Sermon 929. The Model Home Mission and the Model Home Missionary
DELIVERED ON THURSDAY EVENING, APRIL 14, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,
"Who went about doing good." Acts 10:38.
In aid of the Funds of the Baptist British and Irish Home Missionary Society.
OUR Lord's public ministry on earth was a Home Mission. He Himself said to His disciples, "I am not sent save to the lostsheep of the house of Israel." He went to the very borders of the Holy Land. But there He stayed, and north and south, eastand west, in all directions, in towns and in villages, He itinerated preaching to His own countrymen. Afterwards there sprangout of His home work what may be called the foreign Mission, when they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preachingthe Gospel.
And thus the blessing of Israel became a blessing to all nations. It was always the Lord's intention that the Gospel shouldbe preached to every creature under Heaven, but, so far as His own work was concerned, He began at home. And herein we seeHis wisdom, for it will be of little avail to attempt much abroad unless there is a solid basis at home, in an earnest sanctifiedChurch, affording a fulcrum for our lever. We want to see England converted to Christ, and then shall she become the greatherald of Christ's Gospel to other lands.
As things now are, our soldiers and sailors are, too often, witnesses against the Gospel. And our travelers of all gradesin foreign countries too frequently give an impression very unfavorable to the Cross of Christ. We want to have this nationsaturated through and through with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. We want all its darkness chased away and the true light madeto shine-then Missionary operations will receive a wonderful impetus. God will make His Truth to be known in all nations whenHe has first caused His face to shine upon His chosen.
We shall now speak about Home Mission work under two heads. First, we have before us a Model Home Mission. And secondly amodel Home Missionary. When we have talked about these two things, we shall press a third point, namely, the duty of imitatingthe works of the great Master.
I. First, then, we have before us A MODEL HOME MISSION. We see sketched in the text the great Home Mission which was conductedby the Lord Jesus Christ, "who went about doing good." I am sure we shall learn much if we consider the way in which He conductedthat enterprise.
In commencing His work He selected as His great instrument the preaching of the Gospel. The Lord had anointed Him to preachthe Gospel. He performed thousands of gracious actions. He officiated in many ways for the good of His fellow men, and forthe glory of God. But His Throne on earth, if I might so speak, was the pulpit. It was when He began to declare the Gospelof the kingdom that His true glory was seen. "Never man spoke like this Man."
Brethren, He would have His followers depend upon the same agency. The scattering of religious books and the institution ofschools and other godly efforts are not to be neglected. But first and foremost it pleases God by the foolishness ofpreachingto save them that believe. The cardinal duty of the Christian Church is thus laid down, "Go you into all the world, and preachthe Gospel to every creature."
Notwithstanding all that may be said about the advance of the times, and the non-adaptation of the pulpit to this presentage, we shall be very foolish if we imagine that we have found a better instrumentality than that which Jesus selected andwhich His Father so highly blessed. Let us stand to our preaching like soldiers to their guns. The pulpit is the Thermopylaeof Christendom where our foes shall receive a check. The field of Waterloo on which they shall sustain a defeat. Let us preach,and preach evermore. Let us continue sounding, even if it is but the rams' horns, for by-and-by the
walls of Jericho shall fall flat to the ground. Preach, preach, preach! The Master's life clearly tells us that if we wouldsave souls and glorify God we must constantly proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom.
In connection with His own personal preaching, we find the Master forming a seminary for the training of ministers. Thosewho have, at any time, thought properly conducted collegiate institutions to be unscriptural can hardly understand the actionof our Lord in retaining under His own eyes a band of scholars, who afterwards became teachers. After He had called Peterand John, and some few others, He at first admitted them, as it were, into His evening classes. For they pursued their ordinarybusiness, and came to Him at fitting seasons for instruction.
But after awhile they separated themselves from all the pursuits of business, and were continual with their great Teacher.They learned how to preach as they marked how He preached. He even taught them to pray, as John also taught his disciples.Many dark subjects which He did not explain to the people, we are told He opened up to the disciples. He took them aside andgave them the mysteries of the kingdom, while to the rest of the people the Truth was only spoken in parables.
Now, this has been too much forgotten in the Church, and needs to be brought to our remembrance. Among the Vaudois and theWaldenses, every pastor of the Church was always intensely earnest to find out others who would become pastors-therefore eachone had a young Brother under his care. In the journeys of the shepherds of the Vaudois Church, as they passed from crag tocrag, each one of the venerable men was usually accompanied by some strong young mountaineer, who, in return for the physicalhelp which he gave to the venerable father, received instruction from him in the doctrines of the Gospel, in Church government,and in other things which appertained to the ministry.
In this way the Israel of the Alps was enabled to perpetuate its testimony, and the office of the preacher of the Gospel neverfell into disuse. When in the days of the blessed Reformation, Calvin and Luther exerted an influence over Europe, it wasnot only through their own preaching, mighty as that was-nor through their writings-though these were scattered broadcastlike the leaves of autumn. It was also through the innumerable young men who swarmed at Wurtenburg and came together at Genevato listen to the great Reformers' teaching and then afterwards went forth themselves into other lands to tell abroad whatthey had learned.
Our Master sets before us the fact that no fitter instrument for spreading the Gospel can be devised than a man raised upby God to speak the Gospel who is able to attract to his feet others who shall catch his spirit, profit by his example, receivehis doctrines, and go forth to preach the same Word.
It would be correct to add that the Master also connected with His preaching and His college the invaluable agency of Bibleclasses. Indeed, I believe that the whole machinery of a zealous Christian Church can be found in embryo in the doings ofChrist. And if His blessed life of holy labor were more thoroughly studied, new organizations for enlightening the world andfor building up the Church would soon be thought of, and the best results would follow. Our Lord talked to His disciples-occasionallyone by one, sometimes when He found them in pairs. And at other seasons He addressed the Apostles as a whole, " expoundingunto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
The Apostles were evidently well acquainted with the Scriptures, and yet I do not suppose that all the population of Palestinewere so well trained. They must, therefore, have learned of Jesus. Peter's first sermon shows his acquaintance with the OldTestament, and the speech of Stephen manifests remarkable familiarity with Scripture history. Such knowledge was not, I think,general, but was the result of constant communion with a Teacher whose references to the Inspired Volume were so constant.His readings of the holy Book, His interpretations, His quotations, His illustrations all tended to make His disciples menwell instructed in the Law and the Prophets.
And the inmost meaning of the Word was laid bare to them in the Person of their Lord Himself. If any Home Mission would seeits work established, so as to endure the test of years, next to the ordinance of preaching, its ministry must be carefulto exercise diligence in training up the converts in the knowledge of the written Word. The Bible must be read intelligentlyand its meaning clearly set forth. The memory must become familiar with its very words, and the heart with its inner spirit.We must seek gracious men and women who will labor in this needful ministry.
No minister can afford to neglect the constant Scriptural tuition of his people, and if he is negligent of it, do not be surprisedif grievous wolves enter into the Church and devour the flock. That our young men and women may not be carried about withevery wind of doctrine, but may be steadfast, unmovable-is our bounden duty to instruct them in the Divine Word with laboriouscare and constancy. Notice, moreover, that our Lord's Mission work did not overlook the
children. Our noble system of Sunday school work is not only justified, but even enforced by the example and precept of ourLord when he said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven."
And also by His saying to Peter, "Feed My lambs." The injunctions which bid us look after our adult converts who come underthe denomination of "sheep," are no more valid than the command which bids us took after the young, and the tender, who areintended by the term "lambs." True Mission work, therefore, if any of you will undertake it, must carefully regard children.Moses would not leave even the little ones in Egypt. Even the youthful Israelites ate of the paschal lamb. Our work is sadlyfaulty if it has no bearing upon the young men and maidens, the boys and the girls.
I am afraid that much of our public preaching is blameworthy in this respect. I feel, myself, that I do not say as much inmy general sermons as I ought to do to the children of my congregation. I do insert stories and parables here and there, butif I shall ever reach my own ideal of preaching, I shall far more frequently let fall handfuls on purpose for the young. Sermonsshould be like a Mosaic, and the sparkling pieces which catch the infant eyes should abound. Our discourses should be as Isaiahsays, "wine and milk"-wine for men and milk for babes. Out of our pulpits we must be the friends of the children, for thenwe trust they will grow up to be friends to us and to our Master. Our model Mission bends its strength to the cultivationof juvenile piety, and makes this department of effort second to none.
We now proceed a step farther. Of late there has been frequently used by earnest Evangelists in the more populous parts ofLondon the plan of free teas, free breakfasts, and free dinners-at which the poorest persons are brought together and fed,and are then affectionately exhorted to seek salvation. It is remarkable that this method has been so long disused, becauseit is, with a small difference, a plan adopted by our Lord. On two occasions at least, He spread a free repast for thousandsof the famishing, disdaining not to provide food for the bodies of those whose souls He had blessed with the Word of Life.
On those two occasions the generous Master of the feast gave His crowd of guests a good substantial meal of bread and fish.I have often wondered why those two viands were in each case selected, perhaps it was that both land and sea should be declaredto be the storehouse of Providence. He gave not bread alone. His fare was not stingy. He would not merely stay their hunger,but He would afford them a relish to their bread, and therefore He gave them bread and fish. Agreeable, sufficient, healthfuland satisfying refreshment the Lord dispensed at His table in the wilderness.
Though many, no doubt, followed Him because they did eat of those loaves and fishes, yet I do not doubt that some who werefirst attracted by the earthly food remained to eat of the Bread of Heaven, and embraced those precious Truths which at firstwere foolishness unto them. Yes, my Friends, if we want to get at our starving people, if we would reach the most degradedand the poorest of the poor, we must use such means as these, for Jesus did.
A Mission would also find great strength in imitating Jesus by combining medical aid with religious teaching. Our Lord wasa medical Missionary-He not only preached the Gospel, but He opened the eyes of the blind, cured those who were afflictedwith fevers, made the lame to leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb to sing. You may say that all this was miracle. Igrant it, but the mode of performing the cure is not the point in hand. I am speaking of the thing itself. True enough isit that we cannot work miracles, but we may do what is within human reach in the way of healing, and so we may follow ourLord, not with equal footsteps, but in the same track.
I rejoice to see in Edinburgh and in Glasgow, and also in London, the establishment of Medical Missions. I believe that insome parts of London nothing would be so likely to do good to the people as to make the vestry a dispensary, and the godlysurgeon a deacon of the Church, if not an Evangelist. It may one day be thought possible to have deaconesses whose self-denyingnursing of the sick poor shall introduce the Gospel into the meanest hovels. At any rate, there should be associated withthe City Missionary, with the Bible-woman, and with Home Missions everywhere, to as great a degree as may be possible, theearnest aid of beloved physicians and men learned in the healing art, who should seek to do good to men's eyes, and ears,and legs, and feet, while others of us look to their spiritual infirmities.
Many a young man who goes forth as a minister of Christ would do much more good if he understood a little anatomy and medicine.He might be a double blessing to a remote hamlet or to a district crowded with the poor. I pray for a closer connection betweenthe surgeon and the Savior. I would invoke the aid of truly believing members of the faculty. May there be many who, likeLuke, are both physicians and Evangelists. Perhaps some Christian young man walking the hospitals, and fearing God, may findin these hints a guide as to his future career.
In addition to this, let me say that our Lord Jesus Christ also associated with His Mission-work the distribution of alms.He was very poor. Foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, but He, the Son of Man, had not where to lay His head.Out of the gifts of the faithful who ministered to His necessities there was but little to spare. These gifts were put intoa bag and entrusted to Judas, and we discover, incidentally, that the Master was likely to distribute from this slender storeto the poor around Him. Brethren, it is to be feared that some Churches fall behind in this matter of almsgiving, a matterwhich at the Judgment Day will occupy a very conspicuous place, "I was hungry and you gave Me meat."
The Romish Church has abounded in the practice of almsgiving, and if her mode of distributing were as wise as her manner ofcontributing is generous, she would deserve much commendation in this respect. Brethren, because we feel that we are justifiedby faith and not by works, are we to cease from good works and suffer the giving of alms to drift into the background? Suchis now the rage for centralization, and so eager are some for the suppression of all personal charity that it may one daybecome an indictable offense to give away a sixpence to a starving woman until you have consulted the police, the Poor LawBoard, or some association for giving away paper tickets instead of bread.
Public opinion demands the publication of all our gifts, and ignores the old-fashioned command, "Let not your right hand knowwhat your left hand does." We are all to be made wheels in the engine of a society to give our alms by clock work, and relievethe poor by machinery. For one, I shall always recommend Christian people to be a little eccentric in their benevolence. Withoutdecrying societies, I shall urge godly men to judge for themselves as to the poverty of each case, and to give for themselves,apart from those various associations which cut and dry benevolence till it becomes a mere skeleton.
I am a firm believer in the Gospel of the barley loaves and fishes. I believe in the Gospel of feeding the hungry and clothingthe naked. I like the story that I heard the other day of a poor man who was found in the street one Sunday morning as hewas about to commit suicide. Two of our Brethren met him, and led him to this Tabernacle, but they knew better than to bringhim to hear a sermon while he was hungry. On the road they took him to a coffee shop, and gave him a cup of hot coffee andsome bread and butter. And then they brought him to hear the discourse. I had a far more likely hearer in the man whose hungerwas relieved than I could have had in the poor famishing sinner.
Then, after the sermon was over, they took care to find him a good dinner, and so detained him till they brought him hereagain in the evening and God was pleased to bless the Word to him. Rest assured that the Master's opening blind eyes, theMaster's feeding the multitude, and the Master's relief of the poor were all indications to the Christian Church that clothingsocieties and soup kitchens, and benevolent associations, are legitimate aids to the spread of the Gospel.
Our Master's Mission had one point in it which we ought never to forget, namely, that it was carried on very largely throughopen-air preaching. I remember well the time when it really seemed an outrageous novelty for a man to preach in the streets.I remember proposing, twenty years ago, to my good deacons in the country that I should preach on the Sunday evening by theriverside, and the remark was made by one of them, "Ah, I do not like it, it is imitating the Methodists." To him as a soundCalvinist it was a dreadful thing to do anything which Methodists were guilty of. To me, however, that was more a recommendationthan otherwise, and I was happy to run the risk of being called Methodist.
All over England, in our cities, towns, villages, and hamlets, there are tens of thousands who never will hear the Gospelwhile open-air preaching is neglected. I believe that God allows us to preach in Churches and chapels, but I do not believethat we have any Apostolic precedent for it, certainly none for confining our ministry to such places. I believe that we areallowed, if it promotes order and edification, to set apart buildings for our worship. But there is no warrant for callingthese places sanctuaries and Houses of God, for all places are alike holy where holy men assemble. It is altogether a mischievousthing that we should confine our preaching within walls.
Our Lord, it is true, preached in the synagogues, but He often spoke on the mountain's side, or from a boat, or in the courtof a house, or in the public thoroughfares. To Him an audience was the only necessity. He was a fisher of souls of the truesort, and not of the modern order who sit in their houses and expect the fish to come to them to be caught. Did our Lord intenda minister to go on preaching from his pulpit to empty pews, when by standing on a chair or a table outside the meeting househe might be heard by hundreds? Of course, if the crowd fills the house, and it is as large as the human voice can fill, thereis the less need for us to go out into the streets. But, alas, there are places of worship in London by scores, not one-fourthor even one-tenth filled, and yet the preacher goes on contentedly!
A minister is living in positive sin who constantly preaches to a mere handful within walls, while outside there are crowdedcourts and lanes, and alleys, where men are perishing for lack of knowledge. The minister who does his duty goes out intothe highways and hedges. He goes into all the world. He preaches whether men will hear or whether they will forbear, and delightsto make hills and woods ring with the message of peace!
Our Lord also set an example to Home Missionaries, in the fact that He had pity on the villages. Small villages are oftenthought to be too insignificant for the founding of Churches in them. But the villages help to make the large towns, and thecharacter of the citizens of this great London of ours depends very much upon the character of the village homes from whichso many of our fellow citizens are drawn. We must never neglect the smallest hamlet, but seek as far as we can, to reach eventhe little knots of cottages that stand by twos and threes on lone heaths and desolate moors.
At the same time, the Master also gave much attention to the towns. Capernaum and Bethsaida were not forgotten. Jerusalemfrequently echoed with His voice. Where the crowds assembled at the solemn festivals, which were something like the gatheringsat our markets and fairs, Christ was heard lifting up His voice, and crying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me anddrink." The Home Missionary must avail himself of all gatherings of his fellow men for whatever objects they may have cometogether. And in every place he must proclaim the Gospel, seeking by any means to save some. This and much more may be gatheredfrom the life of Jesus of Nazareth, "a Prophet mighty in deed and word."
II. I shall now pass on to notice, in the second place, THE MODEL HOME MISSIONARY. My Brethren, after all, the success ofa work depends very little upon the system which is adopted in carrying it out-almost everything rests under God-not uponthe man. There have been men who, with systems unwise and imperfect, have, nevertheless, accomplished noble results, whileothers with admirable organizations have done nothing, because they were not the right men. Who, then, is the fittest manto be a Missionary for Christ? Who is the woman that can best serve her God?
Behold the Model Missionary in the Person of the Lord Jesus. The man who is to serve God as a leading Missionary must be aman of teaching power and of personal influence. It is of no use to send out as a Missionary a man who cannot speak. And yetthere are many places where the people are without a minister, if speaking power is an essential qualification for that office.Why, you may frequently hear the preacher mumble so dreadfully that you can hardly follow his words. Or he is a mere reader,or else a prosy reciter of very heavy matter.
In the Established Church, the very last thing that is looked into when a young man enters "holy orders," as they call them,is whether he has gifts of utterance, or in other words, whether he is qualified by nature and by Divine Grace to be a preacher.That some very admirable and excellent persons enter the Church is cheerfully granted, but none the less we believe such asystem to be essentially bad. If you want a man to spread the Gospel among his fellow men, he must be one who can preach.He must be apt to teach. He must have a way of making plain what he means, and of winning attention, so that men may be willingto listen to him.
Our Lord had this grand capacity in the highest degree. He could bring the most sublime truths down to the level of His hearers'comprehension. He knew how, with a Divine simplicity, to tell a story that would win even a child's attention. And thoughthe Truth He spoke was such that archangels might well marvel at it, yet He put it into such a form that the little childrengathered around Him, and the common people heard Him gladly. Aptness to teach-this is what we need. Pray, my Brethren, theLord of the Harvest to send us many who have this choice gift. The pulpit, the Sunday school, and every form of Christianservice need earnest workers who have the power of translating their thoughts into the language of those with whom they comein contact, so that they may be interested and impressed.
But there were higher qualifications than these. Our Lord as a Missionary was a Man who fraternized with the people. I donot think He ever passed a person on the road concerning whom He said to Himself, "I am so much above that man that I willnot speak to him." I could hardly dare to imagine Him saying such words. It would so lower the Savior to imagine such a thing.And yet, and yet, and yet-some of His ministers have thought so! How many of us, if we had seen a poor harlot coming to thewell would have remained sitting by it purposely to converse with her? If we had seen her coming, knowing her character, weshould probably have moved off, and have eased our conscience with the notion that hers was a case more suitable for someoneelse to deal with. In fact, a matter to be left to an agent of the Rescue Society.
Our Lord made no affectation of condescending or of patronizing the poor Samaritan sinner, but as naturally as possible, withevery appearance of ease, He at once began to talk with her. If she had been a noble lady in the land He could not have fraternizedmore thoroughly with her, and yet He in no way connived at her sin. Our Lord received sinners and
ate with them. They must have seen how different He was from themselves, but He affected no distance. He pretended to no caste.He drew no lines of social demarcation. He was not a Pharisee, who stood apart in his pious eminence-pride and assumed dignityhad no attractions for Him. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners in the highest and best of senses,but in other respects He was the friend of publicans and sinners.
If we are to have London blessed, it will never be by ministers who are too great to speak to the poorest of the people. Norwill your benevolent societies work much good if your lordships and ladyships cannot mingle with the humbler classes. We mustbe one with those whom we would bless. We must not be ashamed to call them Brethren. We must without being conscious of stooping,reach out a fraternal hand to the fallen and the degraded, that we may lift them up for Christ's sake. O for men and womenof the true brotherly and sisterly spirit-bone of the people's bone and flesh of their
Our Lord, again, was a man who could toil. He was by no means a gentleman at large, amusing His leisure with lecturing. Henever preached a sermon without weaving His soul into it. He was by no means the kind of Evangelist who finds His task a lightone. He could not, as some do, preach by the year without disturbing the placid current of His own emotions. No, my Brethren,never preacher worked more intensely than Jesus did-by day preaching, by night praying, oftentimes faint through weariness,and yet not finding time so much as to eat bread. Whoever did not labor, Christ did. He is the Master Worker of all the sonsof men.
If we all must eat bread in the sweat of our faces, much greater was His toil when He brought the Bread of Life to us by thebloody sweat of Gethsemane, and by the life-sweat of every day of His three years' ministry. His life was a scene of unrivalledlabor. We can hardly conceive how thoroughly our Redeemer laid Himself out for us. Now, if the Church would see souls saved,the work will never be achieved by agents who are half asleep. Christ's kingdom will never be extended by persons who areafraid of labor. God will bless His Church by the power of the Holy Spirit, for all the power lies there-but He will haveHis Church travail-or the blessing will not come.
For a Home Missionary we want a man who can pray as the Master prayed. What a proficient in the art of prayer was Jesus! Hewas as great with God in prayer as He was with man in preaching. I heard a Brother speak the other day of our Lord's comingfrom the mountainside with the wild flowers on His garments, and the smell of the heather on His vesture, for He came freshfrom the lone spot where He had spent the night in prayer. Ah, my Brethren, here is the center of power! Prayer breaks hearts.These granite rocks will never yield to our hammers till we go down on our knees to smite. If we prevail with God for men,we shall prevail with men for God. The main work of the minister must be done alone. Let him do as he pleases when the multitudeare listening, he shall not bring them to Christ unless he has pleaded for them when none heard him but his God. Our HomeMission needs men who can pray.
And, Brethren, if we are to secure useful men and women we must choose those who can weep. That is a fine faculty, that emotionalpower of the heart which makes the passions boil, and rise within like steaming vapors, till at last like the waters of droppingwells, they are condensed and fall in showers from our eyes! I do not covet that moistness of the eyes which some exhibitas the result of optical weakness or effeminacy of constitution-but manly weeping is a mighty thing. Our Lord Jesus was thoroughlya Man-far too masculine to fall into sentimentalism and affectation-but when He beheld the city, and knew all the sufferingsthat would come upon it from the siege as a punishment for its sin, He could not restrain the floods. His great soul ran overat His eyes.
If He had not been a man who could weep Himself, He could not, humanly speaking, have made others weep. You must feel yourselvesif you would make other men feel. You cannot reach my heart till first of all your heart comes to meet mine. Lord, send intoYour field men of strong emotional natures whose eyes can be fountains of tears.
To crown all, our blessed Lord was one who knew how to die! Oh, when shall we have men and women sent among us who are preparedto die in order to accomplish their lifework? I have shuddered, and all the more so because I might do no better myself, whenI have heard excuses for avoiding risks of life, and reasons for escaping hardships in foreign lands. It has been even questionedin some quarters, whether a man would be right in exposing himself to danger of life in order to preach the Gospel. I couldsay much, but would be sparing of censure. Only this I must say-until Divine Grace shall restore to us the ancient Apostolicself-sacrifice, we may not expect to see the Gospel conquering to any high degree.
Zeal for God's House must eat us up. Love of life must yield to love of souls. Trials must be counted as nothing for Christ'ssake, and death must be defied, or we shall never capture the world for Jesus. They who wear soft raiment will
never win Ireland, or Africa, or India for Christ. The man who considers himself, and makes provision for the flesh, willdo little or nothing. Christ revealed the great secret when it was said of Him, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save."In proportion as a man saves himself he cannot save others. And only in proportion as he is carried away with self-sacrifice,willing to renounce luxuries, comforts, necessities, and even life, itself-only in that proportion will he succeed.
I trust that no Missionary's life may be lost, but I trust that if the Church can only bring the world to Christ by the deathsof her ministers, all our lives may be sacrificed-for what are we, my Brethren, what is any one of us-compared with the accomplishmentof our Redeemer's work? Our sires went to the stake with songs upon their lips. Our ancestors were confessors who dared thebarbarous cruelties of Northern hordes, and the refined persecution of Southern superstition. They were men who could diebut could not refrain from witnessing for the Lord. We must quit ourselves like men for Christ. And though we may not allbe called to make the extreme sacrifice, we must be ready for it. And if we shrink from it we are not the men for such a timeas this.
We want men who can toil, men who can pray, men who can weep, men who can die. In fact, we need for Christ's work men allablaze with consecrated fervor, men under a Divine impulse, like arrows shot from the bow of the Almighty flashing straightto the target. Men like thunderbolts launched by the Eternal to go crashing through every difficulty with irresistible energyof aim. We want a Divine enthusiasm to fire us, an Almighty impetus to urge us on. Only men thus filled with the Holy Spiritshall accomplish largely the work of God.
III. My last point was to be, if Christ lived thus, and worked thus, LET US HEAR HIS CALL AND IMITATE HIM. I shall say buta few sentences, but let them be remembered. Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is your privilege to be a worker togetherwith God. Therefore keep close to the footsteps of the great Master worker.
Remember that before He went to work He was Himself personally obedient to that Gospel which He had to preach. He did notbid others believe and be baptized, and neglect to be baptized Himself. "Thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness,"said He. And in the waves of Jordan, the Baptist immersed Him. How little will you be fitted for service if you leave anycommand of Christ not obeyed! How can you exhort others to do your Lord's will if you yourself are disobedient to it? Thefirst thing, therefore, before you go to that form of service which now invites you, is to see to it that you have obeyedthe Master's will, for "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."
This being done, let me say to you, Is there not some department of Mission work at home that you could undertake? Most probablyyou could not do all those things which I have mentioned as having been done by Christ. But you know that young artists willoften be instructed by their masters to sketch not the whole of a great statue by Phidias, but one single limb, an arm, ahand, or a foot. Have you not often seen in the artist's studio the foot of some great masterpiece used as a model? Just soit shall be enough to teach you service if, being unable to attempt the whole of the great scheme which I have brought beforeyou now, you will undertake zealously to labor in one department of it.
But, whatever you do, do it thoroughly, do it heartily. If it is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well. For such a Masterthere must be no second-rate work, and with such a gracious reward before you, there must be no offering of that which costsyou nothing. You must throw yourselves into whatever you undertake for Jesus.
Will you now take one word which is often used by Mark as a motto for yourselves? The idiom of the Gospel of Mark is eutheos,"straightway." He is always saying of Christ, that straightway He did this, and straightway He did that. Now, if you havework for Christ before your eyes, straightway hasten to do it. The most of Christians miss the honor they might have in serviceby waiting till a more convenient season. Do something tonight before you go to bed, if it is only the giving away of a tract.Do something as each moment flies. If up to now you have not been a worker, begin now. Or if you have been a worker up tillnow, do not pause, but end the evening with another good word to sister, or child, or friend. Evermore breathe out consecrationto Christ.
And let me bid you, dear Friends, if you love my Lord and Master, to have comfort in trying to serve Him, because there isan all-sufficient power which you may obtain for this service. Our Lord is declared in this very verse to be One who was anointedwith the Holy Spirit and with power. That same Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and that same power lingers in the assembliesof the faithful. Ask for this anointing, and pray that as in this verse we are told that God was with Jesus, so God may bewith you. Remember last Sunday evening's text, "Fear you not. For I am with you; be not
dismayed, for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of Myrighteousness."
Being now a pardoned sinner, ask to be an anointed saint. As one who is reconciled to God, ask that you may be strengthenedby God, so that from this day forward you may serve your Master mightily. I do not know that I ever felt happier in my lifethan I did last Tuesday night when I was listening to my dear Friend, Mr. Orsman, the pastor of the poor but gracious Churchin Golden Lane, in the City. He is a good Brother, who, some years ago, was converted to God under our ministry, and he wasthere and then converted all over. Some of you, when you believe in Christ appear to have only a sprinkling conversion, butI love those men and women who get an immersion conversion.
They, go down into the deeps of the love of Christ, and give themselves altogether up to their Lord. Why, that dear man, thoughworking all day long in the Post Office, yet finds in the evening opportunity to preach Christ. And if you were to go to GoldenLane, you would find there all the forms of organization which I have described at the commencement of this sermon in activeexercise. Among the poorest, lowest and most degraded of the people, Divine Grace has found out precious jewels. Some sevenor eight who are now ministers of the Gospel, first began to preach to his poor people there. He has now spiritual childrenscattered all over the world by emigration, and the good man, having consecrated himself fully to his work, is most happyin it.
I believe from the bottom of my soul that these single-handed men, who give themselves up to a special district and work itwell, are the very greatest blessings that London can have. And if there is a young man here endowed with abilities, and perhapswith a little money and time, what better could I propose to him, as a lover of Christ, than to begin some such work for hisMaster? The same applies to Christian women. Oh, what good Christian women can do! There are those in this place whose names,if I were to mention them, would be had in honor by us all for what they have accomplished!
Without obtruding themselves as preachers into public assemblies, they are working away for Christ privately, and bringingmany into the Church of God. O Christian men and women, time is flying, men are dying, Hell is filling, Christ is waitingto see of the travail of His soul. I beseech you by the heart of God's mercy, by the heart of Christ, by His love for souls-bestiryourselves and proclaim salvation. May the Lord's blessing be with you. Amen.