Sermon 1600. A Greater Than Solomon
Delivered on Lord's-Day Evening, February 6th, 1881, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
'Behold a greater than Solomon is here''Luke 11:31.
OUR FIRST thought is that no mere man would have said this concerning himself unless he had been altogether eaten up withvanity; for Solomon was among the Jews the very ideal of greatness and wisdom. It would be an instance of the utmost self-conceitif any mere man were to say of himself''A greater than Solomon is here.' Any person who was really greater and wiser thanSolomon would be the last man to claim such preeminence. A wise man would never think of it; a prudentman would never say it. The Lord Jesus Christ, if we regard Him as a mere man, would have never uttered such an expression,for a more modest, self-forgetting man was never found in all our race. View it on the supposition that the Christ of Nazarethwas a mere man, and I say that His whole conduct was totally different from the spirit which would have suggested an utterancelike this''A greater Solomon is here.' For men to compare themselves with one another is not wise, and Christ was wise;it is not humble, and Christ was humble. He would not have thus spoken if there had not been cause and reason in His infinitelyglorious nature. It was because the divinity within Him must speak out. For God to say that He is greater than all His creaturesis no boasting; for what are they in His sight? All worlds are but sparks from the anvil of His omnipotence. Space, time,eternity, all these are as nothing before Him; and for Him to compare or even to contrast Himself with one of His owncreatures is supreme condescension, let Him word the comparison how He may. It was the divine within our Lord which madeHim say'and not even then with a view to exalt Himself, but with a view to point the moral that He was trying to bring beforethe people''A greater than Solomon is here.' He did as good as say, ''The queen of the south came from a distance to hearthe wisdom of Solomon, but you refuse to hear me. She gave attention to a man, but you will not regard your God. You willnot listen to me incarnate Deity who tells you words of infinite, infallible wisdom.' Our Lord Jesus is aiming at Hishearers' good, and where the motive is so disinterested there remains no room for criticism. He tells them that He is greaterthan Solomon, to convince them of the greatness of their crime in refusing to listen to the messages of love with which Hislips were loaded. Foreigners came from afar to Solomon; but 1, says He, have come to your door, and brought infinite wisdomintoyour very gates, and yet you refuse me. Therefore the queen of the south shall rise up in judgment against you, for, inrejecting me, you reject a greater than Solomon.
The second thought that comes to one's mind is this: notice the self-consciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He knows who He is, and what He is, and He is not lowly in spirit because He is ignorant of His own greatness. He was meekand lowly in heart''Servus servorum,' as the Latins were wont to call Him, 'Servant of servants,' but all the while He knew that He was Rex regum, or King of kings. He takes a towel and He washes His disciples' feet; but all the while He knows that He is their Masterand their Lord. He associates with publicans and harlots, and dwellswith the common people; but all the while He knows that He is the only begotten of the Father. He sits as a child, inthe temple hearing and asking questions of the rabbis; He stands among His disciples as though He were one of themselves,conversing with the ignorant and foolish of the day, seeking their good; but He knows that He is not one of them; He knowsthat He has nothing to learn from them: He knows that he is able to teach senates and to instruct kings and philosophers,for he isgreater than Solomon. He wears a peasant's garb, and has not where to lay His head; but He knows that, whatever the lowlinessof His condition, He is greater than Solomon; He lets us perceive that he knows it, that all may understand the love whichbrought Him down so low. It is grand humility on Christ's part that He condescends to be our servant, our Saviour, when Heis so great that the greatest of men are as nothing before Him. 'He counted it not robbery to be equal with God': mark that;and yet 'He made himself of no reputation.' Some people do not know their own worth, and so, when they stoop to a lowlyoffice it is no stoop to their minds, for they do not know their own abilities. They do not know to what they are equal; butChrist did know: He knew all about His own Deity, and His own wisdom and greatness as man. I admire, therefore, the clearunderstanding which sparkles in His deep humiliation, like a gem in a dark mine. He is not one who stoops down according tothe oldrhyme'
As needs he must who cannot sit upright;
but He is One who comes down wittingly from His throne of glory, marking each step and fully estimating the descent whichHe is making. The cost of our redemption was known to Him, and He endured the cross, despising the shame. Watts well sings'
This was compassion like a God,
That when the Saviour knew
The price of pardon was his blood,
His pity ne'er withdrew.
Brethren, if our Saviour Himself said that He was greater than Solomon, you and I must fully believe it, enthusiasticallyown it, and prepare to proclaim it. If others will not own it, let us be the more prompt to confess it. If He Himself hadto say, before they would own it, 'A greater than Solomon is here,' let it not be necessary that the encomium should be repeated,but let us all confess that He is indeed greater than Solomon. Let us go home with this resolve in ourminds, that we will speak greater things of Christ than we have done, that we will try to love Him more and serve Himbetter, and make Him in our own estimation and in the world's greater than He has ever been. Oh for a glorious high throneto set Him on, and a crown of stars to place upon His head! Oh to bring nations to His feet! I know my words cannot honorHim according to His merits: I wish they could. I am quite sure to fail in my own judgment when telling out His excellence;indeed, Igrow less and less satisfied with my thoughts and language concerning Him. He is too glorious for my feeble language todescribe Him. If I could speak with the tongues of men and of angels, I could not speak worthily of Him. If I could borrowall the harmonies of heaven, and enlist every harp and song of the glorified, yet were not the music sweet enough for Hispraises. Our glorious Redeemer is ever blessed: let us bless Him. He is to be extolled above the highest heavens; let us soundforthHis praises. Oh for a well-tuned harp! May the Spirit of God help both heart and lip to extol Him at this hour.
First, then, we shall try to draw a parallel between Jesus and Solomon; and, secondly, we will break away front all comparisons, and show where there cannot be any parallel between Christ and Solomon at all.
I. First, then, BETWEEN CHRIST AND SOLOMON there are some points of likeness.
When the Saviour Himself gives us a comparison it is a clear proof that a likeness was originally intended by the Holy Spirit,and therefore we may say without hesitation that Solomon was meant to be a type of Christ. I am not going into detail, noram I about to refine upon small matters; but I shall give you five points in which Solomon was conspicuously like to Christ,and in which our Lord was greater than Solomon. O for help in the great task before me.
And, first, in wisdom. Whenever you talked about Solomon to a Jew his eyes began to flash with exultation; his blood leaped in his veins with nationalpride. Solomon'that name brought to mind the proudest time of David's dynasty, the age of gold. Solomon, the magnificent,why, surely, his name crowns Jewish history with glory, and the brightest beam of that glory is his wisdom. In the east, andI think I may say in the west, it still remains a proverb, 'To be aswise as Solomon.' No modern philosopher or learned monarch has ever divided the fame of the son of David, whose name abidesas the synonym of wisdom. Of no man since could it be said as of him, 'And all the kings of the earth sought the presenceof Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.' He intermeddled with all knowledge, and was a master in all sciences. He was a naturalist: 'and he spoke of trees from the cedar trees that are in Lebanon evenunto the hyssop thatspringeth out of the wall: he spoke also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.' He was an engineerand architect, for he wrote: 'I made me great works; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards,and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forthtrees.' He was one who understood the science of government' politician of the highest order. He was everything, in fact.God gave him wisdom and largeness of heart, says the Scripture, like the sand of the sea: 'and Solomon's wisdom excelledthe wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethanthe Ezralite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.' Yes; butour Saviour knows infinitely more than Solomon. I want you tonight to come to Him just as the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon,onlyfor weightier reasons. You do not want to learn anything concerning architecture or navigation, agriculture or anatomy.You want to know only how you shall be built up a spiritual house, and how you shall cross those dangerous seas which liebetween this land and the celestial city. Well, you may come to Jesus and He will teach you all that you need to know, forall wisdom is in Christ. Our divine Saviour knows things past and present and future: the secrets of God are with Him. Heknows theinmost heart of God, for no one knoweth the Father save the Son and He to whom the Son shall reveal Him. To Him it isgiven to take the book of prophetic decree and loose the seven seals thereof. Come, then, to Christ Jesus if you want to knowthe mind of God, for it is written that He 'is made unto us wisdom.' Solomon might have wisdom, but he could not be wisdomto others; Christ Jesus is that to the full. In the multifarious knowledge which He possesses'the universal knowledge whichisstored up in Him'there is enough for your guidance and instruction even to the end of life, however intricate and overshadowedyour path may be.
Solomon proved his wisdom in part by his remarkable inventions. We cannot tell what Solomon did not know. At any rate, no man knows at this present moment how those huge stones, whichhave lately been discovered, which were the basis of the ascent by which Solomon went up to the house of the Lord, were everput into their places. Many of the stones of Solomon's masonry are so enormous that scarcely could any modern machinery movethem; and without the slightestcement they are put together so exactly that the blade of a knife could not be inserted between them. It is marveloushow the thing was done. How such great stones were brought from their original bed in the quarry'how the whole building ofthe temple was executed'nobody knows. The castings in brass and silver are scarcely less remarkable. No doubt many inventionshave passed away from the knowledge of modern times, inventions as remarkable as those of our own age. We are a set of savagesthatare beginning to learn something, but Solomon knew and invented things which we shall, perhaps, rediscover in 500 yearstime. By vehement exertion this boastful nineteenth century, wretched century as it is, will crawl towards the wisdom whichSolomon possessed ages ago. Yet is Jesus greater than Solomon. As for inventions, Solomon is no inventor at all compared withHim who said, 'Deliver him from going down into the pit, for I have found a ransom.' O Saviour, didst thou find out the wayofour salvation? Didst thou bring into the world and carry out and execute the way by which hell-gate should be closed,and heaven-gate, once barred, should be set wide open? Then, indeed, art thou wiser than Solomon. Thou art the deviser ofsalvation, the architect of the church, the author and finisher of our faith.
Solomon has left us some very valuable books'the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the matchless Song. But, oh, the words of Solomon fall far short of the words of Jesus Christ,for they are spirit and life.. The power of the word of Jesus is infinitely greater than all the deep sayings of the sage.Proverbial wisdom cannot match His sayings, nor can 'The Preacher' rival His sermons, and even the divine Song itself wouldremain without a meaning'an allegory never to beexplained'if it were not that Christ Himself is the sum and substance of it. Solomon may sing of Christ, but Christ isthe substance of the song. He is greater than Solomon in His teachings, for His wisdom is from above, and leads men up toheaven. Blessed are they that sit at His feet.
Again, Solomon showed His wisdom in difficult judgments. You know how he settled the question between the two women concerning the child; many other puzzles Solomon solved, andmany other knots Solomon was able to untie. He was a great ruler and governor'a man wise in politics, in social economy, andin commerce'wise in all human respects. But a greater than Solomon is present where Christ is. There is no difficulty whichChrist cannot remove, no knot which Hecannot untie, no question which He cannot answer. You may bring your hard questions to Him, and He will answer them; andif you have any difficulty on your heart tonight, do but resort to the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer, and search His word, andyou shall hear a voice as from the sacred oracle, which shall lead you in the path of safety.
My point at this time, especially as we are coming to the Communion table, is this: I want you that love the Lord Jesus Christto believe in His infinite wisdom, and come to Him for direction. I fear that when you are in trouble, you half suppose thatthe great keeper of Israel must have made a mistake. You get into such an intricate path that you say, 'Surely, my Shepherdhas not guided me aright.' Never think so. When you are poor and needy still say, 'This my povertywas ordained by a greater than Solomon.' What if you seem to be deprived of every comfort, and you are brought into astrange and solitary way, where you find no city to dwell in? Yet a guide is near, and that guide is not foolish; but a greaterthan Solomon is here. I think I look tonight into a great furnace. It is so fierce that I cannot bear to gaze into its terribleblaze. For fear my eyeballs should utterly fail me and lose the power of sight through the glare of that tremendous flame,Iturn aside, for the fury of its flame overpowers me. But when I am strengthened to look again I see ingots of silver refiningin the white heat, and I note that the heat is tempered to the last degree of nicety. I watch the process to the end, andI say, as I behold those ingots brought out all clear and pure, refined from all dross, and ready for the heavenly treasury,'Behold, a greater than Solomon was in that furnace work.' So you will find it, O sufferer. Infinite wisdom is in your lot.Come, poor child, do not begin to interfere with your Saviour's better judgment, but let it order all things. Do not letyour little 'Know' ever rise up against the great knowledge of your dear Redeemer. Think of this when you wade in deep watersand comfortably whisper to yourself''A greater than Solomon is here.'
I have not time to enlarge, and therefore I would have you notice, next, that our Lord Jesus Christ is greater than Solomonin wealth. This was one of the things for which Solomon was noted. He had great treasures: he 'made gold to be as stones,and as for silver it was little accounted of,' so rich did he become. He had multitudes of servants. I think he had 60,000hewers in the mountains hewing out stones and wood, so numerous were the workmen he employed. His court wasmagnificent to the last degree. When you read of the victuals that were prepared to feed the court, and of the statelyway in which everything was arranged from the stables of the horses upwards to the ivory throne, you feel, like the queenof Sheba, utterly astonished, and say, 'The half was not told me.' But, oh, when you consider all the wealth of Solomon, whatpoor stuff it is compared with the riches that are treasured up in Christ Jesus. Beloved, He who died upon the cross, andwasindebted to a friend for a grave; He who was stripped even to the last rag ere He died; He who possessed no wealth butthat of sorrow and sympathy, yet had about Him the power to make many rich, and He has made multitudes rich'rich to all theintents of everlasting bliss; and therefore He must be rich Himself. Is He not rich who enriches millions? Why, our Lord JesusChrist, even by a word, comforted those that were bowed down. When He stretched out His hand He healed the sick with a touch.There was a wealth about His every movement. He was a full man, full of all that man could desire to be full of; and now,seeing that He has died and risen again, there is in Him a wealth of pardoning love, a wealth of saving power, a wealth ofintercessory might before the Father's throne, a wealth of all things by which He enriches the sons of men, and shall enrichthem to all eternity.
I want this truth to come home to you: I want you to recognize the riches of Christ, you that are His people; and, in addition,to remember the truth of our hymn'
Since Christ is rich can I be poor?
What can I want besides?
I wish we could learn to reckon what we are by what Christ is. An old man said, 'I am very old; I have lost my only son; Iam penniless; and, worst of all, I am blind. But,' added he, 'this does not matter, for Christ is not infirm; Christ is notaged; Christ has all riches; and Christ is not blind; and Christ is mine; and I have all things in Him.' Could you not gethold of that somehow, brothers and sisters? Will not the Holy Spirit teach you the art of appropriating theLord Jesus and all that He is and has. If Christ be your representative, why, then you are rich in Him. Go to Him to beenriched. Suppose I were to meet a woman, and I knew her husband to be a very wealthy man, and that he loved her very much,and she were to say to me, 'I am dreadfully poor; I do not know where to get raiment and food.' 'Oh,' I should say, 'Thatwoman is out of her mind.' If she has such a husband, surely she has only to go to him for all that she needs. And what ifnothing isinvested in her name, yet it is in his name, and they are one, and he will deny her nothing.' I should say, 'My good woman,you must not talk in that fashion, or I will tell your husband of you.' Well, I think that I shall have to say the same ofyou who are so very poor and cast down, and yet are married to Jesus Christ. I shall have to tell your Husband of you, thatyou bring such complaints against Him, for all things are yours, for ye are Christ's and Christ is God's; wherefore, 'liftupthe hands that hang down, and confirm the feeble knees'; use the knees of prayer and the hand of faith, and your estatewill well content you. Do not think, that you are married to Rehoboam, who will beat you with scorpions, for you are joinedto a greater than Solomon. Do not fancy that your heavenly Bridegroom is a beggar. All the wealth of eternity and infinityis His; how can you say that you are poor while all that He has is yours?
Now, thirdly, and very briefly indeed. There was one point about Solomon in which every Israelite rejoiced, namely that hewas the prince of peace. His name signifies peace. His father, David, was a great warrior, but Solomon had not to carry on war. His power was suchthat no one dared to venture upon a conflict with so great and potent a monarch. Every man throughout Israel sat under hisvine and figtree, and no man was afraid. No trumpet of invader was heard inthe land. Those were halcyon days for Israel when Solomon reigned. Ah, but in that matter a greater than Solomon is here;for Solomon could not give his subjects peace of mind, he could not bestow upon them rest of heart, he could not ease themof their burden of guilt, or draw the arrow of conviction from their breast and heal its smart. But I preach to you tonightthat blessed divine Man of Sorrows who has wrought out our redemption, and who is greater than Solomon in His peace-givingpower.Oh, come and trust Him. Then shall your 'peace be as a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.' Am Iaddressing one of God's people who is sorely troubled, tumbled up and down in his thoughts? Brother or sister, do not thinkthat you must wait a week or two before you can recover your peace. You can become restful in a moment, for 'He is our peace''evenHe Himself, and He alone. And, oh, if you will but take Him at once, laying hold upon Him by the hand of faith as yourSaviour, this Man shall be the peace even when the Assyrian shall come into the land. There is no peace like the peacewhich Jesus gives; it is like a river, deep, profound, renewed, ever flowing, overflowing, increasing and widening into anocean of bliss. 'The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your heart and mind, through Jesus Christ.'Oh, come to Him. Come to Him at this moment. Do not remain an hour away from your Noah, or rest, for with Him in the ark yourwearywing shall be tired no longer. You shall be safe and restful the moment you return to Him. The fruit of the Spirit isjoy. I want you to get that joy and to enter into this peace. Blessed combination, joy and peace! Peace, peace, there is musicin the very word: get it from Him who is the Word, and whose voice can still a storm into a calm. A greater than Solomon ishere to give you that peace; beat the sword of your inward warfare, into the plow-share of holy service; no longer sound analarm,but blow up the trumpet of peace in this day of peace.
A fourth thing for which Solomon was noted was his great works. Solomon built the temple; which was one of the seven wonders of the world in its time. A very marvelous building it musthave been, but I will not stay to describe it, for time fails us. In addition to this he erected for himself palaces, constructedfortifications, and made aqueducts and great pools to bring streams from the mountains to the various towns. He also foundedPalmyra and Baalbed'thosecities of the desert'to facilitate his commerce with India, Arabia, and other remote regions. He was a marvelous man.Earth has not seen his like. And yet a greater than Solomon is here, for Christ has brought the living water from the throneof God right down to thirsty men, being Himself the eternal aqueduct through which the heavenly current streams. Christ hasbuilt fortresses and munitions of defense, behind which His children stand secure against the wrath of hell; and He has foundedandis daily finishing a wondrous temple, His church, of which His people are the living stones, fashioned, polished, renderedbeautiful'a temple which God Himself shall inhabit, for He 'dwelleth not in temples made with hands, that is to say, of thisbuilding'; but He dwells in a temple which He Himself doth pile, of which Christ is architect and builder, foundation, andchief corner-stone. But Jesus builds for eternity, an everlasting temple, and, when all visible things pass away, and theveryruins of Solomon's temple and Solomon's aqueduct are scarcely to be discerned, what a sight will be seen in that New Jerusalem!The twelve courses of its foundations are of precious stones, its walls bedight with diamonds rare, its streets are pavedwith gold, and its glory surpasses that of the sun. I am but talking figures, poor figures, too; for the glory of the cityof God is spiritual, and where shall I find words with which to depict it? There, where the Lamb Himself is the light, andtheLord God Himself doth dwell'there the whole edifice, the entire New Jerusalem'shall be to the praise and the glory ofHis grace who gave Jesus Christ to be the builder of the house of His glory, of which I hope we shall form a part for everand ever.
Now, if Christ does such great works, I want you to come to Him, that He may work in you the work of God. That is the point.Come and trust Him at once. Trust Him to build you up. Come and trust Him to bring the living water to your lips. Come andtrust Him to make you a temple of the living God. Come, dear child of God, if you have great works to do, come and ask forthe power of Christ with which to perform them. Come, you that would leave some memorial to the honor ofthe divine name, come to Him to teach and strengthen you. He is the wise master-builder; come and be workers togetherwith Christ. Baptize your weakness into His infinite strength, and you shall be strong in the Lord, and in the power of Hismind. God help you to do so.
Once more. I draw the parallel upon the fifth point, and I have done with it. Solomon was great as to dominion. The kingdom of the Jews was never anything like the size before or after that Solomon made it. It appears to have extendedfrom the river of Egypt right across the wilderness far up to the Persian Gulf. We can scarcely tell how far Solomon's dominionsreached; they are said to have been 'from sea to sea, and from the river even unto the ends of the earth.'By one mode or another he managed to bring various kings into subjection to him, and he was the greatest monarch thatever swayed the sceptre of Judah. It has all gone now. Poor, feeble Rehoboam dropped from his foolish hands the reins hisfather held. The kingdom was rent in pieces, the tributary princes found their liberty, and the palmy days of Israel wereover. On the contrary, our Lord Jesus Christ at this moment has dominion over all things. God has set Him over all the worksof Hishands. Ay, tell it out among the heathen that the Lord reigneth. The feet that were nailed to the tree are set upon thenecks of His enemies. The hands that bore the nails sway at this moment the sceptre of all words: Jesus is King of kings,and Lord of lords! Hallelujah! Let universal sovereignty be ascribed to the Son of man: to Him who was 'despised and rejectedof men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.' Tell it out, ye saints, for your own comfort. The Lord reigneth, letthe earthrejoice, let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof Everything that happens in providence is under His sway still,and the time is coming when a moral and spiritual kingdom will be set up by Him which shall encompass the whole world. Itdoes not look like it, does it? All these centuries have passed away, and little progress has been made. Ah, but He cometh;and when He cometh, or ere He cometh, He shall overturn, overturn, overturn, for His right it is, and God will give it Him.And, assurely as God lives, unto Him shall every man bow the knee, 'and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father.' Do not be afraid about it. Do not measure difficulties, much less tremble at them. What isfaith made for but to believe that which seems impossible? To expect universal dominion for Christ when everything goes wellis but the expectation of reason; but to expect it when everything goes ill, is the triumph of Abrahamic confidence. Lookupon thegreat mountain and say, 'Who art thou, great mountain? Before the true Zerubbabel thou shall become a plain.' In theblackest midnight, when the ebon darkness stands thick and hard as granite before you, believe that, at the mystic touch ofChrist, the whole of it shall pass away, and at the brightness of His rising the eternal light shall dawn, never to be quenched.This is to act the part of a believer; and I ask you to act that part, and believe to the full in Christ the Omnipotent. Whatmeans this stinted faith in an almighty arm? What a fidget we are in and what a worry seizes us if a little delay arises!Everything has to be done in the next ten minutes, or we count our Lord to be slack. Is this the part of wisdom? The Eternalhas infinite leisure, who are we that we should hasten Him?
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour.
A day is long to us: but a thousand years to Him are but the twinkling of a star. Oh, rest in the Lord, and wait patientlyfor Him, for the time shall come when the God of Israel shall put to rout His adversaries, and the Christ of the cross shallbe the Christ of the crown. We shall one day hear it said'The great Shepherd reigns; and His unsuffering kingdom now hathcome, Then rocks and hills, and vales and islands of the sea shall all be vocal with the one song, 'Worthyis the Lamb that was slain to receive honor and glory and power and dominion and might forever and ever!'
Thus have I tried to draw the parallel, but I pray you to see the Lord Jesus for yourself, and know whether I have spokenthe truth about Him. You have heard the report; now, like the Queen of Sheba, go and see for yourself. Get to Christ, as toHis dominion, come under His sway and own His sceptre. Go and trust your King; love your King; praise your King; delight inyour King. How courtiers delight to be summoned to court! How glad they are to see the queen's face. Howpleased they are if she gives them but a kindly word! Surely, their fortune is made, or at least their hopes arc raisedand their spirits lifted up. Shall we not sun ourselves in the presence of the blessed and only Potentate? Let us come intothe presence of our King tonight, or else let us sit here and weep. Let us come to His table to feed upon Himself. Let uslive on His Word. Let us delight in His love; and we shall surely say, 'A greater than Solomon is here.'
II. I shall not detain you longer than a minute or two while I remark that we must rise beyond all parallels, if we wouldreach the height of this great argument, for BETWEEN CHRIST AND SOLOMON THERE IS MUCH MORE CONTRAST THAN COMPARISON'much moredifference than likeness.
In His nature the Lord Jesus is greater than Solomon. Alas, poor Solomon! The strongest man that ever lived, namely, Samson, was the weakestof men; and the wisest man that ever lived, was, perhaps, the greatest, certainly the most conspicuous, fool. How differentis our Lord! There is no infirmity in Christ, no folly in the incarnate God. The backsliding of Solomon finds no parallelin Jesus, in whom the prince of this world found nothing though he searched Himthrough and through.
Our Lord is greater than Solomon because He is not mere man. He is man, perfect man, man to the utmost of manhood, sin excepted;but still He is more, and infinitely more, than man. 'In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.' He is God Himself,'The Word was God.' God dwells in Him, and He Himself is God.
As in nature He was infinitely superior to Solomon, and not to be compared with him for a moment, so was He in character. Look at Christ and Solomon for a minute as to real greatness of character, and you can hardly see Solomon with a microscope,while Christ rises grandly before you, growing every moment till He fills the whole horizon of your admiration. Principallylet me note the point of self-sacrifice. Jesus lived entirely for other people; He had never athought about Himself Solomon was, to a great extent, wise unto himself, rich unto himself, strong unto himself; and yousee in those great palaces, and in all their arrangements, that he seeks his own pleasure, honor, and emolument; and, alas!that seeking of pleasure leads him into sin, that sin into a still greater one. Solomon, wonderful as he is, only compelsyou to admire him for his greatness, but you do not admire him for his goodness. You see nothing that makes you love him,you rathertremble before him than feel gladdened by him. Oh, but look at Christ. He does not have a thought for Himself. He livesfor others. How grandly magnificent He is in disinterested love. He 'loved his church and gave himself it.' He pours out evenHis heart's blood for the good of men: and hence, dear friends, at this moment our blessed Lord is infinitely superior toSolomon in His influence. Solomon has little or no influence today. Even in his own time he never commanded the influencethat Christ had in His deepest humiliation. I do not hear of any that were willing to die for Solomon; certainly nobodywould do so now. But how perpetually is enthusiasm kindled in 10,000 breasts for Christ! They say that if again there werestakes in Smithfield we should not find men to burn at them for Christ. I tell you, it is not so. The Lord Jesus Christ hasat this moment a remnant according to the election of His grace who would fling themselves into a pit of fire for Him, andjoy to doit. 'Who can separate us''even us poor pygmies''from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?' 'Oh,' says one,'I do not think I could suffer martyrdom.' You are not yet called to do so, my brother, and God has not given You the strengthto do it before the need arises; but you will have strength enough if ever it comes to your lot to die for Jesus. Did younever hear of the martyr who, the night before he was to be burnt, sat opposite the fire, and, taking his shoe off, he heldhisfoot close to the flame till he began to feel the burning of it? He drew it back and said, 'I see God does not give mepower to bear such suffering as I put upon myself, but I make none the less doubt,' said he, 'that I shall very well standthe stake tomorrow morning, and burn quick to the death for Christ without starting back.' And so he did, for he was noticednever to stir at all while the flames were consuming him. There is a great deal of difference between your strength todayand whatyour strength would be if you were called to some tremendous work or suffering. My Lord and Master, let me tell you, wakesmore enthusiasm in human breasts at this moment than any other name in the universe. Napoleon once said, 'I founded a kingdomupon force, and it will pass away'; but 'Christ founded a kingdom upon love, and it will last forever and ever.' And so itwill. Blot out the name of Christ from the hearts of His people? Strike you sun from the firmament, and quench the stars;andwhen you have achieved that easy task, yet have you not begun to remove the glory of the indwelling Christ from the heartsof His people. Some of us delight to think that we bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 'Where?' says one. I answer,it is all over us. We have been buried into His name, and we belong to Him, in spirit, soul, and body. That watermark, whichdenotes that we are His, can never be taken out of us. We are dead with Him, wherein also we were buried with Him and arerisen again with Him; and there is nothing at this moment that stirs our soul like the name of Jesus. Speak for yourselves.Is it not so? Have you never heard of one who lay dying, his mind wandering, and his wife said to him, 'My dear, do you notknow me?' He shook his head; and they brought near his favorite child. 'Do you not know me?' He shook his head. One whispered,'Do you know the lord Jesus Christ?' and he said, 'He is all my salvation and all my desire.' Oh, blessed name! Blessedname! Some years ago I was away from this place for a little rest, and I was thinking to myself, 'Now, I wonder whetherI really respond to the power of the gospel as I should like to do? I will go and hear a sermon and see.' I would like tosit down with you, in the pews sometimes and hear somebody else preach'not everybody, mark you, for when I hear a good manyI want to be doing it myself. I get tired of them if they do not glow and burn. But that morning I thought I would drop intoa placeof worship such as there might be in the little town. A poor, plain man, a countryman, began preaching about Jesus Christ.He praised my Master in very humble language, but he praised Him most sincerely. Oh, but the tears began to flow. I soon laidthe dust all round me where I sat, and I thought, 'Bless the Lord! I do love Him.' It only wants somebody else to play theharp instead of me, and my soul is ready to dance to the heavenly tune. Only let the music be Christ's sweet, dear, preciousname, and my heart leaps at the sound. Oh, my brethren, sound out the praises of Jesus Christ! Sound out that preciousname! There is none like it under heaven to stir my heart. I hope you can all say the same. I know you can if you love Him;for all renewed hearts are enamored of the sweet Lord Jesus. 'A greater than Solomon is here.' Solomon has no power over yourhearts, but Jesus has. His influence is infinitely greater; his power to bless is infinitely greater; and so let us magnifyand adore Him with all our hearts.
Oh, that all loved Him! Alas that so many do not! What strange monsters! Why, if you do not love Christ, what are you at?You hearts of stone, will you not break? If His dying love does not break them, what will? If you cannot see the beautiesof Jesus, what can you see? You blind bats! O you that know not the music of His name, you are deaf. O you that do not rejoicein Him, you are dead. What are you at, that you are spared through the pleadings of His love, and yet donot love Him? God have mercy upon you, and bring you to delight yourselves in Christ, and trust him! As for us who dotrust Him, we mean to love Him and delight in Him more and more, world without end. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON'COLOSSIANS 1.
HYMNS FROM 'OUR OWN HYMN BOOK''390, 389, 416.