Sermon 678. Praise Your God, O Zion!
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING. FEBRUARY 25, 1866,
BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And when He was come near, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began torejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, Blessed is the King that comesin the name of the Lord! Peace in Hea ven, and gloryin the highest! And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto Him, Master, rebuke Your disciples. But Heanswered and said unto them, I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
THE Savior was "a man of sorrows," but every thoughtful mind has discovered the fact that down deep in His innermost soulHe must have carried an inexhaustible treasury of refined and heavenly joy. I suppose that of all the human race there wasnever a man who had a deeper, purer, or more abidingpeace than our Lord Jesus Christ. "He was anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows." Benevolence is joy. Thehighest benevolence must, from the very nature of things, have afforded the deepest possible delight.
To be engaged in the most blessed of all errands, to foresee the marvelous results of His labors in time and in eternity,and even to see around Him the fruits of the good which He had done in the healing of the sick and the raising of the deadmust have given to such a sympathetic heart as thatwhich beat within the bosom of the Lord Jesus Christ much of secret satisfaction and joy. There were a few remarkable seasonswhen this joy manifested itself. "At that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven andearth." Christ had His songsthough it was night with Him. And though His face was marred and His countenance had lost the luster of earthly happiness,yet sometimes it was lit up with a matchless splendor of unparalleled satisfaction as He thought upon the recompense of thereward, and in the midst of thecongregation sang His praise unto God. In this, the Lord Jesus is a blessed picture of His Church on earth.
This is the day of Zion's trouble-at this hour the Church expects to walk in sympathy with her Lord along a thorny road. Sheis outside the camp-through much tribulation she is forcing her way to the crown. She expects to meet with reproaches. Tobear the cross is her office, and to bescorned and counted an alien by her mother's children is her lot. And yet the Church has a deep well ofjoy of which nonecan drink but her own children! There are stores of wine, and oil, and corn hidden in the midst of our Jerusalem upon whichthe saints of God are evermoresustained and nurtured. And sometimes, as in our Savior's case, we have our seasons of intense delight for "there is a river,the streams which make glad the city of our God."
Exiles though we are, we rejoice in our King! Yes, in Him we exceedingly rejoice, while in His name we set up our banners!This is a season with us as a Church when we are peculiarly called upon to rejoice in God. The Lord Jesus, in the narrativebefore us, was going to Jerusalem as His disciplesfondly hoped, to take the throne of David and set up the long-expected kingdom. Well might they shout for joy, for the Lordwas in their midst-in their midst in state, riding amidst the acclamations of a multitude who had been glad partakers of Hisgoodness. Jesus Christ is inour midst today! The kingdom is securely His. We see the crown glittering upon His brow. He has been riding through ourstreets, healing our blind, raising our dead and speaking words of comfort to our mourners!
We, too, attend Him in state today, and the acclamations of little children are not lacking, for from our Sunday school therehave come songs of converted youngsters who sing gladly, as did the children of Jerusalem in days of yore, "Hosanna! Blessedis He that comes in the name of the Lord!"
I want, dear Friends, this morning, to stir up in all of us the spirit of holy joy because our King is in our midst! I wishthat we may welcome Him and rejoice in Him, and that while He is working His mighty deeds of salvation throughout this congregationso graciously, He may not lack such musicas our feeble lips can afford Him. I shall, therefore, invite your attention to these four verses by way of example, thatwe may take a pattern for our praise from this inspired description.
We shall observe four things-First, delightful praise. Secondly, appropriate song, Thirdly, intrusive objections, and fourthly,an unanswerable argument.
I. First, we shall observe here DELIGHTFUL PRAISE. In the thirty-seventh verse every word is significant and deserves thecareful notice of all who would learn aright the lesson of how to magnify the Savior. To begin with, the praise rendered toChrist was speedy praise. The happy choristers didnot wait till He had entered the city, but "when He was come near, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, theybegan to rejoice." It is well to have a quick eye to perceive occasions for gratitude.
Blind Unbelief and blear-eyed Thanklessness allow the favors of God to be forgotten in ingratitude, and, without praises,die. They walk in the noonday of Mercy and see no light to sing by. But a believing, cheerful, grateful spirit detects atonce the rising of the Sun of Mercy and begins to sing,even at the break of day! Christian, if you would sing of the mercy you have already, you would soon have more! If twilightmade you glad, you should soon have the bliss of noon! I am certain that the Church in these days has lost much by not beingthankful for little. We have hadmany Prayer Meetings, but few, very few, Praise Meetings-as if the Church could cry loud enough when her own ends were tobe answered-but was dumb as to music for her Lord.
Her King acts to her very much as He did with the man with the pound. That man put not out the pound to interest and thereforeit was taken away. We have not thanked Him for little mercies, and therefore even these have been removed, and Churches havebecome barren and deserted by the Spirit ofGod. Let us lift up the voice of praise to our Master because He has blessed us these twelve years. We have had a continualstream of revival! The cries of sinners have sounded in our ears-every day we have seen souls converted-I was about to sayalmost every hour of theweek, and that by the space of' these twelve years, and of late, we have had a double portion!
Benjamin's mess has been set near our place at the table! We have been made to feast on royal dainties and have been filledwith bread even to the full. Shall we not then praise God? Ah, let us not require twice telling of it, but let our souls beginto praise Him, even now, that He comes near untoJerusalem!
It strikes us at once, also, that this was unanimous praise. Observe, not only the multitude, but the whole multitude of thedisciples rejoiced and praised Him! Not one silent tongue among the disciples-not one who withheld his song. And yet, I suppose,those disciples had their trials as wehave ours. There might have been a sick wife at home, or a child withering with disease. They were doubtless poor-we knowthey were-and poverty is never without its pinches. They were men of like passions with ourselves. They had to struggle withinbred sin, and withtemptation, and yet there seems to have been no one who on those grounds excluded himself from the choir of singers on thathappy day!
Oh, my Soul, whatever you have about you which might bow you down, be glad when you remember that Jesus Christ is glorifiedin the midst of His Church! Why, my Brother, is that harp of yours hanging on the willows? Have you nothing to sing about?Has He done nothing for you? Why, if you have nopersonal reason for blessing God, then lend us your heart and voice to help us, for we have more praise-work on hand thanwe can get through alone-we have more to praise Him for than we are able to discharge without extra aid! Our work of praiseis too great for us, come andhelp us! Sing on our behalf, if you cannot on your own, and then, perhaps, you will catch the flame and find something,after all, for which you, too, must bless Him.
I know there are some of you who do not feel as if you could praise God this morning. Let us ask the Master to put your harpin tune. Oh be not silent! Be not silent! Bless Him! If you cannot bless Him for temporals, bless Him for spirituals! Andif you have not of late experimentally enjoyed manyof these, then bless Him for what He is. Bless Him for that dear face covered with the bloody sweat-for those pierced hands,for that opened side will you not praise Him? Why, surely, if He had not died for me I must still love Him, to think of Hisgoodness in dying forothers! His kindness, the generosity of His noble heart in dying for His enemies might well provoke the most unbelievingto a song.
I am, therefore, not content unless all of you will contribute your note. I would have every bird throw in its note, thoughsome cannot imitate the lark or nightingale! Yes, I would have every tree of the forest clap its hands, and even the hyssopon the wall wave in adoration! Come, Beloved, cheerup! Let dull care and dark fear be gone! Up with harps and down with doubts! It must be praise from "the whole multitude."The praise must be unanimous-not one chord out of order to spoil the tune.
Next, it was multitudinous. "The whole multitude." There is something most inspiriting and exhilarating in the noise of amultitude singing God's praises. Sometimes, when we have been in good tune, and have sung "Praise God from whom all blessingsflow," our music has rolled upward like thunder toyon dome and has reverberated peal on peal! These have been the happiest moments some of us have ever known-when every tonguewas praise, and every heart was joy! Oh, let us renew those happy times! Let us anticipate the season when the dwellers inthe East and in the West, inthe North and in the South, of every age and of every clime shall assemble on the celestial hilltops and swell the everlastingsong extolling Jesus Lord of all!
Jesus loves the praise of many. He loves to hear the voices of all the blood-washed-
"Ten thousand thousand are their tongues, But all their joys are one."
We are not so many as that, but we are counted by thousands so let us praise His name-the whole multitude! Still it is worthyof observation that while the praise was multitudinous, it was quite select. It was the whole multitude "of the disciples."The Pharisees did not praise Him-theywere murmuring. All true praise must come from true hearts. If you do not learn of Christ you can not render to Him acceptablesong. These disciples, of course, were of different sorts. Some of them had but just enlisted in the army-just learned tosit at His feet. Some hadworked miracles in His name, and, having been called to the Apostolic office, had preached the Word to others-but they wereall disciples.
I trust that in this congregation there is a vast majority of disciples-well, then, all of you, you who have lately come intoHis school, you who have long been in it-you who have become fathers in Israel and are teaching others, the whole multitudeof disciples, I hope, will praiseGod! I could wish-God grant the wish-I could wish that those who are not disciples might soon become so. "Take My yoke uponyou," He said, "and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart."
A disciple is a learner. You may not know much, but you need not know anything in coming to Christ! Christ begins with ignoranceand bestows wisdom. If you do but know that you know nothing, you know enough to become a disciple of Christ Jesus! Thereis no matriculation necessary in order to enterinto Christ's college. He takes the fools and makes them know the wonders of His dying love. Oh that you may become a disciple!"Write my name down, Sir," you say to the writer with the inkhorn by his side, and be you from now on a humble follower ofthe Lamb. Now, though I wouldnot have those who are not disciples close their mouths whenever others sing, yet I do think there are some hymns in whichthey would behave more honestly if they did not join-for there are some expressions which hardly ought to come from unconvertedlips. Better far would itbe if they would pray, "Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise."
You may have a very sweet voice, my Friend, and may sing with admirable taste and in exquisite harmony any of the parts, butGod does not accept the praise where the heart is absent. The best tune in the book is one called Hearts. The whole multitudeof the disciples whom Jesus loves are the properpersons to extol the Redeemer's name. May you, dear Hearer, be among that company!
Then, in the next place, you will observe that the praise they rendered was joyful praise. "The whole multitude of the disciplesbegan to rejoice." I hope the doctrine that Christians ought to be gloomy will soon be driven out of the universe! There areno people in the world who have such a rightto be happy, nor have such cause to be joyful as the saints of the living God! All Christian duties should be done joyfully-andespecially the work of praising the Lord.
I have been in congregations where the tune was dolorous to the very last degree-where the time was so dreadfully slow thatone wondered whether they would ever be able to sing through the 119th Psalm-whether, to use Watts's expression, eternitywould not be too short for them to getthrough it! And altogether the spirit of the people has seemed to be so damp, so heavy, so dead that we might have supposedthat they were met to prepare their minds for hanging rather than for blessing the ever-gracious God!
Why, Brethren, true praise sets the heart ringing its bells and hanging out its streamers! Never hang your flag at half-mastwhen you praise God! No! Run up every color, let every banner wave in the breeze and let all the powers and passions of yourspirit exult and rejoice in God your Savior! Theyrejoiced. We are really most horribly afraid of being too happy. Some Christians think cheerfulness a very dangerous folly,if not a ruinous vice. That joyous Hundredth Psalm has been altered in all the English versions-
"All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice, Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell, Come you before Him and rejoice."
"Him serve with fear," says the English version. But the Scotch version has less thistle and far more rose in it. Listen toit, and catch its holy happiness-
"Him serve with mirth, His praise forth tell; Come you before Him and rejoice."
How do God's creatures serve Him out of doors? The birds do not sit on a Sunday with folded wings, dolefully silent on theboughs of the trees! They sing as sweetly as may be even though the raindrops fall! As for the new-born lambs in the field-theyskip to His praise though the season isdamp and cold. Heaven and earth are lit up with gladness, and why not the hearts and houses of the saints? "Him serve withmirth." Well said the Psalmist-"before Him exceedingly rejoice." It was joyful praise.
The next point we must mention is that it was demonstrative praise. They praised Him with their voices and with a loud voice.Propriety very greatly objects to the praise which is rendered by Primitive Methodists at times. Their shouts and hallelujahsare thought by some delicate minds to be veryshocking. I would not, however, join in the censure, lest I should be numbered among the Pharisees who said, "Master, rebukeYour disciples." I wish more people were as earnest and even as vehement as the Methodists used to be.
In our Lord's day we see that the people expressed the joy which they felt-I am not sure that they expressed it in the mostharmonious manner-but at any rate they expressed it in a hearty, lusty shout. They altogether praised with a loud voice. Itis said of Mr. Rowland Hill that on oneoccasion someone sat on the pulpit stairs who sang in his ears with such a sharp shrill voice that he could endure it nolonger, and said to the good woman, "I wish you would be quiet." She answered, "It comes from my heart," "Oh," said he, prayforgive me-sing away! Sing asloudly as you will."
And truly, dear Friends, though one might wish there were more melody in it, yet if your music comes from the heart we cannotobject to the loudness, or we might be found objecting to that which the Savior could not and would not blame. Must we notbe loud? Do you wonder that we speak out? Have notHis mercies a loud tongue? Do not His kindnesses deserve to be proclaimed aloud? Were not the cries upon the Cross so loudthat the very rocks were rent thereby-and shall our music be a whisper?
No, as Watts declares, we would-
"Loud as His thunders shout His praise, And sound it lofty as His Throne." If not with loud voices actually in sound, yetwe would make the praise of God loud by our actions, which speak louder than any words! We would extol Him by great deedsof kindness, and love, and self-denial, and zeal sothat our actions may assist our words. "The whole multitude praised Him with a loud voice." Let me ask every Christian hereto do something in the praise of God-to speak in some way for his Master. I would say, speak today-if you cannot with yourvoice-speak by actand deed, but join in the hearty shout of all the saints of God while you praise and bless the name of our ever graciousLord.
The praise rendered, though very demonstrative, was very reasonable-the reason is given-"for all the mighty works that theyhad seen." My dear Friends, we have seen many mighty works which Christ has done. I do not know what these disciples had seen.Certain it is that after Christentered into Jerusalem He was generous with His miracles. The blind were healed, the deaf had their ears opened-many ofthose possessed with devils were delivered-and incurable diseases gave way at His word. I think we have the like reason ina spiritual sense. What hasGod worked? It has been marvelous-as our elders would tell you if they could recount what God has done-the many who havecome forward during the last fortnight to tell what God has done for their souls.
The Holy Spirit has met with some whom up to now no ministry had reached. Some have been convicted of sin who were wrappedup in self-righteous rags. Others have been comforted whose desponding hearts drew near unto despair. I am sure those Brethrenwho sat to see enquirers must have beenastonished when they found some hundreds coming to talk about the things that make for their peace! It was blessed work,I doubt not, for them. They, therefore, would lead the strain.
But you have all in your measure seen something of it. During the meetings we have held we have enjoyed an overpowering senseof the Divine Presence. Without excitement there has been a holy bowing of spirit, and yet a blessed lifting up of hope, andjoy, and holy fervor! The Master has cast sweetsmiles upon His Church! He has come near to His beloved. He has given her the tokens of His affection and made her to rejoicewith joy unspeakable! Any joy which we have towards Christ, then, will be reasonable enough, for we have seen His mighty works.
With another remark I shall close this first head-the reason for their joy was a personal one. There is no praise to God sosweet as that which flows from the man who has tasted that the Lord is gracious. Some of you have been converted during thelast two or three months. Oh, you must blessHim! You must take the front rank now and bless His name for the mighty work which you have seen in yourself! The thingswhich once were dear to you, you now abhor, and those things which seemed dry and empty are now sweet and full of savor. Godhas turned your darkness into light!He has brought you up out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay and has set your feet upon a rock! Shall not yourestablished goings yield Him a grateful song? You shall bless Him!
Others here present have had their own children saved. God has looked on one family and another, and taken one, and two, andthree. He has been pleased to lay His hand upon the elders among us and bless their families. Oh sing unto His name! Singpraises for the mighty works which we have seen!This will be commonplace talk enough to those of you who have not seen it-but those who have will feel the tears startingto their eyes as they think of son and daughter of whom they can say, "Behold, he prays!"
Saints of God, I wish I could snatch a firebrand from the altar of praise that burns before the great Throne of God- I wishI could fire your hearts with it-but it is the Master's work to do it. Oh, may He do it now! May every one of you feel asif you could cast your crown at His feet!As if you could sing like the cherubim and the seraphim, nor yield even the first place of gratitude to the brightest spiritbefore the Eternal Throne! This morning may it be truly said, "The whole multitude of the disciples rejoiced with a loud voicefor all the mighty things whichthey had seen."-
"O come, loud anthems let us sing, Loud thanks to our Almighty King. For we our voices high should raise, When our salvation'sRock we praise. Into His Presence let us haste, To thank Him for His favors past! To Him address, in joyful songs, The praisethat to His name belongs." II. I shall nowlead you on to the second point-their praise found vent for itself in AN APPROPRIATE SONG. "Blessed is the King that comesin the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven, and glory in the highest!" It was an appropriate song, if you will remember thatit had Christ for its subject!"My heart is writing of a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king."
No song is so sweet from believing lips as that which tells of Him who loved us and who gave Himself for us. This particularsong sings of Christ in His Character of King-a right royal song, then-a melody fit for a coronation day. Crown Him! CrownHim Lord of all! That was the refrain."Blessed be the King." It sang of that King as commissioned by the Most High, "who comes in the name of the Lord." Thinkof Christ as bearing Divine authority, as coming down to men in God our Father's name-as speaking what He has heard in Heaven,fulfilling no self-espousederrand, but a mission upon which the Divine Father sent Him according to His purpose and decree-all this is matter for music!
Oh bless the Lord, you saints, as you remember that your Savior is the Lord's Anointed-He has set Him on His Throne! Jehovah,who was pleased to bruise Him, has said, "Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion." See the Godhead of your Savior!He whom you adore, the Son of Mary, is theSon of God! He who did ride upon a colt, the foal of an ass, did also ride upon a cherub and did fly-yes, He rode upon thewings of the wind!
They spread their garments in the way, and broke down branches. It was a humble triumph, but long before this the angels hadstrewn His path with adoring songs. Before Him went the lightning, coals of fire were in His track, and up from His Thronewent forth hailstones and coals of fire! Blessed bethe King! Oh praise Him this day! Praise the King, Divine and commissioned of His Father!
The burden of their song was, however, of Christ present in their midst. I do not think they would have rejoiced so loudlyand sweetly if He had not been there. That was the source and center of their mirth-the King riding upon a colt, the foalof an ass-the King triumphant! They couldnot but be glad when He revealed Himself. Beloved, our King is here! We sang at the beginning of this visitation, "Arise,O King of Grace, arise, and enter to Your rest!" You remember our singing the verse-
"O You that are the Mighty One, Your sword gird on Your thigh."
And King Jesus has done so in state-He has ridden prosperously-and out of the ivory palaces His heart has been made glad!And the King's daughter, all-glorious within, standing at His right hand, cannot but be glad, too! Loud to His praise wakeevery string of your heart and let yoursouls make the Lord Jesus the burden of their song!
This was an appropriate song, in the next place, because it had God for its object. They extolled God, God in Christ, whenthey thus lifted up their voices. They said, "Peace in Heaven, and glory in the highest." When we extol Christ, we desireto bless the infinite Majesty that gave Christ to us.Thanks be unto the Father for His unspeakable gift! O eternal God, we, Your creatures in this little world do unfeignedlybless You for Your great purpose and decree by which You did choose us to be illustrious exhibitions of Your majesty and love!
We bless You that You did give us Grace in Christ Your Son before the starry sky was spread abroad! We praise You, O God,and magnify Your name as we enquire, "What is man, that You are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you visit him?" Howcould You deign to stoop from all the Glory of Yourinfinity to be made Man, to suffer, to bleed, to die for us? "Give unto the Lord, O you mighty, give unto the Lord gloryand strength. Give unto the Lord the glory that is due unto His name." Oh that I could give place to some inspired bard, someseer of old, who, standing beforeyou with mouth streaming with holy eloquence, should extol Him that lives, but once was slain, and bless the God who sentHim here below that He might redeem unto Himself a people who should show forth His praise!
I think this song to have been very appropriate for another reason, namely, because it had the universe for its scope. Itwas not praise within walls as ours this morning-the multitude sung in the open air with no walls but the horizon- with noroof but the arch of Heaven! Their song,though it was from Heaven, did not stay there, but enclosed the world within its range. It was, "Peace in Heaven, and gloryin the highest!" It is very singularly like that song of the angels, that Christmas carol of the spirits from on high whenChrist was born-but itdiffers, for the angels' song was, "Peace on earth," and this at the gates of Jerusalem was, "Peace in Heaven."
It is the nature of song to spread itself. From Heaven the sacred joy began when angels sang, and then the fire blazed downto earth in the words, "Peace on earth." But now the song began on earth, and so it blazed up to Heaven with the words, "Peacein Heaven, and glory in the highest!" Is it nota wonderful thing that a company of poor beings like we here below can really affect the highest heavens? Every throb ofgratitude which heaves our hearts glows through Heaven! God can receive no actual increase of Glory from His creature forHe has infinite Glory andmajesty-but yet the creature manifests that Glory.
A grateful man here below, when his heart is all on fire with sacred love, warms Heaven itself! The multitude sung of peacein Heaven as though the angels were established in their peaceful seats by the Savior-as though the war which God had wagedwith sin was now over because the conqueringKing was come! Oh let us seek after music which shall be fitted for other spheres! I would begin the music here and so mysoul should rise. Oh for some heavenly notes to bear my passions to the skies! It was appropriate to the occasion becausethe universe was its sphere.
And it seems also to have been most appropriate because it had gratitude for its spirit. They cried aloud, "Blessed"-Blessedis the King." We cannot bless God and yet we do bless Him in the sense in which He blesses us. Our goodness cannot extendto Him, but we reflect the blessedness whichstreams from Him as light from the sun. Blessed be Jesus! My Brothers and Sisters, have you never wished to make Him happier?Have you not wished that you could extol Him? Let Him be exalted! Let Him sit on high! I have almost wished, even selfishly,that He were not so glorious asHe is so that we might help to lift Him higher! Oh, if the crushing of my body, soul, and spirit would make Him one atommore glorious, I would not only consent to the sacrifice, but bless His name that He counted me worthy to do so!
All that we can do brings nothing to Him. Yet, Brethren, I would that He had His own. Oh that He rode over our great landin triumph! Would that King Jesus were as well known here now as He was once in Puritan times! Would that Scotland were asloyal to Him as in Covenanting periods! Would thatJesus had His majesty visible in the eyes of all men! We pray for this! We seek this! And among the chief joys our mostchief joy is to know that God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesusevery knee should bow!
We have thus said something about the appropriateness of the song. May you, each of you, light upon such hymns as will serveto set forth your own case and show forth the mercy of God in saving you. Do not be slack in praising Him in such notes asmay be most suitable to your own condition.
III. Thirdly, and very briefly-for I am not going to give much time to these men-we have INTRUSIVE OBJECTIONS. "Master, rebukeYour disciples." We know that voice-the old grunt of the Pharisee. What could he do otherwise? Such is the man and such musthis communications be. Whilehe can dare to boast, "God, I thank You that I am not as other men are," he is not likely to join in praises such as othermen lift up to Heaven.
But why did these Pharisees object? I suppose it was first of all because they thought there would be no praise for themselves!If the multitude had been saying, "Oh these blessed Pharisees! These excellent Pharisees! What broad phylacteries! What admirablehems to their garments! How diligentlyand scrupulously they tithe their mint and their anise and their cummin! What a wonder that God should permit us, poor vilecreatures, to look upon these super-excellent incarnations of virtue," I will be bound to say there would not have been aman among them who would have said,"Master, rebuke Your disciples." A proud heart never praises God for it hoards up praise for itself.
In the next place, they were jealous of the people. They did not feel so happy themselves and they could not bear that otherpeople should be glad. They were like the elder brother who said, "Yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry withmy friends." Was that a reason why nobody elseshould be merry? A very ill reason, truly! Oh, if we cannot rejoice, ourselves, let us stand out of the way of other people!If we have no music in our own hearts, let us not wish to stop those who have!
But I think the main point was that they were jealous of Jesus. They did not like to have Christ crowned with majesty. Certainlythis is the drift of the human heart. It does not wish to see Jesus Christ extolled. Preach up morality or dry doctrine, orceremonies and many will be glad to hear yournotes. But preach up Jesus Christ and some will say, "Master, rebuke your disciples!" It was not ill advice of an old preacherto a young beginner when he said, "Preach nothing down but sin, and preach nothing up but Christ."
Brethren, let us praise nothing up but Christ! Have nothing to say about your Church. Say nothing about your denomination.Hold your tongue about the minister-but praise Christ-and I know the Pharisees will not like it! But that is an excellentreason to give them more of it, for thatwhich Satan does not admire he ought to have more of. The preaching of Christ is the whip that flogs the devil. The preachingof Christ is the thunderbolt, the sound of which makes all Hell shake. Let us never be silent! We shall put to confusion allour foes if we do but extolChrist Jesus the Lord. "Master, rebuke Your disciples!"
Well, there is not much of this for Jesus Christ to rebuke in the Christian Church in the present day. There used to be-thereused to be a little of what the world calls fanaticism. A consecrated cobbler once set forth to preach the Gospel in Hindustan.There were men who would go preachingthe Gospel among the heathen, counting not their lives dear unto them. The day was when the Church was so foolish as tofling away precious lives for Christ's Glory! Ah, she is more prudent nowadays. Alas! Alas for your prudence! She is so calmand so quiet-no Methodist'szeal, now! Even that denomination which did seem alive has become most proper and most cold.
And we are so charitable, too. We let the most abominable doctrines be preached and we put our finger on our lip, and say,"There's so many good people who think so." Nothing is to be rebuked nowadays, Brethren! One's soul is sick of this! Oh, forthe old fire again! The Church will never prospertill it comes once more. Oh, for the old fanaticism, for that, indeed, was the Spirit of God making men's spirits in earnest!Oh, for the old doing and daring that risked everything and cared for nothing except to glorify Him who shed His blood uponthe Cross! May we live to seesuch bright and holy days again! The world may murmur but Christ will not rebuke.
IV. We come now to the last point, which is this-AN UNANSWERABLE ARGUMENT. He said, "If these should hold their peace, thevery stones would cry out." Brothers and Sisters, I think that is very much our case. If we were not to praise God, the verystones might cry out against us! We MUSTpraise the Lord! Woe unto us if we do not! It is impossible for us to hold our tongues! Saved from Hell and be silent? Secureof Heaven and be ungrateful? Bought with precious blood and hold our tongues? Filled with the Spirit and not speak? Restrainfrom fear of feeble man with theSpirit's course within our souls? God forbid!
In the name of the Most High let such a thought be given to the winds! What? 0ur children are saved-the offspring of our loinsbrought to Christ! What? See them springing up like willows by the water courses, and no awakening of song, no gladness, nodelight! 0h, then we were worse thanbrutes and our hearts would have been steeled and become as adamant. We must praise God! What? The King in our midst, KingJesus smiling into our souls, feasting us at His table, making His word precious to us, and not praise Him! Why if Satan couldknow the delight of Christ'scompany he might begin to love-but we, we were worse than devils if we did not praise the name of Jesus! What? The King'sarm made bare, His enemies subdued, His triumphant chariot rolling through our streets, and no song!
Oh Zion, if we forget to sing let our right hand forget her cunning if we count not the King's triumph above our chief joy.What? The King coming! His advent drawing near, the signs of blessing in the sky and air abound, and yet no song! 0h, we mustbless Him! Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes inthe name of the Lord! But could the stones ever cry out? Yes, they could, and if they were to speak they would have muchto talk of even as we have this day. If the stones were to speak they could tell of their Maker-and shall not we tell of Himwho made us anew, and out ofstones raised up children unto Abraham?
They could speak of ages long since gone-the old rocks could tell of chaos and order and the handiwork of God in various stagesof creation's drama-and cannot we talk of God's decrees, of God's great work in ancient times, and all that He did for HisChurch? If the stones were to speakthey could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple-and cannot we tellof our Creator and Maker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of His Word that He might build us into His temple?
If the stones were to speak they would tell of their builder who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude ofa palace-and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? Oh,if the stones could speak they might have along, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time has a great stone been rolled as a memorial unto God-and wecan tell of Ebenezers, stones of help, stones of remembrance! The broken stones of the Law cry out against us, but ChristHimself, who has rolled away thestone from the door of the sepulcher, speaks for us.
Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them! We will hush their noise with ours! We will break forth into sacred songand bless the majesty of the Most High all our days! Let this day and tomorrow be especially consecrated to holy joys andmay the Lord, in infinite mercy, fill your soulsright full of it-both in practical deeds of kindness and benevolence and works of praise! Blessed be His name who livesforever and ever!