“But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” —Isaiah 6:13
A man may be both dumb and armless, and yet live. But these, the heavenly seed, the chosen men and women who live near their God and serve him with sacred fervent piety —these are the heart of the church; we cannot do without them. If we lose them we must die. “The holy seed is the substance thereof.”
Then, my hearer, thou art a church member. Let me ask thee —art thou one of the holy seed? Hast thou been begotten again to a lively hope? Has God made thee holy by the sanctifying influence of his Spirit, and by the justifying righteousness of Christ, and by the application to thy conscience of the blood of Jesus? If so, then thou art the substance of the church. They may pass by thee and not notice thee for thou art little; but the substance is little; the life-germ within the grain of barley is too small for us, perhaps, to detect; the life within the egg is almost an animalcule —you can scarcely see it; and so the life of the church is among the little ones, where we can scarcely find it out. Rejoice, if you are much in prayer; you are the life of the church. But you, oh you proud man, pull down your grand thoughts of yourself: you may give to the church, you may speak for the church, and act for the church, but unless you are a holy seed you are not the substance thereof, and it is the substance which is in reality of the greatest value.
—Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, March 8, 1857 at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 3 Sermon No. 121, “The Leafless Tree”