Sermon 1394. The Day of Salvation
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JANUARY 13, 1878,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2.
NONE can change the outward features of a day. The kings of the earth cannot command for themselves bright days nor inflictupon their enemies days of tempest. It belongs to a higher than they to command the morning and cause the daystar to knowits place. It is little they can do in reference to the light, the sun, the clouds or the rain. They cannot bind the sweetinfluences of the Pleiades nor loose the bands of Orion. Still, rulers and governors and kings have accomplished much in shapingthe social character of the days of their subjects. Sometimes, like the king of Nineveh, they have proclaimed days of fastingand their subjects have been clothed in sackcloth. On other occasions they have exercised the prerogative to ordain days offeasting, as Ahasuerus did at the palace of Shushan, when for 180 days, "He showed the riches of his glorious kingdom andthe honor of his excellent majesty," by filling the capital with feasting.
Kings of the older stamp were more able to affect the days of their people than they are now. In former times, when men hadless wit and more faith in the fable of divine right than they have now, despots could cause a thick darkness over all theland, even darkness that might be felt. They made war according to their own fancy or frenzy-and what is that but moral midnight?What does war mean but crime, suffering, death, poverty? Is it not usually the sum of all villainies? Everything that is evileither marches with it or follows in its train! The very thought of war for our beloved country darkens our heavens. Alas,with what a light heart have despots drawn the sword and sought to wade through slaughter to imaginary glory, shutting thegates of Mercy on mankind that they might seize a province or avenge a jest.
Kings can also brighten men's days when they have a mind to be quiet-they make peace and then the nations bask in the sunand earth covers her battlefields with verdure. Peace gives the poor world respite to bind up her gaping wounds and remedya little of the mischief of the bloody fight. Hard labor and stern self-denial are not grudged by the suffering peasants ifthey may but have breathing time and the land may enjoy her Sabbaths. But why should such toil and suffering have been demanded?Simply because kings quarrel and their subjects must die to end the strife!
Princes have also, on occasion, exercised their prerogative by proclaiming days of amnesty and oblivion-a long rebellion hasbeen crushed out and there has been no fear of its return-and so the monarch has thought it best to refrain from undue severityand overlook the evil which he has subdued. Accordingly, he proclaims that the past shall be blotted out if, by a certaintime, rebellious ones will surrender, yield up their arms and promise loyalty. Such days are calm and clear and bring lightto despairing rebels who saw no end but the gallows tree. Thus, for humiliation or rejoicing, for war, for peace, or for pardon,monarchs can set their seal upon a day and mark it with their signature in history.
If earthly monarchs can somewhat affect the days of men, what, then, can be done by the King of kings? The Creator of dayand night can surely order all our lights and shades! The Ancient of Days is He who can give us "mornings without clouds"or make the day dark with gloom! How often has He made the sun of prosperity to gladden us and how suddenly has He shroudedus beneath the thick clouds of adversity! Our days are in His hands and He is Lord of all! You and I, looking back, may wellbow before the power and majesty of the Eternal who has such infinite power over us that none of us can stop His hand norsay unto Him, "What are you doing?"
The Lord has had His days of vengeance-are they not written in the book of the wars of the Lord? How terrible was the hourwhen He opened the sluices of the firmament that the rain might descend in torrents and bade the fountains of the great deeprise to meet the descending floods! How dreadful were the 40 days wherein the floods above the firmament, in tumultuous mirth,leaped downward to embrace their brethren of the ocean till the whole earth was covered with one all-devouring deluge andsea monsters whelped and stabled in the palaces of kings! That was the decree of Justice and the day of vengeance of our God.
Such days have been at other times, as, for instance, when He poured Hell out of Heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah! When He overthrewPharaoh and all his host in the midst of the Red Sea. And when His sword stayed not from blood till Hivite and Perizzite andall the Canaanites fell before the hand of Joshua because the iniquity of the people was full and the hour of execution hadarrived. Those were the "dies irae," and there is another far more terrible yet to come, when Heaven and earth shall fleeaway before the face of Him that shall sit upon the Great White Throne. Blessed be God, we are not, at this time, living underthe rod of vengeance, but our text tells us that "now is the day of salvation"!
When it is a day of vengeance, the Lord does His strange but necessary work thoroughly, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine;I will repay, says the Lord." The Prophet said of Him, "The Lord revenges and is furious." Well did Miriam sing, "The Lordis a man of war, Jehovah is His name." But when He puts on the silken robes of mercy and proclaims with a silver trumpet theday of salvation, "blessed are the people that know the joyful sound." I trust that we are among that happy company and haveheard with the inner ear the note of Divine Grace! At any rate, the Lord has set a period of salvation, even from the Sacrificeof our Lord Jesus to this present hour. The day of salvation has not been suspended-it lasts on and it shall last till theLord shall descend from Heaven with a shout-then shall come the judgment and strict Justice shall sit upon the throne.
The Apostle, when he was writing this very wonderful sentence, dreaded lest men should not avail themselves of its great Truth.Read the first verse of the chapter-"We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you, also, that you receive not the Graceof God in vain." The day of salvation is a great favor from God and it would be a fearful thing if we should live in it andmiss its privilege! Dear Hearers, it is only of Divine favor that we enjoy this day of amnesty, oblivion and forgiveness and,therefore, we beseech you not to let its golden hours pass over you in vain! This is the great anxiety of my heart at thistime in addressing you. I have great fear lest some of you should live in the day of salvation and yet die without being saved!
I fear some of you should live in the midst of light with blinded eyes, should dwell with deaf ears where the silver trumpetsounds and so the Kingdom of God should come very near to you and yet you should not enter it. It will be sad, indeed, ifyou should see strangers from afar brought into the Kingdom of Heaven and yourselves, who live on its borders, should be utterlythrust out! May the Holy Spirit bless the words which shall now be spoken so that the evil which we fear may not come uponyou, but that you may receive this Grace or favor of God to your eternal good! That you may not receive this Grace in vainI shall try, first, to show the grand reason for this day of salvation. Secondly, I shall speak of the glorious day itself.And thirdly, for a minute or two I shall dwell upon the dark shade which may close that day if the Spirit does not lead usinto salvation.
I. First, then, THE GRAND REASON FOR THIS DAY-"Now is the day of salvation." Will you kindly read the context in order tounderstand why there is a present day of salvation? I will take you a little away from the text to the 20th verse of the precedingchapter and ask you to bear in mind that the division into chapters is purely arbitrary and we need take no notice of it whatever.The Apostle says, "Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ'sstead, be you reconciled to God. For He has made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousnessof God in Him."
Here, then, is the secret of the whole matter. This day is the day of salvation because, "He has made Him, who knew no sin,to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." There could have been no day of salvation if a Saviorhad not appeared! And if that Savior had not become our Substitute and Surety, salvation would have been denied us by thestern voice of Justice. But now Christ has come into the world and died for sin-and because He has finished all the workswhich He undertook, the Lord our God proclaims for us the day of salvation. Notice that, according to the context, this isthe day of salvation because we may now be reconciled to God.
"We pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God." The Lord would not set His ministers to pray men to be reconciledto Him if peace were out of the question. He would not send us upon an impossible errand! God is already reconciled to everysinner who has an interest in the blood of Jesus. Towards those the Lord is full of peace. Nothing is needed to reconcileGod to the believing man. The great thing that is required is to bring men to believe in Jesus Christ that they may be reconciledto God! The feud between you and God, poor prodigal child, need not be continued! You
quarreled with your Father and you went into the far country. And now you have spent your substance, but your Father sendsyou this message, "Be reconciled. Come home, a loving reception awaits you. Return at once."
Because Jesus has died, the partition wall is broken down-the great gulf between a holy God and unholy man is bridged by theatoning blood! You may be reconciled. There is no reason why the terrible quarrel should continue and, therefore, becausereconciliation is possible, it is a day of salvation! As long as a man remains an enemy to God he cannot, of course, be saved,for enmity to God is the very essence of his ruin and the sting of his condemnation. While a man lives in enmity to God heis and must be under the power of an evil spirit which curses him! Therefore reconciliation to God is absolutely necessaryto the enjoyment of salvation. I repeat, because reconciliation is possible, this day of salvation has come!
Next, lest anyone should exclaim, "But how is it and why is it that so great a gift is conferred? I cannot understand it andtherefore I am plunged in doubt"-the plain statement of the 21st verse explains it all-"He has made Him, who knew no sin,to be sin for us." Here is the grand doctrine of Substitution! Oh Soul, if you believe in Christ Jesus you shall be savedbecause He stood in your place! He took your sin and the Lord made Him to be sin on your account and exacted at His hand satisfactionfor your iniquity! He bruised Him and put Him to grief so that He was made a curse for us and bore in our place the wrathof Heaven. Now, therefore, the righteous God will not, cannot, need to vindicate His Law a second time! If He has made theLord Jesus to be sin for us, then He need not visit us for sin nor punish the same offense a second time. No, it would beinjustice to lay sin once upon the Substitute and afterwards upon the sinner-therefore well may there be a day of salvationproclaimed since Christ has finished transgression and made an end of sin!
To help us to understand Mercy's great expedient, still better, the Holy Spirit tells us that the Divine design in ChristJesus is to make us the "righteousness of God" in Christ. Wonderful expression! I shall not attempt to enter into its fullness,but I will content myself with saying that the two expressions of the verse set forth the imputation of sin to Christ andof righteousness to us-the substitution of Christ in our place and the standing of our souls in Christ's place-in terms soforcible that he must be determined not to believe the doctrine who does not see it in the words before us.
Our Lord is not merely made a Sin Offering, but He is made SIN-and we are not merely made righteous in Christ, but we aremade RIGHTEOUSNESS, itself-yes, and the righteousness of God, too-which is the very highest conceivable righteousness! I neverwish to strain expressions, nor push them one inch beyond their proper meaning, but I think it is difficult to do here, sincethe language is so very forcible and explicit. If the doctrine which I have explained were intended to be taught, I do notsee how it could be more clearly stated.
Now, Soul, if you desire salvation, see how God can give it to you! As He takes your sin and lays it upon Christ, so He takesChrist's righteousness and lays it upon you! He looks at you as if you were as righteous as His Son who represents you! Hetreats you as if you had been obedient to all His Laws. He looks upon the model Man, Christ Jesus, the perfect humanity, andHe sees in Christ all His people and treats them accordingly. He looks upon His people as if they, themselves, had magnifiedthe Law and made it honorable by a sinless life. Wondrous doctrine, this, and he that believes it shall find rest in his soul!And it is because of it that we are authorized to come forth this day and declare the day of salvation! The guilt of the believingsinner is put away, for Christ has carried it-and now righteousness belongs to the sinner, for God imputes it to him withoutworks-therefore this is the day of salvation!
Still keeping to the context and illustrating the grand reason for the day of salvation in another way-will you kindly readthe verse, itself, which contains our text? " 'For He says, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvationhave I helped you.' Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation." It is a quotation! Paul says,"He says." Where does God say that? We have no difficulty in discovering-it is in the 49th of Isaiah, which passage shouldbe carefully read by you and heartily pondered. I wish to call your special attention to it as opening up the glorious reasonfor the famous proclamation of which we are preaching.
That chapter, from the 6th to the 12th verse eminently applies to the Messiah, that is, to our Lord Jesus Christ. Of whomelse could the Prophet have spoken as in the 7th verse, "Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, toHim whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors, to the Servant of rulers"? Who is this but our Lord as He stood beforeHerod and Pilate? To this very day He is abhorred of the Jews-they mention Him ordinarily by the
name of, "the Crucified," and to them that term is the embodiment of the utmost scorn! We glory in that word, but to themit is the essence of contempt. "He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief."
We are sure that Isaiah spoke concerning Him, the Crucified, whom we adore1 And our next enquiry is, what did he say of Him?Read the 5th and 6th verses: "And now, says the Lord who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob again toHim, though Israel is not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and My God shall be My strength. AndHe said, It is a light thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ofIsrael: I will also give You for a light to the Gentiles, that You may be My salvation unto the ends of the earth."
Beloved, are you not glad to hear these words? If you are not curious to hear me, but eager to hear my Master's Truth of God,your heart will be rejoiced at this blessed news-that Christ has come to be the salvation of the Gentiles! We were out inthe cold. We were the younger branch of the family and the heir despised us! We had not yet come into our portion-we wereleft in darkness and in sin! But now our turn has come and we are favored. From the day when Jesus said, "Go you into allthe world and preach the Gospel to every creature," our privileges began! From the day when Paul said, "Seeing you put itfrom you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles," ours has been a day of favor andthe portion which once belonged only to the seed of Abraham we have obtained! Only we have obtained it to a far larger extentand we see more clearly its deep spiritual meaning and wealth of blessing!
What was veiled under types and shadows is evidently set forth before our eyes. Beloved, tell it all over the world that todaysalvation has come to the Gentiles and especially to the dwellers in the islands! How remarkable it is that islands are sooften alluded to in the Scriptures and that they receive the Gospel so much more readily than any other parts of the world.As for the ends of the earth, surely we are intended by that term, for our forefathers dwelt where Phoenicians made distantand dangerous journeys to find tin and other metals-and our land was thought to be upon creation's verge, inhabited by a barbarouspeople of uncouth tongue and yet to us, even to us, has the Gospel come, and now-
"The British islands are the Lord's, Here Abraham's God is known
While powers and princes, shields and swords, Submit before His Throne."
Jehovah, the God of the whole earth is our God at this day! In this let us exult, for it proves that to the Gentiles the dayof salvation has come!
Further, Isaiah goes on to say in the 8th verse, "Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard You." Mark this well.God saves us because He heard the Lord Jesus! There is the secret of all the answers of Divine Grace to the prayers of penitents!He says, "I have heard You in an accepted time: behold, now is the day of salvation." In the lonely watches of the night ourgreat Intercessor prayed for His own. He lived a life of supplication and He prayed not in vain, for He once said to the Father,"I know that You hear Me always," and indeed it was always so. His prayers may be said to have reached their highest pointwhen He offered the marvelous intercession recorded in John 17 and followed it up by His strong cries and tears in the Garden when He poured out His soul in agony, where, while prostrateamong the olives He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground.
Mysterious was that bloody sweat! Oh you precious drops, you fell not by chance! What did you write on the soil of Gethsemanein crimson hieroglyphs? You wrote upon the earth the reversal of the curse which fell upon the ground and the ending of theday of wrath in the day of salvation! That sacred sweat bedewed a garden which henceforth yields the oil of joy, by whichBelievers may anoint their faces with gladness! Jesus was heard in that He feared and, therefore, to the chief of sinnersit is a Gospel of good cheer! "In an acceptable time have I heard You." Is it not wonderful that Jesus made intercession fortransgressors in the Garden who as yet had not learned to pray for themselves?
I trust that among those who hear me there are persons unconverted as yet who, nevertheless, are special objects of the Redeemer'sintercession and who shall find salvation because their great Substitute was heard on their account. We were all heard whenour Great High Priest was heard! The Father's answer to Him was an answer of peace to all His people. It is added, "In theday of salvation have I helped You." Help came to the Man, Christ Jesus, in His hour of agony. The Father helped Him and thereappeared unto Him an angel strengthening Him. How must that angel have
marveled as he saw the face of the Incarnate God red with a sweat of blood! The whole scene is beyond conception-the prostrateSavior in agonizing pangs utters strong cries and is helped of His God-
"His earnest prayer, His deepening groans,
Were heard before angelic thrones!
Amazement wrapped the sky-
'Go, strengthen Christ!' The Father said!
The astonished seraph bowed his head,
And left the realms on high."
The angel came to strengthen our Champion, not to join in the fight. None could share the conflict. Jesus must tread the winepressalone. But the angel was empowered to communicate strength to the Manhood of Christ and he did so. Then it was that beinghelped in His hour of need, our Master took the appointed cup full of woe and drank it to its utmost dregs and said, "It isfinished!" 'Twas then that by one dreadful draught He pledged the Justice of God and gave this day of salvation to the sonsof men! You see, then, that our present day of privilege has come to us through the Lord's hearing and helping our Daysmanand Redeemer.
But, Beloved, salvation comes to us, also, because according to the 8th verse it is written, "I will preserve You, and giveYou for a Covenant of the people, to establish the earth." Jesus is now God's Covenant with man and that Covenant is one ofpeace and favor. The Lord says to each believing man, "Your sins will I remember no more. A new heart also will I give you,and a right spirit will I put within you. You shall be Mine. I will sanctify you and glorify you with My Son. Behold, in tokenof My faithfulness I have given My Son to be the Seal, the Surety, and the sum of My Covenant. Behold, I have given Him fora Covenant to the people, a Leader and Commander for the people." Brothers and Sisters, you are not under the Covenant ofMoses today-you are under the Covenant of Jesus! You are not under Law, but under Grace! And because of this, today is theday of salvation!
I cannot at this time enlarge upon the other blessed verses which make up the 49th of Isaiah, but let me say it is becauseChrist is now anointed to give liberty to all captives and say to them, "Go forth." It is because He brings the darkened onesout of death-shade and says, "show yourselves," that, therefore, this is a day of salvation. And, furthermore, when we aredelivered from bondage and darkness, then, because Christ is a Shepherd and leads His flock. And because He makes them tofeed in the ways and finds pasture for them in high places. Because He protects them from hunger and thirst and gives themsprings of water to drink of-it is because of all this that now is the day of salvation!
I will not further enlarge, but only say as I now preach the day of salvation, as I have tried to do with the utmost boldnessand fullness, if any of you enquire, "How is it? How is it? Why is Grace so free at this day?" I shall tell you that the causeis quite as marvelous as the fact-that the day of salvation is as surprising as salvation itself-and that Jesus Christ, theSon of God, who has done and is doing it all, is the most wonderful of all! In His eyes I see the stars which can shine awaythe midnight of despair! In His hands I see the majestic might which can break the fetters of Satanic bondage! And in Hisface I see the sacred guidance which shall bring the sacramental host of His elect safely Home, in unbroken ranks, to theland of the tearless eyes!
II. Now, kindly leave Isaiah and turn back to the text. Under the second head we have to speak upon THE GLORIOUS DAY ITSELF,for the day of salvation is rich with blessing. First, I would commend that day because of its fourfold excellence. Read againthe verse in which our text stands. Although the words must be regarded as spoken, in the first place, to our Lord, the bestexpositors say that they are also addressed to His Church in Him. The word came to Him as the Head and Representative of Hispeople and so to His chosen as one with Him.
So then, Beloved, in this day of salvation our prayer will be heard-"I have heard You in a time accepted." Dear Hearer, ifyou will sincerely pray in the name of Jesus, you will be heard! Are you very guilty? Ask for mercy and you will be heard."I have heard You in an accepted time." Have you condemned yourself? Have you written your own death warrant? Are you boweddown with a sense of guilt? Pray and pray, and pray again! Oh, Brothers and Sisters, pray, I beseech you! If you are betweenthe jaws of Hell, still pray, for now is the day of salvation-and it is a day in which he that asks, receives, he that seeks,finds and to him that knocks it shall be opened!
Secondly, we are further told that this day help will be given. What does it say? "In the day of salvation have I helped You."Are you helpless, are you hopeless? This is a day in which God will come to your relief! Do you need strength to break thechains of habit? Do you need power, even, to repent? Do you need help to feel your helplessness? Do you need
anything and everything? "Behold," He says, "in the day of salvation have I helped You." He will help you, only ask Him, onlytrust Him. When there was a great straitness of business in the Manchester district during the American war, and many wereout of work and starving, many instances occurred in which persons were found near to death's door, "clamming" as they calledit, or dying of starvation.
When they were kindly visited and asked why they did not apply for relief, they answered that they could not ask. Britishindependence, as we call it. And a very noble spirit it is within proper bounds! It was strong within them and many a mansaid, "I could not bring myself to ask." I admire that spirit between man and man, but I do not admire it when it touchesthe matter of the soul and lies between a poor worthless sinner and the great and ever-blessed God! Do not be proud and say,"I cannot bring myself to ask," for behold, your prayer will be answered now and whatever help you require will be freelygiven you! Does not that one fact show that we live in the day of salvation?
And then it is added, "Behold, now is the accepted time," so that the third blessing is that coming sinners will be accepted.If you will come to God, He will not reject you, whoever you may be! However poor your repentance and weak your faith, itis a gracious time and the Lord will freely accept your sincere desires for His Son's sake. Does not this fact encourage youto come? The door of Mercy is open and no man can shut it! The Lord Jesus has never yet rejected a coming sinner and He neverwill, for it is written, "Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out." It is a season of acceptance, not of rejection-comeand partake in the blessing!
And then the fourth excellence is that it is a time of salvation, of which we will speak at greater length. You need saving?Be glad, then, that it is salvation's own day. All that can be needed to secure the salvation of a sinner has been fully preparedby Christ and is now freely presented in the preaching of the Word of God to every soul that is willing to receive it. Jesuswas born to save! He died to save! And He lives to save! Now, let me point out that this ought to be peculiarly pleasant newsto those who are heavily laden with guilt. I have known the day when, if I had heard such words as these I try to speak, Ithink I should have leaped at them at once as a hungry dog does at a bone!
Sinners, this is the day of salvation, not a day of justice! Come and confess your sin-you shall not be accused, condemnedand punished-but freely forgiven! It is a day in which you may mourn to think you have sinned, but need not despair nor indulgea single unbelieving thought, for that would be unsuitable to the time which is a day of good tidings. From now till the daywhen you shall pass out of this mortal state it is one long and blessed day of Divine Grace! There was a week of creationand the Lord God performed great wonders of creating power and put not forth His left hand to destroy-so now there is a dayof salvation and all around, angels of love are hovering, still singing-"Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, goodwilltowards men."
God is saving all that come to Him by Jesus Christ. Everything proclaims salvation! The air is full of gentle voices. In fact,your very existence, continued by long-suffering, is a message of Grace. Your being found in a house of prayer this morninghas an eye towards your being saved! Your eager attention gives me hope it shall be so. Shall it not be accomplished now byyour believing in Jesus? The fountain to wash your guilt away is filled! The "best robe" to cover you is prepared! The fingerring of everlasting love is ready to be put on your finger and the shoes of gladness and of peace are waiting you. Oh, poorSoul, today I have nothing to preach but salvation-salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ! "Go you into all the worldand preach the Gospel," said our Lord Jesus. And that Gospel is salvation, free salvation to the sons of men!
The Truth of our text should also be very encouraging to those who are fighting against inward sin. I know some who can trustChrist for pardon, but their chief difficulty is how they can be made holy. I greatly delight in seekers in whom this is themain thought-not so much to escape punishment as to avoid future sin. Well, if you are fighting against evil in the name ofJesus Christ, do not be discouraged-you will master it because it is the day of salvation and it is written, "They shall callHis name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." Do I address a drunk? Has the intoxicating cup a strange fascinationfor you and have you gone back to drinking, after having often loathed yourself for it?
You need not be a slave to it any longer, for this is the day of salvation from that sin! By faith in Christ you shall bedelivered out of that deadly snare! Or have you been tempted to some other gross iniquity which holds you spellbound? Doesa certain vice fix its serpent eyes upon you and enchant you till you can no longer restrain yourself? Rejoice, then, forthis is the day of salvation from sin! Neither saint nor sinner need sit down under the power of any sin, for in Christ
Jesus' name we can overcome the power of evil. Do not excuse yourselves by talking of besetting sins-you must thrust awayall sin-you must overcome temptation, for if any sin shall totally vanquish you, you will be lost forever since it is onlyto "him that overcomes" that the crown is given.
How, then, can you overcome? Why, only by the power of Christ, who bids us this day lay hold upon salvation from sin! Cometo Him and trust Him-and He will destroy the works of the devil within you. While this is very encouraging to penitents andto those who are fighting with sin, it should be equally cheering to tried Believers. Beloved, are you in deep trouble justnow? Is your spirit overwhelmed within you? Be of good cheer, for this is the day of salvation! It is not a time for saintsto die in-it is not a day in which the enemy shall triumph over Believers-it is for us the day of salvation! Be glad, then,O you who are assailed by the enemy. Though your foe may put his foot upon your neck, yet he cannot crush your life out, butyou may boldly cry, "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy: when I fall, I shall arise again!" It is the day in which Believersmust be saved!
Did not Christian, in "Pilgrim's Progress," find it so from the very day in which he left the City of Destruction to the timewhen he passed through the river and said, "I feel the bottom, and it is good"? He had days of conflict, days of wearinessand days of deep distress of mind-but all along he was saved-saved from the lions, saved from Giant Despair, from the flatterer'snet and saved from the last river with its chill floods. We also live in the day of salvation. "Ah," said a Popish bishoponce to one of our martyrs, "You are a heretic and you will be damned." "My lord," said the heroic man, "there I am at a passwith you. I may be burned, but I never shall be damned." "Why so?" said his adversary. The man replied by quoting that passagein the old translation, "There is therefore now no damnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the fleshbut after the Spirit."
Who shall condemn those for whom Christ has died? It is the day of salvation, not of accusation! It is the day of victory,not of defeat, not of captivity, much less the day of destruction to the true people of God! Let us, then, as is most right,hang out the streamers of joy and with glad music set our souls in fit trim to keep the feast of salvation! And do you notthink this Truth of God should encourage all who are at work to win souls for Jesus? Brothers, if I had my pick of days, Ishould like to go forth and preach the Gospel when it was a day of salvation, wouldn't you? One likes to go down the riverwith the tide-and if you can have a fair wind, as well, it is grand sailing! But surely, now, whenever you seek souls youhave wind and tide with you, for it is the day of salvation! God is saving men! It is His daily business and His crowningglory and He has set His heart on it!
Just as I remarked that Ahasuerus ordained a season of feasting and banqueted the people and there is no doubt that they didfeast at a royal rate, so when the infinite Jehovah proclaims a day of salvation the people shall be saved and there shallbe no question about it! Thousands upon thousands of erring ones shall repent and believe and so shall be saved to the gloryof His Grace. Do not tell me that London is very wicked-I know it is. But the Lord has many people in this city and He willredeem them from all iniquity. Our rural population may also be, in many places, perishing in gross darkness, but "the Lordknows them that are His." He has jewels in yonder cottages and He will make them to be His own. His chosen are hidden awayin the dark mines of iniquity, but He will find out His gold and purify it. His everlasting purpose shall not fail and Hisinfinite pity shall not be stopped!
Glory be to His blessed name! He will accomplish all His purposes, for this is the day of salvation and His people shall becalled to Him by some means, by any means, by every means! They shall be brought up out of the horrible pit, and out of themiry clay. And they shall know that the Lord saves not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit! I think I have worked outthis point sufficiently. "Now is the day of salvation." I wonder whether anybody misunderstands me? Dear Friends, you knowwe commonly call this year, 1878, a year of Divine Grace. We are quite right, for it is so. We say Anno Domini, the year ofour Lord, and so it is-it is Jesus Christ's year!
Any time between the first of January and the last of December in which you seek Him, He will be found of you. Suppose youtry it now? There cannot be a better hour! Here, where many have found Him, consecrate that seat on which you sit. Dear Brothersand Sisters, may the Holy Spirit help you to do so by now saying, "I would be reconciled to You, my God, by the great Mediator.I would accept this salvation which you have freely set before me." I pray you do so!
III. To some of you I have spoken these many years, getting, now, into the 25th year, and shall I speak in vain? Our
last word was to be something about A DARK CLOUD WHICH MAY DARKEN THE CLOSE OF THIS DAY OF
SALVATION. I pray it may not, yet I fear it. My dread is lest you receive this great favor in vain, lest you live in thisday
of salvation and yet are lost. That will be for me a calamity, for I shall lose my labor and more-there will be your mother'stears all lost, your father's prayers all lost-and your Sunday school teacher's earnest instructions all lost and other ministers'frequent invitations all gone for nothing!
May it not be so, for that is unprofitable for you as well as for us. You will have lost all those Sabbaths, all those Biblereadings, all those pricks of conscience. I know some of you are very attentive hearers and yet you have not found Grace inthis day of salvation. Salvation is all round you, yet you have it not! You have wasted golden opportunities. Ah, there willcome a day when you will wish for another Sabbath but it will be denied you! Your last sermon shall have been heard and yourlast warning shall have been received. Do not lose, I pray you, the privileges you enjoy of being born in a Christian land,of having an open Bible and of listening to an earnest ministry! Do not let those who never enjoyed such privileges have,in the eternal world, the advantage over you!
Do not let Sodom and Gomorrah and Tyre and Sidon have to tell you that it is more tolerable for them in Hell than for you!The Lord Jesus assures us that it will be so if you have been hearers of the Gospel and lived in the day of salvation andrefused this Divine Grace. The text says it is a day-and a day comes to an end! These are not words of mine, but the wordsof Scripture. Again, He limits a certain day, saying in David, "Today if you will hear His voice." Do you not see that theday of salvation, though it has lasted 1,800 years and more, is still a day and will surely end? The opportunity of mercywill not last forever-let none deceive you as to that matter! The hope of Divine Grace will end with the day of Divine Grace.Let not the smooth-tongued ministers of the devil who enter the pulpits of Christ now-a-days delude you as to any vain hopethat another day of Grace will come!
I have no such flattering message to speak to you, but I speak as this Book teaches. If you let this day of salvation passand if you glide into another world unsaved, you are lost forever. I know no more, but I know that this Bible so declaresit. "These shall go away into everlasting punishment and the righteous into life eternal." Do not indulge vain dreams! Ifthe Lord speaks of a day, be sure that He has limited the day-and if He declares this to be the day of salvation, you arenot authorized to expect that another such period will ever come. "If He that despised Moses' Law died without mercy undertwo or three witnesses" (listen to that!)-"of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who hastrod under foot the Son of God?"
Oh, yield to the Lord Jesus! Accept His salvation and trust Him at once! I pray you, in Christ's place, be reconciled to God.Amen.