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supper, that must take its chance. How many of you are not unlike this.
You would rather, for the present at least, mind the things of the world, and then at a more convenient time get to heaven. I lately knew of a lady who thought a person might be a Christian, and yet go on as ever with the world, its balls and its gaiety. My advice to her was—“Go on with the world as long as you can, as long as it is natural (and it is natural to the unconverted;) but do not dream of your being a Christian. Be consistent-. either the world or Christ." “ If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Now there are three classes I would like to address. There are those who have no preference for the world ; for they find no peace in it. They are wretched; they have no pleasure in anything; they would rather have Jesus than thousands of gold or silver; they have felt the pungency of the inquiry, “What will it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?"
There is another, a larger and a sadder class—those who are unawakened, who are gliding on wherever circumstances are taking them; business, science, pleasure, engage their time; and they are on their way down the stream, hurrying along faster and faster; still on and on, till some day the deceitful waters will reach their miserable goal, and they awake to find heaven lost, and themselves in hell for ever, with the eternal consciousness of having, rejected salvation, and of having been warned of hell, its woe, its gloom, its worm, its flame; but of their having never heeded it. They were like the dog at the forge, sleeping while the hot sparks of alarm were flying around. What would have terrified and alarmed others, did not terrify or alarm them. Oh, say are not some of you
at this moment unconscious of danger ? do you not lie down, as it were, in an unthinking security? Alas for such.
“They know no heaven,
Those endless pains.”
Blast them in everlasting death." But there are others, and they are, at least, aware of misery; they are never at ease where God is. The very thought of Him is an intrusion upon their already troubled souls. Speak of anything relating to God or the soul, or Christ and eternity, and they will fly from you. I have known such. If they can, they will, at such times, make speedy escape to another theme, or, if possible, to another room. They answer to their great predecessor, the proto-murderer Cain, who fled from God, avoided Him, dreaded Him.
This arises out of their utter enmity to God—an enmity native to the carnal mind which is enmity, and also out of ignorance of what God is.
Is this a hopeless condition? It seems 80—yet, is it not better than utter callousness of soul, or utter torpor even of natural conscience ?
If they are ill at ease wandering over life's sands, what will it be, at death, when the eternal ocean yawns upon them ?—the burden, even now, may be greater than they can bear. They may find it a kind of schoolmaster to scourge them with a loathing of their condition. God may yet tell them, as He told the countenance-fallen Cain — Why that misery? why those fears ? “Is there not sin”. -a sacrifice or sinoffering—" at the door ?" Ah! it is “ nigh" such, even as it was to Abel, who was accepted because of his offering—that if they confess with their mouths the Lord Jesus, and believe in their hearts that God hath raised Him from the dead, they shall be saved.
Ah! sinner, if thou art miserable among the sands, what will it be when thou hast to go out upon the
floods ? If with these slighter skirmishings of thy God-hating conscience thou art miserable, what wilt thou do when God will come in on thee like a flood ? “ If thou hast run with the footmen and they have wearied thee, how wilt thou contend with horses ? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustest, they wearied thee, what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan ?”
I know not what arguments to use; but if I were in your position, I think I would argue thus-'
God holds me responsible for my existence, my lifean existence which must be spent either in heaven or hell. I have faculties, and God holds me responsible for my faculties ; I see I have something within me; an instinct of life, although it be within me as a sort of living death. I am accountable for having such an instinct. It is a something which, unlike the body, cannot die. “I am not ignorant,” you say, “but know
, that I have a soul."
Ah, no, God knows you are not ignorant! If this hall had been in perfect darkness, no light in it for centuries, but by-and-by we opened a window, then light would rush in, and with that window open, all the workmen in Europe could not exclude its rays; so is it with you, you have got light! some aperture has been made into your soul, and all the masonry of hell can never fill up that aperture again! Ah, no, no. No,
, sinner! thou canst not divest thyself of thy knowledge; or of thy conscience; or of thy convictions, although God has said, “ My Spirit shall not always strive with man.
There is, moreover, the Bible in thine hand; and God's words are familiar to thy lips, His warnings are known to thine ear; but thou knowest, О unconverted man, that if thou wert to die now, where God is thou couldst never come. Think of it! thou hast been born into a world in ruins. Man is a ruin; man held fellow
ship with God in Eden; he talked and walked with God; but the devil came and cast a darksome pall of sin over his soul, and left man a heap of woe. But God comes into the scene as He did to Cain, over whose dark ways He cast unwelcome light, and said, as it were,
“Let there be light,” and the light, in a sense, is all around our darkness; you cannot divest yourself of that light, and if you are lost, you will carry that light down with you into the pit of darkness." Said our talented but melancholy bard, “I wish I were a dog!”
And said Colonel Gardiner in his unconverted days, “I would give all I have to be my dog." Why? because they both knew too much to be happy. Oh, sinner! that is how it is with you; you know enough to make you miserable even here; but when in hell your knowledge, your memories of truth, like so many harpies of evil, will cluster round you, and with their infernal claws will drag you down, down, down, into an abyss without a bottom. Alas, yes; as you go down, down, into that bottomless abyss, you will carry all your knowledge, all your memories of truth with you; your light will never leave you, but will render visible and awful the darkness round you; for the bitterest drops in all your bitter cup will be, that you heard of a hell, but refused to believe it; and of a God, but scorned to know Him; and of the love of Jesus, but it was to you as an
song Ah, you cannot be an idiot in hell; you cannot be a lunatic in hell-cannot
a say, “ I am not responsible;" or, “My mind is touched.” No, no; there is no such thing as a mind touched, or a lunatic asylum, in hell; no! your memory, your mind will be your bitterest scourge there.
Dear, dear people, you who are unsaved, if I were you I think I would reason something like this: “Well, if I cannot divest myself of my knowledge or my conviction, what best can I do?” You know you have convictions. How do I know that you have convictions ?
Why, because you are as I was. We are all from one fallen ancestry, of one moral image, as lost sinners before God. Though the harbour waters of our natures seem still and dead, yet is there felt the throb of that storm outside which is raging on the eternal ocean of a sinner's last doom. I can testify I never remember a time when I was without my convictions; I knew, when a child, that if I died I should be lost. I had been told that God was love, that God loved sinners, but I was conscious I did not believe it, and that if I died I should be lost. Ah, dear sinner, thou knowest thou hast convictions, thou knowest, sitting on that seat this morning, that the impress of eternity is on thee. Now I bid thee to the supper. I bid thee to the provision God has made. Wilt thou give the preference to thy pleasure, and thy business, and turn a deaf ear till it is too late, too late, and thou art lost for all eternity? Ah, no, thou wilt not ! Thou wilt come at the divine bidding. Let thy convictions bring thee to Christ. This is our one want to-day, that thou shouldest come.
Now I would say a word to you who believe all this; you know you are lost, and say you are wretched. Well, I would reason with you. Here is the Gospel. . What is the Gospel ? Not that you must love God, but that God loves you; not that you must first seek Jesus, but that Jesus is seeking you. If I were in your stead, I would conclude with myself thus
“ Well, the Gospel is for lost sinners; I am a lost sinner, so the Gospel is for me. The Gospel is good news to the sinner; I am a sinner, it is good news to me. The Gospel is the good news of God to the sinner; I am a sinner, and the Gospel brings good news of God; yes, of God to me."
Oh, that I could make it plain : it is a great thing to get the right handle of a truth-clearly to see the Gospel; and to lay hold of it. Else will it only condemn, and be a savour of death unto death. Oh! see to it, that