And what shall I speak of his meekness, who could encounter the monstrous ingratitude and dissimulation of that miscreant who betrayed him in no harsher terms than these, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss? What further evidence could we desire of his fervent and unbounded charity than that he willingly laid down his life even for his most bitter enemies, and, mingling his prayers with his blood, besought the Father that his death might not be laid to their charge but might become the means of eternal life to those very persons who procured it?
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O CHANGELESS GOD,
Under the conviction of thy Spirit I learn that
the more I do, the worse I am,
the more I know, the less I know,
the more holiness I have, the more sinful I am,
the more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!
I have a wild heart,
and cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love thy truth and ways!
I neglect prayer,
by thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
by knowing thou hast saved my soul.
Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be
an evangelical hypocrite,
who sins more safely because grace abounds,
who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood
who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell,
for he is saved,
who loves evangelical preaching, churches,
Christians, but lives unholily.
My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
with no spiritual understanding,
no desire for the Lord’s Day,
ever learning but never reaching the truth,
always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
with nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
so I forget easily the lessons learned,
and thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home
the water of grace.
[From Valley of Vision.]
I once learnt a lesson while thus fox hunting, which has been very useful to me as a preacher of the gospel. Ever since the day I was sent to shop with a basket, and purchased a pound of tea, a quarter of a pound of mustard, and three pounds of rice, and on my way home saw a pack of hounds, and felt it necessary to follow them over hedge and ditch, as I always did when I was a boy, and found when I reached home that all the goods were amalgamated — tea, mustard, and rice — into one awful mess, I have understood the necessity of packing up my subjects in good stout parcels, bound round with the thread of my discourse, and this makes me keep to firstly, secondly, and thirdly, however unfashionable that method may now be. People will not drink mustardy tea, nor will they enjoy muddled up sermons in which they cannot tell head from tail because they have neither, but are like Mr Bright’s Skye terrier, whose head and tail were both alike.
Spurgeon, in a sermon on Judas’s betrayal:
Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss. That is how most apostates do it; it is always with a kiss. Did you ever read an infidel book in your life which did not begin with profound respect for truth? I never have. Even modern ones, when bishops write them, always begin like that. They betray the Son of man with a kiss. Did you ever read a bank of bitter controversy which did not begin with such a sickly lot of humility, such sugar, such butter, such treacle, such everything sweet and soft, that you said, “Ah! there is sure to be something bad here, for when people begin so softly and sweetly, so humbly and so smoothly, depend upon it they have rank hatred in their hearts.” The most devout looking people are often the most hypocritical in the world.