Sermon 629. Jericho Captured
PREACHED AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,
BY C. H. SPURGEON, ON BEHALF OF THE BAPTIST IRISH SOCIETY.
"And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I ha ve given into your hands Jericho and the king thereof and the mighty men of valor.And you shall compass the city, all you men of war and go round about the city once. Thus shall you do six days." Joshua 6:2,3.
I SEE many ministering Brothers here. I think I shall follow the example of Martin Luther who observes that he frequentlysaw in the church at Wittenberg sundry learned doctors and there usually sat Dr. Justus Jonas and others of whom he said wereinfinitely greater and more wise than himself."But," said Martin, "I do not, therefore, alter my style of preaching-I do not preach to them-I preach to those peasantswho come in from the country and to the citizens of Wittenberg. For then I am quite certain that if they can understand me,Dr. Justus Jonas and thelearned divines can understand me, too, if they like."
I shall, moreover, adopt what is said to have been Mr. Wesley's exhortation to his preachers, namely, aim low. "There is morelikelihood," he says, "of hitting the men than when you fire high." I may also frankly confess I am reduced to that preceptby necessity since I have no capabilities offiring high and must therefore shoot low. We shall take our text now and try, if we can, to get something out of it whichmay be applicable to the present position of our Society and see if we cannot draw some words and thoughts from it which maystrengthen, encourage and nerve usfor future action in this good work of God.
The Irish Society has to do with one of the citadels of Romanism and it strikes me that there is a very evident parallel betweenour efforts and the work which Israel had to do against this city of Jericho. Jericho was a strongly defended city and shutup so that none went in or came out. AndRomanism seems to have accomplished this admirably. It shuts up its disciples so that they are scarcely accessible and convertsfrom it are few and far between. None, I was about to say, go in-very few, indeed, from us-and there are very few who evercome out again.
Jericho was the frontier city. That being captured, the conquest of the rest of Canaan would be comparatively easy. And Poperyis very much the frontier city, the Jericho of our warfare-it stands in the way of the evangelization of the world-it is thegreat impediment to the spread ofthe kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let Jericho fall and Canaan may weep and howl, for her day has come. And let Romebe subdued-let Romanism be conquered-and the world shall soon be at the feet of that Jesus whom it once despised.
We are attacking, I think, in the Irish Society, a Jericho, indeed, and we have been long at it. But it has been a very wearytask and the Brethren have sometimes been apt to cry, "Let it be given up." I will speak of this on the first, the second,the third, the fourth, the fifth-perhaps onthe sixth day of the week, to cry to these Brethren-"Courage, go on still with your rams' horns! Bear your testimony andcarry the Ark of the Lord round about this city, for the Lord has delivered it unto your hands. Only be obedient and courageousand abide His time, for yourvictory is absolutely sure."
I shall divide what I may have to say this evening into these three parts. It strikes me that the narrative before us teachesus that God would have His people work and wait and win. And this is what we have to do today as they had of old.
I. First of all God would have His people WORK. A little upon that. We preach the Doctrines of Grace, and the Doctrines ofGrace are always the best soil in which to grow good works. We daily insist upon it that works do not make a man live, butwe equally insist upon it that spiritual lifecontinually manifests itself by holy deeds. The soldiers of God's army, after they had crossed the Jordan, were not to liestill in luxurious ease till Jericho's walls should crumble down by slow degrees. And though God determined to send Jerichoto sudden destruction, yet Hispeople were not to sit still upon some neighboring knoll and expect the catastrophe-they were to labor and Jericho wouldfall as the result of their toil.
Their work is to consist of a daily procession. They are to go in cavalcade round about the wall. The priests are to exercisetheir functions. The ark must be carried upon men's shoulders. The men of war are to be there to defend the ark, to clearthe way, and to follow, also in the rear to guardit against any sudden attack or any eruption from the city. They are to march thus the whole of the six days-not one daywithout its parade-not one day without obedience to the great Captain of the host.
So, Brethren, must it be with us. We are to win the world for Christ! This is our high ambition and it shall be in Christ'sname our grand attainment. But it must be by work, by testimony-bearing, by the preaching of the Gospel, by continual prayer,by encompassing the city, perpetually serving Godand walking in the path of obedience. Let us look at this work a little in connection with this narrative. You will observethat the work to be done by Israel was universal. There was a place for each one to occupy. The men of arms were to go roundthe city, and with them thepriests were to march.
Both the ecclesiastical and the military castes shall be represented here. They must neither of them sit still. It is an illday for God's Church when we conceive that some few are to fight the Lord's battles and that the rest of us may look on andcriticize or applaud. You are, all of you, myBrethren, called to serve God. You recognize this in your creed. You know yourselves to be priests and you hate the liewhich lifts some men into a priesthood and puts the rest down as, "the laity," as though they were nothing better than stones.You feel that you are all called tobear the vessels of the Lord- that you are a "royal priesthood, a peculiar people."
You know that you are all set apart for the service of God. But while this is our creed, I am afraid it is not our practice.How many take their seats in the pew, and when they have once made themselves comfortable consider that their work is entirelywrapped up in listening to sermons or perhapsfumbling in their pockets for a solitary coin on collection occasions for the Missionary Society? It may be now and then-nowand then-assisting in some enterprise of usefulness, but this only as an exception to the rule.
We shall never see the Church become strong and mighty till every single member of the Church shall realize his responsibility.We must all encompass this city. Observe, when the Lord fed the multitude He did not take some of the five loaves, or oneof the fishes, but He took all the loaves, thoughthey were barley and both the fishes, though they were small. And He took care to break all and to divide all among thepeople. Nothing of a stock-in-hand was kept in the larder, nothing was laid by-all was used.
And then, by the multiplying power of God, there was sufficient food for all. And so we must rummage the larder, we must bringout the barley cakes, we must bring forth the fishes-all must be devoted to the Master's cause. And, in the use, ability willbe multiplied! And in the exercise,Divine Grace will be increased and we shall yet be sufficient for the world's needs.
It has been said, and I think a little calculation will show you that it is correct, that if God were to enable the Christiansin this huge city of ours to feel their responsibility and if every individual Christian were made the means of the conversionof one other-starting with fiftythousand Christians in London, (and let us hope there are as many Believers as that-for it is a very small proportion ofthe professing multitude)-then, considering that there are three million souls in London, six years would be sufficient forthe conversion of thewhole by the simple agency of each disciple bringing in one of the stray sheep.
This does not seem as if it were an impossible thing. Only Divine Grace is wanted from on high. We must plead with God tobring down the blessing. And when the blessing comes on each man's labor, there certainly is no hindrance in the matter oftime, or in the matter of exertion-for, withGod's blessing-the conversion of a soul is not a matter that requires us to relinquish business, or that compels us to giveup all our time to it. Some five minutes have been, by Divine Grace, a sufficient length of time and half-a-dozen words haveproven enough. Courage, myBrethren! Vast as the work is, if we all go to it, with God's blessing it will be speedily accomplished.
Our police served us all with a notice the other day, when the snow was on the ground, that we were each one to sweep beforeour own doors. It was very right that the passenger should go along the footpath without being smothered with the mud andsnow commingled. Now what an expense it would havebeen to clean the streets of London by any other process! It would be difficult for a contractor to undertake it by theyear, since he would scarcely know how often he would be called to work. How could an army of men be kept ready to do thework which comes in so strange afashion-sometimes but once in the year and sometimes fifty times?
But each man sweeps before his own door and then it is all done early in the morning and you walk the streets in comfort!Oh that we could but feel that we are to sweep before our own door! Oh that every man would build the dilapidated wall ofJerusalem before his own house! And when this is done,then shall God send victory to His hosts. But I fear it will not be till then. God would have His people work universally.
But next, He would have them work in His own appointed way. They are not to go in a scramble-in a boyish race-round Jerusalem.There must be the soldiers in their troops, the priests in their array and then again, the men of war to bring up the rear.God would have His people workaccording to His revealed will. We must be very tender and jealous here. Whatever may be the opinions about the alterationof the constitution of our Missions, I do trust that we shall, all of us, when we come together, recognize the authority ofGod and feel that we can only expectto have His guidance, His help, His blessing, when we walk according to the path which He has marked for us.
If I go upon a tour I do not expect to see certain sights which have been guaranteed to me by my friend unless I agree tofollow the little chart which he has mapped out for me. I cannot expect to have that sublime view of the Alps if I refuseto climb a certain spot and stand there and view theglacier and the snow peak glittering in the sun. And I cannot expect to have God's blessing in my ministry and in the Sundayschool class unless I keep to, "It is written," and in all things have a tender conscience and am jealous of myself lest Ierr.
How much more, then, in this greater work in which the whole Church is engaged! My Brothers and Sisters, let us see to itthat in all things we compass this city of Jericho according to the Divine order! For only so may we expect to see her wallscome crumbling down. Then, again, remember theyencompassed the city daily. So does God call His Church to work daily. It is very easy for us, in a moment of excitement,to accomplish a great work. And the most of Christian work now-a-days is, I fear, merely spasmodic. We build chapels by aseries of fits. We pay off missionarysociety debts by stupendous efforts and we relapse again into debt and difficulties.
I am afraid that as a denomination we are not fond of working too tryingly. We know the value of ourselves, of our time andof our money and we are not apt to wear ourselves out by any excessive exertion. We have never, I believe, at any period sincethe unhappy days of Munster, been accused of anexcess of zeal! We are rather to be accused of quarreling about points on which we differ than of excessive love of stickingto the practical business of fighting the devil and winning the world to Christ. But we must come to this, for mark you, ifwe are to conquer the world wemust each of us have our daily work and keep to it as God shall give us Grace.
The wheel must revolve again and again and again-it is that perpetual motion of industry which produces wealth and it mustbe the ceaseless energy of our zeal which shall produce spiritual conquest. We have sharpened our swords and fleshed themwell. The younger men among us have had a brushwith the foe and we are beginning to think, like our sober sires, we may be quiet. But it must not be so-we must agitatefor all the Truth of God, for all the doctrines we hold dear and for the peculiar Truths of God we hold as a denomination.We must keep on fighting forChrist and fighting for Christ every day.
We must sleep in our armor! We must begin to feel that the sword cleaves to our hand and cannot be separated from it. We mustgive ourselves so entirely to the work to which God has called us that wherever we are, whatever we may be engaged in, menmay take knowledge of us as to what is our workand calling. In this Irish Society there must be no standing still, no ceasing of the trumpet, no withdrawing of so muchas a single ram's horn. The testimony must still be kept up, the witness-bearing must become more constant. We must preachand teach and pray and work and liveand, if necessary, die daily until this Jericho is stormed.
Nor have we exhausted the metaphors with which our text supplies us, for surely we may add that God would have His peoplework in faith. We are told by Paul that, "by faith the walls of Jericho fell down." It seems to me that was a grand spectaclewhen the first man went forward step by step, andall the rest followed, the priests too, all of them confident that they were doing the best thing to make Jericho's rampartsfall to the ground. "Why," the fool might have said, "you are doing nothing. You are not loosening a single stone!" And atthe end of the fifth or sixth day,I suppose it was suggested by many, "What is the good of it all?"
But at least the most of those who encompassed the city were men of faith-or else it could not have been said, "by faith thewalls of Jericho fell down." "Yes," they seemed to say, "she will come down! She will come down! She stands like a rock. Shehas not moved. There is not a beam loosed,nor a cord broken-not a house in ruins, nor a tent that has fallen-not a single stone that has crumbled from her battlements.But she shall come down!" And on they went with steady tramp-and though they saw no corpses blocking up their pathway andthough their armswere not red with blood. Though they heard no shriek of those that flee and could utter no shout of victory-yet they wereas confident as they were when the walls actually began to rock and the dust and smoke went up to Heaven-and the shrieks ofthe slain made glad theirears.
We must encompass this city in full faith. Brethren, is the preaching of the Gospel a power? If you think it is not, nevertry it again. Is the Gospel mighty to save? Will the Gospel come out victorious? If you have any doubt, slink back to yourcowardly repose and let the man whom God sends neverdoubt. If you have achieved no successes, if after fifty years your trumpet of jubilee is exceedingly small. If after fiftyyears it is something like a ram's horn that has not been bored and can not make any noise at all, yet still go on! Your timefor shouting has not yet come,but your time for compassing the city is always present. Get on with it! Get on with it and God will not permit you to endtill you have won the victory!
So let us notice once more under this head of work-they worked with patience and courage. God kept this people laboring inthe presence of difficulty. They were compassing the city, taking their walks, but always with the formidable walls of Jerichoclose under their eyes. Surely they musthave had these walls photographed on their eyes and on their brains. "I shall know every stone in it," says one. "Six timesI have been round, no, twelve times and the walls have not begun to rock-twelve times! Seven is a perfect number, but we havegone beyond it and yet thewalls do not stir." "Mark well her bulwarks and count the towers on her."
These men were practical surveyors of Jericho. They could well understand the strength of the battlements, how many feet longthe huge stones were at the corners and how near the stars the loftiest towers were raised. They had the difficulty, I say,always before them! Yet they kept on in simplefaith, going round the city. Sometimes we get into the habit of shutting our eyes to difficulty. That will not do-faithis not a fool! Faith does not shut her eyes to difficulty and then run headlong against a brick wall-never!
Faith sees the difficulty, surveys it all and then she says, "By my God will I leap over a wall." And over the wall she goes.She never brings out the flaming accounts of, "signs of the times," in her favor. She does not sit down and say that evidentlypublic sentiment is changing. She does notreckon upon any undercurrents that may be at work which she is told by Mistress Gossip really are doing great things. Faithjust looks at it and does not mind how bad the thing is reported to be. If anybody can exaggerate the difficulty, Faith isof the same noble mind as thatfamous warrior who, when told there were so many thousand soldiers against him, replied, "There are so many more to be killed."
Faith reckons-"So many more difficulties, so many more things to be overcome." And even impossibilities she puts down as onlyso much burden to be cast upon Him with whom nothing is impossible! She keeps Jericho's walls before her. And I would thatwe, dear Friends, knew more than wedo-the perfect hopelessness of our work of seeking to convert Ireland to the Gospel-for there never was a task undertaken,I think, that had less hopefulness about it! I want you to be driven more and more to think, as far as the agency of man isconcerned, that thething is almost out of the category of the possible and out of the category of the probable altogether!
And when you can get to that point and hear the voice, "Compass the city seven days," yet still have courage to go on, on,on-notwithstanding all the manifest difficulties-then when God has taught you your nothingness and brought you to feel thatif victory is given it is all His andthat Divine Omnipotence and Sovereignty must wear the crown-then, I say, He will make the old rampart rock! And the harlotof the seven hills shall rue the day when Israel shouts, when her sons are slain and God shall triumph right gloriously! God,however, would have Hispeople work- that is the first point-we are agreed on that. Let us unite to carry it out.
"The sermon is not done" said one, when he came out of Church-"it is all said, but it is not all done." So let me close thishead with saying that it is not done, it is only said. I have said that God would have His people work. Let us go and work.Let us begin tonight. If we have been lazyup to now-if there are any Issachars here like the strong ass crouching down between two burdens-just get up, Sir Issachar,and carry your burden! If there is any Brother here that has been saying, "God will have His own," let him mind what he isdoing, or God will neverhave him, for God's own do not talk at that rate and do not say that God's purposes are to be an excuse for man's indifference.
Let him shake that off, for he cannot take such a plea as that before the judgment bar. He knows he cannot. Therefore do notlet him try it here. Let us try and work well for God. You in your Sunday school classes, you in your preaching stations,you in your tract distributions, you here inEngland. You, my Brethren, across the sea and you in the Emerald Isle still compassing the city seven times.
II. We now come, in the second place, to consider that God would have His people WAIT. The delay must have sorely tried thefaith and patience of the Israelites. "Time flies," and time is very precious. These Israelites must have thought, "Why makeus wait? If we have to tarry a long while beforethe walls of Jericho, why then, what a time it will take to conquer all the interior. And if we begin with a long delay,our enemies may gather courage and before we have made our entrenchments behind which we may shield ourselves, the host willbe upon us and we shall be cut topieces."
It must have seemed to every merely thoughtful person in the camp of Israel that it was imperative that the first city shouldbe taken as speedily as possible so that the people might be encouraged and their enemies scattered. And it would give tothose weary pilgrims some settled place to whichthey might retire with comfort, for they were, I suppose, still in their tents and longing for the time when, like the restof the people of the land, they might dwell in their own houses.
But they must keep quiet. And, according to present appearances, they must remain so indefinitely. The people could not tellhow long they were to tarry there. And just observe, my Brethren, how very trying it must have been to them to wait. I donot know so much about the priests, for I am afraidpriests are apt to be very contented with doing nothing, but not so with soldiers! There are a great many Brethren who seemto be perfectly satisfied to rest at ease. But men of war do not generally seem to be of that temperament.
When I was in the military prison at Dublin I observed a form of punishment there. Men were carrying large shot. A man tookup a large shot and carried it to the end of the yard and he afterwards had to pick that shot up and bring it back again.I said, "How is it that you do not let them take allthe shot to that end and pile them up there?" The officer said, "We used to do so but it was no use, for when the fellowshad piled them up they felt they were doing something. But now we make them carry the shot from one end of the yard to theother and then back again and backagain and they feel they have to work hard and do nothing. That is always miserable work to a soldier."
Many of our soldiers at Sebastopol made bitter complaints at not being led to battle. And you will often hear young militarymen say that they hate the inactivity of peace-they want to be doing something. Now these men of war were kept for six daysmarching round and round the city and theymust have felt themselves to have been doing very little all that week. That is what I feel with regard to this Irish Societyand there are many of us, too, who, if we speak plainly, must say that we think that we have done very little, sorry little.
We remember two or three things that have been successes. And two or three things that have been a very long way from success.Sometimes we have complained that there have been asylums provided for Brethren sent yonder and we have wondered why suchBrethren were sent at all. We have said, "Well, ifthis do-nothing affair is to keep on much longer, we must get others who will do something-for at present we are in thisposition-'What is John doing?' 'Nothing.' 'What is Tom doing?' 'Helping John.' " We want to see something done and thereforeit is hard to wait. butwe must check ourselves. Our vehemence should urge us to use all proper means, though it should never be of that sort whichwould make us relax our efforts because we do not immediately achieve all the success which we desire.
My Brethren in Christ Jesus, though as men of war we would rather come to close quarters and see more done, yet as men ofGod we must keep to our posts of duty and learn how to wait. Besides this, what rendered the waiting so very galling was,(what must have struck their reason, if it did notassail their faith), the utter desperateness of the case. How could they hope to win that city by simply going round andround? "Give me a good ladder," says one, "a rope ladder, and a couple of good irons at the end of it! Just let me hear theclank upon the top stone and I am yourman to lead the 'forlorn hope!' And there are fifty thousand of us to follow and we will soon have Judah's standard wavingon the top and make the sons of Jericho know what the sons of Abraham can do."
But no. They must just march round the place till they have compassed the city twelve times. And so, Brethren, there are certainspirits apt to say, "Could not we do more by adopting these methods and such other expedients." See how certain of our Brethrenof another denomination feel that if theycan but get a golden ladder-if they get the assistance of the regium donum-in this way Jericho's walls may be scaled. Andthere is the temptation to look about us and ask for some assistance over and above the power which lies in the simple Gospel-butwe must notdo it! Away with our methods and State-crafts and policies. Away with the suggestions of the crafty and cunning and allthe wisdom of the worldly! God forbid that we should glory but in the Cross of Christ!
With the simplicity of children let us still believe that our Father's means are the best. And though as soldiers we cannotunderstand it, yet as children let us believe it and keep on compassing the city for Jericho's walls must fall-as sure asGod is in Heaven. And I think there is anotherthing which must have made it difficult and it is this, that most probably the citizens of Jericho insulted them from thewalls. I should think they kept far enough off to be out of arrow-shot-but yet it is just possible that if they could nothear the taunt, "What are thesefeeble Jews doing," yet they must have seen the tokens of impudence and impertinence which came from over the wall.
This, mark you, is very galling to men of arms. We feel our hands fumbling at the hilts of our swords when provoked by thetaunts and jeers of our enemies. "What have you done," they say, "you soupers and Protestants and Methodists and Presbyterians,against the invincible bulwarks of Rome? Yourpaper bullets-what have they accomplished against the iron walls of Babylon?" We can hear their jeers. We know the soundof revelry and mirth. But what of this? Though, again, I say, as soldiers we might grow courageous and dash rashly to thefight, or retire from it becausethere is nothing to be earned but dishonor-yet, as Christians we will do what seems absurd to reason-but what is ever justifiableto faith. We will keep on in God's own style. We will fight His battles by His methods and we doubt not that though it doesseem a strange,mad thing-to attempt to drive out the priests from Ireland by the simple proclamation of the Truth of God-yet the day shallcome when Wisdom shall be justified of all her children.
Now, Brethren, we know that God has His reasons for making us wait. It is for His own Glory, we doubt not. We know that allthings work together for good and we believe it will be ultimately for our profit. When I have read some masterly tragic poem,and verse after verse has dwelt upon thehorrible portion of the tale, did I wish it shortened? Would I have had the author leave out one of those dark verses? NotI! It is true when the poem ended with a shout of victory and with the tramp of martial men through the city-when they returnedin triumph-our heartleaped! We rejoiced when we came to that last stanza, but we wished the poem not shortened. We never wanted to have anyof those verses blotted out.
God is writing a great poem of human history. The subject is the victory of His Truth, the destruction of AntiChrist. Letthe history be long. Who wants it shortened? Who wants a brief story on so exceedingly interesting a subject as this, fromso great an Author? No, let it drag on what some maycall its weary length-we are sure that when we come to read it, as God will write it, we shall wish the story longer! Wewill not complain of its extent, for the result is we shall see more of God and learn more of His mind. You want the millenniumto come tomorrow, do you?May you get it, but I think it is probable you will not. I do not know how history appears to you who profess to understandit, but it does not read to me like a thing which is going to end just yet.
I have always been told about the "signs of the times." There always were such speculations-in 1766 and 1666- but the timesof the end did not come. And I think they will not come now. It strikes me that we shall have something more elaborate yetthan has ever come from the Divine penand we may have to go not only through another canto, but through several more books before we shall come to the end ofthe story. One reason why I think the world's present state will not wind up for the present is because all the "prophets"say it will! And they have always been alying generation, from the first even to the last. I mean the prophets who make the business profitable-who only use Scriptureas the Norwood Gipsy uses the cards-who shuffle texts to foretell fortunes for nations and men.
We shall go on many a day yet. We may have to wait for another century, yes, another twenty centuries, perhaps! We cannottell. But our business is still to remember that it shall be, after all, for our eternal benefit and for God's everlastingGlory to keep on-to wait, wait, wait till wegrow well-near weary. But the victory comes as surely, after all, as though it came at first. While we are waiting, however,I think it is well to take a little comfort from what we are doing. We are waiting-that is the posture of this Irish Society.But we may consoleourselves in it, as the men who were compassing Jericho might have done. "Well," they could say, "we have not taken Jericho,but there is Rahab that has believed-there are a few saved-you can count them on your fingers almost, but they are very preciousand they are ofthe kind which should be esteemed very valuable.
There is Rahab. Her name is illustrious and her story, when it is told, has made many another Rahab seek and find a Savior.Not altogether without result was that attack on Jericho. And you have not lost your money, you that have subscribed to ourIrish Society. There has been many a sinner savedand many can tell of eternal love that has sought out with eyes of patience eternity's choice jewels. They can tell of DivineSovereignty that has made its crown to glisten and glitter forever with those precious things when found. You have had Rahab,yes, and you have had some thatGod has made useful to others. I can bear witness that there have come from Ireland some of the most earnest young men uponwhom my eyes ever rested-good men and true-who love their Lord and Master and whose highest delight is to speak well of Hisname. You may waitpatiently on that reflection.
Moreover, the men of arms may say, "We do not take the city, it is true, but yet we keep our ground." If we were to leaveJericho we should be giving up our foothold in Canaan. And if we forsake Ireland, we might relinquish all hope of the Papacyfalling. But we keep our foothold-at least wetake our stand on the rock! We have taken legal possession of the land and, though little, it is like the handful whichWilliam the Conqueror took up when he said, "I have taken the seizin of England hereby." And though you may amalgamate themanagement of this Society with another,you will not give up the distinctive aim and object of the Society which is to keep a corner at least of the Emerald Islefor God and for His Christ.
And then, again, they can say, "We are bearing testimony." Every man that looks over the wall of Jericho can see the Ark ofthe Covenant. He can see the troopers of God with their swords upon their thighs. They see what they never saw before! Oh,worshippers of idols, you see today the Ark of thetrue God borne round your walls! Oh you that bow to Baal and adore Ashtaroth, the gods of wood and stone, the true God,the Mighty One, Jehovah, is come out against you and the trumpets sound defiance to your power while the warriors of God shoutfor your overthrow! You are bearingtestimony against the sin of Ireland. If you do not succeed, the time has not yet come for the shaking off the dust of yourfeet! In the meantime you must preach the Gospel for a testimony against them.
And one thing more, I think the men at arms felt," We are on the spot when anything does occur." As they went round the wallthey said, "It stands strong and stern, but it will yield and then we are all ready when the breach is made." You do not knowwhat God may have in store for Ireland, or forany nation. According to the law which seems to regulate human society, there comes, every now and then, a great change.Who would have dreamed of the convulsions of 1848 that thrones would have been so unsettled and that crowns would fall frommonarchs' heads? Such convulsions maycome again. No, unless the course of nature is changed, must come.
Then we are ready. We stand watching for the gap. O God, in Your eternal Providence be pleased now, even now, to send a convenientseason. But if not, we will have the men ready when Your appointed time shall come. It was a grand thing when the earthquakecame to shake the prison of Philippi thatthere should be a Paul and a Silas there ready to preach the sermon to the trembling jailor and his household! And so whenthe earthquake comes to Ireland, as it will come, we shall have a Paul and a Silas there. We may have many such, I trust.The more the better and all ready tostand up with, "Thus says the Lord!"
Why what cannot God do? Has not He lately given you an installment of what He can accomplish in the revival which seemed toshake the North of Ireland? It is true it occurred in a part where Romanism is less strong-but the same power which can movethe stolidity of Protestantism can stir thefiery zeal of what is genuine religion in its way-I mean genuine, though mistaken-because like Paul they think they do Goda service. The hearty spirit of the Irishman with his popery may certainly be reached by Divine Omnipotence, as well as thesoul of the Irishman ofthe North with his much colder creed.
Let us have hope and go on compassing the city, not changing anything that is right and not neglecting that which is accordingto Scripture, but waiting till the time shall come. Now upon this I think I shall say no more, except again to ask friendspractically to carry it out. Let us try andwait-wait patiently-not wait idly, but continue your subscriptions, continue your prayers, continue your interest in theSociety, for God would have you wait.
III. And, thirdly, God would have His people WIN. I shall not say much about this. We will postpone that till the time whenit occurs and then we shall not need to have any sermons about it but can all come together and hold a meeting to praise andbless God. Only let us say that if the analogy iscarried out according to the siege of Jericho, the victory is very sure and, when it comes forth, very complete. Nothingcould be more so. It may be very sudden, also, and it will be very glorious.
But we shall get nothing by it, for when Jericho fell nobody gained anything except to offer it unto the Lord-so we have topersevere in disinterested service-just toiling on for the Master, remembering that when success comes, it will be all His-everysingle atom of it. The Glorywill be to Him and not to us and He will take care to send the success in such a manner that nobody shall be able to say,"Glory be to the Irish Society." Nobody shall be able to say, "Well done, Baptist denomination." No single minister or Evangelistshall be able to say, "Welldone, myself." The one shout that shall go up to Heaven will be, "Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!"
I have thus spoken for the Society. I was asked to preach for it and I am obliged, I think, to preach with a text that bearssomewhat on the subject. I observe many sermons that are preached for Societies might just as well be preached any other dayof the week before any other assembly on anyother occasion. I do not know that is exactly what is needed, so if we have not dived deep into the doctrines of everlastinglove, if we have not taken you to the Savior's Cross and offered you the invitations of the Gospel. If we have not done thisand fifty thousand other things,there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. And to everyone there is a season and if we can keep the constituency ofthis Society working and waiting and make it in this way to come to be among the winning, we shall rejoice exceedingly!
Brethren, let us begin to carry out the sermon now by our contributions. Let us begin to do so by our prayers. Let us actout the spirit of it by trying to tell others what the Gospel is. Be this the motto of us all-
"Now will I tell sinners round What a dear Savior I have found. Point them to the redeeming blood, And cry, 'Behold the wayto God.'" Yet I dare not sit down till I say to every soul here, and especially to you who cannot take an interest in God'swork because you are not savedyourself-remember we do not ask you to save and look after the souls of Irishmen. Your own soul must be the first concern.And the way of salvation is simply this-"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved."
He it is who stands in the gap and makes an atonement for sin. Take Christ to be your Atonement, your Justifier, your Salvationand your All. And believing in Him you are saved! This is your duty and must not be postponed any longer. You must begin thework at home. Enlist on the side of Israel byfollowing Israel's Leader. Our heavenly Joshua is the Son of God, believe on Him and you shall find salvation through Hisblood and acceptance before God through Christ. Then go out to be the means of saving others and God speed you through Hisblessed Spirit. Amen.