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Take away the Dross from the Silber."
(Proverbs xxv. 4.)
SAW a youth of high promise,
With talents varied and rare :
He wanted to work for "The Master,"
High were his hopes, and bright his dreams
Of rescuing slaves from sin;
But he, whose cause lay near his heart,
From the labour-field I missed him,
But he knew who sent the sickness-
My soul was stirred with wonder;-
I asked the Angel of Sickness-
Years passed-again, I beheld him,
With a pathos which all might feel:
And entreated each sinful soul,
Weary and laden, to flee
Would they take their load to "The Master,"
He would gladly the bearer be.
He told them of "Songs in the Night,"
Which God in the dark had given-
The very portal of heaven!
His bread and his water were sure,
But poor was his daily fare;
And threadbare and coarse was the clothing
Life's struggle had forced him to wear.
He bore all with quiet meekness;
I asked, again, gaunt Poverty,
Then Poverty answered quickly,
Once more, in sorrow, I found him, His head was bowed down with grief; "The light of his eyes" was taken hence ;Where where! could he seek for relief? He was left a weary pilgrim,
To fight his hard battle alone;
The dear one who used to cheer him,
Could no longer lighten his home.
The Angel of Sorrow I asked,
Why she hovered over a form
Nigh broken by tempest and storm?
And the Angel's ready answer,
Like the others, proved to be : "Take away the Dross from the Silver,' Is the Lord's command unto me !"
I saw him once more, and a halo
The Dross, was removed from the Silver
He was ready for glory now!
The summons to "Come up hither,"
Was heard, and he entered in
To be ever with his Saviour,
Free from suffering, grief, and sin!
Behold him, in that fair city,
A palm in his hand he beareth,
He sings of him who hath saved him,
So now, when I cannot fathom
"Take away the Dross from the Silver,"
Is the Bible's answer to me.
The Author of "Katie Campbell's Protégé."
A Sermon and a Reminiscence.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
"Unto you therefore which believe He is precious.”—1 Peter ii. 7.
W WHEN one has a cold in the head it is a very effectual hindrance to thought; you may do what you will, and select what subject you may, but somehow or other the mind has lost its elasticity. I frankly confess that for this reason I selected this text for my discourse. I thought that perhaps if the head would not work, the heart might; and, that, if the thoughts came not, yet the emotions might. Emotions may well be stirred in the preacher if not in the hearer by the memories awakened by this passage. For I remember well that more than twenty-two years ago, the first attempted sermon that I ever made was from this text. I had been asked to walk out to the little village of Teversham, some little distance from the town of Cambridge, in which I lived, to accompany a young man whom I supposed to be the preacher for the evening, and on the way I said to him that I trusted God would bless him in his labours. "Oh dear," said he, "I never preached in my life. I never thought of doing such a thing; I was asked to walk with you, and I sincerely hope that God will bless you in your preaching." "Nay," said I, "but I never preached, and I don't know that I could do anything of the sort." We walked together till we came to the place, my inmost soul being all in a tremble as to what would happen. When we found the congregation assembled, and no one else there to speak of Jesus, though I was only sixteen years of age, as I found that I was expected to preach, I did preach, and this was the text. If a raw recruit could speak upon anything, surely this theme would suit him. If one were dying this would be the text, if one were distracted with a thousand cares this would be the text, because its teaching is experimental-its meaning wells up from the inner consciousness, and needs neither a clear brain nor an eloquent tongue. To the believer it is not a thing which somebody else has taught him;
it is a matter of fact, which he knows within his own soul, that Christ is precious to him, and he can bear testimony concerning it although not always such bold testimony as he could wish. I intend to let my heart run over like a full cup, just as the thought comes to my heart it shall be poured out. Let us go then at once to our text, and speak a little, first, about believers; then, about their appreciation of Christ; and then about how they show it.
I. ABOUT BELIEVERS. "Unto you which believe." Believers are getting to be rather scarce things now-a-days: the doubters have it: they are the men who claim all the wisdom of the period. There is scarcely a single historical fact but what is doubted now. I fancy the existence of the human race must be a matter of question with some persons. I believe some imagine that not even themselves are actually existent; certain ideas of themselves exist, but not themselves! We know not how far the human mind will go in this direction: but surely there must be a limit to doubting. Wonderful is the capacity of faith, but a hundred times more wonderful is the capacity of unbelief. The most credulous persons in the world are unbelievers. He who refuses to swallow the gnat of scriptural difficulty, usually swallows camels in large quantities of other difficulties of all sorts. The text speaks of believers, and for my part I am happy to know that a man is reckoned among believers of any sort rather than with doubters.
But the believers mentioned here are not mere believers, they are spiritual believers, Christian believers, they believe in Christ Jesus. It is only to such that Christ is precious. In the word of God there are many expressions with regard to believing in Christ. We read of believing in him, believing upon him, and believing him. Now, if I understand aright, believing in him means this: believing that he is what he claims to be; as, for instance, that he is the sent One of God, the Messias, that he is King in Israel, that he is the Son of God, that he is the Word that was God and was in the beginning with God, that he is the Priest making atonement for our sins, that he is the Head of the Church, and so on. That is to believe in him, to accept him as being what God's Word says he is, to believe God's testimony concerning his Son. But believing upon him goes further, for when a man believes upon Jesus, or, on Jesus, he trusts him, he rests himself upon him; for the pardon of his sin he relies upon the Saviour's atoning sacrifice; for eternal life he rests upon the Saviour's immortality; for his resurrection he looks to the Saviour's power; for everything he looks to his Redeemer; he leans upon him, he believes on him. And this, mark you, is essential to salvation, for we may believe Christ to be God, and yet perish; we may believe Christ to be the priest putting away sin by his atoning sacrifice, and yet perish. The faith that saves is a trusting faith, a reliant faith, a sacred recumbency, confidence, and leaning upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear hearer, do you possess it? Has the Holy Spirit given to you to cast yourself once for all upon him whom God has set forth to be a propitiation for sin? If you have, sure you will through grace proceed to the third form of faith, you will believe him-his person as well as his words. You will believe him whatever he may say, you will believe him whatever he may do; you will be persuaded that he is himself the essential truth,
according to his word-"I am the way, the truth, and the life;" and then you will know what Paul meant when he said, "I know whom I have believed,"-not "in whom," but "whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him." If you asked a true believer in Christ's day "What is your creed?” he would have pointed to his Master; he would not have repeated certain articles, but he would have said, "I believe that glorious man; my trust is in him; I believe him." We have seen many books labelled upon their backs, "Body of Divinity," but of a truth Jesus is the only real "body of divinity." If you want theology, he is the true Theologos, the essential word of God. It is a grand thing when a man believes Jesus to be what Jesus is-a Saviour from sin; and then believes the Christ to be what Christ is the anointed of the Lord; and so makes him to be his Alpha and Omega-all his salvation and all his desire.
Divide yourselves upon this question as to how far you are believers, for we cannot assert that Christ is precious to you if you are not believers. We know he will not be your heart's monarch if you have no faith. He will be the very reverse. But if you be believers in and upon him, he will be precious to you beyond all comparison,
II. Let us, then, consider the BELIEVER'S APPRECIATION OF HIS MASTER; and observe, first, that every believer appreciates Christ himself-his very person: "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious." He. Some think the ordinances, which they call the sacraments, very precious so they are; but only for his sake. Others reckon the doctrines to be very precious, and always thrust doctrine into the forefront. We will not deny that every doctrine is precious, but it owes its value to the fact that Christ is in it. Dry doctrine is nothing better than a sepulchre for a dead Christ to be buried in; but the doctrine preached in relation to his person becomes a throne on which he is exalted. It is a great pity when any of you Christians forget that you have a Saviour who is alive, and overlook the personality of Christ. Remember that he is a real man, and as a real man on Calvary he died for you, and as a real man he is gone into heaven. He is no ideal personage, but an actual personage; and the very marrow of Christian experience lies in the realisation of the personality of the Saviour. "Unto you that believe, he is precious." If you make doctrine the main thing, you are very likely to grow narrow-minded; if you make your own experience the main thing, you will become gloomy and censorious of others; if you make ordinance the main thing, you will be apt enough to grow merely formal; but you can never make too much of the living Christ Jesus. Remember that all things else are for his sake. Doctrines and ordinances are the planets, but Christ is the Sun; the stars of doctrine revolve around him as their great primal light. Get to love him best of all. Yea, I know you do, if ye are believing in him. You love the doctrines, and would not like to give one of them up, but still the incarnate God is the sum and substance of your confidence; Christ Jesus himself is precious to you.
Now, as this appreciation concerns Christ, it may here be remembered that it is in the case of every believer a personal appreciation. As we appreciate Christ's person, so we each in person appreciate him.