posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Motives for Steadfastness," a sermon preached Sunday morning May 11, 1873, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
eloved, be stedfast. . . . Do not be as some are, of doubtful mind, who know nothing, and even dare to say that nothing can be known. To such the highest wisdom is to suspect the truth of everything they once knew, and to hang in doubt as to whether there are any fundamentals at all.
I should like an answer from the Broad Church divines to one short and plain question. What truth is so certain and important as to justify a man in sacrificing his life to maintain it? Is there any doctrine for which a wise man should yield his body to be burned? According to all that I can understand of modern liberalism, religion is a mere matter of opinion, and no opinion is of sufficient importance to be worth contending for.
The martyrs might have saved themselves a world of loss and pain if they had been of this school, and the Reformers might have spared the world all this din about Popery and Protestantism. I deplore the spread of this infidel spirit, it will eat as doth a canker.
Where is the strength of a church when its faith is held in such low esteem? Where is conscience? Where is love of truth? Where soon will be common honesty? In these days with some men, in religious matters, black is white, and all things are whichever color may happen to be in your own eye, the color being nowhere but in your eye, theology being only a set of opinions, a bundle of views and persuasions. The Bible to these gentry is a nose of wax which everybody may shape just as he pleases. Beloved, beware of falling into this state of mind; for if you do so I boldly assert that you are not Christian at all, for the Spirit which dwells in believers hates falsehood, and clings firmly to the truth. Our great Lord and Master taught mankind certain great truths plainly and definitely, stamping them with his "Verily, verily;" and as to the marrow of them he did not hesitate to say, "He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;" a sentence very abhorrent to modern charity, but infallible nevertheless.
Jesus never gave countenance to the baseborn charity which teaches that it is no injury to a man's nature to believe a lie. Beloved, be firm, be stedfast, be positive. There are certain things which are true; find them out, grapple them to you as with hooks of steel. Buy the truth at any price and sell it at no price.
Some have one creed to-day and another creed to-morrow, variable as a lady's fashions. Indeed, we once heard a notable divine assert that he had to alter his creed every week, he was unable to tell on Monday what he would believe on Wednesday, for so much fresh light broke in upon his receptive intellect.
There are crowds of persons nowadays of that kind described by Mr. Whitfield when he said you might as well try to measure the moon for a suit of clothes as to tell what they believed. Ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Shifting as sandbanks are their teachings and as full of danger.
The apostle says to us, "Be ye stedfast." Having learned the truth hold it, grow into it, let the roots of your soul penetrate into its center and drink up the nourishment which lies therein, but do not be for ever transplanting yourselves from soil to soil. How can a tree grow when perpetually shifted? How can a soul make progress if it is evermore changing its course? Do not sow in Beersheba and then rush off to reap in Dan.
Jesus Christ is not yea and nay; he is not to-day one thing and tomorrow another, but the "same to-day, yesterday, and for ever." True religion is not a series of guesses at truth, but "we speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen." That which your experience has proved to you, that which you have clearly seen to be the word of God, that which the Spirit beareth witness to in your consciousness, that hold you with iron grasp.