Sermon 322. A Divine Challenge!
DELIVERED ON SABBATH EVENING, APRIL 22, 1860, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK.
"Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me." Exodus 8:1.
ON two or three former occasions I have endeavored to insist upon the fact that God always puts a distinction between Israeland Egypt. He constantly speaks of the Israelites as "My people"-of the Egyptians, he speaks to Pharaoh as being "your people."There is a continual and eternal distinction observed in the Word of God between the chosen seed of promise and the world-thechildren of the Wicked One. The great objective of God's interference with Egypt was not the blessing of Egypt at large, butthe gathering out of His Israel from the midst of the Egyptians. Beloved, I have the conviction that this is just what Godis doing with the world now. Perhaps, for many a year to come, God will gather out His elect from the nations of the earthas He gathered His Israel from the midst of the Egyptians. You and I may not live to see that universal reign, of which weso joyously sang this morning; but the wheat will be gathered into the garner, sheaf by sheaf, if not ear by ear. The tareswill be left to ripen here, perhaps, until the great and terrible day the Lord comes. At any rate, looking at the signs ofthe times, we do not see any considerable progress made in the evangelization of the world. Egypt is still Egypt-the worldis still the world-and as worldly as it ever was, and God's purpose seems to be, through the ministry which He now exercises,to bring His chosen ones out. In fact, the Word which Jehovah is now speaking to the entire world with the solemn authorityof an imperial mandate is this-"Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me."
It will be necessary in addressing you this evening, to recall to your minds the position which the Israelites held in Egypt.It is a type of the position of all the Lord's people before the Most High God, who with a high hand and an outstretched armbrings them out of their bondage. The people of the Lord are slaves. Though their names are in His book, yet they are slaves,engaged like Israel of old in labors that savor more of earthly than of heavenly things-brick-makers, building houses notfor themselves, for they find no city to dwell in. They are toiling and laboring here as unwilling servants, thinking, perhaps,they shall receive goodly wages, but they receive no wages, except the whip upon their shoulders. Every man in his unrenewedstate is a slave. Even God's people are slaves as well as others, till they hear the trumpet of jubilee and at the Word andby the power of God are brought forth out of the place of their slavery. We are slaves-slaves to a power which we can neverovercome by our own unassisted strength. If all the inhabitants of Goshen-the Israelites, I mean-had concerted measures torebel against Pharaoh and had said, "We will be free"-in but a few hours, the tremendous power of that great monarch of Egyptwould have crushed out the last spark of hope. With his terrible army, his horses and his chariots, the rabble of Israel wouldsoon have been given to the dogs! They had no hope in the world of ever delivering themselves by their own power. Nor morehave we, Beloved. By nature we are slaves to him who is infinitely our superior, namely, to Satan and all his hosts of sin.We may sometimes seek to snap the fetter when a hectic flush of health comes over the cheeks, but oh, we may make the fettersgrind into our flesh; we cannot snap them! We may even sometimes think that we are free and talk of liberty-but our walk isa walk within a prison and our apparent liberty is but a deeper delusion of slavery! Men may bid us be free, but they cannotmake us so; they may use the best means they can by education, by training, by persuasion, but these fetters are not to befiled by any instruments so weak.
God's ministers may continually exhort us to snap our fetters; but alas, it is not in our power to do what, nevertheless,is their duty to command us to do! We are such slaves, that unless a mightier than ourselves and a mightier than Satan shallcome out to our assistance, we must continue in the land of bondage-in the house of our sin and of our trouble. Nor, again,can we ever hope to redeem ourselves with money. If the children of Israel had given up all they had, they were so poor theycould not have ransomed their own bodies. The poor brick makers could not buy themselves from their masters; the least thoughtof such a thing would have brought down the whip with ten-fold fury upon their poor bleeding shoulders. And so you and I maythink we can buy our freedom by our good works, but the result of all our offers of purchase-money will be to make us feelthe whip the more. You may go and toil and think you have gathered together something that can be acceptable in the sightof your taskmaster-but when you have done all, he will tell you that you are an unprofitable servant, command you to yet sternerlabors, make you feel yet viler durance in your prison-for you cannot by such means escape! Really, apart from God, the viewof humanity which is given in the Scriptures is the most deplorable picture that even despondency, itself, could paint! Ah,men talk about some remnants of good that are left in humanity, some sparkling of Divine fire and the like, but the Bibledoes not say so. It expresses, in its solemn words, the meaning of that hymn, which begins-
"How helpless guilty nature lies, Unconscious of her load! The heart unblest can never rise, To happiness and God."
The slavery of Israel in Egypt was hopeless slavery; they could not get free unless God interfered and worked miracles intheir behalf. And the slavery of the sinner to his sin is equally hopeless-he will never be free-unless a mind that is infinitelygreater than he can ever command, shall come to his assistance and help. What a blessed circumstance it is, then, for thosepoor chosen children of God who are still in bondage, that the Lord has power to say and then power to carry out what He hassaid-"Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me."
Having thus introduced my subject, by showing you the helpless condition of God's people by nature and the utter impossibilityof their ever getting free by themselves, let me observe that today God is saying-saying in His own decree-saying by Providence-andsaying through the lips of His faithful ministers, that emancipating sentence which of old made Pharaoh relax his grasp andcaused the land of Egypt to loose its captive ones-"Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me."
I shall dwell upon this emancipating sentence tonight, as God shall give me strength, in this way. I shall first notice thefullness of the sentence; then the rightness of the sentence; next, the repetition of it; and finally, the Omnipotence whichis concealed in it
I. First, then, THE FULLNESS OF THE SENTENCE. "Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me." I don't doubtbut what there are some of God's people here tonight who have not any idea they are His people. Perhaps they are slaves todrunkenness, bondslaves to every evil passion, yet, being bought by the blood of Christ, their names are in His book, andthey must, and they shall be saved! They think, perhaps, that they never, never can be; it may even happen that they havenot any desire to be! But Israel shall come out of Egypt even though Israel may love the flesh-pots, the garlic, and the cucumber.Israel shall be delivered by might and by power, even though Israel may blindly imagine that she is at peace, and at easein the enemy's land-that is to say, God will have His own people! Though they are content in their sin; though they have nowill towards Him; yet He will come and make them discontented with their sins. He will turn their wills-change the bias oftheir hearts, and they who once despised God, shall, with free consent, against their natural inclination, be led captivesat the wheels of His Sovereign Grace! God not only saves those who are willing to be saved, but those who are unwilling tobe saved He can make willing in the day of His power! There have been many instances of that in this House of Prayer. Menhave come in here merely from curiosity-to laugh, to make jests and fun-but God has had His time and when that time has come-"Thussays the Lord, let My people go free"- they have gone free! They have been saved! Their fetters which they were unconsciouslywearing before, have begun to grate upon their soul, to eat their flesh and then they have sought mercy. And their fettershave fallen off, and they have gone free!
Well, then, though I have run away from what I was going to say, I come again to this point-the fullness of the Divine sentence,"Let My people go free." If you notice, it does not say, "Let them have parti?lliberty; let them have two or three days' restfrom their toil." No, but, "Let them go free," free altogether! God's demand is not that His people should have some littleliberty, some little rest in their sin-no, but that they should go right out of Egypt and that they should go through thewilderness to Canaan! The demand was not made to Pharaoh, "Make their tasks less heavy; make the whip less cruel; put kindertaskmasters over them." No, but, "Let them go free." Christ did not come into the world merely to make our sins more tolerable,but to deliver us from them! He did not come to make Hell less hot, or sin less damnable, or our lusts less mighty-He cameto put all these things far away from His people and work out a full and complete deliverance! Perhaps Pharaoh might havesaid at length, "Well, they shall have kind masters; their tasks shall be shortened; they shall have the straw given them,with which to make their bricks." Yes, but Devil, this will not do! You may consent to it, but God never will! Christ doesnot come to make people less sinful, but to make them leave off sin altogether-not to make them less miserable, but to puttheir miseries away and give them joy and peace in believing in Him! The deliverance must be complete, or else there shallbe no deliverance at all!
Again-you will mark, it says, "Let My people go." It says nothing about their coming back again. Once gone, they are goneforever! Pharaoh thought he would let them go two or three days journey, yet they never went back to Egypt again. They wentthrough the wilderness 40 years to the Promised Land and no Egyptian could ever drive them back. Egypt went forth with allits chivalry to overtake them, but they perished in the Red Sea-and Israel went through as on dry land and was blessed ofGod. That sentence which said of me, "Let My child go free," gave me eternal liberty; not liberty for yesterday and todayand tomorrow, but liberty forever and forever! You know when the Negro slaves run away from the Southern States and get tothe North they are free; but still the man-hunter will soon be on their track and they may be taken back again to their masters.Yes, but you and I are like the slave when he gets to Canada. When he sets his foot on British soil and breathes the Englishair, that moment he is free! Once ferried over the stream that parts the land of slaves from the land of freedom, he standson soil that cannot be stained by the slave's foot; he breathes an air that never was received into lungs that were in bondageyet. He is free! And so is it with us. We go not into slave states where the devil has got a fugitive law to hunt us up, again,but into states where we are wholly free. There is not a fetter left. We have not a chain upon our wrist with half of it filedaway, but we are free-the free men of God-and Satan has no claim, no right, no, no power, ever to enslave us again! "Thussays the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me." It is a large demand because it is a demand that requires entireliberty and that liberty perpetual, too.
But, I think, I hear one say, "Well, I have not yet entered into the fullness of that sentence." No, Brother, nor have I yet-intothe fullness of it-though I have into some of the sweetness of it! You must know that this emancipation is often gradual inour own experience, though it is effectual and instantaneous in God's mind. Time was-and let me speak to you to whom I canspeak, whose experience will agree with what I utter-time was when you were born slaves to hardness of heart. You despisedGod-religion was a toil for you-in fact you never exercised your mind or will with it. Well, there came a time when the Lordsaid, "Let My people go free," and you began to think. Your heart began to melt. You groaned under the burden of sin, youbegan to cry to God! You were delivered, then, from the hardness of your heart and were free. But still sin tormented you;your guilt went with you every day like your own shadow; and like a grim chamberlain, with fingers bloody red, it drew yourcurtains tight and put its finger upon your eyelids, as if to crush darkness into your very heart! But the day came when,standing at the foot of the Cross, you saw your sins atoned for, "numbered on the scapegoat's head of old;" you felt the burdenroll from your back, you were free-free from your past sins and you could rejoice in that most glorious liberty! But, then,after a season, you went out into the world and you felt that, "when you would do good, evil was present with you." How towillyou found, but how to do you found not! Well, you have had partial deliverance from that, as one evil passion has beenovercome and a virtue has been learned. You have achieved a triumph over one bad habit and a victory over another evil temper.The sentence has been going on, "Thus says the Lord, let My people go." And remember, the day is coming when you shall laydying; yes, but you shall then begin to live! There shall be heard a Voice speaking by your death pillow saying, "Loose him,and let him go." You will understand what that means and in a moment, loosed from every fetter, like Lazarus when the napkinwas taken from his head and the grave clothes from his feet, you start up perfectly free! There shall not be a shadow of bondageabout you; you shall fly to Heaven and walk its free and happy streets and never more shall you say, "O wretched man thatI am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" I say, therefore, we don't know in all its fullness the meaning ofthis passage experimentally. Still it is all ours and we ought to receive it all by faith, as being our precious blessing.God has said to sin, to Satan, to death, to Hell, to doubts, to fears, to evil habits and even to the grave itself- "Let Mypeople go, that they may serve Me."
II. So much, then, for the fullness of the demand; I shall now notice, in the second place, the RIGHTNESS OF IT. The Lordhad a perfect right to say to Pharaoh, "Let My people go free." Tyrannical despot! What right had he to enslave a free nation?They came down there by the invitation of his predecessor. Did not Pharaoh invite Jacob and his family to come down to theland of Goshen? It was never in the stipulation that they should be made slaves! It was a violation of a national compactfor Pharaoh to exact toil from free-born Israelites. Had they been brave and strong enough, they ought to have resisted theencroachments of his tyranny. They were not Pharaoh's people; Pharaoh never chose them; he had never brought them where theywere; he had not fought with them and overcome them. They were not captives in war, nor did they dwell in a territory whichwas the spoil of fair conflict. They were guests-honored guests-invited to come and to dwell in a land which they, themselves,enriched and blessed by their representative, Joseph. It was not right, then, that they should be in bondage-there was noright on Pharaoh's part. The right lay exclusively with God. You notice the lightness of the demand concentrated in that littleword, "My"-"Let My people go free. Let your own people kiss your feet if they will-make them dig canals and build pyramidsif you like, for I interfere not with them. But Mypeople-let them go free! You have no right to their unpaid toil. They haveno right to endure this cruel servitude. "Let Mypeople go free."
Do you see the parallel in our case? The Word of God is His own heavenly mandate. The Voice ofjustice and pity and mercy,cries to death and troll and sin, "Let My people go free-Satan, keep your own if you will, but let My people go free, forthey are Mine. This people have I created for Myself-they shall show forth My praise. Let My people go free, for I have boughtthem with My precious blood. You have not bought them, nor have you made them-you have no right to them. Let My people gofree." All this is our comfort for poor sinners and we hope that some of them, though they don't know it, are God's people.You must not imagine when you hear a man swear, or when he is going on in sin- you must not write his name down in the blackbook and say, "I am quite sure that man will go to the devil." No! It may be that God ordains to save that man, and one ofthese days you will meet him lifting up his voice in prayer, outstripping you, perhaps, in the heavenly race and serving hisMaster better than you have done! Jesus Christ takes many to His bosom whose company we would have shunned when they werein their evil state. Sovereign Mercy can dash into the prize ring and make captives. Free Grace can go into the gutter andbring up a jewel. Divine Love can rake a dunghill and find a diamond! There is no spot where God's Grace cannot and will notgo! This, we pray, is our great hope when we have a congregation before us-not a hope that they will be willing, that theywill be attentive in themselves, that they will give heed to what we say, but our hope is this-"Doubtless God has much peoplein this city"-and God having brought some of these within the sound of His Word, we have a hope that many are His chosen onesand God will have them!
I trust we never entertain a doubt but that God will have His own, and that Christ will say as we preached to you this morning,"Not a hoof shall be left behind." "They shall be Mine," says the Lord-"they are Mine now and they shall be Mine in the daywhen I make up My jewels." Lost though God's elect are, they never belonged to Satan! They were lost, but that does not saythey belong to the finder. A thing may be lost, but it is still mine when I have lost it; that is to say, I have a right toit and any man finding it and appropriating it, has no right to do so. If I leave a piece of land having a right to it andanother shall take possession for a time, yet if I hold the title deeds, I will have him ousted and take my property. TheLord has got the title deeds of some of you, though the devil has got possession of you! Satan rules you with a rod of ironand makes you his captives and willing servants; but my Master is a match for your master! There has been a great duel foughtbetween life and death for you, and life has won the victory and Free Grace claims the prize! And that prize Free Grace willgive and your poor guilty soul shall yet be set as a signet on Jehovah's hand and shall yet glitter as a jewel in Jehovah'scrown! Oh, how I delight to talk about this Omnipotence of Grace-of that Grace that does not tarry for the sons of men, thatdoes not stop, but rides on in triumph and leads captivity itself captive! Oh, what a joy it is to think that we have notto wait on man-that it does not rest with man whether he should belong to Christ or not. If Christ has bought that man-ifthe Father has ordained him to be Christ's-then Christ's that man shall be! Rampart yourselves about with prejudices, butChrist shall scale your ramparts. Pile up your walls, bring up the big stones of your iniquity-but Christ shall take yourcitadel and make you a captive. Plunge into the mire if you will, but that strong arm can bring you out and wash you clean!
I see you curl your lips, and say, "I shall never be a Methodist! I shall never make a profession of religion." I don't know,Sir. Many have said the same as you are saying, and yet they have been brought down, and if Christ wills, He can bring youdown, too, Sir! There is not strength enough in sin to overcome His Grace. When He puts forth His arm, down you fall. LetHim but once strike, and you may stand and rebel, but the victory is His. You may will to be damned, but if
He wills to save you, His will is more than a match for your will, and you will come crouching down to His feet, saying, "Lord,I will that You save me." Then, I think He will say this, "How is it you were not willing then! How is this that you are willingnow?" "O Lord, You have made me willing and unto You be all the Glory forever and forever!" So then, we need not say more.I think about the rightness of this sentence of God. They are His people, they are His blood-bought people. He created themfor Himself, and it is neither more nor less than right that God should say, "Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that theymay serve Me."
III. Let me now call your attention to THE REPETITION OF THIS SENTENCE. I have just read carefully through these first chaptersof Exodus, and I am not quiet sure how many times this phrase occurs, but some five or six times I know it is repeated. Thefirst time, Moses said, "Thus says Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel, let My people go, that they may feast before Me in thewilderness." The second time, he says, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me." Some five or six times Moses went untoPharaoh. The first time he said it, Pharaoh laughed in his face. "You are idle," he said, "you are idle. You don't like yourbrick-making. You want to go and serve your God to get an idle holiday. Go to your tasks, the taskmasters had need make thetoil a little more rigorous. What business have you with religion? Go on with your bricks." Now, that is how the worldlingtaunts you, when for the first time that sentence comes into his head. "Your religion," he says, "your religion? Go to yourshop, take down your shutters on a Sunday and see whether you can't earn an honest living. Go on with your bricks. What businesshave you to talk about feasting before God in the wilderness? It is all romance." And, you know, we hear worldlings say tous poor Christians that we don't know what real life is. Of course we don't-"reallife"-well, when putrid carrion is the representationof real life, we may be pretty content with our ignorance! Vain show! Vain disquietude! Vain question! Such was the Psalmist'spicture. That is the real life of the world, but we want a better life than that-a life more true and real, too, though theworld despises it. Brick-making, brick-making, brick-making-that is Pharaoh's joy and so it is with the sinner before he isrenewed- money-making, dirt-making, heaping together to himself bricks that he may build for himself a fortune. Oh, don'tthese fellows turn round and look with supreme contempt on us poor fellows-that we should think that eternity is better thantime? That God is better than the devil? That holiness is better than sin? That the pleasures of Heaven are better than thepoor pomps and vanities of this world? Such simpletons as these will look down and say, "Poor fellow, he does not know better."They, indeed, are the rational men, the intellectual men-they are, in fact, the king Pharaoh. Pharaoh gives a laugh, a hoarselaugh, "Let My people go free?" Yes, but there will come a blow in your face that will make you laugh after another fashion,by-and-by. You with others shall join in weeping, and crying, and tears, and you, with all your chivalry, shall sink intothe waters, and you shall go down, and the Red Sea shall swallow you up!
Moses goes to Pharaoh yet again and says, "Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me." And at one timethe haughty monarch says he will let some go; at another time he will let them all go, but they are to leave their cattlebehind. He will hold on to something. If he cannot have the whole, he will have a part. It is amazing how content the devilis if he can but nibble at a man's heart. It does not matter about swallowing it whole-only let him nibble and he will becontent! Let him but bite at the ends and be satisfied, for he is wise enough to know that if a serpent has but an inch ofbare flesh to sting, he will poison the whole. When Satan cannot get a great sin in, he will let a little one in, like thethief who goes and finds shutters all coated with iron and bolted inside. At last he sees a little window in a chamber. Hecannot get in, so he puts a little boy in, that he may go round and open the back door. So the devil has always his littlesins to carry about with him to go and open back doors for him! And we let one in and say, "O, it is only a little one." Yes,but how that little one becomes the ruin of the entire man! Let us take care that the devil does not get a foothold, for ifhe gets but a foothold, he will get his whole body in and we shall be overcome.
Observe now, as Pharaoh would not give up the people, the sentence had to be repeated again and again and again, until atlast God would bear it no longer, but brought down on him one tremendous blow. He smote the first-born of Egypt, the chiefof all their strength and then He led forth His people like sheep by the hands of Moses and Aaron. In like manner, Friendsand Brethren, this sentence of God has to be repeated many times in your experience, and mine. "Thus, says the Lord, let Mypeople go free," and if you are not quite free, don't despair-God will repeat that sentence till at the last you shall bebrought forth with silver and gold and there shall not be a feeble thought in all your soul! You shall go forth with gladness-andwith joy you shall enter into Canaan, at last-up yonder where His Throne is glittering now in glorious light that angel eyescannot bear! It is no wonder then, if it is to be repeated in our experience, that the Church of Christ must keep on repeatingit in the world as God's message. Go, Missionary, to India, and say to Juggernaut and Kalee and Brahma and Vishnu, "Thus saysthe Lord, let My people go free." Go, you servants of the Lord, to China. Speak to the followers of Confucius and say, "Thussays the Lord, let My people go free." Go to the gates of the harlot city, even Rome, and say, "Thus says the Lord, let Mypeople go, that they may serve Me." Think not, though you die, that your message will die with you! It is for Moses to say,"Thus says the Lord," and if he is driven from Pharaoh's sight the, "Thus says the Lord," still stands, though His servantfalls! Yes, Brothers and Sisters, the whole Church must keep on throughout every age, crying, "Thus says the Lord, let Mypeople go." We must continue to send our missionaries to lands like Madagascar, where the people of God are speared by hundredsand they must say to the haughty queen, "Thus says the Lord, let My people go." We must still send our Livingstones and ourMoffats through all the wastes of Africa-
"Through her fertile plains, Where superstition reigns, And binds the man in chains."
And they must continue to say, "Thus says the Lord, let My people go." Our Brethren must continue in the theatres and in thestreets-in the highway and in the byway-saying, not in so many words, but still in fact, "Thus says the Lord, let My peoplego, that they may serve Me." And it will be a happy time for the Church when every minister feels that he is sent of God-andwhen he speaks as Moses did! Conscious of Divine authority, he looks sin and evil and error in the face and says, "Thus saysthe Lord, let My people go." When we are called to enter a protest against an error, we shall sometimes be disappointed, becausepeople don't see with us. Very well, very well; but when we have entered the protest we have done all. It was not meant toconvince the Egyptians, but it was meant to compel them-"Thus says the Lord, let My people go." When there is a pretendedChurch of Christ, wherein error is preached, the Christian minister is bound faithfully to point out the error, confidentthat God's people will hear the warning voice and come out of Babylon. And as for the rest, they must remain where they are,for the mandate is to those whom it concerns-those in whom the Lord has an interest, the people who are His "portion" to go.
IV. Now, my last point, which must, as time and strength alike fail me, be brief-is this-THE OMNIPOTENCE OF THE COMMAND-"Thussays the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me." "They shall never go," says Pharaoh; and his counselors say, "Yes,so be it, O king, they shall never depart out of this land." "By my father I swear," says the king of Egypt, "they shall bemy slaves forever." "Back, back, you sons of the Hebrew shepherds, to your bricks and to your clay! Dare not to stand beforePharaoh's son and dictate to him! I swear by my father's bones again, you shall never go free." Behold, the rivers of Egyptrun with blood! There is no fish in Egypt to be found through all the land and the Egyptians loathe to drink the waters ofthe river which they once worshipped, for it is full of blood. Now, come these two troublesome men in once more before Pharaoh-"Thussays the Lord God of the Hebrews, let My people go, that they may serve Me." The king pauses a minute-his haughty soul relents."You may serve God in the land," says he, "but you shall not go out of the land; you may have a three days rest and serveyour God." "No," says Moses, "we cannot serve God in the land of your abominations, and we would be an abomination to youas well as you to us. We must go." Then the king tells them to be gone. They may go. He holds a counsel of wise men and theydetermine while they have breath left, they will never lose their claim upon those slaves who have so long served them andbuilt such mighty cities. Yes, Pharaoh, but God is mightier than you! Open wide your gates, you hundred-gated Thebes, andsend out your myriads of armed men swarming like locusts on a summer's day! Come up, you mighty hosts of Zoar, and you troopof populous No! Come up like swarms of frogs from old Nile! Come up against them and they shall break you- you shall be aspotter's vessels before them-for His redeemed must and shall go free!
And now I stand tonight to many among yourselves in the position of Amram's son of old, and it is my business and that ofall God's minister's, to cry to Satan, to sin, to Rome, to Mohammed, to idolatry, to every evil-"Thus says the Lord, let Mypeople go, that they may serve Me." We hear the hoarse laughter; we listen to the cry of the kings of the earth as they standup and the rulers take counsel together. Do you see the priests with their treacherous devices-the sons of Belial now plottingin the dark to destroy us? Yes, and we may go on to be broken in pieces; we may go onward like the sea, but the Rock standsfast and shall send us on and they shall know that there is a God who is greater than they all! Just as all Israel came forthin spite of the determination of Pharaoh, so shall all God's elect be saved, despite the power of Satan, of evil men, of falsepriests and false prophets! "Thus says the Lore, let My people go," and go they must and shall!
And now, my dear Hearers, have you ever heard the Voice of God speaking in your hearts, "Let My people go"? There are somehere tonight who have never been made free-no, what is worse than that-they think they are free while they are the slavesto sin! You think you are free, but this is the worst part of your slavery. You dream that you are saved while you are standingover the mouth of Hell-and this is the worst part of your danger-that you think you are saved. Ah poor souls, poor souls!Your gilded slaveries going to the ale-house and the tavern, to the seat of the scornful, drinking down sin as the ox drinksdown water, the thought starts within me-"there will be an end to all that and what will they do when the end shall come?"When your hairs grow gray and your bodies become feeble, when you are drawing near the grave, what will your worldly pleasuresdo for you then? There was a young man died, not long ago, of extreme old age. I am not contradicting myself-that young mandied of extreme old age some time ago at the age of twenty-six. He had sinned himself into the grave and into Hell by a courseof debauchery and sin. Perhaps you are not such a fast sinner as that, but you are taking in the poison by slower degrees.But what will you do when the poison begins to work-when sin begins to pull out the core of your spirit, when the froth hasbeen swept from your cup and you begin to taste its dregs. Yes, when you are dying, you will want to set that cup down, butthere will be an evil hand that will thrust it to your mouth and say, "No, no, you have drunk the sweets, and now you mustdrink the bitters!" Though there is damnation in every drop, yet to the dregs must you drink that cup which you have begunto drink now! Oh, for God's sake, dash it to the ground-have done with it! "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteousman his thoughts." There is yet hope! There is yet mercy! Sin is a Pharaoh, but God is Jehovah! Your sins are hard-you cannotovercome them of yourself-but God can! He can overcome them for you.
There is yet hope! Let that hope awaken you to action. Say to your soul tonight, "I am not in Hell, though I might have been.I am still on praying ground and pleading terms and now, God helping me, I will begin to think." And when you begin to think,you will begin to be blessed! There are more souls lost by thoughtlessness than anything else. If you want to go to Heaven,there are a great many things to think of. If you want to go to Hell, it is the easiest thing in the world. You can go andswear and drink as you like; it is only a little trifling matter of neglect to destroy your soul. "How shall we escape ifwe neglect so great a salvation?" Well, then, if you begin to think, let me propose to you just this. The way of salvationis mapped out before your eyes tonight. He who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved. To believe is to trust. TrustHim who hangs upon the tree, and you are saved! Just as you are-guilty, helpless, weak and ruined-give up your soul to Christ!Ah, while I am thus advising you, I think I hear the Voice behind me saying, "My servant, you are speaking according to Mywill and pleasure, for I, too, am saying in the heart of your hearers, 'Go free.' I, too, am saying to their enemies, 'Thussays the Lore, let My people go.'"
Be it so, good Lord, and may my voice be but as Your voice! Rise, you slaves of Satan, and be free! Break your bonds asunderand be delivered! Jesus comes to rescue you; His arm is strong, and His heart is tender. Trust Him and be free! Oh, may Godgrant you Grace that you may be free, now, and find Him, whom to find is to find everlasting life! Amen.