The New Song
Delivered on Sunday Evening, December 28th, 1862, by the
Rev. C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory."Psalm 98:1.
HERE MUST BE NEW SONGS on new occasions of triumph. It would have been absurd for Miriam with her timbrel to conduct the music of the daughters of Israel to some old sonnet that they had learned in Egypt. Nay, an old song could not have spoken out the feelings of that generation, much less could it have served to utter a voice, the jubilant notes of which distant posterity should echo. They must have a new song while they cry the one unto the other, "Sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." The like had never been known before, but henceforth father to son must show forth its fame. In after times, when Deborah and Barak had routed the hosts of Sisera, they did not borrow Miriam's song; but they had a new psalm for the new event. They said, "Awake, awake, Deborah; awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam." In after years, at the building of the temple, or on the solemn feast days, it was ever the wont of the inspired poets of the age to cry, "O come, let us sing unto the Lord a new song." Thus the grateful notes of praise have gathered volume and augmented their compass as the ages have rolled onwards; and these as it were only the rehearsals for a grand oratorio. What then, shall be the marvellous novelty and the matchless glory of that song which shall be sung at the last upon Mount Zion, when ten thousand times ten thousand of the warriors of God shall surround Jesus the conqueror, when we shall hear a voice from heaven as the voice of many waters, and like great thunders, when shall be heard the voice of harpers, harping with their harps; what shall be, I say, the strange novelty of that new song which they shall sing before the throne, when the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures shall fall before God upon their faces, and worship him for ever and ever? Would that our ears could anticipate that tremendous burst of "Hallelujah! hallelujah! hallelujah! the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth."
While heaven's resounding mansions ring
With shouts of sovereign grace."
What a transcendent triumph!
Not a few shall there be to share the triumph, but a multitude that no man can number; for the glory shall be enhanced by the salvation of so many. Heaven is none of your narrow places for narrow-hearted bigots. No, brethren, our largest imagination never yet could grasp heaven, but it will hold multitudes of multitudes. Nor will the praise be any the less, when we consider that there were so many of such varied clans and climes, some of all kindreds on the face of the earth, swarthy or white. There shall be found in heaven the vilest sinner that lived, there shall be brought thither the proudest rebel, and the stoutest hearted, and the most obstinate of sinners; there shall be such in heaven as would have made a wonder in hell, some, I say, who would have been such great sinners, had they been suffered to go to hell, that their dreadful fall would even hell itself appal, but they are in heaven, saved by sovereign grace. And, O beloved! as there are such persons, this will help to make the victory grand, that they were saved by such means, such simple means, by the simple preaching of the gospel; not by wisdom, not by science, not by eloquence, but by the simple telling out of the story of the cross. How this will tend to make the triumph brighter than it could have been in any other way.
And, O beloved, this victory will excel all others in the routing of such foes, such cruel, such crafty, such mighty, such numerous foes. Sin, sin, it is a name of horrorsin o'erthrown. Deathwhat glooms are concentrated in that word!death destroyed. Satanwhat craft, what cruelties, what malice linger thereSatan bound hand and foot, and led captive. Such a victory over such foes. I find no words in any tongue by which I can describe its magnitude. And oh! the results of that victory, how bright! Souls knit to Christ by such love, tongues tuned to such music, hearts burning with such fire, heaven filled with such devout, such holy inhabitants, the ears of Deity regaled with such grateful music, heaven filled with such myriads of happy spirits. The peaceful results, setting aside the overthrow, will be enough to make this victory grander than all the triumphs of men or angels put together.
Say now, and gather up all your enthusiasm to say itWhat a victory shall that be, when there shall not be a single trophy in the hands of the adversary. The victory shall be unparalleled in this, that all the success which the enemy thought he had achieved shall only tend to make his defeat the more galling, and add lustre to the victorious King of kings. You see sometimes hanging up in old minsters tattered flags, that were taken from the adversary; sometimes when the report of battle comes in, we are told the battle was won, that so many cannon and so many flags were left with the enemy. But, O Lord God! thou hast not left a single trophy in the hands of thy foe. I said he had no prisoners, but he shall not even have a flag, not one truth rent in pieces, not one doctrine of revelation hung up to rot in the minsters of hell; not one single attribute of God that shall be trailed in the mire, not one single truth of Christianity to be laughed at, and despised by fiends, not a trophy; there shall not a hair of your head perish, not so much as that shall Satan gain, not a bone, not a fragment of the saint, either of his body or his spiritno trophies left. And all this will make hell angry, to think that God gave him vantage-ground, let him contend with poor feeble men; but God was in man, and fought with Satanman, a poor feeble worm, fought with Satan, and, like David, he threw the stone of faith at the giant's head, and destroyed him with his own weapons. God hath destroyed death by the death of Christ, destroyed sin by the great sin-bearer, yea he has destroyed the dragon by the seed of a woman, who bruised his head with that very seed whose heel the serpent once did bite. Glory be unto thee, O Lord! This is thy victory. The more we muse upon it, the higher doth our rapture rise, and the more prepared do our hearts grow to peal forth the words of the Psalmist, "His right hand, and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory."
II. Secondly; observe that DEITY IS CONSPICUOUS HERE.
Man is not made mention of. There is no name of Moses, or of the prophets, or of the apostles here; I read not the names of Chrysostom and Augustine, nor of those modern fathers of the Church, such as Calvin, and Zwinglethe stars are lost in the blaze of the sun. O God! how glorious is thy right arm, and how do thy disciples, thy children, hide their heads and say, "Not unto us, but unto thy name be all the glory!" But mark, beloved, as they are not mentioned it is not because the mention need to be avoided, for the more we talk of instrumentalities, or rather think about them(I do not say the more we think of them, but the more we think about them)the more persuaded we shall be that it only adds to God's glory to use men, for men are such poor tools to work with. You have heard of the celebrated painter who gained renown by painting with poor brushes, when the good ones were stolen; and Quintin Matsys, who made a cover for the well without tools, when all the proper tools were taken away; he wrought the ironwork with such poor implements as he could get. So was the skill of the painter or artisan admired in that he could produce such effects under such disadvantageous conditions. Ah! then what an artist must he be! they exclaim concerning the one. And they look upon this piece of ironwork, and say of the other, "What! no graving tools, no casting, how could he do it?" So when we shall come to look at men, when we look at them in the light which eternity shall reveal, we shall say of the best of them, "How can the Lord have won such victories with such poor things as these!" So that you may mention the instruments every one of them, from righteous Abel down to the last preacher of the Word, and yet it shall be true, that the victory shall speak the sole praise of the General. No doubt, dear friends, this will be a part of the splendor of the triumph to think that he did win by man. It was in man that Satan conquered: Adam and Eve were led astray by the crafty wiles of Satan. It is by man that death came, and by man comes the resurrection of the dead. This will be gall and wormwood in the cup of the lost, when they shall see the Man Christ Jesus, the seed of the woman, sitting at the right hand of God. This is judgment's greatest terror, "Hide us from the Lamb;" and this shall be hell's greatest horror, "Hide us from the Lamb; let us not behold his face." But glory be unto thee, most gracious God, for thou hast lifted man up above all the works of thy hands, and given him dominion above all creatures, so that principalities and powers are put beneath his feet in the person of Christ. And all this only proves that "His own right-hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory."
I wish I might enlarge here and speak of the conspicuous glory of God in this respect, that all the persons of the Trinity will be glorified, the Father, the Son, the Spirit. All the attributes of God, his unsearchable greatness, and his unrivalled majesty, his grace, his power, his truth, his justice, his holiness, his immutability, these shall shine forth with resplendent lustre. His wondrous works and his terrible acts shall declare his praise; they shall be the theme of every tongue, and the topic of every conversation. "Men shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power." All his decrees shall be seen in their final accomplishment, every one of them fulfilled, the counsel answering to the providence. Of all that the Father willed, of all that the Son performed, of all that the Spirit revealed, not one thing is frustrated. How shall I gather up these things? O for the voice of a mighty angel! O for a seraph's lip of fire, to speak now of the splendor of that last day, when not only the great but the little, not only the abundance of God's providence, and the great deeps of his counsel, but even the small deeds of his lovingkindness shall be made to sing forth his praise, when not only the leviathian deeds of God shall make the deep to praise the Lord, but even the little fish that move therein, shall leap up to join the chorus, and everywhere from everything, for everything, there shall be heard the tune"His right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory."
III. We have in our text a third thought, which we can only hint at. In all thisHOLINESS WILL BE GLORIFIED.
Note the adjective,"His holy arm." When we contemplate any actions of God, you will notice that the name which cherubs utter, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth," is always brought out. Where Christ bears sin, and overcomes it, I hear the cry of "Holy, holy, holy," from the cross. Where Jesus breaks the tomb, and conquers death, I seem to hear the note of "Holy, holy, holy," for it makes the day holy on which the deed was done. And when he ascends to glory, and the Father says, "Well done," we seem to hear still the note, "Holy, holy, holy." In everything, from the manger to the cross, and from the cross onward to the crown, holiness becometh God's house, and all God's acts for ever. Is it not, dear friends, after all the hinge of the struggle? Is not this the point, just as you know in great battles, there is some one mountain or hill, which is the object of struggle, not for the value of that particular hill, but because on that the battle will depend, so holiness is just the point, the rallying point between God and Satan. Here are the two war-cries. The hosts of evil cry, "Sin, sin, sin;" but the cry of the armies of the Lord of hosts is this, "Holiness, holiness, holiness." Every time we strike a blow it is "Holiness;" and every time they attack us it is "Sin." Sin is the real object of their aim. When Satan attacks, it is to stab at holiness, and when we resist, it is to guard holiness, or to drive back his sin. Mark you, this, I say, is the point of the battle, and by that ye shall be able to judge on which side you are. What is your war-cry? What is your war-cry? When Cromwell fought with the soldiers of the covenant at Dunbar, you will remember they were distinguished by their cries, on the one side, "The Covenant, the Covenant;" and on the other side, "The Lord of hosts, the Lord of hosts." And so to-night there is the cry on either side, "Sin and the pleasures thereof." Is that your war-cry, friend? You say "No,"how is it then you were at the theater the other night? You say "No,"how is it then you frequent the tavern? You say "No,"how is it then you have got so many misgotten gains about you now? You say, "No,"how is it you make appointments for deeds of sin, and perhaps to-night, or to-morrow night, intend to fulfill them? I tell you, sirs, there are many of you whose war-cry to-night is "Sin, and the pleasures thereof." On the other hand, I trust there are not a few in this vast throng, who can say, "Oh! sir, feebly though I speak it, yet my war" cry is 'Holiness, and the cross'"that goeth with it, "Holiness, and the cross." Ah! beloved you are just now on the side that is laughed at, the world points at you and says, "There are your saints." Yes, here they are, sir, what dare you say against them? Abide your time, man, and have your jeering out; ye shall change that laugh for everlasting howlings by-and-bye. "There are your Methodists; there are your hypocritical professors." What, sir, dare you say it? The servants of the living God will know how to answer you in that day, when their king shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven, and his glory shall be manifest, and they shall share his triumph, and all flesh shall see it, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Come, we will pass that question again to-night, "What is your war-cry?" There has been a good deal of wickedness these last few days in London. I love to see holy mirth; I delight to see men well feasted. I like Christmas; I wish it came six times a-year. I like the generosity of those who give to the poor. Let it be extended. I would not stop a smile. God forbid me! But cannot men be happy without drunkenness? cannot they be mirthful without blasphemy? Is there no possibility of being happy without lasciviousness? Are there no other ways of finding true pleasure besides selling your soul to the devil? O sirs! I say there have been thousands in this huge city who have been going about the streets, and whose cry has been, "Sin, and the pleasures thereof! Where is the music-hall? Where is the Casino? Where is the Coal Hole? Where is the tavern? Where is the ball-room? Sin, and the pleasures thereof." O Satan! thou hast many soldiers, and right brave soldiers they are, and never are they afraid of thy cause, nor ashamed of thy name nor of thy unholy work. Ay, thou art well served, O prince of hell! and rich will be thy wages when thy drudges earn the fire for which they have labored. But I hope and trust there are some to-night who will change their watch-note. Ye have not nailed your colors to the mast, have you? Even if you have, by God's grace I would pull the nails out. Are ye determined to die? Will you serve the black prince for ever, and perish with him? Jesus Emmanuel, the captain of our salvation, bids me cry to you, "Enlist beneath my banner." Believe in him, trust in him, and live. Oh! trust the merit of the cross, the virtue of the blood, the tears, and the dying groans. This it is to be a Christian, and ever afterwards this shall be your war-note"Holiness, and the cross thereof!" O take this, all! Fear not. The cross with holiness will bring the mortifying of the flesh, the shame of the world, and the reproach of men. Take both, for now the battle is raging. But, O my brethren, another crush, and another, and another, and another, and we shall gain the top of the hill, and the shout of "Holiness and the cross!" shall be answered by the echoes all round the world, for everywhere holiness shall be victorious, and men shall know the Lord. Ay, and the echoes of heaven shall answer, too, and the spirits of the sanctified shall cry, "Holiness, and the crown thereof!" Then we will change one word of our watch-note; and as our enemies have broken before us and are utterly destroyed; as they melt away like the fat of rams; as unto smoke they consume away, we will sing for ever, "Holiness, and the crown thereof! holiness, and the crown thereof!" But that shall be only one note: this shall be the song"His own right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory."
I would that some soul would believe in Jesus to-night, that it might share in the victory. I would that young man's heart would be given to Christ to-night, or yours yonder. He deserves it of you: if it were only his mercy in having spared you, he deserves it. And thou greyheaded sinner there, does he not deserve thy heart for sparing thee so long? Yield, I pray thee; his love meets thee. Yield; his terrors threaten thee. Yield; lay down thy weapons, and be for ever forgiven. May God help thee to do it. The Lord prove his sovereignty and his power to-night in the conversion of many of his chosen; and unto him shall be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.