Sermon 710. The Great White Throne
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY EVENING, AUGUST 12, 1866,
BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the Heaven fled away. And there wasfound no place for them." Revelation 20:11.
MANY of the visions which John saw are very obscure, and although a man who is assured of his own salvation may possibly bejustified in spending his days in endeavoring to interpret them, yet I am sure of this-it will not be a profitable task forunconverted persons. They have no time tospare for speculations, for they have not yet made sure of positive certainties. They need not dive into difficulties, forthey have not yet laid a foundation of simplicities by faith in Christ Jesus. Better far to meditate upon the Atonement thanto be guessing at the little horn.Better far to know the Lord Jesus in His power to save, than to fabricate an ingenious theory upon the number of the beast.
But this particular vision is so instructive, so unattended by serious difficulties, that I may invite all here present toconsider it, and the more so because it has to do with matters which concern our own eternal prospects. It may be, if Godthe Holy Spirit shall illuminate the eyes of our faithto look and see that "great white throne and Him that sat upon it," that we may reap so much benefit from the sight as foreverto make the arches of Heaven ring with gratitude that we were brought in this world to look at the "great white throne." Byso doing we shall not be afraidto look upon it in the day when the Judge shall sit, and the quick and dead shall stand before Him.
I shall, first, endeavor to explain what John saw. And then, in the second place, I shall try to set forth the effect whichI think would be produced by this sight if the eyes of our faith should now be fixed on it.
I. First, then, I have to call your very earnest attention to WHAT JOHN SAW. It was a scene of the Last Day-that wondrousday whose coming none can tell-
"For, as a thief unheard, unseen, it steals Through night's dark shade."
When the eagle-eyed seer of Patmos, being in the Spirit, looked aloft into the heavens, he saw a throne from which I gatherthat there is a throne of moral government over the sons of men, and that He who sits upon it presides over all the inhabitantsof this world. There is a throne whose dominionreaches from Adam in Paradise down to "the last man," whoever he may be.
We are not without a Governor, Lawgiver, and Judge. This world is not left so that men may do in it as they will, withouta legislator, without an avenger, without One to give reward or to inflict punishment. The sinner, in his blindness looks,but he sees no throne, and therefore he cries, "I willlive as I like, for there is none to call me to account." But John, with illuminated eye, distinctly saw a throne, and apersonal Ruler upon it who sat there to call His subjects to account. When our faith looks through the glass of Revelationit sees a throne, too. It were well forus if we felt more fully the influence of that ever-present throne. That "the Lord reigns" is true, Believer-tonight-andat all times.
There is a throne where sits the King eternal, immortal, invisible! The world is governed by laws made and kept in force byan intelligent Lawgiver. There is a moral Governor. Men are accountable, and will be brought to account at the Last GreatDay, when they shall all be either rewarded orpunished. "I saw a great white throne." How this invests the actions of men with solemnity! If we were left to do exactlyas we willed without being called to account for it, it were wise, even then, to be virtuous, for rest assured it is bestfor ourselves that we should begood-and it is in itself malady enough to be evil.
But we are not so left. There is a Law laid down which involves a penalty to break. There is a Lawgiver who looks down andspies every action of man, and who does not suffer one single word or deed to be omitted from His notebook. That Governoris armed with power. He is soon coming to hold Hisassize, and every responsible agent upon the face of the earth must appear at His bar and receive, as we are told, "accordingto the deeds done in the body, whether they are good or whether they are evil." Let it, then, be gathered from the text thatthere is in very deed a personaland real moral Governor of the world, an efficient and suitable Ruler-not a mere name, not a myth, not an empty office-buta Person who sits on the throne, who judges right, and who will carry out that judgment before long.
Now, Brothers and Sisters, we know that this moral Governor is God Himself who has an undisputed right to reign and rule.Some thrones have no right to be, and to revolt from them is patriotism. But the best lover of his race delights the mostin the monarchy of Heaven. Doubtless there aredynasties which are tyrannies, and governors who are despots. But none may dispute the right of God to sit upon His throne,or wish that another hand held the scepter. He created all, and shall He not judge all? He had a right, as Creator, to laydown His laws, and, as those lawsare the very pattern of everything that is good and true, He has, therefore, because of this, an eternal right to govern,in addition to the right which belonged to Him as Creator.
He is the Judge of all, who must do right from a necessity of His Nature. Who else, then, should sit upon the throne, andwho shall dare to claim to do so? He may cast down the gauntlet to all His creatures and say, "I am God, and beside Me thereis none else." If He reveals the thunder of Hispower, His creatures must silently admit that He is Lord alone. None can venture to say that this throne is not foundedupon right. Moreover, there are some thrones on which kings, however right, are deficient in might-but this is not the casewith the King of kings. Weconstantly see little princes whose crowns fit their heads so ill that they cannot keep them on their brows. But our Godhas might invincible as well as right infallible!
Who shall meet Him in battle? Shall the stubble defy the fire, or shall the wax make war with the flame? Jehovah can easilyswallow up His enemies when they set themselves in battle array against Him. "Behold, He touches the hills and they smoke!He looks upon the mountains and they tremble! Hebreaks Leviathan in pieces in the depths of the sea. The winds are His chariots, and the tempests are His messengers. AtHis bidding there is day, and at His will night covers the earth. Who shall stay His hand, or say unto Him, "What are Youdoing?" His throne is founded in rightand supported by might. You have Justice and Truth to settle it, but you have Omnipotence and Wisdom to be its guards, sothat it cannot be moved.
In addition to this, His throne is one from the power of which none can escape. The sapphire throne of God, at this moment,is revealed in Heaven where adoring angels cast their crowns before it. And its power is felt on earth, where the works ofcreation praise the Lord. Even those who do notacknowledge the Divine government are compelled to feel it, for He does as He wills, not only among the angels in Heaven,but among the inhabitants of this lower world. Hell feels the terror of that throne. Those chains of fire, those pangs unutterable,are the awful shadow of thethrone of Deity. As God looks down upon the lost, the torment that flashes through their souls darts from His holiness whichcannot endure their sins.
The influence of that throne, then, is found in every world where spirits dwell, and in the realms of inanimate nature itbears rule. Every leaf that fades in the trackless forest trembles at the Almighty's bidding, and every coral insect thatdwells in the unfathomable depths of the sea feels andacknowledges the Presence of the all-present King. So, then, my Brethren, if such is the throne which John saw, see howimpossible it will be for you to escape from its judgment when the great day of assize shall be proclaimed, and the Judgeshall issue His summons bidding youappear. To where can the enemies of God flee? If up to Heaven their high-flown impudence could carry them, His right handof holiness would hurl them from there, or, if under Hell's most profound wave they dive to seek a sheltering grave, His lefthand would pluck them out of thefire to expose them to the fiercer light of His countenance!
Nowhere is there a refuge from the Most High. The morning beams cannot convey the fugitive so swiftly as the almighty Pursuercould follow him. Neither can the mysterious lightning flash, which annihilates time and space, journey so rapidly as to escapeHis far-reaching hand. "If I mount up toHeaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Hell, You are there." It was said of the Roman empire under the Caesars thatthe whole world was only one great prison for Caesar, for if any man offended the emperor it was impossible for him to escape.If he crossed the Alps, could notCaesar find him out in Gaul?
If he sought to hide himself in the Indies, even the swarthy monarchs there knew the power of the Roman armies, so that theywould give no shelter to a man who had incurred imperial vengeance. And yet, perhaps, a fugitive from Rome might have prolongedhis miserable life by hiding in the dens andcaves of the earth. But oh, Sinner, there is no hiding from God! The mountains cannot cover you from Him! Even if they would,neither can the rocks conceal you. See, then, at the very outset, how this throne should awe our minds with terror. Foundedin right, sustained by might, anduniversal in its dominion, look and see the throne which John of old beheld!
This, however, is but the beginning of the vision. The text tells us that it was a "white throne," and I would call your attentionto that. "I saw a great white throne." Why white? Does not this indicate its immaculate purity? There is no other white throne,I fear, to be found. The throne of ourown happy land, I believe, is as white and as pure as any throne might well be on earth. But there have been years, evenin the annals of that throne, when it was stained with blood and not many reigns back it was black with debauchery. Not alwayswas it the throne of excellence andpurity, and even now, though our throne possesses a lustrous purity, rare enough among earthly thrones, yet in the sightof God there must be in everything that is earthly something that is impure, and therefore the throne is not white to Him.
As for many other thrones that are still existing, we know that with them all is not white. This is neither the day nor thehour for us to call the princes to the bar of God, but there are some of them who will have much to answer for, because intheir schemes of aggrandizement they took no accountof the blood which would be shed or of the rights which would be violated. Principle seldom moves the royal mind. The knavishlaw of policy is the basis of king-craft-a policy worthy of highwaymen and burglars. And some kings are little. On the continentof Europe there arenot a few thrones which I might describe as either black, or crimson, as I think of the turpitude of the conduct of themonarch, or of the blood through which he has waded his way to dominion.
But this is a great white throne, a throne of hallowed monarchy that is not stained with blood nor defiled with injustice.Why, then, is it white for purity? Is it not because the King who sits on it is pure? Hark to the thrice sacred hymn of thecherubic band and the seraphic choir, "Holy, holy,holy, Lord God of Sabaoth." Creatures who are perfectly spotless, themselves, unceasingly reverence and adore the yet superiorholiness of the great King. He is too great to need to be unjust, and He is too good to be unkind. This King has done no wrong,and can do nowrong-and He is the only King of whom this can be said without fiction. He who sits on this white throne is Himself theEssence of holiness, justice, truth, and love. O fairest of all Thrones! Who would not be a willing subject of your peerlessgovernment?
Moreover, the throne is pure because the law the Judge dispenses is perfect. There is no fault in the statute Book of God.When the Lord shall come to judge the earth, there will be found no decree that bears too harshly upon any of His creatures."The statutes of the Lord are right." They are trueand righteous altogether. That Book of the Ten Commands in which you find a summary of the Divine will, who can improveit? Who can find anything in excess in it, or point out anything that is wanting? "The Law of the Lord is perfect, convertingthe soul," and well may that be awhite throne from which there emanates such a Law!
But you know that with a good law and a good lawgiver, yet sometimes the throne may make mistakes, and it may be stained byignorance, if not by willful injustice. But the sentence which shall go forth from this great white throne shall be so consistentwith justice that even the condemned culprithimself must give his unwilling assent to it. "They stood speechless," it is said-speechless because they could neitherbear the sentence nor in any way impugn it. It is a white throne since never was a verdict delivered from it of which theculprit had a right to complain.Perhaps there are some here who view this as a matter of hope, but to ungodly persons it will be the very reverse.
Oh Sinner, if you had to be judged before an impure tribunal, you might, perhaps, escape. If the King were not holy, unholinessmight, perhaps, go unpunished. If the law were not perfect, offenses might be condoned. Or if the sentence were not just,you might, through partiality, escape. But whereeverything is so pure and white-
"Careless sinner, What will become of you?"
I have thought, too, that perhaps this throne is said to be a white throne to indicate that it will be eminently conspicuous.You will have noticed that a white object can be seen from a very great distance. You may have observed, perhaps, on the Welshmountains, a white cottage far away, standingout conspicuously. The Welsh like to make their cottages intensely white, so that though you would not have perceived it,had it been left of a stone color, you see it at once, for the bright whitewashed walls catch your eye. I suppose that a marksmanwould prefer a white object toaim at before almost any other color.
And this great white throne will be so conspicuous that all the millions who were dead, but who shall rise at the sound ofthe last trumpet, shall all see it-nor shall it be possible for a single eye to close itself against the sight! We must seeit-it shall be so striking a sight thatnone of us will be able to prevent its coming before us. "Every eye shall see Him." Possibly it is called a white thronebecause of its being such a convincing contrast to all the colors of this sinful human life. There stand the crowd, and thereis the great white throne. What canmake them see their blackness more thoroughly than to stand there in contrast with the perfections of the Law and the Judgebefore whom they are standing? Perhaps that throne, all glistening, will reflect each man's character. As each unforgivenman shall look at that white throne,its dazzling whiteness will overcome him and cover him with confusion and with terror when he sees his own defilement incontrast with it.
"O God!" he says, "how can I bear to be judged by such a One as You are? I could face the judgment seat of my fellows, forI could see imperfections in my judges, but I cannot face You, You dread Supreme, for the awful whiteness of Your throne,and the terrible splendor of Your holiness utterlyovercome me! Who am I, sinner as I am, that I should dare to stand before that great white throne!"
The next word that is used by way of adjective is "great." It was a "great white throne." You scarcely need me to tell youthat it is called a great white throne because of the greatness of Him who sits upon it. Speak of the greatness of Solomon?He was but a petty prince. Speak of the throne ofthe Mogul or his Celestial Majesty of China, or of the thrones of Rome and Greece before which multitudes of beings assembled?They are nothing-mere representatives of associations of the grasshoppers of the world-who are as nothing in the sight ofthe Lord Jehovah! Athrone filled by a mortal is but a shadow of dominion. This will be a great throne because on it will sit the great Godof earth, and Heaven, and Hell-the King eternal, immortal, invisible-who shall judge the world in righteousness, and His peoplewith equity.
Brethren, you will see that this will be a "great white throne" when we remember the culprits who will be brought before it.Not a handful of criminals, but millions upon millions, "multitudes, multitudes, in the Valley of Decision." And these notall of the lesser sort-not serfs and slavesalone whose miserable bodies rested from their oppressors in the silent grave-but the great ones of the earth shall be there.Not alone the down-trod serf who toiled for nothing, and felt it sweet to die, but his tyrant master who fattened on his unrewardedtoils shall bethere!
Not alone the multitudes who marched to battle at their master's bidding, and who fell beneath the shot and the shell, butthe emperors and kings who planned the conflict shall be there! Crowned heads no greater than heads uncrowned. Men who weredemigods among their fellows shall mix with theirslaves, and be made as vile as they! What a marvelous procession! With what awe the imagination of it strikes the heart!What a pompous appearing! Ah! Ah! You downtrodden multitudes, the great Leveler has put you all upon a footing now! Deathlaid you in one equal grave, and nowJudgment finds you standing at one equal bar to receive the sentence of One who fears no king, and dreads no tyrant-whohas no respect of persons-but who deals justice alike to all!
Can you picture the sight? Land and sea are covered with the living who once were dead! Hell is empty, and the grave has lostits victims! What a sight will that be! Xerxes on his throne with a million marching before him must have beheld a grand spectacle,but what will this be? No flauntingbanner, but the ensigns of eternal majesty! No gaudy courtiers, but assembled angels! No sound of drum nor roar of cannon,but the blast of the archangel's trumpet and the harps of ten thousand times ten thousand holy ones! There will be unrivalledsplendor, it is true, but not thatof heraldry and war! Mere tinsel and gewgaw shall have all departed, and in their place there shall be the splendor of theflashing lightning and the deep bass of the thunder. Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, with all His angels with Him shall descend-thepomp of Heaven beingrevealed among the sons of men!
It will be a great white throne because of the matters that will be tried there. It will be no mere quarrel about a suit inChancery, or an estate in jeopardy. Our souls will have to be tried there! Our future, not for an age, not for one singlecentury, but forever and forever! Upon those balancesshall hang Heaven and Hell-to the right shall be distributed triumph without end. To the left destruction and confusionwithout a pause-and the destiny of every man and woman shall be positively declared from that tremendous throne! Can you perceivethe greatness of it?You must measure Heaven! You must fathom Hell! You must compass eternity-and until you can do this you cannot know the greatnessof this great white throne!
Great, last of all, because throughout eternity there shall always be a looking back to the transactions of that day. Thatday shall be unto you, you Saints, "the beginning of days," when He shall say, "Come, you blessed of My Father." And thatday shall be to you who perish, the beginning of days,too. Just as that famous night of old in Egypt, when the first-born were spared in every house where the lamb had shed itsblood was the first of days to Israel-but to Egypt the night when the first-born felt the avenging angel's sword was a dreadbeginning of nights forever.Many a mother reckoned from that night when the Destroyer came, and so shall you reckon throughout a dread eternity fromthe day when you see this great white throne!
Turn not away your eyes from the magnificent spectacle till you have seen the glorious Person mentioned in the words, "AndHim that sat on it." I wonder whether anything I have said has made you solemnly think of the great day. I am afraid I cannotspeak so as to get at your hearts, and if not, Ihad better be silent. But do now, for a moment, think upon Him who sat upon the great white throne. The most fitting Onein all the world will sit upon that throne! It will be God, but hearken, it will also be Man. "He shall judge the world bythis Man, Christ Jesus, according to myGospel," says the Apostle. The Judge has to be God. Who but God were fit to judge so many, and to judge so exactly? Thethrone is too great for any but for Him of whom it is written, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousnessis Your scepter."
Christ Jesus, the Son of God, will judge, and He will judge as Man as well as God. And how fitting it is that it should beso! As Man He knows our infirmities. He understands our hearts, and we cannot object to this, that our Judge should be, Himself,like we are. Who better could judge righteousjudgment than One who is "bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh"? And then, there is this fitness about it. He is notonly God and Man, but He is the Man, the Man of men! Of all men the most manly, the type and pattern of manhood. He will bethe test in His own Person, for if aman is like Christ, that man is right. But if a man is otherwise than Christ-like, that man deserves to be condemned. Thatwondrous Judge needs only look upon His own Character to read the Law and to review His own actions to discern whether othermen's actions are right or wrong.
The thoughts of many hearts were revealed by Christ on earth, and that same Christ shall make an open exhibition of men atthe Last Great Day. He shall judge them. He shall discern their spirits. He shall find out the joints and the marrow of theirbeing-the thoughts and intents of the heartHe shall lay bare. Even you, Believer, will pass the test before Him! Let no man deceive you with the delusion that youwill not be judged-the sheep appeared before the great dividing Shepherd as well as the goats-those who used their talentswere called to account aswell as he who buried his pound, and the disciples themselves were warned that their idle words would bring them into judgment.
Nor need you fear a public trial. Innocence courts the light. You are not saved by being allowed to be smuggled into Heavenuntested and unproved, but you will, in the righteousness of Jesus, pass the solemn test with joy! It may not be at the samemoment as the wicked that the righteous shall bejudged (I shall not contend for particulars), but I am clear that they will be judged, and that the blood and righteousnessof Jesus are provided for this very cause-that they may find mercy of the Lord in that day.
Sinner! It is far otherwise with you! Your ruin is sure when the testing time comes! There will be no witnesses needed toconvict you, for the Judge knows all. The Christ whom you despised will judge you! The Savior whose mercy you trampled on-inthe fountain of whose blood you would notwash, the despised and rejected of men-it is He who shall judge righteous judgment to you, and what will He say but this,"As for these, My enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, cut them in pieces before my eyes!"
II. I need a few minutes-and I have but too few left-to DRAW THE INFERENCES WHICH FLOW FROM
SUCH A SIGHT AS THIS-and so turn the vision to practical account. Believer in Christ, a word in your ear. Can you see thegreat white throne, and Him that sits upon it? I think I see it now. Then let me search myself. Whatever profession I maymake, I shall have to face that great whitethrone. I have passed the elders. I have been approved by the pastor. I stand accepted by the Church. But that great whitethrone is not passed yet.
1 have borne a reputable character among my fellow Christians. I have been asked to pray in public and my prayers have beenmuch admired, but I have not yet been weighed in the last balances-and what if I should be found wanting! Brother Christian,what about your private prayers? Can youlive in neglect of the closet and yet remember that your prayers will be tried before the great white throne? Is your Bibleleft unread in private? Is your religion nothing but a public show and sham? Remember the great white throne, for mere pretensewill not pass there!
Brother Christian, what about your heart and your treasure? Are you a mere money-hunter? Do you live as others live? Is yourdelight in the fleeting present? Do you have dealings with the throne of Heaven? Have you a stony heart towards Divine things?Have you little love to Christ? Do you make anempty profession, and nothing more? Oh, think of that great white throne, that great white throne! Why, there are some ofyou, who, when I preach a stirring sermon, feel afraid to come again to hear me! Ah, but if you are afraid of my voice, howwill you bear His voice who shallspeak in tones of thunder?
Do searching sermons seem to go through you like a blast of the north wind, chilling your very marrow and curdling your blood?Oh, but what must it be to stand before that dread tribunal? Are you doubting now? What will you do then? Can you not beara little self-examination? How will you bear thatGod-examination? If the scales of earth tell you that you are lacking, what message will the scales of Heaven give you?I do warn you, fellow professors, speaking to you as I desire to speak now to my own heart, "Examine yourselves, whether youare in the faith. Prove your ownselves. Know you not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?"
Having spoken a word to the Christian, I should like to say to every one of you, in remembrance of this great white throne,shun hypocrisy! Are you tempted to be baptized though you are not a Believer, in order to please parents and friends? Bewareof that great white throne, and think how yourinsult to God will look at that Last Great Day! Are you persuaded to put on the cloak of religion because it will help yourbusiness, or make you seem respectable? Beware, you hypocrite! Beware of that great white throne, for of all the terrors thatshall come forth from it, thereshall be none more severe than those which shall scathe the mere professor who made a profession of religion for gain!
If you must be damned, be damned any way than as a hypocrite-for they deserve the deepest Hell who for gain make a professionof godliness. The ruin of By-Ends and Hypocrisy will be just, indeed. O you high-flying professors, whose wings are fastenedon with wax, beware of the sun which willsurely pour its heat upon you, for fearful will be your fall from so great a height! But there are some of you who say,"I do not make any profession of religion." Still my text has a word to you. Still I want you to judge your actions by thatLast Great Day.
O Sir, how about that night of sin? "No," you say, "never mind it. Bring it not to my mind." It shall be brought to your remembrance,and that deed of sin shall be published far wider than upon the housetops, proclaimed to all the multitudes who have everlived since the first man, and your infamyshall become a byword and a proverb among all created beings! What do you think of this, you secret sinners? You loversof wantonness and chambering? Ah, young man, you have commenced by filching, but you will go on to be a downright thief. Itis known, Sir, and, "be sure your sinwill find you out." Young woman, you have begun to dally with sin, and you think none has seen you, but the most MightyOne has seen your acts and heard your words-there is no curtain between Him and your sin!
He sees you clearly, and what will you do with these sins of yours that you think have been concealed? "It was many yearsago," you tell me. Yes, but though buried these many years to you, they are all alive to Him, for everything is present tothe all-seeing God-and your forgotten deedsshall one day stand out present to you, also. My Hearers, I implore you, do nothing which you would not do if you thoughtGod saw you, for He does see you! Oh, look at your actions in the light of the judgment. Oh, that secret tippling of yours-howwill that look when Godreveals it? That private lust of yours which nobody knows of-how would you dare to do it if you remembered that God knowsit?
Young man, it is a secret, a fearful secret, and you would not whisper it in anyone's ear-but it shall be whispered- no, itshall be thundered out before the world! I pray you, Friend, think of this! There is an Observer who takes notes of all thatwe do and will publish all to anassembled universe. And as for us all, are we ready to meet that Last Great Day? I had many things to say to you, but Icannot keep you to say them now, lest you grow weary. But if tonight the trumpet should be sounded, what would be your stateof mind? Suppose that now every ear inthis place should be startled with a blast most loud and dread, and a voice were heard-
"Come to judgment, Come to judgment, come away"? Supposing some of you could hide in the vaults and in the foundations, would not many of you rush to the concealment? Howfew of us might go down these aisles walking steadily into the open air and saying, "I am not afraid of judgment, for 'thereis therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.' "
Brothers and Sisters, I hope there are some of us who could go gladly to that judgment seat, even if we had to traverse thejaws of death to reach it. I hope there are some of us who can sing in our hearts-
"Bold shall I stand in that great day For who anything to my charge shall lay? While, through Your blood, absolved I am From sin's tremendous curse and blame."
It might put many of us much about to say that. It is easy to speak of full assurance, but, believe me, it is not quite soeasy to have it in earnest in trying times. If some of you get the finger-ache your confidence oozes out at your joints, andif you have but a little sickness you think, "Ah,it may be cholera, what shall I do?" If you cannot bear to die, how, then, will you bear to live forever?
Could you not look Death in the face without a shudder-then how will you endure the Judgment? Could you gaze upon Death, andfeel that he is your friend and not your foe? Could you put a skull upon your dressing table, and commune with it as yourmemento moni? Oh, it may well take the bravestof you to do this, and the only sure way is to come as we are to Jesus, with no righteousness of our own to trust to, butfinding all in Him! When William Carey was about to die, he ordered to have put upon his tombstone this verse-
"A guilty, weak, and helpless worm, On Christ's kind arms I fall. He is my strength, my righteousness, My Jesus, and my All."
I would like to wake up in eternity with such a verse as that in my mind, as I wish to go to sleep in this world with sucha hope as that in my heart-
"Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the Cross I cling."
Ah, I am talking about what some of us will know more of, perhaps, before this week is over! I am speaking now upon themeswhich you think are a long way off, but a moment may bring them near. A thousand years is a long time, but how soon it flies!One almost seems, in reading English history, togo back and shake hands with William the Conqueror-a few lives soon bring us even to the flood. You who are getting on tobe forty years old, and especially you who are sixty or seventy, must feel how fast time flies. I only seem to preach a sermonone Sunday in time to getready for the next.
Time flies with such a whirl that no express train can overtake it, and even the lightning flash seems to lag behind it. Weshall soon be at the great white throne! We shall soon be at the judgment bar of God. Oh, let us be making ready for it! Letus not live so much in this present, which is buta dream-an empty show-but let us live in the real, substantial future. Oh that I could reach some heart here tonight! Ihave a notion that I am speaking to someone here who will not have another warning. I am sure that with such throngs as crowdhere Sunday after Sunday,I never preach to the same congregation twice. There are always some here who are dead between one Sunday and another. Outof such masses as these it must be so according to the ordinary computation.
Who among you will it be who will die this week? Oh, ponder the question well! Who among you will dwell with the devouringflames? Who among you will abide with everlasting burnings? If I knew you I would gladly bedew you with tears! If I knew youwho are to die this week, I would gladly come andkneel down at your side and implore you to think of eternal things. But I do not know you, and therefore, by the livingGod I do implore you all to fly to Jesus by faith! These are no trifles, Sirs, are they? If they are, I am but a sorry trifler,and you may go your ways and laughat me! But if they are true and real, it becomes me to be in earnest, and much more does it become you to be in earnest.
"Prepare to meet your God!" He comes! Prepare now! "Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation!" The gates of mercyare not closed! Your sin is not unpardonable! You may yet find mercy! Christ invites you. His blood drops cry to you-
"Come and welcome, Come and welcome, Sinner, come."
Oh, may the Holy Spirit put life into these poor words of mine, and may the Lord help you to come now! The way to come, youknow, is just to trust in Christ. It is all done when you trust in Christ! Throw yourselves right on Him, having nothing elseto trust to. See now, my whole weight leans onthe front of this platform. Should this rail give way, I fall. Lean on Christ just in that way-
"Venture on Him, venture wholly, Let no other trust intrude."
If you can get a grip of the Cross, and stand there beneath the crimson canopy of the Atonement, God Himself cannot smiteyou, and the Last Great Day shall dawn upon you with splendor and delight, and not with gloom and terror. I must send youaway, but not until all Believers present have givenyou an invitation to return to the Lord Jesus. To do this we will sing the following verses-
"Return, O wanderer, to your home. Your Father calls for you! No longer now an exile roam In guilt and misery, Return, return! Return, O wanderer, to your home, 'Tis Jesus calls for you! The Spirit and the bride say, Come! Oh now for refuge flee; Return, return. Return, O wanderer, to your home, 'Tis madness to delay! There are no pardons in the tomb, And brief is mercy's day. Return! Return!"