Sermon 2728. The High Rock
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MAY 26, 1901.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK, ON A THURSDAY EVENING, EARLY IN THE YEAR 1859.
"From the end of the earth will I cry unto You, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."Psalm 61:2.
IT is supposed by many that David wrote this Psalm at the time when he fled from his son Absalom. That trial was one of themost grievous of all the afflictions of David's greatly-checkered life. It was but a little thing for him to be hunted bySaul like a partridge upon the mountains. It was a small matter for him to have to take refuge with Achish, and to sojournamong the Philistines, an alien from his mother's children. No, all the afflictions of his preceding life were but light trialscompared with the revolt of Absalom. He was his father's favorite son, one in whom his soul delighted, for he was a comelypersonage in his outward appearance and he had a lordly and kingly bearing-he was David's darling, although, in his moralcharacter, utterly unworthy of this distinction. This child of his, who was the nearest to his heart, had the greatest opportunityto cut him to the quick. Those things which we allow to take the chief place in our bosoms have the most power to give usgrief.
Absalom, first of all, kills his brother, and then, by dint of courtesy and such pretended generosity, as demagogues alwaysknow how to use, won the affections of David's people from their rightful monarch. And then he blew the trumpet and set himselfup as king in opposition to his father. No, more than this, he sought his father's life! It was not sufficient for him toseize the crown, but he longed to murder the head that should have worn it. His father was driven from his house and was madeto cross, with a few attendants, over the brook Kedron and to go away from the sanctuary of God. He had to dwell in the midstof a forest and sleep among his armed men and, at other times, to camp out upon the open plain. Who can tell the grief ofthis monarch? Wave after wave had rolled over him. He had often said that he desired to be like the sparrow and the swallow,dwelling beneath the eaves of God's sanctuary-and now his great trouble is that he is driven far away from God's House towhat he calls "the end of the earth."
As he thought of the cause of his exile, how grieved must he have been! For his son, his darling son, the son of his heart,the son whom he had pardoned, the son whom he had honored, the son whom he had recalled from the banishment he richly deserved-thisson had struck him. We know that old quotation from Shakespeare, which is repeated many and many a time, and is always true-
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child!"
Yet here was one who was not only unthankful, but who drove his father into exile and sought his life! David always clungto this child of his even in the time of his greatest iniquity. When at last he was compelled to send out his army againstthe rebel, you remember how he commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man,even with Absalom." And when he was killed, you know how David lamented over him, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!Would God I had died for you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" Now, from the very fact that David loved this young man so much,his sorrows must have been peculiarly poignant. If a man can bring his mind to thrust out from his bosom one who has provedungrateful, then half the battle is over. If love can cut the link-can say, "I have done with you, I will reckon you now nomore my child"-then the heart steels itself against its deepest sor-
row, and the arrow rattles only against the harness. But it was not so with David-he still opened wide his breast to his unworthyson.
Let us who stand in the relation of children to our parents, remember that it is in our power to give them the greatest possiblegrief-and yet would we not, each of us, sooner die than that those who brought us forth should have to lament on account ofus? Yet, haply, there are some of you who are bringing your parents' gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. O you who are cursingyour father's God-who are desecrating the day that your parents reckon to be holy-you who despise the Gospel which your fatherand mother love, remember that you are not only grieving God, but you are grieving your parents also! Push them not into thetomb before their time, lest their ashes testify against you and lest, in the hour of your trouble, when your children treatyou in like manner, you should have to learn the bitterness of rearing in your own bosom the serpent that shall sting youwith the deadliest venom! Let each of us take heed that we deal gently with our parents and always treat kindly those whohave tenderly fostered us.
With this preface, let us now turn to our text, and I think we shall understand it all the better from this little referenceto David's history. There are three Truths of God here. The first is, that prayer is always available- ' 'From the end ofthe earth will I cry unto You, when my heart is overwhelmed." The second Truth is, that sometimes even the Believer cannotget to Christ as he could wish, but that then there is a way provided for leading him to Christ-"Lead me to the Rock thatis higher than I." Then, in the third place, we shall consider Christ under the aspect of a Rock that is higher than we are.
I. In the first place, let us remember that PRAYER IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE-in every place and in every condition of our spirit-"Fromthe end of the earth will I cry unto You."
Suppose it is possible for us to be banished to the uttermost verge of the green earth, to "rivers unknown to song"? Supposeus to be hastened far away where dwindling daylight dies out and where the sun's bleak ray scarcely scatters light on theworld-where vegetation, dwarfing and declining, at last dies out? Suppose us to be banished into exile, without a friend andwithout a helper? Even there, from the end of the earth, we would find that prayer to God was still available! In fact, ifthere is a place nearer than another to God's Throne, it is the end of the earth, for the end of the earth is the beginningof Heaven! When our strength ends, there God's Omnipotence begins. Nature's extremity is God's opportunity. If wicked monarchsshould banish all God's people, their banishment would be an object of contempt, for how can they banish those who are strangerswherever they may be? Is not my Father's House a large one? Yon dome, the blue sky, its roof? The rolling seas, the swellingfloods, the green meads, the huge mountains-are not these the floors of His House? And where can I be driven out of the dominionsof my God and beyond the reach of His love? Banishment may seem a trouble to the Christian, but if he looks up and sees hisFather's House-and beholds the smile of his God- he will know that such a thing as banishment is to him an impossibility!But supposing us to be exiled from everything that is dear to us? Even then we should not be shut out from access to God'sThrone!
I think David meant, by the expression, "the end of the earth," a place where he should be far away from his friends, faraway from human help and far away from God's sanctuary.
God's people are sometimes brought into such a condition that they are far away from friends. Such an one walks the streetsof London and thinks, "Oh, if I could only tell my sorrow to a friend, then I might find some relief! But amidst all the myriadfaces that hurry like a stream along the road, I see not one that tempts me to tell my tale. I look around and find myselfa stranger amidst multitudes of my countrymen." Perhaps you know what it is to have a trouble which you are compelled to bearyourself, which you could not describe even to those in your own house, though your friends would have been ready to helpyou if they had known-yet it was such that, with all their readiness, they would not have had ability to assist you in it,the biggest words could not have told it, and the bitterest tears could not have spelled it out! You were far away from friendsin reality, though they were all round you. Now this is what David meant by "the end of the earth"-far away from friends-yeteven then, when friend and helper and lover failed, did he cry unto his God.
Again, he meant by, "the end of the earth," far away from human help. There are difficulties into which the true Believeris brought that no human hand can remove. His spiritual affairs are weights too heavy for human strength to lift. Though allthe giants of earth should come and strain their backs until their shoulders should give way, and their limbs should totterbeneath the enormous load, yet the spiritual necessities of the Christian could not be carried by them-they are an intolerableburden for human shoulders-none but God can sustain them. There are times when we are sighing
after spiritual mercies, when we are groaning under the withdrawal of God's Countenance, when our sins are hunting us likepacks of wolves, when afflictions are rolling over us like huge billows-when faith is little and fear is great, when hopeis dim, and doubt becomes terrible and dark-then we are far away from human help. But, blessed be God, even then we may cryunto Him-
"When anxious cares disturb the breast, When threatening foes are nigh, To Him we pour our deep complaint, To Him for succorfly."
No, more, even in temporal'affairs there are times when the Christian gets into such a place that no earthly friend can helphim. He has made some mistake-perhaps in the ardency of his zeal to do right, he has done wrong-in the attempt to run in theways of God, he overshot the road and got into another place, and found himself in the path of evil when he hoped to be inthe way of right. Such things have happened. Business men, with all their carefulness, have made miscalculations and havefound themselves plunged into difficulties from which they see no way of escape. In vain do others offer help. Wealth wouldnot avail, for character is at stake. Yet even then, "from the end of the earth," when human help has failed them, they havecried unto God and if they have cried in faith, they have never found that God has ceased to hear as long as they have continuedto cry to Him!
By "the end of the earth," I think, too, David means at a distance from the means of Grace. Sometimes, by sickness, eitherpersonal or the sickness of our relatives, we are detained from the House of God. At other times, in journeying by land orupon the sea, we are unable to be in God's sanctuary and to use the means of Grace. This is a great deprivation to God's people.You will find that a true Christian had rather miss a meal than lose his daily portion of Scripture, or his frequent resortto the House of Prayer. That man is no child of God who does not value the means of Grace. I tremble for that man's pietywho professes himself able to maintain the vital spark of Grace within him when the means of Grace are at hand and he livesin neglect of them! Some people, if they go to a watering-place, or a little way out of town, say, "Well, there is nobodyhere who preaches my sentiments, so I shall not go anywhere." I would remind them that the Apostle Paul said, "Not forsakingthe assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is." If there is no place of worship especially dedicated to God,we bless Him that-
"Wherever we seek Him, He is found, And everyplace is hallowed ground"- but if there is a building that is open for the worshipof God, even if I could not enjoy the preaching of the minister, I would go there to join in the singing of Christ's praisesand to offer my prayer with the multitude that keep holy-day.
Still, there must be in our lives different times when we are away from the sanctuary of God and, to the Christian, that willbe like being at the end of the earth. But then, thanks be to God, we may still cry unto Him. When no Sabbath bell shall summonus to the House of Prayer, when no servant of the Lord shall proclaim, with happy voice, the promise of pardoning mercy, whenthere shall not be seen the multitude on bended knees and when the sacred shout of praise is unheard-and we are far away fromthe gatherings of God's House-yet we are not far away from Him and we may still say to Him, "From the end of the earth willI cry unto You."
It seems, however, that the Psalmist was in a worse plight than this, for a man might be at the end of the earth and stillbe happy, for it is not the place that makes the man, but the man that makes the place! A man might be in paradise even inHell, itself, if his heart were right with God. Let a man have his heart full of peace and joy and happiness, and it is impossibleto make that man miserable. I have often thought that when people find fault with their station in life, they are making agreat mistake-they should find fault with themselves. Many a man is miserable whose head wears a crown, and many are happywhose heads have no place of repose. Some who are in rags have rich hearts, while many who are clothed in purple and finelinen, and fare sumptuously everyday, have starving spirits, for, after all, it is the mind that is the standard of the man,and if the mind is happy, the place where the man is does not matter at all.
But, alas for poor David! He had been wrong without and wrong within, too, so that he had to cry, "My heart is overwhelmed."I find, in Calvin's notes on this text a most extraordinary translation and, as he says, a very harsh one- "While my heartis turned about," that is, tossed here and there, or agitated. There is an expression of a similar character where John Bunyansays that he was exceedingly tumbled up and down in his mind. It does seem that one meaning of this text may be, "When myspirit is tumbled about"-when it is out of order, when it is brought into a kind of chaos and
confusion-when, to use another word which expresses closely the idea of the Hebrew, "My spirit is wrapped over and over"-whenit is covered as a man covers his face in the day of grief because his sorrow is so great that he shuns the sun and wouldnot have his fellow creature's eyes behold the anguish of his soul-"even then," says he, "when my spirit is overwhelmed, willI cry unto You."
Turn the heart upside down and then you will get the idea of its being overwhelmed. Even then, what does the Psalmist say?"You people, pour out your heart before Him." If your heart is turned over, let it be emptied before the Lord! David says,in another Psalm, "I pour out my soul in me." How foolish that was! It did him no good-it was the wrong place for his soulto be poured out! He was much wiser when he said, "Pour out your heart before Him." It is a happy way to pray, when the heartis turned upside down, to spill all its contents at the foot of the Throne of Grace. Perhaps, sometimes, the overwhelmingof our heart is only meant to empty all its dregs out of it, that the last particle of self-righteousness, self-reliance andself-confidence may be drained out at the Mercy Seat, that there may be room for an overflowing abundance of Divine Grace.
Imagine a vessel at sea and you can get an idea of the meaning of our text. It has been laboring in a storm, sometimes liftedup to Heaven, as though its masts would sweep the stars. Then again descending until its keel seemed dragging on the oceanbed-first staggering this way, and then that way, reeling to and fro, now rushing forward and now starting back-like a drunkenman, or like a madman who has lost his way! At last a huge sea comes rolling on, its white crest of foam can be seen in thedistance and the sailors give up all for lost. On comes the wave, gathering up all its strength till it dashes against theship and-down the vessel goes, it is overwhelmed! The decks are swept, the masts are gone, the timbers are creaking, the shipdescends and is sucked down as in a whirlpool-all is lost. "Now," says David, "that is the case with my heart. It is overwhelmed,drawn into a vortex of trouble, borne down by a tremendous sea of difficulty, crushed and broken! The ribs of my soul seemto have given way. Every timber of my vessel is cracked and gone out of its place. My heart is overwhelmed within me." Canyou now get an idea of the extreme sorrow of the Psalmist's spirit? "Yet," he says, "even then, will I cry unto You." Oh,noble faith that can cry amidst the shrieking of the tempest and the howling of the storm! Oh, glorious faith that from thebottom of the sea can shoot its arrows to the heights of Heaven! Oh, masterpiece of faith that from a broken spirit can presentprevailing prayer! Oh, glorious triumph that from the end of the earth can send a prayer which can reach all the way to Heaven!
And now, Christian, may God help you to make up your mind to this, that wherever you are, you will never leave off praying,whatever the devil says to you. If he should urge you to forsake the Mercy Seat, say to him, "Get behind me, Satan." If heshould say that you have sinned too much to pray, tell him his argument proves the reverse-the more you have sinned, the moreyou should pray. If he tells you that your difficulties are tremendous, tell him that the very greatness of the difficultiesin which you are involved should bear you nearer to God. Never cease to cry while you have breath! And when you have no breath,still cry. As long as you can speak, cry unto Him-and when you cannot speak- let groans that cannot be uttered still go upbefore God's Throne. Cease not to pray in every difficulty and in every strait betake yourself to your closet, for there youshall find God even if you cannot find Him anywhere else.
Let me also say this word to anyone who has begun to pray, but who has not yet found peace with God, although he is overwhelmedby a sense of his guilt. My dear Friend, if God has overwhelmed you with a sense of sin and if you feel as if you were faraway from mercy-at the very end of the earth-yet, I beseech you, cry unto Him! Mark, our text says, "Cry." Oh, what powerthere is in that simple act of crying! As I rode here, this evening, I saw a boy sitting on the pavement crying with all hismight about something or other he had broken. And I observed a lady, who was going by, stop a moment, for the poor fellow'sface was so much awry, and the tears were flowing so plentifully that she seemed as if she must give him something. And, indeed,I felt inclined, if I had not been in a hurry to come here, to stop and ask him what he was crying for, for one cannot bearto see a fellow creature weeping.
All beggars who want to deceive, take to crying, for they know that has an effect upon susceptible ladies who are passingby-there is great power in tears and these people know it. The best style of prayer is that which cannot be called anythingelse but a cry. Now, if you cannot pray as many do-if you cannot stand up in a Prayer Meeting and pray fluently and eloquentlylike others do-as long as the Lord enables you to cry, I beseech you, do not leave off crying! Cry, "Lord, have mercy on me!""Lord, save, or I perish!" "Lord, appear unto me." "I am the chief of sinners, Lord, manifest Yourself to me." Cry, cry, cry,poor Sinner! And He that hears the young ravens when they cry will hear you! Do not
think that the voice of your crying shall be lost. The voice of boasting dies away unheard, but the voice of crying penetratesthe ears of God, reaches His heart and moves His hands to give a plenitude of blessings. Above all things, Sinner, if youfeel your need of a Savior, keep on crying-Satan can never harm you while God helps you to cry. So long as you have a wordof prayer on your lips, the Law of God has not a word of condemnation to utter against you. If you can cry at God's MercySeat, then that is a proof that Christ is crying on your behalf at His Father's Glory Seat. Be you instant in prayer and youshall be successful in it. When your heart is overwhelmed, even from the end of the earth, cry unto
II. I must speak very briefly upon the second point, which is this. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN EVEN A BELIEVER CANNOT GET TO CHRISTAS HE DESIRES.
Then, thank God there is the prayer of our text-"Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." Some people make out faith tobe a marvelously easy thing-and so it is in theory-but it is the hardest thing in the world in practice. If men are to besaved on the condition of their repenting and believing, they can be no more saved than on the condition of their being perfect,unless there is added to this condition the promise that the God who requires faith will givefaith and work repentance inthem! I have been astonished to find, in this age, that there are great preachers and men who, I have no doubt, gather manyaround them, who tell the people that the condition and the ground of the sinner's justification are his faith, his repentanceand his obedience. Why, the ground of our justification is the righteousness of Christ! And as to conditions, there is nocondition at all, for God gives justification freely! And He gives faith and He gives repentance, too-it is all His gift.There never was a man saved by faith or repentance which he performed as a matter of duty. Albeit that the Word of God demandsof every man that he should submit himself to God by repentance, and lay hold of Christ by faith, yet no man ever wiilor evercan do this of himself-it is only the Sovereign will of God and the Sovereign Grace of God that give repentance and faith.
Sometimes God, in His Sovereignty, is pleased to show a man his sin, but not to show him his Savior for a season. He stripsthe sinner-perhaps he leaves him to shiver in the cold before He clothes him, just to let him know what a gift that robe ofChrist's righteousness is! He kills him, pierces him through and through with the Law, and there lets him lie in utter inability,for a season, before He quickens him and makes him spiritually alive. The fact is, God acts as He chooses with those whomHe saves. He sometimes gives repentance and faith at the same time, just as the thunder sometimes follows the lightning atonce. At other times, He gives repentance and then He makes us tarry for many a day before He gives us full assurance of ourinterest in Christ-but they are sure to follow one another, sooner or later. God never gave conviction without at last givingfaith! He never led a man out of himself without at last leading him to Christ! If He brought him down to despair, He afterwardslifted him up to hope. But, still, there may be a gap between the two and during such a period it is our business to use thisblessed prayer, "Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Oh, help me to believe! Lord, enable me to see the need of YourSon. Give me the power to look unto Him who was pierced, and, as You have given me eyes to weep, so give me eyes to look onHim and Grace to rejoice in Him as mine." So, you see, if we cannot believe, if doubts so overwhelm us that we cannot getto Christ to our own satisfaction, remember that it is the Holy Spirit's office to draw us to Christ and we may, therefore,pray to Him, "Lead me to the Rock that is higher than
III. We are now coming to that part of the text which most of all delights my soul, the thought of JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS THEROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN WE ARE.
We have all various standards for measuring things and, after all, men must measure by themselves. If you hear a man praisinganother, you will generally find that the reason he praises that other is because he sees in him something very much likewhat he possesses himself. "There," he says, "I love a man who is honest and outspoken." He means, all the while, that hethinks himself a remarkably honest and outspoken man and, therefore, he loves to see himself reproduced in another! Afterall, we generally measure with our own measuring-rods. We take ourselves to be the standard for other people. A few nightsago I proved this in my own case. Going along Bermondsey, I looked in at the shop windows to see what time it was. One clocksaid ten minutes to seven, another said seven o'clock, and another said ten minutes past. Then I began to think what a pityit was I had not my own watch with me-what was that but a belief that my own watch was infallible and that all the clockswere probably wrong? There is a great deal of trying ourselves on the touch-
stones of our own infallible selves and even the Christian is not altogether free from this practice till he gets to Heaven!So the Lord graciously adapts His Word to our poor littleness and speaks of Jesus as the Rock higher than we are.
Come here, Beloved, and let us measure the Rock Christ Jesus as far as we can by comparison. Here is a man who is a greatsinner. "Ah," he says, "I am, indeed, a great sinner. My iniquities reach so high that they have ascended above the very stars!They have gone before me to the Judgment Seat of God and they are clamoring for my destruction." Well, Sinner, come here andmeasure this Rock. You are very high, it is true, but this Rock is higher than you are. Estimate yourself at the greatestyou possibly can. Set your sins down at some inconceivable height! If you have thought yourself to be a very Goliath in sin.If you say, "I am as big a sinner as Saul of Tarsus was," put your sin, pile on pile, tier on tier, no, borrow your neighbor'ssins and take them all, and then remember that-
"If all the sins that men have done
In will, in word, in thought and deed
Since worlds were made and time begun,
Were laid on one poor sinner's head-
The blood of Jesus Christ alone
Could for this mass of sin atone,
And sweep it all away."
However high your sin may be, there is the cover of a Rock in a weary land higher than you are, and under this you may shelteryourself!
Here comes another forward. He is not a man full of doubts and fears, but he is a man of hopeful spirit. "Oh," he says, "Ihave many sins, but I hope that the Lord Jesus Christ will take them all away. I have many needs, but I hope that He willsupply them. I shall have many temptations, but I hope that He will ward them off. I shall have many difficulties, but I hopeHe will carry me through them." Ah, Man, I like to see you have a good long measuring rod when it is made of hope! Hope isa tall companion-he wades right through the sea and is not drowned-you cannot kill him, do what you may! Hope is one of thelast blessings God gives us and one that abides at the last with us. If a man is foodless and without covering, still he hopesto see better days, by-and-by. Now, Sinner, your hopes, I would have you to see, are very tall and very high-but remember,this Rock is higher than any of your hopes! Hope whatever you please. Let your hope expand itself-let it climb the highestmountain and stand on it-let it lift up itself higher and yet higher, but this Rock is higher still! Christ is a better Christthan you can hope for-He has more mercy than you hope for! He has more power to save than you hope to receive, more love thanyou can hope to have! He has a better Heaven for you than you could hope to enjoy!
But here comes another, and he says, "Ah, my hope has grown strong, I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He isa precious Christ. I can speak well of Him, for He has been my sure defense in every time of war, my refuge in every timeof distress, my granary in every hour of famine, my light in every night of darkness. I can speak well of Him and, in consequenceof what I know of Him, I can believe that He is able to save unto the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him. I believeHim to be all that He says He is. I believe in His Word. I rejoice in Him-my faith scarcely knows a bound when I begin tothink what He is, and what He has done for me." Yes, but He is a Rock higher than your faith! I love to see your faith mountingup very high, but Christ is better than your faith and higher than your faith. Why, Man, if your faith were twice as greatas it is, Christ would be a warrant for it all! No, if your faith could be multiplied a thousand times more, so that you couldbelieve more of Him, and better things of Him, and higher things of Him, still He would be higher than your faith could everclimb!
I do hope to grow in faith, and get more and more of that celestial virtue. I think I believe my Master better, now, thanI did once, though sometimes I think my faith fails me. Yet I am sure that I do enjoy a quieter conscience than I did, anda more peaceful calm than at one time I experienced. And I hope to believe in Him still more. I pray that my faith may continuallyincrease so that, being rooted and grounded in Him, I may grow up to the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus. But this Iknow, though you or I should grow till our faith should be greater than that of Paul, till it should be such a faith thatit should say to the fig tree, "Be you plucked up by the roots," or to the mountain, "Be you cast into the sea," and it shouldbe done-still, even then-Christ would be higher than our faith. We might believe a great deal about Him, but would faith graspall, even then? It has long arms, but not long enough to encompass Christ-He is greater than faith itself could conceive Himto be!
Here comes another. He says, "Ah, blessed be God, I have a golden measuring rod here-not that of hope, or fear, or faith,but, better still, the measuring rod of enjoyment." "Ah," says one, "how high have I been in enjoyment of Christ! He has takenme to Calvary and there I have seen the flowing of His precious blood-
'With Divine assurance knowing He has made my peace with God.' Not content with that, he has taken me to Tabor! There I haveseen my Lord transfigured and have beheld His Glory, as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and truth. No, more,He has taken me to the top of Pisgah and He has bid me 'view the landscape o'er.' I have seen the joys which He has reservedfor them that love Him. But," says the Believer, "Christ has said to me, 'Friend, come up higher.' When I first went to thefeast, I sat in the lower room of Repentance. He came in and said, 'Friend, come up higher,' and He took me into another chambercalled Faith. And then He came in again, and said, 'Friend, come up higher.' And He took me to the upper room of Assurance.Then He saw me again, and He said, 'Friend, come up higher,' and He took me to the upper room of Communion. And sometimeshe seems to me to say, 'Friend, come up higher, into the ecstatic bliss which the highest degrees of constant fellowship cangive.' And I am now waiting only till He should say, 'Come up higher,' and take me to His own bosom, to tarry with Him forever!"
Ah, well, I am glad to hear you talk thus. I wish I had many of those whose pastures are in these high places, many who couldsay that they had grown tall in these delightful things! But, remember, this Rock is higher than you are! All you have everenjoyed of Christ is but as the beginning of a topless mountain. When I have been in Scotland, I have gone up some of thehills there and I have thought, "This is a very high place, indeed! What a fine view there is, what a height I have reached!""Ah," someone has said, "but if you were to see the Alps, this hill would only seem like the beginning- you would only havegot to the foot when you had climbed as high as this!" And so it is with you. By your experience, your sweet enjoyment, youthink you have reached the top of the mountain-but Christ comes and whispers to you, "Look yonder, far above those clouds-youhave only begun to go up! This hill of communion is only one step. As yet you have only taken a child's leap-you have fartherto go, far higher than you could imagine or conceive." Ah, this is, indeed, a Rock higher than you are, the highest in communion-andthe next to the Throne of God!
"Well," cries another, "from what I have heard, and what I have read in God's Word, I am expecting very great things of Christwhen I shall see Him as He is. Oh, Sir, if He is better than the communion of His saints can make Him. If He is sweeter thanall His most eloquent preachers can speak of Him. If He is so delightful that those who know Him best cannot tell His beauties,what a precious-what a glorious-what an inconceivable Christ He must be!" Ah, Friend, I am glad you are measuring Christ byyour expectation! But let me tell you-high as your expectations are, He is higher than you are! Expect what you may, but whenyou see Him, you will say with the Queen of Sheba, "The half was not told me." You may sit down and think of Christ's gloriesand splendors, of the happiness that He has provided for His people, till you lose yourself in a very sea of delightful meditation!The promise dropped into your heart may go on widening in circles till you have grasped a whole universe of pleasure and delightin contemplating the name of Christ-but, remember, when you have conceived the most, Christ the Rock is still far above whatyou have conceived and imagined!
Let us pause here and ask-What shall we do with a hill that is higher than we are? Shall we lie forever at its base and notattempt to climb it? God forbid! Shall we pretend that we have climbed it? That were presumption! So let us press forward,evermore ascending it, ever crying when we get at the greatest height, "Lord, still lead me up, still lead me to the Rockthat is higher than I am; lead me on, O Lord, till I come to Heaven, and even then, still lead me beside the living fountainsof water, still lead me to the Rock that is higher than I am! O Lord, always help me to be climbing, pressing forward, lookingnot on that which is behind, but on that which is before, pressing forward to the mark of the prize of our high calling ofGod in Christ Jesus!"
Now, as some of you will be exercised with troubles, remember that the Rock is higher than you are. And when your troublesreach you, if you are not high enough to escape them, climb up to the Rock Christ, for there is no trouble that can reachyou when you get there! Satan will be howling at you and, perhaps he will be nibbling at your heel, barking and biting atyou-so climb into the Rock Christ and he will not be able to reach you, and you will scarcely hear his howling-he will below down in the valley when you are in the Rock higher than he is! Fears will arise and doubts will come in like a flood-thereis no place so safe in the time of a flood as a high rock, so climb to the Rock Christ-and
then, though the waves of the sea roar and the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, you will be secure if you are onthe Rock that is higher than you are! And oh, while the world is dragging you down, forever seek to be climbing up! If thedevil says, "Come down, again, and be worldly! Come down and be selfish," always cry, "Lord, lead me up, lead me to the Rockthat is higher than I am. My country is in the skies. Help me to be climbing upwards-never permit me to descend, lead me tothe Rock that is higher than I am."
And as for you who are still under a sense of sin, who have not yet found the Savior, let this be your prayer, "Lead me tothe Rock that is higher than I am." Do not get to measuring Christ by yourselves. As high as Heaven is above the earth, sohigh are His thoughts above your thoughts, and His ways above your ways. O Beloved, you should measure God's Grace by theimmeasurable-not by your nothingness, but by His infinity! Remember, God's mercy is beyond all bounds, for it swells abovethe flood of our sins. If our sins are as mountains, Christ's mercy, like the stars, shines as much above the mountains asabove the valleys! Cry out, Sinner, when Satan is dragging you down to the pit, "Lord, save me from the devouring flames andlead me to the Rock that is higher than I." And then, thank God, Christ is a Rock-not a mound that is raised by man! And thatRock shall stand forever! And if I get on it, there is no fear that the Rock will shake. I may shake on it, but it will nevershake under me-and if my enemies try to attack me, I can hide myself in the clefts of the Rock where they cannot reach me!And though ten thousand ages roll away, and many a stone is moved from its place, this Rock shall still abide-
"When rolling years shall cease to move."