“True zeal will show itself in the abundance of a man’s labours and gifts. Zeal labours for Christ. My brethren, if you want a picture of zeal, take the Apostle Paul.
How he compasses sea and land! Storms cannot stay him, mountains cannot impede his progress. He is beaten with rods, he is stoned, he is cast into prison, but the invincible hero of the cross presses on in the holy war, until he is taken up to receive a crown of glory.
We do little or nothing, the most of us; we fritter away our time. O that we could live while we live; but our existence—that is all we can call it—our existence, what a poor thing it is!
We run like shallow streams: we have not force enough to turn the mill of industry, and have not depth enough to bear the vessel of progress, and have not flood enough to cheer the meads of poverty.
We are dry too often in the summer’s drought, and we are frozen in the winter’s cold. O that we might become broad and deep like the mighty stream that bears a navy and gladdens a nation.
O that we may become inexhaustible and permanent rivers of usefulness, through the abundant springs from whence our supply cometh, even the Spirit of the living God.
The Christian zealot may be known by the anguish which his soul feels when his labours for Christ are not successful—the tears that channel his cheeks when sinners are not saved.
Do not tell me of zeal that only moves the tongue, or the foot, or the hand; we must have a zeal which moves the whole heart.
We cannot advance so far as the Saviour’s bloody sweat, but to something like it the Christian ought to attain when he sees the tremendous clouds of sin and the tempest of God’s gathering wrath.
How can I see souls damned, without emotion? How can I hear Christ’s name blasphemed, without a shudder? How can I think of the multitudes who prefer ruin to salvation, without a pang?
Believe me, brethren and sisters, if you never have sleepless hours, if you never have weeping eyes, if your hearts never swell as if they would burst, you need not anticipate that you will be called zealous.
You do not know the beginning of true zeal, for the foundation of Christian zeal lies in the heart. The heart must be heavy with grief and yet must beat high with holy ardour.
The heart must be vehement in desire, panting continually for God’s glory, or else we shall never attain to anything like the zeal which God would have us know.”
–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Zealots” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 11 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865), 392–393. Spurgeon preached this sermon from Luke 6:15 on July 16, 1865.