08 October 2006

Turning Away from Vanity

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Deadness and Quickening," a sermon preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Thursday evening, October 29th, 1885.

urn away mine eyes from beholding vanity" (Psalm 119:37). The psalmist would turn away from falsehood, for that is what he means by vanity—that which seems to be something, but really is nothing.

That bubble from the child's soap and pipe looks as if it were a solid creation of rainbows, but it is gone in almost less time than you can think; and there are many things in the world just like that, especially at this present time. We have new doctrines being preached, and new elegies being taught, which are nothing but vanity; there is not as much real substance in them as there is in a soap-bubble.

When certain false doctrines are being preached, there are some people who are very anxious at once to know what they are. They are curious to see and to know everything; they would be much wiser if they would pray with David, "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity." If you can read a tainted book that denies the inspiration of the Scriptures, and attacks the truth of God, and if you derive any profit from it, you must be a very different being from myself. I have to read such books, I must read them sometimes to know what is said by the enemies of the gospel, that I may defend the faith, and help the weaklings of the flock; but it is a sorry business.

When those who are qualified to do so are reading these heretical works, if they are doing it really in the fear of God for the good of their fellow-men, they remind me of Sir James Simpson and the two other doctors when they discovered the medical and surgical value of chloroform. They sat at the table, and scarcely knew what was going to happen; but they took a dose each, risking their lives by so doing; and when they came back to consciousness, they had certainly made a great discovery.

But, dear friends, I do not feel that I am required to take all the drugs and poisons in the world, one after another, just for the sake of testing and trying them, that I may come and tell you all about their effects. If I did so, probably one of these times I should not come back to you, and there would be an end to that business. It is all very well for Sir James Simpson and other eminent physicians and surgeons to make such experiments, for it is part of the duty of their profession; but it is not for the bulk of us to do so.

When you go home to-night, I should recommend you to eat for supper those kinds of food which you have been accustomed to eat, and which your fathers ate before you, to the building up of the physical frame; and if anybody comes and says to you, "Here is some very wonderful food; there is no telling what effect it will have upon you, it may make you turn into horses;"—I do not know why you should not turn into horses if the doctrine of evolution be true,—"here is food that is to evolve you into something very marvelous;" you say to the man," Keep it yourself, my dear sir; I would not deprive you of it, for I am not at all ambitious of trying such things."

I do believe that it is good for a child of God, when he has found honey, to eat it; and if anyone calls out, "Here is something sweeter still," let him answer, "You may keep it for yourself; I am perfectly satisfied with what I have, honey is sweet enough for me."

If I had gathered manna in the morning in the wilderness, and somebody had cried out to me, "Here, I have found a wonderful fungus, a brilliant
and I am going to make my breakfast of it;" I should have replied, "Well, my friend, inasmuch as this manna came down from heaven, it came from the best place I know of, and I feel perfectly satisfied to eat angels' food. It exactly suits me, and it has suited me so long that I will not deprive you of all the agarics you can find; so far as I am concerned, you may have your fungi, and fatten yourself up on them, or kill yourself with them if you are so insane as to eat them; but they are not fit food for me."

In just that fashion, dear friends, my mind is made up about the things of God; and concerning all the poisonous novelties that are introduced so freely nowadays, I pray to the Lord, "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way."

C. H. Spurgeon


Robert said...

How amazing that Spurgeon is still timely in the 21st century! It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. When we do have the truth, why should we Christians keep following the latest fad out in the world (Acts 117:21)? --[Yes, Centuri0n, I'm about to head out for church!]

Udarnik said...

I'm reminded of Baxter's wisdom on the subject:

As the Stock of the Tree affordeth Timber to build Houses and Cities, when the small though higher multifarious Branches are to make a Crows Nest, or a Blaze: so the Knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, of Heaven and Holyness, doth build up the Soul to endless Blessedness, and affordeth it solid Peace and Comfort; when a multitude of School Niceties serve but for vain Janglings and hurtful Diversions and Contentions: and yet I would not dissuade my Reader from the perusal of Aquinas, Scotus, Ockam, Arminiensis, Durandus, or any such writer: for much Good may be gotten from them: But I would persuade him to study and live upon the essential doctrines of Christianity and Godliness, incomparably above them all.

Bo Salisbury
PietyHill Press

Deathrow Bodine said...

Ditto on how relevent Spurgeon is to today. It only goes to show how truth is eternal and there is nothing new (especially error) under the sun. But Spurgeon also pulls of the humor of comparing those errors to ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms while simultaneously taking a swipe at Darwinism AND saying that becoming a horse is superior and marvelous by comparison! ROTFL

Carla Rolfe said...

" If you can read a tainted book that denies the inspiration of the Scriptures, and attacks the truth of God, and if you derive any profit from it, you must be a very different being from myself."

Amazing warning for so many today who seem almost desperate to fill their book shelves and their minds with such garbage being marketed as "must reads" in evangelical circles, and then defend it because it "blessed" them in some way.

donsands said...

I appreciate those who take on the task of reading books that are tainted. "It's a sorry business".

And then afterwards anounce to the body of Christ how these particular authors have strayed from the truth, and reveal the heresies which need to be known.

I have tried to read some of these types of books, and I can't for the life of me do it.

Once again the prince of preachers words are a blessing to me.
Thanks for the post.

Connie said...

Yes, I too, am amazed at the timeliness of Spurgeon's words!

I live in one of Christiandom's "mecas" where Oral Roberts, Ken Hagin, T.L. Osbourn, etc. are held in high esteem. Without a steady diet of FEASTING on God's Word, I would surely grow weak and weary sifting through all the "new" ideas and practices being held out to and by the masses.

May we each enjoy the marvelous banquet our Lord has provided for us, in order that we may go out equipped to invite others to the banquet!