William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

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Hope Even in Our Hopelessness


by Charles H. Spurgeon


We see here, dear brethren, in being told to remember Jesus that there is hope
even in our hopelessness. When are things most hopeless in a man? Why, when he
is dead. Do you know what it is to come down to that, so far as your inward
weakness is concerned? I do. At times it seems to me that all my joy is buried
like a dead thing, and all my present usefulness and all my hope of being useful
in the future are coffined and laid underground like a corpse. In the anguish of
my spirit, and the desolation of my heart, I could count it better to die than
to live. You say it should not be so. I grant you it should not be so, but so it
is. Many things happen within the minds of poor mortals which should not happen;
if we had more courage and more faith they would not happen. Ay, but when we go
down, down, down, is it not a blessed thing that Jesus Christ of the seed of
David died, and was raised from the dead? If I sink right down among the dead
men yet will I hold to this blessed hope, that as Jesus rose again from the
dead, so also shall my joy, my usefulness, my hope, my spirit rise. "Thou, which
hast showed us great and sore troubles shalt quicken us again, and bring us up
from the lowest depths of the earth."

This donncasting and slaying is good for us. We take a deal of killing, and it
is by being killed that we live. Many a man will never live till his proud self
is slain. O proud Pharisee, if you are to live among those whom God accepts, you
will have to come to the slaughterhouse and be cut in pieces as well as killed.
"This is dreadful work," saith one, "this dividing of joints and marrow, this
spiritual dismemberment and destruction." Assuredly it is painful, and yet it
were a grievous loss to be denied it.

Alas, how many are so good and excellent, and strong and wise, and clever, and
all that, that they cannot agree to be saved by grace through faith. If they
could be reduced to less than nothing it would be the finest thing that ever
happened to them. Remember what Solomon said might be done with the fool, and
yet it would not answer--he was to be brayed in a mortar among wheat with a
pestle,-pretty hard dealing that, and yet his folly would not depart from him.
Not by that process alone, but through some such method, the Holy Spirit brings
men away from their folly. Under his killing operations this may be their
comfort that, if Jesus Christ rose literally from the dead (not from sickness,
but from death), and lives again, even so will his people.

Did you ever get, where Bunyan pictures Christian as getting, right under the
old dragon's foot? He is very heavy, and presses the very breath out of a fellow
when he makes him his footstool. Poor Christian day there with the dragon's foot
on his breast. but he was just able to stretch out his hand and lay hold on his
sword, which, by a good providence, lay within his reach. Then he gave Apollyon
a deadly thrust, which made him spread his dragon wings and fly away. The poor
crushed and broken pilgrim, as he gave the stab to his foe, cried, "Rejoice not
over me, O mine enemy; though I fall, yet shall I rise again." Brother, do you
the same. You that are near despair, let this be the strength that nerves your
arm and steels your heart. " Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from
the dead according to Paul's gospel."

 

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