Only A Prayer Meeting by C. H. Spurgeon
Dear friends, before we return to the holy exercise of prayer, in which we will spend most of our time this evening, I want to say just a few words to you so as to put the Gospel before you all once more, very simply and plainly. My subject will be,- the eye, an emblem of faith; – and, singularly enough, I have an illustration of my theme, and a very painful one, too, in my own eye. I mean that expression quite literally; I do not know what it is, but a little something or other has found a lodging in my eye, and it causes me much pain. I shall not mind the suffering if some of you learn the lesson that it has already taught to me.
I was thinking that the eye is the type and symbol and emblem of faith. Nobody in his right senses wishes to have anything in his eye; he wants his eye to be, just as an eye should be, without anything at all in it, but bright, and strong, and clear; and that is precisely what we want our faith to be,- bright, and strong, and clear,- with nothing in it, so that we may just simply look away to Christ, and be saved.
My eye does not see itself; I cannot see my own eye unless I stand before a looking-glass. There are some people who are always wanting to see their own faith, but that is not the right thing to look at or to look for; you might as well desire to take out your eyes to examine their structure and uses. No, no, the object on which your faith rests and relies, that upon which your salvation depends, is not your faith, but what your faith sees. Do not try to see your own eye; look through your eye, as the window of your body, and gaze at the object you desire to see; and just in that fashion use your faith in a spiritual sense. Jesus Christ is the sinner’s Saviour, and faith is simply the eye that looks to Him. Oh, that you would, dear hearer, look unto Him now at this moment, for,-
“There is life for a look at the Crucified One;
There is life at this moment for thee;
Then look, sinner,- look unto Him, and be saved,-
Unto Him who was nail’d to the tree.”
Do not think so much about your faith as about the Christ at whom you are by faith looking. Do not wish to have anything in your eye; if you do get anything in, it will have to come out, for it cannot help you to see, and will probably cause you much pain and suffering. “Oh!” says one, “I wish I had a tear in my eye; I do want to feel repentance.” Yes, my dear friend, but tears do not help a person to see; on the contrary, they hinder a clear sight of the object before him. Your business is not to look at your own repentance, but at Christ. Looking at Christ alone, you will repent aright; but looking at your repentance, you will not.
I recollect a striking expression in that precious book by Thomas Wilcocks which I have often mentioned to you,- A Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ Jesus. There is some such expression as this in it: – “When thou art seeking Christ, if thou dost look to thy repentance, away with thy repentance; for if thy repentance come into the place of Christ, it is a repentance that will need to be repented of.” So I say to you, dear friends, do not even wish to have a tear in your eye as a part of the means by which you hope to be able to see Jesus as your Saviour. Remember what we so often sing,-
“Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone:
Thou must save, and Thou alone.”
“Oh, but!” says another, “I wish I had more feelings.” It is a curious thing that, very often, those persons who feel the most are the very ones who think that they do not feel at all. One says, “I am in an agony because I cannot feel.” Surely, that “agony” is a plain proof of very acute feeling. Another says, “I am quite broken-hearted because I have got a heart of stone.” No heart of stone ever feels itself to be broken; yet it is true that they who feel most, feel that they do not feel at all; their cry is,-
“If aught is felt, ’tis only pain
To find I cannot feel.”
Yet that is feeling, and no mistake. You need not wish to have feelings, dear friends; they are like this bit of dust, or whatever it is that I have in my eye,- far better out than in. You have nothing to do with anything else but Christ as the ground and object of your faith. Remember the epitome of the Gospel which Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” The apostle Peter put it with equal clearness: “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” If you mix up anything of your own,- your feelings, or your tears,- with Christ, you do dishonour to Him. Will you stitch your filthy rags on to the glistening robe of His stainless righteousness? Far be it from any one of us to attempt such a thing. Go and yoke a gnat with one of the cherubim, and see how they will work together; but never seek to join Christ and yourself in trying to do the work that He has completely and forever finished. Why, it would be an impertinence akin to profanity! Shake thyself clear of everything like trust in what thou art or canst be.
You may have seen a balloon ready to ascend into cloudland; and, perhaps, as you gazed upon it, you have asked yourself, “Why does it not go up? The supply of gas is furnished, the voyagers are in the car, everything appears ready; why does it not go up?” The attendants have cut most of the ropes; but there the balloon hangs because there is one rope that still holds it to the earth, and it is not until they cut the last one that away it bounds off towards Heaven. That is what you need to do. Perhaps you have a little goodness of your own, a little something to which you think you can trust. Well, if so, you must cut that rope, and all others; for you must get rid of anything and everything upon which you can rely for salvation is in Jesus Christ, the only Saviour. “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” “Christ is all.” “Ye are complete in Him.” “Perfect in Christ Jesus.” “Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” This is the teaching of the Scriptures. You cannot have Christ, and mix Him up with something else; you must have “JESUS only” I wonder whether this little thing in my eye will be remembered by some of you, whether you will say, “I must have my eye single, and clear; I must look right out of it to Christ.”
You know, if a person is in good health, he does not think about his eyes. You may ride a thousand miles in a train; and as long as your eye is all right, you do not think anything about it; and the less you think about your faith, the better; and the more you think about Christ, the better; for, after all, what is your faith by itself? Apart from Christ, there would be nothing to believe in, and therefore there would be no faith; and really to believe in Christ Jesus, to trust in Him, if we ever weigh it in comparison with Christ Himself, what is it? Then, away, away, away from all thou hast, and all thou art, and look alone to Jesus Christ, thy Lord and Saviour, for again I remind you that-
“It is not thy tears of repentance or prayers,
But the blood that atones for the soul:
On Him, then, who shed it, believing at once
Thy weight of iniquities roll.”