Sermon 2850. The New Song and the Old Story
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1903.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the LORRD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless His name; show forth His salvationfrom day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people." Psalm 96:1-3.
THERE are mighty passions of the human soul which seek vent and can get no relief until they find it in expression. Grief,acute, but silent, has often destroyed the mind because it has not been able to weep itself away in tears. The glow of passion,fond of enterprise and full of enthusiasm, has often seemed to tear the very fabric of manhood when unable either to attainits end or to utter its strong desires. So it is in true religion. It not only lays hold upon our intellectual nature withappeals to our judgment and our understanding, but, at the same time, it engages our affections, brings our passions intoplay and fires them with a holy zeal, producing a mighty furor, so that, when this spell is on a man, and the Spirit of Godthoroughly possesses him, he must express his vehement emotions.
Some professors of religion are ingenious enough to conceal whatever Grace they possess. Little enough they have, I guaranteeyou, or it would soon be discovered. Have you never seen the brooks that were known to come down the hillsides filled up withstones through the greater part of the summer? You wonder whether there is any streamlet there at all. You may go and searchamong the rounded stones and scarcely find a trace of water. How different after the snows have melted, or the mists uponthe mountain's brows have turned to showers! Then the water comes rushing down like a mighty torrent, nor is there any questionabout its being a genuine stream. It shows itself as it rolls the great stones along, perhaps breaking down the banks andoverflowing the country!
And so there is a religion-a poor, miserable, ordinary Christianity which is not worth the name it bears, that can hide itself-butvital godliness must assert itself. It must speak plainly, it must act vigorously, it must appear conspicuously. The Crossreveals the hearts of men-it unveils their true character. Till the Cross was set up, Joseph of Arima-thaea was scarcely knownto be a disciple. And Nicodemus continued to do habitually what he once did literally-resort to Jesus by night. Openly heremained in the Sanhedrim, though secretly he was a profound admirer of the great Redeemer. But when the Cross was liftedup, Joseph went boldly in, with senatorial authority, and obtained the body of Jesus for burial-and Nicodemus came out withwell-timed liberality to provide his hundred pounds of spices and his fair white linen. Thus the Cross reveals the thoughtsof many hearts!
If you have real Grace and true love to Jesus in your soul, you will need some way of expressing yourselves. Our purpose,therefore, is now to suggest to you two modes of expressing your consecration to God and your devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.These two methods are to sing about and to talk about the good things the Lord has done for you and the great things He hasmade known to you. Let sacred song take the lead-"O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Singunto the Lord, bless His name." Then let gracious discourse follow-be it in public sermons or in private conversations-"Showforth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people."
I. We begin with THE VOICE OF MELODY.
All you who love the Lord, give vent to your heart's emotion by holy song and take care that it is sung to the Lord, alone.What a noble instrument the human voice is! What a compass it has! Its low, soft whispers-how they can hold us
spellbound! Its full volume, as it peals forth like thunder-how it can startle and produce dismay! What profanity, then, touse such an instrument in the service of sin! Is not our tongue the glory of our frame? Had I no conscientious objection toinstrumental music in worship, I would still, I think, be compelled to admit that all the instruments that were ever devisedby men, however sweetly attuned, are harsh and grating compared with the unparalleled sweetness of the human voice. When itis naturally, melodious and skillfully trained, (and every true worshipper should be zealous to dedicate his richest talentand his highest acquirement to this sacred service), there can be no music under Heaven that can equal the combination ofvoices which belong to men, women and children whose hearts really love the Savior! So sweet, so enchanting is the melodyof song, that, surely, its best efforts should not be put forth to celebrate martial victories or national jubilations, muchless should it lend its potent charm to anything that is trivial or lascivious. By sacred right, its highest beauties shouldbe consecrated to Jehovah! If you can sing, sing the songs of Zion! If God has gifted you with a sweet, liquid voice, be sureand use it to render homage unto Him who cried out for you upon the Cross, "It is finished!" "Sing unto the Lord."
How much public singing, even in the House of God, is of no account! How little of it is singing unto the Lord! Does not theconscience of full many among you bear witness that you sing a hymn because others are singing it? You go right straight throughwith it by a kind of mechanical action. You cannot pretend'that you are singing unto the Lord! He is not in all your thoughts.Have you not been at places of worship where there is a trained choir evidently singing to the congregation? Tunes and tonesare alike arranged for popular effect. There is an artistic appeal to human passions. Harmony is attended to-homage is neglected.That is not what God approves of. I remember a criticism upon a certain minister's prayers. It was reported, in the newspaper,that he uttered the finest prayer that had ever been offered to a Boston audience! I am afraid there is a good deal of vocaland instrumental music of the same species. It may be the finest praise ever offered to a congregation, but, surely, thatis not what we come together for! If you need the sensual gratification of music's melting, mystic sound, let me commend toyou the concert room-there you will get the enchanting ravishment-but when you come to the House of God, let it be to "singunto the Lord." As you stand up to sing, there should be a fixed intent of the soul, a positive volition of the mind, an absolutedetermination of the heart that all the flame which kindles in your breast-and all the melody that breaks from your tongue-andall the sacred swell of grateful song shall be unto the Lord, and unto the Lord, alone.
And if you would sing unto the Lord, let me recommend you to flavor your mouth with the Gospel doctrines which savor mostof Grace unmerited and free. Any other form of theology would tempt us, more or less, to chant the praise of men. Gratitudehas full play when we come to know that salvation is of the Lord, alone, and that mercy is Divinely free. He who has onceheard the echo of that awful thunder, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whom I willhave compassion," will learn to rejoice with trembling, to sing with deep feeling and to adore, with lowliest reverence, thegreat Supreme to whom might and majesty belong, and from whom Grace and goodness flow! Human counsels and conceits sink intoinsignificance, for thoughts of loving kindness and deeds of renown belong unto the Lord alone!
Kindly glance your eyes down the Psalm from which our text is taken and note how the exhortation to sing is given three times.I draw no absolute inference from this peculiar construction, but, to say the least, it is remarkable that the number threeis so continually employed. Further down in the same Psalm it is written, "Give unto the Lord," "Give unto the Lord," "Giveunto the Lord," three times. Is there not here some kind of allusion to the wondrous Doctrine of the Trinity? At any rate,I boldly use the threefold cord to express the homage with which it behooves us to adore the Father, the Son and the HolySpirit. As for Unitarianism, it is a religion of units and I suppose it always will be. There is no danger of its ever spreadingvery widely. It is cold as a moonlight night, though scarcely as clear. It has not enough of power in it to fire men's heartsto laud and magnify the Lord. It produces, now and then, a hymn, but it cannot kindle the passions of men to sing it withfervor and devout enthusiasm. Certainly, it cannot gather a crowd of grateful people, who will make a joyful noise unto theLord and with all their heart and voice shout the chorus of gratitude. O Beloved, I beseech you to let your souls have ventin praise! Sing, often, such a verse as this-
"Blessed be the Father and His love,
To whose celestial source we owe
Rivers of endless joy above,
And rills of comfort here below."
Praise the God of Glory who loved you before the foundation of the world! Praise the God of Grace who called you when yousought Him not. Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has begotten us again unto a lively hope-our HeavenlyFather who provides for us, educates us, instructs us, leads and guides us, and will bring us, by-and-by, to the many mansionsin His own house.
Sing you also unto the Son. Never fail to adore the Son of God who left the royalties of Heaven to bear the indignities ofearth. Adore the Lamb slain! Kneel at the foot of the Cross and praise each wound, and magnify the Immortal who became mortalfor our sakes-
"Glory to You, great Son of God! From whose dear wounded body rolls A precious stream of vital blood Pardon and life for dyingsouls."
And, then, sing you to the Holy Spirit! Let us never fail in praising Him. I am afraid we often do. We forget Him too muchin our sermons, our prayers and our hymns-or we mention Him, perhaps, as a matter of course, with formal expressions ratherthan with feelings of the most intense fervor. Oh, how our hearts are bound reverently to worship the Divine Indweller who,according to His abundant mercy, has made our bodies to be His Temple wherein He deigns to
"We give You, sacred Spirit, praise, Who in our hearts of sin and woe Makes living springs of Grace arise, And into boundlessGlory flow."
Praise you, with your songs, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit-the Triune God of Israel! Have you understood this? ToJehovah let your song be addressed. Thrice be His holy name repeated!
Then, be careful of the Psalmist's instructions. Let the song that you sing be a new song. "O sing unto the Lord a new song!"Not the song of your old legal bondage which you used to sing so tremblingly, with the dread of a slave-a new and nobler songbecomes you who are the Lord's children, His sons and daughters! "O sing unto the Lord a new song!" To some of you the songof Redemption is quite new. Once you sang the songs of Bacchus or of Venus, or else you hummed over some light air, withoutmeaning or motive, unless to while away your time and drive away all serious thoughts. O you who used so readily to sing thesongs of Babylon, sing now the songs of Zion quite as freely and earnestly! "Sing unto the Lord a new song."
By a "new" song, is meant the best song. It is put for that which is most elegant, most exquisite and best composed. Pindarsays, "Give me old wine, but give me a new song." So may we say, "Give us the old wines of the Kingdom of God, but let ussing unto the Lord a new song"-the best that we can find, no borrowed air, no hackneyed lyric-and let our spirits sing untothe Lord that which wells up fresh out of the quickened heart. A new song, always new! Keep up the freshness of your praise.Do not drivel down into dull routine. The drowsy old clerks in the dreary old churches used always to say, "Let us sing tothe praise and glory of God such-and-such a Psalm," till I should think the poor old Tate and Brady version was pretty wellused up. We have new mercies to celebrate, therefore we must have new songs-
"Blest be his love who now has set New time upon the score." With "new time upon the score," let there be new notes for Himwho renews the face of Nature.
And have we not, dear Brothers and Sisters, new graces? Then let us sing with our new faith, our new love and our new hope!Some of you have very lately been made new creatures in Christ Jesus-sing you unto the Lord a new song. Surely He has donegreat things for you, whereof you are glad. Others of you have been converted for years, yet, if your inward man is renewedday by day, your praises shall be always new. Luther used to say that the wounds of Christ seemed to him to bleed today asif they had never bled before, for he found such freshness in his Master. You pluck a flower and it soon loses its scent andbegins to wither, but our sweet Lord Jesus has a savor about His name that never departs. We take His name to lie like a bundleof camphire all night between our breasts and in the morning it smells as sweet as when we laid down to sleep. And when wecome to die, that Lily of the valleys will drop with the same profusion as it did when, with our youthful hands, we firstplucked it and came to Jesus and gave Him all our trust! "Sing unto the Lord a new song." Let the freshness of your joy andthe fullness of your thanks be perennial as the days of Heaven!
This song, according to our text, is designed to be universal "Sing unto the Lord all the earth." Let parents and childrenmingle in its strains. Let not the aged among you say, "Our voices are cracked," but sing to the Lord with all the voice youhave and all the compass you can. And you young people, give the Lord the highest notes you are able to reach! Still singunto the Lord, you that are rich-sing unto the Lord who has saved you, for it is not many of your sort that He saves-
"Gold and the Gospel seem to ill agree- Religion always sides with poverty,"
said John Bunyan, and he spoke the truth! Sing unto the Lord, you poor ones whom the Lord has favored, for still does it happenthat "the poor have the Gospel preached unto them." Sing unto Him, you who are learned in many matters. Let your talents makeyour song more full of understanding. And you who are unlearned, if you cannot put so much of understanding into the song,put more of the spirit and sing with all the more heartiness. All the earth should sing! There is not one of us but has causefor song and certainly not one saint but ought especially to praise the name of the Lord. You remember that passage in the107th Psalm, (it is worth noticing), where the Psalmist says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed fromthe hand of the enemy," as if they, above all others, ought to say, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for Hismercy endures forever."
In addition to its being a new song, and a universal one, it is to be a very inspiration of gratitude. "Sing unto the Lord:bless His name." How apt you are, in speaking of anyone who has been kind to you, to say, "God bless him!" The expressioncomes right up from your heart. And although you cannot invoke any blessing on God, you can desire for His name every blessingand every tribute of homage. You can desire for His cause that it may be established and may be triumphant. You may desirefor His people that they may be helped, made holy and guided to their eternal rest. You may desire for mankind that they mayhallow God's holy name and all because you feel you owe so much to the Lord that you cannot help praising-and cannot helpwishing that your praise should be fruitful on earth and acceptable in Heaven.
In two ways, I think, it becomes us to sing God's praises. We ought to sing with the voice. I do not consider we sing enoughto God. The poet speaks of "angel harp and human voice." If the angel harp is more skillful, surely the human voice is moregrateful. For my part, I like to hear sacred songs in all sorts of places. The maidservant can sing at her work and the carteras he drives his team. The occupations are few which could not be enlivened by repeating the words and running over the tuneof a hymn. If it were only in a faint whisper, the habit might be cultivated. You might expose yourselves, it is true, toa taunt and be upbraided as "a Psalm-singing Methodist," but that would not do you any hurt- better that than make a ribaldjest or utter an impious blasphemy! Those who lend their tongues to such vile uses have something to be ashamed of. Loversof pleasure sing their songs and poor trash, for the most part, they are. If the snatches we catch in the streets are theechoes of the saloon and the music hall, little credit is due to those who cater for public amusement. Lacking alike in senseand sentiment, they betray the degeneracy of the times and the depravity of popular taste.
There is a literature of song in which peasants may rejoice, of which patriots may be proud and to which poets may turn withenvious eyes. Why wed your pretty tunes to paltry words? The higher the art, the more the pity to debase it. If you cull overour hymn books for samples of bad poetry, loose rhyme, and puerile thoughts, that reviewers like to revile, and libertineslike to laugh at, we can only say, "Well, we cannot always vindicate the culture of those whose sincerity we hold in the highestesteem. But we will dare to confront you on equal terms-the sanctuary versus the saloon-our vocalists against your vocalists,from the sacred oratorios of Handel to the choicest of your operas, from the cant of our revival hymns to the catch of yourlast sensational songs! Yes, indeed, the people of God should sing more. Were we to try the exercise, we would find no smalldegree of pleasure in the practice. It would do us good to praise God more day by day. When we get together, two or threeof us, we are in the habit of saying, "Let us pray." Might we not sometimes say, "Let us sing"? We have our regular PrayerMeetings, why do we not have Praise Meetings just as often?-
"Prayer and praise for sins forgiven Make up on earth the bliss of Heaven." We are like a bird that has only one wing. Thereis much prayer, but there is little praise. "Sing unto the Lord. Sing unto the Lord."
To sing with the heart, is the very essence of song-
"In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am
And my heart it does leap at the sound of His name."
Though the tongue may not be able to express the language of the soul, the heart is glad. Some persons seem never to singwith their heart. Their lips move, but their heart does not beat. In their common daily life, they move about as if they hadbeen born on a dark winter's night and carried the cold chill into all their concerns. The lamentation they constantly utteris this, "All these things are against me." Their experience is comprised in this sentence, "In the world you shall have tribulation."They never get into the harbor. "In Me you shall have peace," is a secret they have never realized. They are fond of callingthis world a howling wilderness and they are utterly oblivious of its orchards and vineyards. Were God to put them in thegarden of Eden, they would not take any notice of the fruit or the flowers. They would go straight away to the serpent andbegin saying, "Ah, there's a snake here!" Their harp is hung on the willows-they never can sing, for their heart is unstrung.
Well, dear Friends, a Christian ought to be like a horse that has bells on his head, so that he cannot go anywhere withoutringing them and making music! His whole life should be a Psalm-every step should be in harmony, every thought should constitutea note, every word he utters should be a component part of the joyful strain! It is a blessed thing to see a Christian goingabout his business like the high priest of old who, wherever he went, made music with the golden bells. Oh, to have a cheerfulspirit, not the levity of the thoughtless, nor the gaiety of the foolish, nor even the mirth of the healthy-there is a cheerfulspirit which is the gift of Grace-that can and does rejoice evermore. Then, when troubles come we bear them cheerfully! Letfortune smile, we receive it with equanimity. Or let losses befall us, we endure them with resignation, being willing, solong as God is glorified, to accept anything at His hands.
These are the people to recommend Christianity. Their cheerful conversation attracts others to Christ. As for those peoplewho are morose or morbid, sullen or severe, harsh in their judgment of their fellow men, or rebellious against the will ofGod, people of a covetous disposition, a peevish temper and a quarrelsome character-unto them it is of no use to say, "O singunto the Lord," for they will never do it! They have not any bells in the tower of their heart-what chimes can they ring?Their harps have lost their strings-how can they magnify the Most High? But genuine piety finds expression in jubilant song-thisis the initiative, though it is far from exhausting its resources!
II. Now, in the second place, let me stir you up, especially you who are members of this Church, to such DAILY CONVERSATIONand such HABITUAL DISCOURSE as shall be fitted to spread the Gospel which you love.
Our text admonishes you to "show forth His salvation." You believe in the salvation of God-a salvation all of Grace from firstto last. You have seen it. You have received it. You have experienced it. Well, now, show it forth! Explain it to others andwith the explanation let there be an illustration-exemplify it by your lives. God has shone upon you with the light of HisCountenance that you may reflect His brightness and irradiate others. Every Christian here is like the moon which shines withborrowed light. But the sun lends not its bright rays to be hoarded up. It is that they may scatter beams of brightness overthis world of night! Take care, then, that you are faithful to your trust. Show forth His salvation. God knows that I tryto do so from the pulpit. I wish that you would all try and do so from the pews. Are you lacking in opportunities? I thinknot. Before and after service, especially to strangers and such as may have been induced to come and hear the Gospel, speaka word in season-thoughtfully, prayerfully, softly, talk with them.
Show forth this salvation, too, in your own houses, or on your visits, or wherever your lot may happen, in God's Providence,to be cast. It is wonderful how God blesses little efforts, very little efforts! I have sometimes, I am sorry to say not asoften as I ought, scattered Seed by the wayside. Only a few nights ago, I had been driven by a driver and after I had alightedand given him the fare, he took a little Testament out of his pocket and said, "It is about 15 years ago since you gave methis, and said a word to me about my soul-and it has stuck by me and I have not let a day pass since without reading it."I felt glad. I know that if Christian people would try and show forth God's salvation, they would often be surprised to findhow many hearts would gladly receive it. Beloved, show forth this salvation from day to day. Let it not be merely on a Sunday!While you hold that day as specially sacred, let no other day be common or unclean. We are thankful for the kindly effortsput forth in the Sunday school and elsewhere, on our Sabbaths, but we want Christian activity to be put forth from day today! Let your zeal for the conversion of your fellow creatures be continuous. "In the morning sow your seed and in the eveningwithhold not your hand: for you know not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."The result of the Sabbath work may, perhaps, not be seen by you, when the result of Monday's work may very speedily appear.
"Show forth His salvation from day to day." This admonition is enforced in three clauses, so let us notice the second. "DeclareHis glory among the heathen." It is the same thing in another form. When you are telling out the Gospel, point especiallyto the glory of it. Show them the justice of the great Substitution and the mercy of it. Show them the wisdom which devisedthe plan whereby, without a violation of His Law, God could yet pardon rebellious sinners. Impress upon those whom you talkthat the Gospel you have to tell them of is no common-place system of expediency, but it is really a glorious Revelation ofDivinity. You know men are very much attracted by anything of glory and renown. They will even rush to the cannon's mouthfor so-called glory! Now, be sure, when you are talking to others about the salvation you have received at the hands of yourdear Lord and Master, that you tell them about the glory thereof-what a glory it brings to Christ and to what a glory it willbring every sinner by-and-by. Tell them of the glory of being pardoned, the glory of being accepted, the glory of being justified,the glory of being sanctified. Is it not all "according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"? I think you might relatesome scenes from the deathbeds of the saints you have known, on which rays of glory have fallen-but I am sure you might anticipatethe glory, which words cannot picture, or imagination realize, in the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus, the Resurrection ofthe just and the establishment of the everlasting Kingdom. Dwell upon these things! Declare His glory!
And do not be ashamed to do this in the presence of people of a disreputable character, though their ignorance and degradationbe ever so palpable. "Declare His glory among the heathen." "I am going on a mission to the heathen," said a minister onceto his people. Mistaking his meaning, they went home deploring the loss of their pastor. On the following Sunday, when theyfound him in the pulpit, they discovered that he had not been out of the city all week and when they wanted to know what partshe had visited, and what people he had seen, he reminded them that he had heathens at home-and they were to be found evenin his own congregation. Ah, and there may be some heathens here! At any rate, there are plenty of heathens in this greatcity of London. I have no doubt there are parts of this metropolis in which hundreds and even thousands of people reside whoare as ignorant of the plan of salvation as the inhabitants of Coomassie. They know nothing of Jesus, even though the Lightof God is so bright around them. "Declare His glory among the heathen," you lovers of Christ! Penetrate into the dark places!Break up fresh ground, Christian men and women!
I am persuaded and this is a matter I have often spoken of, that many of you who sit and hear sermons on the Sunday, oughtrather to turn out and preach the Gospel. While we are glad to see you occupying pews, it will be a greater joy to miss youfrom your seats if we only know that you are declaring God's glory among the heathen! I am not sure that we are, all of us,right to be living cooped up in this little island of ours. There are, in England, enough disciples of Jesus to bear the Gospelto the uttermost ends of the earth-but perhaps there is not one Christian in five or ten thousand who ever deliberately thinksabout going to the heathen to make known to them the way of salvation and to declare the glory of the Lord among those whohave never heard His name. Pray that there may yet come a wonderful wave of God's Spirit over our Churches which shall bearupon its crest hundreds of ardent spirits resolved to carry the tidings of redemption to the jungle and the fever swamps,to the high latitudes and the southern islands! Oh, that the love of Christ may constrain them! Know you not that Christ hasdetermined to save men by the preaching of the Gospel? Has He not charged His disciples to go into all the word and preachthe Gospel to every creature? How poorly has His Church carried out this commission! If you love Christ, here is the opportunityfor you to show your love-go and declare His glory among the heathen!
A third expression is used here. "Declare His wonders among all people." Our Gospel is a Gospel of wonders. It deals withamazing sin in a wonderful way. It presents to us a wonderful Savior and tells us of His wonderful complex Person. It pointsus to His wonderful Atonement and it takes the blackest sinner and makes him wonderfully clean! It makes him a new creatureand works a wonderful change in him. It conducts him to wonders of happiness and wonders of strength, and yet onward to greaterwonders of light and life, for it opens up to him the wonders of the Covenant. It gives him wonderful provisions, wonderfuldeliverances and leads him right up, by the power of Him who is called Wonderful, to the gates of that Wonderland where weshall forever-
"Sing, with rapture and surprise, His loving kindness in the skies."
Surely, dear Christian Friends, we ought to talk about the wonders of the Lord our God, and especially should we dwell uponthose wonders which we have ourselves seen. Of every Christian, it might be said that he is a wonder. Will you
think a minute, Christian, of the wonder that God has made of you and the wonders that He has done for you? "That ever I shouldbe," is a wonder-will you not say that? And then, "That ever I should be saved, is a wonder of wonders." That you should havebeen kept till now, that you should not have been allowed to go back, that you should have been preserved under so many troubles,that your prayers should have been heard so continuously, that, notwithstanding your ill manners, the love of Christ shouldstill have remained the same-oh, but I cannot recite the tale of marvels-it is a long series of wonders! The Christian's life,if the worldling could understand it, would seem to him like a romance. The wonders of Grace far exceed the wonders of Natureand, of all the miracles God, Himself, has ever worked, there are no miracles so matchless in wonder as the miracles of Gracein the heart of man! Beloved, declare these miracles, these wonders-tell them to others!
Men like to hear a tale of wonder. They will gather round the fire, at eventide, when the logs are burning, and delightedlylisten to a story of wonder. When you go home, young man, for your next holiday-if God has converted you, tell what greatthings the Lord has done for you. And when you go home, Mary, and see your mother-if the Lord has met with you, tell her whatthe Lord has done for you. "Declare His wonders among all people." Do not be afraid of speaking about the Gospel to anybodyor in any company. Whoever they may be-whether they are rich or poor, high or low-if you get an opportunity of declaring thewonders of God's Grace, do not let the Gospel be unknown for lack of a tongue to tell it.
So, you see, I have put before you these two outlets for your love. First, sacred song and, secondly, gracious discourse.Be sure to use them both and if any bid you hold your peace, shall I tell you the answer? Use the same answer which your Masterdid to the Pharisees when they complained of the shouts of the little children-"If these should hold their tongues, the verystones would cry out." Ordinary Christians may be quiet because God has done nothing very wonderful for them. They go throughthe world in a very ordinary kind of way. Their religion is skin-deep and no more. But those who know that they deserved thedeepest Hell and who have been saved by a mighty effort of Infinite Mercy must tell what God has done for them! They mustcome out from the world and be separate. They must be decided, zealous and even enthusiastic. Necessity is laid upon themto be earnest and intense in all they do and in all they say. They cannot help it, for the love of Jesus will fire their soulswith a passion that cannot be quenched. "We thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: and that He died forall, that they which live should not live henceforth unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again." Godhelp you, Beloved, thus to live!
As for those of you who have never found the Savior, you cannot tell of His excellence or publish His worth. But I do trustthat you will not forget that Jesus is to be found by those who seek Him, for whoever believes on Him shall be saved. TakeHim at His word. Rely on His promise. Trust Him. Commit your soul into His keeping. Cast yourself unreservedly on His mercy.He will not spurn you, but He will receive you graciously. And you shall yet praise Him and He will be the health of yourcountenance and your God.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: DANIEL 9:14-23.
Verses 14-21. Therefore has the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in allHis works which He does, for we obeyed not His voice. And now, O Lord our God, that has brought Your people forth out of theland of Egypt with a mighty hand, and has gotten You renown, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord,according to all Your righteousness, I beseech You, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem,Your holy mountain: because for our sins and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are become a reproachto all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and cause Yourface to shine upon Your sanctuary, that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline Your ears and hear, open Youreyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name: for we do not present our supplications beforeYou for our righteousness, but for Your great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not forYour own sake, O my God: for Your city and Your people are called by Your name. And while I was speaking, and praying, andconfessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountainof my God; yes, while I
was speaking in prayer, even thee man Gabriel, whom Ihadseen in thee vision at thee beginning, being caused to fly swiftly,touched me about the time of the evening oblation. That is the time when prayer is always heard, when the lamb is offered,and his blood is sprinkled, and blessed be God, the Sacrifice in which we trust has been offered once and for all. The Christ,who has gone into Heaven as a Lamb that had been slain, has, by His one offering, made perpetual oblation unto the Most Highon our behalf. So pray when we will, we may expect an answer. See how quick it was in Daniel's case: "While I was speakingin prayer," the angel Gabriel, in the form of a man, appeared unto him, and brought him the answer to his petition.
22, 23. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding.At the beginning of your supplications the commandant came forth, and I am come to show you, for you are greatly beloved:therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. And then he told him of the Messiah who was coming, of all thatwould happen to Him, of the week of respite, and then of the final consummation when God would permit the foreign prince tocome and destroy the city, and the sanctuary, and to pour upon them the desolations which He had determined to inflict uponthem.