tell of Mary’s Son, the eternal Son of God, the Man of Nazareth, who is none other than the incarnate Word, God made flesh, and dwelling amongst us. Preach his hallowed life - the righteousness of his people; declare his painful death - the putting away of all their sins. Vindicate his glorious resurrection, the justification of his people; tell of his ascent on high, their triumph over the world and sin; declare his second advent, his glorious coming, to make his people glorious in the glory which he hath won for them, and Christ Jesus, as he is thus preached, shall surely be the means of making these bones live.
From a sermon entitled "The Restoration And Conversion Of The Jews," delivered June 16, 1864. Flickr photo by Jason; some rights reserved.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
My brethren in Christ, labor for souls of all sorts: for your children and for those who are past the threescore years and ten. Seek out the drunkard; go after the thief; despise not the poor down-trodden slave; let every race, let every color, let every age, let every profession, let every nation, be the object of your soul’s prayers. You live in this world, I hope, to bring souls to Jesus; you are Christ’s magnets with which through his Holy Spirit he will attract hearts of steel; you are his heralds, you are to invite wanderers to come to the banquet; you are his messengers, you are to compel them to come in that his house may be filled; and if the devil tells you will not succeed, and if the world tells you that you are too feeble and have not talent enough, never mind, Jesus would be greatly displeased with you if you should take any heed to them; and meanwhile he is greatly displeased with your adversaries for endeavoring to stop you.
From a sermon entitled "Children Brought To Christ, And Not To The Font," delivered July 24, 1864. Flickr photo by Mclaire MClaire; some rights reserved.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
All the people of God are wrapped about with the righteousness of Christ, and, wearing that glorious robe, the eye of God sees no fault in them - Jehovah sees no sin in Jacob, neither iniquity in Israel. Christ is seen, and not the sinner; Christ being therefore perfection’s own self, the believer is seen as perfect in him. God regards his people with the same affection as that wherewith he loves his only-begotten Son. He hath pronounced them clean, and clean they are; he hath proclaimed them just, covered with the righteousness of Christ, and just they are. Come on thou accusing devil, come on ye who lay a thousand things to our charge, but if our Jesus pronounces our acquittal, who is he that condemneth? If he mounts the chariot of salvation, who is he that can be against us? Is it not a mysteriously blessed thing to wear upon one’s soul the mark of complete justification?
The heathen have a custom of marking themselves upon the forehead with the seal of their god; but, oh! what a seal is this to wear, what a mark of the Lord Jesus, to go about this world a perfectly justified man! God looketh upon common men with anger - they are not reconciled unto him; but towards his people he looketh always with eyes of love: no anger is in his heart to them, not a jot of wrath; all this has been put away through the great sacrifice. Towards them his whole heart goeth out- “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.” Being justified, they have peace with God, through Jesus Christ their Lord. O dear friends, if God be at peace with you, it matters not who is at war with you; if your Master acquits, it little matters who condemns; it Jehovah absolves, your name may be cast out as evil, you may be ranked among the vilest of the vile, your name may be a by-word and a proverb, only fit to be wrought up into the drunkard’s song - but who is he that can be against you? What are all these things, if put into the balance, but lighter than vanity, if Jehovah himself hath justified you?
From a sermon entitled "God Is With Us," delivered July 17, 1864. Flickr photo by Serge Arsenie; some rights reserved.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sometimes God pleads the cause of his people by silencing their enemies. What a remarkable instance you have of this in the case of Jacob! His sons had most cruelly and basely killed the Shechemites. Having betrayed them by false promises, they then slew them in cold blood. Jacob said, “Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.”
How strange was it, that he suffered no molestation; surely the Lord had cast a solemn awe upon the hearts of the Canaanites round about. His all-commanding voice was heard in their hearts, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophet no harm;” so that though Jacob’s family was grossly in the wrong, and his sons had committed a foul deed, yet nevertheless, the Lord pleaded the cause of his chosen servant, and his enemies were as still as stones. It will often be so with the Lord’s peculiar ones. When your foot has slipped - when you have spoken unadvisedly with your lips, if you have deeply repented of the sin, you may leave the matter before God, for he will either silence every dog’s tongue, or turn their barkings to his glory.
From a sermon entitled "God Pleading For Saints, And Saints Pleading For God," delivered July 10, 1864. Flickr photo by Tim; some rights reserved.