Sermon 1560. The Plain Man's Pathway To Peace
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE NEWINGTON.
"And when Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying and saying, You son of Da vid, have mercy on us! Andwhen He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus said unto them, Do you believe that I am able to dothis? They said unto Him, Yes, Lord. Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And theireyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no one knows it." Matthew 9:27-30.
I AM not about to expound this incident, nor to draw illustrations from it, but only to direct your attention to one singlepoint in it and that is, its extreme simplicity. There are other cases of blind men and we have various incidents connectedwith them, such as, in one instance, the making of clay and the sending of the patient to wash at the pool of Siloam and soforth. But here the cure is extremely simple-the men are blind, they cry to Jesus, they come near, they confess their faithand they receive their sight straightway! In many other cases of miracles that were worked by Christ there were circumstancesof difficulty. In one case a man is let down through the roof, being borne of four; in a second case a woman comes behindHim in the press and touches the hem of His garment with great effort.
We read of another who had been dead four days and there seemed to be a clear impossibility in the way of his ever comingforth from the tomb. But everything is plain sailing here. Here are blind men, conscious of their blindness, confident thatChrist can give them sight. They cry to Him, they come to Him, they believe that He is able to open their eyes and they receivetheir sight at once! You see there was, in their case, these simple elements-a sense of blindness, a desire for sight-thenprayer, then coming to Christ, then an open avowal of faith and then the cure. The whole matter lies in a nutshell. Thereare no details, no points of care and nicety which might suggest anxiety-the whole business is simplicity, itself, and uponthat one point I want to dwell at this time.
There are cases of conversion which are just as simple as this case of the opening of the eyes of the blind and we are notto doubt the reality of the work of Grace in them because of the remarkable absence of amazing incidents and striking details.We are not to suppose that a conversion is a less genuine work of the Holy Spirit because it is extremely simple. May theHoly Spirit bless our meditation.
I. To make our discourse useful to many I will begin by remarking, in the first place, that it is an undoubted fact that MANYPERSONS ARE MUCH TROUBLED IN COMING TO CHRIST. It is a fact which must be admitted-that all do not come quite so readily asthese blind men came. There are instances on record in biographies-there are many known to us and, perhaps, our own casesare among them-in which coming to Christ was a matter of struggle, of effort, of disappointment, of long waiting and, at last,of a kind of desperation by which we were forced to come.
You must have read Mr. John Bunyan's description of how the pilgrims came to the wicket gate. They were pointed, you remember,by Evangelist to a light and to a gate and they went that way according to his bidding. I have told you, sometimes, the storyof a young man in Edinburgh who was very anxious to speak to others about their souls, so he addressed himself one morningto an old Musselburgh fishwife and he began by saying to her, "Here you are with your burden." "Yes," she said. He asked her,"Did you ever feel a spiritual burden?" "Yes," she said, resting a bit, "I felt the spiritual burden years ago, before youwere born, and I got rid of it, too. But I did not go the same way to work that Bunyan's pilgrim did."
Our young friend was greatly surprised to hear her say that and thought she must be under grievous error and therefore beggedher to explain. "No," she said, "when I was under concern of soul, I heard a true Gospel minister who bade
me look to the Cross of Christ and there I lost my load of sin. I did not hear one of those milk-and-water preachers likeBunyan's Evangelist." "How," said our young friend, "do you make that out?" "Why, that Evangelist, when he met the man withthe burden on his back, said to him, 'Do you see that wicket gate?' 'No,' he said, 'I don't.' 'Do you see that light?' 'Ithink I do.' Why, man," she said, "he should not have spoken about wicket gates or lights, but he should have said, 'Do yousee Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross? Look to Him and your burden will fall off your shoulders.'
"He sent that man round the wrong way when he sent him to the wicket gate and much good he got by it, for he was likely tohave been choked in the Slough of Despond before long! I tell you, I looked at once to the Cross and away went my burden.""What?" said this young man, "Did you never go through the Slough of Despond?" "Ah," said she, "many a time, more than I careto tell. But at the first I heard the preacher say, 'Look to Christ,' and I looked to Him. I have been through the Sloughof Despond since that-but let me tell you, Sir, it is much easier to go through that slough with your burden off than it iswith your burden on!"
And so it is! Blessed are they whose eyes are only and altogether on the Crucified! The older I grow the more sure I am ofthis, that we must have done with self in all forms and see Jesus, only, if we would be at peace. Was John Bunyan wrong? Certainlynot! He was describing things as they generally are. Was the old woman wrong? No! She was perfectly right-she was describingthings as they ought to be and as I wish they always were. Still, experience is not always as it ought to be and much of theexperience of Christians is not Christian experience! It is a fact which I lament, but, nevertheless, must admit, that a largenumber of persons, before they come to the Cross and lose their burden, go round about no end of a way, trying this plan andthat plan with but very slender success, after all, instead of coming straightway to Christ just as they are, looking to Himand finding light and life at once.
How is it, then, that some are so long in getting to Christ? I answer, first, in some cases it is ignorance. Perhaps thereis no subject upon which men are so ignorant as the Gospel. Is it not preached in hundreds of places? Yes, thank God, it is,and illustrated in no end of books. But still men come not at it so-neither hearing nor reading can, of themselves, discoverthe Gospel. It needs the teaching of the Holy Spirit, or else men still remain in ignorance as to this simplicity- this simplicityof salvation by faith! Men are in the dark and do not know the way and so they run here and there and oftentimes go roundabout to find a Savior who is ready, then and there, to bless them!
They cry, "Oh that I knew where I might find Him!" when, if they did but understand the Truth of God, His salvation is nearthem, "in their mouth and in their heart." If with their heart they will believe on the Lord Jesus and with their mouth makeconfession of Him, they shall be saved then and there! In many cases, too, men are hindered by prejudice. People are broughtup with the belief that salvation must be through ceremonies and if they get driven out of that, they still conclude thatit must certainly be in some measure by their works. Numbers of people have learned a sort of half-and-half Gospel, part Lawand part Grace, and they are in a thick fog about salvation.
They know that redemption has something to do with Christ, but it is much of a mixture with them-they do not quite see thatit is all Christ or no Christ! They have a notion that we are saved by Grace, but they do not yet see that salvation mustbe of Grace from top to bottom. They fail to see that in order that salvation may be of Grace it must be received by faithand not through the works of the Law, nor by priestcraft, nor by any rites and ceremonies whatever. Being brought up to believethat surely there is something for them to do, it is long before they can get into the clear, blessed sunlight of the Wordof God where the child of God sees Christ and finds liberty.
"Believe and live" is a foreign language to a soul which is persuaded that its own works are, in a measure, to win eternallife. With many, indeed, the hindrance lies in downright bad teaching. The teaching that is so common, nowadays, is very dangerous.The service makes no distinction between saint and sinner. Certain prayers are used every day which are meant for saints andsinners, too-ready-made clothes-made to fit everybody and fitting nobody at all. These prayers suit neither saint nor sinner,thoroughly beautiful as they are and grand as they are-they bring people up under the notion and delusion that they are somewherein a condition between being saved and being lost-not actually lost, certainly, but yet not quite saints-they are betweenites,mongrels!
They are a sort of Samaritan that fears the Lord and serves other gods and who hopes to be saved by a mixture of Grace andworks. It is hard to bring men to Grace, alone, and faith, alone-they will stand with one foot on the sea and the other footon the land. Much of teaching goes to buoy them up in the notion that there is something in man and something to be done byhim and, therefore, they do not learn in their own souls that they must be saved by Christ and
not by themselves. Besides that, there is the natural pride of the human heart. We do not like to be saved by charity. Wemust have a finger in it! We get pushed into a corner-we are driven farther and farther away from self-confidence, but wehang on by our teeth if we cannot find a hold by any other means!
With awful desperation we trust in ourselves. We will cling by our eyelashes to the semblance of self-confidence! We willnot give up carnal confidence if it is possible to hold it. Then comes in, with our pride, opposition to God, for the humanheart does not love God and it frequently shows its opposition by opposing Him about the plan of salvation. The enmity ofthe unrenewed heart is not displayed by actual open sin in all cases, for many, by their very growing up, have been made tobe moral-but they hate God's plan of Grace and Grace, alone-and here their gall and bitterness begin to work. How they willwrithe in their seats if the minister preaches Divine Sovereignty! They hate the text, "He will have mercy on whom He willhave mercy and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion."
They talk of the rights of fallen men and of all being treated equally-and when it comes to Sovereignty and God's manifestingHis Grace according to His own absolute will-they cannot endure it! If they tolerate God at all, it shall not be on the Throne.If they acknowledge His existence, yet not as King of kings and Lord of lords who does as He wills and has a right to pardonwhom He reserves and to leave the guilty, if it so pleases Him, to perish in their guiltiness, rejecting the Savior. Ah, theheart loves not God as God, as revealed in Scripture, but makes a god unto itself and cries, "These are your gods, O Israel."
In some instances the struggle of the heart in getting to Christ, I have no doubt, arises from a singularity of mental conformationand such cases ought to be looked upon as exceptions and by no means regarded as rules. Now take, for instance, the case ofJohn Bunyan, to which we have referred. If you read, "Grace Abounding," you will find that, for five years or more, he wasthe subject of the most fearful despair-tempted by Satan, tempted by his own self-always raising difficulties against himself.And it was long, long, long before he could come to the Cross and find peace. But then, dear Friends, it is to the last degreeimprobable that either you or I will ever turn out to be John Bunyans. We may become tinkers, but we shall never write a Pilgrim'sProgress! We might imitate him in his poverty, but we are not likely to emulate him in his genius.
A man with such an imagination, full of wondrous dreams, is not born every day and when he does come along, his inheritanceof brain is not all a gain in the direction of a restful life. When Bunyan's imagination had been purified and sanctified,its masterly productions were seen in his marvelous allegories! But while, as yet, he had not been renewed and reconciledto God-with such a mind so strangely formed, so devoid of all education and brought up, as he had been, in the roughest society-hewas dowered with a fearful heritage. That marvelous fancy would have worked him wondrous woe if it had not been controlledby the Divine Spirit! Do you wonder that, in coming to the day, those eyes which had been veiled in such dense darkness couldscarcely bear the light and that the man should think the darkness all the darker when the light began to shine upon him?Bunyan was one by himself-not the rule, but the exception.
Now, you, dear Friend, may be an odd person. Very likely you are and I can sympathize with you, for I am odd enough, myself.But do not lay down a law that everybody else must be odd, too. If you and I did happen to go round by the back ways, do notlet us think that everybody ought to follow our bad example. Let us be very thankful that some people's minds are less twistedand gnarled than ours and do not let us set up our experience as a standard for other people. No doubt difficulties may arisefrom an extraordinary quality of mind with which God may have gifted some, or a depression of spirit natural to others-andthese may make them peculiar as long as they live.
Besides, there are some who are kept from coming to Christ through remarkable assaults of Satan. You remember the story ofthe child whom his father would bring to Jesus, but, "as he was a coming, the devil threw him down and tore him"? The evilspirit knew that his time was short and he must soon be expelled from his victim and, therefore, he cast him on the groundand made him wallow in epilepsy and left him half dead. So does Satan with many men. He sets upon them with all the brutalityof his fiendish nature and expends his malice upon them because he fears that they are about to escape from his service andhe will no longer be able to tyrannize over them. As Watts says-
"He worries whom He can't devour, With a malicious joy."
Now, if some come to Christ and the devil is not permitted to assail them; if some come to Christ and there is nothing strangeabout their experience; if some come to Christ and pride and opposition have been conquered in their nature; if some cometo Christ and they are not ignorant but well instructed and readily see the light, let us rejoice that it is so! It is ofsuch that I am now about to speak somewhat more at length.
II. It is admitted as an undoubted fact that many are much troubled in coming to Christ but now, secondly, THIS IS
NOT AT ALL ESSENTIAL TO A REAL SAVING COMING TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. I mention this because I
have known Christian men distressed in heart because they fear that they came to Christ too easily. They have half imagined,as they looked back, that they could not have been converted at all because their conversion was not attended with such agonyand torment of mind as others speak of.
I would first remark that it is very difficult to see how despairing feelings can be essential to salvation! Look for a minute.Can it be possible that unbelief can help a soul to faith? Is it not certain that the anguish which many experience beforethey come to Christ arises from the fact of their unbelief? They do not trust-they say they cannot trust-and so they are likethe troubled sea which cannot rest. Their mind is tossed to and fro and vexed sorely through unbelief. Is this a foundationfor holy trust? It would seem to me the oddest thing in all the world that unbelief should be a preparation for faith! Howcan it be that to sow the ground with thistle seed should make it more ready for the good corn? Are fire and sword helpersto national prosperity? Is deadly poison an assistance to health?
I do not understand it. It seems to me to be far better for the soul to believe the Word of God at once and far more likelyto be a genuine work when the soul, convicted of sin, accepts the Savior. Here is God's way of salvation and He demands thatI trust His dear Son who died for sinners. I perceive that Christ is worthy to be trusted, for He is the Son of God-so thatHis sacrifice must be able to put away my sin. I perceive, also, that He laid down His life in the place of His people and,therefore, I heartily trust Him. God bids me trust Him and I trust Him without any further question. If Jesus Christ satisfiesGod, He certainly satisfies me! And, asking no further question, I come and trust myself with Him.
Does not this kind of action appear to have about it all that can be necessary? Can it possibly be that a raging, raving despaircan ever be helpful towards saving faith? I do not see it. I cannot think it! Some have been beaten about with most awfulthoughts. They have supposed that God could not possibly forgive them-they have imagined that, even if He could pardon themHe would not since they were not His elect, nor His redeemed! Though they have seen the Gospel invitation written in lettersof love-"Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," they dare to question whether theyshould find rest if they came and they invent suspicions and surmises, some of them amounting, even, to blasphemy againstthe Character of God and the Person of His Christ!
That such people have been forgiven according to the riches of Divine Grace I do verily believe, but that their sinful thoughtsever helped them to obtain pardon I cannot imagine! That my own dark thoughts of God, which left many a scar upon my spirit,were washed away with all my other sins, I know. And that there was never any good in those things, or that I can look backupon them without shame and regret is also a thing I know! I cannot see of what particular service they could have been toanybody! Shall one bath of ink take out the stain of another? Can our sin be removed by our sinning more? It is impossiblethat sin could aid Grace and that the greatest of all sins, the sin of unbelief, should help towards faith!
Yet, once again, dear Friends, much of all this struggling and tumult within which some have experienced is the work of thedevil, as I have already said. Can it be essential to salvation for a man to be under the influence of Satan? Is it necessarythat the devil should come in to help Christ? Is it absolutely essential for the black fingers of the devil to be seen atwork with the lily hands of the Redeemer? Impossible! That is not my judgment of the work of Satan nor will it, I think, beyours if you will look at it. If you never were driven either to blasphemy or despair by Satan, thank God you never were!You would have gained nothing by it-you would have been a serious loser. Let no man imagine that if he had been the prey oftormenting suggestions his conversion would have more marks of the Truth of God about it-no mistake can be more groundless!
It cannot be that the devil can be of any service to anyone among you. He will do you damage and nothing but damage. Everyblow he strikes, hurts but does not heal. Mr. Bunyan, himself says, when he speaks of Christian fighting with Apollyon, that,though he won the victory, he was no gainer by it. A man had better go many miles round about, over hedge and ditch, soonerthan once come into conflict with Apollyon! All that is essential to conversion is found in the
simpler way of coming at once to Jesus and, as to anything else, we must face it, if it comes, but certainly not look forit! It is easy to see how Satanic temptation hampers and how it keeps men in bondage when otherwise they might be at liberty,but what good it can do, in itself, it would be difficult to tell.
Once again, many instances prove that all this law work and doubting and fearing and despairing and being tormented by Satanare not essential because there are scores and hundreds of Christians who came at once to Christ, as these two blind men didand, to this very day, know very little about those things. I could, if it were proper, call upon Brothers and Sisters whoare around me at this moment who would tell you that when I have been preaching the experience of those who come to Christwith difficulty, they have been glad that it should be preached, but they have felt, "We know nothing of all this in our ownexperience."
Taught from their very youth the way of God; trained by godly parents; they came under the influences of the Holy Spirit veryearly in life. They heard that Jesus Christ could save them. They knew that they needed saving and they just went to Him.I was about to say, almost as naturally as they went to their mother or their father when they were in need-they trusted theSavior and they found peace at once! Several of the honored leaders of this Church came to the Lord in this simple manner.Only yesterday I was greatly pleased with several that I saw who confessed faith in Jesus in a way which charmed me and yet,about their Christian experience there was little trace of terrible burns and scars. They heard the Gospel-they saw the suitabilityof it to their case-and they accepted it then and there and entered immediately into peace and joy.
Now, we do not tell you that there are a few such plain cases, but we assert boldly that we know hosts of like instances andthat there are thousands of God's most honored servants who are walking before Him in holiness and are eminently useful whoseexperience is as simple as A B C. Their whole story might be summed up in the verse-
"I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad."
I will go yet further and assure you that many of those who give the best evidence that they are renewed by Grace cannot tellyou the day in which they were saved and cannot attribute their conversion to any one sermon or to any one text of Scripture,or to any one event in life! We dare not doubt their conversion for their lives prove its truth. You may have many trees inyour garden of which you must admit that you don't know when they were planted-but if you get plenty of fruit from them-youare not very particular about the date of their striking root.
I am acquainted with several persons who do not know their own age. I was talking to one the other day who thought herself10 years older than I found her out to be. I did not tell her that she was not alive because she did not know her birthday.If I had told her so, she would have laughed at me and yet there are some who fancy that they cannot be converted becausethey do not know the date of their conversion! Oh, if you are trusting the Savior-if He is all your salvation and all yourdesire and if your life is affected by your faith so that you bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, you need not worry abouttimes and seasons!
Thousands in the fold of Jesus can declare that they are in it, but the day that they passed through the gate is totally unknownto them. Thousands there are who came to Christ, not in the darkness of the night, but in the brightness of the day and thesecannot talk of weary waiting and watching, though they can sing of Free Grace and dying love! They came joyously home to theirFather's house! The sadness of repentance was sweetened with the delight of faith which came simultaneously with repentanceto their hearts. I know it is so! We tell you but the simple Truth of God. Many young people are brought to the Savior tothe sound of sweet music. Many, also, of another class, namely, the simple-minded, come in like manner. We might all wishto belong to that class.
Some professors would be ashamed to be thought simple-minded, but I would glory in it. Too many of the doubting, criticalorder are great puzzle-makers and great fools for their pains. The childlike ones drink the milk while these folks are analyzingit! They seem, every night, to take themselves to pieces before they go to bed and it is very hard for them, in the morning,to put themselves together again. To some minds the hardest thing in the world is to believe a self-evident truth. They mustalways, if they can, make a dust and a mist and puzzle, themselves, or else they are not happy. In fact, they are never suretill they are uncertain and never at ease till they are disturbed. Blessed are those who believe that God cannot lie and arequite sure it must be so if God has said it-these cast themselves upon Christ whether they sink or
swim because if Christ's salvation is God's way of saving man-it must be the right way and they accept it! Many, I say, havethus come to Christ.
Now, proceeding a step farther, there are all the essentials of salvation in the simple, pleasant, happy way of coming toJesus just as you are, for what are the essentials? The first is repentance and these dear souls, though they feel no remorse,yet hate the sin they once loved. Though they know no dread of Hell, yet they feel a dread of sin, which is a great deal better.Though they have never stood shivering under the gallows, yet the crime is more dreadful to them than the doom. They havebeen taught by God's Spirit to love righteousness and seek after holiness and this is the very essence of repentance! Thosewho thus come to Christ have certainly obtained true faith. They have no experience which they could trust in, but they areall the more fully driven to rest in what Christ has felt and done.
They rest not in their own tears, but in Christ's blood-not in their own emotions, but in Christ's pangs-not in their consciousnessof ruin, but in the certainty that Christ has come to save all those that trust Him. They have faith of the purest kind! Andsee, too, how certainly they have love. "Faith works by love" and they show it. They often seem to have more love at the firstthan those who come so dreadfully burdened and tempest-tossed, for, in the calm quiet of their minds they get a fairer viewof the beauties of the Savior and they burn with love to Him and they commence to serve Him while others, as yet, are havingtheir wounds healed and are trying to make their broken bones rejoice.
I am not wishing to depreciate a painful experience, but I am only trying to show as to this second class, that their simplecoming to Christ, as the blind men came-their simply believing that He could give them sight-is not one whit inferior to theother and has in it all the essentials of salvation. For, next, notice that the Gospel command implies in itself nothing ofthe kind which some have experienced. What are we bid to preach to men-"Be dragged about by the devil and you shall be saved"?No, but, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." What is my commission at this time? To say to you, "Despairand you shall be saved"? No, verily, but, "Believe and you shall be saved."
Are we to come here and say, "Torture yourself! Mangle your heart, scourge your spirit, grind your very soul to powder indesperation"? No, but, "Believe in the infinite goodness and mercy of God in the Person of His dear Son and come and trustHim." That is the Gospel command! It is put in various forms. This is one-"Look unto Me and be you saved, all the ends ofthe earth." Now, if I were to come and say, "Tear your eyes out," that would not be the Gospel, would it? No, but "Look!"The Gospel does not say, "Cry your eyes out," but, "Look!" And it does not say, "Blind your eyes with a hot iron." No, but,"Look, look, look!" It is just the very opposite of anything like remorse, despair and blasphemous thought. It is just, "Look."
Then it is put in another shape. We are told to take of the Water of Life freely. We are bid to drink of the eternal springof love and life. What are we told to do? To make this Water of Life scalding hot? No. We are to drink it as it freely flowsout of the Fountain. Are we to make it drip after the manner of the Inquisition, a drop at a time and to lie under it andfeel the perpetual drip of a scanty trickling? Nothing of the sort! We are just to step down to the Fountain and drink andbe content, for it will quench our thirst! What is the Gospel, again? Is it not to eat the Bread of Heaven? "Eat you thatwhich is good." There is the Gospel banquet and we are to compel men to come in-and what are they to do when they come in?Silently to look on while others eat? Stand and wait till they feel more hungry? Try 40 days' fasting, like Dr. Tanner? Nothingof the sort!
You might think this to be the Gospel by the way some people preach and act, but it is not so. You are to feast on Christat once! You need not fast till you turn yourself into a living skeleton and then come to Christ. I am sent with no such messageas that, but this is my word of good cheer-"Listen diligently to me and eat that which is good and let your soul delight itselfin fatness. He-everyone-that thirsts, come to the waters and he that has no money, let him come, buy wine and milk, withoutmoney and without price." Freely take what God freely gives and simply trust the Savior! Is not that the Gospel? Well, then,why should any of you say, "I cannot trust Christ because I don't feel this and don't feel that"?
Do I not solemnly assure you that I have known of many who have come to Christ just as they were-who have never undergonethose horrible feelings which are so much spoken of and yet have been most truly saved? Come as you are! Do not try to makea righteousness out of your unrighteousness, or a confidence out of your unbelief, or a Christ out of your blasphemies assome seem to do! Nor dote so foolishly as to imagine that despair may be a ground of hope. It cannot be! You are to get outof self and into Christ and there you will be safe. As the blind men said, when Christ asked them, "Do
you believe that I am able to do this?" so are you to say to Him, "Yes, Lord." Trust yourself with your Savior and He is yourSavior!
III. I conclude with one more observation-THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE PRIVILEGED TO COME TO JESUS
CHRIST SOFTLY, PLEASANTLY AND HAPPILY ARE NOT LOSERS. They do lose something, certainly, but there
is not much in it. They lose somewhat of the picturesque and they have less to tell. When a man has had a long series of trialsto drive him out of himself and, at last, comes to Christ like a wrecked vessel tugged into port, he has a story to talk ofand write about and, perhaps, he thinks it interesting to be able to tell. And, if he can tell it to God's Glory, it is quiteproper that he should. Many of these stories are found in biographies because they are the incidents which excite interestand make a life worth writing about-but you must not conclude that all godly lives are of the same sort.
Happy are those whose lives could not be written because they were so happy as to be uneventful. Some of the most favoredlives do not get written because there is nothing very picturesque about them. But I ask you this-when those blind men cameto Christ just as they were and said that they believed that He could open their eyes and He did open their eyes-is therenot as much of Christ in their story as there well could be? The men, themselves, are nowhere-the healing Master is in theforeground! More detail might almost take away the peculiar prominence that He has in it all. There He stands, the blessed,glorious Opener of the eyes of the two blind men! There He stands and His name is glorious!
There was a woman who had spent all her substance upon physicians and was nothing better, but rather grew worse. She had along tale to tell of the various doctors she had been to, but I do not know that the narrative of her many disappointmentswould glorify the Lord Jesus one bit more than when these two blind men could say, "We heard of Him and we went to Him andHe opened our eyes! We never spent a halfpenny upon doctors. We went straightaway to Jesus, just as we were, and all He saidto us was, 'Do you think that I can do it?' and we said, 'Yes, we believe You can,' and He opened our eyes at once and itwas all done." Oh, if my experience should ever stand in my Master's light, perish my best experience! Let Christ be first,last, midst-don't you agree, my Brothers and Sisters?
If you, poor Sinner, come to Christ at once with nothing about you whatever that you ever can talk of-if you are just a nobodycoming to the ever-blessed Everybody-if you are a mere nothing coming to Him who is the All-in-All! If you are a lump of sinand misery, a great vacuum, nothing but an emptiness that never is thought of any more-if you will come and lose yourselvesin His infinitely glorious Grace-this will be all that is needed! It seems to me that you will lose nothing by the fact thatthere is not so much of the picturesque and the sensational in your experience. There will be, at least, this grand sensation-lostin self but saved in Jesus-glory be to His name! Perhaps you may suppose that persons who come thus gently lose somethingby way of evidence afterwards. "Ah," said one to me, "I could almost wish, sometimes, that I had been an open offender sothat I might see the change in my character. But, having been always moral from my youth up, I am not always able to see anydistinct sign of a change."
Ah, let me tell you, Friends, that this form of evidence is of small use in times of darkness, for if the devil cannot sayto a man, "You have not changed your life"-for there are some that he would not have the impudence to say that to, since thechange is too manifest for him to deny it-he says, "You changed your actions, but your heart is still the same. You turnedfrom a bold, honest sinner to be a hypocritical, canting professor! That is all you have done! You have given up open sinbecause your strong passions declined, or you thought you would like another way of sinning-and now you are only making afalse profession and living far from what you should do." Very little consolation is to be had even out of the change thatconversion works when once the arch-enemy becomes our accuser.
In fact, it comes to this-however you come to Christ you can never place any confidence in how you came. Your confidence mustalways rest in Him to whom you came-that is, in Christ-whether you come to Him flying, or running, or walking. If you getto Jesus you are all right! It is not how you come-it is whether you come to Him! Have you come to Jesus? Do you come to Jesus?If you have come and you doubt whether you have come, come again! Never quarrel with Satan about whether you are a Christian.If he says you are a sinner, reply to him, "So I am, but Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and I will beginagain." He is an old lawyer, you know, and very cunning. He knows how to baffle us, for we do not understand things as wellas he does.
He has been, these thousands of years, at the trade of trying to make Christians doubt their interest in Christ and he understandsit well. Never answer him! Refer him to your Solicitor-tell him you have an Advocate on high who will answer him. Tell himyou will fly away to Christ, again. If you never went to Jesus before, you will go now and, if you
have been before, you will go again! That is the way to end the quarrel. As to evidences, they are fine things in fine weather,but when the tempest is out, wise men let evidences go. The best evidence a man can have that he is saved is that he is stillclinging to Christ!
Lastly, some may suppose that those who come gently to Christ may lose a good deal of adaptation for later usefulness becausethey will not be able to sympathize with those who are in deep perplexity and in awful straits when they are coming to Christ.Ah, well, there are enough of us who can sympathize with such and I do not know that everybody is bound to sympathize witheverybody in every respect. I remember mentioning, one day, to a man who had considerable property, that his poor ministerhad a large family and could scarcely keep a coat on his back. I said I wondered how some Christian men who profited underthe ministry of such a man did not supply his needs.
He answered that he thought it was a good thing for ministers to be poor because they could sympathize with the poor. I said,"Yes, yes, but then, don't you see, there ought to be one or two that are not poor to sympathize with those who are rich."I would go one better, certainly, and let the poor pastor, now and then, have the power to sympathize with both classes! Hedid not seem to understand my argument, but I think there is a good deal in it. It is a great mercy to have some Brethrenaround us who, by their painful experience, can sympathize with those who have been through that pain. But don't you thinkit is a great mercy to have others who, through not having undergone that experience, can sympathize with others who havenot undergone it?
Is it not useful to have some who can say, "Well, dear Heart, don't be troubled because the great dog of Hell did not howlat you. If you have entered the gate calmly and quietly and Christ has received you, do not be troubled because you are notbarked at by the devil, for I, too, came to Jesus just as gently and safely and sweetly as you have done"? Such a testimonywill comfort the poor soul and so, if you lose the power to sympathize one way, you will gain the power to sympathize in another-andthere will be no great loss, after all. To sum it all up-I would that every man and woman and child here would come and trustthe Lord Jesus Christ! It seems to me to be such a matchless plan of salvation-for Christ to take human sin and to sufferin the sinner's stead and for us to have nothing to do but just to accept what Christ has done and to trust ourselves whollywith Him!
He that would not be saved by such a plan as this deserves to perish-and so he will! Was there ever so sweet, so sure andso plain a Gospel? It is a joy to preach it! Will you have it? Dear Souls, will you not yield to be nothing and have Jesusto be All in All? God grant that none of us may reject this way of Grace, this open way, this safe way. Come, linger no longer.The Spirit and the bride say "Come." Lord, draw them by the love of Jesus! Amen.