Sermon 2479. Spices, Flowers, Lilies and Myrrh
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, AUGUST 23, 1896.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, AUGUST 5, 1880.
"His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: His lips like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh." Song of Solomon5:13.
IN this chapter the spouse describes in detail the Person of her Beloved. She is not satisfied with saying, "He is altogetherlovely," but she delights to talk of the charms of each part of His sacred Person and to picture the beauties of His Divineform and features, so that thereby she may, perhaps, win some other heart, first to admire and then to love Him.
Dear Friends, there are some things about which you will be wise not to go into details. You had better speak in general termsof half the things on earth, for if you once describe them in detail, you will have to confess that they are marred by a thousandimperfections! You may be content to give merely a surface glance at them, for if you dive beneath the surface, you will soondiscover much that will alter your opinion of the thing that, at first sight, looked so lovely. But it is not so with Jesus,our Well-Beloved! You may talk of Him as long as you please and praise Him as much as you can, yet you will never discoverthat you have exaggerated His excellences. You may go into detail about Him and dwell with much minuteness upon everythingrelating to His Character, His offices, His Words, His deeds and you shall be made to wonder at the perfection of each oneof them. You may apply the microscope to Christ. You may examine His little things, if, indeed, anything can be little thatrefers to Him. You may look into the deep things of Christ, the hidden things of Christ, His secrets-and the more closelyyou look, the more you will be amazed, astonished and filled with delight!
It is of Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom, that we perceive the spouse to be speaking and mentioning in detail at least 10particulars, dwelling with delight upon the beauties of His head and His locks, His eyes and His cheeks, His lips and Hishands and every part of Him. And, Beloved Friends, I think it shows true love to Christ when we want to speak at length uponeverything that concerns Him. The general Hearer says, "Oh, yes, yes! Of course, Christ is the Son of God and He is also perfectMan-I believe that." But he does not want you to go into minute particulars concerning your Lord. It is not so with thosewho truly love the Savior-they wish to know all that can be known about Him. True love likes to become familiar with the objectof its affection-its heart is set upon that object. It studies it and can never know it too well or too closely. True loveto Christ thinks of Him from morning till night. It is glad to be released from other thoughts that it may follow only itsone darling pursuit. True love to Christ seeks to get to Him, to live with Him, to live upon Him and thus to know Him so intimatelythat things which were unobserved and passed over at the first, stand out in clear light to the increased joy and delightof the contemplative mind! I wish, dear Friends, that we had many more of those people who study Christ from head to footthat they may learn all that can be learned about Him-those who would be able, with the spouse, to talk of His charms andbeauties in detail-and to describe them as she does with rapturous delight!
You know how very unacquainted many people are with the Song of Solomon-they shut up this Book of Canticles in despair andsay that they cannot understand its meaning. You will find that it is just the same with every truly spiritual thing! If youput into the hands of any one of them a deeply spiritual book, he will say, "I cannot comprehend what the writer means. Theman seems to be in a rapture and I cannot make out what he is aiming at by such writing." Just so. Unspiritual people areall at sea in spiritual things and even some of God's children, who know Christ so as to be saved by Him, seem to be altogetherout of their depth when you begin to speak of the things which you have made touching the King, or dilate upon those specialTruths of God which only experience and fellowship with Christ can reveal to the soul. In speaking upon our text, I am surethat I shall not say toomuchin praise of my Lord and Master! My fear is that I shall not say a thousandth part as much asHe deserves-and yet, perhaps, it shall seem but trivial talk to some who as yet do not know that one hair of His head is worthmore than the whole world and that one drop of His precious blood has an eternal efficacy about it. On the other hand, I knowthat I shall not speak too enthusiastically for those whose hearts are warm with love to Christ. May the Lord, in great mercy,make us all to have such hearts, and He shall have all the praise!
There are two things I shall speak of as I may be helped by the Holy Spirit. First, Christ looked upon is very lovely- "Hischeeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers." Secondly, Christ listened to is very precious-"His lips like lilies, droppingsweet-smelling myrrh." There is an important distinction between the two heads of my discourse that I want you to notice beforeI proceed further, for there is a considerable difference between Christ looked upon and Christ listened to. There are somewho listen to Christ's Gospel and they do well. But those who also look with eyes of love upon His sacred Person. Those whocontemplate not only what He says but what He is. Those who delight to know not only what He taught but what He is who taughtit-these are they who have penetrated yet further into the mysteries of Christ.
I. With these we begin as we consider our first point-CHRIST LOOKED UPON IS VERY LOVELY. Note that these saints first seetheir Lord's loveliness and then they say concerning Him, "His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers." But why dothey mention His cheeks?
I suppose, first, because every part of Christ is inexpressibly delightful. Take any portion of His Countenance that you mayand it has surpassing beauty about it. The spouse had already spoken about her Beloved's head, locks and eyes-now she mentionsHis cheeks. Any sight of Christ is delightful-a single passing glimpse of Him is a foretaste of Heaven, the beginning of Paradise!Though you see but little of Christ, yet if it is Christ whom you really see, that sight will save you! Though you see Christ,as it were, with but one eye, and though that eye is dim, and though that dim eye is filled with tears, yet if you do butsee Him at all, that sight will save you-and just in proportion as you are able to see Him, your delight will increase! Asight of Him in anycapacity and under any form has great richness of sweetness in it.
Think for a moment what is meant by a sight of, "His cheeks. Though you may not yet see the majesty of His brow as King ofKings and Lord of Lords. Though you may not perceive the brightness of the lightning flashes of His eyes, which are as a flameof fire. Though you may scarcely be able to imagine, at present, what will be the Glory of His Second Advent-yet if you canbut see the cheeks that He gave to the smiters-if you do but know something of Him as the suffering Savior, you shall findthat there is inexpressible delight in Him and, with the spouse, you will say, "His cheeks are as a bed of spices." To a believingsoul, then, there is great delight in every part of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But, I think the saints see great loveliness in those parts of Christ which have been most despised. Just now I mentionedthe cheek as one of those parts of Christ's blessed body that were exposed to special shame, as Isaiah foretold, using, byInspiration, the very words of the Messiah in His agony-"I gave My back to the smiters and My cheeks to them that pluckedoff the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting." Oh, if we could but see Him, now! If we could but gaze upon Hisface as it is in Glory, what a subject of meditation it would be to think that ever the spit of cruel mockers did run downthose blessed cheeks-that infinite loveliness was insulted with inconceivable contempt-the holy face of the Incarnate Sonof God distained with the accursed spit of brutal men! [See sermon #2473, Volume 42-"An Awful Contrast"] O my Soul, how lowyour Lord has stooped! Can you really believe it possible that it should have been so? Yes, you know that it was so, yet,is it not sad to think that His dear face, which is as the sun shining in his strength, which is, indeed, the very Heavenof heavens, the light of the Temple of God above-is it not sad to think that His face should have been spit upon for yoursake and because of your sin and your iniquity? Alas, that each of us had a part in that shameful deed-
"My Jesus! Who with spittle vile Profaned Your sacred brow? Or whose unpitying scourge has made Your precious blood to flow?'Tis I have thus ungrateful been Yet, Jesus, pity take! Oh, spare and pardon me, my Lord,
For Your sweet mercy's sake!"
"It was I, with my vain and idle talk, with my false and proud speech, that did spit into that dear face." How sad that Heshould ever have been made to suffer so! O glorious love, that He should be willing, even, to stoop to this terrible depthof ignominy that He might lift us up to dwell with Him on high! So, I say again, every part of Christ is lovely, but thatwhich has been most despised and most subjected to suffering and shame for us is the peculiar subject of our delightful contemplation.
And next, my Brothers and Sisters, those parts of Christ in which we do not immediately see any special office or use are,nevertheless, peculiarly lovely to the saints. I can gaze by faith on the brow of Him who plans for me and admire His infinitewisdom. I can think of the eyes of Him who looks in love upon me and bless Him for His care. I can praise the lips that speakfor me in Heaven and that speak to me upon earth-and I can bless the matchless eloquence that never ceases to plead for meand with me. But as for the cheeks of Christ, what do they do for me? What peculiar function have they to perform? I fearthat we are all too apt to ask concerning Christ, "How is this to work for our advantage and how is that to turn out for ourprofit?" Has it come to this-that we are never to love Christ except when we see that we are profited by Him? If there isan abstruse doctrine, as we think it, that does not appear to have a practical outlook, are we, therefore, never to speakof it? If we cannot see that we derive comfort, or profit, or sanctification from some teaching which may be high, mysterious,sublime, so that we do not see whereunto it tends, yet, Beloved, are we to refuse to think of it?
Until the question, "Cui bono?"shall have been answered, will we seal up that sacred page and never read it? Do you care onlyfor the lips that speak to you? Have you no love for the cheeks that are silent? Do you care for nothing but for the eyesthat are watching over you? If there comes to you nothing from those cheeks of your Lord, yet shall they not be to you, "asa bed of spices, as sweet flowers"? The fact is, we are not to judge concerning Christ in any such fashion as this. On thecontrary, if there is any duty which Christ has commanded, but which, instead of seeming to be easy and profitable to us,is hard and requires that we should give so much that Judas will cry out, "To what purpose is this waste?" let us never mindhim, but break our alabaster boxes and pour out the sweet perfume upon our dear Master! Let the cheeks that seem to have nospecial office to fulfill-let that part of Christ or of Christianity that seems to serve no end that we can see-be, nevertheless,precious to us! These are His cheeks, therefore are they precious to me! This duty is a command from Hm, therefore I mustperform it! And this doctrine, of which I do not see the practical end, is, nevertheless, a doctrine of His teaching-thereforeI accept it with delight!
But further, Beloved children of God, the followers of Christ have an intense admiration, an almost infinite love for thatpart of Christ by which they are able to commune with Him and, perhaps, that is one reason why His cheeks are here mentioned.The cheek is the place of fellowship where we exchange tokens of love. What a blessing it is that Christ should have had acheek for the lips of love to approach and to kiss! What a privilege it is that it always should be possible for a lovingheart to express its affection to Christ! If He had accepted us and then put us right away from Him and said, "There, youmay love Me, but you must never tell Me of it." If we were conscious that when we did talk of our love to Christ, He neverknew it, for He was far away and high above us-and did not care for such poor love as ours-in such a case He would not behalf such a Christ as He now is to us. If He had taken Himself away to the ivory palaces and had shut the door and if, whenwe tried to gaze up at Him, He only looked down upon us with His countenance "as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars," but neverstooped to where we were, that He might commune with us, and that we might tell Him the story of our love-He would not behalf as sweet to us as He is now!
Many of you know what it is to pray right into His very ear in the time of your sorrow and you also know what it is to speakright into His ear in the hour of your joy! And, sometimes, when you have been alone with Him (now I am talking of the deepthings of Christ, of the pearls which are not to be cast before swine)-you know that He has heard what you have said to Him.You have been as certainly assured that He has been listening to your declaration as if, like Peter, you had heard Him ask,"Do you love Me?" and you had answered, "Lord, You know all things; you know that I love You." And you have been delightedwith the thought that He didknow that you loved Him and that you might tell Him that it was so! You also rejoiced that youcould go forth into the world and do something that He would see you do, something that you did not do for the sake of theChurch, much less for your own sake, but which you did all for Him, just as you would give Him the kisses of love upon Hisown cheeks, which are, "as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers."
Those of you who have been in communion with Christ know what I mean and you know that anything by which you come into closecontact with Christ is very, very delightful to you.
How greatly we rejoice to think of Christ's Humanity because we feel that it brings Him very near to us! He is our Brother!He feels what we feel and through His Humanity this wondrous Man is next of kin to us! He who is truly God is also our nearKinsman, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh! How the blessed doctrine of the union of the saints with Christ delightsus as we remember that "we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones"! How the wondrous Truth of the indwellingof the Holy Spirit charms us because the same Spirit that rested upon Him also rests upon us! And the holy oil that was firstpoured upon Him, who is the Head, descends even to us who are as the hem of the garment that reaches to the ground! It isthe same Spirit that is upon Him that is upon us and so, again, we are one with Him. Does not this Truth of God also makeprayer very sweet as the means of getting to Christ? And does it not make praise very sweet as another means of communicatingwith Christ? And oh, though some put the sacred Table of the Lord out of its proper place, yet to the communion of the bodyof Christ, it is a dear and blessed ordinance! Often do we know Him in the breaking of bread when we have not recognized Him,even though He has talked with us by the way. So, you see, the saints delight in those Truths concerning Christ which enablethem to have fellowship with Him and thus they realize what the spouse meant when she said, "His cheeks are as a bed of spices,as sweet flowers."
I have thus tried to show you that the saints see great beauty in Christ when they look upon Him. But now I have to remindyou that saints also labor to tell others of the loveliness of Christ when they look upon Him. In this blessed service, however,they must, in part, labor in vain, for, as we have often sung-
"Living tongues are dumb at best, We must die to speak of Christ." I suppose that even he who has seen Christ in Heaven couldnot fully tell us of His beauties. Paul has not told us much of what He heard in Paradise, though he told all he could tellafter he had been caught up to the third Heaven. He "heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful (or possible) for a manto utter." Oh, how one longs for but a moment's sight of Christ in Glory! One might be content to have only a dry crust andto lie in an underground dungeon for the rest of one's life, if one might but gaze on His blessed face, for once, and hearHim say, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Perhaps you think you would have a deal to tell if that were your blessedexperience, but, Beloved, you might not have anythingto tell-you would only feel less able to speak than you ever were before!You would be so dazzled, so astonished, so amazed at the Glory of Christ that, perhaps, you might never be able to speak atall!
The spouse, however, in our text tries to speak of the loveliness of Christ by comparisons. She cannot do it with one emblem-shemust have two concerning His cheeks-they are "as a bed of spices," "as sweet flowers."
Notice, in the metaphors used by the spouse, that there is a blending of sweetness and beauty-"as a bed of spices"-there issweetness. And then, "as sweet flowers"-there is beauty. There is sweetness to the nostrils and beauty to the eyes-spice forits fragrance and flowers for their loveliness. In Christ there is something for every spiritual sense and for every spiritualsense there is a complete satisfaction and delight in Him. Look at Him and He is to your sight as sweet flowers! Get a spiritualtaste of Him and then He is as honey and the honeycomb! Take, as it were, a spiritual smell of Him and you shall find thatHe is "as a bed of spices." Touch Him, or hear Him and it shall be just the same-you shall find the daintiest, the highest,the most harmonious feelings your spirit ever knew when you do but approach Him with any spiritual sense in full exercise.Our blessed Master may be viewed from every side and yet He is perfect from every aspect. We have seen Him far above us. Thereare few things that look well when set up aloft and gazed at from below- but He does. We shall one day see Him side by sideand I guarantee you that we shall count Him lovely, then, even as we reckon Him lovely now! Angels have looked down upon Himfrom above, gazing on Him when He was here on earth, and He was infinitely lovely to their vision. Seen by daylight or bymoonlight, seen in the crowd or seen in solitude, seen in our days of sorrow or seen in our times of joy, our Lord Jesus possessesall kinds of loveliness compacted into one perfect loveliness-all perfections blended to make one perfection-every sweet concoctedand distilled to make one perfect sweetness. Well, therefore, may His spouse pile up the metaphors and blend sweet spiceswith fragrant flowers in trying to describe His charms!
Notice that when the spouse is speaking of the cheeks of her Beloved, she brings in the idea of abundance-spices, yes, "abedof spices." Flowers-not one or two, but, according to the Hebrew, "towers of perfume," which I understand to mean thoseraised beds which we delight to have in our gardens, where there are many flowers set in order, forming charming banks ofbeauty. No doubt Solomon had some of those in his garden, for, "there is nothing new under the sun." And those raised bedsof dainty flowers are fit emblems of the beauteous cheeks of Christ, with their delicate tints of white and red. So in Christthere is infinite abundance.
There is also in Christ infinite variety. There is in Him all you can need of any one thing and there is more than all youcan need of everything! There is all that your soul could take in of any one thing and more than your soul could take in ifit were multiplied a million times and could take in a million precious things at once! There is all you ever have neededand all you ever will need. Did I say, "need"? There is in Christ all you can desire, for that is one of His names, "He IsAll Desires." When you get to Heaven and have a larger heart than you at present possess. When your soul shall be spaciousas the sea. If it could be vast as the universe itself, still He would be able to fill it and still to be, Himself, overflowingwith blessing! There is abundance in Him and there is variety. Oh, what a Christ He is! "As a bed of spices, and as sweetflowers."
The spouse's metaphors seem to me, also, to suggest use and delight. She speaks of spices, for which there is practical usein surgery and in medicine, for preservation and for perfume. And she also mentions sweet flowers, for which there may notbe any particular use, but which are charming for ornament and for the delectation of taste. So, dear Friends, in Christ Jesusthere is all that we need, but there is a great deal more! There is something beside and beyond our actual necessities-thereare many spiritual luxuries. I like, at the Lord's Table, to think to myself, "Here is bread, that is the staff of life, butwhat is that in the cup? Wine! Ah, why not water? Here is more than I need, for I can live without wine but the Lord saysthat I shall not do so. He will not only give His people the best things, but the best of the best! When our Lord keeps house,He does not allow us just so many ounces of bread and so many ounces of meat, as they do in the workhouse, but He says, "Eatthat which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." The Bridegroom cries, "Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drinkabundantly, O Beloved!" And He does not merely bring out wine, but you know how it is described-"wines on the less well-refined."Christianity is not the bond slave's starvation allowance that some people make it out to be-duty, doing and serving to winChrist and to keep up your position-and I know not what besides. It is heirship with Christ, the possession in Him of everythingand the privilege of living up to our royal income-oh that we could attain to that high style of living! "All things are yours."Then claim them as your own! God has given you His dear Son and He has given you Himself, for He has said, "I will be theirGod." Then live with the joy that a man ought to have who has Jehovah to be his God and Jesus Christ to be his Savior! TheLord has given us everything-then let us live at the rate ofjoy that a man ought to have who possesses everything! God bringus to that happy state!
"His cheeks"-those features of the Beloved which do not, at first, seem likely to yield us anything-"are as a bed of spices,as sweet flowers," inexpressibly precious, yielding to us both what we need and what shall delight and overflow our souls.You see, Beloved, what saints think of Christ-let each one of us ask himself and herself, "Do I think thus of Him? Do I thusadmire Him? Is He everything to me?" These are sure marks of a true Christian, that he loves his Master and praises Him. Thereis many a poor child of God who is half afraid that he is not in the number of God's people, but he says, "I love Jesus. Oh,I would do anything to glorify Him." My dear Friend, do not ever get the idea that you love Him without His loving you! Youmay be quite sure that the reason why you love Him is because He first loved you. And if you love Him very much, you may restassured that He loves you a great deal more! If you have but a spark of love to Him in your heart, He has a furnace of loveto you in His heart! If your love to Him is but as a single grain, His love to you is abundant as the richest harvest! Hislove to you is as much above your love to Him as the heavens are higher than the earth!
Oh, that we did but think more highly of Christ! Perhaps it may help us to do so if we consider how worthy He is of that loveand how wondrously His thoughts of us exceed our thoughts of Him. I sometimes feel very sad when I think about some who professto be the Lord's people. Ah, me, there are many who, I hope, may prove to be His people, but they do not reflect much crediton Him. Some of God's children are a very strange lot-if we had such sons and daughters as God has, some of us would neverbe able to bear with them at all-we would be impatient with them and turn them out of doors to get on as best they could bythemselves. When you get sick, sad and weary of God's people, turn your thoughts to God, Himself, and if ever you see anyspots in the Church, Christ's bride, look at her glorious Husband and you will only love Him the more as you think of Hiswondrous condescension in having loved such a poor thing as His Church is, even at her best!
Think how bright He is, how glorious, how surpassing are His charms that they can be seen even through the defects and imperfectionsof His redeemed ones! We may well marvel that ever such love as His could have been lavished upon such unworthy beings asHis people are. Do not get depressed and distressed, dear Friends, because of your own imperfections, or the imperfectionsof others! Or if you do, quickly rise again to fight against sin under the blessed conviction that there are no imperfectionsin Him-that He is altogether lovely, altogether sweet-and that the day must come when we, who are one with Him even now, shallbe like He is, for we shall see Him as He is. Complete sanctification will be the lot of every redeemed soul! If we have knownthe Lord and have already had something of His likeness, we shall go on to know Him till we are perfect in that likeness.Let that blessed consummation be the subject of our constant prayer and our confident expectation.
II. Now, secondly, and but briefly, let us turn to the other part of our text-"His lips like lilies, dropping sweet-smellingmyrrh." These words teach us that CHRIST LISTENED TO IS VERY PRECIOUS. When He is silent, and we only look at Him, He is lovelyto our eyes. But when He speaks, we can see "His lips like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh."
Notice, first, that it is well, whenever we hear the voice of Jesus Christ, to try to see the blessed Person who is speaking.The Gospel is very precious to those of us who know its power, but, beyond all question, Christ Himself is even more preciousthan His Gospel. It is delightful to read any promise of the Scriptures, but it is more delightful to come into communionwith the faithful Promiser. The time when I can most enjoy a promise from the Word of God is when it seems to me as if itmust have been written only yesterday-on purpose to meet my case-or as if I could see the eternal pen writing every one ofthe strokes and making them all for me! Whenever you hear one of the Lord's promises, think of the Divine lips that spokeit and you will love the promise all the better because you have thought of the lips that uttered it. The spouse does notsay in our text, "His Words are sweet," but she speaks of, "His lips like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh." Why shouldwe not believe more in a personal Christ and why should we not always see the connection between the mercy and the hand thatgives it, and between the promise and the lips that speak it?
Some of you may remember William Huntington's story that I have sometimes quoted to you about an old farmer, who, when oneof his daughters was married, gave her a thousand pounds as a wedding present. There was another daughter and her father didnot give hera thousand pounds when she was married, but he gave her something as a wedding present and then he kept on, prettynearly every day in the week, sending her what he called "the hand-basket portion, with father's love." And so in the longrun she received a great deal more than her sister did! It was not given all at the same time and then done with-but it kepton coming-now a sack of flour, and then this, and that, and the other, always, "with father's love." And so she had far morethan the thousand pounds and she also had far more of his love. I like, when I get a mercy, to have it come to me with myHeavenly Father's love. Just my daily portion as I need it-not given all in a lump, so that I might go away with it into afar country, as we are sure to do if we have all our mercy at once-but given day by day, as the manna fell, with our HeavenlyFather's love every time-a fresh token of Infinite Grace and Infinite Love! So, you see, the mercy leads you to think of thehand that gives it and of the Father who sends it, as in the text it is not the words of the Beloved, but His lips which thespouse says are "like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh."
Notice the comparison in the text-lilies-not white lilies, of course, but red lilies, crimson lilies, lilies of such a coloras are frequently to be seen which would be a suitable emblem of the Beloved's lips. Christ's lips are peculiarly delightfulto us, for it is with them that He speaks to us and intercedes with the Father for us. When He pleads as the Intercessor onbehalf of a poor soul like me, His lips are, indeed, in God's sight, like lovely lilies. The Father looks at His dear Son'slips and He is charmed with them and blesses us because of Christ's intercession. And whenever Christ turns round, and speaksto us, shall we not listen at once, with eyes and ears wide open, as we say, "I like to watch His lips as He is speaking,for His lips are to me as lilies"?
I suppose this comparison means that Christ's lips are very pure, as the lily is the purest of flowers, and that they arevery gentle, for we always associate the lily with everything that is tender, soft and kind. There is not a thorn about itas there is with the rose. We speak not of it as Herbert did of the rose-
"Whose hue, angry and brave, Bids the rash gazer wipe his eyes."
It is not so. The lily is all tenderness and is without a thorn, though often it may be found growing among thorns. The lilyis also inconceivably beautiful and so is Christ in speaking to His people. "Never man spoke like this Man." The very wordsof Christ are the loftiest poetry and the sweetest music! Though they sometimes make us weep, great joy lies deeply hiddenbeneath the grief He causes to our spirits. "His lips are like lilies."
But, dear Friends, the spouse's comparison fails, for she said, "His lips, like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh." Liliesdo not do this, but Christ does! He is more than a lily, or He is a lily of such a sort as never bloomed on earth except once!He was the only lily that ever dropped sweet-smelling myrrh! The spouse says that His lips do that-what does this mean? Doesit not mean that His Word is often full of a very sweet, mysterious, blessed influence? You have come here often and it isnot because I have spoken that there has been a blessing to your souls. When I have set forth Christ to you-and I have noother theme but Christ-there have often come to you mysterious droppings. You have had singular feelings in your spirit causedby the secret oozing of the Word of God, the flowing out from the Word, and flowing in into your spirit, causing you to say,"What a change has come over me! I went into God's House very heavy, but I came away quite relieved. I went in there perplexedand worried, but I came away knowing clearly what I ought to do. I went in there cold and chilly, and feeling myself at adistance from God, but I came out ready to dance with the sense of His realized Presence!" Ah, that change has been causedby some of the sweet-smelling myrrh that has dropped from the lips of Christ!
There are many people who meet with us on the Sabbath who do not care to come out to the week-night services. I take the week-nightattendance as somewhat of a test of piety-any hypocrite will come out on a Sunday, but it is not every hypocrite who willcome out on a Thursday night, though some do, I dare say! But still, the most of them are for a Sunday religion only-a week-dayreligion they do not need. That is to say, they will feed on the Word after a fashion and worship God after a fashion, whenmost other people do! But give me that religion that loves to creep out on a week-night and is willing to take a back seatif it may but get a bit of spiritual food! Give me that man who says, "My soul must be fed. I have been tearing about allthis week, almost worn out with fatigue and perplexed with a great many cares-it is a delightful thing to be able to get intothe House of Prayer to hear about Christ and to feed on Him." Oh, you who eat your morsels in secret behind the door, I believemore in you than in those who sit openly at the table, but who never have a secret feast at all!
"Oh, but!" says one, "I do not hear the Word to profit." No, of course you do not! You see, you are looking to the lips ofa man. But if you look to the lips of the Master, you will find that "His lips are as lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh."You may have heard the story of the lady who was present when Mr. Ebenezer Erskine preached at a Scotch Communion Service.She thought she had never heard such a man in all her life! He preached Christ so sweetly that she was charmed. She enquiredwhere he was to preach the next Sabbath and she left her own place of worship to go to hear Mr. Erskine again. But it wasa dreadfully dry discourse, she said, and she was foolish enough to go into the vestry and say to the preacher, "My dear Sir,I have been bitterly disappointed in hearing you this morning. I heard you last Sabbath and you so extolled Christ that Ienjoyed the service above measure. So I thought I would come again to hear you, but now I have got nothing." "No, Madam,"replied the good man, "last Sabbath you went to worship God and to feed on Christ, so you received the blessing you sought.Today, you came to hear Mr. Erskine, and you have heard me, but you have missed the blessing."
Oh, dear Friends, beware of going to places of worship merely to hear men! Of course you must hear a man speaking, but gowith this view-that those lips which are as lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh, should be the lips to which you reallyare listening! Be praying all the time, "Lord, speak to me through the minister. Speak to me through the hymn. Speak to methrough the prayer, speak to me through any part of the service-yes, speak through the speaker's not speaking if You will-onlyspeak to me! Let those dear lips of Yours drop sweet-smelling myrrh into my soul!" Pray thus and you shall not be disappointed,you can be sure of that.
This blessing is what you and I must seek after day by day, for we need this myrrh for the healing of the wounds that sinhas made. We need this myrrh in our spiritual worship that we may offer it up to God. We need this myrrh to perfume us andmake our lives fragrant in the midst of our daily cares. We need this myrrh to kill the contagion that abounds in this wickedworld-and we shall get it through the Word of God when it comes fresh from the lips of Christ! O God, bring us all into thisblessed state!
I close by saying that if there are any here present who do not prize the Word of God, who have no care to listen to the lipsof Christ, I pray God that they may speedily be converted, for if they are not, they shall hear Him speak when His lips shallnot be as lilies, but as a flaming fire! And His Word that shall be spoken, then, shall burn as an oven, and His enemies shallbe consumed thereby! God give Grace to such as have not believed in Jesus to look to Him and listen to Him now! "Incline yourears," He says, "and come to Me: hear, and your soul shall live." Yes, He says, "Look to Me, and be you saved, all the endsof the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." May God give His blessing to these words, for our Lord Jesus Christ'ssake! Amen.