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20 October, 2013

Things that accompany Salvation - Part 3

REV. C. H. Spurgeon, September 20, 1857

"Things that accompany Salvation."—Hebrews 6:9.

    But who are those that follow in the rear? Another troop, another legion, but these are far different from the rest. The silken legion follow, these are not clad in steel; they have no helmets of war upon their head; they have smiling looks and countenances that are full of joy. No weapons of war in their hands; no thunders do they utter, but they speak kind words of pity, and their hands are full of benedictions. Shall I tell you who this silken legion are? There is a troop of them who take the poor wounded heart, and wash it first in blood; they sprinkle on it the sacred blood of the Atonement; and it is amazing how the poor broken heart, though faint and sick, revives at the first drop of the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and when well washed in blood, another of this legion steps forward and takes it and washes it in water—for both water and blood flowed from the Saviour's heart.

"Let the water and the blood,
From thy wounded side which flow'd
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power"

And oh, what a washing it is! The heart that was once black as the coals of hell, seems white as the snow of Lebanon. When it has once been bathed in the bath of the Saviour's blood and water, oh, how pure it becomes! He who was black as the tents of Kedar becomes fair as the curtains of Solomon. Then follow those who pour oil and wine into the wounds of this poor broken heart, so that where it smarted before, the wounds begin to sing.

 The sacred oil and wine of the precious promise is poured into every wound; and then follow those who with downy fingers bind up the heart with the sacred liniment of Promise till it seems no longer broken, but the broken heart rejoices. The whole heart sings for gladness; for God hath restored its strength and bound up all its wounds, according to his promise: "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."

 And then, since the work is not quite done, there come those who carry the King's ward-robe; and with the things out of this rich storehouse they array the soul from head to foot; they clothe it with everything that for lustre and for glory could adorn it, and make it bright as the spirits before the throne. And then the King's jewellers come in and complete the whole: they array the soul with ornaments, and bedeck it with precious stones. 

As the Father said, "Bring forth the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet," even so do this Silken Legion wash and heal and cleanse and glorify the once poor broken heart. Have these ever come to your house? It is an allegory, but it is all plain to him that understandeth it. Sinner, hast thou ever had the blood of Christ applied to thee?
"Couldst thou look and see the flowing
Of his soul's redeeming blood,
With divine assurance knowing
He hath made thy peace with God?"

    Dost thou this hour lay thine hand on the dear head of Christ; confess thy sin, and believe that he was punished for thee? Thou canst? Then, verily salvation is thine. And has thine heart been ever washed with water? Say, dost thou hate sin? Is thy guilt all cleansed, and is the power of guilt cut away, so that thou dost not love the ways of iniquity, nor seek to run in the paths of transgressors. Then thou art an heir of heaven. And say, poor sinner, hast thou ever been arrayed in the robe of Jesus' righteousness? Couldst thou ever fondly hope that thou wast accepted in the Beloved? Methinks I see thee with the tear in thine eye, and hear thee saying, I have sometimes sung with all my heart—

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

'Midst flaming worlds, in these array'd,
With joy shall I lift my head.

Bold shall I stand in that great day,

For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through Christ I am
From sin's tremendous curse and shame."

    And now we have not yet come to a full conviction of Salvation. The Silken Legion are gone; their banners are still flying in the gale, and their trumpets of promise are still making the air glad with melody. What cometh next? Now come those that are the actual attendants upon Salvation—or rather, that march in the rank immediately before it. There are four of these, called Repentance, Humility, Prayer and a tender Conscience. Just before the full assurance of Salvation there marches Humility.

 She is of a downcast look; she is not sad, but she hath no high looks; she scarcely dares to lift her eye to the place where God's honor dwelleth. She is often looking downwards, remembering her past estate thinking of all the bitterness and the guilt of her previous life. She never boast; of what God has done for her, she looks to the hole of the pit and the miry clay from whence she was digged. She knows she has been washed in the blood of the Saviour, but she remembers how black she was before she was washed, and oh, she laments the past although she rejoices in the present.

 She feels her own weakness, she dares not stand alone she leans on the arm of her Beloved, for she knows that she should fall to the ground unless he should constantly maintain her. Side by side with her, is her sister called Repentance, watering the ground with tears to lay the dust before the King. Wherever she goes she weeps and if you ask her why, she will tell you she does not weep because of a fear of hell—that is all gone. The Silken Legion yonder, she tells you, have wiped all her fears away; but she weeps because she smote the Lord that loved her so well she beats her breast, and cries—
"'Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear."

The more you tell her of her Salvation, the more she weeps to think she could have rebelled against such a Saviour. She is confident that her sins are blotted out; she knows her Master has forgiven her; but she never will forgive herself. Then side by side with Repentance is one called Prayer. He is a priest, and he waves in his hand a censer full of odoriferous incense, that the way for the King may be prepared, that wherever he marches there may be a sweet perfume. Prayer riseth by midnight to call upon God, its waking eyes salute the rising sun, that it may lift up its heart to Jehovah, and when the sun is setting, Prayer will not let his wheel be hidden beneath the horizon, until in his chariot he hath carried supplication. Then in this company is the fourth of those immediately attending upon Salvation, a tender Conscience. 

This tender Conscience is afraid to put one foot before the other, lest it should put its foot in the wrong place. Poor tender Conscience; some despise him; but he is dear to the King's heart. I would to God, my brethren, you and I knew more about him. I used to know a conscience so tender, that I would wish to feel it again. Then we questioned the lawfulness of every act before we committed it, and then, though it was lawful we would stop to see if it were expedient and if we thought it expedient, even then we would not do it, except we felt it would be abundantly honorable to the Lord our God. Every doctrine we used to scruple at, lest we should believe a lie; every ordinance we examined, lest we should commit idolatry; happy were the days when tender Conscience went with us.

And now, my hearers, do you know anything about these four? Has Humilityever come to you? Has she ever abased your pride and taught you to lie in the dust before God? Has Repentance ever watered the floor of your hearts with tears? Have you ever been led to weep in secret for your sins, and to bewail your iniquities? Has Prayer ever entered your spirit? Remember, a prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Have you learned to pray, not with the parrot's cry, but with the heart's ever fresh expression. Have you ever learned to pray? And lastly are you tender of Conscience, for unless your conscience is made tender, salvation has not met you, for these are the immediate attendants upon it.