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Light at Evening Time
October 25, 1857 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"It shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light." Zechariah 14:7 .
I shall not stay to notice the particular occasion upon which these words were uttered, or to discover the time to which they more especially refer; I shall rather take the sentence as a rule of the kingdom, as one of the great laws of God's dispensation of grace, "that at evening time it shall be light." Whenever philosophers wish to establish a general law, they think it necessary to collect a considerable number of individual instances; these being put together, they then infer from them a general rule. Happily, this need not be done with regard to God. We have no need, when we look abroad in providence, to collect a great number of incidents, and then from them infer the truth; for since God is immutable, one act of his grace is enough to teach us the rule of his conduct. Now, I find in this one place it is recorded that on a certain occasion, during a certain adverse condition of a nation, God promised that "at evening time it should be light." If I found that in any human writing, I should suppose that the thing might have occurred once, that a blessing was conferred in emergency on a certain occasion, but I could not from it deduce a rule; but when I find this written in the book of God, that on a certain occasion when it was evening time with his people God was pleased to give them light, I feel myself more than justified in deducing from it the rule, that always to his people at evening time there shall be light. This, then, shall be the subject of my present discourse. There are different evening times that happen to the church and to God's people, and as a rule we may rest quite certain that at evening time there shall be light. God very frequently acts in grace in such a manner that we can find a parallel in nature. For instance, God says, "As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, even so shall my word be, it shall not return unto me void, it shall accomplish that which I please, it shall prosper in the thing whereto I have sent it." We find him speaking concerning the coming of Christ, "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth." We find him liking the covenant of grace to the covenant which he made with Noah concerning the seasons, and with man concerning the different revolutions of the year "Seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." We find that the works of creation are very frequently the mirror of the works of grace, and that we can draw figures from the world of Nature to illustrate the great acts of God in the world of his grace toward his people. But sometimes God oversteps nature. In nature after evening time there cometh night. The sun hath had its hours of journeying; the fiery steeds are weary; they must rest. Lo, they descend the azure steeps and plunge their burning fetlocks in the western sea, while night in her ebon chariot follows at their heels God, however, oversteps the rule of nature. He is pleased to send to his people times when the eye of reason expects to see no more day, but fears that the glorious landscape of God's mercies will be shrouded in the darkness of his forgetfulness. But instead thereof God overleapeth nature, and declares that at evening time instead of darkness there shall be light. It is now my business to illustrate this general rule by different particulars. I shall dwell most largely upon the last, that being the principal object of my sermon this morning. I. To begin, then, "At evening time it shall be light." The first illustration we take from the history of the church at large . The church at large has had many evening-times. If I might derive a figure to describe her history from anything in this lower world, I should describe her as being like a sea. At times the abundance of grace has been gloriously manifest. Wave upon wave has triumphantly rolled in upon the land, covering the mire of sin, and claiming the earth for the Lord of Hosts. So rapid has been its progress that its course could scarce be obstructed by the rocks of sin and vice. Complete conquest seemed to be foretold by the continual spread of the truth. The happy church thought that the day of her ultimate triumph had certainly arrived, so potent was her word by her ministers, so glorious was the Lord in the midst of her armies, that nothing could stand against her. She was "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Heresies and schisms were swept away, false gods and idols lost their thrones; Jehovah Omnipotent was in the midst of his church, and he upon the white horse rode forth conquering and to conquer. Before long, however, if you read history, you find it always has happened that there came an ebb-tide. Again the stream of grace seemed to recede, the poor church was driven back either by persecution or by internal decay; instead of gaining upon man's corruptions it seemed as if man's corruptions gained on her; and where once there had been righteousness like the waves of the sea, there was the black mud and mire of the filthiness of mankind. Mournful tunes the church had to sing, when by the rivers of Babylon she sat down and wept, remembering her former glories, and weeping her present desolation. So has it always been progressing, retrograding, standing still awhile, and then progressing once more, and falling back again. The whole history of the church has been a history of onward marches, and then of quick retreats a history which I believe is, on the whole, a history of advance and growth, but which read chapter by chapter, is a mixture of success and repulse, conquest and discouragement. And so I think it will be even to the last. We shall have our sunrises, our meridian noon, and then the sinking in the west; we shall have out sweet dawnings of better days, our Reformations, our Luthers and our Calvins; we shall have our bright full noon-tide, when the gospel is fully preached, and the power of God is known; shall have our sunset of ecclesiastical weakness and decay. But just as sure as the evening-tide seems to be drawing over the church, "at evening time it shall be light." Mark well that truth all through the sacred history of the church. In the day when every lamp of prophesy seemed to have ceased, when he who once thundered in the streets of Rome was burned at the stake and strangled; when Savanarola had departed, and his followers had been put to confusion, and the black clouds of Popery seemed to have quenched the sunlight of God's love and grace upon the world; in those dark dim ages when the gospel seemed to have died out, no doubt Satan whispered in himself, "The church's sunset is now come." It is evening time with her. Only a few rays are struggling from the sun of righteousness to cheer the darkness. Satan thought mayhap the world should lie for ever beneath the darkness of his dragon wing. But lo! at evening time it was light. God brought forth the solitary monk that shook the world; he raised up men to be his coadjutors and helpers; the sun rose in Germany; it shone in every land, nor have we ever had an even-tide so near to darkness since that auspicious time. Yet there have been other seasons of dark foreboding. There was a time when the church of England was sound asleep, when the various bodies of Dissenters were quite as bad, when religion degenerated into a dead formality, when no life and no power could be found in any pulpit throughout the land, but when an earnest man was so rare that he was almost a miracle. Good men stood over the ruins of our Zion, and said, "Alas, alas, for the slain of the daughter of my people! Where, where are the days of the mighty puritans who with the banner of the truth in their hand crushed a lie beneath their feet? O truth! thou hast departed; thou hast died." "No," says God, "it is evening time; and now it shall be light." There were six young men at Oxford who met together to pray those six young men were expelled for being too godly; they want abroad throughout our land, and the little leaven leavened the whole lump. Whitfield, Wesley, and their immediate successors flashed o'er the Land like lightning, in a dark night, making all men wonder whence they came and who they were; and working so great a work, that both in and out of the Establishment, the gospel came to be preached with power and vigor. At evening time God has always been pleased to send light to his church. We may expect to see darker evening times than have ever been beheld. Let us not imagine that our civilization shall be more enduring than any other that has gone before it, unless the Lord shall preserve it. It may be that the suggestion will be realized which has so often been laughed at as folly, that one day men should sit upon the broken arches of London Bridge, and marvel at the civilization that has departed, just as men walk over the mounds of Nimroud, and marvel at cities buried there. It is just possible that all the civilization of this country may die out in blackest night; it may be that God will repeat again the great story which has been so often told "I looked, and lo, in the vision I saw a great and terrible beast, and it ruled the nations, but lo, it passed away and was not." But if ever such things should be if the world ever should have to return to barbarism and darkness if instead of what we sometimes hope for, a constant progress to the brightest day, all our hopes should be blasted, let us rest quite satisfied that "at evening time there shall be light," that the ends of the worlds history shall be an end of glory. However red with blood, however black with sin the world may yet be, she shall one day be as pure and perfect as when she was created. The day shall come when this poor planet shall find herself unrobed of those swaddling bands of darkness that have kept her luster from breaking forth. God shall yet cause his name to be known from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof,
"And the shouts of jubilee, Loud as mighty thunders roar, Or the fullness of the sea, When it breaks upon the shore, Shall yet be heard the wide World o'er." "At evening time it shall be light."
II. This rule holds equally good in the little, as well as in the great. We know that in nature the very same law that rules the atom, governs also the starry orbs.
"The very law that molds a tear, And bids it trickle from its source, That law preserves the earth a sphere, And guides the planets in their course."
It is even so with the laws of grace. "At evening time it shall be light" to the church; "at evening time it shall be light" to every individual. Christian let us descend to lowly things. Thou hast had thy bright days in temporal matters: thou hast sometimes been greatly blessed: thou canst remember the day when the calf was in the stall, when the olive yielded its fruit, and the fig-tree did not deny its harvest; thou canst recollect the years when the barn was almost bursting with the corn, and when the vat overflowed with the oil; thou rememberest when the stream of thy life was deep, and thy ship floated softly on, without one disturbing billow of trouble to molest it. Thou saidst in those days, "I shall see no sorrow; God hath hedged me about; he hath preserved me; he hath kept me; I am the darling of his providence; I know that all things work together for my good, for I can see it is plainly so." Well, Christian, thou hast after that had a sunset; the sun which shone so brightly, began to cast his rays in a more oblique manner every moment, until at last the shadows were long, for the sun was setting, and the clouds began to gather; and though the light of God's countenance tinged those clouds with glory, yet it was waxing dark. Then troubles lowered o'er thee; thy family sickened, thy wife was dead, thy crops were meager, and thy daily income was diminished, thy cupboard was no more full, thou wast wondering for thy daily bread; thou didst not know what should become of thee, mayhap thou wast brought very low; the keel of thy vessel did grate upon the rocks; there was not enough of bounty to float thy ship above the rocks of poverty. "I sink in deep mire," thou saidst, "where there is no standing; all thy waves and thy billows have gone over me." What to do you could not tell; strive as you might, your strivings did but make you worse. "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." You used both industry and economy, and you added "hereunto perseverance; but all in vain. It was in vain that you rose up early, and sat up late, and ate the bread of carefulness; nothing could you do to deliver yourself, for all attempts failed. You were ready to die in despair. You thought the night of your life had gathered with eternal blackness. You would not live always, but had rather depart from this vale of tears. Christian! bear witness to the truth of the maxim of the text! Was it not light with thee at evening time? The time of thine extremity was just the moment of Godly opportunity. When the tide had run out to its very furthest, then it began to turn; thine ebb had its flow; thy winter had its summer; thy sunset had its sunrise; "at evening time it was light." On a sudden by some strange work of God, as thou didst think it then, thou wast completely delivered. He brought out thy righteousness like the light, and thy glory as the noon-day. The Lord appeared for thee in the days of old: he stretched out his hand from above; he drew thee out of deep waters; he set thee upon a rock and established thy goings. Mark, thou then, O heir of heaven! what hath been true to thee in the years that are past, shall be true to thee even till the last. Art thou this day exercised with woe, and care, and misery? Be of good cheer! In thine "evening time it shall be light." If God chooseth to prolong thy sorrow, he shall multiply thy patience; but the rather, it may be, he will bring thee into the deeps, and thence will he lead thee up again. Remember thy Saviour descended that he might ascend: so must thou also stoop to conquer; and if God bids thee stoop, should it be to the very lowest hell, remember, if he bade thee stoop, he will bring thee up again. Remember what Jonah said "Out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest me." Oh! exclaim with him of old, who trusted his God when he had nothing else to trust: "Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Do thou so, and be blessed; for "at evening time it shall be light." III. But now we seek a third illustration from the spiritual sorrows of God's own people. Godly children have two kinds of trials, trials temporal and trials spiritual. I shall be brief on this point, and shall borrow an illustration from good John Bunyan. You remember John Bunyan's description of Apollyon meeting Christian. Bunyan tells it figuratively, but it is no figure: he that hath ever met Apollyon will tell you that there is no mistake about the matter, but that there is a dread reality in it. Our Christian met Apollyon when he was in the valley of humiliation, and the dragon did most fiercely beset him; with fiery darts he sought to destroy him, and take away his life. The brave Christian stood to him with all his might, and used his sword and shield right manfully, till his shield became studded with a forest of darts, and his hand did cleave unto his sword. You remember how for many an hour that man and that dragon fought together, till at last the dragon gave Christian a horrible fall, and down he went upon the ground; and woe worth the day! at the moment when he fell he dropped his sword! You have but to picture the scene: the dragon drawing up all his might, planting his foot upon Christians neck, and about to hurl the fiery dart into his heart. "Aha! I have thee now," saith he, "thou art in my power." Strange to say, "at evening time it was light." At the very moment when the dragon's foot was enough to crush the very life out of poor Christian, it is said, he did stretch out his hand; he grasped his sword, and giving a desperate thrust at the dragon, he cried, "Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy; for when I fall I shall arise again;" and so desperately did he cut the dragon that he spread his wings and flew away and Christian went on his journey rejoicing in his victory. Now, the Christian understands all that! it is no dream to him. He has been under the dragon's foot many a time. Ah! and all the world put on a man's heart at once is not equal in weight to one foot of the devil. When Satan once gets the upper hand of the spirit, he neither wants strength, nor will, nor malice, to torment it. Hard is that man's lot, that has fallen beneath the hoof of the evil one in his fight with him. But blessed be God, the child of God is ever safe, as safe beneath the dragon's foot as he shall be before the throne of God in heaven. "At evening time it shall be light." And let all the powers of earth and hell, and all the doubts and fears that the Christian ever knew, conspire together to molest a saint, in that darkest moment, lo, God shall arise and his enemies shall be scattered, and he shall get unto himself the victory. O for faith to believe that. O! for confidence in God never to doubt him, but in the darkest moment of our sorrows, still to feel all is well with us. "At evening time it shall be light." IV. Bear with me whilst I just hint at one more particular, and then I will come to that upon which I intend to dwell mainly at the last. To the sinner when coining to Christ this is also a truth. "At evening time it shall be light." Very often when I am sitting to see inquirers, persons have come to me to tell me the story of their spiritual history; and they tell me their little tale with an air of the greatest possible wonder, and ask me as soon as they have told it whether it is not extremely strange. "Do you know, sir, I used to be so happy in the things of the world, but conviction entered into my heart, and I began to seek the Saviour; and do you know that for a long time, sir, when I was seeking the Saviour I was so miserable that I could not bear myself? Surely sir, this is a strange thing." And when I have looked them in the face, and said, "No, it is not strange; do you know I have had a dozen to-night, and they have all told me the same; that is the way all God's people go to heaven," they have stared at me as if they did not think I would tell them an untruth, but as if they thought it the strangest thing in all the world that anybody else should have felt as they have felt. "Now, sit down," I say sometimes, "and I will tell you what were my feelings when I first sought the Saviour." "Why, sir," they say, "that is just how I felt; but I did not think any one ever went the same path that I have gone." Ah! well, it is no wonder that when we hold little acquaintance with each other in spiritual things our path should seem to be solitary; but he who knows much of the dealings of God with poor seeking sinners, will know that their experience is always very much alike, and you can generally tell one by another, while they are coming to Christ. Now, whenever the soul is truly seeking Christ it will have to seek him in the dark. When poor Lot ran out of Sodom, he had to run all the way in the twilight. The sun did not rise upon him until he got into Zoar. And so when sinners are running from their sins to the Saviour they have to run in the dark. They get no comfort and no peace, till they are enabled by simple faith to look for all to him who died upon the cross. I have in my presence this morning many poor souls under great distress. Poor heart! my text is a comfort to thee. "At evening time it shall be light." You had a little light once, the light of morality; you thought you could do something for yourself. That is all put out now. Then you had another light: you had the wax taper of ceremonies, and you thought full sure that it would light you; but that is all out now. Still you thought you could grope your way a little by the remaining twilight of your good works, but all that seems to have gone now. You think "God will utterly destroy such a wretch as I am! O sir! O sir!
'I the chief of sinners am.'"
There never lived a wretch so vile; or if there ever lived such an one, surely God must have cast him into hell at once; I am certain there is no hope for me. Why, sir, do what I may, I can not make myself any better. When I try to pray I find I can't pray as I should like; when I read the Bible it is all black against me; it is no use, when I go to the house of God the minister seems to be like Moses, only preaching the law to me he never seems to have a word of comfort to my soul. Well, I am glad of it, poor heart, I am glad of it; far be it from me to rejoice in thy miseries as such, but I am glad thou art where thou art. I remember what the Countess of Huntingdon once said to Mr. Whitfield's brother. Mr. Whitfield's brother was under great distress of mind, and one day when sitting at tea, talking of spiritual things, he said, "Your ladyship, I know I am lost, I am certain I am!" Well, they talked to him, and they tried to rally him; but he persisted in it, that he was absolutely undone, that he was a lost man. Her ladyship clapped her hands, and said, "I am glad of it, Mr. Whitfield, I'm glad of it." He thought it was a cruel thing for her to say. He knew better when she explained herself by saying, "For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost; so then, he came to seek and to save you. Now, if there be any here who are lost, I can only say, I am glad of it too, for such the mighty Shepherd came to rescue. If there are any of you who feel that you are condemned by God's law, I thank God you are; for those who are condemned by the law in their consciences shall yet be pardoned by the gospel.
"Come, guilty souls, and flee away To Christ, and heal your wounds; This is the glorious gospel day, Wherein free grace abounds."
Nay, this very hour, when you have no day in your heart, when you think the evening time has come, and you must perish for ever now is the time when God will reveal himself to you. Whilst thou hast a rag of thine own thou shalt never have Christ; whilst thou hast a farthing of thine own righteousness, thou shalt never have him; but when thou art nothing, Christ is thine; when thou hast nothing of thyself to trust to, Jesus Christ in the gospel is thy complete saviour; he bids me tell thee he came to seek and to save such as thou art.
V. And now I am about to close, dwelling rather more largely upon the last particular "At evening time it shall be light." If our sun do not go down ere it be noon, we may all of us expect to have an evening time of life. Either we shall be taken from this world by death, or else, if God should spare us, ere long we shall get to the evening of life. In a few more years, the sere and yellow leaf will be the fit companion of every man and every woman. Is there anything melancholy in that? I think not. The time of old age, with all its infirmities, seems to me to be a time of peculiar blessedness and privilege to the Christian. To the worldly sinner, whose zest for pleasure has been removed by the debility of his powers and the decay of his strength, old age must be a season on tedium and pain; but to the veteran soldier of the cross, old age must assuredly be a time of great joy and blessedness. I was thinking the other evening, whilst riding in a delightful country, how like to evening time old age is. The sun of hot care has gone down; that sun which shone upon that early piety of ours, which had not much depth of root, and which scorched it so that it died that sun which scorched our next true godliness, and often made it well nigh wither, and would have withered it had it not been planted by the rivers of water that sun is now set. The good old man has no particular care now in all the world. He says to business, to the hum and noise and strife of the age in which he lives, "Thou art nought to me; to make my calling and election sure, to hold firmly this my confidence, and wait until my change comes, this is all my employment; with all your worldly pleasures and cares I have no connection." The toil of his life is all done, he has no more now to be sweating and toiling, as he had in his youth and manhood; his family have grown up, and are now no more dependent upon him; it may be, God has blessed him, and he has sufficient for the wants of his old age, or it may be that in some rustic alms-house he breathes out the last few years of his existence. How calm and quiet! Like the laborer, who, when he returns from the field at evening time casts himself upon his couch, so does the old man rest from his labors. And at evening time we gather into families, the fire is kindled, the curtains are drawn, and we sit around the family fire, to think no more of the things of the great rumbling world; and even so in old age, the family and not the world are the engrossing topic. Did you ever notice how venerable grandsires, when they write a letter, fill it full of intelligence concerning their children? "John is ill," "Mary is well," "all our family are in health." Very likely some business friend writes to say "Stocks are down," or, "the rate of interest is raised," but you never find that in any good old man's letters; he writes about his family, his lately married daughters, and all that. Just what we do at evening time; we only think of the family circle and forget the world. That is what the gray-headed old man does. He thinks of his children, and forgets all beside. Well, then, how sweet it is to think that for such an old man there is light in the darkness! "At evening time it shall be light." Dread not thy days of weariness, dread not thine hours of decay, O soldier of the cross; new lights shall burn when the old lights are quenched; new candles shall be lit when the lamps of life are dim. Fear not! The night of thy decay may be coming on, but "at evening time it shall be light." At evening time the Christian has many lights that he never had before; lit by the Holy Spirit and shining by his light. There is the light of bright experience. He can look back, and he can raise his Ebenezer, saying, "Hither, by thy help I've come." He can look back at his old Bible, the light of his youth, and he can say, "This promise has been proved to me, this covenant has been proved true. I have thumbed my Bible many a year; I have never yet thumbed a broken promise. The promises have all been kept to me; 'not one good thing has failed.'" And then, if he has served God he has another light to cheer him: he has the light of the remembrance of what good God has enabled him to do. Some of his spiritual children come in and talk of times when God blessed his conversation to their souls. He looks upon his children, and his children's children, rising up to call the Redeemer blessed; at evening time he has a light. But at the last the night comes in real earnest; he has lived long enough, and he must die. The old man is on his bed; the sun is going down, and he has no more light. "Throw up the windows, let me look for the last time into the open sky," says the old man. The sun has gone down; I can not see the mountains yonder; they are all a mass of mist; my eyes are dim, and the world is dim too. Suddenly a light shoots across his face, and he cries, "O daughter! daughter, here! I can see another sun rising. Did you not tell me that the sun went down just now? Lo, I see another; and where those hills used to be in the landscape, those hills that were lost in the darkness, daughter, I can see hills that seem like burning brass; and methinks upon that summit I can see a city bright as jasper. Yes, and I see a gate opening, and spirits coming forth. What is that they say? O they sing! they sing! Is this death?" And ere he has asked the question, he hath gone where he needs not to answer it, for death is all unknown. Yes, he has passed the gates of pearl; his feet are on the streets of gold; his head is bedecked with a crown of immortality; the palm-branch of eternal victory is in his hand. God hath accepted him in the beloved.
"Far from the world of grief and sin, With God eternally shut in," he is numbered with the saints in light, and the promise is fulfilled, "At evening time it shall be light."
And now, my gray-headed hearer, will it be so with thee? I remember the venerable Mr. Jay once in Cambridge, when preaching, reaching out his hand to an old man who sat just as some of you are sitting there, and saying, "I wonder whether those gray hairs are a crown of glory, or a fool's cap; they are one or else the other." For a man to be unconverted at the age to which some of you have attained is indeed to have a fool's cap made of gray hairs; but if you have a heart consecrated to Christ, to be his children now, with the full belief that you shall be his for ever, is to have a crown of glory upon your brows. And now, young men and maidens, we shall soon be old. In a little time our youthful frame shall totter; we shall need a staff by-and-by. Years are short things; they seem to us to get shorter, as each one of them runs o'er our head. My brother, thou art young as I am; say, hast thou a hope that thine even-tide shall be light? No, thou hast begun in drunkenness; and the drunkard's eventide is darkness made more dark, and after it damnation. No, young man; thou hast begun thy life with profanity, and the swearer's even-tide hath no light, except the lurid flame of hell. Beware thou of such an even-tide as that! No; thou hast begun in gayety; take care lest that which begins in gayety ends in eternal sadness. Would God ye had all begun with Christ! Would that ye would choose wisdom; for "her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." Some religious men are miserable; but religion does not make them so. True religion is a happy thing. I never knew what the hearty laugh and what the happy face meant, till I knew Christ; but knowing him I trust I can live in this world like one who is not of it, but who is happy in it. Keeping my eye upward to the Saviour, I can say with David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name." and bless him most of all for this, that I know how to bless him. Ah! and if ye in your prime, in the days of your youth, have been enabled by the Holy Spirit to consecrate yourselves to God, you will, when you come to the end, look back with some degree of sorrow upon your infirmities, but with a far greater degree of joy upon the grace which began with you in childhood, which preserved you in manhood, which matured you for your old age, and which at last gathered you like a shock of corn fully ripe into the garner. May the great God and Master bless these words to us each, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Peal of Bells
July 7th, 1861 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD." Zechariah 14:20 .
There are many days already past which we might well have wished to see. Who would not have rejoiced to have beheld the day when God smote Rabab and broke the dragon in the deep waters, when Miriam took the timbrel and went forth with the daughters of Israel, saying, "Sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea?" Who might not have wished to have witnessed the glorious victories of the judges when they put to rout the oppressors of Israel, or that day when David returned from the slaughter of Goliath, or that auspicious morn when Solomon's temple, glittering in unrivalled magnificence, was dedicated by a vast concourse of people with generous sacrifice to the worship of the true God? Many days there were in the chronicles of the Jewish Church which are never to be forgotten earth's red letter days when God made bare his arm and showed forth his might. Days there were, too, in Christ's history which it was a high privilege to see. The day of his birth would that we had been among the shepherds on the plain when they heard the angels sing "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men, "or the day of his death when he cried, "It is finished," and yielded up be ghost, or, better still, the day of his resurrection, when he routed all our foes by rising again for our justification, or the day of his ascension, when he led captivity captive and ascended up on high, or even that day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of God fell on the disciples, and when they, preaching with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance multitudes being added to the Church of these who were ordained unto eternal life. Those days are gone, we look back upon them with faith, and as Abraham rejoiced in prospect, so would we do in retrospect. But there are days yet to come for whose advent we may well be eager. There is the day when Ephraim shall not envy Judah nor Judah vex Ephraim, for all the Church of Christ shall be one in spirit. There is the day when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. There is the day, too, when Israel shall be restored to its own land, when its country shall be called no more desolate, but Beulah, and no more forsaken, but Hepzibah shall its name be, for the Lord delighteth in it. There is specially the day of the Second Advent, that day of days for which methinks all other days that went before were made, that day which shall be the summing up, the total of all ages, for the fullness of time shall come, and Christ in the fullness of his glory shall reign among the sons of men. I think I may with your permission add to the test of days which we might desire to see that which is spoken of in the text "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord." What connection there may be between that day and others which I have mentioned it is not my purpose this morning to explain. I would that this were to us personally the day when it should be fulfilled in us as individuals, and may the Lord hasten the happy day when universally throughout the Church this text has be fulfilled, and upon the bells of the horses there shall be "Holiness unto the Lord!" The text, as you perceive, deals with horses which were unclean under the Jewish law yet, in the day spoken of in the text, the horses themselves shall be purged from commonness or uncleanness, and their harness shall be dedicated to God as certainly as the vestments of the High Priest himself. It will be a happy day indeed when the men who deal with horses, too often a race anything but honest and upbeat shall exhibit in their common transactions a consecration to God, so that on the horses' furniture shall be written. Holiness to the Lord. The original Hebrew word translated "bells" is a very singular one, because nobody knows precisely what it means. The fact is, the Hebrews knew so little of horses from being interdicted from their use that they had not a very large vocabulary to describe the harness and other equipments of the horse. The word is translated by some critics, "bells," by others, "bits," by some, "frontlets," by others, "collars," by some, and by Calvin especially, "blinkers," and Calvin also hints that the word may mean "stables." The words must then mean "The furniture of the horses shall be, Holiness to the Lord," and there is no doubt a comparison between the horses and the High Priest: if it be the frontier just as the High Priest upon his brow the Hebrew letters in gold "Holiness to the Lord," so on the frontlet of the horses shall be Holiness to the Lord, and as the High Priest wore bells about his garments, so the horses are decorated with their silver bells, there shall be on the bells, Holiness to the Lord, and if it signify any other kind of vestment, even as on the very ornaments of the Priest, on his ephod and breastplate holiness was written, so in every article that shall be by the horse shall holiness to God be most clearly manifest, yea, even the stables, unconsecrated as one could suppose they must always remain, shall be consecrated to God. The commonest buildings, set apart to meanest uses, being frequented by worshippers of the Lord, shall become temples of him dwelleth in humble and contrite hearts. The simple meaning of the text is just this, that the day shall come when in common life holiness shall be the guiding star, when the ordinary actions of human existence shall be as much the worship of God as the sacrifice of the altar or the mission of the high priest when he went within the vail. Everything, that which was most despised the horses, the places seemed the least likely to be consecrated the stables, and those things which seemed the least holy, even the horses' harness, all shall be so thoroughly used in obedience to God's will that everywhere there shall be, "Holiness unto Jehovah." Common things, then, in the day spoken of by Zechariah, are to be dedicated to God and used in his service. I shall work out this great thought in a somewhat novel manner. First, let us hear the horses' bells; secondly, let us commend their music; and then, thirdly, let us go home and tune our bells, that they may be in harmony with this sacred chime "Holiness unto the Lord!" I. First of all, let us HEAR THESE HORSES BELLS, which, according to the text are to be tuned to the heavenly note of "Holiness unto the Lord." First, let us mark the trappings of the steed as he goeth forth to war. "He champs his bit and is eager for the fray: his snortings are terrible, his neck is clothed with lightning, and he crieth in the midst of the battle, "Aha! Aha! Aha!" War is to our minds the most difficult thing to sanctify to God. The genius of the Christian religion is altogether contrary to everything like strife of any kind, much more to the deadly clash of arms. Yet it may be possible that occasions may arise in which war itself might become hallowed; and certainly we must not deny that many of those who have to deal with war are at this day consecrated men, like Cornelius' devout soldier, and as truly servants of Christ in the arm as though they were civilians. Now I say again, I am no apologist for war, from my soul I loathe it, and I do not understand the position of a Christian man as a warrior, but still I greatly rejoice that there are to be found at this present day in the ranks many of those who fear God and adorn the doctrine of God their Savior. I may almost venture to say that the war against the tyrant, Charles I., was a consecrated fight. The people of God had been hunted like partridges upon the mountains, in the reigns of Elizabeth, and James, and Charles. At last their lion-like spirits turned at bay, and their enemies driven back before their gallant fury; Cromwell, the Christian hero, mounted his charger, and bade his saintly warriors, with the sword in one hand and the Bible in the other, fight for England's liberty. I think in those valiant charges when they shouted their battle-cry "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" there was, as if ever there was, upon the frontlets of the horses, their collars, and their bits, "Holiness unto the Lord." May such a war never rise again, but honor to the ashes of the consecrated brave! If I could believe that there were in America a sincere desire on the part of the Northerners to set free every slave, I would say, "God speed their swords and bless their arms." If I could believe that the chain would be broken, and that it was their intent to do it, if I did not fear that they will yet compromise and make terms with the bloodhound's master, and let him still hold his blood-stained property in the souls and bodies of men, I would say that that might be, if war ever could be, a consecrated war, and the bits of the horses would be "Holiness unto the Lord." But since that is a difficult point to speak of, since, as I have said before, the very genius and spirit of Christianity go against war altogether, though I must believe there have been occasions in which the bells of war-horses have been Holiness unto the Lord, yet I would rather speak of individuals. If there ever lived a man who, disinterested in spirit, and without any desire of aggrandizement or selfish honor, held in his hand a consecrated sword, it is Garibaldi. I think of him, for his speeches make me believe it, not only as a hero, but as a Christian, as the scourge of Popery and the enemy of all despotism, it might be said that his war-garments are Holiness to the Lord. The like might we say of Hedley Vicars, whose history, so well-written, you have all so often read and of Havelock, our own true Havelock, who for the deliverance of our own wives and sisters, in silence rushed upon his prey, and delivered women and children out of the fierce jaws of the blood-loving tiger. These men preached Christ wherever they went. I love not their trade, but I love them. I would wish them to put up their swords into their scabbards, but when they did draw them, I am sure they did it in the full conviction that they were doing their duty, and though even that may not justify the error, yet it must prevent any of us from condemning them. I believe that they did it as in the sight of God, and what they did was to them Holiness unto the Lord Oh! may there never be war again! may peace reign! but if there must be wars, may they all be just ones! if there must be fighting may it ever be for the freedom of the slave and the deliverance of the helpless! and in all this may Jehovah, even in the battle in the garments rolled in blood, and in the fire and vapor of smoke, still be acknowledged and across the field of fire may there be written, "Holiness to the Lord!" We turn aside awhile, for other horses are coming, and their bells are ringing forth Holiness unto the Lord. Horses are used in state. In splendor, kinds, princes, and judges of the land ride through the crowd. The text says, "Upon the bells of the horses shall be, Holiness unto the Lord." Drawn by noble steeds, glittering with rich caparisons, an exalted personage passes through the thronging mass, it is a sovereign and oh! when the sovereign of a nation hath a heart which boweth before God, and hath a hope of an immortal and an imperishable crown, then regal state is sanctified and the bells upon the horses are Holiness unto the Lord. When a Sir Matthew Hale rode in the judge's chariot to distribute justice, surely the state which attended the Lord Chief Justice of the land was holiness to God, and when a Sir Thomas Abney even on the night of the Lord Mayor's banquet, retired awhile that he might have prayer with his family and his servants, surely then the too gaudy show of civic pomp was for that once Holiness unto the Lord. And, I think, when Wilberforce went to the House of Commons, however he might ride, the bit of his horse was Holiness to the Lord. Since we cannot dispense with the ceremonial honor which surrounds governors, we must consecrate it, as long as kingdoms remain, it must be the prayer of Christians that the state may be a holy state, and that its officers and governors may be devout and upright men. Little do we know, my brethren, what mischief would soon be done in the high places of the land, if we had back again upon the throne a George the Fourth, if once again our eminent men were found indulging in the lowest pastimes of the very scum of this city, if again unblushing bribery defiled the judgment-seat; if a bloody Jeffreys could browbeat the saints of God once more then we should consider it a matter of importance to pray to God for kings and those in authority. Had we not, my brethren, better think it a matter of importance now, and pray daily to God that he would cause the state to be more and more consecrated to him, so that the very bells upon the horses, as they walk in solemn pomp, may be Holiness unto the Lord? But I hear the tinkling of other bells. The day is to come when, not only war and the states shall be consecrated to Christ, but even pleasure and recreation shall become Holiness to the Lord. When you are travelling in Alpine regions, you will be amused by the ringing of the little bells upon the horses. You are there for rest, to recruit the body, but let that rest be taken in the spirit of holiness. I fear that many leave their religion behind them when they go to the sea-side, or to continental countries. It ought not to be so, in our pleasures as well as in everything else, on the very berms of the horses there should be, Holiness unto the Lord. A Christian man needs recreation as well as another man, the bow must be unstrung, for the soul always bent to work shall soon lose the energy to labor. There must be times for breathing the fresh country air, and looking upon the meadows and the fields. I wish such days came oftener to the poor toiling population of this huge labyrinth of bricks; would that you could oftener see the laughing face of the verdant earth, and the smokeless heavens! But mark this, let us as Christian men see to it that we carry the spirit of this text with us wherever we go; that the bells of the horses be, Holiness to the Lord, and our very recreations be done as sacredly and as much in the sight of God as our sacraments and our solemn feast days. Does recreation mean sin? Then, indeed, you have nothing to do with it. Does pleasure mean iniquity? Deny, deny yourselves. But there are pleasures which mean no such thing. As you traverse Alpine regions, let your thoughts stand on the mountain-tops and talk with God, or if you walk the fair lanes of England, let the cool retreat become an oratory for your soul. Why everything that your eye looks upon, from the king-cup in the meadow to the cedar upon the mountain may make you praise God, and when it is so, then the bells upon the horses are Holiness to the Lord. If in seeking rest you are really desiring to get strength that you may spend it in his service, if you take rest not for your pleasure's sake, but that stringing your muscles once more and getting your soul into tune, you may with greater vigor serve him in days to come; then, again, the bells of the horses are Holiness to the Lord. And if you avail yourself of any opportunities which your recreation throws in your way, to speak a kind word and a word for Christ to those whom you pass or with whom you have chance communion in your travellings, then, again, the bells of the horses are Holiness to the Lord. It is greatly to be regretted that the mass of our people who go to the sea-side, and especially who go to Paris, leave their godliness behind them. One of the Ministers of the Church at L'Oratoire told me, the manner in which English Christians spend their Sabbath days in Paris is a very serious impediment to the growth of religion in France. Men think that when they are abroad they may leave their habits which they practiced at home behind them. Full often have I known that at the sea-side, Christians knowingly and wilfully keep the proprietors of the houses where they lodge from places of worship, to prepare their sumptuous repasts on the Sabbath day, and so virtually prevent them from hearing the Word of God for six or nine months in the year. There may be some of you who are going out by-and-bye, I beg you in your recreation not to leave your religion behind you. You will put on your black coat and put on your tourist's suit, but take your Christian character with you I beseech you. Why should it be thought of you that your religion is a local thing, and that out of the way of society, which is a sort of check upon you, you may be free to sin as others do. Listen to the bells again. Horses are used for journeying. We must all journey sometimes, and when we do, the bells upon the horses and the shrill scream of the steam-engine should still be "Holiness unto the Lord." The missionary is crossing the sea; perhaps at this very hour while we are sitting quietly here, his boat is leaping the billows and springing from mountain-wave to mountain-wave. I believe that every motion of the paddles is holiness to the Lord, because the ship is carrying forth God's appointed messenger to proclaim the gospel among the heathen. There are Christian men on board who are not giving forth to preach, but to emigrate and settle down now if they intend in emigrating to establish a Church of Christ where they are to live and to preach the gospel where they may be called to go, every motion of the vessel is Holiness unto the Lord. Perhaps she carries merchants who go abroad to trade and return again, but if they are about to trade as Christians, and then consecrate their substance unto God, that vessel, though when she leaves a black trail across the sky in her cloud of smoke, is as accepted as the smoke of sacrifice is Holiness unto the Lord. Where there is a true heart, the horse that bears it is a consecrated one. Let our goings out be in the Lord's night. We are lights: if the light is moved, it should be to illuminate other places. We are salt: if the salt be scattered, it should be that the conserving influence should be felt the more widely. Do not go from home unless you feel that you can take your Master with you; and when you are from home, ever seek to be doing something for your Master, that when you are gone, you may leave a fragrance behind you. How much good might some do who are called to travel continually! There are some few in this Church, for instance, who travel as commercial gentlemen; I know one or two of them who scarcely ever go into a town without preaching the Word there, and I know others of them who, in the commercial room where they meet with some who despise the religion of Christ, speak boldly for the truth as it is in Jesus, and are as useful in their daily journeyings as any Christian men could be who filled up a place in the Sabbath-school, or officiated as deacons in the Church at home. Let your journeyings, then, always be with the ringing of these bells, "Holiness until the Lord!" But horses of old were also used for merchandise, and when the pack-horses went in long strings, the fore-horses always had bells that the others might be guided in the darkness. I think there is an allusion to that in the text, for such may have been the custom of the Eastern caravans, as indeed it was, and the text means, then, that merchandise and our common trade should be Holiness unto the Lord. O sirs! when you take down your shutters in the morning, let it be with a prayer that your business of the day may be as much a sacrifice to God as the business which I may have to transact as the pastor of the Church, and when you stand behind the counter ask of God, that in your dealings, though they be common to the eyes of men, there may be an inward spirituality which God shall discover, that thus there may be Holiness to the Lord. Sometimes when some of you have been stored up by a sermon, you have come to me and said, "Mr. Spurgeon, could I go to China? Could I become a missionary? Could I become a minister?" In very many cases the brethren who offer are exceedingly unfit for any service of the kind, for they have very little gift of expression, very little natural genius, and no adaptation for such a work, and I have constantly and frequently to say, "My dear brother, be consecrated to Christ in your daily calling; do not seek to take a spiritual office, but spiritualise your common office." Why, the cobbler can consecrate his lapstone while many a minister has desecrated his pulpit. The ploughman can put his hand to the plough in as holy a manner as ever did minister to the sacramental bread. In dealing with your ribbons and your groceries, in handling your bricks and your jackplanes, you can be as truly priests to God as were those who slew the bullocks and burned them with the holy fire in the days of yore. This old fact needs to be brought out again. We do not so much want great preachers as good upright traders, it is not so much deacons and elders we long for as it is to have men who are deacons for Christ in common life, and are really elders of the Church in their ordinary conversation. Sirs, Christ did not come into the world to take all fishermen from their nets though he did take some, nor to call all publicans from the receipt of custom though he did call one, he did not come to make every Martha into a Mary though he did bless a Martha and a Mary too. He would have you be housewives still, be sisters of mercy in your own habitations. He would have you be traders, buyers, and sellers, workers and toilers still, for the end of Christianity is not to make preachers, but to make holy men, the preacher is but the tool; he may be sometimes but the scaffold of the house; but ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building; ye, in your common acts and your common deeds, are they who are to serve God. That wicked fiction of the Church of Rome, that her cathedrals are holy, has made us think that our houses are not holy. Why, my friends, our houses are as holy, or ought to be, as ever church or chapel. Some seem to think that there is some peculiar sanctity about aisles and oak seats, stone pillars and gothic arches. Holiness cannot belong to stones, holiness has to do with nothing except the acts and thoughts of intelligent subjects, and if holiness can by metaphor belong to places or substances, it must be through the Christian holy minds that are in contact with them. I will not have it that yonder parish church or that this place is one who more holy than that room where you live if you there offer prayer and praise. Oh! brethren, you must not think that the table, and the font, and the baptistry are holy; no, no, if there be holiness in them so may there be in your own table, in your own labors, and in your own tools which you handle, at least, there will be as much in one as in the other if with a holy mind you serve God in both. Not confined holiness that is superstition; universal holiness that is Christianity, not the bowls upon the altar holy that is Judaism, but the bells upon the horses holy that is true living godliness and vital Christianity. See to it, then, Christian friends, in your common daily doings, that the bells upon the horses are Holiness unto the Lord. But horses were also used, as they still are, for toil, and toil though I have already anticipated the subject, toil is to be holiness to the Lord. The horse is turning over the furrow with the plough, and if it be held by a godly husbandman, the bells upon that horse are Holiness unto the Lord. And now it is time when the hay should be cut down and carted, if with gratitude in his bosom, the husbandman takes home the fruit of the earth, the carting is Holiness to the Lord. And when harvest-time comes round, and all the country is glad, every shout of harvest-time ought to be a holy shout, every smile that is on the brow of the tiller of the soil should be a holy smile; and when he has consecrated his wave-sheaf unto his God, when he has given a part of his increase to the poor and needy, and when he has bowed his knee and thanked the Universal Giver of all good, then the farmer's toil is Holiness to the Lord. I would, my dear brethren, that you would make your common toils Holiness unto the Lord. Come to look upon your meals as though they were sacraments, your clothes as though they were priestly vestments; your common words as though you were preaching daily sermons; and your every-day thoughts as though you were thinking for the Sabbath of holy things. It is not to be always talking religion, but to be talking religiously that makes the Christian; it is not to be performing outward symbols, it is to be possessing the inward spirit. I do believe that there is more piety in going to visit the poor and needy and scattering your substance among them; more piety in teaching the poor ignorant ragged child, more piety in seeking to help some poor struggling tradesman, than there is in many a long prayer, and many a sanctimonious whine, ay and in many a long and eloquent discourse. That common piety which like common sense is oftenest the uncommonest of all, is what we need to have, and if I could make one man among you become thus consecrated, I should think I had, under God, done as much as though I poured you out in scores upon the plain of Hindostan, or sent you to edify the Chinese, or to instruct the Ethiopian. We want you as missionaries here; we want you as missionaries in daily life, and we must have you too, or else the Church will not increase, nor will the name of Christ be magnified. I have thus sought to make you listen to the ringing of these bells. II. Now for the second point; let us COMMEND THE MUSIC of the bells upon the horses. The religion of common life I must commend, first of all, for its loudness. These are many men who do not hear the Church bell, who will hear the bells upon the horses, by which I mean that preach as frequently as we may, some people will never believe us, but they cannot help believing what they see in your lives. We may extol Christ, and they will say, "It is his office and duty," but if your actions are what they should be, if your lives are saturated with the spirit of Jesus, they cannot help hearing them. They may put their fingers in their ears and not hear our sermons, but they must hear your sermons, for they can hear them through their eyes as well as through their ears, if you in your daily walk act as becometh the gospel of Christ. Then, again, I commend the music of these horses' bells, not only for loudness, but for clearness. Many people cannot understand our sermons. There are words we use that they do not try to comprehend, and some which the carnal mind cannot receive but they can understand your sermons, if they cannot mine. If you have traded honourably, if you, instead of taking undue advantage, have only taken that which is your due, if they have seen you refuse to tell a lie though you might have gained much by it, if they have known you to stand firm in your integrity, while others laughed at you as a fool and a madman, they can understand it. My sermons may be mistifying, but yours would not be. The church bell may sometimes have a cracked note, but the bells upon the horses will be so clear that they will be compelled in their consciences to believe what you teach. Again, I commend the music of these bells for its constancy. The church bell rings but once a week; I am preaching to you some three or four sermons in a week, but you if you consecrate your common things, will be preaching all day long. You will keep the bells upon the horses ringing every time the horses nod their heads. Every time they move there will be a fresh peal, and that is the advantage of putting the bells not on the steeple, but on the horse, so that they must always ring. This place is shut up a great portion of the week, and only opened occasionally for worship, but you ought to keep your preaching places open always. There, behind the counter, should be your pulpit, or in the Corn Exchange, or the Market, or in the family; you should be always preaching. Your life should be always one continual sacrament, always one constant service of God. I commend this music, then, for its constancy as well as for its loudness and for its clearness. Again, we must praise it for its universality. My church bell can only ring in one place, and the bells in the parish church only ring in the steeples where they hang; but the bells upon the horses ring wherever the horses go; and so with your piety, it will ring wherever you go. You can preach in the lodging-house, you can preach in the backroom yonder, where poverty has found a haunt, you can preach wherever God in his providence has cast you; at the Boardroom table, in the midst of the Corporation, in the Senate, in the House of Commons, you can preach wherever God calls you. I say again, the bells upon the horses ring wherever the horses go, and so must your piety ring wherever you are. This universal preaching in every court, and lane, and alley, is better far for effect than our preaching ever can be. Once more, I commend the bells upon the horses for their harmony. You know our church bells ring different notes. You go into one, you hear Puseyism; you go into another, and you hear sound evangelical doctrine, you enter another and you hear all but infidelity. Church bells run through the octave of tone. Among true Christians, our bells often ring a little differently. My Wesleyan brothers' bell does not ring quite the same as mine, nor mine exactly the same as the Independents'; but, mark, the bells on the horses all are alike. One Christian man's life is like another Christian man's life. There is nothing contradictory in the practical sermon, if there be in the doctrinal. If the vocal testimony of the Church should be somewhat divided, yet the loving testimony of the Church is always one, if it be always holiness, holiness, holiness unto the Lord. See to it, then, that you ring these bells upon the horses for their lovely harmony, and the absence of all discord. And then once more. I commend the bells upon the horses, for they ring out a divine note. Our church bells do not always do that. Sometimes our sermons are a little to the honor and glory of the speaker, a little to the honor and glory of a particular Church, but the bells on the horses ring out not the glory of man, but holiness to the Lord, to the Lord, to the Lord. And so if you consecrate your whole life, the testimony of that life may be to your credit, but still it will be far more to the honor and glory of God. There will be no fear that man shall take the honor of your pious consecration, of your holy watchfulness, of your humble integrity, of your industry, your perseverance, and your constancy in the path of right. The bells upon your horses shall ring a diviner note than I fear will yet be rung from the bells of our pulpit. I have thus sought to commend the music. III. And now I close, by asking you to go home and TUNE YOUR BELLS TO THIS NOTE. You have many bells in your house, go home and tune first of all the chamber bell. It is an ill thing when a Christian husband is a worse husband than a wordly one; it is an evil thing when the husband and wife do not live together as partakers of the grace of Christ. Perhaps you will say this is a very homely remark, but I think it is a very necessary one, for if a man cannot conduct himself well in his own family, what is he in the Church? I fear there have been many who have been mighty men in the Church who, if their private affairs had been a little examined, might have come out a little scarred and marred in the ordeal. Should I have a Christian man here who is not acting according to the Christian mandate, should I have a Christian woman here who pulleth her house down with her own hands, through idleness and carelessness, let me speak to them. How can the husband think of edifying others at the prayer-meeting until first he is what he should be before his own house? The husband is to love his wife, even as Christ loved the Church, the wife must see that she reverence her husband, the children must be obedient, and the household affairs must be ordered with discretion, or else your bells are not Holiness unto the Lord. Then when you have looked at that, look at the kitchen-bell; see that it sounds forth Holiness to the Lord. Let the servant, not with eye-service, as a man pleaser, serve her master, and let the master take care that he giveth unto his servant that which is just and equal. Oh! it is a blessed thing when there is piety in the kitchen, and when the whole household is a Church. Indeed, my brethren, I can speak the joy of one who has servants that fear God, very often have my eyes been filled with tears through the peace, and joy, and rest of spirit that I have had in my own household since God has given me those that fear his name. See to it, that the kitchen-bell does not ring a contrary note to your parlour-bell, for if the kitchen can say, "My master is pious abroad, but he is wicked at home; he can talk very well in the pulpit, and pray very nicely at the prayer-meeting, but he neglects us; he is harsh, over-bearing, and passionate, it will spoil all my sermons. If you say to the servants "Come and hear our minister," she will say, "I do not want to hear him, if he is not a better man than you are, he will not do much good to me." Mark then, if the bells of the horses are to be holy, certainly the bells of the kitchen should be holy too. Then some of you have got a shop bell, a little bell which rings as soon as ever any one comes in. Now take care that this is Holiness to the Lord. If people get cheated at other shops, do not let them get cheated at yours, or they still be sure to say, "Ah!" you hear Spurgeon; that is your religion, is it?" They shall be sure to throw the blame on your religion and not on you. If there be a place where they get short-weight, let it never be at yours; if there be a place where there is a want of integrity, or civility, or attention, let it not be yours, but seek so to act that you do not make your religion help your trade, yet you keep your trade always in subservience to your religion, and seek to glorify God in all that you do. Some of you have got a factory bell, that bell rings at certain hours, and I see your men come streaming down the street to work. Now make that bell Holiness to the Lord. When will the time come when all these quarrellings shall be done with between master and man? When shall the day come when both of them shall seek to have perfect peace and harmony? For it is to their mutual interest, let them know. Oh! when shall it be that the workman shall feel that he has all that which is just and equal? And on the other hand when shall the master feel that he has not to deal with men who when given an inch will take an ell, but who are content to deal as fairly with him as he would with them. If I have any of your great cotton lords here, if I have any men who have many servants, let them take care that their religion turns their factory-bell, or else I would not give a farthing for all their religion, let them give what they may towards the maintenance of it. Then some of you have got visiting -bell, for I have seen it marked over, "visitors." And what are visits among the higher classes? It was my misfortune once to sit in the corner of a drawing-room, and listen to the conversation during a visit. If it had been condensed into the sense or usefulness it contained, it might have been spoken in something like the thousandth part of a second. But there it went on, talk, talk, talk, about nothing at all and when it was done they went away I have no doubt greatly refreshed. Now I think the visits of Christian people should never be of that kind. If you go to see anybody, know what you are going for and have a message to go with, and go with some intention. If God had meant you and me to waste our time in flying visits he would have made us butterflies and not men. He would have made us so that we might sip the nectar from the flowers like bees instead of which he has made men whose time is precious and whose hours cannot be weighed in the scale with diamonds. Let your visits be rather to the sick to give them comfort, to the poor to give them help, to your friends to show yourself friendly, and to the godly to get godly refreshment, than to the frivolous to waste an hour or to the fashionable to maintain a fancied dignity. Let everything, whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do be done to the glory of God. Physician, there is a bell at your door, let that be holiness to the Lord. Let those kind acts of yours to the distressed poor, let those divine acts of stooping down to the poor wayfarer in his suffering, consecrate your practice. Let your bell be Holiness to the Lord. Let each of you, whatever his calling may be, seek to find some special way in which that calling may conduce to the glory of Christ. You are a little star in the Pleiades, do not wish to be the pole-star, if you were taken out of the Pleiades, the constellation would not be what it now is. Keep where you are, but shed your special rays upon the earth; and if you be but a little star, do not the little stars together shed much light, and earth were dark if they all were quenched? I have tried to preach a plain homely sermon, but, perhaps I have not hit the mark, perhaps I have not made you feel what I want you to feel. Why, I would have every dustman's bell Holiness unto the Lord. Whatever your business is, though you are a scavenger, though you sweep a crossing, though you black shoes whatever you have to do, let everything be done to the glory of God. And, if any say it cannot be done, do you show them the way, for the best practical proof is the proof of fact. I may preach to-day, and preach twenty days about making the bells upon the horses holiness to the Lord, but if you do not tune your own private conversation, the text will but excite laughter among some, and no practical profit will it be to any. Is there anything wrong at home? go and set it to rights. Is there anything wrong in the shop or in the kitchen? If you have not done what you ought to have done as a Christian man, if you have not acted as you ought to have done in your trade, go and do better. Not that you are to be saved by works, I have been speaking to those who are saved already. Being saved, show by your profession what you believe and would by your acts glorify your Master. Let me pray you to think often of this text "In that day shall there be on the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord."
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Zechariah 14". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent