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and yet he sees it not: he still goes on in his wickedness, despising God and hating his own salvation. Leave him there. A few years have passed, and now hear another story. Do you see that spirit yonder—foremost among the ranks, most sweetly singing the praises of God? Do you mark it robed in white, an emblem of its purity? Do you see it as it casts its crown before the feet of Jesus, and acknowledges him the Lord of all? Hark! do you hear it as it sings the sweetest song that ever charmed Paradise itself ? Listen to it, its song is this :
“I, the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.".
“Unto him that loved me, and washed me from my sins in his blood, unto him be glory and honour, and majesty, and power, and dominion, world without end." And who is that whose song thus emulates the seraph's strain? The same person who a little while ago was so frightfully depraved, the selfsame man! But he has been washed, he has been sanctified, he has been justified. If you ask me, then, what is meant by salvation, I tell you that it reaches all the way from that poor, desperately fallen piece of humanity, to that high-soaring spirit up yonder, praising God. That is to be saved—to have our old thoughts made into new ones; to have our old habits broken off, and to have new habits given; to ha. u our old sins pardoned, and to have righteousness imputed; to have peace in the conscience, peace to man, and peace with God; to have the spotless robe of imputed righteousness cast about our loins, and ourselves healed and cleansed. To be saved is to be rescued from the gulf of perdition; to be raised to the throne of heaven; to be delivered from the wrath, and curse, and the thunders of an angry God, and brought to feel and taste the love, the approval, and applause of Jehovah, our Father and our Friend. And all this Christ gives to sinners. When I preach this simple gospel, I have nothing to do with those who will not call themselves sinners. If you must be canonized, if you claim a saintly perfection of your own, I have nothing to do with you. My gospel is to sinners, and sinners alone; and the whole of this salvation, so broad and brilliant, and unspeakably precious, and everlastingly secure, is addressed this day to the outcast, to the offscouring-in one word, it is addressed to sinners.
Now, I think I have announced the truth of the text. Certainly, no man can misunderstand me unless he does so intentionally:-“Christ Jesus came to save sinners."
II. And, now, I have but little to do, but yet I have the hardest work—THE DOUBLE COMMENDATION of the text. First, “it is a faithful saying;” that is a commendation to the doubter: secondly, it is worthy of all acceptation;" that is a commendation to the careless-nay, to the anxious, too.
1. First, “it is a faithful saying;” that is a commendation to the doubter. Oh, the devil, as soon as he finds men under the sound of the word of God, slips along through the crowd, and he whispers in one heart, “ Don't believe it!" and in another, “ Laugh at it !” and in another, • Away with it!” And when he finds a person for whom the message was intended-one who feels himself a sinner, he is generally doubly in earnest, that he may not believe it at all. I know what Satan said to you, poor friend, over there. He said, “ Don't believe it--it's too good to be true.' Let answer the devil by God's own words : “ This is a faithful saying." It is good, and it is as true as it is good. It is too good to be true if God had not himself said it; but, inasmuch as he said it, it is not too good to be true. I will tell thee why thou thinkest it to too good to be true; it is because thou measurest God's corn by thine own bushel. Please to remember, that his ways are not as thy ways, nor his thoughts as thy thoughts; for as the heavens are high above the earth, so are his ways high above thy ways, and his thoughts above thy thoughts. Why, thou thinkest that if any man had offended thee, thou couldst not have forgiven him. Ay, but God is not a man: he can forgive where thou canst not; and where thou wouldst take thy brother by the throat, God would forgive him seventy times seven. Thou dost not know Jesus, or clse thou wouldest believe him. We think that we are honouring God when we think great thoughts of our sin. Let us recollect, that while we ought to think very greatly of our own sin, we dishonour God if we think our sin greater than his grace. God's grace is infinitely greater than the greatest of our crimes. There is but one exception that he has ever made, and a penitent cannot be included in that. I beseech you, therefore, get better thoughts of him. Think how good he is, and how great he is; and when you know this to be a true saying, I hope you will thrust Satan away from you, and not think it too
good to be true. I k: ow what he will say to you next;—“Well, if it is true, it is not true to you : it is true to all the world, but not to you. Christ died to save sinners; it is true you are a sinner, but you are not included in it.” Tell the devil he is a liar to his face. There is no way of answering him except by straightforward language. We do not believe in the individuality of the existence of the devil, as Martin Luther did. When the devil came to him, he served him as he did other imposters; he turned him out of doors, with a good hard saying. Tell him on the authority of Christ himself, that he is a liar. Christ says, he came to save sinners; the devil says he did not. He says, virtually, he did not, for he declares that he did not come to save you, and you feel that you are a sinner. Tell him he is a liar, and send him about his business. At any rate, never put his testimony in comparison with that of Christ. He looks to-day on thee from Calvary's cross, with those same dear tearful eyes that once wept over Jerusalem. He looks on thee, my brother, my sister, and says through these lips of mine, “I came into the world to save sinners.” Sinner! wilt thou not believe on him, and trust thy soul in his hands? Wilt thou not sar,—“Sweet Lord Jesus, thou shalt be our confidence henceforth ! 'For thee all other hopes I resign, thou art, thou ever shalt be mine.'” Come, poor timid one, I must endeavour to re-assure you, by repeating again this text :- Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” It is a true saying; I cannot have you reject it. You say you cannot believe it. Let me ask you, “Do you not believe the Bible ?”
“Yes,” you say, “every word of it.” Then, this is one word of il-" Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” I charge thee by thy honesty-as thou sayest, “I believe the Bible," believe this. There it stands. "Dost thou believe Jesus Christ ? Come, answer me. Dost thou think he lieth? Would a God of Truth stoop to deceit ? “No,” thou sayest, "whatever God says, I believe." It is God that says it to thee, then, in his own book. He died to save sinners. Come, once again. Dost thou not believe facts ? Did not Jesus Christ risc from the dead? Does not that prove his gospel to be authentic ? If, then, the gospel be authentic, the whole of what Christ declares to be the gospel must be true. I charge thee, as thou believest his resurrection, believe that he died for sinners, and cast thyself upon this truth. Once again. Wilt thou deny the testimony of all the saints in heaven and of all the saints on earth ? Ask every one of hem, and they will tell you this is true—he died to save sinners. as one of the least of his servants, must bear my testimony. When Jesus came to save me, I protest he found nothing good in me. I know of a surety, that there was nothing in me to recommend me to Christ; and if he loved me, he loved me because he would do so; for there was nothing loveable, nothing that he could desire in me. What I am, I am by his grace; he made me what I am. But a sinner he found me at first, and his own sovereign love was the only reason for his choice. Ask all the people of God, and they will all say the same.
But you say you are too great a sinner. Why, you are not greater than some in heaven already. You say that you are the greatest sinner that ever lived. I say you are mistaken. The greatest sinner died some years ago and went to heaven. My text says so:—“Of whom I am chief.” So, you see, the chief one has been saved before you; and if the chief one has been saved, why should you not be? There are the sinners standing in a line, and I see one starting out from the ranks, and he says, “ Make way, make way; I stand at the head of you, I am the chief of sinners; give me the lowest place; let me take the lowest room.” No,” cries another, “not you; I am a greater sinner than you.” Then the apostle Paul comes, and says: “I challenge you all; Manasseh and Magdalene, I challenge you. I will have the lowest place. I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious, but I have obtained mercy, that in me first God might show his long-suffering.” Now, if Christ has saved the greatest sinner that ever lived, oh, sinner, great as you may be, you cannot be greater than the greatest, and he is able to save you. Oh, I beseech you by the myriads of witnesses around the throne, and by the thousands of witnesses on earth, by Jesus Christ, the witness on Calvary, by the blood of sprinkling that is a witness even now, by God himself, and by his Word which is faithful, I beseech you believe this faithful saying, that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”
2. And, now, to close. The second commendation of the text is to the careless and to the anxious too. To the careless one this text is worthy of all acceptation. Oh, man, thou scornest it. I saw thee curl thy lip in derision. The story was badly told, and therefore thou didst scorn it. Thou saidst in thine beart,
“ What is that to me? If this be what the man preaches, I care not to hear it: if this be the gospel it is nothing.” Ah, sir, it is something, though thou knowest it not. It is worthy of thy acceptation: the thing I have preached, however poor the way in which it is preached, is well worthy of thy attention. I care not what orator may lecture to you, he can never have a subject greater than mine. Demosthenes himself, might stand here, or Cicero, his later compeer, they could never have a weightier subject. Though a child should tell you of it, the subject might well excuse him, for it is so important. Man, it is not your house that is in danger, it is not your body only, it is your soul. I beseech you, by eternity, by its dreadful terrors, by the horrors of hell, by that fearful word, “ Eternity-Eternity," I beseech thee as a man, thy brother, one who loves thee, and who would fain snatch thee from the burning, I beseech thee do not despise thine own mercies; for this is worthy of thee, man, worthy of all thy attention, and worthy of thy heartiest acceptation. Art thou wise? This is more worthy than thy wisdom Art thou rich?' This is worthier than all thy wealth. Art thou famous? This is worthier than all thy honour. Art thou princely? This is worthier than thine ancestry, or than all thy goodly heritage. The thing I preach is the worthiest thing under heaven, because it will last thee when all things else fade away. It will stand by thee when thou hast to stand alone. In the hour of death it will plead for thee when thou hast to answer the summons of justice at God's bar. And it shall be thine eternal consolation through never ending ages. It is worthy of thy acceptation.
And, now, dost thou feel anxious? Is thy heart sad? Dost thou say, “I desire to be saved. Can I trust to this gospel? Is it strong enough to bear me? I am an elephantine sinner; will not its pillars crumble like leaves beneath my weight of sin ?" "I the chief of sinners am;" will its portals be wide enough to recsive me? My spirit is diseased with sin; can this medicine cure it? Yes, it is worthy of you: it is equal to your disease, it is equal to your wants, it is all-sufficient for your demands. If I had a half-gospel to preach, or a defective one, I would not preach it earnestly; but I have one that is worthy of all acceptation. “But, sir, I have been a thief, a whoremonger, a drunkard.” It is worthy of thee, for he came to save sinners, and thou art one. “But, sir, I have been a blasphemer.” It does not exclude even thee; it is worthy of thy acceptation. But, mark; it is worthy of all the acceptation you can give it. You may not only accept it in your head but in your heart; you may press it to your soul and call it all in all; you may feed on it, and live on it. And if you live for it, and suffer for it, and die for it, it is worthy of all.
I must let you go now; but my spirit feels as if it would linger here. Strange it should be that many men should not care for their own souls, when your minister this day cares for you. What matters it to me whether men be lost or saved? Shall I be any the better for your salvation? Assuredly there is little gain there, And yet I feel more for you, many of you, than you feel for yourselves. Oh, strange hardening of the heart, that a man should not care for his own salvation, that he should, without a thought, reject the most precious truth. Stay, sinner, stay, ere thou turnest from thine own mercy-stay, once more-perhaps this shall be thy last warning, or worse, it may be the last warning thou shalt ever feel. Thou feelest it now. Oh, I beseech thee quench not the Spirit. Go not forth from this place to talk with idle gossip on thy way home. Go not forth to forget what manner of man thou art. But hasten to thy home; seek thy chamber; shiut to the door; fall on thy face by thy bedside; confess thy sin; cry unto Jesus; tell him thou art a wretch undone without his sovereign grace; tell him thou has heard this morning that he came to save sinners, and that the thought of such a love as that hath made thee_lay down the weapons of thy rebellion, and that thou art desirous to be his. There on thy face plead with him, and say unto him, “ Lord save me, or I perish.”
The Lord bless you all for Jesus' sake. Amen.
[The Publishers apologise for the inaccuracy of this Report, which is not a fair representation of the Sermon; but the usual Reporter was not able to attend, and the most eminent gentlemen of the profession are unable to follow Mr. Spurgeon, until they have become used to his rapid and abrupt style.]
HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP?
PREACHED ON SUNDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 1374, 1857,
BY THE REV. R. W. DIBDIN, M.A.,
AT WEST STREET EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, ST. GILES'S.
“How are the dead raised up?"-1 Cor. xv. 35.
You must imagine some Sadducean scoffer to be meant by this “ some man.” The Apostle says,
“Some man will say, how are the dead raised up ? and with what body do they come ?” The Sadducees, you know, denied angel and spirit, and the resurrection. Paul here supposes the case of a man who thinks himself wise, with a sneer on his lip-one of a very large class, not in Paul's time only, but in every time and in every place. It is the language of self-conceited ignorance-"How are the dead raised up ?” Oh, that word, how. It is a favourite word with some people. “ How can it be?” they say ; "I don't see how it can be, therefore it cannot be !—a quiet assumption of omniscience, you perceive. I have read, and do read more Infidel books than, probably, any man here-more, I think, than most
Some of them are clever enough in their way. The Weekly Dispatch, the Reasoner, the books of the Mormonites, of the Swedenborgians, of the Broadchurch Infidels—or philosophers we may call them of the smooth Tractarians, the avowed Papist periodicals; I read them all. All of them have talent ; for the Devil, who has a mighty intellect, helps all his servants as much as he can. But what I observe in them all, as a general rule, is, that they agree to set aside the Word of God whenever it opposes their respective faucies on any given subject. They take different modes, indeed, of stating their opinions; and they have very different opinions amongst themselves; as you must suppose, when you recall the various classes that I bave gathered together in one sentence. But still, they all agree in this—to make the Word of God of none effect. Professed Christians do so, by what they call explaining the Bible, in order that it may suit their views ; which is, in other words, explaining the Bible away, and putting something else in the place of it. Infidels, more honest than others, contradict the Bible, and say, “ The Bible says this, and it is not true.” That clever fool, Tom Paine, in his writings, calls the Apostle Paul a fool. He is speaking on the passage in the context, where, by the Holy Ghost, the Apostle Paul, in the 35th verse, says ;“Some mun will say, how are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come ?"The Apostle replies, or rather the Holy Ghost by the Apostle, “ Thou fool, that wbich thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.” That is the Apostle's answer. Paine, in replying to that, says, “Thou fool, Paul, thou sayest, except the seed die it cannot rise again. You ought to know, that if it doth really die it will never rise again ; for, if it perishes in the earth, it will never send up a green blade.” And upon this he triumplis not a little. No doubt many thoåsands of working men have talked and laughed over this passage in the beer-shop, and given the weight of their approval to 'Tom Paine's decision. They have said, Paul was a fool, and Paine was wise.
I have learned, my brethren, to doubt dogmatic people. I am old enough to
remember many things which, at the time, were incredible to many, but which afterwards came to be true. I remember when many sober, sensible people laughed at the thought of lighting a city with gas, and called it, in a humourous way, all a bottle of smoke; and yet, look around us. Here we are, by the help of that very same gas, looking at the Word of God, and enabled to look each other in the face. I remember, too, that the Infidel Voltaire sneers at a passage in the writings of Sir Isaac Newton, because that great man, in explaining a passage in one of the prophets, said, probably the day would come when men would be able to travel as much as one hundred miles in one hour. There is the Infidel's ridicule at such things, and there is the prediction of Newton, who was led thereto by the Word of God. Voltaire little dreamed of railways, or Newton either; and yet we see, that at the present day we can go between seventy and eighty miles an hour, and think it no wonderful proceeding. Thus, you see, time proves the presumption of ignorance, and time proves the solidity of wisdom. Where all are ignorant, it is easy for a confident, positive man to get up and say to those about him, “I know all about it-hear me!" for no one can contradict him. Nothing is easier than this assumption of infallibility, where any one chooses to assert a dogmatic opinion upon a matter where all are equally ignorant. It is so in many cases; and more especially with regard to religion. It was so here in the case supposed. Paul preached the resurrection of the body; and, says the Infidel Sadducee, with a shrewd smile upon his face, “Ah, with what body do they come? The dead rise again, after they have been cominitted to the grave, and their bodies crumbled to dust ? Rise again! what body do they come with p” “For, look you," says he to the ignorant masses, who are always willing enough to listen to those who mislead them, “Look you, when a man dies his body turns to the earth. That very earth may be converted into wheat, or vegetable matter of some kind; because, you know, the earth is the means whereby the seed is changed, and from which the ear and the full corn in the ear spring. Well, then, when that same corn or vegetable is eaten by a man, the material of which it is made becomes part of his body; that body will be buried in like manner, and go to dust again; and that may be again turned into food; and so the process may be repeated from generation to generation; so that the very same materials may form part of many bodies. How can each man have the same material in his body, seeing that many men may have the same material ?” This is what the Infidel says. And then comes å very humourous description of the absurdity of the universal resurrection-one man disputing with another man, saying, “ This is my bone;" but, "No," says another, “that bone is mine;" and then comes a third, a hundred years later in the history of the world, and says, “It is my bone.” “And so," says the scoffer and the Infidel, “you see that the resurrection of the body involves in it the very greatest and incredible absurdity.”
“ Vain man would be wise." It is thus that unthinking people are imposed upon. They are not a few who think this argument very profound. They say, “We never thought of this. There is no resurrection ! for with what body can they come? The thing is unanswerable! We understand all about it! The Bible is wrong!" So the matter ends. I think it is a great pits, that they who can decide so easily upon the most mysterious and difficult subjects, have not corresponding talents in ordinary matters. I think it is a great pity that Ivfidels, who are so wondrously above the great mass of mankind who do believe the Bible with regard to religion and things connected therewith, are not equally superior to them in anything else. Either among gentlefolk or simple folk, either amongst the learned and the great, or amongst the lower classes of society and the unlearned, I never could find that Infidels-apart from their Infidelity-were at all wiser than other men; not I. In the lower ranks, for instance, for aught I see to the contrary, the man who believes his Bible is just as good a workman, quite as intelligent, and generally a much better husband, and servant, or clerk, or master, than the Infidel man is in the same position; so far as my observation has extended, and it is not small nor short. I do not profess myself to be very clever ; I have a great respect for scholars, and for learned men, and for men of mind, without professing to have any very great wisdom myself; I only lay claim to common sense; but I should be very sorry, indeed, if I had not as much sense as most Infidels triat I have come across.