Sermon 466. The Loaded Wagon
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, AUGUST 24, 1862, BY REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves."
THE other Sunday morning we went into the corn fields to glean with Boaz and Ruth. And I trust that many of the timid andfaint-hearted were encouraged to partake of the handfuls which are let fall on purpose for them by the order of our generousLord. We go, today, to the gate of the harvest fieldwith another object-to see the wagon piled up aloft with many sheaves, come creaking forth-making ruts as the toiling horsesdrag it from the field. We come with gratitude to God, thanking Him for the harvest, blessing Him for so much of favorableweather and praying Himto continue the same till the last shock of corn shall be brought in and the farmers everywhere shall shout the "HarvestHome."
What a picture is a wagon loaded with corn for you and of me, as loaded with God's mercies! From our cradle up till now, everyday has added a sheaf. What more could He do for us than He has done? He has daily loaded us with benefits. Despite the sadaffliction in the North, we are nationally afavored people. Both in Providence and in gracious privilege, He has blessed us above all people that are upon the faceof the earth. While other countries have been crushed by tyrants, ravaged by war, or left in the thick darkness of superstition,we are free-we are blessedwith the light of Heaven-we have the Gospel in our streets, the Bible in our houses, and the Sunday as our choicest heritage.
O England! You are like a farm wagon creaking under the mercies of God! Brothers and Sisters, we are each of us like the cartthat is pressed down because it is full of sheaves. The innumerable mercies of God are piled upon us high as the mountains,nor can our memory recount the tokens of thetenderness and loving kindness of the Most High. Let us adore His goodness and yield Him our cheerful gratitude.
Alas-and how many times shall I repeat that pathetic interjection-alas! alas! Alas-that such a metaphor should be capableof another reading? That while God loads us with mercy, we should load Him with sin? While He continually heaps on sheaf aftersheaf of favor, we also addiniquity unto iniquity, till the weight of our sin becomes intolerable to the Most High, and He cries out by reason of theburden, saying, "I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves."
Our text begins with a "Behold!" and well it may. "Beholds" are put in the Bible as sometimes a hand is put in the marginof old books, to indicate to the reader something worthy of notice. Or, again, "Beholds" are put in the Scriptures as signsare put out in front of houses of business to attractattention. There is something new, something important, something deeply impressive and worthy of attention, wherever wesee a "Behold" in Sacred Scripture. I see this "Behold" standing as it were, like a maiden upon the steps of the house ofWisdom, crying, "Turn in here, O youthat are wise, and listen to the voice of God while He speaks to you."
Let us open our eyes that we may see. Let us fix both our eyes intently that we may "behold," and may God make a way throughour eyes and ears to our heart-so that deep repentance and self-abhorrence may take hold upon us- because of our evil conducttowards our gracious God.
Now, it is to be understood, dear Friends, before we proceed farther, that our text is but a figure, since God is not to beoppressed by man. All the sin that man can commit can never disturb the serenity of His perfections, nor cause so much asa wave upon the sea of His everlasting calm. He doesbut speak to us after the manner of man and bring down the sublimities and mysteries of Heaven to the feebleness and ignoranceof earth. He talks to us as a great father may talk to his little child, and He uses images which are rather adapted to humanfrailty than to Divineinfinity.
Just, then, as a cart has the axles bent and-to use an old Saxon word-as the wheels "screak" under the excessive load, sothe Lord says that under the load of human guilt He is pressed down, until He cries out, because He can bear no longer theiniquity of those that offend Him. Weshall now turn to the first point, this morning. O that the Holy Spirit may make it pointed to our consciences!
I. The first and most apparent truth in the text is, that SIN IS VERY GRIEVOUS AND BURDENSOME TO GOD.
Be astonished, O heavens and be amazed, O earth, that God should speak of being pressed and weighed down! I do not read anywhereso much as half a suggestion that the whole burden of creation is any weight to the Host High. "He takes up the isles as avery little thing." "He weighs the mountains inscales and the hills in balances." Neither sun, nor moon, nor stars, nor all the ponderous orbs which His Omnipotence hascreated, cost Him any labor whatever in their sustenance. The heathens might picture Atlas as stooping beneath the tremendousload of the world-but theeternal God, who bears up the pillars of the universe, "faints not, neither is He weary."
Nor do I find even the most distant approach to a suggestion, that Providence fatigues its Lord. He watches both by nightand day. His power goes forth every moment. It is He who brings forth Mazzaroth in his season and guides Arctu-rus with hissons. He bears up the foundations of the earth! AndHe holds the cornerstone thereof. He causes the day-spring to know its place, and sets a boundary to darkness and the shadowof death. All things are supported by the power of His hand, and there is nothing without Him. If He withdrew His might, backto annihilation must all thingsgo.
Just as in a moment, foam subsides into the wave that bears it, and is lost forever, so would the universe depart if the eternalGod did not daily sustain it. Nor has this incessant working diminished His strength, nor is there any failing or thoughtof failing. He does all things, and when theyare done they are as nothing in His sight. But strange, oh, passing strange, marvelous, miraculous among miracles, sin burdensGod, though the world cannot! And iniquity presses the Most High, though the whole tremendous load of Providence is as thesmall dust of the balance.
Ah, you careless men, sons of Adam, you think sin a trifle. And as for you, you sons of Belial, you count it sport and say,"He regards not. He sees not. How does God know? And if He knows, He cares not for our sins." Learn from the Book of God thatso far is this from being the truth, that yoursins are a grief to Him, a burden and a load to Him, till, like a cart that is pressed down with sheaves, so is He presseddown by human guilt.
I think this will be very clear if we meditate for a moment upon what sin is, and what sin does. Sin is the great de-spoilerof all God's works. It was sin that turned an archangel into an archfiend, and angels of light into spirits of evil. It wassin that looked on Eden and withered every leaf inits garden and blasted all its flowers. Before sin had come, the Creator said of the newly made earth, "It is very good."But when sin had entered, it grieved God at His very heart that He had made such a creature as man. Nothing can despoil thebeauty in which God delights so muchas sin, for sin mars His image and erases His superscription.
Moreover, sin makes God's creatures unhappy, and shall He not, therefore, abhor it? God never designed that any creature thatHe made should be miserable. He made the creatures on purpose that they should be glad. He gave the birds their songs, theflowers their perfume, the air its balm. He gaveto nature the smiling sun, and even to night its coronet of stars, for He intended that smiles should be His perpetual worship,and that joy should be the atmosphere which His creatures breathed. But sin has made God's favorite creature a wretch, broughtdown His most gloriousoffspring, made in His own image, to become naked and poor and miserable and lost.
Therefore God hates sin and is pressed down under it, because it makes the objects of His love unhappy at their heart. Allthe unhappiness that we have this morning comes directly or indirectly from sin. Iniquity is the mother of every human pang.Oh, how well may God hate it when He sees His owndearly beloved children made to wear furrows on their brow and tears in their eyes, because of this vile, this abominablething called sin.
Moreover, remember, Beloved, that sin attacks God in all His attributes. Sin attacks Him on His Throne and stabs at His existence.What is sin, Sinner? Is it not an insult to God's wisdom? God bids you do His will. When you do the contrary it is becauseyou do as much as say, "I know best what isgood for me." You do in effect declare that infinite wisdom is in error, and that you, the creature of a day, can judgebetter then your God what shall be the path of happiness for you. Sin impugns His goodness. By sin you actually declare thatGod has denied you that which wouldmake you happy, which is not the part of a good, tender, and loving Father.
A generous God denies nothing to His creatures but that which is harmful. But inasmuch as you think sin to be pleasant andprofitable, you cast a slur upon the benevolence and loving kindness of God. And when He is such a God, so full of tendernessthat His very name is "Love," this is no slightburden to His holy soul, to feel when He perceives you think you could do better for yourself than He is willing to do-andthat He has cruelly robbed you of pleasure and denied you that which would be for your good. Sin cuts at the Lord's wisdomwith one hand and at Hisgoodness with the other.
And see, sin also abuses the mercy of God. When you, as many of you have done, sin with the higher hand because of His long-sufferingtowards you-when, because you have no sickness, no losses, no crosses, therefore you spend your time in revelry and obstinaterebellion-what is this buttaking the mercy which was meant for your good and turning it into mischief? It is no small grief to the loving Father tosee His substance spent with harlots in riotous living. I tell you it is no slight thing to the Father of the prodigal tosee Him wish to fill his belly with thehusks the swine eat. This touches Him at the very quick. He cannot endure it, that His children should be thus degradedas to turn even the mercy which would woo them to repentance, into a ground why they should sin the more against Him.
Besides, let me remind the careless and impenitent this morning, that every sin is a defiance of Divine power. In effect itis lifting your puny fists against the majesty of Heaven and defying God to destroy you. Every time you sin, you know thatsin will lead to your soul's destruction. If, then,you beard the Omniscient One even to His face, and while under the hand that can crush you, you dare to revolt and to transgress,you do as much as dare and defy the Lord to prove whether He can maintain His Law or not. Is this a slight thing, that a worm,the creature of a day,should defy the God of Ages, the God that fills and upholds all things by the Word of His power?
Well may He be weary when He has to bear with such provocations and insults as these! Mention what attribute you will, andsin has blotted it. Speak of God in any relationship you choose, and sin has cast a slur upon Him. It is evil, only evil,and that continually. In every view of it, it must beoffensive to the Most High. Sinner, do you know that every act of disobedience to God's Law is virtually an act of hightreason? What do you do but seek to be God yourself, your own master, your own lord? Every time you swerve from His will,it is to put your will into its place. Itis to make yourself a God and to undeify the Most High.
And is this a little offense, to snatch from His brow the crown and from His hand the scepter? I tell you it is such an actthat Heaven itself could not stand unless it were resented. And if this crime were suffered to go unpunished, the wheels ofHeaven's commonwealth would be taken from theiraxles and the whole frame of nature would be unhinged. Such a treason against God shall certainly be punished.
And to crown all, sin is an onslaught upon God Himself, for every sinner is an atheist at heart. Let his religious professionbe what it may, he has said in his heart, "No God." He wishes that there were no Law and no Supreme Ruler. He desires thatGod might be forgotten. God is not in all histhoughts. Is this a trifle? To be a deicide? To slay God? To desire to put Him out of His own world? For the creature todeclare war against the God that made him and to wish that God might cease to be-is this a thing to be winked at? Can theMost High hear it and not bepressed down beneath its weight?
Ah, I pray you do not think that I would make a needless outcry against sin and disobedience. It is not in the power of humanimagination to exaggerate the evil of sin, nor will it ever be possible for mortal lips, though they should be touched likethose of Elijah, with a live coal from off thealtar, to thunder out the ten-thousandth part of the enormity of the least sin against God. Think, dear Friends! We areHis creatures and yet we will not do His will! We are fed by Him. The breath in our nostrils He gives to us, and yet we spendthat breath in murmuring and inrebellion.
Once more, we are always in the sight of our Omniscient God, and yet the Presence of God is not enough to compel us to obedience.Surely, if a man should insult the law in the very presence of the lawgiver-if the king were insulted to his face-that werenot to be tolerated. But this isyour case and mine. We must confess, "Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight." And we mustremember that we are doing all this and we know what we are doing. We are not sinning like the Hottentot. We are not pullingGod's Law to pieces like some blindNew Zealander.
We, in England, sin against extraordinary light and sevenfold knowledge. And is this a light thing? Can you expect that Godshall wink at us and pass by such offenses as these? Oh that these lips had language, that this heart could burn for once!If I could declare the horrible infamy of sin itwould make the blood chill in even a haughty Pharaoh's veins, and proud Nebuchadnezzar might bow his head in fear. It isa horrible thing, indeed, to have rebelled against the Most High. God have mercy upon His servants and forgive them.
This is our first point but I cannot teach it to you. Only God can teach it by His Spirit. O that the Holy Spirit may makeyou feel that sin is exceedingly sinful, because it is grievous and burdensome to God.
II. Secondly, SOME SINS ARE MORE ESPECIALLY GRIEVOUS TO GOD. The connection of our text will help you to see the force ofthis observation. There is no such thing as a little sin, but still, there are degrees of guilt, and it were folly to saythat a sinful thought has in it the same extent of evilas a sinful act. A filthy imagination is sinful- wholly sinful and greatly sinful-but still the act has attained a higherdegree of provocation.
Now, there are sins that especially provoke God. In the connection of the text we read that licentiousness does this. Thepeople seem, from the 7th verse, to have gone to a very high degree of fornication and lecherousness. This sin is not uncommonin our day. Let our midnight streets and ourdivorce courts be the witness. Perhaps the saddest proof that society is far from pure is found in the fact that seducersand fornicators, if they are but gentlemen, may enter respectable society. Brand the miscreants, I say. If the woman is shutout as a harlot, what shall be doneunto the lustful maker and cherisher of harlots? If Hell burns hotter at one time than another, it is for those who makewhat should have been a temple of the Holy Spirit into an instrument of rebellion against both man and God.
Oppression, too, according to the text, is another great sin. The Prophet speaks of selling the poor for a pair of shoes.And there are such who would grind the widow and the orphan to the last extreme and make their laborers toil for nothing.How many business men we have who never knew what"hearts of mercy" were? Men form themselves into societies, and then exact an outrageous usury upon loans from the unhappymen who fall into their hands. Cunning legal quibbles and crafty evasions of just debts often amount to heavy oppression andare sure to bring down the anger ofthe Most High.
Then again, it seems that idolatry and blasphemy are most certainly offensive to Him and have a high degree of hei-nousness.He says that they drank the wine of false gods, so if any man set up his belly as his god, or his gold, or his wealth, andlives to these, instead of living to the Most High,he has offended by idolatry.
Especially is blasphemy a God-provoking sin. For blasphemy there is no excuse. As George Herbert says, "Lust and wine pleada pleasure. There is gain to be pleaded for avarice, but the cheap swearer from his open sluice lets his soul run for nothing."There is nothing gained by it. There can be nopleasure in cursing-blasting one's limbs and damning one's soul-this must be offending for offending's sake, and thereforethis is a high and crying sin. God does pardon it, He is willing to pardon it now-but it nevertheless weighs upon His heartand He cannotsuffer it to go unpunished unless it be repented of.
Some sins make the Lord very weary of man. Now, I do not know who you are, many of you this morning, but I have no doubt thereare some among you to whom this word may be a personal accusation. Do I address the lecherous, or the oppressive, or the swearer?Do I address the profane? Ah, Soul, what amercy God has borne with you for so long. The time will come, however, when He will say, "Ah, I will ease Me of My adversaries,"and how easily will He cast you off and appoint you an awful destruction.
Again, while some sins are thus grievous to God for their peculiar heinousness, many men are especially obnoxious to God becauseof the length of their sin. That gray-headed man-how many times has he provoked the Most High? Why, those who are but ladshave cause to count their years, andapply their hearts unto wisdom because of the length of time they have lived in rebellion. But what shall I say of you thathave been half a century in open war against God-and some of you sixty, seventy-what if I said near upon eighty years? Ah,you have had eightyyears of mercies and eighty years of forgetfulness. Eighty years of bounty, and eighty years of ingratitude and insult!O God, well may You be wearied by the length and number of man's sins!
Furthermore, God takes special note and feels a special weariness of sin that is mixed with obstinacy. Oh, how obstinate somemen are! They will be damned. There is no helping them. They seem as if they would leap the Alps to reach perdition, and swimthrough seas of fire that they may destroytheir own souls. I might tell you cases of men that have been sore sick of fever, malaria, and cholera. They have recoveredfrom all-but have only recovered their health to return to their wallowing in the mire.
Some of them have had such troubles in business, thick and threefold. They were once in respectable circumstances, but theyspent their living riotously and they became poor. They still struggle on in sin. They are growing poorer still- most of theirclothes have gone to the pawn shop. Butthey will not turn from the gin shop and the haunt of vice. An- other child is dead! Ah, has that man yonder a dead childat home? And the wife is sick and nothing but starvation looks the family in the face!
But they have gone on still with a high hand and an outstretched arm. This is obstinacy, indeed. Sinner! God will let youhave your own way one of these days, and that way will be your everlasting ruin. But God is weary of all here who have thusset themselves to do mischief, and who againstwarnings, and invitations and entreaties, and light, and knowledge, have determined to go on in sin.
The context seems to tell us that ingratitude is intensely burdensome to God. He tells the people how He brought them up outof Egypt. How He cast out the Amorites. How He raised up their sons for Prophets and their young men for Nazarites. And yetthey rebelled against Him! Oh, dear Friends, thiswas one of the things that pricked my heart when I first came to God as a guilty sinner-not so much the peculiar heinousnessof my outward life, as the peculiar mercies that I had enjoyed. How many of us have been detestably ungrateful! What a lifehas our life been!
Oh, how generous God has been. Why there are some of us who never had a want. All our wants have been supplied. God has nevercast us into poverty, nor left us to infamy, nor given us up to evil example. He has kept us moral, and made us love His Houseeven when we did not love Him. And all this Hehas done year after year. What poor returns have we made! To you, His people, what joy He has given, what deliverances,what love, what comfort, what bliss-and yet after all this, to think that we should sin to His very face! Oh, well may Hebe as a cart that is pressed down,that is full of sheaves!
O my Hearers, I know I address some to whom this may come home very pointedly. What? When you were nearly drowned, were yousnatched from the jaws of death? What? Were you rescued from sickness? Were you blessed with that godly mother, and did thatcompanion plead with you? Have you a tenderconscience? Do you feel that you cannot sin as others do, for something checks you? All this is God's love. But if you willstill rebel against Him, despite all this, well may He arise in His wrath and shake Himself in His hot displeasure. He willnot always strive with man. Justiceshall soon have its day.
Let me observe, before I leave this point, that it seems from our text that the Lord is so pressed, that He even cries out.Just as the cart, when laden with the sheaves, groans under the weight, so the Lord cries out under the load of sin. Haveyou ever heard those accents? "Hear, O hearers andgive, O earth: for the Lord has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against Me." Hearagain-"Turn you, turn you from your evil ways. For why will you die, O house of Israel?" Better still, hear it from the lipsof Christ, softened down toour own ears-"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the Prophets and stone them which are sent unto you. How often wouldI have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings and you would not!"
Sinner, God is cut to the heart by your sin! Your Creator grieves over that which you laugh at. Your Creator cries out inHis Spirit concerning that which you think to be a trifle. "O do not this abominable thing which I hate!" For God's sake doit not! We often say "for God's sake," withoutknowing what we mean. But here, see what it means-for the sake of God-that you grieve not your Creator-that you cause notthe Eternal One, Himself, to cry out against you. Cease you, cease you, "from your evil ways. For why will you die, O houseof Israel?" I nowleave those two points to pass on very briefly to the next.
III. While it is true that sin is grievous to the Lord, it magnifies His mercy when we see that HE BEARS THE LOAD. As thecart is not said to break, but is only pressed, so is He pressed, and yet He bears. That hymn we sung just before the sermonhas more in it than hard hearts will feel-
"Lord and am I yet afire, Not in torments, not in Hell? Still does Your good Spirit strive- With the chief of sinners dwell? Tell it unto sinners, tell, I am, I am out of Hell."
If you and I were in God's place, should we have borne it? No, within a week we should have burned the universe with fire,or trod it to powder beneath our feet. If God were like modern lawgivers-and here I find no fault with them, for the law ofa commonwealth must be unyielding-but ifthe Law of Heaven were as swift to punish as the law of man, where would we be? I do not find you rising up to plead forthe man who murdered his children, and from some fancied injury shot his fellow man. We seem to say by a unanimous verdict,"The wretch is guilty, let him bepunished."
What a universal howl has been going up this week against an offender who once stood fair in the midst of us, but who turnedaside long ago unto iniquity. What man pleads for him? Who stands up and says, "Let William Roupell go unpunished"? Yet, hereis God, and here are we whose offenses are tentimes more heinous against God than any man's offenses can be against man-and yet He spares us. Remember, He has all thewhile full power to punish. He has but to wish and it is done-to lift His finger and we are crushed before Him.
How many servants wait around Him ready to do His bidding? As the Roman consul went out, attended by his lic-tors carryingthe axe, so God is ever attended by His executioners, who are ready to fulfill His sentence. A stone, a tile from the roofof the house, a thunderbolt, a puff of wind, a grainof dust, a broken blood vessel, and it is over-and you are dead and in the hands of an angry God. Indeed, the Lord has tohold in the followers of His wrath and restrain the servants of His anger, for the heavens cry, "Why should we cover thatwretch's head?" Earth asks, "Whyshould I yield a harvest to the sinner's plow?" The lightning and thunder say, "Let us smite the rebel," and the seas roarupon the sinner, desiring him as their prey.
There is no greater proof of the Omnipotence of God, than His long-suffering. It shows the greatest possible power for Godto be able to control Himself, to be able to keep in an anger which naturally must boil, and restrain a fury which else mustburn. Sinner, yet He bears with you. The angelshave been astonished at it-they thought He would strike. But yet He bears with you. Have you ever seen a patient man insulted?He has been met in the street by a villain who insults him before a mob of boys. He bears it. The fellow spits in his face.He bears it still. Now hestrikes him. He endures it quietly.
"Give him a charge," says one. "No," says he, "I forgive him all." The fellow knocks him down and rolls him in the ditch,but he bears it still. Yes, and when he rises all covered with mire, he says, "If there is anything that I can do to befriendyou, I will do it now." Just at that moment thewretch is arrested by a sheriffs officer for debt. The man who has been insulted takes out his purse and pays the debt andsays, "Now you may go free." Look! The wretch spits in his face after that!
Now you say "Let him feel what you can do. Let the law have its way with him." Is there any room for patience now? So wouldit have been with man. It has not been so with God. We have done much worse than this and He has acted much more nobly. Andstill, I say, He bears it all. Though like thecart, He is pressed under the load of sheaves, yet like the cart the axle does not break. He bears the load. He bears withimpenitent sinners still.
IV. And this brings me now to pass over to the fourth head, on which I would have your deepest attention. Many here present,I fear, have never repented of sin. You have never seen it in the light of grieving God, or else methinks you would not wishto grieve Him. But, perhaps some of you feel howevil a thing rebellion is, but you want to know how you can get rid of it.
This is our fourth head. Not only does God still bear with sin, but GOD, IN THE PERSON OF HIS SON, DID
BEAR AND TAKE AWAY SIN. These words might have deep meaning if uttered by the lips of Jesus, "I am pressed under you, as acart is pressed that is full of sheaves." Here stood the great problem. God must punish sin, and yet He would have mercy.How could it be? Lo! Jesus comes to be the Substitutefar all who trust Him. See how they pile on Him the sheaves of human sin! There are MY sheaves of sin-
"My soul looks back to see, The burden You did bear, When hanging on the cursed tree, And hopes her guilt was there." Here are your sheaves, my Hearer-the sheaves of all His chosen, the sins of all who shallbelieve in Him! "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Yes, the Scripture has it, "He is the propitiation forour sin and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." There they lie, heaps on heaps, till He is pressed downlike the wagon that groans as it moves along. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."See Him, He did "sweat as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground." "He that eats bread with Me has lifted upHis heel against Me."
They sold Him for thirty pieces of silver, a goodly price did they value Him. Nevertheless, He is taken from prison and fromjudgment, and who shall declare His generation? Herod mocks Him and makes nothing of Him. Pilate jeers Him. They have smittenthe Prince of Judah upon the cheek. "I gave Myback to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. I hid not My face from shame and spitting." They havetied Him to the pillar. They are beating Him with rods, not this time forty stripes save one-there is no "save one" with Him,for the chastisement of ourpeace was upon Him, and "with His stripes we are healed."
Look at Him, like a cart pressed down with sheaves He goes through the streets of Jerusalem. Well may you weep, you daughtersof Jerusalem, though He bids you dry your tears. They hoot Him as He walks along bowed beneath the load of His own Cross whichwas the emblem of your sin and mine. They havebrought Him to Golgotha. They throw Him on His back, they stretch out His hands and His feet. The accursed iron penetratesthe most tender parts of His body, where most of the nerves congregate. They lift up the Cross. O bleeding Savior! Your timeof woe is come! They dash it intothe socket with rough hands, the nails are tearing through His hands and feet.
He hangs in extremity, for God has forsaken Him. His enemies persecute and take Him, for there is none to deliver Him. Theymock His nakedness. They point at His agonies. They look and stare upon Him with ribald jests. They insult His griefs andmake puns upon His prayers. He is now, indeed, a wormand no man, crushed till you can scarcely think that there is Divinity within. The fever gets hold upon Him. His tongueis dried up like a potsherd and He cries, "I thirst!" Vinegar is all they yield Him.
The sun refuses to shine and the thick midnight darkness of that awful midday, is a fitting emblem of the tenfold midnightof his soul. Out of that thick horror He cries, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Then, indeed, was He pressed down!Oh, there was never sorrow like unto His sorrow.All human griefs found a reservoir in His heart, and all the punishment of human guilt spent itself upon His body and Hissoul. Oh, shall sin ever be a trifle to us? Shall I laugh at that which made Him groan? Shall I toy and dally with that whichstabbed Him to the heart?
Sinner, will you not give up your sins for the sake of Him who quivered for sin? "Oh," you say, "yes, if I could believe thatHe suffered for my sake." Will you trust your soul in His hands this morning? Do you do so? Then He died for you and tookyour guilt and carried all your sorrows, and youmay go free, for God is satisfied, and you are absolved. Christ was burdened that you might be lightened. He was pressedwith your sheaves, that you might find deliverance. I wish I could talk of my precious Master as He might speak of Himself.Or as John might speak, who saw Himand bore witness. He could tell in plaintive tones of the sorrows of the Man of Calvary. But such as I have, I give you.O that God would give you with it the power, the Divine Grace, the blessed compulsion to believe on Jesus, to believe on JesusNOW!
V. For if not, and here is our last point, God will bear the load for a little while. But if Christ has not borne it for youand for me, then THAT SAME LOAD WILL CRUSH US FOREVER AND EVER.
I find that my text is translated by many learned men in a different way from the version before us-"I will press you as acart that is full of sheaves presses your place." That is, just as a heavily loaded wagon pressed into the poor Eastern roads,and left there deep furrows-furrowsyou would hardly think of in a land where we understand road making so well. Just as deep ridges and ruts were cut intothe Eastern roads by the loaded wagons, so will I crush you, says God, with the load of your sin.
This is to be your doom, my Hearer, if you are out of Christ. Does it need me to enlarge upon this terror? I think not. Itonly needs that you should make a personal application of the threat! Divide yourselves now. Divide yourselves, I say! Doyou believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? Then the threatis not yours. But if you believe not, whether you are standing in yonder aisle, or up there in those far-off galleries,I do advise you listen to me now, as if you were the only person here-a Christless soul must be a damned soul-a spirit thatbelieves not in Christ iscondemned already, because it believes not.
How shall you escape if you neglect so great a salvation? Thus says the Lord unto you, "Consider your ways." By time, by eternity,by life, by death, by Heaven, by Hell, I plead with you-believe in Him who is able to save unto the uttermost them that comeunto Him. But if you believe not thatChrist is He, you shall die in your sins. After death the judgment! Oh, the judgment, the thundering trumpet, the multitudes,the crowds. The books, the Great White Throne, the, "Come, you blessed," the "Depart, you cursed"! After judgment-to a soulthat is out ofChrist-Hell!
Who among us, who among US shall abide with the devouring flame? Who among US, who among US shall dwell with the everlastingburnings? I pray that none of us may. But we must unless we fly to Christ. Oh, I beseech you, my dear Hearer, fly to Jesus!I may never see your face again. Your eyes maynever look into mine-but I shake my garments of your blood, if you believe not in Christ this morning. My tears entreatyou, my lips would woo you. There is mercy for you! God has had patience with you. Let His long-suffering lead you to repentance.He wills not the death ofany, but had rather that they should turn unto Him and live.
And this turning is simply this-trust Jesus with your soul, and He shall take your sin and you shall stand accepted in theBeloved. Will you? No, I know you will not-unless the Spirit of God shall constrain you. But at the least, if you will not,it shall not be for want of pleading andentreating. Come, it is mercy's welcome hour. I pray you, come! Jesus with pierced hands invites you, though you have rejectedHim. You have stood against Him long-He knocks again- His undefeated, unconquerable love defies your wickedness and will haveyou.
Sinner, will you have Him or not? "Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely." God help you to come,God make you come, for Christ's sake. Amen.