Sermon 234. Corn in Egypt
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 16th, 1859, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons,Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold,I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die."-Genesis 42:1, 2.
GOD in his wisdom hath so made the outward world, that it is a strange and wonderful picture of the inner world. Nature hasan analogy with grace. The wonders that God does in the heart of man, each of them finds a parallel, a picture, a metaphor,an illustration, in the wonders which God performs in providence. It is the duty of the minister always to look for theseanalogies. Our Saviour did so. He is the model preacher: his preaching was made up of parables, picturesfrom the outer world, accommodated to teach great and mighty truths. And so is man's mind constituted that we can alwayssee a thing better through a picture than anyhow else. If you tell a man a simple truth, he does not see it nearly so wellas if you told it to him in an illustration. If I should attempt to describe the flight of a soul from sin to Christ, youwould not see it one half so readily as if I should picture John Bunyan's pilgrim running out of the city of destruction,with hisfingers in his ears, and hastening with all his might to the wicket gate. There is something tangible in a picture, asomething which our poor flesh and blood can lay hold of; and therefore the mind, grasping through the flesh and the blood,is able to understand the idea, and to appropriate it. Hence the necessity and usefulness of the minister always endeavonringto illustrate his sermon, and to make his discourse as much as possible like the parables of Jesus Christ.
Now, there are very few minds that can make parables. The fact is, I do not know of but one good allegory in the English language,and that is, the "Pilgrim's Progress in Parables, pictures, and analogies are not so easy as some think; most men can understandthem, but few can create them. Happy for us who are ministers of Christ, we have no great trouble about this matter; we havenot to make parables; they are made for us. I believe that Old Testament history has for oneof its designs the furnishing of the Christian minister with illustrations; so that a truth which I find in the New Testamentin its naked form taught me as a doctrine, I find in the Old Testament cast into a parable. And so would we use this mostexcellent ancient book, the Old Testament, as an illustration of the New, and as a means of explaining to our minds the truththat is taught to us in a more doctrinal form in the New Testament.
What, then, do we see in these two verses of the forty-second chapter of Genesis? We have here a picture of man's lost estate,he is in a sore soul-devouring famine. We discover here man's hope. His hope lies in that Joseph whom he knows not, who hasgone before him and provided all things necessary, that his wants may be supplied. And we have here practical advice, whichwas preeminently wise on the part of Jacob to his sons in his case, and which, being interpreted, isalso the wisest advice to you and to me. Seeing that there is mercy for sinners, and that Jesus our brother has gone beforeus to provide for us an all-sufficient redemption, "why sit we here and look one upon another?" There is mercy in the breastof God, there is salvation in Christ; "get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die."
Three things, then, this morning: first, a pitiful plight; secondly, good news; and thirdly, excellent advice.
I. First, A PITIFUL PLIGHT. These sons of Jacob were overtaken by a famine. We may talk of famines, friends, but none of usknow what they are. We have heard of a famine in Ireland, and some dreadful stories have been related to us that have harrowedour hearts and almost made our hair stand up on end; but even there the full fury of famine was not known. We have heard too,to our great grief, that there are still in this city, dark and hideous spots, where men and womenare absolutely perishing from hunger, who have sold from off their backs the last rags that covered them, and are nowunable to leave the house, and positively perishing of famine. Such cases we have seen in our daily journals, and our heartshave been sick to think that such things should now occur. But we cannot any of us guess what is the terror of an universalfamine, when all men are poor, because all men lack bread, when gold and silver are as valueless as the stones of the street,because mountains of silver and gold would scarce suffice to buy a single sheaf of wheat. Read the history of the famineof Samaria, and see the dreadful shifts to which women were driven, when they did even eat their own offspring. Famines arehells on earth. The famine which had overtaken Jacob was one which, if it had not at the moment of which this passage speaks,exactly arrived at that dreadful pitch, was sure to come to it; for the famine was to last for seven years; and if, throughthespendthrift character of Eastern nations, they had not saved in the seven years of plenty enough even for one year, whatwould become of them during the sixth or seventh year of famine? This was the state of Jacob's family. They were cast intoa waste, howling wilderness of famine with but one oasis, and that oasis they did not hear of till just at the time to whichour text refers, when they learned to their joy that there was corn in Egypt. Permit me now to illustrate the condition ofthesinner by the position of these sons of Jacob.
First, the sons of Jacob had a very great need of bread. There was a family of sixty-six of them. We are apt, when we read these names of the sons of Jacob, to thinkthey were all lads. Are you aware, that Benjamin, the youngest of them, was the father of ten children, at the time he wentinto Egypt, so that he was not so very small a lad at any rate, and all the rest had large families, so that there were sixty-sixto be provided for. Well, a famine is frightfulenough when there is one man who is starving-when there is one brought down to a skeleton through leanness and hunger:but when sixty-six mouths are craving for bread, that is indeed a horrible plight to be in. But what is this compared withthe sinner's needs! His necessities are such that only Infinity can supply them; he has a demand before which the demandsof sixty-six mouths are as nothing. He has before him the dreadful anticipation of a hell, from which there is no escape;he has uponhim the heavy hand of God, who has condemned him on account of his sins. What needs he? Why, all the manna that came downfrom heaven in the wilderness would not supply a sinner's necessities, and all the water that gushed from the rock in thedesert would not be sufficient to quench his thirst. Such is the need of the sinner, that all the handsfull of Egypt's sevenyears would be lost upon him. He needs great mercy; the greatest of mercy, nay, he needs an infinity of mercy, and unlessthis begiven him from above, he is worse than starved, for he dies the second death, and lives in eternal death, without thehope of annihilation or escape. The demands of a hungry man are great; but the demands of a hungry soul are greater still;until that soul gets the love and mercy of God manifested to it, it will always hunger and always thirst, though it had worldsgiven it for mouthfulls, its hungry stomach would be still unsatisfied, for nothing but the Trinity can fill the heart ofman;nothing but an assurance of the everlasting, immutable love of God, and an application of the most precious blood of Jesus,can ever stay the terrible hunger of the sinner's soul.
Mark, again: what these people wanted was an essential thing. They did not lack clothes, that were a want, but nothing like the lack of bread; for a man might exist with but scanty covering.They did not need luxuries,-these they might want, and our pity would not be so much excited; they did not need tents,-withoutthese they might be able to satisfy the cravings of nature: but they lacked bread-that without the fire of life would dwindle to a spark,which at last must die out in the darkness of death. "Bread! bread!" what a cry is that, when men gather together, andin the days of scarcity make that their war-cry. "Bread! bread!" what is a more dreadful sound than that? "Fire! fire!" maybe more alarming, but "Bread! bread!" is more piercing to the heart. The cry of "Fire!" rolls like thunder; but the cry of"Bread!" flashes like lightning, and withers one's soul. O that men should cry for bread,-the absolute necessary for the sustenanceof the body! But what is the sinner's want? Is it not exactly this?-he wants that without which the soul must perish.Oh! sinner, if it were health, if it were wealth, if it were comfort, which thou wert seeking, then thou mightest sit downcontent, and say, "I can do without these," but in this matter it is thy soul, thy never-dying soul, that is hungering, andit is its salvation, its rescue from the flames of hell, which now demands thy attention. Oh! what a need is that,-the needof thesoul's salvation! Talk we of bread and of skeleton bodies? These are frightful things to look upon; but when we speakof a lack of bread, and of dying perishing souls, there is something more frightful here. See, then, your case, ye who arewithout the grace of God; ye have great necessity,-necessity for essential things.
Yet again; the necessity of the sons of Jacob was a total one. They had no bread; there was none to be procured. So long as they had some of their own, they could stint themselves, anddiminish their rations, and so, by moderation, maintain themselves. But they looked into the future, and saw their childrendying with hunger, and not one crust with which to palliate their pangs. They saw their wives sickening before them, and theirbabes at their breasts, unable toobtain nourishment from those dry fountains. They saw themselves at length, solitary, miserable men, with their handson their loins, bundles of bones, crawling about the tents where their children lay dead, and themselves without strengthenough to bury them. They had a total lack of bread. They might have borne with scarceness: but a total lack of bread washorrible in the extreme. Such is the sinner's case. It is not that he has a little grace, and lacks more; but he has noneat all. Ofhimself he has no grace. It is not that he has a little goodness, and needs to be made better, but he has no goodnessat all, no merits, no righteousness-nothing to bring to God, nothing to offer for his acceptance; he is penniless, povertystricken;everything is gone whereon his soul might feed. He may gnaw the dry bones of his own good works; but if the Lord hath sentconviction into his heart, he will gnaw them in vain; he may try to break the bones of ceremonies, but he shall find thatinstead of marrow they contain gall and bitterness. He may hunger and hunger, because he has positively nothing with whichhe could stay his stomach. Such is your case, then. How abject is such a necessity as this: a total lack of an essential thingfor which you have an immense need.
But yet worse; with the exception of Egypt, the sons of Jacob were convinced that there was no food anywhere. I believe the reason why they looked one upon another was this. At first one looked at the other as much as to say, "Haven'tyou some to spare? Couldn't you give me some for my family?" Perhaps Dan appealed to Simeon, "Haven't you some? my child isstarving this day; cannot you help me?" Another might look at Judah; and perhaps they might fancy that Benjaminthe favourite would surely have some morsel stored up. So they looked one to another. But soon alas! the look of hopechanged into the look of despair. They were quite certain that the necessities of each house had been so great, that no onecould help the other. They had all come to poverty; and how can beggars help each other, when all are penniless? And thenthey began to look upon one another in despair. In speechless silence they resigned themselves to the woe which threatenedto overwhelmthem. Such is the sinner's condition, when first he begins to feel a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, he looksto others. He thinks, "Surely the minister can help me, the priest may assist me." "Give us of your oil, for our lamps aregone out." But after awhile he discovers that the state of all men is the same, that all are without grace, that "none cansave his brother, or give to God a ransom for him." And apart from Christ we, my dear friends, this morning might look oneonanother, aghast and in despair-might try the wide world over, and say "Where is salvation to be found!" Oh! if it layin the very center of the earth we could dig through the rocks and into the very bowels of the earth to find it. If it werein heaven, we would seek to scale it with some Babel-tower, that we might reach the boon. If we had to walk through fire togain it, we should gladly accept the burning pilgrimage. Or if we had to walk through the depths of the sea, we should becontentto let all its billows roll over us, if we might find it. But if every man had to say to his fellow "there is no hopefor us; we have all been condemned, we have all been guilty, we can do nothing to appease the Most High;" what a wretchedworld were ours, if we were equally convinced of sin, and equally convinced that there was no hope of mercy! This, then, wasthe condition of Jacob's sons temporally, and it is our condition by nature spiritually. We are in a land of famine; we havenothingof our own; we are hungering, we are dying of hunger, and our case seems totally hopeless, for on earth there is nothingto be found to satisfy the raving hunger of the soul.
II. Now we come, in the second place, to the GOOD NEWS. Jacob had faith, and the ears of faith are always quiet; faith canhear the tread of mercy, though the footfall be as light as that of the angel among the flowers. Though mercy should be athousand leagues away, and its journey should occupy ten thousand years, yet faith could hear its footsteps, for it is quickof ear and quick of eye. Nay, more, if God should give a promise which should never be fulfilled till theold rolling skies were dissolved, faith would look through all the generations, along the vista of the centuries, andsee the spirit of promise afar off, and rejoice therein. Jacob had the ears of faith. He had been at prayer, I doubt not,asking God to deliver his family in the time of famine; and by-and-bye he hears, first of his household, that there is cornin Egypt. Do you see the gathering? The venerable patriarch sits in the tent. his sons come to pay him their morning obeisance;thereis despair in their faces, they bring their little children with them. All that the patriarch has he gives; but this morninghe adds good news to his benediction, he says to them, "There is corn in Egypt." Can you conceive how their hearts leaped?He scarcely needs to add, "Get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live and not die." Jacob heard thegood news, and communicated it as speedily as possible to his descendants.
Now, we also have heard the good news. Good news has been sent to us in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. "There is cornin Egypt." We need not die. There is salvation with God. We need not perish-there is mercy in the Most High. We need not thinkthat we must necessarily be lost; there is a way of salvation; there is a hope of escape-do we not receive the tidings injoy? Do not our hearts rejoice within us at the thought that we are not hopelessly condemned, butthat the Lord may yet have mercy upon us? Now, we have better news than even Jacob had; although the news is similar,understanding it in a spiritual sense.
First, we are told to-day by sure and certain witnesses, that there is corn in Egypt, there is mercy in God. Jacob's messengermight have deceived him-idle tales are told everywhere, and in days of famine men are very apt to tell a falsehood, thinkingthat to be true which they wish were so. The hungry man is apt to hope that there may be corn somewhere; and then he thinks thereis; and then he says there is; and then, what begins with a wish comes to be a rumorand a report. But this day, my friends, it is no idle talk; no dream, no rumor of a deceiver. There is mercy with God,there is salvation with him, that he may be feared. The fountain is filled to the brim; the granaries are full of the goodold corn of the kingdom. There is no reason why we should perish. By sure infallible, and certain witness, we are told uponthe very oath of God himself; that there is salvation for the sons of men. But Jacob did not know how much corn there wasin Egypt.He said there was corn, but he did not know bow much. Now, today, we are something like Jacob. There is mercy with God;we do not know, any of us, how much. "Oh," says one sinner, "I am such a hungry soul, that all the granaries of Egypt wouldnot be enough for me." Ah, but, poor soul. God is all that you could want, even though you should want an infinite supply.The sixty-six in the family of Jacob would make a heavy draw upon the granaries of any nation; but yet, so abundant were thestorehouses in every city, that we do not read that Joseph missed all that he gave them. So it is with you. Your necessitiesare immense, but nothing equal to the supply. Your soul requires great mercy, but you will no more exhaust the mercy of Godthan the taking a cup full of water out of the sea would exhaust its fullness. High above the summits of your mountain-sinsthe stars of grace are shining.
There is another thing in which we have the start of Jacob. Jacob knew there was corn in Egypt, but did not know who had thekeeping of it. If he had known that, he would have said, "My sons, go down at once to Egypt, do not be at all afraid, yourbrother is lord of Egypt, and all the corn belongs to him." Nay, more I can readily imagine that he would have gone himself,forthwith. And Simeon and the rest though they might feel a little abashed, when they thought of theunkirdness that they had shown to their brother, when they began to feel a little hungry, if they had known all aboutJoseph, would have said, "We need not fear to go and submit ourselves to him, for we know he has a gracious and loving heartand would never let his poor brethren die of hunger." Sinner, the mercies of God are under no lock and key except those overwhich Christ has the power. The granaries of heaven's mercy have no steward to keep them save Christ. He is exalted on highto giverepentance and remission of sins. And the keys of grace are swinging at the girdle of your own brother; he who died foryou, he who loved you so much, that he loved you better than he did himself. He has the keys of grace, and will you fear togo? Will you tremble to go to these rich stores of mercy when they are in the hands of a loving, tender, and ever-graciousLord? No, this is good news, that all the grace is in the hands of Jesus.
There is yet another thing which the sons of Jacob knew nothing of. When they went to Egypt, they went on hap-hazard. If theyknew there was corn, they were not sure they would get it. But when you and I go to Christ, we are invited guests. Supposenow you should have it in your heart to invite some of the most ragged people of London to your house; you give to each ofthem an invitation, and they come to the door, perhaps they are half ashamed to come in, and want tosteal round the back way; but if they should meet you, they are not at all abashed, they say, "Sir, I was not afraid tocome, because you sent me an invitation. If it had not been for that, although I might have known your generosity, althoughI might have known you could afford to help me, I should not have dared to come if you had not sent me an invitation." NowJoseph sent no invitation to his brethren; but Jesus has sent an invitation to you. To each of you who are perishing sinnershe hassaid, "Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely." He has said himself, "Him that cometh untome I will in no wise cast out." He has sent his messengers and bidden them cry, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye tothe waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."Now, sinner, you need never be afraid to go where you are invited. Christ Jesus invites; he invites the hungry, he invitesthe weary.Such are you-both hungry and weary. He invites the heavy laden-such are you. Come and welcome, then. You need not go onhap-hazard, you have the invitation and the promise. Wherefore look ye then at one another? Arise and come to Christ; ariseand come to his cross. May he now prove in you his power to save!
But one other remark, and I will have done with this second point. The sons of Jacob were in one respect better off than youare apparently, for they had money with which to buy. Jacob was not a poor man in respect of wealth, although he had now becomeexceedingly poor from lack of bread. His sons had money to take with them. Glittering bars of gold they thought must surelyattract the notice of the ruler of Egypt. You have no money, nothing to bring to Christ, nothing tooffer him. You offered him something once, but he rejected all you offered him as being spurious coin, imitations, counterfeits,and good for nothing. And now utterly stripped, hopeless, penniless, you say you are afraid to go to Christ because you havenothing of your own. Let me assure you that you are never in so fit a condition to go to Christ as when you have nowhere elseto go to, and have nothing of your own. But you reply, "I should like at least to feel my need more." That would besomething of your own-you must go to Christ with nothing. "But I wish I could believe more." That would be something ofyour own. You want to get your own faith to bring to Christ. No, you must go to Christ just as you are. "But sir, I must reformmyself before I can believe that Christ will have mercy upon me." Your fancied reformation would unfit you for grace, ratherthan prepare you for it. Reformation before grace is frequently a step backward instead of forward. That reformation mayconfirm you in self-righteousness, but it cannot bring you to Christ. Go as you are. At a hospital, the best recommendationis sickness. He that is a little sick needs some help to get him there, but let me be run over in the street, and be nearto die, and I need nothing to recommend me to the hospital-open flies the door, and I am taken in directly. So a conditionof your lost and ruined state is the only recommendation you need in going to Christ. Just now a lot of people want to bestowtheir charity, and they do not know how to get at the lowest class of the poor; they want to lay hold of those whose bedsare made of straw; they desire to gain knowledge of those low lodging-places of the very poor, which are worse than the placesthat beasts inhabit. These are the men they want to find; and the greater the poverty the more recommendation. So in yourcase. Your woes plead with God. Your wants, your misery, your helplessness, your ill-deserts, these are the orators that movethe heart of God towards you, but nothing else. Come just as you are, with nothing in your hand, to Jesus Christ, whois Lord over the land of mercy, and will not send you empty away.
III. Thus I have noticed the good news as well as the pitiful plight. I come now to the third part, which is GOOD ADVICE.Jacob asks, "Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you downthither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die." This is very practical advice. I wish people would actthe same with religion as they do in temporal affairs. Jacob's sons did not say, "Well, that is very goodnews; I believe it," and then sit still and die. No, they went straightway to the place of which the good news told themcorn was to be had. So should it be in matters of religion. We should not be content merely to hear the tidings, but we shouldnever be satisfied until by divine grace we have availed ourselves of them' and have found mercy in Christ. Some ministersdo in fact tell poor awakened sinners to be inactive; they say to them something like this-"You must wait, you must wait tillChrist comes to you." They will even dissuade the woman who had an issue of blood, from pushing through the crowd to layhold upon the hem of the Redeemer's garment. They would bid the man who is crying aloud by the wayside to hold his tongue;to sit still quietly till Christ should turn and look upon him. They cannot endure that Christ Jesus should invite men to his feast, much less that the servants of the Lord should endeavor to compel them to come in. They excuse the sinnerand evendare to teach that the rejection of Christ by the sinner, is no sin at all. Now, as in the sight of God, I do fear suchmen are guilty of the blood of souls. I would not stand in the position of a man who talks like that for all the stars thricereckoned up in gold. I cannot understand that; I cannot understand that when my Master said, "Labour not for the meat whichperisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hathGod theFather sealed," that I am to tell a sinner to sit still. When the angel said, "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee;stay not in all the plain; but flee to the mountain, lest thou be consumed," am I to go to Sodom, and say to Lot, "Stop heretill the Lord brings you out?" Why, we know, of a surety, that salvation is the Lord's work, and the Lord's work alone; butwe equally know of a surety, that when the Lord works, he sets us to work. When he works in our soul, the Lord does not believe;he has nothing to believe, he makes us believe. When the Lord works repentance, he does not repent what has he to repentof? He makes us repent. The Lord brought Lot out of Sodom, but did not Lot use his own legs to run to the mountain? And soit must be with us. Christ does all, but he makes us the instruments. He tells us to stretch out our own withered hand, andyet we do not stretch forth that withered hand of ourselves. He tells us to do it, and we do it through his strength. Tella sinnerto sit still! What does hell desire more than that? Tell a sinner to wait; would not Satan approve of such a ministry?And does he not approve of it? Ah, my brethren, he that loves his Master, he that loves the gospel, he that loves men's soulscannot preach such untruthful and unchristian doctrine. He feels that the humanity within him is much more the grace withinhim, revolts against a thing so barbarous and so inhuman as that. No, when we preach to the sinner, we must say to him, "Thouknowest thy need, thou feelest that thou canst not be saved except through mercy in Christ. Look to him, believe on him,seek him, and thou shalt find him."
But I have heard it said, that if a sinner seeks Christ without Christ seeking him he will perish. Now what an absurd thingfor anybody to say. Because, did a sinner, or could a sinner ever seek Christ without Christ seeking him. I never like tosuppose an impossibility, and then draw an inference from it. "Suppose," said one, I know of-"a sinner should come to Christwithout Christ coming to him, he would be lost." Well, that is very clear, only it is supposing a thingthat cannot happen; and what is the good of that? Sometimes people have put to me this question-"Suppose a child of Godshould live in sin, and die in sin, would he be saved?" The thing is impossible. If you suppose yourself into a difficulty,you must suppose yourself out of it. It is like the old supposition, "Suppose the moon were cream cheese, what would becomeof us on a dark night?" So, suppose a sinner should come to Christ without Christ coming to him, what could be the result?It issupposing an impossibility, and then drawing an absurdity from it. Christ said, "No man can come unto me, except the Fatherwhich hath sent me draw him." If a sinner comes, he is drawn, or he would not have come. It is mine, therefore, to exhortthe sinner to come to Christ; it is the Holy Spirit's work to enforce the exhortation, and draw the sinner to Christ.
Lastly, let me put this question, "Why do ye look one upon another?" Why do ye sit still? Fly to Christ, and find mercy. Oh,says one, "I cannot get what I expect to have." But what do you expect? I believe some of our hearers expect to feel an electricshock, or something of that kind, before they are saved. The gospel says simply, "Believer." That they will not understand.They think there is to be something so mysterious about it. They can't make out what it is; butthey are going to wait for it and then believe. Well, you will wait till doomsday; for if you do not believe this simplegospel, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," God will not work signs and wonders to please your foolish desires. Your positionis this-you are a sinner, lost, ruined; you cannot help yourself. Scripture says, "Jesus Christ came into the world to savesinners." Your immediate business, your instantaneous duty is to cast yourself on that simple promise, and believe on theLordJesus Christ, that as he came into the world to save sinners, he has therefore come to save you. What you have to do with,is that simple command-"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt he saved." Now take the sons of Jacob as your example.No sooner had their father told them what they had to do than the first thing they did was, they went and fetched their emptysacks. Now do the same. "What is the good of them?" you say; "there is no corn in them." No I know there is not, stillyou must take your empty sacks and have them filled. Bring out your sins; bring out all the aggravation of your sins;cast them all at the feet of Christ, and make your confession. There is no salvation in confession, but still you cannot havesalvation without it. You must make a full and free confession of your sins. "What, to you, sir?" I am extremely obliged to you. I would not hear your sins on any account. No sum of money would be sufficient compensationfor the impurity that mustaccrue to any man who shall hear another's sins. I would not tell you mine; much less hear your's. No, make your confessionsto God. Go to your closet; shut to your door; then pull out your empty seeks-that is, make a full confession of your sins;tell the Lord that you are a wretch undone without his sovereign grace. When you have done that, you say, what next? Thencast away all hope you ever had or have, put away all trust in your good works and everything else; and what next? Castyourself simply on this great truth, that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and you shall rise from your knees a happierman. Or if tlmt is not the case, try it again, and again, and again, and it shall not fail you. Prayer and faith were neverlost. He who confessed his sins and sought the Saviour never roughs in vain. When I was first convinced of sin, yet a lad,I did go to God and I cried for mercy with all my might, but I did not find it. I do not think I knew what the gospel was.Forthree year's I persevered in that; and many a day, in every room of the house in which I lived, as each room became unoccupied,upon an occasion, have I spent hours in prayer, the tears rolling down my cheeks, and straining myself in an agony of desireto find Christ and find salvation. But it never came. It was not until I heard that simple doctrine, "Look unto me and beye saved." I then found that my prayers were a kind of righteousness of my own that I was relying on them, and consequentwas on the wrong road. Then did the Holy Spirit enable me to look to Christ hanging on the cross. I did not give up myprayers, but I did put the Lord Jesus, the object of my faith, far above all prayers, and then when I had looked to him hanging,dying, bleeding, my soul rejoiced, and I fell upon my knees no more to cry with agony, but to exclaim with delight, "Lord,I believe; help thou mine unbelief." But if in that day, instead of simply looking to Christ, I had said, "No, Lord, I willnotwash in Jordan and be clean. I will wait till Elijah comes out and strikes the leper with his hand; I will not look tothe brazen serpent. That is legal preaching, that is Arminian doctrine. I will wait till the serpent knocks right againstmy eyes," it would have never come. But having looked simply to Christ, I cast all my other trust away; and how my soul rejoicesin the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free. So shall it be with you. The gospel is this day freely preached toyou.Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down from heaven, was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; and wascrucified for sin. Turn now your eyes to yonder cross. Behold a God expiring. Behold the Infinite hanging on the tree in pangs.Those sufferings must save you; will you rely upon them? Without any other trust, shall the cross be the unbuttressed pillarof your hope? If so, you are saved. The moment you believe in Jesus, the Redeemer, you are saved, your sins areforgiven; God has accepted you as his child; you are in a state of grace; you are passed from death unto life. Not onlyare you not condemned but you never shall be. There is for you a crown, a harp, a mansion, in the realms of the glorified.Oh that God may help you now to go down into Egypt for heavenly corn, and may you return with your sacks full to the brim.
In conclusion, I make this last remark.-Did you notice the argument Jacob used why the sons should go to Egypt? It was this-"Thatwe may live, and not die." Sinner, this is my argument with thee this morning. My dear hearers, the gospel of Christ is amatter of life and death with you. It is not a matter of little importance, but of all importance. There is an alternative before you; you will either be eternally damned, or everlastingly saved. Despise Christ,and neglect his great salvation, and you will be lost, as sure as you live. Believe in Christ; put your trust alone inhim, and everlasting life is yours. What argument can be more potent than this to men that love themselves? Are you preparedfor everlasting burnings? Friend, art thou ready to make thy bed in hell, and to be lost? If so, reject Christ. But if thoudesirest to be blessed for ever, to be accepted of God in the tremendous day of judgment, and to be crowned by him in theday ofthe reward, I beseech thee, hear again the gospel, and obey it. "He that believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ and is baptized,shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." For this is the gospel; it is yet again preached to you, and thisis its solitary mandate-"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." O Lord, help us now to believe, if wehave not believed before, for Jesus' sake!
Just published, No. 7 of the New Park street Tracts, entitled, "SO MANY CALLS," being the Anecdote to referred to in No. 227of the "New Park Street Pulpit." Price Is 4d. per 100.