Sermon 2225. A Clarion Call to Saints and Sinners
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, OCTOBER 11, 1891,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, APRIL 2, 1891.
"Arise you, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction."Micah 2:10.
THERE is a miserable tendency in men to cling to things that are seen. Though that which we behold is only temporal and shadowy,lacking any true substance or permanence-though the things round about us can only endure for a little while and then willvanish away-yet we give our hearts to them and are ensnared by their false glitter and glamour. Like the poor birds that lighton birdlime and cannot get away, we are entangled by the things of time and sense, instead of rising, as on eagle wings, toa higher sphere. Forgetting that the soul of man cannot be satisfied with the poor baubles of earth, nor his yearning heartfilled with the fleeting joys of time, we often put away from us the things that are unseen and eternal. One of the most necessarywords for us to hear at such a time is this, "Arise you, and depart; for this is not your rest."
Suppose that the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt and were on the way to Canaan, instead of living in tentsand moving as the fiery cloudy pillar guided them, had taken it into their heads to build houses and cities and temples whereverthey stopped-as if they were to stop in the wilderness forever? Would they not have missed much by such a plan? In the wilderness,not only would all who came out of Egypt have perished, but their children and their children's children would also have foundgraves in the desert, nor ever have seen the goodly land promised to their fathers. On the contrary, as you know, they livedin their canvas cities and when the cloud moved, every tent was struck, and they began the march. When the cloud halted, theyrested under canvas, never knowing how long they would continue in any one place, always expecting that they would be on themove, again, seeing that they had not yet come to the land that flowed with milk and honey. They well knew that in the wildernesswas no abiding place for them, for the sand which was all around them yielded them no meat-and if their food had not droppedfrom above, they would have had no supply from the barren desert. They were strangers and pilgrims with God-and sojourners-aswere their fathers.
Now, our sad tendency is to be building cities, digging out foundations, laying courses of brick and saying, "Here I am goingto rest. I have journeyed long enough and now I have come to a place where I can say, 'Soul, you have much goods laid up formany years. Take your ease-eat, drink and be merry.'" It is a sorry business when the heirs of Heaven wish to dwell in thewilderness and when men who have an inheritance on the other side of Jordan forget the land that God has given them by Covenantand seek to enjoy their portion in this life! We do not wonder that the ungodly do so- they may well make as much as theycan of their little enjoyment here, for, unless they repent of their evil ways, that is all that they will ever have! I donot wonder that such as have their lot in this life should seek after carnal merriment, fleshly pleasures and the giddy dance.What more do they have? It is not astonishing to see the swine greedy at the trough, pushing one another aside as they struggleto get their mash. But when those who have been redeemed with a strong hand and an outstretched arm sink into worldly conformity,worse, because more deadening, than the slavery of Egypt, then, indeed, we see the sad havoc sin can work and mourn becauseof it.
Unawakened men have not a thought above these minor things and yet, if they could for once shake off the spell that has lulledto sleep their immortal spirits and turned them into comrades of the brutes, they would begin to feel that this is not theirrest and would hear a voice saying to them, "Arise you, and depart." Perhaps they would even answer, "I will arise and goto my Father. I will leave the husks with which I gladly would have filled myself, and I will eat of the bread,
whereof in my Father's house there is enough and to spare." But the trumpet call to "arise" is not only needed by prodigalsin the far country! Careless professors who once ran well, but have been hindered, and who now rest content with the world,as if they were to stay here forever, require to be awakened from their slumber. "Awake you that sleep, and arise from thedead, and Christ shall give you light." God means His Church to be a separated people on the earth. Our citizenship is inHeaven, yet too many of us and, perhaps, all of us, at times, fall into the ways of the unregenerate and have fellowship withthe unfruitful works of darkness-even if we, ourselves, do not do them. Because of this slothful and carnal tendency, evenin the best of us, it is continually necessary that the awakening call should come, "Arise you, and depart; for this is notyour rest."
I am going to talk, first, to God's people and sound an alarm for them. Then I shall have a word for awakened sinners andshall also sound the trumpet in their midst.
I. First, I shall view the text as A CLARION NOTE FOR BELIEVERS IN CHRIST. As a soldier hears the bugle in the early morningand starts up ready for the duty of the day, so may every servant of Christ who hears these words, arise girded for service!The soldier, at the sound of the awakening call, must forsake the warmest bed and turn out to take his place in the ranks.With hope of a similar result would I sound the trumpet today. Let the clarion note ring out shrill and clear, "Arise you,and depart."
To begin, I remark that there are occasions when this call comes especially to us. It may be heard in our everyday life abovethe din and bustle, but it is most needed when, perhaps, we are least inclined to listen to it. "Arise you, and depart." Thisnote needs to be sounded in the ears of saints when they begin to be comfortable. When you have been going up the Hill Difficultywith a very heavy pull, you have come to the arbor on the side of the hill which has a seat very hospitably provided by theLord of the Way. There is a table put in front of the seat so that you can sit down and, if so minded, put your arms on thetable and have a good nap. Now, these arbors are built for the refreshment of pilgrims, but they are not meant for them tosleep in! They may sit still and gather strength with which to go on up the hill. They may look back and be grateful thatthey have climbed so far. But they must not go to sleep! If they do, it will happen to them as it did to one Christian ofwhom Mr. Bunyan wrote, who lost his roll of assurance, there, and had to come back and search for it with many tears. If anyof you are very comfortable just now and things are going well with you. If, after a long struggle, the tide has now turnedand you are floating along without needing either oar or sail, I would caution you to beware-
"For more the treacherous calm I dread Than tempests bursting over my head."
Dear child of God, when you begin to be very comfortable, unless you take care to be very grateful and sanctify your prosperity,you will be likely to drift into a sad state. I take down the trumpet and venture to come very close to you and, though itmay seem a rude thing to blow a blast right in your ear, yet I will do it! And this is the sound-"Arise you, and depart; forthis is not your rest." God has given you many blessings, but you will turn them into curses if you make them to be your god.Jonah had a gourd, but when he made a god of his gourd, it was very soon withered! Take heed when all things go well withyou here below, lest you begin to be glued to this world and find your comfort here. It will not do- God will not permit it!If you say, like David, in his prosperity, "I shall never be moved. Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to standstrong," you may soon have to add like he, "You did hide Your face, and I was troubled."
This note, also, is very necessary in the ears of Christian people when they begin to fraternize with the world. Nothing butevil can come of such association, for, "what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial?"But you will say, "We have had some nice company lately. We have invited to our house some very decent people. It is truethat we had no family prayer that night-we could not bring out the Bible and read a chapter before them, for we did not knowif they would like it. But, in spite of that, they were a nice sort of people. We are going to their house another night-wedo not quite know how they will propose to spend the evening, but we shall have to put up with their way of doing things because,you see, if you are in the world, you must do as the world does."
Now, Friends, I shall, without asking your leave, blow my trumpet on both sides of your head! And I shall give a very loudblast, too, as my friend, Mr. Manton Smith, sometimes does when he uses his silver cornet. "Arise you, and depart; for thisis not your rest: because it is polluted!" Beware when the world loves you, lest that which attracts them towards you is somethingthat ought not to be there! Beware when men of the world are very fond of your society, for
then surely you must have got out of touch with your Master, who says, "If you were of the world, the world would love hisown: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." It is well,if consistent with righteousness, to have everybody's love, but when saints begin to be the admiration of the ungodly, dependupon it, there is something about them that God does not admire-there is an unhallowed conformity that is a signal of danger!
When the world patronizes the Church, the Church will need tenfold Grace to maintain her spirituality, just as on an oceansteamer any speed beyond a certain limit is only attained by an expenditure of power altogether out of proportion to the increaseof the distance traveled. "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!" Such praise is not for good soldiers of JesusChrist! If the enemy begins to love one of the king's generals, the king may half suspect that his general is turning traitor.God save us from such treachery! "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world,the love of the Father is not in him." So again I sound the trumpet-"Arise you, and depart; for this is not your rest."
Perhaps there are some who are neither beginning to be comfortable, nor to fraternize with the world, but to whom this trumpetnote will still come with special emphasis, for the Lord's people need this call when they dream of long life on earth. Youmay, perhaps, have lived a long time, now, without any sickness or illness. You are certainly getting a little gray, yourhair tells of the passing of years. Still, your father lived to a good old age. So did your grandfather and you reckon thatyou, also, will live for a long time to come. You have heard, this last week, perhaps, of the deaths of several people whowere younger than you, but you do not reckon upon dying. Far from it-you have not even made your will yet, nor have you anythingin order for your departure. A long stretch of health has a tendency to make us think that we are immortal. But though wemay imagine this to be the case, the worms do not think so! The wood which will make your coffin may already be sawn and thelinen which will be your shroud may be all ready. There is a spot of land where you must lie unless the Lord should suddenlycome to His Temple. Here, certainly, we have no continuing city and, therefore, we ought not to make this world our rest.
Dear Friends who have been here one Sabbath have been called away before the next came round-and some who have seemed to bebest in health have been the very persons who have gone first. Therefore, my Soul, stand on tiptoe-be not flat-footed as somebeasts are-have your wings always ready for flight so that if your Lord should come at cockcrow, or at daybreak, or at midnight,you shall be equally ready, at His bidding, to be up and away! I sound for myself and for my beloved friends, this clarionnote-"Boot and saddle, up and prepare! Arise you, and depart." To whom that note may come with greatest point I cannot tell,for I am no Prophet, but let it come to us all. Let none of us begin to strike root here below, for this is not our rest!
Having thus sounded this note, I make a second remark. There is an argument by which this call is greatly strengthened. Thebugle note "Arise you, and depart," is made doubly shrill by the statement that follows, "This is not your rest." You see,that is given as a reason for our action. The word, "for," which joins these two clauses of the text, is being used in thesense of, "because." At times this argument appeals to us with special force. Of this reason and these seasons let me nowspeak.
Remember, child of God, that you have a rest of another sort. "This is not your rest." "There remains, therefore, a rest forthe people of God." That happy home, that flourishing business is not to be your abiding place. You would not like the change,I am sure, if the best portion here below might be yours forever instead of your dwelling place up above-
"Oh, the delights, the heavenly joys, The glories of the place Where Jesus sheds the brightest beams Of His o verflo wingGrace."
What must it be to be there, where saints and angels find a Heaven in beholding the face of the Lord of Glory and paying theirhumble adoration before Him! O Sirs, if we had a palace here, below, and parks and gardens reaching too far for a man to travelthrough them in a day-yes, if we had all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them-we would not even, then, say, "Thisis our rest," nor consent to exchange Heaven for such things as these! What is there that we could possess on this round globe,with all its treasures, at all comparable with the eternal felicity, the rivers of pleas-
ure that are at God's right hand forevermore? As you attempt to make the comparison, you will, each one of you, say, "I mustnot and I cannot cleave to these poor things below, for my rest is not here. Thank God that it is not here!"
I think you will hear this call very distinctly when troubles come. When a man begins to have pain of body. When the one whois dearer to him than his life, sickens before him and is carried to the grave. When everything goes amiss with him in businessand daily life, he does not, then, so much need my trumpet, for he already has heard the call sounding very loudly and thereare many things saying to him, "This is not your rest." He knows that it is not! He is so troubled that he begins to let looseof all earthly things. He is like one at sea, tossed up and down with the billows-wave upon wave comes rolling over him andhe says, "Now I clearly see that this is not my rest." Come, then, tried child of God, at this moment! Let this Word of Godsound as sweet music to you rather than as a disturbing trumpet blast. Let it be as a heart-note that can lull you to peace."This is not your rest." Do not wonder, therefore, if you find thorns and thistles growing here-your paradise lies in anotherland where no thorn or trial shall be brought forth to trouble and annoy you-
"There everlasting spring abides And never-withering flowers. Death, like a narrow sea, divides
This heavenly land from ours."
The troubles of this life cause us to hasten forward to cross that Jordan and the call is thus all the more powerful. "Ariseyou, and depart; for this is not your rest."
We hear this same note when success is enjoyed. I think that the time in which I have been most humbled before God and inwhich I have been lowest in spirit, is the time when mercies have been multiplied and I have met with some great success.Though it seems very strange, I look back upon the hours which have immediately followed some great triumph in the serviceof my Lord as the saddest which I have spent. I could fight my Lord's battles with both hands, but when the day was won, thosesame hands seemed nerveless. When this House of Prayer was being built, I was able to face every difficulty, as it arose,full of earnestness, zeal and with unshaken confidence! But when the place was opened and the work completed, I felt likeElijah who was faint after he had done the Master's service with the priests of Baal.
Ah, dear Friends, God has only to give you what you want to make you feel the emptiness of it! If you are His child, the moreyou have the less you will see in it. The child of God who has possessions in this life, is just the man who says, "Vanityof vanities; all is vanity!" When you look at that which has been bestowed, you say, "Why was I so anxious to get this? Ithank God for it, as His gift, but there is nothing in it apart from His giving it to me! Toil and trouble and care come withincrease of goods. This, this is not my rest." If any young man here thinks that if he gets on in business and reaches a pointwhen he can retire upon a competence, he will then have reached his rest, he is very greatly mistaken! If he is a child ofGod and if he gets all that his heart wishes for, he will find that there is nothing satisfying in it whatever. There is,in God, an all-sufficiency, but in all the things of this life, apart from the Grace of God, there is no solid satisfactionor rest!
Beloved, I am sure that we feel that this is not our rest when we have gracious seasons. Do we not sometimes sit in this Houseof Prayer and feel as if we would like to sit here forever? Last Sunday morning, when I had done preaching, Brother Stottsaid that he did not want to go. He said that his willing soul would stay in such a frame as this and I suspect that therewere a great many more in the congregation who, like the preacher, felt the same! A Brother was describing to me the effectof a certain amusement upon him-a very proper amusement in which there was no wrong what-ever-but he said, "Well, you know,I felt like a man who had gone out of a warm house into the cold. There was nothing in it for me, though I saw others verymuch enjoying it. But I have been used to better things than that and I cannot get on with it." I believe that such is theexperience of all God's people who delight themselves in Him, with reference to the pleasures of the worldly.
You will generally notice that when the Believer gets near to God, tastes the unseen joys and eats the bread that was madein Heaven, all the feasts of earth, all its amusements and all its glories seem very flat, stale and unprofitable! It is likedrinking ditch water after having slaked your thirst from the cool brooks that come from the snows of Lebanon! After havinglaid our heads on Jesus' bosom, we feel, with regard to the world, "No, this is not our rest." We have laid hold on somethingbetter, more substantial, more satisfying and enduring-and when we come to the best the world can give, we, somehow, turnour backs upon it and cry-"This is not our rest."
Surely we feel this strongly and hear very clearly the clarion note, "Arise you, and depart," when our many friends are takenHome. I can scarcely look upon any part of the Tabernacle without saying to myself, "Such a friend used to sit there, andsuch a friend there, and here, behind me, certain of my kind and good Elders and Deacons used to sit." I cannot look roundwithout missing many. When you got well on in years, you will find that your best friends are on the other side of the riverand that some of the dearest you have had are gone before you. When you think of it, you say to yourself, "I, too, must ariseand depart; for this is not my rest." I have heard that sailors, when they leave England, drink to the health of those theyleave behind them till they get a certain distance. And within so many weeks of the port to which they are sailing they changethe toast and drink to the health of those that are before them, whom they hope soon to see. It might be better for the sailorsand none the worse for their friends if they grasped the idea that such drinking tends to the health of neither, but suchI understand is their custom and, undoubtedly there is such a change of outlook in the Christian life. I have nearly reachedthat state in which I am thinking more of those before me than of those behind me or with me! We are looking forward to thegrand reunion when those who went before us shall again appear and we shall, with them, be welcomed by our Lord into everlastinghabitations! With such anticipations we can rejoice to hear the bugle sound again and again, "Arise you, and depart; for thisis not your rest."
In the third place, notice that there is a fact by which this call is further enforced. In the text there is another expressionwhich puts confidence into this bugle note and gives us a new reason for continuing our pilgrim march. The reasons which existin ourselves for answering the trumpet call are not the only ones-others may be found all around us-and I ask your attentionto this for a moment. "This is not your rest: because it is polluted." You cannot go out into the world without feeling thatit is polluted-therefore heed well the Word of God which comes to you, "Arise you and depart."
The call receives new strength by the pollution which is around us. Where do you live? You are a very happy man if you livein a part of London which is not defiled. Can you go down any of our streets without hearing conversation that makes you feelthat the place is polluted? This region, indeed, I may say with deep sorrow, is polluted! And there are still lower depths.The newspapers bear daily testimony to the awful extent the pollution has reached. And the terrible poison seems to be continuallyspreading. Do you not feel, if you know anything of the Grace of God, that you cannot forever live in the midst of such evil?Even Lot, among the people of Sodom, "dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to daywith their unlawful deeds." To him, one day, there came, by angelic messengers, the call to arise and depart! In his heartof hearts he must have been glad to get away! We, too, because of the pollution that surrounds us, should learn that thisis not our rest.
But what shall I say of the way in which the call is enforced by the pollution which comes home to us, even the defilementof our own house, of our own business and of our own daily experience? I am sure that if you look well into it, you will seesin in even your holy things! And if there is sin in your holy things, certainly there will be much that grieves God and shouldgrieve you in your ordinary daily life. Within your domestic circle you may have those that make you feel, "This is not yourrest: because it is polluted." You have those whom you love, for whom you pray with deep anxiety, who make you often realizethat your relationships in life are both strained and stained. How many a godly man has to say with David, "Although my houseis not so with God; yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure"! Yes, this is not ourrest-the evil comes into such close contact with us that we long to be away from it all! We seek to arise and depart fromthe pollution which seems to cling to us like a wet garment. Thus the call is greatly enforced.
It becomes more forcible because of the holiness for which we sigh. Look at your own heart. Examine your own thoughts, yourown words and even those actions which are right in motive. How often pride comes in! You say to yourselves, "I did that verywell, indeed," and then the good deed becomes polluted, for you trust in yourself and distrust God. And the little self-confidence,or the little lack of faith in God will soon pollute that which you bring to the Lord. Oh, no, we can never rest till we gotwhere there is no sin!-
"Then shall I see, hear and know All I desired or wished below,"
but we shall never be content until we get up where Satan cannot tempt and where corruption will be done with forever-
"Far from a world of grief and sin! With God eternally shut in!"
Blow the bugle again! Ring out the note with clarion clearness-"Arise you, and depart; for this is not your rest; becauseit is polluted."
In the fourth place, we must not forgot that there is a danger by which this call is rendered loudest. There is one more notethat gives new intensity to it, when it is added, "Because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction."Upon this I will say to the children of God that the things of this world are our destruction. There is nothing here thathelps us on our way to God. It is a wilderness at the very best-
"Pricking thorns through all the ground,
And mortal poisons grow.
And all the rivers that are found
With dangerous waters flow."
God keeps His own and preserves them to the end, but they get nothing out of this world save the discipline of avoiding it.Vain world! It is no friend to Grace! It does not help us on to God. Were it not for Grace, it would be our destruction!
Look at the temptations around you. Are you ever forced to cry, "Good Lord, help me"? Remember Bunyan's pilgrim, Mr. Stand-Fast,when Madame Bubble encountered him? It was on the Enchanted Ground that she met him and offered him her purse and all mannerof carnal delights. What did poor Stand-Fast do? In an agony he fell down and prayed! Because he was poor, he was temptedby her purse and his heart began to go after vanity-what could he do but kneel down and pray? Ah, this is not your rest! Itis a place for wrestling rather than for resting! A place for prayer, not for sleep! It is not your rest, for it is pollutedand, "because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction," unless the Grace of God shall prevent it!Does not this consideration make the call become very loud?
Have you not felt the deadening influence of the world? Can you busy people be up and down the city, or in your shops allday, without feeling that these things tend to harden you? Grace comes in and raises you above it, but the thing, itself,and the care and the thought that you are obliged to give to it have a tendency to make you sink instead of rise. How gratefulyou ought to be for your Sabbaths! And how thankful you should be for this little sanctuary in the middle of the week, thisappointed evening when you can steal away and shake the earth off your feet and brush the dust from your clothes and go backto your toil refreshed and strengthened! God grant us Grace to live above the world! The world, itself, will not help us-itwill be our destruction if we do not arise and join the company who "Ask the way to Zion with their faces toward it, saying,Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten." Thus the call waxes longand loud.
But it becomes loudest of all when we have to always mourn the fatal effect of worldliness in others. When I look over theChurch Book, sometimes I cannot help shedding tears. There is the name of a Brother who used to pray so sweet-ly-where hashe gone? There is the name of a Sister who used to be one of the most earnest followers of Christ-where is she now? I shouldhardly like to know where they are and yet they did once seem to run well. I remember a Brother who fell into gross sin, ofwhom I never heard any more, and one said, "If that man is not a child of God, I am not one, myself." I could not help saying,"Hush, hush! Do not talk of staking your soul against any other man's. You know but little about yourself and you do not knowanything about him."
I do not like to hear such a thing said and yet I have known some of whom I could almost have said the same! We have thought,"He must be a child of God" but, after all, the man has turned aside to crooked ways and proved that he never had the Graceof God in his heart. Ah, dear Friends, while those things happen, "this is not your rest." As well seek for shelter in anenemy's country, or seek rest in a storm at sea, as expect to find anything like rest here. No, "Arise you, and depart; forthis is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction," unless the God of InfiniteLove and Mercy shall keep you as the apple of His eye!
Thus I have spoken to those who are Believers in Christ. God bless them! Now I turn to others for the few minutes that remain.
II. Secondly, my text may be viewed as AN AWAKENING NOTE FOR AWAKENED SINNERS. "Arise you, and depart; for this is not yourrest." In dealing with this head, I want to say a word to those who are thoughtful, but are not yet Believers in our LordJesus Christ. I desire to take my silver trumpet and come to each one of you and sound in your ear that same note which Itried to sound in the ears of God's people. "Arise you, and depart." Get up! Sleep no more! Lie in indifference no longer!God help you to say, "I will arise and go to my Father"! You must clear out of your present
position or you will be lost. The name of the place where you now dwell is the City of Destruction and if you would escape,you must run from it. Flee from the wrath to come!
You are called upon to depart from sin and self. You must, through Divine Grace, be ready to quit self and the righteousnessthat is of self-and sin and the follies that go with sin. "Arise you, and depart." O man, or woman, if you stay where youare by nature, you stay in a land which, like Sodom and Gomorrah, is given up to destruction by fire from Heaven! "Escapefor your life; look not behind you, neither stay you in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed." Youthat are in a state of nature, a state of guilt and condemnation, arise you and depart. "Seek you the Lord while He may befound, call you upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his ways and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let himreturn unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."
And here is the reason why you should thus arise and depart-you have found no rest in the world-"This is not your rest." Iput it to you-have you found any true peace in the ways of sin? Ah, if you have been awakened to see your state before God,you know that you are not happy! How can you be? An immortal soul contort with mortal things? "Too low they build who buildbeneath the stars." He has a poor treasury who has not a treasury in Heaven. If all your possessions are here, it is a poorall, for you lose it when you die, or it may at any moment be taken from you while you live. You now have no rest. You knowmany men and women who may enjoy themselves as much as they can, so far as means are concerned, but they never really enjoythemselves at all. They used to get pleasure when they were younger, but now they go to the same places and they come awaydissatisfied. I am glad of it. I am glad that the Lord will not allow them to find satisfaction in the joys of this life.
And if you had a rest, here, you would soon have to leave it. What if you had to leave all you have tonight? What if, tonight,instead of my voice, it should be the angel who should sound the trumpet, "Arise you, and depart"? What if, instead of goinghome tonight, you went into the eternal state to meet your God and Judge? How would it be with you? How can you rest if youare unable to give a joyful answer to these questions? You are hanging over the mouth of Hell by a single thread and thatthread is breaking! Only a gasp for breath, only a stopping of the heart for a single moment and you will be in an eternalworld, without God, without hope, without forgiveness! Oh, can you face it? I pray God that you may not have a bronze countenance,but may feel that it is time for you to listen to the voice that says, "Arise you, and depart; for this is not your rest."
But another reason why you should hasten to flee is because of the sins of your life. You have polluted it. And what happensto you? Why, the older you get, the more polluted you are! What a mercy it is that men do not live eight or nine hundred years,now, as they used to do! What monsters of sin would be on the earth if men kept on doing evil at the rate some of them donow! Living 80 years, sinners get to be quite sufficiently putrid in talk and life. But if they lived 800 years, this worldwould almost be a second Hell! Well might God, in the olden days, wash the world clean when there were sinners upon it soripe for destruction, so rotten in their lives! Because sin thus fouls your nest, "Arise you, and depart."
With all the earnestness of my heart would I urge you to arise from your sin and hasten away from your peril, for destructionthreatens you. You that have sinned cannot afford to always live here, for, even now, your sins begin to come home to you.They will come home even more as you grow older. When sickness begins to take away your spirits and departed health leavesyou without the possibility of your present joys, your state will be almost too terrible for contemplation! Oh, I would notbe the man who has lived a sinful life and who is about to die without hope! A pack of wolves around a man must be nothingto it! I heard the other day of one, in India, who was thought to be dead and the Parsee method, you know, is not to burytheir dead-they leave them naked in what are called the "Towers of Silence," where there are vultures always waiting and,within three or four hours after a corpse is laid there, there is no flesh left upon the bones.
One poor man, who was only in a swoon, was thought to be dead and was laid out in the tower. The vultures came and one ortwo of them tore his flesh so terribly that he started up as from a dreadful dream! There were the vultures coming to devourhim while he was yet alive and, defending himself as best he could, he managed to escape. What a plight to be in, lying inthe place of the dead, surrounded by the cruel beaks of those fierce, ravenous birds! But in a far more awful position isa sinner when his sins come home to him. Only the Lord can drive those vultures away and restore him
to life and safety. He comes for your deliverance and it is His voice that says, today, "Arise you, and depart; for this isnot your rest." Fly to Him now, for if not, this rest of yours that you seem to have, will destroy you! You will grow moreworldly and more callous as the years go on!
He that is filthy will become yet more filthy! As an old man, you will say, "It is no use talking to me. If I could have mycurly hair back again and sit on my mother's knee once more, I might feel something, but now I am given up to hardness." Theworld will ruin you as the world has ruined its millions and is still ruining its thousands! Fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus! Sinner,fly this moment! God help you! I shall be well rewarded for having preached if but one soul should be awakened to flee awayto Christ, my Lord! And why should not many more, in answer to our prayers? The Lord bless you, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Micah 2.