the Second Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“The tree is known by its fruit.”
It would seem that the devil had special licence to do his worst among men during the days of our Lord’s sojourn upon earth. Thus was he the more gloriously defeated by the Son of God in many pitched battles between the two champions.
They spoke honestly, but their leaders were prejudiced, and refused to see what was clear enough to the most ordinary understandings. It is a dreadful thing to be so warped by. education as to refuse to admit what is plain to all.
For some of the sons of the Pharisees pretended to be able to heal possessed persons.
Let this always be remembered, and let each one ask himself, “Am I with Christ?” If not, remember you are against him. Can you bear this?
Matthew 12:31 , Matthew 12:32
A terrible doom which fell upon these Pharisees and destroyed them. How careful we ought to be to render all reverence and obedience to the Holy Spirit, lest by grieving him away we should be left to final perdition! While the Spirit of God still continues to strive with us we have not committed this deadly sin.
Nothing will suffice but a change of nature. The very root and sap of the soul must be renewed by grace.
That which is in comes out. The stream declares the character of the fountain.
Matthew 12:36 , Matthew 12:37
This makes common talk a solemn matter. Who among us can bear such a test? Let us fly to the blood of Jesus for cleansing from sins of the tongue, and to the Spirit of God to bridle that unruly member.
Sovereign of heaven! thine empire spreads
O’er all the world on high,
And at thy frown the infernal powers
In wild confusion fly.
Like lightning, from his glittering throne
The great arch-traitor fell,
Driven with enormous ruin down
To infamy and hell.
Permitted now to range at large,
And traverse earth and air,
O’er captive human souls he reigns,
And boasts his kingdom there.
Yet thence thy grace can drive him our,
With one almighty word;
O send thy potent sceptre forth,
And reign victorious, Lord!
“He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
So that our Lord was supported by the voluntary offerings of his followers. He did no more work at the carpenter’s bench, when he began to preach the gospel: his ministry required all his time and strength. It is noble in men, like Paul, to labour at their trade while preaching, but if believers were as generous as they should be, such drudgery would not long be necessary.
Matthew 12:38-40 , Matthew 12:43-50
The evil spirit cannot rest. He is so malicious that unless he is doing mischief he cannot bear himself.
The devil is represented as going out of the man of his own will, and, therefore, when he wills he returns. He calls it “my house” because he had not been expelled from it by divine grace, neither had Jesus taken possession. So men who become moralised and improved entirely of their own accord, and in their own strength, return to their old sins. When grace comes and turns out the devil by force of divine love, he never returns, but unrenewed nature soon welcomes back the tempter.
Many men’s lives are swept from the fouler vices, and garnished with pretty human virtues; but they are not inhabited by the Spirit of God, and hence evil soon gets the upper hand, and the soul becomes worse than before.
Idolatry left the Jewish nation after the captivity in Babylon, but formalism, superstition, and self-righteousness ruled over them, and made them harder to deal with than their idolatrous fathers.
His nightly watches and daily labours were wearing him out, and his relations, conceiving the idea that he must be out of his mind, planned to seize him, and withdraw him from public work. The kindest of men cannot comprehend the zeal of a real fervent heart; they call it enthusiasm, and speak of the possibility of “going too far,” and being too earnest: so are the best men least understood. Our Lord’s mother seems to have had some hand in this mistaken project: blessed as she was she was, not infallible.
The spiritual relationship outweighs the natural one. Believers are the true “Holy Family.”
Lord, what are we and what our race,
That thou dost us for brethren own,
Crown’d thus with dignity and grace
To brightest cherubim unknown?
What can we do to make return,
Or half our gratitude express?
To thee our souls’ affections turn,
With all our hearts thy name we bless.