A Meditation on Christ with C H Spurgeon.
One thing that greatly impressed me at the Brighton conference during the Rob Rufus sessions, was how powerfully the Holy Spirit's Presence would come just by fixing our gaze on Christ. Rob did not do anything weird or hard to lead us into God's Presence, but simply to remind us of Christ and where He is NOW and what He did for us and what He does for us NOW. I realised that it has been a while since I quoted that Preacher of Preachers, and found the most wonderful sermon to do just what Rob taught us to do. Spurgeon's text is from Song of Solomon 2:1 - "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys". I am aware of course that C J Mahaney would apply this rather to the Christian husband, I suppose, addressing his wife. Still ... I found Spurgeon's application a little more Christ-exalting. Enjoy ...
"The Best of the Best".
A Sermon - (No. 2472) - Intended for Reading on Lord's-Day, July 5th, 1896, Delivered byC. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. On Thursday Evening, May 19th, 1881.
Be it always remembered that human self-praise is evil because of the motive which underlies it. We praise ourselves,—and, alas! that we should be so foolish as to do so,—we do it out of pride; but when Christ praises himself, he does it out of humility. "Oh!" say you, "how can you prove that to be true?" Why, thus; he praises himself that he may win our love; but what condescension it is on his part that he should care about the love of such insignificant and undeserving persons as we are!
It is also an instance of the Master's wisdom, for as it is his design to win hearts to himself, he uses the best means of winning them. How are hearts won? Very often, by the exhibition of beauty. Love at first sight has been begotten by the vision of a lovely countenance. Men and women, too, are struck with affection through the eye when they perceive some beauty which charms and pleases them; so, the Savior lifts the corner of the veil that conceals his glories, and lets us see some glimpse of his beauty, in order that he may win our hearts. There are some who seem to think that they can bully men to Christ; but that is a great mistake. It is very seldom that sinners can be driven to the Savior; his way is to draw them. He himself said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." And the drawings of Christ are not, as it were, with a cart rope, but with silken bonds, ay, with invisible chains, for his beauty is of such a character that it creates love, his beauty is so attractive that it draws the heart.
You need not, therefore, be afraid that he will refuse you when you come to him. If a man praises his wares, it is that he may sell them. If a doctor advertises his cures, it is that other sick folk may be induced to try his medicine; and when our Lord Jesus Christ praises himself, it is a kind of holy advertisement by which he would tempt us to "come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." If he praises himself, it is that we may fall in love with him; and we need not be afraid to come and lay our poor hearts at his feet, and ask him to accept us, for he would not have wooed us by unveiling his beauties if he had meant, after all, to trample on our hearts, and say, "I care nothing for such poor love as yours."
I. First, then, the text sets forth THE EXCEEDING DELIGHTFULNESS OF OUR LORD.
He compares himself here, not as in other places to needful bread and refreshing water, but to lovely flowers, to roses and lilies. What is the use of roses and lilies? I know what the use of corn is; I must eat it, it is necessary to me for food. I know why barley and rye and all sorts of roots and fruits are created; they are the necessary food of man or beast. But what do we want with roses? What do we want with lilies? They are of no use at all except for joy and delight. With their sweet form, their charming color, and their delicious fragrance, we are comforted and pleased and delighted; but they are not necessaries of life.
There is a spiritual way of perceiving the savor of Christ; I cannot explain it to you, but there is an ineffable mysterious sweetness that proceeds from him which touches the spiritual senses, and affords supreme delight; and as the body has its nose, and its tender nerves that can appreciate sweet odours, so the soul has its spiritual nostril by which, though Christ be at a distance, it yet can perceive the fragrant emanations that come from him, and is delighted therewith.What is there that comes from Christ, from day to day, but his truth, his Spirit, his influence, his promises, his doctrines, his words of cheer?
II. I must pass on, next, to notice THE SWEET VARIETY OF CHRIST'S DELIGHTFULNESS.
The rose is not enough, you must have the lily also, and the two together fall far short of the glories of Christ, the true "Plant of renown.""I am the rose." That is the emblem of majesty. The rose is the very queen of flowers; in the judgment of all who know what to admire it is enthroned above all the rest of the beauties of the garden. But the lily—what is that? That is the emblem of love.
The combination of these sweet flowers also suggests our Lord's suffering and purity.
III. I must now very briefly take up the last head of my discourse, which is, THE EXCEEDING FREENESS OF OUR LORD'S DELIGHTFULNESS.
I have been talking about my Master, and I want to show you that he is accessible, he is meant to be plucked and enjoyed as roses and lilies are. He says in the text, "I am the rose of Sharon." What was Sharon? It was an open plain where anybody might wander, and where even cattle roamed at their own sweet will. Jesus is not like a rose in Solomon's garden, shut up within high walls, with broken glass all along the top. Oh, no! he says, "I am the rose of Sharon," everybody's rose, the flower for the common people to come and gather. "I am the lily." What lily? The lily of the palace of Shushan, enclosed and guarded from all approach? No; but, "I am the lily of the valleys," found in this glen, or the other ravine, growing here, there, and everywhere: "I am the lily of the valleys."
If you find Christ, and if you have to sell the coat off your back in order to get him, if you have to give up everything you have that you may find him, you will have such a treasure in him that, for the joy of finding him, you would count all the riches of Egypt to be less than nothing and vanity; but you need not sell the coat off your back, Christ is to be had for nothing, only you must give him yourself. If he gives himself to you, and he becomes your Savior, you must give yourself to him, and become his servant. Trust him, I beseech you, the Lord help you so to do, for Jesus' sake! Amen.