11 December 2016

“Is it not a little one?"


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The New Park Street Pulpit, volume 5, sermon number 248, "Little sins."
"That thought shall carry a desire; that desire a look; that look a touch; that touch a deed; that deed a habit; and that habit something worse, until the man, from little beginnings, shall be swamped and drowned in iniquity." 

Little things, we say, lead on to something worse. And thus it has always been. A spark is dropped by some unwary traveller amidst the dry grass of the prairie. It is but a spark; "Is it not a little one?" A child's foot may tread it out; one drop from the rain-cloud may quench it. But ah! what sets the prairie in a blaze? what bids the rolling waves of flame drive before them all the beasts of the field? what is it that consumes the forest, locking it in its fiery arms? what is it that burns down the habitation of man, or robs the reaper of his harvest? It is this solitary spark,—the one spark—the breeder of the flames. 

So is it with little sins. Keep them back Oh Satan! They be sparks, but the very fire of hell is only a growth from them. The spark is the mother of conflagration, and though it be a little one I can have nought to do with it. Satan always begins with us as he did with Achan. He showed Achan, first of all, a goodly Babylonish garment, and a wedge of gold. Achan looked at it: was it not a little thing to do,—to look? Achan touched it: was not that a little thing? How slight a sin—to touch the forbidden thing! He takes it, and carries it away to his tent, and—here is worse,— he hides it. And at length he must die for the awful crime. 

Oh! take heed of those small beginnings of sin. Beginnings of sin are like the letting out of water: first, there is an ooze; then a drip; then a slender stream; then a vein of water; and then, at last, a flood: and a rampart is swept before it, a continent is drowned. Take heed of small beginnings, for they lead to worse. 

There was never a man yet that came to the gallows but confessed that he began with small thefts;—the stealing of a book at school—the pilfering, afterwards, from his master's till leading to the joining of the gang of robbers,—the joining of the gang of robbers leading to worse crimes and, at last, the deed was done, the murder was committed, which brought him to an ignominious death. 

Little sins often act as burglars do;— burglars sometimes take with them a little child; they put the little child into a window that is too small for them to enter, and then he goes and opens the door to let in the thieves. So do little sins act. They are but little ones, but they creep in, and they open the door for great ones. A traitor inside the camp may be but a dwarf, and may go and open the gates of the city and let in a whole army. 

Dread sin; though it be never so small, dread it. You cannot see all that is in it. It is the mother of ten thousand mischiefs. The mother of mischief, they say, is as small as a midge's egg; and certainly, the smallest sin has ten thousand mischiefs sleeping within its bowels.

04 December 2016

Killing and healing


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The teachings of nature in the Kingdom of grace, pages 223-224, Pilgrim Publications.
"Whatever God hath not planted will be rooted up."

Jesus Christ had spoken certain truths which were highly objectionable to the Pharisees. Some of His loving disciples were in great fright, and they came to Him and said, “Knowest Thou not that the Pharisees are offended?” Now our Saviour, instead of making any apology for having offended the Pharisees, took it as a matter of course, and replied in a sentence which is well worthy to be called a proverb,—“Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.”

Now we have oftentimes, as Matthew Henry very tritely remarks, a number of good and affectionate but very weak hearers. They are always afraid that we shall offend other hearers. Hence, if the truth be spoken in a plain and pointed manner, and seems to come close home to the conscience, they think that surely it ought not to have been spoken, because So-and-so, and So-and-so, and So-and-so took offence at it.

If we never offended, it would be proof positive that we did not preach the Gospel. They who can please man will find it quite another thing to have pleased God. Do you suppose that men will love those who faithfully rebuke them? If you make the sinner's heart to groan, and waken his conscience, do you think he will pay you court and thank you for it? Nay, not so; in fact, this ought to be one aim of our ministry, not to offend, but to test men and make them offended with themselves, so that their hearts may be exposed to their own inspection.

Their being offended will discover of what sort they are. A ministry that never uproots will never water; a ministry that does not pull down will never build up. He who knoweth not how to pluck up the plants which God hath not planted, scarcely understandeth how to be a worker of God in His vineyard.

Our ministry ought always to be a killing as well as a healing one,—a ministry which kills all false hopes, blights all wrong confidences, and weeds out all foolish trusts, while at the same time it trains up the feeblest shoot of real hope, and tenders comfort and encouragement even to the weakest of the sincere followers of Christ.

27 November 2016

Put your alter on the altar


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from John Ploughman's Talk, pages 140-141, Pilgrim Publications.
"Make as few changes as you can; trees often transplanted bear little fruit." 

If you have difficulties in one place you will have them in another; if you move because it is damp in the valley, you may find it cold on the hill. Where will the ass go that he will not have to work? Where can a cow live and not get milked? Where will you find land without stones or meat without bones? 

Everywhere on earth men must eat bread in the sweat of their faces. To fly from trouble, men must have eagles' wings. Alteration is not always improvement, as the pigeon said when she got out of the net and into the pie. 

There is a proper time for changing, and then mind you bestir yourself, for a sitting hen gets no barley. But do not be for ever on the shift, for a rolling stone gathers no moss. Stick-to-it is the conqueror. He who can wait long enough will win. 

This, that, and the other, anything, and everything, all put together make nothing in the end; but on one horse a man rides home in due season. In one place the seed grows; in one nest the bird hatches its eggs; in one oven the bread bakes; in one river the fish lives.

20 November 2016

Sin put away


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 13, sermon number 759 "Jesus putting away sin."
"In the end of the world Christ was revealed to put away sin. He did not come into the world to palliate it merely, or to cover it up, but he came to put it away." 

Observe, he not only came to put away some of the attributes of sin, such as the filth of it, the guilt of it, the penalty of it, the degradation of it; he came to put away sin itself, for sin, you see, is the fountain of all the mischief. He did not come to empty out the streams, but to clear away the fatal source of the pollution. He appeared to put away sin itself, sin in its essence and being.

Do not forget that he did take away the filth of sin, the guilt of sin, the punishment of sin, the power of sin, the dominion of sin, and that one day he will kill in us the very being and existence of sin, but do recollect that he aimed his stroke at sin itself. My Master seemed to say, as the king of Syria did of old, “Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king.” He aimed his shafts at the monster’s head, smote his vital parts, and laid him low. He put hell itself to flight, and captivity was led captive.

What a glorious word—our Lord put away sin! We read in the word of God, sometimes, that he cast it into the depths of the sea; that is glorious, nobody can ever find it again—in the shoreless depths of the sea, Jesus drowned our sins. Again, we find he removed it as far as the east is from the west. Who can measure that distance? Infinite leagues divide the utmost bounds of space: so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

We read again that he has made an end of sin. You know what we mean by making an end of a thing, it is done with, annihilated, utterly destroyed and abolished. Jesus we here read has put sin away, he has divorced it from us. Sin and my soul are no more married. Christ has put sin away—he has borne it away as the scape-goat carried the iniquity of the people in type and shadow.

He has literally taken upon himself the sins of all his people, and, stronger than Atlas, has borne the load and carried it away and hurled it into his sepulchre, where it lies buried forever. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

Sin is clean gone. If thou believest in Christ, there is nothing that can be laid to thy charge. The past, the present, the future— every sin was laid on Christ; sins of tongue, and brain, and heart, and hand, and thought, were all laid on him. Sins against men, sins against God, adultery, murder, blasphemy, everything, all were laid on Jesus.

He became, as it were, the common reservoir for all the sin of his people to meet in, and then he emptied it all out by his atoning sacrifice; so that the filth of his people is removed. He has crossed the Kedron and put away the filth of sin. You and I may sing concerning sin as Israel sang concerning Egypt when the ransomed nation stood upon the shore of the Red Sea. “The depths have covered them: there is not one of them left.”

13 November 2016

Encouragement for pilgrims


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 28, sermon number 1,652, "The singing pilgrim."
"A man who is a pilgrim reckons that land to be his country in which he expects to remain the longest."

Through the country which he traverses he makes his way with all speed; but when he gets home he abides at his leisure, for it is the end of his toil and travail. What a little part of life shall we spend on earth!

When you and I have been in heaven ten thousand years we shall look back upon those sixty years we spent here as nothing at all: their pain a pin’s prick, their gain a speck, their duration the twinkling of an eye.

Even if you have to tarry eighty or ninety years in this exile, when you have been in heaven a million years, the longest life will seem no greater than a thought, and you will wonder that you said the days were so weary and the nights so dreary, and that the years of sickness dragged such a weary length along.

Ah me, eternal bliss, what a drop thou makest of our sea of sorrow! Heaven covers up this present grief, and so much overlaps it that we could fold up myriads of such mourning and still have garments of joy enough to clothe an army of the afflicted. We make too much of this poor life, and this fondness costs us dear.

Oh for a higher estimate of the home country, with its delights forevermore! then would the trials of a day exhale like the dew of the morning, and scarce secure an hour of sorrow. We are only here time enough to feel an April shower of pain, and we are gone among the unfading flowers of the endless May.

Wherefore let us not make the most of the least, and the least of the most; but let us put things in their order, and allot to brief life its brief consideration, and to everlasting glory its weight of happy meditation. We are to dwell throughout eternity with God! Is not that our home?

That is not a man’s residence into which he enters at the front door and in a moment passes out at the back, and is gone never to return, as though it were a mere passage from one street to another; and yet this is about all that believers do as to this poor world.

That is a man’s home where he can sit down at his ease and look on all around him as his own and say—

“Here will I make a settled rest, 
While others go and come, 
No more a stranger or a guest, 
But like a child at home.” 

Yes, this shows that we are pilgrims, because we are here for so short a space compared with the length of time we shall spend in the dear country beyond.

06 November 2016

Whether election of persons or presidents


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 28, sermon number 1,656, "My solace in my affliction."
"The design and purpose of God are fixed, not fickle. He knows what he intends."

You and I often begin with a design from which we are bound to deviate as we see something that would be better, or as we see that our better thing is not attainable, and we are obliged to be content with something inferior. But in God’s case there can be no defect of judgment which would require amendment, and there can be no defect of power which would drive him from his first determination.

God has a plan, depend upon it: it were an insult to the supreme intellect if we supposed that he worked at random, without plan or method. To some of us it is a truth which we never doubt, that God has one boundless purpose which embraces all things, both things which he permits and things which he ordains.

Without for a moment denying the freedom of the human will, we still believe that the supreme wisdom foresees also the curious twistings of the human will, and overrules all for his own ends. God knows and numbers all the inclinations and devices of men, and his plan in its mighty sweep takes them all into account.

From that plan he never swerves. What he has resolved to do he will do. The settled purpose of his heart shall stand for ever sure. Of what use could the opposition of angels or of men be when Omnipotence asserts its supremacy?

As you walk down your garden on an autumn morning the spiders have spun their webs across the path, but you scarcely know it, for as you move along the threads vanish before you. So is it with every scheme, however skillfully contrived, that would arrest the fulfillment of the Divine purpose. The will of God must be done. Without the semblance of effort he moulds all events into his chosen form.

In the sphere of mind as well as in that of matter his dominion is absolute. One man cannot immediately operate on the will of another man so as to change its course, although intermediately he may propound reasons which, by their effect on the understanding, may completely alter the inclination of his fellow-creature; but this is a trite proverb—“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” God can bend the thoughts of men as easily as we can lay on the pipes, and turn the water into any cistern we choose.



30 October 2016

A short madness


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from John Ploughman's Pictures, pages 36-37, Pilgrim Publications.
"Anger is a short madness." 

The less we do when we go mad the better for everybody, and the less we go mad the better for ourselves. He is far gone who hurts himself to wreak his vengeance on others. The old saying is “Don’t cut off your head because it aches,” and another says “Set not your house on fire to spite the moon.”

If things go awry, it is a poor way of mending to make them worse, as the man did who took to drinking because he could not marry the girl he liked. He must be a fool who cuts off his nose to spite his face, and yet this is what Dick did when he had vexed his old master, and because he was chid must needs give up his place, throw himself out of work, and starve his wife and family.

Jane had been idle, and she knew it, but sooner than let her mistress speak to her, she gave warning, and lost as good a service as a maid could wish for. Old Griggs was wrong, and could not deny it, and yet because the parson’s sermon fitted him rather close, he took the sulks and vowed he would never hear the good man again. It was his own loss, but he wouldn’t listen to reason, but was as wilful as a pig.

Do nothing when you are out of temper, and then you will have the less to undo. Let a hasty man’s passion be a warning to you; if he scalds you, take heed that you do not let your own pot boil over. Many a man has given himself a box on the ear in his blind rage, ay, and ended his own life out of spite.

He who cannot curb his temper carries gunpowder in his bosom, and he is neither safe for himself nor his neighbours. When passion comes in at the door, what little sense there is indoors flies out at the window. By-and-by a hasty man cools and comes to himself, like MacGibbon’s gruel when he put it out of the window, but if his nose is off in the meantime, who is to put it on again? He will only be sorry once and that will be all the rest of his life.

Anger does a man more hurt than that which made him angry. It opens his mouth and shuts his eyes, and fires his heart, and drowns his sense, and makes his wisdom folly.