Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gospel Optimism 3

The following are taken from Spurgeon’s sermon on Luke 1:46 (“My soul doth magnify the Lord.”). Spurgeon is arguing that part of magnifying God is “to think great things” of him.

- The first two quotes are about gospel optimism at the individual level:

“Never say, “It is of no use inducing such a man to attend the means of grace. He is a blaspheming wretch. All that he would do if he heard a sermon would be to make sport of it for next week”…Such unbelieving talk is making little of God. Is it not so?
Is it not dishonouring God to think that His gospel cannot reach the most depraved hearts?”

“Believe great things of God. I can honestly say this – that since God saved me I never doubted His power to save anybody.”

- Then Spurgeon turns his eye to the global picture, and to eschatological optimism:

“Believe great things of Him. Believe that China can be made into a province of the celestial Kingdom. Believe that India will cast her riches as Jesus’ feet. Believe that the round world will yet be a pearl on Christ’s finger-ring. Do not go in for the dispiriting, despairing, unmanly, un-Christly ideas of those who say “The world is not to be converted. It is a poor wreck that will go to pieces, and we are to fish off here and there one from the water-logged hulk.” Brethren, never believe that we are to stand by and see the eternal defeat of God.”

- and, in a rhetorical flourish that is typical of the great preacher there's even stronger stuff:

“It shall never be said that God could not save the world by the preaching of the gospel, and by the work of the Holy Spirit and therefore must needs bring in the advent of the Lord to do it. I believe in the coming of the Lord, but , blessed be his name, I believe also that the battle which he has begun in the Spirit He will fight out in the old style, and finish with a victory in the very manner in which He opened the conflict. It pleases Him by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe , and it will please him to continue to do so till the whole round earth shall ring with the hallelujahs of praise to the grace of God…”

I find all that both challenging and enchanting.

All from Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Keynote of a choice Sonnet,” pp.610-615 in The Treasury of the New Testament Volume 1, (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1962), 614.

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