Manifestations of Christ

I’m amazed at Spurgeon when it comes to beholding the glory of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Spurgeon (and many of the saints before him) recognized that there were times in the Christian life, times so focused upon obedience and service, that the saint experienced special manifestations of Christ's glory. Now these were not separate from Scripture but built upon Scripture and not some extra-biblical conversation with a ghostly figure. Nor were they mere emotional rides but were the powerful demonstrations of the truth of God's Word in personal experience. Here is how Spurgeon explains this in a sermon on John 14:22:

"I have had for a long while a manifestation of his sufferings in Gethsemane; I have been for months musing on his agonies; I think I have even eaten the bitter herbs that grow there, and drank of that black brook Kedron. I have sometimes gone up stairs alone, to put myself in the very posture Jesus Christ was in and I thought I could sympathize with him in his sufferings. Methought; saw the sweat of blood falling down to the ground; I had so sweet a view of my Savior in his agonies, I hope that one day I may be able to accompany him still further, and see him on Calvary, and hear his death-shriek ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ Some of you, I know, have seen Jesus with the eye of faith quite as plainly as if you had seen him with your natural eyes. You could see your Savior hanging on the cross. You thought you saw the very crown of thorns on his head, and the drops of blood streaming down his face; you heard his cry; you saw his bleeding side; you beheld the nails, and before long you could have gone and pulled them out, and wrapped him up in linen and spices, and carried his body, and washed it with tears and anointed it with precious ointment … If I were to go much farther, I should be accused of fanaticism, and so it may be; but yet I will believe and must believe that there are seasons when the Christian lives next door to heaven. … There have been seasons of ecstatic joy, when I have climbed the highest mountains, and I have caught some sweet whisper from the throne. Have you had such manifestations? I will not condemn you if you have not: but I believe most Christians have them, and if they are much in duty and much in suffering they will have them. It is not given to all to have that portion, but to some it is, and such men know what religion means … Seek, my brethren such spiritual manifestations, if you have never experienced them; and if ye have been privileged to enjoy them, seek more of them … God bless you, and lead you to seek these manifestations constantly! Amen."

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, sermon #29, June 10, 1855, The New Park Street Pulpit, 1:224-225

Spurgeon was clear: These were not the experience of salvation and not all who taste salvation will taste these experiences. But if you read the saints of old you will find one common denominator between them – those who lived fully for God experienced that which verifies the biblical promise that, "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Spurgeon teaches us to long for deeper graces and to never grow content with the Cross. The church is starving because, he writes, "God has sent very few preachers who would preach up these spiritual things and the church has been getting lower and lower" (p. 228).

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