Sermon 3497. A Solemn Embassy
Published on Thursday, February 3rd, 1916.
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
On Lord's-day Evening, 26th February, 1871.
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciledto God."-2 Corinthians 5:20.
THERE has long been war between man and his Maker. Our federal head, Adam, threw down the gauntlet in the garden of Eden.The trumpet was heard to ring through the glades of Paradise, the trumpet which broke the silence of peace and disturbed thesong of praise. From that day forward until now there has been no truce, no treaty between God and man by nature. Man hasbeen at variance with God. His heart has been at enmity towards God. He would not be reconciled to God.Never in the heart of any natural man, unless divine grace has put it there, has a desire to re-establish peace been feltor entertained. If any of you long to be at peace with your Maker, it is because his spirit has made you long for it. Leftto yourselves, you would go from conflict to conflict, from struggle to struggle, and perpetuate the encounter, until it endedin your eternal destruction. But though man will not make terms with God, nor sue for peace at his hands, God shows hisunwillingness any longer to be at war with man. That he anxiously desires man to be reconciled unto him, he proves bytaking the first step. He, himself, sends his ambassadors. He does not invite them from the other party-that were grace-buthe sends ambassadors, and he commands those ambassadors to be very earnest, and to plead with men, to pray them, to beseechthem that they would be reconciled to God. I take this to be a sure pledge that there is love in the heart of God. Why, atthe veryannouncement of these tidings, the rebellious sinner's ears should be opened! It were enough to make him say, "I willhearken diligently; I will hear what God the Lord shall speak, for if it be true that he takes the first step towards me,and that he is willing to make up this deadly quarrel, God forbid that I should turn away; I will even now hear and attendto all that God shall speak to my soul. "May he bless the message to you, that you may be reconciled to him without a moment'sdelay.John Bunyan puts it plainly enough." If a certain king be besieging a town, and he sends out the herald with a trumpetto threaten the inhabitants that, if they do not give up the town, he will hang every man of them, then straightway they cometo the walls and give him back a reviling answer; they swear that they will fight it out, and will never surrender to sucha tyrant. But if he sends an embassage with a white flag to tell them that, if they will but surrender and yield to theirlawfulking, he will pardon every one of them, even the very vilest of them will relent." Then, saith honest John, "do they notcome trembling over the walls, and throw their gates wide open to receive their gracious monarch." Would that such a resultmight be accomplished to-night! While I speak of the great grace of this Prince of Peace, who now sends his ambassadors tothe rebellious, may some rebel say, "Then I will be at peace with him; I will hold out no longer. So irresistible a love asthishas dissolved my heart, resolved my choice, and constrained my allegiance."
Well now, let us speak awhile of the Ambassadors-the Commission with which they are entrusted-the duty they have to discharge-and close with a question-What then? First, then, we have to speak of:-
I. THE AMBASSADORS.
Welcome messengers are they! All nations, with one accord, have agreed to honour ambassadors. Strange, then, that all nationsand all people should have conspired to dishonour the ambassadors of God! Which of God's ambassadors in the olden time wasnot persecuted, rejected, or slain? Were they not stoned, beheaded, sawn asunder? How continually they were maltreated, andmade to wander about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, though of them the world was not worthy! But therehave been some men to whom the ambassadors of God have always been welcome. The men whom God had ordained to eternal life.Those on whose behalf, from before all worlds, he had made an effectual covenant of peace. From them the ambassadors get ahearty welcome. Standing here to preach as an ambassador, I shall get but little attention from some of my audience. The proclamationof mercy will sound commonplace to many. They will turn on their heel and say, "There is nothing in it." But mark you,the ambassador of God will be very welcome to some of you, who have bitterly felt your estrangement, to some whose heartsare prepared by a sense of ruin for the good tidings of redemption; to some in whom the secret mystery of predestination beginsto work by the overt energy of effectual calling. These shall find their souls greatly but surely drawn to the proclamationof mercy that shall be made, and they will say, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that bring gladtidings of peace, that publish salvation!"
Ambassadors are always specially welcome to a people who are engaged in a war which is beyond their strength, when their resources are exhausted, and the peril of defeat is imminent. If some tiny little principality has ventured torebel against a great empire, when it is absolutely certain that its villages will be consumed, its provinces, ravaged, andthat all its power will be crushed, ambassadors are pretty sure to receive a cordial welcome. Ah! man, thou bestbid defiance to the King of Heaven, whose power is irresistible; by whom rocks are thrown down; whose voice breaketh thecedars of Lebanon; whose hand controlleth the great deep sea. He it, is who bindeth the clouds with a cord, and girdleth theearth with a belt! Angels that excel in strength cannot stand against him. From the lofty battlements of heaven he hurleddown Satan, the great archangel, and the mighty host of rebellious morning stars! How canst thou stand against him; shallthestubble contend with the fire? Shall the potter's vessel resist the rod of iron? What art thou but a moth, easily crushedbeneath his finger! The breath is in thy nostrils, and that is not thine own; how then canst thou, poor mortal, contend withhim who only hath immortality? With art thou but a moth, easily crushed beneath his finger! Thy breath broken more rapidlythan a sear leaf by the wind! How canst thou venture to be at war with one who has heaven and earth at his command, who holdsthekeys of hell and of death, and who has Tophet as his source of ammunition against thee? Listen to his thunders, and letthy blood curdle! Let his lightning flash, and how art thou amazed! How, then, canst thou stand against the greatness of hispower, or endure the terror of his wrath? Happy for thee that terms of peace are proclaimed in your ears. God is willing tocease the warfare; he would not have thee be his adversary. Wilt thou not gladly accept what he proposeth to thee? Never,surely,was war more charged with disaster than that into which thou hast madly rushed.
An ambassador is always welcome when the people have begun to feel the victorious force of the king. Yonder province has already yielded. Certain cities have been taken by the sword and given up to be sacked. Now the poormiserable inhabitants are glad enough to get peace. They dread the foot of the conqueror now that they have felt its weight.Doubtless there are some here present who have known the power of God in their conscience. Perhaps he has soared you withvisions, and frightened you with dreams. Though it be but the voice of a man that you heard, yet the law has been veryterrible to you, and now you find no pleasure in your pleasure; no joy in your joys. God has begun to break your bones withconviction; he has made you feel that sin is a bitter thing; he has made you drunken with wormwood, and broken your teethwith gravel stones. He has brought you down as the fool in the hundred and seventh Psalm, by affliction and by labour, andyou arecrying out in anguish, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Ay, doubtless, you that have once felt the weight of God's handupon your conscience, will rejoice to hear that there is an embassage of peace sent to you.
An ambassador is likewise always welcome to those who are labouring under a few of total and speedy destruction. If none of you are in that plight, I remember when I was, when I thought every day it was a marvel of mercies that I waskept alive, and wondered as I woke at morn that I was not lifting up my eyes with Dives in hell. Everything about Christ wasprecious to me then! I think I would have stood in the most crowded chapel, nor would I have been weary had Isat upon the hardest seat; no length of service would have wearied me, might I but have had an inkling that God wouldperadventure have mercy upon my soul. My eyes were full of tears. My soul was faint with watching, and I would have kissedthe feet of any man who would have told me the way of salvation. But, alas! it seemed as if no man cared for my soul, tillat last God blessed an humble instrument to give light to his poor dark child. Hence I know that the news of mercy will beexceedinglywelcome to you who stand upon the jaws of hell, fearing that the gates will soon be bolted upon you, and that you willbe for ever lost. You will be ready to cry like our Methodist friends, "Hallelujah! Glory! Hallelujah! Bless the Lord!" whilstyou hear that God still sends an embassage of peace to your soul.
Most acceptable, too, is a messenger of peace if the people know that he brings no hard terms. When a certain king sent to the inhabitants of a town that he would make peace with them, provided he put out their righteyes and cut off their right hands, I am sure the tidings must have caused the utmost consternation, and the ambassador couldnot be very popular. But there are no hard terms in the gospel. In fact, there are no terms, no conditions at all. It is anunconditional peace which God makes with men. It is a gospel which asks nothing of men, but gives them everything. TheLord saith, "My oxen and my fatlings are killed; all things are ready, come ye to the supper." There is nothing for man toget ready; all things are prepared. The terms-if I must use a word I do not like-are simple and easy. "Believe, and live."With what joy should a rebellious sinner hear the voice of the ambassador who brings no hard conditions from God.
And should not the fame of the King increase the zest with which the embassage is received? Comes it not from him who cannotlie! No temporary peace is proposed that may presently be broken, but a peace that shall stand fast for ever and ever. Notemporary armistice, no brief interlude between the deeds of battle do we herald. Peace; eternal, unbroken peace; peace thatshall endure in life and outlive death; peace which shall endure throughout eternity, we testify and makeknown to you.
This peace is proclaimed to all men. It is proclaimed without exception." Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shallbe saved." None are excluded hence but those who do themselves exclude. Such an ambassador bringing such a message must surelybe a welcome messenger from his God. Let us ask now, What is:-
II. THE COMMISSION OF PEACE which God has entrusted us to proclaim? The words are concise, the sense is transparent." To wit,that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespass unto them; and hath committed untous the word of reconciliation. "Let us open the commission. It lies in a nutshell." Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, As I live,saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but had rather that he should turnunto me and live." "Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be aswool, though they be red like crimson they shall be whiter than snow. Our commission begins with the announcement that Godis love, that he is full of pity and compassion, that he is desirous to receive his creature back, that he willeth to forgive,and that he electeth, if it be consistent with the high attribute of his justice, to accept even the most rebellious, andto putthem amongst his children. Our commission goes on to disclose the manner, as well as the motive, of mercy. Inasmuch asGod is love, he, in order to remove all difficulties in the way of pardoning rebels, has been pleased to give his only begottenSon that he might stand in the room, place, and stead of those whom God has chosen; their sins he engaged to take; to carrytheir sorrows, and to make an atonement on their behalf. Thus the justice of God should be satisfied, and his love flow overtothe human race. We declare, therefore, that God has given Christ, and he has made it a faithful saying, and worthy ofall acceptation, that he came into the world to save sinners, even the very chief. Christ, the Son of God, has become man.Cheerfully and willingly he took upon himself our nature; veiled the form of Deity in a humble garb of clay; was born of theVirgin Mary, lived a life of holiness, and died a death of sacrifice. Through this marvellous death of the Man, the God, ChristJesus, God is at peace with his people. The peace is made already, for he is our peace. God is at peace with every manfor whom Jesus died. Jesus Christ stood in the room, place, and steed of his chosen people. Christ was punished for theirsins. Justice cannot punish twice for one offense. Christ, the substitute, being punished, the sinner cannot be amenable forhis own offences. Those for whom Jesus died go free. The proclamation is that God is willing to be reconciled, that he isreconciled.It is an announcement, not that you may have peace merely, but that peace is made with God by Jesus Christ for you-fullpeace, without condition, not half-made, but wholly made; the penalty being completely paid to the last doit, and the sacrificecompletely slaughtered till the last drop of blood had expiated the last offence.
But the proclamation needs something more to give us any satisfaction. Are there any tidings in it for you and me? Well, ourmessage goes on to announce that whosoever in the wide world will come to Jesus Christ, and commit his cause to him as Redeemer,Saviour, and Friend, shall forthwith be at peace with God, receive full pardon for all offences, and be welcomed as a favouriteof the Most High. He shall know that for him Jesus Christ did die in his stead, and as suretydid stand for him when he appeared before God. From condemnation he is, therefore, free; of salvation he is, therefore,sure. This proclamation, I say, is to be made universally. Though every man will not be blessed by it, the preacher cannotdiscriminate between those who must and those who will not inherit the blessing. Though only some will accept it, the preacheris not warranted in showing any partiality. It is the Holy Spirit's work to impress the Word on the conscience, and to arousetheconscience by the Word. As for us, we are willing enough to turn our face to the north or to the south, to the east orto the west. Gladly would we proclaim it to the red man who hunts the savannahs of America, to the swarthy man who never heardthe name of Christ before, or to the white man who has often heard, but never heeded it. The same message, that God has acceptedChrist as a substitute for every man that will believe in Christ, and that whosoever trusts Christ to save him is in thatmoment saved, will suffice for all. Yea, we would tell them that before the sinner does trust Christ he is reconciledunto God by his death, because the atonement which he offered had been accepted, and there was peace forestalled between Godand that sinner. What a message I have to present! What a proclamation I have to make! Nothing is necessary on your part.God expects nothing of you to merit his esteem, or to enhance the value of his gift. If repentance be indispensable, he isprepared togive it to you. If a tender heart be needed, he is ready to give you a heart of flesh. If you feel that you have a heartof stone, be has engaged to take it away. Does your guilt oppress you, he says, "I will sprinkle clean water, water of purefountains, upon them, and they shall be cleansed from all their filthiness, and from all their uncleanness will I save them."Know, all men, that there is no exception made. When Charles II came back to England there was an amnesty, except for certainpersons, and these were mentioned by name-Hugh Peters and others were proscribed; but there is no exception here. I findnot any traitors singled out and denounced by name. I have to proclaim an indemnity of such universal import that it is indiscriminate,"Whosoever believeth on him shall never perish, but shall have everlasting life."
Moreover, there is no exception made in my commission to any form of sin-unless it be the sin against the Holy Ghost-whichcarries its own evidence as well as its consequence. Those to whom I now speak, if they feel any drawings of heart towardsGod have not committed that mortal crime. Murder, theft, forgery, felony, fornication, adultery, and covetousness, which isidolatry-black and hideous as is the catalogue-here is pardon for the whole. Ransack the kennels, howeverfilthy; rake the slums, however odious; drag out the abominations of the age, however degrading; here is pardon not onlypossible, probable, but positive. Bring a man here who has stained himself crimson all over with every sort of infamy, thoughit be not the lapse of an hour, but the habit of a life, yet God is still able to forgive. Jesus Christ is able to save tothe uttermost them that come unto God by him.
I do not know whether you find it very good to hear the proclamation, but I do know that I feel it most gratifying to utterit. Thrice happy am I to have such an announcement to make to rebels. Unwonted hearers, listen to my voice. By what strangechance have yon reckless, heedless, unconverted souls mingled with this throng of worshippers? Not often do you darken thefloor of a place of worship. You hardly know how you were led to come in hither. To what depths of sin youhave run, to what extremities of iniquity you have gone! You marvel to find yourself in the company of God's people. Butsince you are here, give heed to the message," Thus saith the Lord, I have blotted out like a cloud thine iniquities, andlike a thick cloud thy sins. Return unto me, for I am married unto thee. I have given my blood to redeem thee. Return, O wanderingchild of man; return, return, and I will have mercy upon thee, for I am God, and not man." Having thus opened my commission,I will endeavour to perform:-
III. A VERY SOLEMN DUTY.
My text supplies me with a warrant. It says, "As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciledunto God." Then it seems we have not merely to read our commission, but we have to beseech you to accept it. Why should webeseech you? Is it not because you are rational creatures, not automata, men not machines. A machine might be compelled toperform functions without persuasion, but the Spirit of God often acts upon the heart of man by thesound arguments and affectionate entreaties of his servants whom he commissions. We are to beseech you because your heartsare so hard that you are prone to defy God's power, and resist his grace. Therefore, we pray you to put down your weapons.We are to beseech you because you are unbelieving, and will not credit the tidings. You say it is too good to be true thatGod will have mercy on such as you are. Therefore, we are to put our hand on you, to go down on our knees to you, and to beseechyou not to put away this blessed embassy. We are to beseech you because you are so proud and self-satisfied that you willsooner follow your own righteousness and cling to your own works, than accept a peace already and freely proffered to you.We are to beseech you because you are careless. You give little heed to what is spoken: you will go your way and forget allour proclamations; therefore, are we to press you urgently, instantly, importunately, And to beseech you as when a motherpleadethfor her child's life, as when a condemned criminal beseeches the judge to have pity on him, so are we to beseech you.I think I never feel so conscious of my own weakness as when I have to ply you thus with exhortations. Oh! there have beena few times in my ministry when I could with flowing eyes beseech you to be reconciled to God, but these dry eyes of mineare not so often fountains of tears as I could wish. We need such an one as Richard Baxter to dilate upon this last part ofthe text.Perhaps we could handle the former part better than he, but he could handle this last far better than we can. Oh! howhe would have summoned you by the terrible reality of things to come! With what glaring eyes and seething words he would say,"Oh! men, turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die? By the need of a Saviour you will feel in the pangs of parting life, when thepulsings shall be few and feeble, till with a gasp you shall expire; by the resurrection when you will wake up, if not inhislikeness, to everlasting shame and contempt; by the judgment-seat, where your sins shall be published, and you shall becalled to account for the deeds done in the body; by the dread decree which casteth into the pit for ever those that repent,not; by the heaven you will lose:, and by the hell into which you will fall; by eternity, that dread eternity whose yearsnever waste; by the wrath to come, the burning indignation of which shall never cool; by the immortality of your own souls,by theperils you now run, by the promises you despise, by the provocations you multiply, by the penalties you accumulate, wedo beseech you to be reconciled to God." Fly to Jesus. Call upon his name. Trust him; his word; his work, his goodness andhis grace. This is the way of reconciliation. Bow the knee and kiss the Son. We do conjure you to do so. Acquaint yourselvesnow with God, and be at peace with him. My text bangs like a crushing weight upon my soul at this moment. It is awful in itsgrandeur, and it is majestically full of divine love. I must read the words again in your hearing. Oh! that the sensemight break in on your understanding!
We are to beseech you as though God did beseech you, and we to do it in Christ's stead. You see God speaks when his ambassadorsspeak. I wonder, oh! I wonder, whether I have brain enough to compass the thought of how God would beseech you to be reconciled!'Tis the Father's own self-pleading with his prodigal son. Can you imagine the father in the parable going after his son,and finding him in rags feeding swine? Can you conceive him saying, "My son, my dear son, comeback! come back and I will forgive you all!" You think you hear that son saying to his father "Get you gone, I will nothear of it", till his father says "My dear son, why will you prefer the company of swine to your father's house? Why willyou wear rags when you might be clothed in the best robe? Why will you starve in a far-off country when my house shall befull of feasting on your return?" What if that son should utter some indignant word, and tell his father to his face he neverwould goback! Oh! I think I see the venerable, loving man falling on his son's neck and kissing him, in his filth just as he is(for "the great love wherewith he loved us when we were dead in trespasses and sins!")-and he says to the rebel that insultshim and resents his tenderness, "My dear son, you must come back; I must have you; I cannot be without you. I must have you;come back!" In such a style we ought to plead with men. Ah! then, I cannot plead with you as I would. As though God himself,youroffended Maker, came to you now as he did to Adam in the cool of the day, and said to you, "Oh! return to me, for I haveloved thee with an everlasting love," even so, as though God spoke, would I woo you, ye chiefest sinners, to return to him.You know, dear friends, that the great God did send another ambassador, and that great ambassador was Christ. Now the Apostlesays that we, the ministers, are ambassadors for Christ in Christ's stead. Christ is no more an ambassador; he has gone toheaven; we stand in his stead to the sons of men, not to make peace, but to proclaim it. What! am I then to speak in Christ'sstead! But how can I picture my Lord Jesus standing here? Alas, my imagination is not equal to the task. Would that I hadsympathy enough with him to put myself in his case so as to use his words. Methinks I see him looking at this great throngas once he looked at the inhabitants of Jerusalem. He turns his head round to these galleries, and about on yonder aisles,andat last he bursts into a flood of tears, saying, "How often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gatherethher chickens under her wings, and ye would not." He is choked with tears, and when he has paused a moment, he cries, "Comeunto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I ammeek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls; a bruised reed I will not break, nor quench the smoking flax."
Again, I think I see him, as he looks at you again, and when he observes some hearts so obdurate and hard that they will notmelt, he unwraps his mantle, and exclaims, "See here." Do you mark the gash in his side? As he lifts his hands and shows thenail-prints, and points downward to his pierced feet, he says, "By these, my wounds, which I endured when suffering for you,O my people, return unto me; come, bow at my feet, and take the peace which I have wrought out foryou. Oh! be not faithless, but believing! Doubt no longer! God is reconciled! Tremble no more! Peace is established. Toilno more at the works of the law, cling not to your own doings. Cease to consult your feelings. It is finished. When I bowedmy head upon the tree, I finished all for you. Take salvation: take it now! Come to me; come now to me just as you are." Alas!this is but a poor representation of my Lord and Master. I could wish myself laid among the clods of the valley, sleepinginmy grave, rather than that I should be so poor an ambassador. But, Lord, wherefore didst thou choose thy servant, andwhy givest thou this people still to hear his voice, if thou wilt not more mightily enable him to plead with men. I have nomore words, oh! let these, tears plead with you. I feel that I could freely give my life if it would avail for the savingof your souls. Fain would I meet a martyr's death, if you would be persuaded thereby to come to Christ, for life. But oh!sinners, nopleading of mine will ever prevail if the pleading of Christ prove ineffectual with you. To each one of you, a distinctproclamation of salvation is addressed. Whosoever among you will believe that Christ died, and that he is able to save you,and will trust your soul upon what he did, shall be saved. Oh! why reject him? He will not hurt nor harm you. Do lay holdof this good hope, for your time is short! Death is hastening on; eternity is near! Do lay hold of it, for hell is hot, the,flamesthereof are terrible! Lay hold of it, for heaven is bright, and the harps of angels are sweet beyond compare! Lay holdof it. It shall make your heart glad on earth, it shall charm away your fears and remove your griefs! Lay hold of it! It shallbear you through Jordan's billows, and land you safe on Canaan's side. Oh! by the love of the Father, by the, blood of Jesus,by the love of the Spirit, I beseech you, sinner, believe and live! By the cross and the five wounds, by the agony and bloodysweat, by the resurrection, and by the ascension, sinner, believe and live! By every argument that would touch your nature,by every motive that can sway your reason or stir your passions, in the name of God that sent me, by the Almighty that madeyou, by the Eternal Son that redeemed you, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, sinner, I command you, with divine authority tosanction my vehemence, that ye be reconciled to God through the death of his Son! And:-
IV. WHAT THEN?
When we have answered this question we shall have done. What then? Are there not some of you with whom this peace is madeat this good hour? I will go back and tell my Master so. Then there shall be fresh ratifications between you and him. Theangels will hear of it, and they will strike their harps anew to sweeter lays than they have known before.
Others there are of you that will not be reconciled. I must have an answer from you. Do you hesitate? Do you delay? Do yourefuse? You shall never have another warning, some of you! No tears of pity shall be wept for you again; no loving heart shallever bid you come to Christ again must have your answer now. Yes or no. Wilt thou be damned or not? Wilt thou be saved ornot? I will not have thee say, "When I have a more convenient season I will send for thee." Sinner, itcannot be a more convenient one than this. This is a convenient place; it is God's house. It is a convenient time; itis the Lord's day. Now, sinner, wilt thou be reconciled, restored, forgiven? "Wilt thou be made whole?" said Jesus, and Isay the same to thee, "Wilt thou be made whole?" Do you say, "No"? Must I take that for an answer? Mark you, sinner, I haveto tell my Master must tell him when I seek the closet of the King to-night; I must tell him your reply that you would not.What thenremains for an ambassador to do when he has spoken to you in the name of the Sovereign? If you will not turn, we mustshake off the dust of our feet against you. I am clear, I am clear, of the blood of you all, I am clear. If you perish, beingwarned, you perish wantonly. The wrath cometh upon you, not on him who, to the best of his power, has told his Master's message.Yet again, I beg you to accept it. Do you still say no? The white flag will be pulled down. It has been up long enough. ShallI pull it down, and run up the red flag now? Shall I hurl threatenings at you because you heed not entreaties?
"If your ears refuse
The language of his grace,
And hearts grow hard like stubborn Jews,
That unbelieving race,
The Lord in anger drest,
Shall lift his trend and swear
Ye that despised my promised rest
Shall have no portion there."
But no, I cannot pull it down, that white flag! My heart will not let me do so; it shall fly there still, it shall fly thereas a sign and a symbol of the day of grace. Mercy is still held out to you. But there is one coming-I can hear his footsteps-whowill pull down that white flag. The vision haunts my eyes. That grim, heartless skeleton whom men call Death will rend thewhite flag from its place, and up will go the blood-red flag, with the black escutcheon of thethunderbolts. Where are you then, sinners? Where will you be then? You shudder at the thought. He lays his hand on you.There is no escape. Oh! turn ye, turn ye, turn ye! Come and welcome, sinner, come now while you are welcome. 'Tis love invitesyou. Jesus stretches out his hand to you all the day long. He has stretched out his hands to a rebellious, and a gainsayinggeneration. Do not say, "I will think of it," but yield to his love who around you now the bands of a man doth cast. Do notmakea resolution, but commit yourself to the good confession. Now, even now, may sovereign grace constrain, and irresistiblelove draw you. May you believe with your heart, may you record your profession at once. Before you close your eyes in sleep,just as you would wish before your eyes are closed in death, may you be at peace with God. I pray God, as I entreat you, thatthis may come to pass, for his Son, Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.