Sermon 1038. Another Royal Procession
Delivered on Lord's Day Morning, 3rd, 1872, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
'Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of anass.''Matthew 21:5.
IT IS NOT OUR INTENTION to preach alone from this verse, but from the combined narrative of our Savior's triumphant entryinto the city of Jerusalem, as contained in the four evangelists.
When our Lord was here on earth, he was a humble man before his foes, a weary man and full of woes, and only now and thendid some glimpses of his native royalty burst forth from him; he had now and then a day in which his regal rights were assumedand his royal position was claimed. He is gone from us now as to his actual presence, but he is with us spiritually, and hisspiritual presence here is not unlike what his bodily presence was in the days of his flesh. For themost part, the glory of his gospel presence is unobserved, except among his own disciples, and when perceived by othershe is still despised and rejected of men. He moves up and down among our assemblies, hearing our prayers and accepting ourpraises, but still his honor as a prince lies concealed from the eyes of the many who know him not as king by right divine.Yet, as in those days, he had his times of clearer display and his hours of partial manifestation, even so he has now. Hegives tohis church her glory periods, her days of thanksgiving, her court days, and her times of exultation; and I pray God thathe may grant such times as these to his church now, that in the midst of these dull years he may gird his sword upon his thigh,and ride forth gloriously in his majesty. Oh, that the streets of his Jerusalem could be gladdened by the holy pomp and sacredsplendor of his gracious and triumphal presence, beloved, the world doth well to salute righteous kings with all homage;our nation doth well to honor their well-beloved queen, whom may God long preserve! but shall Christ the King of kingsbe without his homage? I must confess I am jealous for him, jealous with a burning jealousy that the streets should blazewith splendor for the Queen of Britain, and that so little should be done in honor of the King immortal, eternal. Lo, theshouts of the multitude rend the skies for earthly princes, and I grudge them not; but, should there be no upliftings of joyfulvoicesfor the Prince of Peace? Why this lethargy in his church? Why such slender zeal for the Chief among, ten thousand? Whyshould not earth and heaven ring with His praises? If I might say so much as a sentence to-day that should lead the tribesto speak a word to bring the King back again to his own; if I might excite in any soul a fervent desire that Christ's kingdomshould more speedily come, and his throne should be exalted more on high in the midst of his people, I should be thrice happy.Tothat end shall I endeavor to speak this day. Oh, for the anointing of the Holy Ghost to aid me therein.
Our points of consideration this morning will he, first, that Christ hath even now his glorious days among men; and secondly, that when those glorious days come honors are paid to him similar to those described by the evangelists on the occasion of hisentrance into Jerusalem. In the third place I shall remind you that he is wont on such occasions to perform the same mighty deeds; and in the close of our discourse we shall have to observe that evenon those brilliant occasions, 'all is not gold that glitters.'
I. First, then, here is a very pleasant consideration, that THE LORD JESUS HAS, EVEN NOW, BRIGHT AND GLORIOUS DAYS OF SPECIALMANIFESTATION IN HIS CHURCH. He has ridden into his Jerusalem again and again in the history of the gospel. We call thesetimes revivals; and in yet more scriptural language they are known as 'times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.'They usually occur'(and I shall try to follow the narrative in all the remarks I make), they usuallyoccur after the Lord has visited his beloved and quickened them. He came into Jerusalem after he had raised Lazarus from the dead. His omnipotent voice had said, 'Lazarus, come forth!' andLazarus came forth, and the grave clothes were loosed from him; then and for that cause did the people come to meet our Lordwith palm branches. First doth the Lord speak to his Church and he saith to her, 'Come forth out of the grave of thy slothand thine indifference.' He saith, 'Loose her, takeaway the bands of her sloth and her conventionalism, and set her free,' and then when he hath restored among his churcha people whom he loves, and granted to them renewed vigor of spiritual life in the power of his resurrection, then it is thatthe sign of the glory of the Son of Man is revealed. I despair, beloved, of any revival being of the slightest value whichdoes not begin with the church of God. It never can originate outside and work into the interior, this is not the rule ofspiritual life; it must commence with the spiritual in the midst of the church, it must next quicken the mass of the discipleship,and then it shall spread to those who are without, and in ever widening circles its power shall be felt. But, revival mustbegin at home. Hear ye this ye professors, and take heed lest ye hinder Christ of his glory. Hear this ye who profess to bemembers of his church, and beware lest ye be like the damp wood which will not kindle, and therefore no fire burnethamong the sons of men. Oh, let not the Well-beloved find his worst hindrances in his own household; let not the gloryof Christ be obscured most by those who stand nearest to him, and ought therefore to be most jealous for his holy name. Yetso I fear full often it is; the children Ephraim being armed and carrying bows turn back in the day of battle, and so Israel'sGod is dishonored. Lazarus must arise; our death must be shaken off, and then shall the Lord Jesus greatly triumph.
The Lord was pleased to ride in state when his disciples were obedient to him. Note well their implicit obedience, for it is a sure prophecy of glorious displays in the church. He said to two of his disciples,'Go,' and they went; and others of them having his commission performed their errands without hesitation. Alas! I fear thedisobedience of the church often hinders the advance of the gospel. The disciples do not at this day, as they did then, thethings whichJesus commanded them. One of them saith, 'I will follow Paul, another I will follow Cephas''would God we laid aside allparty leadership, and were only led by the master himself! One saith, 'This institution is venerable if it be not scriptural,'and another saith, 'I believe this ritual to be impressive and instructive, even if it be not ordained of God;' and so menexcuse their will-worship. Oh, that we could lay all these things aside, and recognize that the law of the house is the lawwhich the Master makes, and not the law which the servant may invent. It is time that we laid our perverse likes and ourdislikes, our whims and our fancies, our opinions and even our more sober judgments, at the foot of him who is the only Kingof Zion; for be assured of this, his sacred majesty will not manifest its glory to disobedient disciples, except it be ina way of terror. Take heed, then, O ye who stand in his courts by your profession, and are his servants in name, that ye labortodo his will on earth as it is done in heaven, cheerfully, speedily, exactly, and with reverence to his every word, forotherwise he will veil his glory, and do but few mighty works among you.
Another indication of our Lord giving us glory days will be found in the prompt and cheerful sacrifice which his disciples will make. On the day of his entrance into Jerusalem, the owner of the ass and its colt cheerfully surrendered them when he heard thatthe Lord had need of them: the disciples who brought the ass did not spare their own contributions, for they took their garmentsand piled them on the ass; and others would not be debarred from their share ofhomage, for they spread their garments in the way, counting it their greatest honor to be bare-backed for Christ. Allhands contributed, for all hearts were warm. The willing offerings of the people carpeted the road for the Son of David whenhe went through his metropolis to his cathedral. None appeared before him empty; there was no withholding on that day. A generousspirit had seized upon all his followers, and mark this word, for there is more of solemn truth in it than some will think,Christ Jesus hath often taken away the power of his Spirit from the church because of the covetousness of many professors,who have grudged the cause of God what they ought spontaneously and cheerfully to have offered. They have said of sacrificeto the Lord, 'what a weariness it is!' They have robbed God in tithes and in offerings. They have counted the free-will offeringto be a tax, when they ought to have considered it to be an honor and a privilege to be allowed to give to the Lord'scause. God has been insulted by miserly gifts and penurious contributions. What they would have been ashamed to offerto the meanest among princes they have presented to the Lord. How often have I blushed as I have heard in prayer that text,'Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing,that there shall not be room enough to receive it.' Why have you blushed? say you. Because seldom or never do I hear thattext quotedcorrectly, its point is dexterously turned aside. What is the proof which the Lord puts before his people in that text?How doth he say, 'Prove me now?' By your prayers? No. By your good works? No. But the text is, 'Bring ye all the tithes intothe store-house that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts,' and so on. Thatis the peculiar test to which God brings his people, and in that test, alas, how many fail therein. They buy him no sweetcane withmoney, neither is he filled with their sacrifices. They will give their words in plenty, their lip homage in floods, butif it, comes to their substance they will have none of it. How few Christians have ever read this text and understood it,'Sell what thou hast and give alms.' Their almsgiving has never come to that; they have given but the cheese parings and thecandle ends to Christ; they never knew they had given them, they made no sacrifice to do so. Many do not give to Jesus somuch in ayear as it costs to clean their shoes. Christ's cause costs them not half the hire of the most menial servant in theirkitchens. Is not this a crying evil, to be answered for by those who are guilty of it? How can we expect the kingdom to comeand the cause of Christ to grow while in these days of unreal profession Christ's followers deny him his due, and straitenthe exchequer of his church. If no garments strew the road, and no man gives up his colt, how shall the prince celebrate atriumph?
But we must pass on from that; those three things are, however, very significant signs of Christ's glory days; a quickenedpeople, an obedient discipleship, and a general self-sacrifice. Let us see these, and we shall be sure that one of Christ'sglory days has come.
Furthermore, the glory of Christ is seen when Jesus Christ is publicly proclaimed as King. Evermore, beyond doubt, we acknowledge Christ to be King in the church; I hope all believers are sound upon that point: butin what holes and corners doth the church whisper out the truth, which he hath told us in the closet. Years ago, many of thechurches were quite content to hide their light under any bushel, meeting in the queerest courts, and lanes, and alleys, wherenobody but an angel and themselves could ever find them out. This content with obscurity is contrary to the genius ofthe gospel; let moles and bats seek out the hidden places and dwell therein; the children of light are not ashamed, but makeit their glory that these things are not done in a corner. It is a grand day for the kingdom of Christ when the King is proclaimedin the streets, when the great trumpet is sounded, when the disciples stand in the highways, and the voice of wisdom islifted up in the chief places of concourse, at the going in of the gates. Then are things well ordered when Zion liftsup her voice, yea, lifts it up with strength, and saith unto the cities of Judah, 'Behold your God.' Our commission as preachersis to every creature, and, therefore, the more public the teaching of the gospel the better. Truly, there was grace in theearth when in popish times God was loved by men in quiet, and when Christ was worshipped by little knots in secret; but thatwasa grander day when Luther stood out in the open air and said that Christ was King, and salvation was by his blood. Then,when all over Europe the crowds began to gather in the fields, or beneath the gospel oak, or in the public squares, to listento the men who not in a corner, not with bated breath, but aloud and boldly, before them all declared that antichrist mustcome to an end and that the Lord Jesus Christ must be exalted, and faith in him must be declared to be the salvation of thesonsof men, oh, it was then that Christ and his church behests a glorious day. Blessed be God for the Reformation, but wemust not rest in faded laurels, we need new victories. We desire the blessings of the gospel to be extended; and we oughtto pray that the gospel may have free course and be glorified, that every street may ring with its charming music, that everyalley and court may brighten with salvation, ay, and that not a house in London may he left without knowing that 'Jesus ChristisLord, to the glory of God the Father.' It is a notable day when in the great gatherings of the people the Lord Jesus isdeclared to be the Lord of all.
On such days, one part of the glory consists in many going forth to meet Christ. I wish I might live to see the facts of the gospel narrative fulfilled spiritually before our eyes. The people in Jerusalemtook branches of palm trees and went forth to meet Jesus, glad that he was coming into the city, willing to swell the pompof his entrance; and even thus God moves often on bright days upon the mass of the people making them willing to receive thegospel. There aretimes when the preacher feels that he is sowing on stony ground, but on other days when God's Spirit is abroad, the soilseems broken up, friable, ready to receive the grain, and the seed suddenly springs up, and a speedy harvest is produced.Pray, my brethren, that God would move our fellow countrymen to go forth to meet King Jesus. Pray that there may come a greatcave of religious thought over the minds of the people. God can cause it; he has the keys of human hearts, and can secretlyguidethem according to his will. Pray that there may be a great religious movement among the people, for then we may look forone of the days of the Son of Man, as the days of heaven upon earth.
Then, too, as another sign, we shall see enthusiasm prevailing on all sides. When Christ rode through Jerusalem, it was not possible for men to be cold at the sight of his majesty. Those who hated burnedwith malignity, but those who loved him were full of flaming affection towards him. It is one speciality of Christ's characterthat men can scarcely be indifferent in his presence; he that is not with him is against him. What enthusiasm there was inthe crowd thatday when the city rang again. The children climbed the trees and threw down the branches; their parents waved them intriumph and then cast them in the roadway that the Savior might ride over them. The shouts were loud and long, the day wasfull of gladness to the many. Ah, and it is a mark of Christ's presence when the church becomes enthusiastic. We sometimeshear complaints about revivals being too exciting, perhaps the censure is deserved, but I would like to see a little of thefault. Thisage does not generally sin in the direction of being too excited concerning divine things. We have erred so long on theother side that, perhaps, a little excess in the direction of fervor might not be the worst of all calamities; at any rate,I would not fear to try it. Doubtless our Lord's presence, like the rising of the sun scatters heat as well as light on allsides. Oh to be scorched by that sun, to be parched with that heat. Blessed would they be who should be guilty of too greata lovefor him, convicted of too consuming a zeal for the glory. I would gladly die of that heavenly malady.
On that triumphal day, beloved brethren, where there was no enthusiasm, there was inquiry, for all the city was moved, saying, 'Who is this?' When our Lord grants revivals to his church, the congregations and themultitude outside begin to ask, 'Wherefore this stir? what meaneth all this? Who is this Christ, and what is his salvation?'This spirit of inquiry is eminently desirable. It is just now a matter to be sought for by importunate prayer. Would God thatallthis vast metropolis were stirred by the inquiry, 'Who is this?' and that everywhere men said, 'What is this gospel aboutwhich so much noise is made?' May the Lord in his mercy move men's hearts as the trees of the wood are shaken with the wind.This is that shaking which the prophet saw in the valley of vision when bone came together to its bone, before the breathof the Spirit made the slain to live. Be instant day and night O ye chosen men of God, and pray that like Nineveh in the daysofJonah this whole city may be moved by the preaching of the word.
The strange thing about the matter was that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, all his enemies were quiet. He rode publicly through the streets where Herod and Pilate held their courts, yet they did not attempt to molest him. TheRomans were very jealous of their authority, they were always prompt to seize upon any person who pretended to be a king,and yet not a solitary pretorian guard laid his rough hand upon the King of the Jews, neither did Herod's men of war appearupon the scene. It does not appear that any information was carried to head quarters concerning this singular procession,neither was it laid to the Lord's charge by his enemies on his trial. As for the scribes and Pharisees, they did no more thanbark a little, but bite they could not, for they feared the people. That day every foeman cowered down before the Lord, likedogs when a lion roareth. When he entered the temple he was unattended by armed followers, he took with him no sword, butsimply a scourge made of small curds, and yet with that slight weapon he chased out the buyers and sellers, overturningtheir tables, and overthrowing the seats of them that sold doves; and yet it does not appear that any resistance was madeto him; he was Lord of the hour. Against him durst not a dog move his tongue; in the presence of the King of Zion the enemywas as still as a stone till he and his people had passed through the city, and the day of the royal pomp was over. In likemanner itis remarkable that, in times when the Lord is blessing his church, he restrains the wrath of his enemies or causes itto praise him. He hath power to make the proudest humble themselves, and the most stout-hearted bow their necks, and he usesthat power to the glory of his name.
While I am thus describing what the glorious days of Christ are when they dawn upon us, surely you, my dear fellow members,are all pleading with God and earnestly praying, 'O king of grace, Grant us one of these royal days in this church;' and you,the members of other churches, are crying, 'would God that Jesus would come to our town in that fashion, and that he wouldrule in our church, after that manner.' Let us pray for it unanimously and continually, and let us be ofgood cheer, for Jesus loves his church and he will give her what her heart is set upon. Let us plead with him for it,and we shall yet see the day in which the many shall cry, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'
II. But, time could fail us if we lingered here, and therefore we pass to the second head, which is this, that ON THESE GLORYDAYS OF JESUS CHRIST IN HIS CHURCH, LIKE HONORS ARE PAID TO HIM NOW AS THEN.
And first, he is at this time as loudly praised and as greatly rejoiced in among his people as he was then. They clapped their hands and called him 'Blessed;' and the whole multitude of his disciples rejoiced with an exceeding loudvoice, and cried, 'Hosanna, Hosanna.' Oh, beloved, we are dull enough when Christ is away; how can the children of the bridechamberrejoice when the bridegroom is gone from them; but when his Spirit comes with power into our midst how canwe fast? Oh, then our hearts rejoice, and leap along in glee like the long frozen brooks when the soft breath of springhath set them free. Send us but a revival, O God, and Ready-to-halt shall leap upon his crutches, and Much-afraid, and Fearing,and Despondency, shall sing with holy mirth. No joy is like the joy of Christ's presence with his people. Oh, that we mighthave it! Bickerings soon cease, murmurings come to an end, complaints of one another, and of God's providence are all hushed;the sense that Jesus Christ is with his people drowns every note of sorrow, and every heart is tuned to loudest notesof thankfulness. O thou, my soul, bless God the Lord, and all that in me is be stirred up, his holy name to magnify and bless,on that auspicious day, when the power of Jesus Christ is revealed in the city of his choice. It is a gladsome time, a timeof singing, a time of shouting, a time of exultation, and of intense delight when we go forth to meet our King Solomon tocrownhim anew. I need not say to you, should he favor us with such a delightful period, let us rejoice and be glad in him,for you would be sure to do it. When the Lord turns again the captivity of Sion, then is our mouth filled with singing andour tongue with laughter.
The point that I shall dwell upon here would be that Christ's peculiar honor lay not only in the joy and rejoicing which flowedaround him, but in the multitude who felt the contagion of that joy. It was said by those who saw the pageant of last week that the great sight of all was the multitude; the thing to look atand to wonder at was the crowd the dense, far-reaching, eager, surging crowd. And, surely, in Christ's glory days the thingwhich brings him much honoris the crowd, the multitude; for when he makes bare his arm, and his gospel is preached with power, the multitude aresure to listen to his gospel, and men say, 'Behold the whole world is gone after him.' It may seem strange and unaccountable,but so it is, that the very gospel which is opposed by men has a strange attraction for their ears, they cannot help hearingit; and though to this day there is an opposition in the human heart to the truth as it is in Jesus, yet is it a remarkablefactthat men love to hearken to it. The numerical strength of Christ's church lies still in the multitude; the common peoplehear him gladly. Though it was known that Christ was coming, the princes did not go to meet him, the priests did not go tomeet him; there were no long files of Jewish nobility to greet their King; but the people went in their thousands, the massescheered him. I dare say the Pharisees called them the mob, the rabble, the unwashed. Yes, and let it stand for fact, 'thismanreceiveth sinners;' he is the people's King, the helper of the poor and needy. The poor of this world have been rich infaith in him. In the old days of persecution, and of burning, who were the men that played the man most nobly at the stake?Here and there a bishop and a noble did so, but the rank and file of the heroes were from the poor or the middle class. Therewas one great man, with an unworthy right hand that recanted, and yet did well at the last; but the poor weavers of Colchester,and the cobblers of Bow, never recanted at all, but gloried in being made a burnt-offering for the truth. Wherever thegospel has been mainly upheld by the great ones of the earth it has had little success. Take, for instance, Spain and Italy,the converts of the Reformation there nearly all belonged to the higher ranks, and ere long its doctrines became extinct,but it lived among German peasants and British artisans. The valiant of Israel still come from the loom, the smithy, the plough,andthe bench. Wherever the gospel entrenches itself among the common people, the devil himself cannot destroy it: it is thenlike a lion in its own forest, and none can drive it forth. The priests and the mighty ones may uphold what cause they will,but if the people are for King Jesus, his advocates have no need to blush. It is this day the glory of Christ that he dothsave the poor and the needy, and that he is the prince of the multitude. 'I have exalted,' saith the Lord, 'one chosen outof thepeople''Jesus is the people's Christ, the people's man. He still hath honor out of the mouth of those whom others despise,for he hath chosen the base things of the world and the things that are not to bring to nought the things that are. Here wasa part of Christ's glory.
And then, observe, that, on that day it was Christ's glory that he received all sorts of homage from all kinds of people. As I have already said, he who had a beast that Christ might ride upon cheerfully surrendered it: he who had no beast hadat least a garment, and he gave it; and he who was so poorly clad, that his best garment when spread in the way might seemrather to insult than to honor the king, gave a branch from the tree. He who could brought a palm,which probably he had to purchase with money; but those who could not buy palm branches, climbed the trees that were commonand grew by the highway, and threw the branches down. I suppose these were branches of olives, for they were hard by the Mountof Olives: let the fatness of the earth honor him! There were also branches of the figtree, for Bethphage was the house offigs: let the sweetness of the earth honor him! Doubtless there were branches of the cedars: let the honor and strength ofthe earth adore him! There were branches of the myrtle: let all earth's honor and victory glorify him! I do not read thatChrist rejected so much as one attempt to do him honor. He rebuked no disciple and silenced no child. Oh, in the day whenChrist is glorious all his people try to serve him, each one brings his portion; the prince brings much, but the peasant bringshis share, and the Lord accepts them all. No Christian when the Lord is abroad shirks his duty or forgets to bring hissacrifice, nor doth the Lord reject so much as one honest gift of a sincere heart.
And, on that day, oh, it was a sweet thing to notice and delightful to remember, it will always be so when Christ is glorious,the little ones were conspicuous. Did not the boys in the Temple cry 'Hosanna! Hosanna!' and their throats here not hoarse half so soon as their fathers' were.They kept up the mirth of that gladsome day'a joyful holiday was it for them. Even thus where there is true grace workingpowerfully in a church I always expect to see youngconverts, boys and girls will be brought to Christ in any true revival, and where they are not, methinks we have goodreason to suspect that the movement is not genuine, for had it been the work of the Spirit of God, the little ones would havebeen suffered to come unto him as well as those of older growth. Oh, may such honors be heaped on Christ in this Tabernacle!Would God I could hear the little ones say, 'Hosanna!' while their fathers and their mothers join the song. The Lord grantthatthe Sabbath-school may send up a noble regiment for the King's army. Oh, that on all sides, you men with wealth, and youmen with none, you with great gifts, and you with few, you with much time and leisure, and you with scarce an hour to callyour own, you aged men and you youngsters, would unite in magnifying the Redeemer. Oh, that I could see you all strewing somewhatin the way of Christ to glorify him in the midst of his church.
III. But, I must not dwell there, though the theme is very tempting, but notice that when Christ comes into the church HEEXECUTES THE SAME DEEDS AS HE DID THEN.
What was the first thing he did that we observe? He was seated on the colt, and as he rode along and heard the shouts of thepeople, I have no doubt that a smile was over his face, and when he saw the little ones in all their ardor, he looked at themwith love; but, on a sudden, just as he came where he could see Jerusalem, though it was the day of his triumph he stopped,and all around could see that some mighty emotion was swelling his heart to bursting, and at last thetears coursed adown those cheeks, and he burst into this lament, 'O that thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day.'I know that everywhere Christ is in the church in the power of his Spirit, compassion for souls becomes very prominent. Christ weeps through his people's eyes, and yearns through his children's hearts. He makes them pitiful and full of compassion.They cannot bear it that men should be damned, it grieves them that the day of a gracious visitation should come, and yetsomany should reject Christ. Oh, my brethren, you who live near to Christ, and feel a sympathy with him, ask the Lord togive you heart-ache over dying souls; ask him to make you feel an anguish because men will not come unto him that they mighthave life, but will persist in committing spiritual suicide, by putting far from them life eternal. Oh, that we might seea holy passion for souls in the church. For that would be a blessed sign of rich grace.
At the same time, on that very same occasion, there was conspicuous the judgments of Christ, for his compassion did not permit him to keep back the tidings of future punishment. He said, 'If thou hadst known, eventhou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the daysshall come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on everyside. Andshall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another;because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.' I have noted that in genuine revivals, the preachers of Gods truth arenot backward in preaching the threatenings, as well as the promises. We are told that men are drawn to Christ by love, andthe statement is true; but, at the same time, 'knowing the terrors of the Lord,' we are to persuade men, and not to keep backfrom them the evil tidings. Even Christ with weeping eyes and tender heart does not hesitate to tell Jerusalem of itscoming destruction, and I believe it is a token that Christ is in the church when those terrible things of his are not keptback to please the popular taste; when there is no trying to cut them down and moderate them, in order to make the wrath tocome look less terrible than it is. It must be thundered out again and again, 'except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.'Itmust be told the sinner that if he goeth on in his iniquity, he shall be driven away from hope and salvation, 'where theirworm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched.' Christ is not present in an unfaithful church, and this is a point upon whichsome churches are very apt to grow unfaithful. We must deliver the whole truth, even the dark side of it as well as that whichsmiles with mercy and Christ is not present unless it be so. The sympathy of Jesus led him, as it should lead us, to belovingly honest with the sons of men.
But, you notice in the reading that our Lord, when he rode through the streets of his metropolis, went straight away to thecathedral gate, and when he entered there he began to purge the temple. With the scourge in his hand he smote right and left, and he overthrew the tables of those that were changing the shekels,and he cast out the cages of doves that were stored there for merchandise. Even thus doth Christ do. No church can remainlong impure with Jesus in hermidst; his presence brings reformation, things tolerated before become intolerable where he is. While a church is withoutthe Spirit of God it will keep in its old way, it will plead precedent, it will endure grievous abuses, it will make excusesfor this, and excuses for that; but, let the Lord once come, and out the hawkers and hucksters must go, tables, money-bags,doves, and all. He will not have them in his house of prayer; bag and baggage they must go when he comes in, and he only inhistruth and power must reign in the midst of his own church. I do not believe we shall thoroughly purify any church by Actsof Parliament, nor by reformation associations, nor by agitation, nor by any merely human agency. No hand can grasp the scourgethat can drive out the buyers and sellers, but that hand which once was fastened to the cross. Let the Lord do it and thework will be done, for it is not of man, nor shall man accomplish it.
Then, when Christ had purged the church, the next thing was to heal the sick who came to him in the temple. The place which might not be a mart was allowed to be an hospital. So the glory days of Christare always notable for the great cures that he works; the sons of men receive lasting benefits, and are relieved of grievousmaladies. Eyes are opened, understandings are enlightened. Infirmities are removed, the lame walk. Wills are subdued; heartsare cleansed; andnatures are changed. Where Jesus comes, salvation follows with all the train of blessings which it includes.
And, then, we find that that day his foes were all confounded. They came to meet him with their questions, but he soon answered them; and what did they say the one to the other? 'Perceiveye how we prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.' O master, give us to see such times as these: our soul nowlongeth for them. Cause thou our enemies to lament, and say, 'We thought we had put down these old doctrines, but we haveprevailed nothing, behold themultitude is moved by them.' The devil thought in England years ago that the gospel light was put out; he had lulled theChurch of England and Dissenters too into a deep sleep, and Arianism and all sorts of errors had spread all over the land:but the Lord touched the heart of Whitefield, and Wesley, and the godly ones; the Spirit of God came down, the multitude heardthe Gospel gladly, and many an enemy of Christ as he stood at his window and saw the streets thronged to hear those men astheynever had been thronged before, and heard the song borne on the distant breezes of the wide open spaces outside the townsand villages, said, 'Why, after all, no have not put this thing down: though we fancied we had destroyed it.' There is hopeof this celestial tree; if it be cut down it will sprout again; at the scent of water it will bud. This child is not dead,but sleepeth. A certain vainglorious party of Pretenders to intellect and culture tell us now that the old Puritanic faithisnearly extinct; there are only a few of us ignorant people who now hold the same truths as John Owen, John Bunyan, Goodwin,and Charnock; but all the elite of the world, those who have all the 'sweetness and light' to themselves, the thinkers, themental gentility have all been sensible enough to give their votes for something more suitable to the times. In the name ofGod, we shall show them the difference yet, and by his Spirit He will din their ears with the gospel ram's horn till theyandtheir Jericho come down in a common ruin. The evangelical doctrine which shook Europe will shake it yet again, and Englandshall yet know that the self-same truth, for which her martyrs died and for which her Puritans fought on many a wellcontestedfield, shall break the rationalism and ritualism of this land in pieces yet, and all else that standeth in the way of thetrue gospel of the living God. We are not afraid nor discouraged, but we cry mightily unto the King that we may once moreliftup a shout because of his presence, for then human philosophy shall be ashamed, and old Rome shall know, and all the cubsof the beast of Rome shall know, that the Lord liveth, and his invincible truth shall win the day.
IV. Now lastly, I said that even on the occasion, when Christ came into Jerusalem, ALL WAS NOT GOLD THAT GLITTERED, and sowe must not expect it to be in any revival of religion. They said, 'Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!' till the heavens rang again,but there was an undercurrent, there were Pharisees and men of other classes with them, grizzling and snarling, trying thereand then to devise a plan by which to destroy the Lord, and there was Judas at that very time plotting,planning, ready to sell his Master. However, what did that signify? The worst thing of all was this, that those same tongueswhich were that day crying 'Hosanna!''oh, shame to our humanity that we should have to mention it!'those same tongues whichcried 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,' within that self-same week said, 'crucify him! crucify him!' Isay not all, but some. It was the mob of Jerusalem that brought him in as their King, but when they found that he would notassume the throne, and that he spoke of a spiritual kingdom, and not an earthly one, then they were instant with loudvoices, saying, 'Let him be crucified! let him be crucified!' Expect not, therefore, when many hearts are impressed with thegospel, that all will be steadfast towards Christ. Do not reckon that every pious feeling will end in genuine conversion.The florist does not expect all his slips to become shrubs. Look ye at the trees which, in a few short days, will be smotheredwithblossoms and glorious with beauty; do you expect those blossoms all to become fruit? No gardener thinks that such a thingcan be. He understands that full many of those flowers will wither, will be blown off in the March gales, or smitten by theevening's frost. He looks for fruit proportionate to the blossoming, but not to a fruit that shall be equal to the full promiseof the bloom. And so, think not ill of Christ's great days, because they seem to inexperienced eyes greater on the surfacethan they are. Thank God there is a residuum of reality, be thankful for that; but, do not be disappointed, much lessscoff, because it is not all that you had hoped it was. If some be saved we are glad; if I had a thousand professed converts,and only a hundred of them turned out to be genuine, I would be more grateful than if all my converts were genuine, and therewas only half a dozen of them. Large dealers look for some losses and bad debts, and yet hope to gain much in the long run.Solong as I do but get the number of real converts, I will forget, and my heart shall outlive, the disappointment of havingexpected more. Go on; brethren, go on praying, hoping, working, for the Lord will bless his people, the Lord will bless hispeople with peace. Amen and amen.
As a very large number of friends from a distance desire occasionally to attend the Tabernacle, but do not like to encounterthe crowds at the doors, the deacons have resolved to issue early admission tickets, which will admit the holder before thegeneral public, during the month of issue. They will be purchasable at the price of one shilling, and can be had by letter,enclosing twelve penny stamps, and one half-penny stamp for postage, of Mr. C. Blackshaw, Tabernacle,Newington Butts.