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away in blackness of darkness for ever-when you think of this, and then remember that yon are stones in Jehovah's temple,-living stones,- oh, ye must say that ve will praise him, for man is more than man, now that God dwelleth in him. Daughters of Jerusalem, rejoice! for you are more than women now. Sons of Israel, rejoice! for your manhood is exalted; he hath made you temples of the Holy Ghost--God dwelling in you and you in him. Go out from this place and sing his praise; go forth to honour him; and while the dumb world wants you to be its mouth, go and speak for the mountain, for the hill, for the lake, for the river, for the oak, and for the insect ; speak for all things ; for you are to be like the temple. the seat of the worship of all worlds; you are to be like the priests and offerers of the sacrifices of all creatures.
Let me address myself last of all to others of you. Alas! my hearers, I have many here who have no portion in Israel, neither any lot in Jacob. How many of you there are, who are not stones in the spiritual temple, never to be used in the building up of God's Jerusalem. Let me ask you one thing; it may seem a slight thing to-day to be left out of the muster-roll of Christ's church,—will it seem a slight thing to be left out, when Christ shall call for his people? When you are all assembled around his great white throne at last, and the books shall be opened, oh! how dread the suspense, while name after name is read! how dreadful your suspense, when it comes to the last name, and yours has been left out! That verse of our hymn has often impressed me very solemnly:
“ I love to meet among them now,
Though vilest of them all;
When thou for them shalt call?". Sinner, conceive it! The list is read, and thy name unmentioned. Laugh at religion now! scoff at Christ now! now that the angels are gathering for the judgment; now that the trumpet sounds exceedingly loud and long; now that the heavens are red with fire, that the great furnace of hell o'erleaps its boundary, and is about to encircle thee in its flame; now despise religion! Ah! no. I see thee. Now thy stiff knees are bending, now thy bold forehead for the first time is covered with the hot sweat of trembling, now thine eyes that once were fall of scorn are full of tears; thou dost look on him whom thou didst despise, and thou art weeping for thy siu. O sinner, it will be too late then; there is no cutting of the stone after it gets to Jerusalem. Where thou fallest there thog !'est. Where judgment finds thee, there eternity shall leave thee. Time shall be no more when judgment comes, and when time is no more, change is impossible! In eternity there can be no change, no deliverance, no signing of acquittal. Once lost, lost for ever; once damned, damned to all eternity. Wilt tan choose this and despise Christ? or wilt thou have Christ and have heaven? I charge you by him that shall judge the quick and the dead, whose I am, and whom I serve, who is the searcher of all hearts, choose ye this day whom ye will serve. If sin be best serve sin, and reap its wages. If you can make your bed in hell, if you can endure eternal burnings, be honest with yourself, and look at the wages while you do the work. But if you would have heaven, ii Fou would be amongst the many who shall be glorified with Christ, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; believe now, to-day “If ye will hear his voice harden not viur hearts as in the provocation.” “Kiss the Sou, lest he be angry and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” Men, brethren, and fathers, believe and live; cast yourself at Jesus' feet, put your trust in him,
" Renounce thy works and ways with grief,
And fly to this most sure relief;" giving up all you are to come to him, to be saved by him now, and saved eternally, O Lord, bless my weak but earnest appeal, for Christ's sake. Amen.
[No. 192 will contain the ANNUAL SERMON on behalf of the SUNDAY School Uniox, preached by
the Rev. C. H. SPURG Eox, at Bloomsbury Chapel, on Tuesday evening, May 4th, 1838. Will be published on Monday next, the 10th instant.)
THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHER-A STEWARD.
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT BLOOMSBURY CHAPEL,
On behalf of the Sunday School Union.
“Give an account of thy stewardship."-Luke xvi. 2.
We have heard many times in our lives, that we are all stewards to Almighty God. We hold it as a solemn truth of our religion, that the rich man is responsible for the use which he makes of his wealth; that the talented man must give an account to God of the interest which he getteth upon his talents; that every one of us, in proportion to our time and opportunities, must give an account for himself before Almighty God. But, my dear brothers and sisters, our responsibility is even deeper and greater than that of other men. We have the ordinary responsibility which falls upon all professors of religion, to give an account of ally we have to God; but besides this, you and I have the extraordinary responsibilities of our official standing-you, as teachers for Christ in your classes; and others of us as preachers for him before the great congregation. The first responsibility is too heavy for any man to fulfil. Apart from divine grace, it is not possible that any man should so use all that God has given him as to be accepted at last with a “Well done thou good and faithful servant;" yet even if that were possible, it would still remain an utter impossibility for us fully to sustain the fearful weight of responsibility which rests upon us as teachers of the Word of God to our fellow immortals. Upon our necks there are two yokes; Sovereign grace can make them light and easy, but apart from that they will gall our shoulders; for they are, of themselves, too heary for us to bear. Common responsibility is as Solomon's whip; but extraordinary responsibility derived from official standing, when not regarded, will be as the scorpion of Rehoboam, its little finger shall be thicker than its father's loins. Woe unto the watchman who warns them not; woe unto the minister who fails to teach the truth; woe unto the Sabbath school teacher who is unfaithful to his trust. Now, let us try to stir one another up, upon this seriously important matter. You will pray for me while I preach, that I may utter some things that may do good to all now present, and I will labour that God may, in answer to your prayers, give me words and thoughts which shall be blessed to you.
Now, first, let me show the meaning of our being stewards; then let us consider what kind of account we shall have to give; and lastly, let us notice the days of reckoning when we ought to cast up our account, and the days of reckoning when we MUST give in our account.
I. First, then, THE STEWARD-WHAT IS HE?
In the first place, the steward is a servant. He is one of the greatest of servants, but he is only a servant. Perhaps he is the bailiff of a farm, and looks, to ali intents and purposes, like a country farmer: he rides over his master's estate, and has many men under him; still he is only a servant, he is under authority, he is only a steward. Perhaps he is steward in the house of some gentleman, who employs him to see after the whole of his establishment, in order that he may be free from cares. In that capacity he is himself a master, but still he is a servant; for
he has one over him. Let him be as proud as he pleases, he has little to be proud of, for the only rank he holds in life, is the rank of a servant. Now, the minister, and the Sunday-school teacher specially stand in the rank of servants. Why, we are none of us our own masters; we are not independent gentlemen, who may do as we please; our classes are not our own farms, which we may till in our own manner, and neglect if we please, out of which we may produce any harvest, or none at all, at our own discretion. No, we are nothing better than stewards, and we are to labour for our Master in heaven. What a strange thing it is to see a minister or a teacher giving himself fine airs, as if he were everybody in the world, and might do as he pleased. Is it not an anomaly? How is he to talk about the sacrifices that he makes, when he is spending only his master's property? How is he to boast about the time which he expends, when his time is not his own? It is all his Master's. He is a servant, and therefore, do he what he may, he only discharges the duty for which he is well rewarded. He has no reason to be proud, or to lord it over others, for whatever his power among them may be, he is himself neither more nor less than a servant. Let each of us try to recollect that henceforth “ I am only a servant.” If a superintendent puts a teacher to a class which she does not like, she will recollect that she is a servant. She does not allow her servants at home to stand up and say, they are not going to do scullerywork but will only wait at table; they are servants, and must do as they are bidden; and if we felt that we were servants, we should not object to do what we are told for Christ's sake: though we would not do it at the dictation of men, yet for Christ's sake we do it as unto the Lord. We do not suppose that our servants will come to us at night, and expect us to say to them, “ You have done your work very well to-day;" we do not imagine that they will look for constant commendation. They are servants, and when they get their wages, that is their encomium on their work. They may judge they are worth their money, or else we should not keep them. When you do your work for Jesus, recollect you are only a servant. Do not expect always to have that encouragement, which some people are constantly crying after. If you get encouragement from your pastor, from other teachers, from your friends, be thankful; but if you do not get it, go on with your work notwithstanding. You are a servant, and when you receive your reward, that is of grace, and not of debt, then you will have the highest encomium that can be passed upon you, the plaudit of your Lord, and eternal glory with him whose you are, and whom you desire to serve.
But still while the steward is a servant, he is an honourable one. It does not do for the other servants in the house to tell him that he is a servant. He will not endure that: he knows it, and feels it; he desires to act and work as such, but at the same time, he is an honoured servant. Now, those who serve Christ in the office of teaching, are honourable men and women. //I remember to have heard a very unseemly discussion between two persons, as' to whether the minister was not superior to the Sabbath-school teacher. It reminded me of that talk of the disciples, as to who among them was the greatest. Why, we are all of us "the least," if we feel aright, and though we must each of us exalt our office as God hath given it to us, yet, I see not anywhere in the Bible, anything that should lead me to believe that the office of the preacher is more honourable than that of the teacher. It seems to me, that every Sunday-school teacher has a right to put “Reverend” before his name as much as I have, or if not, if he discharges his trust he certainly is a “ Right Honourable.” He teaches his congregation and preaches to his class. I may preach to more, and he to less, but still he is doing the same work, though in a smaller sphere. I am sure I can sympathise with Mr. Carey, when he said of his son Felix, who left the missionary work to become an ambassador, “ Felix has drivelled into an ambassador;” meaning to say, that he was once a great person as a missionary, but that he had afterwards accepted a comparatively insignificant office. So I think we may say of the Sabbath-school teacher, if he gives up his work because he cannot attend to it, on account of his enlarged business, he drivels into a rich merchant. If he forsakes his teaching because he finds there is so much else to do, he drivels into something less than he was before; with one exception, if he is obliged to give up to attend to his own family, and makes that family his Sabbath-school class, there is no drivelling there; he stands in the same position as he did before. I say they who teach, they who seek to pluck souls as brands from the burning, are to be considered as honoured persons, second far to him from whom they received their commission; but still in some sweet sense lifted up to become fellows with him, for
he calls them his brethren and his friends. “ The servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth, but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
Only one more thought here. The steward is also a servant who has very great responsibility attached to his position. A sense of responsibility seems to a right man always a weighty thing. To do a thing where there is no responsibility involved at all, is a very slight matter, and hence we find in ordinary affairs that the labour which involves no trust is but poorly paid. But where there is a large amount of trust reposed the labour is paid in proportion. Now the work of the Sabbath-school teacher is one of the most responsible in the world. It has sometimes staggered me to think how greatly God trusts you and me. You remember the story of the prodigal. It finds a counterpart in each of us, who after long wandering in sin have come home to Jesus. I sometimes think that a prudent father, when the prodigal was restored to his house, would receive him to his heart, would press him to his bosom, and give him a share of all his wealth, but would be very slow to trust him in any matter of responsibility. The next market-day the old gentlemen would say, “ Now John I love you with all my heart, but you know you ran away once, and spent your living riotously; I must send your elder brother to market; I cannot trust you with my purse: I love you; I have totally forgiven you, at the same that, when he takes poor prodigals to his heart, he trusts us with his most precious jewels, he trusts us with immortal souls. He permits us to be the means of seeking his lost sheep, and then allows us to feed the lambs after they are gathered. He puts the prodigal into the most important station, and hath confidence in him. Then my brethren and sisters, seeing he hath been gracious enough to repose confidence in such unworthy persons, shall we deceive him? Oh no; let us earnestly labour as stewards that every part of the estate committed to us shall be found in good order when our Master comes; that every jot and tittle of our account shall be found correct when he sums it up in the great day of the audit before his throne. Our office is a very, very solemn one. Some think little of it. Some take it upon themselves very lightly. Giddy youths are enticed into the school and not rendered more sober by their connection with it. Let such depart from us. We want none but those who are sober, none but those who solemnly weigh what they are doing, and who enter upon the work as a matter involving life or death; not as a trivial affair which concerns the interests of time, but an awfully solemn thing which even an angel would be incapable of performing, unless he had the abundant assistance of God the Holy Spirit. I have thus endeavoured very simply to set forth the idea couched in the word “stewardship.” We are servants highly honoured, very responsible, and much trusted.
II. And now, THE ACCOUNT_"Give an account of thy stewardship.” Let us briefly think of this giving an account of our stewardship.
Let us first notice that when we shall come to give an account of our stewardship before God, that account must be given in personally, by every one of us. While we are here, we talk in the mass; but when we come before God, we shall have to speak as individuals. You hear persons boasting about “our Sabbathschool.” Many persons are wicked enough to call the Sabbath-school “their school," when they never see it by the year together. They say, “I hope our school is flourishing," when they never subscribe a halfpenny, when they never give the teachers a word of encouragement, or even a smile, and do not know how many children the school contains. Yet they call it theirs. Thieves that they are, taking to themselves that which does not belong to them! Well, but we, in our measure, make the same mistake. As a ministry, we often talk of the doings of the “body," and what wonders have been done by the denomination.” Now, let. us recollect, when we come before God, there will be no judging us in denominations, no dealing with us in schools and in churches, but the account must be given for each one by himself. So, then, thou that hast the infant class, thou wilt have to give thine own account. It was but the other day thou wast finding fault with the conduct of the senior class, and thou wast told then to look at home. Conscience told thee so. But at last, when thou shalt have to stand before God, thou wilt have no account to give of the senior class, but of that infant class committed to thee. And you, my sister, you have been seven or eight years a teacher-you must give an account for yourself, not for that other teacher of another class, of whom you have often boasted, because she has been the means of bringing six or seven children to Christ lately. Remember, her six won't be put with your mone at all, in order to make the total at the year's end look respectable; but there will stand your great blank at the end of your labours, and there will remain the dark mark for your negligence, for your unpunctuality, your carelessness in your class, without the relief of the bright side of the diligent teacher's success. You must be judged each of you for yourself, not in parties, but one by one. This makes it terrible work, for a man to be looked at all alone. I have known people who could not bear to stand up in a pulpit; the very fact of so many eyes looking upon thenı seemed 80 horrible; but how will it be when we must stand up and hear our hearts read by the all-searching eye of God, and when the whole of our career in the offices which we now hold will be published before the sun, and that, I repeat it, without the salvo of the success of others, without any addition to our labours derived from the diligence of other teachers ? Come, Mr. Steward, what is your account? Not that one, sir, not that one; your account. * Lord, I have brought in the account of the Sunday-school books." “ No, not that; the account of your own class?" “Well, my Master, I have brought in the account of the class for the last twentyfive years, showing how many were converted.” “No, not that; the account of your own class while you were its teacher.” “Well, I have brought in the account of the class during the time I was teacher with So-and-so.” “No, not that; the account of the class while you were the teacher of it alone; the account of how you taught, what you taught, how you prayed, how earnestly you laboured, how diligently you studied, and what you sought to do for Christ.” Not the addenda of the other teacher who helped you in another part of the duty, but your own personal account alone must be brought in before God. “Give an account of thy stewardship." Putting it in this light, what account will some of you give in at the last and great day? Just let me stop a minute to charge your memories. What kind of account will it be? I trust a very large number here can humbly in their hearts say, “I have done but little, but I did that sincerely and prayerfully; may God accept it through Jesus Christ!” But I fear there are some others, who, if they are true to their consciences, will say, “I have done but little; I did that little carelessly; I did it without prayer; I did it without the help of the Holy Spirit." Then, my brother and sister, I hope you will add after that, “Oh, my God, forgive me, and help me from this good hour to be diligent in this divine business, fervent in my spirit, serving the Lord.” And may God bless you in that prayer! Make no resolve, but offer a prayer which is better far; and may you be heard in heaven, the dwellingplace of God.
And note again, that while this account must be personal it must be exact. You will not, when you present your account before God, present the gross total, but every separate item. When thou givest in thine account of thy stewardship, it will be thus. Thou hadst so many children. What didst thou Bay to this child, and to this, and to this, and to the other? How often didst thou pray for that child with his bitter temper; for that child with his unbending obstinacy; for that child with its quickness, and its sweet affection; for that child, that sulky one; for that child, the headstrong, vicious one, that had learned all the evils of the street, and seemed to taint others ? What didst thou do for each one of these? How didst thou labour for the conversion of every one? And to make the account still more particular, it will run thus-What didst thou do for each child on each Sabbathi Thou heardest one child utter an ill word: didst thou reprove it? Thou sawest another child oppress a little one: didst thou deliver the less out of his hand and reprove him, and teach both children to love each other? Didst thou notice the follies of each, and strive to understand the temperament of each, so that thou shouldest fit thy discourse or thy prayer to each? Didst thou travail in birth for the conversion of each one ? Didst thou agonise in prayer with God, and then didst thou agonise in exhortation with them, beseeching them to be reconciled to Christ? I believe the account will be far more minute than this, when God shall come to try our hearts and reins as well as our works and ways. My poor way of putting it does but becloud the truth which I seek to bring forth, but nevertheless so shall it be; a special and exact account shall be given. And then there shall be an account given, for every opportunity; not only for every child, but for every opportunity of doing good to the child. Did you avail yourself of that afternoon, when the child was in a peculiarly solemn frame because his little brother lay at home dead? Did you seek to send the arrows home when providence had made