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“Instead of this He made me feel
1 The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part." My hearers, in that hymn is reality! The tongue cannot express what that reality is. It must be felt_experienced—known !
When the Lord takes a man King's prisoner-arrests him in his natural course-stops him-as in the case of Saul of Tarsus on his Damascus journey! and “fallen to the earth" he hears the voice—when He who separates from a mother's womb, calls by grace, and gives the birth that cometh from above--and the “narrow way” is entered on-then trials, temptations, crosses, afflictions and distress of soul are known--and these end not, as I said to my child this morning, till we are deposited in the grave. Hence, mark the blessedness of the text, “ Thou rulest the raging of the sea : when the waves thereof arise thou stillest them.” This soothes us in the midst of all-God rules and reigns! His watchful eye is never closed-His loving-kindness never changes ! “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” With that love felt and known-seas may rage-enemies surround-devils may annoy-but “the everlasting arms are underneath,” and the poor tempest-tossed sinner sees and knows that his safety and protection is in the mercy and grace of Him who rules not only raging seas and storms, but also reigns triumphant as the Church's King and everlasting LORD. This is the gospel—there is no other!
Look at this psalm when the service is over-and in going through its fifty-two verses mark well the ninth verse-may you never forget it. “ Thou rulest the raging of the sea : when the waves thereof arise thou stillest them.” What poetry there is in the very words !
Another thought occurs to me in reference to my text-How, in the highest sense, have the waves been stilled--How has God's wrath been pacified-how has the church been redeemed and saved ! O, what a doctrine here bursts forth! Jesus Christ has suffered in her stead-He has borne the wrath of God against sin-He has satisfied all the claims and demands of law and justice, and atoned by His own death and precious blood for all the sins of his people. Till we are brought to see this with the eye of faith through (if I may so speak) the telescope of all-enabling grace, we know nothing. Salvation is by blood and love--by GRACE alone -works cannot save ! “ For by grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. ii. 8, 9.) I know how I am attacked by those who oppose me-how I am reviled and belied by men and women who know not the truth-how the mere professor takes offence, and the Arminians
I know well how the preaching-the faithful and uncompromising preaching of the free grace gospel, in this dear old church, has stirred up the carnal enmity of mere formalists and carnal worldlings—and despite this (all glory be to God) I know also the way in which He has here stood by His servant, and blest to many the proclamation of free grace salvation through the finished work of His beloved Son! A yea and nay gospel is no gospel at all-grace saves--and grace only. The moralo man—the respectable man must be, and only can be, saved by the blood of Christ ! good works must be kept in their proper station-mind that! No man would insist on these more than I would, as the fruits of the Spirit-mind that—“ fruits of the Spirit !” Those that speak of a conditional salvation, and bring in their “ifs” and “buts " and "ands,” know not the word, nor the way of Jehovah's FREE salvation. Listen to this discriminating Scripture, “ And if by grace, then no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if of works then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work. What then ? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber-eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear) unto this day.” They who are not tanght of God mingle truth and errorhey know not what they talk about--but there is a little flock, a few here, a few there, blessed of God-yea, a little flock in Winchelsea church sou, as well as others scattered over the country and you know, and they know, that whilst we look only to Christ and His blood and love for salvation, we desire to be " zealous of good works,” but in no way to depend upon them -sin is our burden, Christ is our hope, our all and in all.
I maintain then the doctrines of Free Grace Salvation, I preach them as a minister of the gospel, I declare them as an attached servant in the church of England. I proclaim salvation to be of and by grace alone, “ not of works." May my unmistakeable preaching be blessed — may the poor in spirit, and the broken in heart be comforted in the midst of many storms, and may the dead in sin be quickened into life by that grace which I declare. The judgment is at hand. The natural man cannot understand the truth, it is foolishness to him.
No man that has ever heard me preach the gospel here at home, or in the City of London (though many may, and do grossly misrepresent me), can fail of knowing what I have declared; there can be no mistake about it, and therefore carnal and professing men are angry, and their malice is displayed, but “the day will declare it.” May the Ruler of the sea, and the Stiller of every storm, keep me and make me faithful unto death, and may you and I who have been made to believe in Jesus, be looking to and at Him, as “one mighty to save." That touching cry in our Litany—“ By thine agony and bloody sweat, by thy cross and passion, by thy precious death and burial, by thy glorious resurrection and ascension, and by the coming of the Holy Ghost,” is indeed our only, but our all-sufficient deliverance. May he be our Redeemer. "I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.” (Ezek. xxi. 27.) May we feel in His hands, be in ourselves nothing, have nothing, do nothing, and may we realize that we have all in him. Christ declared, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." "Nothing can be added to it—nothing taken from it.” And He will overturn, overturn, overturn all and everything in us that is contrary to his will and truth.
But I must stop, it is quite impossible to preach by time. To the church assembled here, how blessed is the word in the text, “ Thou rulest the raging of the sea : when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” To the carnal hearers, I would say-may the gospel be applied with power, and you be arrested in your course of worldliness, and mere profession or form. Some of you, though carnal and dead in sin now, may, nevertheless, be children of God in His own "eternal purpose.” This encourages me in declaring the TRUTH to you-yea, in preaching the “gospel to every creature.” Who can tell ?
“Determined to save he watch'd o'er my path,
When Satan's blind slave I sported with death." O! who can tell, indeed ?
The Lord bless these things with power to you, make them an everlasting blessing, and bless His word; may He keep it in the hearts of His own people, and by grace make it a real comfort to you when the storm
I feel I have scarcely said a word! there is such a fulness in the textListen! “ Thou rulest the raging of the sea : when the waves thereof arise Thou stillest them." May
DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, SEPTEMBER 19, 1858, BY THE
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE MUSIC HALL, ROYAL SURREY GARDENS.
“ His name shall be called Wonderful."-Isaiah ix, 6.
ONE evening last week I stood by the sea-shore when the storm was raging. The voice of the Lord was upon the waters; and who was I that I should tarry within doors, when my Master's voice was heard sounding along the water? I rose and stood to behold the flash of his lightnings, and listen to the glory of his thunders. The sea and the thunders were contesting with one another; the sea with infinite clamour striving to hush the deep-throated thunder, so that his voice should not be heard; yet over and above the roar of the billows might be heard that voice of God, as he spake with flames of fire, and divided the way for the waters. It was a dark night, and the sky was covered with thick clouds, and scarce a star could be seen through the rifts of the tempest; but at one particular time, I noticed far away on the horizon, as if miles across the water, a bright shining, like gold. It was the moon hidden behind the clouds, so that she could not shine upon us; but she was able to send her rays down upon the waters, far away, where no cloud happened to intervene. I thought as I read this chapter last evening, that the prophet seemed to have stood in a like position, when he wrote the words of my text. All round about him were clouds of darkness; he heard prophetic thunders roaring, and he saw flashes of the lightnings of divine vengeance; clouds and darkness, for many a league, were scattered through history; but he saw far away a bright spot-one place where the clear shining came down from heaven. And he sat down, and he penned these words: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined;" and though he looked through whole leagues of space, where he saw the battle of the warrior “ with confused noise and garments rolled in blood,” yet he fixed his eye upon one bright spot in futurity, and he declared, that there he saw hope of peace, prosperity and blessedness; for said he, “ Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful."
My dear friends, we live to-day upon the verge of that bright spot. The world has been passing through these clouds of darkness, and the light is gleaming on us now, like the glintings of the first rays of morning. We are coming to a trighter day, and “at evening time it shall be light.” The clouds and darkness shall be rolled up as a mantle that God needs no longer, and he shall appear in his glory, and his people shall rejoice with him. But you must mark, that all the brightness was the result of this child born, this son given, whose name is called Wonderful; and if we can discern any brightness in our own hearts, or in the world's history; it can come from nowhere else, than from the one who is called "Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God."
The person spoken of in our text, is undoubtedly the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a child born, with reference to his human nature; he is born of the virgin, a child. But he is a son given, with reference to his divine nature, being given as well as born. Of course, the Godhead could not be born of woman. That was from everlasting, and is to everlasting. As a child he was born, as a son he was given. “The government is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful." Beloved, there are a thousand things in this world, that are called by names that do not belong to them; but in entering upon my text, I must announce at the very opening, that Christ is called Wonderful, because he is so. God the Father never gave his Son a name which he did not deserve. There is no panegyric here, no flattery. It is just the simple name that he deserves, they that know him best will say that the word doth not overstrain his merits, but rather falleth infinitely short of his glorious deserving. His name is called Wonderful. And mark, it does not merely say, that God has given him the name of Wonderful-though that is implied; but “his name shall be called” so. It shall be; it is at this time called Wonderful by all his believing people, and it shall be. As long as the moon endureth, there shall be found men, and angels, and glorified spirits, who shall always call him by his right name. “ His name shall be called Wonderful.”
I find that this name may bear two or three interpretations. The word is sometimes in Scripture translated “marvellous.” Jesus Christ may be called marvellous; and a learned German interpreter says, that without doubt, the meaning of miraculous is also wrapt up in it. Christ is the marvel of marvels, the miracle of miracles. “His name shall be called Miraculous," for he is more than a man, he is God's highest miracle. “ Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh.” It may also mean separated, or distinguished. . And Jesus Christ may well be called this; for as Saul was distinguished from all men, being hread and shoulders taller than they, so is Christ distinguished above all men; he is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and in his character, and in his acts, lie is infinitely separated from all comparison with any of the sons of men. • Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips." He is “ the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely." “ His name shall be called the Separated One,” the distinguished one, the noble one, set apart from the common race of mankind,
We shall, however, this morning, keep to the old version, and simply read it thus, “ His name shall be called Wonderful.” And first I shall notice that Jesus Christ deserveth to be called Wonderful for what he was in the past; secondly, that he is called Wonderful by all his people for what he is in the present; and in the third place, that he shall be called Wonderful, for what he shall be in the future.
I. First, Christ shall be called Wonderful for what HE WAS IN THE PAST. Gather up your thoughts, my brethren, for a moment, and centre them all on Christ, and you will soon see how wonderful he is. Consider his eternal existence, " begotten of his Father from before all worlds,” being of the same substance with his Father: begotten, not made, co-equal, co-eternal, in every attribute," very God of very God.” For a moment remember that he who became an infant of a bpan long, was no less than the King of ages, the everlasting Father, who was from eternity, and is to be to all eternity. The divine nature of Christ is indeed won. derful. Just think for a moment, how much interest clusters round the life of an old man. Those of us who are but as children in years, look up to him with
wonder and astonishment, as he tells us the varied stories of the experience through which he has passed; but what is the life of an aged man-how brief it appears when compared with the life of the tree that shelter3 him. It existed long before that old man's father crept a helpless infant into the world. How many storms have swept over its brow! how many kings have come and gone! how many empires have risen and fallen since that old oak was slumbering in its acorn cradle! But what is the life of the tree compared with the soil on which it grows? What a wonderful story that soil might tell! What changes it llas passed through in all the eras of time that have elapsed since “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There is a wonderful story connected with every atom of black mould which furnishes the nourishment of the oak, But what is the history of that soil compared with the marvellous history of the rock on which it reststhe cliff on which it lifts its head. Oh! what stories might it tell, what records lie hidden in its bowels. Perhaps it could tell the story of the time when “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the earth.” Perhaps it might speak and tell us of those days when the morning and the evening were the first day, and the morning and the evening were the second day, and could explain to us the mysteries of how God made this marvellous piece of miracle,—the world. But what is the history of the cliff, compared with that of the sea that rolls at its base—that deep blue ocean, over which a thousand navies have swept, without leaving a furrow upon its brow! But what is the history of the sea, compared with the history of the heavens that are stretched like a curtain over that vast basin! What a history is that of the hosts of heaven-of the everlasting marches of the sun, moon, and stars! Who can tell their generation, or who can write their biography? But what is the history of the heavens, compared with the history of the angels? They could tell you of the day when they saw this world wrapped in swaddling bands of mist —when, like a new-born infant, the last of God's offspring, it came forth from him, and the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy. But what is the history of the angels that excel in strength, compared with the history of the Lord Jesus Christ? The angel is but of yesterday, and he knoweth nothing; Christ, the Eternal One, chargeth even his angels with folly, and looks upon them as his ministering spirits, that come and go at his good pleasure. Oh, Christians, gather with reverence and mysterious awe around the throne of him who is your great Redeemer; for “his name is called Wonderful,” since he has existed before all things, and “by him all things were made; and without him was not anything made that was made."
Consider, again, the incarnation of Christ, anl you will rightly say, that his name deserveth to be called “Wonderful.” Oh! what is that I see? Oh! world of wonders, what is that I see? The Eternal of ages, whose hair is white like wool, as white as snow, becomes an infant. Can it be? Ye angels, are ye not astonished? He becomes an infant, hangs at a virgin's breast, draws his nourishment from the breast of woman. Oh wonder of wonders! Manger of Bethlehem, thon hast miracles poured into thee. This is a sight that surpasses all others. Talk ye of the sun, moon, and stars; consider ye the heavens, the work of God's fingers, the moon and the stars that he hath ordained;' but all the wonders of the universe shrink into nothing, when we come to the mystery of the “incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a marvellous thing when Joshua bade the sun to stand still, but more marvellous when God seemed to stand still, and no longer to move forward, but rather, like the sun upon the dial of Ahaz, did go back ten degrees, and veil his splendour in a cloud. There have been sights matchless and wonderful, at which we might look for years, and yet turn away and say, “I cannot understand this; here is a deep into which I dare not dive; my thoughts are