Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Matt. 10.16)
While on the shores of the Mediterranean, in the twilight of his life, Charles Spurgeon wrote a devotional commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Of this devotional work, his wife wrote:
It stands alone in its sacred and sorrowful significance. It is the tired worker's final labour of love for his Lord. It is the last sweet song from lips that were ever sounding forth the praises of his King. It is the dying shout of victory from the standard-bearer, who bore his Captain's colours unflinchingly through the thickest of the fight...Much of the later portion of the work was written on the borderland of Heaven, amid the nearing glories of the unseen world, and almost within sight of the Golden Gates.
It breathes the sweet air of of that borderland indeed. God grant that we may join in the prayer that he offers on p. 122 of The King of Has Come (1987 ed.):
Lord, in my work for thee, so teach me that I may display the wonderful blend of serpent and dove, which thou dost here commend to thy ministers. Never allow me to become to others like a wolf, but may I conquer by the meekness of lamb!