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The Single-handed Conquest
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 24, 1898.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JANUARY 6, 1856.
"I have trodden the winepress alone; and ofthe people there was none with Me." Isaiah 63:3.
IT is said of some stupendous works of architecture that although you see them every day, you are struck with wonder and admiration every time you behold them and that, although you should live close to them and have your eyes perpetually fixed upon them, yet your admiration of them would by no means decrease, for they are so matchless in symmetry, such patterns of art and such marvelous displays of the skill of man. I know not whether that is true. I believe that the best and grandest achievements of mortals lose their glory when they are too closely examined and that the frequency of our sight of them very much lessens our wondering admiration. But this I know is true concerning Christ Jesus our Lord—you may see Him every day, but the more often you see Him, the more you will wonder at Him and call Him, "Wonderful." You may even have communion with Him every hour, but the frequency of your converse and the constancy of your communion will be so far from diminishing your awe, your love, your respect, your devout adoration of Him, that the more you know Him, the more your wonder and admiration of Him will increase!
Now, who could be expected to know so much about Christ as Christ's own Church? Yet, in the opening of this chapter you find that even she bursts out with such exclamations as this—"Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?" She had often seen Him before. She had often viewed Him under that aspect and doubtless she had seen Him as the Conqueror of mighty heroes, Master over princes and the Lord of the kings of the earth. But at a fresh view of Him, she was so utterly astonished that she could not help crying out, "Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?"
Live near to Jesus, Brothers and Sisters. Live with Jesus. Live in Jesus and you will find Him a theme of such excellent and such endless contemplation that, instead of being tired and weary with the subject of your meditation, you will find it more easy to begin, again, than it was to begin at first—more interesting and more pleasing to consider Him in the 50th year of your knowledge of Him than it was in the first hour that you knew Him! Think much of Him and you will have little cause to think lightly of Him! Constantly meditate on Him and you will the more admire and wonder at His goodness!
We have here our Savior answering the questions of His Church, which she, in wonder, had asked of Him—"Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?" "I that speak in righteousness," He says, "mighty to save." And when again she asks Him, "Why are You red in Your apparel and Your garments like he that treads in the wine vat?" He replies, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me."
Very briefly, as the Spirit shall help us, we shall notice, first, the interesting figure employed. Secondly, the glorious fact stated. Thirdly, the solitary Conqueror described. And then, fourthly, we shall offer some sweet and salutary considerations suggested, that we may be refreshed by our meditations. Let our souls be calm and quiet whilst we contemplate the awfully-solemn and sublimely-grand spectacle of the Conqueror of men and the Conqueror of Hell treading the winepress alone.
I. First, then, here is AN INTERESTING FIGURE EMPLOYED—"I have trodden the winepress."
You must understand the circumstances to which these words relate. This is Jesus speaking after His conquest over His foes—not Jesus before the battle, but Jesus after it—not Jesus buckling on the harness, not Jesus becoming the Baby of Bethlehem, but Jesus after the battle is fought and the victory is won. There were certain enemies who opposed the salvation of God's people. There were numberless foes who stood in the way of the deliverance of His chosen, but Christ undertook to conquer them and now, on His return, He not only declares that He has overcome them, but He uses an expressive figure to set out some of the facts in that wondrous feat of conquest. "I have trodden the winepress."
First, this denotes the supreme contempt with which the mighty Conqueror regarded the enemies whom He had overcome. It is as if He had said, "I have overcome the many foes of My people and I compare My victory over them to nothing but the treading of the winepress. Angels sing My praise, the hosts of the redeemed in Heaven swell the sublime chorus as, in exultant strains, they declare how I have broken the dragon's head and have put down the strength of the oppressor. They tell how mighty kings have been slain in My wrath and giants in My hot displeasure. But as for Myself, I say little about it, I only declare that I have trodden the winepress and have counted My enemies as easy to conquer as if they had been grapes beneath My feet! My people's crimes may have been tremendous and their enemies mighty, but coming up, 'with dyed garments from Bozrah,' I have crushed their foes and My foes just as easily as a treader of grapes treads them under foot. I have trodden them as in a winepress."
O ungodly Sinner, perhaps you think that it will cause God great trouble to destroy you with an utter destruction— it will not! It may be you think that God will have need to exert much power to send your guilty spirit to the loathsome dungeons of Hell, but, ah, it will require no might from Him! If you should continue to be His foe, He will tread you beneath His feet as easily as you could tread grapes beneath yours! What are the berries of the vine beneath the feet of the wine presser? And what shall your soul and body be when the feet of Jesus tread upon them? In vain your ribs of steel! In vain your sinews of brass! In vain your bones of adamant—if such you had. If your spirit were clothed with scales like leviathan's, yet under the feet of Jesus you wouldst be like ripe grapes—the blood of which flows out freely! Yes, terrible shall be the meaning of that figure when Christ shall say of sinners, at the last day, "I have trodden them down as he that treads grapes presses out the juice thereof—'I have trodden the winepress.'"
But, mark you, there is in the figure an intimation of toil and labor, for the fruit of the vine is not bruised without hard work. So the mighty Conqueror, though in contempt He says His foes were as nothing but the grapes of the vintage to His might, yet, speaking as a Man like unto us, He had something to do to overcome His foes when He fought with them in the Garden. Sometimes the wine presser is wearied with his labor, although he takes hold of the strap which is placed above him and jerking, and dancing, and laughing, and singing all day, he presses out the juice of the grapes. Yet oftentimes he wipes the sweat from his brow and is tired with his toil. So our blessed Lord, albeit He could have crushed the enemies of His Church like moths beneath His finger, had enough to do to overcome them in the Garden. It was no little pressing of the foot which was needed when He bruised the old dragon's head in Gethsemane! Then He—
"Bore all Incarnate God could bear, With strength enough, but none to spare."
My Soul, meditate on this glorious Wine Presser! Those sins which would have crushed you to pieces, He had to tread beneath His feet. How it must have bruised His heel to tread upon those sins! O how powerfully He must have trodden on those crimes of yours, breaking them into less than nothing! How did it force from Him, not sweat like ours, but drops of blood, when He could say, "I have trodden the winepress." Yet, toil as it was, labor as it might be, costing Him tears and groans, He could say, "I have done it. The great work is fully accomplished—'it is finished'—'I have trodden the winepress alone.'"
Moreover, in the figure employed, there is an allusion to the staining of the garments. We see it is so in the verse before the text, "Why are You red in Your apparel, and Your garments like he that treads in the wine vat?" The garments of the wine presser would naturally be sprinkled over with the juice, squirting up from beneath his feet. Ah, my Soul, stand here and solemnly contemplate your Savior, sprinkled with His own blood! Look at Him, when but eight days old, already shedding blood for you! And go on to the time when He commenced the shedding of His blood, again, in Geth-semane's Garden! Mark you how, in one gory robe, He is enveloped—not like the kings of the earth, in garments of Tyrian-dyed purple, but like the King of Misery, dressed in a crimson robe of blood! Go and mark the blood as it flows from His temple, when the crown of thorns lacerates His brow! Weep when the accursed flagellation of the cruel Roman is tearing off, piece after piece of His quivering flesh! Pursue Him in His weary via dolorosa, as He treads the streets of Jerusalem!
Stop and see how each stone on which He treads is stained with His precious blood! Then mark how His hands begin to gush down streams of blood, as the rough iron tears them asunder! See Him now crucified, hung upon the Cross, plunged into the lowest depths of misery!—
"See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did ever such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads o'er His body on the tree."
Jesus, from the crown of Your head to the sole of Your feet, You were sprinkled with blood! Your inward Man was stained with blood and your outward Man, too! You were covered with blood, You glorious Presser of our sins beneath Your feet! We will not ask again, "'Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?" We know why Your garments are red. You have trodden the winepress of the wrath of God!
Thus have we explained briefly, as best we could, the interesting figure employed by our Lord. II. And now we come to consider THE GLORIOUS FACT STATED—"I have trodden the winepress." Christian, I need you a moment! Come with me, my Brothers and Sisters—not to Heaven, nor to Hell, but to the great winepress which the Savior trod. You understand the form of the Eastern winepresses, how they were built up in order that a great quantity of grapes might be put into them, to be trodden by the feet of the wine presser? Come here, then, and look over the edge of this great winepress in which your Savior stood and trampled on your behalf! Gaze down into its depths.
The first thing that you will see in that winepress is your sins. Look down attentively. In the middle of the winepress there are the crimes of your youth, like unripe grapes lying there in thick clusters. There lie the sins of your manhood, dark with the black juice of Gomorrah. Do you see them, like the grapes from the vine of Sodom? And see you not the full clusters, like the vine of Sibmah? Look there and see the fruits of your middle age. And there the sins of your old age, too! They are all put into the mighty winepress. Come, then, you chief of sinners, there lie your sins and there lie mine all mingled in one mighty heap! But wait—the Wine Presser enters and puts His feet on them. Oh, contemplate how He presses them! Do you see Him in Gethsemane, treading your sins to pieces? Come, and look again! There lie the skins— the broken skins—of all your guilt. But there is no guilt there and there are no crimes there now! They are gone, gone, gone! He says, "I have trodden the winepress." Look back upon those sins and weep, for they are still your sins, but, at the same time, weep not with bitter and despairing anguish, as if you would be punished for them, for all the black juice, the venom of your guilt, is pressed out and has run away! Christ has caught it in His cup of gall and drained it to its very dregs!
1 bid you look down there, for if you have eyes of faith, you will see all your sins destroyed. Do try and look—let not the devil put his hands before your eyes—but look! And if some dark crime, not confessed to man, still rankles in your bosom, look, it is there! And if some cruel injury to your neighbor, or some dire crime to your Maker, still haunts you, look, there it is—it is trampled on just as much as the other! Little sins and great sins, too, all are trampled to pieces, nor could you find one of them even by diligent seeking—
"If I search to find my sins, My sins could ne'er be found." They are there, Believer, trodden into less than nothing! They are gone, they are all gone! "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Look there, Accuser, into the winepress! Look there, Conscience, into the wine vat! Look there, Satan! Do you see the bruised pieces of my former sins? They are all gone! My sins have ceased to be!—
"Covered is my unrighteousness! From condemnation I am free!"
But come, Believer, and you will see, next, something in Christ's winepress which, perhaps, you did not expect to see. There is Satan, lying with bruised head! How often does he come to afflict you! How terribly does he sometimes roar in your ears and tell you that Hell must be your portion! How does he seek to keep you from your Savior's blood! How frequently has he striven to deprive you of peace, although God loves you! I beseech you, tell Satan this night to come with you to the wine vat of Gethsemane, and when he looks in there, he will see himself! Yes, take Satan and put him into the wine vat and Christ will bruise his head again for you! But there he is, Christian! Do not fear that he can hurt you—he may torment, but he cannot destroy you, for he is chained! He may roar, but he cannot bite! He may frighten, but he cannot injure you! He may startle, but he cannot devour you! He goes about, seeking whom he may devour, but he may not devour you! He may go about and seek as long as he likes—he will never find you, for the Lord has said concerning you, that you never shall be destroyed! Whenever you have a sharp conflict with Satan, tell him about the wine vat and rejoice over him! And as Luther said, "Laugh at the devil," laugh at him and tell him to remember Gethsemane's wine vat. Ask him what he thinks of that and how he likes the bruising he received there. It was a desperate blow which he gave our Lord in Gethsemane, but it was a heavier blow that our Lord gave him when He took away his power, extracted his sting and left him—still an enemy, but a conquered one—for Christ trampled him in the wine vat!
Look again, Christian! Do you see there—just between your sins and the devil who lies bruised there—an ugly monster? He is a bony, skeleton-looking thing. Do you recognize him? It is your last enemy—"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Look at him! Do you note that his skull is broken and his bones are broken, too? Do you mark how death is now a dismantled monarch? There he lies and yet you are afraid of him—though he lies there broken, bruised, battered, injured, ruined, destroyed? There they are—death, the devil, and your sins together—an infernal trio forever trampled beneath the mighty Conqueror's feet! He said, "O Death, I will be your plagues; O Grave, I will be your destruction." And so He was and, henceforth, to the wine vat we will go whenever our adversaries disturb and afflict us!
What else have you to oppose you, Christian? I do not know what it is, but it is all here. Whatever your enemy, go look into the wine vat and see it dead there! Giant Despair took the pilgrims to a place where he showed them the bones of certain pilgrims that he had devoured—and told them it would assuredly be so with them. Do you, with all your doubts and fears, just as Despair did with the pilgrims, say to them, "Doubts and fears, do you see the bones of my old doubts and fears that have been trampled there? In a day or two, you shall be with them." Take today's sins and tell them that they shall be just where yesterday's were—drowned in the blood of Jesus and slain by His blessed Sacrifice! And when Conscience convicts you of your crimes, take him to this winepress. It will stop any ghost of guilt if you take it there, for it is written, "I have trodden the winepress alone." It is done. It is finished! Sins, doubts, fears, Hell, death, destruction and self, too—all are trodden beneath the conquering feet of Jesus, the Wine Presser who has "trodden the winepress alone."
III. Now, Christian, come consider THE SOLITARY CONQUEROR DESCRIBED. "I have trodden the winepress alone."
The great lesson God will teach the world is, "I am God and beside Me there is none else." And especially in redemption, He will have it that the glory shall be all His. Hence, Christ never allowed any to share with Him the toil of redemption, nor will He suffer any to share the honors of it. And, moreover, there was no one who could help Him. None could take any part in the work of redemption since there was none able to bear so much as an atom of that mountain of His people's guilt which pressed upon His heart! And there were none able to drink so much as a drop of that cup which He had to drink to the very dregs! He did it all alone, as the fifth verse of this chapter declares—"I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore My own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me."
Come, now, Believer, and let us look at the lonely Jesus. How lonely He was in this world during the few short years of His ministry! I think there never was such a lonely man, living among so many, as the Lord Jesus Christ was. He stood in the crowd and the congregation listened to His preaching—and though many heard with joy, there was no one who could give such sympathy as He needed. He went to a solitary place and talked with His disciples, but they could not sympathize with Him. John did so a little, for he laid his head on Christ's bosom, but it was poor sympathy that even John could give. Jesus must have been, to a very great extent, always a most lonely Man. Who was so pure that they could match His unsullied purity? Who so perfect, that they could abide with Immaculate Perfection? Who so wise as to talk with the Wonderful Counselor? Who so far-seeing as to be able to commune with the Prophet of all the ages? Who so benevolent as to speak with the gracious Jesus—and who so sorrowful as to be a fit companion for the "Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief?
His loneliness increased as His heaviest sorrows came upon Him. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He trod the winepress all alone. I think I see our Savior, like the true Man that He was, clinging a little to His fellows. He says, "Peter, James and John—the other eight may go away. Judas has already gone—they may rest there, at that end of the Garden, but you come with Me, for I am about to be exceedingly sorrowful." He takes them with Him. Ah, but He feels that it would not do to have them with Him while He struggles, for they would die if they were to see His face! His was so terrible a Countenance when His body was racked with pain and His soul was bearing the load of our guilt, that they must inevitably have been stricken with death if they had looked upon that face of sorrow! What heavy drops of bloody sweat flowed from Him in His agony! Still He clung to the three disciples as if He needed some companionship. But, oh, how sorrowful it was to Him, when He came back, to find them all sleeping! Do you not think you see Jesus looking on His three slumbering disciples? There they lie! He goes to them three times, as if He sought some help from man, as if He had hoped that they would condole with Him, for that was all they could do in His grief.
Thrice He goes to them and the third time He says, "Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that does betray Me." Surely, nowthey will rally round Him! They do for a moment, for Peter, with his sword, slashes off the ear of Malchus. But soon, "All His disciples forsook Him and fled." He is taken prisoner by the men with swords and staves. O Earth, has He no Friend? O heavens, have you no Friend for Jesus? Where is Peter? He said, "Though all men shall be offended because of You, yet will I never be offended." Where is John? He has fled! There is no one to be with Jesus. No one to help Him. They take Him before the council, but there is no one to declare His innocence. He stands up in the hall, but there is no one with Him. Yes, there is one—but look at Him! He says, "I tell you, I know not the Man." Soon Peter is cursing and swearing almost before his Master's face!
And now He goes up to Calvary and still there is no one with Him, until, when He is hanging on the Cross, those blessed women come to lift their sorrowful eyes up to their beloved Lord and melt their hearts away in tears. And when the darkness gathered round, so that He could see no one, He was alone, alone, alone, in thick, impenetrable gloom! Hear Him cry, "Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabachthani?" which is, being interpreted, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Then He could cry, "I am treading the winepress alone, and of the people there is none with Me." When He was buried, nobody slept in the grave with Him—no other arose from the same sepulcher on the Resurrection Morning. Ah, Christian, never associate anyone with Jesus in the work of redemption! Rather understand well that this stands forth as a great cardinal Truth of God—that Jesus has trodden the winepress alone and, therefore, HE IS ALL IN ALL!
IV. Now this brings us, having briefly passed over the other points, to some SWEET AND SALUTARY CONSIDERATIONS SUGGESTED by this most blessed and sacred subject.
The first inference is there is no winepress of Divine wrath for you, O Believer, to tread! If Jesus trod the winepress, and trod it alone, you shall never have to tread it. What mistakes Christians often make in this matter! You will hear one say that such-and-such a good man was punished for his transgressions—and I have known Believers think that their afflictions were punishments sent from God on account of their sins! The thing is impossible! God has punished us, who are His people, once and for all in Christ and He will never punish us again! He cannot do it, seeing He is a just God. Afflictions are chastisements from a Father's hand, but they are not judicial punishments! Jesus has trodden the winepress and He has trodden it alone, so we cannot tread it. How often have you thought that God would make you feel the weight of some of your sins, that He would cause you to suffer for some of your guilt! Ah, no! Jesus says, "I have trodden the winepress," and if you had to tread it, if you had to suffer the smallest pang of punishment for your iniquities, Christ could no more say, "I have trodden the winepress alone." He has done it completely and there is no punishment reserved for you! For you there are no flames of Hell, for you no punishment, for you no rack—you are freely acquitted, you are fully discharged—nor can you ever again be condemned! Christ, once and for all, has trodden your sins beneath His feet! Therefore, you never, never can be punished for them.
What say you to this, you seekers after the Truth of God? It may be you have heard the doctrine taught that Christ was punished for the sins of everybody and yet that many people are punished for their own sins. You will never find peace or comfort in that doctrine—it is so untrue, so unjust to God, so unsafe for man! We are taught, from the Holy
Scriptures, that God has made His Son to be the Substitute for all His people and, "has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." And not one of "us"—the people for whom Christ was punished—can ever be, ourselves, punished! If Jesus did endure our punishment, we stand on this broad ground of unalterable justice, that God cannot, consistently with His Nature, (and He can do nothing inconsistent with it), ever punish us any more! O rejoice, Christian Brothers and Sisters, that ours is a solid foundation! The elect—all who are united to Christ by a living faith—have been punished in Christ and now they stand in Him, "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners!" None can lay anything to their charge. "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Glorious God, unto You be praise, unto us be shame that we do not better love and more fully value this inestimable Doctrine of Substitution and its necessary consequences of complete justification!—
"Remember, Lord, that Jesus bled,
That Jesus bowed His dying head,
And sweated bloody sweat.
He bore Your wrath and curse for me
In His own body on the tree
And more than paid my debt!
Surely He has my pardon bought—
A perfect righteousness worked out.
His people to redeem—
O that His righteousness might be
By Grace imputed now to me,
As were my sins to Him!"
Another thought for you, O child of God, is this. There are winepresses of suffering, although not of punishment, which you wiil have to tread. But I want you to remember that you will not have to tread these winepresses alone. Tell a little child to go down a lonely lane on a dark night and the child says, "Mother, I don't want to go there." "I will go with you," says the mother. "Then I will go," says the child. "I will go anywhere with you, Mother." Ah, Christian, there are many dark lanes for you to go down, but you will not have to go there alone! There are many winepresses— not of God's wrath, but of His chastening hand—for you to tread, but you will not have to tread them alone. Oh, is not this a Truth of God that ought to ravish our hearts? We shall never tread the winepress alone! Minister, you go to your pulpit, but if God has sent you, you will never go alone! Your Master's feet are behind you and your Master, Himself, stands by you! Deacons, you have sometimes to steer the Church in troublous waters. You need great wisdom, but there is an Arch-Deacon with you—you shall not go to your labors alone!
Sunday school teacher, you go to your class with earnestness and you think you teach alone. Ah, no, there is another Teacher sitting by you who can teach better than you can! He teaches hearts, while you teach only heads. He teaches souls, while you only teach bodies. He will teach for you! O daughter of affliction, you who lie on your bed of languishing, you lie not there alone! It is not an angel there that shades your head with its pure wing, but it is Jesus who stands and puts His pierced hand on your burning brow. Dying saint, you fear to die, but you shall not die alone! Jesus turns Bed-Maker to each one of His people. David says, "You will make all his bed in his sickness."—
"Jesus can make a dying bed Feel soft as downy pillows are. While on His breast I lean my head, And breathe my life out sweetly there."
What is your trial, Christian? "Oh, a dark one!" you say. It may be so, but His rod and His staff shall comfort you. His right hand shall guide you. What is your grief, Christian? "Ah, a deep one!" you say. But "when you pass through the waters," Jesus whispers, "I will be with you and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you." In the old Pilgrim's Progress I used to read in my grandfather's house, I remember the picture of Hopeful in the river holding Christian up—and the engraver has done it very well. Hopeful has his arm around Christian and lifts up his hands, and says, Fear not, Brother, I feel the bottom." That is just what Jesus does in our trials—He puts His arm around us, points up, and says, "Fear not! The water may be deep, but the bottom is good." And though the cold streams of trouble rush down the river, do not fear—Christ is with you passing through the river—you will not have to pass through it alone. He trod the winepress for us, but we shall never have to tread it! It would be an ill day for us, Beloved, if we had to tread it. Some of God's people have tried to do a little for themselves and tried to do it alone, but they have made a sorry mess of it. If we seek to do anything in our own strength, it is all over with us! But he who lives with Jesus and begs Him to be with him, shall find Him with him in winepresses, in Gethsemanes, and in Gabbathas—and if it were necessary that we should be crucified on Calvary, we would find Christ on Calvary crucified with us! You will not, Christian, have to pass through the river without your Master!
We remember an old tale of our boyhood, how poor Robinson Crusoe, wrecked on a foreign island, rejoiced when he saw the print of a man's foot. So is it with the Christian in his trouble—he shall not despair in a desolate land because there is the footprint of Christ Jesus on all our temptations and troubles! Go on rejoicing, Christian! You are in an inhabited country—your Jesus is with you in all your afflictions and in all your woes! You shall never have to tread the winepress alone!
But, lastly, you servants of the living God, since Jesus trod the winepress alone, I beseech you bear with me while, for my Master's sake, I bid you give all things to Him. Alone He suffered—will you not love Him, alone? Alone He trod the winepress—will you not serve Him? Alone He purchased your redemption—will you not be His property and His, alone? Oh, have you given half of yourself to the world and only half to your Master? Did the world ever bless you? Did the world redeem you? Was the world crucified for you? Did the world tread the winepress for you? No! Then give not the world a portion of your heart! You have some dear relative whom you love with all your soul, but be careful, O Christian, that your heart is still set most on your Lord! Did that friend tread the winepress for you? Did that friend drink the gall for you? Did that friend suffer for you on the Cross? No! Then let Jesus stand first and foremost. Let Him sit King upon the throne and no one else but He. And when you daily go forth to labor, take heed that you labor not for self, or pleasure, or any worldly object, but that you labor for Jesus!
If the world says, "Come with me, and I will show you all manner of delights," reply, "O world, I cannot come! I never saw your feet in the winepress." Does lust invite you? Cry. "O lust, I cannot love you, for you never sweat a drop of blood for me!" Yes, if all the world's inhabitants should open wide their loving arms to beseech you to come in and forsake your Lord, answer, "No, no! You did not tread the winepress and that is all I care about! Jesus trod the winepress alone, and I will give myself wholly to Him." Half-hearted Christians, you who divide yourselves in two—giving one half to Christ and the other to lust—you are not the Lord's! "You cannot serve God and mammon." There can be only one Master and one Lord because there was but one Redeemer, one Friend, one Governor, One whom we live on, for whom we would even dare to die, because there is only One who dared to die for us. Never, I beseech you, Christians, and I beseech myself, also, for I plead with myself when I plead with you—never forget this—Jesus trod the winepress alone! And always take care that you have Him alone as King in your heart.
If you ask me, tonight, to paint Redemption, I shall have to put only one figure in the picture. We may paint groups when we depict Creation, for the morning stars sang together. We may paint groups when we picture the Resurrection, for an angel rolled away the stone. But if we paint Redemption, there can be but one figure and that figure is "the Man Christ Jesus." So, if you would have a painting in your heart, I bid you paint no groups upon the canvas of your soul, but ask God's Holy Spirit to paint on it one name, one lovely Being, one adorable Personage—Christ, who trod the winepress alone!
Queen Mary said that when she died, they would find the word, "Calais," written on her heart. Ah, Christian! Live so that when you die, all will know that the name, "Jesus," is printed on your heart, for it is certain that your name is deeply cut on His very heart and on His hands, and on His brow—it is written in His precious blood! Give Him not only the best place in your heart, but allyour heart! Often do you sing—
"Prone to wander Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love—
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it from Your courts above!" Brothers and Sisters who will now come into close fellowship with your Lord at His Table, may this one idea engross your mind, that it is—
"None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good."
And you despisers of the Cross, oh, let me tell you that you are as grapes in the winepress! If you die ungodly, unsaved, unrighteous, unforgiven—you must be cast into the great wine vat of the wrath of God, hurled into Hell with myriads of your fellows, like grapes fully ripe, cut off by the sickle of the angel—and horrible shall be the day when Christ shall tread on you in His fury and trample upon you in His hot displeasure! God save you from being put in the wine vat! May you be able to cast your sins in there instead, that Christ may trample on them!
I cannot close my sermon without recurring to the happy circumstance that on this day, six years ago, I found deliverance, myself, from the bondage of Egypt and rejoiced in the liberty wherewith Christ made me free! What if my Master would, by my lips, bring another soul to Himself! What do you say, poor Trembler? Did you hear the text of this morning? "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
[In preaching from these words in the morning, Mr. Spurgeon said, "Six years ago, today, as near as possible at this very hour of the day, I was 'in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity,' but had yet, by Divine Grace, been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage and to cry out by reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest and finding none, I stepped within the House of God and sat there, afraid to look upward lest I should be utterly cut off, and lest His fierce wrath should consume me. The minister rose in the pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text—'Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.' I looked that moment—the Grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in the same instant! And now I think I say with truth—
'Ever since by faith I saw the stream His flowing wounds supply, Redeeming love has been my theme And shall be till I die.'
I shall never forget that day while memory holds its place. Nor can I help repeating this text whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord." [—See Sermon #50, Volume 2, Sovereignty and Salvation]
Did you hear that? Then hear it yet again. And have you looked? If not, oh, look now! Have you looked to Him? If you have not seen Him, still look, and you shall see Him, by-and-by. But look now! It is all He asks you to do and even that, He bestows upon you! Look now, poor Sinner! Look now, for Christ's sake, for your soul's sake, for Heaven's sake if you would escape the damnation of Hell! Look and that look shall save you! Catch but one glimpse of that dear head crowned with thorns—get but one glance from His sweet eyes full of pity—catch but one glimpse of that smiling countenance, or, if you cannot look so high, see but the sole of His pierced feet and you are saved!
For it is still written, "They looked unto Him and were lightened." "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth."
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