Sermon 514. Tell It All
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, JUNE 14, 1863, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before Him and told Him all the truth."Mark 5:33.
JESUS was pressing through the throng to the house of Jairus to raise the ruler's dead daughter. But He is so profuse in goodnessthat He works another miracle while upon the road. While yet this rod of Aaron bears the blossom of an unaccomplished wonder,it yields the ripe almonds of a perfectwork of mercy. It is enough for us, if we have some purpose, straightway to go and accomplish it. It were imprudent to expendour energies by the way. Hastening to the rescue of a drowning friend, we cannot afford to exhaust our strength upon anotherin like danger.
It is enough for a tree to yield one sort of fruit and for a man to fulfill his own peculiar calling. But our Master knowsno limit of power or boundary of mission. He is so prolific of Divine Grace, that like the sun which shines as it fulfilsits course, His path is radiant with loving kindness.He is a fiery arrow of love which not only reaches its ordained target, but perfumes the air through which it flies. Virtueis always going out of Jesus, as sweet odors exhale from the flowers. And it always will be emanating from Him, as light fromthe central orb. What delightfulencouragement this Truth of God affords us!
If our Lord is so ready to heal the sick and bless the needy, then, my Soul, be not slow to put yourself in His way, thatHe may smile on you! Be not slack in asking if He is so abundant in bestowing! I will give earnest heed to His Word this morning,for it may be, though the sermon should bemainly intended to bless another, yet incidentally and by the way, Jesus may speak through it to my soul. Men speak of killingtwo birds with one stone, but my Lord heals many souls on one journey. May He not heal me? Son of David, turn Your eyes andlook upon my distress and let mebe made whole this day!
The afflicted woman in the narrative came behind Jesus in the press and won a cure from Him-all unobserved by the multitude.Ah, how many there may be in the crowd who are really healed by Jesus Christ, but concerning whom little or nothing is known!It is delightful to see conversion work,to trace the good hand of the Lord, and to rejoice therein. But, beyond a doubt, when the secrets of all hearts shall berevealed, we shall find that Jesus Christ has worked ten times more wonders than eye has seen or ear heard. We must not dreamthat we know all that our infiniteGod is doing.
The works of the Lord are great, and are sought out of all them that have pleasure therein, but even these seekers see notall-
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathomed ca ves of ocean bear Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air." Let each timid hearer now say-"If it is so that there are many who receive God'sGrace, who through much trembling hide themselves from the eyes of men, may it not be so with me? May I not this morning venturesecretly to touch the Lord? And since the virtue streams abundantly from Him, may I not hope that He will bless me? Even me,unknown, unnoticed though I am."
I commence with these two or three notes of encouragement, just to tune my harp, for I desire to sing a song to the Lord'sBeloved, of which the burden shall be-"Comfort You, comfort You my people." The story of this trembling woman, from firstto last, though it is but a piece of by-play, asI have said before, is one of the most touching and teaching of the Savior's miracles. The woman was very ignorant. Shefondly imagined that virtue came out of Christ by a law of necessity, without His knowledge or direct will. She supposed thatthe holiness and Divinity of HisNature had communicated a mysterious efficacy to His garments.
Just as the bones of Elisha had restored a dead man to life, so she conceived that the garments worn upon the living Bodyof the Savior might remove her sickness. She had true faith, but there was, to say the least, a tinge of superstition in it.Moreover, she was a total stranger to the generosityof Jesus' Character, or else she would not have gone behind to steal the cure which He was so ready to bestow. Misery shouldalways place itself right in the face of mercy. Had she known the love of Jesus' heart, she would have said, "I have but toput myself where He can see me.His Omniscience will teach Him my case, and His love at once will work my cure."
We admire her faith, but we marvel at her strange ignorance. For how could she imagine that she would be hidden from one whosegarment could stanch her issue of blood? He who could cure her secret malady could certainly perceive her secret touch. Aftershe had obtained the cure, she rejoices withtrembling. Glad was she that the Divine virtue had worked a marvel in her, but she feared lest Christ should retract theblessing, and put a negative upon the grant of His Grace. How sad that she should have such unworthy ideas of our graciousMaster-little did she comprehendthe fullness of His love.
You and I have not so clear a view of Him as we could wish. We know not the heights and depths and lengths and breadths ofHis love-but we know Him better than she did-at least we know, for sure, that He is too good to withdraw from a tremblingsoul the gift which it has been able toobtain. But here is the marvel of it-little as was her knowledge, great as was her unbelief, and astounding as was her misconceptionof our Lord-yet her faith, because it was real faith, saved her! If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, there is lifein that grainand die it cannot.
A ray of faith ensures complete deliverance from the blackness of darkness forever. If in the list of the Lord's childrenyou and I are written, as the feeblest of the family, yet being children and heirs through faith, no power, human or devilish,can reverse our adoption. If we cannot clasp theLord in our hands with Simeon, if we dare not to lean our heads upon His bosom with John-yet if we can venture in the crowdbehind Him, and touch the hem of His garment, we are made whole. Courage, you that are so timid that you seldom read yourtitles clear to mansions in theskies-the title is none the less sure, in spite of the fact you cannot read it!
I would to God your faith were stronger, but God forbid that I should wound your sensitive spirits and discourage your growinghopes. My Master quenched not the smoking flax. He broke not the bruised reed-neither must the servant do so. I had rathersee you, with all your timidity, exercisinga real faith in Jesus, than I would have to mourn over you as lifted up with rash presumptuous confidence-without a solidground for your boldness. Better to go limping to Heaven, than running to Hell. Better to enter into life halt or maimed,than having two hands, and twofeet, and cast into Hell fire. Courage, I say, you Trembler. To cry "Abba," with tears and groans, is better than to shoutwith loud boastings, "Peace, Peace," where there is no peace. Happier, by far to be folded with the tender lambs than to bedriven away with the strong andlusty goats.
Now let us turn aside to hear this woman preach. She has a word for two classes. First, to the penitent, urging him to a fullconfession. "She told Him all the truth"-Penitent, do you the same. Next, to the true convert, an exhortation to an open profession.For she declared before them allhow she had been made whole. Secret Disciple-"Go and do you likewise."
I. This timid woman shall be AN EXAMPLE TO PENITENTS to make a full avowal of their state and condition. "She told Him allthe truth." There need be no difficulty about the matter of prayer with a soul that needs help from Christ. Never questionyour power to pray acceptably if God has given you asense of need. Say not-"I have no eloquence. I cannot arrange my words. I cannot fashion a suitable form of extemporaneousaddress." Remember that none of these things are necessary. All that is wanted for acceptable prayer is that in the name ofJesus you tell the Lord allthe truth.
You require no argument more moving than your misery. You need no description more glowing than your sad case, itself, affordsyou. Though you know not how to plead your cause as an advocate in a court of law, plead it as the publican in the court ofmercy. The simple statement of your wants, andthe sincere expression of your desire that those wants should be supplied, for Jesus' sake, is all the prayer that God asksof you.
We should, dear Friends, if we would come before the Lord acceptably, tell Him all the truth about our disease. This womandid so. Her malady was such that her modesty had prompted her to conceal it from the throng, but she must not hide it fromJesus. Her disease had rendered her unclean, so thatshe had no right to mingle with the crowd, since her touch defiled all who touched her. All this defilement she must ownin the Presence of the Healing One. Nor must she, now that her Lord demands it, hide it from the multitude who are round abouther. Not to gloat over sin, but toshow how sensible we are of it, we ought to make a full declaration of our disease to Jesus, and when He wills it, we mustconceal from no one what sinners we were until Divine Grace reclaimed us.
Sin is our disease. Sinner, acknowledge it. Go, show yourself, in all your foulness, to the Great High Priest. Confess thedepravity of your nature. Tell Him that your whole head is sick, and your whole heart is faint. Do not draw the picture flatteringlywhen you are in prayer. Confess that yourthoughts are foul, your imaginations filthy, your heart corrupt, and your judgment perverted. Tell Him that your memorywill treasure up foolishness, but that it drops the Words of Wisdom from its feeble hands. Tell him you are altogether asan unclean thing, and that all yourrighteousnesses are as filthy rags. Make a clean breast of your overt acts.
Tell Him, when you are alone in your closet, precisely what you have done. Do not disguise your crimes, nor mince mattersby using dainty terms. If you have been a thief, tell Him so. If you have been a drunkard, confess it not thus- "Lord, I havesometimes indulged the flesh." But say,"Lord, I have been drunk." Put it plainly. Acknowledge it in your privacy before God by its own proper name. It is a greattemptation of Satan, with convicted souls, to induce them to apply grand titles to their sins. I pray you, do not do so.
Acknowledge, Sinner, just what you have been, and wear the sackcloth and ashes which befit your state. Call a spade, a spade,and go not about trimming your way. This is not the time for your Agags to go delicately. They must be hewed in pieces beforethe Lord your God. Confess the aggravations ofyour sin. Conceal not from God that you sinned against light, and knowledge-against many warnings and the strivings of anawakened conscience. Do not hesitate to acknowledge that you have wiped away the tears which the Gospel forced from you, andhave gone once again into theworld's sin, and lost every good impression.
It is well for us if we are seeking mercy of God, to state the worst of our case and not the best. It is a sure sign thatmercy will soon come, when we are ready to confess to the full, our misery. O Sinner, where are you? Have you been beforemy God in prayer? Go again, and be more full and clearin your confession. You cannot describe your case in terms too black. It is not possible for you to exaggerate either yournatural or acquired guilt. You are a wretch undone without His Sovereign Grace-admit it to Him. And if you can find no words,let the groans, and sighs,and sobs of confession pour forth from you-for it is the heart and soul of true and sincere prayer to lay yourself in thedust at Jesus' feet and tell Him all the truth.
The woman next told the Lord of her sufferings. The peculiar disease with which she had been afflicted drained away her strength.She must have presented a most emaciated appearance. There was no flush of health upon her hollow cheek. Her gait was thatof utter weakness. The toil which her povertycompelled her to endure to earn a livelihood must have been very painful to her, for she had no strength. Her purse wasdrained by physicians, and her heart by the flux of blood. Poor creature! We can little tell the days of languishing and thenights of pain she endured-andthe seasons of despondency and despair which would come upon her spirit in consequence of the weakness of the flesh.
But she told Him all the truth. She told Him briefly, but completely, all she had endured. Tried Soul! You with whom God'sSpirit is at work! Tell the Lord, if you would pray aright, all your sufferings! Tell Him how your heart has been broken,how your conscience has been alarmed. Tell Him howyour very sleep is scared with dreams, how your days are made as black as though they were nights by a want of hope. TellHim that sin has become a torment to you, that the places in which you could once find pleasure have now become howling wildernessesto you. Tell Him the harphas lost its music, the cup its enticements, the table its charms, society its delights-for you are full of your own waysand your sins have become a burden to you. Let your sorrows flow in briny floods before the Lord of Hosts, for though no strangercan intermeddle with yoursorrow, your God understands it. Tell Him, then, tell Him, troubled Sinner, tell Him all the truth.
Next, I am persuaded that this woman did not hesitate to tell him of her futile attempts after a cure. She had been to otherphysicians. She had suffered many things by them. That is to say, some of them had put her under various opera- tions of themost painful character. And others had compelledher to drink nauseous medicine. These ancient professors of medicine had given her sleepless nights, and days of exquisiteanguish-all of which she might have borne with patience if she had been one whit the better. But she rather grew worse.
Her doctors, it seems, were her worst disease. They added to the issue of her blood a waste of her money. They gave her consumptionin her purse, and vexed her with the plagues of fees. Her substance might have yielded her many little comforts and some extranourishment to sustain her under thefearful drain upon her system. But the doctors sucked like vampires and made an issue in her pockets more rapid than thatin her person. She tells the Lord, although that confession was as good as saying, "Lord, I have been everywhere else, orelse I should never have come to You. Ihave tried everyone, and it is only because all others have failed that I present myself before You."
You would think such a confession as that would make Him angry. But it was not so. I would not have you keep back this partof the tale from your Lord and Master. Tell Him you have been to other physicians. Remind Him how you went to Moses-how hetook you to the foot of Sinai and made youexceedingly fear, and quake, but never stanched your wounds. Tell Him how you rested upon Mr. Civility and his father, Mr.Legality, who said they had skill to take the burden from your back-who set you this to do, and that to do most irksomely-butnever ministered oneatom to your cure.
Tell Him of your many prayers and how you have trusted in them. Tell Him of your good works and how you used to repose yourconfidence in them. You may spread before Him the story of your infant sprinkling, your confirmation, your Church attendance,your Chapel going. Tell Him how you were alwaysup to early prayers, and kept the saints' days- how you tried to mortify the body and to deny yourself many comforts. TellHim how you did everything sooner than come to Him. And say that even now, if you had not been forced to it, you would nothave come, for you are so vileby nature, and so great an enemy to the Cross of Christ, that you would not have come to Him if you could have found a shadowof hope elsewhere.
"Well," one says, "would that be praying?" Yes, dear Brother! Yes, dear Sister, that is the soul of prayer-to tell Him allthe truth. We cannot expect that He will give us pardon till we make our confession fully, and without any reserve. If youwill cover any sin in your heart, your sinshall condemn you. If there is one secret corner of your soul in which you hide away any of your corruptions, or follies-thereshall a cancer spring up which shall eat into your very soul. Tell Him all the truth! Hide nothing from Him, even this, yourwicked, willful pride ingoing after your own righteousness and not submitting yourself to the righteousness of Christ-tell Him all the truth.
This poor woman told him all her hopes. She said with many a tear, "Lord Jesus, when I had spent my all and could no longerrun after the various physicians of different countries, I heard of You. It was one evening as I lay on my couch, too faintto sit upright. A neighbor came and told me that ason of hers that had been born blind had received his sight. And she said that the same man, named Jesus of Galilee, a mightyProphet, had also restored one that was dead-a widow woman's son at the gates of Nain. Then I said in my heart, perhaps Hewill heal me. And my soulthat had been given up to despair enjoyed for a moment a beam of hope, for my soul said, 'If it is possible for Him to raisethe dead, then He can stop my issue of blood. And if He did open the blind eyes, then He can restore me.'
"I thought, if the journey is ever so long I will take it. If the way is ever so rough, if I may but creep into His Presence,I will be among the company, and, perhaps, when He is stretching out His hand to bless, He will bless me, even me. And perhapsthe Man is so full of healing virtue that ifHe will not look on me, yet if I get near enough to look on Him I shall be made whole." So she would tell him of that hope.She would also tell Him of the many disappointments that she met with when she was pressing through the throng. How the strongmen jostled her, and the roughmen pushed her back. How the many thoughtless told her to be gone, and the zealous few were jealous of her place and struggledto get before her.
She would tell Him how at last she did come near enough to touch the hem of His garment and how she ventured to touch in thehope that she would be made whole. Then she would plead that as she already felt a change for the better, she humbly hopedthat He would not take away this omen of love, butthat He would carry out the cure and send her away perfectly restored.
If you desire to pray aright, pour out your hopes before the Lord. I remember when I sought the Lord, I said to Him, "Lord,I have read in Scripture that You did hear Saul of Tarsus, and that You did save Manassas. I am a sinner, it is true, greatas they are. But surely You can save me. And mysoul hopes that yet You will. Turn an eye of pity and say unto me, 'your sins are forgiven.' " Sometimes that hope grewso strong that I felt as if I should be saved-I knew I should. Then, again, that hope went down so low that it seemed impossiblethat He could have pity uponme. And I remember I asked Him how it was He could have buoyed me up with that fond hope and put the Scriptures in sucha way that they looked as if they were meant for me-and were sent to beckon me to Christ-and yet I could find no comfort inthem.
Now, you must do the same. Spread those disappointed hopes of yours before your God and tell Him all the truth. But be sureyou tell Him also your fears. I dare say the woman said to Him, "Oh, Son of David, I thought at one time it was foolish ofme to come to You, for I know, O Jesus of Nazareth,that You are very careful concerning the Law. Now the Law says that a woman with an issue of blood is unclean, and I thoughtI had no right to come near to You-that You would say to me, 'Woman, Woman, how dare you to mix with the throng, and makeall these people legallyunclean? And what is this, your impudence, that you should think of touching Me? You whose touch is a defiling one, howcould you venture to come near to Me?'
"Lord, I thought of going back scores of times, but it was my necessity that made me bold. I felt I had no right to come.But come I must. When I did get the cure from You, I touched You surreptitiously without any invitation, without daring todo it before Your face, and now I am afraid You willcurse me and say, 'Get you gone,' and add another disease to me, and so break the back that is already bent with a crushingload." How soon her fears were removed when she had told them!
Now, poor Sinner, tell all your fears, whatever they may be. You think your sins are too great. Tell Him so. You fear youare not one of His chosen. Tell Him so. You think that He has never called you. Tell Him so. You believe that if you did cometo Him He would refuse you. Tell Him so, if youdare. But I think you would hardly utter so flat a contradiction to His own words, "Him that comes to Me I will in no wisecast out." Do you feel your heart is so hard? Tell Him it is like a nether millstone, that the adamant might melt before yourheart would yield. Do you feel asif you could not tell Him? Tell Him that you feel as if you could not tell Him.
Whatever it is, let all the truth come out. No, no! You need not look into the Prayer Book-you will not find much there thatsuits a convicted sinner. You need not buy a book of family devotions. Your own poor cries are better than the best writtenforms. "Oh, my prayer will be so broken!"Well, then, it will be all the more suitable for a broken heart. But then you say, "It is such an unworthy prayer." Yes,but then you are an unworthy soul. The prayer is fitting for the person. If the Great God should hear you, you will know thatit was not because of your prayer,but because of Jesus. For all you did was tell Him the truth. And if that prevails with Him, why then, His heart of love,and the sufferings of the Savior must have moved Him to have pity upon you.
I pray God the Holy Spirit guide these words which are meant to encourage you who have been seeking Jesus. Let me urge youto tell the whole of the story for these reasons. The Lord knows it all beforehand-you cannot hide it. Whatever your sinsmay have been, though they were perpetrated atnight, though they were under the shadow of the thickest darkness, He saw them all. Secret sins are all committed in theface of God. Was it a theft which no one has yet discovered? Or was it only a thought, a black thought that no ear, not evenyour own, ever heard? God sawit-God heard it. In His book everything which you have done is recorded against you. Be not foolish, then-deny not thatwhich is published on the housetops of Glory.
The Judge will publish it at last. If you hide it all your life, it will come out then. Go then, tell it-tell it now. To tellthis to God will be a very great service to you. It will tend to make you feel your need more. I believe that often, whenthe penitent begins his confession, he is nothalf so sensible of guilt as at the close of his prayer. If you will bring your soul to look at your sin, to study its foulness,to meditate upon its heinous ingratitude-while you are considering the subject, the Spirit of God will work upon you-and yourheart, like therock in the desert, smitten by His rod, shall gush with streams of penitence.
If your heart is very grieved, do, I pray you, remember that confession is one of the most rapid ways of getting relief. Whilethe banks hold good the lake swells. Let them break and the water is drained off. Let a vent be found for the swollen lakeup yonder on the mountains, and the mass of waterwhich might otherwise inundate the valleys will flow in fertilizing streams. When you have a festering, gathering wound,the surgeon lets in the lances and gives you ease. So con- fession brings peace. Would to God without any delay you who needa Savior would go to Him and confessyour sin right plainly.
Jesus is no hard-hearted foe, no cruel Judge. He loves you. Awakened Sinner, He will love to hear that story of yours. Andbefore you have finished it, He will give you the kiss of love, and say, "I have blotted out your sins like a cloud and likea thick cloud your transgressions." Trust theimmense generosity of Jesus' infinitely tender heart to give you your soul's desire-the complete and perfect forgivenessof your sin.
I have thus bid this woman become the preacher of this morning and speak to those who are penitent. May the Word be blessed.
II. We now change the subject for a very short time, to address THOSE WHO ARE CONVERTED, BUT WHO,
LIKE THIS WOMAN, HAVE NOT YET ACKNOWLEDGED THEIR FAITH IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS.
Our Savior will do nothing by halves. The woman may be content with having her body healed-Jesus is not satisfied till hersoul is recovered, too. She has gained the cure, but she would probably go slinking away with the retiring multitude to hideherself from all observation. This will notbe for her good, nor for the Master's honor, therefore He takes means to get a plain confession from her. Turning round,He says, "Who touched Me?" At first, there is no answer. He puts it again, "Who touched Me?" They all deny. Peter, moreover,takes upon him to upbraid the Saviorfor asking so absurd a question-"The multitude throng You," says he, "how can You say, 'Who touched Me?' "
But He looked round, and probably fixing His eyes at last upon the woman herself, He said, "Somebody has touched Me, for Iperceive that virtue is gone out of Me." That "somebody" came out of the crowd, and falling flat on her face, she declaredbefore them all, so Luke says, what had been done inher. Now, in the great work of salvation, as we have remarked aforetime, there are many who are saved who, through timidity,do not come forward and confess what Jesus Christ has done for them. I believe that our Lord often uses singular means tomake His secret ones come out andacknowledge Him. The words I may speak just now may be a part of His plan by which He will make yonder "somebody," whoeverthat may be, this Sister somebody, this Brother somebody, who has touched Him, come out and declare before all what the Lordhas done.
His reasons for constraining her to make an open confession, were doubtless three. It was for His glory-
"Why should the wonders He has worked, Be hid in darkness and forgot?" When I look abroad upon nature, it is true, I do notsee nature fussily trying to make itself tidy for a visitor, as some professors do, who, the moment they think they are goingto be looked at, trim up their godliness to makeit look smart. But on the other hand, nature is never bashful. She never tries to hide her beauties from the gazer's eyes.You walk the valley. The sun is shining and a few raindrops are falling. Yonder is the rainbow-a thousand eyes gaze at it.Does it fold up all its lovelycolors and retire? Oh, no! It shrinks not from the eyes of man.
In yonder garden all the flowers are opening their lovely cups, the birds are singing, and the insects humming amid the leaves.It is a place so beautiful that God Himself might walk therein at eventide, as He did in Eden. I look without alarming thebashful beauties of the garden. Do all theseinsects fold their wings and hide beneath the leaves? Do the flowers hang down their heads? Does the sun draw a veil overhis modest face? Does nature blush until the leaves of the trees are scarlet? Oh, no! Nature cares not for gazers, and whenany come to look upon her, she doesnot hasten to wrap a mantle over her fair form, or throw a curtain before her grandeur.
So the Christian is not to be always wishing to expose what is in him. That were to make himself a Pharisee. Yet, on the otherhand, if God has put anything that is lovely and beautiful, and of good repute in you, anything that may glorify the Crossof Christ, and make the angels happy before theEternal Throne, who are you that you should cover it? Who are you that you should rob God of His praise? What? Would youhave all nature's beauties hid? Why, then, hide the beauties of Divine Grace? Jesus Christ deserves to be confessed beforemen. He is not ashamed to own Himselfour Friend amidst the splendors of His Father's court. Nor was He ashamed amidst the mockery and spitting of Pilate's hall.Why, then, should you find it a hardship or a difficulty to acknowledge Him?
Acknowledge Him! I ought to feel proud of the honor to be allowed to acknowledge Him! I, who am black with sin, ashamed tocall Him Husband who is the fairest of the children of men? I, that am poor as poverty, blush to own that the King of kingscalls Himself my Brother! I, who deserve the deepestHell. I, ashamed to own that Christ has washed me in
His precious blood and set my feet upon a rock, and put a new song into my mouth? My Master, I cannot be ashamed of You! Howcan it be?-
"No, when I blush, be this my shame, That I no more revere His name!" My Brother, my Sister, you who keep in retirement, andhide your candles under a bushel, you should not do so. For the sake of His dear name, who loved you with an everlasting love,and has engraved you upon the palms of Hishands- come forth and declare your faith.
Doubtless Christ would have her confession for the good of Jairus. Did that strike you? Jairus needed much faith. He was justinformed that his child was dead. Some faith was wanted to believe that Christ could heal the sick. But that He could restorethe dead? What faith was needed here?Therefore, this woman's confession is put in to nourish the faith of the trembling ruler of the synagogue. You do not know,dear Friends, of how much service your open confession of Christ might be to some trembling soul. One reason why we have Churchesand are joined in fellowship,is that we may help the weak. That by our daring to say, "Christ has saved me," others may take heart and may come to Himand find the same mercy.
"Oh, but," you say, "the Church does not want me." Then, I might say the same, and all Christians might say the same. Wherewould there be a visible Church on earth at all? What is right for one Christian to do is right for all to do. And if is rightfor you to neglect professing Christ, then it isright for all Believers to do so. And then, where is the Church? Where is the ministry? Where is Christ's Truth? How aresinners to be saved at all? Suppose, my Brothers and Sisters, that John Calvin and Martin Luther had said-"Well now, we knowthe Truths of God. But we hadbetter be quiet, for we can go to Heaven much more comfortably. But if we begin preaching, we shall set all the world bythe ears, and there will be a deal of mischief done. Hundreds of persons will have to be martyrs for their faith-and we shallbe subject to many hardships."
They had quite as much right to hide their religion as you have. They had quite as much reason for the concealment of theirgodliness as you have. But, alas, for the world, where would have been the Reformation if these had been as cowardly as youare, and like you, had skulked to the rear in theday of battle? I ask again, what would be the wretched lot of England, what calamities would happen to our island, if allwho know Christ as you know Him were to act as you do? There would be no ministers to preach the Gospel! Why, I might todaybe sitting in my own house reading myBible, or enjoying private prayer with much comfort. I certainly should not be pleading with sinners, if I imitated yourexample.
Where would be the deacons of our Churches and other useful Church officers? Where? Echo only answers, "Where?" if all werelike you. How would the heathen be converted? Who would be the missionary? Who would venture among the heathen if they werelike you? The Christian would be dumb and have notestimony! In fact, I must add there could be no Christians! Even if there could be a number of secret Christians everywhere,then the world would say, "The religion of Christ is the most despicable religion under the sun, for those who believe init will not join together. Theywill not even profess it. They are so ashamed of their Master that they will not come forward, any of them, to acknowledgewhat He has done for their souls."
You are acting inconsistently if you will not come forward and own your Lord. My dear Brothers and Sisters, do not shirk it!I mean some of you who have been attending here for years, and ought to have been members of this Church years ago. And Imean others of you who have come in here thismorning, who have known the Lord some little time, and ought to be united with other Christians. I say, think about howmuch real good you might do after you have once broken through the shell and told others what Jesus has done for you! Youwould find that after having once made aprofession, you would be obliged to speak for your Lord-and who can tell what a career of usefulness might be opened upbefore you if you would but dare to do this for His sake?
Moreover, I have no doubt that the main reason why Jesus Christ would have this woman declare what was done in her was forher own good. Suppose He had let her go home quietly-there she goes-when she reached home she would have said, "Ah, I stolethat cure. I am so glad I have it." Butthere would come a dark thought-"One of these days it will die away. I shall be as bad as ever, for I never asked Him."Conscience would say to her, "Ah, it was a theft." And though she might excuse herself, still she would not be easy. Now Christcalls her up and consciencecannot disturb her, for He gave her the cure before them all. She will not be afraid of the return of her disease, for Jesussaid, "Your faith has made you whole."
What a blessing it would be to some of you if you would come out and confess your Lord and Master. "Well," says one, "I donot like Baptism." There are a great many naughty children in the world who do not like to do what their father tells them.But those children often get whipped, and this willprobably be your lot. Our good Brother, who spoke here last Sunday evening, astounded me by leaving out part of the textwhich he most frequently quoted. If he quoted a text he should quote it all. "He that believes shall be saved," said he. Iknow no such text in Scripture. Thereare texts very like it, and the doctrine is true. But the text is, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." Sothe text stands.
Those of us who are Baptists are supposed to lay too much stress on Baptism. I think the danger is in not having stress enoughupon it. I know this, if my Master tells me to preach the Gospel to every creature and puts it thus, "He that believes andis baptized shall be saved," I dare not take theresponsibility of leaving out part of my Master's message. I know that he who believes is saved. But, mark you, I wouldnot run the risk of willfully refusing to attend to the second part of my Master's command. If there is anything in Scripturethat is as plain as noonday, it isthe Baptism of Believers. The deity of Christ is a point which might quite as readily be disputed as the Baptism of Believersin Jesus. Let any simple-minded man take the Bible without prejudice-and I conceive that it would be impossible for him toread it without discoveringthat the Believer in Jesus is to be buried with Christ in Baptism.
Little do our friends know how much mischief they do by teaching infant sprinkling. I believe it to be the root and pillarof Popery, the stronghold and bastion of Puseyism. It is an invention of man, against which Christians ought to protest everyday, because infant sprinkling is a practicaldenial of the need of personal godliness. It is not so intended by those who use it-but it is so read and interpreted bythe world. It puts into the Church those who are not in the Church. It gives religious rites to the unconverted. It teachesmen that because their mothersand fathers were good people, therefore they are Christians-whereas they are not-they are heathens and as much heathensas if they were born amidst the Hottentot's kraals.
They are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity, notwithstanding all their parents' excellence. To give Christianordinances to unconverted persons is to pervert the testimony of God's Church. The Baptism of the Believer in the name ofChrist is, and must be, a significant emblem ofdeath to the world. It is the crossing of the Rubicon, the throwing away of the scabbard and the drawing of the sword againstthe world forever. It is an ordinance whose sign can never be erased. An ordinance which disgraces and shames a man in theworld's eyes more than anythingelse, the opprobrium of Christianity, the scoff and scorn of his religion, is Believer's Baptism. And blessed is that manwho so can look at it-and then, for Jesus' sake-take up his cross and follow Him.
"Well," says one, "I do not see it." My dear Brothers and Sisters, if you cannot see it, I cannot help that. Your conscienceis not the rule of your duty, but God's Word is. And if God's Word commands it, whatever your conscience may say about it,you are sinning if you refuse to obey. Oh, I wouldpress this point upon you of making an open declaration, and of doing so in Christ's way, for you have no right to do itin a way of your own. It is idolatry to worship the true God by a wrong method. Acceptable service can only be rendered toGod in His own way. To the Law and tothe Testimony. If we speak not according to that Word, it is because there is no light in us. I believe that after you haveonce thus professed your faith before men, your courage will grow. Your separation from the world will be more complete.
You will be a marked man, often a despised man. People will point you out and say, "There is one of your Methodists." Yourprofession will distinguish you from the world, and will be a bond to keep you right, a heavenly chain of gold to bind youfast to the principles of your Lord and Master'sTruth. Do, with this poor woman, I plead, tell all the truth-and tell it in your Master's way.
Now I send you away, dear Friends, reminding Penitents of that with which we began, the necessity of telling Jesus all-stillwishing, however, that you who have found a Savior, would tell the world all and bear your witness that, let others do asthey will, as for you and your house, you willserve the Lord.
And unto the name of God be glory forever. Amen.