Sermon 538. Caleb-The Man For The Times
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 1, 1863, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit in him and has followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land he went.And his seed shall possess it." Numbers 14:24.
IT is a rough name that-"Caleb." Most translators say it signifies "a dog." But what matters a man's name? Possibly the manhimself was somewhat rough-many of the heartiest of men are so. As the unpolished oyster yet bears within itself the pricelesspearl, so oftentimes ruggedness ofexterior covers worth. A dog, moreover, is not all badness, though, "Without are dogs and sorcerers." It has this virtue,that it follows its master. And therein this Caleb was well-named. For never dog so followed his master as Caleb followedhis God.
As we have seen the faithful dog following his master when he is on horseback through mud and mire and dirt, for many a wearymile, even though the horses heels might wound him, so Caleb keeps close to God. And even if stoning threatens him, yet ishe well content to follow the Lord fully. Thename, however, has another signification and we like it rather better-it means "All heart." Here was a fitting surname forthe man, whose whole heart followed his God. He says himself that he brought a report of the land according to all that wasin his heart.
He was a man of a healthy and mighty spirit. He did nothing heartlessly. His spirit was not the Laodicean luke-warmness, whichis neither hot nor cold, which God spits out of His mouth-it was a spirit of holy heat, of noble daring. If I may not callhim lion-hearted, never lion had a braverheart than he. Many mortals appear to have no heart. They are like corporations of which we are often told that a corporationhas a head-does it not have a new mayor every year? And yet who ever saw it blush?
It certainly has a mouth, for it swallows much-and hands, for it can grasp much-and feet, for it takes long strides. But whoeverheard of a corporation with either heart or conscience? In the same manner it may be said of many persons-they have a headto understand and think, andfeet to move and hands to act, but heart of compassion and a feeling heart they have not. Doubtless you have seen-doubtlessyou have met persons without hearts. The moment you come into their company you perceive what they are, as readily as thevoyager on the Atlantic knowswhen there is an iceberg in the neighborhood-by the sudden chill which comes over him.
You shake the man's hand-it drops into your hand as cold as a dead fish. The man's blood is cold as a December frost. Youtalk with him, but no effort on your part can stir the frozen current of his soul. You begin to speak to him about religion-whichhe professes to love somuch-his words are few, his syllables faint, for his heart is not in the matter. Others we have the privilege of knowing-Itrust there are many such in this community-who cannot talk of Jesus without emotion-
"Their pulse with pleasure bounds, The Master's name to hear."
If they sing, they wake up their glory, saying, with David, "Awake, psaltery and harp. I myself will awake right early." Ifthey pray, it is the wrestling prayer of Jacob at the brook Jabbok. And if they serve their God, they carry out the wordsof the Apostles, "Whatever you do, do it heartily, asunto God and not unto man." It is a hearty Caleb, then. We will rather interpret his name this way than the other. But ifwe put both together, he shall be a dog for faithfully following his God, but he shall be all heart, because he so fully followshis Lord.
There are three things about Caleb worthy of consideration, then-first, his faithful following. Secondly, his favored reward.And thirdly, his inner character-that which was the secret source of his following God, namely, that "he had another spirit."
I. First, then, let this brave veteran stand before us. Let us look at him and learn something of HIS FAITHFUL FOLLOWING OFHIS GOD. Perceive, Beloved, he never went before his God. That is presumption. The highest point to which the true Believerever comes is to walk with God, but never to walkbefore Him. It is true that we walk before the Lord in the land of the living, but that is in another sense, meaning underHis eyes. We never run before God so as to outrun His Providence and become the directors of our own steps.
They who travel before the cloud will soon find other clouds lowering upon them. Those who leave the fiery pillar and willbe their own guides, shall soon be in the fire, without a guide to bring them out again. We ought to follow the Lord. Thesheep follow the shepherd. "He puts forth His ownsheep," says Christ, "and goes before them, and they follow Him." They follow as the soldier follows the captain-he pointsthe road, leads the van and bears the thick of the danger-while the faithful warrior keeps close behind.
They follow as the disciple follows the Master, not teaching, nor discussing, nor disputing, but sitting at His feet, believingthat when He leads in the way of knowledge, it is a true and a right way, whereas if we seek to be wise beyond what is written,we make unto ourselves pits and traps andfall into a snare. Caleb followed the Lord. Many others do the same, but then they can not win that adverb, which is Caleb'sgolden medal. He followed the Lord, "fully," says one text, "wholly," says another.
Some of us follow the Lord, but it is a great way off, like Peter, or now and then as did Saul the king. We are not constant.We have not given our whole heart to God. The essence, then, of the man's faithful following lies in the adverb-"fully." Andhere, by your leave, in explaining thisword "wholly." I shall follow the explanation of good Matthew Henry. I cannot think of a better, nor even of one so good,myself.
1. He followed the Lord wholly, that is, first of all, he followed Him universally, without dividing. Whatever his Mastertold him to do, he did-
"In all the Lord's appointed ways His journey he pursued."
He did not say, "I will perform this duty and neglect the other. I will be faithful to my conscience and to my God upon thispoint, but that shall be left unto another day." He took the Commandments as he found them and if they were ten he did notdesire to make them nine. Nor did he want to changetheir order and put that second which God had put first. He did not wish to divide the commands. What God had joined together,he did not desire to put asunder. He followed the Lord without picking and choosing, being universally obedient to his Master'sLaw.
Brethren, I wish we could say the same of all professed Christians. You see Caleb was quite as ready to fight the giants ashe was to carry the clusters. We have a host who are ready for sweet duties. Pleasant exercises and spiritual engagementswhich bring joy and peace are always very acceptable.But as for the fighting of giants-how many say, "I pray you have me excused." To defend Christ's cause against adversaries,to submit themselves to rebuke, to go up single-handed and fight against the Lord's foes-from this the many will draw backand we are afraid thereare some that draw back unto perdition, because they have never had the perfect heart given to them which is obedient toGod in all His will.
If you have a servant who will choose which of your commands she will obey, she is rather the mistress than the servant. Ifyou, dear Brother, shall say concerning the Lord's will, "I will do this and I will not do that," you do in fact make yourselfmaster. The spirit of rebellion is in you, youhave already erred and strayed from your Lord's ways and set up the standard of revolt. Mind that you do not pierce yourselfthrough with many sorrows. Some excuse themselves for neglecting duties on the ground that they are non-essential-as if allduty was not essential tothe perfect follower of Christ.
"They are unimportant," says the man, "they involve nothing." Whereas it often happens that the apparently unimportant dutyis really the most important of all. Many a great lord, in the olden times, has given up his land on copyhold to his tenant.And perhaps the fee which was to be annually paidwas to bring a small bird, or a peppercorn-in some cases it has been the bringing of a turf, or a green leaf. Now, if thetenant should on the annual day refuse to do his homage and say it was too trifling a thing to bring a peppercorn to the lordof the manor in fee, would henot have forfeited his estate? Thus he would have been setting himself up as superior owner and asserting a right whichhis feudal lord would at once resist.
It is even so-to quote a single instance-in the matter of Believer's Baptism. When the Believer says, "Well, surely this isbut a small thing, I may safely neglect it," does he not therein deny unto his Sovereign Lord and Master that act of homagewhich, though it is simple in itself,is nevertheless full of meaning, because it is an acknowledgment of the superior rights of the great King? Who told youit was nonessential? Who bade you neglect it? Surely it must be a spirit of darkness that talked with you!
The Jew of old must not neglect circumcision. His child shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel unless the painfulrite be performed. He must not refuse the paschal supper, for if he does, the destroying angel shall smite his household.And in that Passover everything must be observed. Nota bone must be broken. The creature must not be eaten raw, nor sodden at all with water. It must be roasted in the fire.It must be eaten with bitter herbs. There are minute particulars given and every one of these having the solemn command ofGod upon them are to be carefullyobserved by the children of Israel throughout all generations.
Surely it must be so with Christian ordinances and with the commands of the King of Heaven. We cannot violate them with impunity.The spirit which would prompt us to neglect one of the least of them is of the devil and leads down to Hell-a spirit of partialobedience is a spirit of radicaldisobedience. The old Prophet did but eat and drink at Bethel and that, too, as he thought, upon prophetic authority, andyet the lion slew him because he rebelled against the express bidding of God.
We are not to imitate the Pharisee who tithed the mint, anise and cummin, and then neglected the weightier matters of theLaw, but we are to remember that Jesus said, "These things ought you to have done and not to have left the other undone."So that mint and anise and cummin, are still to betithed. And still in the little as well as in the great our obedience to God is to be carried out. Take care, dear Friends,that, like Caleb, you follow the Lord fully, that is, universally, without dividing.
Now may I put a question of conscience to all around me? Is there not something that I know to be my Master's will which Ihave not done? Brothers and Sisters, is there not some command which as yet you have not obeyed? Some self-denying duty whichyou have shirked, some holy engagement for thegood of your fellow men, or for your Lord's glory, which you have carelessly avoided? If it is so, do, I pray you, see toit, for you can never have the blessing of Caleb till you have the complete and universal spirit of obedience which Calebhad.
2. But secondly, Caleb followed the Lord fully, that is, sincerely without dissembling. He was no hypocrite. He followed theLord with his whole heart. One of the safest tests of sincerity is found in a willingness to suffer for the cause. I supposethat the twelve spies met each other in the southpart of the land and held a little consultation as to what should be the report they would bring up. Like twelve jurymenthey were now to bring in their verdict and ten of them were agreed-"It is a land that flows with milk and honey, but it eatsup its inhabitants. It is fullof giants with cities walled up to Heaven and it is impossible for us to take possession of it."
Caleb and Joshua both dissent from that verdict. I cannot tell what were the arguments and the reasonings, what the banteringand the jests and the jeers, to which Caleb was exposed from the other ten princes. But we do know that when they came togive in their verdict Caleb dared to stand forth,alone, and declare that such was not his testimony. Joshua appears to have said nothing, probably from prudential reasons,because, being the servant of Moses, the people would attach less importance to what he said, arguing that he was sure totake part with Moses and would bebiased by his superior.
Therefore Caleb stood out alone and took the brunt of the tumult. How courageous was that man, who had only numbered fortysummers, to put himself in opposition to the other ten princes and declare in flat contradiction to them-"Let us go up. Weare able to possess the land." When the peopletook up stones and Joshua was forced to speak with Caleb, it was with no small peril and required no little mental courageto stand up amidst the insults and jeers of the crowd and still to bring up a good report of the land. Caleb followed theLord sincerely.
O Beloved, how many profess to follow God who follow Him without their hearts! The semblance of religion is often dearer tomen than religion itself. As one says, many a man has spent five hundred pounds upon a picture of a beggar by Murillo, ora brigand by Salvator Rosa, who would not give apenny to a real beggar and go out of their wits at the sight of a brigand. The picture of religion, the outward name ofit, men will give much to maintain. But the reality of relig-ion-ah, that is quite a different thing.
Many of our Churches are surmounted with the Cross in stone, but how few of the worshippers care to take up the Cross of Christdaily and follow Him. We know religious men who are respected by the ungodly, not for their religion, but on account of someadventitious circumstance. It was not thereligion itself they cared for. If you should take a bear in a cage into a town, men will pay their money to see it, butlet it loose among them and they will pay twice as much money to get rid of it. So sometimes if a religious man has gift orability, there are many who willregard and admire him, but not for his religion.
Let the religion itself come abroad in the daily actions of his life and then straightway they begin to abhor him. There ismuch false love to Jesus-much unhallowed profession. Let us remember, however, that the day is coming when all false professionwill be destroyed. The fan in Christ'shands will leave none of the chaff remaining upon the wheat heap and the great fire will not suffer a single particle ofdross to be unconsumed. Happy shall that man be whose faith was a real faith, whose repentance was sincere, whose obediencewas true, who gave his heart, hiswhole heart to his Master's cause!
3. The third point is most noteworthy. Caleb followed the Lord wholly, that is, cheerfully without disputing. Those who serveGod with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not His servants at all. Our God requires no slavesto grace His Throne. He is the Lord of theempire of love. The angels of God serve Him with songs, not with groans. And God loves to have the joyful obedience of Hiscreatures. In fact I will venture to say that that obedience which is not cheerful is disobedience, for the Lord looks atthe heart of a thing and if He seesthat we serve Him from force and not because we love Him, He will reject our offering.
That service which is coupled with cheerfulness is hearty service, and therefore true. Take away joy from the Christian andyou have taken away, I believe, that which is the test of his sincerity. If a man is driven to battle, he is no patriot, buthe that marches into the fray with flashing eyeand beaming face, singing, "It is sweet for one's country to die," proves himself to be sincere in his patriotism. Cheerfulness,again, makes a man strong in service. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway carriage. Without its proportionof oil, the axle soongrows hot and accidents occur. And if there is not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, we shall not be able to serveGod with anything like power.
The man who is cheerful in his service of God proves that obedience is his element. I have seen the sea birds in stormy weatherflying over the land with their huge heavy flapping wings. What a contrast between them and the lark, which, as it mountsto Heaven makes its wings vibrate many times in amoment, while these heavy broad-winged creatures fly as if they could not fly. They are out of their element. They longtill again they shall be swimming upon the sea.
Some men in the service of God are like these heavy swans. Their wing goes every now and then with a sort of dying flap-thereis no sprightliness of life in them. They are out of their element. Now God will never receive at our hands an obedience whichis not consistent with our nature.Understand me, if it were possible for a man with an unspiritual nature, with a fallen nature, to perform the very samework which is performed by a saint, his nature would mar his act. God looks at the nature from which the act comes, and ifHe sees that it comes from a spiritual,renewed, regenerated nature, then He recognizes that obedience is our element and so accepts our service.
Let me put this question round among you all. Brothers and Sisters, do you serve the Lord cheerfully? Frequently people giveto the cause of God because they are asked. A guinea is dragged out of them. Do you think God cares for your guinea? You mightas well have kept it. No blessing can come toyou. When you give to the cause of God, do it cheerfully. He that gives must not give grudgingly, or else he has offeredan unacceptable offering unto God. When you come out to week night services, do you come because you should come, or do youlove to come? This is the mark of thegenuine child of God, the true Caleb-that he can sing-
"Make me to walk in Your commands It is a delightful road." The man has his heart right, he feels at home in the work of theLord! Here is his joy-
"It is love that makes our cheerful feet In swift obedience move." Caleb was one of those who served the Lord cheerfully.
4. But now there is a fourth point, he followed the Lord constantly without declining. Having begun when he first startedupon the search to exercise a truthful judgment, he persevered during the forty days of his spying and brought back a truereport. Forty-five years he lived in the camp ofIsrael, but all that time he followed the Lord and never once consorted with murmuring rebels. And when his time came toclaim his heritage at the age of eighty-five, the good old man is following the Lord fully. Still his speech betrays him.He shows a constant heart. God set hisseal upon that man's soul in his youthful days and he remained his God's when gray hairs adorned his brow.
Beloved, how many professors fail in this respect? They follow the Lord by fits and starts. They go out from us because theyare not of us. For if they had been of us, doubtless they would have continued with us. They leap into religion as the flyingfish leaps into the air. They fall back againinto their sins, as the same fish returns to its element. They make a great name for a time like the crackling of thorns,but lo, the flame has soon expired, for they are not like the miraculous bush which burned, God dwells not in them!
Caleb was kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. He could say with Jude, "Now unto Him who is able to keepme from falling, unto Him be honor and glory forever and ever." He was not as some are, who imitate the lame beggar who limpedall day in the streets to gather money and thenat night went to the thieves' kitchen, where all the dainty bits were brought out of the bag, the money flowed freely andthe wine and the good cheer was bought. Then the rogue unloosed his lame leg and danced as merrily as the rest.
No, Caleb was not of this kind. He did not limp in virtue nor leap in vice. His walk was ever the same and the way was alwaysstraight. God had delivered him from dissimulation, and had given him constancy in its place. How brightly he shone when hewas left alone, faithful among the faithless.Even Joshua for awhile is silent. But we may compare him, to use the metaphor of good old Gotthold-we may compare him toa tree. The wind had been blowing-it was a dreadful hurricane and Gotthold walked into a forest and saw many trees torn upby the roots.
He marveled much at one tree which stood alone and yet had been unmoved in the tempest. He said, "How is this? The trees thatwere together have fallen and this alone stands fast!" He observed that when the trees grow too closely they cannot send theirroots into the earth-they lean too muchupon each other. But this tree, standing alone, had space to thrust its roots into the earth and lay hold on the rock andstones, and so when the wind came, it fell not. It was so with Caleb-he always would lay hold upon his God, not upon men.And so when the wind came, hestood.
I saw this morning a huge tree which stood by the water's edge but yesterday, blown into the large pond upon our common. Wellmight it fall during such a night, but there were other trees further from the water that stood fast. You know it is our prosperity,our mercy-side-it is where thewater comes to the root, where the plenty comes. But the temptation comes, too, and we are ever weakest where perhaps wedreamt we were the strongest. Caleb was constant because he was a rooted man and even success did not overturn him. He wasnot one of those plants which spring upquickly because there is no depth of earth. He had a firm hold upon his God.
You know, my Sisters, how you wear your rings. I would that every Christian wore his graces after the same fashion. You wearnot only the wedding ring, but the keeper, too. And every Christian should wear the keeper of constancy to guard the ringof his faith. Caleb had set a seal upon his heartand a bracelet upon his arm-his love was strong as death and endured even to the grave. He saw the Lord, he loved the Lord,he trusted the Lord. And for these reasons he followed the Lord wholly. Here I leave him, only asking you, dear Friends, tosee to it that you have hisholy perseverance. Therefore pray, "Hold You me up and I shall be safe," and trust yourself where Caleb trusted himself-inthe hands of God.
I will give you those four subdivisions again: universally, without dividing. Sincerely, without dissembling. Cheerfully,without disputing. Constantly, without declining.
II. Now for the second point, which is CALEB'S FAVORED PORTION. In reward for his faithful following of his
Master, his life was preserved in the hour ofjudgment. The ten fell, smitten with plague, but Caleb lived. Blessed is theman who has the God of Jacob for his confidence-
"He that has made his refuge God Shall find a most secure abode; Shall walk all day beneath His shade, And there at nightshall rest his head. What though a thousand at your side, At your right hand ten thousand died, Your God His chosen peoplesa ves Among the dead, amidst the graves."
If any man shall experience special deliverances, Caleb is he. If he follows God fully, God will fully take care of him. Whenyou look to nothing but your Master's honor, your Master will look to your honor.
When Queen Elizabeth sent a certain merchant over to Holland, he complained to her, "If I do your Majesty's business, my ownbusiness will be ruined." "You do my business," said the Queen, "and I will see to your business." It is so with our God."My servant, serve Me, and I will serve you." Calebis willing to give his life for his Master, and therefore his Master gives him his life. There are many who seek their lifethat lose it. And there are some who lose it for Christ's sake, that find it to life eternal. Caleb was also comforted witha long life of vigor. Ateighty-five he was as strong as at forty and still able to face the giants.
If there is a Christian man who shall have in his old age a vigor of faith and courage, it is the man who follows the Lordfully. I have in my mind's eye one who gave himself, while yet a young man, to his Master's cause. He has zealously servedthe Church in his day and generation and it is hisprivilege now to see the good of God's chosen. His heart is so glad at the sight of God's mercy that he is ready to saywith Simeon-"Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word: for my eyes have seen Your salvation."
We gain our old saints from among those faithful young ones. If ever we are to see among us noble veterans- champions of theage whose heads shall be crowned with gray hairs of honor-we must look for those who in the beginning of their days were heartyin their Master's cause, wereuniversal in their obedience, thorough in their consecration to God. Experience, wisdom, Divine Grace are the gifts of ourLord Jesus to those who walk with zeal and earnestness in His ways.
Again, Caleb received as his reward great honor among his Brothers and Sisters. He was at least twenty years older than anyother man in the camp except Joshua. How the mothers would hold up their little children in their arms to look at Caleb ashe walked down the street! "All died," the motherswould say, "all died in Israel's host, except that man who walks yonder with steadfast tread. All died and their carcasseswere buried in the wilderness, except that man and Joshua the son of Nun." At their council he would be regarded with as muchreverence as Nestor in theassemblies of the Greeks. In their camps he would stand like another Achilles in the midst of the armies of Lacedaemon.
As king and sire he dwelt among men. As some mighty Alp lifts its head nearer to Heaven than all its compeers-its pure, snow-whitehead communing with celestial things-so this gray-headed old man must have seemed a towering summit in the midst of Israel'sworthies! A Grace-made primeminister of the people of Israel after Joshua himself had departed. Well, Brothers and Sisters, such will God make of usif we give our hearts wholly to Him. I say, again, if we honor God He will honor us. "They that honor Me I will honor. Theythat despise Me shall be lightlyesteemed."
Inconsistent professors-men and women who may be Christians, but who never enter thoroughly into the Lord's work-are neverhonored in the Church. They must necessarily keep in the background. They are rather tolerated than admired. But warm-heartedspirits, zealous and full oflife-these are the men who stand like Joseph's sheaf in the midst of his Brothers and Sisters' sheaves which do obeisanceunto it.
Again-and you will think this is a strange thing to say-Caleb had the distinguished reward of being put upon the hardest service.That is always the lot of the most faithful servant of God. There were three huge warriors in Mount Hebron. No one will undertaketo kill them except ourgood old friend Caleb. These Anakims, with their six toes on each foot and their six fingers on each hand, are to be upsetand driven out. Who is to do it? If nobody else will offer himself, here is Caleb. No, he does not merely allow himself tobe sent upon the service, but hecraves permission to be allowed to take the place, the reason being because it was the worst task of the war and he pantedto have the honor of it.
Grand old man! Would God you had left many of your like behind you. If there is some pleasant thing to do for Christ, howwe scramble after the service. But if there is a front place in the battle, "Oh, let Brother So-and-So do it." Do you notnotice the way most men decline the honor of specialdanger? "Our friend So-and-So is much better qualified for that. Let him take it." If we were true heroes we should eachof us contend which should undertake the most hopeless, the most difficult, and the most dangerous task. Who wins the honor?Why the man that leads the forlornhope!
But there are not many who will strive to have the privilege of going first. They are not quite so fond of being knocked offthe ladder and sent headlong from the wall to have their brains knocked out on the ground-not quite so desirous of being blownto pieces by the batteries. But, truly,if we could rival even earthly soldiers in their bravery and self-sacrifice, it were well. Caleb had the distinguished honorof being permitted to lead the van against the gigantic
Anakim. Follow the Lord fully and the devil himself will be afraid of you-keep close to your Lord and defy all the fiendsof Hell.
Last Tuesday morning, when I left London to go to Worcester to preach, the fog was about as thick as I have ever seen it,but what did that matter? The engine had just to keep on the rails, stick fast to the metals and she was safe. There was noparticular need of seeing, because the road was laiddown. And when a Christian knows he is right, he may go straight on, fog or no fog. But when a man gets off the road, thenhe may well pause, for he may be in a ditch and no one knows how soon he may come to grief. Get your heart right and you areindependent of weather. Get yoursoul right and you may defy the sharpest arrow of the Adversary. The Lord is with us, if we are with Him.
This grand old man in his after years had the honor of enjoying what he had once seen. He had only seen the land when he said,"We are able to take it." But others said, "No, no, no." Well, he lived not only to take it, but to enjoy it for himself.We get in some of our Churches-I say nothingof mine just now-certain reverend old gentlemen who might as well have gone to Heaven years ago, who if there is any enterpriseto be undertaken, say, "Oh, no, no! It cannot be done." They sit down and figure away on a piece of paper with their penciland say, "We have notenough money. It cannot be done."
Perhaps some youthful soldier of Christ in the army says, "It can be done. I am sure we can do it." But the good old man,having made up his mind never to walk by faith, stands to his watchword, "It is imprudent." That is the big word with whichthey try to knock out the brains of youngZeal-"imprudent, imprudent!" But thank God there are others of another sort, who though they grow gray, say, "Well, I donot know. I may be thought to be a boy in my old age, but I do believe that God will hear prayer and that if it is God's workwe can do it." And the old manlays his hand on the young soldier's shoulder and bids him go on and God be with him.
That is the kind of Caleb I like! May such men live to see the reward of their confidence! Indeed they shall see that Godis true to their faith and that He does reward those who dare to do hard things in confidence in His name. I may be speakingto some people from the country. You have got aminister down there but he wants to do a little more good than you like him to do. Now mind what you think. Stand back.If you cannot help him, let him alone. But I do pray you, on the other hand, endeavor to encourage him, cheer him on, foryou will never win a Hebron for yourselfor the Church if you are always talking about the giants and the difficulties and the dangers. There are no difficultiesto the man who has faith enough to overcome them.
To conclude this point, good old Caleb left a blessing to his children. He had many sons, but he fought for them and carvedout a portion for them all. And he had a daughter, too, whom he promised to give to wife, you will remember, to anyone whowould smite Kirjath-Sepher. He was a man of such akind that he did not like to have a man for a son-in-law who could not fight as well as himself. He delighted to see valorin young people and so he offered his daughter as a prize. When he had given his daughter, she came to him and asked for adouble blessing.
She had the field and a south country-she would have the land of springs-and he gave her the blessing of the upper and thenether springs. If there is any man who shall be able to leave his children the blessing of the upper and nether springs,it is the man who follows the Lord fully.If I might envy any man, it would be the Believer who from his youth up has walked through Divine Grace according to hisLord's Commandments and who is able, when his day comes, to scatter benedictions upon his rising sons and daughters and leavethem with godliness which has theblessing of this life and that which is to come. The blessing of the upper and the nether springs, then, was the rewardof good old Caleb.
There are some of us who are young in years, members of this Church, men and women, and we have before us, I hope, the opportunity,if God gives us Divine Grace, of becoming Calebs. And if the Lord should spare me as he spared Joshua, and spare you as hespared Caleb, we may yet, when our hairs aregray, do something, still, for the Lord our God, when those that fought the fight before us shall sleep among the clodsof the valley. O for the Holy Spirit within us and the love of Jesus upon us, that we may be accepted in the Beloved!
III. And now, the last point of all-CALEB'S SECRET CHARACTER. The Lord says of him, "Because he has another spirit with him."He had another spirit-not only a bold, generous, courageous, noble and heroic spirit, but the Spirit and influence of Godwhich thus raised him above humaninquietudes and earthly fears. Therefore he followed God fully-literally he filled after him. God showed him the way totake and the line of conduct he must pursue-and he filled up this line, and in all things followed the will of his Master.Everything acts according tothe spirit that is in it.
Yonder lamp gives no light. Why? It has no oil. Here is another. It cheers the darkness of the cell. Why? It is full of oiland oil is the mother of light. There are two huge bags of silk. One of them lies heavily upon the ground, the other mountsup towards the stars. The one is filled withcarbonic-acid gas. It cannot mount, it acts according to the spirit that is in it. It has a heavy gas and there it lies.There is another full of hydrogen and it acts according to the spirit that is in it and up it goes. The light air seeks thelighter regions and up it mounts.Everything recording to its own order. The real way to make a new life is to receive a new spirit. There must be given us,if we would follow the Lord fully, a new heart and that new heart must be found at the foot of the Cross, where the Holy Spiritworks through the bleedingwounds of Jesus.
Dear Friends, I would to God that we had, all of us, that which is the distinguishing mark of a right spirit, the spirit offaith.That spirit which takes God at His Word, reads His promise, and knows it to be true. He that has this spirit will soon followthe Lord fully. Unbelief is the mother ofsin, but faith is the nurse of virtue. More faith, Lord, more simple childlike faith upon a precious Savior! Then a faithfulspirit always begets a meek spirit and a meek spirit always begets a brave spirit. It is said of the wood of the elder treethat none is softer, but yet it isrecorded of old that Venice was built upon piles of the elder tree because it will never rot.
And so the meek-spirited man who is gentle and patient lasts on bravely, holding his own against all the attacks of the destroyingAdversary. The true Believer has also a loving spirit as the result of Jesus' Grace. He loves God, therefore he loves God'speople and God's creatures. And having thisloving spirit he has next a zealous spirit and so he spends and is spent for God and this begets in him a heavenly spirit.And so he tries to live in Heaven and to make earth a Heaven to his fellow men, believing that he shall soon have a Heavenfor himself and for them, too, on theother side of the stream.
Such a spirit had good Caleb. We cannot imitate him till we get his spirit. We are dead until He quickens us. O that the HolySpirit would lead us to go to Jesus just as we are and look up to Him and beseech Him to fulfill that great Covenant promise-"Anew heart also will I give them, aright spirit will I put within them." You and I have not followed the Lord fully. What shall we do, then? First let us humblyrepent. Caleb means a dog. Let us learn from a dog. When a dog has done amiss, and you take a stick and are about to beathim, he will lie down on the groundand howl and creep to your feet and look up so piteously at you that you throw down your stick.
Now let us each do the same. Let us each be Calebs-dogs in this. Let us crouch at the feet of God's justice. Let us look upinto the face of God's mercy and through Jesus Christ He will forgive us. Having done this, may He enable us to exercise asimple faith in Christ. As the child liveshanging upon the mother's breast and deriving its nourishment from the parent, so be it yours and mine to hang upon thewounds of our own dear Lord. And tonight when we come to His Table, let us eat His flesh and drink His blood, keeping closeto His Person, receiving our life fromthe secret channels of His life, living upon Him.
Ah, if we live close to Jesus, we must be Calebs! He that is one with Jesus will follow God because Jesus is perfect in Hisfollowing of His Father. And we, being parts of Him, shall be perfect, too. But the Holy Spirit's work must begin by bringingus to Jesus just as we are. God help us to trustHim as we are and then, by His Grace He will make us Calebs and keep us to the end. Amen.