Sermon 972. New Uses for Old Trophies
Delivered on Lord's-day Evening, November 20th, 1870 by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"King David's spears and shields, that were in the temple of the Lord."-2 Kings 11:10.
WHEN DAVID HAD FOUGHT with an adversary, and overcome him, he took away his armor and his weapons, and as other victoriousheroes were wont to do, he bore them home as mementoes of his prowess, the trophies of the battle. These were placed in thehouse of the Lord. Perhaps David at the same time dedicated in like manner the shield and the sword which he had himself usedin battle. After Solomon had built the temple, these trophies, which seem to have been very numerous,were hung up there. So they adorned the walls. So they illustrated the velour of noble sires. So they served to kindleemulation, I doubt not, in the breasts of true-hearted sons. Thus it was while generations sprung up and passed away; tillat length other days dawned, darker scenes transpired, and sadder things filled up the chronicles of the nation. You willall of you remember the crisis to which my text refers. Athaliah, daughter of Ahab, wife of Jehoram, king of Judah, the usurpingqueenof Judah, had played the tyrant for well-nigh seven years. The endurance of the people had been tried to the uttermost;a just recompense was in store, and a well-concerted plan ready for execution. The time had come when she should be put todeath, and the young prince who had been hidden away should be proclaimed king. It was arranged that he should be proclaimedin the temple court, yet the men that were to be the body-guard were not armed with weapons, for fear an alarm might be given,andthe matter discovered too soon. But these weapons that were hung up of old in the temple were taken down, and the Levitesand other friends were armed with them. When Athaliah came in and saw the young king surrounded by his body-guard, thus strangelyequipped with the old weapons of former days ready to protect him, she rent her clothes, and cried, "Treason, Treason:" buther doom was sealed, escape was impossible, she was slain. To such good account there and then was the good old armorturned. This simple fact appears to me to suggest a striking moral.
The matter I shall speak to you about to-night will lie under four heads. We will give them to you as they occur to us.
I. And the first is this, IT IS WELL FOR US TO HANG ALL OUR TROPHIES IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.
We, too, are warriors. Every genuine Christian has to fight. Every inch of the way between here and heaven we shall have tofight, for as hitherto every single step of our pilgrimage has been one prolonged conflict. Sometimes we have victories, apresage of that final victory, that perfect triumph we shall enjoy with our Great Captain for ever.
"Oh! I have seen the day
When with a single word,
God helping me to say
'My trust is in the Lord,'
My soul has quelled a thousand foes,
Fearless of all that could oppose."
When we have these victories it behoves us to be especially careful that in all good conscience we hang up the trophies thereofin the house of the Lord. The reason for this lies here: it is to the Lord that we owe any success we have ever achieved.We have been defeated when we have gone in our own strength; but when we have been victorious it has always been because thestrength of the Lord was put forth for our deliverance. You never fought with a sin, with atemptation, or with a doubt, and overthrew it, except by the Spirit's aid. You never won a soul for Jesus, you never spokea valiant word that repelled an error, you never did an enterprising deed which really told well for the success of the kingdom,but God was in it all-virtually, nay, actually enabling you; and he did it of his own good will. What is it but a simple matterof justice that he who wrought the wonder should have the honor of it? It would have been a crying shame if Miriamhad sung to the praise of Moses and Aaron at the Red Sea. They were but the outward instruments of the people's comingout of Egypt. As she took her timbre!, she rightly said, in the hymn that Moses had given her for the occasion: "Let us singunto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously." So in every struggle that transpires in our hearts, in every combat waged in the world,ascribe the power to him to whom it belongs, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of theLord doeth valiantly." As before the fight in his name we set up our banner, so after the fight in his name again we givethe conquering banner to the breeze. "All glory be unto him that won the victory."
This will save us from pride and self-sufficiency. Scarcely can God trust us with a victory, lest we begin fingering it withour own hands, as if our own ingenuity, our own wisdom, or our own strength had done marvels. As of old, Israel sacrificedto her net when a great draught of fish was taken, or to her drag when a great harvest had been threshed out, so are we tooapt to sacrifice to our own ability, our own industry, our own superiority in one respect or another, andthink that there is some virtue or merit in us to which the Almighty has awarded the palm. Instead of looking only toGod we begin to look in some degree to ourselves. You cannot do otherwise than put the honor somewhere. If you do not ascribeit to God the temptation will be too strong for you, you will be sure to take it for yourself; and if you do this the mostfatal consequences will follow, for they that walk in pride God will assuredly abase. No matter how dear you are to him, ifpride beharboured in your spirit he will whip it out of you. They that go up in their own estimation must come down again by hisdiscipline. You cannot be exalted in self without being by-and-by brought low before him. God will have it so; it is alwaysthe rule, "He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted them of low degree." He goes forts with the axe,and this is the work he does among the thick trees-he cuts down the high tree and dries up the green tree, but he exalts thelowtree, and makes the dry tree to flourish, that all the glory may be unto himself alone; for, saith he, I the Lord havespoken and have done it. Let us take care, however, that we ascribe the glory to God, and do not forget to honor him. We have received so many mercies, my brethren, that they come tous as common things. We receive them, and scarcely know, perhaps, that we have received them. According to the old proverbwe do not know the value of our mercies till we miss them; but itought not to be so. Must we be defeated in order to let us know that God gives us victory? Is it needful that you andI should suffer some great disaster in order to make us grateful for past success? Will you never prize health as one of thechoicest boons of heaven till some grievous malady has sapped your strength, and made all the enjoyments of life tastelessor even nauseous? Well, if it be needful, it is a necessity of our own producing. The more the pity that we should challengethe illswe complain of, and incur the reverses we so bitterly deplore. O that we may never slight the good things we have, ortrifle with the benefits we receive from the hand of the Lord! Especially, my dear brethren, let us bless God for every spiritualsuccess achieved, and take care to make a record of it on the tablet of our grateful heart. If we should one day have to fleebefore the enemy, if our work for God should one day seem to be without success, we may look back with much smiting of heartupon those ungrateful times when God dealt so generously with us, and yet we did not take the trouble to sing him a psalmor offer up a vow, or do any act of homage to express our gratitude to him. Hang up Goliath's sword; do not put it by to rust.Hang up the shields and the spears of the Philistines. If by God's help you have taken them, set store by them, and make theworld see what the Lord has done on your behalf, whereof you are glad. Hake the church to join your grateful song. There istoo much of the cold silence of ingratitude amongst us. Too seldom do we chant forth our Te Deum laudamus with solemn, lively air. Stir the hearts of others because your own heart heaves with deep emotions of thankfulness to theMost High. I am persuaded, my brethren, that it is only in this way that we can secure for ourselves future success. David'slife was a series of dilemmas and deliverances. With what sort of face, think you, could he have invoked rescue from freshperils, had hefailed to recognize God's help in past preservation? If, when flushed with victory, he had usurped the honor to himself,what assistance would he have received the next time he was curried with impending disaster? Or, had he not taught the Israelitesin the hour of triumph to sing, "Non nobis, Domine"-"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory;" how could he have engaged their hearts in the hour of trialto wail forth the litany of supplication-"The Lord hearthee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee, send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthenthee out of Zion." Without consistency we cannot exert any moral influence with men, or obtain any spiritual prevalence withGod. May not many of our barren seasons be ascribed to the fact that we did not thank God for fruitful ones? If the preacherhas been honored in his ministry to win souls to Christ, but has not duly blessed his God for the enabling of the Holy Ghostgranted to himself, and for the witness of the Holy Ghost given to the people; or, worse still if he has complimentedhimself on his own talents, and the use he makes of them; need he wonder if, when next he goes forth, as Samson of old, andshakes himself as aforetime, he finds his strength has departed from him? "Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto theLord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name;" else when most you need him, you may find his strengthistaken from you and your honors will have departed too. Hang up the shield, hang up the spear, let Jehovah's name be exalted.Bring forth the forgotten memorials of lovingkindness, expose them to public view, put them before your own mind's eye to-night,gratefully remember them, lovingly praise him and magnify his name. I am sure we, as a church whom God has blessed so long,ought not to be slow to hang up the trophies of his loving kindness in our midst. If God has done anything for you, tellit. If he has delivered you out of trouble, tell it. If he has fed your soul in the wilderness, tell it. If you have latelybeen converted, tell it. If you have found Christ precious to you, though just now you were a poor lost soul, tell it. Hangup the shields and spears. Let each individual do it, let the whole church do it; and often by our enlarged endeavors forthe dear Savior's sake, by our consecrated self-denials, let us show that we do feel how much we owe to the infinite powerof theGod of victory, who maketh us strong in the day of battle. That is the first point. If we have any victories, let allthe trophies be dedicated to the Lord.
II. The second is this: THESE TROPHIES MAY COME IN USEFUL AT SUCH TIMES AS WE CANNOT FORESEE, AND UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCESAS WE WOT NOT OF.
Little could David have thought when he gave Abiathar the sword of Goliath, that he would ever go to the priests of Gad andask them to lend him a sword, and that they should say, We have no sword here, save the sword of Goliath, the Philistine,whom thou slewest in the Valley of Elah, behold it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. He gave it to God, but he did notthink that he would ever have it back again with a priestly blessing on it, so that he should be able tosay, "There is none like that: give it me." And when, in after years, he hung up the swords and shields which he had takenaway from Philistine heroes, he did not surmise that one of his descendants, or the seed royal, would find the need to employhis own, his grandsire's, or, further back, from himself-his forefather's trophies-in order to establish himself on the throne.We never know, my brethren, when we praise God for mercies, but what the very praises might come back into our bosoms,and the offerings we make to God in the way of thankfulness may be our own enrichment in the days to come. The memorialswe put up to record God's goodness, may be to us in after years among the most useful things in all our treasury. To ourselvesand others the memorials of the victories we have won may be signally profitable, strangely opportune, seemingly indispensable.
Let me try to show this. Years ago you and I were fighting battles with unbelief. We were struggling after a Savior. Our sinsrose up against us thick and furious. The fiery darts of the enemy rained upon us like hail. That conflict we never shallforget; we bear the scars of it to this very day. Glory be to God! by his grace we won the victory and overcame through theblood of the Lamb. We looked at Jesus Christ upon the cross, and in that moment our sins fled away. Thewhole host of them was defeated. A dying Savior was the symbol of victory. What then? Let us use the mementoes we laidup before the Lord of that day-the trophies that we took in that battle-for ourselves and for others.
For ourselves. If ever we have another struggle against sin-perhaps we shall have many-I mean such alarming assaults as involvesevere struggles-let us recollect how Jesus met with us the first time, and "if, when we were enemies, we were reconciledto God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." He saved us with a great salvationwhen we first came home as prodigals covered with rags, will he not help us now, when he cometo him as his own children, clothed in his own righteousness, and say, "Abba, Father," being already accepted in the Beloved?
I do think it often proves a great blessing to a man that he had a terrible conflict, a desperate encounter, a hard-foughtengagement in passing from the empire of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son. Sooner or later each saved man will havehis hand-to-hand fight with the prince of darkness; and as a general rule, it is a great mercy to have it over on the outsetof one's career, and be able afterwards to feel, "Whatever comes upon me, I never can suffer as Isuffered when I was seeking Christ. Whatever staggering doubt, or hideous blasphemy, or ghastly insinuations, even ofsuicide itself, may assail my feeble heart, they cannot outdo the horror of great darkness through which my spirit passedwhen I was struggling after a Savior." Now I do not say that it is desirable that we should have this painful ordeal, muchless that we should seek it as an evidence of regeneration, but when we have passed through it victoriously, we may so useit that itmay be a perpetual armoury to us. If we can now defy all doubts and fears that come, because they cannot be so potentas those which already in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior we have overthrown, shall we not use that for ourselves? andcan we not equally well use it for others? Full often have I found it good, when I have talked with a young convert in deepdistress about his sin, to tell him something more of his anxious plight than he knew how to express and he wondered whereI had foundit, though he would not have wondered if he knew where I had been, and how much deeper in the mire than he; when he hastalked about some horrible thought that he has had, with regard to the impossibility of his own salvation, and I have said,"Why, I have thought that a thousand times, and yet have overcome it through the help of God's Spirit." I know that a man'sown experience is one of the very best weapons he can use in fighting with evil in other men's hearts. Often their miseryanddespondency, aggravated, as it commonly is by a feeling of solitariness, will be greatly relieved before it is effectuallydriven out when they find that a brother has suffered the same, and yet has been able to overcome. Do I show him how preciousthe Savior is to my soul he glorifies God in me. Right soon will he look into the same dear face and be lightened; and thenhe will magnify the Lord with me, and we shall exalt his name together. Thus good it is, you see, to take the old shieldsandspears away from the enemies and to use them again against new foes of the house of David.
Since that time, dear brethren, when we had the first struggle, we have had to fight with many evil passions and propensities.Perhaps we have had one besetting sin. We were a long time before we came up to beard that. We avoided it, and refrained fromrising up against it, until at length we perceived that it must be killed or it would kill us. It was very like pulling outour eyes, but we saw it must be done; we stood foot to foot with it. A sharp time it was, for thesin threatened to prevail against us; if we threw it down it seemed to rise again, like the giant of old, strengthenedby its fall. Did you ever have a personal, mental, moral conflict with some great dragon of besetting sin? If so be you havebeen enabled to smite it valiantly, and slay it utterly, I know you have gained trophies to hang in the house of God. To doso will be of no small advantage to ourselves, because you can take them down and use them in future; and you will find theyarefootholds of your strength to fight with the next sin that comes upon you. The strength which God has educated and fosteredin the last struggle will greatly assist you in the next. The man who gives way to one sin will very readily give way to another,but a man who through God's grace has won a very high vantage ground by mastering one sin, will be very likely to win another.The spoils taken from the last Philistine will help us to go forth and win more, and in the name of God we shall getthe victory. Many a man has had a hard struggle at first. He has been drawn to Christ, proved the grace of acceptance,and taken the vows of allegiance, and henceforth it behoves him to depart from iniquity, and not turn again to folly. Perhapshe has been addicted to swearing, and he has to get rid of that wicked habit at any cost. Perhaps he has been accustomed tofrequent the public house, to sit in the seat of the scornful, and enliven his companions with jest and song, he has forthwithtorelinquish that place, and take leave of that company for ever. Then perhaps there has been some other vice which he hascherished in secret, and clung to with the more tenacity because it so tenacious!, clung to him; of that evil he has purgedhimself, and from that bondage he has escaped. Is it not possible that there yet remains one transgression which lurks inthe breast of such a one? Very likely at this time he has a passionate temper. Down with it, my brother. You slew the lion,and youslew the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them. Do not be afraid to grapple with it. Do notsay, "I have a quick temper, and I cannot help it." There is no need for it. God's grace can drive it out even as the rest.Beard it in the name of the Most High, and use the trophies that you stole from past success-nay, fairly won them from the foes you have vanquished-use those with which to combat sinsthat now assail you.
To change the figure, it is the lot of some of us to be called to withstand great errors. We have been sorely harassed attimes with doubts and misgivings about some established truth. I suppose no one is a firm believer who has not once been adoubter. He knows no faith who never had a fear; for candid enquiry must go before absolute credence. How can any one knowthe proofs and vouchers of his faith unless he has taken pains to dig into the volume of evidence that liesat its base? Now it is a fine, a noble thing, when you have had a conflict in your own soul with some plausible heresy,some seductive perversion of the truth, and have put it to flight with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;it is a noble feat, I say, to capture the arms of your assailant and to use the very weapons of the adversary against him.You have detected his sophistry, you have found out his devices, and now for the future you will not be so readily carriedaway withevery wind of doctrine. This time you are too old to be taken with his chaff. You were deceived once, but by God's graceyou are not willing any longer to lend a ready ear to the fair speech which casts a mist over plain facts, but you henceforthresolve to prove the spirits whether they be of God. So from the spoils of past conflicts you are made strong to win presentvictories. Texts of Scripture are sometimes used by the adversaries of the gospel, and turned against us. I know some ministerswho, when they meet with a passage that they cannot immediately reconcile with the orthodox faith, alter the reading,or put a fresh sense on the words, or twist it and turn it to suit their purpose. It is a bad plan, my brethren; the textsof Scripture are to be taken as they stand, and you may rest assured they will always defend, never overturn, the faith oncedelivered to the saints. When I have seen a text sometimes in the hand of the enemy made use of against the deity of Christ,oragainst the doctrine of election, or against some other important and vital doctrine, I have not felt at all inclinedto give up the text or think lightly of it. I rather admire those Americans in the South, who when they had lost some guns,were asked by the commanding officer whether they had not spiked the guns before they gave them up to the foe? "Spiked them!no," said they, "we did not like to spoil such beautiful guns; we will take them again tomorrow." And so they did. I wouldnot havea text touched. Grand old text! we honor thee even while we cannot keep the field, or ward thee from the aggression ofthe invader. But shall we spoil it, or give it up as lost? Never, we will take it out of the hand of the enemy, use it forthe defense of the gospel, and show that it does not mean what they think, or answer the ends to which they would apply it.Are we baffled in attack, or do we lose ground in an argument, it is for us by more diligent study, and closer research, totake theguns, the good old guns, and use those which the enemy used against ourselves-to turn them round and use them againsthim. Depend upon it the great temple of truth is not like a house divided against itself. Nothing equivocal or prevaricatinghath come forth at any time from the mouth of the Lord. As for our understanding, it is always weak, and as for our tacticsin upholding the right, they are often at fault. But the word of God is steadfast; it does not change with the times or yieldtosuit any man's purpose. The weapons of our warfare are good, it is the hands that wield them that are so unskillful. ThusI might continue to show that in all the battles we fight, the trophies which we win should be stored; for they may come infor future use at some time or other. There is no experience of a Christian that will not have some ultimate service to renderhim. He may say to himself, "What can be the good of this feeling, what can be the practical advantage of that agony of mindthrough which I passed?" My brother, you know not what may be the history of your life, it is unfinished yet; if you didknow you would see that in this present trial there is a preparation for some future emergency, which will enable you to comeout of it in triumph. The shields and spears of David are hung up for future action.
III. In the third place, our text may mean that David hung up the spears and shields which he was accustomed to use himself;and if so, we shall remark that ANCIENT WEAPONS ARE GOOD FOR PRESENT USE.
I should like to show you this by taking you on to a battle-field. I did take you there just now, but you did not recognizeit, perhaps, as a battle-ground. We will go to it. It is not Sadowa or Sedan, it is a grander arena far-the old seventy-seventh.Turn to the seventy-seventh Psalm, and you have a battle-field there. Should you ever have to fight the same battle, by lookingthrough this Psalm, you will see David's shields and spears, and you will soon learn how toscreen yourself with the one, and how to do exploits with the other. Here is David fighting with despondency-an old enemyof mine. I daresay some of you are afflicted with it. But observe how he fought with it. The first weapon he drew out of thescabbard was the weapon of all-prayer. And how grandly he used it! "I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with myvoice." Satan trembles when he hears the sound of prayer. They are the conquering legions that know how to pray. Despondencysoon flies when a man knows how to ply this all-conquering and ever-useful weapon of petition to the Most High.
Then note how he used this weapon continually. "My hand was stretched out all night," saith he, according to the marginalreading of the second verse. If the first prayer did not help him, he prayed again; if an hour's prayer did not bring himpeace, he would pray two hours; and all night long he kept at it. You will get a like result too, my brother, if you exercisea like perseverance, you must get a like result if you know how to linger at the mercy-seat.
When he had used the weapon of prayer, what did he do next? He took out another spear. It was that of remembering God. Hehad long enough pored in thought over himself and his present sinfulness and weakness, and now he remembered God's mercy,God's faithfulness, God's lovingkindness, God's power, God's covenant, God in the person of Christ. Oh! this is indeed toprepare a salvo against the enemy, and to fortify one's own position with fresh succours. He can win thebattle that knows how to use this artillery of remembering God.
Going on with the strategy of war, what next? Why, in the fifth verse we read how he maintained his courage and his constancy-"Iconsidered the days of old." He enquired of hoary fathers, and looked back upon the inspired traditions, if I may be allowedthe expression, of the early church. He tamed to see whether God ever did forsake any of his people, rightly judging thatif he never did he never would, and firmly resolving that till he could find a clear case of God'sunfaithfulness he would not yield an inch of soil, nor give up a stone of any fortress, but would hold on and fight thebattle out. That inward musing helped him much. The enemy began to weary, while he recruited his strength.
But now he used another weapon. He looked to his own experience-see the sixth verse. "I called to remembrance my song in thenight." Past experience acknowledged gratefully, and taken as the index of what the future will be-this is another of David'sshields and spears. And then he seemed to put a whole path of spears before the enemy, and hold up an entire wall of shieldswhen he came to close quarters with him, and said, "Will the Lord cast off for ever? Will he befavorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious?Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?" Oh! this is how to win the battle. The next time, dear friend, you find yourselfdowncast in trouble, do not run away because Giant Despair is so strong. Though pressed by danger and beset by foes, feednot this frenzy of the soul with gloomy black forebodings. Armed with David's shield and spears, attack him; show a boldfront, and so shall yet resist the devil and find that he flees from you, and you shall come back from the conflict withlouder notes of victory than you had dreamed before.
There are some persons here, however, who are not yet far enough advanced to understand this battle of the seventy-seventh.I will take them to another battle, the battle of the fifty-first. That is the sinner's battle; we shall see David's shieldsand spears there. A tremendous battle it was with sin, with a guilty conscience, with despairing thoughts. Some of you, perhaps,are fighting such a battle to-night. I rather hope you are. I was preaching the other day, I thinkit was last Tuesday evening, at Acton. I went my way after service hopeful, prayerful that some fruits might be reapedfrom my labors. Not long after I received a letter from the minister to this effect: "My dear friend, I could not help writingto tell you that last Tuesday night when I was in bed and asleep, there was a knock at my door, and I came down and founda railway porter wanting to see me. "O sir," said he, "I cannot sleep; I was obliged to come and knock you up though it islate. Iheard the sermon at your chapel to-night, and I want to know what I must do to be saved? It is time for me to seek theLord, and I shall never get rest till I find him." Oh! it is good for us to be knocked up at night to answer any one thatcomes on such an errand as that. Would God it were every night in the year, if it were to hear a sinner saying, "What mustI do to be saved?"
Now, if one here present be in such a condition as that, just let him follow me to this battle-field, and see how David fought.His shields and spears in such case consisted first in an appeal to God's mercy. Do not appeal to justice, sinner. That is against you; appeal to mercy. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness!" Prayer he brings before God,but it is prayer tipped with a hope in the mercy in God. Go, sinner, and plead with God and fightyour sins with hope in his mercy. When he had done that he then turns to confession: "I acknowledge my transgression,and my sin is ever before me." No weapon to drive away guilty fears like making a clean breast of your sins. Tell your Fatheryou have offended; do not plead any extenuations or mitigations. Confess that you deserve his wrath. Put yourself before thethrone of God's clemency. Confess that if it were turned to a throne of vengeance you deserve it well. Prayers, tears, pleasformercy, and full confession-these are weapons to conquer with.
But note the master weapon! See where the battle began to turn into victory. It is here when he cries in the seventh verse,"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." You know that hyssop was a littlebunch, a brush used to dip into the blood-a basin full of blood, and then with this brush of hyssop the priest sprinkled theguilty man, the unclean man, and he was counted clean. So the master argument in this verse is blood.Oh! how this destroys our sins, how this scatters all our doubts and fears-the almighty weapon of the cross, the divineweapon of the atonement. Let sins come on, and let them be more than the hairs of my head, loftier than mountains and deeperthan the unfathomed ocean, let them come on-God's flaming wrath behind them, hell itself coming to devour me; yet if I canbut take the cross and hold it up before me, if I can plead the precious blood I shall be safe, for I shall be saved and provea conqueror, notwithstanding all. Beloved, then, see that in all your fights you use the old, old weapons of David himself-hisshields and spears-by these same weapons shall you also win the day.
IV. And now, lastly, let me suggest to you a fourth version of the text. DID NOT DAVID HEREIN PREFIGURE HIM THAT WAS TO COME-DAVID'SSON AND DAVID'S LORD?
Jesus Christ, our King, has hung up many shields and spears in the house of the Lord. I shall not occupy many minutes, butI invite every believer's heart to look at the great temple that Christ has builded, and see how he has hung it round withtrophies of his victory. Sin-Christ has borne it in himself, endured its penalty and overcome it; he has hung up the handwritingof ordinances that was against us as a trophy in the house of the Lord. He has nailed it to thecross. Satan-our great foe-he met him foot to foot in the wilderness and discomfited him-met him in the garden-overcamehim on the cross. Now hell, too, is vanquished-Christ is Lord. The prince of the power of the air is but his serf. The Kingof kings hath led captivity captive, and all the crowns of this prince of the power of the air are hung up as trophies. Brokenare their spears: their shields all battered and vilely cast away, hang up as memorials of what Christ has done.Death, too, the last enemy, Christ hath taken spoils from him when he rose again himself from his prison house, and ascendedon high, leading captivity captive. And the enmity of the human heart, my brethren. Oh I how many of these enmities has Christhung up in the hall, for he has conquered that enmity and made the hater into a lover. My heart, your heart, I hope that allour hearts, too, are trophies of what Christ's love can do. There are some great sinners at this day who are wonderfultokens of the power of love. When we look round the temple and see the shields and spears hung up, we say, "Who did thoseshields and spears belong to?" One says, "Why, that is the shield and spear of John Newton, the old blasphemer!" Glory beto God, Christ conquered him. Whose shield and spears are those? Why, that is the shield and spear of John Bunyan, the blasphemeron the village green. God's mercy conquered him. Yes, there will be a pillar for many of us, and I do not know which willbring Christ most honor, for he had much ado to bring us down. I wonder whether there will be a place for you, you oldsailor? These many year you have been living without God and without Christ. You have been a frequenter of every place ofsin, every filthy haunt in London. I do trust God's grace will meet with you. The poor harlot, Mary, the woman that was asinner-there hangs her shield and spear. She was a hard fighter, a very Amazon, but Christ conquered her, hung up her shieldandspear, and there it shall hang for ever, to the praise of the glory of his grace, who vanquished even her, and made herhis willing servant, nay, his beloved friend. What will heaven be when all of us shall be trophies of his power to save, andwhen our bodies shall be there as well as our souls! "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"-when notonly souls, but bodies shall be in heaven too, all trophies of what Christ has done when he plucked his people from the jawsofthe grave and delivered them from the grasp of the sepulcher.
I came just now, before I entered here, from a sight which did my very soul good. One of our dear and well-beloved sisters,lies very sick, I think sue is dying-in all human probability a few hours will see her in another world. I looked at her asone of the trophies of Christ's power to save. I would not have missed the visit for I know not what. She was not only calm,but joyous; nay, triumphant, expecting the time of her departure and longing for it, speaking ofeverlasting faithfulness, of sure promises, and of the presence of Christ as a reality, which she enjoyed even now, beforethe veil of flesh is rent that hides his blessed face from ours. I said to her, "How long is it since the cloud has brokenaway from you?" She said, "I have had a good deal of peace of mind, but never such joy as I have now. Now that I am goinghence I shall soon see his face without a veil between." The victories of dying spirits substantiate the gospel. When Christianpeople have no motive to overrate their assurance, and certainly no inducement to play the hypocrite, when they have nothingin their present sensations to inspire courage, raise enthusiasm, or buoy them up with suspicious comfort-for heart and fleshfail-there is much to admire in their constancy, much to animate us in their faith:
"Our dying friends are pioneers to smoothe
Our rugged path to death, to break those bars
Of terror and abhorrence Nature throws
Cross our obstructed way, and thus to make
Welcome, as safe, our port from every storm."
When you can see the eye, soon to be closed, sparkling with ecstacy, and hear the voice feeble because the throat is choking,as brave, and braver still than ever it has been before, and when you mark the look of deep composure, nay, of heavenly expectancy,upon the pale, pale face-oh! this makes our soul, my brethren, to feel that we have a faith that is worth prizing, a Christthat is worth trusting. These are trophies; and these death-bed trophies are hung up in thatpart of the temple where we can see them.
Let us take care that we have good confidence, always walking by faith, be the path of our pilgrimage rough or smooth, aridever maintaining the fight of faith, however fierce our temptations or fiery our trials. So when we come to die we may hangup our trophies too, saying to death and hell that we bid them defiance, for Christ is with us to the last, making our darkestmoments to be bright with the light of his presence. God grant that all of us may be trophies ofChrist, and hung up thus as memorials for ever. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Psalm 72.
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