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HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY,

A Sermon
DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, MAY 16, 1858, BY THE

REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE MUSIC HALL, ROYAL SURREY GARDENS.

"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."-Jolin xv. 22,

The peculiar sin of the Jews, the sin which aggravated above everything their former iniquities, was their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. He had been very plainly described in the books of the prophets, and they who waited for him, such as Simeon and Anna, no sooner beheld him, even in his infant state, than they rejoiced to see him, and understood that God had sent forth his salvation But because Jesus Christ did not answer the expectation of that evil generation because he did not come arrayed in pomp and clothed with power, because he had not the outward garnishing of a prince and the honours of a king, they shut their eyes against him; he was “a root out of a dry ground," he was "despised and they esteemed him not." Nor did their sin stop there. Not content with denying his Messiahship, they were exceeding hot against him in their anger; they hunted him all his life, seeking his blood; nor were they content till their fiendish malice bad been fully glutted by sitting down at the foot of the cross, and watching the dying throes and the expiring agonies of their crucified Messiah, Though over the cross itself the words were written, “ Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews," yet they knew not their king, God's everlasting Son; and knowing him not, they crucified him, "for had they known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

Now, the sin of the Jews is every day repeated by the Gentiles; that which they did once, many have done every day. Are there not many of you now present this day, listening to my voice, who forget the Messiah? You do not troubse yourself to deny him; you would not degrade yourselves, in what is called a Christian country, by standing up to blaspheme his name. Perhaps you hold the right doctrine concerning him, and believe him to be the Son of God as well as the Son of Mary; but still you neglect his claims, and give him no honour, and do not accept him as worthy of your trust. He is not your Redeemer; you are not looking for his second advent, nor are you expecting to be saved through his blood; nay, even worse, ye are this day crucitying him; for know ye not, that as many as put away from them the gospel of Christ, do crucify the Lord afresh and open wide his wounds? As often as ye hear the Word preached and reject it, as often as ye are warned, and stifle the voice of your conscience, as often as ye are made to tremble, and yet say, “Go thy way for this time, when I have a more convenient season, I will send for thee," so often do you in effect grasp the hammer and the nail, and once more pierce the hand, and make the blood issue from the side. And there are other ways by which you wound him through his members. As often as ye despise his ministers, or cast stumbling blocks in the way of his servants, or impede his gospel by your evil example, or by your hard words seek to pervert the seeker from the way of truth, so often do you commit that great iniquity which brought the curse upon the Jew, and which hath doomed him to wander through the earth, until the day of the second advent, when he shall come, who No. 194.

Penny Pulpit, No. 2,946.

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?, you would not listen nor regard us. God himself has your conscience, so that you have heard it. You have ur knees have knocked together, you have sat in your mighty Boanerges has thundered out the word, you have

angel's voice, “ Prepare to meet thy God-consider thy ways loop thou shalt die, and not live." And yet you have gone out Te forgotten what manner of men you were.

You have have done despite to the Spirit of grace; you have put les of your conscience; you have throttled those infant ning to cry in your heart; you have drowned those new-born

uringing up; you have put away from you everything that you have turned again to your own ways, and have once

mountains of sin, and in the valley of iniquity. Ah! my -11, for a moment, that in all this you have despised God. I oly Spirit would but apply this one solemn truth to your ving, this Hall of Music would be turned into a house of piace would become a Bochim, a place of weeping and lamen

despised God, to have trampled under foot the Son of Man, his cross, to have rej the wooings of his love and the ce! How solemn! Did you ever think of this before? You was but despising man; will ye now think of it as despising at has spoken to you. Ah! God is my witness, that oftentimes

with these eyes, and spoken to you with these lips. I have ut the winning. of your souls. Sometimes with rough words med to drive you to the cross, and at other times with weeping sought to weep you to my Redeemer; and sure I am, I did not an, but Jesus spoke through me, and inasmuch as ye did hear and went away and did forget, remember that Christ spoke to you. 2d, “ Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;" d, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden;" 'twas he 'd, that if you neglected this great salvation you must perish; and way the warning and rejected the invitation, you have not despised e despised our Master; and woe unto yon, except ye repent, for 'tis to have despised the voice of him that speaketh from heaven. uw we must notice the second point, namely, that THE REJECTION OF AGGRAVATES MEN's six. Now, do not let me be misunderstood. I t persons who, having gone to the house of God, have been filled with , and at last they have been driven almost to despair, for Satan has m to forsake the house of God; for says he, “ The more you go, the crease your condemnation.” Now I believe that this is an error; we do pour condemnation by going to the house of God; we are far more crease it by stopping away; for in stopping away from the house of God

Jouble rejection of Christ; you reject him even with the outward mind, .s with the inward spirit; you neglect even the lying at the pool of

you are worse than the man who lay at the pool, but could not get in. not lie there, and therefore, neglecting the hearing of the Word of God, indeed incur a fearful doom; but if you go up to the house of God, sinseking a blessing, if you do not get comfort--if you do not find grace in us, siill, if you go there devoutly seeking it, your condemnation is not

thereby. Your sin is not aggravated merely by the hearing of the it by the wilful and wicked rejection of it when it is heard. The nian who sound of the gospel, and after having heard it, turns upon his heel

who, after liearing time after time, and being visibly affected, ind the pleasures of this wicked lite, to come in and choke the seed nin a tearful measure increase his guilt.

just notice why, in a two-fold measure, he does this. Because, gels a new sin altogether, thut he never had before, and beside that, s other sins. Bring me here a Hottentot, or a man from Kame who has never listened to the Word. That man may haya

gue of guilt except one; but that one I am sure he has v rejecting the gospel when it is preached to him. Bu spel, have an opportunity for committing a fresh sin; ou have added a fresh iniquity to all those others tha

THROUGH US.

shall even by the Jew be acknowledged the King of the Jews, for whom both Jew and Gentile are now looking with anxious expectation, even Messias, the Prince who came once to suffer, but who comes again to reign.

And now I shall endeavour this morning to show the parallel between your case and that of the Jew; not doing so in set phrase, but yet incidentally, as God shall help me; appealing to your conscience, and making you feel that in rejecting Christ, you commit the same sin and incur the same doom. We shall note, first of all, the excellence of the ministry, since Christ comes in it, and speaks to men: “If I had not spoken to them." We shall notice, secondly, the aggravation of sin caused by the rejection of Christ's message : If I had not spoken to them they had not had sin.” Thirdly, the death of all ercuses, caused by the preaching of the Word : “ Now they have no cloke for their sin." And then, in the last place, we shall briefly, but very solemnly announce the fearfully aggravated doom of those who thus reject the Saviour, and increase their guilt by despising him.

I. In the first place, then, this morning it is ours to say, and to say truly too, that IN THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL, THERE IS TO MAN'S CONSCIENCE THE COMING OF OUR LORD Jesus CHRIST, AND THE SPEAKING OF THE SAVIOUR

When Israel of old despised Moses and murmured against him, Moses meekly said, “Ye have not murmured against us, but ye have murmured against the Lord God of Israel.” And truly the minister may, with Scripture warrant, say the same: he that despiseth us, despiseth not us, but him that sent us; he who rejecteth the message rejectetl not what we say, but rejecteth the message of the everlasting God. The minister is but a man; he has no priestly power, but he is a man called out of the rest of mankind, and endowed with the Holy Spirit, to speak to his fellow-men; and when he preacheth the truth as with power sent down from heaven, God owns him by calling him his ambassador, and puts him in the high and responsible position of a watchman on the walls of Zion, and he bids all inen take heed that à faithful messa ge, faithfully delivered, when despised and trampled on, amounts to rebellion against God, and to sin and iniquity against the Most High. As for what I may say, as a man, it is but little that I should say it; but if I speak as the Lord's ambassador, take heed that ye slight not the message. It is the Word of God sent down from heaven which we preach with the power of the Holy Spirit, earnestly beseeching you to believe it, and remember, it is at the peril of your own souls that you put it from you, for it is not we that speak, but the Spirit of the Lord our God who speaketh in us. With what a solemnity does this in vest the gospel ministry! Oye sons of men, the ministry is not the speaking of men, but the speaking of God through men. As many as are the real called and sent servants of God, are not the authors of their message; but they first hear it from the Master, and they speak it to the people; and they see ever before their eyes these solemn words—"Take heed unto thyselt, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both bave thyself and them that hear thee;" and they hear behind them this awful threatening—" If thou warn them not they shall perish, but their blood will I require at thine hand.” Oh! that ye might see written in letters of fire before you this day the words the prophet_*(earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord;" for as far as our ministry is true and untainted by error, it is God's Word, and it hath the same right and claim to your belief as if God himself should speak it from the top of Sinai, instead of speaking it through the humble ministry of the Word of God.

And now let us pause over this doctrine, and let us ask ourselves this solemn question. Have we not all of us grossly sinned against God, in the neglect that we have often put upon the means of grace? How often have you stayed away from the house of God, when God himself was speaking there? What would have been the doom of Israel, if, when summoned on that sacred day to hear the Word of God from the top of the mountain, they had perversely rambled into the Wilderness, rather than attend to hear it? And yet so have you done. You have sought your own pleasure, and listened to the syren song of temptation; but ye have shut your ear against the voice of the Most High; and when he has himself been speaking in his own house, ye have turned aside unto crooked ways, and have not regarded the voice of the Lord your God. And when ye have come up to the house of God, how often has there been the careless eye, the inattentive ear! Ye have heard as though ye heard not. Your ear has been penetrated, but the hidden man of the heart bas been deaf, and you have been like the deaf aduer;

charm we never so wisely, you would not listen nor regard us. God himself has 8poken, too, at times in your conscience, so that you have heard it. You have stood in the aisle, and your knees have knocked together, you have sat in your pew, and while some mighty Boanerges has thundered out the word, you have heard it said, as with an angel's voice, “ Prepare to meet thy God-consider thy waysset thine house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live." And yet you have gone out of God's house, and have forgotten what manner of men you were. You have quenched the Spirit, you have done despite to the Spirit of grace; you have put far from you the struggles of your conscience; you have throttled those infant prayers that were beginning to cry in your heart; you have drowned those new-born desires that were just springing up; you have put away from you everything that was good and sacred; you have turned again to your own ways, and have once more wandered on the mountains of sin, and in the valley of iniquity. Ah! my friends, just think, then, for a moment, that in all this you have despised God. I &in certain, if the Holy Spirit would but apply this one solemn truth to your consciences this morning, this Hall of Music would be turned into a house of mourning, and this place would become a Bochim, a place of weeping and lamentation. Oh to have despised God, to have trampled under foot the Son of Man, to have passed by his cross, to have rejected the wooings of his love and the warnings of his grace! How solemn! Did you ever think of this before? You have thought it was but despising man; will ye now think of it as despising Christ? For Christ has spoken to you. Ah! God is my witness, that oftentimes Christ hath wept with these eyes, and spoken to you with these lips. I have sought nothing but the winning. of your souls. Sometimes with rough words bave I endeavoured to drive you to the cross, and at other times with weeping accents have I sought to weep you to my Redeemer; and sure I am, I did not speak myself then, but Jesus spoke through me, and inasmuch as ye did hear and weep, and then went away and did forget, remember that Christ spoke to you. "Twas he who said, “ Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;" 'l was he who said, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden;" 'twas he who warned you, that if you neglected this great salvation you must perish; and in having put away the warning and rejected the invitation, you have not despised us, but you have despised our Master; and woe unto yon, except ye repent, for 'tis a fearful thing to have despised the voice of him that speaketh from heaven.

II. And now we must notice the second point, namely, that THE REJECTION OF TUE GOSPEL AGGRAVATES MEN'S sin. Now, do not let me be misunderstood. I have heard of persons who, having gone to the house of God, have been filled with a sense of sin, and at last they have been driven almost to despair, for Satan has tempted them to forsake the house of God; for says he, “ The more you go, the more you increase your condemnation.” Now I believe that this is an error; we do not increase our condemnation by going to the house of God; we are far more likely to increase it by stopping away; for in stopping away from the house of God there is a double rejection of Christ; you reject him even with the outward mind, as well as with the inward spirit; you neglect even the lying at the pool of Bethesda; you are worse than the man who lay at the pool, but could not get in, You will not lie there, and therefore, neglecting the hearing of the Word of God, you do indeed incur a fearful doom; but if you go up to the house of God, sincerely seeking a blessing, if you do not get comfort--if you do not find grace in the means, still, if you go there devoutly seeking it, your condemnation is not increased thereby. Your sin is not aggravated merely by the hearing of the gospel, but by the wilful and wicked rejection of it when it is heard. The man who listens to the sound of the gospel, and after having heard it, turns upon his heel with a laugh, or who, after liearing tiine after time, and being visibly affected, allows the cares and the pleasures of this wicked life, to come in and choke the seed - such a man does in a tearful measure increase his guilt,

And now we will just notice why, in a two-fold measure, he does this. Because, in the first place, he gels a new sin altogether, that he never had before, and beside that, he aygravates all his other sins. Bring me here a Hottentot, or a man from Kam&ci atka, a wild savage who has never listened to the Word. That man may have every sin in the catalogue of guilt except one; but that one I am sure he has not. Helias not the sin of rejecting the gospel when it is preached to him. But you, wlien you hear the gospel, have an opportunity for committing a fresh sin; and if you have rejected it, you have added a fresh iniquity to all those others that hang

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