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world, I say, it is a little thing to believe that if they were true to their profession, they might, under Divine blessing, carry the gospel into every known part of the habitable worid before half a century has rolled away. However, we need not be afraid we shall do it. There is no fear that we shall run into any fanaticism. That is the last sin this age will commit. We shall go on, and be as orthodox and cold as we always were. No enthusiasm will ever fall upon us. We shall not see any very great and strange developments of an enormous fanaticism at the present day. Do not be alarmed, brothers and sisters. All I preach that looks like fanaticism will not hurt this age. Ye may do what ye will; preach ye never so wisely, ye will never make this deaf adder hear. The church of this day is a great deal too deaf to do anything extravagant. We do a little, and think it a wonderful deal. We each give fourpence to send Testaments to China; we will talk of it for the next fifty years! We sent out one or two missionaries to India; (and are they not one or two, compared with their needs?) it is a great thing. It is a fine thing for the whole Baptist denomination to raise twenty thousand pounds & year, when there are some men in the denomination who make as much money as that in the time. It is a marvellous thing that out of the whole lot of us we should not be able to get more than that. But you know I am an imprudent young man, of course, I always shall be I dare say—to dare to hint that some people have a great deal too much money to go to heaven with. Of course it will be very wicked if I dare to say this morning, that to die rich is a very frightful thing; that there are some people who have got too much riches to allow us to have any sure and certain hope that they have the love of God at all; for if they had more of the love of God, they would not grip their money so tightly. They would say, "While men are damning, what is my money? While men are dying, what is my gold? There it goes! As much as I need, I have, God allows it me; as much as I shall require in my old age, as much as my family can demand of me, that will I have, but as for more, a blast and a curse would be on it if I had it. My gold and my silver would be cankered, for I should be guilty of the blood of men's souls, and then condemnation would be at my door, because I had the money wherewithal to send the minister to preach to them, and I would not give it.”
Now, I say again, there is no fear of any one becoming improvidently liberal. You need not be frightened that anyone here will give a thousand pounds this morning. We provide ample accommodation for those who feel inclined to do so. If anyone should be overtaken with such an enormous fit of generosity, we will register and remember it. But I fear there are no people like Barnabas now. Barnabas brought all he had, and put it into the treasury. “My dear friend, do not do that, do not be so rash.” Ah! he will not do that; there is no necessity for you to advise him. But I do say again, if Christianity were truly in our hearts; if we were what we professed to be; the men of generosity whom we meet with now and hold up as very paragons and patterns would cease to be wonders, for they would be as plentiful as leaves upon the trees. We demand of no man that he should beggar himself; but we do demand of every man who makes a profession that he is a Christian, that he should give his fair proportion, and not be content with giving as much to the cause of God as his own servant. We must have it that the man who is rich must give richly. We know the widow's mite is precious, but the widow's mite has been an enormously great loss to us. O, that widow's mite has lost Jesus Christ many a thousand pounds. It is a very good thing in itself; but people with thousands a-year talk of giving a widow's mite. What a wicked application of what never can apply to them. No; in our proportion we must serve our God.
III. Now, I come in conclusion to ask you very pointedly and plainly, WHAT YOU MEAN TO DO IN ANSWER TO THE HEATHEN'S CRY, “ COME OVER AND HELP US ?” Have I in all this congregation one man who loves sound doctrine, who has ability to preach, and who has a mind to go and preach the gospel in other lands ? Because if I have, and if I have ten others who have a mind to give him ten pounds a year, I have an opening for sending him out at once. In Port Natal there are twenty Baptists, and those twenty Baptists are desirous of having a minister who should not only preach to them, but to the wild tribes around. They will raise him one hundred pounds, if we can manage to get the rest and send them out a missionary. Who can tell; he might be another Livingstone, perhaps a Moffat? Oh, that I had the honour of sending such an one from Buch a congregation as this! Have we no young men here this morning, who
are ready to volunteer to go and preach the gospel in heathen lands? I confess, when I think of myself, I know I cannot go away. My calling is here. And yet I sometimes think what a lazy, feather-bed life it is for one to lead, to be preaching here when there are all these continents without the gospel. Some people think it wonderfully hard to preach two or three sermons a week; but I think preaching thirteen or fourteen is a fearfully little thing. And I think sometimes, " Oh, if I were somewhere else, where there are some toils, some hardships to undergo! There is nothing to be done here. We cannot suffer, we cannot work, we cannot win crowns of martyrdom, we cannot win great battles here, as we could wish.” Yes, young man, I say again, if you are ambitious-if you are ambitious to serre Christ, the height of your ambition should lead you to say, “I desire to preach the gospel among the heathen." I hope there may be some here—some one at least—whose heart God hath touched. What! can it be possible thąt I should this morning address some eight thousand people, and yet out of the whole eight thousand there is not one who can say, “ Here am I, send me?” Is it not strange? Very probably there is not. But yet I would fain hope that somewhere there is one, who will write on the tablet of his heart, “I will go home to pray, I will go home to study, and if God has given me power to preach, if there be any door open in his provi. dence, here am I ; I will be a preacher of the gospel in foreign lands.".
And now, what are you resolved to do who cannot preach? Why, there are some of you, if you were to get up and preach, you had a great deal better sit down. It would not do for you to go and preach in foreign lands, because nobody would listen to you. I have often marvelled that some people should think themselves called to preach when they have no ability. As I tell them, “ If God calls any. body to fly, he will give them wings; and if he calls them to preach, he will give them ability to preach :" but if a man has not the ability to preach, I am sure he has not the call. Well, what will you do? Says one, “I will pray earnestly in support of missions ; I will cry to God, that great results may follow.” Do so; and you shall have our best thanks for your prayers. But in doing that, you have not done very much; for recollect, that is what the Roman priest did for the beggar. The priest said he would not give him a sovereign, he would not give him a half-crown, nor would he give him a penny. “Holy father," said the beggar, “ will you give me your prayers?" “Yes," said the priest,“ kneel down." “ No, not so," said the beggar; "for if your prayers had been worth a penny, you would not have given them to me.” And when you say you will pray, but will not help the cause with something more substantial; though we love your prayers, we might say, “You would not give them if they were worth a penny.” If you have nought else to give to Christ, ye need not be ashamed of saying, “ Jesus, I give thee my prayers;” but if you are blessed in your substance, you will be lying before him, if you ask him to bless his cause, and do not give of your means in its support.
Now, let each, as he is able, help this great cause; and above all, let us all in our spheres be preachers of the gospel,
“Seeking to tell to others round,
What a dear Saviour we have found." Let me say, before the collection is made, just this word. Alas! there are some of you here, that are as much heathen as if you were in Africa. To you I proclaim the gospel, and I have done—“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
(No. 190 will contain the ANNUAL SERmox, preached at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens, on
behalf of the BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY, by the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON, on Wednesday, April 28, 1858, and will be published on Friday, April 30th.]
THE DESOLATIONS OF THE LORD, THE CONSOLATION OF
DELIVERED ON WEDNESDAY MORNING, APRIL 28, 1858, BY TIE
“Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. Ho maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire."-Psalm xlvi. 8, 9.
It seems that everything Christ-like must have a history like that of Christ. His beginnings were small--the manger and the stable. So with the beginnings of that society which we love, and which we believe to be the very incarnation of the Spirit of Christ. Its beginnings also were small; but its latter end shall doubtless greatly increase, -for, hath not the end of Christ become exceedingly glorious ? He hath ascended up on high; he sitteth at the right hand of God, our Father, and doubtless this agency which God now employeth for the conversion of the world, shall have its ascension, and God shall greatly magnify it, But as Christ was called to suffer, so must everything Christ-like suffer with him. The Christian who is the most like his Master will understand the most of the meaning of that term, “ fellowship with him in his sufferings;" and inasmuch as the Missionary Society is like Christ, and hath Christ's heart and Christ's aim, it also must suffer like Jesus. This year we have been made to sip of that cup. The blood of our martyrs has been shed; our confessors have witnessed to the faith of the Lord Jesus ; at the hands of bloodthirsty and cruel men they have met their fate, and again the seed of the church has been sown in the blood of the martyred saint.
I felt that in addressing you this day it would be far from me to offer you any advice or counsel, when I am but as the youngest among you all, but that I miglit be permitted, as sometimes the child doth comfort its parents, to utter some few words of consolation, which might cheer you in the present distress, and nerve your arm for future combat with the great enemy of souls. And upon what subject could I address you, which couid be more full of consolation than the present? “ Come, behold the works of the Lord.” Turn ye from man's bloodshed, and behold your God at work; and from the desolations of rebellion, and carnage, and anarchy, turn your eyes here to the desolations which the Lord hath made in the earth. You see how, though the battle-bow still doth twang with the arrow, and though the spear is still imbrued in the heart's blood of men, yet he breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in sunder, and burns the chariot in the fire.
We shall regard this text this morning, first, as a declaration of what has happened, and secondly, as a promise of what shall be achieved.
I. First of all, we shall look upon it as A DECLARATION OF WHAT HAS ALREADY
“Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.”
1. And now let us commence the discussion of this part of our subject, by inviting you to the sad spectacle of the desolations which God in his providence has in different ages brought upon divers nations. As it is said of man, that he is full of trouble, so it is with nations; they also are full of sorrows, and some of them exceeding bitter. Wars have devastated countries; plagues have thinned our populations; all kinds of evil have swept athwart the most potent empires, and many of them have been compelled, at last, to yield to the destroying angel, and they slumber with the mighty dead. Doubtless there hath a wail gone up from the face of the earth, when the invasions of barbarians have put an end to the promise of civilisation-when cities, renowned for the culture of the arts and sciences, have suddenly become sacked and burned -when nations that had made great advances in knowledge have been carried away 'captive, and the sun has been made to go back many a degree on the dia) of the earth's history.
But I beg you now turn your eyes, and read the page of history, and mark the various catastrophes which have happened to this world; and I appeal to you, as persons who have understanding, and who can trace the Lord's hand in these matters—have not all these things worked together for good? and hitherto, have not the revolutions, the destructions of empires, and the falls of dynasties, been eminent helps to the progress of the gospel? Far be it from us to lay the blood of men at God's door. Let us not for one moment be guilty of any thought that the sin and the iniquity which have brought war into the world is of God; but, at the same time, as firm believers in the doctrine of predestination, and as firmly holding the great truth of a Divine providence, we must hold that God is the author of the darkness as well as of the light—that he creates the providential evil as well as the good-that while he sendeth the shower from on high he also is the father of the devastating storm. Oh! I say, then, come and see the Lord's hand in “ Aceldama, the field of blood.” Come ye, and behold the Lord's hand in every shake of the pillars of the constitutions of the monarchies of earth. See the Lord's hand in the crumbling of every tower and the tumbling down of every pinnacle which had aspired to heaven. For he hath done it-he hath done it! God is present everywhere.
And now, I again say, can you not see all these things a gracious, as well as a terrible God? Can you not feel that everything that as yet happened to the world, has really been for its good? Wars, confusions, and tumults, are but the rough physic wherewith God will purge the diseased body of this earth from its innumerable ills. They are but a terrible tornado with which God shall sweep away the pestilence and fever that lurk in the moral atmosphere; they are but the great hammers with which he breaks in pieces the gates of brass, to make a way for his people; they are but the threshing wains, with which he doth thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills as chaff, that Israel may rejoice in the Lord, and that the sons of Jacob may triumph in their God. As it hath been in the beginning, so it shall be even unto the end. The noise and the tumult of war in India shall produce good; the blood of our sisters shall be avenged, not by the sword, but by the gospel. On India's blood-red gods, the arm of the Lord shall yet be felt; the might of him that sits upon the throne shall be acknowledged by the very men, who, first in the fray, have blasphemed the God of Israel. Let us not fear, let us not tremble; the end of all things cometh at last, and that end shall certainly be the desired one, and all the wrath of man shall not frustrate the designs of God. The past troubles assure us for the present, and console us for the future. “Come behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.”
2. But now, turning from this somewhat dreary subject, I must invite you next to look at some desolations which will ever be fair in the eye of the follower of Jesusthe desolations of false worship. What a pleasant theme! Oh, that we had but power truly to enlarge upon it! Will you turn your minds back to the origin of idolatry, and tell me, if you can, what were the names of the first gods whoru men profanely worshipped ? Are they known ? Are not their names blotted out from history? Or, if any of them be mentioned, are they not a bye-word, a hissing. and a reproach ? What shall we say of idolatries which are of later date--those which have been noted in Holy Scripture, and therefore handed down to infamy? Who is he that now bows before the god of Egypt? Hath the sacred Ibis now a worshipper? Do any prostrate themselves before the Nile, and drink her sweet waters, and think her a deity ? Hath not that idolatry passed away; and are not the temple and the obelisk still standing,—" the desolations which the Lord hath made in the earth ?” Talk we of the gods of Philistia ? Do we mention Baal and Dagon? Where are they? We hear their names ; they are but the records of the past; but who is he that doth them homage? Who doth now kiss his hands to the queen of heaven? Who boweth himself in the grove of Ashtaroth, or who worshippeth the hosts of heaven, and the chariots of the sun? They have gone! they have gone! Jehovah still standeth, “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”. One generation of idols hath passed away, and another cometh, and the desolations stand,-memorials of the might of God.
Turn ye now your eyes to Assyria, that mighty empire. Did she not sit alone ? She said she should see no sorrow. Remember Babylon, too, who boasted with her. But where are they, and where are now their gods ? With ropes about their necks they have been dragged in triumph by our discoverers; and now in the halls of our land, they stand as memorials of the ignorance of a race that is long since extinct. And then, turn ye to the fairer idolatries of Greece and Rome. Fine poetic conceptions were their gods; theirs was a grand idolatry, one that never shall be forgotten. Despite all its vice and lust, there was such a high mixture of the purest poetry in it, that the mind of man, though it will ever recollect it with sorrow, will still think of it with respect. But where are their gods ? Where are the names of their gods ? Are not the stars the last memorials of Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus ? As if God would make his universe the monument of his destroyed enemy! Where else are their names to be found? Where shall we find a worshipper who adores their false deity? They are past, they are gone! To the moles and to the bats are their images cast, while many an unroofed temple, many a dilapidated shrine stands as memorials of that which was, but is not, -and is passed away for ever.
I suppose there is scarce a kingdom of the world where you do not see God's handiwork in crushing his enemies. It is to the shame of the idolater that he worships a God that his fathers knew not. Although there be some hoary systems of iniquity; in most cases the system is still new-new compared with the giant mountains, the first-born of nature-new compared with those old idolatries that have long since died away in the clouds of forgetfulness. It seems to me to be a very pleasing theme for us to speak of these desolations that God has made. For mark this-again we say it—as it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be. The false Gods shall yet yield their sway; the temples shall yet be unroofed; their houses shall be burned with fire, and their names shall be left for a reproach; their dignity shall not be honoured, neither shall homage be given unto their name. Oh! thou that fearest for the ark of the Lord; thou that tremblest at the firmness with which falsehood keeps its throne; look thou on these desolations and be of good cheer; God hath done mighty things, and he will do them yet again. One can never pass, even in our own country, a ruined abbey, or a destroyed priory, or an old broken down cathedral, without a sweet satisfaction. They are fair ruins, all the fairer because they are ruined, because their inhabitants are forgotten, because the monk no longer prowls our streets, because the nun, though she is here and there to be found, yet is no more honoured, because the apostate church to which they belong has ceased to have power among us, as once it had. We will, therefore, seek to honour God, and in all our journeyings we will think of this text" Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth."
3. And now, in the next place, let me ask you to remember what desolations God has made with false philosophies. As for stones and timbers, they are things that must decay in the common course of nature, and one might be apt to think that some of the desolate temples we behold were rather the trophies of the tooth of time, than of the hand of God; but thought is a lasting thing; a bold philosophy that shapes into words the wandering thoughts, which have taken possession of the hearts of men is an enduring thing; and how have some philosophers believed that they were writing books which would be read for ages! They believed that their philosophy most certainly was eternal, and that to the last day their disciples would be had in reverence. Let any classical student remember how many systems of philosophy have passed away before the progress of the kingdom of Christ. The mighty Stagyrite, once the great master of all minds, who even held in sway