Sermon 876. The Unwearied Runner
Delivered on Thursday Evening, APRIL 15, 1869, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"They shall run and not be weary."- Isaiah 40:31.
Being the Annual Sermon of the Young Men's Association in Aid of the Baptist Missionary Society.
BEING asked to address myself upon this occasion principally to young people, it occurred to me that running was the youngman's pace, the motion of the strong man who in his earliest days rejoices in the race. It is not often that running is takenup by those who are compelled to lean upon a staff, for in the feebler and more mature years of age a quiet pace most accordswith the man's ability and best beseems his gravity. When the steeds which draw life's chariot first commence their journeythey fly before the wind in excess of rigor-but as they close their course they find it all that they can do to walk steadilyto the goal.
To the older Christian, incitements to zeal may be necessary, but to the young I need offer no exhortations to quicken theirpace. With overflowing strength and buoyant spirits, the danger is not that young men should not run, but that they shouldrun amiss, or that they should attempt to run in the right road in their own strength. My text speaks of running and commendsit. No, it promises as a blessing that those of whom it speaks shall run, but then it describes a character as well as givesa promise.
There is a chosen band who shall run and not be weary, but these are not those who run in their own strength, as if the Lordtook pleasure in the legs of a man or in the energies of unsanctified nature. The untiring runners are described as beingsuch as wait upon the Lord, and so renew their strength. Tonight you are full of energy, my Brothers, and you are resolvedto make your lives real and sublime. You have high ambitions within your spirits and far be it from me to repress them. Butlet me whisper in your ear a word of caution, for if those ambitions should be directed to a wrong object, your life willbe a miserable failure.
Or even if you should seek the right thing-yes, seek God Himself-if you go about to serve Him without asking the aid of HisHoly Spirit, sure and sorrowful decline will come upon you before long. You shall either become a miserable apostate fromthat which your heart is set upon, or else you will maintain a hollow name to live while you are dead in the sight of God.May God grant a blessing, this evening, and while we meditate upon the energetic spiritual life described as "running," maywe have Divine Grace to learn how to run in a right fashion.
I shall speak tonight, first of all, of the running. Then a word or two by way of commendation of running. Then thirdly, therunner's attire-he waits upon the Lord. And, lastly, the runner's staff-he has the promise that he shall not be weary.
I. First, then, THE RUNNING. There are different paces among the Lord's servants-Ahimaaz is swifter than Cushi and John outrunsPeter-but he who, by faith, has truly entered upon the road to Heaven, though his march is slow and limping, shall neverthelessultimately reach his journey's end. Scores of timid Believers creep towards Heaven as the snail crept into the ark and yet,being chosen of God in Christ Jesus, they are safe. However, my Brothers, there is no reason why you should imitate theseslowly-moving pilgrims.
If Mephibosheth is lame in both his feet, it is not desirable that you should imitate his limp. Respect for his infirmitymust not be made into an excuse for your own sluggishness. Many walk with sacred dignity and consistency in the path of right.Would God their number were multiplied a thousand fold! Walking will always be the general and usual pace of the great hostof God's elect-but there are a few chosen men whose hearts have been specially touched-who have learned to outstrip theirfellows in their advances towards God and in their zeal for His service. These are the mighties in
the hosts of the Son of David-the flower of the Church militant! They are, under God, the strength and hope of the good cause.
These are runners rather than walkers. Asahels light of foot as young roes, swifter than eagles, stronger than lions, filledwith the Holy Spirit and very zealous for the Lord of Hosts. I should say of this running, in the first place, if I must describeit, that running is the pace of energy. There are men in this world who never do anything with energy, who never under anycircumstances throw force into anything they have to do. They walk over the sands of life with a light foot and make no impression.While others, as they tread the pathway which God has allotted for them, take care to bring down their feet with such firmnessof purpose and fixedness of resolve that they leave behind them, "footprints on the sands of time," which shall be seen byothers after many days.
The puffball is the emblem of many a forceless life. See yonder man with a hammer in his hand-he touches the heads of thenails right daintily, as if he were afraid to hurt them! See another, how heartily he drives them in and gives them yet anotherblow to clench them and make all sure. Too many play at work, but the earnest man means work when he is working and throwshis heart into it. It is dreadful to see some men at their ordinary occupation-I cannot call it labor, one drop of their perspirationmust be a very costly thing-as rare as a pearl of the first water. But others throw their soul into whatever they have todo and not only strike while the iron is hot, but make the iron hot by striking. They do not wait for opportunities, but acceptthe present event as an opportunity. They work with both hands and make the anvil ring again with the music of their heartyblows.
Now, in the service of God we are bound to fulfill our work with the utmost degree of vigor. If the Lord's work is worth doing,it is worth doing well! And as the service of Christ is the highest in which any man can be engaged, the Master ought to beserved with body, soul and spirit. All that is within us should bless His holy name. We should keep our spiritual facultiesstrained up to the highest possible tension, that all the strength we have may be fully given to Him. Let us serve Christwith all the ability we have-how little it is compared with His work for us! Shall He be put off with our dregs and our dreaming?If we were to live always at the topmost bent of zeal. If we should put on high pressure and should work for Christ to thehighest point of spiritual energy yet exhibited by mortal man, yet should we give but a faint return for that agony and bloodysweat, that Cross and passion which have opened the kingdom of Heaven for us!
By running, then, I understand an energetic spiritual life, a life on fire. And I pray that many of us may have Grace in thissense to run the race which is set before us. The ideal I would form of the Christian man raised up to do his Master goodservice is that of Elijah when he girded up his loins and ran before the chariot of Ahab. Hale old man, see how nimbly heflies along that dusty road! See with what ardent enthusiasm he dashes forward to reach the shelter so soon to be needed,for his faith expects that speedily the heavens, which have gathered blackness, will pour down the needed rain. Be it yoursand mine to outstrip the energy of this world and so to run in our Master's ways as to prove that the servants of Christ canrender Him more loyal and devoted service than princes win from their favorites and flatterers. Like Gabriel, may we be madeto fly very swiftly. Like all the angels of God, may we be as flames of fire.
Running is a pace which indicates fullness of willingness. If your servant has an errand to do for you and he creeps alongthe road, it is probably because he is unwilling. But if he is thoroughly willing, he is usually forward and quick in allhis movements. When Abraham saw the three men, strangers, passing by his tent, he said to them, "Turn in, my Lord," and heran and fetched a calf and killed it-the Patriarch showing, by quickening his pace, how welcome they were. When Eleazer cameto the well, we find that Rebekah ran and hastened to draw water for him and for the camels- her readiness to do an act ofkindness was indicated by the pace which she used. When young Samuel thought that Eli called him by night, he arose and weread he ran to Eli and said, "Here am I, for you did call me."
Now, there ought, in the service of our God, always to be a holy promptness and alacrity. I dare say you have noticed in theGospel according to Mark, how Mark uses about our Lord so often the words, "straightway," and, "immediately." Mark's is theGospel descriptive of Christ as a Servant and it is one of the attributes of a good servant that he is prompt at once to dohis lord's bidding. Our blessed Savior straightway did whatever He had undertaken to do. We ought to be ready in the Master'sservice and to say at once, without hesitation, "Here am I, send me." Foul scorn is it that soldiers of the Cross should everrequire to be flogged to the battle as the Persian monarch's slaves in the days of the invasion of Greece.
Every man among us should be as David, who ran forward to the giant, eager for the fray, or as Elisha, who left the oxen andran after Elijah, or as Philip, who ran to meet the chariot of the Ethiopian. O to abide like a ship waiting for orders, withthe steam ready, sailors on board, anchor drawn up-only waiting for orders to put out to sea, directly, wherever the greatHigh Admiral of the seas may bid us steer! May the Holy Spirit enable us to wait with our eyes upwards to our great Masteras the eyes of handmaidens are to their mistress-and make us quick of understanding in the fear of the Lord, so that the momentwe receive the Divine message, our will and ability move spontaneously in cheerful effort. Gird up your loins, young men,you that have the love of God in you! Brace up your loins tonight and pray God to teach you to run-to run, first, with energyand next with sacred forwardness and eagerness-so run that you may obtain. So run that the great cloud of witnesses may applaud.So run that the King may say, "You did run
In the third place, to run is to be diligent. We should hardly call that running in which a man starts and stops and startsand stops again. In some Christian works we are painfully conscious that the persons undertaking them, if they ever run, runonly for a very short time. Indeed, they do not seem even to have got up to that pace for a time. Alas, for the poor Sundayschool teaching that is so wretchedly common. Much of the teaching is a very slovenly make-believe. If it were paid for, smallestcoin of the realm might represent its value.
And, oh, the preaching that we sometimes hear-droning, cold, lifeless, sleepy, wretched! The preacher does not seem to haveany idea that he should deliver himself with force, life and energy. How very common is the humdrum! It is deadly preaching,more fitted to send souls to sleep than to startle them out of their dreams. Would God we had not all of us to accuse ourselvesof this in a measure. We dally over our work. We do it superficially. We plow our acre, but it is mere scratching of the topsoil-wedo not plow deep. We cover a surface, but we do not perform the work well. If we had such slovenly servants in our housesas God has in His, we should discharge them all. It is infinite mercy, only, that has allowed some of us to remain servantsof the Lord at all.
We have need to turn to Him and say: "O Master, teach us to be more diligent. We beseech You, quicken us in Your ways. Helpus no longer to crawl and creep upon Your errands, but to quicken our pace and run, putting heart and soul into all that wedo. Lead us to persevere in Your fear, not running with, now and then, a spasm of zeal, but with a constant, sacred persistency-astern and solemn devotion to the work which You have entrusted to our care." You have need of patience. Patient continuancein well-doing is crowned. He that runs to the goal alone is rewarded.
Running, further, in the fourth place, indicates thorough-going hearty zeal. It must have been a noble spectacle to have seenAaron when the plague broke out among the people, rushing for his censer, putting on the holy fire and the sacred incenseand running in between the living and the dead, that the plague might be stopped. He could not have had the honor of beingthe priest to stand in the gap in the hour of sudden wrath if he had not learned how to run. I suppose he was, at that time,from 120 to 130 years of age-but how nimbly he bestirred himself! The thought of saving his plague-stricken countrymen putnew life into the venerable man.
O Sirs, if anything could make a man run, it should be the fact that men are dying-dying without Christ, dying in their sins-todie eternally and perish without hope! Beloved, it is a marvel that we are not more zealous than we are! We who believe indeath and judgment to come, and in Hell and in the casting away of the impenitent-how is it we can be so calculating, indifferent,pitiless? How is it we can walk so leisurely when humanity demands that we run? While time runs and never ceases and the sun,the great master and marker of our time, like a giant coming out of his chamber delights to run his race-how is it that withso much work before us for our Master, we dare to loiter as if we were gentlemen at ease?
Christ is dishonored by our heartlessness! The Gospel is derided through our indifference and souls are lost by our sloth!Sound an alarm in Zion! Blow the trumpet in Gibeah, that all the servants of the Lord bestir themselves, for the day of battleis come and the swift and the strong are summoned to the fray! These four notes may suffice to indicate what the running is.I look upon the runner in the road to Heaven as one who has received the inner spiritual life in its highest degree. Luthercalled it, I think, a second conversion. It is a great thing when a man is not only saved from the sins of the world, butis also saved from the ordinary slothfulness of common Christians-when, to use Apostolic words-he saves himself, by God'sGrace, from this untoward generation.
There is a salvation that God alone can work. There is another salvation which He bids us work when He says- "Save yourselvesfrom this generation"-when, by God's Holy Spirit, we strive to rise out of the lethargy and coldness in which the most ofChristians are plunged. There are some who have the Divine Spirit so resting upon them that they could not be negligent inthe Master's work as others are. For them the chill hand of charity must be exchanged for a far more fervid grasp. For themthe occasional feeble prayer must give way to long wrestlings with the angel-for they have learned that there is somethinghigher to live for than domestic comfort and personal aggrandizement. They have learned to live for Christ in the spirit ofthe Apostle, who counted not his life dear unto him.
And they labor to imitate the language and the spirit of him who said, "It is My meat and My drink to do the will of Him thatsent Me and to finish His work." Would God that the young men now present and the young men of all our Churches, were, byGod's Grace, made to be runners!
II. Secondly and very briefly, I shall COMMEND THE RUNNING. Running is most commendable, because it is a warming pace. Inthe depth of winter when a man runs, he seldom complains of the cold. The largest fire of Christmas logs that one can pileupon the hearth will not warm a man so thoroughly as the exertion of running. And the comforts of the Gospel and the Doctrinesof Grace do not put men in such a comfortable frame of mind as active exertions in the Master's cause. Give me two Christians,both truly converted to God, one of them a constant hearer of the Word and a delighter in the sweet things of the Gospel,but not a worker-and then show me another who hears the Word and loves it, but who besides that is a diligent worker for hisMaster and I will, without a moment's hesitation, tell you which is the happier man of the two!
The first man, the mere hearer, a consistently moral man and so on, but not a diligent servant of the Lord Jesus, will graduallydemand more and more from his minister of comfortable preaching, because he will grow more and more selfish, more and moredoubting, and more and more unhappy. But the man who, loving the Truth and feeding on it, nevertheless works for the conversionof others, is the man to whom the Lord ministers secret springs of consolation which make his heart glad. In watering others,his own soul is watered. If there are any Christians here who are troubled with doubts, and fears and despondencies and spiritualindigestion in general, let them ask themselves whether, if they instructed the ignorant, fed the poor and cheered the down-trod,they would not find in such a course the way to the most effectual remedy!
Let them resort to the Good Physician and among His Divine prescriptions will be this-"Quicken your spiritual pace. Throwmore energy into what you are doing in My cause and the comforts of the Holy Spirit shall abound towards you in a greatermeasure." Running is a warming pace.
In the next place, running is a pace that clears the ground. The more slowly a traveler goes, the more likely will he be tonotice the rough places on the way, but when he has quickened his pace, difficulties pass away rapidly. He has cleared thatrough piece of shrub on the common. He has leaped that ditch. He has passed that muddy lane. He has climbed that hill. Hehas descended that valley-while he has been running he has not had time to notice the road-he has been looking towards thefinish.
In our more leisurely spiritual life, when the lamp burns dimly and love is cold, we fret over a thousand little things andtrouble ourselves about difficulties which would not be difficulties at all if we had more Divine Grace. If we did but runwe should leap over troops of obstacles, but as we walk, or creep, or crawl, we discover hundreds of hardships, concerningwhich we pipe our mournful ditties and hang our harps of joy upon the willows. Pshaw! You have been alarmed, because a foollaughed at you? What must you be yourself? Do you think Anne Askew would have been thus alarmed when she could sit on thefloor of her dungeon for two hours together, after they had racked her and stretched every bone from its fellow, and arguewith the Popish priests like a heroine though ready to faint and die from pain?
You tell me a deacon has thrown cold water upon your efforts? Cold water! Does that discourage you? Are you in a fluster aboutthat? What would you have done if, like old Latimer, you had been called to take off your garments some cold morning in Smithfieldand to be warmed after an awful fashion-by standing on a stake to play the man and light up a candle for your God? The pitythat some people sigh for on account of their petty persecutions and troubles-it is a shame to ask and a waste to give. Cannotwe suffer for Christ? If we cannot, it must be because we are not runners and scarcely walkers-our spiritual strength mustbe low and our life unhealthy. O for more love and more faith and more spiritual vigor in our constitutions, and then we shallclear half our difficulties at a running leap and scarcely call them
other than light afflictions which are but for a moment and are not worthy to be compared with the Glory which shall be revealedin us!
Running, in the next place, is to be commended because it is a cheering pace. While a man advances hesitatingly and leisurelyto face a difficulty, doubts and fears have time to work. But when he comes forward at a run, he has not time to be dispirited.It was good policy on David's part to run when he fought with the giant. He threw his stone at Goliath and when the giantfell he ran to finish the monster at once. Why, the lad might have said, "The giant may only have been stunned a little. Hewill be up again. I had better keep out of the way of that huge arm. Dying bulls gore terribly." But David gave himself notime to conjure up such thoughts as those-he ran and stood on the giant and drew his sword and cut off his head.
Courage maintains itself by its running, as some birds rest on the wing. There is an energy about agility that will oftengive a man a fortitude which otherwise he might not have possessed. I can understand the gallant regiment at Balaclava ridinginto the valley of death, but I could scarcely imagine their marching slowly up to the guns, coolly calculating all the deadlyodds of the adventure! When the Lord gives His servants Divine Grace to follow out their convictions as soon as they feelthem, then they act courageously. First thoughts are best in the service of God. Second thoughts often come up timorouslyand limpingly and incite us to make provision for the flesh. There is nothing like a running pace, for by it courage may bemaintained in our Lord and Master's cause.
Running, moreover, is the winning pace. "So run that you may obtain." If we are ever to win the crown, it will certainly notbe by loitering, but by running with all our might. We are not saved by works-we are saved by the blood and righteousnessof Jesus Christ, alone-but yet, being saved, by a work within us we work out our own salvation into our outer lives. Men donot ride to Heaven in carriages. They are not carried there in ambulances. But they toil like pilgrims, and they do not cometo their journey's end through sluggishness, but through energy. The righteous scarcely are saved. If we would win a crownthat shall sparkle and shine with many jewels of precious souls whom we have brought to Christ, we shall not win such a crownby being negligent-but it will be by putting out all our God-given strength and living with all our might in our Master'sservice.
Running, again, is a fitting pace for a Believer. Jesus Christ deserves that we should run for Him. He has done so much forus that we ought to spend and be spent in His service. For men who have so short a time to live. For men to whom such solemninterests are entrusted. For men who are so indebted to their best Friend. For men who have so long a time before them inwhich to rest, even forever and ever. For men who expect so bright a reward, there ought to be no arguments needed to urgethem to run with diligence the race that is set before them! I am persuaded that those Christians to whom God has given Graceto live highly diligent, spiritual, useful lives, would, if their humility would permit them, tell you that they have foundthemselves far above other men in the point of happiness than they were before they fell in love with "life in earnest."
To live in God's fear at a low rate is sorrowful work, but to live for God a high and self-denying life-to live in the lightof His Countenance, to lean one's head on Christ's bosom, to live in singleness of consecration and with fervor of purposeand devotedness of heart-this is to live, as it were, like Milton's angel, in the very midst of the sun, never lacking forlife and heat and light-because dwelling near to God and existing alone for God, in the power of His might! Young men, I commendto you the pace, and I pray for you that you may gird up your loins and maintain this, your running from now on, until youreach your journey's end.
III. The third meditation concerns THE RUNNER'S ATTIRE. "They that wait upon the Lord shall run and not be weary." What isit to "wait upon the Lord"? This is the essence of the running, evidently. They shall not be weary, but all others shall.It is a very sorrowful thing that, under many ministries, which we cannot but admire in other aspects, hundreds are led tostart on a sort of running which very soon comes to an end. When I hear it said of such-and-such preachers that they havemany converts for a time, but that few of these can be found after a month or two, I am grieved that there should be so muchtruth in the statement, but I am not at all surprised.
You can go into your garden and see tens of thousands of buds upon the trees in the month of April and yet, in the autumnyou shall not find more than one apple for every thousand blossoms. This being the case, is the gardener disappointed? Doeshe not count the one apple a good percentage on the amount of flowers? Suppose there is but one apple-perhaps there had notbeen that one if there had not been the thousand blooms. No one expects every bloom to
become a fruit and we cannot expect everyone who is impressed under our ministry to become really a living child of God. Weare thankful for the bud because of the hope it gives-but we do not reckon every flower to become a lasting fruit.
Let us enquire who they are that last and do not grow weary! They are those that wait upon the Lord, and I take it that towait upon the Lord is, first, to yield yourselves, by God's grace, to be His servant. He is likely to hold on, who is entirelygiven up to the Lord's work, and waits on Him as servants wait on their mistress. Some men have never realized that a savedchild of God is, from the moment he is saved, a servant of God. They talk of being saved and then they serve self. They speakabout-
"I do believe, I will believe That Jesus died for me,"
and then they live in the world as if making money, or bringing up a family, or indulging in pleasure were to be the objectof a saved sinner's life! Why, my dear Friend, if Christ has saved you, you belong to Him-every hair of your head belongsto Him-and your business is from this day to feel, "Now, Lord, I give myself up to You and from this day forth every day andevery hour of the day, I desire to study Your interest, to do Your business, to promote Your honor and to bring Your Gospelfresh renown."
If you do this, by God's Grace, you shall run and not be weary. But if you join a Christian Church because you were a littleexcited and thought you were converted, and if you still live a selfish life, seeking your own comfort and not the Glory ofGod, you will grow weary of religion and very soon you will give it up and you will go back to the world from where you professedto have come. If you do not in heart and soul belong to the Redeemer, you will be like the mixed multitude who went into thewilderness with Israel-who sighed after Egypt because they had the taste of the leeks and the garlic and the onions in theirmouths. You must be a consecrated servant of God, or you will never keep up the running so as to win the crown.
To wait on the Lord means, in the next place, to go to Him for all your strength, to be entirely dependent upon the spiritualpower which comes from the Holy Spirit and not at all upon the power which you fancy dwells within yourselves. All the strengththat there is in any man by nature is perfect weakness as to spiritual things. I like the saying of a man who declared tohis minister that God had done His part in his salvation and he had done the rest. "Well," said his minister, "What part didyou do?" "Why," said the poor man, "God did it all and I stood in His way." That is about all that you and I shall ever doin our own strength! Human strength only opposes the work of Grace until the Divine strength comes in and sweeps our humanstrength away and finds in our perfect weakness a reservoir into which the strength of God may pour itself, to fill us withthe fullness of God.
Dear Friends, if there is anything you are persuaded you can do and do well without God, I would advise you to cease fromit, because it must be in vain. No blessing can rest on it. If any man here imagines that he can preach a Gospel sermon withoutthe help of the Holy Spirit, he had better not try. If there is any man here who thinks he can live a holy life without theconstant help of God's Spirit, he will make a very unholy life of it. Yes, and if you say, "Well, at least in one point Ican take care of myself-I would never be a drunkard. I could never lie-I cannot bear those two sins. I would never fall intothem under any circumstances."
Look out! Mischief is ahead! That very point which you think you may leave unprotected is that in which the enemy will breakin to your destruction. Where you are strong, you are weak and where you are weak, you are strong. They that wait upon theLord and draw all their power and Grace from Him shall never grow weary in their sacred running. Whatever strain your exertionsfor Christ may make upon your spiritual strength, if you go to God for more, you shall have your power renewed day by day.If you are called to high and lofty enterprises far beyond your strength-if you have faith enough to go onward in the nameof God, leaning upon His promise and believing that His mighty arm will not fail you-you shall rejoice in Divine all-sufficiency.And the more you lean on it, the more you shall feel it your pleasure and your wealth to be independent of all but God.
The more you dare for God, the more easy you will find it to dare something yet beyond. The more often you can, like Peter,tread upon the waves of the sea, trusting in the invisible God, the more easily shall you be able to perform the same exploityet again. O Christian man, never think you can trust God too much! Never think that faith can go too far! Shun self-confidence,dread the self-reliance which some cry up as a virtue, but which is to the spiritual life the vice most
to be dreaded of all. Our description of waiting upon the Lord is not complete unless we add to it the expectancy of hope.He that would renew his strength in his running must be looking for fresh supplies from the eternal fountains. You have thepromise of it-expect that you will have the fulfillment of the promise.
We often have not from God because we do not believe God. Some bank bills require the signature of the person for whom theyare drawn and they would not be payable at the bank, though regularly signed, unless countersigned by the person to whom theyare due. Now many of the Lord's promises are drawn in like fashion. Armed with such promises, you go to the bank of prayerand you ask to have them fulfilled-but your petitions are not granted because they need to be countersigned by the beliefof your faith in them. And when God has given you Divine Grace to believe His promise, then shall you see the fulfillmentof it with your eyes.
Alas, we are poor and miserable when we might be clothed in scarlet and fine linen! It is our unbelief that makes us poor.We are bowed down with infirmities and are lame and halt and I know not what besides and all because we have not confidencein God, though we know He cannot lie, and though we are sure He never did, nor can, fail the soul that puts its trust in Him.O for a higher spiritual life! Where must it begin but in a deeper confidence in God and in a fuller expectation of the fulfillmentof His promise? O young men, and to this I think I may call the fathers and the matrons, too, let us ask the Lord, who gaveus first the germ of faith, to increase our faith, that from this time forward we may wait at the posts of His doors expectingthat His mercy will enrich us. Let us abide patiently at the foot of Jacob's ladder, expecting that the angels will bringus down the blessings which our prayers have sought through Jesus Christ!
Thus, with the three things put together-singleness of eye in serving God, simplicity of dependence upon the Divine powerand constant expectation that the power will be given-we shall wait upon the Lord, and we shall run and not be weary.
IV. So I close with the last point, THE RUNNER'S STAFF. The runner's consolation lies in this promise, that he shall not beweary. Weariness in the way to Heaven is not at all an uncommon trial. Some of us can say that we are not weary of God's work,although we often grow weary in it. It were easy to complete the Christian life if it consisted in half-a-dozen acts of pietyand then all were over. But to stand and having done all. To stand to bear the wear and tear of daily temptation. To be roasted,as it were, before the slow fire of constant trials from inward sins and Satanic suggestions. Above all, to pass through thathorrible land called the Enchanted Ground and to feel the sleepiness that comes over you there. To keep awake in a sluggishbody and to continue persevering against flesh and blood for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years, perhaps-why this is a thing impossibleto flesh and blood!
It is only possible to God and only as God gives us Grace shall we be able to achieve it. To keep up the running pace throughlife is an impossibility of impossibilities except much Grace is given-and we have, virtually, the promise that it shall begiven when we are told that we shall not be weary! How is it that running Christians do not become weary? Answer, first, becausethey have daily strength given them for all their daily needs. They would be worn out if they had nothing more to rely uponthan the first portion they received. God does not allot us a stock of Grace to draw from, and when that is exhausted awardus another measure. But as "day by day the manna fell," so hour by hour fresh Grace streams into our souls!
We are lights, but we are not like the candle that burns supported by its own fat-we are like these gas-lamps-once cut thecommunication between the jet and the gas meter and at once the light is gone. We only live by fresh communications from theGreat Fountainhead of all spiritual life! And no runner can weary while fresh strength is given. He is not weary because ashe advances he finds fresh matter to interest him. I heard a gentleman, yesterday, say that he could walk any number of mileswhen the scenery was good. But, he added, "When it is flat and uninteresting, how one tires!" What scenery it is through whichthe Christian man walks-the towering mountains of predestination, the great sea of Providence, the mighty cliffs of Divinepromise, the green fields of Divine Grace, the river that makes glad the city of God-oh, what scenery surrounds the Christianand what fresh discoveries he makes at every step!
The Bible is always a new book. If you want a novel, read your Bible. It is always new. There is not a stale page in the Wordof God-it is just as fresh as though the ink were not yet dry but had flowed today from the pen of Inspiration. There havebeen poets whose sayings startled all England when first their verses were thrown broadcast over the land, but nobody readstheir writings now. Yet the pages that were written by David and by Paul are glowing with the radiant Glory which was uponthem when long ago the Holy Spirit spoke by them. As we advance in the King's highway of
righteousness, there are such fresh things in the Christian's experience and in Christian truth that we run and are not weary.
Above all, there is one fact that keeps the Christian from weariness, namely, that he looks to the end, to the recompenseof the reward. He longs for the resurrection and he hears the voice that cries, "Therefore, be you steadfast, immovable, alwaysabounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." When travelers sail near to certainspice islands, they can tell their nearness to the gardens of perfume by the odors wafted to them on the winds. Even so, asthe Christian runner advances nearer to Heaven, he enjoys new delights such as celestial spirits rejoice to experience. Inproportion as he draws nearer and nearer, the perfume from the many mansions, from the garments of Christ who dwells thereand whose garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia-that perfume, I say, comes to him and it quickens his pace. The bodymay be waxing feeble, but the soul is growing strong. The tabernacle may be falling, but the sacred priestly soul within carrieson its devotion with greater zest. So, when you would think that the pilgrim's soul must faint, he grows vigorous! When hesinks to the earth, he stretches out his hand and grasps his crown!
I wish I could speak tonight as I desired to do, but I scarcely find ability equal to my task. As God's Holy Spirit speaksby us according as He wills, I submit to deliver myself feebly, if He so permits. Let me conclude with these three or foursentences. If there is any Brother in Christ here who was once a runner, but has begun to slacken his pace, let him beware!It is a business which goes on much faster than we think. I question, my Brother, whether there is an easy stopping placein a downhill life. If you do a little less, you will do still less. If you backslide by little and by little, you shall backslideinto a terrible fall.
Keep the pace up, Brother, by the Grace of God, and on your knees tonight. If you have begun to grow cold and chilled, prayHim who washed you years ago in His precious blood, to take you afresh and baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire, thatfrom this time forward you may serve Him better than you ever did in the best part of your previous life. If there is anotherhere who never has served Christ at all, let me ask him, how will he answer the Master in the day when He comes? You havenever trusted in Christ? You have never reposed your confidence in Him? How will you face the King when He sits on His Throne,after having rejected Him here, when in loving tones He said, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest"?
You who love not Christ, O that you might be brought to trust Him, and to love Him. And you who love Him, may you love Himbetter and run and not be weary and walk and not faint-and God's shall be the Glory and yours the comfort. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-2 Corinthians 5