Mr. Fearing Comforted
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
IT seems as if doubt were doomed to be the perpetual companion of faith. As dust attends the chariot wheels so do doubts naturally becloud faith. Some men of little faith are perpetually enshrouded with fears–their faith seems only strong enough to enable them to doubt. If they had no faith at all, then they would not doubt, but having that little, and but so little, they are perpetually involved in distressing surmises, suspicions and fears. Others, who have attained to great strength and stability of faith, are nevertheless, at times, subjects of doubt. He who has a colossal faith will sometimes find that the clouds of fear float over the brow of his confidence. It is not possible, I suppose, so long as man is in this world, that he should be perfect in anything. And surely it seems to be quite impossible that he should be perfect in faith.
Sometimes, indeed, the Lord purposely leaves His children, withdraws the Divine inflowing of His grace and permits them to begin to sink in order that they may understand that faith is not their own work, but is first the gift of God and must always be maintained and kept alive in the heart by the fresh influence of the Holy Spirit. I take it that Peter was a man of great faith. When others doubted, Peter believed. He boldly avowed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, for which faith he received the Master’s commendation, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jona–for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in Heaven.” He was of faith so strong, that at Christ’s command he could tread the billow and find it like glass beneath his feet–yet even he was permitted in this thing to fall. Faith forsook him, he looked at the winds and the waves and began to sink and the Lord said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” As much as to say, “O Peter, your great faith is My gift and the greatness of it is My work. Think not that you are the author of your own faith. I will leave you and this great faith of yours shall speedily disappear and like another who has no faith, you shall believe the winds and regard the waves, but shall distrust your Master’s power and therefore shall you sink.”
I think I shall be quite safe in concluding, this morning, that there are some here who are full of doubting and fearing. Sure I am that all true Christians have their times of anxious questioning. The heart that has never doubted has not yet learned to believe. As the farmers say, “The land that will not grow a thistle, will not grow wheat.” And the heart that cannot produce a doubt has not yet understood the meaning of believing. He that never doubted of his state–he may, perhaps he may, too late. Yes, there may be timid ones here, those who are always of little faith–and there may be also great hearts, those who are valiant for truth–who are now enduring seasons of despondency and hours of darkness of heart.
Now in endeavoring to comfort you this morning, I would remark that the text goes upon a very wise principle. If a man believes in anything it is always proper to put to him the question, “Why do you believe? What evidence have you that what you believe is certainly correct?” We believe on evidence. Now the most foolish part of many men’s doubts, is that they do not doubt on evidence. If you should put to them the question, “Why do you doubt?”–they would not be able to answer. Yet mark, if men’s doubts are painful, the wisest way to remove them is by simply seeing whether they have a firm basis. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” If you believe a thing, you want evidence and before you doubt a thing you ought to have evidence, too. To believe without evidence is to be credulous and to doubt without evidence is to be foolish. We should have grounds for our doubts as well as a basis for our faith. The text, therefore, goes on a most excellent principle and it deals with all doubting minds by asking them this question, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I shall endeavor to exhort you on the same plan this morning. I shall divide my sermon into two parts. First, I shall address myself to those of you who are in great trouble with regard to temporal circumstances–you are God’s people–but you are sorely tried and you have begun to doubt. I shall then deal with you upon spiritual matters–there are some here who are God’s true, quickened and living people, but they are doubting–to them also I shall put the same question, “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?”
- First, then, in TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCES. God has not made for His people a smooth path to Heaven. Before they are crowned they must fight. Before they can enter the celestial city they must fulfill a weary pilgrimage. Religion helps us in trouble, but it does not suffer us to escape from it. It is through much tribulation that we inherit the kingdom. Now the Christian, when he is full of faith, passes through affliction with a song in his mouth–he would enter the fiery furnace itself, fearless of the devouring flame, or with Jonah he would descend into the great deeps, unalarmed at the hungry sea. As long as faith maintains its hold, fear is a stranger. But at times, during sundry great and sore troubles, the Christian begins to fear that surely at last he shall be overcome and shall be left to himself to die and perish in despair.
Now, what is the reason why you doubt? I must come to the plan of the text and put the great question, “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?” Here it will be proper for us to enquire–Why did Simon Peter doubt? He doubted for two reasons. First, because he looked too much to second causes and secondly, because be looked too little at the first cause. The answer will suit you, also, my trembling Brothers and Sisters. This is the reason why you doubt–because you are looking too much to the things that are seen and too little to your unseen Friend who is behind your troubles and who shall come forth for your deliverance. See poor Peter in the ship–his Master bids him come. In a moment he casts himself into the sea and to his own surprise he finds himself walking the billows. He looks down and actually it is the fact. His foot is upon a crested wave and yet he stands erect. He treads again and yet his footing is secure. “Oh,” thinks Peter, “this is marvelous.” He begins to wonder within his spirit what manner of man Jesus must be who has enabled him to tread the treacherous deep. But just then there comes howling across the sea a terrible blast of wind. It whistles in the ear of Peter and he says within himself, “Ah, here comes an enormous billow driven forward by the blast! Now, surely, I must, I shall be overwhelmed.” No sooner does the thought enter his heart than down he goes. And the waves begin to enclose him. So long as he shut his eyes to the billow and to the blast and kept it only open to the Lord who stood there before him, he did not sink. But the moment he shut his eyes on Christ and looked at the stormy wind and treacherous deep, down he went.
He might have traversed the leagues of the Atlantic, he might have crossed the broad Pacific–if he could but have kept his eyes on Christ. Never a billow would have yielded to his tread, but he might have been drowned in a very brook if he began to look at second causes and to forget the Great Head and Master of the Universe who had bid him walk the sea. I say, the very reason of Peter’s doubt was that he looked at second causes and not at the first cause. Now, that is the reason why you doubt. Let me just probe you now for a while. You are despondent about temporal affairs. What is the reason why you are in trouble? “Because,” you say, “I never was in such a condition before in my life. Wave upon wave of trouble comes upon me. I have lost one friend and then another. It seems as if business had altogether run away from me. Once I had a flood tide and now it is an ebb and my poor ship grates upon the gravel and I find she has not water enough to float her–what will become of me? And, oh, Sir, my enemies have conspired against me in every way to cut me up and destroy me–opposition upon opposition threatens me. My shop must be closed. Bankruptcy stares me in the face and I know not what is to become of me.”
Or else your troubles take another shape and you feel that you are called to some eminently arduous service for your Lord and your strength is utterly insignificant compared with the labor before you. If you had great faith it would be as much as you could do to accomplish it. But with your poor little faith you are completely beaten. You cannot see how you can accomplish the matter at all. Now, what is all this but simply looking at second causes? You are looking at your troubles, not at the God who sent your troubles. You are looking at yourselves, not at the God who dwells within you and who has promised to sustain you. O Soul, it were enough to make the mightiest heart doubt if it should look only at things that are seen. He that is nearest to the kingdom of Heaven would have cause to droop and die if he had nothing to look at but that which eye can see and ear can ear. What wonder, then, if you are disconsolate, when you have begun to look at the things which always must be enemies to faith?
But I would remind you that you have forgotten to look to Christ since you have been in this trouble. Let me ask you, have you not thought less of Christ than you ever did? I will not suppose that you have neglected prayer, or have left your Bible unread. But still, have you had any of those sweet thoughts of Christ which once you had? Have you been able to take all your troubles to Him and say–“Lord, You know all things. I trust all in Your hands”? Let me ask you, have you considered that Christ is omnipotent and therefore able to deliver you? That He is faithful and must deliver you, because He has promised to do so? Have you not kept your eyes on His rod and not on His hands? Have you not looked rather to the crook that smote you, than to the heart that moved that crook? Oh, remember, that you can never find joy and peace while you are looking at the things that are seen, the second causes of your trouble. Your only hope, your only refuge and joy must be to look to Him who dwells within the veil. Peter sunk when he looked to outward providences–so must you. He would never have ceased to walk the wave, never would he have begun to sink if he had looked alone to Christ–nor will you if you will look alone to Him.
And here let me now begin to argue with such of you as are the people of God who are in sore trouble lest Christ should leave you to sink. Let me forbid your fears by a few words of consolation. You are now in Peter’s condition. You are like Peter. You are Christ’s servant. Christ is a good Master. You have never heard that He suffered one of His servants to be drowned when going on His errands. Will He not take care of His own? Shall it be said at last that one of Christ’s disciples perished while he was in obedience to Christ. I say He were a bad Master if He should send you on an errand that would involve your destruction. Peter, when he was in the water, was where his Master had called him to be and you in your troubles now, are not only Christ’s servant, but you are where Christ has chosen to put you. Your afflictions, remember, come neither from the east nor from the west, neither does your trouble grow out of the ground.
All your suffering is sent upon you by your God. The medicine which you now drink is compounded in Heaven. Every grain of this bitterness which now fills your mouth was measured by the heavenly physician. There is not an ounce more trouble in your cup than God chose to put there. Your burden was weighed by God before you were called to bear it. The Lord who gave you the mercy has taken it away. The same God who has blessed you with joy is He that has now plowed you with grief. You are where God put you. Ask yourself this question, then–Can it is possible that Christ would put His own servant into a perilous condition and then leave him there? I have heard of fiends, in fables, tempting men into the sea to drown them. But is Christ a siren? Will He entice His people on to the rocks? Will He tempt them into a place where He shall destroy them? God forbid! If Christ calls you into the fire, He will bring you out of it. And if He bids you walk the sea, He will enable you to tread it in safety. Doubt not, Soul. If you had come there of yourself, then you might fear, but since Christ put you there, He will bring you out again. Let this be the pillar of your confidence–you are His servant, He will not leave you. You are where He put you, He cannot suffer you to perish. Look away, then, from the trouble that surround you, to your Master and to His hand that has planned all these things.
Remember too, who it is that has you where you are. It is no harsh tyrant who has led you into trouble. It is no austere unloving heart who has bid you pass through this difficulty to gratify a capricious whim. Ah, no, He who troubles you is Christ. Remember His bleeding hands. And can you think that the hand which dropped with gore can ever hang down when it should be stretched for your deliverance? Think of the eyes that wept over you on the Cross. And can the eyes that wept for you be blind when you are in grief? Think of the heart that was opened for you. And shall the heart that did bleed its life away to rescue you from death be hard and stolid when you are overwhelmed in sorrow? It is Christ that stands on yonder billow in the midst of the tempest with you. He is suffering as well as you are. Peter is not the only one walking on the sea. His master is there with him, too. And so is Jesus with you, today, with you in your troubles, suffering with you as He suffered for you. Shall He leave you, He that bought you, He who is married to you, He that has led you thus far, has succored you up to now, He who loves you better than He loves Himself, shall He forsake you? O turn your eyes from the rough billow, listen no longer to the howling tempest, turn your eyes to Him, your loving Lord, your faithful Fiend, and fix your trust on Him, who even now in the midst of the tempest, cries, “It is I, be not afraid.”
One other reflection will I offer to such of you as are now in sore trouble on account of temporal matters and it is this–Christ has helped you up to now. Should not this console you? Ah, Peter, why could you fear that you should sink? It was miracle enough that you did not sink at first. What power is it that has held you up till now? Certainly not your own! You had fallen at once to the bottom of the sea, O man, if God had not been your helper. If Jesus had not made you buoyant, Peter, you would soon have been a floating carcass. He who helped you then to walk so long as you could walk, surely He is able to help you all the way until He shall grasp your hand in Paradise to glorify you with Himself. Let any Christian look back to his past life and he will be astonished that he is what he is and where he is. The whole Christian life is a series of miracles, wonders linked into wonders, in one perpetual chain. Marvel, Believer, that you have been upheld till now. And cannot He that has kept you to this day preserve you to the end? What is yon roaring wave that threatens to overwhelm you–what is it? Why, you have endured greater waves than these in the past! What is yon howling blast? Why, He has saved you when the wind was howling worse than that! He that helped you in six troubles will not forsake you in this. He who has delivered you out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will not, He cannot, forsake you now.
In all this, I have labored to turn your eyes from what you are seeing to that which you cannot see, but in which you must believe. Oh, if I might but be successful, though feeble my words, yet mighty should be the consolation which should flow from there.
A minister of Christ, who was always in the habit of visiting those whom he knew to be eminent for piety, in order that he might learn from them, called upon an aged Christian who had been distinguished for his holiness. To his great surprise, however, when he sat down by his bedside, the old man said, “Ah, I have lost my way. I did think at one time that I was a child of God, now I find that I have been a stumbling block to others. For these forty years I have deceived the Church and deceived myself and now I discover that I am a lost soul.” The minister very wisely said to him, “Ah, then I suppose you like the song of the drunkard and you are very fond of the amusements of the world and delight in profanity and sin?” “Ah, no,” said he, “I cannot bear them, I could not endure to sin against God.” “O then,” said the minister, “then it is not at all likely that God will lock you up in Hell with men that you cannot bear here. If now you hate sin, depend on it, God will not shut you up forever with sinners. But, my Brother,” said the minister “tell me what has brought you into such a distressed state of mind?”
“O Sir,” said he, “it was looking away from the God of Providence, to myself. I had managed to save about one hundred pounds and I have been lying here ill now this last six months and I was thinking that my one hundred pounds would soon be spent and then what should I do? I think I shall have to go to the workhouse, I have no friend to take care of me and I have been thinking about that one hundred pounds of mine. I knew it would soon be gone and then, then, how could the Lord provide for me? I never had either doubt or fear till I began to think about temporal matters. The time was when I could leave all that with God. If I had not had one hundred pounds, I should have felt quite sure He would provide for me. But I begin to think, now, that I cannot provide for myself. The moment I think of that, my heart is darkened.” The minister then led him away from all trust in an arm of flesh and told him his dependence for bread and water was not on his one hundred pounds, but on the God who is the possessor of Heaven and earth–that as for his bread being given him and his water being sure–God would take care of that, for in so doing he would only be fulfilling His promise.
The poor man was enabled in the matter of Providence to cast himself entirely upon God and then his doubts and fears subsided and once more he began to walk the sea of trouble and did not sink. O Believer, if you take your business into your own hands, you will soon be in trouble. The old Puritan said, “He that carves for himself will soon cut his fingers,” and I believe it. There never was a man who began to take his own matters out of God’s hands that was not glad enough to give them back again. He that runs before the cloud runs a fool’s errand. If we leave all our matters, temporal as well as spiritual, in the hands of God, we shall lack no good thing, and what is better still, we shall have no care, no trouble, no thought. We shall cast all our burdens upon Him for He cares for us. There is no need for two to care, for God to care and the creature, too. If the Creator cares for us, then the creature may sing all day long with joy and gladness–
“Mortals cease from toil and sorrow,
God provides for the morrow.”
II. But now, in the second part of the discourse, I have to speak of SPIRITUAL THINGS. To the Christian, these are the causes of more trouble than all his temporal trials. In the matters of the soul and of eternity many doubts will arise. I shall, however, divide them into two sorts–doubts of our present acceptance and doubts of our final perseverance.
Many there is of God’s people who are much vexed and troubled with doubts about their present acceptance. “Oh,” say they “there was a time when I knew I was a child of God. I was sure that I was Christ’s, my heart would fly up to Heaven at a word. I looked to Christ hanging on the Cross, I fixed all my trust on Him and a sweet, calm and blessed repose filled my spirit–
“What peaceful hours I then enjoyed;
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void,
The world can never fill.”
“And now,” says this doubting one, “now I am afraid I never knew the Lord. I think that I have deceived myself and that I have been a hypocrite. Oh that I could but know that I am Christ’s, I would give all I have in the world, if He would but let me know that He is my Beloved and that I am His.”
Now, Soul, I will deal with you as I have been just now treating of Peter. Your doubts arise from looking to second causes and not to Christ. Let us see if this is not the Truth of God. Why do you doubt? Your answer is, “I doubt, because I feel my sin so much. Oh, what sins have I committed! When first I came to Christ I thought I was the chief of sinners. But now I know I am. Day after day I have added to my guilt. And since my pretended conversion,” says this doubting one, “I have been a bigger sinner than ever I was before. I have sinned against light and against knowledge, against grace and mercy and favor. O never was there such a sinner under God’s Heaven out of Hell as I am.” But, Soul, is not this looking to second causes? It is true, you are the chief of sinners–take that for granted, let us not dispute it. Your sins are as evil as you say they are and a great deal more so. Depend on it, you are worse than you think yourself to be. You think you are bad enough, but you are not so bad in your own estimation as you really are. Your sins seem to you to be like roaring billows, but in God’s sight they are like towering mountains without summit. You seem to yourself to be black in sin–black as the tents of Kedar–in God’s eyes you are blacker still. Set that down, to begin with, that the waves are big and that the winds are howling–I will not dispute that. I ask you, what have you to do with that? Does not the Word of God command you to look to Christ? Great as your sins are, Christ is greater than they all.
They are black. But His blood can wash you whiter than snow. I know your sins deserve damnation. But Christ’s merits deserve salvation. It is true, the pit of Hell is your lawful portion, but Heaven itself is your gracious portion. What? Is Christ less powerful than your sin? That cannot be! To suppose that were to make the creature mightier than the Creator! What? Is your guilt more prevalent with God than Christ’s righteousness? Can you think so little of Christ as to imagine that your sins can overwhelm and conquer Him? O Man, your sins are like mountains–but Christ’s love is like Noah’s flood. It prevails twenty cubits and the tops of the mountains are covered. It is looking at sin and not looking to the Savior that has made you doubt. You are looking to the second cause and not to Him who is greater than all.
“No, but,” you reply, “it is not my sin, Sir, that grieves me. It is this–I feel so hardened, I do not feel my sin as I ought. Oh if I could but weep as some weep! If I could but pray as some pray! Then I think I could be saved. If I could feel some of the terrors that good men have felt, then I think I could believe. But I feel none of these things. My heart seems like a rock of ice, hard as granite and as cold as an iceberg. It will not melt. You may preach, but it is not affected. I may pray, but my heart seems dumb. I may read even the story of Christ’s death and yet my soul is not moved by it. Oh surely I cannot be saved!” Ah, this is looking to second causes, again! Have you forgotten that Word which said, “God is greater than our hearts?” Have you forgotten that? O child of God! Shame on you that you do look for comfort where comfort never can be found. Look to yourself for peace? Why, there never can be any in this land of war. Look to your own heart for joy? There can be none there, in this barren wilderness of sin. Turn, turn your eyes to Christ–He can cleanse your heart, He can create life and light and truth in the inward parts. He can wash you till you shall be whiter than snow and cleanse your soul and quicken it and make it live and feel and move–so that it shall hear His simplest words and obey His whispered mandate.
O look not now at the second cause. Look at the great first cause. Otherwise I shall put to you again the question, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” “Still,” says another, “I could believe, notwithstanding my sin and my hardness of heart. But, do you know, that of late I have lost communion with Christ to such an extent that I cannot help thinking that I must be a castaway? Oh, Sir, there were times when Christ used to visit me and bring me such sweet love tokens. I was like the little ewe lamb in the parable. I did drink out of His cup and feed from His table and lie in His bosom. Often did He take me to His banqueting house, His banner over me was love. What feastings I then had! I would bask in the sunlight of His countenance. It was summer with my soul. But now it is winter and the sun is gone and the banqueting no comfort. I turn to the Bible, but I find no solace. I fall on my knees, but even the stream of prayer seems to be a dry brook.
Ah, Soul, but are you not still looking to second causes? These are the most precious of all secondary things, but yet you must not look to them, but to Christ. Remember, it is not your communing that saves you, but Christ’s dying. It is not Christ’s comfortable visits to your soul that ensures your salvation. It is Christ’s own visit to the house of mourning and to the garden of Gethsemane. I would have you keep your comforts as long as you can. But when they die, believe on your God still. Jonah had a gourd once and when that gourd died he began to mourn. Well might someone have said to him, “Jonah, you have lost your gourd, but you have not lost your God.” And so might we say to you–you have not lost his love. You have lost the light of His countenance, but you have not lost the love of His heart. You have lost His sweet and gracious communion, but He is the same, still, and He would have you believe His faithfulness and trust Him in the dark and rely upon Him in the stormy wind and tempest. Look to none of these outward things, but look alone to Christ–Christ bleeding–Christ dying–Christ dead. Christ buried–Christ risen–Christ ascended–Christ interceding. This is the thing you are to look to–Christ and Him only. And looking there, you shall be comforted. But look to anything else and you shall begin to sink. Like Peter, the waves shall fail you and you shall have to cry, “Lord, save me, or I perish.”
But, again, to conclude–others of God’s people are afraid that they shall never be able to persevere and hold out to the end. “Oh,” says one, “I know I shall yet fall away and perish, for look!–look what an evil heart of unbelief I have. I cannot live one day without sin. My heart is so treacherous, it is like a bombshell. Let but a spark of temptation fall upon it and it will blow up to my eternal destruction. With such a tinderbox heart as I have, how can I hope to escape, while I walk in the midst of a shower of sparks?” “Oh,” said one, “I feel my nature to be so utterly vile and depraved that I cannot hope to persevere. If I hold on a week or a month it will be a great work. But to hold on all my life until I die–oh, this is impossible.”
Looking to second causes again, are you not? Will you please remember that if you look to creature strength it is utterly impossible that you should persevere in grace, even for ten minutes, much less for ten years! If your perseverance depends upon yourself you are a lost man. You may write that down for a certainty. If you have one jot or one tittle to do with your own perseverance in Divine Grace you will never see God’s face at last. Your grace will die out. Your life will be extinguished and you must perish if your salvation depends upon yourself. But remember, you have already been kept these months and these years–what has done that? Why, Divine Grace. And the Divine Grace that has held you on for one year can hold you on for a century, no, for an eternity, if it were necessary. He that has begun can carry on and must carry on, too–otherwise He were false to His promise and would deny Himself.
“Ah, but,” you say, “Sir, I cannot tell with what temptations I am surrounded. I am in a workshop where everybody laughs at me. I am called nicknames because I follow the cause of Christ. I have been able up to now to put up with their rebukes and their jests. But now they are adopting another plan. They try to tempt me away from the House of God and entice me to the theater and to worldly amusements and I feel that, placed as I am, I can never hold on. As well might a spark hope to live in the midst of an ocean as for Divine Grace to live in my heart.” Ah, but, Soul, who has made it to live up to now? What is it that has helped you up till now to say, “No,” to every temptation? Why, the Lord your Redeemer. You could not have done it so long if it had not been for Him. And He that has helped you to stand so long will never put you to shame. Why, if you are a child of God and you should fall away and perish, what dishonor would be brought on Christ? “Aha!” the devil would say, “here is a child of God and God has turned him out of His family and I have got him in Hell at last. Is this what God does with His children–loves them one day and hates them the next–tells them He forgives them and yet punishes them–accepts them in Christ and yet sends them into Hell?”
Can that be? Shall it be? Never! Not while God is God. “Aha,” again, says Satan, “Believers have eternal life given to them. Here is one that had eternal life and this eternal life has died out. It was not eternal. The promise was a lie. It was temporary life. It was not eternal life. Aha,” says he, “I have found a flaw in Christ’s promise. He gave them only temporary life and called it eternal.” And again, the arch-fiend would say, if it were possible for one child of God to perish–“Aha, I have one of the jewels of Christ’s crown here.” And he would hold it up and defy Christ to His very face and laugh Him to scorn. “This is a jewel that You did purchase with Your own blood. Here is one that You did come into the world to save and yet You could not save him. You did buy him and pay for him and yet I have got him–he was a jewel of Your crown and yet here he is, in the hand of the Black Prince, Your enemy. Aha, King with a damaged crown! You have lost one of your jewels.”
Can it be so? No, never, and therefore everyone that believe is as sure of Heaven as if he were there. If you cast yourself simply on Christ, death nor Hell shall ever destroy you. Remember what good old Mr. Berridge said, when he was met by a friend one morning, “How do you do, Mr. Berridge?” “Pretty well, I thank you,” said he, “and as sure of Heaven as if I were there. For I have a solid confidence in Christ.” What a happy man such a man must be, who knows and feels that to be true! And yet, if you do not feel it, if you are the children of God, I put to you this question, “Why do you doubt?” Is there not good reason to believe? “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?” If you have believed in Christ, saved you are and saved you shall be, if you have committed yourself to His hands. “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.” “Yes,” says one, “this is not the fear that troubles me–my only doubt is whether I am a child of God or not.”
I finish, therefore, by going over the old ground. Soul, if you would know whether you are a child of God, look not to yourself, but look to Christ. You who are here today, who desire to be saved, but yet fear you never can be, never look to yourselves for any ground of acceptance before God. Not self, but Jesus. Not heart, but Christ. Not man, but man’s Creator. O Sinner! Think not that you are to bring anything to Christ to recommend you. Come to Him just as you are. He wants no good works of yours–no good feelings either. Come, just as you are. All that you can want to fit you for Heaven He has bought for you and He will give to you. All these freely you shall have for the asking. Only come and He will not cast you away. But do you say, “Oh, I cannot believe that Christ is able to save such a sinner as I am”? I reply, “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?” He has already saved sinners as great as you are–only try Him, only try Him–
“Venture on Him, venture wholly;
Let no other trust intrude.”
Try Him, try Him. And if you find Him false, then tell it everywhere that Christ was untrue. But that shall never be. Go to Him–tell Him you are a wretched, undone soul–without His Sovereign Grace. Ask Him to have mercy on you. Tell Him you are determined, it you do perish, that you will perish at the foot of His Cross. Go and cling to Him, as He hangs bleeding there. Look Him in the face and say, “Jesus, I have no other refuge. If You spurn me, I am lost. But I will never go from You. I will clasp You in life and clasp You in death, as the only Rock of my soul’s salvation.” Depend upon it, you shall not be sent away empty. You must, you shall be accepted, if you will simply believe. Oh, may God enable you, by the Divine influence of His Holy Spirit, to believe. And then we shall not have to put the question, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I pray God now apply these words to your comfort. They have been very simple and very homely words. But nevertheless, they will suit simple, homely hearts. If God shall bless them, to Him be the glory!