Sermon 626. The Waterer Watered
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, APRIL 23, 1865, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"He that waters shall be watered also himself." Proverbs 11:25.
THE general principle is that in living for the good of others we shall be profited ourselves. We must not isolate our owninterests but feel that we live for others. This teaching is sustained by the analogy of nature, for in nature there is alaw that no one thing can be independent of the restof creation, but there is a mutual action and reaction of all upon all. All the constituent parts of the universe are boundto one another by invisible chains and there is not a single creature in it which springs up, or flourishes, or decays itselfalone.
The very planets, though they float far from one another, exercise attraction. And the fixed stars, though they seem to beinfinitely remote, are still linked to one another by mysterious bonds. God has so constituted this universe that selfishnessis the greatest possible offense against His Lawand living for others and ministering to others is the strictest obedience to His will. Our surest road to our own happinessis to seek the good of our fellows. We store up in God's own bank what we generously expend on the behalf of our race. Thelittle spring bubbling forth fromthe ancient pipe on the hillside overflows the stone basin and liberally supplies all the villagers with pure and coolingdrink. In its flowing it does not waste itself, for the deep fountains in the heart of the earth continue unceasingly to supplyit and both in winter's frost andsummer's drought the springhead yields its crystal stream.
The little brook which babbles through the woods, hiding among stones, leaping down the moss-grown rocks and soon deepeningand swelling its stream, pours all its gatherings into the river hoarding not a drop. And though its treasure is constantlybeing lavished with unstinting liberality, yetHeaven and earth see to it that the brook shall never fail to sing its joyous song-
"Men may come and go But I go on forever."
The river hastens with its greater floods towards the all-receiving ocean-pouring itself out every hour with happy plenteousness,as though it only existed to empty itself. Yet the abundant tributaries which come streaming from the hills and draining thevalleys are careful that the rivershall know no lack, but shall be kept constantly brimming, a joyous and bounding river forevermore!
The ocean perpetually sends up its steaming exhalations to the sky, grudging nothing. It puts no doors to its rolling waves,but uncovers all its treasure to the sun and the sun makes large draughts upon the royal treasury of the deep. Neverthelessthe ocean is not diminished, for all the riversare constantly conspiring to keep the sea full to the shore. The clouds of Heaven, when they are full of rain, empty themselvesupon the earth and yet the clouds cease not to be, for, "they return after the rain," and the ocean down below seems but tobe too glad to be continuallyfeeding its sister ocean on the other side of the firmament.
So, as wheels with bands are made to work together-as wheels with cogs working upon one an-other-the whole watery machineryis kept in motion by each part acting upon its neighbor and the next upon the next. Each wheel expends its force upon itsfellow and the whole find a recompense intheir mutual action upon one another. The same truth might be illustrated from other departments of nature. If we view thismicrocosm, the human body, we shall find that the heart does not receive the blood to store it up, but while it pumps it inat one valve, it sends it forth atanother. The blood is always circulating everywhere and is stagnant nowhere.
The same is true of all the fluids in a healthy body-they are in a constant state of expenditure. If one cell stores for afew moments its peculiar secretion, it only retains it till it is perfectly fitted for its appointed use in the body, forif any cell in the body should begin to store upits secretion, its store would soon become the cause of inveterate disease. No, the organ would soon lose the power to secreteat all if it did not give forth its products. The whole of the human system lives by giving. The eye cannot say to the foot,I have no need of you and willnot guide you, for if it does not perform its watchful office, the whole man will be in the ditch and the eye will be coveredwith mire.
If the members refuse to contribute to the general stock, the whole body will become poverty-stricken and be given up to thebankruptcy of death. Let us learn, then, from the analogy of Nature, the great lesson that to get, we must give! That to accumulate,we must scatter! That to make ourselveshappy, we must make others happy! And that to get good and become spiritually vigorous, we must do good and seek the spiritualgood of others. This is the general principle.
The text suggests a particular personal application of the general principle. We shall consider it, first, in its narrowestsense-as belonging to ourselves personally. Secondly, in a wider sense-as it may refer to us as a Church. Then, thirdly, inits widest sense-as it may bereferred to the entire body of Christ, showing that still it is true that as it waters, so it shall be watered itself.
I. First, then, IN REFERENCE TO OURSELVES. There are some works, my Brothers and Sisters, in which we cannot all engage. Peculiarmen are called to be God's great woodmen-to clear the way with the axe, to go before His army like our sappers and miners.Such men as Martin Luther and Calvin andZwingli-that glorious trio of heroes marching in front of reformation and evangelization. They are cutting down the talltrees, tunneling the hills and bridging the rivers. And we smaller men feel that there is little of this work for us to do.But when the backwoodsmen havecleared the forest, after all the roots are grubbed and the soil is burned and plowed, then comes the sowing and the planting,and in this, all the household can take a place.
And when the plants have sprung up and need water, it is not only the stalwart man with the axe who can now apply himselfto watering, but even the little children can take a share in this lighter work. Watering is work for persons of all gradesand all sorts. If I cannot carry about me someponderous load as the Eastern water-bearer can, yet I will take my little water pot, my little jug or pitcher, and go tothe well. If I cannot water the forest tree, I may water the tiny plant which grows at its root. Watering is work for allsorts of people. So, then, we will makea personal application to every Christian here this morning-you can all do something in watering-and this promise can thereforebe realized by you all, "He that waters shall be watered also himself."
All God's plants, more or less, want watering. You and I do. We cannot live long without fresh supplies of Divine Grace. Thereforethe value of the promise, "I, the Lord, do keep it. I will water it every moment." There are no brooks at our roots as wegrow in the soil of nature-it is only inthe garden of Grace that we are "like trees planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth our fruit in our season." Ifthe Lord Jesus, who is the stem of the vine, should cease to supply us with the fresh sap of Grace, would we not be like thewithered branch which is cast over thewall to be burned in the fire? The Lord's people usually get this watering through instrumentality.
God does not speak to us out of Heaven with His own voice-perhaps the thunder might appall us- He does not write texts ofScripture with His own finger in letters of fire across the sky. But He waters us by instrumentality, by His Word writtenand His Word preached, or otherwise utteredby His servants. His Holy Spirit waters us by the admonitions of parents, by the kind suggestions of friends, by the teachingof His ministers, by the example of all His saints. The Holy Spirit waters us, but He takes care to do it by our fellow workers,putting an honor upon Hisown servants by using them in instrumentality.
This being fully believed by us all, we may proceed to another Truth of God, namely, that some of His servants especiallyneed watering and should therefore be the objects of our constant care. Some plants need watering from their peculiar nature.A gardener will tell you that certain flowersrequire very little water, perhaps for months they will grow in a stony soil. But others must be watered regularly and plenteouslyor they will soon droop. Some of you, my dear Brothers and Sisters, are so desponding that if you did not receive much comfortyou would hardly hold upyour heads at all. You are so weak in the faith that if you were not fed with milk continually you would scarcely be alive.
"Comfort you, comfort you, My people, says your God"-is especially applicable to the mourners in Zion. Their constitutionaltemperament is such that to maintain the lamp of their joy they require much oil of comfort. Perhaps, too, they are ignorant,and the ignorant need much watering. Ifthey knew the Doctrines of Grace more fully, they might go to the wells themselves-but not knowing where the water is, orfeeling, like the woman at the well, that the well is deep and that there is nothing to draw with- they cannot get the water.And we who areinstructed in the way of God must take care that we bring up the water for them with our longer length of the line of knowledgeso that they may not fail to be watered.
It may be the need is not so much caused by the nature of the plant as by the position in which it is placed. Many of you,dear Brethren, are very happily situated where you can constantly attend the means of Grace-where the family altar smokeswith sweet perfume-where you cannot helpgrowing. You are like plants in a hothouse. But there are others, on the contrary, who live in houses where the jeer isfar more frequently heard than the voice of praise. Where, instead of being helped in your devotions, you are hindered. Yourspirit is driven to and fro withdistractions-from the very closet where you wanted to commune with God you are forced out by cruel mocking.
We ought to be very tender about your condition. You are planted on no fruitful hill, but on a very thirsty land where thereis no water. Your position should lead God's people to watch you with deepest interest and see to it that you are well watered.I may also mention the sick. When our dearfriends are tried with bodily pain-when they are shut up week after week from public gatherings-then they need watering.Their position is such that we ought to be especially mindful of them. It is written, "He carries the lambs in His bosom andgently leads those thatare with young." And we must note the peculiar condition of the saints of God, being most careful of those who most needour tenderness.
Let me also suggest the young to you. These need watering, both, let me say, from their character and from their position.With little experience and little knowledge they are prone to wander or to be seized by the wolf. Tend them with parentalaffection. When transplanted flowers are first putinto the ground they need more water than they will later. When they have sent out more roots and these roots have abundantfibers searching through the soil for moisture they may not require much of the gardener's care, but just now they must haveit or die. Therefore, I say, letthe feeble, the weak, the young, the sick, the persecuted be watered most anxiously and lovingly by you all.
Certain dear friends need watering, not so much from their position and character as from the present trials through whichthey are passing. Certain plants, after long standing in the sun, droop their leaves and look as if they must wither and die.But as soon as water is poured to their roots, ithas sometimes perfectly surprised me to see how they recover! I could scarcely think that they were the same plants, theirrecovery was so sudden. The little roots beneath sent the message up to the main roots and said, "We have found out moisture.A friendly hand has given us asupply," and the root talked to the stem and the stem rejoiced and the great leaves drank up their share and the littleleaves sucked up their drops till the whole plant to the very summit was verdant once more and rejoiced.
Times will come to all of us when we need water. I, myself, get very desponding at seasons and I suppose you do, too. Unbeliefdries us up. Oh that devil of unbelief! Why if that demon were dead, the other devils we might very well contend with. Personalaffliction, losses, crosses, burdens make usjust like the withering shrub and then we need to have the consolations of some kind friend to water us. Dear Friends, sometimesthere are those in the Church who particularly need watering because they are actually withering. It is not to maintain verdurein their case but torestore it. Those backsliding ones-those who have slipped with their feet-do not cast them off, for God casts not off thebacksliding one.
When they begin to forsake the House of God, do not forsake them. Follow them with your tears. In such a Church as this, ifyou do not exercise mutual oversight over one another we shall simply become a mass of corruption instead of being a mountainof holiness. Watch over your Brethren as soon asyou see the first signs of declension. When they forsake Prayer Meetings, gently give them a hint of the evil of lukewarmnessand the danger of falling by little and little. When you mark the first sign in their outward carriage of laxity with regardto Divine things. When you seecoldness where there was formerly zeal, be sure to give a gentle word of earnest, pathetic admonition.
As I look around this Tabernacle I can but compare these rising seats to shelves in the conservatory and you are the plantswhich must all be watered or you will languish and wither. And I, who have to be my Master's under gardener, am very anxiousto say to all of you who have any water in yourwatering pots-help me water these plants-that, by the gracious operations of God, the Holy Spirit, they may be kept fruitful,green, verdant in spiritual things even to the end!
We now enter more thoroughly into our text and observe that all Believers have power to water others. You may not have muchability or influence, but you all have some power in this matter. In thinking over what Solomon meant, it struck me that hehad in his mind's eye the plan of irrigation whichis followed in some Eastern countries. The rivers at certain seasons overflow their banks. The careful farmers whose farmsare close along the sides of the bank have large tanks and reservoirs in which they store up the water.
After the flood the river is comparatively empty and the little farms, the vineyards and pastures on the banks begin to cryout for water. Then the careful farmer lets out the water from his tank or reservoir by slow degrees and uses it with greateconomy. It would sometimes happen that one ofthese farmers would have his reservoirs filled and his neighbor, perhaps through the bursting of a tank, or the fallingdown of the bank of earth, might have little or no water. At such times a greedy man would say, "I shall need all my waterfor myself. I will not lend or give somuch as a drop of it. I have none to spare." But the generous man says, "I do not know whether God may be pleased to senda drought or not, but I cannot let my neighbor lose all his crops for the want of a little water while I have a good stockin hand." So he pulls up the sluiceand lets such a stream as he thinks he can spare flow into his neighbor's channel so that he may water his fields.
Now Solomon says that those who water others shall be watered. Next season it may happen that this good man may have no waterhimself. Well, then, all the farmers round about will say, "Why, he helped us when his tank was full and we will return hiskindness into his bosom." "Ah," says one, "hesaved me from ruin. I should not have had a crop at all last season if it had not been for him." So they all lend a portion,till he finds no difficulty whatever-even in a season of drought. When men cannot get water for love or money-he is sure tohave it. The commonfeeling of men, as a usual rule, recognizes the law of gratitude and men say, "He watered others, he shall be watered himself."
My dear Brother, you may be a man of talent. You may be a man of wealth-just turn on the big tap and let your ignorant orpoor neighbors benefit a little by your abundance. Pull up the floodgates and let the more needy brethren be enriched by yourfullness-open that mouth of yours thatyour wisdom may feed many! Tell of what God has done for your soul that the humble may hear and be glad. Do not be a reservoirbrimmed up till the banks are ready to burst out through the weight which presses upon them- let some of the treasure runout! And when your needshall come-and who knows when it may overtake any of us?-you shall find willing friends who shall run with swift feet tocheer your adversity.
This simile needs to be supplemented by another-many true saints are unable to do much. See, then, the gardeners going downto the pond and dipping in their watering pots to carry the refreshing liquid to the flowers. A child comes into the gardenand wishes to help. And yonder is a littlewatering pot for him. Now, see that little water pot? Though it does not carry so much, yet carries the same water. Andit does not make any difference to the half-dozen flowers which get that water, whether it came out of the big pot or thelittle pot, so long as it is the samewater and they get it!
You who are like children in God's Church. You who do not know much-try and tell others what you do know-and if it is thesame Gospel Truth, and it is blest by the same Spirit-it will not matter to the souls who get blessed by you whether theywere blessed by a man of one or tentalents! What differ- ence will it make to me whether I was converted to God by means of a poor woman who was never madea blessing to anybody else, or by one who had brought his thousands to the Savior's feet? Go, my dear Brothers and Sisters,and exercise the holy art of watering!
You say "How?" Why, a word may do it! A look may do it! An action may do it! Only zealously desire to offer sympathy, to affordinstruction, to give needed help, to impart what you may be favored with to others and you shall be watered yourselves! Themain point is that in so watering others weshall be watered ourselves. I am sure we shall, for God promises it and He always keeps His promise. If I need to get water,I must give water. Though that seems a strange way of self-serving I pray you try it. Was not that a very singular thing thatwhen the poor woman of Sareptahad nearly exhausted all her meal, the Prophet asked for a cake for himself? She had been saving it. I dare say she hadeaten only a mouthful or two every day. She and her poor boy were looking very thin. They had come to the last handful.
She thought, "I will make one cake for my son and myself and then we will die." She is outside picking up sticks that shemay bake this cake. God intends to bless her. How does He do it? There comes His Prophet, the hairy man. And the first wordhe says to her is, "Fetch me, I pray you, a littlewater in a vessel, that I may drink." She is quite ready to serve anyone and away she hastens for the water when Elijahcries aloud, "Bring me, I pray you, a morsel of bread in your hand." What? Out of that little handful- barely enough for one?"Yes," he says, "make me alittle cake first and after make for you and your son."
"After that?" she might have said, "what will be left after that? When there is only a handful of meal and a little oil ina cruse, not enough for one, am I to give that to you and afterwards see to myself and child?" Faith enabled her to obey andfrom that very moment neither she nor her son everknew what need was. She gave from her little and her little multiplied. The case of the woman of Zarephath is but one ofthousands establishing the rule of God's mode of action with His Church-a rule which shall not be broken ever. Let me showyou how you will get wateredyourself. In the first place, if you try to do good to others it will do you good by waking up your powers. Thousands ofmen do not know what they are made of. You have no idea what a fine fellow you are, young man, till you begin to shake yourselfa little and go forth to fight theLord's battles!
We do not know what sinews we have till we climb the mountains! We do not know what strength there may be in our backs andarms till we have to carry a ponderous load and then we find it out. You have latent talents, dormant faculties which wouldwork wonders if you would call them forth. Somepeople are not awake more than skin deep. All underneath the skin is sound asleep. They are like the great candle whichI showed you one night with a small wick, which was only melted a little in the middle while all the outside was still cold,hard tallow and did not contribute tothe light. You have not become warm through and through yet-your whole souls have not been wound up to the right pitch forserving God-you have only a little earnestness, a little zeal. But if you ventured upon holy enterprises you would bestiryourself so thoroughlythat you would scarcely know yourself again! That would be a blessing, indeed.
But next, you would often find that in trying to water others you gained instruction. Go talk to some poor saint to comforther and she will tell you what will comfort you. Oh, what gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds! We went toteach the Scriptures. We came away blushing that weknew so little of them. We went to talk experimental truth and we found we were only up to the ankles, while here were God'spoor saints chest deep in the river of Divine Love. We learn by teaching and our pupils often teach us.
You will also get comfort in your work. Rest assured that working for others is very happy exercise. Like the two men in thesnow-one chafed the other's limbs to keep him from dying and in so doing he kept his own blood in circulation and his ownlife was preserved. Comfort God's people andthe comfort will return into your own soul! Watering others will make you humble. You will find better people in the worldthan yourself. You will be astonished to find how much Divine Grace there is where you thought there was none-and how muchknowledge some havegained-while you, as yet, have made little progress with far greater opportunities.
You will also win many prayers. Those who work for others get prayed for and that is a swift way of growing rich in Grace.Let me have your prayers and I can do anything! Let me be without my people's prayers and I can do nothing. You Sunday schoolteachers, if you are blessed to the conversion ofthe children, will get your children's prayers. You that conduct the larger classes, in the conversion of your young peopleyou will be sure to have a wealth of love come back into your own bosoms, swimming upon the stream of supplication. You willthus be a blessing to yourselves.In watering others you will get honor to yourselves and that will help to water you by stimulating your future exertions.
The Romans appointed censors in their State-not only to censure men for gross immoralities-but to require every man to givean account of what he was doing for the good of the Republic. We have deacons and elders-would it not be an additional blessingto have censors in the Churchto go round and ask the members, all of them, what they are doing for the good of the Christian Church? A Greek historiandesired very intensely to say a word about the people of the city where he was born. He felt he could not write his historywithout saying something of his ownnative place and accordingly he wrote this: "While Athens was building temples and Sparta was waging war, my countrymenwere doing nothing."
I am afraid there are too many Christians of whom, if the book were written as to what they are doing in the Church, it wouldhave to be said they have been doing nothing all their lives. You would be delivered from that reproach if you began to waterothers. Let me cease from this subject bysaying while you are watering others you will be manifesting and showing your love to Christ-and that will make you morelike He-and so you will be watered while you are seeking to benefit your neighbors. To serve Jesus! What need I say of that?Look into that facebedewed with bloody sweat for you! Can you not sweat for Him? Look at those hands pierced for you! Shall your hands hangidly down and not be used for Him?
Look at those feet fastened to the wood with nails for you! Can I ask of you any pilgrimage too long to repay the toil whichthose feet endured for your sake? My Brothers and Sisters, remember what Christ Jesus has done for you! Remember from whereHe came! Remember the riches which He left!Remember to what He came-the poverty and shame which He endured and how He went down into the depths that He might takeus up to the heights!
If you will think of these, you will have the best motive, I think, for beginning to look after His lambs and fighting withthose lions which seek to devour His flock. And in that moving motive will be the main means by which you shall be conformedto His image and shall become likeHe-self-sacrificing-doing your Father's business. I wish I could speak more powerfully this morning, but the matter oughtto speak for itself with Christians. If we love Jesus we shall not need any pleading with to water His plants. If you reallylove Him, it will not bea question of whether you shall do something. The only question will be, "What can I do?" And you will say in your pew thismorning, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?"
He has spared your lives. He has given you health and strength. He has provided you with spirituals and temporals. He hasmade your heart leap for joy at the sound of His name. He has plucked you out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay.He has taken you out of the black bondage of thePrince of Darkness and made you His sons and daughters. He has put the ring of His eternal love upon your finger. Your feetare shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace-
"This world is yours and worlds to come, Earth is your lodge and Heaven your home."
There is a crown for your head and a palm branch for your hand. There are pavements of gold for your feet and felicities foreverfor your entire soul! And even your body is to be raised again from the dust and fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body."Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neitherhave en- tered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for you." Now what will you do for Him? Will younot win the promise that your soul shall be watered by seeking to water the souls of others?
II. A BRIEF EXHORTATION shall suffice for the second point. This general principle is worthy of a wider application. We, asa Church, dear Friends, have enjoyed singular prosperity. While many churches have been depressed and decreased in numbers,we have increased. While other churches have hadthe hectic flush of a spurious revival, we have had one perpetual revival lasting for nearly twelve years. I do not knowthat we have increased at a more or a less rapid rate. We could not increase more quickly, for we have not officers enoughor time enough to see the converts asit is.
We have never, I think, increased less, for the work seems to have ever the same prosperity about it. I praise God that Ican say of my ministry in this place and elsewhere, that to this day it has the dew of its youth upon it and there are asmany rejoicing to find Christ through the agenciesemployed in this Church today as in the first day when we came among you in the freshness and vigor of our youth. We havehad no schism. We have had no division. We have not been vexed with heresy. We have been blessed with something like persecution,but this has only bound us thecloser to one another till we are like a three-fold cord which cannot be broken. And like iron bars made red hot in thefurnace and hammered together, we are not soon to be separated from one another.
Now, dear Friends, up to this time the policy which we have pursued has been this-if members of other churches want to know,we tell them! We have endeavored to water others. Your minister has journeyed all over the three kingdoms preaching the Wordand you have not grumbled at his absence.We have undertaken many enterprises for Christ. We hope to undertake a great many more. We have never hindered our strength-wehave undertaken enterprises that were enough to exhaust us-to which, by God's Grace, we became accustomed in due season andthen we have gone onto something more.
We have never sought to hinder the planting of other churches from our midst or in our neighborhood. It is with cheerfulnessthat we dismiss our twelves, our twenties, our fifties to form other churches. We encourage our members to leave us to foundother churches-no-we seek to persuadethem to do it. We ask them to scatter throughout the land to become the goodly seed which God shall bless. I believe thatso long as we do this we shall prosper. I have marked other churches that have adopted the other way and they have not succeeded.This is what I have heard fromsome ministers-"I do not encourage village stations or, if I do, I do not encourage their becoming distinct churches andbreaking bread together. I do not encourage too many young men going out to preach, for to have a knot of people who can preacha little may very soon causedissatisfaction with my own preaching."
I have marked those who have followed this course and I have seen that the effect of trying to keep all the blood in the heartis to bring on congestion. And very soon the whole body has been out of health. My Brethren, if you can do more good elsewherethan you can do here, for God's sake, go! Andhappy shall I be that you have gone. If you can serve my Master in the little rooms in the neighborhood-if by forming yourselvesinto smaller churches you can increase the honor of my Master's name I shall love you none the less for going-and I shalldelight to thinkthat you have Christ's spirit in you and can do and dare for His name's sake!
At the present moment we rejoice to know that many a Sunday school in this neighborhood is indebted to the members of thisChurch for teachers. It is right. We do not want you at home and are therefore glad to see you at work elsewhere. No matter,so long as Christ is preached, whether you throwyour strength into that Church or into this Church. Here, as being members with us, we have the first claim upon you. Butwhen we do not need you by reason of our abundance of men, go and give your strength to any other part of Christ's Churchthat may desire you. While I speak thusmuch in your praise, my Brothers and Sisters, let me say we must keep this up.
We must not say, "We have the College to support and we do as much as other churches for various societies and we can be contentto sit still." This Church will begin to go rotten at the core the moment we are not working for God with might and main.Sometimes I get a pull at my coattail by verykind, judicious friends who think I shall ask you to do too much. My Brethren are welcome to pull my coat- tail, but itwill come off before I shall stand back for a moment! As long as I live I must serve my Master with my whole soul and whenyou think I go too fast, you can standback if you dare, for mark-you will be responsible to God if you do.
You may start back if you will and if you dare! But I must go on, must go, MUST go on! You and I that are worthy of the dayin which we live will follow, step by step, in any good project. And though I should seem too rash, you will redeem me fromthe charge of rashness by the enthusiasm and theearnestness with which you carry out my plans. Here is this great city! Was there ever such spiritual desti-tution-a millionpeople who could not go to a place of worship if they had the heart to go there! And here we have the priest-craft of theChurch of England increasingthe spiritual destitution by building fresh churches-not providing for it, but increasing it, I say-for I reckon that whereverPuseyism is preached, there is an increase of spiritual destitution!
Wherever broad Churchism comes there is an increase of spiritual destitution-and it is little better where they go who preachthe Gospel in the pulpit and read Popery at the font, the grave, and the bedside. In this last case public morality is shockedby the perjury of those who swear to aPrayer Book in which they do not believe! Much as I respect and even love Believers in the Anglican Establishment, I canonly feel that their presence in so corrupt a body is the reason why it exists. And I therefore think them to be doing mischiefby buttressing a falling andruinous cause.
True Protestants, we must take upon ourselves to work for London as if there were no other agencies at work except those ofthe Free churches! The Hagar church, the church which has a mortal for its head-the harlot church which lives in alliancewith the State-has too many sins of herown to repent of to be of much use in this hour of peril. The good she can do is so insignificant that it is not worth whileto compute it-the monstrous evil which she fosters and perpetrates is a more than sufficient set-off against it.
We must work and toil and labor to scatter in every lane, alley and court of London the pure Gospel of the blessed God. Wemust let men know that Sacramentarianism is a lie and that there is no salvation but in the uplifted Cross of Christ, andno salvation through ceremonies but only through asimple faith in Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. If you, among others, are come to the kingdom for such a timeas this it shall be well with you! But if not, you shall be put away as things abhorred and this place shall be a hissingand a by-word in generations yet to come.And it shall be said of you-"There lived a people who were led by a man, who, with all his faults, was in earnest and washonest and they would not follow him. They proved unworthy of him and they have passed away and their names were written inwater.
"They had opportunities which they did not use. Work was allotted them which they were not worthy to take up. God said tothem in answer to their request to be excused, 'You shall be excused.' And they went back-
'To the vile dust from where they sprung, Unwept, unhonored and unsung.' "
But it shall not be so with you, my Brethren! Though I thus speak, I know your zeal and love and earnestness and that youwill continue to water others and then you shall be watered yourselves! We will pray and strive together for the faith oncedelivered to the saints! We will cleave closer andcloser to one another and foot to foot and shoulder to shoulder we will march to battle for God and for His Truth! And comewhat may, whoever else may prove a coward in these days of charity and compromise-we will be found, in God's name, by thehelp of God'sSpirit-faithful and true.
III. And now, dear Friends, another sentence or two will close the sermon. On the widest scale this is true. This is trueof our denomination and of every church. If we will water others, we shall be watered. From the very day when Carey and Fullerand Pearce went forth to preach the Gospel to theheathen, a blessing rested upon our denomination. I believe if we had done more for the heathen, we should have been strongerto do more at home. You may rest assured, though some may not think it, that our missionary operations are an infinite blessingto the churches at home.
Relinquishing them, giving them up, stopping them would bring such a blight and a curse that we had need to go down on ourknees and pray, "God send the missionary work back again! Give us an outlet for our liberality and our zeal, for without itwe become like a pool dammed up that is full offilth and toads and frogs and all sorts of foul things. Lord, open the river for our zeal and let us once again have anopportunity to serve You for the nations that are far away!"
But I must leave you to preach on that point, for my time has gone and you can do so more practically than I can. My sermonis reported and I will undertake that what you preach shall not be forgotten-it shall all be taken down in those boxes whichshall be passed round. Say each of you asmuch as ever you can upon this subject by your contributions and remember, "He that waters others, shall himself be watered."