Sermon 697. God'S Cure For Man'S Weakness
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, JUNE 24, 1866, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Out of weakness were made strong." Hebrews 11:34.
SOME kinds of weakness are of God's appointment and necessarily incident to manhood. They are not sinful, and therefore wemay continue to be subject to them without regret. In reference to such weaknesses it may be that after beseeching the Lordeven thrice to remove them it may be for our goodthat they should remain. Then will our gracious God give us, in place of removing the weakness, this reply, "My grace shallbe sufficient for you." This is a case of in weakness being made strong, and there are many of God's saints who daily experienceso blessed a privilege. Theyare weak, and continue weak. They have infirmities which they once wished to have removed but which now they are contentto bear, for now they are of the same mind with the Apostle-they glory in their infirmity because when they are weak theyare strong.
But, dear Friends, there is another kind of weakness which is sinful-a weakness which springs not from nature but from fallennature-not from God's appointment, but from our sinfulness. And out of this we should desire to be delivered. We cannot prayfor strength in sinful weakness, butmust earnestly plead for strength to come out of it and to be made strong. This seems to me to be the particular blessingwhich faith is said to have obtained in the text, "out of weakness were made strong." It is the inestimable privilege of manya Christian to be strong inweakness when the weakness is only one of infirmity, but it is an equally precious gift to be made strong out of weaknesswhen that weakness is of a sinful kind.
Looking round the Church at large, with as impartial an eye as we can summon, we are afraid that for the most part it is nowadayscomparable to a huge infirmary rather than a camp filled with brave soldiers. Both ministers and private members of the Churchare very generally weak in one way orother. They are living, but they are sickly. They are working for God, but they are working in a feeble, inefficient manner.If I look upon the camps of the Lord's enemies, whether Puseyite or Broad Church, I see intelligence and vigor so apparentthat I am apt to think that neverwas error more earnest, more active, more intense than just now!
There is a reality about the efforts of our opponents which may well alarm us-and when I look to the camp of the Lord JesusChrist I lament a predominant lukewarmness, a want of enthusiasm and deficiency in force, which, if it does not betoken adeparture from God in heart, certainlyindicates very great feebleness in the vital parts-producing comparative weakness in all the parts.
I desire this morning to speak to those who are weak-weak where they ought not to be-and who feel a growing tendency to restcontent in that weakness. I would stir up those who are beginning to imagine that weakness is the normal and proper stateof a Christian-that to beunbelieving, desponding, nervous, timid, cowardly, inactive, heartless, is at worst a very excusable thing. I want, if Godwills, to show to the sinfully weak ones that their condition is not proper at all. I want to show that it is a work of faithto lift us out of it-not tohelp us in our evil weakness-but to deliver us out of it and to make us strong, reversing our present condition by enablingus to be mighty in the work of God.
Since the text teaches that faith is the grand cure for spiritual feebleness, I shall, first, cite a few cases of cure. Inthe second place I shall analyze the remedy. In the third place I shall endeavor to administer it, and in the fourth placeI shall say a word of praise to the Physician whoprescribes it.
I. At the outset we have said that faith is the cure for spiritual weakness, and I have to MENTION CASES OF CURE. I shallnot now cite cases from the Old Testament of bodily cures which have been worked by faith, though I might mention Hezekiah,who, being sick unto death, was, by faith in God'spromise, restored to life and his period of existence lengthened fifteen years.
In the Apostolic times it was through faith that many sicknesses were made to fly before the healing touch of the Apostles.That power of healing has probably become extinct, or is lying dormant in the Church-yet there are still indications thatfaith has some power in that direction. Icannot but think that when honest John Wickliffe, raising himself up in the bed of sickness, said to the monks who surroundedhim, expecting him to die and tempting him to recant, "I shall not die, but live to declare the wicked deeds of the monks"-Icannot but think that hisfaith had much to do with his cure.
Had he been a man of a timorous, wavering frame of mind, his sickbed might have been his deathbed-but the vital forces wereall thrown into energetic action by the mental energy of his faith and the crisis was safely passed. I do not know how farfaith may still operate upon the bodily frame,for there is certainly an intimate connection between the soul and the body. Those wondrous cases recorded in the life ofDorothea Trudel of Zurich indicate the singular power of faith to assist in the cure of the body by its calming influenceon the mind.
That admirable woman, who has but just departed this life, became the founder of a hospital in which cures were worked mainlyby the means of prayer and faith-cures which have been substantiated in the best possible manner, namely, by her enemies havingdragged her before the law courts ofZurich for practicing medicine without a diploma, when she proved that the only medicine used was directing the mind toChrist and proclaiming the Gospel, by which a holy calm spread over the mind and the body derived manifest benefit.
Such cases, and others which we have noticed, go to show that if we had more faith in the living God it might sometimes bepossible for the soul to so overmaster the body that out of weakness we might still, in Hezekiah's fashion, be made strong.These hints are not, however, to the point, andrelate rather to a theory than to the revealed Truth of God. That faith strengthens Christian men has been proved oftenin the history of the Church of God. The Church's weakness springs mainly and mostly from a want of faith in her God and inthe Revelation which God has entrustedto her.
When men believe intensely they act vigorously. And when their principles penetrate their very souls and become precious tothem as life itself, then no suffering is too severe, no undertaking is too laborious, and no conflict too heroic. They willenter upon impossibilities-laugh at them andovercome them-when once they know of a surety that the principles which move them are most certainly from God. This seemsto me to be the great work which Luther did in his day under God, the Holy Spirit's power. He brought back the Church to thestrength offaith, and then herwhole force returned.
The man knew but very little of the Truth of God. Upon the doctrine of justification by faith he was clear as the sun at noonday,but he was half a Romanist in most other respects. But this one all-important thing he did for the Church-he made her believein God and in God's Truth with avigorous decision which had almost ceased from among men. Though he knew not all the weapons of the Divine armory, yet theone he did know he wielded with such bravery of faith and such tremendous dogmatism that his resolute soul shamed others intosteadfastness!
See the man as he goes into Worms, defying a host of devils, though they were as many as the tiles on the roofs of the houses!See him standing up in the Diet of Worms and alleging that he could not retract, so help him God! See him in his earlier days,nailing up his theses upon the church doorsas sailors nail their colors to the mast-or rending the Pope's bull in pieces and casting it into the fire! As men resolvedon conquest break down the bridges behind them and render retreat impossible, it was the man's faith in God that helped himto do great exploits, and theChurch learned from him to believe that "God everywhere has sway, and all things serve His might."
When the Church once more believed firmly, her spirit returned to her and like a giant refreshed with new wine, she recommencedher race. In the modern revival under Whitfield and Wesley the restoration of faith was the source of restored strength. ThoseBrethren, differing in doctrine as they did,had this point in common, namely, that they were intense believers in the indwelling power and Presence of the Holy Spiritin the Church. Men had been disputing and trying to prove or disprove everything. Sermons were frequent upon such topics aswhether there was a God or not.
Now you never find Whitfield or Wesley wasting time over such matters! They were so full of God's Spirit, and could see Himso clearly everywhere at work, that they felt no need of proving it. While men were discussing as to whether the
Scriptures were inspired and divines were writing books upon the evidences, these men preached the Gospel and infidelity fledbefore them! An age destitute of spiritual life generally amuses itself by trying to prove what is not worth proving, or wastingits energy upon external things to theneglect of the inward-an age spiritually alive takes itself to the Lord's work and treats all doubt as folly and sin.
The followers of Whitfield and Wesley, instead of proving with diffidence and apologizing for the Gospel with half-heartedness,came forth with, "Thus and thus said the Lord." They mounted their pulpits as mo! They proclaimed the Truth of God and menowned its power till from one end of the land tothe other the dry bones arose to life and stood as an exceeding great army.
Brethren, our Churches must come back to the old faith and to a firm belief in it! If you do not believe the articles of yourfaith, reject them and do not be sham believers. If the doctrines which you profess are indeed, true, grip them, hold themfast, get them engraved upon your souls and burntinto your consciences. Have faith in God and the Truth-that the Truth of God cannot be destroyed nor God defeated. Vitalityand power in your faith will soon send force and life into all the other parts of your spiritual manhood!
What has been proved upon the largest scale has been true in all other instances. For instance, the weakness of depraved humannature always gives way before the energy of that faith which the Spirit works in us. The sinner, aroused in his weakness,sighs dolefully-
"I would but cannot sing, I would but cannot pray. I would but cannot Break the bonds of sin. I would but cannot melt my heart And soften it in penitence. "
When the sinner is pointed to the Cross and comes to trust himself with Jesus-viewing the blood sprinkled and the righteousnessworked out-then the man can pray, can sing, can melt in penitence or can rise up in flames of love!
The inability of human nature is instrumentally removed by the energy of faith. It was through believing that you became strong.If you had continued to live by work, or by feeling you would have been still as weak as ever-but when you looked out of selfto Christ and trusted Him it was thenyour strength came to you! The same is true of subsequent spiritual weakness. Christians who are alive unto God and areendowed with some Divine strength, are attacked at times with a spiritual, universal decline. Just as we sometimes see a strongand healthy person growing pale andwan, losing appetite and falling into sickness until he becomes a mere skeleton because a general sapping and underminingof the constitution has come upon him, so have I seen it with Christians.
They do not lose life, but they do lose all their energy and become as listless and lifeless as some of you probably now arein body through the heat of the air. Then they can scarcely walk, much less run, and mounting with wings as eagles is quiteout of the question. Such persons will bearwitness that the only way of recruiting their strength is by faith. They must come again to the first principles and trusttheir souls anew with Jesus-believing over again with a novelty of energy the old doctrines of the Gospel! They must go toGod as to a real God inbelieving prayer and then they will not long remain weak.
Out of weakness faith is sure to make us strong, and the change effected in us is equal to that which we see in a man who,having been long confined to his couch, at last returns to his labor showing no tokens whatever of disease. I have still beendealing with the great principle of the text on alarge scale-we will now particularize a little more. Take a few forms of weakness. Many Believers who are vigorous in manyrespects are troubled with a hesitancy in their testimony- they cannot speak up for Jesus. Whenever they try to say a goodword-nervousness,or something akin to it-restrains them. They say with Moses, "Lord, I am slow of speech." They hesitate, or are still.
There is no cure for hesitancy in the confession of Christ equal to faith! Observe Moses. He is so hesitating that God giveshim Aaron to be his spokesman! But read through the history and Moses is the better orator of the two. Aaron has a goldenmouth, but by degrees the confidence that Mosesfeels in his commission enables him to rebuke Aaron. And when Aaron goes up to Mount Hor to sleep in the arms of God, Mosesstands up and in that last sermon he delivered, and that Psalm he sung before the assembled multitude you cannot detect theslightest trace of slowness ofspeech! The man overcome his weakness by faith-a holy faith gave him a holy courage-and the tongue once bound became unloosed.I should advise some of you to try it. A strong dose of the essential oil of believing taken every morning and evening wouldenable you to tellsinners all around what a dear Savior you have found.
Another common weakness among Christians is timidity. Modesty is beautiful but it may degenerate to cowardice. It is wellto be humble-it is never well to be weakly fearful. Some are always afraid. They dare not try this and dare not try that.And if they happen to be placed in office wherethey can influence others by their counsels, they are shockingly bad officers because they are always keeping the Churchback from victory from a fear of defeat. What is a sure cure for timidity? Faith-belief in the Truth of God, in the right,in God, in invisibleenergy-in helps which we cannot see and aids which we should not have dreamed of. This shakes off timidity.
Take as a specimen Barak. Barak is slow to go up against the enemies of God till Deborah, the mother of Israel, says she willgo with him. Women sometimes lend superior courage to men, and the weaker sex proves itself the stronger. Look at Barak! Afterhe has once believed in the power of God hemarches to the fight and wins the victory! And he is commemorated in soul-stirring words by the poetess, "Awake, awake,Deborah; awake, awake, utter a song; arise, Barak, and lead your captivity captive, you son of Abinoam." Mighty to conquerwas the man who was timid to fight! Whenfaith gave him courage it made him triumph. Carry a vial of strong faith along with you and a good draught thereof willdrive off fainting fits. This is the true strong water, the genuine elixir, the famous cordial, the heavenly aqua vitae.
A frequent form of weakness is despondency which is so common in English Churches as to be as much a national disorder asconsumption. It is not so common among you as it was, but still more so than I could wish. We are not so joyful and frivolousas our Galician neighbors, and we are not quite sogo-ahead as our trans-Atlantic friends. I am afraid as Englishmen we have a natural tendency to become despondent. I knowI feel it myself, and in the circle where I move it is not at all uncommon. Brethren, despondency is not a virtue! I believeit is a vice-I am heartilyashamed of myself for falling into it-and I am sure there is no remedy for it like a holy faith in God!
Asaph, of old, was very subject to this weakness and he said to himself, "Why are you cast down, O my Soul, why are you disquietedwithin me?" But what was the medicine he took? "Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance."That was the remedy and David prescribes ittoo, when he says, "Trust in Him at all times, you people. Pour out your hearts before Him." Despondency hamstrings a man.It makes him weak in the arena of conflict when he ought to be like a well-trained athlete struggling with his foe and contendingfor the mastery. Christian,beseech your Lord to increase your faith in Him, your trust in the unseen, your reliance upon His promise and fidelity-forwhen you get more faith you will rise superior to that weakness-and out of the weakness you will be made strong!
Impatience, too-impatient murmuring-is another form of Christian weakness in which we must not expect to be made strong inDivine Grace, but must plead for Grace to get out of it. It strikes me that Job may naturally have been an impatient man.He utters many very tart and snappishthings to his friends-not one whit more sharp than they deserved-but he held fast to his integrity as if he had been a veryPharisee at first. But notice how strong he was and how clear of his weakness, when by Divine Grace, he could say, "ThoughHe slay me, yet will Itrust in Him!"
There was the medicine, you see-trusting in God. Job, full of faith, sitting on a dunghill, is a far more splendid sight thanthe Great Mogul upon his throne. I do not believe Heaven and earth ever saw a more majestic spectacle than the Patriarch onthe dunghill covered with boils, scrapinghimself with a potsherd and yet saying, "Shall I receive good from the hands of the Lord, and not receive evil?" Princes,potentates and kings-your power never reached to this! And even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed so gloriously aspoor Job!
Brothers and Sisters, if we had more faith in God that He makes all things work together for good to them that love Him, weshould not grow so impatient! We should bear the pain, the cross and the loss with greater equanimity- feeling-"My Fathersent it. My Father overrules it. Goodwill come of it." Perhaps you are weary of this list of weaknesses, but I must add one more, namely, weakness in overcomingbesetting sins. I hope we are not among those who make light of sin.
A genuine Christian dreads sin. He will not say, "Is it not a little one?" for he knows that a little sin is like a smalldose of a very potent poison. He knows it is sufficient to destroy our peace and comfort. There are some sins which reallyseem as if we could not get the mastery over them. Iwill name one-a passionate disposition. A person who is of quick temper may get into the condition of thinking, "Well, Iwas born so and cannot help it. I always shall be of a quick temper." You always will be if you think that, but it strikesme that the Grace of God musthave power to overcome evil tempers, and that your hope will be in believing that yours can be overcome and in strugglingto mortify this among the other affections of the flesh.
I know, personally, men who were once very passionate but are now gentle. They were once likely to take fire as readily astinder to a spark, but now they would stand fire right well. And if I had to select patient men, I would select those verymen who were notorious for their fearful tempers inyears gone by. "Well," my dear Friend, you will say, "I cannot do it, Sir." No, I know you cannot. But there is One whocan. The eternal God who is your helper can surely help to make you a reasonable being and rid you of this madness-for angeris temporary insanity. SurelyGod can make you morally sane and bring you back to a calm state of mind-only believe in His power and seek to be whollysanctified by His Grace-spirit, soul and body-and you will see that as He cast a legion of devils out of a man in days goneby He can now castthis devil out of you so that you will not be pestered with it any longer.
You may have to watch it as a householder watches a thief, but you will get it out of doors and keep it at arm's length. Ohfor Divine Grace to get our temper under foot and keep it there, that though it may have a tendency to rise we may keep itdown! Anyway, whatever may be our besettingsin-and we all have something against which we ought to strive-there have been cases in which such weaknesses have beencured by faith. We have not time to stop to mention any modern instances but we know many. I trust some of us could cite ourown history as an instanceof what faith in God can do. "Out of weakness they were made strong."
II. We will turn to our second head and ANALYZE THE MEDICINE. The subject is so very wide that I must confine myself to oneinstance and shall speak of the medicine as it would be mixed and compounded for a man struggling at very dreadful odds againsta gigantic system of evil. He is very weak butthrough faith he becomes strong. One of the first ingredients of faith's medicine is a sense of right. Everybody admitsthat when a man is sure that right is on his side he finds strength in that belief.
Even if two men are going to court with one another, the one who knows that his case is founded upon justice enters the courtwith much more strength of mind than he who is conscious of several flaws in his suit and only trusts to the blessed uncertaintyof the law. There is truth in the old sayingthat "a good conscience is the best armor." It is not of very great use in a real battle for, unfortunately, bullets haveno respect for saint or sinner-when in the way they are pretty sure to kill anybody who stops them-but a good conscience isof the utmost value inthe battle of principle.
A man who cannot argue, yet knows he is right will somehow or other stand his ground. He says, "my opponent has more wit thanI have. He understands logic better than I, but I know I am right." And to know you are right necessarily gives you strength.Faith is a belief in the rightness of thatwhich God reveals, a trusting in its truth. And who does not understand that a man who believes, therefore, becomes strong?
A second ingredient is heavenly authority. Everybody knows that a man who is naturally weak will often act very bravely whenhe has authority to back him. Let the Christian combatant feel-as feel he will when he has faith-that he is armed with Divineauthority and you will not wonder iffrom a dwarf he rises to a giant! "This," he says, "is not my quarrel. I believe it to be God's war-the Truth of God whichI maintain at such hazards is no dogma of my own invention-it is God's own offspring. God has sent me to fight for it-Godputs the words intomy mouth."
A man, thus conscious that he has a mission from Heaven, cannot be afraid! He must be mighty! And when a man feels, in additionto that, that God's decree appoints him to accomplish a certain end. That God's promise declares that he shall succeed. Andthat from the eternal nature of truth it cannotsustain defeat-then surely he stands like a rock in the midst of the billows and he cannot waver! He casts all thought offear to the winds.
Mixed with this is a consciousness of heavenly companionship which makes the Believer courageous. Many a man who would havebeen afraid to go to battle alone has marched along very cheerily because of the many thousands who are hurrying to the samebattle. The Christian feels that he has thecompanionship of his God and Savior. Jesus' name is "Emmanuel, God with us." The best of all is God is with us. If we suffer,Jesus suffers in one of His members. If we are slandered and reproached for Jesus' sake, it is the Cross of Christ which weare carrying, and Jesus bears itwith us. We hear the more than angel whisper, "Fear not, I am with you."
Come then, let us sing as we march onward-
"If on my face for Your dear name, Shame and reproach shall be, I'll hail reproach and welcome shame, If You remember me."
In addition to all this faith has an expectation of supernatural help. Faith hears the wheels of Providence working on herbehalf. Mohammed, in his earlier career, though his faith was but mere fanaticism, yet gave great courage to his men by thedaring things which he said and did. As he threw thehandful of dust into the air he believed that his foes were blinded, and his soldiers won an easy victory. He declared thathe heard the noise of angels' horses as they came to the fight and no sooner had he thus spoken than every man grew brave.
Now the Christian, not in imagination, but in spiritual fact, can hear the wings of angels flying to the rescue of DivineTruth. Here I see today the hand of a man, but I see also with it the wing of an angel! God works for His people. The evilHe hinders and restricts. The good He speeds andmultiplies. Therefore, strong in invisible succors, we must not wonder that out of weakness the Believer is made strong!
I must not omit one powerful ingredient in faith's life-draught-it is the prospect of ultimate reward. Faith bows her headin the day of battle when the poisoned arrows fly like hail. She whispers to herself, "I may fall, but I shall rise again."And she vows, by the eternal God, that whenshe rises it shall be with the same banner in her hand for which she fought. She knows that in the end she cannot, mustnot, fall-that she shall conquer! When a man fears defeat he will probably bring it upon himself, for his fear ensures it.But when a man does not know howto be defeated, the little petty disasters of the way all contribute to his ultimate victory.
So, Christians, you who are warring for God and His Truth, I hope you will not despair because of the gloomy aspect of thepresent age. It may appear as if infidelity and Puseyism together would eat out the very heart of God's Church, but courage,my Brethren, courage! These foes will eat up oneanother one of these days, or there shall rise a man out of their own ranks who will be their downfall. We may yet liveto thank God for the apparent retrograde movements of today, for upon this the Lord may ride to a brighter ultimate triumph!Faith is strong because she is sure ofvictory! Faith takes to herself this thought-that in the victory she shall share her reward.
What will men not do for a crown? Even for an ivy crown the Grecian athlete would strain every nerve. Now they did it fora corruptible crown-but we for an incorruptible! Faith makes the crown of eternal life glitter before the Believer's eyes.It waves before him the palm branch. Sensepictures the grave, loss, suffering, defeat, death, forgetfulness-but faith points to the resurrection, the pompous appearanceof the Son of Man, the calling of the saints from every corner of the earth, the clothing of them all in their triumphantarray and the entrance ofthe blood-washed conquerors into the Presence of God with eternal joy! Thus faith makes us, out of weakness, to become strong.
Let me remind you that the essential ingredients of faith's comfort are just these-faith sees the invisible and beholds thesubstance of that which is afar off. Faith believes in God-a present, powerful God full of love and wisdom effecting His decrees-accomplishingHis purposes,fulfilling His promises, glorifying His Son. Faith believes in the blood of Jesus, in the effectual redemption on the bloodytree. It believes in the power of the Holy Spirit, His might to soften the stone and to put life into the very ribs of death!Faith grasps the reality of thisBook-she does not look upon it as a sepulcher with a stone laid on it-but as temple in which Christ reigns, as an ivorypalace out of which He comes riding in His chariot, conquering and to conquer.
Faith does not believe the Gospel to be a worn-out scroll, to be rolled up and put away. She believes that the Gospel, insteadof being in its dotage, is in its youth! She anticipates for it a manhood of mighty struggles, and a grand maturity of blessednessand triumph. Faith does not shirk thefight-she longs for it because she foresees the victory. I would compare faith to an emperor of whom we have read that hesummoned his counselors and generally judged as to whether he should go to war by their opinion. But he did it in the followingmanner-if they warnedhim that it would be a very fearful war, if they said that the enemy's cities would never be taken, that the armies on theother side were too numerous to be conquered, and the provinces too extensive to be held-he would reply, "We will do it then,for if there is anythingwhich you gentlemen think to be easy, it is beneath the dignity of the emperor and the troops whom he commands. But if youreckon it impossible there is a clear field for honor!"
Was it not a man fit to be a soldier of such a prince, who when told that the Persian arrows were so numerous that they wouldobscure the light of the sun, replied, "We shall fight splendidly in the shade." Surely he was akin to
Alexander, who, when they said that the Persians were as the sands on the seashore, replied, "One butcher is not afraid ofa whole flock of sheep." So let it be with us! Let us feel that we are men of another mold than to be afraid. Let us feelthat believing in God we do not know how to spell"coward." And as to fear of defeat or fear of man-we give that up for the craven dogs who slink at their master's heels,and wear their master's collar, and eat the garbage which his bounty throws to them.
We care not for the things that are seen! We have learned to live upon angels' diets and to eat the bread which comes downfrom Heaven. Our motto is, "Courage! Courage!" And our belief is that the day shall come-
"When the might with the right And the right with the might Forever more shall be. And come what may To stand in the way,That day the world shall see."
III. The third point is to ADMINISTER THIS MEDICINE, but no time remains, and besides I cannot do it. You must go to Him whocompounded it, namely, the blessed Spirit of the living God, and take with you this prayer, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."And this other one, "Lord, increase ourfaith." But I will give you a few hints. Some of you are going through a present personal difficulty-you are embarrassedin money matters, or a child is sick, or the wife is dying, or some other Providential trial is vexing you-you are saying,"I cannot bear it!"
I will not pray with you that you may be comforted in that sinful weakness but I will, and do beseech you to ask for faithin that Father's hand which wields the rod that you may get out of the weakness, and may now be made strong to suffer withholy patience what your loving Father's wisdomappoints for you. Others have a spiritual duty before you, but you are shirking it because of its difficulty. You do notlike to "go through the ordeal"-that is what you call it. You are disobediently timid.
Now, I shall not ask God to comfort you in that weakness-you know your Master's will, and you do it not-may you be beatenwith many stripes and may the stripes be blessed to you. I will ask that, knowing your duty, you may rise out of that weaknessby believing that God will help you toobey, and so out of weakness you may be made strong. Some of you are called, where you live, to contend earnestly for Godand for His Truth. You have many adversaries and your weakness makes you withhold your testimony. You have been trimming agood deal-you have beenworshipping that modern Diana called Charity-which is the devil in the form of an angel of light-instead of bringing outall the Truth of God, you have given up the corners of it.
I shall not ask that you may have any comfort in such weakness. May you be ashamed of having been ashamed of Christ and ofHis Cross! But I do plead with God for you that believing the very sweepings of His Truth to be precious, and the very cuttingsof the diamond of the Gospel to be worthfighting for, you may escape from your weakness and be made strong in life and death to declare God's truth boldly.
Some or you are always doubting your Father's love, the faithfulness of Christ and your own interest in Him. I will not comfortyou in such a state. I will not pray God to comfort you while you are in it, but I do ask you to pray that you flee from suchweakness. Do not doubt your God till you havecause to doubt Him. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, if you will never distrust the Lord Jesus till He gives you an occasion fordistrust and till there is something in His Character which should rationally excite your suspicion, you will never disbelieveagain! I pray you seek more faithand you will rise out of your fears.
You who are afraid of dying-and there are some such here-shall I ask that you may be made strong while in that weakness? No.I dare not! Jesus Christ did not come to give you comfort while you are under the fear of death. He came to deliver thosewho, through fear of death, are alltheir lifetime subject to bondage. The plea shall be, therefore, that you may have such faith in God and such a view ofthe Canaan on the other side of the flood that you may look forward with delight, or at least with resignation, to the timewhen you shall pass the river and beforever with the Lord! The text says out of weakness, Brothers and Sisters, and oh, may God grant that some of you who havebeen lying spiritually on a sickbed may through this sermon be made to take up your bed and walk! May all weakness be leftbehind even as the child leaves thelittle garments of the nursery behind him when he becomes a man.
IV. My last work was to PRAISE THE PHYSICIAN, and who is this? Who is it that has taught us to believe? It is our Father whois in Heaven who has taught us and bids us trust Him-blessed be His name! Join with me-you need not sing with those lips-letyour heart sing as you say,"Blessed be our heavenly Father who has given us precious faith in Him. Source of all goodness, foundation of all confidence,we adore You for teaching us the sweet art of trusting You!"
Let us also, with equal thankfulness, bless the Lord Jesus, for we had never been capable of faith in the invisible God ifthere had not been a Mediator by whom we might come to Him. Blessed be those wounds and those agonies, and that death whichis the door of our faith in the Father's love!Blessed, moreover, be that mysterious Person, the Holy Spirit, for faith is His gift and if it is to be increased in us,He must increase it. "O blessed Spirit, be You forever praised for putting such a jewel as faith into our poor hearts! Andblessed be Your power for keeping itthere, for Satan would long ago have stolen it! And blessed be Your energy which shall keep it till I am beyond the reachof the foe."
Brothers and Sisters, do not let what I have said this morning merely pass your ears. I am persuaded that though I have notput it as I could wish there is a great deal of practical value in the truth which I have stated. You must be strong. Thisis not an age in which weak Christianity will do. Itis strong energetic religion that we need now, and you cannot obtain it except by gaining strong faith and much of it. Pleadfor it, and then, when you shall have obtained it, the world shall feel your power, God shall be glorified, and Christ's nameshall be lifted high.
You who have no faith at all may learn something here. It is only by faith that the impotence and inability of human natureis overcome so that the soul receives Christ unto salvation. May the Holy Spirit work that faith in you to your eternal salvation,for Jesus' sake. Amen.