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The general lesson of our subject, brethren, is that we be without careful. ness, that we carry our burdens to God, and leave them with him; our fears to him to be quieted, our sorrows to him to be lightened, our corruptions to him to be overcome, our sins to him to be forgiven. God in Christ is the soul's refuge and the soul's rest. Safe in that unapproached enclosure shall the troubled conscience hide; emboldened by that strong plea, the very guiltiest of our race may exclaim, “I know in whom I have believed." Wherefore, whatever your load of sorrow may be, rest and wait. Are you liable to be “ careful and cumbered about many things f" Rest in the Lord. One thing is needful, and he is that one. Are you struggling with some besetting sin, a temper, a habit, a root of bitterness, that your soul hates, and yet something that is always crossing your path, and which you cannot get under Rest in the Lord; his grace sufficient for thee, and in him you shall be more than conqueror. Are you bowed down by a sense of past sins, as many as they are great, as excuseless as they are dark; some like David's, committed after he had come to the light; some like Peter's, while the sound of solemn warning was yet in his ears? Rest in the Lord; he is faithful, he cannot deny himself; heaven and earth shall pass away, but not that word—“The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin."
And wait when you have fled to this rest. You have made your choice, you must abide by it; you have led to the altar, you must cleave to it. A man who has got to the cross of Christ, can get no farther. It is God's own extremity; so that if by the power of a living faith the convinced sinner has reached it, there he must wait, there he must hold on; and if it be a sin to trust God too much, there he must perish too. But, tell us, O ye angels of light, tell us ye saints under the altar, tell us ye spirits of just men made perfect, saw ye ever such a sight as thisma soul trusting and yet sinking, cleaving to the rock and yet betrayed by the rock ; throwing itself in bold venture into the hands of Christ, and yet allowed to drop through into the deep gulf of eternal death? Oh, no; the truth is proclaimed and attested everywhere, in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in the world of despair and darkness, and by the praise of the glorified sons of light" Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” He has but to rest and wait, to hold on and trust, to wait patiently to see God working for him behind the cloud. He has not to seek his warrant for this ; God himself has given him one: “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord."
Recently Published, THE GOLDEN LECTURES, delivered at St. Margaret's Church, Lothbury, during 1857, by the Rev. D. Moore, M.A., selected from the Penny Pulpit,
and bound in 1 vol. 6s. THE GOLDEN LECTURES, from 1850 to 1856, by Rev. H. Melvill, B.D.,
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in yon, except ye be reprobates.”—2 Corinthians xiii. 6.
I HAD intended to address you this morning from the third title given to our blessed Redeemer, in the verse we have considered twice before—“Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God;” but owing to excruciating pain and continual sickness, I have been unable to gather my thoughts together, and therefore I feel constrained to address you on a subject which has often been upon my heart and not unfrequently upon my lips, and concerning which, I dare say, I have admonished a very large proportion of this audience before. You will find the text in the thirteenth chapter of the second epistle to the Corinthians, at the fifth verse“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates”—a solemu text, that we cannot preach too impressively, or too frequently meditate.
The Corinthians were the critics of the apostles' age. They took to themselves great credit for skill in learning and in language, and as most men do who are wise in their own esteem, they made a wrong use of their wisdom and learning-they
gan to criticise the apostle Paul. They criticised his style “His letters,” say they, “ are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible.” Nay, not content with that, they went so far as to deny his apostleship, and for once in his life, the apostle Paul found himself compelled to " become a fool in glorying; for," says he, “ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.” The apostle wrote two letters to them; in both he is compelled to upbraid them while he defends himself, and when he had fully disarmed his opponents, and wrested the sword of their criticism out of their hands, he pointed it at their own breasts, saying, “• Examine yourselves.' You have disputed my doctrine; examine whether ye be in the faith. You have made me prove my apostleship; 'prove your own selves. Use the powers which you have been so wrongfully exercising upon me for a little season upon your own characters.””
And now, my dear friends, the fault of the Corinthians is the fault of the present age. Let not any one of you, as he goeth out of the house of God, say unto his neighbour, “ How did you like the preacher? What did you think of the sermon this morning?” is that the question you should ask as you retire from God's house? Do you come here to judge God's servants? I know it is but a small thing unto us to be judged of man's judgment; for our judgment is of the Lord our God; to our own Master we shall stand or fall. But, О men! ye should ask a question more profitable unto yourselves than this. Ye should say, “Did not such-and-such A speech strike me? Did not that exactly consort with my condition? Was that not a rebuke that I deserve, a word of reproof or of exhortation? Let me take unto myself that which I have heard, and let me not judge the preacher, for he is God's messenger to my soul: I came up here to be judged of God's Word, and not to judge God's Word myself.” But since there is in all our hearts a great backwardness to self-examination, I shall lay out myself for a few minutes this morning. earnestly to exhort myself, and all of you, to examine ourselves whether we be in the faith.
First, I shall expound my text; secondly, I shall enforce it; and thirdly, I shall try and help you to carry it into practice here and on the spot.
1. First, I shall EXPOUND MY TEXT; though in truth it needs no exposition, for it is very simple, yet by studying it, and pondering it, our hearts may become more deeply affected with its touching appeal. “ Examine yourselves.” Who does not understand that word? And yet, by a few suggestions you may know its meaning more perfectly.
"Examine:" that is a scholastic idea. A boy has been to school a certain time, and his master puts him through his paces—questions him, to see whether he has made any progress,—whether he knows anything. Christian, catechise your heart; question it, to see whether it has been growing in grace; question it, to see if it knows anything of vital godliness or not. Examine it: pass your heart through a stern examination as to what it does know and what it does not know, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
Again: it is a military idea. “Examine yourselves," or renew yourselves. Go through the rank and file of your actions, and examine all your motives. Just as the captain on review-day is not content with merely surveying the men from a distance, but must look at all their accoutrements, so do you look well to yourselves; examine yourselves with the most scrupulous care.
And once again, this is a legal idea. “Examine yourselves.” You have seen the witness in the box, when the lawyer has been examining him, or, as we have it, cross-examining him. Now, mark: never was there a rogue less trustworthy or more deceitful than your own heart, and as when you are cross-examining a dishonest person-one that hath bye-ends to serve, you set traps for him to try and find him out in a lie, so do with your own heart. Question it backward and forward, this way and that way; for if there be a loophole for escape, if there be any pretence for self-deception, rest assured your treacherous heart will be ready enough to avail itself of it. And yet once more: this is a traveller's idea. I find in the original, it has this
meaning: "Go right through yourselves.” As a traveller, if he has to write a book upon a country, is not content to go round its borders merely, but goes, as it were, from Dan to Beersheba, right through the country. He climbs the hill top, where he bathes his forehead in the sunshine: he goes down into the deep valleys, where he can only see the blue sky like a strip between the lofty summits of the mountains. He is not content to gaze upon the broad river unless he trace it to the spring whence it rises. He will not be satisfied with viewing the products of the surface of the earth, but he must discover the minerals that lie within its bowels. Now, do the same with your heart. “Examine yourselves.” Go right through yourselves from the beginning to the end. Stand not only on the mountains of your public character, but go into the deep valleys of your private life. Be not content to sail on the broad river of your outward actions, but go follow back the narrow rill till you discover your secret motive. Look not only at your performance, which is but the product of the soil, but dig into your heart and examine the vital principle. Examine yourselves.” This is a very big word, a word that needs thinking over; and I am afraid there be very few, if any of us, who ever come up to the full weight of this solemn exhortation—“Examine yourselves.”
There is another word you will see a little further on, if you will kindly look at the text. * Prove your own selves.” That means more than self-examination: let me try to show the difference between the two. A man is about to buy a horse; he examines it; he looks at it; he thinks that possibly he may find out some flaw, and therefore he carefully examines it; but after he has examined it, if he be a prudent man, he says to the person of whom he is about to buy—“I must prove this horse: will you let me have it for a week, for a month, or for some given time, that I may prove the animal before I actually invest in him? You see, there is more in proof than in examination; it is a deeper word, and goes to the very root and quick of the matter. I saw but yesterday an illustration of this. A ship, before she is launched, is examined; when launched she is carefully looked at; and yet before she is allowed to go far out to sea, she takes a trial trip; sle is proved and tried, and when she has roughed it a little, and it has been discovered that she will obey the helm, that the engines will work correctly, and that all is in right order, she goes out on her long voyages. Now, “prove yourselves." Do not merely sit in your closet and look at yourselves alone, but go out into this busy world and see what kind of piety you have. Remember, many a man's religion will stand examination that will not stand proof, We may sit at home and look at our religion, and say, “Well, I think this will do!” It is like cotton prints that you can buy in sundry shops; they are warranted fast colours, and so they seem when you look at them, but they are not washable when you get them home. There is many a man's religion like that. It is good enough to look at, and it has got the “ warranted” stamped upon it; but when it comes out into actual daily life, the colours soon begin to run, and the man discovers that the thing was not what he took it to be. You know, in Scripture we have an account of certain very foolish men that would not go to a great supper; but, foolish as they were, there was one of them who said, “I have bought a yoke of
oxen, and I go to prove them.” Thus he had at least worldly wisdom, enough to prove his oxen. So do you prove yourselves. Try to plough in the furrows of duty: sce whether you can be accustomed to the yoke of gospel servitude; be not ashamed to put yourselves through your paces; try yourself in the furnace of daily life, lest haply the mere examination of the chamber should detect you to be a cheat, and you should after all prove to be a castaway. “Examine yourselves; prore your own selves.”
There is a sentence which I omitted, namely, this one: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” Oh! says one, “You may examine me whether I am in the faith; I am an orthodox Christian, fully up to the standard, good genuine weight; there is no fear whatever of my coming up to the mark, and going a little beyond it too.” Ah! but, my friend, that is not the question; I would have you orthodox, for a man who is heterodox in his opinions, will most likely be heterodox in his actions; but the question now is not whether you believe the truth—but whether you are in the truth? Just to give you an illustration of what I mean. There is the ark; and a number of men around it. “Ah!" says one, “I believe that ark will swim.” “Oh!” says another, “ I believe that ark is made of gopher-wood, and is strong from stem to stern; I am quite sure that ark will float, come what may; I am a firm believer in that ark.” Ay, but when the rain descended, and the flood came, it was not believing the ark as a matter of fact-it was being in the ark that saved men, and only those that were in it escaped in that dread day of deluge. So there may be some of you that say of the gospel of Christ, “I believe it to be of a particular character," and you may be quite correct in your judgment; you may say, “ I think it to be that which honours God, and casts down the pride of man;" herein too you may think quite right; but mark, it is not having an orthodox faith, but it is being in the faith, being in Christ, taking refuge in Him as in the ark; for he that only has the faith as a thing ab extra, and without being in the faith, shall perish in the day of God's anger; but he that lives by faith, he who feels that faith operates upon him, and is to him a living principle; he who realises that faith is his dwelling place, that there he can abide, that it is the very atmosphere he breathes and the very girdle of his loins to strengthen him,such a man is in the faith. But, we repeat again, all the orthodoxy in the world, apart from its effect upon the heart as a vital principle, will not save a man “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves."
“Know ye not your own selves?" If you do not, you have neglected your proper study. What avails all else that you do know, if you know not yourself? You have been roaming abroad, while the richest treasure was lying at home; you have been busying yourself with irrelevant affairs, while the main business has bezn neglected and ruined. “Know ye not your own selves?” And especially know ye not this fact, that Jesus Christ must be in your heart, formed and living there, or else ye are reprobates? That is, ye are worthless persons, vain pretenders, spurious professors; your religion is but a vanity and a show, Reprobate silver shall men call you, because the Lord hath rejected you.” Now, what is it to have Jesus Christ in you? The Roman Catholic hangs the