The Nazarene and the Sect of the Nazarenes

   (No. 1632)

   DELIVERED ON THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 9, 1881,

   BY C. H. SPURGEON,

   AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

   "And He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be
   fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophets, He shall be called a
   Nazarene." Matthew 2:23.

   WE find the Jews speaking of Paul, and they say, "We have found this
   man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews
   throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the
   Nazarenes"--Acts 24:5. Thus it appears that our Lord and Master is
   called a Nazarene and His disciples are styled "the sect of the
   Nazarenes," while Christian doctrine was called, by the Jews, the
   heresy of the Nazarenes. Our Savior, though actually born at Bethlehem,
   was commonly known as Jesus of Nazareth, because Nazareth was the place
   where He was brought up. There He remained with His reputed father in
   the carpenter's shop until the time of His showing unto the people.

   This Nazareth was a place very much despised. It was a small country
   town and the people were rough and rustic. They were some three days
   distance from Jerusalem, where I suppose the Jews thought that
   everything that was learned and polite could be found, as we are apt to
   think of our own city, or of Oxford, Cambridge and other seats of
   learning. The people of Nazareth were the boors of Galilee, the clowns
   of the country. More than that, you will generally find in every
   nation--I was about to say in every county of our own country--some
   town made the butt of ridicule. I do not know that "silly Suffolk," is
   any sillier than any other part of the world, but I do know that I,
   myself, happen to have been born in the next parish to the town of
   Coggeshall, in Essex, concerning which all sorts of jokes are made--so
   that when any stupid thing is done they call it "a Coggeshall job."

   I merely mention this because it is an illustration of what used to be
   said concerning Nazareth. It was a primitive place. It was situated in
   Galilee, which was thought to be quite boorish enough, and Nazareth was
   the most rustic of all. The name signifies, in rough words, "sprouts,"
   and the Jews, who were great at puns upon names, threw it as a jest at
   the people who came from that town. We Anglicize it in a more refined
   way by the word, "branch," for, "Netzar," or, "Nazareth," signifies a
   branch. You will begin to understand why the Savior is said to be
   called by the Prophet, a Netzar, or a Nazarene, and you will guess that
   Matthew refers to the passage in Isaiah, in the 11th chapter at the
   first verse, where it is said that a rod shall come out of the stem of
   Jesse, and "a Netzar, a Nazarene, a Branch shall grow out of his
   roots."

   There is another passage in Jeremiah where we read of the man, the
   Branch--the Netzar--the Nazarene. And again in Isaiah, "And His name
   shall be called a Branch," or Nazarene. Those are the passages, I
   think, to which Matthew referred when he said, "That it might be
   fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophets, He shall be called a
   Netzar, a Branch, a Nazarene." The Hebrews made a great deal out of
   names--a great deal more than you and I generally do with names of
   places in England--and they had reason for so doing, for there was
   generally a meaning in the names of places. Perhaps Nazareth was
   called, "Branch" because trees flourished there and not much else. Or
   because they thought that the people were rather verdant and they,
   therefore, called them, "sprouts" and, "greens," making the same use of
   language as the vulgar do at this day when they wish to express
   contempt.

   That may have been the origin of the term, "Nazareth." Certain it is
   that the place was the subject of the jests of the Jews of our Lord's
   time, for even Nathanael, in whom was no guile--one who spoke in a
   simple-hearted, honest way and had no prejudices, but wished well to
   everybody, said--"Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" As if
   he felt that Prophets and saints were by no means likely to spring from
   a town so low down in the scale of progress and education. How could He
   of whom Moses spoke be found way down there among the country folk of
   Nazareth? As Nazarene was a term of contempt in the olden times, so it
   has continued to be. The apostate emperor, Julian, was known always to
   call our Lord, the Galilean. And when he died, in his agony of death,
   he cried, "O Galilean, You have vanquished me!" He was obliged to
   confess our Lord's supremacy, though he still showed his contempt by
   calling Him the Galilean.

   The Jews, to this day, when they feel wroth against our Christ, are
   known to call Him the Nazarene. Nazarene is not at all the same word as
   Nazarite. It is a different word in the Hebrew and you must not confuse
   the two. Never suppose that when you say, "He shall be called a
   Nazarene," that it signifies that He was called a Nazarite. Nazarite,
   among the Jews, would have been a title of honor, but Nazarene is
   simply a name of contempt. A late traveler tells us that he had a
   Muslim guide through Palestine and whenever they came to a village that
   was very dirty, poor and inhabited by professed Christians, he always
   said, "These are not Muslims, they are Netza," or, "Nazarenes,"
   throwing all the spite he possibly could into the word, as if he could
   not have uttered a more contemptuous term.

   To this day, then, our Lord has the name of the Nazarene affixed to Him
   by those who reject Him. And to this day Christians are called, among
   Muslims, Nazarenes. Our Lord Jesus Christ was never ashamed of this
   name. In fact, He called Himself, "Jesus of Nazareth," after He had
   risen from the dead. He told Paul, when He smote him to the earth, "I
   am Jesus of Nazareth whom you persecute." His disciples were not
   ashamed to call Him by that name, for as they walked to Emmaus and He
   joined them, and asked them what they were speaking of, they said they
   were talking of Jesus of Nazareth.

   This is a name at which devils tremble, for they besought Him, even
   Jesus of Nazareth, that they should not be sent into the deep when He
   cast them out! It was the name which, in contempt, was nailed above His
   head upon the Cross-- "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Oh,
   but it is a glorious name, as I shall have to show before I have done!
   But still, this is the meaning of it--the meaning of Matthew when he
   says that the Prophets declared that He should be called a Nazarene. He
   meant that the Prophets have described the Messiah as one that would be
   despised and rejected of men! They spoke of Him as a great Prince and
   Conqueror when they described His second coming, but they set forth His
   first coming when they spoke of Him as a root out of a dry ground
   without form or comeliness, who, when He should be seen, would have no
   beauty that men should desire Him. The Prophets said that He would be
   called by a despicable title and it was so, for His countrymen called
   Him a Nazarene.

   I want you to notice our Divine Redeemer's condescension, before I
   plunge further into this matter. It was a marvel that Jesus should live
   on this world at all! He who inhabits all things, whom space is not
   wide enough to contain, dwells on this poor, dusky planet! If He must
   dwell in this world, why is He born in Judea? For though I am grieved
   it should be so, yet the Jews are a people greatly despised--shame on
   Christians when they ever join in such despising! But still, if Jesus
   must be a Man in this world, why is He not born in Rome, in the capital
   of the nations? Why must it be in a little miserable country like
   Judea? And if He shall be born in Judea, why must He live in
   Galilee--that Boeotia of Israel-- that most despicable part of Judea?

   If He must live in Galilee, why not at Capernaum? Why does He choose
   Nazareth? Why must He go to the lowest of the low--that most despised
   place of a despised country? And if He must come to Nazareth--follow
   Him a step lower-- why must He be a carpenter's son? Why, if He lives
   there, can He not be the son of the minister of the synagogue, or some
   respectable scribe? No--He must be reputed to be a poor man's son. And
   then if He must be a carpenter's son, why can He not so constrain men's
   hearts that they shall receive Him? For the deepest depth of all is
   that even as a carpenter's son His fellow citizens will not endure
   Him--they take Him to the brow of the hill to cast Him down headlong
   from the cliff whereon the city stood! Was there ever such
   condescension as that of the Savior? If, in the lowest depth, there is
   a lower depth, He plunges into it for our sakes!

   He emptied Himself. Our old version says, "He made Himself of no
   reputation," but the new one is, in this case much better--"He emptied
   Himself." Nothing was left Him of honor or respect. He gave up all.
   "Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor"--poor to the
   last degree, poor in reputation! He was born a Man, a Jew, a Galilean,
   a Naza-rene. You have gone down as far as language can descend and I
   invite you, now, to think of the way in which Jesus, the Nazarene, is
   still despised. That shall be our first head. When we have thought upon
   that, we will say a little upon His disciples--the sect of the
   Nazarenes must expect to be despised till brighter days shall dawn.
   When we have talked about that we shall have to say, in conclusion,
   that there is nothing despicable either in the Master or in the
   servants, though they are called Nazarenes by a contemptuous world.

   I. First, then, OUR MASTER, THE NAZARENE, WAS DESPISED AND IS DESPISED
   EVEN TO THIS DAY. He was despised, first, because in His Person, His
   parentage, His state, His apparel, His language, His habits there was
   nothing of grandeur, nothing of parade, nothing but what was simple,
   gentle, lowly. He did ride, once, but it was on a

   colt, the foal of an ass. It was said, "Behold your King comes," but
   His coming was meek and lowly. He might have been a king--He was very
   near being taken by force to be pushed up into a throne--but He
   withdrew Himself, for He did not strive, nor cry, nor cause His voice
   to be heard in the streets. He was no popularity-hunter, or flatterer
   of the great.

   He was no man of confusion and strife, who sought to push Himself
   forward and tread down others. Those that opposed Him were weak like
   bruised reeds, but He would not break them though He could have done
   it. They offended Him with their weak arguments, for they were like a
   smoking flax to Him, but He would not quench them. He left them for
   another day when He shall bring forth judgment unto victory. I suppose,
   if we had seen the Savior, we should not have thought Him "altogether
   lovely," for His heavenly beauty was not of the kind that strikes the
   natural eye. Hence the impossibility of any painter ever being able to
   paint Him, for though He must have been superlatively lovely, it must
   have been a beauty with which nobody would be charmed unless their eyes
   were opened to perceive the beauty of holiness.

   His was the loveliness of virtue, the charm ofpurity and not that
   sensuous beauty which excites desire and kindles the passions of
   mankind. He was loveliness itself, but only to those who know what
   loveliness is. About His dress there was nothing remarkable. He wore
   the ordinary smock-frock of the country, a garment without seam, woven
   from the top throughout--a very serviceable, useful piece of workday
   apparel--but possessing nothing in it of official dignity, or princely
   richness to distinguish Him from an ordinary person. As for the place
   where He lived, it was no bishop's palace, nor even an ordinary manse,
   for He had not where to lay His head.

   He sought no dignity and no honor. As for His companionships, they were
   of the lowest, for it is said of Him, "This Man receives sinners and
   eats with them." "Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners
   for to hear Him." The off casts of society delighted in His discourses
   and they gathered round Him to receive blessings at His hand. He lifted
   them up from the dunghill, renewed them and set them among princes. He
   was the last person in the world to be hampered by pride. There was
   nothing of the kind about Him! He was the personification of love. He
   condescended, but He did not seem to condescend, for graciousness was
   natural to Him. He did it so really that one almost forgot the
   condescension in the altogether naturalness of the way in which He
   sympathized with all grief and helped all who came for succor. And,
   therefore, the proud despised Him.

   Those who looked for dress and garb, as so many do in our day--those
   who looked for a show of learning, quotations from great writers,
   continual perplexities to human minds--could not see much in Jesus.
   Those who needed a display of power, a leader bold and brave to drive
   out the Romans and play Judas Maccabaeus for the people, turned away
   and said, "He is nothing but an ordinary Nazarene." His followers, too,
   were another cause of the contempt poured upon Him, for His chosen
   friends were, to those who knew them, nothing but common fishermen.
   Indeed, that is all they were! Unlearned and ignorant men they are said
   to have been, though they baffled the pretended wisdom of the age in
   which they lived. How could He have selected such followers? There were
   scribes and there were Pharisees--there were Rabbis and Rabboni--He
   might surely have called some of those to follow Him!

   But, you see, the Savior was not a preacher that at all attracted the
   elite of society. Those highly cultured minds, as a rule, went to hear
   Rabbi Simeon, the Pharisee, who expounded points of no earthly
   importance. But Jesus was one of whom it is written, "The common people
   heard Him gladly." And so the wise ones ran Him down as "a Nazarene."
   "Look," they said, "look and see who they are that He has chosen to be
   His chief helpers! See how the lower orders flock around Him. They are
   no judges--what notion have they of profound learning and research?
   They like a man who is ignorant, for He is like themselves. They have
   no taste, they have no education and so they gather to one of
   themselves." "Ah!" said one of these wiseacres, "I am ashamed of
   Him--quite ashamed. Indeed, I shall speak to Him, for He ought not to
   be so lost to all sense of propriety."

   And so he goes to the Master and says, "Do You hear the boys crying,
   'Hosanna!' in the Temple? Do You hear what these say?" He thought that
   the Lord would be ashamed of having such admirers as mere street boys.
   But the Savior answered, "Have you never read"--as if He were going to
   question this great man's reading--"Have you never read, Out of the
   mouth of babes and sucklings He has perfected praise"? He was not
   ashamed, even, of chits of children that strewed the pathway for Him,
   nor ashamed of the sick and sinful people that gathered around Him, nor
   ashamed of the poor fishermen that were the lieutenants of His
   salvation army! But rather did He rejoice therein and say, "Father, I
   thank You that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and
   have revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good
   in Your sight."

   But the higher classes, the refined and the cultivated, said, "Tush! He
   is nothing but a Nazarene!" Well, then, when they came to listen to His
   doctrine, they were not a bit more pleased, nor did they hold Him any
   higher in esteem. What do you think He taught them? Among other things
   it is reported that He said, "Except a man is born again he cannot see
   the kingdom of God"--and, would you believe it, He said this not to one
   of the lower order at all, but to a learned gentleman who was a ruler
   in Israel? Why, it has come to a pretty pass, this, to tell educated
   people, refined, aesthetic people, that they must be born again or else
   they cannot see the kingdom of God--to insist upon regeneration as a
   thing as necessary to a philosopher as to a prostitute--as necessary to
   a senator as to a jailbird! As necessary to the purest as to the most
   defiled. Oh no, we cannot bear such leveling doctrine! It is shocking!
   So they turned their backs on Him and called Him a Nazarene! When a man
   tells you unpalatable truth, it is very easy and natural to call him
   bad names. If you cannot answer him anyway else, you can always answer
   him by reviling him.

   And, then, what do you think He said besides that? On one occasion He
   had the audacity to say--and I am sure the Pharisees thought it was
   audacity, indeed--"Except you eat My flesh, and drink My blood, there
   is no life in you." What could the Man mean--that they, even they, the
   sons of Abraham who were born free--the priests who had partaken of the
   sacrifices, must actually eat Him? Did they think that they would
   accept His teaching as food for their souls? I wonder if they went as
   far as that in understanding Him? But if they did, they liked it no
   better. They were indignant that He should say that the only food for
   their souls must be Himself--that unless He became their life and the
   nourishment of that life--unless He became part and parcel of their
   very being, they could not be saved! Even those who did think a little
   of Him, said that after this they must give Him up. They could not
   stand that and so they walked no more with Him.

   He went even further. Why, He actually dared to tell the scribes and
   Pharisees who had fasted so many times in the week and never ate bread
   without washing their hands, and tithed the mint and the cummin, that
   there was nothing in all this! He said--"You blind guides, you
   hypocrites, you strain at a gnat and you swallow a camel!" He went on
   to tell them that all their outside religion was a lie and a falsehood
   unless the inner part of the soul were cleansed. He said that it was
   not that which a man ate or drank, but that which came out of the man
   that really defiled him. People said, "Did you ever hear such talk as
   that? Why, He is putting us all down, we that are the best people
   around! If we are not good-- we that are the leaders of society, the
   pink of perfection--who can be?"

   "We swallow a widow's house sometimes, but we always do that behind the
   door. It is true that we are not as clean inside as we should be, but
   then we always make clean the outside of the cup and platter. Nobody
   can say but what we do and He has been talking against us--and at the
   same time He is inviting the fallen to Himself and saying--'Come unto
   Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'
   Well, well," they said, "we cannot bear it! He is nothing but a
   Nazarene!" And so they turned their backs upon Him. Dear Friends, today
   Jesus Christ is as much despised as ever by those ungodly and
   vain-glorious men who understand what His Gospel is! How frequently you
   will find, in the public newspapers, and in the magazines of those who
   think themselves the cultivated class, remarks against the doctrine of
   justification by faith.

   You and I are simpletons enough to believe that we are justified by
   faith in Christ Jesus, because God has told us so, and we sing--

   "Nothing in my hands I bring Simply to the Cross I cling"

   and they tell us that this is inconsistent with public morality! That
   the masses ought to be told that unless they behave themselves they
   cannot possibly go to Heaven, and so on--which thing they have been
   told times without number--and they have grown worse, the more they
   have been told it! When we talk about Free Grace which pardons the
   vilest through faith in Christ, men are changed and made moral and
   holy! But our unbelieving critics choose to ignore all that and go and
   talk against what is the very essence of the Gospel of Christ, as
   though it were a poor, miserable thing, only fit for a set of fanatics
   to preach! "Only believe and you shall be saved?" they say, "that is
   their absurd doctrine!" In other words, they repeat the old abuse and
   call us Nazarenes.

   But if you want to see the ungodly world foam at its mouth--oh, if you
   want to see rage get at its worst--and wish to see pretended learned
   men upon their mettle, preach the doctrine of Atonement by blood! Tell
   them that remission of sin is by Substitution--that Christ stood in the
   sinner's place and took the sinner's sin--and that without shedding of
   blood there is no remission of sin. See how they writhe and rage! They
   cannot bear this horrible doctrine of Atonement

   by Sacrifice and yet, most learned Sirs, it is upon that horrible
   Atonement that our hope depends! It is upon that horrible doctrine that
   we hang our destiny for time and for eternity! And we are not ashamed
   to bring it out with all plainness of speech, for the precious blood of
   Christ, God's dear Son, and that alone, cleans us from all sin!

   "Ah, well," they say, "that is just the old story which your Puritan
   fathers used to tell. That is the old Methodist doctrine. That is your
   Presbyterianism and, as James the First said, Presbyterianism is no
   religion for a gentleman." These learned men admire the broad-Church
   school where everything is taken to be true except the Truth of God!
   Still, Jesus is, to the mass of mankind, the despised Nazarene! I will
   not dwell longer upon it, however, because you that know the Lord need
   not be told that He is, to this day, despised and rejected of men. Call
   yourself a Christian and forget what Christianity is--and you will have
   easy times of it. Instead of preaching the simple Gospel of Christ, get
   fine music and fix up fine shows. Turn the place of worship into a
   conservatory, or a theater, and there will be no persecution for you!

   Of course not, that is not Jesus Christ! But preach Jesus Christ and
   see if all the dogs will not howl at you, directly. You shall have ill
   names and wicked stories and all sorts ofjests poured upon you! Go
   through the world as a respectable professor of religion and never let
   fall a single distinctive Truth of God from your lips. Never perform
   one single distinctive action of Christianity--but just do as others do
   and live as others do--and I will guarantee you, you shall be in a
   whole skin from the first of January to the end of December!

   But be a Christian and live your Christianity and speak it out--and see
   how long it will be before they of your own house are at war with you!
   If we are true to the Master, we shall find that we have not enlisted
   in a service which is all fine feathers and music--stern fighting is to
   be done! There is war to be borne and hardness to be endured by every
   good soldier of the Cross, for Jesus is still called the Nazarene!

   II. But now, secondly, our other text informs us that CHRIST'S
   FOLLOWERS HAVE BEEN KNOWN AS THE SECT OF THE NAZARENES--that is to say,
   they must expect to bear a measure of the indignities poured upon their
   Leader. Dear young Friends, I need to press some matters home upon you
   who have lately joined the Church and also upon you who love the Lord
   but have never yet confessed it. If you follow Christ fully, you will
   be sure to be called by some ill name or other. For, first, they will
   say how singular you are. "My inheritance," says God, "is unto Me as a
   speckled bird. The birds round about her are against her."

   If you become a true Christian, you will soon be a marked man. They
   will say, "How odd he is!" "How singular she is!" They will think that
   we try to make ourselves remarkable, when, in fact, we are only
   conscientious and are endeavoring to obey what we think to be the Word
   of God. Oftentimes that is the form of contempt--practical Christians
   are set down as intentionally eccentric and willfully odd. Mothers have
   brought that charge against daughters who have been faithful to Christ
   because they would not go into gaiety, or indulge in vain apparel. And
   many a working man has said it to his fellow man by way of accusation,
   "You must be different from everybody else." This difference, which God
   has made a necessity, men treat as a mere whim of our own. If we do not
   come out from among them and be separate, we cannot expect to be housed
   beneath the wings of the Eternal! But if we do, we may reckon upon
   being regarded by those around us as strange, unfriendly creatures.

   Then, again, they will say to the genuine Christian, "Why, you are so
   old-fashioned! Look at you! You believe the same old things that they
   used to believe in Oliver Cromwell's day--those old Puritan doctrines!
   Do you not know that the world has made a great progress since those
   times and we have entered upon the 19th Century--a wonderful
   century--there never was century like it! There was only one Solomon,
   centuries ago, but we are all Solomons now! The very least of us! While
   the greater ones far excel a thousand Solomons rolled into one! The
   19th Century! And here are you, you still stick to an old book that was
   written half of it ages ago, and the other half is at least 1,800 years
   old! Will you never move with the times? Will you get as far as Moses,
   Jesus and John and stick there?"

   Yes, exactly there! We go not an inch beyond Jesus Christ, the same
   yesterday, today, and forever! We try to hold fast the faith that was
   once delivered to the saints. In ordinances we hold to the olden
   Baptism and the ancient Supper! In doctrine we abide by the Truths of
   God which Paul taught among the Gentiles, for we feel that we cannot
   improve upon them! We would wish to exhibit the same spirit as Jesus
   Christ our Lord, for we know we shall never improve upon His
   perfections! Therefore they say, "You are so old-fashioned!" And we
   answer that for this we give no apology. When that form of criticism
   does not take effect, they laugh at our faith. They say, "You
   simple-minded people have great capacity

   for believing! Look at us, we are far too sensible to believe anything.
   We do not feel sure about anything. What we think we know today we are
   not certain of. We are so receptive that we may learn the reverse
   tomorrow!

   "We get our faith out of our own moral consciousness and compel, even,
   the Scriptures to plead at the bar of our inward conceptions. We do not
   need to have things revealed to us and to have a Bible and bind
   ourselves down to a Book of Revelation. We are our own teachers, judges
   and infallible guides--and the very idea of absolutely certain truth is
   abhorred by us! As to this Spirit of God that you trust in, it is sheer
   enthusiasm! There is nothing in it and we wonder that you should be so
   credulous! Instead of that, you ought to be rational and believe in
   Huxley and Tyndall. Do not be credulous and believe in God, but be
   rational and believe in Bradlaugh, Voltaire and Tom Paine!"

   This is another sting for the Nazarenes, but happily it has small power
   to vex us, since our reverence for the authorities of modern wisdom is
   not sufficient to make us fear their scoffs. Time was when Christianity
   was opposed by men of real ability, masters in learning--but in the
   present age its antagonists are men of much smaller caliber whose lack
   of argument is scantily concealed by the outrageous absurdities which
   they invent! Instead of attempting to overwhelm us by the weight of
   their learning, they endeavor to surprise us with unexpected hypotheses
   which we are more inclined to ridicule than to refute! And then, with
   mock sobriety, they assert that our bewilderment is defeat. The spears
   of the phalanx of reason are seen no more, but the shafts of folly
   stand thick upon our shields. In this, also, we shall conquer through
   the blood of the Lamb! Meanwhile we leave sneers of contempt to those
   who are such masters of them. It is for Nazarenes to receive, but not
   to return arrogance.

   Another arrow of contempt is the assertion that Christian people have
   not their liberty. "Look at you, you dare not go to the theater! You
   dare not drink! Why," says one man, "I like a jolly drink sometimes and
   if I were a Christian, I could not enjoy that great privilege." No,
   Friend, you certainly would lose that booze of yours. As far as we are
   concerned, we have no ambition in that direction. Some of us know a
   little of what the amusements of the ungodly are and we are astonished
   that you should be able to find content in them, for they do not suit
   our taste at all! We never envy hogs their wash. Let them have their
   trough well-filled as often as they please! We have no taste in that
   direction. But you need not say that we have no liberty because we do
   not feed out of the swine trough, for such liberty we never desired!

   We have liberty to serve God and do good--and this is the freedom which
   we covet. We have liberty to do as we like, for we like to do what God
   would have us do--and we pray that our likes may, every day, be more
   and more conformed to the liking of God. There is not much, after all,
   in the taunt, "You God-fearing people are cowardly! You dare not enjoy
   yourselves." We live daily so as to give this taunt the lie, for we are
   a happy people, a free people, even we who are of the sect of the
   Nazarenes!

   Again, some turn round upon true Christians for their not being very
   choice in their company. If we associated only with the rich and great,
   whose society, as far as I know of it, is about the poorest thing out,
   we should then be acting properly. Keep to "society," and society will
   smile upon you. But if you attend meetings where you call a coal miner
   your Brother in Christ, where the washerwoman is your Sister, where so
   long as people love Christ you count them the best of company, then you
   are low and vulgar, a Philistine, or a Nazarene! If you are willing to
   be a true Brother to a black man, or to one who is an outcast in
   condition--who was actually seen with a broom, sweeping a
   crossing--then, of course, you cannot expect to be recognized by
   anybody who is anybody! Listen to the world's ridicule of true
   Christian Churches where there is real brotherly love and true
   fraternity! They cannot endure it!

   Well, they may do without it, then, but this shall be my glory--that
   God has made of one blood all nations of men that dwell upon the face
   of the earth and that where there is a touch of Grace in any man--his
   dress and his rank are nothing to me! Real Believers in Jesus are truly
   our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, however poor or however illiterate
   they may be. This is the very genius of Christianity! To the poor, the
   Gospel is preached! As soon as men enter into the Church of Christ, all
   outward distinctions are forgotten and they are one in the gracious
   family of God their Father! This, however, is the subject of contempt
   even among those who profess and call themselves Christians! Many of
   your fine ladies and gentlemen would not acknowledge Jesus, Himself, if
   He were now upon earth! And as for His disciples, I am sure they would
   get the cold shoulder on all sides! I, for one, never expect to see
   saints fashionable, nor holiness popular--let us be content to be low
   and vulgar in men's esteem for the Lord's sake!

   And then, if God's servants will preach the Truth of God outright, or
   if not being preachers they will hold it and dare to live it, I
   guarantee you they will soon meet with some contemptuous title or
   other. Pare down the Gospel; cut

   away its angles; draw out the lion's teeth and then, at once, you shall
   be friends with the world! But hold the Doctrines of Grace; bring forth
   the Atonement; speak out plainly; have your convictions and state
   them--and soon the hounds will be after you full cry! Say that the
   Bible and the Bible, alone, is the religion of true Christians, and
   that we are not bound by prayer-books, synods, conferences, or anything
   of the kind--but only by the Word of God, and you shall see what you
   shall see, for here and there and everywhere all sorts of people will
   be against you!

   Live a godly, gracious life and you will not escape persecution! You
   may be happily circumstanced so as to live among earnest Christians and
   so escape persecution--but take the average Christian man in this city
   and he will have a hard time of it if he is faithful! He will be
   pointed at by some opprobrious name or other, something like Paul was
   when they said he was a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

   III. Now, listen to me as I close. THERE IS, AFTER ALL, NOTHING
   DESPICABLE IN EITHER CHRIST OR HIS PEOPLE. I feel half ashamed to say
   such a thing, or that it should ever be necessary to be said that there
   is nothing to despise in Jesus! What is there to be ashamed of in Him?
   He is the Son of the Highest! He is "God over all, blessed forever" and
   if He stooped--and stoop He did--and became lower than the lowest by
   His sufferings or death, even the death of the Cross, He did it out of
   such glorious disinterestedness of kindness to fallen men that He is
   thereby revealed as the most grand of all characters! His is the most
   sublime of all lives! Angels have never ceased to wonder and adore!
   Even the enemies of Christ have often been struck dumb as they have
   seen the splendor of the love that moved Him to stoop so low.

   And what if He has revealed a plain Gospel? Would you have the
   illiterate left out in the cold? What if He preached the Gospel to
   sinners? Who needed the Gospel but sinners? What if He did not flatter
   the pride of those who thought themselves good? Is it not true that
   "the whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick"? For my
   part, I bless my Master that He has given us a commonplace Gospel. It
   is sublime beyond sublimity! But it is plain so that a little child may
   understand it. A man with slender wit may find his way to Heaven guided
   by the Light of the Holy Spirit and this is one of the most grand
   proofs of the profound wisdom of God! Glory be to Jesus Christ that He
   did not come here to tantalize the multitude by a Gospel only suitable
   to the elite! That He did not come here to proclaim doctrines that
   could only be learned in the universities and could never be understood
   except by such men as Isaac Newton or Robert Boyle!

   I bless the name of Jesus that He came to give a Gospel to the poor and
   needy, to the simple and the childlike! And while I do it, I feel that
   I hear Him saying again, "I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and of
   earth, that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and
   have revealed them unto babes." The practical point is this--there is
   nothing to be ashamed of in being a Christian! I am afraid that there
   are some Christians that we have need to be ashamed of and that we,
   ourselves, do many unworthy things. Christians ought to be reflections
   of Christ, but I fear they often cast reflections upon Christ. Oh you
   that despise Christ, when you find out our faults and speak against us
   for them, you treat us justly and we cannot complain!

   But why lay our crimes at our Savior's door? If you find us false to
   our profession. If we are not like our Master. If we are not true to
   Him, you may well ridicule us and we cannot answer you. We must be
   beaten as with whips of scorpions when we are untrue to our Leader--but
   why blame Him? The fact is that the ungodly revile those who are true
   to the Lord Jesus. Well, when they do, there is nothing in that to be
   ashamed of. What if I believe the Truth of God? Shall I be ashamed of
   it? What if I fear God? Shall I be ashamed of it? Let those be ashamed
   who do not fear Him. What if I believe in prayer? What if I receive
   answers to prayer? Shall I blush about that? Let those blush scarlet
   who never pray, or have no God to hear their prayers! Shall I be
   ashamed because I try to do what is right and have a conscience before
   God--and cannot enjoy loose pleasures--or listen to lascivious song?
   Shall I be ashamed of chastity and truth?

   Why, then, let angels be ashamed of purity! Let the stars be ashamed of
   light! Let the sun be ashamed of day! There is nothing to be ashamed of
   in things honorable and of good repute. Why is it that some of you--you
   who are, I trust, Christians--never come out and acknowledge your
   religion? What will your Master say to you in the day of His appearing?
   What honor can you expect to share with Him if you will not share His
   shame? If any man wants to spit on Christ, let him do me the honor to
   spit on me! If any man will rail on Christ, let him do me the pleasure
   to rail on me, for if I may stand between him and my Master, I shall be
   promoted by the deed!

   Napoleon's Mamaluke flung himself in the way of the bullet to save the
   emperor's life. Shall not Christ be served after that fashion? Shall we
   not be willing to be Nazarenes for the Nazarene? Shall we not glory to
   be despised and rejected

   of men for His sake, if by any means we may bring honor to Him? I trust
   it shall be so and yet some of you have not even been baptized into His
   name, though you know that it is His command! You have never joined
   with His people in Church fellowship and yet wish to share their joys!
   You let them fight the battle alone! You think, I suppose, to slink
   into Heaven by the back door and not to be found among the soldiers of
   Christ till the crowns are distributed? Ah, Sirs, you miss a great
   honor in not standing shoulder to shoulder with the rank and file of
   Christ's chosen! Angels would leave Heaven, if they could, to come and
   fight for Christ!

   They would be glad to leave their rest to bear the hardness which a
   follower of Christ must endure for His dear Captain's sake. Jesus is
   coming! He is on His way! He may come tonight! He may come before
   another Sabbath's bells shall ring--and oh, if I have never confessed
   Him, if I have been ashamed of Him--how shall I face Him? Hear this,
   you cowards! What will you say when He appears? Be wise and confess Him
   tonight! Come you out from among the ungodly! Be you separate! Confess
   your Lord and Master!

   "He that with His heart believes, and with His mouth makes confession
   of Him, shall be saved." "He that believes and is baptized shall be
   saved. He that believes not shall be damned." God save us from being
   ashamed of the Nazarene! Amen.