Sermon 1334. Coming-Always Coming
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"To whom coming." 1 Peter 2:4.
THE Apostle is speaking of the Lord Jesus, of whom he had previously said, "If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious,"and He follows that sentence up with this, "To whom coming as unto a living stone." Now, I want to call your special attentionto this present participle-this act of coming-for there is much to counsel and to comfort us in the fact and the reflectionsit suggests. The Christian life is begun, continued and perfected altogether in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ! Thisis a very great blessing for us. Sometimes when you go on a journey, you travel so far under the protection of a certain Company-butthen you have to change and the rest of your journey may be performed under very different circumstances-upon quite anotherkind of line.
Now we have not to go just so far to Heaven in the guardian care of Jesus Christ and then at a certain point to change, soas to have somebody else to be our leader, or some other method of salvation. No, He is the Author and He is the Finisherof our faith. If we begin aright, we go on aright-we go on with "Christ is All." And if we finish aright we finish with "Christis All." It was a great delusion of some, in Paul's day, that after they had begun in the Spirit, they hoped to be made perfectin the flesh. And there are some, nowadays, who begin as sinners resting upon Christ-but they want to go on as independentsaints, resting on themselves.
That will never do, Brothers and Sisters. It is not, "Christ and Company." The sinner knows that it must be Christ only, becausehe has nothing of his own. And the saint ought to know that it must be only Christ because he has less than nothing apartfrom Christ! I believe that if we grow out of Christ we grow in an unhealthy mushroom fashion. What we need is to grow upinto Christ in all things, knowing Him more and more and being more and more satisfied that He is what we need. This is reallya healthy growth and may God send more and more of it to us as long as we live!
Blessed be His holy name! With us it is Christ in the morning, when we are young and full of strength. It is Christ at noon,when we are bearing the burden and heat of the day. And it is Christ at eventide, when we lean on the staff for very age andthe shadows lengthen and the light is dim. Yes, and it shall be only Christ when the night settles down and shades of deathcurtain our last bed. In all circumstances and conditions we look only to Jesus! Are we wealthy? Christ crowns it. Are wein poverty? Christ cheers it. Are we in honor? Christ calms us. Are we in shame? Christ consoles us. Are we in health? Hesanctifies it. Are we in sickness? He relieves it.
As He is at all times the same in Himself so He is the same to us. To the same Christ we must come and cling under every newcircumstance. Our heart must abide faithful to her one only Lord and lovingly sing-
"I'll turn to You in days of light As well as nights of care. You are brightest amid all that's bright, You are fairest ofthe fair!"
We have not to seek a fresh physician, to find a new friend, or to discover a novel hope, but we are to look for everythingto Jesus Christ, "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." "You are complete in Him." Stand to this, my Brothers and Sisters!Never think that you need anything beyond the provision which is stored up in Him for sanctification, for satisfaction, orfor safety! Cast not your eyes around you to find a supplement to the Lord Jesus, or you will deceive yourselves and dishonorHim.
It is not with our Lord as it was with Moses. Moses led the people through the wilderness, but he could not bring them intothe promised land-that was reserved for Joshua. Brothers and Sisters, the Lord Jesus has led you so far through the wildernessand He will lead you over the Jordan and secure your heritage for you! He will see you safely landed in it-look not, therefore,for any other leader or lawgiver! It is not with Christ as it was with David. David
collected the materials for the temple, but though he could gather together vast stores of great value, he could not buildthem up, for the Lord said that this honor should be reserved for his son that should be after Him and, therefore,, the constructionof the temple was left for Solomon.
But our Lord Jesus Christ, blessed be His name, has not only gathered together His people and the precious treasures withwhich He is to build a living temple unto God, but He will also build it, stone upon stone, and bring forth the top stonewith shouting! He shall build the temple of the Lord and He shall bear the Glory! Christ in the Christian's alphabet is A,B, C right down to Z-and all the words of the pure language of Canaan are only compounds of Himself! Has He not said it, "Iam Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end"?
Our text speaks about coming to Him and I shall endeavor to expound it to you thus. This is a full picture of Christian life.I consider it to be a complete picture of a saint drawn with one stroke. It is not easy to make a portrait with one line,yet I remember seeing a somewhat famous portrait of our Lord in which the artist never lifted his pencil from the paper frombeginning to end. He drew the whole of it with one continuous series of circles. So here I may say the whole Christian lifeis drawn in one line-coming unto Christ. "To whom coming."
When we have spoken upon that, I shall answer two questions. The first-what is the best way of coming to Him at first? Theother-what is the best way of coming to Him afterwards? May the Holy Spirit bless the whole discourse to our souls.
I. First, then, HERE IS A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. It is a continuous "coming" to Jesus. If you have yourBibles open at the text, I want you to notice that the expression occurs in connection with two figures. There is one whichprecedes it in the second verse, namely, the figure of a little child fed upon milk. "As newborn babes, desire the sinceremilk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming." Childrencome to their parents and they frequently come rather longer than their parents like-it is the general habit of children tocome to their parents for what they need.
They begin with coming to the mothers when they are newborn babes. Look at the little child. It cannot provide for itself.If it were left to shift for itself, it must die. But having tasted the unadulterated milk, it thirsts for more of it. Whenthe time comes round for it to be fed, and it comes very often, it gives unmistakable signs even before it can speak thatit needs its food! It knows where to come and it will not rest till it reaches its place and nestles down. As the child growsup it knows the breakfast hour, the dinner hour and knows where to come for the grateful meal and the hearty welcome. Youdo not need, in most of your houses, I suspect, to ring a bell to call your children together to the family table! They allcarry little interior bells which let them know pretty accurately when mealtimes are and they come freely, without persuadingor forcing.
Some of them are now getting to be 15 or 16 years of age and they still keep on coming! They come to your table just as theyused to come. When first you had to lift them into their little chairs, they were coming. And now they take their big chairsas if they quite belonged to them-and they still keep on coming! Yes, and they come to you not only for bread and for meat,but they come for a great many things besides. In fact, the older they grow, the more they come! They used to come for littleshoes and little garments, but now they need them cut of a larger size and of more expensive material-and they come accordingly.Though they cost you more, they come with greater freedom, for habit has made them very bold in their coming!
They do not require any entreaty or encouragement to come for what they need-they look for many things as a matter of course-andfor the rest they come with all the readiness imaginable. Perhaps they let you know their desires a little sooner than youneed them to, and when you think that they might manage a little longer with what they have, they press their claims withearnestness and vote them urgent! They very soon find out their requirements-you never have to call them together and say,"Now girls, I need you to earnestly consider whether you really need more dresses. Now boys, I need you to lay it to heartwhether you really require new clothes."
Oh, nothing of the sort! Your children do not need to be called in such a way. They come without calling! They are alwayscoming for something, as you very well know! Sometimes they constrain you to put your hands into your pockets so frequentlyand for such a variety of expenses that you wonder how long the purse will hold out and when your resources will be exhausted!Of one thing you feel quite sure-it will be easier to drain your purse than to stop your
children from coming for one thing or another! They come to you, now, for a great many things they did not come for at first.It seems that there is no end to the things they come for, and I believe there is no end at all.
Some of them, I know, continue to come after they have got beyond their boyish years. Though you have a notion, I suppose,that they might shift for themselves, they are still coming for sovereigns where shillings used to suffice! There was a timewhen you could put them to bed at night with the reflection that you had found them food and raiment and house and home. Youknew your expenses-but now the big fellows come to you with such heavy demands that you can hardly see the end of it! So itis. They are always coming!
Now, in all this long talk I have been showing you how to understand the figure of coming to Christ. Just what your childrenbegan to do from the first moment you fixed your eyes on them-and what they have continued to do ever since-that is just whatyou are to do with the Lord Jesus Christ! You are to be always coming to Him-coming to Him for spiritual food! Coming to Himfor spiritual garments! Coming to Him for washing, guiding, help and health! Coming, in fact, for everything! You will bewise if, the older you grow, the more you come-and He will be all the better pleased with you.
If you discover other needs, come for more than you used to come for! You will prove, thereby, that you better understandand appreciate what manner of love it is that you should be called the sons of God. "He that spared not His own Son, but deliveredHim up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Has He not said to you, "Open your mouth wideand I will fill it"? It is rather strange that you never have to tell your children to do that! They do it without any telling-butyou have been told to do it and yet you do not do it! Our Lord complains, "you have not called upon Me, O Jacob."
The infinite liberality of your heavenly Father has urged you to make great requests of Him and yet you have stuttered andstammered and been afraid to ask! He now tells you that "you have not because you ask not." Beloved, let us learn from ourchildren, and let it be the habit of our lives to be incessantly coming to the heavenly Father-coming more often, coming formore reasons, coming for larger blessings, coming with greater expectations, coming in one lifelong perpetual coming-and allbecause He bids us come!
If you will look again at your Bibles, you will get a second illustration from the fourth and fifth verses, "To whom comingas unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. You also, as living stones, are built upa spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Here we havethe figure of a building. A building comprises, first, a foundation, and then the stones which are brought to the foundationand are built upon it.
This furnishes a very beautiful picture of Christian life. I have read that there has been discovered beneath Jerusalem animmense cavern or quarry near the Damascus gate. Travelers who have been into this quarry say that there are niches in thelive rock out of which the magnificent stones were cut with which Solomon's temple was built. The temple is up there on thetop of the rock, and then far down in the quarry can distinctly be seen where the huge stones used to be. Now there was aprocess of coming by which each stone came to the foundation. Some stones that were expected to form part of the buildingnever reached it-there is one huge stone of that sort in the Bezetha cavern right now.
It is still there for this reason-though it is squared and chiseled on the front and two sides and also on the top and thebottom-yet it has never been cut away at the back. And so it cleaves to the rock of which it is naturally a part and remainsin its original darkness. Now, the passage that I would like you to think of is that in the 51st chapter of Isaiah- "Lookunto the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug." There are many here present whohave been cut off from the rock and lifted up out of the horrible pit! And since the early operation of Divine Grace theyhave been coming and coming till they have reached the Foundation-and are built up as living stones in the temple which isestablished upon Christ!
But there are others of you who need further excavating. God has begun His work upon you. He has used sharp tools and begunto separate you from the world-it has taken a long time to get you cut away from the rock, even in part. You used to be altogethersinful and earth-bound. You lived in worldliness, just as the stone formed a part of the rock. God has been using His greatchisel upon you. He has cut you away and separated you, to a great extent, from your fellow men. But still, at the back, insecret, your heart cleaves to sin! You have not given up the darling lust of your heart
and, therefore,, you are not quarried yet. And you cannot come to Christ, for that is impossible till you are separated fromthe rock of which you naturally form a part!
Oh, how I wish that almighty Grace would take the saw of the Word of God, tonight, and make clean cuts right across your stonyheart until you are sawn right off from the hard rock of sin that you may afterwards be made to come to Christ to be builtupon Him as your Foundation! That is how the work of Grace begins-by cutting loose the soul from the evil world of which ithas been a component part! This is part of the process by which the living stones are brought to rest on the Foundation, forit is clear that they cannot come to the Foundation till first they are removed from their native bed in the pit of sin. Oh,may God's Grace continue to take out many of this congregation like stones divided from the quarry, that so by Grace theymay come to Jesus!
Well, after they had cut out those stones in the quarry, which, with a little imagination, you can see lying there, detachedand distinct, the next operation was to pull them up to the top of Mount Zion. It was a long drag up to the summit of thehill. How Solomon managed to remove such enormous masses we do not know. If he had no machinery or motive force that couldsupersede manual labor, and the force on which he relied was in the sinews of men, the matter is all the more amazing! Theymust have pulled away, perhaps, many thousands of them at one single stone, hauling it out of the pit, dragging it up thezigzag roads till, at last, the gigantic mass reached its place.
Now, there is a lifting, a drawing of the soul to Christ after this fashion and I see among you some who have recently beendrawn. You have not been dragged by men. All the men in the world could not draw a sinner to Christ! No machinery is knownor will ever be invented that can ever draw a proud, stubborn will to Christ! We may tug and pull till we break the ropes,but we shall never make a soul stir one inch toward Christ! But there is another power which can accomplish the work impossibleto us. "I, if I am lifted up," says Christ, "will draw all men unto Me." He has such attractive power that He draws the stonesout of the quarry of nature, right up to the Foundation which His free Grace has laid in Zion and they are built upon Him.This is the second part of the work of Grace in the soul-first it separates us from the rock, and then it draws us up to theFoundation. And in both it is working out our coming to Christ.
Well, we have watched the stone as it has been carried up. What is the next process? Why, the next work is to let it downso that it lies in due order upon the foundation. The foundation of the temple very likely was far below the adjacent soiland so this mass of stone had to be let down to the foundation steadily and wisely, that it might rest in its proper bed.What a task it is sometimes-to let a huge stone down upon the foundation-and to get it to lie square and true so that everybit of it is in its proper position with the rest of the structure!
Picture the process in your mind's eye. We have got the stone upon the base, but half of it projects beyond the foundationand, so far, it has nothing to lean upon. That will never do. It must be moved till it lies plumb with the foundation, exactlysquare with the other stones-and till every portion of it rests firmly on its proper bed. Oh, dear Hearts, this is one workwhich the Grace of God has to do with you-to bring you to lie upon Christ, to recline upon Christ, and that wholly, rightly,and squarely!
It takes a long time to bring some sinners to this. They want to be propped up with a little bit of self-righteousness! Theycannot be induced to lie right square upon Christ-they want to tilt a little, have a little shoring up with their own doingsand a little dependence on themselves-but this will never do! "To whom coming," says the text, "coming as to a living stone."Oh, that almighty Grace would constrain you all to be coming till you lie flat and square on Christ! Till you have Christat one corner and Christ at the other corner-and Christ at all the four corners where your soul lies- till you are restingon the Lord Jesus Christ at all times, in all respects, under all circumstances, for everything! Other Foundation can no manlay! You must be sure that you rest wholly upon Jesus!
"Bless the Lord," says one, "I know I have come as far as that! Can I get any farther?" Well, look, Brother, as long as everthat huge stone lies on the foundation it is always coming to the foundation! Its own weight is always pressing it down uponthe foundation and the heavier it is, the more closely and compactly it lies. I feel myself, now, to be more close to Christthan ever I was! My weight of sin helps to press me down on Him. My weight of trouble, my weight of care, my weight of anxietyabout the souls of my hearers and even my weight of joy all help me to press more on my Lord! The way to be coming to Christ,Brothers and Sisters, as long as you live, is to lean more on Christ, press more heavily on Christ, and depend more upon Christthan ever before!
In this way, you know, some stones seem, by long abiding and pressing, to cleave to one another and unite together till theyappear to be no longer distinct, but one mass. Have you not often noticed in an old Roman wall that you cannot distinguishthe mortar from the stone? You cannot tell where the stones were joined-they have grown to be one piece. And blessed is thatChristian who, like a living stone, has continued so to come to the Foundation till Christ and he have become one, as it were!Yes, one in conscious fact, so that nothing can divide them!
Thus we continue to come to Jesus and draw nearer to Him-nearer and yet nearer, still, built up into Him- perfectly joinedin one spirit. Then, only then, shall Christian life be perfected! These two figures of the babe and the stone have shownyou, I trust, what the text means. I have not gone far afield to find them-they lie, as you have seen, in the immediate context."To whom coming" is an apt description of the whole of Christian life-mind that you make it the rule of yours.
II. But now, secondly, I have to ANSWER THE QUESTION, what is the best way of coming to Christ at first? There are some poorhearts among you longing to be saved. "Ah," you say, "I hear that if I come to Christ I shall be saved. But how can I cometo Him? What do you mean by coming to Jesus?" Well, our reply is plain and clear-it is to trust Christ, to depend upon Him,to believe Him, to rely upon Him. Then they enquire, "But how can I come to Christ? In what way would you recommend me tocome?" The answer is, the very best way to come to Christ is to come with all your needs about you. If you could get rid ofhalf your needs apart from Christ, you would not come to Jesus half so well as you can with the whole of them pressing uponyou, for your need furnishes you with motives for coming and gives you pleas to urge.
Suppose a physician should come into a town with motives of pure benevolence to exercise the healing art? What he needs isnot to make money, but to bless the town. He does not intend to charge any or take any fees, but he lets it be known thathe has come into the town to display his skills. He has a love to his fellow men and he wants to cure them and, therefore,,he gives notice that as he only wishes for opportunities of displaying his kindness and skill, the poorest will be welcomeand the most diseased will be best received.
Now, then, who is the man that can come to the doctor's door with confidence and give a good rat-tat-tat and feel that hewill be welcome? Well, there is a person who has cut his finger-will the doctor rush into the surgery to attend to him? Nodoubt he will look at the cut, but he will not grow very enthusiastic over it, for doctors do not get much credit out of curingcut fingers! Here is another gratis patient who has a wart on his hand. Well, there is nothing very famous about curing wartsand the physician is by no means excited over this work! But here is a poor forlorn body who has been given up by all theother doctors-a patient who is so bad that he lies at Death's door! He has such a complication of diseases that he could hardlytell what diseases he has not suffered from-and certainly his condition is terrible enough to make it appear hopeless.
He seems to be a living wonder of disease. That is the man who may come boldly to the physician and expect his immediate attentionand his best consideration! Now, Doctor, if you can cure this man, he will be a credit to you! This man exactly answers toyour advertisement. You say that you only wish for patients who will give you an opportunity of displaying your skills. Hereis a fine object for your pity! He has bad lungs, bad heart, bad feet, bad eyes, bad ears, bad head, bad all over! If youdesire an opportunity of showing your skill, here is the man! Jesus, my Lord and Master, is the Great Physician of souls andHe heals them on just such terms as I have mentioned. Is there a far gone sinner here tonight? Is there a deeply sin-sicksoul anywhere within the range of my voice? Is there man or woman who is altogether bad? Come along, my Friends, you are justin a right condition to come to Jesus Christ! Come just as you are, that is the best style of "coming."
Another illustration may be furnished by the common Scriptural figure of a feast. A king determines to act with generosityand, to show how liberal his disposition is, he desires to make a banquet for those who need it most. He says, "If I makea great feast for my lords and dukes, they will think little of my hospitality, for they fare sumptuously everyday. ThereforeI will seek out guests who will be more likely to be grateful. Where shall I find guests who will most enjoy my dainties?Men who will eat with the greatest gusto and drink with the greatest delight?" Having considered the matter, he cries to hisheralds, "Go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in."
From among the tramps by the roadside the heralds soon gather starving wretches who exactly meet the king's wishes. Here isa poor man who has had nothing to eat for the last 48 hours. Look at his eager delight at the sight of the
food! If you want somebody to eat largely and joyfully, is not he the man? Look how he takes it in! It is wonderful how theprovisions disappear before him! Here, again, is a poor woman who has been picked up by the wayside, faint for lack of bread.She has scarcely any life in her, but look how she begins to open her eyes at the first morsel that is placed before her,and what delight there is in her every expression as she finds herself placed at a table so richly loaded!
Yes, the poorer, the more hungry, the more destitute the guests, the more honor is accorded to the king who feeds such mendicantsand receives such vagrants to his table. Hear how they shout the king's praises when they are filled with his meat! They willnever have done thanking him! Now, if I address a soul tonight that is very needy, very faint, very desponding, you are afit guest for my Master because you have such a fine appetite for His generous repast of love! The greatness of your needis your fitness for coming to Christ-and if you want to know how to come-come just as you are! Tarry not to improve yourselfone single atom-come as you are, with all your sin and filthiness and need about you-for that is the best way to come!
If you want to know how to come aright the first time, I should answer, come to find everything you need in Christ. Do notcome with a load of your own wealth. Remember what Pharaoh said to Joseph-"Also regard not your stuff; for the good of allthe land of Egypt is yours." Do not bring your old rubbish with you. "I thought I was to bring repentance." Do not attemptto do so, but look to Jesus for it! COMINGTO JESUS-ALWAYS COMING. Christ is exalted on high to give repentance and remissionof sins. Come and receive a heart of flesh, for you cannot make one for yourself!
"Oh, but I thought I was to bring faith." Faith, also, is the gift of Christ. It comes by hearing and hearing by the Wordof God. Draw near, then, to that Word to find faith. Come for everything. "Oh, but I want to feel." And then, I suppose, afteryou have found a nice lot of feelings you will come to Christ, and say, "Lord, You are now able to save me, for my feelingsare right"? What conceit! Come to Christ for feelings! Come to Christ for everything!
"What?" says one, "Can you mean it, that I, an unfeeling, impenitent wretch, am bid to come at once and believe in Jesus Christfor everlasting life?" I mean just that! I do not mean to send you round to that shop for repentance and to the other shopfor feeling-and to a third store for a tender heart-and then direct you to call on Christ, at last, for a few odds and ends.No, no, but come to Christ for everything!-
"Come, you needy, come and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify!
True belief and true repentance,
Every Grace that brings you near,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy." I heard of a shop, some time ago, in a country town where they sold everything, and the mansaid that he did not believe that there was anything a human being needed but what he could rig him out from top to toe. Well,I do not know whether that promise would have been carried out to the letter if it had been tried, but I know it is so withJesus Christ! He can supply you with all you need, for, "Christ is All." There is not a need your soul can possibly have butthe Lord Jesus Christ can supply it and the very best way to come, is to come to Him for everything! The best way to cometo Christ is to come meaning to get everything and to obtain all the plenitude of Grace which He has laid up in store-andpromised freely to give.
Some poor souls who come to Jesus Christ seem as if they need a little relief from fear, a hope that they may just get savedand a fair chance of going to Heaven when they die. Pray do not come in that way, my dear Friend! Come intending to obtainthe fullness of love, the uttermost of Grace! Some time ago, when there was a dinner given to poor people, they were toldto come and they should have all they could eat. Do you know what they did, some of them? There was not to be any dinner tillsix o'clock. Well, that they might have a noble appetite, they did not eat any breakfast-not they! They meant to get all theycould, now they had an opportunity, and so they came as hungry as possible.
Many years ago, I am told, it used to be the custom of the lord of the manor, in certain villages, on Christmas Day to givethe poor people a basin of food. The rule was that whatever basin was brought, his lordship always filled it. It was perfectlymarvelous how the basins grew, till at last, when some of the women came with their basins, the lord of the manor looked atthe huge bowls and wondered how they could dare to bring such huge vessels! But he was a man of a
generous heart-all he would say to his steward would be, "These people believe in my generosity. Go and fill their bowls.Fill and fill on till you have filled them all. As long as they bring their bowls none shall say that I denied them."
And now, when you go to Christ, take a spacious vessel of large prayer and great expectation! Enlarge your desire and makeup your mind to this-"I am not going in to be a miserable Christian, with barely enough Grace to keep me from open profanity,to whitewash me with a respectable profession and ensure me against the peril of everlasting perdition. I mean to take a higheraim and to seek a better portion! Gladly would I vie with saints and angels and be the most happy, the most useful, the mostjoyous, the most holy Christian that ever lived, if God will help me to be so."
I wish we had some of the old Methodist fire back among us again. Some of those dear old people, if they did not know much,used to enjoy much and when they went to hear a sermon they listened with a zest, for they received the Word of God as a freshinspiration-it was a lively oracle to them. The Gospel, as it was preached to them, awoke an echo in their hearts! They wereall alive to its good cheer and they shouted, "Amen, hallelujah, bless the Lord," as they heard it, for it went home to theirsouls!
Nowadays we are very proper and decorous in our behavior, all of us, and we are not a little critical in our tastes. As wepick up a crumb of the Gospel we like to know whether it is the real aerated bread baked in a tin, or whether it is the commonhousehold bread of the shops. The preacher is a "little odd" and he does not cut the bread exactly into dice pieces, and sowe do not like the manner of service, for we are rather fastidious and we air our own conceits by faultfinding. Because theLord's servant does not very daintily bring us our portion on a silver platter and hold it out to us, we curl our lips andsay, "No, thank you."
Oh, may God deliver us from the fashionable stiffness and artificial nonsense! May He revive in us the reality both of natureand Divine Grace so that we may come to His table of love with a good appetite! Modern Christians remind me of our boyishdays, when we went to bathe in the sea and used to dip our toes in the waves instead of taking a plunge head first. I am surethat to plunge right in is the best way with religion! Throw your whole soul into it and allow the glorious waves of everlastinglove to go right over your head! And then dive and swim in that sea which is bottomless and rejoice in the Lord with all yourheart!
But this mere dabbling about with goody-goody goodliness, instead of the grand old godliness, makes professors all of a shiverand they stand in doubt, as though they hardly liked it, and would rather get back to the world and put on their old clothesagain-only they are half afraid to do so. Oh, may the Lord grant us Divine Grace to come with all our needs to Him-to cometo Him for everything and to come determined to have everything that is to be had, and to go in for it thoroughly! That isthe way to come to Christ!
III. There remains one other question-WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO COME AFTERWARDS? The answer is-
Come just as you used to come! Brothers and Sisters, the text does not say that you have come to Christ, though that is true,but that you are coming-and you are to be always coming. The way to continue coming is to come in the same way as you cameat first. I have many things to say about this, but my time has gone and, therefore, I will not enlarge, but I will only putthem in brief.
I am persuaded that the only happy-the only safe way for a Christian to live is to live in daily dependence upon the mercyof God in Jesus Christ-just as he did when he was a babe in Grace and a stone newly drawn from the quarry of nature. I knowwhat it is to build up a nice structure of my own experience on the Foundation of Christ and to climb upon it instead of standingon my own foundation. If you were ever on the top of Snowdon, or some other high mountain, you will have noticed that to makethe standing a little higher they put up some wooden scaffold or other- some 10 or 12 feet of platform to increase the elevation-andthen everybody wants to get up on that platform.
Well, now, I have built my little platform on Christ. My own experience has made a very handsome edifice, I can tell you.I have felt, "Well, I know this and that and the other by experience," and I have been quite exalted. Sometimes, too, I havebuilt a platform of good works-"I have done something for Christ, after all." The proud flesh says, "Oh yes, you really haveperformed something you might talk about if you liked." Self-confidence has piled my platform up and it has been a very respectablelooking concern and I have even asked a few friends up.
But, do you know what has occurred? Why, I have felt my platform shake! It began to tremble! Stress of weather has rottedthe beams and the supports have begun to give way. And I have seen all my building tumble down-and I have gone down with it!And as I have gone down with it, I have thought, "It is all over with me now. I am going to crash
down, I do not know how far, but perhaps I shall fall to the bottom of the mountain." Instead of that I alighted on the topof the mountain. I did not fall very far, but came right down where it had been most sensible of me if I had always kept,namely, on terra firma, down on the solid earth!
I have noticed, lately, that a great many have been building some very pretty little wooden structures on the top of JesusChrist. I think they call them, "the higher life," if I rightly remember the name. I do not know of any life that is higherthan that of simple faith in Jesus Christ! As far as I am concerned, the highest life for me out of Heaven is the life ofa poor publican saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner." My very good friends are not content with this position, thoughhe who keeps it goes to his house justified more than boasters! Some friends built very high a little while ago-I thoughtthey would soon reach the moon! But certain of them went down in a very ugly way, I have heard, and I am afraid some morewill go down if they do not mind what they are doing.
Give up building these artificial elevations! Give up resting on them and just stand on the level of Christ's finished work,the blood of Christ shed for sinners-the righteousness of Christ imputed to sinners! Be yours the humble plea-
"I am the chief of sinners, But Jesus died for me."
He that is down there will never fall-and he who stays there is really as high up as the man who thinks he is all aloft! Allabove living by faith in Christ is mere dream and moonshine! There is nothing higher, after all, than just being nobody, andChrist being everybody, and singing with poor Jack, the huckster-
"I'm a poor sinner, and nothing at all, But Jesus Christ is my All in All." If you grow till you are less than nothing, youare full grown, but few have reached that stage! And if you grow till Christ is everything to you, you are in your prime!But, alas, how far short of this do most men fall! The Lord bring you to that highest of all growths-to be daily coming toChrist-always empty in yourself, but full in Him! Always weak in yourself, but strong in Him! Always nothing in self, butChrist your perpetual All in All! The Lord keep you there, Brothers and Sisters, and He will have praise and glory of you,both now and forever. Amen.