Sermon 36. What Are the Clouds?
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, August 19, 1855, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"That clouds are the dust of his feet."-Nahum 1:3.
IT IS POSSIBLE for a man to read too many books. We will not despise learning, we will not undervalue erudition, such acquisitionsare very desirable; and, when his talents are sanctified to God, the man of learning frequently becomes in the hands oftheSpirit far more useful than the ignorant and the unlearned; but at the same time, if a man acquire his knowledge entirelyfrom books, he will not find himself to be a very wise man. There is such a thing as heaping so manybooks on your brains that they cannot work-pouring such piles of type, and letters, and manuscripts, and papers, and prints,and pamphlets, and volumes, and tomes, and folios, upon your weary head, that your brains are absolutely buried and cannotmove at all. I believe that many of us, whilst we have sought to learn by books, have neglected those great volumes whichGod has given us; we have neglected to study this great book, the Bible! moreover, perhaps, we have not been careful enoughstudents of the great volume of nature, and we have forgotten that other great book, the human heart. For my own part,I desire to be somewhat a student of the heart; and I think I have learned far more from conversation with my fellow-men thanI ever did from reading, and the examination of my own experience, and the workings of my own heart, have taught me far moreof humanity than all the metaphysical books I have ever perused. I like to read the book of my fellow creatures; nothing delightsme so much as when I see a multitude of them gathered together, or when I have the opportunity of having their heartspoured into mine, and mine into theirs. He will not be a wise man who does not study the human heart, and does not seek toknow something of his fellows and of himself. But if there be one book I love to read above all others, next to the book ofGod, it is the volume of nature. I care not what letters they are that I read, whether they be the golden spellings of thename of Godup yonder in the stars, or whether I read, in rougher lines, his name printed on the rolling floods, or see it hieroglyphedin the huge mountain, the dashing cataract, or the waving forest. Wherever I look abroad in nature I love to discern my Father'sname spelled out in living characters; and if we had any fields a little greener than Moorfields, Smithfield, and Spafields,I would do as Isaac did, go into the fields at eventide and muse and meditate upon the God of nature. I thought in thecool of last evening. I would muse with my God, by his Holy Spirit, and see what message he would give me. There I satand watched the clouds, and learned a lesson in the great hall of Nature's college. The first thought that struck me was this,as I saw the white clouds rolling in the sky-soon shall I see my Saviour mounted on a great white throne, riding on the cloudsof heaven, to call men to judgment. My imagination could easily picture the scene, when the quick and the dead should standbefore his great white throne, and should hear his voice pronounce their changeless destiny. I remembered, moreover, thattext in the Proverbs, "He that observeth the wind shall not sow and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." I thoughthow many a time myself and my brother ministers have regarded the clouds. We have listened to the voice of prudence and ofcaution we have regarded the clouds, we have stops when we ought to have been sowing because we were afraid of the multitude,orwe refused to reap and take in the people into our churches, because some good brother thought we were too hasty aboutthe matter. I rose up and thought to myself, I will regard neither the clouds nor the winds, but when the wind blows a hurricaneI will throw the seed with my hands, if peradventure the tempest may waft it further still; and when the clouds are thick,still I will reap, and rest assured that God will preserve his own wheat, whether I gather it under clouds or in the sunshine.And then, when I sat there musing upon God, thoughts struck me as the clouds careered along the skies thoughts which Imust give to you this morning. I trust they were somewhat for my own instruction, and possibly they may be for yours. "Theclouds are the dust of his feet."
I. Well, the first remark I make upon this shall be-the way of God is generally a hidden one. This we gather from the text, by regarding the connection, "the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, andthe clouds are the dust of his feet." When God works his wonders he always conceals himself. Even the motion of his feet causesclouds to arise; and if these; clouds are but the dust of his feet," how deep must be that dense darkness which veils thebrow of the Eternal. If the small dust which he causes is of equal magnitude with our clouds-if we can find no other figureto image "the dust of his feet" than the clouds of heaven, then, how obscure must be the motions of the Eternal one, how hiddenand how shrouded in darkness! This great truth suggested by the text, is well borne out by facts. The ways of God are hiddenones. Cowper did not say amiss when he sang,-
"He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm."
His footsteps cannot be seen, for, planted on the sea, the next wave washes them out; and placed in the storm, rioting asthe air then is, every impression of his chariot wheels is soon erased. Look at God, and at whatever he has deigned to do,and you will always see him to have been a hidden God. He has concealed himself, and all his ways have been veiled in thestrictest mystery. Consider his works of salvation. How did he hide himself when he determined to savemankind? He did not manifestly reveal himself to our forefathers. He gave them simply one dim lamp of prophecy which shonein words like these "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head;" and for four thousand years God concealed hisSon in mystery, and no one understood what the Son of God was to be. The smoking incense beclouded their eyes, and while itshowed something of Jesus, it did hide far more. The burning victim sent its smoke up towards the sky, and it was only throughthe dim mists of the sacrifice that the pious Jew could see the Saviour. Angels themselves, we are told, desired to lookinto the mysteries of redemption, yet though they stood with their eyes intently fixed upon it, until the hour when redemptiondeveloped itself on Cavalry, not a single angel could understand it. The profoundest sage might have sought to find out howGod could be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly; but he would have failed in his investigations. The most intenselypious man might meditate, with the help of that portion of God's Spirit which was then given to the prophets, on thismighty subject, and he could not have discovered what the mystery of godliness was-"God manifest in the flesh." God marchedin clouds, "He walked in the whirlwinds;" he did not deign to tell the world what he was about to do; for it is his plan togird himself in darkness, and "the clouds are the dust of his feet." Ah! and so it always has been in Providence as well asgrace.God never condescends to make things very plain to his creatures. He always does rightly; and therefore, he wants hispeople always to believe that he does rightly. But if he showed them that he did so, there would be no room for their faith.
Turn your eye along the page of history, and see how mysterious God's dealings have been. Who would conceive that a Josephsold into Egypt would be the means of redeeming a whole people from famine? Who would suppose that when an enemy should comeupon the land, it should be after all but the means of bringing glory to God? Who could imagine that a harlot's blood shouldmingle with the genealogy from which came the great Messiah, the Shiloh of Israel? Who could haveguessed much less could have compassed, the mighty scheme of God? Providence has always been a hidden thing.
"Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sov'reign will."
And yet, beloved, you and I are always wanting to know what God is about. There is a war in the Crimea. We have had some greatdisasters at Sebastopol, and we are turning over the papers, and saying, "Whatever is God doing here?" What did he do in thelast war? What was the benefit of it? We see that even Napoleon was the means of doing good, for he broke down the aristocracyand made all monarchs respect for the future, the power, and the rights of the people. We see whatwas the result even of that dread hurricane, that it swept away a pestilence which would have devoured full many more.But we ask, "What is God doing with this world?" We want to know what will be the consequences. Suppose we should humble Russia,where would it end? Can Turkey be maintained as a separate kingdom? And ten thousand other questions arise. Beloved, I alwaysthink, "let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth," and-as a good old friend of mine says-let them crackthemselves, too, if they like. We will not interfere. If the potsherds will go smashing one another, why, then they must.We pray that old England may come off the safest of them all. But we are not much concerned to know the result. We believethat this war, as well as everything else, will have a beneficial tendency. We cannot see in history that this world everwent a step backwards. God is ever moving it in its orbit; and it has always progressed even when it seemed retrograding.
Or, perhaps, ye are not agitated about Providence in a nation, you believe that there God does hide himself; but then thereare matters concerning yourself, which you long to see explained. When I was in Glasgow. I went over an immense foundry, oneof the largest in Scotland, and there I saw a very powerful steam engine which worked all the machinery in the entire building.I saw in that foundry such numberless wheels running round, some one way and some another, I couldnot make out what on earth they were all about. But, I daresay, if my head had been a little wiser, and I had been taughta little more of mechanics, I might have understood what every wheel was doing, though really they seemed only a mass of wheelsvery busy running round and doing nothing. They were all, however, working at something; and if I had stopped and asked "Whatis that wheel doing?" A mechanic may have said, "It turns another wheel." "Well, and what is that wheel doing?" "There isanother wheel dependent upon that, and that again is dependent on another." Then, at last, he would have taken me andsaid, "This is what the whole machinery is doing." Some ponderous bar of iron, perhaps, being grooved and cut, shaped andpolished-"this is what all the wheels are effecting: but I cannot tell separately what each wheel is doing." All things areworking together for good; but what the things separately are doing, it would be impossible to explain. Yet, thou child ofAdam, withthy finite intellect, art continually stopping to ask, "Why is this?" The child lies dead in the cradle. Wherefore, wasinfancy snatched away? Oh, ruthless death, couldst thou not reap ripe corn; why snatch the rosebud? Would not a chaplet ofwithered leaves become thee better than these tender blossoms? Or, you are demanding of Providence, why hast thou taken awaymy property? Was I not left, by a parent, well-to-do, and some ravenous leech has swept all my substance away! It is all gone;whythis, O God? Why not punish the unjust? why should the innocent be allowed thus to suffer? Why am I to be bereft of myall? Says another, "I launched into a business that was fair and honorable; I intended, if God had prospered me, to devotemy wealth to him. I am poor, my business never prospers. Lord, why is this?" And another says, "Hero I am toiling from morningtill night; and all I do I cannot extricate myself from my business, which takes me off so much from religion. I would fainliveon less if I had more time to serve my God." Ah! finite one! dost thou ask God to explain these things to thee? I tellthee, God will not do it, and God cannot do it-for this reason: thou art not capable of understanding it. Should the emmetask the eagle wherefore it dasheth aloft in the skies? Shall leviathan be questioned by a minnow? These creatures might explaintheir motions to creatures; but the Omnipotent Creator, the uncreated Eternal, cannot well explain himself to mortals whomhehath created. We cannot understand him. It is enough for us to know that his way always must be in darkness, and thatwe must never expect to see much in this world.
II. This second thought is-GREAT THINGS WITH US ARE LITTLE THINGS WITH GOD. What great things clouds are to us! There we seethem sweeping along the skies! Then they rapidly increase till the whole firmament gathereth blackness and a dark shadow iscast upon the world; we foresee the coming storm, and we tremble at the mountains of cloud, for they are great. Great thingsare they? Nay, they are only the dust of God's feet. The greatest cloud that ever swept the face ofthe firmament, was but one single particle of dust starting from the feet of the Almighty Jehovah. When clouds roll overclouds and the storm is very terrible, it is but the chariot of God, as it speeds along the heavens, raising a little dustaround him! "The clouds are the dust of his feet." Oh! could ye grasp this idea my friends, or had I words in which to putit into your souls, I am sure you would sit down in solemn awe of that great God who is our Father, or who will be our Judge.Consider, that the greatest things with man are little things with God. We call the mountains great, but what are they?They are but "the small dust of the balance." We call the nations great, and we speak of mighty empires, but the nations beforehim are but as "a drop in the bucket." We call the islands great and talk of ours boastingly-"He taketh up the isles as avery little thing." We speak of great men and of mighty-"The inhabitants of the earth in his sight are but as grasshoppers."We talk of ponderous orbs moving millions of miles from us-in God's sight they are but little atoms dancing up and downin the sunbeam of existence. Compared with God there is nothing great. True, there are some things which are little with manthat are great with God. Such are our sins which we call little, but which are great with him; and his mercies, which we sometimesthink are little, he knows are very great mercies towards such great sinners as we are. Things which we reckon great arevery little with God. If ye knew what God thought of our talk sometimes, you would be surprised at yourselves. We havesome great trouble-we go burdened with it, saying, "O Lord God! what a great trouble I am burdened with." Why, methinks, Godmight smile at us, as we do sometimes at a little child who takes up a load too heavy for it (but which ye could hold betweenyour fingers), and staggereth, and saith, "Father, what a weight I am carrying." So there are people who stagger under thegreat trouble which they think they are bearing. Great, beloved! There are no great troubles at all: "the clouds are the dust of his feet." If you would but so consider them, thegreatest things with you are but little things with God. Suppose, now, that ye had all the troubles of all the people in theworld, that they all came pouring on your devoted head: what are cataracts of trouble to God?-" Drops in the bucket." Whatare whole mountains of grief to him? Why, "he taketh up themountains as the dust of the balance." And he can easily remove your trials. Sit not down then thou son of weariness andwant, and say, "My troubles are too great." Hear the voice of mercy: "Cast thy burden on the Lord and he will sustain thee,he will never suffer the righteous to be moved." You shall hear two Christians talk. One of them will say, "O my troubles,and trials, and sorrows, they are so great I can hardly sustain them; I do not know how to support my afflictions from dayto day."The other says, "Ah! my troubles and trials are not less severe, but, nevertheless, they have been less than nothing.I could laugh at impossibilities, and say they shall be done." What is the reason of the difference between these men? Thesecret is, that one of them carried his troubles, and the other did not. It does not matter to a porter how heavy a load maybe, if he can find another to carry it all for him. But if he is to carry it all himself, of course he does not like a heavyload. Soone man bears his troubles himself and gets his back nearly broken; but the other cast his troubles on the Lord. Ah! itdoes not matter how heavy troubles are if you can cast them on the Lord. The heavier they are so much the better, for themore you have got rid of, and the more there is laid upon the Rock. Never be afraid of troubles. However heavy they are, God'seternal shoulders can bear them. He, whose omnipotence is testified by revolving planets, and systems of enormous worlds,can wellsustain you. Is his arm shortened, that he cannot save, or is he weary, that he cannot hold you fast? Your troubles arenothing to God, for the very "clouds are the dust of his feet."
And this cheers me, I assure you, in the work of the ministry; for any man who has his eyes open to the world at large, willacknowledge that there are many clouds brooding over England, and over the world. I received lately a letter from a gentlemanat Hull, in which he tells me that he sympathizes with my views concerning the condition of the church at large. I do notknow whether Christendom was ever worse off than it is now. At any rate, I pray God it never may be.Read the account of the condition of the Suffolk churches where the gospel is somewhat flourishing, and you will be surprisedto find that they have had scarcely any increase at all in the year. So you may go from church to church, and find scarcelyany that are growing. Here and there a chapel is filled with people; here and there you find an earnest minister; here andthere an increasing church; here and there a good prayer-meeting; but these are only like green spots. Wherever I have gonethrough England, I have been always grieved to see how the glory of Zion is under a cloud; how the precious saints ofZion, comparable to fine gold have become like earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter. It is not for me toset myself up as universal censor of the church, but I must be honest and say, that spiritual life, and fire, and zeal, andpiety, seemed to be absent in ten thousand instances. We have abundance of agencies, we have good mechanism but the church,now-a-daysis very much like a large steam engine, without any fire, without any hot water in the boiler, without any steam. Thereis everything but steam, everything but life. England is veiled in clouds. Not clouds of infidelity. I care not one fig forall the infidels in England, and I do not think it worth Mr. Grant's trouble to go after them. Nor am I afraid of popery forold England. I do not think she will go back to that-I am sure she never will. But, I am afraid of this deadness, thissloth, this indifference, that has come over our churches. The church wants shaking, like the man on the mountain-topdoes when the cold benumbs him into a deadly slumber. The churches are gone to sleep for want of zeal, for want of fire. Eventhose who hold sound doctrine are beginning to slumber. Oh may God stir the church up! One great black cloud, only brokenhere and there by a few rays of sunlight, seems to be hanging over the entire of this our happy island. But, beloved, thereiscomfort, "for the clouds are the dust of his feet." He can scatter them in a moment. He can raise up his chosen servants,who have only to put their mouth to the trumpet, and one blast shall awaken the sleeping sentinels, and startle the sleepingcamp. God has only to send out again some evangelist, some flying angel, and the churches shall start up once more, and shewho has been clothed in sackcloth, shall doff her garments of mourning and put on a garment of praise, instead of the spiritofheaviness. The day is coming, I hope, when Zion shall sit, not without her diadem, crownless; but with her crown on herhead, she shall grasp her banner, take her shield, and, like that heroic maiden of old who roused a whole nation, shall goforth conquering and to conquer. We hope thus much, because "the clouds are the dust of his feet."
Aye, and what clouds rest on the world at large! What black clouds of Catholic superstition, Mahommedanism, and idolatry.But what are all these things? We do not care about them at all, brethren. Some say that I am getting very enthusiastic aboutthe latter-day glory, and the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Well, I don't know. I get all the happier the more enthusiasticI am, so I hope I shall keep on at it, for I believe there is nothing so comforts a servant of Godas to believe that his Master is coming. I hope to see him. I should not be surprised to see Jesus Christ to-morrow morning.He may come then. "In such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh." He who learns to watch for Christ, will never be surprisedwhen he cometh. Blessed shall that servant be, whom, when his Lord cometh, he shall find busy about his duty. But some sayhe cannot come yet; there are so many clouds, and so much darkness in the sky, it cannot be expected that thesun will rise yet. Is that a fair reason? Do the clouds ever impede the sun? The sun moves on despite all the mists; andJesus Christ can come clouds or no clouds. We do not want light before he appears; he will come and give us light, afterwards,scattering the darkness with the glory of his own eyes. But you say, "How are these idolatrous systems to be cast down?" Godcould do it in an hour if he pleased. Religion never moves by years and weeks. Even false religions grow like mushrooms; muchmore true ones. False religions attained colossal proportion in a very few years. Take the case of Mahommedanism-the new-bornfaith of Islam became the religion of millions in an increditable short period and if a false religion could spread so quickly,shall not a true one run along like fire amidst the stubble, when God shall speak the word? Clouds are but "dust of his feet."A little while ago some of us were fretting about this Mormonism, and we said, "It will never be broken up." Somestupid fellows in America began to kill the poor Mormonites, and so carve them into saints, which was the very way toestablish them. Christians trembled, and said, "What can this be? We shall have Sodom over again." But did you read the Times newspaper of Thursday last? You will there see a wonderful instance of how God can scatter the clouds and make them dustof his feet. He has caused to come out of the ground, near Salt Lake, at Utah, thousands of crickets, and all kinds of noxiousinsects, that devour the crops; creatures that have not been seen in Utah before, with swarms of locusts, have made theirappearance; and the people, being so far from civilized nations, cannot of course carry much corn across the desert, so thatthey will be condemned to starve or else separate and break up. It seems to all appearance that the whole settlement of theMormonites must entirely be broken up, and that by an army of caterpillars, crickets, and locusts.
III. Now, one more remark. "The clouds are the dust of his feet." Then we learn from that, that THE MOST TERRIBLE THINGS INNATURE HAVE NO TERROR TO A CHILD OF GOD. Sometimes clouds are very fearful things to mariners; they expect a storm when theysee the clouds and darkness gathering. A cloud to many of us, when it forebodes a tempest is a very unpleasant thing. Butlet me read my text, and you will see what I mean by my remark that the most terrible things in nature arenot terrible to the saints. The clouds are the dust of HIS feet,"-of God's feet. Do you not see what I mean? There isnothing terrible now, because it is only the dust of my Father's feet. Did you ever know a child who was afraid of the dustof his father's feet? Nay; if the child sees the dust of his father's feet in the distance, what does he do? He rejoices becauseit is his father, and runs to meet him. So the most awful things in nature, even the clouds, have lost all their terror toachild of God, because he knows they are but the dust of his Father's feet. If we stand in the midst of the lightning storm,a flash rives yon cedar, or splits the oak of the forest; another flash succeeds, and then another, till the whole firmamentbecomes a sea of flame. We fear not, for they are only the flashes of our Father's sword as he waves it in the sky. Hark tothe thunder as it shakes the earth, causes the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests; we shake not at the sound.
"The God that rules on high,
And thunders when he please,
That rides upon the stormy sky,
And manages the seas.
"This awful God is ours,
Our Father and our love."
We are not afraid, for we hear our Father's voice. And what favored child ever quaked at his Father's speech. We love to hearthat voice; although it is deep, bass, sonorous, yet we love its matchless melody, for it issues from the depths of affection.Put me to sea, and let the ship be driven along, that wind is my Father's breath let the clouds gather, they are the dustof my Father's feet; let the waterspout appear from heaven, it is my Father dipping his hand in thelaver of his earthly temple. The child of God feareth nothing. All things are his Father's; and divested now of everythingthat is terrible, he can look upon them with complacency, for he says, "The clouds are the dust of his feet."
"He drives his chariot through the sky,
Beneath his feet his thunders roar;
He shakes the earth, he veils the sky,
My soul, my soul, this God adore-
He is thy Father, and thy love."
Fall down before his feet and worship him, for he hath loved thee by his grace. You know there are many fearful events whichmay befall us; but we are never afraid of them, if we are saints, because they are the dust of his feet. Pestilence may ravage this fair city once again; the thousands may fall, and the funeral march be constantly seen inour streets. Do we fear it? Nay; the pestilence is but one of our Father's servants, and we are not afraid of it, althoughit walketh in darkness. There may be no wheat, the flocks may be cut off from the herd and the stall; nevertheless, famineand distress are our Father's doings, and what our Father does we will not view with alarm. There is a man there with a swordin his hand-he is an enemy, and I fear him My father has a sword, and I fear him not; I rather love to see him have a sword,because I know he will only use it for my protection.
But there is to come a sight more grand, more terrific, more sublime, and more disastrous than anything earth hath yet witnessed;there is to come a fire before which Sodom's fire shall pale to nothingness; and the conflagration of continents shall sinkinto less than nothing and vanity. In a few more years, my friends, Scripture assures us, this earth and all that is therein,is to be burned up. That deep molten mass which now lies in the bosom of our mother earth is toburst up-the solid matter is be melted down into one vast globe of fire; the wicked-shrieking, wailing, and cursing, shallbecome a prey to these flames that shall blaze upward from the breast of earth; comets shall shoot their fires from heaven;all the lightnings shall launch their bolts upon this poor earth, and it shall become a mass of fire. But does the Christianfear it? No. Scripture tell us we shall be caught up together with the Lord in the air, and shall be for ever with theLord.
IV. To conclude. The fourth observation is, ALL THINGS IN NATURE ARE CALCULATED TO TERRIFY THE UNGODLY MAN. Ungodly men andwomen now present in this place of worship, it is a very solemn fact that you are at enmity with God; that having sinned againstGod, God is angry with you-not angry with you today, but angry with you every day, angry with you every hour and every moment.It is, moreover, a most sad and solemn fact that there is a day coming, I, ungodly men, whenthis anger of God will burst out, and when God will utterly destroy and devour you. Now listen to me for a moment, whileI try to make all nature preach to you a solemn warning, and the wide world itself a great high priest, holding up its fingerand calling you to flee for mercy to Jesus Christ, the King of kings. Sinner, hast thou ever seen the clouds as they rollalong the sky? Those clouds are the dust of the feet of Jehovah. If these clouds are but the dust, what is he himself? Andthen, Iask thee, O man, art thou not foolish in the extreme to be at war with such a God as this? If "the clouds are the dustof his feet, now foolish art thou to be his enemy. Dost thou think to stand before his majesty? I tell thee, he will snapthy spear as if it were but a reed. Wilt thou hide thyself in the mountains? They shall be melted at his presence; and thoughthou cry to the rocks to hide thee, they would fail to give thee aught of concealment before his burning eyes. O do but consider,mydear fellow creatures, you who are at enmity with God, would it not be folly if you were to oppose yourself to an angel?Would it not be the utmost stupidity if you were to commence a war even with her majesty the Queen? I know it would, becauseye have no power to stand against them; but consider how much more mighty is the Eternal God. Why, man, he could put his fingerupon you at this moment and crush you as I could an insect. Yet this God is your enemy; you are hating him, you are at warwith him! Consider, moreover, O man, that thou hast grievously rebelled against him; that thou hast incensed his soul,and he is angry, and jealous, and furious against every sinner. Consider what you will do in that great day, when God shallfall upon you. Some of you believe in a god that has no anger, and no hatred towards the wicked. Such a god is not the Godof Scripture? He is a god who punishes the ungodly. Let me ask the question of inspiration: Canst thou stand before his indignation?Canst thou abide the fierceness of his anger? When his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down byhim, bethink thee, sinner, will it be a good thing to be in the hands of the Almighty, who will rend thee in sunder? Wiltthou think it easy to lie down in hell with the breath of the Eternal fanning the flames? Wilt thou delight thyself to thinkthat God will invent torments for thee, sinner, to make thy doom most cursed if thou dost not repent and turn to him? What,man! arethe terrors of Jehovah nothing to thee? Dost thou not tremble and shake before the fierceness of his fury? Ah! thou mayestlaugh now; thou mayest go away, my hearer, and smile at what I have said; but the day shall declare it: the hour is coming-andit may be soon-when the iron hand of the Almighty shall be upon thee; when all thy senses shall be the gates of misery, thybody the house of lamentation, and thy soul the epitome of woe. Then thou wilt not laugh and despise him.
But now to finish up, let me just give you one word more; for, beloved, wherefore do we use these threats; wherefore do wespeak of them? It is but the word of the angel, who, pressing Lot upon the shoulder, said, "Look not behind thee stay notin all the plain," and then pointing to the fire behind, said, "On! on! lest the fiery sleet overtake thee, and the hail ofthe Eternal shall overwhelm thee!" We only mentioned that fire behind, that the Spirit might make you fleeto the mountain lest ye should be consumed. Do you ask where that mountain is? We tell you there is a cleft in the Rockof Ages where the chief of sinners may yet hide himself-"Jesus Christ for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven;"and whoever here this morning is a sinner, we now invite to come to Christ. Ye Pharisees who do not own the title, I preachno gospel to you; ye self-righteous, self-sufficient ones, I have nought whatever to say to you, except what I havesaid-the voice of threatening. But, whoever will confess himself a sinner, has the warrant this morning to come to JesusChrist. Sinnership is the only title to salvation. If you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners, Christ died for you. And ifyou put your trust in him, and believed that he died for you, you may rely upon him, and say, "Lord, I will be saved by thygrace." Your merits are good for nothing; you can get no benefit by them. Your own work is useless; you err like the man intheprison working the treadmill-you never get anything by it-grinding oyster shells without any benefit to yourself. Cometo Jesus Christ. Believe in him; and after you have believed in him, he will set you working-working a new work. He will giveyou works, if you will have but faith-even faith is his gift. O may he give it to you now, my hearers, for; he giveth liberallyand upbraideth not." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be baptized, and thou shalt be saved."