Sermon 399. A Peal of Bells
Delivered on Sunday Morning, July the 7th, 1861 by the
Rev. C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD."-Zechariah 14:20.
THERE ARE MANY days already past which we might well have wished to see. Who would not have rejoiced to have beheld the day when God smote Rabab and brokethe dragon in the deep waters, when Miriam took the timbrel and went forth with the daughters of Israel, saying, "Sing untothe Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea?" Who might not have wishedto have witnessed the glorious victories of the judges when theyput to rout the oppressors of Israel, or that day when David returned from the slaughter of Goliath, or that auspiciousmorn when Solomon's temple, glittering in unrivalled magnificence, was dedicated by a vast concourse of people with generoussacrifice to the worship of the true God? Many days there were in the chronicles of the Jewish Church which are never to beforgotten earth's red letter days when God made bare his arm and showed forth his might. Days there were, too, in Christ'shistorywhich it was a high privilege to see. The day of his birth-would that we had been among the shepherds on the plain whenthey heard the angels sing "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men, "or the day of his deathwhen he cried, "It is finished," and yielded up be ghost, or, better still, the day of his resurrection, when he routed allour foes by rising again for our justification, or the day of his ascension, when he led captivity captive and ascended uponhigh, or even that day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God fell on the disciples, and when they, preaching with othertongues as the Spirit gave them utterance multitudes being added to the Church of these who were ordained unto eternal life.Those days are gone, we look back upon them with faith, and as Abraham rejoiced in prospect, so would we do in retrospect.But there are days yet to come for whose advent we may well be eager. There is the day when Ephraim shall not envy Judah norJudah vex Ephraim, for all the Church of Christ shall be one in spirit. There is the day when the knowledge of the Lordshall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. There is the day, too, when Israel shall be restored to its own land, whenits country shall be called no more desolate, but Beulah, and no more forsaken, but Hepzibah shall its name be, for the Lorddelighteth in it. There is specially the day of the Second Advent, that day of days for which methinks all other days thatwentbefore were made, that day which shall be the summing up, the total of all ages, for the fullness of time shall come,and Christ in the fullness of his glory shall reign among the sons of men. I think I may with your permission add to the testof days which we might desire to see that which is spoken of in the text-"In that day shall there be upon the bells of thehorses, Holiness unto the Lord." What connection there may be between that day and others which I have mentioned it is notmypurpose this morning to explain. I would that this were to us personally the day when it should be fulfilled in us asindividuals, and may the Lord hasten the happy day when universally throughout the Church this text has be fulfilled, andupon the bells of the horses there shall be "Holiness unto the Lord!"
The text, as you perceive, deals with horses which were unclean under the Jewish law yet, in the day spoken of in the text,the horses themselves shall be purged from commonness or uncleanness, and their harness shall be dedicated to God as certainlyas the vestments of the High Priest himself. It will be a happy day indeed when the men who deal with horses, too often arace anything but honest and upbeat shall exhibit in their common transactions a consecration to God, sothat on the horses' furniture shall be written. Holiness to the Lord. The original Hebrew word translated "bells" is avery singular one, because nobody knows precisely what it means. The fact is, the Hebrews knew so little of horses from beinginterdicted from their use that they had not a very large vocabulary to describe the harness and other equipments of the horse.The word is translated by some critics, "bells," by others, "bits," by some, "frontlets," by others, "collars," by some, andby Calvin especially, "blinkers," and Calvin also hints that the word may mean "stables." The words must then mean-"Thefurniture of the horses shall be, Holiness to the Lord," and there is no doubt a comparison between the horses and the HighPriest: if it be the frontier-just as the High Priest upon his brow the Hebrew letters in gold "Holiness to the Lord," soon the frontlet of the horses shall be Holiness to the Lord, and as the High Priest wore bells about his garments, so thehorsesare decorated with their silver bells, there shall be on the bells, Holiness to the Lord, and if it signify any otherkind of vestment, even as on the very ornaments of the Priest, on his ephod and breastplate holiness was written, so in everyarticle that shall be by the horse shall holiness to God be most clearly manifest, yea, even the stables, unconsecrated asone could suppose they must always remain, shall be consecrated to God. The commonest buildings, set apart to meanest uses,beingfrequented by worshippers of the Lord, shall become temples of him dwelleth in humble and contrite hearts.
The simple meaning of the text is just this, that the day shall come when in common life holiness shall be the guiding star,when the ordinary actions of human existence shall be as much the worship of God as the sacrifice of the altar or the missionof the high priest when he went within the vail. Everything, that which was most despised-the horses, the places seemed theleast likely to be consecrated-the stables, and those things which seemed the least holy, even thehorses' harness,-all shall be so thoroughly used in obedience to God's will that everywhere there shall be, "Holinessunto Jehovah." Common things, then, in the day spoken of by Zechariah, are to be dedicated to God and used in his service.
I shall work out this great thought in a somewhat novel manner. First, let us hear the horses' bells; secondly, let us commend their music; and then, thirdly, let us go home and tune our bells, that they may be in harmony with this sacred chime-"Holiness unto the Lord!"
I. First of all, let us HEAR THESE HORSES BELLS, which, according to the text are to be tuned to the heavenly note of "Holinessunto the Lord."
First, let us mark the trappings of the steed as he goeth forth to war. "He champs his bit and is eager for the fray: his snortings are terrible, his neck is clothed with lightning, and he criethin the midst of the battle, "Aha! Aha! Aha!" War is to our minds the most difficult thing to sanctify to God. The genius ofthe Christian religion is altogether contrary to everything like strife of any kind, much more to the deadly clash of arms.Yet it may be possiblethat occasions may arise in which war itself might become hallowed; and certainly we must not deny that many of thosewho have to deal with war are at this day consecrated men, like Cornelius' devout soldier, and as truly servants of Christin the arm as though they were civilians. Now I say again, I am no apologist for war, from my soul I loathe it, and I do notunderstand the position of a Christian man as a warrior, but still I greatly rejoice that there are to be found at this presentdayin the ranks many of those who fear God and adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour. I may almost venture to say thatthe war against the tyrant, Charles I., was a consecrated fight. The people of God had been hunted like partridges upon themountains, in the reigns of Elizabeth, and James, and Charles. At last their lion-like spirits turned at bay, and their enemiesdriven back before their gallant fury; Cromwell, the Christian hero, mounted his charger, and bade his saintly warriors, withthesword in one hand and the Bible in the other, fight for England's liberty. I think in those valiant charges when theyshouted their battle-cry-"The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge"-there was, as if ever there was, uponthe frontlets of the horses, their collars, and their bits, "Holiness unto the Lord." May such a war never rise again, buthonor to the ashes of the consecrated brave! If I could believe that there were in America a sincere desire on the part oftheNortherners to set free every slave, I would say, "God speed their swords and bless their arms." If I could believe thatthe chain would be broken, and that it was their intent to do it,-if I did not fear that they will yet compromise and maketerms with the bloodhound's master, and let him still hold his blood-stained property in the souls and bodies of men, I wouldsay that that might be, if war ever could be, a consecrated war, and the bits of the horses would be "Holiness unto the Lord."But since that is a difficult point to speak of, since, as I have said before, the very genius and spirit of Christianitygo against war altogether, though I must believe there have been occasions in which the bells of war-horses have been Holinessunto the Lord, yet I would rather speak of individuals. If there ever lived a man who, disinterested in spirit, and withoutany desire of aggrandizement or selfish honor, held in his hand a consecrated sword, it is Garibaldi. I think of him, forhisspeeches make me believe it, not only as a hero, but as a Christian, as the scourge of Popery and the enemy of all despotism,it might be said that his war-garments are Holiness to the Lord. The like might we say of Hedley Vicars, whose history, sowell-written, you have all so often read and of Havelock, our own true Havelock, who for the deliverance of our own wivesand sisters, in silence rushed upon his prey, and delivered women and children out of the fierce jaws of the blood-lovingtiger.These men preached Christ wherever they went. I love not their trade, but I love them. I would wish them to put up theirswords into their scabbards, but when they did draw them, I am sure they did it in the full conviction that they were doingtheir duty, and though even that may not justify the error, yet it must prevent any of us from condemning them. I believethat they did it as in the sight of God, and what they did was to them Holiness unto the Lord Oh! may there never be war again!maypeace reign! but if there must be wars, may they all be just ones! if there must be fighting may it ever be for the freedomof the slave and the deliverance of the helpless! and in all this may Jehovah, even in the battle in the garments rolled inblood, and in the fire and vapor of smoke, still be acknowledged and across the field of fire may there be written, "Holinessto the Lord!"
We turn aside awhile, for other horses are coming, and their bells are ringing forth Holiness unto the Lord. Horses are usedin state. In splendor, kinds, princes, and judges of the land ride through the crowd. The text says, "Upon the bells of thehorses shall be, Holiness unto the Lord." Drawn by noble steeds, glittering with rich caparisons, an exalted personage passesthrough the thronging mass, it is a sovereign and oh! when the sovereign of a nation hath a heartwhich boweth before God, and hath a hope of an immortal and an imperishable crown, then regal state is sanctified andthe bells upon the horses are Holiness unto the Lord. When a Sir Matthew Hale rode in the judge's chariot to distribute justice,surely the state which attended the Lord Chief Justice of the land was holiness to God, and when a Sir Thomas Abney even onthe night of the Lord Mayor's banquet, retired awhile that he might have prayer with his family and his servants, surely thenthe too gaudy show of civic pomp was for that once Holiness unto the Lord. And, I think, when Wilberforce went to theHouse of Commons, however he might ride, the bit of his horse was Holiness to the Lord. Since we cannot dispense with theceremonial honor which surrounds governors, we must consecrate it, as long as kingdoms remain, it must be the prayer of Christiansthat the state may be a holy state, and that its officers and governors may be devout and upright men. Little do we know,mybrethren, what mischief would soon be done in the high places of the land, if we had back again upon the throne a Georgethe Fourth, if once again our eminent men were found indulging in the lowest pastimes of the very scum of this city, if againunblushing bribery defiled the judgment-seat; if a bloody Jeffreys could browbeat the saints of God once more-then we shouldconsider it a matter of importance to pray to God for kings and those in authority. Had we not, my brethren, better thinkita matter of importance now, and pray daily to God that he would cause the state to be more and more consecrated to him,so that the very bells upon the horses, as they walk in solemn pomp, may be Holiness unto the Lord?
But I hear the tinkling of other bells. The day is to come when, not only war and the states shall be consecrated to Christ,but even pleasure and recreation shall become Holiness to the Lord. When you are travelling in Alpine regions, you will beamused by the ringing of the little bells upon the horses. You are there for rest, to recruit the body, but let that restbe taken in the spirit of holiness. I fear that many leave their religion behind them when they go to thesea-side, or to continental countries. It ought not to be so, in our pleasures as well as in everything else, on the veryberms of the horses there should be, Holiness unto the Lord. A Christian man needs recreation as well as another man, thebow must be unstrung, for the soul always bent to work shall soon lose the energy to labor. There must be times for breathingthe fresh country air, and looking upon the meadows and the fields. I wish such days came oftener to the poor toiling populationof this huge labyrinth of bricks; would that you could oftener see the laughing face of the verdant earth, and the smokelessheavens! But mark this, let us as Christian men see to it that we carry the spirit of this text with us wherever we go; thatthe bells of the horses be, Holiness to the Lord, and our very recreations be done as sacredly and as much in the sight ofGod as our sacraments and our solemn feast days. Does recreation mean sin? Then, indeed, you have nothing to do with it. Doespleasure mean iniquity? Deny, deny yourselves. But there are pleasures which mean no such thing. As you traverse Alpineregions, let your thoughts stand on the mountain-tops and talk with God, or if you walk the fair lanes of England, let thecool retreat become an oratory for your soul. Why everything that your eye looks upon, from the king-cup in the meadow tothe cedar upon the mountain may make you praise God, and when it is so, then the bells upon the horses are Holiness to theLord. If inseeking rest you are really desiring to get strength that you may spend it in his service, if you take rest not for yourpleasure's sake, but that stringing your muscles once more and getting your soul into tune, you may with greater vigor servehim in days to come; then, again, the bells of the horses are Holiness to the Lord. And if you avail yourself of any opportunitieswhich your recreation throws in your way, to speak a kind word and a word for Christ to those whom you pass or with whomyou have chance communion in your travellings, then, again, the bells of the horses are Holiness to the Lord. It is greatlyto be regretted that the mass of our people who go to the sea-side, and especially who go to Paris, leave their godlinessbehind them. One of the Ministers of the Church at L'Oratoire told me, the manner in which English Christians spend theirSabbath days in Paris is a very serious impediment to the growth of religion in France. Men think that when they are abroadtheymay leave their habits which they practiced at home behind them. Full often have I known that at the sea-side, Christiansknowingly and wilfully keep the proprietors of the houses where they lodge from places of worship, to prepare their sumptuousrepasts on the Sabbath day, and so virtually prevent them from hearing the Word of God for six or nine months in the year.There may be some of you who are going out by-and-bye, I beg you in your recreation not to leave your religion behind you.Youwill put on your black coat and put on your tourist's suit, but take your Christian character with you I beseech you.Why should it be thought of you that your religion is a local thing, and that out of the way of society, which is a sort ofcheck upon you, you may be free to sin as others do.
Listen to the bells again. Horses are used for journeying. We must all journey sometimes, and when we do, the bells upon thehorses and the shrill scream of the steam-engine should still be-"Holiness unto the Lord." The missionary is crossing thesea; perhaps at this very hour while we are sitting quietly here, his boat is leaping the billows and springing from mountain-waveto mountain-wave. I believe that every motion of the paddles is holiness to the Lord, because theship is carrying forth God's appointed messenger to proclaim the gospel among the heathen. There are Christian men onboard who are not giving forth to preach, but to emigrate and settle down now if they intend in emigrating to establish aChurch of Christ where they are to live and to preach the gospel where they may be called to go, every motion of the vesselis Holiness unto the Lord. Perhaps she carries merchants who go abroad to trade and return again, but if they are about totrade asChristians, and then consecrate their substance unto God, that vessel, though when she leaves a black trail across thesky in her cloud of smoke, is as accepted as the smoke of sacrifice-is Holiness unto the Lord. Where there is a true heart,the horse that bears it is a consecrated one. Let our goings out be in the Lord's night. We are lights: if the light is moved,it should be to illuminate other places. We are salt: if the salt be scattered, it should be that the conserving influenceshould be felt the more widely. Do not go from home unless you feel that you can take your Master with you; and when youare from home, ever seek to be doing something for your Master, that when you are gone, you may leave a fragrance behind you.How much good might some do who are called to travel continually! There are some few in this Church, for instance, who travelas commercial gentlemen; I know one or two of them who scarcely ever go into a town without preaching the Word there, andIknow others of them who, in the commercial room where they meet with some who despise the religion of Christ, speak boldlyfor the truth as it is in Jesus, and are as useful in their daily journeyings as any Christian men could be who filled upa place in the Sabbath-school, or officiated as deacons in the Church at home. Let your journeyings, then, always be withthe ringing of these bells, "Holiness until the Lord!"
But horses of old were also used for merchandise, and when the pack-horses went in long strings, the fore-horses always hadbells that the others might be guided in the darkness. I think there is an allusion to that in the text, for such may havebeen the custom of the Eastern caravans, as indeed it was, and the text means, then, that merchandise and our common tradeshould be Holiness unto the Lord. O sirs! when you take down your shutters in the morning, let it be with aprayer that your business of the day may be as much a sacrifice to God as the business which I may have to transact asthe pastor of the Church, and when you stand behind the counter ask of God, that in your dealings, though they be common tothe eyes of men, there may be an inward spirituality which God shall discover, that thus there may be Holiness to the Lord.Sometimes when some of you have been stored up by a sermon, you have come to me and said, "Mr. Spurgeon, could I go to China?CouldI become a missionary? Could I become a minister?" In very many cases the brethren who offer are exceedingly unfit forany service of the kind, for they have very little gift of expression, very little natural genius, and no adaptation for sucha work, and I have constantly and frequently to say, "My dear brother, be consecrated to Christ in your daily calling; donot seek to take a spiritual office, but spiritualise your common office." Why, the cobbler can consecrate his lapstone whilemany aminister has desecrated his pulpit. The ploughman can put his hand to the plough in as holy a manner as ever did ministerto the sacramental bread. In dealing with your ribbons and your groceries, in handling your bricks and your jackplanes, youcan be as truly priests to God as were those who slew the bullocks and burned them with the holy fire in the days of yore.This old fact needs to be brought out again. We do not so much want great preachers as good upright traders, it is not somuchdeacons and elders we long for as it is to have men who are deacons for Christ in common life, and are really elders ofthe Church in their ordinary conversation. Sirs, Christ did not come into the world to take all fishermen from their netsthough he did take some, nor to call all publicans from the receipt of custom though he did call one, he did not come to makeevery Martha into a Mary though he did bless a Martha and a Mary too. He would have you be housewives still, be sisters ofmercy inyour own habitations. He would have you be traders, buyers, and sellers, workers and toilers still, for the end of Christianityis not to make preachers, but to make holy men, the preacher is but the tool; he may be sometimes but the scaffold of thehouse; but ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building; ye, in your common acts and your common deeds, are they who are to serve God. That wicked fiction of the Church of Rome, thather cathedrals are holy, has made usthink that our houses are not holy. Why, my friends, our houses are as holy, or ought to be, as ever church or chapel. Some seem to think thatthere is some peculiar sanctity about aisles and oak seats, stone pillars and gothic arches. Holiness cannot belong to stones,holiness has to do with nothing except the acts and thoughts of intelligent subjects, and if holiness can by metaphor belongto places or substances, it must be through the Christian holy minds that are in contact withthem. I will not have it that yonder parish church or that this place is one who more holy than that room where you liveif you there offer prayer and praise. Oh! brethren, you must not think that the table, and the font, and the baptistry areholy; no, no, if there be holiness in them so may there be in your own table, in your own labors, and in your own tools whichyou handle, at least, there will be as much in one as in the other if with a holy mind you serve God in both. Not confinedholiness-that is superstition; universal holiness-that is Christianity, not the bowls upon the altar holy-that is Judaism,but the bells upon the horses holy-that is true living godliness and vital Christianity. See to it, then, Christian friends,in your common daily doings, that the bells upon the horses are Holiness unto the Lord.
But horses were also used, as they still are, for toil, and toil though I have already anticipated the subject, toil is to be holiness to the Lord. The horse is turning over thefurrow with the plough, and if it be held by a godly husbandman, the bells upon that horse are Holiness unto the Lord. Andnow it is time when the hay should be cut down and carted, if with gratitude in his bosom, the husbandman takes home the fruitof the earth, the carting is Holiness tothe Lord. And when harvest-time comes round, and all the country is glad, every shout of harvest-time ought to be a holyshout, every smile that is on the brow of the tiller of the soil should be a holy smile; and when he has consecrated his wave-sheafunto his God, when he has given a part of his increase to the poor and needy, and when he has bowed his knee and thanked theUniversal Giver of all good, then the farmer's toil is Holiness to the Lord. I would, my dear brethren, that you wouldmake your common toils Holiness unto the Lord. Come to look upon your meals as though they were sacraments, your clothesas though they were priestly vestments; your common words as though you were preaching daily sermons; and your every-day thoughtsas though you were thinking for the Sabbath of holy things. It is not to be always talking religion, but to be talking religiouslythat makes the Christian; it is not to be performing outward symbols, it is to be possessing the inward spirit. I dobelieve that there is more piety in going to visit the poor and needy and scattering your substance among them; more pietyin teaching the poor ignorant ragged child, more piety in seeking to help some poor struggling tradesman, than there is inmany a long prayer, and many a sanctimonious whine, ay and in many a long and eloquent discourse. That common piety whichlike common sense is oftenest the uncommonest of all, is what we need to have, and if I could make one man among you becomethusconsecrated, I should think I had, under God, done as much as though I poured you out in scores upon the plain of Hindostan,or sent you to edify the Chinese, or to instruct the Ethiopian. We want you as missionaries here; we want you as missionaries in daily life, and we must have you too, or else the Church will not increase, nor will the nameof Christ be magnified. I have thus sought to make you listen to the ringing of these bells.
II. Now for the second point; let us COMMEND THE MUSIC of the bells upon the horses.
The religion of common life I must commend, first of all, for its loudness. These are many men who do not hear the Church bell, who will hear the bells upon the horses, by which I mean that preachas frequently as we may, some people will never believe us, but they cannot help believing what they see in your lives. Wemay extol Christ, and they will say, "It is his office and duty," but if your actions are what they should be, if your livesare saturated with thespirit of Jesus, they cannot help hearing them. They may put their fingers in their ears and not hear our sermons, but they must hear your sermons, for they can hear them through their eyes as well as through their ears, if you in your daily walk act as becomeththe gospel of Christ.
Then, again, I commend the music of these horses' bells, not only for loudness, but for clearness. Many people cannot understand our sermons. There are words we use that they do not try to comprehend, and some which thecarnal mind cannot receive but they can understand your sermons, if they cannot mine. If you have traded honourably, if you, instead of taking undue advantage, have only taken thatwhich is your due, if they have seen you refuse to tell a liethough you might have gained much by it, if they have known you to stand firm in your integrity, while others laughedat you as a fool and a madman, they can understand it. My sermons may be mistifying, but yours would not be. The church bell may sometimes have a cracked note, but the bells upon the horses will be so clear that theywill be compelled in their consciences to believe what you teach.
Again, I commend the music of these bells for its constancy. The church bell rings but once a week; I am preaching to you some three or four sermons in a week, but you if you consecrateyour common things, will be preaching all day long. You will keep the bells upon the horses ringing every time the horsesnod their heads. Every time they move there will be a fresh peal, and that is the advantage of putting the bells not on thesteeple, but on the horse, so thatthey must always ring. This place is shut up a great portion of the week, and only opened occasionally for worship, butyou ought to keep your preaching places open always. There, behind the counter, should be your pulpit, or in the Corn Exchange, or the Market, or in the family; you should be always preaching. Your life should be alwaysone continual sacrament, always one constant service of God. I commend this music, then, for its constancy as well as forits loudness and forits clearness.
Again, we must praise it for its universality. My church bell can only ring in one place, and the bells in the parish church only ring in the steeples where they hang; butthe bells upon the horses ring wherever the horses go; and so with your piety, it will ring wherever you go. You can preachin the lodging-house, you can preach in the backroom yonder, where poverty has found a haunt, you can preach wherever Godin his providence has cast you; at the Boardroomtable, in the midst of the Corporation, in the Senate, in the House of Commons, you can preach wherever God calls you.I say again, the bells upon the horses ring wherever the horses go, and so must your piety ring wherever you are. This universalpreaching in every court, and lane, and alley, is better far for effect than our preaching ever can be.
Once more, I commend the bells upon the horses for their harmony. You know our church bells ring different notes. You go into one, you hear Puseyism; you go into another, and you hear soundevangelical doctrine, you enter another and you hear all but infidelity. Church bells run through the octave of tone. Amongtrue Christians, our bells often ring a little differently. My Wesleyan brothers' bell does not ring quite the same as mine,nor mine exactly the same asthe Independents'; but, mark, the bells on the horses all are alike. One Christian man's life is like another Christianman's life. There is nothing contradictory in the practical sermon, if there be in the doctrinal. If the vocal testimony ofthe Church should be somewhat divided, yet the loving testimony of the Church is always one, if it be always holiness, holiness,holiness unto the Lord. See to it, then, that you ring these bells upon the horses for their lovely harmony, and the absenceof all discord.
And then once more. I commend the bells upon the horses, for they ring out a divine note. Our church bells do not always do that. Sometimes our sermons are a little to the honor and glory of the speaker, alittle to the honor and glory of a particular Church, but the bells on the horses ring out not the glory of man, but holinessto the Lord, to the Lord, to the Lord. And so if you consecrate your whole life, the testimony of that life may be to your credit,but still it will be far more to the honor and glory of God. There will be no fear that man shall take the honor of your pious consecration, of your holy watchfulness, of your humble integrity, of your industry, yourperseverance, and your constancy in the path of right. The bells upon your horses shall ring a diviner note than I fear willyet be rung from the bells of our pulpit. I have thus sought to commend the music.
III. And now I close, by asking you to go home and TUNE YOUR BELLS TO THIS NOTE.
You have many bells in your house, go home and tune first of all the chamber bell. It is an ill thing when a Christian husband is a worse husband than a wordly one; it is an evil thing when the husbandand wife do not live together as partakers of the grace of Christ. Perhaps you will say this is a very homely remark, butI think it is a very necessary one, for if a man cannot conduct himself well in his own family, what is he in the Church?I fear there have beenmany who have been mighty men in the Church who, if their private affairs had been a little examined, might have comeout a little scarred and marred in the ordeal. Should I have a Christian man here who is not acting according to the Christianmandate, should I have a Christian woman here who pulleth her house down with her own hands, through idleness and carelessness,let me speak to them. How can the husband think of edifying others at the prayer-meeting until first he is what he shouldbebefore his own house? The husband is to love his wife, even as Christ loved the Church, the wife must see that she reverenceher husband, the children must be obedient, and the household affairs must be ordered with discretion, or else your bellsare not Holiness unto the Lord.
Then when you have looked at that, look at the kitchen-bell; see that it sounds forth Holiness to the Lord. Let the servant, not with eye-service, as a man pleaser, serve her master,and let the master take care that he giveth unto his servant that which is just and equal. Oh! it is a blessed thing whenthere is piety in the kitchen, and when the whole household is a Church. Indeed, my brethren, I can speak the joy of one whohas servants that fear God, very oftenhave my eyes been filled with tears through the peace, and joy, and rest of spirit that I have had in my own householdsince God has given me those that fear his name. See to it, that the kitchen-bell does not ring a contrary note to your parlour-bell,for if the kitchen can say, "My master is pious abroad, but he is wicked at home; he can talk very well in the pulpit, andpray very nicely at the prayer-meeting, but he neglects us; he is harsh, over-bearing, and passionate, it will spoil all mysermons. If you say to the servants "Come and hear our minister," she will say, "I do not want to hear him, if he is nota better man than you are, he will not do much good to me." Mark then, if the bells of the horses are to be holy, certainlythe bells of the kitchen should be holy too.
Then some of you have got a shop bell, a little bell which rings as soon as ever any one comes in. Now take care that this is Holiness to the Lord. If peopleget cheated at other shops, do not let them get cheated at yours, or they still be sure to say, "Ah!" you hear Spurgeon; that is your religion, is it?" They shall be sure to throw the blame on your religion and not on you. If there be a place where they get short-weight, let it never be atyours; if there be a place where there is a want of integrity, or civility, or attention, let it not be yours, but seekso to act that you do not make your religion help your trade, yet you keep your trade always in subservience to your religion,and seek to glorify God in all that you do. Some of you have got a factory bell, that bell rings at certain hours, and I see your men come streaming down the street to work. Now make that bell Holinessto the Lord. When will the time come whenall these quarrellings shall be done with between master and man? When shall the day come when both of them shall seekto have perfect peace and harmony? For it is to their mutual interest, let them know. Oh! when shall it be that the workmanshall feel that he has all that which is just and equal? And on the other hand when shall the master feel that he has notto deal with men who when given an inch will take an ell, but who are content to deal as fairly with him as he would withthem. If Ihave any of your great cotton lords here, if I have any men who have many servants, let them take care that their religionturns their factory-bell, or else I would not give a farthing for all their religion, let them give what they may towardsthe maintenance of it. Then some of you have got visiting-bell, for I have seen it marked over, "visitors." And what are visits among the higher classes? It was my misfortune once to sit in the corner of a drawing-room, and listento theconversation during a visit. If it had been condensed into the sense or usefulness it contained, it might have been spokenin something like the thousandth part of a second. But there it went on, talk, talk, talk, about nothing at all and when itwas done they went away I have no doubt greatly refreshed. Now I think the visits of Christian people should never be of thatkind. If you go to see anybody, know what you are going for and have a message to go with, and go with some intention. IfGodhad meant you and me to waste our time in flying visits he would have made us butterflies and not men. He would have madeus so that we might sip the nectar from the flowers like bees instead of which he has made men whose time is precious andwhose hours cannot be weighed in the scale with diamonds. Let your visits be rather to the sick to give them comfort, to thepoor to give them help, to your friends to show yourself friendly, and to the godly to get godly refreshment, than to thefrivolous to waste an hour or to the fashionable to maintain a fancied dignity. Let everything, whether we eat or drink,or whatsoever we do be done to the glory of God. Physician, there is a bell at your door, let that be holiness to the Lord.Let those kind acts of yours to the distressed poor, let those divine acts of stooping down to the poor wayfarer in his suffering,consecrate your practice. Let your bell be Holiness to the Lord. Let each of you, whatever his calling may be, seek to findsome special way in which that calling may conduce to the glory of Christ. You are a little star in the Pleiades, do notwish to be the pole-star, if you were taken out of the Pleiades, the constellation would not be what it now is. Keep whereyou are, but shed your special rays upon the earth; and if you be but a little star, do not the little stars together shedmuch light, and earth were dark if they all were quenched? I have tried to preach a plain homely sermon, but, perhaps I havenot hitthe mark, perhaps I have not made you feel what I want you to feel. Why, I would have every dustman's bell Holiness untothe Lord. Whatever your business is, though you are a scavenger, though you sweep a crossing, though you black shoes-whateveryou have to do, let everything be done to the glory of God. And, if any say it cannot be done, do you show them the way, forthe best practical proof is the proof of fact. I may preach to-day, and preach twenty days about making the bells upon thehorses holiness to the Lord, but if you do not tune your own private conversation, the text will but excite laughter amongsome, and no practical profit will it be to any. Is there anything wrong at home? go and set it to rights. Is there anythingwrong in the shop or in the kitchen? If you have not done what you ought to have done as a Christian man, if you have notacted as you ought to have done in your trade, go and do better. Not that you are to be saved by works, I have been speakingtothose who are saved already. Being saved, show by your profession what you believe and would by your acts glorify your Master. Let me prayyou to think often of this text-"In that day shall there be on the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord."