Christ’s Work No Failure
C. H. Spurgeon
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set
judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law---Isaiah 42:4.
Previous verses at the close of the forty-first chapter
indicate the utter failure of the hope of man from man. God Himself looked, and behold “there was no
man; even among them, and there was no counselor, that, when I asked of them,
could answer a word.” How often it is
so in human history: man fails to find leadership and help in man! Great men are raised up now and then, and
the tendency is to make idols of them, and so to trust in an arm of flesh. These die, and then their fellows look out
in the church, and in the world, for other men upon whom they may dote after
the same manner; but it sometimes happens that they look in vain; none arise
whom they can elect for leaders. Just now I think it is so in more departments
than one. Look where you may, where will
you see the man who is equal to the crisis?
Somehow or other, in the providence of God, every hour has, in due time,
had its man; but if our hopes are fixed in men, we must feel at this time
In expounding the one verse which I have selected for
a text, I shall need to open up the whole passage. Follow me, therefore, with
opened Bibles, and obey the first word of the chapter, which is, Behold.
We are commanded at all times to behold the Son of
God. There is never a season in
which He is not a fit subject for contemplation and expectation. “Behold the Lamb of God" is the
standing rule from generation to generation, from the first of January to the
last of December. But especially in
cloudy and dark days ought we to behold Him.
When after having looked, and looked long, you see no man and no
counselor, then this precept has an emphatic force about it, "Behold my
servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth." When all
other saviors fail, look to the Savior whom God has set up. The darker all things else become, the more
eagerly look for His appearing, whose coming is as a morning without
clouds. When the lower lights are
burning dim, behold the lamp above.
Our great comfort is that the Lord Jesus Christ is
always to be beheld. He lives ever
and ever works for His people. We must
view Him not merely as one who appeared upon the scene years ago, but as still
living. He died in the heat of the
battle, but He rose again to secure the victory. We do not found our hopes of a
brighter future upon a dead Savior; our hopes for the future of the world, and
for the accomplishment of God's gracious purposes hang upon One who ever
liveth, and is at this time in the place of vantage, carrying on His great work
and warfare at the right hand of God.
My text saith, "Behold my servant"; and that matchless Servant
of God is to be beheld--not with the eye of sense, that were little worth, for
men saw Him in that way, and crucified Him; but He is to be beheld with the eye
of faith, and this is a noble sight; for those who look to Him in that manner
are lightened, and their faces are not ashamed. At the commencement of my discourse, I beseech you, dear
brethren, to look to Jesus Christ the ever-living Worker. If you have been troubled and fretted by
peering into these gloomy times and perceiving nothing that can raise your
spirits, I pray you took about you no longer, but look up! There He sits at the right hand of
God, even the Father, the appointed man, the glorious, chosen Deliverer. Behold Him, and your fears and sorrows will
The text declares concerning our Lord that "He
shall not fail nor be discouraged."
This leads us to consider what is the work which Jesus Christ has
undertaken, in which He will not fail nor be discouraged. Our text directs us in this matter, for it
tells us that He has come to "set judgments in the earth," and that
"the isles shall wait for his law." The earth is to be delivered from
misrule and sin, and men are to be submissive to His instruction and direction. There are some who doubt it, but I still
believe in that verse which we sang just now--
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
Our Lord has come to save His own elect, and He will
save every one of them. No soul for
whom He stood as Surety and Substitute shall ever be cast away. The sheep shall pass again under the hand of
Him that telleth them, and they shall all be there. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged"; but He shall
see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.
As for the Lord's second coming, we know not when it
shall be. Shall the world grow darker
and darker till He comes? It may be
so. There are passages of Scripture and
signs of the times which may be taken to indicate it. On the other hand, shall the age grow brighter and brighter till
He appears to bring the perfect day?
Through the preaching of the gospel shall there yet be periods in which
multitudes shall be converted, and whole nations shall be saved? I do not know: there are texts that seem to
look that way, and many a brave worker hopes as much. There are brethren who can map out unfulfilled prophecy with
great distinctness; but I confess my inability to do so. They get a shilling box of mathematical
instruments. They stick down one leg
were hope blotted out of the language of men.
But while this text stands true the door of hope is open. We need not fail or be discouraged,
since He will not.
This morning I shall speak to you in the hope that the
Spirit of God may fire you with new courage for the holy war. First, let this truth be considered and
believed, and then, secondly, let this truth be believed and enjoyed.
I. First, then LET THIS TRUTH BE CONSIDERED AND
Will you now thoughtfully turn it over in your
minds? It is certainly a very marvelous
enterprise which our Lord Jesus Christ has undertaken. The salvation of a single soul involves a
miracle. The salvation of myriads upon
myriads of the human race: what shall I call it but a mountain of marvels? The removal of the darkness which has
settled over mankind in tenfold night--what a divine labor! The ending of the enmity which exists
between man and God, the reconciling of man unto his Maker--what a design! The redeeming of this world from the bondage
of corruption, the setting up of a kingdom of truth and holiness--what an
enterprise! Such wonders has Jesus
undertaken, and such wonders He will achieve.
He died to lay the foundation of His all-conquering kingdom, and He
still lives that this kingdom may be established in its supremacy, and all
nations may flow to it.
Beloved, I fail to conceive, much more to express, the
vastness of the task which He has undertaken.
Those of you who love your fellowman often mourn your powerlessness with
a single individual. What hard work it
is to deal with our own countrymen! How
are we baffled by their poverty, their ignorance, their misery, their sin! You have only to battle with a single vice,
drunkenness, to wit, to feel what a monster is to be overcome. Only think for a moment of the social
impurity of this city, and you are sick at heart as you remember it. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ has come to
cleanse this Augean stable; and He will cleanse it. The stream of the river of life shall run through the foulest
parts of the earth till even those horrible regions which are comparable to the
Dead Sea shall be reclaimed.
The problem staggers us. The systems of evil are
colossal. The hold of evil on the race
is terrible. Man is inveterately a
sinner. You cannot cure him of
rebellion: he is desperately set on mischief.
Even when the consequences of his sin wound and afflict him he still
returns to it. If you prove to him to a
demonstration that a thing is right and profitable, he does not therefore love
it; if you prove it to be injurious, he therefore chooses it. By the use of an accursed logic he puts
darkness for light and light for darkness, and thus stultifies his conscience,
and hardens his heart. If, perchance,
you convince his judgment, you have not won his affection, you have not carried
his will, you have not subdued his mind.
Nothing but Omnipotence itself can save a single soul. What must be that mighty power which shall
cause nations to run unto the Lord?
They that dwell in the wilderness are to bow before Him, and His enemies
are to lick the dust. What a conquest
this! How shall Ethiopia be made to
stretch our her hands to Him? Look how
black are the hearts of her inhabitants, as well as their faces! How shall China and Hindustan, beclouded by
their false philosophies, be led to own the truth? Look you, sirs, look at this great mountain, and do not
underestimate its mass; and then remember that before our Zerubbabel it must
and shall become a plain. The stone
mentioned by Daniel, cut out of the mountain without hands, smote the monstrous
image and broke it, and in due time filled the whole earth. In the night visions the same prophet saw
the Son of Man having dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people
should serve Him. So must it be. But how great a thing it is!
The task is rendered the more severe because our Lord
Jesus at this present works largely by a church, which is a poor and faulty
instrument for the accomplishment of His purpose. I sometimes think there are more difficulties connected with the
church than with the world; for the church is often worldly, faithless,
lethargic, and I was about to add, inhuman.
Might I not almost say as much, for she seems at times well nigh destitute
of tender sympathy for the lost and perishing?
The church at one hour receives the light and reflects it like a full
moon, so that you have hope of her enlightening men; but soon she wanes into a
mere ring of light, and becomes obscured.
She declines from the truth, she forgets the glorious gospel entrusted
to her, and she seeks after the rotten philosophies of men. How many times since Pentecost has the
church started aside after the wisdom of men, and after a while has painfully
returned to her first faith? At the
present moment there is just that kind of wandering going on; and this hinders
the work of the Lord. If a man has to
do a work, he says to himself, "Give me good tools, at any rate. If I have to strike a heavy blow, do not
trouble me with a broken hammer. If I
have to write, give me a pen that will not hinder my hand." But alas! the
church is too often false to her Master's purpose, and traitorous to His truth. Yet, brethren, the Lord will largely do His
work and accomplish His good pleasure by such means as these. He will not fail nor be discouraged. If all Christians should become lukewarm,
till the whole church became nauseous, as the church of Laodicea, yet still the
Lord Jesus will not fail nor be discouraged.
The disciple may sleep, but the great Savior agonizes over men. Let this battalion and the other waver as it
may, He who holds the banner in the very center of the fight will never be
moved: He will hold the field against all comers; for the Altogether Lovely One
is the Standard-bearer among ten thousand.
Though you mourn over the disciples, rejoice over their Master. They faint or fly, but "he shall not
fail nor be discouraged."
To help you to believe this great truth, I beg you to
notice who He is that hath undertaken all this: kindly read at the commencement
of the chapter: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my
soul delighteth." I am sure that He who is thus spoken of will not fail
nor be discouraged; for, first, He is God's own special Servant. God has many servants, but the Christ is
above all others called of God “my servant." He is a Son far excelling all
other sons, and in the same sense He is a Servant far exceeding all other
servants. He took upon Himself the form
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He is a servant as none of us can ever hope
to be in so high and wonderful a sense: He performs all the will of the
Father. If He that was Lord of all
became a servant, do you think He will not accomplish His service? If He that made the heavens and the earth
laid aside His splendor and veiled Himself in our inferior clay, do You think
He will fall in the purpose for which He did this? Can the incarnation of God be a failure? Can the life of the Son of God among men end
in defeat? Your heart gives immediate
answer--God's own servant will fulfill His service.
Then the great God says of Him, “My servant whom I
uphold.” If God upholds Him, how
can He fail? Though God upholds all His
people, yet beyond all others He is upholding His own chosen Son and Servant:
how, then, can He fail? Is it possible
with the divine power perpetually streaming into Him and abiding in Him, that
he should fail, or be discouraged? The
text may be read, "Behold my servant upon whom I lean," and the
picture of a great Oriental monarch who comes forth leaning upon a favorite
lord, whom he honors by placing him that position, indicating thereby that he
trusts his affairs with him, and regards him as his right hand man, a very
pillar of the State. Yes, we say it
with reverence, God the Father leans on Jesus the Christ. He rests His honor and glory with the Person
of the incarnate God: and now He comes before us as God in Christ Jesus,
revealing His glory through the Mediator, putting His own sovereign power into
the keeping of His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things. Can that Glorified One fail? Has the Father trusted His kingdom of grace
with One who will be overcome? How can
He fail whom the Father upholds, and upon whom the Father leans all the dignity
and glory of His moral government?
"He shall not fail nor be discouraged."
Then the Scripture adds this very significant word, “Mine
elect in whom my soul delighteth.” The chosen of God, the most choice One
that God knows, shall He prove a failure?
Not only does God delight in Him, but it is put more strongly still: “In
whom my soul delighteth.” Do you taste
the marrow of the expression? It seems
to me to be exceeding full. The chief
delight of God is in His Son, as Mediator.
God said of the world, that it was very good; but we read not that His
soul delighted in it: but, see, the very soul of the Godhead is moved and
filled with delight because of the Savior, commissioned to redeem. Blessed Father, we do not wonder that Thou
art taken up with delight in Jesus; for even we ourselves, when we get a sight
of Him, are ravished with His charms.
There is none like Him. He is
thine Only Begotten, the Son of thy heart; well mayest Thou be well pleased
with Him. How, then, is it possible
that One whom the Lord loves so well, in whom His soul delighteth, should be
put upon a work in which He can fail, or should be left in that work to be
discouraged? It is impossible. The connection of Jesus of Nazareth with
Jehovah, God of all, makes it absolutely certain that the divine enterprise to
which He has pledged Himself shall assuredly succeed. “He shall not fail nor be
Furthermore, our Lord is in the abiding place of
the Holy Spirit. The text says,
"I have put my spirit upon him"--the Holy Ghost, to whom be glory and
honor forever, the Holy Spirit, very God of very God, dwells in Christ. Upon us He comes in measure. We sometimes receive a large portion of His
power, but still we are not capable of receiving all the fullness of the Holy
Ghost. But Christ has the residue of
the Spirit abiding in Him. The Holy
Spirit descended like a dove, and rested upon Him, and it does rest upon Him
still. My brethren, do you dream that
He on whom the Holy Ghost always rests can fail or be discouraged? Do you believe that the Gospel system is to
die out? Is it going to be throttled by
philosophy? Strangled by modern
thought? Trampled down beneath the hoof
of anarchy? Nay, while the Holy Ghost
abideth upon the great Servant of Jehovah we cannot know a fear. The anointing on the head will descend to
the skirts of the garments; and as He cannot fail nor be discouraged,
neither shall we be dismayed. He who is
owned, honored, trusted, sustained, loved, and anointed of God cannot but be
successful. Jesus must persevere
successfully to the end.
Notice yet further, that the success of Jesus is
guaranteed by the decree of God. It
is written, "He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." Oh,
those blessed "shalls" and "wills!" Some people make little
of them, but I make everything of them.
Here my heart rests; if God says "shall," then it certainly
shall be. "The Lord said unto my
Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy
footstool." Think you He spoke in
vain? Turn to the second Psalm, and
read: "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, thou art my
Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask
of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the
uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in
pieces like a potter's vessel."
Shall this solemn proclamation of Jehovah be mere waste paper? My brethren, the sun may forget to shine,
the eye of the world may darkened; you mighty ocean may cease to ebb and flow,
and the heart of the earth may die; all nature may be driven on the rock of
fate in general wreckage and confusion; but no Word of God shall fall to the
ground; for that Word is essential life and power. If Jehovah hath spoken, it is done. If He declares it, it shall be.
Therefore the Christ must and shall succeed, for His work is the subject
of a divine decree.
Yet, brethren, it may be that at times we fear that
the gospel is not prospering nor fulfilling the purpose for which God hath sent
it. Looking back on past history, and
looking out upon the present state of affairs, we are afraid that things are
not going well. Possibly this may arise
out of our Lord's way of working, which is so different from what our
minds would choose. It is written in
the second verse, "He shalt not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to
be heard in the street." You are in an awful hurry, are you not? But He is never in haste. You would make a great stir and noise, I
know, but Jesus will not thus spread the gospel. You would go out and fight all the enemies of truth, and set
clamor against clamor, cry against cry, but "He shall not strive."
You would shout, and rage, and rave; but He shall not cause His voice to be
heard in the street. When Mohammed
commenced his enterprise he announced that Paradise was to be found beneath the
shadow of words, and numbers of brave men rushed to the battle; they swept
everything before them, and stained continents with blood: they carried the name
of Allah and Mohammed over Asia and Northern Africa, and seemed intent on
conquering Europe: and yet the work done will not endure. The prophet and his caliphs did indeed
strive, and cry, and cause their voices to be heard in the street: but Christ's
system is the very reverse of that: His weapons are not carnal. Behold His battle-axe and weapons of
war! Truth divinely strong, with no
human force at the back of it but that of holiness and love; a gospel full of
gentleness and mercy to men, proclaimed not by the silver trumpets of kings,
but by the plain voices of lowly men.
The gospel seeks neither prestige nor patronage from the State; nor does
it ask to be advocated by scholastic sophistry, or human eloquence. It does not even aim at becoming predominant
by force of the learning or talent of its teachers. It has neither pomp to commend it, nor arms to enforce it. It finds its strength rather in feebleness
than in power. The kingdom comes by the
Holy Spirit dropping like dew on human hearts, and fertilizing them with a
divine life. Christ's kingdom comes not
with observation, but in the stillness of the soul. All that is really the work of God is wrought in the silence of
the heart by that wind which bloweth where it listeth. Sweetly the Holy Spirit constraineth all
things by His own power; but the day of His power is not with roar of tempest,
but with the noiseless fall of the dew.
You ardent spirit that you are, are all in a hurry; you are going to push
the church before you, and drag the world after you. Go and do it! But if the
Lord works not after your fashion, be not greatly surprised; for it is written,
"He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the
His purpose shall stand, and He will do all His pleasure. He will do His work all the more surely
because He sets about it quietly. I
always delight in a man who can afford to go about his life-work without fuss,
bluster, or loud announcement. See how
a master-workman lays down his tools!
He arranges his plan, sketches his ideal, and then begins as he means to
go on. He will do the thing in that
way, depend upon it. Another fellow flings his tools about, rushes at the work
without system, makes the dust fly, litters the place with chips, spoils the
work and leaves it in disgust. Our
Savior works not so: He calmly, deliberately, resolutely pursues His mighty
plan; and He will perform it. "He
shall not fall nor be discouraged."
Note well the spirit in which He works. He
is gentleness itself, and that always: “A bruised reed shall he not break, and
the smoking flax shall he not quench." You cannot work in hot haste in
this spirit. Gentleness makes good and
sure speed, but it cannot endure rashness and heat. We know reformers who, if they had the power, would be like bulls
in a china-shop; they would do a great deal in a very short time. But the world's best Friend is not given to
quench and bruise. Here is a bruised
reed, and it is of no use to anybody: you cannot even get music out of it, much
less lean upon it; yet He does not break it.
Here is a smoking flax, a wick with an offensive smell, containing very
little heat, and no light; yet He does not put it out. This oft quoted text is used, as you know,
in the New Testament, in reference to the Pharisees: they thought themselves
strong pillars, but the Lord knew that they were only bruised reeds; they
thought themselves great lights, but he knew that they were only as smoking
flax; and yet He did not go out of His way to snuff them out. Even to them, though often righteously
indignant, He was yet gentle, and only assailed them when they put themselves
in His way, and forced a verdict from Him.
The Lord Jesus was too good and great to be irritated by Pharisees. Lions do not hunt for "rats and mice, and
such small deer." Great principles
are laid down, which in due time destroy the meannesses which it is not
worthwhile to attack in detail. The
smoking flaxes of error, and the bruised reeds of pretense go in due season,
but the gentle Lord is not in hot haste to put them out of the way. Hence we grow discouraged. But He will not fail nor be discouraged. any
the more because of His gentleness.
Nay, let me tell you, brethren, it is the quiet man, the meek man, who
is always hard to be turned aside from his purpose. When a man is passionate, and easily excited, you have only to
wait a while, and he will cool down; perhaps chill down below zero. These fiery fellows will be easily managed
by the devil, or somebody else, after the flame is over. Give me a man who deliberately makes up his
mind, calmly sets to work, and patiently bears all rebuffs, and I know that
what he sets himself to do will be done.
He will work in God's way, and will not put forth his hand to snatch a
premature success at the expense of principle.
He is quiet because he is sure, patient because he is strong, gentle
because he is firm. The man who cannot
be provoked is the man who cannot be turned aside. You cannot discourage him: he will go through with his work, even
to the end; be you sure of that. As you
look at our blessed Master, patient and immovable amidst all the battle and the
strife, you may assure yourself that He will not fail nor be discouraged. I do not admire Napoleon, except in the
matter of his cool courage, but for that he was noteworthy. They always represent him in the midst of
the battle with folded arms. His eagle
eye is on the conflict, but he is motionless as a statue. Every soldier in the imperial army felt that
victory was sure, for the captain was so self-possessed. If he had been hurrying to and fro, rushing
here, there, and everywhere, and making a great fuss about everything, they
would have inferred that defeat was impending.
But see him yonder! All is
well. He knows what he is at. It is all right, for he dost not strive, nor
cry, nor cause his voice to be heard; he is calm, for he can see that all is
well. There stands the Crucified this
day, upon the vantage ground, at the right hand of God, and He surveys the
battlefield in calm expectancy until His enemies are made His footstool. Tender towards the weakest of the weak, and
kind even to the unthankful and the evil, we may see in all this mercifulness
the pledge of His success. "He
shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he has set judgment in the earth: and
the isles shall wait for his law."
Consideration of the statement leads us to believe it
II. I want you
to give me a few minutes while I say, LET THIS TRUTH BE BELIEVED AND
ENJOYED. I want you to enjoy the fruit
of this truth, and to be made glad by it.
First, enjoy it by recollecting that Jesus has
finished the work for His people, that first work wherein He brought in
everlasting righteousness, and bore the penalty of human guilt, and laid the
foundation whereupon should be built the temple of God. Jesus has done all things well. He persevered in His life labor till He
could say, "It is finished." From the hour when as a child He said,
"Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" all through
the contradiction of sinners, and the weakness, and the poverty, and the shame
in which His life was spent, you never see about our Divine Master any
indication of failing or of being discouraged.
We sorrowfully cry, "I am
almost ready to give up"; but He never spoke in that fashion, or even
thought it. He had reckoned upon all the toll and the grief. He had foreseen it all: He had taken it into
His calculations, and therefore He was not surprised and downcast. He determined to go, for our sakes, to death
and the grave, and to bear the shame of our sin and the curse of our guilt, and
even to be put by the Father into darkness on our account. He set His face like a flint; and like a
flint His face remained to the bitter end.
He never turned aside. Let us
bless Him this day for His persevering love.
It is not a half-finished salvation that we behold on yonder bloody
tree: it is not an incomplete redemption that we see in that rising again of
Jesus from the dead. When we look up to
Him in His glory we know and feel that through all the agony and death He did
not fail, and was not discouraged, and that He has set up a kingdom which
cannot be removed forever. There let us
rest with peaceful confidence.
The next reflection I want you to enjoy is this--He
will finish the work in His believing people. He will not fail nor be discouraged until He has completely saved
you and me. If I had been my own savior
I should have given up the work long ago.
We meet now and then with supposed perfect people, but the most of us
dare not whisper the word perfection.
When I have overcome a whole body of sin, and have risen to be somewhat
like my Lord, it seems to me as if a new body of death were formed about
me. I kill one dragon, and lo, his boy
yields a crop of monsters. My evil nature
seems to have coats like an onion, and when I have taken off one of them, it
only lays bare another quite as offensive.
Will it not be so to the end of the chapter? You may be growing better; I hope you are, but I shall be all the
more hopeful that you are so if you fear that you are growing worse. If you think less and less of yourselves, it
is probably true that you are growing in grace; but if you think more and more
of yourselves, it is highly probable that you are growing in pride. There is a great difference between being
puffed up and being built up. I can
clearly see that I shall fail and be discouraged if salvation rests with me;
but here is my comfort--He will not fail nor be discouraged. If my Lord begins with me, He will never be
beaten off from His purpose. What bad
stuff is our humanity! What wretched
raw material for sainthood! It must be
hard, treading and pounding such gritty clay; and I wonder not that both the
hands and the feet of the great Worker were sorely wounded, since He had such
clay to deal with. When He fashions us
on the wheel, and we begin to assume somewhat of the form which He intends for
us, yet we crack and spoil when we come to the oven, and all His work upon us
seems lost. He has to grind us down
again, to a powder, and begin with us again de novo, and fashion us once
more. It would have been an easier work
to have created new beings altogether than to take us poor fallen ones and lift
us up to become sons of God. The
Almighty Lord had only to have said, "Let a church be!" and a church
most fair and spotless would have leaped into being; but instead thereof, He
works upon us sinful ones, and undertakes to make us perfectly pure, and
present us to Himself without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. What a marvel of grace! He will do it, brother. He will do it, sister. He has not grown weary of the work, neither
is He discouraged by all our ill behavior.
Before He began He knew all about it.
Had He not been a far-seeing Christ, able to foresee all our shortcomings
and backslidings, He might have been surprised into weariness; but He says,
"I knew that thou art obstinate"; and again, "I knew that thou
wouldest deal very treacherously."
He foreknew all our ingratitude, backsliding, unbelief, and unworthiness,
and therefore He will not fail nor be discouraged till His work in us is done,
and we are fit for heaven.
Again, dear friends, He will finish His work by His
people. Whatever the work is that
is to be done by the church, He will not fail nor be discouraged until it is
performed. I do not know whether any of
you have noticed in my text a very singular thing. If you have the Revised Version, the margin will give you some rather
singular information. The text might be
read thus: "A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall
he not quench: yet he shall not burn dimly nor be bruised." Though He deals with bruised reeds and
smoking flaxes, yet He Himself is not crushed, nor does His light become a mere
glimmer. To my mind, this is a deeply
interesting use of words, and should not be allowed to slip. Christianity just now, they say, is a mere
smoke, the old-fashioned doctrine especially burns very dim. Do not you believe it: the light of Jesus
shall not darken or grow less. Those
souls that can see His light will tell you that His face shines still like the
sun. There is a glory about Him that is
undiminished and undiminishable. He
does not glimmer, and He is not crushed.
He is no reed; His enemies will one day find that he carrieth a rod of
iron. He is a pillar of the house of
our God: He beareth up all things, for He is strong and mighty, and He cannot
fail. I want you to eject at the back
door every suggestion that enters your house as to the defeat of the Christ and
the failure of the gospel; it is not possible, it cannot be. You may smoke like the flax, you
may be broken like the reed; but He will never glimmer nor be a crushed reed,
even to the end: wherefore comfort one another with these words.
And to conclude, I should not have treated the text
properly if I did not say that it has in it great comfort to those of you who
are as yet outside of the church of God, and are not numbered with His
people. Will you kindly read the sixth
and seventh verses?--" He shall
not fail nor be discouraged," till He has done, what?--the Divine will,
and this is a part of it: “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the
prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison
house." Oh, say you, I cannot see Christ! He has come on purpose to make you see. Turn your sightless eyeballs this way. Breathe this prayer, "Thou Son of David, have mercy on
me." And if he saith: "What wilt thou that I should do unto
thee?" answer, "Lord, that I might receive my sight." In one
single moment, ay, while the clock is ticking, Jesus Christ can take the scales
from a blind man's eyes and let in such a flood of daylight that he shall see
heaven itself. Lord, do it this
morning. O dear hearts, will you not
each one cry, Lord, do it to me? Are
you saying that, my friend? He will do
it. He loves to hear a blind man's
cry. Do you not remember in the New
Testament how often He stood still when He heard a blind man's cry. Poor blind soul! Cry to Him now. He shall
not fail nor be discouraged, He will come to you and save you.
"Ah!" saith one, "but I am worse than
that, I am shut up in prison." Kindly read the seventh verse again-- “To
bring out the prisoners from the prison." You are miserable, without hope,
shut up in an iron cage. He has come
who will not fail nor be discouraged; He has come on purpose to fetch you out
of the cage. Ask Him to break the bars
in sunder. I see Him lay His pierced
hand to that iron bar. You have filed
it a long while, and it has broken the teeth of your file; you have tried to
shake it in its place, but you could not stir it in the least. See what He does! He plucks bar after bar out of its place, as if they had been so
many reeds, and you are free. Arise and
take your liberty! The Son of God has
made you free. If thou hast trusted
Him, He has broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder; thou
art free, enjoy thy liberty.
"Oh, but," saith one, "in my
case it is blindness and slavery united." Listen, then. He has come to "bring them that sit in
darkness out of the prison-house." You cannot see the bars that shut you
in, nor even mark the limits of your narrow cell; but He has come who will give
yes to you, and light to those eyes, and liberty to your enlightened sight. Only trust Him. All things are possible to Him that believeth when Christ is
near. Thou knowest now, thou who are
now at the bottom of the sea, how high He can lift thee in an instant? Out of the belly of hell, if thou wilt cry,
He can lift thee in a moment, to the very heights of heaven. I say no more of my Lord than He deserves to
have said of Him; nay, nor yet half as much.
Try Him, and see if He will fail.
Try Him now, thou in the worst and lowest of circumstances, thou
devil-bound and devil-tortured spirit.
Dare to believe that Jesus can do all things for thee. Leave thyself with Him. Go thy way, for as thou hast believed so
shall it be unto thee. To the name of
Him that will not fail nor be discouraged be glory forever and ever! Amen.
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