A feast for faith
‘This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.’Isaiah 28:29
Suggested Further Reading: Exodus 35:30–36:2
We are to ascribe the thoughtful, inventive mind, and the dexterous, clever hand, to him who is the great Instructor of man. We trace directly to God the marvellous philosophy of Newton, and the skill of Watt and Stephenson, because the very slightest consideration shows us that there was originally a peculiarity in the constitution and formation of such minds as theirs. The most of us could have done nothing of the kind if we had tried all our days. There may be men of inventive genius here, but I suppose that nine out of ten of us can make no pretence to the possession of anything of the sort, and therefore we are led to ask, where did the faculty come from? Surely the fertile brain of invention must be the Creator’s gift. An after providence has also a hand in the business, for many men whose minds would naturally have gone in the direction of invention, are turned into quite another course by the force of circumstances. It was surely God’s providence which in other cases found a channel for the natural passion, and allowed the soul to flow as it willed. And how often, too, some of the greatest inventions have been due to the simplest accidents! The puffing of steam from a kettle, or the falling of an apple from a tree have led thoughtful minds to discover great and important truths, and who shall attribute these circumstances to any but to ‘him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,’ and who gives wisdom to the wisest of the sons of men? Let us adore the mighty God, not only as we read our Bibles, but as we traverse the halls of art and science, and visit the exhibitions which in these days of ours are being reared on every side. Let us make man’s skill speak to us of God’s glory.
For meditation: 1 Corinthians 4:7. Our ‘natural’ abilities are God-given, whether they are practical (Exodus 36:1–2) or academic (Daniel 1:17). It is our responsibility to use our gifts for their proper purpose and we are the only ones to blame if they are misused.
Sermon no. 711 16 September (1866)
Storming the battlements
“Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end; take away her battlements; for they are not the Lord’s.” Jeremiah 5:10
Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 5:25-6: 5
We sometimes trust too much in evidences and good works. Ralph Erskine did not say amiss when he remarked, “I have got more hurt by my good works than my bad ones.” That seems something like Antinomianism, but it is true; we find it so by experience. “My bad works,” said Erskine, “Always drove me to the Saviour for mercy; my good works often kept me from him, and I began to trust in myself.” Is it not so with us? We often get a pleasing opinion of ourselves; we are preaching so many times a week; we attend so many prayer meetings; we are doing good in the Sabbath-school; we are valuable deacons; important members of the church; we are giving away so much in charity; and we say, “Surely I am a child of God—I must be. I am an heir of heaven. Look at me! See what robes I wear. Have I not indeed a righteousness about me that proves me to be a child of God?” Then we begin to trust in ourselves, and say, “Surely I cannot be moved; my mountain stands firm and fast.” Do you know what is the usual rule of heaven when we boast? Why the command is given to the foe—“Go up against him; take away his battlements; for they are not the Lord’s.” And what is the consequence? Why, perhaps God suffers us to fall into sin, and down goes self-sufficiency. Many a Christian owes his falls to a presumptuous confidence in his graces. I conceive that outward sin is not more abhorred by our God than this most wicked sin of reliance on ourselves. May none of you ever learn your own weakness by reading a black book of your own backslidings.
For meditation: If pride and boasting are listed as sins of the unbeliever (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2), they are just as much sins when the believer falls into them. Our good works should lead others to glorify God (Matthew 5:16) and should surely have the same effect upon us.
Sermon no. 38 16 September (1855)
ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO THE COLLECTIONS OF CHARLES SPURGEON(C)
All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)