Enduring to the End [Spurgeon’s Sermons]
The following excerpt is from Sermon VIII of Spurgeon’s Sermons, vol. 8, titled, “Enduring to the End.”
How am I to know a Christian? By his words? Well, to some degree words betray the man; but a man’s speech is not always the copy of his heart, for with smooth language many are able to deceive. What doth our Lord say? “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” But how am I to know a man’s fruits? By watching him one day? I may, perhaps, form a guess of his character by being with him for a single hour; but I could not confidently pronounce upon a man’s true state even by being with him for a week. George Whitefield was asked what he thought of a certain person’s character. “I have never lived with him,” was his very proper answer. If we take the run of a man’s life, say for ten, twenty, or thirty years, and if, by carefully watching, we see that he brings forth the fruits of grace through the Holy Spirit, our conclusion may be drawn very safely. As the magnetized needle in the compass, with many deflections, yet does really and naturally point to the pole, so, if I can see that despite infirmities, my friend sincerely and constantly aims at holiness, then I may conclude, with something like certainty, that he is a child of God. Although works do not justify a man before God, they do justify a man’s profession before his fellows.
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C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons, vol. 8 (1883; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company, 1984), 156-157.