Sermon 2724. The Dew of Christ's Youth
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 28, 1901.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK, ON A THURSDAY EVENING, EARLY IN THE YEAR 1859.
"You have the dew of Your youth." Psalm 110:3.
WHEN you have walked in the garden, early in the morning, you must have noticed the singular freshness and beauty which asummer's morning always seems to give to the earth. The dewdrops, like tears standing in the eyes of the flowers, as if theywept for joy to see the sun again after the long night of darkness, sparkle in the sun! The greenness of vegetation has aboutit a more than emerald hue and every "thing of beauty" looks more beautiful in the morning than at any other season. You havegone out again, perhaps, at noon, and you have noticed how dry and dusty everything appears, for the sun has risen and byhis burning heat he has exhaled the dew and the freshness of the morning has departed in the drought of noon. Now, this isjust a picture of all things here below-yes, and also a picture of ourselves. When we first behold many things, they havethe dew upon them and they sparkle, but in a little while all their brightness is gone and their brilliance scattered. Someof you have entered into pleasure and you have found it a delusion-you have intermeddled with all kinds of knowledge and youhave found that in the making and reading of books, there was much pleasure, but, before long you have discovered that inreading many books and in making them, there was no end and much study was a weariness to the flesh.
Everything terrestrial has its dew in the morning, but its burning heat at noon, and we too, Beloved-I mean those of us whohave received the anointing of the Holy Spirit-is not this too much the case even with us? When we were first converted, whata sparkling dew there was upon our leaf! We could not sing God's praises loudly enough! We could not sufficiently leap forjoy before the Ark of the Lord. All the exultations of those who came before seemed utterly insufficient for us. There was,to us, such unction and savor in the Word of God that we could feast upon it everyday-yes, and all night long-and yet neverbe weary! We ran in the way of God's Commandments without weariness and we mounted aloft as on the wings of eagles and neverthought that we could ascend too high. But, alas, Beloved, is it not the case with many of us that much of that early freshnessof the morning of our youth is scattered, and some, at least, of our excellence has proved to be like the early cloud andthe morning dew? Though in some things we trust that we have grown, yet we are compelled to confess that in some other thingswe have diminished. While in the depths of self-knowledge we feel that we have made progress, yet in the heights of joy inChrist, in the sublimities of a full devotion to Him, we sometimes fear that we have gone backward and that we have not thebliss of our youth, the dew of the morning.
Our text, speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, says He has the dew of His youth. We are certain that it is Jesus Christ whois spoken of in this Psalm, for, in arguing with the Pharisees, He quoted the first verse and applied it to Himself- "TheLord said unto my Lord, Sit you at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool." So that no doubt this third versealso alludes to Him-"Your people shall be willing in the day of Your power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of themorning: You have the dew of Your youth." Having, therefore, set ourselves and all terrestrial matters in contrast with Him,it only remains for me to now enter, as fully as God may help me, into the sweet doctrine of this text-that Jesus Christ alwayshas had, and always will have, the early dew, freshness and brilliance of His youth. First, permit me to state the fact Secondly,to show the reasons for it And, thirdly, to deduce the lessons from it
I. First of all, let me STATE THE FACT, THAT CHRIST HAS THE DEW OF HIS YOUTH.
Let me first speak of Christ personally Has He not all the freshness, all the vigor, all the strength of ancient times? Hisgoings forth were of old, even from eternity and, behold, He still goes forth, everyday, in the preaching of His Word, andin the ministrations of His Spirit. In the chariots of salvation He still rides forth and among the golden candlesticks Hestill walks. Have we ever imagined that He has lost the strength of His youth? Do His steps falter? Has His arm begun to feelthe palsying influence of old age? Is there any sign of decrepitude or of wasting away upon His majestic brow? When John sawHim in Patmos, "His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow," for He is the Eternal of Ages! Yet, as saysthe spouse in the Canticles, "His locks are bushy, and black as a raven," for He has the strength of a youth, while He hasthe ages of eternity upon Him! Well might He now rise up before us and ask concerning Himself personally, "Is My ear heavythat I cannot hear? Is My arm shortened that I cannot save? Am I not today what I was yesterday? Was I the Creator of theworld? Did I speak it out of nothingness and am I not still its Sustainer? Was I the Redeemer of the Church? Did I purchaseher with My own blood and do not still sustain with power those whom I redeemed with blood? Did I not on earth, with criesand groans, offer up My prayer before My Father and do I not now plead, not with less vigor but with greater strength, whenwith authority I advocate My people's cause before His Throne?"
Nor is this freshness confined to Christ in His Person-it is the same if you think of Him as revealed in His doctrine. Wehave Christ among us now, not Incarnate in flesh, but Incarnate in doctrine. The Doctrines of Grace are, in a certain sense,the body of Christ. We speak sometimes of a Body of Divinity, but if any man would know what the true Body of Divinity is,let him learn that it is neither Calvin's "Institutes," nor Dwight's "Theology," nor Gill's "Body of Divin-ity"-it is Christwho is the Body of Divinity! His was the only body Divinity ever took when it became Incarnate. But taking Divinity, in anothersense, to mean Divine Doctrine, what Christ said and what He did-that is, the Gospel-is the only body which Divinity everwill take!
The Gospel is always fresh. There are many subjects, Beloved, that get exhausted after awhile, but who ever heard of the Gospelbeing exhausted? You have, some of you, come up to the House of God these 30 or 40 years-did you ever feel that you neededanything newer than the Gospel? Did you ever say, as you went out, after you had heard a Gospel sermon, "I would like to havesome improvements made upon it"? No! If you have heard God's Truth proclaimed, have you not said, "That was the food of mychildhood in Grace, it is my food now that, by reason of years, I am able to discern between that which is good and that whichis evil-and it shall be my food all through the wilderness-and until I eat of the corn of the Kingdom on the other side ofJordan"?
It is a wonderful thing, I have often thought, that any man should be able, day after day, and week after week, to attractthousands of people to hear him talk. I do not believe any man could do it with any other subject except the Gospel. I havethe most intense respect for that great man and mighty orator, Mr. Gough, but, with all his ability, if he were to delivera teetotal lecture twice every Sabbath, in any pulpit in England, he could not command a congregation for 21 years at a stretch!But the Christian minister, with only one subject-Christ Crucified-may not only keep on for 21 years, but if he should liveas long as Methuselah, he might still keep on preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified-and he would still find that the peopleof God would come to hear him and never crave for a fresh subject! Let any great historian open, if he pleases, a lectureroom and attempt to deliver two lectures upon history every week, and let him see whether he does not find the congregationwhich might, at first, gather around him, speedily diminished!
We have had an instance, in London, of one who has delivered an amusing lecture a thousand times, always to great multitudes,but then they were different persons every time. No one thought of going to hear him lecture upon the same subject the wholethousand times-it would have become a most intolerable penance even to have heard Albert Smith delivering his lecture uponMont Blanc so often, however interesting it might have been once or twice. It would certainly pall upon the mind if we heardit so many times-but the Christian minister may keep on, and on, and on with the same theme-Christ Jesus, Christ Jesus, thesame Cross, the same crown of thorns, the same bleeding wounds-from the first time that he enters his pulpit to the last whenhe lays down his charge-and the people may always say, and he can always feel-that the Gospel has the dew of its youth uponit and is always fresh and new!
Our text is also specially true of Christ as revealed in the Bible. There are many other valuable books that have been written,but, as a rule, however valuable they may be, when you have read them half-a-dozen times, you may be quite satisfied thatyou need not read them anymore. Next to the Bible, the book that I value most is John Bunyan's, "Pilgrim's Progress," andI imagine I may have read that through perhaps a hundred times. It is a book of which I never seem
to tire, but then the secret of that is, that John Bunyan's, "Pilgrim's Progress," is the Bible in another shape. It is thesame heavenly water taken out of this same well of the Gospel, yet you would tire even of that book at last. You would say,"I know all that this volume contains and I need something more. Here is the experience of the Christian pilgrim-I know itis true, and I delight in it, but I want to go somewhat further." The mind would crave for something else. But read the Bibleand, strange to say, the more you read it, the more satisfied you will be with it. When you begin to read the Bible, perhapsyou need 50 other books in order that you may become a thorough Bible student, but your library will gradually diminish until,at last, the more you understand the Bible, the fewer books you will need, and you will come to say, "If I might have allmy days over again, this should be the only book that I would study. And I would concentrate all my powers upon the understandingof this one volume."
You can get to the bottom of all other books-you dive into them and, at first, they seem to be very deep-but every time youplunge, they appear to get shallower and shallower until, at last, you can see the bottom at a glance. But in God's Word,every time you dive, the depths grow deeper! The first time you read a text, in your ignorant conceit you fancy you have learnedthe full meaning of it. But you look at it again and you find that though you had the meaning in one sense, yet you had notthe full meaning-and you dive again, and again, and again-and you find, each time you dive, that the meaning is still farbeyond your reach and that the Bible is altogether above your comprehension! It expands, it grows, it continually increasesin interest.
There is such a charm about the Bible, that he who reads it but little can never feel the full force of it. It is somethinglike the maelstrom you have heard of, only in a different and more excellent sense. The maelstrom is a great whirlpool onthe coast of Norway. A ship, at a long distance from it, will feel something of its attractive influence-a very little, yetenough to make it veer from its course. But the nearer it gets to the whirlpool, the stronger becomes the current and themore forcibly is the vessel carried along by it, until, at last, the ship is drawn near, whirled round at a tremendous rate,and then engulfed in its depths. In a higher and better sense, the same is true of the Bible. The nearer you go to it, themore closely you study it, the more voraciously you devour its contents, the more rapidly do you revolve in its circles until,at last, you are swallowed up in its glory and seem to long for nothing else than to prove the heights and depths of thisunfathomable bliss -the love of God in Christ Jesus as revealed to us in His sacred Word! Truly, we may say to the Bible,"You have the dew of your youth."
Again, I may add, everything that has to do with Christ is always young. The beds of spices where He lies are always green.The trees planted by Him will never wither, their fruits will always come to perfection. Everything lives where He is, forHe is Life and in Him there is no death at all. And because He is Life, He is always full of freshness and, therefore, doesHe scatter living force wherever He goes. All this we shall best know when we shall follow Him to the living fountains ofwaters and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes.
II. Now let us turn to the second point and inquire, WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS FRESHNESS? What is
the reason why Christ Jesus and His Gospel, and His Word, and all things about Him are always so fresh? Why have we alwaysan abiding dew upon these holy things?
I answer, first, no man who understands what it is to have Christ in His heart wiil ever get tired of Him through want ofvariety. The reason why we get tired of a thing is generally because, as we say, there is a sameness about it. There are manymen who have a weighty message to deliver, consisting of very good matter, but, dear me, it is a pain to sit and listen tothem because they deliver all their words in a monotone-they always speak as if they were striking a bell-and word followsword, with no difference of tone. Now, the human ear loves variety. It cannot bear monotony. And so is it with the whole ofour manhood-nothing monotonous will long retain its freshness. However sweet the music might be, if we always heard the samenotes, we would most assuredly be as disgusted with even the music of an archangel, if we were compelled to hear it all dayand all night long, as we are with the cackling of a goose! Everything is apt to lose its interest when it is repeated overand over again. But there is no fear of any monotony or tautology in Christ. You may look at Christ a thousand times and youshall have, if you please, a thousand different aspects of His beauty!
If you turn to the Old Testament, you can see Him in a vast variety of forms. You can see Him as the Paschal Lamb and as theScapegoat. You can see Him at one time as the bullock, strong to labor, and at another time as the lamb, patient to endure.You can see Him as the dove, full of innocence. You can see Him in the blood sprinkled, in the incense burning, in the laverfilled with water, in Aaron's rod that budded, in the golden pot that was full of manna, in the Ark.
You can see Him having the Law within His heart and over the Ark. You can see the golden light of the Shekinah above the MercySeat, and say, "Christ is here." In every type you may see Christ, and in so many different shapes, too, that you can say,"Turn this whichever way I like, there is always something fresh in it." Christ, if I may compare so glorious a Person toso humble a thing, is like the kaleidoscope. As often as you look through it, you see a fresh arrangement of colors and anew design and, in like manner, as often as you look at the Lord Jesus Christ, you always discover some new beauty in Him.
When you have done with looking at Him typically, look at Him officially. You have not time to consider all His glories asa Priest-you have hardly passed your eyes over His flowing vesture and His glittering breastplate, and listened to the ringingof the bells and marked the beauty of the pomegranates, before you see Him come forth as a King- and you can scarcely stopto look at the many crowns on His head before He comes forth as a Prophet! And you have hardly time to admire Him as a Prophetbefore He comes forth as Mediator, as Shepherd, as Captain of our salvation, as Head of the Church, as the everlasting Father,the Prince of Peace. If you go further and look at His Person, you will see what a wonderful variety there is in Him. Yousee Him as the Child born, the Son given. When He comes into this world, you know Him to be God, and you are lost in admirationof His Deity. You also know Him to be Man and you still stand astonished when you regard Him in that aspect as bone of ourbone and flesh of our flesh. The reason why everything else loses its freshness to us is because of its need of variety. Youmay go to any exhibition that has ever been opened to attract attention and awaken interest, but you will find that, aftera certain time, there is a need of variety in it. But with Christ there never is such a lack and, therefore, to the mind'seye He always has the dew of His youth.
There is also another reason Christ has the dew of His youth-because of His excellence. Today, stepping in to see a gentleman,I observed a table which had upon it a great variety of objects. I wondered what they were and took the liberty of askinghim. He told me that he had some beautiful stereoscopic views there which had been taken at an immense expense in Egypt, inthe Holy Land, and in all parts of the world. He showed me one or two Scriptural subjects which very much interested me. Theywere certainly preeminently excellent as works of art. He said, "There, Sir, I never get tired of looking at these slides.I could examine them constantly and never be weary of them." "Well," I said, "I can quite understand that. They are so excellent,for, really, there is half-an-hour's study in this one picture-and then one might begin again, it is so full of beauty, andit seems so true to the original."
But I thought to myself, "Excellent as they are, I think, if I call to see my friend in a year's time, he will tell me thathe has had to buy a fresh set of views, for he has been looking at these others so often that he has become altogether tiredof them." They would not have any freshness to him because he had seen them so many times. But mark, the reason why he couldlook at them so often was because they were so excellent. If they had been poor pictures. If there had not been great skilland art bestowed upon them, he would soon have become weary of looking at them. There are some views in nature which a manmight gaze upon a hundred times and yet always wonder at them. But the reason is because they are so beautiful. There areother things that might strike one at first, but which, when they were looked into more closely, would lose their freshnessbecause there would be no real ground for admiration, no excellence in them. But Chris Jesus will always have the dew of Hisyouth because He is always so excellent!
Ah, Brothers and Sisters, you thought Christ was sweet when first you tasted Him, but you will know Him to be sweeter, still,when you know more of Him and taste and see that He is good! But you can never know all His sweetness, for you can eat, andeat, and eat to the fullest and yet not discover it all! Possibly, scarcely in Heaven itself will you know all the sweetnessof Christ. You imagine, perhaps, that you know how great is His love to you, but remember, it passes knowledge! You thinkthat you have fully proved His faithfulness, but you have not proved it as you will yet do. All the tests to which you haveever put the Savior, it may be, are but little compared with those that are to come later. You have proved Him with the footmen,you shall soon prove Him with the horsemen. You have proved Him in the land of peace, you shall soon prove Him in the swellingsof Jordan.
But the more you test and try Him, the more shall you discover that He is excellent and worth the proving. And because Hisexcellence shall become more and more manifest, the more you look at Him, you shall say to Him continually, "You have thedew of Your youth. I find You better and better. Fairest of the sons of men, You grow fairer everyday! Bread of Heaven, Youbecome sweeter to my taste every hour! You were once like wafers made with honey-You are now sweeter than angels' food. Waterof Life, you continually grow more cooling to my tongue and more refreshing to
my thirst! I loved You as soon as I knew You, but I love You more now. I delighted in You once, but I delight in You morefully now."
Still, I do not know but that the most excellent thing you and I have ever seen would, in time, lose its freshness to us becausewe would discover all its excellence. But Christ will never lose His freshness to us because He is Divine. Whatever is notDivine, in due time must lose its freshness. Suppose the Lord should give to us, to engross our attention and to interestus, the whole fields of space. Suppose, in eternity, the Lord should say, "Now I will give to you the works of My creationto be forever the objects of your attention." My dear Friends, there is enough in a single flower, the botanist tells us,to occupy a man's wonder and admiration for a number of years! There is so much skill and wisdom in but a single flower ofthe field, that a man might look and wonder as long as that. Well, just put together all the flowers and all the creaturesof this world, and all the mighty rocks that are full of such marvelous secrets, and imagine that these are to be the objectsof our eternal study and interest. I can suppose that a man would exhaust all the knowledge of this world in due time-it mighttake him thousands upon thousands of years, yet I can imagine that he might so fully examine everything that is noble andgrand in this world that, at last, he could sit down, and say, "I know every secret of nature here upon the earth. I havemade every rock tell out its story. I have dived into every mine of truth and I have ransacked all its secret treasures-butthere are the stars for me yet to look at."
So picture the man going from star to star and discovering all the wonders of God in the seemingly boundless universe! Hereis a great conception for you-imagine that all these stars were inhabited and all full of fresh wonders! Yet I can understandthat, after myriads and myriads of years, all these marvels might be exhausted. Some stupendous mind, growing by that uponwhich it fed, might at last say, of all the secrets of God's works, "I know them all. I have found out every wonder and allthe storehouses of God's wisdom have I ransacked." But, Beloved, Jesus Christ is such a boundless field of knowledge-in Himthere is such a gathering up of all the secrets of God that the whole of eternity would be exhausted before we could learnthem all! He will have, He musthave, forever, the dew of His youth because He is Divine. The wing of knowledge, though ithad all the fields of space to fly in, must at last reach a boundary. The ship of wisdom, though it should sail across thesea that seems without a shore-the as yet unnavigated sea of ether-must at last reach a haven.
But give a man Christ to be the subject of study, the object to awaken his interest and excite his wonder, and then you have,indeed, shot an arrow which shall never reach its mark! It shall fly on, on, on, and shall never stop! You have bid the manplunge into a bottomless ocean! You have launched him, like Noah's ark, upon a sea without a shore. He may go on, and on,and on, but he can never reach the end of that voyage! Christ must forever be full of interest to him because He is Divineand, therefore, inexhaustible!
Another reason why Christ will always have the dew of His youth is because He meets all the cravings of our nature. SupposeI am introduced into a place full of the wonderful works of man. I look and I look on-but why is it that I get tired of them,however interesting they may be? Because they only appeal to my eyes. But suppose that there is the sweetest music at thesame time, then I have something for my ears. Why is it that, even then, I get tired? Because I have another craving-I hungerand I thirst. But suppose I have the richest dainties set before me and I sit and feast, and look, and hear sweet sounds allthe time? Why is it that, even then, I would, after a time, however excellent might be the entertainment, grow tired? Why,because I have other propensities that are not brought into play and other desires which have not their fair room for exercise.
But suppose I become like Solomon, so that I have all which the eyes, or the ears, or the passions can delight in? ShouldI, after all, be tired? Yes! Solomon tried it, and said, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Why? Because there were othercravings in Solomon which all these things did not satisfy. His mind was hungering after knowledge and when Solomon satisfiedthat, for he spoke of all things, from the hyssop on the wall up to the cedar of Lebanon, there was one thing that was stillnot satisfied-that was his soul. His immortal spirit was longing for communion with his God! There was a hunger and thirstafter something higher than mere mental food. His mind could not be content with wine to drink and meat to eat, for it neededknowledge. And his spirit could not be satisfied with mere knowledge, for it needed something higher than that-the etherealand celestial ambrosia of the glorified! His spirit was panting for communion with God and, therefore, Solomon felt that allhere was vanity because it could not satisfy that craving.
Give me Christ and I have no desire for anything beyond Him, for Christ is All! Whatever of good we may wish for, it is allin Christ-it is impossible for the mind that is filled with Christ to imagine anything else! And in the day when we shallget to Heaven-we talk a great deal about golden harps, golden crowns and golden streets-I imagine we shall find that all thoseharps and crowns and streets are contained in that one word, "Christ." When we really have Christ, we feel that we have nothingelse that we can wish for. He that drinks, desires to eat, but he that drinks Christ drinks food. He that eats desires tobe clothed, but he that feeds on Christ is clothed at the same time. He that is clothed needs something wherewithal to adornhimself, but he that is clothed in the righteousness of Christ is robed in the court dress of Heaven and has all the jewelsof Divinity upon him! He that is adorned yet needs something wherewithal to wash himself and keep himself beauteous. But hethat is clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and adorned with God's Grace, is washed and is clean every whit. He that isclean needs to be kept clean-and he that has Christ shall be kept clean!
Dear Friends, there is nothing that a sinner can need, there is nothing that a saint can need that is not in Christ! Thereare many things that we think we need that are not in Him, but nothing we really need that is not in Him, for "in Him dwellsall the fullness of the Godhead bodily." And the fullness of the Godhead must be more than sufficient fullness for manhood."It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." And if all fullness cannot meet our needs, what can? Therefore,shall we never be weary of Christ because every craving of the heart is satisfied in Him.
I will mention only one other reason why Christ will always have the dew of His youth. We shall never be tired of Christ becausethe need that we have of Christ can never cease. While I am on earth, I shall never cease sinning- therefore I shall nevercease to need the fountain filled with blood where I can wash away all my guilty stains. So long as I am here, my consciencewill never leave off accusing me-therefore I shall always need an Advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the Righteous.While I am here, I shall never be free from trouble-therefore I shall always need Him who is the Consolation of Israel. WhileI am here, I shall never get rid of weakness-therefore I can never bear to be without Him who is my strength. While I am here,I shall never, I fear, cease from backsliding in some measure-therefore I can never cease to love Him who restores my souland leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
You have heard, perhaps, the story of a party of travelers who were crossing the desert. They had exhausted all their supplyof water and they knew not where they should find any. But, at last, after some days' march, they came near a turbid streamof the most filthy water and in dashed the camels and defiled it still worse! Yet the poor travelers, who had come acrossthe arid desert, were so thirsty that they drank what was more earth than water, and thought it sweeter than any wine theyhad ever tasted! But after they had satisfied their thirst, did they still think so? Did they then say the water was sweet?No, they understood, then, what it was they had been drinking and, after their thirst was once quenched, you could not havecompelled them to drink there again until the thirst returned in all its force. And as long as the Christian is here, he willalways have the pangs of hunger, he will always have all the sufferings of spiritual thirst if Christ is removed from himand, therefore, that longing will always make Christ sweet to Him. Our Lord must always have the dew of His youth upon Him,because we shall always have an appetite for Him as long as we are here. Or if we lose it for a little while-for fools willabhor all manner of meat sometimes-yet that appetite must and shall return and we shall again fly to those Living Waters aswith the wings of a dove, and hasten again to those cooling streams with all the speed of the panting hart that longs afterthe water brook, for it must drink or die. Therefore, Beloved, you see yet again that because we shall always need Christ,therefore will He always be fresh to us.
"But," says one, "we shall not need Him in Heaven." Who told you that? Whoever told you so has certainly misled you. Not needChrist in Heaven? Why, Beloved, if you could take Christ away from Heaven, you would take Heaven away, altogether, and leaveevery saint in Hell! They do not "need" Christ in Heaven, in one sense of the word, because they have Him-therefore they donot "need" Him as the Scotch use the word "need." But they still need to have Christ with them every hour, for He is the sumand substance of Heaven. If I shall not need Christ to cleanse me in Heaven, yet I shall need Christ to commune with me. IfI shall not need His blood to wash me, yet I shall need the offering of praise wherewith to bless and honor God. If I shallnot need to pray to Him, I shall need to praise Him. If I shall not need Him to forgive me, yet I shall need Him to embraceme. If I shall not need Him as a Shepherd, I shall need Him as a Husband, as a Priest, as a King so that I may forever serveHim with joy and gladness!
III. WHAT ARE THE LESSONS WE SHOULD LEARN FROM THIS TRUTH?
The first is for the pulpit, a lesson of admonition. Dear Brothers, we who occupy the pulpit must take care that we never,for a moment, entertain the idea that the Gospel has become worn out. It still has the dew of its youth. There is a good dealof nonsense talked about a Gospel adapted to the times. People say that the way Whitefield preached and the way that JohnBerridge and Rowland Hill preached was all wrong. True, many sinners were converted under their ministry, but, you know, sinnerswere different, then, from the sinners of these day, who do not need the same sort of preaching. Some say that the devil himselfis improved, but I find him worse if anything-improved the wrong way! They say that sinners are improved and do not need tobe addressed with the same fiery, burning words as of old. They say that they do not need the same simple preaching of Christ.The 19th Century has become so learned that it has advanced beyond the simple knowledge of Christ Crucified! It has becomeso erudite, that the simplicity of the Gospel is far behind it! It has marched on so far ahead that it has left the Crossmiles in the rear!
Do not believe them for a moment, my dear Brothers-if you want to wake up the people of England, preach the old-fashionedGospel! If you want to crowd your halls and gather thousands round you, it is the Truth of God as it is in Jesus Christ, thesame yesterday, today, and forever, that you must preach! As for the manner and style of your preaching, you may leave thatto the occasion, but stick to your subject, the simple Gospel in all its freshness and glory. Pentecostal youth shall be seenin the Gospel again when it is preached in all its fullness and purity. I know why some preachers like to be obscure-it isbecause it gives a man a peculiar kind of popularity. I believe some people like to hear a man whom they cannot understandand some, when they hear a man they can just barely comprehend, are very flattered, because the minister seems to say to them,"Now, you know that you are all very clever people. I must, therefore, preach you a very clever sermon." And then they feelpleased that the minister should have such a good opinion of them and should think them so clever.
But when you go to hear some plain blunt man, who just simply tells out the Gospel and who believes that to try to be eloquentwhen he is preaching would be just as stupid as to paint the rose or to whitewash the lily, then you say, "Well, now, he didnot compliment me! Why, he talked to me and all of us as if we had been a common lot of clodhoppers and crossing-sweepers.He told us just the simple story of the Cross and there is nothing flattering in that." Yes! And, by the Grace of God, I trustthat from our pulpits there will never be anything taught that is flattering to you! I hope each one of us will be able tosay, with the Apostle Paul, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was withyou in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man'swisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in thepower of God."
Be you assured that there will be more unction resting upon the enunciation of the simple Truths of the Gospel- there willbe more freshness to the hearers-than there will be upon the most polished oratory garnished with almost seraphic eloquenceand elaborated until it grows far beyond the comprehension of ordinary intellects! That lesson is for the pulpit.
The second lesson is a caution, a lesson of self-examination to each one here present. Do you, dear Friend, take less interestin the Gospel than you used to? Do you find that it has become dull to you and that even Christ Himself has lost His freshnessto you? Christ has not really lost His freshness, though you may have lost yours. What you should ask yourself is, "Have Ifound the right Christ? If the Christ I have found has lost His freshness, is it not very likely that I have found a wrongChrist, one of my own making, one of my own conception? For the real Christ is always fresh, always interesting, always new.Have I not either laid hold of the wrong truth, or held it in the wrong way?"
I said, "the wrong truth." Have I contradicted myself? Yet that is the palpable contradiction of this age. One man says, "Yes,"and another man says, "No." I am told that it is uncharitable to say that another man is wrong if I am right, but I cannotmake it out how both are to be right, or how yes and no are to be made to agree together. He is a clever man who is able totie the tails of yes and no together and make them run in the same row! The fact is, if you have lost your interest in theGospel, it is not the right one that you have received, or else you never really accepted it. If you have lost your interestin Christ, it is because it is not the Christ of God in whom you were interested. It is very probable that if your formerzeal and your former delight in Christ have departed, you have made a mistake-and it is well that you should question yourselvesvery solemnly lest you should be found building upon the sand when you thought you were building upon the Rock of Ages.
I have just another word to add, and that is, a word of aspiration. If Christ has the dew of His youth upon Him, let us, mydear Friends who serve the Lord Jesus Christ, aspire to show the world that we do too. In the olden times, the dew of Christ'syouth made His people love Him so much that they were ready to die for Him-they gave all their substance to Him-they liveda life of shame and they were prepared to die a death of pain. Now let us prove to the world that Christianity has not lostits ancient vigor, that there is a godly seed yet left in the earth and that the arm of the Church is not withered. Let usprove to the world that as Christ made His people holy in olden times, He makes His people holy now. And that as the religionof Christ made men devoted to Him, zealous for His cause, prepared them to live and helped them to die, it can do so now.It is for you and for me to prove to the world that our religion has not lost its force by letting them see its influencein our daily life! Emulate the noble army of martyrs, the glorious host of confessors! Seek to live like the goodly fellowshipof the Prophets and like that noble company of the Apostles! And when you shall live the holy and devoted lives they did,then shall all the world say, "These men have been with Christ, for they have the dew of the youth of Christianity upon them.They are like the early Christians and, therefore, the old religion has not grown old, so as to be likely to depart and passaway."
-Adapted from The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Version 1.0, Ages Software, 1.800.297.4307
PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.