Strong towers were a greater security in a bygone age than they are
now. Then when troops of marauders invaded the land, strong castles were
set upon the various hill-tops, and the inhabitants gathered up their
little wealth and fled thither at once.
Castles were looked upon as
being very difficult places for attack; and ancient troops would rather
fight a hundred battles than endure a single siege. Towns which would be
taken by modern artillery in twelve hours, held out for twelve years
against the most potent forces of the ancient times.
He that possessed a castle
was lord of all the region round about, and made their inhabitants either
his clients who sought his protection, or his dependents whom he ruled at
He who owned a strong tower,
felt however potent might be his adversary, his walls and bulwarks would
be his sure salvation.
Generous rulers provided
strongholds for their people; mountain fastnesses where the peasantry
might be sheltered from marauders.
Transfer your thoughts to a thousand
years ago, and picture a people, who after ploughing and sowing, have
gathered in their harvest, but when they are about to make merry with the
harvest festival, a startling signal banishes their joy. A trumpet is
blown from yonder mountain, the tocsin (an alarm bell or the ringing of
it) answers it from the village tower, hordes of ferocious robbers are
approaching, their corn will be devoured by strangers; burying their corn
and furniture, and gathering up the little portable wealth they have, they
hasten with all their might to their tower of defense which stands on
yonder ridge. The gates are shut; the drawbridge is pulled up; the
portcullis (a grating of iron hung over the gateway of a fortified place
and lowered between grooves to prevent passage) is let down; the warders
are on the battlements, and the inhabitants within feel that they are
safe. The enemy will rifle their deserted farms, and search for hidden
treasure, and finding that the inhabitants are quite beyond their reach,
they will betake themselves to some other place.
Such is the figure which is in the
The name of the
Lord is a strong tower:
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
I. Of course we all know that by
the name of God is meant the character of the Most High, so that our first
lesson is that The Character Of God Furnishes The Righteous With An
The character of God is the refuge
of the Christian, in opposition to other refuges which godless men have
chosen. Solomon suggestively puts the following words in the next verse
The rich mans
wealth is his strong city,
and as an high wall in his own conceit
The rich man feels that his wealth
may afford him comfort. Should he be attacked in law, his wealth can
procure him an advocate; should he be insulted in the streets, the dignity
of a full purse will avenge him; should he be sick, he can fee the best
physicians; should he need ministers to his pleasures, or helpers of his
infirmities, they will be at his call; should famine stalk through the
land, it will avoid his door; should war itself break forth he can
purchase an escape from the sword, for his wealth is his strong tower.
In contra-distinction to this,
the righteous man finds in his God all that the wealthy man finds in his
substance, and a vast deal more.
The Lord is my portion, saith my
therefore will I trust in Him. (Lamentations 3:24)
God is our treasure; He is to us better than the fullest
purse, or the most magnificent income; broad acres yield not such peace as
a well attested interest in the love and faithfulness of our heavenly
Provinces under our sway could not bring to us greater revenues
than we possess in Him who makes us heirs of all things by Christ Jesus.
Other men who trust not in their wealth, nevertheless make their own names a strong tower. To say the truth, a mans good name is no mean defense
against the attacks of his fellow-men. To wrap ones self about in the
garment of integrity is to defy the chill blast of calumny (a
misrepresentation intended to blacken anothers reputation), and to be
mailed against the arrows of slander. If we can appeal to God, and say,
Lord, them knowest that in this thing I am not wicked, then let the
mouth of the liar pour forth his slanders, let him scatter his venom where
he may, we bear an antidote within before which his poison yields its
power. But this is only true in a very limited sense; death soon proves to
men that their own good name can afford them no consolation, and under
conviction of sin a good repute is no shelter.
When conscience is awake,
when the judgment is unbiased, when we come to know something of the law
of God and of the justice of his character, we soon discover that
self-righteousness is no hiding-place for us, a crumbling battlement which
will fall on the neck of him that hides behind it a pasteboard
fortification yielding to the first shock of the law a refuge of lies to
be beaten down with the great hailstones of eternal vengeance such is
the righteousness of man.
The righteous trusteth not in this; not his own
name, but the name of his God, not his own character, but the character of
the Most High is his strong tower.
Numberless are those castles in the
air to which men hasten in the hour of peril: ceremonies lift their towers
into the clouds; professions pile their walls high as mountains, and works
of the flesh paint their delusions till they seem substantial bulwarks;
but all, all shall melt like snow, and vanish like a mist.
Happy is he who
leaves the sand for the rock,
the phantom for the substance.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower to the Christian, not only in
opposition to other mens refuges but as a matter of fact and reality.
THE CHARACTER OF
Even when he is not able to perceive it by experience, yet
is the refuge the saint. If we come to the bottom of things, we shall find
that the basis of the security of the believer lies in the character of God.
I know you will tell me it is the
covenant; but what is the
covenant worth, if God were changeable, unjust, untrue?
I know you will
tell me that the confidence of the believer is in the blood of Christ; but
what were the blood of Christ if God were false; if after Christ had paid
the ransom the Lord should deny him the ransomed, if after Christ had
stood the substitute, the Judge of Men should yet visit upon our heads,
for whom he suffered, our own guilt; if Jehovah could be unrighteous; if
he could violate his promise and become faithless as we are, then I say
that even the blood of Christ would afford us no security.
You tell me
that there is His promise, but again I remind you that the value of a
mans promise must depend on his character. If God were not such that He
cannot lie, if He were not so faithful that He cannot repent, if He were
not so mighty that He cannot be frustrated when He intends to perform,
then His promise were but waste paper; His words like our words, would be
but wind, and afford no satisfactory shelter for a soul distressed and
But you will tell me he has sworn with an
oath. Brethren, I know
he has. He has given us two immutable things in which it is impossible for
him to lie, that we may have strong consolation. But still what is a mans
oath worth irrespective of his character? Is it not after all what a man
is, that makes his asseveration to be eminently mistrusted or profoundly
believed. And it is because our God cannot by any means foreswear himself
but must be true, that his oath becomes of value to you and to me.
The purpose of God
in our salvation is
The glorifying of His Own character
Brethren, after all, let us remember that the purpose of God in our
salvation is the glorifying of His Own character, and this it is that
makes our salvation positively sure, if everyone that trusts in Christ be
not saved then is God dishonored, the Lord of Hosts hath hung up His
escutcheon (a defined area on which armorial bearings are displayed and
which usually consists of a shield), and if in the face of the whole earth
He accomplisheth not
that which He declares He will perform in this book, then is His
escutcheon stained. I say it, He hath flung down the gauntlet to sin, and
death, and hell, and if He be not the Conqueror over all these in the
heart of every soul that trusteth in Him, then He is no more the God of
Victories, nor can we shout His everlasting praise as the Lord mighty in
battle. His chancier then, you see, when we come to the basis of all, is
the great granite formation upon which must rest all the pillars of the
of grace and the sure mercies thereof. His wisdom, truth, mercy, justice,
power, eternity, and immutability, are the seven pillars of the house of
If we would have comfort, we can
surely find it in the character of God. This is our strong tower, we run
into it and we are safe.
Mark you, beloved, not only is this true as a matter of fact, but it is
true as a matter of experience. I hope I shall now speak the feelings of
your hearts, while I say, we have found the character of God to be an
abundant safeguard to us. We have known full well the trials of life!
thank God we have, for what would any of us be worth, if we had no
troubles? Troubles, like files, take away our rust; like furnaces, they
consume our dross; like winnowing-fans they drive away the chaff, and we
should have had but little value, we should have had but little
usefulness, if we had not been made to pass through the furnace. But in
all our troubles we have found the character of God a comfort.
been poor very poor: I know some of you here have been out of work a
long time, and you have wondered where your bread would come from, even
for the next meal. Now what has been your comfort? Have you not said,
God is too good to let me starve; he is too bountiful to let me want.
And so, you see, you have found
His character to be your strong tower.
else you have had personal sickness; you have long lain on the bed of
weariness, tossing to and fro, and then the temptation has come into your
heart to be impatient:
God has dealt hardly with you,
so the Evil One
whispers; but how do you escape?
Why you say,
No, he is no tyrant, I
know him to be a sympathizing God.
In all their afflictions he was
Angel of His presence saved them.
Or else you have had
losses many losses, and you have been apt to ask,
How can these things
be? How is it I have to work so long and plod so hard, and have to look
about me with all my wits to earn but little, and yet when I have made
money it melts? I see my wealth, like a flock of birds upon the fields,
here one moment and gone the next, for a passer by claps his hand, and
everything takes to itself wings and flies away.
Then we are apt to
think that God is unwise to let us toil for naught; but, lo, we run into
our strong tower, and we feel it cannot be. No; the God who sent this
affliction could not have acted in a thoughtless, reckless, wisdomless
manner; there must be something here that shall work for my good. You
know, brethren, it is useless for me to attempt to describe the various
ways in which your trials come; but I am sure they that know Jehovahs Name will put their trust in him.
Perhaps your trial has been want, and then you have said
"His name is
Jehovah Jireh:, the Lord will provide;
Or else you have been banished from friends, perhaps from country, but you
Ah! His name is
Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is there;
you have had a disturbance in your family; there has been war within, and
war without, but you have run into your strong tower, for you have said,
His name is
the Lord send peace
Or else the world has
slandered you, and you yourself have been conscious of sin, but you
His name is
Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness
and so you have gone there, and been safe; or else many have been your
enemies, then his name has been
Nissi, the Lord my banner
so he has been a strong tower to you.
Defy, then, brethren defy, in
Gods strength, tribulations of every sort and size. Say, with the poet,
There is a safe and secret place
Beneath the wings Divine,
all the heirs of grace;
That Refuge now is mine.
The least and feeblest
here may hide
Uninjured and unawed;
While thousands fall on every side,
rest secure in God.
But, beloved, besides the trials of
this life, we have the sins of the flesh, and what a tribulation these
are; but the name of our God is our strong tower then. At certain seasons
we are more than ordinarily conscious of our guilt; and I would give
little for your piety, if you do not sometimes creep into a corner with
the poor publican and say.
God be merciful to me a sinner
Broken hearts and humble walkers, these are
dear in Jesus eyes. There will be times with all of us when our saintship
is not very clear, but our sinnership is very apparent; well, then, the
name of our God must be our defense:
He is very merciful
will be merciful to their unrighteousness,
and their sins and their
iniquities will I remember no more.
Yea, in the person of Christ we even
dare to look at his justice with confidence, since
He is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Possibly it is not so much the guilt of sin that troubles you, as the
power of sin. You feel as if you must one day fall by the hand of this
enemy within. You have been striving and struggling, but the old Adam is
too much for you. It is a stern conflict, and you fear that the sons of
Anak will never be driven out. You feel you carry a bombshell within your
heart; your passions are like a powder magazine; you are walking where the
flakes of fire are flying, and you are afraid a spark may fall and then
there will be a terrible destruction of everything Ah! then there is the
power of God, there is the truth of God, there is the faithfulness of God,
and, despite all the desperate power of sin, we find a shelter here in the
character of the Most High.
Sin sometimes cometh with all the terrors of
the law; then, if thou knowest not how to hide thyself behind thy God,
thou wilt be in an evil plight. It will come at times with all the fur of
the flesh, and if thou canst not perceive that thy flesh was crucified in
Christ, and that thy life is a life in Him, and not in thyself, then wilt
thou soon be put to the rout. But he who lives in his God, and not in
himself, and he who wraps Christs righteousness about him, and is
righteous in Christ, such a man may defy all the attacks of the flesh and
all the temptations of the world; he shall overcome through the blood of
This is the victory that overcometh the world,
Then, beloved, there are the temptations of the devil, and these are very
dreadful; but how sweet it is still to feel that the character of God is
our strong tower. Without walls of grace and bulwarks of mercy, how can a
tempted soul escape the clutches of the arch destroyer? But where the soul
lies in the entrenchments of divine promise all the devils in hell cannot
carry it by storm.
I saw this week, one whom many of you greatly respect
the former pastor of this Church, Mr. James Smith, of Cheltenham Since
departed to be with Christ, which is far better. a name well-known
by his innumerable little works which are scattered everywhere, and cannot
fail to do good. You will remember that about a year ago, he was struck
with paralysis, and one half of his body is dead. But yet, when I saw him
on the bed, I had not seen a more cheerful man in the full heyday of
strength. I had been told that he was the subject of very fearful
conflicts at times; so after I had shaken hands with him, I said,
Smith, I hear you have many doubts and fears!
Who told you that?
said he, for I have none.
Never have any? why
I understood you had many conflicts.
Yes, he said, I have
many conflicts, but I have no doubts; I have many wars within, but I have
no fears. Who could have told you that? I hope I have not led any
one to think that. It is a hard battle, but I know the victory is sure.
After I have had an ill nights rest of course, through physical
debility my mind is troubled, and then that old coward, Satan, who would
be afraid to meddle with me perhaps if I were strong, attacks me when I am
weak; but I am not afraid of him; dont you go away with that opinion; he
does throw many fiery darts at me, but I have no doubt as to my final
Then, he said, in his own
I am just like a packet that is all ready to go by train, packed,
corded, labeled, paid for, and on the platform, waiting for the express
to come by and take me to glory. I wish I could hear the whistle now,
said he, I had hoped I should have been carried to heaven long ago; but
still I am right. And then, he said, I have been telling your
George Moore, over there, that I am not only on the Rock, but that I am
cemented to the Rock, and that the cement is as hard as the Rock, so there
is no fear of my perishing; unless the Rock falls, I cannot; unless the
gospel perishes, I cannot perish.
Now, here was a man attacked by Satan,
he did not tell me of the bitter conflicts he had within, I know they were
severe enough; he was anxious to bear a good testimony to the faithfulness
of his gracious Lord; but you see, it was his God that was his stronghold; he ran to this the immutability, the faithfulness, the truthfulness, the mightiness of that God upon whose arm he leaned.
If you and I will do the same, we
can always find an attribute of God to oppose to each suggestion of the
God will leave thee, says
the Evil One.
Thou old liar, He cannot, for He
is a faithful God.
But thou wilt perish after all.
O thou vile deceiver, that can
never be, for He is a mighty God and strong to deliver.
But one of these times he will
No; thou false accuser and father
of lies, that cannot be, for He is a God of love.
The time shall happen when he
shall forget thee.
No, traitor; that cannot be, for
He is a God omniscient, and knows and sees all things.
I say, thus we may rebut every
mischievous slander of Satan, running still into the character of God as
our strong tower.
Brethren, even when the Lord
Himself chastens us, it is most blessed to
appeal against God to God. Do you understand what I mean? He smites us
with His rod, but then to look up and say,
Father, if I could believe what
Thy rod seems to say, I should say Thou lovest me not; but I know Thou art
a God of love, and my faith tells me that Thou lovest me none the less
because of that hard blow.
See here, brethren, I will put myself
in the case a moment Lo, He spurns me as though He hated me; drives me
from His presence; gives me no caresses; denies me sweet promises; shuts
me up in prison, and gives me the water of affliction and the bread of
distress; but my faith declares,
He is such a God that I cannot
think hardly of him; he has been so good to me that I know he is good now,
and in the teeth of all his providences, even when he puts a black mask
over his face, I still believe that...
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.
(From a hymn by William Cowper - see
Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of
a Saint -
Reflections on the Life of William Cowper by John Piper)
But, friends, I hope you know, I hope each of us may know by experience,
the blessed art of running into the bosom of God and hiding therein.
word to the sinner who has not yet found peace. Do not you see, man, the
Christian is not saved by what he is, but by what his God is, and this is
the groundwork of our comfort that God is perfect, not that we are
perfect. When I preached last Thursday night about the snuffers of the
temple, and the golden snuffer trays, and the necessity there was for the
lamps in the sanctuary to be trimmed, one foolish woman said,
see, according to the ministers own confession, these Christians are as
bad as the rest of us, they have many faults; oh! said she, I dare say
I shall be as well off at the last as they will.
Poor soul! she did not
see that the Christians hope does not lie in what he is, but in what
Our trust is not in
what we suffer, but in what Jesus suffered; not in what we do, but in what
He has done.
It is not our
name, I say again, that is a strong tower to us, it is not even our
prayer, it is not our good works; it is the name, the promise, the truth,
the work, the finished righteousness of our God in Christ Jesus.
Here the believer finds his defense,
and nowhere besides.
sinner, run, for the castle gate is free to all who seek a shelter, be
they who they may.
II. By your leave I shall turn to the second point. How The Righteous
Avail Themselves Of This Strong Tower. They run into it.
seems to me to imply that they do not stop to make any preparation.
will remember our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, that when the
Romans surrounded Jerusalem, he that was on the house-top was not to come
down into his house, but to run down the outer staircase, and escape.
the Christian, when he is attacked by his enemies, should not stop for
anything, but just run into his God and be safe. There is no need for thee
to tarry until thou hast prepared thy mind, until thou hast performed
sundry ablutions (the washing of ones body or part of it), but run man straight away at once.
When the pigeons are
attacked by the hawk, their better plan is not to parley, nor to stay, but
swift as they can cut the air fly to the dove-cot. So be it with you.
Leave fools who will to parley with the fiend of hell; but as for you, fly
to your God, and enter into His secret places till the tempest be over, past. A gracious hint this to you anxious souls who are seeking to fit
yourselves for Jesus. Away with such legal rubbish, run at once; you are
safe in following the good example of the righteous.
This running appears
to me to imply, that they have nothing to carry. A man who has a load, the
heavier the load may be, the more will he be impeded in his flight.
the righteous run, like racers in the games, who have thrown off
everything, their sins they leave to mercy, and their righteousness to the
moles and bats.
If I had any righteousness I would not carry it, but run
to the righteousness of Christ without it; for my own righteousness must
be a drag upon me which I could not bear.
Sinners I know, when they come
to Christ, want to bring tons of good works, wagon loads of good
feelings, and fitnesses, and repentings, and such like; but the righteous
do no such thing; they just foreswear every thing they have of their own,
and count it but dross and dung, that they may run to Christ and be found
in him. Gospel righteousness lies in all in Jesus, not in the believer.
It seems to me too, that this expression not only implies a want of
preparation, and having nothing to carry, but it imports that fear
Men do not run to a castle unless they are afraid. But when
the avenger of death is close behind, then swiftly they fly. It is marvellous how godly fear helps faith.
There is a man sinking there in the
river; he cannot swim, he must be drowned! See! see he is going down! We
push him a plank; with what a clutch he grasps it; and the more he is
convinced that he has no power to float, the more firmly doth he grip at
this one hope.
Fear may even drive a man, I say, to faith, and lend him
wings to fly, where else he might have crept with laggard feet.
is the flight of fear,
but the refuge is the refuge of faith.
if the righteous fly, what ought thy pace to be?
Again, it seems to me
that there is great eagerness here, as if the Christian did not feel safe
till he had entered into his God. And therefore, as the stag pursued by
the hounds quickens its flight by reason of the baying of the dogs, as the
clamor grows louder, and louder, see how the stag leaps from crag to crag,
dashes through the stream, flies over yonder hill, is lost in yonder
brake, and anon springs through the valley; so the Christian flies to his
dear God for safety, when the hounds of hell, and the dogs of temptation
are let loose against him. Eagerness! Where indeed shall the like be
As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
So panteth my soul
O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:
shall I come and appear before God?
O convinced sinner, what should
thine eagerness be if thus the righteous pant for God?
Brethren, I may add
here, that there is an absence of all hesitation. He runs. You know, if we
want somebody to help us, we put our hand to our brow, and consider,
us see, where shall we go? I am in great straits, to whom shall I fly? Who
will be the best friend to me?
The righteous never ask that question, at
least when they are in a right mind they never do; but the moment their
trouble comes they run at once to their God, for they feel that they have
full permission to repair to him; and again they feel they have nowhere
else to fly.
To whom, or whither should I go, if I could turn from
is a question which is its own answer.
Then understand, in our text there is
the absence of all hesitation,
there is fear,
and yet there is courage;
there is no preparation,
there is the flinging aside every burden.
The righteous runneth into his high tower, and is safe.
Beloved, I will leave that point, when I have just said, please to
remember that when a man gets into a castle, he is safe because of the
impregnability of the castle; he is not safe because of the way in which
he entered into the castle.
You hear some man inside saying,
never be hurt, because I came into the castle the right way.
No, no, no, it is not the way you came into the castle but the
castle itself is our defense.
So some of you may be thinking,
come to Christ, but I am afraid that I do not come aright.
But it is not
your coming, it is Christ that saves you. If you are in Christ, I do not
care a pin how you got in, for I am sure you could not act in except by
the door; if you are once in, He will never throw you out; He will never
drive away a soul that cometh unto Him, for any reason whatsoever. Your
safety does not lie in how you came, for in very truth, your safety is in
If a man should run into a castle and carry all the jewels of a
kingdom with him, he would not be safer because of the jewels; and if
another man should run in with hardly a fresh suit of clothes with him, he
would not be any the more in danger because of his raggedness. It is the
castle, it is the castle, not the man. The solid walls, the strong
bastions, the frowning ramparts, the mighty munitions, these make up the
defense, not the man, nor yet the mans wealth, nor yet the way the man
Beloved, it is most true that salvation is of the Lord, and
whosoever shall look out of self tonight, whosoever shall look to Christ
only, shall find him to be a strong tower, he may run into his Lord and be
III. And now for our third and closing remark. You that have Bibles with
margins, just look at them. You will find that the second Part of the text
is put in the margin thus
The righteous runneth into it, and is set
Our first rendering is,
The righteous runneth
into it, and is safe there is the matter of fact.
The other rendering is,
He is set aloft there is the matter of joyous experience.
1. Now first let us see to the matter of fact.
The man that is sheltered
in his God a man that dwells in the secret places of the tabernacle of
the Host High, who is hidden in his pavilion, and is set upon a rock, he
is safe; for, first, who can hurt him?
Christ has broken his head.
Christ has taken his life up to heaven; for we are dead, and our life is
hid with Christ in God.
No; the last enemy that shall be
destroyed is death. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy
That is satisfied, and it is dead to the believer, and he is not under its
No; that cannot hurt the believer, for
Christ has slain it. Christ took the believers sins upon himself, and
therefore they are not on the believer any more. Christ took the
believers sins, and threw them into the Red Sea of his atoning blood; the
depths have covered them, not one of them is left. All the sin the
believer hath ever committed is now blotted out, and a debt that is
cancelled can never put a man in prison; a debt that is paid, let it be
never so heavy, can never make a man an insolvent it is discharged, it
has ceased to be.
Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect?
It is God that 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
Who also maketh intercession for us.
harm us? Let him have permission to do what he will; what is there that he
Who again has the
power to reach us? We are in the hand of Christ.
What arrow shall penetrate his hand to reach our souls? We are under the
skirts of Deity.
What strength shall tear away the mantle of God to reach his beloved? Our
names are written on the hands of Jesus, who can erase those everlasting
lines? We are jewels in Immanuels crown.
What thievish fingers shall steal away those jewels? We are in
Who shall be
able to rend us from his innermost heart? We are members of his body.
Who shall mutilate
I bare you, saith God, as on eagles wings.
smite through the breast of the Eternal One, heavens great eagle? he must
first do it ere he can reach the eaglets, the young sons of God, begotten
unto a lively hope.
Who can reach us? God interposes; Christ stands in the
way; and the Holy Spirit guards us as a garrison.
Who shall stand against
the Omnipotent? Tens of thousands of created puissances (powers) must fall before
Him for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.
What weapon is there
that can be used against us? Shall they kill us? Then we begin to live.
Shall they banish us? Then we are but nearer to our home.
Shall they strip
us? How can they rend away the garment of imputed righteousness?
they seize our property? How can they touch our treasure since it is all
Shall they scourge us? Sweet shall be the smart when Christ is
present with us?
they cast us into a dungeon? Where shall the free spirit find a prison?
What fetters can bind the man who is free in Christ?
Shall the tongue attack us? Every tongue that riseth against us in
judgment we shall condemn.
I know not what new weapon can be formed, for
certain it is that the anvil of the Church has broken all the hammers that
were ever used to smite it, and remains uninjured still.
The believer is
he must be safe.
I said this morning, that if the believer in Christ be
not saved for ever, then, beloved, there is no meaning whatever in Gods
Word; and I say it once again, and I say it without any word of apology
for so doing, I could never receive that book as the book of God at all,
if it could be proved to me that it did not teach the doctrine of the
safety of those that trust in Christ. I could never believe that God would
speak in such a manner as to make tens of thousands of us, yea millions of
us, believe that He would keep us, and yet after all he should cast us
away. Nor do I believe that he would use words which, to say the very
least, seem to teach final perseverance if he had not intended to teach us
All the Arminian divines that ever lived cannot prove the
total apostasy of believers; they can attack some other points of the
Calvinistic doctrine; there are some points of our form of doctrine which
apparently are far more vulnerable. God forbid we should be so foolish as
to deny that there are difficulties about every system of theology, but
about the perseverance of the saint there is no difficulty. It is as easy
to overthrow an opponent here as it would be to pierce with a spear
through a shield of pasteboard. Be ye confident, believer, that this is
Gods truth, that they who trust in God shall be as Mount Zion which shall
never be removed, but abideth for ever.
2. But now we conclude by noticing that our text not only teaches us our
safety, but our experience of it.
He shall set him up aloft.
believer in his high-days, and they ought to be every day, is like an
eagle perched aloft on a towering crag. Yonder is a hunter, down below,
who would fain strike the royal bird; he has his rifle with him; but his
rifle would not reach one third of the way; so the royal bird looks down
upon him; sees him load and prime, and aim; and looks in quiet contempt on
him, not intending even to take the trouble to stretch one of his wings;
he sees him load again, hears the bullet down below, but he is quite safe,
for he is up aloft.
Such is the faithful Christians state before God.
can look down upon every trial and temptation; upon every adversary and
every malicious attack, for God is his strong tower, and he is set up
When some people go to the newspaper and write a very sharp,
bitter, and cutting letter against the minister, oh, think they,
will feel that; how that will out him to the quick!
And yet, if they had
seen the man read it through, double it up, and throw it into the fire,
What a mercy it is to have somebody taking notice of me;
they could see the man go to bed and sleep all the better because he
thinks he has had a high honor conferred on him, for being allowed to be
abused for Christ, surely they would see that their efforts are only
hates labor lost. I do not think our enemies would take so much
trouble to make us happy, if they knew how blessed we are under their
Thou prepared a table before me
in the presence of mine
enemies, said David.
(Psalm 23:5) (Spurgeon's
never eat so well as when their enemies are looking on; for there is a
sort of gusto about every mouthful which they eat, as they seem to say,
snatched from the jaw of the lion, and from the paw of the bear, and
in defiance of you all, in the Name of the Most High God I feast to the
full, and then set up my banner.
Lord sets His people up aloft.
There are many who do not appear to be much
up aloft. You meet them on the corner market, and they say,
Wheat does not
pay as it used to; farming is no good to anybody.
Hear others, after
those gales, those equinoctial gales, when so many ships have gone down,
Ah I you may well pity us poor fellows that have to do with
shipping, dreadful times these, we are all sure to be ruined.
of our tradesmen
This Exhibition has given us a little spurt, but as
soon as this is over there will be nothing doing; trade never was so
Trade has been dull ever since I have been in London, and that is
nine years! I do not know how it is, but our friends are always losing
money, yet they get on pretty comfortably too. Some I know begun with
nothing; and they are getting pretty rich now, but, it is all with losing
money, if I am to believe what they tell me.
Surely this is not sitting up
aloft; surely this is not living up on high. This is a low kind of life
for a child of God. We should not have liked to see the Prince of Wales in
his boyhood playing with the children in the street, and I do not suppose
you would like to see him now among coal-heavers at a hustling match.
should the child of God be seen pushing and grasping as if this world were
all, always using that muck-rake to scrape together the things of this
world; instead of in full satisfaction, being content with such things
as he has, for God has said,
I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.
(He 13:5 -note)
I am not a little ashamed of myself that I do not live more on high, for I
know when we get depressed in spirits and down cast, and doubting, we say
many unbelieving and God-dishonoring words. It is all wrong. We ought not
to stay here in these marshes of fleshly doubts. We ought never to doubt
our God. Let the heathen doubt his God, for well he may, but our God made
the heavens. What a happy people ye ought to be! When we are not, we are
not true to our principles.
There are ten thousand arguments in Scripture
for happiness in the Christian;
but I do not know that there is one logical argument for misery.
Those people who draw their faces down, and
like the hypocrites pretend to be of a sad countenance, these, I say, cry,
Lord, what a wretched land is this, that yields us no supplies.
should think they do not belong to the children of Israel; for the
children of Israel find in the wilderness a rock following them with its
streams of water, and manna dropping every day, and when they want them
there are the quails, and so the wretched land is filled with good
Let us rather rejoice in our God. I should not like to have a
serving man who always went about with a dreary countenance, because do
you know people would say,
What a bad master that man has.
And when we
see Christians looking so sad, we are apt to think they cannot have a good
God to trust to.
Come, beloved, let us change our notes,
for we have a
strong tower and are safe.
Let us take a walk upon the ramparts, I do not
see any reason for always being down in the dungeon, let us go up to the
very top of the ramparts, where the banner waves in the fresh air, and let
us sound the clarion of defiance to our foes again, and let it ring across
the plain, where yonder pale white horsed rider comes, bearing the lance of
death; let us defy even him. Ring out the note again; salute the evening,
and make the outgoings of the morning to rejoice. Warder (watchman), upon the
castle-top, shout to thy companion yonder, and let every tower and every
turret of the grand old battlements be vocal with the praise of Him who
Munitions of stupendous rock,
Thy dwelling-place shall be;
thy soul without a shock
The wreck of nature see.
Sinner, again I say the door
Run to the mercy of God in Christ
and be safe.