A Sermon (0157)
Delivered on Sabbath Evening, October 4th, 1857, by
the REV C H SPURGEON
at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
And thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. - Isaiah 41:14
And why does it say, "and thy Redeemer?" What was the use of appending the Redeemers name to this precious exhortation? By God's help it shall be the business of this evening to show why there is a peculiar blessedness in the fact that God hath not only said, "I will help thee, saith the Lord," but has added, "and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
You will please to notice that it looks as if this were a repetition by three different persons. Israel was cast down, and Jehovah, for that is the first word—(you will notice that the word "Lord" is in capitals, and should be translated "Jehovah")—says to his poor, tried, desponding servant, "I will help thee." No sooner is that uttered than we think we shall not be straining the text if we surmise that God the Holy Spirit, the Holy One of Israel, adds his solemn affidavit also; and declares by oath and covenant, "I will help thee." Does not this, we say, look somewhat like repetition? Was it not sufficient that Jehovah the Father should declare that he would help his people! Why did the other persons of the divine Trinity unite in this solemn declaration? We think we shall be able, if God shall help us, to show great usefulness therein, especially dwelling to-night upon that word, "thy Redeemer," and marking how the repetition of the word by our Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, adds a peculiar blessedness to the exhortation—"Fear not, thou worm Jacob."
First, methinks this was added for amplification; secondly for sweetness; thirdly, for confirmation.
I. First, when it says, "and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel," it was added FOR AMPLIFICATION. There are some preachers from whom you will never learn anything; not be cause they do not say much which is instructive, but because they just mention the instructive thought once, and immediately pass on to another thought, never expanding upon the second thought, but immediately passing on, almost without connection, to a third—just casting forth, as it were, bare thoughts, without opening them up, and explaining them to the people. Such preachers are generally complained of as being very unprofitable to the hearers. "Why," said the hearer, "it made no impression upon me; it was good, but there was so much of it that I could not recollect it. I had nothing to bring away." Other preachers, on the other hand, follow a better method. Having given one idea, they endeavor to amplify it, so that their hearers, if they are not able to receive the idea in the abstract, at least are able to lay hold upon some of its points, when they come to the amplification of it. Now, God, the great Author of the great book, God, the preacher of the truth by his prophets, when he would preach it, and when he would write it, so amplifies a fact, so extends a truth, and enlarges upon a doctrine, says, "I will help thee, saith Jehovah." That means Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. "Ah! but," said God, "my people will forget that, unless I amplify the thought; so I will even break it up; I will remind them of my Trinity. They understand my Unity; I will bid them recollect that there are Three in One, though these Three be One;" and he adds, "thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Jehovah—Redeemer—Holy One of Israel—three persons, all included, indeed, in the word Jehovah, but very likely to be forgotten unless they had been distinctly enumerated.
Now, brethren, suffer your thoughts for a moment to enlarge upon the fact, that the promise contained in this verse, "Fear not, I will help thee" (I will help thee), is a promise from Three Divine Persons. Hear Jehovah, the everlasting Father, saying, "I will help them." "Mine are the ages: before the ages began, when there were no worlds, when nought had been created, from everlasting I am thy God. I am the God of election, the God of the decree, the God of the covenant; by my strength I did set fast the mountains, by my skill I laid the pillars of the earth; and the beams of the firmament of heaven; I spread out the skies as a curtain, and as a tent for man to dwell in; I the Lord made all these things. 'I will help thee.'" Then comes Jehovah the Son. "And I, also, am thy Redeemer, I am eternal; my name is wisdom. I was with God, when there were no depths, before he had digged the rivers, I was there as one brought up with him. I am Jesus, the God of ages; I am Jesus, the man of sorrows; ' I am he that liveth and was dead, I am alive for evermore.' I am the High Priest of your profession, the Intercessor before the throne, the Representative of my people. I have power with God. 'I will help thee.'" Poor worm, thy Redeemer vows to help thee; by his bleeding hands he covenants to give thee aid. And then in comes the Holy Spirit. "And I," saith the Spirit, "am also God—not an influence, but a person —I, eternal and everlasting, co-existent with the Father and the Son—I, who did brood over chaos, when as yet the world was not brought into form and fashion, and did sow the earth with the seeds of life when I did brood over it,—I, that brought again from the dead your Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of the sheep, who am the Eternal Spirit, by whose power the Lord Jesus did arise from the thraldom of his tomb —I, by whom souls are quickened, by whom the elect are called out of darkness into light—I, who have the power to maintain my children and preserve them to the end—'I will help thee.'" Now, soul, gather up these three, and dost thou want more help than they can afford? What! dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, and more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Sure this well will fill it. Haste! gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply. What canst thou want beside? Stand up, Christian, in this thy might Jehovah Father, Jehovah Jesus, Jehovah Spirit,—these are with thee to help thee. This is the first thing. It is an amplification.
II. And now, secondly, concerning that word, "thy Redeemer," it is a SWEETENING OF THE PROMISE. Did you never notice that a promise always seems all the sweeter for having Jesus in it? All the promises are yea and amen in him; but when a promise mentions the name of the Redeemer, it imparts a peculiar blessedness to it. Brethren, it is something like, if I may represent it by such a figure, the beautiful effect of certain decorations of stained glass. There are some persons whose eyes are so weak that the light seems to be injurious to them, especially the red rays of the sun, and a glass has been invented, which rejects the rays that are injurious, and allows only those to pass which are softened and modified to the weakness of the eye. It seems as if the Lord Jesus were some such a glass as this. The grace of God the Trinity, shining through the man Christ Jesus, becomes a mellow, soft light, so that mortal eye can bear it. My God, I could not drink from thy well, if thou hadst not put there the earthen pitcher of my Saviour; but with him living waters from thy sacred well I draw. Heaven! thou art too bright; I could not bear thine insufferable light, if I had not this shade with which I cover thee; but through it, as through a mist, I do behold the halo of thy glory, undiminished in its effulgence, but somewhat diminished in their potency which would be my destruction. The Saviour seems to calm his glory, to tone it down to our poor feeble frame. His name put into this wine of heaven, does not diminish in the least degree its sparkling and its exhilirating power; but it takes out of it that deep strength which might upset an angel's brain, if he could drink to his full. It takes away the profundity of mystery, which would make the deep old wine of the kingdom intoxicating rather than cheering. Christ Jesus cast into the river of God, makes all the streams more sweet; and when the believer sees God in the person of the Saviour, he then sees the God whom he can love, and to whom with boldness he can approach. Surely I love this promise all the better, because I think I see my Saviour, with his hand all bleeding, stamping his hand upon it, and saying, "And thy Redeemer," and there is the blood mark left upon the promise. It does seem to me as if when God uttered that promise to the poor worm Jacob, Jesus Christ could not be still. He heard his Father say, "Fear not, worm Jacob;" and he saw the poor worm, with his head on one side, with his eyes all flowing with tears, with his heart palpitating with terror, and his arms folded in dismay; and when his Father had said, "Fear not," he stepped from behind, and whispered in a voice more soft than the voice of his Father, "Fear not, worm Jacob, it is God that speaks;" and then the soft voice says, "And it is thy Redeemer that speaks too." He says, "Fear not." He who loves thee, who knows thee, who has felt what thou feelest, who has passed through the woes which thou art now enduring—he who is thy Kinsman and thy Brother, he also says "Fear not, worm Jacob." Oh, it is sweet, it is precious to look upon that word, as spoken by our Redeemer.
III. And now we come to the other point. I think this is put in by way of CONFIRMATION. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses surely the whole shall be established."
"Blind unbelief is sure to err."
It needs many witnesses to make such unbelieving souls as we are, believe the promises. "Now," says God, "I will help thee. Unbelief! wilt thou doubt Jehovah? Can the "I Am that I Am" lie? Can the God of faithfulness and truth deceive thee? O unbelief! infamous traitor! wilt thou dare to doubt him? Yes, and Christ knew it would; and so he comes in and he says, "and thy Redeemer," as a second witness; whilst the Spirit is the third. "Thy Redeemer," volunteers to be the second guarantee, the other security to the faithfulness of this promise. The Father will lose his honor if he breaks his word; and I too do give as the security for the fulfillment of this promise, my troth and honor also. "Thy Redeemer" engages that he will help thee, O thou worm!
And now, I want you to read the promise, recollecting that it says, "Thy Redeemer ;" and then, as you read it through, you will see how the word "Redeemer" seems to confirm it all. Now begin. "I will help thee;" lay a stress on that word. If you read it so, there is one blow at your unbelief. "I will help thee," saith the Redeemer. "Others may not, but I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and by the bands of my lovingkindness have I drawn thee. 'I will help thee, though the earth forsake thee; though thy father and thy mother forsake thee, I will take thee up. Wilt thou doubt me? I have proved my love to thee. Behold this gash, this spear thrust in my side. Look hither at my hands: wilt thou but believe me? ' 'Tis I.' I said that on the waters, and I said to my people, 'Be not afraid; it is I.' I say to thee, now thou art on the waters, ' Be not afraid; I will help thee.' Sure thou needst not fear that I shall ever forget thee. 'Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.' 'I have graven thee on my hands; thy walls are ever before me.' 'I will help thee.'" Now, you must just suppose the Saviour standing here—that Man whose garments are red with blood; you must suppose him standing where I stand to-night, and saying to you, personally, "Fear not, I will help you." O my Lord, I have ungratefully doubted thy promise many a time; but methinks, if I could see thee in all thy woe and sorrow for me, if I could hear thee say, "I will help thee," I should cast myself at thy feet, and say, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief." But though he is not here to speak it, though the lips that utter it are but the lips of man, remember that he speaks through me to-night, and through his word, as truly as if he spoke himself. If some great man should by a servant, or by a letter send to you this message, "I will keep you," though you had not heard his own lips declare it, yet if you saw his own hand writing, you would say, "It is enough, I believe it; there is the master's hand writing; it is his own autograph, it is written by himself; behold the bloody signature! It is stamped with his cross, and I his messenger am sent to-night to myself and to you, and I say to my own heart and to you, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him; for the Redeemer says, I will help thee," and if he saith "I will help thee," who can doubt him? who dare distrust him?
And now let us read the promise again, and lay the stress on the "will." Oh, the "wills" and the "shalls:" they are the sweetest words in the Bible. "I will help thee." W hen God says "I will," there is something in it, brethren. The will of God started worlds into existence; the will of God made nature leap from chaos; the will of God sustains all worlds, "bears the earth's huge pillars up," and establishes creation. It is God's "I will." He lets the world live; they live on the "will" of God; and if he willed that they should die, they must sink as the bubble into the breaker, when its moment has arrived. And if the "will" of God is so strong as that, may we not lay a great stress upon it here—"I will help thee?" There is no doubt about it. I do not say I may help thee peradventure. No; I will. I do not say, that possibly I may be persuaded to help thee. No; I voluntarily will to help thee. "I will help thee." I do not say that, in an probability, ninety-nine chances out of a hundred, it is likely I may help thee. No; but without allowing any peradventure, or so much as a jot or tittle of hap or hazard, I will. Now, is there not strength in that? Indeed, my brethren, this is enough to cheer any man's spirit, however much he may be cast down, if God the Holy Spirit does but breathe upon the text, and let its spices flow abroad into our poor souls, "Fear not, I will help thee."
And now we lay stress on another word: "I will help thee." That is very little for me to do, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with my blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee, my beloved! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee. I have done more, and I will do more. Before the day-star first began to shine I chose thee. "I will help thee." I made the covenant for thee, and exercised all the wisdom of my eternal mind in the scheming of the plan of salvation. "I will help thee." I became a man for thee; I doffed my diadem, and laid aside my robe; I laid the purple of the universe aside to become a man for thee. If I did this, I will help thee. I gave my life, my soul, for thee; I slumbered in the grave, I descended into Hades, all for thee; I will help thee. It will cost me nothing. Redeeming thee cost me much, but I have all and abound. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. It is no new thing. I can do it easily. "Help thee?" Thou needst never fear that. If thou needest a thousand times as much help as thou dost need, I would give it thee; but it is little that thou dost require compared with what I have to give. 'Tis great for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. "Help thee?" Fear not. If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of my all-sufficiency. All that thou couldst ever eat, all that thou couldst ever take, if thou wert to take on to all eternity, would no more diminish my all-sufficiency, than the drinking of the fish would diminish the sea. No; "I will help thee." If I have died for thee, I will not leave thee.
And now, just take the last word—"I will help thee." Lay the stress there. "Fear not, thou worm Jacob; I will help thee." If I let the stars fall, I will help thee; if I let all nature run to rack and ruin, I will help thee. If I permit the teeth of time to devour the solid pillars upon which the earth doth stand, yet I will help thee. I have made a covenant with the earth, "that seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, shall never cease;" but that covenant, though true, is not so great as the covenant that I have made concerning thee. And if I keep my covenant with the earth, I will certainly keep my covenant with my Son. "Fear not; I will help thee." Yes, thee! Thou sayest, "I am too little for help;" but I will help thee, to magnify my power; thou sayest, "I am too vile to be helped," but I will help thee to manifest my grace. Thou sayest, "I have been ungrateful for former help;" but I will help thee to manifest my faithfulness. Thou sayest, "But I shall still rebel, I shall still turn aside." "I will help thee," to show forth my long suffering: let it be known, "I will help thee."
And now just conceive my Master on his gross bleeding there, looking down on you and on me. Picture him, whilst his voice falters with love and misery conjoined; and hear him. He has just now spoken to the thief, and he has said to him, "To-day, shalt thou be with me in Paradise." And after he has said that, he catches a sight of you and of me, poor and depressed, and he says, "Fear not, worm Jacob; I will help thee; I helped the thief—I will help thee. I promised him that he should be with me in paradise; I may well promise thee that thou shalt be helped. I will help thee. O Master! may thy love that prompts thee thus to speak, prompt us to believe thee.
And now hear Him again. He is exalted on high; he hath "led captivity captive and received gifts for men;"—now hear him, as in the midst of the solemn pomp of heaven he is not unmindful of his poor relations. He looks down, and he sees us in this world still struggling with sin and care and woe; he hears us claiming kingship with himself; and he says, "Worm Jacob! though I now do reign exalted high, my love is still as great. I will help thee." I pray the Lord apply the sweetness of that pronoun to your hearts, my brethren, and to mine. "I will help thee." O surely when the husband speaks to the wife in the hour of darkness and sorrow, and comforts her, you can easily understand what arguments he uses, when he says, "Wife of my youth! my joy, my delight, I will help thee!" You can easily conceive how he enumerates times of love, seasons when he stood by her in the hour of trouble; you can easily think how he reminds her of the days of their espousals, and tells her of their struggles, and of their joys; and he says, "Wife, canst thou doubt me? No; as I am a husband I will help thee! And now you hear the Saviour speaking of his church. "Betrothed to me ere time began, I have taken thee into union with my adorable person; and O my bride, though my palace stand in ruins, and heaven itself should shake, I will help thee. Forget thee? Forget my bride? Be false to my troth? Forsake my covenant? No; never. I will help thee." Hear the mother speaking to her little child in great danger; "Child," she says, "I will help thee;" and then she reminds that child that she is its mother, that from her breast the child drew its needed nourishment in the days of weakness; she reminds it how she has nursed it, and dandled it upon her knee, and how in every way she has been its solace and support. "Child !" says she, and her heart runs over—"I will help thee!" Why, the child never doubts it, it says, "Yes, mother, I know you will; I am sure of that, I do not need to be told it, I was certain you would, for I have had such proofs of your love." And now ought not we who love the Saviour just to let our eyes run with tears, and say, "O thou blest Redeemer! thou needst not tell us thou wilt help us, for we know thou wilt. Oh do not suppose that we doubt thee so much as to want to be told of it again; we know thou will help us; we are sure of it; thy former love, thine ancient love, the love of thine espousals, thy deeds of kindness, thine everlasting drawings, all these declare that thou never canst forsake us." No, no; "I will help thee."
And now, brethren, we are coming down stairs to eat the body of Christ and drink his blood in a spiritual manner; and I hope whilst we are partaking of that bread and wine, the emblems of the Saviour, we shall think we hear every mouthful of bread and every sip of wine saying out in the Master's behalf, "I will help thee, I will help thee." And then let us just frighten Satan, by cheering up our spirits through the power of the Holy Ghost, and buckling on our armor, let us go forth into the world to-morrow, to show what the Redeemer can do, when his promise is applied by the Spirit. "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee." Come, bring your fears out to-night, and serve them in the worst way you can. Hang them here upon the scaffold this night. Come now, and blow them away at the great guns of the promises, let them be destroyed forever. They are renegade mutineers; let them be cut off, let them be utterly destroyed, and let us go and sing, "Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." "I will help thee," saith the Redeemer.
O sinners, I pity you, that this is not your promise. If this were all that you did lose by being out of Christ, it were enough to lose indeed. May God call you, and help you to trust in the Redeemer's blood. Amen.