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Our Lord’s Triumphant Ascension
April 27, 1890 by
C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou has received
gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them--Psalms 68:18 .
The hill of Zion had been taken out of the hand of the Jebusites. They had held it long after the rest of the country had been subdued; but David at last had taken it from them. This was the Mountain ordained of Jehovah of old to be the place of the Temple. David, therefore, with songs and shouts of rejoicing, brought up the ark from the abode of Obed-edom to the place where it should remain. That is the literal fact upon which the figure of the text is based, We are at no loss for the spiritual interpretation, for we turn to Ephesians 4:8 , where, quoting rather the sense of the passage than the exact words, Paul says, "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto Him" 'The same sense is found in Colossians 2:15 :"And having spoiled principalities anti powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Not misled by the will-o'-the-wisp of fancy, but guided by the clear light of the infallible Word, we see our way to expound our text. In the words of David we have an address to our Lord Jesus Christ, concerning His ascent to His glory. "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou has received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious 'also, that the Lord God might dwell among them."
Our Savior descended when He came to the manger of Bethlehem, a babe, and further descended when He became "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He descended lower still when he was obedient to death, even the death of the cross; and further yet when His dead body was laid in the grave. Well saith our apostle, "Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" Long and dark was the descent--there were no depths of humiliation, temptation, and affliction which He did not fathom. Seeing He stood in their place and stead, He went as low as justice required that sinners should go who had dared to violate the law of God. The utmost abyss of desertion heard Him cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Low in the grave He lay, but He had His face upward, for He could not see corruption.
On the third day He quitted the couch of the dead, and rose to the light of the living. He had commenced His glorious ascent. To prove how real was His resurrection, He stayed on the earth forty days, and showed Himself to many witnesses. Magdalene and James saw Him alone; the eleven beheld Him in their midst; the two on the road conversed with Him; five hundred brethren at once beheld Him. He gave infallible proofs that He was really risen from the dead, and these remain with us unto this day as historic facts. He ate a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb, to prove that He was no phantom. He said to the apostles, "Handle me, and see that it is I myself; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." One laid his finger in the print of the nails, and even thrust his hand into His side. Their very doubts were used to make the evidence clearer. The fact that Jesus died was put beyond question by the spear-thrust; and the fact that He was alive, in a material form, was equally well established by the touch of Thomas. Beyond a doubt, Christ Jesus has risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
This being settled beyond question, the time came for our Lord to continue His homeward, upward journey, and return unto the glory from which He had come down. From "the mount called Olivet," while His disciples surrounded Him, "He was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." The rest of His upward progress we cannot describe. Imagination and faith step in, and conceive of Him as rising beyond all regions known to us, fir above all imaginable height. He draws near to the suburbs of heaven; and surely the poet is not wrong when he says of the angels--
They brought his chariot from on high
To bear him to his throne;
Clapp'd their triumphant wings, and cried,
"The glorious work is done."
"Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in." How high He ascended after He passed the pearly portal Paul cannot tell us, save that he says "he ascended up far above all heavens," and describes Him as "set at God's right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion"; and as "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto." The man Christ Jesus has gone back to the place from whence His Godhead came. Thou art the King of glory, O Christ! Thou art the eternal Son of the Father! Thou sittest ever in the highest heaven, enthroned with all glory, clothed with all power, King of kings and Lord of lords. Unto thy name we humble present our hallelujahs, both now and forever.
I. Now, concerning the text itself, which speaks of the ascent of our ever blessed Lord, we shall say, first, that OUR LORD'S TRIUMPH WAS SET FORTH BY THIS ASCENSION.
He came here to fight the foes of God and man. It was a tremendous battle, not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickednesses and evil powers. Our Lord fought against sin, and death, and hell, and hate of God, and love of falsehood. He came to earth to be our champion. For you and for me, beloved, He entered the lists, and wrestled till He sweat great drops of blood: yea, "He poured out his soul unto death." When He had ended the struggle He declared His victory by ascending to the Father's throne.
Now His descent is ended . There was no need for Him to remain amid the men who despised Him. The shame, and suffering, and blasphemy, and rebuke are far beneath Him now. The sun has risen, and the darkness of night has fled. He has gone up beyond the reach of sneering Sadducees and accusing Pharisees. The traitor cannot again kiss Him, Pilate cannot scourge Him, Herod cannot mock Him. He is far above the reach of priestly taunt and vulgar jest. No more the cruel spear; The cross and nails no more; For hell itself shakes his frown, And all the heavens adore.
Now, also our Lord's work was done . We are sure that the purpose of His love is secure, or He would not have returned to His rest. The love that brought Him here would have kept Him here if all things necessary for our salvation had not been finished. Our Lord Jesus is no sudden enthusiast, who rashly commences an enterprise of which He wearies before it is accomplished. He does not give up a work which He has once undertaken. Because He said, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do," and then ascended to the Father, I feel safe in asserting that all that was required of the Lord Christ for the overthrow of the powers of darkness is performed and endured: all that is needed for the salvation of His redeemed is fully done. Whatever was the design of Christ's death, it will be accomplished to the full; for had He not secured its accomplishment He would not have gone back. I do not believe in a defeated and disappointed Savior, nor in a divine sacrifice which fails to effect its purpose. I do not believe in an atonement which is admirably wide but fatally ineffectual. I rejoice to hear my Lord say, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." Whatever was the purpose of the Christ of God in the great transaction of the cross, it must be fully effected: to conceive a failure, even of a partial kind, is scarcely reverent. Jesus has seen to it that in no point shall His work be frustrated. Nothing is left undone of all His covenanted engagements, "It is finished" is a description of every item of the divine labor; and, therefore, has He ascended on high. There are no dropped stitches in the robe of Christ. I say again, the love that brought our Lord here would have kept Him here if He had not been absolutely sure that all His work and warfare for our salvation had been accomplished to the full.
Further, as we see here the ending of our Lord's descent and the accomplishment of His work, remember that His ascent to the Father is representative. Every believer rose with Him, and grasped the inheritance. When He uprose, ascending high, He taught our feet the way. At the last His people shall be caught up together with the Lord in the air, and so shall they be forever with the Lord. He has made a stairway for His saints to climb to their felicity, and He has trodden it Himself to assure us that the new and living way is available for us. In His ascension, He bore all His people with Him. As Levi was in the loins of Abraham, when Melchizedek met Him, so were all the saints in the loins of Christ when He ascended up on high. Not one of the number shall fail to come where the head has entered, else were Jesus the Head of an imperfect and mutilated body. Though you have no other means of getting to glory but faith in Jesus, that way will bring you there without fail. Not only will He not be in glory and leave us behind, but He cannot be so, since we are one with Him; and where He is His people must be. We are in the highest glory in Jesus as our Representative, and by faith we are raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenlies, even in Him.
Our Lord's ascent is to the highest heaven . I have noticed this already; but let me remind you of it again, lest you miss an essential point. Our Lord Jesus is in no inferior place in the glory land. He was a servant here, but He is not so there. I know that He intercedes, and thus carries on a form of service on our behalf, but no strivings, and cryings, and tears are mingled with His present pleadings. With authority He pleads. He is a priest upon His throne, blending with His plea the authority of His personal merit. He saith, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth"; and therefore He is glorious in His prayers for us. He is Lord of every place, and of everything; He guides the wheel of providence, and directs the flight of angels; His kingdom ruleth over all. He is exalted above every name that is named, and all things are put under Him. Oh, what a Christ we have to trust in and to love!
And on this account we are called upon in the text no think much of His blessed Person. When we speak of what Christ has done, we must think much of the doing, but still more of the Doer. We must not forget the Benefactor in the benefits which come to us through Him. Note well how David puts it. To him the Lord is first and most prominent. He sees Him, he speaks to Him. " Thou has ascended on high. Thou hast led captivity captive. Thou hast received gifts for men." Three times he addresses Him by that personal pronoun "Thou." Dwell an the fact that He, the Son of David, who for our sakes came down on earth and lay in the manger, and hung upon a woman's breast, has gone up on high, into the glory infinite. He that trod the weary ways of Palestine now reigns as a King in His palace. He that sighed, and hungered, and wept, and bled, and died, is now above all heavens. Behold your Lord upon the cross--mark the five ghastly wounds, and all the shameful scourging and spitting which men have wrought upon Him! See how that blessed body, prepared of the Holy Ghost for the indwelling of the Second Person of the adorable Trinity, was evil entreated!
But there is an end to all this. " Thou has ascended on high." He that was earth's scorn is now heaven's wonder. I saw Thee laid in the tomb, wrapped about with cerements, and embalmed in spices; but Thou has ascended on high, where death cannot touch Thee. The Christ that was buried here is now upon the throne. The heart which was broken here is palpitating in His bosom now, as full of love and condescension as when He dwelt among men. He has not forgotten us, for He has not forgotten Himself, and we are part and parcel of Himself. He is still mindful of Calvary and Gethsemane. Even when you are dazzled by the superlative splendor of His exalted state, still believe that He is a Brother born for adversity.
Let us rejoice in the ascent of Christ as being the ensign of His victory, and the symbol thereof. He has accomplished His work. If Thou hadst not led captivity captive, O Christ, Thou hadst never ascended on high; and if Thou hadst not won gifts of salvation for the sins of men, Thou hadst been here still suffering! Thou wouldst never have relinquished thy chosen task if Thou hadst not perfected it. Thou art so set on the salvation of men, that for the joy that was set before Thee, Thou didst endure the cross, despising the shame; and we know that all must have been achieved, or Thou wouldst still be working out thy gracious enterprise. The voice of the ascension is --CONSUMMATUM EST: "It is finished."
II. Having led your thoughts that way, I would, secondly, remind you that THE LORD'S TRIUMPHAL ASCENT DEMONSTRATED THE DEFEAT OF ALL OUR FOES. "Thou has led captivity captive" is as certain as "Thou has ascended on high."
Brethren, we were captives once -- captives to tyrants, who wrought us woe, and would soon have wrought us death. We were captives to sin, captives to Satan, and therefore captives under spiritual death. We were captives under diverse lusts and imaginations of our own hearts: captives to error, captives to deceit. But the Lord Jesus Christ has led captivity captive. There is our comfort. Yet, forget not that we were hopeless captives to all these: they were too strong for us, and we could not escape from their cruel bondage.
The Lord Jesus, by His glorious victory here below, has subdued all our adversaries , and in His going up on high He has triumphed over them all, exhibiting them as trophies. The imagery may be illustrated by the triumph of Roman conquerors. They were wont to pass along the Via Sacra, and climb up to the Capitol, dragging at their chariot wheels the vanquished princes with their hands bound behind their backs. All those powers which held you captive have been vanquished by Christ. Whatever form your spiritual slavery took, you are clean delivered from it; for the Lord Christ has made captives those whose captives you were. "Sin shall not have dominion over you." Concerning Satan, our Lord has bruised his head beneath His heel. Death also is overcome, and his sting is taken away. Death is no more the king of dread: "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Whatever there was or is, which can oppress our soul, and hold it in bondage, the Lord Jesus has subdued and made it captive to Himself.
What then? Why, henceforth the power of all our adversaries is broken . Courage, Christians! You can fight your way to heaven, for the foes who dispute your passage have been already worsted in the field. They bear upon them the proofs of the valor of your leader. True, the flock of the Lord is too feeble to force its way; but listen, "The Breaker is come up before them, and the King at the head of them." Easily may the sheep follow where the Shepherd breaks the way. We have but to follow those heavenly feet, which once were pierced, and none of our steps shall slide. Move on, O soldiers of Jesus, for your Captain cries, "Follow me!" Would He lead you into evil? Has He not said, "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet." Your Lord has set His foot on the necks of your enemies: you wage war with vanquished foes. What encouragement this glorious ascension of Christ should give to every tried believer!
Remember, again, that the victory of our Lord Christ is the victory of allwho are in Him. "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Now, the seed of the woman is, first of all, the Lord Jesus; but also, it is all who are in union with Him. There are still two seeds in the world--the seed of the serpent, and these cannot enter into this rest; and the seed of the woman, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God: in these last is the living and incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever, Jesus, our Lord, represents them in all that He does--they died in Him, were buried in Him, are raised in Him, and in the day when He triumphed, they led captivity captive in Him. Looking at the great battle now raging in the world, I gaze with joyful confidence. We are fighting now with Popery, with Mohammedanism, with idolatry in the foulest forms; but the battle is in effect won. We are struggling with the terrible infidelity which has fixed itself like a cancer upon the church of God, and our spirit sinks as we survey the horrors of this almost civil war. How often we groan because the battle does not go as we would desire it! Yet there is no reason for dismay. God is in no hurry as we are. He dwells in the leisure of eternity, and is not the prey of fear, as we are. We read concerning the multitude, when they needed to be fed, that Jesus asked Philip a question; but yet it is added, "howbeit Jesus knew what he would do." So today the Lord may put many questions to His valiant ones, and "For the divisions of Reuben there may be great searchings of heart"; but He knows what He is going to do, and we may lay our heads upon His bosom and rest quiet. If He does not tell us how He will effect His purpose, yet assuredly He will not fail. His cause is sure to win the victory, for how can the Lord be defeated? A vanquished Christ! We have not yet learned to blaspheme, and so we put the notion far from us. No, brethren, by those bleeding hands and feet He has secured the struggle. By that side opened down to His heart we fee l that His heart is fixed in our cause. Especially by His resurrection, and by His climbing to the throne of God, He has made the victory of His truth, the victory of His church, the victory of Himself most sure and certain.
III. Let us notice, thirdly, that OUR LORD'S TRIUMPHANT ASCENSION WAS CELEBRATED BY GIFTS. The custom of bestowing gifts after victory was practiced among the Easterns, according to the song of Deborah. Those to whom a triumph was decreed in old Rome scattered money among the populace. Sometimes it seemed as if every man in the city was made rich by his share of the spoils of vanquished princes. Thus our Lord, when He ascended on high, received gifts for men, and scattered largess all around.
The psalm says: "Thou has received gifts for men." The Hebrew hath it, "Thou has received gifts in Adam"--that is, in human nature. Our Lord Christ had everything as Lord; but as the man, the Mediator, He has received gifts from the Father. "The King eternal, immortal, invisible," has bestowed upon His triumphant General a portion with the great, and He has ordained that He shall divide the spoil with the strong. This our Lord values, for He speaks of all that the Father has given Him with the resolve that He will possess it.
When Paul quotes the passage, he says, "He gave gifts to men." Did Paul quote incorrectly? I think not. He quoted, no doubt, from the Greek version. Is the Greek version therefore compatible with the Hebrew? Assuredly; for Dr. Owen says that the word rendered "received" may be read "gave." And if not, for Christ to receive for men is the same thing as to give to men, for He never receives for Himself, but at once gives it to those who are in Him. Paul looks to the central meaning of the passage, and gives us the heart and soul of its sense. He is not intending to quote it verbatim, but to give in brief its innermost teaching. Our Lord Jesus Christ has nothing which He does not give to His church. He gave Himself for us, and He continues still to give Himself to us. He receives the gift, but He only acts as the conduit-pipe, through which the grace of God flows to us. It leased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; and of His fullness have all we received.
What are these great ascension gifts? I answer that I invite your adoring attention to the sacred Trinity herein the sum of them is he Holy Spirit. I invite your adoring attention to the sacred Trinity herein manifested to us. How delightful it is to see the Trinity working out in unity the salvation of men! "Thou hast ascended on high": there is Christ Jesus. "Thou has received gifts for men": there is the Father, bestowing those gifts. The gift itself is the Holy Spirit. This is the great largess of Christ's ascension, which He bestowed on His church at Pentecost. Thus you have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit blessedly co-working for the benediction of men, the conquest of evil, the establishment of righteousness. O my soul, delight thyself in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One of the sins of modern theology is keeping these divine Persons in the background, so that they are scarcely mentioned in their several workings and offices. The theology which can feed your souls must be full of Godhead, and yield to Father, Son and Holy Spirit perpetual praise.
Beloved, the gifts here spoken of are those brought by the Holy Spirit. "The water that I shall give him," said Christ, "shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." He said again, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." We read that He "spoke of the Spirit, which they that believed on him should receive." "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" To conquer the world for Christ we need nothing but the Holy Spirit, and in the hour of His personal victory He secured us this boon. If the Holy Spirit be but given we have in Him all the weapons of our holy war. But observe, according to Paul, these gifts which our Lord gave are embodied in men; for the Holy Spirit comes upon men whom He has chosen, and works through them according to His good pleasure. Hence He gave some, apostles, some, evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers. No one may be judged to be given of God to the church in any of these offices unless as the Spirit dwells upon him. All are given of God upon whom the Holy Spirit rests, whatever their office may be. It is ours to accept with great joy the men who are chosen and anointed to speak in the name of the Lord, be they what they may. Paul, Apollos, Cephas, they are all the gifts of the risen Christ to His redeemed ones, for their edifying and perfecting. The Holy Spirit, in proportion as He abides in these servants of God, makes them to be precious benisons of heaven to His people, and they become the champions by whom the world is subdued to the Lord Jesus Christ.
These gifts, given in the form of men, are given for men. Churches do not exist for preachers; but preachers for churches. We have sometimes feared that certain brethren thought that the assemblies of believers were formed to provide situations for clerical persons; but, indeed, it is no so. My brethren in the church, we who are your pastors are your servants for Christ's sake. Our rule is not that of lordship, but of love. Every God-sent ministers, if he discharges his duty aright, waits upon the bride of Christ with loving diligence, and delights greatly to hear the Bridegroom's voice. I wish that you who talk of my Lord's servants as if they were rival performers would cease thus to profane the gifts of the ascended King. The varying abilities of those by whom the Lord builds up His church are all arranged by infinite wisdom, and it should be ours to make the most we can of them. Comparing and contrasting the Lord's gifts is unprofitable work. It is better to drink of the well of Elim than to grow hot and feverish in disputing as to whether it is better or worse than Beersheba or Sychar. One minister may be better for you than another; but another may be better for somebody else than the one you prefer. The least gifted may be essential to a certain class of mind; therefore, despise no one. When God gives gifts, shall you turn them over contemptuously, and say, "I like this well; but the other I like not?" Did the Father bestow these gifts upon His Son, and has the Holy Spirit put them into different earthen vessels that the excellency of the power might be of God; and will you begin judging them? No, Beloved, the Lord hath sent me to preach His gospel, and I rejoice to feel that I am sent for your sake. I entreat you to profit as much as you can by me by frequent hearing, by abounding faith, by practical obedience to the Word. Use all God's servants as you are able to profit by them. Hear them prayerfully, not for the indulgence of your curiosity, nor for the pleasing of your ear with rhetoric, but that you, through the Word of God, may feel His Spirit working in our hearts all the purpose of His will. Our conversion, sanctification, comfort, instruction, and usefulness, all come to us by the Holy Spirit, and that Spirit sends His powerful messages by the men whom He has given to be His mouths to men. See how wonderful was that ascension of our Lord, in which He scattered down mercies so rich and appropriate among the sons of men. From His glorious elevation above all heavens, He sends forth pastors, and preachers, and evangelists, through whom the Holy Spirit works mightily in them that believe. By them He gathers the redeemed together, and builds them up a church to His glory.
IV. I want the attention of all who are unconverted, for I have glorious tidings for them. To them I speak under my fourth head, OUR LORD'S TRIUMPH HAS A VERY SPECIAL BEARING.
"Thou has received gifts for men, " not for angels, not for devils, but for men poor fallen men. I read not that it is said, "for bishops or ministers" but "for men"; and yet there is a special character mentioned. Does the text particularly mention , saints," or those that have not defiled their garments? No, I do not read of them here. What a strange sovereignty there is about the grace of God! Truly He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy; for in this instance He selects for special mention those that you and I would have passed over without a word. "Yes, for the rebellious also." I must pause to brush my tears away. Where are you, ye rebels? Where are those who have lived in rebellion against God all their lives? Alas! You have been in open revolt against Him: you have raged against Him in your hearts, and spoken against Him with your tongues. Some have sinned as drunkards, others have broken the laws of purity, truth, honesty. Many rebel against the light, violate conscience, and disobey the Word-- these also are among the rebellious. So are the proud, the wrathful, the slothful, the profane, the unbelieving, the unjust. Hear, all of you, these words, and carry them home; and if they do not break your hearts with tender gratitude you are hard indeed. "Yea, for the rebellious also." When our Lord rode home in triumph He had a pitying heart towards the rebellious. When He entered the highest place to which He could ascend, he was still the sinner's friend. When all His pains and griefs were being rewarded with endless horror, He turned His eye upon those who had crucified Him, and bestowed gifts upon them.
This description includes those who have rebelled against God, though once they professed to be His loyal subjects. Perhaps I am addressing some who have so far backslidden that they have thrown up all religion and have gone back into the world and its sins: these are apostates from the profession which once they made. To these I would give a word of encouragement, if they will turn to the Lord. Once upon a time, John Bunyan was under great temptation from the devil. This trial he records in his Grace Abounding . He thought that God had given him up, and that he was cast away forever; and yet he found hope in this text. I have copied out a little bit which refers to it: "I feared also that this was the mark that the Lord did set on Cain, even continual fear and trembling under the heavy load of guilt that he had charged upon him for the blood of his brother Abel. Then did I wind and twine and shrink under the burden that was upon me, which burden did also so oppress me that I could neither stand, nor go, nor lie, either at rest or quiet. Yet that saying would sometimes come into my mind, 'He hath received gifts for the rebellious.' Rebellious, thought I, why surely they are such as once were under subjection to their Prince, even those who, after they had sworn subjection to His government, have taken up arms against Him; and this, thought I, is my very condition. Once I loved Him, feared Him, served Him; but now I am a rebel, and I have sold Him. I said, Let Him go if He will, but yet He has gifts for rebels; and then why not for me?"
Oh, that I could cause every despairing heart to reason in this way! Oh, that the Holy Spirit would put this argument into every troubled mind at this moment: " And then why not for me ? " Come home, dear brother, come home, for there are gifts for the rebellious; and why not for you? I know you deserted the Lord's Table, but the Lord of the Table has not deserted you. I know you have, as far as you could, forsaken the name of Christ, and even wished you could be unbaptized: but that could not be, nor can the Lord leave you to perish. I know you have done evil with both hands eagerly; and perhaps now you are living in a known sin, and when you go home today you will see it before your eyes. Nevertheless, I charge you, return unto the Lord at once. Come to your Lord and Savior, who still prays, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Behold how in His glory He "hath received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also." O my soul, I charge thee, on thine own account, hang on to this most precious declaration, for thou, too, hast been a rebel. Would God that all my brothers and sisters would be cheered by this dear word, and take it home to themselves with a believing repentance and a holy hatred of sin! I would print the words in stars across the brow of night." Yea, for the rebellious also."
V. I have done when I have handled the fifth point, which is this: OUR LORD'S TRIUMPHANT ASCENSION SECURES THE CONSUMMATION OF HIS WHOLE WORK. What doth it say? "That the Lord God might dwell among them." When our Lord Christ came here at the first He was willing enough to "dwell" among us; but it could not be. "The Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us," like a Bedouin in his tent, but not as a dweller at home. He could not "dwell" here on that occasion. He was but a visitor, and badly treated at that. "There was no room for him in the inn," where everybody else was freely welcome. "He came unto his own"-- surely they will lodge Him, "but his own received him not. "There was no room for Him in the temple-- there He had to use the scourge. There was room for Him in the open streets, for they took up stones to stone Him. Out of the synagogue they hurried Him, to cast Him down headlong from the brow of the hill. "Away with him! Away with him!" was the cry of the ribald crowd. This dear visitor, who came here all unarmed, without sword or bow, they treated as though He had been a spy or an assassin, who had stolen among them to do them ill. And so they ran upon Him with a spear, and He, quitting these inhospitable realms which knew Him not, took home with Him the marks of man's discourtesy. O earth, earth, how couldst thou drive away thy dearest Friend, and compel Him to be as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth but for a night; nay, worse, as a man astonished, who meets with wounding in the house of His friends?
After He had risen again, He went home, that from this throne He might direct a work by which earth should become a place where God could abide. Again is the temple of God to be with men, and He shall dwell among them. This world of ours has been sprinkled with the precious blood of the Lamb of God, and it is no longer as an unclean thing. Jesus is the lamb of God who so taketh away the sin of the world that God can treat with men on terms of grace, and publish free salvation. The Lord God Himself had long been a stranger in the land. Did not the holy man of old say, "I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were?" But Jesus, the ascended One, is pouring down such gifts upon this sin-smitten world, that it will yet become a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness and the God of righteousness.
This promise is partly fulfilled before your own eyes this day; for the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, and He has never returned. Jesus said, "He shall abide with you forever." The Holy Dove has often been greatly grieved, but He has never spread His wings to depart. This is still the dispensation of the Spirit. You hardly need to pray to have the Spirit poured out; for that has been done. What you need is a baptism of the Holy Spirit; namely, to go down personally into that glorious flood which has been poured forth. Oh, to be immersed into the Holy Ghost and into fire: covered with His holy influence, "plunged in the Godhead's deepest sea, and lost in His immensity!" Here is our life and power, for thus the Lord God doth dwell among us. Ever since the ascension the Holy Ghost has remained among men, though He has not been, at all seasons, equally active. All through the night of Romanism, and the schoolmen, He still tarried: there were humble hearts which rejoiced to be His temples even in those doleful days. Today He is still with His regenerated ones. In spite of impudent strivings against the divine inspiration of His Holy Scripture, and, notwithstanding the follies of ecclesiastical amusements, He is with His chosen. Lord, what is man that thy Spirit should dwell with him? But so it is; and this is why our Lord went up to Heaven and received divine gifts that by Him the Lord God might dwell among us.
But there cometh a day when this shall be carried out to the letter. Methinks I hear the angels say, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Now, "in like manner" must mean in Person. In Person our Lord was taken up into heaven, and in Person He will come again; and when He cometh, the Lord god will, indeed, dwell among us. Oh, that the day would come! We wait and watch for His glorious appearing; for then will He dwell among men in a perfect fashion. What happy days shall we have when Jesus is here! What a millennium His presence will bring; there can be no such auspicious era without it, any more than there can be summer without the sun. He must come first, and then will the golden age begin. The central glory of that period shall be that the Lord is here. "The Lord God shall dwell among them." Then shall be heard the song which will never end, earth's homage to the Lord, who renewed the heavens and the earth, and has taken up His dwelling in them. "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heart; for he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." Up till now this work has been going on; but as yet it is incomplete. "Every prospect pleases, and only man is vile," is still most sadly true. The rankness of sin destroys the sweet odors of this world, so that the pure and holy God cannot abide in it; but since the Lord Jesus hath sweetened it with His sacred merits, and the Spirit is purifying it by His residence in men, the Lord smelleth a savor of rest, and He will not give up this poor fallen planet. Even now His angels come and go in heavenly traffic with the chosen. Soon the little boat of this globe shall be drawn nearer to the great ship, and earth shall lie alongside heaven. Then shall men praise God day and night in His temple. Heaven shall find her choristers among the ransomed from among men. The whole world shall be as a censer filled with incense for the Lord of hosts. All this will be because of those gifts received and bestowed by our Lord Jesus in the day when He returned to His glory, leading captivity captive. O Lord, hasten thy coming. We are sure that thine abiding presence and glorious reign will come in due season. Thy coming down secured thy going up: thy going up secures thy coming down again. Wherefore, we bless and magnify Thee, O ascended Lord, with all our hearts, and rise after Thee as Thou dost draw us upward from groveling things. So be it! Amen.
Daily Blessings for God's People
Published on Thursday, January 6th, 1916.
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
On Thursday Evening, 21st September, 1871.
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. He that is our God is the God of salvation, and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death." Psalms 68:19-20 .
WE observe that this Psalm is a very difficult one. One of the ablest commentators calls it a titanic Psalm. It is truly a giant Psalm, and to master it means much labour. Yet it is by no means difficult to understand when it comet to practical duties, and to those doctrines which are vital. For instance, the two verses before us are very simple and do not need any explanation, but only need to be impressed upon our memory. So is it always throughout Holy Scripture; wherever there are difficult places, they do not touch vital truths. The matter of our salvation is plain enough. The Book of Revelation may be difficult, but not the Gospel according to Matthew. With regard to the future, there may be many clouds, but with regard to that blessed day which is past, which was the crisis of the world's history, when our Saviour hung upon the tree, the darkness is past, and the true light shineth there. Don't, therefore, busy yourselves most about those things which are most difficult, for they are usually of least importance. Concern your heart most with the simplicities of the gospel, for it is there, in the way, the truth, and the life, that the essential matter lies.
Let us come to these two verses, and remark that they remind us first of the mercies of life. "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits." They then assure us of the mercies of death. "He that is our God is the God of our salvation, and unto God belong the issues from death." And then the two verses tell us of the common occupation of both life and death, namely, the blessing of God, whose mercy continues to us in both states. Blessed be Jehovah, whether I receive the daily load of his benefits, or whether he open for me the gates of the grace.
Let us begin then, and contemplate for a few moments:
I. THE MERCIES OF OUR LIFE.
The text saith, "He daily loadeth us with benefits." Let us keep to the English version just now. Take the words of it. What is it that he gives us? Benefits. We have a very beautiful word in the English language benevolence. You know that means good wishing, bene volens. He may be a benevolent man who is not able to do any act of kindness, to give any of his substance away for lack of any. But God's goodness to us is not merely bene volens, in which he wishes us well, but it is beneficence or good doing. His gifts and benefits are deeds of goodness, acts of goodness. He doth to us that which is good. He doth not only wish us well, and speak to us well, and direct us well, but he doeth well unto us. He doth not only say, "I pity thy last estate," but he delivers the lost out of their ruin. He doth not say, as the churl doth, "Be thou warmed, and be thou filled," and do no more, but, wishing us well, he doth well unto us; he warms cur hearts with his love, and fills them with his mercy, and sends us on our way rejoicing. It is true God speaks us well. What more could he say than, to us, he has said in his blessed Word? It is true he wishes us well. "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but had rather that he turn unto me and live." But the essence of his goodness lies in this, that he goes beyond wishes and words into acts.
Begin, brethren, with the greatest of his acts. "He spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all." In that gift he bath already given us all things, and from that blessed pledge he has never gone back, but he has given us all that we want for this life, and for the life to come, for ye have grace and glory, and hath abounded in each. The upper springs fail not, neither do the nether springs. If Christ is our perpetual bread and wine, so, too, our common bread, in answer to our prayer, is given us according to his assurance, "Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure." Will you try to think of the benefits which you have received, dear brother, dear sister? Turn them over now in your mind the benefits that you have actually yourself received not only read of, and heard of, and had promises of, but that you have received. Oh! the benefits of early education! the being restrained from, sin. Oh! the benefits of conviction! of being enlightened and made to see the guilt off sin. Oh! the sweet benefit of being led to the Saviour! made to stand at the cross foot, where the blood speaks better things than that of Abel. Oh! the benefit of perfect pardon and of righteousness, which covers us and justifies in the sight of God! What an unspeakable benefit is regeneration! Who shall prize the benefit of adoption? Who is he that shall describe the benefit of daily education in the things of God of preservation from falling into final, vital sin of sanctification carried on from day to day? We have benefits that we know of, but we probably have ten times as many that we know not of. Some of them come in at the front door of the house; some of the richest of them seem to steal in at the back door. They are among the most precious bounties that fly in with so soft a wing that we hear them not when they come. Ye shall sooner count the hairs on your head, or the dust upon the sand beach, than you shall be able to estimate the number of his benefits.
Leave that word then, and note the next. It is said in the text concerning God's benefits, that he loads us with them loads us with benefits. He does not put a little upon us of his goodness, but much; very much, until it becomes a load. Have you never known what it is to be bowed right down with such goodness? I have, I freely confess it I have desired to praise him, but a sense of love so bowed me down that I could only adopt the language of the psalmist and say, "Praise is silent for thee, O God, in Zion." It seemed as if "words were but air, and tongues but clay, and his compassion's so divine," that it was impossible to speak of them. His mercies, as our hymn said just now, come as think and as fast as the moments do. In fact, it is literally so. Every moment needs heavings of the lungs, pulsings of the blood. The slightest circumstance might prevent one or the other. God's continued benefits come to us even in the simple form of preserved life. We are constantly exposed to peril. "Plagues and death around us fly."God preserves us from perils to the body. Our thoughts whither might they go? They might in a moment lead us into heresies and foul blasphemies. It is no little thing to be preserved from that spiritual pestilence that walketh both in darkness and the noonday. Glory be to God, who sends us temporal and spiritual benefits so numerous, and each one so weighty, that eye cannot say less than this, "That he daily loadeth us with his benefits, until we seem bowed down to the earth under a joyful sense of obligation to his mercy." "He loadeth us with benefits."
Oh! are any of you inclined to murmur? Do you think God deals hard with you? Well, you are what you are by his grace. Though you are not what you wish to be, yet remember you are not what, if strict justice were carried out, you would be. In the poor-house you might be few admire that residence. In the prison you might be God preserves you from the sin that would bring you there. In the lunatic asylum you might be better men and women than you are have come to that. At the grave's mouth you might be on the sick bed, on the verge of eternity. God's holiest saints have not been spared from the grave. In hell you might be amongst the lost, wailing, but hopelessly wailing, gnashing your teeth in utter despair. O God, when we think of what we are not, because thy grace has kept us from it, we cannot but say, "Thou hast loaded us with benefits."
But then think of what you are, you Christians. You are God's children; you are joint-heirs with Christ. "All things are yours"; ay, and "things to come," you have guaranteed too preservation to the end, and you have, after the end of this life, glory without end. The "many mansions" are for you; the palms and harps of the glorified are for you. You have a share in all that Christ has, and is, and shall be. In all the gifts of his ascension you have a part; in the gifts that come to us through his session at the right hand of God, you have your share; and in, the glories of the Second Advent, the grand hope of the Church of God, you shall partake. See how, in the present, and in the past, and in the future, he loadeth you with benefits. There are two great words already.
But the next word is equally large. "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits." A poor man shall call at your door, and you shall give to him all he wants for food, and cover him, and give him something to make glad his heart withal. If you do it once, you reckon that you have done well. Supposing he should call again to-morrow, you might find it in your heart to do the same. But suppose he called upon you seven days in the week: I am afraid that by degrees that would become seven times too often, for we count, when we have done men a good turn, that someone else should see to them next time. If we load them especially with benefits, we say, "Don't encroach; don't ride a willing horse too fast. You must not come again so often. You weary me." Ah! this is man; but look at God. He daily loadeth us with benefits. How many days has he done that with some of us? Thirty years? "Ah!" saith one, "I can talk of sixty years" yes, and some of you of seventy and eighty years. Well, he has loaded you with benefits every day. You have never been above the rank of a pauper, so far as your God is concerned. But I will put it differently. You have been a gentleman commoner upon the goodness of God all your life. It has been your lot, like that of Mephibosheth, to sit daily at the King's table and give a portion from him. And yet you murmur. You have been unbelieving, proud, idle; all sorts of ill-tempers have you shown. Yet has he daily loaded you with benefits. It has sometimes seemed to be a wrestling between our sin and God's love, but up to this hour his love has conquered. We have drawn mightily upon his exchequer, but that exchequer has never been exhausted. The load of mercy which was used yesterday won't do for to-day. Like manna, it must come fresh and fresh, and the blessing is that it does come fresh and fresh. When God draws the curtain and stands in the sunlight, mercy streams in on the sunbeam; and when he shuts the eyelids of the day and the evening comes, it is mercy that puts its finger upon our eyelids and bids us rest. He "daily loadeth us with benefits" every day; and he loads us with benefits not only on bright days, but on dark days. When we are sick, and tossing to and for upon the bed, he still is loading us with benefits, only in another form. He sends sometimes his choicest mercies to us in black-edged envelopes. The very brightest gems of heaven come to us, and we know them not. They sparkle not until faith's eye has seen them. Nature has not perceived their excellence. How he loadeth us with benefits on Sabbath days! There is a dear brother who is almost always here, who, when he sees me on Sunday mornings, generally makes use of some such exclamation as this, "Every day is good to me, but the Sabbath day is seven good days in one. It is blest seven times over." And, indeed, it so is. He loadeth us with benefits on the Sabbath. But then we have our Monday mercies and our Tuesday mercies too; and right on to the close on Saturday night the Lord continues to heap on his mercies one after another, that he may make us feel that we shall sooner weary with thanking him than he will weary in giving us cause for thankfulness.
There is one other word a very little one, but a sweet one too: "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits." "Us." Personal matters bring sweetness to our soul, and herein lieth the wonder. That God should load David with benefits was marvellous to David, but not to me. The marvel to me is that he should load me with benefits. Beloved brethren and sisters, I do not feel your imperfections, and, therefore, I do not so much perceive the sovereignty of God in dealing graciously with you, but I know some of my own shortcomings, and they seem to me to be greater than those of others; therefore, do I with gratitude admire the abounding mercy of God that he should load me with benefits.
"Why do I meet to hear his voice,
And enter where there's room;
While thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?"
There may be some whose consciences will allow them to think that their praying made the distinction. I am not able to believe that, but I am compelled to feel that, if I enjoy the things of Christ that others do not, it is of the Lord's mercy, and not of any goodness in me, but entirely of his infinite grace. Let us bless the Lord at this hour because he loadeth us with benefits when he might have passed us by. He might have suffered us to go on heaping up our transgressions until the measure thereof had been filled, and then he might have made us reap for ever that which we had sown. Instead of this, he has made us many of us however unlikely persons to be his chosen ones, and he hath loaded us with benefits.
I have spoken very simply entirely with the view that those hearts that have tasted that the Lord is gracious may now wake up all their powers to praise and bless the name of the Most High. We must not pass away from this, however, without observing that our translation is not literal indeed, is not the meaning of the passage. Those of you who will look at your Bibles will perceive that the words "who" and "with benefits", are put in it italics to show that they are not in the Hebrew, but have been supplied by the translators, as they thought them necessary to the sense; and some of the best interpreters say that the passage means this, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth our burdens"; and I have little doubt that that is the correct translation. It is not so much that he loads us, as that he lifts our load for us, and bears it for us. Well, at any rate, that is a sweet rendering, "He daily bears our burden"; and it is a rendering which is a word of rebuke to some of you. Did you not come into this tabernacle tonight with your burdens on your back? Well, it was wrong you should ever have them. "Cast all your care on him, for he careth for you." A man who has a burden-bearer certainly need not bear the burden himself. Faith is never burdened, because she knows where to lay her burden. She hath a burden, but she puts it on the Almighty God. But unbelief, with a far less load than faith carries easily, is bowed down to the dust. Arise, O child of God, whatever thy burden is, and by an act of faith cast it upon God. You have done your little all; leave it now. Your fretfulness will not alter things. You cannot change he night, nor make one hair white or black. Why fret and worry? The world went on very well before you were born; it will when you are dead. Leave the helm. Whenever you have been foremast you made a mistake. He that carves for himself will cut his fingers; but when God has been foremost, and you have been content to follow, you have never had any mistake then; and when God has been your shepherd, you have been constrained to say, "I shall not want." Oh! then, have done with burden-bearing, and take up the language of the text, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens."
And then the text adds that he is "the God of our salvation." In this life we ought to praise him. His daily mercies are all sweetened with this reflection that we are saved souls. Our morsel may be dry, but we dip it in this dainty sauce of his salvation. It is true I am poor, but I am saved. It is true I am sick, but I am saved. It is true I am obscure and unknown, but I am saved; and the salvation of God sweetens all. Then is it added to that, it is "our" salvation. He that can grasp the salvation which is in Christ and say, "This is mine," is rich to all the intents of bliss, and has his daily life gilded with joy.
And then it is added beyond that, "our God." God is ours. He that is our God is the God of salvation. His omnipotence and omniscience, his immutability and his faithfulness all his attributes are ours. The Father is ours; the Son is ours; the Spirit is ours. The God of election is ours; the God of redemption is ours; the God of sanctification is ours. Oh! with all this, how can we be cast down? Why should we repine! We have certainly abounding cause for blessing and praising the Lord. Those are the mercies If life. And now for a few minutes let us contemplate:
II. THE MERCIES OF DEATH.
"Unto God belong the issues from death." This may mean several things. We will include its meanings under these heads. Unto God belong escapes from death. Oh! blessed be his name, we may come very near the grave, and the jaws of death may be open to receive us; but the pit cannot shut her mouth upon us until our hour is come.
"Plagues of death around me fly.
Till he please, I cannot die.
Not a single shaft can hit,
Until the God of love see fit.
"What though a thousand at thy side,
At thy right hand ten thousand, died?
Our God, his chosen people saves,
Amongst the dead, amidst the graves."
Whatever occurs around us, we need not be alarmed. We are immortal until our work is done. And amidst infectious or contagious diseases, if we are called to go there, we may sit as easily as though in balmy air. It is not ours to preserve our life by neglecting our duty. It is better to die in service than live in idleness better to glorify God and depart, than rot above ground in neglecting what he would have us to do. Unto God belong the issues from death. We may, therefore, go without temerity into any danger where duty calls us.
But then unto God belong the issues that lead actually down to death. It may be we shall not die. There are some who are comforted much by the belief that Christ will come, and they shall not die. I do not profess to be among the number. I would as soon die as not, and rather, I think, if I might have my choice, for herein would be a greater conformity to the sufferings of Christ, in actually passing through the grave and rising again, than will fall to the lot of those who do not die. At all events, those who die not shall have no preference beyond them that sleep. So the Apostle tells us. "To" die is "gain"; and we will look upon it as such. But whenever we die, if we die, it will be at God's bidding. No one hath the key of death but the Lord of life. A thousand angels could not hurl us to the grave. All the devils in hell cannot destroy the least lamb in Christ's flock. Till God saith "Return," our spirit shall not leave the body; and we may be well content to depart when God saith the time is come. Oh! how blessed it is to think that the arrows of death are in the quiver of God, and they cannot be shot forth unless as the Lord wills it! Unto the Lord belong the issues from death.
Think of this, then, about your departed friends The Master took them home. Think about your own departure. It is not to be arranged by your folly, not by the malice of the wicked. It will all be planned and designed by the infinite love of God.
But the text may mean something more. Unto God belong the issues from death; that is, the coming up from death again. We place the bodies of the saints in the territory of death, but they are only put there, as it were, because there is a lien upon them for a time. They must come out. They must be delivered. for his word says, if we believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, "so also them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." There shall not be a bone or a piece of a bone of one of the saints kept by the enemy as a trophy of his conquest over the Saviour. Christ shall vanquish death entirely, and from the sepulchre he shall snatch all the trophies of the grave. We shall rise again, beloved. What though our bodies rot? What though they feed plants, and in due time feed animals, and pass through innumerable permutations and combinations? Yet he that made us can re-make us; and the voice that bade us live shall bid these bodies live again. "Unto God belong the issues from death." In this we are comforted to fall asleep, because the angel of the churches shall guard our dust.
And then this further thought. The issues from death grasp all that comes after death. The spirit issues from death never touched by it indeed. Leaving the body behind a while, the spirit enters into a glory, waiting for the fulness. Then when Christ descends, and the trumpet sounds, and the dead in Christ rise in the first resurrection, then shall the re-united manhood enter into the fulness of the glory with a manifested Saviour. These issues from death belong to God, and God secures them to his people. He shall give them to them for whom he has appointed them. He shall give them to those whom he has made worthy by his grace to be partakers of this heritage. They belong to him not to us by merit, but they are his gifts by covenant and by grace. Oh! then, how sweet it is to think, "The path down to the grave, my God has planted it. It is all his all his own; and when my turn shall come to go into that garden wherein is the sepulchre, I shall be in my Father's territory." Jesus Christ is Lord of the sick-bed. He makes the bed of his people in their affliction. Even down to the borders of the grave to the edge of Jordan's river it is all Immanuel's land; and he often makes it the land of Beulah. And then, when I dip my foot in that chill stream, it is still my Master's country. I am not out of the presence of the Lord of life now I am coming to the land of death-shade and through the river, but it is the Master's river still, and, on the other side, it is my Lord's own land. When the shining ones shall meet me to conduct me up to the jewelled "city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God," I shall be always at home, always in my Father's country, never an exile, never come upon a tract of territory over which he hath no power. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for he is with me. His rod and his staff, even there have they sway, and they shall comfort me." Be of good cheer, beloved. "Goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life," and, life being ended, you shall "dwell in the house of your God for ever." In life and in death, you shall prove the tokens of his special love. And now we wind up with this. Here is:
III. THE COMMON OCCUPATIONS OF BOTH CONDITIONS.
"I will praise thee in life
I will praise thee in death
I will praise thee as long
As thou lendest me breath."
"I will praise thee for ever and ever." The one occupation of a Christian is to praise his God. Now, in order to do this, we must maintain by God's grace a grateful, happy, praiseful frame of mind; and we must endeavour to express that condition of mind by songs of gratitude. This should be our morning's work. Should there not be the morning song? This should be the evening's work. Let it be our vespers to bless and praise God. Israel had the morning lamb and the evening lamb. Let us make both ends of the day bright with his praise, and during the day. We are in a wrong state of mind if we are not in a thankful state of mind. Depend upon it, there is something wrong with you if you cannot praise God. "Oh!" says one, "what, in trouble?" Yes, in every bitter trouble too, for Job could say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord." "But are we never to be sorrowful?" Yes, yet always rejoicing. How can that be? Ah! the Lord teach you it! It is a work of grace. Cast down, but yet, for all that, rejoicing in the Lord! He lifts up the light of his countenance upon us, even when heart and flesh are failing us. I say again, there is something amiss with us when our heart does not praise God. Do as much as you can also. When your heart is glad, try to. praise him with your lip. Do you work alone? Sing. Perhaps, if you work in company, you cannot; but sing with the heart. Men of the world, I am afraid, sing more than we do. I do not admire the most of their songs. They do not seem to have much sense about them at least the modern ones. But let us sing some of the songs of Zion. You do not want to put your harps on the willows, but if they are there, take them down and praise the Lord, who leadeth you with benefits in life and in death. Therefore, habitually praise him. And, brethren and sisters, all our actions, as well as our thoughts and words, should tend to, the praise of him who always blesses us. You may stop praising God when he stops having mercy upon you not till then; and as there is always a new mercy coming to your doors let new praise be going up out of your hearts." But how can I praise God by my actions? saith one. "Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by him." I try to praise God by preaching to-night. Some of you will go to your trades. Well, praise God at your trades. Any work, any lawful calling may be to the Christian priest (and all Christians are priests) the exercise of his sacred functions. You may make your smock-frock, if you will, a vestment; you shall make your meal a sacrament; you shall make everything in the house like the pots that were before the altar; the bells upon the horses shall be "holiness unto the Lord."
And, dear brethren, to close. Let me remark that if we praise God ourselves by word and life, we ought to try to bring others to praise him too. You do not praise God, indeed, unless you want others to do so. It is a mark of sincere thankfulness that it desires others to assist it in the expression of its joy. Blessed be the Lord, this same Psalmist here, who says for himself, "Blessed he the Lord", is the writer of the 67th Psalm. You know how he says there, "Let the people praise thee yea, let all the people praise thee!Oh! let the nations be glad and sing for joy!" Then he says again, "Let the people praise thee, O God; yea, let all the people praise thee!" Do your utmost to be the means, in God's hands, of bringing others to praise him. Tell them what he has done for you. Tell them of his saving grace. Invite sinners to Christ. Let it be:
"All your business here below
To say,"Behold the Lamb!"
and in this way you will be setting other tongues a-praising God, so that when your tongue is silent, there shall be others that will take up the strain. Labour for this, beloved, every one of you. Labour for the extension of the choir that shall sing the praises of the Saviour I trust we shall never fall into that narrow-minded spirit which seems to say, "It is enough for me if I am saved, and if those that go to my little place of worship are all right. It is quite enough." No, Master, thy throne is not to be set up in some little conventicle in a back street, and there alone. Thou are not to reign in some little corner of a city, and there alone Thou art not to take this island of Great Britain, and reign in it alone; nor in Europe in one quarter of the earth alone. Let the whole earth be filled with his praise! And what Christian heart will refuse to say, "Amen and amen"? God grant it may be so! Amen.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 68". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter