Sermon 642. Withholding Corn
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, JULY 30, 1865, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"He that withholds corn, the people shall curse him but blessing shall be upon the head of him that sells it."
IF I dared, I would always preach upon the comfortable promises and gracious doctrines of God's Word. I find it most delightfuland easy work to expatiate upon those themes of Revelation which abound in sweetness and are full of savor and preciousnessto the child of God. I said, "If I dared," andyou will ask me why I dare not? The answer is because I have a solemn conviction on my mind that if I would be clear ofthe blood of all men I must strive to make my range of ministry as wide as the range of Revelation and I must not shun todeclare the whole counsel of God. I feelbound to go not where my wishes would lead me, but where Holy Scripture has made a track for my feet.
There are certain texts in the Scriptures which are very seldom preached upon because it is thought that there is little Gospelin them and that the people, when they go home, will say to one another, "Well, I wasn't fed this morning." Those who aimat pleasing men may well be shy of such subjects.But I hold that since God, in His wisdom has placed these passages in the Bible, He intends His servants, the preachersof the Word, to expound them.
We are, it strikes me, not to preach from selections of Scripture only, but from the whole of the Sacred Volume, for "AllScripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness-thatthe man of God may be perfect,thoroughly furnished unto all good works." I freely confess that I do not know why I have selected this text this morningexcept that it haunted and hunted me until I could not forbear to preach upon it.
It seemed to force itself upon me and to bore its way into my soul like a rifle shot. I thought it over and over and couldnot make much of it until I yielded up myself to it, saying within myself, "If the Lord has anything to say to the peopleout of my mouth, here it is-let Him use it." Ifthere should be any persons among our country friends, or our corn-dealing townsmen who this morning feel at all touchedby the text, I cannot help it. Here is my Master's message to them and I can only deliver it with the best intentions, hopingthat those to whom it comes home maybe profited by it.
It will, however, soon be clear to you that the verse before us has, besides its first meaning, a weight of very importantspiritual teaching in it to which we shall all do well to take heed. The text, as it stands, has to do, as you clearly see,with owners of corn and dealers in it.
In Solomon's days there were very frequent famines. Communication between one nation and another was so extremely difficultthat the transportation of wheat in any large quantities was not attempted. Therefore, if a failure in the crops occurredin one district, the scarcity in that neighborhoodwas not compensated by abundance in another and terrible famines prevailed. Certain persons in those days not only storedup all the corn which grew in their own fields, but purchased as much as they could of others, so as to raise the market aboveits natural level. This, under thecircumstances, was a very high affront put upon God-for instead of bearing their part in His judgments, these men enrichedthemselves by the poverty of their starving neighbors.
There have been such people ever since Solomon's day and although the present system of free trade has nearly put an end tothat kind of thing, there are doubtless some who would again withhold their corn, even at famine prices, if they could risethe price still higher. How does Scripture dealwith this peculiar form of greed in trade? I cannot but admire the wonderful reserve of Holy Scripture, for as Mr. Arnotwell observes, "in this brief maxim no arbitrary rule is laid down to the possessor of corn that he must sell at a certainperiod and at a certain price-andyet the hungry are not left without a protecting law.
"The protection of the weak is entrusted not to small police regulations, but to great self-acting providential arrangements.The double fact is recorded in terms of peculiar distinctness that he who in times of scarcity keeps up his corn in orderto enrich himself is loathed by the people, and hewho sells it freely is loved. This is all. There is no further legislation on the subject."
Our narrow wisdom might have wished for some definite law upon the subject-something like a sliding scale-but the great Rulerof Heaven and earth falls into no such error. Laws which interfere between buyer and seller, master and workman by any formof law, are blunders and nuisances.Parliaments and princes have hung on to the antiquated absurdity of regulating prices, but the Holy Spirit does nothingof the kind. All the attempts of men to control the price of bread and wheat is sheer folly, as the history of France maywell prove. The market goes best when itis left alone and so, in our text, there is no law enacted and no penalty threatened except that which the nature of thingsmakes inevitable.
God knows political economy, whether men do or not, and leaving the coarse machinery of police regulations He puts the offenderunder a form of self-acting legislature which is far more efficient. The text seems to say, "Well, if you have no love toyour neighbor and choose to keep your wheat, Imake no law to break open your granary or pull down your ricks, but you will most certainly gain the hatred, contempt andcurse of the people among whom you dwell." You see, dear Friends, that the man may do as he pleases about selling or not,but he cannot escape from the curse ofthe people if he chooses to lock up his grain.
And on the other hand if he will sell at a proper price, or, as another translation reads it, break his bread, that is tosay, give it to the starving if they cannot buy it, he will receive blessings not only from the people but from Heaven itself.Brethren, it is a matter of fact that any man ofany observation must have seen-that there is no transaction which ever brings such ill-will upon a man, such general condemnation,especially from the poor-as withholding the corn. Common consent condemns the hoarder and human nature revolts at his offense.Ask anyoneyou choose to meet, except he is himself deep in the same mire, and he will join you in crying out against it.
Of course there are many ways of defending the deed, but there is no way of escaping the fact that the people curse the doerof it in their hearts. "Well," says one, "it is my own corn, I may do as I like with it." Just so, nobody said you could not.Nobody disputed your rights-only you arewarned that in hoarding it you are sure to get the people's curse. You cannot alter that. It will follow and hang aboutyour heels, and as far as the fact is known it will make men curl the lip at you and sneer if they are your equals-while theworking men, deep in theirhearts-will abhor you. No matter how kind you may be to the poor in other matters, nor how you may have given your moneyin other ways-your holding the corn will be a scorn among your enemies and an offense to your best friends.
It is not always an ill sign when the voice of the people is against a man, but in this case Scripture endorses it and hewho dares to run the risk is none too wise. "Ah," says another, "I do not see the wrong of withholding. There are laws ofsupply and demand and the preacher does not understandpolitical economy." The preacher, however, thinks he does understand it and even if he does not a child can comprehend thetext before him and with what we have to deal just now. Solomon here tells you that if you like to carry out political economyin the withholding way, you willget cursed for it, and depend upon it, YOU WILL!
Facts are stubborn things and this is one that withholding corn earns me the curse of the people and that is what no Christianman would wish to bear. "But what business is that of the preacher's?" He answers that he thanks God that he has no sharein it whatever, but he is set in his place torebuke what God rebukes and he is doing no more than expounding God's own Word upon the matter. Whether you hear or forbear,there is the Truth of God and may the Lord bless it to you.
"Well, we ought not to hear such things on Sundays." What? Not read our Bibles on Sundays-not explain the meaning of a texton Sundays? You would not have heard me on a Monday, some of you, and therefore you have it today! Do not be angry with thetext, but look at it and read it-andthen afterwards choose as you will. "He that withholds corn," God says, "the people shall curse him." And if you wish tohave ill-will and the bad word of thousands of poor cottagers and all others who have human sympathies, then withhold yourcorn. Thank God, the worst monopolizercannot do much mischief nowadays, for, by the gracious Providence of God which has burst the fetters of commerce we arenot likely to feel any very great shortage of bread in this country.
Should our own crops fail, the harvests of other lands supply the masses with their food. The crime is growing scarcer andscarcer. But, if any cases still survive and men choose to follow so ruinous a course, they will get cursed for it in mutteringsdeep, if silent, and in sneers as bitter asthey are well-deserved. By your leave I shall now take a step above my text, using it as a ladder to mount to a yet higherTruth of God. If it brings a curse upon a man to withhold the bread which perishes, what a weight of curse will light uponthat man who withholds the bread ofEternal Life!
If the people shall curse the man who keeps back the bread which merely sustains the body, what shall be the withering denunciationswhich shall overwhelm the soul of him who deals deceitfully with the bread of Eternal Life? That seems to me to be a fairdeduction from the text and at that Truth wewill aim this morning.
First, I shall attempt to show the ways in which the Bread of Life may be withheld from the people and the curse which willfollow. Secondly, I shall try to depict the blessedness of the man who "breaks it," as another translation has it, to thepeople. And, then, thirdly we shall conclude byopening our own granaries and breaking some of this bread among the assembled multitude.
I. First, he that withholds the Bread of Life will surely get the people's curse upon him. How CAN THIS BE DONE?
1. It may be readily accomplished by locking up the Word of God in an unknown language, or by delivering and preaching itin such a style that the people shall not comprehend it. The Romish Church for many years kept the sacred Scriptures in anunknown tongue and resisted all attempts to translatethe Book of God into the vulgar language of the people. What a curse Rome has had resting on her head! To those who knowthe enormity of this wickedness in holding back the Word of Life, it is scarcely possible to think of Rome without invokingjudgment upon her.
What myriads of souls went down to the pit perishing through lack of knowledge during what were called the Dark Ages! Whatfearful imprecations they must be uttering even now upon Popes and Cardinals and priests who had the key of the kingdom, butwould neither enter themselves nor suffer others toenter there! They had the light but they concealed it in a dark lantern and the nations were compelled to sit in the darknessof profound ignorance and superstition because they would not give them the light. Surely the people shall curse such forever!
But are these the only offenders? Is not their crime prolonged by those ministers who aim at delivering themselves in an oratoricalstyle, with flowers of rhetoric far too fine to be reached by the common people? We have heard of some and we fear we knowsome who would rather round a period thanwin a soul! To them it is the first and the last object to deliver refined thoughts in elegant and elaborate language and,having so done, having soared aloft on the spread-eagle's wing far out of sight, they are content to have dazzled the manyand displayed themselves. Truly suchmen withhold the corn!
What can the poor countrymen and servants, who are sitting in the aisles, make out of their eloquence? What can the workerswho come in to hear something that may do them good, make out of their outlandish big talk? The terms of theology, the phrasesof art, the definitions of philosophy, thejargon of science are all unknown tongues to the young godly farmer or praying shopkeepers. "Alas!" he says, "this doesnot come to me-I cannot understand it." Possibly, in their ignorance, some people think the high-flyers very learned men-butin reality they are farfrom it-for plainness of speech is a better sign of learning than high-sounding words and soaring sentences.
Oh, dear Friends, when we preach the Gospel plainly I am sure we have our reward! When preaching in some village chapel orfrom a wagon in a field, it is no small delight to watch the faces of the men in smock frocks and the women in their printgowns, as they catch or feel the force of an inspiredTruth of God! Plain speech wins their blessing. But to stand and talk right over the people's heads-what is it but havingthe corn and keeping it from those who want it? Simplicity is the authorized style of true Gospel ministry. "Having this ministry,"says the Apostle, "weuse great plainness of speech."
The common people heard the Master gladly-which they would not have done if He had spoken in high-flown language. Whitfield,the Prince of Preachers, was mainly so because of the market language which he used. Let all of us who have the Bread of Lifetry to be very plain. You who writetracts, or preach in the streets-or you that teach children- break the large slices of Truth into small pieces and crackthe shells of the hard nuts. Take away the crust for the babes and pick out the stones from the fruit. Beware, lest in seekingan excess of refinementyou withhold the corn and win the people's curses!
2. But secondly, we may fall into this sin by keeping back the most important and vital Truths of Revelation and giving aprominence to other things which are but secondary. My Brethren, if I were to stand in this pulpit and for the next few monthsaddress you upon moral precepts, the excellence ofvirtue, or the faultiness of vice-if you could come out of this place and say, time after time, "We hear nothing about JesusChrist! We do not know whether there is a Holy
Spirit." If I were gifted with ever so much ability and if these were my themes, however earnestly I pressed them, I shouldbe guilty of withholding the corn, the true food of souls.
Morality brings no food to hungry souls although it is a good thing in its place. Dissuasives from vice are not the Breadof Heaven, though well enough in their way. We need to have the great Doctrines of Grace brought forward, for the Word ofGod is the sword of the Spirit and it is by preachingthe Truth as it is in Jesus that souls are won to Him. I grieve to think how indistinct some preachers are upon the Doctrinesof Grace-they dare not say, "election," or if they do they tremble directly and guard their words with shields so huge thatthe poor Truth is crushedbeneath them!
As to final perseverance, effectual calling, particular redemption, or any of those grand Truths of God where the fatnessand savor and marrow of the Gospel is to be found-you may listen to some of them from the beginning of January to the endof December without hearing a word! This will notdo-this is taking away the backbone from the spiritual man-it is tearing away the vitals of the Gospel! It is giving tothe people husks for wheat and straw and chaff, instead of corn! Above all, that ministry is an abomination which puts JesusChrist in the background.
My Brothers, we must not only hear something about Jesus Christ, but our preaching must be mainly about Him. He must be itshead and feet-no, let me say, in some sense-He must be all that the preacher has to preach. Christ Crucified must be the generalsummary of his ministry. And hemust he able to say, when he retires from it and is called up higher, "I have preached Christ. Of the things which I havespoken, this is the sum-I have preached my Master and what my Master gave me."
my Brethren, what a guilty ministry is that in which the blood has no place-the ministry which denies or undervalues theatoning sacrifice of the great Redeemer! God have mercy upon us that we have not preached this fundamental truth so earnestlyas we ought to have done! But by His Gracewe can still plead before Him and say we have truly desired to do it-
"Ever since by faith I saw the stream His flowing wounds supply, Redeeming lo ve has been my theme, And shall be till I dee."
What is the use of any ministry of which that is not true? It is withholding corn and in eternity the lost will curse theirdestroyer.
But we must not talk about ministers of whom there are not many here-we will come down to you. Many of you are Sunday schoolteachers-now you can sin in this way in the very same sense. Suppose as a Sunday school teacher you are content with makingthe little ones read through thelesson, satisfied with filling up the hour or the hour-and-a-half and feeling you have done a good deal in making the littlefellows sit still and so on. Ah, my Brother and Sister, it is very solemn work. You have undertaken to teach these young immortalsand if you are satisfiedwith just making them go through the routine, take heed, lest when they grow up they come to curse you!
1 am afraid that many Sunday school addresses have no Gospel in them! I do not see why the same Gospel should not be preachedto children as to grown-up people. I think it should. To stand up in a Sunday school and say, "Now, be good boys and girlsand God will love you," is telling lies! I knowthe teachers of our school feel the importance of delivering the Truth of God as it is in Jesus to their children and youtherefore tell them, "You are lost and ruined and your salvation is in Jesus Christ-look to Him and live!"
The teacher whose general teaching is not full of Christ will be called to a sad account in the day when Christ shall come.Dear Teachers of the school, whatever you do not know, do know your Lord-and whatever you cannot get into the youngsters'heads, do make it a matter of prayer that youmay get a knowledge of Christ and His atoning blood into their young hearts by the Holy Spirit. The same is also true ofthose of our beloved friends who conduct Bible classes, or who in any way teach the people.
I do not know that I have any necessity to say this to the most of you here, but still I will say it for the good of oth-ers-youmust not, my Brethren, get away from your great theme. It is of no use to go to the people empty-handed. We must take thembread-we only mock them by offeringthem stones-if we talk to them about the histories and precepts of Scripture and forget the Cross. Let our teaching be fullof Grace and Truth-let us deliver our souls every doctrine as we find it in Scripture and let us be determined that if menperish it shall not befor want of knowing the way of salvation.
3. We may withhold the Bread of Life, dear Friends, by a want of loving in our labor. The mere telling out the plan of salvationis of no great service. God may bless it, but He does not often do so. That which God blesses to the saving of sinners isTruth attended by the earnestness of thespeaker-the loving anguish of a heart which stirs the preacher's soul. What shall I say here? For if I speak, I do but condemnmyself. Think of the preaching of Baxter. He preached for many years but he said he never went into his pulpit without hisknees knocking together!And Martin Luther said the same.
Truly it is enough to make any man tremble when he feels that he is God's mouth to immortal souls. "If they perish and youwarn them not, their blood will I require at your hands." Surely this ought to give a melting heart and streaming eyes toGod's ministers! But, I say, I remember reading ofBaxter's ministry-oh what pleading before was in it! The man seemed as if he never would go out of the pulpit till his hearershad received the Truth! He wept and sighed and sobbed unless they came to Jesus Christ.
You know how he followed them to their houses, watched them through the streets of Kidderminster, and would give them no resttill they thought about eternal things and he was privileged thus to break the Bread of Life to many thousands, although hisbody was as full of physical pain as his heartwas of holy anxiety! O for something of Mr. Baxter's spirit to make us love the souls of men as he did! We are guilty ofwithholding corn unless we preach with a sympathizing, loving, tender, affectionate, earnest, anxious soul!
Brothers and Sisters, you are, most of you, doing something for Jesus Christ. Let me, therefore, put this very plainly toyou. If you get through your work for God as a mere matter of form-however true may be that which you have to say and howevercarefully you may deliver it-yet stillif the Truth you deliver is not delivered with holy anxiety, with earnestness, with fervor, with love, with affection, andabove all, if it is not attended with prayer- take heed lest in some day to come you get the curse of those from whom youwithheld the bread!
How would you like, Sunday school Teachers, to see a lad in your class grow up and go into sin? How would you like to meethim some day on a sick bed when his vices had at last brought him to his end? How would you like that he should look intoyour face and say, "Ah, Teacher, you were neverearnest with me-you told me the Truth, but you told it to me so coldly that I did not believe it! If I had seen one tearin your eyes, I think there would have been one in mine. If I thought you felt what you were saying, I sometimes think I shouldhave felt it, too.
"But you merely kept me still and told me it all as if it were no great matter. And so I doubted the whole and from doubtwent on to unbelief and ran into sin-and here I am. O that you had wept over me as such-and-such a teacher did with my brother!How different is my brother from what I am!He was in another class and his teacher took him before God in prayer-prayed with him as well as for him-told him the Truthof God! But he did more-he labored to drive it home as with a great hammer, while he pleaded with him to lay hold on EternalLife. Teacher,would to God that you had been more earnest with me."
Beloved, seek to rid yourselves of any future regrets in this matter! It is no small satisfaction when you hear the death-belltoll, to say, "Well, I did all I could for that soul and whether it is in Heaven or Hell, my conscience is clear." You cannotsave, but still, God, who works by means, maymake you the instrument of conveying salvation to sinners- or, on the other hand, you may be made instruments of unrighteousnessthrough whom Satan may harden these children's hearts, even to their everlasting ruin.
I use the example of a Sunday school teacher, but I intend the remarks for every worker. O let us work for God with our wholehearts! God make us more awfully in earnest! Life is earnest, death is earnest, Heaven is earnest, Hell is earnest, Christis earnest, God is earnest-let us be cladwith zeal, as with a cloak-and go forth to serve the Lord with all our soul and strength as His Holy Spirit shall enableus.
4. Fourthly, we may be found guilty of withholding corn by refusing to labor zealously for the spread of the kingdom of Christand the conversion of sinners. I am afraid that the churches of the past were not altogether without a curse because of theirdeficiency in the matter of missions and homeevangelization. During the pastorate of my venerated predecessor, Dr. Gill, this Church, instead of increasing, graduallydecreased. And although the age in which he lived was honored with many great and excellent men, yet the state of our owndenomination and the Presbyterian bodyand the Independent body in England was most lamentable.
Many of the churches were gradually sliding into Unitarianism and the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ was scarcely preached,or, where preached, it was without any power whatever-and I take it that the reason was very much that the churches were contentto be edified themselves, but had nohearts of compassion for the perishing multitudes around and abroad.
But mark this-from the day when Fuller, Carey, Sutcliffe and others, got together to send out missionaries to India, the sunbegan to dawn of a gracious revival which is not over yet! Bad as the state of the churches now is, yet it is marvelouslyan improvement upon anything before the age ofmissions. Though not as zealous as we ought to be, the zeal of Christendom is one hundred times greater than it was then.And, as for what is done for winning souls, Brethren, the churches now are like a garden of the Lord compared with what theywere then.
I believe that the neglect of sending the Word to the heathen brought a blight and a curse upon the churches which is nowhappily removed. Yet even today we find professors who are always doubting. They never get beyond-
" 'Tis a point I long to know."
There they stick and never know whether they are saved or not. Full assurance is to be a tempting morsel which they have notyet tasted. Their eyes do not sparkle with heavenly delight. They know not what it is to sit together in heavenly places inChrist Jesus. Their raptures are very few, theirjoys very shallow. I will tell you why. In almost every case these people do nothing for souls. They withhold the corn andtherefore they get this curse in their souls that they shall not enjoy their own religion because they do not want to leadother people into it!
If you put your hands into your pockets and say, "Well, glory be to God. I trust I am one of the elect and whatever becomesof the rest of mankind really is not my concern. Every man for himself, I say"-that is such an unchristian spirit, so antagonisticto the whole life of JesusChrist-that if you get sorely whipped in Providence, I can only hope you may be blessed by it! But I would not pray thatthe rod may be removed until you are scourged into a better temper. Give me the Christian who says, "I bless God I am saved!Now what can I do for others?"
The first thing in the morning he prays, "God help me to say a word to some soul this day." During the day, wherever he maybe, he is watching his opportunity and will do good if he can. He is concerned about his children-it sometimes breaks hisheart to think that they are not saved. If hehappens to have an ungodly wife, it is his daily burden, "Oh God, save my wife!" When he goes to a place of worship he doesnot expect the minister to make sermons always on purpose for him, but he says, "I shall sit here and pray God to bless theWord," and if he looks round theChapel and sees one that he loves, he prays for him, "God send the Word home to him."
When service is over, a man of this kind will waylay the unconverted and try to get a personal word with them, and see ifhe cannot discover some beginnings of Divine Grace in their souls. This is how earnest Christians live. And let me tell you,as a rule, though they have the griefs of othermen's souls to carry, they do not have much grief about their own. As a rule their Master favors them with the light ofHis Countenance. They are watering others and they are watered themselves, also. May this be your work and mine!
But some of you say nothing for Christ at all. You are too timid, you say. And others of you are too indifferent, too thoughtlessabout others. Oh, the opportunities many of you have lost! Oh, the many who have died to whom you might have spoken, but youdid not! Oh, the people that are now in thedarkness of ignorance who get no light from you! You have light, but you keep it. They are dying and you have the healingmedicine but you will not tell them of it! May God deliver you from the curse of those who thus withhold the corn!
We will only mention one more form of this evil. Some may be said to be guilty of withholding the corn because while theythemselves do not speak for Christ, they do not help those who can. No Christian man ought to go to bed with an easy conscienceif he has thousands of pounds which he does notneed which are unused for God. There must be many Christians in this rich country who have not consecrated their substanceto the Lord. When a man can say, "I have money which I really do not need, and my children do not require it," and this ismoney absolutely needed for God'scause, ought he to keep it from the Lord Jesus?
Must you confess that so many missionaries might be sent out tomorrow if you just wrote a check and handed it over to theproper Society-then why not do it? A destitute neighborhood needs a place of worship and if I can build it if I would, howam I to answer for it to my Lord? I cannotunderstand how a man can love God when he only lives to heap up riches! I can with great difficulty imagine such a case,but I fear that such cannot be real piety. It seems to me that if I have any religion in my soul, it will make me not onlysay with Dr. Watts-
" Were the whole realm of Nature mine, That were a present far too small! Love so amazing, so Divine Demands my soul, my life, may all,"
but I think it would make me carry it out.
I will not propose to you that you should act indiscreetly in giving so as to beggar your families, or deprive yourselvesof what is necessary! You know I am not so foolish. But I am speaking to many Christians who have not only enough to spare,but who will continue to accumulate and accumulateand accumulate and I cannot think that they can feel that they are doing right in the sight of God. O God! This great cityneeds preachers, needs the Gospel-thousands need even bread to keep them from starving-and yet many of Your professing peopleare heaping theircoffers higher and higher!
Why surely, if I do this, I am heaping up wrath against the Day of Wrath, and I shall find it come into my bosom hot and fiercefrom the God of Sabaoth to whom my gold and my silver will cry out against me! Let us not be guilty of this, but each in ourown station, as far as we can, let us beaiding others to preach the Word if we cannot preach it ourselves. Dozens of young men are desirous to enter our Collegeand you can help them to go forth to preach, if you cannot preach yourself.
II. I am pleased to turn to the other subject for a minute or two. I am to speak upon THE BLESSEDNESS WHICH
THOSE POSSESS WHO BREAK THE BREAD OF LIFE. To describe it is altogether beyond my power, you must know and taste, and feelit, Beloved. There are many blessings in doing good to others. God is a good Paymaster-He pays His servants while at workas well as when they have done it. And one ofHis payments is this-an easy conscience. If you have spoken faithfully to only one person, when you go to bed at night youfeel happy in thinking, "I have this day discharged my conscience of that man's blood."
You do not know how delightful a Sunday evening is to some of us when God has helped us to be faithful! How sweet to feel,"I have made many blunders, shown many infirmities of the flesh and so on, but I have preached the Gospel and preached itwith my whole heart to the best of my ability." Onefeels' a burden taken off one's back and there is a joy and satisfaction unknown to those who sit at home doing nothing.You in your class at the Sunday school-I know you feel, when Sunday is over, though it is a very hard day's work for someof you after the six days' toil inthe week, you feel-"I thank God I did not spend that afternoon in lolling about at home, but I did speak a word for Jesus."You will find such a peace of mind that you would not give it up for all the world.
Then there is a great comfort in doing something for Jesus. Look into His face-what would you not do for Him? When first converteddid you not think you could do ten thousand things for Jesus? The moment your burden was off your back and your sins forgiven,how you felt you could follow Himthrough floods and flames! Have you lived up to your resolutions, Brethren? Have you kept up to your own ideas of Christianduties? I do not suppose any of us can say that we have. Still, what little we have done has been an unspeakable delight whenwe have felt that we have beencrowning His head and strewing palm branches in His path.
O what a happiness to place jewels in His crown and give Him to see of the travail of His soul! Beloved, there is a very greatreward in watching the first buds of conviction in a young soul! To say of that girl in the class, "She seems so tender ofheart, I do hope that there is the Lord's workthere." To go home and pray over that boy who said something in the afternoon to make you think he must know something morethan he seemed to know! Oh, the joy of hope! But as for the joy of success-it is unspeakable! I recollect the first soul thatGod ever gave me-sheis in Heaven now-but I remember when my good deacon said to me, "God has set His seal on your ministry in this place, Sir."
Oh, if anybody had said to me, "Somebody has left you twenty thousand pounds," I should not have given a snap of my fingersfor it compared with that joy which I felt when I was told that God had set His seal on my ministry! "Who is it?" I asked."Why, it is a poor laboring man's wife! She wenthome broken-hearted by the sermon two or three Sundays ago and she has been in great trouble of soul. But she has foundpeace and she says she would like to speak to you." I felt like the boy who has earned his first guinea! Like a diver whohas been down to the depths of the seaand brought up a rare pearl-I prize each one whom God has given me-but I prize that woman most!
Since then my God has given me many thousands of souls who profess to have found the Savior by hearing or reading words whichhave come from my lips. Well, this joy, overwhelming as it is, is a hungry sort of joy-you want more of it-for the more youhave of spiritual children, the moreyour soul desires to see them multiplied. Let me tell you that to be a soul-winner is the happiest thing in this world andwith every soul you bring to Jesus Christ you seem to get a new Heaven here upon earth! But what will be the joy of soul-winningwhen we get up above! Whathappiness to the Christian minister to be saluted on his entrance into Heaven by many spiritual children!
They will call him, "Father," for though they are not married nor given in marriage, though natural relations are all over,yet spiritual relations last forever. Oh, how sweet is that sentence, "Enter you into the joy of your Lord." Do you know whatthe joy of Christ is over a saved sinner? Youcannot guess it! You would need to know the griefs He suffered to save that sinner. O the joys He must feel when He seesthat sinner saved as the result of His griefs-this is the very joy which you and I are to possess in Heaven-"Enter you intothe joy of your Lord."
Yes, when He mounts the Throne, you shall mount with Him! When the Heaven rings with, "Well done, well done," you shall partakein the reward! You have toiled with Him! You have suffered with Him! You shall now reign with Him! You have sown with Him-youshall reap with Him! You were despisedwith Him-you shall now be honored with Him! Your face was covered with sweat like His, and your soul was grieved for thesins of men as His soul was-now shall your face be bright with Heaven's splendor as is His Countenance! And now shall yoursoul be filled withbeatific joys even as His soul is! He that breaks bread, blessings shall be upon his head.
III. Now I have to open the GRANARY for a minute. Hungry Sinners wanting a Savior, we cannot withhold the bread from you!You may never come to hear the Gospel again. We, therefore, will open the granary very wide. Christ Jesus, the Son of God,became Man to save men, and inasmuch as God's wrathwas due to sin, Christ took the sin of all who have ever believed, or ever shall believe on Him and, taking all their sins,He was punished in their place, so that God can now justly forgive sin because Christ was punished in the place of sinnersand suffered Divine Wrath for them.
Now this is the way of salvation-that you trust this Son of God with your soul. And, if you do so, then know that your sinsare now forgiven you and that you are saved! Concerning this salvation, hear just these few words. It is a satisfying salvation.Here is all that you can want. Yourconscience shall be at ease forever if you believe in Jesus-your biggest sins shall no longer trouble you! Your blackestiniquities shall no longer haunt you. Believing in Jesus, every sin you have of thought, and word, and deed shall be castinto the depths of the sea andnever shall be mentioned against you any more forever.
It is an all-sufficient salvation, too. However great your sins, Christ's blood can take them all away. However deep yourneeds, Christ can supply them. You can not be so big a sinner as He is a Savior. You may be the worst sinner out of Hell,but you are not too great for Him to remove-Hecan carry elephantine sinners upon His shoulders and bear gigantic mountains of guilt upon His head into the wildernessof forgetfulness. He has enough for you, however deep your necessity. It is, moreover, a complete salvation. Sovereign Mercydoes not stand on the mountain and cryto you, "Climb up here and I will save you!" Eternal Mercy comes down the valley to you just where you are and meets yourcase just as it is-and never leaves you till it has made you meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light!
Christ does not want you to pay one talent out of the hundred and promise to pay for you the ninety-nine. He will dischargeall your debts of sin! All that you need to take you up to Heaven is provided in Jesus. This is a present salvation-a salvationwhich, if it comes to you, will save youNOW! You shall be a child of God this very hour and before that clock shall strike again you shall rejoice in the peacewhich the Spirit of God gives you, if you believe on Him.
It is an available salvation, freely presented to you in Christ Jesus. Remember the text of two or three Sundays ago- "Whoeverwill, let him take of the water of life freely." Jesus casts out none that come to Him. Oh that you may be led to come thismorning!
Thus have I tried to avoid the sin of withholding corn. And if any in this House of Prayer have been guilty of it, I prayyou avoid the curse of the people and seek the blessing of the Most High God by this day endeavoring to scatter everywherethe Bread of Life! Go and work for God wherever youhave an opportunity and help us in our prayers and efforts to send forth more laborers into the harvest, for the harvesttruly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Amen.