Sermon 252. Holy Violence
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 15th, 1859, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force,"-Matthew 11:12.
WHEN JOHN THE BAPTIST preached in the wilderness of Judea, the throng of people who pressed around him became extremely violentto get near enough to hear his voice. Often when our Saviour preached did the like scene occur. We find that the multitudeswere immense beyond all precedent. He seemed to drain every city, every town, and every village, as he went along preachingthe word of the gospel. These people, moreover, not like our commonchurch-and-chapel-goers,-content to hear, if they could, and yet more content to keep without hearing, if it were possible,-wereextremely earnest to get near enough to hear anyhow. So intense was their desire to hear the Saviour that they pressed uponhim, insomuch that they trod one upon another. The crowd became so violent to approach his person, that some of the weakerones were cast down and trodden upon. Now, our Saviour, when he witnessed all this struggling round about to get nearhim, said, "This is just a picture of what is done spiritually by those who will be saved. As you press and throng aboutme," said Christ, "and thrust one another, with arm and elbow, to get within reach of my voice, even so must it be if ye wouldbe saved, 'For the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.'" He pictured to himself a crowdof souls desiring to get to the living Saviour. He saw them press, and crowd, and throng, and thrust, and tread on one another,in their anxious desire to get at him. He warned his hearers, that unless they had this earnestness in their souls, theywould never reach him savingly; but if they had it, they should certainly be saved. "From the days of John the Baptist untilnow the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
"But," says one, "do you wish us to understand, that if a man is to be saved he must use violence and vehement earnestnessin order to obtain salvation?" I do, most assuredly; that is the doctrine of the text. "But," says one, "I thought it wasall the work of God." So it is, from first to last. But when God has begun the work in the soul, the constant effect of God'swork in us is to set us working; and where God's Spirit is really striving with us, we shall begin tostrive too. This is just a test whereby we may distinguish the men who have received the Spirit of God, from those whohave not received it. Those who have received the Spirit in verity and truth are violent men. They have a violent anxietyto be saved, and they violently strive that they may enter in at the strait gate. Well they know that seeking to enter inis not enough, for many shall seek to enter in but shall not be able, and therefore do they strive with might and main.
I shall this morning, first, direct your attention to these violent men. Look at them. Secondly, we shall show their conduct. What makes them so violent? Are they justified in this impetuous vehemence? We shall next rejoice in the fact, that they are sure to be successful in their violence. And then, I shall endeavour to arouse in your hearts, by the help of God's Holy Spirit, that holy violence, without which the gates of heaven will beshut in your teeth, and you will never be able to enter the pearly portals of Paradise.
1. First then, LET US LOOK AT THESE VIOLENT MEN. Understand that what they are, they have been made by divine grace. Theyare not so naturally of themselves. But there has been a secret work of grace in them, and then they have become violent men.Look at these violent men, who are violently in earnest to be saved. You will observe them when they come up to the houseof God; there is no yawning with them, no listlessness or inattention, no imagination that if they do butsit in the place the hour-and-a-half which is regularly allotted to divine worship, they will have done enough. No; theyhear with both their ears, and they look with both their eyes, and all through the service they have an intense desire thatthey may find Christ. Meet them as they go up to the house of prayer, and ask them why they are going there. They know rightwell what they are going after. "I am going there to find mercy, and to find peace and rest to my soul; for I am in anguishaboutsin, and I want to find the Saviour; I am in hopes that being in the way the Lord will meet with me, so I am about tolay myself down by the side of the pool of Bethesda, in the hope that the Holy Spirit will stir the pool and enable me tostep in." You do not find these people like the most of modern hearers, critical, or else careless. No; they are all awaketo see whether there is not something to be had which may be a balm to their wearied spirits, and a cordial to their troubledbreasts.Mark these violent people after they have gone home. They go to their chambers and they begin to pray; not that prayerbetween sleeping and waking that some of you are used to attend to, not that drowsy supplication which never gets beyond theceiling of your bedroom; but they fall on their knees and with a holy anxiety they begin to cry, "Lord, save or I perish;O Lord save me; I am ready to perish, Lord; I beseech thee, stretch out thine hand and rescue my poor soul from that destructionwhich now haunts my spirit." And see them after they have prayed, how they turn over the Word of God. They do not readits chapters as if the mere looking at the letters was enough, but they read just as Watts says in his hymn,
"Yet save a trembling sinner, Lord,
Whose hope, still hovering round thy word
Would light on some sweet promise there,
Some sure support against despair."
And down they are on their knees again. "O Lord speak to my soul through thy word! Lord help me to lay hold on the promise,enable me to grasp it! Oh, let not my soul perish for lack of thy help and thy grace." And then see these violent men whomGod has really made in earnest about being saved. You will not find them leaving their devotions in their closets, or in theirhouse of prayer. Wherever they go there is a solemn earnestness upon them, which the world cannotunderstand. They are seeking after Jesus, and rest they neither will nor can until they find him. Their nights are disturbedwith dreams, and their days are made sad with their pantings after the blessing-without which they cannot live, and withoutwhich they dare not die.
My hearer, have you ever been one of these violent men, or are you so now? Blessed be God if this holy violence is in yourspirit: you shall take heaven by force yet; you shall take it by storm, and carry the gates of heaven by the battery of yourprayers. Only persevere with importunity; still plead, still wrestle, still continue to strive, and you must at length prevail.But ah! my hearer, if thou hast never had a strong unconquerable anxiety about thy soul, thou art asyet a stranger to the things of God. Thou dost not understand that violence victorious without which the gates of heavennever can be stormed. Some of us can look back to the time when we were seeking Christ. I could myself awake of a morningeasily then. The first ray of light that came into my chamber would awaken me to take up Baxter's Call to the Unconverted that lay under my pillow. I believed I had not repented enough, and I began to read that. Oh! how I hoped that would breakmyheart. And then I would get Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, and Allen's Alarm, and read them. But, still, I think I might have read them to this day, and not been a whit the better, if I had not somethingbetter than alarm, in remembering that Christ came into the world to save every sinner who was willing to cast himself uponhis blood and righteousness, and take him at his word, and trust God. Have ye not seen many-and are there not many among us-menwho have said, "I must have mercy, I must have it: it is not a thing which I may have, or may not have; but I am a lostsoul if I have it not?" And when they have gone to pray they have seemed like Samsons; they have got hold of the two postsof heaven's gate of mercy, and they have pulled as if they would pull them up by their eternal roots sooner than not get theblessing. They have hammered at the gates of heaven until it seemed as if they would split the golden bolts rather than beturnedaway. No man ever gets peace until he gets into such a passion of earnestness to be saved, that he cannot find peace untilChrist speaks pardon to his soul, and brings him into life and liberty. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and theviolent take it by force."
But this violence does not end when a man finds Christ; it then begins to exercise itself in another way. The man who is pardoned,and who knows it, then becomes violently in love with Christ. He does not love him just a little, but he loves him with allhis soul and all his might. He feels as if he could wish to die for Christ, and his heart pants to be able to live alone withhis Redeemer, and serve him without interruption. Mark such a man who is a true Christian, markhis prayers, and you will see there is violence in all his supplications when he pleads for the souls of men. Mark hisoutward actions, and they are violently sincere, violently earnest. Mark him when he preaches: there is no dull droning outof a monotonous discourse, he speaks like a man who means what he says, and who must speak it, or else woe would be unto himif he preached not the gospel. As I look around on many of the churches, yea, on many members of my own church, I am apt tofearthat they are not God's children at all, because they have nothing of this holy violence. Have ye ever read Coleridge'sAncient Mariner? I dare say you have thought it one of the strongest imaginations ever put together, especially that part where the old marinerrepresents the corpses of all the dead men rising up,-all of them dead, yet rising up to manage the ship; dead men pullingthe ropes, dead men steering, dead men spreading the sails. I thought what a strange idea that was. Butdo you know I have lived to see that true: I have seen it done. I have gone into churches and I have seen a dead man inthe pulpit, and a dead man as a deacon, and a dead man holding the plate at the door, and dead men sitting to hear. You say"Strange!" but I have. I have gone into societies, and I have seen it all going on so regularly. These dead men, you know,never overstep the bounds of prudence,-not they: they have not life enough to do that. They always pull the rope orderly,"as itwas in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen." And the dead man in the pulpit, is he not mostregular and precise? He systematically draws his handkerchief from his pocket, and uses it just at the regular period, inthe middle of the sermon. He would not think of violating a single rubric that has been laid down by his old-fashioned church.Well, I have seen these churches-I know where to point them out-and have seen dead men doing everything. "No," says one,"you can't mean it?" Yes, I do, the men were spiritually dead. I have seen the minister preaching, without a particleof life, a sermon, which is only fresh in the sense in which a fish is fresh when it has been packed in ice. I have seen thepeople sit, and they have listened as if they had been a group of statues-the chiseled marble would have been as much affectedby the sermon as they I have seen the deacons go about their business just as orderly, and with as much precision as if theyhad been mere automatons, and not men with hearts and souls at all. Do you think God will ever bless a church that islike that? Are we ever to take the kingdom of heaven with a troop of dead men? Never! We want living ministers, living hearers,living deacons, living elders, and until we have such men who have got the very fire of life burnings in their souls, whohave got tongues of life, and eyes of life, and souls of life, we shall never see the kingdom of heaven taken by storm. "Forthekingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
Frequently complaints are made and surprise expressed by individuals who have never found a blessing rest upon anything theyhave attempted to do in the service of God. "I have been a Sunday-school teacher for years," says one, "and I have never seenany of my girls or boys converted." No, and the reason most likely is, you have never been violent about it; you have neverbeen compelled by the Divine Spirit to make up your mind that converted they should be, and no stoneshould be left unturned until they were. You have never been brought by the Spirit to such a passion, that you have said,"I cannot live unless God bless me; I cannot exist unless I see some of these children saved." Then, falling on your kneesin agony of prayer, and putting forth afterwards your trust with the same intensity towards heaven, you would never have beendisappointed, "for the violent take it by force." And you too, my brother in the gospel, you have marvelled and wondered whyyouhave not seen souls regenerated. Did you ever expect it? Why, you preach like one who does not believe what he is saying.Those who believe in Christ, may say of you with kind partiality, "Our minister is a dear good man;" but the careless youngmen that attend your ministry, say, "Does that man expect to make me believe that which he only utters as a dry story, andto convince me when I see him go through the service with all the dulness and monotony of dead routine?" Oh, my brethren,what wewant today in the churches is violence, not violence against each other, but violence against death, and hell, againstthe hardness of other men's hearts, and against the sleepiness of our own. In Martin Luther's time, truly the kingdom of heavensuffered violence. The whole religious world was wide awake. Now, I fear for the most part it is sound asleep. Go where youmay, our churches have come to be old-established businesses. They do not care to extend themselves. We must have new blood,nay, we must have new fire from heaven to fall upon the sacrifice, or else, like Baal's priests, we may cut and hack ourbodies, and distract our minds in vain; there will be "no voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regardeth." The sacrificeshall lay unburnt upon the altar, and the world will say our God is not the living God, or surely we are not his people, "Andthou shalt grope at noon-day, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt beonlyoppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee." Violent men, then, are those that take the kingdom of heavenby force.
II. NOW, BRING THESE VIOLENT MEN FORWARD, AND LET US ASK THEM WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT. When a man is very earnest, he ought tobe ready to give a reason for his earnestness. "How now, sirs, what is all this strife about? why all this earnestness? Youseem to be boiling over with enthusiasm. What is up? Is there anything that is worth making such a stir about?" Hear them,and they will soon convince you that all their enthusiasm and striving to enter the kingdom of heaven byforce, is not a whit more strong than reasonable.
The first reason why poor sinners take the kingdom of heaven by force is, because they feel they have no natural right toit; and, therefore, they must need take it by force it they would get it at all. When a man belongs to the House of Lords,and knows that he has got a seat there by prescriptive right and title, he does not trouble himself at the time of the elections.But there is another man, who says, "Well, I should like a seat in the House of Commons, but I have noabsolute right to it. If I get it, it will be by a desperate struggle." Do you not see how busy he is on the day! howthe carriages fly about everywhere; and how earnest are his supporters that he may stand at the head of the poll and win theday! He says, "I have no absolute right to it; if I had, then I would just take it easy and walk into my seat at the propertime." But now he labors, and strives, and wrestles, because without so doing he does not expect to succeed. Now, look atthose whoare saved; they have no right to the inheritance they are seeking. What are they? Sinners, the chief of sinners; in theirown esteem the vilest of the vile. Now, if they would get heaven they must take it by force, for they have no right to itby birth or lineal entail. And what are they else? They are the poor ones of this earth. There stands the rabbi at the gate,and he says, "You can't come in here; this is no place for the poor to enter." "But," says he. "I will;" and pushing the rabbiaside, he takes it by force. Then, again, they were Gentiles too; and Jews stood at the gate, and said, "Stand back, youGentile dogs, you cannot come in." Now, if such would be saved, they must take the kingdom of heaven by storm, for they haveno rights to assert. Ah, my fellow men, if ye sit down and fold your arms, and say, "I am so good I have a right to heaven,"-howdeceived you will be. But if God has convinced you of your lost, ruined, and undone condition, and if he has put hisquickening Spirit within you, you will use a bold and desperate violence to force your way into the kingdom of heaven.The Spirit of God will not lead you to be obsequious in the presence of foes, or faint-hearted in the overwhelming crisis;he will drive you to desperate labour that you may be saved.
Ask one such man, again, why is he so violent in prayer; he replies, "Ah, I know the value of the mercy I receive. Why, Iam asking for pardon, for heaven, for eternal life, and am I to get these with a few yawns and sleepy prayers? I am askingthat I may wear the white robe, and sing the never-ending song of praise; and do you think that a few poor supplications areto be enough? No, my God; if thou wouldst make me tarry a hundred years, and sigh, and groan, and crythrough that long century;-yes, if I might but have heaven at last, all my prayers would have been well-spent; nay, hadthey been a thousand times as many, they were well rewarded if thou wouldst hear me at last. But," says he again, "if youwant to know why I am so earnest, let me tell you it is because I cannot bear to he lost for ever." Hear the earnest sinnerwhen he speaks. You say to him "Why so earnest?" The tear is in his eye, the flush is on his cheek, there is emotion in everyfeature, while he says, "Would to God I could be far more earnest; do you know I am a lost soul, perhaps before anotherhour is over I may be shut up in the hopeless fires of hell! Oh, God, have mercy on me, for if thou dost not, how terribleis my fate. I shall be lost-lost for ever!
Once let a man know that hell is beneath his feet, and if that does not make him earnest, what would? No wonder that his prayersare importunate, that his endeavours are intensely earnest, when he knows that he must escape, or else the devouring firewill lay hold on him. Suppose now, you had been a Jew in the olden time, and one day while taking a walk in the fields youhad seen a man running with all his might. "Stop!" you say, "stop! my dear friend, you will exhaustyourself." He goes on, and on, with all his might. You run after him. "Pause awhile," you say, "and rest; the grass issoft, sit down here, and take your ease. See, here I have some food and a bottle; stop and refresh yourself." But withoutsaluting you, he says, "No, I must away, away, away." "Why? wherefore?" you say. He is gone so far ahead, you run after himwith all your might; and scarcely able to turn his head, he exclaims, "The city of refuge! the city of refuge! the manslayeris behindme." Now, it is all accounted for; you do not wonder that he runs with all his might now. When the manslayer is afterhim, you can well understand that he would never pause for rest until he has found the city of refuge. So let a man know thatthe devil is behind him, that the avenging law of God is pursuing him, and who can make him stop? Who shall endeavor to makehim stay his race until he enters Christ, the city of refuge, and finds himself secure? This will make a man earnest indeed-todread "the wrath to come," and to be labouring to escape therefrom.
Another reason why every man who would be safe must be in earnest, and be violent, is this, there are so many adversariesto oppose us, that if we are not violent we shall never be able to overcome them. Do you remember that beautiful parable inJohn Bunyan's Pilgrim? "I saw also, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built a stately palace,beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted.He saw also upon the top thereof certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold. Then said Christian, 'May we goin thither?' Then the Interpreter took him and led him up toward the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a greatcompany of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side,with a book and his ink-horn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; he saw also that in the doorwaystood many men in armour to keep it, being resolved to do to the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could.Now was Christian somewhat in amaze. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man ofa very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, Set down my name, sir;' the which when he haddone, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laidupon himwith deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely. So after he had receivedand given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, (Matt. xi. 12. Acts xiv. 22.) he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from thosethat were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying,
'Come in, come in,
Eternal glory thou shalt win.'
So he went in, and was clothed with such garments as they." And surely the dreamer saw the truth in his dream. It is evenso. If we would win eternal glory we must fight.
"Sure we must fight, if we would reign;
Increase our courage, Lord!"
Ye have enemies within you, enemies without, enemies beneath, enemies on every side-the world, the flesh, and the devil; andif the Spirit of God has quickened you, he has made a soldier of you, and you can never sheathe your sword till you gain thevictory. The man who would be saved must be violent, because of the opposition he has to encounter.
But do you still condemn this man, and say that he is an enthusiast and a fanatic? Then God himself comes forth to vindicatehis despised servant. Know that this is the sign, the mark of distinction between the true child of God and the bastard-professor.The men who are not God's children are a careless, stumbling, coldhearted race. But the men that are God's in sincerity andtruth, are burning as well as shining lights. They are as brilliant constellations in thefirmament of heaven, burning stars of God. Of all things in the world, God hates most the man that is neither hot norcold. Better have no religion than have a little: better to be altogether without it, enemies to it, than to have just enoughto make you respectable, but not enough to make you earnest. What does God say concerning the religion of this day? "So thenbecause thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Lukewarmness of all things God abhors,andyet of all things it is the predominant mark of the present day. The time of the Methodists, of Whitfield and Wesley,was a time indeed of fire and of divine violence and vigour. But we have gradually cooled down, now, into a delightful consistency,and though here and there there is a little breaking out of the old desperado spirit of the Christian religion, yet for themost part the world has so mesmerised the church, that she is as nearly asleep as she can be; and much of her teaching, andmuch of the doings of her religious societies, is sheer somnambulism. It is not the wide-awake earnestness of them thatwalk with their eyes open. They walk in their sleep; very nimbly they walk, too and very nicely they "trim their way," butvery little is there of the life of God in aught they do, and very little of divine success attending their agencies, becausethey are not violent with regard to the matters of the kingdom of God.
III. Having thus endeavoured to screen the violent men from harsh criticism, I shall now invite you for a moment to reflect,that THE VIOLENT MAN IS ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL. Do you think you are going to be carried to heaven on a feather bed? Have you gota notion in your heads that the road to paradise is all a lawn, the grass smoothly mown, still waters and green pastures everand anon to cheer you? You have just got to clear your heads of that deceitful fancy. The way toheaven is up hill and down hill; up hill with difficulty, down hill with trials. It is through fire and through water,through flood and through flame, by the lions and by the leopards. Through the very mouths of dragons is the path to paradise.But the man who finds it so, and who desperately resolves in the strength of God to tread that path-nay, who does not resolveas if he could do nothing else but resolve, but who feels driven, as if with a hurricane behind him, to go into the rightroad, this man is never unsuccessful, never. Where God has given a violent anxiety for salvation he never disappointsit. No soul that has ever cried for it with a violent cry has been disappointed. From the beginning of creation until nowthere has never been raised to the throne of God a violent and earnest prayer which missed its answer. Go, soul, in the strongconfidence that if thou goest earnestly thou goest successfully. God may sooner deny himself than deny the request of an earnestman. Our God may sooner cease to be "the Lord God, gracious and merciful," than cease to bless the men who seek the gatesof heaven, with the violence of faith and prayer. Oh, reflect, that all the saints above have been led by divine grace towrestle hard as we do now with sins, and doubts, and fears. They had no smooth path to glory. They had to dispute every inchof the way at the sword's point. So must you: and as surely as you are enabled to do so, so surely will you conquer. Onlythe violent are saved, and all the violent are saved. When God makes a man violent after salvation, that man cannot perish. The gates of heaven may soonerbe unhinged than that man be robbed of the prize for which he has fought.
IV. And, now I have to close, for I find my voice fails me this morning, when most I need it. I have to close abruptly byendeavouring earnestly TO EXCITE EACH OF YOU TO A VIOLENCE AFTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. In this great crowd there are surelysome of the class I am about to describe. There is one man here who says, "I don't know that I have done much amiss in mylife: I am about as regular a man as there is living. Don't I attend a place of worship regularly? I believethat l shall most certainly be saved. But I don't take much trouble about it, it never disquiets me particularly. I don'tlike"-says this man "-that intrusive kind of religion that always seems to be thrusting itself in everybody's way. I thinkit is quite right that people should go to their place of worship, but why take any further trouble? I just believe that Ishall fare as other people fare: I am a steady unpretending sort of man, and I have no reason to doubt that I shall be saved."Ah, friend, you have never seen the gate of heaven? It is obvious that you have never seen it, or else you would knowbetter; for at the gate of heaven multitudes are struggling, the gates of heaven are thronged, and he that would enter theremust press, and elbow, and push, or he may go away certain that he can never enter. No! your easy religion will just bringyou in too late. It may carry you nine miles out of ten; but what is the good of that to a man who must perish unless he iscarriedthe whole way? It will go a good way with you when you follow the counsels of a gospel ministry with outward propriety;but at the bar of God it will utterly fail you, when you lack the inward witness of strong crying and supplications. No! aneasy religion is the way to hell, for it is not the way to heaven. Let your soul alone, and you need not expect much goodfruit to come of it, any more than a farmer who leaves his fields alone, need expect to reap a harvest. Your religion is vainandfutile if that is all. "Ah" cries another "but I am in quite a different case. I am a sinner so vile, sir, that I knowI never can be saved, therefore, what is the use? I never think about it now, except with blank despair. Have I not long rebelledagainst God; will he ever pardon me? No, no; don't exhort me to try. I may as well take my full swing of pleasure while Iam here, for I feel I never shall enjoy the pleasures of heaven hereafter." Stop friend, "The violent take it by force." IftheLord has taught thee thy utter sinfulness, go and try-say,
"I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know
I must for ever die."
Go home, go to your closet, fall on your knees, put your trust alone in Christ and, my friend, if the Lord does not have mercyupon you, then he is not the God we have preached to you, and he has not substantiated his faithful promise: you cannot, youshall not seek in vain. But mark, you must not think that your once seeking is enough; continue in it. If God has given youhis Spirit you will continue-you will never leave off praying until you get the answer. Oh! myfriend, if God hath given thee this day a longing after his love; if he has caused thee to say, "I will never give itup, I will perish at the foot of the cross if I perish at all;" thou canst no more perish than the angels in Paradise. Beof good cheer; use violence again and again, and thou shalt take it by force.
And then, let each one of us as we retire, and if we have tasted that the Lord is precious, determine to love him more earnestlythan before. I never leave my pulpit washout feeling ashamed of myself. I do not remember a time when I have been able togo home without being suffused with humiliation and cast down with self-reproach, because I had not been more earnest. I veryseldom flog myself for using an ugly word, or anything of that sort; it is for not having beenearnest enough about the salvation of men. When I sit down, I begin to think of this vast stream of people being sweptalong towards the gulf of eternity-bound for heaven or hell; and I wonder how it is that I do not weep all the time I am here-whyit is that I do not find red-hot burning words with which to address you. I find fault with others sometimes, but far morewith myself in this matter. Oh! how is it that a man can be God's ambassador, and yet have so callous, so insensitive aheart, as many of us have in this work? Oh! how is it that we tell the tale of death and life, of heaven and hell, ofChrist crucified and his gospel despised, so quietly as we do? Condemn not the minister for excitement or fanaticism; condemnhim because he is not half in earnest, as he ought to be. Oh my God! impress me, I beseech thee, more with the value of souls,and then impress my hearers, also, with the value of their own souls. Are you not going to-day, many of you, post-haste toperdition? Is it not the fact, that your conscience tells you that many of you are enemies to God? You are without Christ,you have never been washed in his blood; never been forgiven. Oh! my hearers, if ye continue as ye are, a few more risingsuns, and then your sun must set for ever. Only a few more Sundays have you to waste, a few more sermons have you to hear,and the pit of hell must open wide its jaws, and then where are you? But a few more days, and the heavens shall be rent, andChrist shall come to judge the earth, and sinner where are you? Oh! I beseech you now by the living God, and by his Son Jesus Christ, think of your state; repent of your sins; turn youto God. Oh Spirit of God, turn, I pray thee, turn the hearts of sinners now. Remember, if you now repent, if you now confessyour sins, Christ is preached to you. He came into the world to save sinners. Oh! believe on him; throw yourselves beforehis cross; trust in his blood; rely on his righteousness,-
"But if your ears refuse
The language of his grace,
And hearts grow hard like stubborn Jews,
That unbelieving race;
The Lord, in vengeance dress'd,
Will lift his hand and swear,
'You that despise my promised rest,
Shall have no portion there.'"
Oh! if I had the tongue of Whitfield, or the mouth of an archangel, if I could speak like the cherubim, I would pour out myheart before you, and pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. I must face you soon before God's great bar, andshall your blood be laid to my door? Shall you perish, and must I perish with you for unfaithfulness? May God forbid it! Nowmay he
"Let you see your lost estate,
And save you ere it be too late,
Wake you to righteousness."
Lord have mercy upon you all for Jesus' sake!