Spurgeon preached at least 14 sermons about the New Year in his 38 years at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Though many themes arise in his comments, belief is as pervasive as any.
“Oh, to believe from January to December!”
Spurgeon prayed and called for belief in every New Year's sermon—for Christians and non-Christians. He hoped that the New Year would bring forth the new mercy of the new birth.
“I pray God that a new year may not be begun by you in sin, but may God begin with you at the fall of the year, and bring you now to know his power to save.”
“Ere yet the midnight bell proclaims the birth of a new year, may you be born to God: at any rate once more shall the truth by which men are regenerated be lovingly brought under your attention.”
“If this New Year shall be full of unbelief, it will be sure to be dark and dreary. If it be baptized into faith, it will be saturated with benediction. If we will believe our God as he deserves to be believed, our way will run along the still waters, and our rest will be in green pastures. Trusting in the Lord, we shall be prepared for trials, and shall even welcome them as black ships laden with bright treasures.”
Spurgeon's New Year's Resolutions
On the last evening of 1891 and first morning of 1892, Spurgeon gave two brief addresses. He hadn’t preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in several months because of sickness. He was a month away from death. In reflecting on 1891, he spoke about the God-intended lessons of the year, such as the “instability of earthly joys.” As friends came together again in the morning, he gazed upon the new year journey of 1892.
Spurgeon's New Year's resolutions involved seeing more than being.
“Let me tell you, in a few words, what I see as I look into the new year.”
So what did Spurgeon resolve himself to see? Here are the preacher's top four resolutions:
1. God’s Sovereignty
“I see a highway cast up by the foreknowledge and predestination of God. Nothing of the future is left to chance; nay, not the falling of a sparrow, nor the losing of a hair is left to haphazard; but all the events of life are arranged and appointed. Not only is every turn in the road marked in the divine map, but every stone on the road, and every drop of morning dew or evening mist that falls upon the grass which grows at the roadside. We are not to cross a trackless desert; the Lord has ordained our path in his infallible wisdom and infinite love.”
2. God’s Guidance
“I see, next, a Guide provided, as our companion along the way. To him we gladly say, ‘Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.’ He is waiting to go with us through every portion of the road. ‘The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee.’ We are not left to pass through life as though it were a lone wilderness, a place of dragons and owls; for Jesus says, ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.’”
3. God’s Strength
“Beside the way and the Guide, I perceive very clearly, by the eye of faith, strength for the journey provided. Throughout the whole distance of the year, we shall find halting-places, where we may rest and take refreshment, and then go on our way singing, “He restoreth my soul.” We shall have strength enough, but none to spare; and that strength will come when it is needed, and not before…God all-sufficient will not fail those who trust him. When we come to the place for shouldering the burden, we shall reach the place for receiving the strength. If it pleases the Lord to multiply our troubles from one to ten, he will increase our strength in the same proportion….Our lamps shall be trimmed as long as they shall need to burn. Let not our present weakness tempt us to limit the Holy One of Israel. There is a hospice on every pass over the Alps of life, and a bridge across every river of trial which crosses our way to the Celestial City. Holy angels are as numerous to guard us as fallen ones to tempt us. We shall never have a need for which our gracious Father has furnished no supply.”
4. God Glorified
“One thing more, and this is brightness itself: this year we trust we shall see God glorified by us and in us. If we realize our chief end, we reach our highest enjoyment. It is the delight of the renewed heart to think that God can get glory out of such poor creatures as we are….We hope that God has been in some measure glorified in some of us during the past year, but we trust he will be glorified by us far more in the year which now begins….We wish our whole life to be a sacrifice; an altar of incense continually smoking with sweet perfume unto the Most High. Oh, to be borne through the year on the wings of praise to God.”
Only God Knows the Future
On the morning of January 1, 1892, Spurgeon confessed, “We know nothing of the events which lie before us: of life or death to ourselves or to our friends, or of changes of position, or of sickness or health.”
Though Spurgeon didn't see much of 1892, he put his trust in the fact that God knows the future. This truth blessed him and made him dependent on God in all things.
Whatever is before us in 2018, let's rest in God’s sovereignty, lean fully on God’s guidance, rely on God’s strength, and live for God’s glory. As Spurgeon said:
“Throughout this year may the Lord be with you! Amen.”