If you go to places of worship merely to look about you or to hear music, you are not worshipping God.
Let our first head answer the enquiry—WHAT WERE THESE PEOPLE DOING? They were “sitting by.” There is a good deal in this. First, they were indulging their curiosity. They had come out of every town of Galilee, and Judæa, and Jerusalem to know what this stir was all about. They had heard the great fame of Christ for working miracles, and this drew them into the throng which continually surrounded him. Besides, the crowd itself drew them. Why was there such a large company? What could it be all about? They would like to know for the sake of curiosity. They would for once hear the man, that they might be able to say that they had heard him; but they were not going to be influenced by what they heard; they would hear him as outsiders, “sitting by.” They were curious, but not anxious. As a rule, very little comes of this kind of attendance at places of worship; and yet I had sooner people come from this motive than not at all. Curiosity may be the stepping-stone to something better; yet, in itself, what good is there in it? Persons on the Sunday go to St. Paul’s, to Westminster Abbey, to the Tabernacle, to this place and to that, and they suppose that they are worshipping God, whereas they might just as well have gone to see a show; in fact, it is going to a show and nothing more as far as their motive is concerned. Do not flatter yourselves: if you go to places of worship merely to look about you or to hear music, you are not worshipping God. If you come to this great house to gratify your own fancy, you are no more worshipping God than you would be if you walked in the fields. You are only, in a very poor and grovelling sense, “sitting by.”
Spurgeon, C. H. (1887). “Sitting By.” In The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 33, p. 615). London: Passmore & Alabaster.
- One hour spent under the cross, while the soul is thus elevated—thus abased—thus joyful—and thus sorrowful—is better than a thousand of earthly delights.
- Meditation is the chewing upon the truths we have heard: The beasts in the old law that did not chew the cud, were unclean: the christian that doth not by meditation chew the cud, is to be accounted unclean. Meditation is like the watering of the seed, it makes the fruits of grace to flourish.
- The Bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.
- Remember you are not a tree, that can stand alone; you are only “a branch,” and it is only while you abide in Him, as a branch, that you will flourish.
- The Sabbath is the great day for gathering in souls—it is Christ’s market-day.