Sermon 2241. A Stanza of Deliverance
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JANUARY 31, 1892,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JULY 31, 1890.
"He brought them forth, also, with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes." Psalm 105:37.
THIS verse has been making music in my heart for several days and, at times, it has even claimed utterance from my tongue.I have caught myself singing a solo, with myself as the only hearer, and this has been the theme, "He brought them forth,also, with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes." I love texts which sing to me and makeme join in! If this verse should get into your hearts and set you singing in a similar way, you will be entertaining a verypleasant visitor-and it will brighten a dark day for you!
Egypt may very fairly represent those states of sorrow and sadness, depression and oppression, into which God's people comefar too frequently. Specially is the house of bondage a true picture of our condition when we are convicted of sin, but areignorant of the way to escape from its guilt and power! Then, sin, which was once our Goshen of pleasure, becomes our ironfurnace of fear. Though we yield to sin when under conviction, yet we are no longer its willing subjects-we feel that we areslaves and we sigh by reason of sore bondage. Glory be to God, He has now brought us out from that state of slavery, and wecan sing of freedom given by His own right hand!
Since then we have been permitted, in the order of God's Providence, to live among evil persons who have had power over usand have used it maliciously. They have hated our God and, therefore, they have hated us, and shown their dislike of us inmany harsh and exacting ways. We find no rest with them, but our soul is among lions. They seem as though they would devourus, or else frighten us from following the road to Heaven.
Full often has our gracious God delivered His persecuted people from such a sorrowful condition and brought them into a largeroom wherein He has made them happy with Christian fellowship and enabled them to go about holy work without let or hindrance.At such times, when God's people have come out from under the yoke of their oppressors, the Lord has "brought them forth,also, with silver and gold: and there has not been one feeble person among their tribes."
It is possible to go down into Egypt by reason of our own depression of spirit, inward conflict and despondency. If you arelike the preacher, you are by no means a stranger to inward sinking. Though you do not give up your faith, but are, still,like father Jacob, keeping your hold while the sinew is shrinking, yet you are, "sorely broken in the place of dragons." Youfeel that you are like that bush in the desert which burned with fire and, only through a miracle, was not consumed. Whenunder temptations of the flesh and memories of old sins, Satan, himself, comes in with his fiery darts, and you have a hardtime of it. He will insinuate dark and dreadful thoughts-and you will be haunted by them, day after day-till you feel likethe poor Israelites under the lash of the Egyptian taskmaster. Your covenant with God will bring you out of that state ofanguish and distress-and when He does so, you will sing-"He brought them forth, also, with silver and gold: and there wasnot one feeble person among their tribes."
God forbid we should repeat that senseless and wicked trust in man which once made us do down into Egypt for help! We willnot go there for pleasure-what have we to do with drinking the waters of the muddy river? We drink of a better river thanthe Nile, even of the river of the Water of Life! But we shall go to the region of weakness and pain to die. Unless the Lordshould suddenly come in His Glory, we shall close our eyes in death as Jacob and Joseph did. Then when we go into the tomb,which will be a kind of Egypt for our body, we shall only tarry there for a season. We shall slumber for a while, each onein his bed of dust, but the trumpet of the archangel shall awaken us and our bodies shall rise again! We shall not, however,come from the grave so poor and feeble as we went in! No, we shall be great gainers by
our sojourn in the dark abode. Those who see the saints in the day of Resurrection, ascending to their thrones from the Egyptof death, may fitly say, "He brought them forth, also, with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among theirtribes."
I am going to try to handle my very delightful subject in the following way-First, the deliverances of God's people are alwaysworked by Divine Power. Lay the stress on the first word-"HE brought them forth." Secondly, their deliverances are attendedwith enrichment. "He brought them forth, also, with silver and gold." And, thirdly, their deliverances are accompanied bya remarkable degree of strength. "There was not one feeble person among their tribes." May the Holy Spirit make rare musicfor you upon this harp of three strings!
I. First, then, when we are led out of the Egypt of our sorrow, OUR DELIVERANCE IS BY DIVINE POWER. When Israel came out ofEgypt, it was Jehovah who brought forth her armies. When any man is saved from spiritual bondage, it is the Lord Jesus wholoosens the captive. Some little time ago I delivered an address at the Mildmay Park Conference upon, "Following Jesus inthe dark," and the Lord was pleased to bless that word to a great many who were then under a cloud. For this cause, I greatlyrejoice, but from this happy result I have also had to suffer many things in the following way-it seems as if persons everywhere,having read that address, must write to me an account of their trouble, despondency and darkness of the soul.
Having written the doleful narrative, they very naturally ask me endless questions by way of trying to find light for themselvesout of my experience and knowledge. I have been delighted to answer those questions as far as I can, but there is a limitto human power. I have lately been like a doctor who has suddenly had a new practice handed over to him, when he was alreadyas busy as he could be, both night and day! He finds his door besieged by patients who cannot be dismissed with just a wordof hope and a dose of medicine, but require a long time in which to tell their griefs and to receive their comfort. Spiritually,my night bell is always ringing-and when I visit a sick soul, it requires long and weary nursing. I know, therefore, fromthat, as well as from my own experience, that if ever a man is delivered from spiritual bondage of heart, it is not by anyeasy work, or by a hasty word.
No, all the power of sympathy and experience will fail with some souls. God, alone, can take away the iron when it entersinto the soul! It is of small use for those afflicted in mind to write to me, or to others, if their distress is spiritual,for only God can deliver them. If they are in the dark, we can strike a match as well as anyone else-but since they need theshining of the Sun-that remains with the Lord who alone creates the light. Oh, that the Sun of Righteousness would rise withhealing beneath His wings on every soul that now sits in the midnight of despair! Deliverance from a cruel captivity, likethat of Israel in Egypt, must be worked by the hand and outstretched arm of Jehovah, alone! When such a liberation is performed,then do we rapturously sing, "HE brought them forth!"
But this does not exclude the use of means. The Lord used Moses and Aaron-and Moses used his rod and his tongue. Truly, Jehovahbrought forth Israel, and neither Moses nor Aaron nor the rod in Moses' hand, but yet the Lord's instruments were employedin the service. If the Lord delivers you, my dear afflicted Friends, the work will not be done by the preacher, not by a consolingbook, nor by any other means so as to prevent its being the Lord, alone! The use of instrumentality does not hide Divine Power,but even makes it more apparent! The man Moses was not only very meek, but he was also so slow in speech that he needed Aaron'shelp-yet the Lord used him! Aaron was even inferior to Moses, but the Lord used him! As for the rod, it was probably nothingmore than a hazel stick which had been used by Moses in walking and keeping sheep-but it pleased the Lord to make of thatrod a very remarkable use, so that no scepter of kings was ever so greatly honored! The Lord took care to employ means whichcould not pretend to share the honor with Himself. Notwithstanding Moses, Aaron and the rod, "HE brought them forth," andHE, alone!
This work of the Lord does not exclude the action of the will. The people of Israel came forth freely from the country whichhad become the house of bondage. "He brought forth His people with joy, and His chosen with gladness." They set out exultingly,glad to escape from the intolerable oppression of Pharaoh who was, to them, a tyrant, indeed! God does not violate the humanwill when He saves men-they are not converted against their will, but their will, itself, is converted! The Lord has a wayof entering the heart, not with a crowbar, like a burglar, but with a master key which He gently inserts in the lock and thebolt flies back-the door opens and He enters! The Lord brought Israel forth, but they had cried unto the Lord by reason oftheir sore bondage, and they did not receive the blessing without the desiring it, yes, and sighing for it! And when it came,they joyfully accepted it and willingly trusted themselves with him whom the Lord
had made to be their mediator and leader, even Moses. They did not share the honor of their deliverance with God, but stillthey gave their hearty assent and consent to His salvation. Willingly as they were to move, it was still true, "HE broughtthem forth."
Brothers and Sisters, he must have brought them forth, for they could never have come forth by themselves. If you have readenough of Egyptian history to understand the position and power of the reigning Pharaohs, you will know how impossible itwas for a mob of slaves, like the Israelites, to make headway against the imperious monarch and his absolute power. If theyhad clamored and rebelled, the only possible result would have been to slaughter many-and the still further enslavement ofthe rest. There was no hope for the most distinguished Israelite against the tyranny of the Pharaoh! He could simply cry,"Get you unto your burdens," and they could do no less. Pharaoh crushed even his own Egyptians-much more the strangers! Youcannot look upon the pyramids and other vast buildings along the Nile and remember that all these were built with unpaid labor,with the whip continually at the workman's back-without feeling that a pastoral, unarmed race, long held in servitude-couldever have obtained deliverance from the power of Pharaohs if the Omnipotent Jehovah had not espoused their cause. "HE broughtthem forth!"
Beloved, we can never escape from the bondage of sin by our own power. Our past guilt and the condemnation consequent thereon,have locked us up in a dungeon, whose bars we can never break! The Prince of Darkness, also, has such power over our evilnatures that we cannot overcome him, or escape from under his dominion of ourselves. If we are ever set free from sin andSatan, it will be eternally and infinitely true that the Lord brought us forth out of the house of bondage. "Salvation isof the Lord."
Moreover, the spirit of the people was too crushed to have dared to come forth, even if they could have achieved liberty bya brave revolt. Four hundred years of slavery had ground the very spirit out of the men of Israel. They toiled, they toiled,they toiled-and when Moses came and talked to them about freedom, at first they listened and they hoped-but in a few hoursthey began to murmur and to complain of Moses and to cry-"Leave us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians." That abject conditionwas ours before conversion! We were not easily awakened to seek redemption. I remember hearing the Gospel and getting a littlecomfort from it and, almost immediately, falling back into my former hopelessness. And I said in my soul, "I may as well enjoythe pleasures of sin while I can, for I am doomed to perish for my iniquities." The slavery of sin takes away manliness andcourage from the spirit-and where bright hope smiles upon us, we answer her with the sullen silence of despair!
Was it not so with you, my Brothers and Sisters, in those gloomy days? Therefore, it must be true, that if the prisoners ofsin have some forth, the Lord, Himself, brought them forth. They had not the spirit of men who could dare to care about theirfreedom-they were too enfeebled by their own servile spirit. There may be some before me, at this moment, before whom Godhas set an open door and yet they dare not go through it. Christ is put before you-you may have Him for your trusting-youmay have Him at once! But you dare not take Him. You are commanded to believe, but you dare not believe what you know to betrue! You hear us sing the hymn-
"Only trust Him, only trust Him, Only trust Him now,"
but you dare not trust the Lord Jesus, though this is your only hope of obtaining salvation! Your sin has left you paralyzedwith despair! O God, bring forth these prisoners, even now! Though they lie in the inner prison, with their feet fast in thestocks, may it be said on earth and sung in Heaven, "HE brought them forth!"
Yet the Lord did bring them forth. Not in part, but as a whole, He redeemed His people. Every one of them was set free! Notonly all the human beings, but all their cattle came forth, according to the Word of the Lord, "Not a hoof shall be left behind."Christ Jesus, in redeeming His people, will have all or none! All that the Father gave Him shall come to Him! Nor shall thepower of sin, death and Hell be able to hold in captivity one whom Jesus has effectually redeemed, nor one whom His Fatherchose! All the covenanted ones shall be His in the day when He makes up His jewels. He has paid too much for them to loseone of them! In the loss of one of them, too much would be involved-His Word, His Covenant, His power, His faithfulness, Hishonor would all suffer should one of His little ones perish! Therefore, He makes their deliverance effectual and in everydeed He brings them forth.
This deliverance came when the lamb was slain. Pharaoh held Israel captive during all the plagues, but he could not go beyonda certain point. On that same night when they saw the lamb slain and roasted with fire while they sat in their
houses protected by the blood sprinkled upon the lintel and the two side posts of their doors-that same night they left Egypt!They went forth under that seal of redemption, the blood-red mark of substitutionary sacrifice. My dear Hearer, perhaps thisvery night you will also go forth into glorious liberty! I know you will, if you will, by faith, look to Jesus as the Lambslain for you! Will you now accept Him as your own and trust Him to be your redemption? Behold, then, the Lamb of God thattakes away the sin of the world! Take His precious blood and let it be sprinkled on your door, yes, and upon yourself, thatthe angel of vengeance may pass you by! Can you come and feed on Christ at once, as the Lamb of God's Passover? Do you saythat this would be a bold and venturesome faith? Yet be so bold and venturesome! Blessed to the name of the Lord, none wereever rejected who dared to trust Jesus! We will sing about you and others if you have faith in the great sacrifice-and thiswill be our song-"HE brought them forth!"
Israel cannot remain under slavery to Egypt when once the redemption price has been accepted and the blood has been sprinkled!None know freedom from sin but those who trust the atoning blood! God forbid that I should point you to any way of hope butthis one path-for without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins!
I have perhaps said enough on this point, but assuredly I have fallen short unless I have made you know, each one, that deliverancefrom sin is solely by the power of God! "It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy."Unless a supernatural power is put forth in it, any form of deliverance from sin is worth nothing! If you have been born againfrom below, you will go below-you must be born again from above if you are to go above! There is no true liberty but thatof which Christ makes you free. "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free, indeed." Do you know what it is, dearFriends, to be brought out of prison by a miracle of Grace, by a revelation of the Holy Spirit, by the blood of Jesus shedfor many? If so, you will join with all the saints in singing, "As for His people, HE brought them forth!"
II. But now we reach a very pleasing part of our theme, We have now to note that OUR DELIVERANCE WAS ATTENDED WITH ENRICHMENT-"Hebrought them forth, also, with silver and gold." "Oh," says one, "I remember all that about that translation! That is thesilver and gold which they borrowed from the Egyptians with no intent of repaying the loan. I have always though that wasa thievish trick." It was a very unfortunate mistake of our translators when they rendered the original by the word, "borrowed,"for it is not the correct word. Our Revised Version has it more accurately, "And the children of Israel did according to theword of Moses; and they asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the Lord gave the peoplefavor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked."
Even if you were forced to read the word, "borrowed," it might mean nothing amiss, for all borrowing and nonpayment is notthieving. "Oh," you say, "that is a new doctrine!" Let me state the case. If I borrow upon the security of my property andleave the property in the hand of the lender, he will not complain if the security is worth more than the loan. These Israeliteshad lands and houses and other property which they could not carry with them-and now that their sudden removal involved aforced sale-they could say to those who lived near them, "Here is our land, what will you give us for it?" The people tookthe immovable property of the Israelites-and they granted them a loan for it- they were well aware of what they were doingand were not defrauded. But we have no need to defend Israel. The Great Proprietor of all things bade them ask and influencedthe minds of their neighbors to give! It was just that these poor people, who had been working without fee or reward and had,thereby, screened the native Egyptians from much forced labor.
The people of Egypt were, in part, afraid of them and of their God and were, also, in measure, sympathetic with them undertheir cruel oppression. And so they forced presents upon the Israelites hoping to get their blessing before they departed,to save them from further plague which might visit the land. The natives as good as said, "Take whatever you please from us,for we have treated you badly. Only leave us alone-for plagues and deaths fall upon us thick and fast so long as Pharaoh detainsyou here." However, this is not my point. I am dealing with more spiritual things. When God brings His people out of bondage,they come out enriched in the best and most emphatic sense.
This seemed very unlikely. It looks to the afflicted as if they could not be profited by trials such as theirs. If they canonly escape by the skin of their teeth, they will feel perfectly satisfied. Depressed spirits cannot lift their thought sohigh as to think of the gold of increased joy, or the silver of enlarged knowledge, or the jewels of holy graces. "I am,"said one, "quite prepared to sit down behind the door in Heaven, or at the feet of the least of the saints, so long as I maybut
get there." In some respects this is a very proper feeling. But this is not God's way of acting-He did not lead forth Hispeople in a poverty-stricken way, but, "He brought them forth, also, with silver and gold." Your Deliverer means to enrichyou spiritually when He sets you free from your sorrow and trouble!
It was very far from being the design of their enemies to enrich Israel. Pharaoh had intended to work them down to the lastounce of strength and keep them in abject poverty. In fact, one chief object of his oppression was to kill down the race,lest they should too greatly multiply. But the Lord turned the curse into a blessing! "The more they afflicted them, the morethey multiplied and grew." And the harder they worked, the healthier they became, so that "there was not one feeble personamong their tribes." This was not according to their enemies' will, but the will of the Lord is paramount! Even so it is notthe devil's will to drive a man nearer to Christ, but yet his temptations and assaults are often used of the Lord to makethe best and most experienced Christians. Satan is the dishwasher in God's kitchen and he has to scour the vessels of mercy.Trials and afflictions, which threaten to kill us, are made to sanctify us! And sanctification is the best form of enrichment.How much we owe to sorrow and sickness, crosses and losses! Our bondage ends in our coming forth with much that is betterthan silver and gold!
Thus do we come forth from conviction of sin. "Now tell me," asks one, "what does man gain by being in a desponding, sorrowfulcondition, convicted of sin and full of fears?" By the work of the Holy Spirit he will gain much. He will obtain a clearerknowledge of the evil of sin. This is a rare thing, nowadays, when we have so many Believers who were never penitent. It isa great thing for a child who has a habit of stealing apples, to get himself well filled with the sourest of them and feelthe gripes strong within him. He will never touch such fruit anymore! It is a great thing for a man, in his early days, toknow what a sour apple sin is and to feel heartache and soul-anguish because of the exceeding bitterness of his evil ways.It is a lasting lesson! As the burnt child dreads the fire and the scalded dog is afraid, even, of cold water, so the disciplineof conscience, through Divine Grace, breeds a holy caution and even a hatred of sin! We have few Puritans because we havefew penitents. An awful sense of guilt and an overwhelming conviction of sin may be the foundation stone of a gloriously holycharacter!
The tried and tempted man will also see clearly that salvation is all of Grace. He feels that if he ever rises from his despondency,he can never dare to take an atom of the honor of deliverance to himself-it must be of Free Grace only. He can do nothingand he knows it! When a child of God can spell GRACE and can pronounce it clearly, as with the true Jerusalem accent, he hasgained a great deal of spiritual silver and gold. I have heard a Brother stutter over that word, "Free Grace," till it cameout very much like, "free will." As for myself, that Shibboleth I pronounce without faltering, for my free will is that whichI daily try to master and I bring it into complete subjection to the will of God-to Free Grace I owe everything! Blessed isthat man, who, by his experience, has been made to know that Free Grace is the source of every blessing and privilege-andthat salvation is all of Grace from first to last! By a knowledge of the great Gospel principle of Grace, men are broughtforth, also, with silver and gold.
Such persons gain by their soul trouble a fund of healthy experience. They have been in prison and have had their feet madefast in the stocks. "Well," says one, "I do not want to feel that sort of treatment." No, but suppose you had felt it-thenext time you met with a Brother who was locked up in the castle of the Giant Despair, you would know how to sympathize withhim and help him. You who never felt a finger ache cannot show much sympathy with broken bones! I take it to be a great gainto a man to be able to exhibit sympathy towards sufferers of all kinds, especially towards spiritual suffers. If you can enterinto the condition of a bondsman because you have, yourself, been a bondsman in Egypt and God has brought you out, then youwill be qualified to comfort those who mourn.
Thus, you see, in various ways, the Lord's people are enriched by the sorrows from which they are delivered by God. "HE broughtthem forth, also, with silver and gold." Persons who come to Christ suddenly and find peace immediately, have much to be gratefulfor-and they may be helpful to others of a similar character. But those who suffer long law-work and have deep searching ofthe heart before they can enter into rest, have equal reasons for thankfulness, since they obtain a fitness for dealing withspecial cases of distressed consciences. Where this is the result of severe trial, we may well say that the Lord has broughtthem forth with silver and gold.
Thus do saints come out of persecution. The Church is refined by the fires of martyrdom. The heap on the Lord's threshingfloor is more largely made up of real wheat after the winnowing fan has been used upon it. Individual piety is also deeper,stronger and nobler in persecuting times than in other seasons. Eminent saints have usually been produced
where the environment was opposed to the Truth of God and godliness. To this day the bride of Christ has for her fairest jewelsthe rubies of martyrdom. Out of each period of fierce persecution the Lord has brought forth His people the better for thefires. "HE brought them forth, also, with silver and gold."
Thus do Believers come out of daily afflictions. They become wealthier in Grace and richer in experience. Have you noticedhow real those men are who have known sharp trials? If you want an idle evening of chit-chat, go and talk to the gentlemanwith a regular income, constant good health and admiring friends-he will amuse your leisure hour. But if you are sad and sorrowfuland need conversation that will bless you, steer clear of that man's door! Look into the faces of the frivolous and turn awayas a thirsty man from an empty cistern. He that has never had his own cheeks wet with tears cannot wipe my tears away! Wherewill you go in the day of trouble? Why, to that good old man whose sober experience has not robbed him of cheerfulness, thoughit has killed his sinful folly! He has been poor and he knows the inconvenience of straightened means. He has been ill andcan bear with the infirmities of the sick. He has buried his dearest ones and has compassion for the bereaved. When he beginsto talk, the tone of his voice is that of a sympathetic friend. His lips drop fatness of comfort. What a gain is his spiritualacquaintance!
A man of God, whose life has been full of mental exercises and spiritual conflict, as well as outward tribulation, becomes,through Divine Grace, a man of a large wealth of knowledge, prudence, faith, foresight, wisdom and he is, to the inexperienced,like some great proprietor by whom multitudes of the poorer classes are fed, guided, housed and set to work. Those who havebeen much tried are in the peerage of the Church! A man who has been in the furnace and has come out of it is a marked man.I think I should know Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, even now, if I were to meet them! Though the smell of the fire had notpassed upon them, I feel sure that it left a glow upon their countenances and a glory upon their persons which we find nowhere else! They are, henceforth, called, "the three holy children"-they were holy before, but now men acknowledge it! Doyou not think that they were great gainers by the furnace? And is it not true of all the godly whose lives have been madememorable by special tribulation-"HE brought them forth, also, with silver and gold"?
When you and I reach the shores of Heaven, thus shall we come into Glory. When we come forth out of our graves, it will notbe with loss, but with enrichment. We shall leave corruption and the worm behind us and, with them, all that earthly grossnesswhich made us groan in these mortal bodies! God will bring us forth, also, with silver and gold. What golden songs we willsing! What silver notes of gratitude will we pour forth! What jewels of communion with one another and of communion with ourLord will adorn our raiment! If we, too, have been men of sorrows and acquainted with grief, how much more fully shall weenter into the joy of our Lord because we entered into His sorrow! We also have suffered for sin and have done battle forGod and for His Truth against the enemy. We, also, have borne reproach and become aliens to our mother's children. We, too,have been bruised in the heel and yet, in death, have conquered death, even as He did-only by His Grace. Hence the joy offellowship with Him through eternity! What news we shall have to tell to angels and principalities, and powers! The gems ofour grateful history will be our trials and deliverances. Coming up from death to eternal life, this will be the sum of it,"HE brought them forth, also, with silver and gold."
Dear Friends, I am anxious to pass on to the third point, for time is flying fast, but I cannot neglect the application ofwhat I have said. I beg those of you who are sad and despondent to notice the Truths of God I have advanced. I want you tobelieve that your present affliction is for your enrichment! You will come out of this Egypt with much profit of Grace. "Letme out," cries one, "only let me out!" I pray you, be not impatient. Why rush out naked, when a little patience will be repaidwith silver and gold? If I were laboring in Egypt and I heard that it was time for me to start for the land of Canaan, I shouldbe eager to be gone at once. But if I found that I must be hindered for an hour or two, I should certainly utilize the delayby disposing of my lands and endeavoring to get together treasures which I could carry with me! The delay would not be losttime. Therefore, beloved Friend, if you cannot at once obtain comfort, make good use of your affliction! Be always more earnestto profit by your trials than to escape from them! Be more earnest after the heavenly silver and gold than about hurryingaway from the scene of conflict and temptation.
III. Thirdly, here is a very wonderful thing. OUR DELIVERANCE IS ACCOMPANIED WITH HEALTH AND
STRENGTH-"There was not one feeble person among their tribes." In the thousands of Israel there was not one person who couldnot march out of the land keeping rank as an efficient soldier! Everyone was fit for the journey through the wilderness. Theynumbered hard upon two millions, if not more, and it is a very surprising fact that there should not
have been one feeble person among their tribes! Mark the word, not only no one sick, but no one, "feeble"-none with the rheumatismor other pains which enfeeble walking, or palsies which prevent bearing burdens! This was nothing less than a sanitary miracle,the like of which was never know in the natural order of things!
This fact is typical of the health and strength of the newly saved. The Lord's people, at conversion, are, as a rule, wonderfullystrong in their love to Jesus and their hatred of sin. In most cases our young converts, when they have truly come to Christ,even if they are a little timid, are vigorous, much in prayer, abounding in zeal and earnest in speaking out the Gospel! Manyof them, I believe, would die at the stake readily enough, while they are in their first love. In their earliest days, nothingis too hot or too heavy for them, for the sake of Jesus Christ, their Lord! If I need a bit of work to be done which requiresdash and self-sacrifice, give me a set of Israelites who have just come out of Egypt, for there is not one feeble person amongtheir tribes!
After they have gone some distance into the wilderness, they are apt to forget the right hand of the Lord and to get to frettingand worrying. Very soon many of them are sick through being bitten by fiery serpents, or smitten with the plague. They begingrumbling and complaining and run into all sorts of mischief in a short time. But when they first came out, they were so excellentthat even the Lord said, "I remember you, the love of your espousals." I have known some of you, after you have been membersof the Church for a few months, greatly need a nice cushion to sit upon and the cozy corner of the pew-whereas once you couldstand in the aisle and not know that you were standing! You have grown wonderfully particular about the singing, the tunesand the length of the prayer-and the preacher's attitude- and especially the respect paid to your own dear self! Only verychoice service suits you-it would almost insult you if you were put to common work! You were not like that when you were firstconverted.
Do you remember how the crowd pressed upon you and yet you were so absorbed in listening to the preacher's voice that younever minded it? What walks you took, then, to reach the service! I notice, my Friend, that when your grace grew short, themiles grew long. When you first joined the Church, I said to you, "I fear you live too far off to attend regularly." But youtook me up very quickly and said, "Oh, that is nothing, Sir! If I can only get spiritual food, distance is no object." Whenyou get cold in hearts, you find it inconvenient to come so far and you go to a fashionable place of worship where your musicaltastes can be gratified. Yes, when Divine Grace declines, fancy rules the mind and love of ease controls the body-and thesoul loses appetite and grows greedy for empty phrases-and weary of the Word of God. May the Lord grant you Grace to be amongthose of whom it is said, "There was not one feeble person among their
Full often it is so with the persecuted. I do not wish that any of you should experience persecution, but I am persuaded itwould do some of you good to have a touch of it. A man who has fulfilled an apprenticeship to this hard master is likely tobe a man, indeed. If he has endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, he will be fit to become an officer in thearmy and an instructor of recruits! If I could, by the lifting of my finger, screen every Believer from persecution at homeand in the workshop, I would long hesitate before I did it, since I am persuaded that the Church is never more pure, moreholy, more prayerful, or more powerful than when the world is raging against her! The dogs keep the wolves out! The hypocritedeclines to enter the Church where he will gain nothing by reproach, or worse. When there were stakes at Smithfield, Protestantismmeant heroism! When the Lord's covenanting people were meeting among the hills and mosses of Scotland, there were no "moderates"or "modern-thought" men among them! They knew and loved the Truth of God for which they fought and that Truth of God madethem strong!
It could be a glorious day if it were so with all God's people, that there were none feeble. We should, as a Church, laborto reach this high standard. We would have the weakest to be as David and David as the Angel of the Lord! We would have ourbabes become young men and our young men, fathers in Christ! Do we reach this standard at the Tabernacle? Alas, we do notby a very long way! There are numbers of very feeble persons among our tribes. I will not say a word against them, dear Hearts!For I trust they are sincere, though feeble. How greatly I wish that they were more concerned about their own feebleness,for it is a real loss to the cause we have at heart! The feeble hinder the strong. We need all the strength of the host forstorming the enemies' ramparts, whereas some of us have to stay behind and nurse the infirm. We should not mind this so much,only these are the same poor creatures that were nursed 20 years ago-and they have not made any advance! May the Lord strengthenus all till we shall all be made fit for the service of Jesus!
Oh, when we meet in the Home Country, when we once get to Glory, what a delight it will be that there will be no sin or weaknessthere! When the Lord has once brought us forth from the world and all its troubles, then all sinful weakness shall be unknown!We shall all be raised in power and shall be as angels of God! Are you going there, dear Friends? "Yes," says one, "I hopethat I am going there, but I am a feeble person." Thank God that you are on the right road, even if you limp! It is betterto enter into life crippled, maimed and feeble, than to run and leap in the way of death! If I can give a lift to anyone whois feeble, I am sure I will. At the same time, I would urge you to cry to the Lord to make you strong-and bid you trust inChrist for the power which He, alone, can give, of faith to overcome doubts and fears.
If any of you have not believed unto eternal life, put your trust in the Lord Jesus now. They serve a good Master who trustonly in Jesus and take up their cross and follow Him. In Him is life for the perishing, joy for the sorrowing, rest for theweary and liberty for the captives! Are you shut up, like a prisoner in a castle? Do but trust in Jesus and He will batterthe dungeon door and bring you out! Yes, and He will not give you a penniless liberty, a liberty to perish of need! No, itshall be said of you, and of others like you, "HE brought them forth, also, with silver and gold." Amen, so be it! So be it,even at this moment, good Lord!
Port/on of Scripture Read before Sermon-Psalm 105.