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we are free from the blood of souls, unless we warn them with diligence, unless we preach with faithfulness; for this same Bible which tells me that Christ shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied, tells me that if I warn them not, their blood, if they perish, shall be required at my hand.
But now, teacher, let me tell you an occasion when you must give in your account. You may put off all these seasons if you like; you may live as carelessly as you please, but if you have a particle ot heart in you, you will have to give an account when you are sick, and cannot go to your class. If your conscience is worth having—which some people's consciences are not, for they are dead and seared—if your conscience is an awakened one, when you are put out of your work, you will begin to think how you did it. You should read the letters of that holy man Rutherford. If ever there was a man who preached the gospel sweetly and with divine unction, I should think it must have been he; and yet when he was shut up in Aberdeen, and could not get out to his much-loved flock, he began to say, " Ah, if the Lord will let me go out to preach again, I will never be such a dull drone as I was wont to be. I will preach with tears in mine eyes, so that the people may be comforted, and the sinners converted.” Perhaps when you are lying ill in you bed-room, little Jane comes to see you, and says, “ I hope you will soon get well, teacher;" or William, or Thomas calls and enquires about you every Sunday afternoon, and asks the servant to give his love to you, and hopes that teacher will soon come back again. Then is the time when I know you will be sure to cast up your account. You will say, “Ah, when I get back to my class, I won't teach them as I used to do; I will study my lesson more, I will pray more. I won't be so hot or so fast with them as I was wont to be. I will bear with their ill manners. Ah, if my Master will give me, like Hezekiah, another fifteen years of labour, and will give me more grace, I will strive to be better." You will be sure to cast up your accounts when you get sick.
But if you do not do it then, I will tell you when you must; that is when you come to die. What a dreadful thing it must be to be an unfaithful preacher on a dying-bed. (Oh that I may be saved from that!) To be upon one's bed when life is over; to have had great opportunities, mighty congregations, and to have been so diligent about something else as to have neglected to preach the full and free gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! methinks as I laid in my bed a-dying, I should see spectres and grim things in the room. One would come and stare upon me and say, “Ah! you are dying. Remember how many times I sat in the front of the gallery, and listened to you, but you never once told me to escape from the wrath to come; you were talking to me about something I did not understand; but the simple matter of the gospe you never preached to me, and I died in doubt and trembling. And now you are coming to me to the hell which I have inherited because you were unfaithful.” And when in our grey and dying age we see the generations which have grown up around our pulpits, we shall think of them all. We shall think of the time when as striplings we first began to preach; we shall recollect the youths that then crowded, then the men, and then the grey heads that passed away. And methinks as they come on in grim procession, they will everyone leave a fresh curse upon our conscience because we were unfaithful. The death-bed of a man who has murdered his fellows, of some grim tyrant who has let the bloodhounds of war loose upon mankind, must be an awful thing. When the soldier, and the soldier's widow, and the murdered man of peace rise up before him; when the smoke of devastated countries seems to blow into his eyes and make them sore and red; when the blood of men hangs on his conscience like a great red pall; when bloody murder, the grim chamberlain, draws red curtains round his bed, and when he begins to approach the last end where the murderer must inherit his dreary doom, it must be a fearful time indeed. But, methinks to have murdered souls must be more awful still-to have distributed poison to children instead of bread, to have given them stones when they asked us for right food, to have taught them error when we ought to have taught them the truth as it is in Jesus, or to have spoken to them with cold listlessness when earnestness was needed. Oh, how your children seem to curse you, when you lie there and have been unfaithful to your charge. Yes, you will have to cast up your account then; and let me tell you, though your hope must all be fixed on Jesus, and that must be the consolation of your life and death, yet it will be very sweet to remember when you come to die, that you have been successful in winning souls to Christ. Ah! that will bring a little life into the cheek of the consumptive teacher, who sickens young when you remind her that there was a little girl who, a year
before she was taken ill, kissed her hand, and said, “Good bye, teacher, we shall meet in heaven. Do not you recollect, teacher, telling me the story of Jesus on the cross, and taking me home one Sunday afternoon, and putting your arms around my neck, and kneeling down and praying that God would bless me? Oh, my teacher, that brought me to Jesus." Yes, teacher, when you are lying on your bed, pale and consumptive, you will recollect that there is one up there beside your Saviour who will receive you into eternal habitations—that young spirit who has .gone before you, who by your means was emancipated from the wickedness and bondage of sinful world. Happy is the teacher who has the hope of meeting a whole band of such in heaven. Such a thought often cheers me. Let the world say what it will, I know when I die there is many a spirit that will think of me in after years as the man who preached the gospel to him; many a drunkard brought to Jesus, and many a harlot reclaimed. And to the teacher it must be the same to think that when he claps his wings and mounts from this lower valley of earth to heaven, he will see a bright spirit coming down to meet him, and he will hear the Spirit saying
“Sister spirit come away.” And when he opens his eyes, he will see that the song came from the lips of one to whom he had been blessed as the means of conversion. Happy you who shall be welcomed at the gates of Paradise by your spiritual sons and daughters, and who shall have beside your Master's welcome, the welcome of those whom he hath given you to be jewels in your crown of glory for ever and ever.
Now to conclude.' We must all give an account to God in the day of judgment. That is the thing which makes death so terrible. Oh, Death, if thou wert all, what art thou but a pinch, and all is over! But after Death the judgment. This is the sting of the dragon to the ungodly. The last great day is come. The books are opened-men, women, and children are assembled. Many have come, and some on the right, and some on the left, have already heard the sentence. It is now your turn. Teacher! what account will you render? In the first place, are you in Christ yourselt? or have you taught to others what you did not know yourself ? Have I any such here? Doubtless, I have; for alas I there are many such in our schools. Oh, my friend, what wilt thou say when the Master, opening the book, shall ask thee, What hadst thou to do, to declare my statutes?" Will you look at him and say, “Lord I taught in thy schools, and thou hast eaten and drank in our streets.” If you should say so, he will say, “ Verily, I never knew you; depart from me ye cursed." Then, what have you to say with regard to your schools—for although our state at last will really be settled according to our interest in Christ, you will be judged by your works, as evidences. The Scripture always says that we are to be judged according to our works. Well, then, the book is opened. You hear your own name read, and you hear that one brief sentence“ Inasmuch as thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee a ruler over many things—enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" Oh, heaven of heavens! and is this the reward of the little trouble of teaching a few children? Oh, Master, thou givest ingots of gold for our grains of dust-our fragments of service thou rewardest with crowns and kingdoms! But he turns to others, and to you he says, " Inasmuch as ye did it not unto the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me. Depart from me into everlasting fire in hell, prepared for the devil and his angels." " Which of these two shall be said to me? Which of these two shall be said to you? Oh! as in God's sight I charge you by him who is the Judge of quick and dead, by the swiftness of his chariot-whecls which now are bringing him here, by the solemnity of his awful tribunal, by that sentence which shall never be reversed, judge yourselves, for then ye shall not be judged. Give an account of your stewardship to your conscience, and to your God. Confess your sins, seek his help, and begin from this hour, by his Holy Spirit, to undertake his work afresh; so shall ye stand before his face, clothed in the righteousness of your Redeemer and washed in his blood. Though not boasting in your works you shall be able to stand accepted in him, and your works shall follow when you rise from your labours, and you shall be among the blessed that die in the Lord.
THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also."-Acts xvii. 6. Tuis is just an old version of an oft-repeated story. When disturbances arise in a state, and rebellions and mutinies cause blood to be shed, it is still the custom to cry, “ The Christians have done this." In the days of Jesus we know that it was laid to the charge of our blessed and divine Master, that he was a stirrer of sedition, whereas he himself had refused to be a king, when his followers would have taken him by force to make him one, for he said, "My kingdom is not of this world;" yet was he crucified under the two false charges of sedition and blasphemy. The same thing occurred with the Apostles. Wherever they went to preach the gospel, the Jews who opposed them sought to stir up the refuse of the city to put an end to their ministry; and then, when a great tunjult had been made by the Jews themselves, who had taken unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring him out to the people, then the Jews laid the tumult and the uproar at the door of the Apostles, saying, “ These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." This plan was followed all through the Roman empire, until Christianity became the state religion. There was never a
me, never a war arose, never a famine or a plague, but the vulgar multitude cried, “ The Christians to the lions! The Christians have done this." Nero himself imputed the burning of Rome, of which he himself doubtless was the incendiary, to the Christians. The believers in Jesus were slandered as if they were the common sewer, into which all the filth of sin was to be poured; whereas, they were like Solomon's great brazen sea, which was full of the purest water, wherein even priests themselves might wash their robes. And you will remark, that to this day the world still lays its ills at the door of the Christians. Was it not the foolish cry a few months ago, and are there not some weak-minded individuals who still believe it, that the great massacre and mutiny in India was caused by the missionaries. Forsooth, the men who turned the world upside down had gone there also; and because men broke through all the restraints of nature and of law, and committed deeds for which fiends might blush, this must be laid at the door of Christ's holy gospel, and the men of peace must bear on their shoulders the blame of war! Ah! we need not refute this: the calumoy is too idle to need a refutation. Can it be true, that he whose gospel is love should be the fomentor of disturbance? Can it be fair for a moment to lay mutiny and rebellion at the door of the gospel, the very motto of which is, “Peace on earth, good will towards men?” Did not our Master say, “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's ?” Did he not himself pay tribute, though he sent to the fish of the sea, to get the shekel? And have not his followers at all times been a peaceful generation ?-save only and except where the liberty of their conscience was touched, and then they were not the men to bow their knees to tyrants and kings, but with brave old Oliver they did bind their kings in chains, and their nobles in fetters of iron, as they will do again, if their liberty ever should be infringed, so that they should not have power to worship God as they ought, No. 193,
Penny Pulpit, No. 2,945.
We believe that what these Jews said of the Apostles, was just a downight wilful lie. They knew better. The Apostles were not the disturbers of states. It is true, they preached that which would disturb the sinful constitution of a kingdom, and which would disturb the evil practices of false priests; but they never meant to set men in an uproar. They did come to set men at arms with sin; they did draw the sword against iniquity; but against men as men, against kings as kings, they had no battle; it is with iniquity and sin, and wrong everywhere, that they proclaimed an everlasting warfare. But still, brethren, there is many a true word spoken in jest, we say, and surely there is many a true word spoken in malice. They said the Apostles turned the world upside down. They meant by that, that they were disturbers of the peace. But they said a great true thing; for Christ's gospel does turn the world upside down. It was the wrong way upwards before, and now that the gospel is preached, and when it shall prevail, it will just set the world right by turning it upside down.
And now I shall try to show how, in the world at large, Christ's gospel turns the world upside down; and then I shall endeavour, as well as God shall help me, to show how the little world that is within every man is turned upside down, when he becomes a believer in the gospel of Christ.
I. First, then, the gospel of Christ turns the world upside down, WITH REGARD
In the esteem of men, the kingdom of heaven is something like this. High there on the summit, there sits the most grand rabbi, the right venerable, estimable and excellent doctor of divinity, the great philosopher, the highly learned, the deeply instructed, the immensely intellectual man. He sits on the apex: he is the highest, because he is the wisest. And just below him there is a class of men who are deeply studied—not quite so skilled as the former, but still exceeding wise, who look down at those who stand at the basement of the pyramid, and who say to them, “ Ah, they are the ignoble multitude, they know nothing at all.”. A little lower down, we come to the sober, respectable, thinking men, not those who set up for teachers, but those who seldom will be taught, because they already in their own opinion know all that is to be learned. Then after them there come a still larger number of very estimable folks, who are exceeding wise in worldly wisdom, although not quite so exalted as the philosopher and the rabbi. Lower still come those who have just a respectable amount of wisdom and knowledge; and then at the very basement there come the fool, and the little child, and the babe. When we look at these we say, “ This is the wisdom of this world. Behold how great a difference there is between the babe at the bottom, and the learned doctor on the summit! How wide the distinction between the ignorant simpleton who forms the hard, rocky, stubborn basement, and the wise man of polished marble, who there stands resplendant at the apex of the pyramid.” Now, just see how Christ turns the world upside down. There it stands. He just reverses it. “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye can in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven."
· Not many great men after the flesh, not many mighty men are chosen; but God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom.” It is just turning the whole social fabric upside down; and the wise man finds now that he has to go upstairs towards his simplicity. He has been all his life trying as far as he could, to get away from the simplicity of the credulous child; he has been thinking, and judging, and weighing, and bringing his logic to cut up every truth he heard, and now he has to begin, and go up again: he has to become a little child, and turn back to his former simplicity.
This is the world turned upside down, with a vengeance; and therefore the wise seldom love it.
If you wish to see the world turned upside down to perfection, just turn to the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew: here you have a whole summary of the world reversed. Jesus Christ turned the world upside down the first sermon he preached. Look at the third verse. “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Now, we like a man who has an ambitious spirit-a man who, as we say, knows how to push his way in the world—who looks up is not contented with the position that he occupies, but is always for climbing higher and higher. And we have a very fair opinion too of a man, who has a very fair opinion of himself -a man who is not going to bow and cringe. He will have his rights, that he will; he will not give way to any body. He believes himself to be somewhat, and he will stand on his own belief, and will prove it to the world yet. He is not one of your poor, mean-spirited fellows, who are content with poverty, and sit still. He will not be contented. Now such a man as this the
world admires. But Christ just turns that upside down, and says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven.” The men who have no strength of their own, but look for all to Christ-the men who have no spirit to run with a wicked world, but who would rather suffer an injury than resent one -the men who are lowly and of a humble carriage, who seek not to lift their heads above their fellows; who if they be great have greatness thrust upon them, but never seek it- who are content along the cool, sequestered vale of life, to keep the even tenour of their way-who seem to have always ringing in their ears, * Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not”-“the poor in spirit," happy in their poverty, who are content with the Lord's providence, and think themselves far more rich than they deserve to be. Now, these men Christ says, are blessed. The world says, they are soft, they are fools; but Christ puts those on the top whom the world puts at the bottom. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven.”
Then there is another lot of people in the world; they are always mourning. They do not let you see it often, for their Master has told them when they fast, to anoint their face, that they appear not unto men to fast; but still secretly before God they have to groan; they hang their harps upon the willows; they mourn for their own sin, and then they mourn for the sin of the times. The world says of these, “ They are a moping, melancholy set; I would not care to belong to their number;" and the gay reveller comes in, and he almost spits upon them in his scorn. For what are they? They love the darkness. They are the willows of the stream; but this man, like the proud poplar, lifts his head, and is swayed to and fro in the wind of his joy, boasting of his greatness, and his freedom. Hear how the gay youth talks to his mourning friend, who is under conviction of sin. “Ah! yours is a morbid disposition; I pity you; you ought to be under the hand of a physician. You go mourning through this world. What a miserable thing, to be plunging through waves of tribulation! What a dismal case is yours! I would not stand in your shoes and be in your position for all the world.” No, but Christ turns the world upside down; and so those people whom you think to be mournful and sorrowful, are the rery ones who are to rejoice. For read the fourth verse, “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” Yes, worldling, your joy is like the crackling of thorns under a pot. It blazeth a little, and maketh a great noise: it is soon done with. But “light is sown for the rigbteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." You cannot see the light now, because it is sown. It lies under the clods of poverty, and shame, and persecution, mayhap. But when the great harvest day shall come, the blades of light, upstarting at the second coming, shall bring forth“ the full corn in the ear" of bliss and glory everlasting. Oye mourning souls, be glad; for whereas the world puts you beneath it, Christ puts you above the world's head. When he turns the world upside down, he says you shall be comforted.
Then there is another race of people, called “the meek.” You may have met with them now and then. Let me describe the opposite. I know a man who never feels happy unless he has a law-suit; he would never pay a bill unless he had a writ about it. He is fond of law. The idea of pulling another up before the court is a great delicacy to him. A slight affront he would not easily forget. He has a very large amount of mock dignity; and if he be never so slightly touched, if a harsh word be spoken against him, or one slander uttered, he is down upon his enemy at once; for he is a man of a hard temper, and he casts the debtor into prison, and verily I say unto thee, if thou gettest in there by his writ, thou shalt never come out until thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. Now the meek are of a very different disposition. You may revile them, but they will not revile again; you may injure them, but they know that their Master has Baid, “I say unto thee, resist not evil.” They do not put themselves into airs and passions on a slight affront, for they know that all men are imperfect, and therefore they think that perhaps their brother made a mistake, and did not wish to hurt their feelings; and therefore they say, “ Well, if he did not wish to do it, then I will not be hurt by it; I dare say he meant well, and therefore I will take the will for the deed; and though he spoke harshly, yet he will be sorry for it to morrow; I will not mention it to him,-I will put up with whatever he chooses to say.” There is a slander uttered against him: he says, “Well, let it alone; it will die of itself; where no wood is, the fire goeth out." Another speaketh exceeding ill against him in his hearing; but he justs holds his tongue; he is dumb and openeth not his mouth. He is not like the sons of Zeruiah, who said to David, “Let us go and