Sermon 1138. Morning And Evening Songs
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"To show forth Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night." Psalm 92:2.
IT is a notion of the Rabbis that this Psalm was sung by Adam in Paradise. There are no reasons why we should believe it wasso and there are a great many why we should be sure it was not. It is not possible that Adam could have sung concerning brutishmen and fools, and the wicked springing as grass, while as yet he was the only man, and himself un-fallen. Still, at leastthe first part of the Psalm might have fallen as suitably from the lips of Adam as from our tongues, and if Milton could putinto Adam's mouth the language-
"These are Your glorious works, Parent of good, Almighty, shine this universal frame. Thus wondrous fair, Yourself how wondrousthen!" He might with equal fitness have made him say, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praisesunto Your name, O Most High: to show forth Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night; for You,Lord, have made me glad through Your work: I will triumph in the works of Your hands."
The Jews have, for a long while, used this Psalm in the synagogue worship on their Sabbath and very suitable it is for ourSunday-not so much in appearance, for there is little or no allusion to any Sabbatic rest in it-but because on that day, aboveall others, our thoughts should be lifted up from all earthly things to God Himself. The Psalm tunes the mind to adorationand so prepares it for Sunday worship. It supplies us with a noble subject for meditation-the Lord, the Lord alone, liftingus up even above His works into a contemplation of Himself and His mercies toward us. Oh, that always on Sunday, when we cometogether, we might assemble in the spirit of praise, feeling that it is good to give thanks unto the name of the Most High-andwould God that always when we were assembled we could say, "You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work: I will triumphin the works of Your hands."
There is no doubt that in this second verse there is an allusion to the offering of the morning and the evening lambs, for,in addition to the great Paschal celebration, once a year, and the other feasts and fasts, each of which brought Christ prominentlybefore the mind of those Jews who were instructed by the Spirit of God, a lamb was offered every morning and every evening,as if to remind them that they needed daily cleansing for daily sin. For then there was always a remembrance of sin, seeingthat the one great Sacrifice which puts away sin forever had not yet been offered, though now, in these, our days, we needno morning or evening lamb. The very idea of a repetition or a rehearsal of the Sacrifice of Christ is, to us, most horriblyprofane and blasphemous, yet we should remember continually the one Sacrifice and never wake in the morning without beholding"the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world," nor fall to sleep at night without turning our eyes anew to Him who,on the bloody tree, was made sin for us.
Our text, however, is meant to speak to us concerning praise. Praise should be the continual exercise of Believers. It isthe joyful work of Heaven-it should be the continual joy of earth. And we are taught by the text, I think, that while praiseshould be given only to the One who is in Heaven, and we should adore perpetually our Triune God, yet there should be varietyin our unity. We bless the Lord and the Lord alone. We have no music but for Him, but we do not always praise Him after thesame fashion. As there were different instruments of music-the ten-stringed instrument or decachord, the psaltery, the harp-so,too, there are different subjects-a subject for the morning and a subject for the evening-loving kindness to be shown forthat one time and faithfulness to be sung at another.
I wish that men studied more the praise they profess to present unto God. I sometimes find, even in our own public song, simpleas it is, that there evidently is a lack of thought among us-for time is not maintained with the precision which would growout of thoughtfulness. There is a tendency to sing more slowly, as if devotion were wearying, if not wearisome. And too frequentlyI fear the singing gets to be mechanical, as if the tune mastered you and you did not gov-
ern the tune by making those inflections and modulations of voice which the sense would suggest if you sang with all yourhearts and with all your understandings.
The very posture of some people indicates that they are going through the hymn, but the hymn is not going through their hearts,nor ascending to God on the wings of soaring gratitude. I have also noticed with sad reflections the way in which, if therehappens to be a chorus at the close-a "Hallelujah," or "Praise God"-some will drop into their seats as if they had not thoughtenough to remember that it was coming, and then, with a jerk, all in confusion, they stand up again, being so asleep in heartthat anything out of the common is too much for them. Far am I from caring for postures or tones, but when they indicate lackof heart, I do care, and so should you. Remember well that there is no more of music to God's ear in any service than thereis of heart-love and holy devotion. You may make floods of music with your organ if you like, or you may make equally goodmusic-and some of us think better-with human voices, but it is not music to God, either of instrument or of voice, unlessthe heart is there. And the heart is not fully there-the man, the whole man, is not fully there-unless the soul glows withthe praise.
In our private praise, also, we ought to think more of what we are doing and concentrate our entire energies for the sacredexercise. Ought we not to sit down, before we pray, and ask our understanding, "What am I going to pray for? I bow my kneeat my bedside to pray-ought I not to pause and consider the things I ought to ask for? What do I need, and what are the promiseswhich I should plead? And why is it that I may expect that God should grant me what I want?" We would pray better if we occupiedmore time in consideration. And so when we come to praise we ought not to rush upon it, helter skelter, but engage in it withprepared hearts.
I notice that when musicians are about to discourse sweet music there is a tuning-up. There is a preparation and there arerehearsals which they perform before they go through their music in public. So our soul ought to rehearse the subject forwhich it is about to bless God and we ought to come before the Lord, both in public and in private, with subjects of praisewhich our thought has considered, not offering unto the Lord that which has cost us nothing, but with a warm heart pouringout before His Throne adoration grounded upon subjects of thanksgiving appropriate to the occasion.
So it seems the Psalmist would have us do-"To show forth Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness everynight." It is not mere praise, but varied praise, praise with distinct subjects at appointed seasons. Upon this we are aboutto speak for a little while. And we shall speak first-here is a subject for morning worship. Secondly, here is another forevening devotion. And this last, before we close our discourse, we shall try to practice.
I. First, then, notice MORNING WORSHIP-"To show forth Your loving kindness in the morning." "In the morning." There cannotbe a more suitable time for praising God than in the morning! Everything around is congenial to it. Even in this great wildernessof brick the gleams of sunlight in these summer mornings seem like songs, songs without words-or rather music without sounds.And out in the country where every blade of grass twinkles with its own drop of dew, and all the trees glisten as if theywere lit up with sapphire by the rising dawn-and when a thousand birds awake to praise their Maker, making harmonious concerts,all with all their hearts casting their entire energies into the service of holy song-it seems most fit that the key of themorning should be in the hand of praise-and that when the daylight lifts its eyelids it should look out upon grateful hearts.
We ourselves have newly risen from our beds and if we are in a right state of mind we are thankful for the night's sleep-
"The evening rests our wearied head, And angels guard the room. We wake, and we admire the bed That was not made our tomb."
Every morning is a sort of resurrection. At night we lay us down to sleep, stripped of our garments, as our souls are of theirbodies when we come to die. But the morning wakes us and if it is a Sunday morning we do not put on our workday clothes, butfind our Sunday dress ready to hand. Even thus shall we be satisfied when we wake up in our Master's likeness, no more toput on the soiled raiment of earth, but to find it transformed into a Sunday robe in which we shall be beautiful and fair,even as Jesus our Lord, Himself!
Now, as every morning brings to us, in fact, a resurrection from what might have been our tomb, and delivers us from the imageof death which through the night we wore, it ought to be saluted with thanksgiving. As the great Resur-
rection morning will be awakened with the sound of the trumpet's far-sounding music, so let every morning, as though it werea resurrection to us, awaken us with hymns of joy!-
"All praise to You who safe have kept,
And have refreshed me while I slept!
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless life partake."
"To show forth Your loving kindness in the morning." We are full of vigor then! We shall be tired before night comes round-perhapsin the heat of the day we shall be exhausted. Let us take care, while we are fresh, to give the cream of the morning to God.Our poet says-
"The flower, when offered in the bud, Is no mean sacrifice." Let us give the Lord the bud of the day, its virgin beauty, itsunsullied purity.
Say what you will about the evening, and there are many points about it which make it an admirable season for devotion, yetthe morning is the choice time. Is it not a queenly hour? See how it is adorned with diamonds more pure than those which flashin the crowns of eastern potentates! The old proverb declares that they who would be rich must rise early. Surely those whowould be rich towards God must do so! No dews fall in the middle of the day and it is hard to keep up the dew and freshnessof one's spirit in the worry, care and turmoil of midday. But in the morning the dew should fall upon our fleece till it isfilled and it is well to wring it out before the Lord, and give Him our morning's vigor, our morning's freshness and unction!
You will see, I think, without my enlarging, that there is a fitness in the morning for praising God. But I shall not merelyconfine the text to the morning of each day. The same fitness appertains to the morning of all our days. Our youth, our firsthours of the day of life, ought to be spent in showing forth the loving kindness of God. Dear young Friends, you may restassured that nothing can happen to you so blessed as to be converted while you are young! I bless God for my having knownHim when I was 15 years of age, but I have often felt like that Irishman who said that he was converted at 20 and he wishedit had been 21 years before. I have often felt the same desire.
Oh, if it could have been so, that the very first breath one drew had been consecrated to God, that it had been possible forthe first rational thought to be one of devotion-that the first act of judgment had been exercised upon Divine Truth and thefirst pulsing affection had been towards the Redeemer who loved us and gave Himself for us! What blessed reflections wouldfill the space now occupied with penitent regrets! The first part of a Christian life has charms peculiar to itself. In somerespects-
"That age is best which is the first, For then the blood is warmer."
I know the after part is riper, it is more mellow. There is a sweetness about autumn fruit, but the basket of early fruit-the first ripe fruit-this is what God desires! And blessed are they who, in the morning, show forth the loving kindness
Or the words may be explained mystically to signify those periods of life which are bright like the morning to us. We haveour ups and downs, our ebbs and flows, our mornings and our nights. Now, it is the duty and the privilege, of our bright days,for us to show forth God's loving kindness in them. It may be some of you have had so rough a life that you consider yournights to be more numerous than your days. Others of us could not, even in common honesty, subscribe to such a belief. No,blessed be God, our mornings have been very numerous. Our days of joy and rejoicing, after all, have been abundant-infinitelymore abundant than we might have expected they could be, dwelling as we do in the land of sorrows. Oh, when the joy days come,let us always consecrate them by showing forth God's loving kindness!
Do not as some do, who, if they are prospering, make a point of not admitting to it. If they make money, for instance-well,they are "doing pretty well." "Pretty well," do they call it? Time was, when, if they had done half so well, they would havebeen ready to jump for joy! How often the farmer, when his crop could not be any larger, and when the field is loaded withit, will say, "Well, it is a very fair crop." Is that all? Oh, what robbery of God! This talk is far too common on all sidesand ought to be most solemnly rebuked! When we have been enjoying a long stretch of joy and peace, instead of saying thatit is so, we speak as if-well, well, God has dealt very well with us upon the whole, but at the same time He has done forus nothing very remarkable.
I saw a tombstone the other day which pleased me. I do not know that I ever saw an epitaph of that kind before. I think itwas for a person of the age of 80, and it said of her, "who after a happy and grateful enjoyment of life, died," and so on.Now, that is what we ought to say, but we talk as if, really, we were to be pitied for living-as if we were little betteroff than toads under a hallow, or snails in a tub of salt! We whine as if our lives were martyrdoms and every breath a woe.But it is not so! Such conduct slanders the good Lord! Blessed be the Lord for creating us. Our life has mercies, yes, innumerablemercies. And, notwithstanding the sorrows and the troubles of it, there are joys and benedictions past all count. There aremornings in which it becomes us to show forth the loving kindness of the Lord.
See, then, the season, the morning of each day, the morning of our days and the morning of our brightness and prosperity.The Psalmist suggests that the best topic for praise on such occasions is loving kindness. And truly I confess that this isa theme which might suit nights as well as days, though doubtless he saw an appropriateness in allotting this topic to themorning. Verily it might suffice for all the day long! Was there ever such a word in any language as that word loving kindness?I have sometimes heard Frenchmen talking about their language and I have no doubt it is a very beautiful tongue. And Germansglorify the speech of the Fatherland and I have heard our Welsh friends extolling their unpronounceable language and cryingit up as the very tongue that was spoken in Paradise! Very likely, indeed!
But I venture to say that no language beneath the sky has a word in it that is richer than this-loving kindness. It is a duplicatedeliciousness. There are, within it, linked sweetnesses long drawn out. Loving kindness. It is a kind of word with which tocast spells which should charm away all fears! It was said of Mr. Whitefield that he could have moved an audience to tearsby saying the word, "Mesopotamia." I think he could have done it better with the word, "loving kindness." Put it under yourtongue, now. Let it lie there. LOVING KINDNESS. Kindness. Does that mean kinned-ness? Some say that it is the root-sense ofthe word-kinned-ness, such feeling as we have to our own kin, for blood is always thicker than water and we act towards thosewho are our kindred as we cannot readily do towards strangers.
Now, God has made us of His kin. In His own dear Son He has taken us into His family. We are children of God- "heirs of Godand joint-heirs with Christ Jesus." And there is a kinned-ness from God to us through our great Kinsman, Jesus Christ. Butthen the word is only half understood when you get to that, for it is loving-kindness. For a surgeon to set a man's limb whenit is out of joint or broken is kindness, although he may do it somewhat roughly and in an offhand manner. But if he doesit very tenderly, covering the lion's heart with the lady's hand-then he shows loving kindness. A man is picked up on thebattlefield and put into an ambulance and carried to the hospital. That is kindness. But oh, if that poor soldier's mothercould come into the hospital and see her boy suffering, she would show him loving-kindness, which is something far more!
A child run over in the street outside yonder, and taken to the hospital, would be cared for, I have no doubt, with the greatestkindness. But, after all, send for its mother, for she will give it loving kindness! And so the Lord deals with us. He givesus what we need in a fatherly manner. He does to us what we need in the most tender fashion. It is kindness. It is kinned-ness,but it is loving kindness. The very heart of God seems written out in this word. We could hardly apply it in full force toany but to our Father who is in Heaven!
Now here is a subject for us to sing about in the morning! How shall I begin with the hope of going through this subject?It is an endless one. Loving kindness begins-ah, I must correct myself-it never did begin. It had no beginning. "I have lovedyou with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you." Everlasting love, therefore, is what we mustbegin to sing of! And that everlasting love was infinite in its preparations, for before we had been created the Lord hadmade a Covenant on our account and resolved to give His only-begotten Son, that we might be saved from wrath through Him.The loving kindness of God, our Father, appeared in Jesus Christ. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, let us always be talking aboutthis!
I wonder why it is, when we meet each other, that we do not begin at once to say, "Brother, have you been thinking over theloving kindness of the Lord in the gift of His dear Son?"-for, indeed, it is such a marvelous thing that it ought not to bea nine-days' wonder with us. It ought to fill us with astonishment every day of our lives!. Now, if something wonderful happens,everybody's mouth is full of it and we speak to one another about it at once, while like the Athenians, all our neighborsare greedy to hear. Let our mouths, then, be full of the marvelous loving kindness of God! And for fear we should leave thetale half untold, let us begin early in the morning to rehearse the eternal love manifested in the great gift of Jesus Christ.
If we have already spoken about these things, and wish for variety, let us speak concerning the loving kindness of God toeach one of us in bringing us to Jesus. What a history each man's own life is! I suppose that if any one of our lives shouldbe fully written, it would be more wonderful than a romance. I have sometimes seen a sunset of which I have said, "Now, ifany painter had depicted that, I should have declared that the sky never looked in that way, it is so strange and singular."And in the same way, should some of our lives be fully written, many would say, "It could not have been so!" How many havesaid of Huntingdon's, "Bank of Faith," for instance, "Oh, it is a bank of nonsense"? Yet I believe that it is correct andbears the marks of truth upon its very face. I believe that the man did experience all that he has written, though he maynot always have told us everything in the best possible manner.
Many other people's lives would be quite as wonderful as his if they could be written. Speak about, then, the loving kindnessof God to yourself in particular. Rehearse, if to no other ear, to your own ear, and to the ear of God, the wondrous storyof how-
"Jesus sought you when a stranger Wandering from the fold of God," how His Grace brought you to Himself and so into eternallife. And then, Brethren, sing of the loving kindness of God to yourselves since your new birth. Remember the mercies of God!Do not bury them in the grave of ingratitude. Let them glisten in the light of gratitude! I am sure that you will find thisa blessed morning portion-it will sweeten all the day.
The Psalmist would have you begin the day with it, because you will need all the day to complete it! Indeed, you will needall the days of life and all eternity! And I am half of Addison's mind-though the expression is somewhat hyperbolical-
"But, oh, eternity's too short To utter half Your praise."
What a blessed subject you have before you-the loving kindness of the Lord. Not yourself-not yourself. That is a horriblesubject to speak upon. When I hear Brethren get up and glory in their own attainments and graces, I remember the words ofthe wise man, "Let another praise you, and not your own lips." Above all things, when a man says that he has made great advancesin sanctification it is sickening and clearly proves that he has not learned the meaning of the word "humility." I hope theeyes of our friends will be opened and that they will come to loathe the devil's meat which now deceives them. May we no longersee spiritual self-conceit held up among us as a virtue, but may it be shunned as a deadly evil. No, let my mouth be filledwith God's praise, but not with my own!
My Brothers and Sisters, let not our tongues be always occupied with our griefs! If you have a skeleton in your house, whyshould you always invite every friend who calls upon you to inspect the uncomely thing? No! Tell what God has done for you!Tell of His loving kindness! I have heard-and I repeat the story because it ought to be repeated, simple as it is-of a pastorwho frequently called upon a poor bedridden woman who, very naturally, always told him of her pains and her needs. He knewall about her rheumatism. He had heard of it 50 times and at last he said to her, "My dear Sister, I sympathize with you deeply,and I am never at all tired of hearing your complaints. But could you not, now and then, tell me something about what theLord does for you-something about your enjoyments, how He sustains you under your pain, and so on?" It was a rebuke well putand well taken. And ever afterwards there was less said about the griefs and more heard about the blessings! Help us fromnow on to resolve, Great God, "To show forth Your loving kindness in the morning."
Thus we have considered the time and the topic. And now we are bound to observe the manner in which we are to deal with thesubject. The Psalmist says we are to show it forth, by which I suppose he means that we are not to keep to ourselves whatwe know about God's loving kindness. Every Christian in the morning ought to show it forth, first in his own chamber beforeGod. He should express his gratitude for the mercies of the night and the mercies of his whole life. Then let him, if it ispossible, show it forth in his family. Let him gather them together and worship the Lord and bless Him for His loving kindness.
And then when the Christian goes into the world, let him show forth God's loving kindness. I do not mean by talking of itto everyone he meets, casting pearls before swine, as it would be to some men, but by the very way in which he speaks, actsand looks. A Christian ought to be the most cheerful of men, so that others should say, "What makes him look so happy? Heis not rich. He is not always in good health. He has his troubles, but he seems to bear all so well and to
trip lightly along the pathway of life." By our cheerful conversation we ought to show forth in the morning God's loving kindness.
"Ah," says one, "but when you are depressed in spirit?" Do not show it if you can help it. Do as your Master said- "appearnot unto men to fast." Do not imagine that the appearance of sadness indicates sanctity. It often means hypocrisy. To concealone's own griefs for the sake of cheering others betokens a self-denying sympathy which is the highest kind of Christianity.Let us present the sacrifice of praise in whatever company we may be, but when we get among God's own people, then is thetime for a whole burnt offering. Among our own kith and kin we may safely open our box of sweets. When we find a Brother whocan understand the loving kindness of the Lord, let us tell it forth with sacred delight.
We have choice treasures which we cannot show to ungodly eyes, for they would not appreciate them. But when we meet with eyeswhich God has opened, then let us open the jewelry case and say, "Brother, rejoice in what God has done for us. See His lovingkindness to me, His servant, and His tender mercies which have been ever of old." Thus, beloved Friends, I have set beforeyou a good morning's work and I think, if God's Spirit helps us to attend to it, we shall come out of our chambers with ourbreath smelling sweet with the praises of God! We shall go down into the world without care, much more without anger. We shallgo calmly to our work and meet our cares quietly and happily.
The joy of the Lord will be our strength. It is a good rule never to look into the face of man in the morning till you havelooked into the face of God-an equally good rule is to always to have business with Heaven before you have any business withearth. Oh, it is a sweet thing to bathe in the morning in the love of God! To bathe in it so that when you come forth outof the ivory chambers of communion where you have been made glad, your garments shall smell of the myrrh and aloes and cassiaof holiness! Do we all attend to this? I am afraid we are in too much of a hurry, or we get up too late. Could we not risea little earlier? If we could steal even a few minutes from our beds, those few minutes would scatter their influence overthe entire day.
It is always bad to start on a journey without having looked to the harness and to the horse's shoes. And it often happensthat the time saved by omitting examination turns out to be a dead loss when the traveler has advanced a little on his journey.Not one minute, but a hundred minutes may be lost by the lack of a little attention at first! Set the morning watch with careif you would be safe through the day. Begin well if you would end well. Take care that the helm of the day is put right. Lookwell to the point you want to sail to, then whether you make much progress or little, it will be so far in the right direction.The morning hour is generally the index of the day.
II. Now, let us turn to the second part of our subject very briefly. The Psalmist says, "To show forth Your faithfulness EVERYNIGHT. Now, the night, Beloved, is a peculiarly choice time for praising God's faithfulness. "Oh," says one, "we are verytired." Well, that may be, but it is a pity that we should be reduced to such a condition that we are too tired to praiseGod! A holy man of God always used to say, when they said to him, "Can you pray?" "Thank God, I am never too tired to pray."If anything can awaken us, the service of Christ should do it! There should be, within us, an enthusiasm which kindles atthe very thought of prayer!
Have you ever known an army on the march, weary and ready to drop, and the band played some enlivening tune which has bestirredthe men afresh? They have gone over the last few miles as they could not have done if it had not been for the inspirationof the strain! Let the thought of praising God wake up our wearied energies and let not God be robbed of His Glory at theclose of the day! The close of the day is calm, quiet and fit for devotion. God walked in the garden in the cool of the day,before man fell, and Adam went forth to meet Him. Isaac walked in the fields at eventide and there he received a blessing.The evening is the Sunday of the day and should be the Lord's.
Now, notice the topic which is set for the evening. It is faithfulness. Why? Why, because we have had a little more experienceof our God! We have a day's more experience than we had in the morning-therefore we have more power to sing of God's faithfulness.We look back, now, upon the day and see promises fulfilled. May I ask you to look over today, my dear Brothers and Sistersin Christ? Can you not notice some promises which God has kept towards you? Show forth His faithfulness, then. Provision hasbeen given you-He promised to give it-He has given it. Protection has been afforded you-more than you know of, infinitelymore! Guidance, also, has been given in points where you otherwise would have gone very much astray.
Illumination has been granted you. Comfort, also, in a season of depression, or upholding in a time of temptation. God hasgiven you much, today. If He has taken anything away from you, yet still bless His name! It was only what He had given andHe had a right to take it. Look through the day and you will find that God has acted towards you as He promised that He wouldact. You have had trouble, you say. Did not He say, "In the world you shall have tribulation"? Has He not spoken concerningthe rod of the Covenant? Affliction only illustrates His faithfulness. Carefully observe the fulfilled promises of each day-itis a good custom to conclude the day by rehearsing its special mercies. I do not believe in keeping a detailed diary of eachday's experience, for one is very apt, for lack of something to put down, to write what is not true, or at least not real.
I believe there is nothing more stilted or untruthful, as a general rule, than a religious diary-it easily degenerates intoself-deceit. Still, most days, it not all our days, reveal singular instances of Providence if we will but watch for them.Master Flavel used to say, "He that notices Providences shall never be without a Providence to notice." I believe we let ourdays glide by us unobservant of the wondrous things that are in them and so miss many enjoyments. As in Nature the uneducatedperson sees but little beauty in the wild flowers-
"The primrose by the river's brim, A yellow primrose is to him, And it is nothing more,"
so we, for lack of thought, let great mercies go by us. They are trivial to us, and nothing more. Oh, let us change our waysand think more of what God has done, and then we shall utter a song concerning His faithfulness every night!
Do you notice, in the text, that word, "every." It does not say, "to show forth His loving kindness every morning," thoughit means that. But concerning the nights it is very distinct. "And His faithfulness every night." It is a cold night. DidHe not promise winter? And now it has come, the cold only proves His faithfulness. It is a dark night, but then it is a partof His Covenant that there should be nights as well as days. Supposing that there were no nights and no winters- where werethe Covenant which God made with the earth? But every change of temperature in the beautiful changes of the year, and everyvariation of light and shade only illustrate the faithfulness of God!
If you happen, now, to be full of joy, you can tell of Divine faithfulness in rendering love and mercy to you, but if, onthe other hand, you are full of trouble, tell of God's faithfulness, for now you have an opportunity of proving it! He willnot leave you. He will not forsake you. His Word is, "When you pass through the rivers I will be with you: the floods shallnot overflow you." Depend upon it, that promise will be faithfully fulfilled. Beloved Friends, you who are getting old arenearing the night of life, you are peculiarly fitted to show forth the Lord's faithfulness. The young people may tell of Hisloving kindness, but the old people must tell of His faithfulness. You can speak of 40 or 50 years of God's Grace to you!And you can confidently affirm that He has not once failed you. He has been true to every Word that He has spoken.
Now, I charge you, do not withhold your testimony! If we, young people, should be silent we would be guilty, but we mightspeak, perhaps, another day. But for you advanced Christians to be silent will be sinful, indeed, for you will not have anotheropportunity in this world of showing forth the faithfulness of God. Bear witness now, before your eyes are closed in death!The faithfulness of God every night is a noble subject for His gray-headed servants. And this it is your great business toshow forth. O Beloved, let us publish abroad the faithfulness of God! I wonder, sometimes, that there should be any doubtsin the world about the doctrine of the Final Perseverance of the saints-and I think the reason why there are any is this-thoseprofessors who fall are very conspicuous, everybody knows about them.
If a high-flying professor makes a foul end of his boasts, why, that is talked of everywhere! They speak of it in Gath andpublish it in the streets of Askelon! But, on the other hand, those thousands of true Believers that hold on their way, theycannot, of course, say much about themselves. It would not be right they should, but I wish they would, sometimes, say moreabout the unfailing goodness and immutable truthfulness of God-to be a check to the effect produced by back-sliders-so thatthe world may know that the Lord does not cast away His people whom He did foreknow, but that He gives strength to them evenin their fainting and bears them through.
If there is any one topic that you Christians ought to speak about thankfully, bravely, positively, continuously, it is thefaithfulness of God to you! It is that upon which Satan makes a dead aim in the minds of many tempted ones and,
therefore, to that you should bring the strength of your testimony, that tried saints may know that He does not forsake Hispeople.
III. And now, to close, I desire in the name of God's people here present, TO SHOW FORTH GOD'S FAITHFULNESS THIS VERY NIGHT.My Brothers and Sisters, as a Church, let us declare how faithful God has been to us! Our
history as a Church has been very wonderful. When we were few and feeble, and brought low, God appeared for us. Then we beganto prosper and we began, also, to pray. And what prayers they were! Surely the more we prayed the more God blessed us. Wehave now had almost 20 years of uninterrupted blessing. We have had no fits and starts. We have not sponsored revivals andretreats-but onward has been our course, in the name of God, a steady, continued progress- like the growth of a cedar uponLebanon.
Up to this time God has always heard prayer in this place. This very building was an answer to prayer. There is scarcely aninstitution connected with it but what can write upon its banner, "We have been blessed by a prayer-hearing God." It has becomeour habit to pray and it is God's habit to bless us. Oh, let us not waver! Let us not hesitate! If we do, we shall be straitenedin ourselves, but not in God. God will not leave us while we prove Him in His own appointed way. If we will but continue mightyin earnest intercession, we may, as a Church, enjoy another 20 years, if it so pleases God, of equal or greater prosperity!If ever there was a spot on earth where it became men to speak well of a faithful God, it is the spot where I stand, and Ido speak of it to His Glory!
We have used no carnal attractions to gather people together to worship here. We have procured nothing to please their tasteby way of elaborate music, fine dress, painted windows, processions and the like. We have used the Gospel of Jesus withoutany rhetorical embellishments, simply spoken as a man speaks to his friend-and God has blessed it-and He will bless it still!Now, dear Friends, each one of you can say of yourselves, as well as of the Church, that God has been faithful to you. Tellit to your children. Tell them God will save sinners when they come to Him, for He saved you! Tell it to your neighbors. Tellthem He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we confess them to Him, and to save us from all unrighteousness, forHe forgave you.
Tell every trembler you meet with that Jesus will in nowise cast out any that come to Him. Tell all seekers that if they seekthey shall find, and that to everyone that knocks, the door of mercy shall be opened. Tell the most desponding and despairingthat Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the very chief. Make known His faithfulness every night. And whenyour last night comes and you gather up your feet in the bed, like Jacob, let your last testimony be to the Lord's faithfulness!And like glorious old Joshua, end your life by saying, "Not one good thing has failed of all the Lord God has promised, butall has come to pass."
The Lord bless you, dear Friends, and give you all to know His loving kindness and His faithfulness. Amen and Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Psalm 92.