Thursday, February 22, 2007
Well, now, let me say a few things about having a single eye. Professors, I speak to you at large, whether you be Christians or no. Get rid of that evil eye which looks asquint and cross way, looking one way at the world andthe other way at the cross, not straight forward at any object, but is turned here, and there, and everywhere. Remember, this is the worldling’s eye. The worldling thinks he can serve God and Mammon (money), and wilt thou think the same, thou professed follower of Christ? Wilt thou try to serve two masters who are at deadly enmity to one another? I tell thee, man, when God will say to thee, “Take no thought for the morrow, be careful fornothing;" Mammon will say to thee, “Look ahead, be careful for everything;" and when God saith to thee, “Give of thy substance to the poor;" Mammon will say, “Hold it tight, it is that giving that spoils everything," and when God will say unto thee, “Set not thy affections on the things of earth." Mammon will say, “Get money, Get Money, GET IT ANYHOW!" and when God saith, “Be upright." Mammon will say, “Cheat thy own father if thou canst win by it." Mammon and God are at such extreme ends of the earth and so desperately opposed, that I trust, Christian thou art not such a fool, such an arrant fool as to attempt to serve them both. If thou dost thou hast the worldling’s eye, and thou art a worldling thyself. Remember, too, if thou triest to do this we may suspect thee of having the hypocrite’s eye. As Matthew Henry says, “The hypocrite is like the waterman; he pulls this way, but he looks that. He pretends to look to heaven, but he pulls towards his own interest. He says, ‘he looks to Christ,’ but he is always pulling towards his own private advantage. The true Christian, however, is like a traveler, he looks to the goal and then he walks right straight on to it, he goes the way he is looking." Be you then not like the hypocrite, who hath this double eye, looking one way and going the other. An old Puritan said, “A hypocrite is like the hawk; the hawk flies upward, but he always keeps his eye down on the prey; let him get up as high as he will, he is always looking on the ground. Whereas, the Christian is like the lark, he turns his eye up to heaven, and as he mounts and sings he looks upward and he mounts upward." Be you one of God’sown larks. Be an honest lark, looking and going in the same direction witha single purpose, for your double purpose will make the world suspect you of hypocrisy. Yet further, remember, Christian, unless you have a single eye your usefulness will be entirely ruined. This has been the spiritual death of many a man, who bade fair to do good in the world, but who did not live with one object. I have known ministers preach a sermon, in which they wished to profit all, but they wished to please the deacon in the green pew too, and the sermon fell dead to the ground. We have known men too, anxious to win sinners, but at the same time they were equally anxious that they should be thought well of in their oratory, so that they should not saya course rough word, for fear of degrading their standing among the eloquent of the age. It is all over with the usefulness of such. A Christian minister, above every man, must have no object in life but to glorify his God, and whether it be fair weather or foul weather it should be nothing to him. He should be a man who looks for fights and expects storms, and in proportion to his faithfulness he will be sure to meet with both. He must beone who girds up his loins and makes ready for the battle; let him understand it is to be battle; and make no preparation for the flesh. And, Christian, if you would do good in this world, you must live for that simple object, and not live for anything else. If you run after two objects you will not come upon either, or rather, the world will get the mastery over you. When Christians have two aims they are like two rivers which flow near the city of Geneva, the Arve and the Rhone. The Rhone comes flowing along, a beautiful blue — a blue which painters give to Italian skies, and tothe rivers of Switzerland. It is no exaggeration, they are as blue as they arepainted. The Arve comes down from the glacier, a chalky, dirty white. I stood sometime ago at the place where these two rivers join. It was not long before the Arve had quenched the Rhone; all that beautiful blue had fled away and nothing but white was seen. “Evil communications corrupt good manners." If your life is made up of two streams, worldliness running in like the Arve, and you hope to have spirituality running in like the blue Rhone, you will soon be mistaken. Your spirituality, if their be such a thing, will become a stalking horse to your worldliness; your religion will be swallowed up, for you cannot serve two masters; cannot serve either of them well, and you cannot serve Christ at all, if you are divided in your aims. And then, further than this, Christian, do you not know that if you have divided aims you will be an object of contempt to the world? The world comes to despise the Church at this very period, because she perceives that the Church is not chaste to her husband, Christ. Ah, I love not to say what I am going to say, but really when I have looked on some professing Christians, a thought I do not like to indulge, has crossed my mind, I have seen them so worldly, so sharp in their business, so mingled with the world that you could not tell which was worldling, and which was Christian, and I have thought, did Christ shed his blood to make such a thing as this? Is the only thing that Christ’s redemption can produce a thing no better than nature can bring forth? For I have seen worldly men better than such Christians, in many virtues excelling them. And I have thought, “What! is it worth while making all this noise about redemption that does not redeem these men any more than this, but leaves them slaves to the world?" And I have looked at them, and the tear has been in my eye as I have thought, “Is this the Holy Ghost’s work? and was there any Holy Ghost necessary here at all? would they not be as good men without the Holy Spirit, as they seem to be with him? Is this the best thing heaven can produce? Has heaven been in labor and brought forth this mouse? Is this all the gospel has to give?" Now, judge ye, whether I be not warranted in such thoughts; and if they cross my mind, think how often such thoughts must flit across the mind of the worldling. “Oh," says he, “this is your religion is it? Well, it is no such mighty thing after all, I bought such goods at such a shop, and I was fairly taken in. This is your Christianity is it?" “I worked for such a master," says another, “he is a deacon, he is a skinflint too. This is your Christianity." “Ah," says a laborer, “I am employed by So-and-so, and he is just as proud and domineering in his behavior to his workmen, as if he were a Pharaoh, and not a follower of Christ. This is your Christianity, is it?" Indeed the worldling has good ground for saying something like it. How hath the fine gold become dim? How hath the glory departed! The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how have they become asearthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! Oh Zion? thy Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, but their faceis become black as a coal, and their skin is tarnished with mire. Thy sons lie in the corners of the street like a wild bull in the net. Thy strong men faint,and thy valiant ones fail, because thy glory is departed from thee. Would to God we were all Christians who profess to be Christians, and that we lived up to what we profess. Then would the Christian shine forth “clear as the sun, fair as the moon," and what besides, think you? — -why, “terrible asan army with banners." A consistent church is a terrible church; an honest, upright church would shake the world. The tramp of godly men is the tramp of heroes; these are the thundering legions that sweep everything before them. The men that are what they profess to be, hate the semblance of a lie, whatsoever shape it wears, and would sooner die than do that which is dishonest, or that which would be degrading to the glory of a heaven-born race, and to the honor of him by whose name they have been called. O Christians! you will be the world’s contempt, you will be their despising and hissing unless you live for one object. I know the world will pat you on the back and flatter you, but it will despise you all the while. When I am abused, I know what it means. I look at it in the right spirit andsay, “Be it so; it is the highest compliment the world can pay me." If I am serving my God, I must not expect to be honored of men but if I am not serving my God, I know I shall be despised of men. So will it be with you.Get a single solitary thought in your mind, and that thought the precious love of Jesus, and go and live it out, and come what may, you will be respected though abused. They may say you are an enthusiast, a fanatic, a fool, but those names from the world are titles of praise and glory. The world does not take the trouble to nickname a man unless he is worth it. It will not give you any censure unless it trembles at you. The moment they begin to turn at bay, it is because they feel they have a man to do with. So it will be with you. Be men, each one of you, stand up for Christ, and the word you believe, and the world will respect you yet. I met with a coachman some time ago, who said to me, “Do you know the Revelation Mr. So-and-so?" “Yes, I do know him very well," “Well," said he, “he’s the sort of man I like; he’s a minister, and I like him very much; I like his religion." “What sort of a religion is it?" I said, for I was anxious to know what sort of a religion it was he could like. “Why," said he, “you see this box seat; well, he has ridden on this box seat every day for this six months,and he’s the kind of man I like, for he has never said anything about religion all the while." That is the sort of Christian the world likes, and thatis the sort they despise. They say, “Ah, we will not speak against him, he is one of our own." And if he were to come out one day and speak about religion, what would they say? “He does not mean it, let him alone; he was silent as a man, and when he speaks, he speaks in his official capacity."There is no respect for that man for it is not the man in the office, but it is the office that overpowers the man for the time being. Let it not be so with you, tread the world under your feet, and serve God with all your heart, for you may never expect to have peace in your conscience until you have turned all the idols out of your soul. Live for Christ alone, for where your consecration ends, there your peace ends, too. Christian, you can never hope to stand accepted before God, while you only serve him with half your heart; you can never hope to enter into heaven triumphantly when you have only used part of your manhood in the service of your Redeemer. I speak vehemently when I come to this point. I do pray you my dear hearers by your hope of heaven, by your hope to be delivered from the devouring fire, and to enter into a glory and bliss, either serve God or Mammon. Whichever you do, do it with all your heart; but do not try to do both, because you cannot. Oh, if ye be Christians live with all your might for Christ. Keep not back part of the price, like Ananias and Sapphire, but give Jesus all —
“All your goods, and all your hours,
All your time, and all your powers,
All you have, and all you are,"
and you will be a happy, blessed, honored, useful man. Divide your allegiance, and you shall be a hissing reproach to sinners; you shall be a pain to yourself, you shall be a dishonor here, and you shall be held up to shame and everlasting contempt when Christ shall appear in the glory of his Father and all his holy angels with him. Charge, Christians, in the name of Christ, charge against the embattled marks of sin! But do it with one heart. Break not your rank; hold not out the flag of truce to the world with one hand, and draw the sword with the other. Throw away the scabbard. Be the sworn enemies for ever of everything that is selfish and sinful; and trusting in the precious blood of Christ, and wearing the cross in your hearts, go forward conquering and to conquer, making mention of your Master’s name, preaching his word, and triumphing in his grace alone. God grant, if we must have two eyes, that they may be both clear ones, one the eye of faith wholly fixed on Christ, the other the eye of obedience equally and wholly fixed on the same object.
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon