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Only Trust Him! Only Trust Him!
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 26, 1881,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He sa w them, He said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed." Luke 17:12-14.
SEVERAL interesting topics might fairly be found in these verses. We see here the abounding fruit of sin, for here were 10 lepers in a group and the abundance of Divine power to meet it, for they were all cleansed. So, also, we see how Christ must come first and ceremonies second—first the work of Grace—and then the outward showing of it. The Lord's tenderness toward outcasts, His attention to prayers from a distance and His regard for the ceremonial Law so long as it was in force, might, each one, yield an instructive meditation. I have, however, only one thought which I wish to bring under your notice and to press upon you, perhaps, almost to repetition and monotony. That thought I would engrave as with an iron pen upon the hearts and minds of all here present who desire to find eternal salvation. May the Holy Spirit imprint it upon every living soul!
These 10 lepers were required by the Savior to perform an act of faith in Him before they had the slightest evidence in themselves that He had worked a good work upon them. Before they began to feel their foul blood cleansed—before the horrible dryness of leprosy had yielded to healthy perspiration—they were to go towards the house in which the priest lived to be examined by him and to be pronounced clean. They were to exhibit faith in Christ Jesus' power to heal them by going to exhibit themselves as healed, though as yet they were in the same condition as before! They were to start to the place where they should be examined by the priest, believing that Jesus had healed them, or would heal them, though, as yet, they had no internal evidence, whatever, that their flesh would become as that of a little child!
This is the point I wish to dwell upon—that the Lord Jesus Christ bids sinners believe in Him and trust their souls to Him, though they may not yet discern in themselves any work of His Grace! Just as these men were lepers and nothing but lepers, so you may be sinners and nothing but sinners—and yet you are bid to exhibit faith in Jesus Christ while you are just what you are! As these men were to start straight away to the priest with all their leprosy white upon them and to go there as if they felt they were already healed, so are you, with all your sinnership upon you and your sense of condemnation heavy on your soul, to believe in Jesus Christ just as you are and you shall find everlasting life on the spot!
This is my point and it is of the first importance. Sinners, as sinners, are to believe in Jesus for everlasting life! The voice to each one of them is, "Awake, you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you life." Now, first, I shall notice what signs are commonly looked for by unconverted men as reasons for believing in Christ, which, indeed, are no reasons at all! Then, secondly, I shall try to show what is the real ground and reason for faith in Christ. And, thirdly, what will be the issue of a faith in Christ similar to that of the lepers.
I. First, then, I say that we are to believe in Jesus Christ—to trust Him to heal us of the great disease of sin—though as yet we may have about us no sign or token that He has worked any good work upon us. We are not to look for signs and evidences within ourselves before we venture our souls upon Jesus. The supposition is a soul-destroying error and I will try to expose it by showing WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT ARE COMMONLY LOOKED FOR BY MEN. One of the most frequent is a consciousness of great sin and a horrible dread of Divine wrath leading to despair. Strange to say, we constantly meet with persons who say, "I could believe in Jesus Christ if I felt more burdened by a sense of sin. I could trust Him if I were driven more entirely to despondency and to despair. But I am not depressed enough! I am not brokenhearted enough! I am sure I am not brought low enough and, therefore, I cannot trust Christ."
Strange notion, that if the night were darker we should see better! Strange idea, that if we were nearer death we should have better hope of life! Now, my Friend, you are speaking and acting in distinct disobedience to Christ, for He would have you trust Himself, not on the ground of your feeling much or little, or on the ground of your feeling anything at all, but simply because you are sick and He has come to heal you and is abundantly able to work your cure. If you say, "Lord, I cannot trust You unless I feel this or that," then you, in effect, say, "I can trust my own feelings, but I cannot trust God's appointed Savior." What is this but to make a god out of your feelings and a savior out of your inward griefs?
Is your own heart to save you by its dark insinuations against Divine love? Is unbelief, after all, to bring you salvation because you refuse to believe your God? And despair, wicked despair, which gives the lie to God—is that to be trusted in and not the Savior whom God has sent into the world to save sinners? Is there, then, a new Gospel, and does it run, "He that denies the power of Jesus and despairs of His love shall be saved"? You know that Jesus justifies the ungodly and cleanses the wicked from their sin through His precious blood—and though you know this to be true, you say—"I cannot trust the Crucified. I cannot rely upon His full Atonement unless I feet my guilt to be unpardonable and disbelieve my God."
I pray that you may never feel as you foolishly think you ought to feel, for feelings of despair dishonor the Lord and vex His Spirit—and certainly cannot be good for you. It comes to this—you are making a god of your despair and a Christ out of your horrors—and so you are setting up an antichrist in the place where Christ, alone, should be! Come, young Friend, though you have not been terrified and alarmed and heart-broken to the extent of some, will you trust Christ with your soul and ask no questions? I pray you, trust Jesus once and for all—
"Cast your guilty soul on Him! Find Him mighty to redeem! At His feet your burden lay Look your doubts and cares a way. Now by faith the Son embrace, Plead His promise, trust His Grace." That is the point. Can you trust Jesus? for that is what He bids you do. How strange it seems that anyone should raise a question about trusting HIM! How insane and insulting to be willing to trust our feelings and not trust the Savior!
These 10 lepers felt no change whatever worked upon them when Jesus bade them go off to be examined by the priest, yet away they went, and as they went they were made whole! Trust Jesus Christ just as you are, without those feelings which you have supposed to be necessary as a sort of preparation! Trust Him at once and follow Him—and He will make you whole before you have taken many steps in the path of faith and obedience! O Lord God, lead all my hearers and readers to trust Your Son at once!
Many other persons think that they must, before they can trust Christ, experience quite a blaze of joy. "Oh," says one, "I heard a Christian say that when he found the Savior he was so happy that he did not know how to contain himself and he sang, like a whole band of music in one—
'Happy day, happy day, When Jesus washed my sins away.' Oh that I could be as full of joy as these 'happy day' people!" Just so. But what mischief will you make out of that? Are you going to find evil in our delights? Will you feed your unbelief on the joy of the Lord? What strange perversity! "Why," you say, "must I not be happy before I can believe in Christ?" What? What? Must you have the joy before you exercise the faith? How unreasonable! Because we tell you that such-and-such a root produces a sweet fruit, will you say that you must have the fruit before you will accept the root? Surely that is bad reasoning!
We who have experienced this joy came to Christ in order to obtain it and did not wait until we found it, or else we should have waited until now! We came to Jesus just as we were—some of us were very wretched, but we came just as we then were and trusted Christ and were made whole. Then followed joy and peace, but if we had waited till we felt joy and peace before we came, we should have been standing out against the Gospel plan which is that men are to trust the Savior before they feel the slightest benefit from Him. O Sinner, is not this commonsense? Must we not take medicine before we are cured by it? Must we not eat bread before it removes our hunger? Must we not open our eyes before we see? Before the Lord Jesus has either comforted you or healed you, consciously, you are to come and do just what He bids you and trust
in Him to save you. Neither the gloom of horror nor the blaze of delight is to be looked for before faith! Faith is to precede all and that faith is a simple, humble reliance upon Christ.
We have known others who have expected to have a text impressed upon their minds. A kind of superstition has grown up that a special Scripture must, somehow or other, hover over the mind and continue there, so that you cannot get rid of it—and then you may hope that you are saved! In old families there are superstitions about white birds coming to a window before a death and I regard with much the same distrust the more common superstition that if a text continues upon your mind day after day you may safely conclude that it is an assurance of your salvation. I hope I have never taught you to draw any such a conclusion! Far be it from me to assist you into a confidence which has so questionable a foundation!
The Spirit of God often applies Scripture with power to the soul, but this fact is never set forth as the rock for us to build upon. Will you find anything in the Bible to support the supposition that the vivid recollection of a text is a seal of conversion? It has often happened that some Word of God does greatly comfort the soul, but why should you demand the same? Have you any right to say, "I will not believe God's Word unless He impresses it upon me"? Is it a lie, then? "No, it is true," you say. Remember, if it is not true, an impression upon your mind would not make it true—and if it is true, why do you not believe it? If it is true, accept it! If there is any force about a promise, pray God to make you feel its force and power! You ought to feel its force and power, but if you do not, sin lies at your door.
As a reader of the Scriptures you must not fall into the idea that you are to wait till some Scripture burns its way into your soul. You must read attentively and believe what the Lord God says to you. Furthermore, I would have you remember it is not reading the Scripture that saves you—it is believing in Christ. What did Christ, Himself, say? He said to the Bible readers of His day, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; but you will not come unto Me that you might have life." Good as the searching of Scripture is, it is nothing without coming to Christ! You will only read your own condemnation in the Bible if you remain out of Christ. Even the Bible, itself, may be made into a stumbling block if you substitute Bible-reading for closing in with Christ and putting your trust in Him. Your immediate business is to trust Jesus and no measure of reading will compensate for neglect of faith.
What if no special text of Scripture were ever laid home to your heart at all, yet here it stands, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." That is your business, my dear Hearer, if you are to get peace at once! And I earnestly hope that some of you are going to get it before this sermon is over. I have asked your souls of my God and I have got them for a prey tonight. They shall be David's spoil and you shall be led in chains of Grace to Jesus! Who among you will put His trust in Jesus? For, if you do so, you shall surely find eternal salvation the moment you believe in His dear name!
There is another way in which some men try to get off believing in Christ and that is, they expect an actual conversion to be manifest in them before they will trust the Savior. Now, understand that Christ has worked salvation in no man who is unconverted. There must be a perfect turning round of us—a complete conversion from sin to holiness. That is salvation—not a preparation for salvation. Conversion is the manifestation of Christ's healing power. But you are not to have this before you trust Him—you are to trust Him for this very thing. When a man with a disease goes to an eminent physician, does he say, "Doctor, I will trust you with my case when I have reached a certain stage"? "No," says the physician, "if you have reached that state you will be in a fair way of healing and you won't need me." Your wisest plan is to go to your physician just as you are—and if you can be sure that he is an infallible healer, just put yourself into his hands as if you knew nothing and he knew everything—and as if you would not have a will or way in it, but would leave yourself entirely with him.
That is the thing to do with the Lord Jesus, the Infallible Physician of the souls of men! Why, you poor wretched sinner, you say, "I am not a saint. I cannot be saved." Who said you were a saint? It is Christ's work to make you into a saint! "Oh, but I do not repent as I should." It is Christ's work to make you repent as you should and to Him you must come for repentance! "Oh, but my heart won't break." It is Christ who is to break your heart—not you who are to break it and then come to Him when it is broken. Come to Jesus just as you are, with your hard, stony, senseless heart—and trust that and everything else to His saving power! "I do not seem to even have a strong desire," says one. Christ Himself gives every spiritual desire by His Holy Spirit. He is a Savior that begins the alphabet of mercy at A. He does not ask you to get as far as B, C, D and then promise to meet you—He begins at the beginning.
The good Samaritan, when he found the man beaten by the thieves, went to where he was. That is what Jesus does. He does not say, "Now, then, you wounded man, get up and come to Me, and I will pour the oil and wine into you." No, but He goes where the wounded one lies in utter helplessness, stoops over him, removes his rags, cleanses his wounds, pours in the oil and wine and lifts him up and bears him to the house of mercy. Poor soul! My Master is not a half Savior, but a whole one! And if you are lying at the gates of death, hard by the doors of Hell, He is as able to save you as if you were sitting on the doorstep of Heaven! Just where you are and as you are, trust Christ to save you and you shall be saved! Do not look for conversion first, but expect it as the result of faith.
We have known some who have had a very curious idea which I can hardly put into words, namely, that if they were to be saved they would experience some very singular sensation. They could believe in Christ if they felt in a mysterious fashion! It is rather difficult to understand people, but when I have been talking to some enquirers I have thought that they expected even a physical sensation—a sensation within their bodies. I remember one saying to me, "Sir, I was quite sure I was saved, for I felt so light." Poor simpleton, what does it matter whether you felt light or heavy? What has that to do with it? Perhaps you were light-headed, or half out of your mind with absurd excitement. Beware of such nonsense! To feel light may be interpreted into being weighed in the balances and found wanting—it is a sensation which may frighten as much as console.
"Oh," says one, "but I felt so singular." Yes, and many who are now in Bedlam could say the same. What does it matter what you felt? It is not feeling that will save you! Believing on Jesus will bring you the blessings of Grace, but strange feelings may be produced by what you have eaten, or by the weather, or by hysteria, or a hundred other things! Do you not know that when politics are being discussed, or when some other subject is under dispute, an earnest orator will often stir men with excitement till their flesh creeps? But what of that? Excitement does not save anybody! Many are melted to tears by a novel or a play, but of what benefit is that? You may be moved with religious excitement and half the emotion may be purely physical—there may be nothing of the Grace of God in it.
The wiser way is to sit down calmly and say, "Here is God's way of salvation—salvation through His crucified Son, Jesus Christ. And He has promised that if I trust His Son, He will save me from sinning, make a new man of me and heal me of my spiritual diseases. I will trust Him, for I am sure that the witness of God is true." By that simple and deliberate act of faith you are saved! The power to believe your God is the evidence that the cure has begun and begun well! If you have, indeed, trusted Him, Jesus has undertaken your case and He will save you! The very fact that you can and do believe has, within it, the essential force by which you will be delivered from the alienation of your mind. He that believes God is no longer an enemy to Him. Those whom we trust, we soon learn to love. This, you see, demands no singular sensation or excitement—this is plain and clear enough.
"But must we not be born again?" asks one. Yes, truly, and he that believes in Christ is born again. Though as yet he knows it not, the first mark of life is within his soul, for the first sure token of spiritual life is trusting Jesus Christ, alone. The best evidence is not trusting marks, signs, evidences, inward feelings, impressions and so on—but just getting out of that and trusting Jesus! There lies the essence of the saving change—the getting from self to the Lord God in Christ Jesus!
A certain mariner has a fine anchor, one of the best constructed anchors ever used in the navy. He has it on board his ship and yet it is not a pennyworth of use to him! While he has it on board his ship, it does not answer the purpose of an anchor! His vessel drifts with the anchor on board. He drags it out upon the deck and looks at it. What an anchor! Would not that hold in the day of storm? He admires his anchor as if it were a mass of gold! The winds howl and the waves roar, but he feels safe with his anchor on board. Fool! This anchor is of no use to you while you can see it. A ship's anchorage cannot be in the ship, itself!
"Suppose I hang the anchor from the side of the vessel." It is of no use there! What must you do with it? Fling it overboard! Let it down into the deep, even to the bottom. It is gone! You cannot see where it is. All right! That will do. Now, Soul, fling your anchor of trust overboard! Do not let it hang to your feelings, or to your impressions, or to anything that is in you, but let it go overboard, deep into the waters of infinite love—and let it get a grip on Jesus! Outside of you, your hope must be, for as long as your confidence is within you, or has any dependence upon yourself, it is like an anchor on board which can only increase the weight of the ship, but certainly cannot help it in the day of storm. There is the Truth of God. God grant you Grace to accept it.
II. And now, secondly, and as briefly as I can, I want to bring forward WHAT THE REASON IS FOR OUR BELIEVING IN JESUS CHRIST. What reason have I, as a sinner, for trusting myself with Jesus Christ? No reason whatever within ourself need be looked for. The warrant for our believing Christ lies in this—first, there is God's witness concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. God, the Everlasting Father, has set forth Christ "to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sin of the whole world." God the Father says to men, "I am able to forgive you justly through the death and righteousness of My Son. Trust Me and I will save you."
What do you need more than that? He that believes not has made God a liar because he has not believed His witness concerning His Son. Why, surely, if God declares a thing, you do not need further evidence! "Let God be true and every man a liar." What can be firmer than the voice of God, who cannot lie? Beloved Hearers, I feel as if I really ought not to bring any other evidence before you. It looks so like insulting the Lord by trying to defend Him, as if His perfect Truth needed my testimony to support it! Angels never doubt God. Those bright and glorious beings never suspect their Maker. Worms of the dust! Worms of the dust, how can you doubt the God that made you? Oh, let it not be so! And when His testimony is that He is a God ready to pardon the guilty, waiting to forgive all those that trust His Son, why should we doubt such a gracious declaration? My Soul, I charge you, trust your Savior and raise no further question, but let the matter be assured and established within you!
The next warrant for our believing is Jesus Christ, Himself. He bears witness on earth as well as the Father and His witness is true. Consider who this Christ is whom we are bid to trust. Look at His Person. He is God, "very God of very God." Can we doubt Him? He is perfect Man and He has taken perfect manhood upon Himself for our sakes. Can we doubt Him? He has lived a perfect life. When did He ever lie? Who can charge Him with falsehood? He has died, "the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God." And God has accepted the Sacrifice of His dear Son. What surer proof of His truthfulness can He give us than His death for us? O trembler, why will you refuse your confidence to One so worthy of it? Can you doubt Calvary? Will you despise the Cross?
Will you say, "I need some other reason for trusting Christ besides His own Person and His finished work"? I feel almost ashamed to be pleading for such a thing as this! Tell me when my Lord was ever false. O sons of men, tell me when once He refused to receive a sinner that came to Him! You know that He is risen from the dead and that He has gone into Heaven and sits, now, at the right hand of God and will shortly come. And do you dare treat Him as a mere pretender? Can you not trust Him? Can you dare distrust Him? Do you need signs and wonders over and above those which are in Himself? If one should rise from the dead you would not believe, if you do not believe Jesus, for you have more than Moses and the Prophets when you have Christ, Himself, risen from the dead! Will you not trust Him?
I would like to get you by the hand, my Brothers and Sisters, and put it personally to you—Do you mean it, that you suspect my Savior and cannot trust your soul with Him? Do you mean it? No, with tears I entreat you, do not treat Him so badly, but cast your soul on Him at this instant and believe Him just as you are and He will save you! He will not run back from His word, but He will wash out your guilt in His own blood if you will consent to be cleansed. Still, to put this in another shape, you want to know why you are to believe—your warrant for believing lies in the fact that God commands you to believe! "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned." "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved."
And this commandment we have received from our Master—that we preach this Gospel unto every creature under Heaven—and we preach it in His name, commanding you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that you believe in Him! This Divine command is reason enough for you. If God commands you to do it, you need not ask, "May I do it?" Nobody needs permission to keep the Light of God—the command includes a permit! When the Law of the Gospel comes from God, Himself, dear Hearer, what is there to do but to obey it and believe at once? The door is open, enter! The feast is spread, eat! The fountain is filled, wash!
Moreover, there is the promise made to you and to every creature, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." "He that believes in Him is not condemned." Do you hear that? "He that believes in Him has everlasting life." He has eternal life, he has it now! These are promises rich and free for you. What more do you want? Oh, I know not what more I can say—when Jesus commands you, when Jesus invites you—how can you stand back? O blessed Spirit, make this plain to men and lead them to believe!
I will only add this one more thing—I dare say these poor lepers believed in Jesus because they had heard of other lepers whom He had cleansed. Now, here stands one before you, a representative of many more in this place, who, if this were a fit time, would stand up and say the same. I came to Jesus full of sin, guilty and lost, with a hard heart and a heavy spirit—and I looked to Him, trusting Him, alone, to save me—and He has saved me! He has changed my nature. He has blotted out my sin and He has made me love Him and love all that is good and true and generous, for His sake. It is not I, even I, that am left, alone, to tell you, but, as I have said, there are thousands in this Tabernacle, at this very hour, upon whom the same miracle of Divine mercy has been worked! Therefore trust my Lord Jesus and you shall feel the same miracle worked upon you!
Where are you, Friend, you who need so much persuading for your own good? If I have money to give away, I do not find that I have to persuade anybody to have it! Jingle a guinea and what ears men have! How soon they will rush where the coin gives forth its golden notes! Give bread away in a cold winter, or even a little soup—how the poor will crowd to get it! But when it is, "Trust Jesus and your sin shall be forgiven you, and your nature shall be changed, and you shall be saved from sinning, and you shall be made pure and holy," oh, my Master, what are they thinking that they need calling so often? Men not only require calling, they need compelling to come in—
"Dear Savior, draw reluctant hearts!
To You let sinners fly
And take the bliss Your love imparts
And drink, and never die!"
III. I must now close with the third point which shall not occupy many minutes. It is this, WHAT IS THE ISSUE OF
THIS KIND OF FAITH THAT I HAVE BEEN PREACHING? This doctrine of, "only trust Jesus"—what does it lead
to? This trusting in Jesus without marks, signs, evidences, tokens—what is the result and outcome of it? The first thing that I have to say about it is this—that the very existence of such a faith as that in the soul is evidence that there is already a saving change! "Oh," you say, "I do not see that. How can it prove that I am a new man because I trust myself with Christ?" Consider a little—it will be an evidence of a saving change already worked, for it will show that you have come to be obedient to Jesus—and obedient upon a matter which your proud will has long struggled against.
Every man, by nature, kicks against simply trusting in Christ. And when, at last, he yields to the Divine method of mercy, it is a virtual surrender of his own will, the ending of rebellion, the establishment of peace. Faith is obedience! Faith is the evidence that the warfare has been ended by unconditional surrender! They said to Jesus in olden times, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" And He answered, "This is the work of God—the most godlike work that you can do—that you believe on Jesus Christ whom He has sent." It is even so—in one sense faith is not a work at all—and in another sense it is the most grand of all works! Here is where God and you are at issue—this is the central point of the quarrel! You want to be saved by something in yourself, but God says that He will save you if you trust in Christ!
Now, if you trust Christ just as you are, it will be an evidence that you have been made obedient to God and so obedient that a complete, deep-seated, radical renewal of your nature has evidently taken place. It will be an evidence, also, that you are humble, for it is pride that makes men need to do something, or to be something in their own salvation. Or to be saved in some wonderful way that they may tell other people how wonderfully they were saved. When you are willing to be saved like a poor, good-for-nothing sinner that you are, then you are already saved from pride! I will not compliment you—you are a good-for-nothing wretch of a sinner and if you will trust Jesus, as a man must do who truly bears that character—it will prove that you are humble and this will be good evidence that a change has passed over your spirit!
Again, faith in Jesus will be the best evidence that you are reconciled to God, for the worst evidence of your enmity to God is that you do not like God's way of salvation. You so much dislike God that you will not have Heaven on God's terms! You, the sinner, are so much at war with God that you will go to Hell rather than be saved in God's way! That is what it comes to. And when you give that up and say, "Lord, as long as I can be made whole—as long as I can be made to love You—I am willing to be saved," there will be evidence of a great change in you. When you cry, "Lord, I will be saved in Your way and I will, therefore, trust Christ as you have bid me," then God and you are reconciled upon a point of the chief importance! There is no battle between you, now, for you are of one mind about trusting Christ. God has trusted His honor in Christ's hands and you are trusting your soul in His hands, so that God and you are now agreed to
honor Jesus. The moment you have trusted Christ, that simple thing becomes, in itself, a distinct admission and indisputable proof that a great change has been worked in your relation to God and in your feelings in reference to Him.
Now, mark you, before long, sooner or later, you will become delightfully conscious of the fact that you are saved. Many a man is saved and, for a time, he questions the truth of the gracious work. But in due time the blessing is made clear to him. When a man trusts Jesus as these 10 lepers did and acts upon His trust, good always comes of it. See the 10 men! They are going towards the priest though they have not yet felt that they are healed! They are acting upon Christ's authority and He will not make fools of them, for they that trust in Him shall not be ashamed nor confounded! They must start on their walk before they feel the healing, but as they are going they shall feel it! And you, too, trusting Christ without any sense of any good thing, shall not be long before you shall feel His blessed power upon your heart.
I wish to speak my own experience simply to help those who are coming to Jesus. While I was coming to Christ, I did not know that I was coming. And when I looked to Christ, I scarcely knew whether it was the right sort of look or not. But when I felt, at last, that Jesus had healed me, then I knew what I had done. Many a blessing God has given me as to which I have not found out that I had it till some time after my reception of it! I have read the feelings of certain good men and I have said, "I wish I felt like they" and some time after, when I looked back, I perceived that I was actually moving in their orbit and passing through the same experience!
Many a man wishes he was humble and he is humble because he does not think he is humble! Many a person sighs, "I wish I had a tender heart," but I am sure that his heart is tender because he mourns its hardness! He longs to be deeply sensitive before the Lord and it is clear that he has a tenderness which he does not, himself, recognize. His ideal of tenderness is very high and properly so—and, therefore, he dreads falling short of it. O my dear Friend, if you trust Jesus in the dark, you shall one day enter into the light! And if you never should enjoy comfort, you would still be safe—if all the way between this place and Heaven you should never have a consciousness of being saved—yet if you have trusted Christ, you must and shall be saved, for He cannot possibly allow faith in Him to be exercised in vain!
Before long, if you trust Jesus, you shall know His love. Trust Him as you sink and you shall swim. Trust Him as you feel yourself dying and you shall live. If you trust Him before you feel any work of Grace upon you, you shall soon discover that there was a work upon you, though you discerned it not. If you trust the Lord, you are already the subject of a Divine power, for nothing short of Omnipotent Grace could have led you to believe and live! The state and act of faith are simplicity itself, but to bring us into that simplicity, God, Himself, must new create us. To put all in one, if you are ready to come to Christ and trust Him without any miracles, signs, or evidences, but will simply trust Him, alone, you have within you a power which will carry you through life and preserve you in holiness even to the end.
This morning I spoke about David's encouraging himself in God. [No. 1606. "Ziklag—Or David Encouraging Himself in God."] When Ziklag was burnt, his wives taken captive and his men talked of stoning him, David fell back on God alone. This is a high attainment and yet it is one which has its parallel in the very dawn of faith in the sinner. It is a grand start in life for you, a poor sinner, to begin by trusting Christ, alone, saying, "I, without anything good in me whatever, without anything that I can lay hold of as a hope for me, do cast myself, whether I sink or swim, upon Christ Jesus the Savior of sinners. And I if I perish, I perish."
This is a glorious beginning! To many a saintly life, such a faith in the Lord, alone, has been a crowning act, and yet you, poor Sinner, may exercise this same faith while yet you are a babe in Christ! You will often have to trust in this fashion in future life and, therefore, it is well to begin as you will have to keep on. You will be brought in business, in the family and in the various trials of life, into such a condition that you will have to exercise a faith just of the same sort as that which you begin with. I would, therefore, have you learn the lesson while you are young. You will have to say, "Though I am weakness, itself, and poverty, itself, and do not see how I may be provided for, yet as the ravens and the sparrows are fed, so shall I be. And therefore I cast my nakedness upon God for clothing, my hunger upon God for food and my very life I cast upon Him that He may preserve it to me between the jaws of death."
This is grand faith and you must begin there, for if you do not, you have not begun to build on the Rock. Your first course must be the live Rock, or else all will be insecure. To begin well is half the battle—mind that you get a foundation which can never be moved—for life has many trials, and woe to the man whose foundation fails him. This is grand faith to die with as well as to live with. The curtains are drawn and the light of the sun is shut out. The voices of friends begin
to fail, the ears are dull and the eye-strings break. My Soul, you are now about to launch into the unseen world! What will you do now? What, indeed, but faint into the arms of your Father and your God!
Oh, my dear Hearer, if you have learned to trust, at the very first because of what Jesus is, and not because of what you are, then you will know how to die! Standing there, in the prospect of the great account—or rather, lying there, upon the bed in prospect of the Lord's coming—fears will come, doubts will come and terrors will come if you are looking within, or looking back upon your past life and trying to find a reliance. But if you can say, "My Savior, into Your hands I commit my spirit: my naked soul I put into Your pierced hands, again," then may you breathe your last in peace, knowing whom you have believed and being persuaded that He is able to keep that which you have committed to Him until that day! When John Hyatt lay a-dying, one of his friends said, "Mr. Hyatt, can you now trust your soul with Jesus?" "Man," he said, "trust Him with one soul? That is nothing! I could trust Him with a million souls if I had them! I know that He is able to save all who trust Him."
I want you to begin, then, as these poor lepers did—by just taking Christ at His word—and going your way in the strength of that word before you feel any hopeful change within. In this fashion, when you come to die, you may look out for Glory and expect it, though the brilliance has not yet transfigured you! You may look out for the eternal crown; look out for the harp; look out for the face of the Well-Beloved and the bliss unspeakable—and expect them even though the clouds gather around you! Before you pass the gates of pearl, or cross the chilly sea, you may enjoy the sight of the Beatific Vision by an unstaggering faith!
Hope that is seen is not hope, but glorious is the faith which sees Him who is invisible and grasps the substance of the things not seen as yet! By this power I even now anticipate the joys of the upper skies. Try, Beloved, to do the same. O for more faith! It will be grand to know all Heaven, though you have not seen it and felt it, because you knew and trusted the Lord of Heaven! Up to now you have found the promise true—now trust the Lord for Glory as once you trusted Him for Grace—and you shall find, before long, that His richest promises are sure! God save you, every one of you, Beloved, and may He do so at this very, this very hour, for His dear Son's sake. Amen.
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