Sermon 2880. New Tokens of Ancient Love
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 1904.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON A LORD'S-DAY EVENING, DURING THE WINTER OF 1861-2.
"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yes, Ihave loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindnesshave I drawn you." Jeremiah 31:3.
IT is said that when the stars cannot be seen during the day from the ordinary level of the earth, if one should go down intoa deep well, they would be visible at once and, certainly, it is a fact that many of the brightest of God's promises are usuallyseen by His children when they are passing through some of their darkest experiences. As surely as God puts them into thefurnace of affliction and trial, He will be with them in the furnace. I do not read that Jacob ever saw the Angel of the Lorduntil that night when, by the brook Jabbok, "there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day," but then, the wrestlingJacob met the wrestling Angel foot to foot. I do not know that Joshua ever saw the "Captain of the Lord's host" until, outsidethe walls of Jericho, his Divine Leader appeared to him. I do not know that Abraham ever saw the Lord until, as a strangerin the plains of Mamre, He manifested Himself to His servant in the form of a traveler and His friends needing hospitalityand refreshment.
It is in our most desperate straits that we often have our most joyous Revelations. John must go to "the isle that is calledPatmos" before he could have the wondrous Revelation that was there given to him. It was only on that barren, storm-girt rock,shut out from the world's light, that he could find the fitting darkness in which to view the Glory of Heaven undistractedby the shadows of earth! The message of our text was given to Jeremiah in a time of deep distress- it was meant to be helpfulto the Lord's people in their greatest desolations. That being the case, we may use it in a threefold manner and view it,first, as an answer to many complaints. Secondly, as teaching some exceedingly valuable doc-trinesand, thirdly, as a stimulantto self-examination as to our state before God.
I. First, then, our text may be viewed as AN ANSWER TO MANY COMPLAINTS.
If you look at your Bibles, you will see that the word, "saying," is in italics, showing that it is not in the original, buthas been supplied by the translators. Sometimes they have inserted words which have really brought out the meaning more clearly-but,in this case, if I understand the passage, they have rather obscured the sense. The fact is, the first sentence is a complainton the part of Israel. In the previous verse, God had said, "The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness;even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest." "Ah," said Israel, "but that was centuries ago-'the Lord has appeared of oldunto me.'" There was a note of complaint even in the expression of gratitude, as much as to say, "Times are changed, for theLord does not appear unto me now." The complaint was that His choice Revelations and wondrous deliverances were all in theages long ago. But the Lord's answer was, in effect, "It is true that these Revelations and deliverances were in the past,but they are designed to yield you present comfort, for they prove that I have loved you with an ancient love and, since Iam Immutable, you may omit the word, ancient, and insert, everlasting-Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.'"
Then, to complete the answer, the Lord avers that even in Israel's present time of mourning He had manifested His loving kindness.He seems to say, "Is not that as much as I ever did? Talk of all the wonders that I worked in the days gone by, when I cutRahab in pieces and wounded the dragon-this is a greater wonder, that I have drawn you with loving kindness! Say not thatthe former times were better than these. Say not that the wonder-working power of God is
exhausted. I loved you of old, but I also love you today and I have proved it by drawing you with the bands of My love. Thisis as great a miracle, as high a privilege and as sure a sign of My love to you as anything I did in the olden days."
Now, Brothers and Sisters, is not this sometimes our complaint-that we read in the Bible of what God did of old, but we seenothing like that nowadays? Indeed, some people think that although there were wonders in those ancient times, the oraclehas long ceased to speak. I daresay you have heard of the poor ignorant woman who, on being told by her minister about thecrucifixion of Christ, said, "Well, well, Sir, if it was so, it happened a long while ago and a great way off-but let us hopethe story is not true." I address some people, not quite so ignorant as that woman, who, nevertheless, when I preach aboutthe wonders God has worked, say, "Well, Sir, those things happened long ago and a great way off-but it is not at all probablethat God would do anything like that now." What? Do you think that His arm is waxed short, or that His hands have become powerless,so that He is not now able to help His people as He did in the ages gone by? This is the complaint of many! Perhaps they donot put it into words, but this is what they often say in their heart.
What is God's answer to this complaint? Let each Believer hear Him say, "I have done for you as great wonders as I ever didfor Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. I have worked miracles for you as matchless as when I brought Israel up out of Egypt, or ledthe chosen nation through the wilderness into the land of Canaan. Did I bring them up out of Egypt? Have I not brought youup out of the dominion of sin? Did I break the power of Pharaoh? Have I not crushed the might of Satan? Did I divide the RedSea for Israel to pass over? Have I not made a pathway for you, through many a tumultuous sea, so that you have gone overdry shod? Did I feed the people with manna in the wilderness and have I not fed you-not with bread, alone, but also with theWords which have come forth out of My mouth? Did I cause Moses to lift up the bronze serpent, that they might be healed whenthey were bitten by the serpents? And have I not lifted up the Son of Man, that whoever looks unto Him may be cured of theserpent-bite of sin? Did I bring them into Canaan and give them rest? And have I not said to you, 'There remains, therefore,a rest to the people of God'? Did I drive out the Canaanite before them and give them possession of the land? And have I notdriven out your sins and will I not, by My Spirit, purify and cleanse your whole life? Did I give them Prophets after my ownheart-and have I not given you shepherds who have fed you with knowledge and with understanding? Did I give to them, at last,King David to sit upon his throne-and have I not given to you great David's greater Son and Lord to be the King of your heartand to rule over your entire being? Did I give them Solomon, a temple and riches and glory? And have I not promised to youHeaven and greater riches, glories and splendors than anything I ever gave to him when he ruled over Israel?"
I feel sure that if you will carefully look into it, your own experience will prove to be far more wonderful than anythingwhich God did of old, so that you will have no reason to say, "The Lord appeared of old unto our fathers, but He is not nowwith their children." We are apt, sometimes, to think that natural miracles are greater than spiritual ones-for instance,that the dividing of the Red Sea, as recorded in the Book of Exodus, is a greater miracle than the forgiving of sins, as recordedin the Gospels. But if you will weigh these two things in the balances of the sanctuary, you will at once see that the spiritualmiracle is infinitely greater than the natural one. It is an easy thing to shut the mouths of ordinary lions, but it is agreat deal more difficult to shut the mouth of the roaring lion of Hell who goes about seeking whom he may devour. It is avery simple matter for the Omnipotent God to make a world-He speaks and it is done! But to remake an innumerable company ofHis creatures who have become debased and spiritually dead-this is, indeed, a work only comparable to that which He accomplishedwhen He "brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the EverlastingCovenant."
God made the world without any suffering, but He could not redeem even one soul without unknown agonies. At the close of thesix days work of Creation, God could say of everything that He had made, that it was very good. But, on the Cross, the Saviorcould not say, "It is finished," until His very heart had been broken with anguish and reproach. God could rejoice over theworks of His hands-and His delights could be with the sons of men, but, after man had fallen, God could not lift him up againwithout sighs, groans and bloody sweat-yes, death itself, the death of deaths-"the death of the Cross."
Therefore, let none of us, in these days, say that the former times were better than the present ones, or that God has ceasedto perform His mighty works. He has done as much for us as He ever did for our fathers-so let us praise and bless His holyname, and laud and magnify His deeds of Grace! We, as a church, perhaps, are apt to think that we must not
expect great things from God in these times. Why not-I pray-why not? Did not God give tongues of fire and send His Apostlesforth to preach the Word to the people of every clime under Heaven? And is it not a fact that, within a hundred years of Christ'sdeath, His Gospel had been proclaimed through all the then known world? And is it not possible that from this time forth theChurch of Christ may take great strides like a giant, instead of creeping like a snail? Why may not the army of the Crossmarch onward-
"From victory unto victory"- instead of being so frequently repulsed? Is the Church of Christ always to be like a little streamin which you may see the pebbles lie? No! Let her be like Kishon, the mighty torrent that swept away the hosts of Sisera andJabin, and let her carry off the legions of darkness into the depths of despair! Let God but arise in His might and wondrousworks such as He did in the days of Huss, and Luther, and Calvin shall be done again! The thunder-claps of Whitefield andWesley shall reverberate again! God can make all His ministers to be flames of fire if He so pleases. He can once more awakenHis Church, scatter all her foes before her and enrich her with the spoils of the holy war!
We have not fallen upon evil days, Beloved. We may be feeble, but our God is not! The light may be dim just now, but the sunis not dim. What if the winds do not always blow with hurricane force? They are but slumbering for a while and will awakewith all their known vigor and drive the chariots of the sky at resistless speed! What if the ocean should seem, just now,to be sleeping in its briny bed? Before long it will respond to the Psalmist's invitation, "Let the sea roar, and the fullnessthereof." If the stars should be, for a little while, hidden from your gaze, they will soon pierce through the darkness and,once again, shall you behold those eyes of Heaven peering down in mercy upon you! God can speedily renew to you all the manifestationsof His Presence! Ebbs shall be followed by floods, winters by summers, and our present indications of a state of death shallgive place to signs and tokens of a glorious life! Say not, complainingly, O Church of God, "The Lord has appeared of oldunto me," but rather rejoice and revel in His comforting assurance, "Yes, I did appear of old unto you, for I have loved youwith an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you.
I have thus explained how I believe our text was intended to be used.
II. Now we will look at it as TEACHING SOME EXCEEDINGLY VALUABLE DOCTRINES. And, first, I believe that it teaches us the Doctrineof Effectual Calling-"With loving kindness have I drawn you." No one ever comes to the Lord unless the Lord, Himself, drawshim. He cannot come and he will not come. Christ said to the murmuring Jews, "No man can come to Me, except the Father whichhas sent Me draw him." And to those who sought to kill Him because of His miracles on the Sabbath, He said, "You will notcome to Me, that you might have life." That is the sternest blow against free-will of which I know! What a free-willer canmake out of that text, I cannot tell. He says that any man can come to Christ, yet Christ said to some, "You will not cometo Me." And both observation and experience prove that this is still true. Never yet did a soul come to Christ till firstChrist came to it. There are some who think that the Doctrine of Effectual Calling means that God forces men to repent andbelieve against their wills-a more absurd and unscriptural notion than that could hardly be mentioned! God does not drag mento Heaven by the hair of their heads! There is a wide difference between physical force and spiritual force. God does notsave an unwilling man- He makes him willing in the day of His power.
We may not be able to explain all about this great mystery, yet we may firmly believe-in full accordance with the laws whichregulate human minds and, without at all violating the free agency of His creatures-that God knows how to persuade men! Yes,and how sweetly to "compel them to come in," that His house may be filled! There is a sort of compulsion, you know, whichone exercises by argument. The force of logic, or the spell of eloquence, we all acknowledge. In this way the understandingis overwhelmed. The mind, at first, resists, and says, "I will not do such-and-such," but you bring argument after argumentto bear upon it until, at last, it yields and says, "I am compelled to do it." Yet it acts willingly, freely and not withoutpleasure. The understanding has been enlightened that acts upon the rest of the powers of the mind-and thus the man is influenced.We may even say compelled without any violation of the fact that he is free!
And so the Holy Spirit enlightens the understanding by bringing the Truth of God to the mind and, through that Truth, leadsthe soul to see certain consequences that follow from it. Then the understanding, being enlightened, the soul, with full consent,comes to Christ. The Holy Spirit does what you and I cannot do, for He acts directly upon the will. We cannot do that exceptby physical force and, even then, the will is not really changed, for, if a man resolves that
he will not do a certain thing but you afterwards compel him to do it, I question if his will is actually conquered. But theHoly Spirit knows how to apprehend "My Lord Will-Be-Will"-as Bunyan calls him-put him in irons and lead him away captive.There is still the will, but I can hardly say that it is put into fetters, for it was in fetters before! But it is as changedand assimilated to the will of God that it is really free in its love of holiness. It seemed to be free before, but it wasa slave to evil passions. Free-will is a slave, by nature, but when Christ comes and, (as some would say), fetters it withthe golden chains of love-then the will becomes free, indeed!
Thus I have shown you how the Holy Spirit acts upon the will. He can also act upon the heart which is, perhaps, an even moreimportant part of the man. When a man truly loves any objective, he is always willing to do anything in furtherance of thatobjective. And so, when the Holy Spirit shows to the mind's eye the beauties of Christ, His sufficiency and adaptation tothe needs of the soul, the heart begins to love Christ. Where the heart goes, the will must follow- especially if it is ledby "My Lord Understanding, the Lord Mayor of Mansoul," according to Bunyan's Holy War So, though no soul ever comes to Christwithout being drawn to Him, yet let it always be understood that such drawing is in perfect accordance with the laws whichgovern human minds and that the Spirit of God thus acts without, in the least degree, violating the freedom which God hasgiven to men!
The text says that God draws His people "with loving kindness." Yet it is quite certain that the Holy Spirit makes use ofthe Law of the Lord in drawing men to Christ and salvation. The thunders of the Law, the terrors of judgment, the stings ofconscience and the pangs of death are all employed for this purpose-but they are all tempered and softened by the loving kindnessof the Lord! In every instance you will find that it is His loving kindness that gives the finishing stroke-even with thosewho are driven to Christ by that stern teacher, the Law. The prodigal set out for his father's house from a sense of need,"but when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him."So that the last steps he took towards his father's house were taken with those kisses still warm upon his cheek and His father'swelcome still music in his ears! Rightly do we sing-
"Law and terrors do but harden
All the while they work alone.
But a sense of blood bought-pardon
Soon dissolves a heart of stone." And when that sense of blood-bought pardon comes to the heart, the Law's thunders are allhushed and the heart is won for God!
The Master came one night to the door of a man's heart and knocked on it with the mailed gloves of the Law upon His hands.The door creaked and shook, but it did not open, and the man put up against it all the furniture he could find, to keep itfrom opening, crying, all the while, "I will never be forced to yield." So the Master turned away for a time, but, by-and-by,He came back and, with His own soft hand, using mostly that part where the nail had penetrated, He knocked again, oh, so softlyand tenderly! This time the door did not shake, but, strange to say, it opened and there, upon his knees, the once-unwillinghost was found, waiting to welcome his Divine Guest! He said to Him, "Come in, come in! You have knocked in such a way thatI can no longer resist You. I could not think of Your pierced hand leaving its bloody mark upon my door and then of Your goingaway homeless-Your head filled with dew and Your locks with the drops of the night. Come in, come in! You have won my heartand I yield to You, You blessed Lord and Savior!" It is so, I believe, in every case-loving kindness wins the day! What Mosescould not do with his hammer, Christ does with His Cross. What Moses, with the two tablets of stone, could never do, Christdoes with one touch of the finger of His mercy!
This is the Doctrine of Effectual Calling as I see it in the text. Do you all understand it experimentally? Can each one ofyou say with Dr. Doddridge-
"He drew me, and I followed on, Charmed to confess the voice Divine"?
If so, may He continue to draw you until, at last, He shall draw you from earth to Heaven and you shall sit down at the marriagesupper of the Lamb, to go no more out forever!
I also see in the text the Doctrine of Eternal Love. Why has the Lord drawn His people to Himself? Because He loved them "withan everlasting love." To some good people, the word, "election," sounds almost like blasphemy. If "predestination" is mentioned,they think it is something dreadful! Yet that Doctrine is in the text and you cannot get the idea
of "predestination" away from the word, "everlasting." The reason-and the onlyreason why any man is ever drawn out from theworld and brought to Christ, is to be found in the eternal love of God! There is nothing more, naturally, in that man thanin any other man. Indeed, in many cases he is worse than others. If salvation had been the reward of merit, he would havebeen left out. There is, by nature, nothing in man to win the heart of Christ. What form, what comeliness is there in humannature in His sight? Shall blackness win the heart of Him who is without blemish and without spot? Shall loathsome leprosybe attractive to the Divine Being? Shall deformity so charm the eyes of Jehovah that He shall love it? It cannot be! The onlyreasonfor God's love to us is that He willlove us. From that fountain of His own dateless love springs our effectual calling andeverything else that comes to us!
Let us pause awhile and meditate upon this everlasting love. Let every Believer in Jesus think upon it to his own comfort.There are many old things in the world-we like to see old castles, old abbeys and old ruins-but, long before those castlesand abbeys were built, Christ Jesus had proved His love to us by redeeming us from our sins by shedding His precious bloodfor us on Calvary's Cross! We delight to travel in foreign countries and to see the remains of old Rome, or the pyramids ofEgypt, or other wonders of the world. But long before any of those stupendous structures were piled, God had declared thatthe Seed of the woman should bruise the old serpent's head! It is delightful to go back, in thought, to the time when thehills were born-when the hoary Alps were yet infants and when the aged ocean was but a baby, sporting in its newborn existenceand clapping its hands in its early glee. But if you go back as far as that, you have not begun to get anywhere near the timewhen God, in covenant with Christ, gave to Him a people and promised that they should be His forever and ever!
Scientists love to go back to the most remote geological periods-to those ages before man was created-when those various depositsof shells, bones and other materials were made which are gradually being discovered. But you must go further back than that!Yes, you must go back beyond the very first creative act of God-and even then you will not have reached that period of whichthe Psalmist says, "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him." Fly back in imagination,if you can, to the time when the unnavigated ether had never been disturbed by the wing of cherub and when the song of theseraphim had never startled the silence of the infinite! Go back to the time when God dwelt alone and you have only then begunto approach that mysterious eternity when God loved His people "with an everlasting love." This wondrous love, too, was frometernity fixed upon such a worm as I am-and such worms as you are, Beloved. What a marvel it is that the Eternal should everhave deigned to think upon me, or upon you, my Brother, my Sister! Try to grasp it, if you can-though it is one of those thingswhich only "expressive silence" can set forth. "HE loved me-from everlasting" Feed on this glorious Truth of God, O Christian,and remember that your being drawn to Christ is the effect of this eternal love and is, at the same time, the proof of it-theproof that you were upon God's heart long before He-
"Spread the flowing seas abroad, And built the lofty skies!"
Read the text another way and it will teach us a third Doctrine. The word, "everlasting," looks not only backward, but forward."I have loved you with an everlasting love." That is to say, "I have drawn you because I intend to save you to everlasting.I would not have called you by My Grace if I had meant to ever leave you to perish. I would not have begun the good work inyour soul, by drawing you with loving kindness, if I had not intended to bring you to My Glory at the last." O beloved Brothersand Sisters in Christ, love without beginning is indeed sweet, but there is a still more luscious sweetness in love withoutend! It will do us good to dilate a little upon this wondrous Truth of God, nor shall we need to draw much upon our imaginationin doing so. I can readily picture the time when this dark hair of mine shall be silvered over with gray and the sunlightof Heaven shall begin to whiten my brow. Yes, but God's promise is, "Even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, andI will bear; even I will carry and will deliver you." It needs no great stretch of the imagination to look forward to thetime when the old man will have to lean upon his staff and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened and the grasshoppershall be a burden. Perhaps it will be the lot of some of us young people to grow old together-if so, may we grow ripe as wegrow old! But if we are the Lord's people, we shall be able, each one, to say as infirmities increase upon us, "My flesh andmy heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Then we look forward to that silent chamber where friends will stand by our bed and whisper, "He cannot last long now." Whetherwe shall hear them say it, or not, we cannot tell, but, "we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Now the last moment comes. The death sweatis on our brow, the death rattle is in our throat, yet David's words are fulfilled in our experience-"Yes, though I walk throughthe valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Nowmy soul has stretched her wings! She has left mortality behind, to-
"Soar through tracks unknown"-
but still she sings-
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee."
In due time will come the great Day of Judgment, but-
"Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who anything to my charge shall lay?
While through Your blood absolved I am
From sin's tremendous curse and shame." Now the drama of Time is finished. Eternity has come and we shall be "forever withthe Lord!" The sun has spent its fire, the moon has paled its feeble light, the elements have been burned up with ferventheat, the stars have shut their eyes in eternal blindness and the universe dissolves as the billow's foam sinks into the wavethat bears it. But still, our Lord's words describe the joy of His people-"the righteous into life eternal." Oh, that preciouseverlasting love of God, always ours, because with loving kindness He has drawn us!
There is a thief over there who wants to steal away this Doctrine from me. He has been borrowing the old-fashioned burglariousinstruments of dead men-the pick-locks of Arminius and the center-bits of Mr. Wesley-a good man, but one who was on a baderrand when he tried to take this choice and comfortable Doctrine from the children of God. Yet I do not care what any ofthem may say or do, "for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor thingspresent, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love ofGod which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." If we are in Christ, there is one thing which should make us feel very safe-if anythingcould ever divide us from the love of Christ, we would have been divided long ago. Suppose that our troubles could do it-thenit would have been done long since, for we have had a sea full of them already! Yet, in six troubles the Lord has been withus and, in seven, He has not forsaken us!
Suppose that sin could do it-then, Brothers and Sisters, it would have been done in the first hour after our conversion. Imust certainly make my sorrowful confession-
"If ever it could come to pass
That God's own child should fall away,
My fickle, feeble soul, alas,
Would fall a thousand times a day!" If the Lord had ever meant us to fall into Hell, we would have gone there years ago.
"But," say some, "perhaps we may meet with strong temptations." Yes, probably we shall, but we shall never meet with a temptationstronger than the arm of God can enable us to overcome! Others say, "But perhaps we may backslide." Yes, I know we may. Butif we do, the Lord will say to us, even then, "Turn, O backsliding children, for I am married unto you." Yet others say, "Butperhaps we may make the Lord angry with us." Yes, I know we may, but I also remember how He pleaded with those who did soin the olden day-"How shall I give you up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver you, Israel? How shall I make you as Admah? How shallI set you as Zeboim? My heart is turned within Me. My repent-ings are kindled together. I will not execute the fiercenessof My anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man."
This is a question about which we need not dispute here, for I do not suppose that there is one member of this church whoever entertains a doubt about the truth of this Doctrine. We sing over and over again-
"Did Jesus once upon me shine? Then Jesus is forever mine!"
And we delight to repeat that confident assurance of Toplady, whose own end was so joyous because of his enjoyment of thisprecious Truth of God-
"Yes, I to the end shall endure, As sure as the Earnest is given! More happy, but not more secure, The glorified spirits inHeaven."
III. I was to have concluded my discourse by considering our text as A STIMULANT TO SELF-EXAMINATION AS TO OUR STATE BEFOREGOD, but our time has gone, so I can only ask this all-important question-Brothers and Sisters, have you any part and lotin these things of which I have been speaking? Are you the objects of eternal love?
"That is just what I would like to know," says one, "can you tell me?" Well, I cannot climb to Heaven to read the roll ofthe redeemed, nor can I tell you of a way to go up Jacob's ladder to read it for yourself. But there is a way of knowing whetherGod loved you before He made the world-and whether He will love you after the world has ceased to be. It is this-has He drawnyou with His loving kindness? Examine your hearts and see. Have you felt your need of Jesus? Has that need constrained youto pray to Him? Has that prayer been answered by your being enabled to put your trust in Him? Have you been drawn away fromthe confidence in which you once boasted? Have you been drawn away from the love of your old sin? Have you-to sum up all-beenmade a new creature in Christ Jesus? Then, never doubt your election and never doubt your glorification! "For whom He didforeknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified,them He also glorified."
What are you doing, Mr. Unbelief? You are trying to separate glorification from calling, but you can never do it, for Godhas joined them together so securely that neither death nor Hell can break the bond that unites them! Remember- "whom He called,them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." May we all be there, among the heavenly birds of paradise-
"And vie with Gabriel while He sings, In notes almost Divine"
of love without beginning and of favor without end! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ISAIAH60
The subject of this chapter is "The glory of the Church in the abundant access of the Gentiles, and the great blessings aftera short affliction."
Verse 1. Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. The Church is like the moon whichshines with borrowed light. When God shines upon the Church, then the Church shines by reflecting His light. The Glory ofJehovah is her glory. If that is withdrawn, she is dark, indeed, but when that shines into her and through her, then her brightnessis great, indeed.
2, 3. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the LORD shall arise upon you andHis glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Thereis nothing that breaks the darkness except the light from God's face. And when that falls upon the Church, then the Churchstraightway begins to shine in the midst of the darkness-and multitudes come to the light. Even the great ones of the earth,the kings, come to the brightness of her rising.
4. Lift up your eyes round about, and see: they all gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come fromfar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. There is no sign here of the Church of God being deserted. On the contrary,she shall become, through the Grace of God, the center of attraction! Men shall come from distant lands to her-however farremoved they were, they shall still come-"your sons shall come from far." She shall also be increased by the accession ofthose near at hand-"and your daughters shall be nursed at your side."
5. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall fear and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shallbe converted unto you, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto you. Oh that we might live to see this happy day when weshall feel a holy awe because of God's Glory as revealed in His Church! This fear is not a servile dread but a
holy awe of God. And then the heart shall be enlarged-we shall deal with great things, wish for great things, attempt greatthings, do great things and see great things. "Your heart shall fear and be enlarged," for the sailor far away upon the seaand the whole strength of the Gentiles shall come to you.
6, 7. The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, all they from Sheba shall come: they shallbring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered togetherunto you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto you: they shall come up with acceptance on My altar, and I will glorifythe house of My glory. These people had mostly been followers of false prophets, but they, too, shall forsake their fanaticismand their bigotry and come to unite with the Church of God. Those least likely and furthest off from hope shall be broughtin by the Sovereign Grace of God.
8. Who are these that fly as a cloud and as the doves to their windows?The Church is astonished! She asks, "Who can
9, 10. Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver andtheir gold with them, unto the name of the LORD your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you. Andthe sons of strangers shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister unto them for in My wrath I smote you, butin My favor have Ihad mercy on you. The Church of God is one continuously. At first it was a Jewish Church and it has neverceased to comprise within its bounds some members of the chosen race. But now, in these latter days, she has broken the narrowbonds of race and from Tarshish and the distant isles of the sea, multitudes are already coming to the Church of God-and theyshall come much more numerously in the years that have not yet arrived.
11-14. Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night, that men may bring unto you theforces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish,yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto you, the fir tree, the pine tree and thebox together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious. The sons also of themthat afflicted you shall come bending unto you. Or, if they do not themselves come, their children shall; each generationshall include a remnant according to the election of Grace and, in due time, shall come the great ingathering.
14-22. And as they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet, and they shall call you, The Cityof the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you,I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. You shall also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shallsuck the breasts of kings: and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood, brass, and for stones iron: I will also makeyour officers peace, and your exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in your land, wasting nor destructionwithin your borders, but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light byday, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto you: but the LORD shall be unto you an Everlasting Light, and yourGod your Glory. Your sun shall no more go down; neither shall your moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be your EverlastingLight and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Your people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever,the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a smallone a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time. "Amen! Amen!" So say we with all our heart!