Sermon 3208. The Faithful Olive Tree
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JULY 28, 1910.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 29, 1879.
"The trees once went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign over us. But theolive tree said to them, Should I cease giving my oil, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted overthe trees?" Judges 9:8,9.
HERE then, in parable, a temptation was set before the olive tree. It was urged to become ambitious and aspire to reign overthe rest of the trees. We gather from Jotham's parable, at the outset, that we, also, are all liable to temptation. Thoughyou may think yourself to be as firmly rooted and as useful as the olive tree, yet may the fascinating whisper be heard byyou, "Come and reign over us," and though you should be as sweet and gentle as the fig tree, yet there may come to you thewily invitation, "Come and reign over us." And though you should be as fruitful as the vine, yet to you in the Lord's ownvineyard there may come the serpent voice, "Come and reign over us." We shall never be out of the way of temptation so longas we grow in this earthly garden! Our Lord Himself had a stern conflict with the adversary at the commencement of His ministry,for He came up from the waters of Baptism to be tempted of the devil, and at the close of that ministry, "His sweat was, asit were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground" in the agony of His spirit when the powers of darkness assailedHim in Gethsemane. We must expect, in our measure, to be conformed to His likeness in this respect. The serpent will bruiseour heel as well as our Lord's. Even into quiet like that of an olive garden, there will come the tempter and the temptation!It is not possible for us to be located anywhere in this world where our surroundings will be clear from danger, for if theserpent comes not into the olive groves, yet the other trees may tempt us. What, therefore, I say unto you, I say unto all,"Watch," for we are not ignorant of the devices of evil and those devices will surely be exercised upon us. Therefore letus cry unto the Strong for strength and set a double watch against the world, the flesh and the devil-
"Christian! Seek not yet repose. Cast your dreams of ease away! You are in the midst of foes- Watch and pray! Principalitiesandpowers Mustering their unseen array, Wait for your unguarded hours- Watch and pray! Watch, as if on that alone Hung theissue of the day! Pray, that help may be sent down- Watch and pray!"
Temptations frequently come in the form of very pleasing baits. Satan gilds the pill that he offers us. He very seldom presentsto any of us a bare hook, though that may be done with those who become habituated in sin. It is almost a bare hook when personscontinue in drunkenness after they have ruined their health and brought themselves to beggars' rags. Satan hardly has to temptthem at all, for they go willingly after their idols and dote upon them. But with God's own people, Satan generally takescare to bait his hook and cover it so that it is scarcely seen.
In this parable, the temptation to the olive tree is a throne, a crown, a kingdom, a sovereignty over the trees. The treesof the field said unto the olive tree, "Reign over us." Now there is always a sort of glitter about a kingdom. There are fewpersons who can resist the fascinations of a diadem. To reign over the trees might seem, even to the olive tree, to be a verystrong temptation-a brilliant offer indeed! Take heed, dear Friends, lest you be carried away by the deceitful-ness of thepleasures, the profits, the honors which Satan puts in your way. When we are likely to be gainers by any proposal, we oughtalways to look well at it before deciding. When a day is too bright, we fear that it will finish with a thunderstorm-and whena man's prospects in life seem altogether extraordinary and excessive in their brilliance-he ought to pause awhile and seewhere he is going. We have always been taught that when there is very large interest to be had, there is something rottenabout the security and very great risk to those who invest in it! And it is also so in all things. Whenever there comes toyou, all of a sudden, some very alluring offer, something very grand and very unusual, like this request, "Reign over us,"then doubly be on your guard, for it is after this fashion that Satan baits his hook and catches his fish! It is after thismanner that he goes forth to hunt for his prey and many have been entangled in the meshes of a golden net who seemed in otherways to have escaped the corruptions of the world.
Many, to obtain a higher wage, have left holy companionships and sacred opportunities for hearing the Word of God and growingin Grace. They have lost their Sabbaths, left a soul-feeding ministry and fallen among worldlings to their own sorrowful loss.Such persons are as foolish as the poor Indians who gave the Spaniards gold in exchange for paltry beads. Riches procuredby impoverishing the soul are always a curse! To increase your business so that you cannot attend week-night services is tobecome really poorer-to give up heavenly pleasure-and receive earthly cares in exchange, is a sorry sort of barter!
Let me call your attention to something rather singular about this parable. The trees represented in the parable were actingunwisely in desiring a king, for the trees which the Lord has planted need no king and He had not set a king over them. Hemakes them to be full of sap and waters them out of His treasure houses. And it is for the trees of the forest to sing beforethe Lord and to clap their hands in His name. Let the trees of the forest rejoice before Him that made them! But, accordingto this parable or fable, they conspired together to deliver themselves from the Theocracy-the government of God-and to comeunder the government of one of their own order. The trees desired a king and so fitly pictured that fond desire of the Israelitenation to have a king when God was their King and they had no need of any other king! They were constantly crying, "Make uslike the nations that are round about us, and set a king over us." But this desire for a king was a wrong desire altogether.
Yet notice that when the trees went to choose a king, they did it very wisely-their choice was an admirable one. They didnot say to the spreading cedar, "Reign over us," nor to the pine with its odoriferous shade, "Reign over us." But they saidto the fruitful olive, respectable in character and in every way a right royal tree, "Reign over us." And when they were disappointedof the first election, they went to another worthy tree, the fig, and said to it, "Come and reign over us." Then they wentto the vine-that fruitful tree-and said to it, "Come and reign over us." And they only went to the bramble when they werehard pushed and feared that none of the trees would accept the candidature for royalty. They made a good choice at first andI have noticed that even when men are themselves bad and foolish, they generally have sense enough left to pick out somebodybetter than themselves to be the instrument of their designs. How frequently have I seen an ungodly man act thus when lookingfor a wife! She must be a Christian-he has sense enough to see her sterling worth, her solid character, her meekness and hergentleness-so he wants her as his wife. Often have I known that a man in business, albeit he despised religion, has wantedto have his confidential servant not simply a professor, but really a possessor of the Grace of God!
This is one of the dangers to which Christian people are exposed. It is not because you are a bramble that you will be thefirst to be tempted to reign over the trees. They will not want the bramble just yet-they will come to that as the fourthin the list. But if you are the good olive tree, they will want you first. They will want you for a bad purpose because thereis something about you that will make their purpose look respectable-and so you will serve their purposes. They will not carefor the best part of you, that part for which your Lord cares most. That part they will openly despise and trample on oneday, but just now, that is the charm to them and they say to the olive tree, "Come and reign over us." Be on your guard! Someof our bankrupt companies would not have taken so many people in if they had not the names of certain men of repute as directors.Their power for evil dies there. We must have a king, contrary to God's will, so we
must try to get the olive tree to reign over us if we possibly can so as to make our new kingdom seem respectable. O Believers,be on the watch! Take heed unto yourselves lest you enter into unholy alliances, or put yourselves into positions out of whichyou may be unable to escape, but may have to mourn to your dying day that you ever entered into that evil confederacy! Youmust say, "Our Master bids us come out from the world and be separate from sinners. He bids Christians walk with Him and bechoice in their company, and not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for that would be dishonoring to God and ruinousto their souls!"
You see, therefore, that this parable of Jotham can afford instruction to us and I ask the Lord, while I further open it up,to give me the right words to all to whom it applies.
I. My first head is this-APPARENT PROMOTIONS ARE NOT TO BE SNATCHED AT HURRIEDLY.
"The trees once went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign over us. But"-thereis a pause there. It was all very well for them to say to the olive tree, "Reign over us. Come at once. Do not give it a secondthought. Come along. You never had such a fine opportunity as this. Here is a brilliant opening for you. Come and reign overus." "But the olive tree said to them, Should I cease giving my oil, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to bepromoted over the trees?" Notice how the olive tree speaks. It says, "Should I? You say, 'Come along,' but I answer, ShouldI? This is a matter that needs consideration. Ought it to be so? Would it be right? Is it wise? Is it prudent? Is it just?Is it God's will? Should I"
I speak to younger and old this word of caution. Be not in a hurry to make changes! Hasten not to run into evil thinking itto be good, but always look before you leap. Stop a while and ask, "Should I? Should I do this or that?" I meet constantlywith persons who are in terrible trouble and who I know came into that trouble and will probably remain in that trouble foryears-perhaps all their lives-because they once, unthinkingly, did an act which they ought not to have done if they had onlypaused, then, and asked, as the olive tree did, "Should I? Should I? Should I?" A few minutes spent in serious considerationand especially in prayerful waiting upon God would have kept their pathway smooth and themselves in peace. You have almostdone a certain deed, but I beseech you to pull up, now, and stop a minute, and say to yourself, "Should I do it?"
I will throw the emphasis on the letter I. The olive tree said, "Should I Should I I am not a bramble. The bramble may beking of the trees if he likes. It may be a question which the fig tree, or the cedar, or the vine, or the oak might entertain,but should I Should Icease giving my oil and go to be promoted over the trees? Should Ido this?" Now, there are a thousandthings which may be right in worldlings which are wrong in Christians. There is a very high law for all men and I will notdepreciate the true standard of common morality, but set it as high as it can be set! But over and above that there is a lawof consecration-there is a rule, not merely of morality, but of something more-of holiness. There is a law of disinterestednesswhich is binding upon a Christian, which imposes upon him a restraint that causes him often to say, "I might do this if Iwere other than I am. But, being what I am, I cannot do it." When Nehemiah was governor of Judah, he had a right to take hisdaily portion. It was the proper provision for the governor's support, and all the previous governors had taken it. But Nehemiahsaid, "So I did not because of the fear of God." It would have been quite right for Nehemiah to take it, but he would nottake it because there was something still better which led him to say, "God will be somewhat compromised if I do this. Thesepeople are poor, so I will not impose a tax upon them. I will not take that which is lawfully mine." "All things," said Paul,"are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient." And often, out of that blessed rule of loving expediency for the goodof others and the glory of God, we may be made to keep back from things which we would allow in others but cannot allow inourselves. I invite any dear Christian friend here who may be asked to take an important step-concerning which, if he wereto consult a friend, he would certainly say, "Oh yes, that is a fine thing for you! Do it," to put to himself the question,"Will it be, all round, the best thing that I can do for the glory of God? Should I Should I do this?"
Sir Edward Cole, Chief Justice of England in the time of James I, was a man of noble spirit and often incurred the displeasureof the king by his patriotism. On one occasion when an unworthy attempt was made to influence his conduct, he replied, "Whenthe case happens, I shall do that which shall be fit for a judge to do." Oh, that all Christians, in trying moments, wouldact as shall be fit for followers of Christ to do!
Sometimes the new course of life that may be proposed to us may seem very desirable. It was not a small thing for the olivetree to be asked to be king over the trees, to lord it over all the forests, to have loyal homage from oak, cedar and allthe fruitful trees. It did seem an exceedingly desirable thing, yet the olive tree said, "Should I cease giving my oil, andgo to be promoted over the trees?" So, dear Friend, be not deceived by the glitter of prosperity, nor moved away from thesteadfastness of your faith and your love to Christ by the appearance of something which looks to you exceedingly advantageous!First stop where you are and ask yourself, "Should I?" For there is this fact to be considered. If this olive tree had takenthe kingdom, it would have involved many cares and troubles. In the original, the word runs as though it might be translatedthus, "Should I leave my oil to go up and down among the trees?" You know that a king, when he takes a kingdom, has much workto do. He has to watch over his subjects and to visit different parts of his dominions. He cannot keep still and be quiet.So this olive tree says, "I have stood here for centuries, and many have enjoyed my oil, but if I become a king, I must goup and down among the trees." So, I ask you, whenever you have an opening in Providence to rise in the world-to consider theduties that will be involved in it rather than the profits that will come of it- because it is selfish to say, "Oh, yes! Iwould like the emoluments," but it is righteous to ask, "Am I equal to the duties? Can I perform them? Can I expect to beenabled to discharge them as a Christian should do in the sight of God?" For the very best work of every sort ought alwaysto come from us Christians. A Christian servant should be the best of all servants. A Christian artist should try to havethe clearest eye and the deftest hand. Whatever is done by those of us who are Christians, we ought to do as unto the Lordand I am sure that we ought not to do anything in a second-rate way "unto the Lord." Up to the utmost of our ability, we shoulddo our very best for Him. Well then, if there is an opening set before you, look not so much at the glitter of it, but, likethis olive tree, look at the work of it, look at the duty attached to it and ask, "Can I do it? Am I equal to it?" Do notoccupy the position unless you have a reasonable expectation of filling it well and performing its duties acceptably.
Then remember that every time a man moves, he gets fresh cares, fresh temptations, fresh troubles. I somewhat admire the principleof the coachmen I have seen in Switzerland when the flies settle on their horses and suck their blood. I have been very anxiousto knock the creatures off, but the men have said to me, "You had better not do so, for if you kill those flies, there willbe some fresh ones come that will be greedier and suck more." So, when you have a set of troubles, you had better let themstay, for if you get rid of them, you may get others that will be worse! My burden that I have to carry, I would be glad tobe rid of-yet I should not like to take yours, my Sister, nor yours, my Brother, because I do not know where your load mightchafe my shoulders. I know where mine galls me, when it galls at all, and I can carry my own burden better than anybody else'sburden. So I am content to keep it and I think you should be content to keep yours. By Divine Grace, you have been excellentas a servant, but how would you be as a mistress? Yes, you have been a very good employee-you have done your work very well-but,as a master you might be a complete failure. Look well at the thing, turn it around all ways. Many a man has done exceedinglywell in one sphere of life, but has not done so well in another sphere. Solomon truly says, "As a bird that wanders from hernest, so is a man that wanders from his place." There is a niche in which each statue stands and you see its proportions,for the niche was prepared for the statue, and the statue for the niche. But if you set it up higher, it loses its due proportions.It is seen from another point of view and its beauty is gone. Let us, therefore, whenever there is something new set beforeus as a great attraction, stop and ask, "Should I take it?"-adding this one to all our other reflections-that wherever wemay go, we shall have a change of trouble and care-but we shall still have trouble and care.
The most weighty consideration in connection with the question, "Should I?" is this-"Can I expect the Divine blessing on whatI am about to dol Dare I venture to lay this case before the Lord in all its details?" I know some of you who are quite willingto bring a case to your minister for his advice. And sometimes he sees, by the very look of your face, that your coming tohim is all a sham! You had made up your mind before you came and you only needed him to say, "Yes," to your, "Yes," so asto have some kind of sanction in doing something about which your conscience is not quite easy. Has it not been so? And sometimesin your family, when you have needed counsel, have you not stayed away from the one person who would have honestly told youthe truth? You have thought like Ahab, "There is one Prophet of the Lord in Israel, but he always speaks evil and not goodof me. Let all the prophets speak except Micah-I do not want to hear him. He does not ever seem to soften his message, buthe lets out the plain blunt truth, so I won't go to him." It is not wise, dear Christian Friends, if you talk as that wickedking did! If you are about to change your state of life, or your position in anyway whatever, let the change be such thatyou can look at it yourself from top to bottom, and can invite Christian friends to look at it most carefully and yet sayof it, "It is good." Let it be such that you can look at it on a dy-
ing bed, in the light of eternity, and say, "In this thing I really sought to glorify God." If not-it will be better by farto say, with the olive tree, "Should I? Should I?" and to come to the olive's decision, "I will do nothing of the kind. Anytree that likes may have the crown-it is not for me."
II. Now, secondly, ACTUAL ADVANTAGES ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH, for the olive says, "Should I
cease giving my oil and go to be promoted over the trees?"
The greatest advantage in life is to be useful to God and man. The olive says, "Should I cease giving my oil, wherewith byme they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?" It was the olive's glory that it yielded oil which was usedin various offerings to the honor of God and which was also used for the honor of men in the most sacred ceremonies at theanointing of kings and priests. And the highest glory of any man's life is that he is honorable to God and useful to men.The first considerations of a saved soul should be, "How can I best magnify Him who has saved me? How can I be most usefulto my fellow men in promoting the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ?" Anything, then, which robs us of that desire-the powerto honor God and to do good to men-anything which takes away in even the smallest degree our power to do this, is a dead loss!If the olive tree shall be made king over the trees, but lose its oil whereby it honors God and man, the olive tree is a loser.So if, by changing from a cottage to a palace, yes, and from a prison to a throne, the believer in Christ would lose any atomof his power to serve God and bless the sons of men, he would be a loser thereby! We must always hold this before us as atest when an offer comes to us-will it really be for the glory of God and the good ofmen?
Sometime I think, beloved Brothers and Sisters, it is our sense of having that oil of Divine Grace-by which we honor God andhelp men-which makes temptation powerless, for in the Hebrew, the text runs thus, "Have I then lost my oil that I should goto be promoted over the trees?" So may you say to yourself, "Have I then lost my joy in Christ, or lost my peace of mind,or lost the blessed privilege of glorifying God that I should go and look after this world's gain or this world's honors?If I had not Christ as my Savior-if I had not love to Him in my heart-if I had not the love of God shed abroad in my soul,this or that might, indeed, be a temptation to me. But as I have not lost those great blessings, you tempt me with a baitthat has no fascination for me, for I have something better-
"Go, you that boast of all your stores
And tell how bright they shine!
Your heaps of glittering dust are yours,
But my Redeemer's mine"-
"and while He is mine, I cannot leave Him-not even to be promoted over my fellow men, nor to roll in wealth, for He is infinitelysuperior to any bait or bribe which you can present to me!"-
"Begone, unworthy of my cares,
You specious baits of sense!
Inestimable worth appears,
The pearl of price immense!"
Let the joy of the Lord, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, be your protection against temptation. I feel persuaded thatwhen you have full assurance of faith and your heart is filled with joy in Christ, you are able to repel the fiery darts ofthe enemy, for if he comes and offers you gold, you can say to him, "I have diamonds and pearls that are worth far more thanall your gold." "I offer you honor," he says, but you reply, "I have the love of Christ, which is my greatest honor. Is itnot written, 'Unto you who believe He is an honor'? That honor which I derive from Him is greater than any honor which youcan give me." Thus you checkmate your great adversary! You can prove to him that in Christ you possess far more than he canpossibly offer to you-
"Jesus, to multitudes unknown,
Oh name Divinely sweet!
Jesus in You, in You alone,
Health, honor, pleasure, meet!
Should both the Indies at my call,
Their boasted stores resign,
With joy I would renounce them all,
For leave to call You mine.
Should earth's vain treasures all depart, Of this dear gift possessed, I'd clasp it to my joyful heart, And be forever blessed!"
Oh, that our hearts may be kept in this blessed condition! So shall temptation be powerless to overcome us.
To help you in this matter, let me remind you of two or three things on which you may reflect with profit.
First, Beloved, suppose it should be your prospect in life that from this day forward you should not be as useful as you noware but that you should be much better off? Suppose it were proposed to you that you should not glorify God as you have donein the past, but that you should be much more respectable? Suppose it were laid upon you as an obligation that from this timeforward you should not do half the good you have done in the past, but that you should receive a title of nobility and movein a higher circle of society than you have ever done? Would not these proposals startle you? If you are a true Christian,I know they would! You would say, with the olive tree, "Shall I cease giving my oil, wherewith by me they honor God and man,and go to be promoted over the trees?" You would instantly recoil from such a prospect when it was set before you and youwould say, "No, let me be as a servant of Christ wherever I can serve my Master best. And let me be kept where I can bringmost glory to His holy name."
If this prospect startles you, let me invite you to consider what the retrospect would be. Suppose that lying on a dying bed,you, as a child of God, should have to say, "I was very happy and very useful during the first part of my life, but I tooka step which apparently promised me comfort-and ever afterwards there was a blight upon my whole life. God never again favoredme by making me useful in His service. I did little or nothing for Him and now I have come to the end of my life like a witheredfruitless vine-branch." Do you not think that even with a faint hope of Heaven to sustain you, your dying pillow would bestuffed with thorns? I am sure it would be a far more joyous experience to lie there waiting to be translated and feeling,with Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up forme a crown of righteousness." Do not, therefore, O olive tree or Christian, be tempted to turn aside to gain a fading crown,but stay where you are and enjoy the joy which Divine Grace gives you, whereby you shall honor God and be a blessing to men!
I will also venture to say that, if a Christian were to leave the enjoyment of communion with Christ and usefulness amonghis fellows even for a day, to be through that day made into a king, it would be a day that he would ever afterwards wishto have crossed out of his diary. A day without Christ, who is my life? Without His love for a day? Without His smile fora day? Let the day perish wherein such a calamity could happen! What if the thrones of all the Caesars could be occupied forthat one day by a chaste heart that loves Jesus? It would be a wretched heart and it would say, "I had better be in a prisonand find my Lord there and live in His love, rather than be exalted here to sit upon a throne without Him." Now if it wouldbe so sad for a single day, what would it be if you could make such a choice as that for the whole of your life?
Ah, Beloved, and let me add that when any do choose worldly gain and worldly honor and let their usefulness suffer in consequence,it is almost certain to end in disappointment Not if they are hypocrites, for they will probably get what they seek after.They mostly prosper in this world and increase in riches when they give up their profession for it, but if you are a childof God and you get out of God's way, the hand of the Lord will be lifted up against you. As surely as you are God's children,you will be driven back to Him-He will fetch you home with a rod behind you. You shall not prosper if you err from His ways.Look at Lot. He pitches his tent toward Sodom because he sees that the well-watered plain of Jordan is just the place forhis flocks and herds. Then he lives in Sodom because it is so comfortable to live in a town and give up living in tents andwandering about as Abraham does. But did he make a good thing of it in the long run? Ah, let the flames that devoured hishouse and the brine that turned his wife into a pillar of salt, and the horrible sin that depraved both him and his daughterstell that it is an awful thing for a child of God to get away from God! But if he walks with God, it shall be well with him.The Philistines could not hurt Abraham, neither could famine come near his tents-but every evil thing came to Lot when hegave up the separated life and began to live like the rest of the world! Then, dear Christian Friends, when the greatest honoror gain is offered to you, say with the faithful olive tree, "Should I cease giving my oil, wherewith by me they honor Godand man, and go to be promoted over the trees?"-
"I would not change my blest estate
For all that earth calls good or great!
And while my faith can keep her hold, I envy not the sinner's gold."
Do not forget that it was only the bramble that accepted that proffered crown. He had nothing to lose, so he was glad to takeit. Now, if anybody goes to the races, frequents the theater and enjoys all the gaieties and frivolities of this world, Ido not find fault with him-why should I do so? Whenever I see hogs greedily devouring their slop, I say, Let them enjoy it-itsuits them, it is their sort of food." But if I saw a child of God doing what the ungodly do, I should feel just as if I sawone of you going to the swine trough and kneeling down there to find your food! Of course it was a fine thing for the brambleto be made into a king over the trees. He had always been hidden away, despised and hated, but now that he was made king,he could lord it over the rest of the trees. He could pierce them with his thorns and the flames could burn up his foes. Butthe bramble's position would not suit the olive tree, or the vine, or the fir tree! And, dear Christian Friend, can you becontent with that which satisfies the very meanest of men-those who are dead in trespasses and sins? I trust you cannot. Ratheraspire to follow in the footsteps of the saints who flung away this world that they might gain the next! Think of the martyrswho counted not their lives dear to them, that they might win Christ and be found in Him. Their persecutors offered them wealth.They offered them position and power! They offered them what was still dearer-that they should live in peace and enjoy thelove of wife and children-and as the alternative, they must stand at the stake and be burnt to death! They did not hesitateto choose the dread alternative, for they could die for Christ, but they could not deny Him! They could be burnt to death,but they could not violate their conscience! They could not leave their oil, wherewith they honored God and blessed man, foranything that their persecutors could offer them.
Remember, also, how your Master and Lord acted. All the kingdoms of this world lie at His feet and the arch-fiend says toHim, "All these things will I give You if you will fall down and worship me." And His reply is, "Get you hence, Satan." Hemay have life, liberty, power and an earthly kingdom if He will but speak before Pilate, or will but command the eager crowdsto make Him king, but He remains silent and He dies. He saved others, Himself He will not save because His heart is set uponour salvation. So, Beloved, often deny yourselves what you might have-what might lawfully be yours. Put away every alluringbait if in any wise you would injure your usefulness or mar your character by taking it. The Lord help you to do this by Hisgood Spirit!
III. My time has almost gone, so I can only give you the third division in outline. It is this-TEMPTATION SHOULD BE TURNEDTO ACCOUNT.
First, let us take deeper root. The mere proposal to leave our oil should make us hold the faster to it.
Next, let us be on the watch that we lose not our joy, which is our oil. If we would not leave it, neither can we bear thatit should leave us.
Then let us yield more oil and bear more fruit. He who gains largely is all the further removed from loss. The more we increasein Divine Grace, the less we are likely to leave it.
Lastly, let us feel the more content and speak the more lovingly of our gracious state, that none may dare to entice us. WhenSatan sees us happily established, he will have the less hope of overthrowing us.
I have been preaching some practical Truths of God which may not be quite as sweet to you as if I were preaching the preciousDoctrines of the Gospel, but these Truths are needed for the strengthening of the soul in times of trial. I pray the Lordto help you to be strong in Him and to stand fast in the faith. Do not go away from the Truths of God that make you spirituallyfat and flourishing. Do not turn aside from the Christ who makes you strong. Do not depart from the fellowship with Him thatmakes you holy and useful. Abound in prayer, abide in communion with Christ and let not the prospect of the most glitteringlife tempt you to turn away even an inch from your Lord and Master, but may His Divine Spirit keep you true to Him throughoutthe whole of your life-and to Him shall be the praise and glory forever and ever! Amen.