Monday, August 8, 2011

"We do not know what we want"

"Are you so discouraged that you do not want to live by faith any longer—it seems too unsubstantial?

Are you tired of praying, "Give us day by day our daily bread"? You would like a nice lump sum in the bank instead, and plenty of the cares and snares of wealth.

And is it so that you are no longer content with the old gospel? It is so easy of digestion that you pine for a hard morsel—a piece of cast-iron philosophy to lie on your mind for years to come. You want a bit of indigestible modern thought that will remain within you like the cucumbers of Egypt, which were not so soon gone as the manna of heaven. You crave for leeks, and garlic, and onions—something sensational, remarkable, though by no means comfortable to the pure taste of those who are born of the Spirit.

Is it not strange how men who call themselves Christians run after that kind of meat: and of the real good gospel, which is able to save the soul, and to build it up, they begin to say, "It is worn out; we have heard this one thing so often. You see it is just the same old-fashioned manna; we want more variety. We demand that which is novel, which will commend itself to our advanced intellectual condition by its metaphysical subtlety."

That is the style. I see the spirit everywhere, and it comes across us all in some form or other—complaining of what God provides in providence, complaining of what God provides in the Bible, complaining of what the Holy Ghost provides in his divine operations. We look out, like the Athenians, for some new thing: we do not know what we want.

When the grumbling humor is on us we complain of anything and everything, as did these Israelites: they complained of God, they complained of Moses; they complained of the manna. They would have been ready to complain of Aaron; but, fortunately for him, he had been dead a month or so, and so they poured the more gall upon Moses. To men in this state nothing is right: nothing can be right, The whole world is turned upside down, and if it was again turned the other way it would be just as wrong—perhaps more wrong than ever.

You smile, I see, at this. Well, you may smile if you like, brethren, but it is a thing to weep over; for I remember a text that says, "The Lord heard their murmuring." That is the solemn point in the matter. We are pleased that God should hear our prayers; it is that which we long for: but is it not terrible that God should hear our murmuring?"

- C H Spurgeon, from the sermon "The First Setting Up of the Brazen Serpent" preached on May 10, 1883, Metropolitan Tabernacle, London

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