Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 27th, 1859, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplication."—Psalm 116:1.
N the Christian pilgrimage it is well for the most part to be looking forward. Whether it be for hope, for joy, for consolation, or for the inspiring of our love, the future after all must be the grand object of the eye of faith. Looking into the future we see sin cast out, the body of sin and death destroyed, the soul made perfect and fit to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. And looking further yet, the believer's soul can see Death's river passed, the gloomy steam forded; he can behold the hills of light on which standeth the celestial city; he seeth himself enter within the pearly gates, hailed as more than a conqueror—crowned by the hand of Christ, embraced in the arms of Jesus, glorified with him, made to sit together with him on his throne, even as he has overcome and has sat down with the Father upon his throne. The sight of the future may well relieve the darkness of the past, the hopes of the world to come may banish all the doubtings of the present. Hush, my fears! this world is but a narrow span, and thou shalt soon have passed it. Hush, hush, my doubts! death is but a narrow stream, and thou shalt soon have forded it. Time, how short—eternity, how long! Death, how brief—immortality, how endless!
That rises to my sight!
Sweet fields arrayed in living green,
And rivers of delight.
Filled with delight my raptured soul
Would here no longer stay,
Though Jordan's waves around me roll,
Fearless I'd launch away."
Yet nevertheless the Christian may do well sometimes to look backward; he may look back to the hole of the pit and the miry clay whence he was digged—the retrospect will help him to be humble, it will urge him to be faithful. He may look back with satisfaction to the glorious hour when first he saw the Lord, when spiritual life for the first time quickened his dead soul. Then he may look back through all the changes of his life, to his troubles and his joys, to his Pisgahs and to his Engedis, to the land of the Hermonites and the hill Mizar. He must not keep his eye always backward, for the fairest scene dies beyond, it will not benefit him to be always considering the past, for the future is more glorious far; but nevertheless at times a retrospect may be as useful as a prospect; and memory may be as good a teacher as even faith itself. This morning I bid you stand upon the hill-top of your present experience and look back upon the past, and find therein motives for love to God; and may the Holy Spirit so help me in preaching and you in hearing, that your love may be inflamed, and that you may retire from this hall, declaring in the language of the Psalmist, "I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice, and my supplication."