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). A SERMON PREACHED ON LORDS-DAY AFTERNOON, DECEMBER 16, ,. BY C. H. SPURGEON,. AT MENTONE, BEFORE THE COMMUNION.
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- Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 30: 1884
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It was a desperate thing for Adam to do, to disobey his Maker and defy His wrath—but he felt he was so one with her that he would share her destiny. Will you now think of Him who is called the Second Adam? He could not sin, nor in any shape or form become partaker with iniquity. But when that Church of His, which was His bride, that God had given Him to be His forever, had fallen, He resolved to maintain the bond which bound Him to her and to suffer all the penalties which would inevitably follow—.
Her bitter cup of death to share. He went down to the depths with us, that He might bring us up into the heights with Himself—that there His enthroned bride should be forever with Him—a queen more glorious than eternity had ever seen! The Church was taken out of the side of Christ and, in her case, it may be fitly said, "The woman is of the man. The man is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. Who shall separate what God has joined together? Now do you wonder that Jesus draws near unto His people?
I should marvel if He did not, for would any of us wish to be away when our dear spouse is suffering? When her heart is heavy, is not ours heavy, too?
In a true, conjugal love, such as I trust many of you feel, there is a degree not merely of similarity and of communion, but even of identity between the two that have become one. Now, we that are joined unto the Lord are one spirit, one by eternal union and He must, therefore, draw near to us in a way of sympathy and fellowship. I have tried to set forth this mystery as best I can. What I have said makes it less surprising and yet fills us with greater surprise.
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In one respect it makes it not wonderful, but in others it makes it more wonderful than ever, that God, Himself, in Christ, should draw near to us! In desiring you to notice the wonder itself, I would remind you, first, that by no means is this wonder at all contrary to expectation, when expectation is founded upon an enlightened understanding. It is natural, it is necessary, that Christ should come near to a people whom He loves so well. Love is attractive. It may be that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but a fond heart hates absence as it hates the fiend—and so the heart of Christ desires not the absence of the Beloved and will not have it, either—for the blood of Christ gives access to Christ and the heart of Christ, out of which that blood comes, is never content until there is constant, intimate, unbroken fellowship between the redeemed and the Redeemer.
I say it is a great wonder that God should dwell with men, but it is not a wonder contrary to expectation. But, dear Friends, if you have ever enjoyed this communion, let me help you to describe it, that you may wonder at it. What is the manner in which God draws near to His people in their time of trouble? At times He draws near to us by a secret strengthening of us to bear up when we are under pressure. We may have no marked joys, nor special transports— but quiet, calm, subdued joy rules the spirit. To my mind, the best of states is the deep calm which comes of the peace of God which passes all understanding.
I care not so much for brilliant and gaudy-colored joys—neutral tints of quiet joy suit my soul's eyes far better. I will not ask to see the sun above me, but I will be content to feel that, "underneath are the everlasting arms. Do you not remember that when the burden came, you feared it, but did not feel it, for the shoulder had grown stronger? When the need came which you dreaded so terribly, it turned out to be no need at all—for He who refused the meal also removed the hunger—He who denied the garment took away the cold.
The secret sustenance of the soul by God is very precious. It is not observed of men, but therein the saints are made to magnify their God. That unseen casting on of oil upon the fire, behind the wall, is what we need—and it is a very charming way of the Lord's drawing near to us in the time of trouble.
Furthermore, the good Lord often vouchsafes to His people in their time of great pain and weakness and weariness a doubly vivid sense of His love. It is not merely that they believe in that love as they find it recorded, though that is a very. They know beyond all doubt and they feel beyond all question—"He loved me and gave Himself for me. It is wonderful what you can bear in suffering and what you can go through in labor when, "a secret something sweetens all"—that secret something the love of God!
It is dark, it is very dark. If so, then you know what it is for God to draw near in the day when you call upon Him. At such times the Lord grants us a sensible assurance of His sympathy with us.
We feel that every stroke of the rod comes distinctly from a Father's hand who does not willingly afflict. We look up into His face and feel that like as a father pities his children, so does He pity us. We enter into the sorrow of our Father's heart while He is causing us grief—with greater grief to Himself.
We come to feel what it is to be bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord Himself. Extraordinary expression, is it not, where one said, "The soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord your God.
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It is a high degree of Grace to be so in sympathy with God, in His afflicting us, that we would not have Him cease for our crying. Let Him continue to do His will even though He crossed our wills! Let our vine be pruned, yes, as sharp as may be, till it bleeds again, if the Vinedresser sees that thus the clusters will be multiplied. Whenever you get there, you will have well-near reached the end of your chastisement—it has already produced the desired fruit! The Lord draws near to His people's souls, sometimes, by a very speedy and remarkable deliverance out of the trouble under which they groan.
He can draw near to you when you are plunged in poverty and He can suddenly lift you to competence. When everything goes against you, He can, in a moment, raise up a friend. When it appears that no chance nor change can set you free, He can, Himself, be your Deliverer. Did He not bring up Joseph out of the prison and set him on the throne of Pharaoh? He can do the same with you if He wills, before your sun has gone down! Nothing is impossible with God.
The deliverances which He has promised to His people, not only in ancient times, but in modern times, are such as to make us feel we dare not doubt, much less despair. I am not quite done. I want you to notice the text again—will you, please? If you will look at it, you will notice that in the record there seems to be some surprise concerning the memorable graciousness of God. But in the first day when I called upon You, You drew near to me. Does not that give us a hint, as if he said, "I had neglected my God. I had failed to apply to Him. My faith had been asleep but, as soon as I awoke, the Lord drew near to me"?
Come, then, you that have treated the Lord badly—do not stand back through guilty shame! Though you believe not, He abides faithful—He cannot deny Himself. All your sins and all your wanderings have not alienated His great heart from you! Return repentingly and begin again—begin from this day and you shall find that He will at once bless you! There seems to me to also be a Nota Bene here, a kind of hand in the margin to point out the promptness of God.
No sooner the prayer, than the answer! Oh, the blessed quickness of God! When David cried to Him, he says, "He rode upon a cherub and did fly, yes, He did fly upon the wings of the wind. He is slow to anger, but He is swift in mercy. Try it, you downcast and broken-hearted ones!
Try it, today, and then come and tell us if it is not so. I no sooner began to pray than the Lord appeared to me! He brought me up out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and He has put a new song into my mouth and established my goings!
One thing more—observe the extreme tenderness of all this. Here is an illustration of it!
Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 30: 1884
Why, I. And if the Lord had come to Jeremiah and said, "You neglected to call upon Me and, therefore, you fell into this trouble," who would have wondered? But no! The Lord's whole thoughts were about His dear child and so He said nothing to him to wound him, but everything to comfort him! Tenderly He cried, "Fear not! You mothers leave your children, for a little, to play together when you are at work in the house, and presently you hear a crash and a cry.
One of the children has met with a heavy fall.
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He was climbing where he ought not to have gone and he has had a serious tumble. One child cries, "Mother, Johnny is killed! You rush to pick him up. You notice that bruise on his forehead and you are fearful for his legs and arms.