Sermon 2316. Twelve Covenant Mercies
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JULY 9, 1893.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 30, 1889.
"Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, eventhe sure mercies of David." Isaiah 55:3.
I GOT so far this morning [Sermon #2092, Volume 35-God's Own Gospel Call.] as to plead with men to come to God to hear whatHe had to say, to give diligent and earnest heed to His teaching about their souls and about salvation. And while I pleaded,I can truly say, with all the strength I had, I made this one of the master arguments that, in hearing, their soul would live-andin coming to God, they would find Him ready to enter into Covenant with them, "an everlasting Covenant, even the sure merciesof David."
That seemed to me to be one of the most astonishing Truths of God that was ever given to man to preach, that God would bea high contracting party with poor insignificant and guilty man, that He would make a Covenant with man! Yes, with you andwith me-that He would bind Himself by a solemn promise, give His sacred pledge-and enter into a holy contract of mercy withthe guilty sons of Adam! I thought that if men were in their right minds and God had taught their reason to be reasonable,they would be drawn to the Lord by such a wonderful promise as this, "I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even thesure mercies of David."
Remember that there was a Covenant of old, which men broke-the Covenant of works, "This do, and you shall live." Keep suchand such commands, and you shall be rewarded. That Covenant failed because man did not keep God's commands and so did notearn the promised reward. We broke the terms of that contract and it is no longer valid, except that we come under penaltyfor the breach of it, and that penalty is that we are to be cast away from God's Presence and to perish without hope, so faras that broken Covenant is concerned.
Now, rolling up that old Covenant as a useless thing out of which no salvation can ever come, God comes to us in another wayand He says, "I will make a new Covenant with you, not like the old one at all." It is a Covenant of Grace- a Covenant made,not with the worthy, but with the unworthy! A Covenant not made upon conditions, but unconditionally, every supposed conditionhaving been fulfilled by our great Representative and Surety, the Lord Jesus Christ! A Covenant without an, "if," or a, "but,"in it, "ordered in all things, and sure." A Covenant of shalls and wills in which God says, "I will, and you shall!" A Covenantjust suited to our broken-down and helpless condition. A Covenant which will land everyone who is interested in it in Heaven!No other Covenant will ever do this. I tried to expatiate upon that Covenant this morning and I thought that I would closethe day by showing to any who desire to be in this Covenant of Grace what the blessings are that God promises to give to guiltymen when they come to Him, when they accept His love and His mercy. What are these blessings?
I have little else to do, tonight, but to refer you, again, as I did this morning, to God's Word. Beloved, if you had mettogether, after the death of some wealthy relative, and his will was about to be read to you, you would not require an eloquentlawyer-you would all be very attentive-and some of you who are a little deaf would recover your hearing! An important questionwould be, "What has he left?" A still more important enquiry would be, "What has he left to me?" Well, I want you to feel,tonight, that you do not need an eloquent preacher-I am only going to read God's will to you, His Covenant, which is virtuallythe testament or will of Christ. And all that you have to do is to listen and say, "What has He left? What has He bequeathedto me? What does He Covenant to give to me?"
And remember that whoever you may be, if you are willing to be saved by Grace, you may be saved by Grace! If you give up allhope of being saved anyway else, you may be saved by the free mercy and love of God! "If you are willing and obedient, youshall eat the good of the land." If you come and take Christ to be your Savior, then all the promises of God, which in Himare, yes, and in Him, Amen, are made to you! If you take Him, you take all that is in the Covenant, for He is the Covenant.Embodied in Himself is the whole Covenant of Grace and He who has Christ has all it contains!
I am going to point you to some of the passages in which we have this Covenant written out at length. I shall not say muchupon any item, but I shall refer you to 12 wonderful mercies of the Covenant of Grace. Will you kindly look in your Biblesat the prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 31, verse thirty-four? There is no music more sweet to me than the rustle of your Bibles.I sometimes preach, no, I frequently preach when I may read what I like and nobody follows me to see if I quote correctly.I have been inclined to buy you wheelbarrows, so that you may bring your Bibles to Chapel in them, since many of you do notseem to have any here. What is the best way of hearing the Word? Is it not to search and see whether what the preacher saysis really according to the Word of God?
I. One of the first mercies of the Covenant is SAVING KNOWLEDGE. Turn to Jeremiah 31, and let us begin to read at verse thirty-one-"Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will make a new Covenant withthe house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the Covenant that I made with their fathers in the daythat I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My Covenant they broke, although I was an Husbandunto them, says the Lord: but this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saysthe Lord, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall beMy people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for theyshall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the Lord." There is one of the first blessings ofthe Covenant of Grace-saving knowledge.
Man by nature knows not God. He does not want to know God and when he is awakened to think of God at all, God seems a greatmystery, a Being invisible, unreachable-and the man says, "Who shall make me to know God?" He reads his Bible, it may be,and even that he does not understand. He hears the preacher, but the Lord's servant seems to talk a jargon which the unconvertedman cannot comprehend! Brothers and Sisters, there is no knowing God except through God! The man's neighbor cannot teach him,even though he may attempt it. Though he may say, "Know the Lord," yet he cannot give knowledge of God. By nature our eyesare blinded-we cannot see. You may hold, even, the electric light to a blind man's sightless orbs, but it will not give himsight. Blind Bartimaeus saw no light till Jesus spoke to him. Saul of Tarsus was blind enough, by his bigotry and self-righteousness,until God gave him a glorious light to shine into his soul.
Now, here is a Covenant that God will give the knowledge of Himself to the lost, the guilty and the ruined-to those who haveprovoked Him and gone astray from Him. Where are those to whom this Covenant shall be fulfilled tonight? I cannot tell you,save by marks and tokens, and this is one of the marks. Do you know that you are blind? Do you know that you cannot see apartfrom Divine Grace? Do you long to see? He is not totally blind, in a spiritual sense, who knows that he is so. He is not inthe dark who feels that he is in the dark-there is already some degree of the Light of God that makes him perceive the darknessvisible. O Soul, if you desire to know God, here is the Covenant, "They shall all know Me, from the least of them unto thegreatest of them"! All God's chosen shall know Him! They shall not abide in ignorance. They shall not die in ignorance. Theyshall come to know the Lord and they shall grow in the Grace and in the knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Oh, what a privilege this is! "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." If any man is ignorant of his God, let himhear the Word of the Lord and let him seek the Lord, and God will give him instruction concerning Himself, and make him toknow the great Jehovah, the Father of our spirits, who passes by iniquity, transgression, and sin.
II. But I must not linger on any one blessing. The first Covenant mercy is saving knowledge. The next is, GOD'S LAW WRITTENIN THE HEART. Let me read you verse 33, again-"After those days, says the Lord, I will put My Law in their inward parts, andwrite it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people." You know that the Law of Moses was writtenon two tablets of stone. Wonderfully precious those two slabs of marble must have been when the Divine finger had traced thesolemn lines. Moses had a great charge to keep when he had those two Di-
vinely written tablets, but he destroyed them because the people had, in spirit, broken them. It could not be that such Divinewriting should ever be handled or looked at by such an unholy people!
Now, Brothers and Sisters, it was of no use writing the Law on tablets of stone except for the condemnation of the people!But when God comes in the Covenant of Grace, He does not merely give us the Law in a Book, the Law written in legible characters,but He comes and writes on the fleshy tablets of our heart. Then the man knows the Law by heart! What is better, he lovesthe Law. That Law accuses him, but he would not have it altered. He bows and confesses the truthfulness of the accusation.He cries, "Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep Your Law." And this is the Covenant blessing-God makesmen to love His Commandments and to delight themselves in the Truth of God, righteousness and holiness!
A very wonderful thing is this writing in our heart. Nobody but God can write in human hearts. We can write certain thoughtsupon your minds as we appeal to your ears, but to get at the heart is another thing! He that has the keys of Heaven, He thathas the keys of the heart, He that shuts and no man opens, or opens and no man shuts, can really get at the human heart! AndHe does so get at it that He writes, there, His Commandments, and this He does to men who formerly hated those Commandments!He makes them love them. Men who despised His Commandments, He makes to honor them. As for men who forgot His commandments,He writes them in their hearts, so that they cannot get away from them. As for men who would have changed the Commandments,He changes their hearts, instead, and then their hearts and the Commandments agree together.
This is a second Covenant blessing. Do any of you want these blessings? Would you like to know the Lord? Do you wish to havethe Law written on your hearts? Be it unto you according to your faith! Believe that God can do this for you-trust in Christthat it may be done unto you-and even so shall it be!
III. The third Covenant mercy (we cannot dwell long on any item) is, FREE PARDON. You will find this at the end of the 34thverse-"For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Oh, this is a great blessing of the Covenant!You people who have never sinned, or who think that you have not. You who believe yourselves to have always been good, orat least as good as you could be, and far above the average of mankind! You exceedingly excellent people who have never doneanything that you need to repent of very greatly, well, I have nothing for you here! Only remember what Mary sang, "He hasfilled the hungry with good things; and the rich" (that is you) "He has sent empty away." But if there is a soul here thatfeels the burden of its guilt, one bowed down with grief because of the heavy load of past iniquity that lies upon it, why,surely you, if you have the faith, will jump for joy as you read these words, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remembertheir sin no more." First, He will forgive it, blot it right out. "Be," says He, "as if you had never offended. Come to Me,come to My heart, as if you had always loved Me. Guilty though you are, I will not impute iniquity to your charge, I willforgive it." The great Judge will put on the white gloves and not the black cap! You shall be forgiven!
And then the Lord says, "I will remember their sin no more." It is a wonderful thing when Omnipotence overcomes Omniscience,when Omnipotent Love will not allow Omniscience to remember-"I will remember their sin no more." Satan comes and pleads againstthe sinner, "Lord, he did so and so." God says, "I do not remember it." Nor does He remember it, for He laid it all on Christand Christ suffered the penalty due for it and, therefore, it is gone! It is never to be recalled! It stands not in the Bookof Remembrance and, as the Lord looks over this man's life, when He comes to the black pages, there is a blank-not a lineof it is left-for He who died has made the scarlet sins as white as snow! "I will remember their sin no more."
Oh, what a precious Covenant mercy is this! I do not feel as if I need to elaborate or garnish it in any way, or give youany illustrations, or tell you any anecdotes. Was there ever set before you such a glorious gift? Will you not have it-theperfect pardon of every sin and a Divine act of amnesty and oblivion for every crime, of every sort-as promised in the Covenantof Grace to every soul that is willing to receive it through Christ Jesus the Savior?
IV. Let us look a little farther and see if there is not something more. Look to the next chapter, Jeremiah 32, at the 38th verse-"And they shall be My people, and I will be their God." That is the next Covenant mercy, RECONCILIATION.The offense is put away, the sin is pardoned. "Now," says God, "they shall be My people." "Lord, they are the people who worshippedBaal! They are the horrid wretches who gave their children up to be burned in the red-hot arms of Molech." "They shall beMy people," says the Lord. "But, Lord, these are the men and women who committed adul-
tery and fornication and were even guilty of murder!" "They shall be My people," says the Lord. "But, Lord, they provokedYou to anger year after year, and would not hearken to Your Prophets." "They shall be My people," says the Lord, "and I willbe their God."
Did you ever think how much there is involved in that expression, "I will be their God"? God is everything and when God givesHimself to us, He gives us more than all time and all eternity, all earth and all Heaven! "Fear not, Abram," said the Lordto the Patriarch, "I am your shield, and your exceedingly great reward," as if it was reward enough for any man to have Godto be his God-and so it is! More riches than Croesus, more honor than the greatest conqueror, has that man who has this Godto be his God forever and ever! "I will be their God, and they shall be My people." The young people might look that textup, and find how many times it occurs in the Word of God. I remember many times that God puts it, "I will be their God, andthey shall be My people."
This is another grand Covenant blessing! Are you willing to be the people of God? Are you willing to take Him, even this God,to be yours forever and ever? If so, then the text is true concerning you, "I will make an everlasting Covenant with you,even the sure mercies of David."
V. Will you follow me to the next verse for a fifth Covenant mercy, the blessing of TRUE GODLINESS? "And I will give themone heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them." See here,that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom! "The fear of God" is a description of true godliness and God says that Hewill give this to men. He might have asked it of you, and rightly, too, but you would never have yielded it. But when He saysthat He will give it, that is a very different thing! He is willing to give you His fear, to give you true religion, to bestowupon you that veneration of His sacred name which lies at the bottom of all godliness! He will give you that, give that toyou who never had it, and even despised it, to any of you who have lived all your lives without it, but who are willing tocome and take it, this night, as the gift of His Grace through Jesus Christ our Lord! May the Lord make you willing in this,the day of His power, for that is a part of the Covenant blessing! The willingness, itself, is His gift and this He givesfreely to His own.
VI. Now look, dear Friends, to the next verse, which is more wonderful than anything that I have yet read. The sixth Covenantmercy is, CONTINUANCE IN GRACE-"And I will make an everlasting Covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, todo them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me." Talk about Final Perseverance-isit not taught here? "I will not turn away from them, and they shall not depart from Me." What a Covenant blessing this is!It reminds us of the words of the Lord Jesus concerning His sheep-"I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish,neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." "Yes," I heard a man say, who did not believe what that verse teaches, "Noman shall pluck them out of His hand, but they may crawl away from between His fingers."
No, they shall not! See how this text secures them both ways. "I will not turn away from them, to do them good: but I willput My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me." Here are both gaps blocked-there is no getting out eitherway. God will not leave you and He will not let you leave Him! This is a Covenant blessing, indeed. Oh, for faith to gripit! The soul that comes to Christ and rests itself wholly upon Him, shall find two hands to grasp it, even these two graciouswords, "I will not turn away from them," and, "they shall not depart from Me." And this is spoken of the guilty, of the verymen who provoked God!-
"Wonders of Grace to God belong, Repeat His mercies in your song." If God saved the good, the meritorious and the righteous,then the proud Pharisees would swarm in every street in Heaven and God would have no Glory! But when He saves the vilest ofthe vile-then the publicans, who are afraid to lift their eyes to Heaven when they think of their own unworthiness-will getnear the Throne of God and sing! Oh, how they will sing of Free Grace and dying love! This Covenant would be great enoughif there were nothing more in it than the six blessings that I have mentioned!
VII. I must trouble you to turn in your Bibles to another prophecy, to read about another of the mercies of His Covenant,namely, CLEANSING. Some poor soul says, "Well, I can see that God is going to do great things, but I feel myself so unclean,I dare not come near to God. Why, Sir, I am polluted all over, inside and out, I am altogether like a leprous man!" Come then,let me read this verse to you, the 25th verse of the 36th chapter of Ezekiel-"Then will I sprin-
kle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you."God's Word elsewhere says, "Wash you, make you clean." That is your duty-but here you are told that the Lord will wash you,and make you clean. This is your privilege. "You are clean," said Christ to His disciples, "through the Word which I havespoken unto you." That is "the washing of water by the Word" of which Paul wrote to the Ephesians. The Lord sprinkles this"clean water" upon the leprous and the polluted sinner, upon him who lies covered with his own blood, a filthy thing in thesight of God and loathsome to himself. The Free-Grace Covenant runs, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shallbe clean." When God Himself says, "You shall be clean," I know that we are clean, for He is the best judge of true cleanliness!His pure and holy eyes detect every spot of sin and every latent trace of disease. Though it is deep within the heart, Hecan spy it out, but He says, "I will sprinkle you, and you shall be clean." Blessed be His name!
And then He goes on to enumerate that from which He will cleanse us-"From all your idols will I cleanse you." Is drink youridol? Is some lust of the flesh your idol? "Oh!" you say, "I cannot get rid of these things." No, but the Lord can cleanseyou from them! Only come to Him, listen diligently to Him, trust Him, yield yourself up, surrender yourself to Him and Hewill dash your idols in pieces and tear them from their thrones! He will also cleanse you from whatever else there may bethat is unmentionable, "from all your filthiness"-things not to be spoken of, not even to be mentioned-those things that aredone in secret, "I will cleanse you from them," says the Lord.
I may be speaking to somebody here who, as he listens to me, thinks that I am talking some novel, some romance. "Why," hesays, "I am a filthy creature. I am a great sinner. Can God bless me?" Yes, He can bless even you! Did you never hear of ColonelGardiner? On the very night on which he had made an appointment to commit a filthy sin, Christ appeared to Him and he thoughtthat he heard Him say, "I have done all this for you; will you never turn to Me?" He did turn to Jesus and he became notedas an eminent Christian-more noted than he had formerly been as a debauched officer in the army! The Lord Jesus Christ stillworks these wonders of Grace! He meets men often when they are desperately set on mischief, just as a horse might be rushinginto the battle, and He comes and lays His hand on the rein and turns it, and leads it back wherever He wills! Such is thepower of His almighty love! I pray Him to do the same, tonight, according to this wondrous promise, "Then will I sprinkleclean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthi-ness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you."
VIII. Nor is that all, for, if a man should be made clean once, he would soon get foul again if left to himself, so here followsthe next astounding Covenant mercy of RENEWAL OF NATURE. Listen-"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will Iput within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." It is notsaid, "I will help you to this," but, "I will do it." Not, "I will help you to make yourself a new heart." No, nothing ofthe kind, but, "I will give you a new heart." You know that if you cut off the branches of a tree, it will grow fresh ones,but if you could tear out its heart, it would never grow a new one. There are some creatures, like the lobster, that willshed their claws and the claws will grow again-but a lobster never grows a new heart.
If the center of animal or vegetable life is once destroyed, there is no renewing it. But God can work this miracle in humanhearts, He can strike at the very center of man's nature and change it! It is little to render pure the streams, but it isa great marvel to cleanse an impure spring so that a spring of bitter water suddenly turns sweet. This is a miracle that canonly be worked by the finger of God and there is nothing short of this renewal of nature that is worth having! I know thatsome people fancy that Christians, when they do not go into such and such worldly amusements, deny themselves very much. Nothingof the kind! It would be an awful denial to us if we had to go with the worldlings. Those who frequent the theater and placesof loose amusement perhaps think that it is a denial to us not to go with them. Oh, dear, dear, dear, they little know us!
When I go down to a friend's farm, I see a man carrying to the pigs a couple of pails full of food, but I never envy the pigs!I like them to have all that they can, and to enjoy themselves, but do not suppose that I am denying myself in not wantingtheir food! My taste does not lie that way. But suppose that a man has a hog's heart-what is the way to deal with him? Todeny him his swill? Certainly not! Let him have it while he is like the hogs. The thing that is needed is a change of heart,and when his heart is turned into a renewed man's heart, and is made to be a God-like heart, then it is no denial to him toloathe the things which once gave him so much pleasure! His tastes are entirely changed and that is according to the promiseof the Covenant, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you."
The old heart is very hard in some. It seems to be altogether petrified-you cannot make any impression upon it. You are receivedwith ridicule, however earnest you may be in your pleadings for God. But the Lord can change the stony heart-
"Our heart, that flinty, stubborn thing, That terrors cannot move, That fears no threatening of His wrath, Shall be dissolvedby love! Or He can take the flint away, That would not be refined; And from the treasures of His Grace, Bestow a softer mind."
Then the man, who was just now as hard as flint, sits and weeps over his sins. See how watchful he is in the presence of allkinds of temptations. He is half afraid to put one foot before another! The very man who was called, "Devil-may-care," isnow the one who does care and who trembles lest he should in any way grieve the living God! What a blessed Covenant mercyis this!
IX. But I must hurry on. The ninth Covenant mercy is, HOLY CONVERSATION. Let me read verse twenty-seven- "And I will put Myspirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments, and do them." When God deals witha man in the way of Grace, He not only calls him to holiness, but He gives him holiness! He not only bids him walk in Hisway, but He makes him walk in His way-not by compulsion, not by any kind of physical force-but by the sweet influences ofInfinite Love. The man's entire life is changed externally, just as I have shown you that his heart is changed internally."Oh!" says one, "this is very wonderful." It is. It is the standing wonder of the Gospel. Certain miracles have ceased, butthe miracles of turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, are being worked every day! I rejoicethat they are constantly being worked in this very House of Prayer and I believe that they are going to be worked tonighton some who are listening to me! If this miracle is worked, you will not attribute it to me-I know you will not, for you willremember how feeble I am-but you will understand that there is the power of God working through the preaching of the Gospelmaking dry bones to live and turning black sinners into bright saints, to the praise of the glory of His Grace!
X. Once again, will you kindly look at the 31st verse? This will be the 10th Covenant mercy, HAPPY SELF-LOATHING. Perhapsyou will wonder that I called this a mercy. Listen-"Then shall you remember your own evil ways, and your doings that werenot good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations." Free Grace makes menloathe themselves! After God has done so much for them, they feel so ashamed that they do not know what to do. "O Lord," saysthe saint, "to think that ever I should have sinned against One who loved me so much! That I, the elect of God, should haveacted like the elect of Hell! That I, who was God's own, should have called myself the devil's own! That I, who was chosenunto holiness and eternal life, should have passed it all by as if it were no concern of mine!" Oh, may God grant us thisholy loathing, as He will do when we have once tasted of His Infinite Love!
XI. The next Covenant mercy, mentioned in the 37th chapter, verses 26 to 28, is the blessing of COMMUNION WITH God-"MoreoverI will make a Covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting Covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiplythem, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yes, I will be theirGod, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall bein the midst of them forevermore." God promises to set up His tabernacle and His Temple in the midst of His people, and tomake them His priests, His servants, His children, His friends. God will be no longer absent from you when this Covenant workshall have been worked in you; but you shall be brought to dwell in His Presence, to abide in His house, and to go no moreout forever, until the day when He shall take you to His palace home above, to be forever in His Presence, and to serve Himday and night in His Temple.
And all this is promised to the worthless, to the vilest of the vile! All this without asking of you anything but that youwill be willing to receive Him! All this without requiring of you anything but just your emptiness that He may fill it, yoursinfulness that He may cleanse it! Only you must surrender to Him. What have you to surrender? Nothing but a lot
of rubbish of your own your self-righteousness, especially, which is but filthy rags! The Lord bring you to this surrendereven now!
XII. There is only one more Covenant mercy for me to mention and I put it last because you will be surprised, perhaps, whenI read it. It is about NECESSARY CHASTISEMENT. For that I must ask you to turn to Psalm 89 and verse thirty-"If his children forsake My law, and walk not in My judgments; if they break My statutes, and keep not MyCommandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail." There is a rod in the Covenant. Children ofGod, you do not like it-it were not a rod if you did-but it is good for you when you come under the fatherly discipline ofGod. Though He will never take His everlasting love from you, nor suffer His faithfulness to fail, yet, when you transgress,the rod shall be sure to fall upon you, and sometimes its strokes shall come upon you before you transgress, to keep you fromsinning!
I often hear of some of God's dearest servants suffering. I heard of one whom I am sure God loves very much. He is very useful.He spends himself in his Master's work. He is also very prosperous-God gives to him great wealth, which he discreetly andwisely uses, but he has had a very sharp affliction come upon him, lately, which is enough to break his heart. And when Iheard it, I said, "Yes, yes, God loves him. God loves him." If you are a child of God, note this Truth of God and accept itwith joy-our heavenly Father never pampers His children! We may spoil our girls and boys, but our Father never spoils Hischildren. If He gives you great happiness, great success and makes you useful, He will, every now and then, give you a whippingbehind the door. You think, sometimes, "That man is very happy. he has great blessing resting on his work." Yes, this manis very happy to tell you that he has not all sweets to drink, to make him sick and ill, but there are bitter tonics, sharpblows of the rod, to keep him right. If we have to bless God more for any one thing than for everything else, it is to thankHim that we have not escaped the rod.
Sickness is a choice blessing from God! I cannot measure the unutterable good that comes to us full often in that way-andlosses in business, and crosses, and bereavements, and depressions of spirit are all, when we see them in the light eternal,so many Covenant mercies. The true-born child of God cannot escape the rod and would not if he might. He gets afraid whenhe does not sometimes feel it. He will not long have to be afraid about it, for it will come in due time. I think that I hearsomebody say, "I do not want that." No, just so-you want worldly pleasure. Perhaps God will let you have it till you havespent all your substance on it, as the prodigal did-and then you will find that it is all weariness and sorrow-and you willwant something better.
But if tonight you will say, "I will take the Covenant of Grace, rod and all, for if I can be God's child, I will very gladlytake the rod as part of the mercies of the Covenant," come along, and you shall have it! Seek the Lord tonight! Give not sleepto your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids till you have found Him! God grant you all the mercies of the Everlasting Covenant,for Jesus' sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON. JEREMIAH32:30-42.
Verse 30. For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before Me from, their youth: for the childrenof Israel have only provoked Me to anger with the work of their hands, says the LORD. Here were people who had done nothingelse but evil. God had been very good to them, but they had been very bad to Him. From their youth, and without a break, theybad continued to rebel.
31. For this city has been to Me as a provocation of My anger and of My fury from the day that they built it even unto thisday; that I should remove it from before My face. Jerusalem, which ought to have been a holy city, had been so impure thatit had been a standing provocation to God from the day it was built.
32. Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me toanger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.They seem to have been all alike. With scarcely an exception, from the highest class to the lowest, they were always disobeyingGod.
33. And they have turned unto Me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yetthey have not hearkened to receive instruction. This is a fearful indictment! When men refuse to learn better, turn theirback upon the King of kings, and will have nothing to do with Him, surely the time for vengeance has come.
34, 35. But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by My name, to defile it. And they built the high placesof Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire untoMolech. There was nothing so terribly bad but they would do it. There was nothing so unnatural, so detestable, but they mustpractice it.
35-38. Which I commanded them not, neither came it into My mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.And now therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, of which you say, It shall be delivered intothe hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; behold, I will gather them out ofall countries, where I have driven them in My anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again untothis place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. Is not this a wonderfulpassage? After all this sin, and all this provocation, when we expect the thunder and lightning of Divine judgment, behold,there is nothing but the sweet voice of pitying love-"They shall be My people, and I will be their God." Oh, the wonders ofDivine Grace! See what the Covenant of Grace does for guilty men.
39, 40. And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them, and of their childrenafter them: and I will make an everlasting Covenant with them, "With them"-with these very people who had provoked Him, andserved Molech, and bowed before idol gods, and put the Lord to shame, and angered Him!
40, 41. That I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall notdepart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My wholeheart and with My whole soul. A whole-hearted God, blessing those upon whom He looks with an eye of Grace! It is a wonderfulthing. If He had set His whole heart to destroy them, it would have seemed natural, but God is far above any conception ofours and so, in the midst of extraordinary and almost immeasurable guilt, behold Love equally extraordinary and Grace altogethermeasureless!
42. For thus says the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all thegood that I have promised them. Oh, for Grace to lay hold upon this Everlasting Covenant, even the sure mercies of David,and to be saved thereby!