Sermon 428. A Cure For Care
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, JANUARY 12, 1862, BY REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Casting all your care upon Him. For He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7. No one precept contains the whole of a Believer's duty. But usually in Scripture the precepts rise one above the other,like those stone steps by which the traveler in Egypt ascends to the pinnacle of the pyramid. You must first plant your feetfirmly upon the preceding duty, before you shall be able fully to climb to the next command. Let me, then, call your attention to the precept which precedes my text-"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mightyhand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." You know, Beloved, that there are some selfish, carnal cares which we mustnot cast upon God. It were an insult to Him. It were an act of infamy on our part if we should venture to ask for His assistancein them. Those are cares which would never molest us at all if we were obedient to the precept- "Humble yourselves, therefore,under the mighty hand of God."
This cuts off the head at once of many of those anxieties into which Christians sometimes fall. For instance, covetous cares-ifI desire to get and grasp more than is absolutely necessary, that I may hastily grow rich, I cannot, on my knees, ask Godto carry this care for me, because it isnone of His sending. He has taught me to say, "Give us this day our daily bread," and He has given me a blessed examplein Agur, that I may pray, "Give me neither poverty nor riches." But I cannot go on my knees before God, honestly, as a miserand ask that He would enable me to addhouse to house and field to field. That care I never ought to indulge and I never should endure it if I attended to theprecept, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God."
There is, also, the care of ambition, when men desire to attain honors, eminence and fame. To stand foremost, to be exaltedupon the pinnacle, to be looked up to by all and to be almost adored by some. But if we allow ambition to creep into our minds,we cannot go to God with it. It is a care whichwe dare not cast on God, for that were to empty the filth of our house upon the altar of God's sanctuary. But then, I say,it is a care which would never fret us, if our souls were lowly before the Lord.
There are those cares, too, which we make for ourselves-those anxieties which anticipate the future-those foolish fears whichare only created in our brain and which vex the head and then fret the heart. We cannot ask God to take those upon Himself-careswhich have no existenceexcept in our own fancies-we can scarcely cast on God. For, Beloved, we should never have them if we "humbled ourselvesunder the mighty hand of God." Then, in such a state of subjection to the Divine will and of resignation to the eternal purpose,our soul would sit quietlyand be still-and our spirit would not agitate itself with frivolities which it has itself imagined, with fancies which haveno origin but in our own imagination.
Oh that you may have Divine Grace to obey the preceding command, and then I think, without any limitation, I may address youin the words of the text-"Casting all your care upon Him. For He cares for you." I repeat, sinful cares we cannot cast onGod. But then, obeying the precept, "Humbleyourselves," would uproot such vexations. He that is down, need fear no fall. He whose soul is even as a weaned child willfret and cry no more.
In addressing you this morning from so rich a text as this, I would pray rather that the Holy Spirit may deliver you fromanxiety, than attempt to deliver you from it myself, for I am not even able to obey this precept myself, much less shall Ienable you to do it. Only when the Spirit of God isupon the preacher can he cast his cares upon his God and he is convinced by experience, that only as the Holy Spirit shallenable you, will you be able to do the same.
However, that our word may be the means of your comfort and of your strengthening, let us speak on this wise. First, for afew minutes, let us expound this disease of care, giving some description of it. Secondly, let us manifest the blessed remedyof the text, endeavoring, in God's name, to applyit. And lastly, let us hold out the sweet inducement of the second part of the sentence, in order that Believers may beled to attempt the practicing of the precept, "He cares for you."
I. First, then, LET US ENDEAVOR TO DESCRIBE THE DISEASE OF CARE. The care mentioned in the text, even though it is exercisedupon legitimate objects, (and in this it differs from the cares of which I spoke just now, which were cares concerning wrongobjects)-care, even when exercised uponlegitimate objects if carried to excess, has in itself the nature of sin. This will be clear if you think for a moment thatanything which is a transgression of God's command is sin, and if there were no other command, the one in our text being brokenwould involve us in iniquity.
But it is a precept earnestly repeated by our Savior many times. It is one which the Apostles have reiterated again and again,and one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression. Besides, the very essence of anxious care is the imaginingthat we are wiser than God and the thrustingof ourselves into His place, to do for Him that which we dream He either cannot or will not do. We attempt to think of thatwhich we fancy He will forget. Or we labor to take upon ourselves that burden which He either is not able or willing to carryfor us.
Now, this impertinence, this presumption-what if I say, this audacity-has in it the very nature of sin, to attempt to knowbetter than God, to snatch from His hand the helm by which He guides affairs, to attempt to correct His charts, to re-mapHis Providence. This, indeed, is such animpertinence that as the guardian Scripture pushes back the intruder, it demands of him, "Are you also one of the King'scounsel? What are you doing here? He took no counsel with you when He made the heavens and the earth and balanced the cloudsand stretched out the skies like atent to dwell in, how dare you come here and offer advice to perfect Wisdom and aid to Omnipotent Strength?" There is inanxious care the very nature of sin.
But, further, these anxious cares very frequently lead to other sins, sometimes to overt acts of transgression. The tradesmanwho is not able to leave his business with God, may be tempted to indulge in the tricks of the trade. No, he may not onlybe tempted but he may be prevailed upon to put outan unholy hand with which to help himself. The professional or literary man, if he has no firm trust in Providence, maylend his skill to indirect and unlawful ends. And each man, if he has no other snare, will be tried with this-to forsake prayerand to forget the promise inorder to trust to the wisdom of a friend, or to the natural sagacity of some mentor in whom he puts confidence.
Now this is forsaking the fountain to go to the broken cisterns-a crime which was laid against Israel of old-a wrath provokinginiquity. Even if it led to no other act except this sin of preferring the counsel of man to the direction of God, excessiveanxiety were to be reprobated anddetested. But think, my Brethren, of the many sins which our anxieties engender in our hearts-unbelief which makes us doubtour God. Want of love which is proven by our distrust of love. Want of hope which puts out our eyes so that we cannot seethe clear shining after therain.
Think, my Brothers and Sisters, how we fret and mistrust and thus vex the Spirit of God and often cause Him to depart fromus, so that our prayers are hindered, so that our example is marred, so that we give ourselves rather to self-seeking thanto seeking God. All these things are sins, the grapesof Gomorrah which grow on the vines of our cares. These base-born cares are the plentiful mothers of transgressions. Distrustis the egg out of which many a mischief is hatched. We indulge in these cares and think, surely we are doing no wrong-whereasthe indulgence in them isin itself a crime-and is besides a tempter which guides us onward to the commission of other iniquities. The man that fullof care, is ripe for any sin-but he who has cast his care on God stands securely-neither shall the Evil One be able to touchhim.
To proceed further in uncovering this disease-as it is in itself sin and the mother of sin, we note again that it brings misery.Where sin is, sorrow shall soon follow. He who would have his spirit bowed down even to the very earth, has only to fix histhoughts upon himself and hiscircumstances, instead of looking to God and His promises. Some of you are placed in a very happy position in life but,my dear Brethren, you can make yourselves miserable if you please. Others of you are put in what the world considers unhappycircumstances-but if God enablesyou-you can be supremely blessed.
Poverty does not necessarily involve sorrow, nor do riches in themselves bring peace or happiness. If any of you wish formisery you need not go out of your own house-there is no need to travel far for causes of discontent. You can be surfeitedwith plenty and be poor. You can dwell in themidst of peace and be disturbed. You can possess the richest prosperity and yet be afflicted. We, to a very great extentmake our own position. God ordains Providence and either
Divine Grace makes us happy, or sin racks us with pain. God does not make our misery. The cause of our trouble lies at ourown door, not at His.
Do you see that Christian, there with the sparkling eyes and the light footsteps-the man who is swift to run upon his Master'serrands? That man has many troubles but when he wakes in the morning, if he retains remembrance of them, he bows his kneeand leaves them with his God. He goes homeand the day has had much of sorrow in it, but he shakes the weight from his own shoulder and leaves his burden upon God.That man, with all his troubles, is more blessed than yonder professor. He is the one who has very little to vex him exceptthat he vexes himself, by making everylittle thing a ground for fretfulness, magnifying every small mischance into a strange calamity and by losing all patience,when all things suit not his proud will and dainty taste.
Oh Brethren! It is an ill thing for Christians to be sad. Let them rejoice, "Rejoice in the Lord always," but they never can,so long as they indulge in anxious cares.
Besides this, these anxious cares do not only lead us into sin and destroy our peace of mind but they also weaken us for usefulness.When one has left all his cares at home, how well he can work for his Master! But when those cares tease us in the pulpit,it is hard preaching the Gospel. When caresbuzz in the ear, the music of Divine Grace is hard to hear. What would you say of your workman who should come to you inthe morning with a heavy piece of family furniture upon his back? He calls himself your porter, he is about to carry yourgoods and you see him going out of thedoor with your load, which is properly proportioned to his strength-but beside that he is carrying a heavy piece of hisown upon his shoulders.
You say to him, "My good man, what are you doing there?" "Oh Sir, I am only loaded with household stuff." I think you wouldsay, "Well but you are not fit to do my work which you are engaged to do. I do not employ you to carry your own load, I hadyou here to carry mine." "But Sir," says he, "I amso weak, I cannot carry both." "Then leave yours alone," you say, "and carry mine."
Or to use another simile. There was a great king who once employed a merchant in his service as an ambassador to foreign courts.Now the merchant, before he went away, said to the king, "My own business requires all my care and though I am always willingto be Your Majesty's servant, yet if Iattend to your business as I ought, I am sure my own will be ruined." "Well," said the king, "you take care of my businessand I will take care of yours. Use your best endeavors and I will answer for it that you shall be nothing the loser for thezeal which you take from yourself togive to me."
And so our God says to us, as His servants, "Do My work and I will do yours. Serve Me and I will serve you." Like Peter-Peteris fishing, Christ needs a pulpit to preach in. He borrows Peter's boat and preaches in it. What about Peter's fishing? Oh,the Master will take care of that, for nosooner is the sermon done than He says, Launch into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Peter gets more inten minutes through having lent his boat to his Master, than he might have done in ten weeks, if he had been fishing on hisown account. Leave your cares with Godand care for
"Make HIS service your delight, Your wants shall be HIS care."
The subject would not be complete if I did not add that these little cares, of whose guilt, perhaps, we think so little, dovery great damage to our blessed and holy cause. Your sad and miserable countenances hinder souls who are anxious, and theypresent a ready excuse for souls who are careless."Look," they say, "look, that man is a Christian man, the whole of the winters of a century have left their storm riftson his forehead, and all the winds of ages seem to have ruffled his brow. He has no peace, no joy-who would be a Christianto be so miserable?"
Thus the careless man says he will not have Hell here, he will leave that for hereafter. Even anxious spirits say, "It cannotbe that this religion is true, for if it were really true, one would think it would be able to support its followers in thetroubles of life. If God's Word is true, that Godwill sustain His people. Then Christians would be sustained and Believers would be cheered and comforted. But I see thatthey are as much fretful as other men, as impatient as they are and that So-and-So, who makes a profession, is quite as weak,quite as easily bowed before thestorm as yonder man who has no God in whom to trust and no promises on which to lean."
Ah, let it not be said so, Christian, through you. Open not the enemy's mouth to blaspheme! Let not the dragon find food throughyou, who are of the seed of the Woman, but rather seek, casting your care on God, to disentangle yourself of all personalhindrances that you may be avenged upon yourMaster's adversaries as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
I close the description of this matter by saying that in the most frightful manner, cares have brought many to the poisonedcup, the halter, and the knife, and hundreds to the madhouse. What makes the constant increase of our lunatic asylums? Whyis it that in almost every country in England newasylums have to be erected, wing after wing being added to these buildings in which the imbecile and the raving are confined?It is because we will carry what we have no business to carry-our own cares. And until there shall be a general keeping ofthe Day of Rest throughoutEngland, and until there shall be a more general resting of our souls and all we have upon God, we must expect to hear ofincreasing suicides and increasing lunacies.
So long as the present system of competition in business shall continue-and there seems no hope that it will ever cease-thesigns of the times suggest that the battle will grow sterner every day. It will become a more stern duty with each of us tocast our care on God, unless we wouldsee reason reel and would be howling maniacs in our cells. Oh, for your own sake, and for your children's sake, for Christ'ssake and for His Church's sake, I pray you spoil not the fair house which God has built! Cast not out the lovely tenant, leavenot the temple of the Lord tobe the prison of madness. Away with evil cares if you would still be a man.
II. I shall now want your attention to the second part of the subject, THE BLESSED REMEDY TO BE APPLIED.
Somebody must carry these cares. If I cannot do it myself, can I find any who will? My Father who is in Heaven stands waitingto be my burden-bearer. With broad shoulders, with omnipotence as His strength, He says "My child, roll your burden upon yourGod." Blessed privilege, dare I neglect it? CanI be wicked enough to reject it and to bear my cares myself? Here is the blessed remedy, "Cast your burden upon the Lordand He will sustain you."
Now in order, rather to apply this remedy, than to describe it, by the help of God's Holy Spirit I will mention some of thosefears, those cares, which are legitimate enough in their objects but which can only be relieved by leaving them with God.One of the first and most natural cares with whichwe are vexed is the care for daily bread. "I should be content," says one, "with food and raiment. If I can but providethings honest in the sight of all men and see my family cared for, I shall then be happy." "But" says one, "what shall I eat,what shall I drink, with what shall Ibe clothed?
"I am without a job, having, therefore, no opportunity to earn my livelihood. I am without substance, having, therefore, nothingto look upon by which I may be supported without labor. I am without friends or a patron who might give me his generous assistance.What shall I do?" You are a Christian,are you? You must use all diligence, that is your duty-but oh, if God shall help you, mingle no fretfulness with the diligence,no impatience with your suffering, and no distrust with your trials. No-remember what Jesus has said so sweetly to the point,"Behold the fowlsof the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.
"Are you not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take you thoughtfor raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto youthat even Solomon in his glory was not arrayedlike one of these. Why, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shallHe not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shallwe drink? or, With what shall we beclothed? (for after all, these things do the Gentiles seek): for your Heavenly Father knows that you have need of all thesethings. But seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And all these things shall be added unto you."
Such a care as that, I say, is natural enough-and to bid a man shake it off when he is in actual need-is cruelly absurd, unlessyou have a sure consolation to offer him. But you can say, "Cast your trial upon God." Use your most earnest endeavors, humbleyourself under the mighty handof God. If you cannot do one thing, do another. If you cannot earn your bread as a gentleman, earn it as a poor man. Ifyou cannot earn it by the sweat of your brains do it by the sweat of your brow. Do something for an honest living-sweep acrossing if you cannot do anythingelse. If a man will not work, neither let him eat. But having brought yourself to that, if still every door is shut, "Trustin the Lord and do good, so shall you dwell in the land and verily you shall be fed."
Business men, who have not exactly to hunt for the necessities of life, are often tormented with the anxieties of large transactionsand extended commerce. The failures of others, frequent bad debts, changes in the markets, monetary pres- sures, and suddenpanics, cause a world of trouble. Throughour fashion of credit in this age, it is very hard for a Christian to conduct business in the sober, substantial fashionwhich a tender conscience would prefer. "Owe no man anything"-if that could be interwoven into the system of trade, it would,I do not doubt, cure tens ofthousands of ills which now grow out of that credit system which seems to be unavoidable, but which, I am sure, involvesmany of the crimes which are committed and very much of the care which racks business men.
Well, through the present high-pressure system of trade there is naturally much care. If any man here can say that he cango into his office having many in his employ and never at all have care, I should think he must be a rarity in the world.Surely he might walk till he dropped with wearinessbefore he would meet with another of the same order. But if there is a Brother here who has a business so extensive thathe does not sleep at night. One that lies there tossing on his bed, thinking about this servant who may have robbed him, orabout that vessel that is out at sea,or about the low prices of a certain article which has gone down since he laid in a large stock and all those little thingswhich all of you know.
Then I say, "Brother, wait a minute! What are you doing? What are you doing? Are you sure that in this you have used yourbest prudence and wisdom, and your best industry and given it your best attention?" "Yes." Well then, what more have you todo? Suppose you like to weep all night? Will thatkeep your ship from going on the Goodwin sands? Suppose you could cry your eyes out? Will that make a thief honest? Supposeyou could fret yourself till you could not eat? Would that raise the price of goods?
One would think if you were just to say, "Well, I have done all that is to be done, now I will leave it with God," that youmight go about your business and have the full use of your senses to attend to it. Whereas now you fritter away your sensesand then commit blunders, and so you multiply yourtroubles by that very fretfulness by which you hoped to remove them. There-let them alone! We say, "Leave well enough alone."But I say, "Leave ill alone," leave them both alone and with both your hands. For you will want both hands to honor your Master-withthe hand ofprayer, "In everything by prayer and supplication, making known your wants unto God." And with the other hand, the handof faith, trusting in God-lift your load right off from your own shoulders and let the whole crushing weight be left withyour eternal God, for "He willsustain you, He will never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Another anxiety of a personal kind which is very natural, and indeed, very proper if it is not carried to excess, is the careof your children. Blessed be God for our children! We do not sympathize with those who look upon them as afflictions, forwe believe them still to be a heritage of the Lord.But what anxieties they involve! How shall we bring them up? How shall they be provided for? Will they honor their parents,or will they bring disgrace upon the name they bear? A child may be the greatest curse his parents ever had, while he maybe their choicest comfort. "Allthese," as an old Puritan said, "are doubtful blessings and may be certain curses, yet I will not have it that there isany doubt about their being blessings, as God sends them."
A Christian parent must have care about his children and all the more because he is a Christian, since he will not be satisfiedwith their getting on in business, he will never be content till his children walk in the Truth of God. Mother, Father, youhave prayed for your children. You trust youhave set them a holy example. You labor day by day to teach them the Truth as it is in Jesus. You have travailed in birthfor their souls till Christ is formed in them. It is well. Now let your souls quietly expect the blessing-leave your offspringwith God-cast yoursons and daughters upon their father's God. Let no impatience intrude if they are not converted in your time. Let no distrustdistract your mind if they should seem to belie your hopes.
I met yesterday with a few verses which sound like the warbling of an American song writer. They exactly suit my subject andin reading them in private they have touched my heart. Excuse me therefore, if though I never read a sermon, I should foronce read a part of one-
"The Master has come over Jordan,"
Said Hannah, the mother, one day.
"He is healing the people who throng Him, With a touch of His finger, they say. And now I shall carry the children, Little Rachel and Samuel and John I shall carry the baby, Esther, For the Lord to look upon."
The father looked at her kindly, But he shook his head and smiled- "Now, who but a doting mother Would think of a thing sowild? If the children were tortured by demons, Or dying of fever it were well. Or had they the taint of the leper, Like manyin Israel."
"No, do not hinder me, Nathan. I feel such a burden of care If I carry it to the Master, Perhaps I shall leave it there. IfHe lays His hand on the children, My heart will be lighter, I know- For a blessing forever and ever
Will follow them as they go."
So, over the hils of Judah,
Along by the vine-rows green,
With Esther asleep on her bosom,
And Rachel her brothers between
Among the people who hung on His teaching,
Or waited His touch and His word,
Through the ro w of proud Pharisees listening,
She pressed to the feet of the Lord.
Now, why should you hinder the Master, Said Peter, "with children like these? See not how, from morning till evening, He teachesand heals disease?" Then Christ said, "Forbid not the children, Permit them to come unto Me!"
And He took in His arms little Esther, And Rachel He set on His knee. And the hea vy heart of the mother
Was lifted all earth-care above, As He laid His hands on the brothers And blessed them with most tender love. As He said ofthe babes in His bosom,
"Of such are the kingdom of Heaven."
And strength for all duty and trial
That hour to her spirit was given.
Thus do you and thus inherit the blessing.
But each Christian will in his time have personal troubles of a higher order, namely, spiritual cares. He is begotten againunto a lively hope but he fears that his faith will yet die. He hopes he has some spark of spiritual joy, but there are darkand dreary nights which lower over him and hefears that his lamp will die out in darkness. As yet he has been victorious but he trembles lest he should one day fallby the hand of the enemy.
Beloved, I beseech you-cast this care upon God for He cares for you. "I am persuaded that He that has begun a good work inyou will carry it on and perfect it unto the day of Christ." He has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." "Themountains shall depart and the hills be removed.But My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the Covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord that has mercyon you." "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: whenyou walk through the fire, you shallnot be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you." "No good thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly.""I give unto My sheep eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."
Why, one might keep you all this morning and this afternoon and evening too, repeating the precious promises of God and wemight close them all by saying-
What more can He say than to you He has said, You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?"
Away, then with dark suspicions and anxieties! Is it care about past sin? "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, cleansus from all sin." Is it present temptation? "There has no temptation happened to you but such as is common to men: but Godwho is faithful, who will not suffer you to betempted above what you are able. But will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it."
Is it future peril? O leave that with Him, for neither "things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anyother creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." If you begin to thinkalways of yourself, you will be miserable. Why, itis Christ that makes you what you are before the eyes of God. Look, then, to Jesus in order to find out what you are inGod's esteem. Soul, I say again, look at Christ and not at yourself. Never let anxieties about sanctification destroy yourconfidence of justification.
What if you are a sinner! Christ died to save sinners. What if you are undeserving! "In due time Christ died for the ungodly."Divine Grace is free. The invitation is still open to you-rest the whole burden of your soul's salvation where it must rest.Do not be an Uzza-lay no hasty handupon the ark of the Lord. Above all, do not be an Uzziah-attempt not to offer sacrifices or usurp the priesthood, for Christmust stand for you-you cannot stand or do for yourself. Cast, then, your care on Him, for He cares for you.
I shall want your patient attention two or three minutes more, while trying to apply this remedy. I notice that there aremany cares not of a personal, but rather of an ecclesiastical character, which often insinuate themselves and plead for life,but which must nevertheless be put away. I am sorryto confess, that if I do not preach to anyone else this morning, I shall now be preaching to myself. There are cares abouthow God's work is to be carried on. I know a foolish young man who lies awake many nights thinking about that, and who sometimesby day makes himself foolishlysad, because with large purposes of heart and with great designs in his soul, he sees not the way by which they are to becarried out and has not yet attained the faith which-
"Laughs at impossibilities, And says, 'It shall be done.'"
If any of you are suffering from the same sad disease, let me exhort you from the words of Peter, to cast the care about God'swork upon God. He never sent us a warfare at our own charge. He never did require us to do His work- that He will attend toHimself. And we ought to feel that if Goddoes not enable us to do as much as we would, it is a blessed thing to be enabled and permitted to do as much as we can.If we think there are few men to work, or little means with which to work, we must not be fretful about where the means, orthe men shall come from. We mayproperly pray, "Lord, send laborers," and with equal propriety we may ask that He who has the silver and the gold, may givethem for His own work.
But after that, we must cast our care on God. Then, if we get over that, there will be another anxiety-one which frets meoften enough-the success of God's work. Oh, when there are souls converted, how our heart leaps for joy. When the Church keepscontinually increasing, how glad weare! But if there is even a little lull, we feel so sad. If we do not see God's arm always bare, we are ready to lie downand say, "Lord, let me die, I am no better than my fathers." When we are in a low state of body and heart, too, that weakeningsickness of unbelief, like thewoman's issue of blood, comes over us and we feel that life is ebbing as success decreases. Now, this is a care we mustcast on God.
Preacher, your Great Employer sent you out to sow the seed-but if no grain of it should ever come up-if you sowed the seedas He told you and where He told you, He will never lay the blame of a defective harvest to you. It is ours to preach-butto convert souls is God's. It isours to labor-but the success depends alone on Him. "They that go through the valley of Baca make it a well"-that is theirbusiness, to dig wells. "The rain also fills the pools"-it is not their business to fill the wells. And the wells do not getfull from thebottom as they do in our country-it is the rain that fills the pools. The blessing comes from on High-if we have dug thewells and we have prayed six times and as yet the rain has not descended, go again seven times and the rain shall yet descendand the pools shall befilled to the brim. Do not, therefore, let us have cares about success.
And sometimes there is another care. It is the care lest some little slip made by ourselves or others should give cause tothe enemy to blaspheme. There are devils besides those in Hell-there are some on earth. And some of these are too glad tofind an opportunity, if there is a word that isever so fitly spoken, to wrest it out of its connection and make stock and capital for blasphemy out of it. It is an easytask and one which any fool can accomplish-this world is full of fools who are glad to find dirt to eat, and then having eatenit themselves, to cram itdown others throats.
One is sometimes afraid to walk for fear of breaking something in such a frail world as this. Afraid to speak, lest we shouldsay something which might open the enemy's mouth. A careful jealousy is very well if it leads to caution-but very ill if itleads to a worrisome, weak anxiety. Whathave you and I to do with what the enemy may do? If the Lord does not chain the devil, I am sure we cannot. And if He doesnot shut the mouths of liars, I do not know that we ought to wish He would, for if He lets them open their mouths I have nodoubt they are best open.
Many a time, as Christ rode into Jerusalem on the back of an ass, the truth has ridden into the midst of Jerusalem in triumphon the back of its most despicable enemies. Beyond doubt, Christ has been lifted up even on the point of the spear and thelight of the Gospel has beamed like a beacon fromthe stake where the martyr perished. Well, let us leave our enemies to do what they will and only stand fast to the Lordand cast our care on Him.
And then, one is so afraid of being unfaithful at the last, lest the blood of souls should be on our garments. Oh, that thoughthas dashed me on my forehead on the floor many and many a time. This heavy burden crushes me into the most pitiable state,until the body sympathizes with the mind sofully, that if you could see me with the tears running from my eyes and the cold sweat starting from my head, you wouldsay, "What a creature is that to go forth and preach?" The thought of having all of you to address and that I must be faithful,or else your blood shall berequired at my hands, is so awful a one that in private I never dare to think of it, for it utterly unmans me.
But oh, blessed be God, if He has enabled us to do all we can by His Spirit, we must leave it there. We know that He willnot ask more of us than He has given to us and if He has helped us so far, His shall be the glory. But if we have failed,even that, too, shall be washed away through Hisprecious blood and with all his weight of responsibility the minister shall yet enter Heaven and find a place among thesanctified.
III. My last point and only a word, of THE SWEET INDUCEMENTS TO CONVINCE YOU TO LEAVE YOUR BURDENS WITH HIM-"He cares foryou."
Believe in an universal Providence, the Lord cares for ants and angels, for worms and for worlds. He cares for cherubim andfor sparrows, for seraphim and for insects. Cast your care on Him, He that calls the stars by their names and leads them outby numbers, by their hosts. Why do you say, OJacob, and think, O Israel, "my way is passed over from God and He has utterly forgotten me?" Let His universal Providencecheer you.
Think next of His particular Providence over all the saints. "Precious shall their blood be in His sight." "Precious in thesight of the Lord is the death of His saints." "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to themthat are the called according to His purpose."Let the fact that while He is the Savior of all men, He is specially the Savior of them that believe. Let that cheer andcomfort you, that special Providence which watches over the chosen, "The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fearHim."
And then, thirdly, let the thought of His special love to you be the very essence of your comfort. "I will never leave you,nor forsake you." God says that as much to you, as He said it to any saint of old. "Fear not, I am your shield and your exceedinggreat reward." Oh, I wish, Beloved, that theHoly Spirit would make you feel the promise as being spoken to you! Out of this vast assembly, forget the rest, and onlythink of yourself, for the promises are unto you, meant for YOU. Oh, grasp them. It is ill to get into a way of reading Scripturefor the whole Church-readit for yourselves and specially hear the Master say to YOU this morning, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe inGod, believe also in Me."
Think that you hear Him say, "I have prayed for you that your faith fail not." Think you see Him walking on the waters ofyour trouble, for He is there, and He is saying, "Fear not, it is I, be not afraid." Oh, those sweet words of Christ! Lord,speak them to me! Speak them to Your poor sorrowingchild yonder! Speak them to each one of us! Speak them to us, and let us hear Your voice and say, "Jesus whispers consolation,I cannot refuse it, I will sit under His shadow with great delight."
Sinners-ungodly persons here-you know not God. I send you away when I have said this one thing. What a blessed thing it isto be a Christian, to have Someone who will take your cares for you! Why, you know you will have your cares whether you areChristians or not-you are sure tohave troubles even in the world-but then you have no Christ to comfort you, no God to sustain you, no promise to cheer you.You have the darkness without the lamp, you have to die without the immortality to follow. Oh that you knew what a Christianis, and your mouths would bewatering to know the Christian's privilege!
I say to you, cast your sins upon Christ. Jesus Christ can take them. If you believe on Him there is proof that He did takethem of old, did carry them and suffered for them in His own Person that you might go free. Oh may we each this morning, saintand sinner, come to the Cross and to the Throneof Grace and say, "Lord, unload us of our burdens of guilt and care and give us now to go on our way rejoicing," becauseGod, all-sufficient, has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."