Sermon 84. Salvation to the Uttermost
Delivered on Sabbath Evening, June, 8, 1856, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At Exeter Hall, Strand.
"Where he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercessionfor them."-Hebrews 7:25.
SALVATION is a doctrine peculiar to revelation. Revelation affords us a complete history of it, but nowhere else can we findany trace thereof. God has written many books, but only one book has had for its aim the teaching of the ways of mercy. Hehas written the great book of creation, which is our duty and our pleasure to read. It is a volume embellished on its surfacewith starry gems and rainbow colours, and containing in its inner leaves marvels at which the wise maywonder for age, and yet find a fresh theme for their conjectures. Nature is the spelling-book of man, in which he maylearn his Maker's name, he hath studded it with embroidery, with gold, with gems. There are doctrines of truth in the mightystars, and there are lessons written on the green earth and in the flowers upspringing from the sod. We read the books ofGod when we see the storm and tempest, for all things speak as God would have them; and if our ears are open we may hear thevoice ofGod in the rippling of every rill, in the roll of every thunder, in the brightness of every lightning, in the twinklingof every star, in the budding of every flower. God has written the great book of creation, to teach us what he is-how great,how mighty. But I read nothing of salvation in creation. The rocks tell me, "Salvation is not in us;" the winds howl, butthey howl not salvation: the waves rush upon the shore, but among the wrecks which they wash up, the reveal no trace of salvation;the fathomless caves of ocean bear pearls, but they bear no pearls of grace; the starry heavens have their flashing meteors,but they have no voices of salvation. I find salvation written nowhere, till in this volume of my Father's grace I find hisblessed love unfolded towards the great human family, teaching them that they are lost, but that he can save them, and thatin saving them he can be "just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly." Salvation, then, is to be found in the Scriptures,andin the Scriptures only; for we can read nothing of it elsewhere. And while it is to be found only in Scripture, I holdthat the peculiar doctrine of revelation is salvation. I believe that the Bible was sent not to teach me history, but to teachme grace-not to give me a system of philosophy, but to give me a system of divinity-not to teach worldly wisdom, but spiritualwisdom. Hence I hold all preaching of philosophy and science in the pulpit to be altogether out of place. I would check noman's liberty in this matter, for God only is the Judge of man's conscience; but it is my firm opinion that if we professto be Christians, we are bound to keep to Christianity; if we profess to be Christian ministers, we drivel away the Sabbath-day,we mock our hearers, we insult God, if we deliver lectures upon botany, or geology, instead of delivering sermons salvation.He who does not always preach the gospel, ought not to be accounted a true-called minister of God.
Well, then it is salvation I desire to preach to you. We have, in our text, two or three things. In the first place, we aretold who they are who will be saved, "them that come into God by Jesus Christ;" in the second place we are told the extent of the Saviour's ability to save, "He is able to save to the uttermost;" and in the third place, we have the reason given why he can save, "seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
I. First, we are told THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TO BE SAVED. And the people who are to be saved are "those who come unto God by JesusChrist." There is no limitation here of sect or denomination: it does not say, the Baptist, the Independent, or the Episcopalianthat come unto God by Jesus Christ, but it simply says, "them," by which I understand men of all creeds, men of all ranks, men of all classes, who do but come to Jesus Christ. They shallbe saved, whatever theirapparent position before men, or whatever may be the denomination to which they have linked themselves.
1. Now, I must have you notice, in the first place, where these people come to. They "come unto God." By coming to God we are not to understand the mere formality of devotion, since this may be but asolemn means of sinning. What a splendid general confession is that in the Church of England Prayer Book: "We have erred andstrayed from thy ways like lost sheep; we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and we have left undonethose things which weought to have done, and there is no health in us." There is not to be found a finer confession in the English language.And yet how often, my dear friends, have the best of us mocked God by repeating such expressions verbally, and thinking wehave done our duty! How many of you go to chapel, and must confess your own absence of mind while you have bowed your kneein prayer, or uttered a song of praise! My friends, it is one thing to go to church or chapel; it is quite another thing togo toGod. There are many people who can pray right eloquently, and who do so; who have learned a form of prayer by heart, or, perhaps,use an extemporary form of words of their own composing: but who, instead of going to God, are all the while going from God.Let me persuade you all not to be content with mere formality. There will be many damned who never broke the Sabbath, as theythought, but who, all their lives were Sabbath-breakers. It is as much possible to break the Sabbath in a churchas it is to break the Sabbath in the park; it is as easy to break it here in this solemn assembly as in your own houses.Every one of you virtually break the Sabbath when you merely go through a round of duties, having done which, you retire toyour chambers, fully content with yourselves, and fancy that all is over-that you have done your day's work-whereas, you havenever come to God at all, but have merely come to the outward ordinance and to the visible means, which is quite anotherthing from coming to God himself.
And let me tell you, again, that coming to God is not what some of you suppose-now and then sincerely performing an act of devotion, but giving to the world the greater part of your life. You think that if sometimes you are sincere, if now and then you put up an earnest cry to heaven, God will accept you; andthough your life may be still worldly, and your desires still carnal, you suppose that for the sake of this occasional devotionGod will be pleased,in his infinite mercy, to blot out your sins. I tell you, sinners, there is no such thing as bringing half of yourselvesto God, and leaving the other half away. If a man has come here, I suppose he has brought his whole self with him; and soif a man comes to God, he cannot come, half of him, and half of him stay away. Our whole being must be surrendered to theservice of our Maker. We must come to him with an entire dedication of ourselves, giving up all we are, and all we ever shallbe, tobe thoroughly devoted to his service, otherwise we have never come to God aright. I am astonished to see how people inthese days try to love the world and love Christ too; according to the old proverb, they "hold with the hare and run withthe hounds." They are real good Christians sometimes, when they think they ought to be religious; but they are right bad fellowsat other seasons, when they think that religion would be a little loss to them. Let me warn you all. It is of no earthly useforyou to pretend to be on two sides of the question. "If God be God, serve him; If Baal be God, serve him." I like an out-and-outman of any sort. Give me a man that is a sinner: I have some hope for him when I see him sincere in his vices, and open toacknowledging his own character; but if you give me a man who is half-hearted, who is not quite bold enough to be all forthe devil, nor quite sincere enough to be all for Christ, I tell you, I despair of such a man as that. The man who wants tolink the two together is in an extremely hopeless case. Do you think, sinners, you will be able to serve two masters,when Christ has said you cannot? Do you fancy you can walk with God and walk with mammon too? Will you take God on one arm,and the devil on the other? Do you suppose you can be allowed to drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of Satan at the sametime? I tell you, ye shall depart, as cursed and miserable hypocrites, if so you come to God. God will have the whole of youcome,or else you shall not come at all. The whole man must seek after the Lord; the whole soul must be poured out before him;otherwise it is no acceptable coming to God at all. Oh, halters between two opinions, remember this and tremble.
I think I hear one say, "Well, then, tell us what it is to come to God." I answer, coming to God implies, leaving something else. If a man comes to God, he must leave his sins; he must leave his righteousness; he must leave both his bad works and hisgood ones, and come to God, leaving them entirely.
Again, coming to God implies, there is no aversion towards him; for a man will not come to God while he hates God; he will be sure to keep away. Coming to God signifies having some love to God. Again: coming to God signifies desiring God, desiring to be near to him. And, above all, it signifies praying to God and putting faith in him. This is coming to God; and those that have come to God in that fashion are among the saved. The come toGod: that is the place to which their eager spirits hasten.
2. But notice, next, how they come. The "come unto God by Jesus Christ." We have known many persons who call themselves natural religionists. They worship the God of nature, and they think thatthey can approach God apart from Jesus Christ. There be some men we wot of who despise the mediation of the Saviour, and,who, if they were in an hour of peril, would put up their prayer at once to God, without faith in the Mediator. Do such ofyou fancy that you willbe heard and saved by the great God your Creator, apart from the merits of his Son? Let me solemnly assure you, in God'smost holy name, there never was a prayer answered for salvation, by God the Creator, since Adam fell, without Jesus Christthe Mediator. "No man can come unto God but by Jesus Christ;" and if any one of you deny the Divinity of Christ, and if anysoul among you do not come to God through the merits of a Saviour, bold fidelity obliges me to pronounce you condemned persons;forhowever amiable you may be, you cannot be right in the rest, unless you think rightly of him. I tell you, ye may offerall the prayers that ever may be prayed, but ye shall be damned, unless ye put them up through Christ. It is all in vain foryou to take your prayers and carry them yourself to the throne. "Get thee hence, sinner; get thee hence," says God; "I neverknew thee. Why didst not thou put thy prayer into the hands of a Mediator? It would have been sure of an answer. But as thoupresentest it thyself, see what I will do with it!" And he read your petition, and casts it to the four winds of heaven;and thou goest away unheard, unsaved. The Father will never save a man apart from Christ; there is not one soul now in heavenwho was not saved by Jesus Christ; there is not one who ever came to God aright, who did not come through Jesus Christ. Ifyou would be at peace with God, you must come to him through Christ, as the way, the truth, and the life, making mention ofhisrighteousness, and of his only.
3. But when these people come, what do they come for? There are some who think they come to God, who do not come for the right thing. Many a young student cries to God to helphim in his studies; many a merchant comes to God that he may be guided through a dilemma in his business. They are accustomed,in any difficulty, to put up some kind of prayer which, if they knew its value, they might cease from offering, for "the sacrificeof the wicked is an abomination tothe Lord." But the poor sinner, in coming to Christ, has only one object. If all the world were offered to him, he wouldnot think it worth his acceptance if he could not have Jesus Christ. There is a poor man, condemned to die, locked up in thecondemned cell: the bell is tolling: he will soon be taken off to die on the gallows. There, man, I have brought you a finerobe. What! not smile at it? Look! it is stiff with silver! Mark you not how it is bedizened with jewels? Such a robe as thatcost many and many a pound, and much fine workmanship was expended on it. Contemptuously he smile at it! See here, man,I present thee something else: here is a glorious estate for thee, with broad acres, fine mansions, parks and lawns; takethat title deed, 'tis thine. What! not smile, sir? Had I given that estate to any man who walked the street, less poor thanthou art, he would have danced for very joy. And wilt not thou afford a smile, when I make thee rich and clothe thee withgold? Thenlet me try once more. There is Caesar's purple for thee; put it on thy shoulders-there is his crown; it shall sit on noother head but thine. It is the crown of empires that know no limit. I'll make thee a king; thou shalt have a kingdom uponwhich the sun shall never set; thou shalt reign from pole to pole. Stand up; call thyself Caesar. Thou art emperor. What!no smile? What dost thou want? "Take away that bauble," says he of the crown; "rend up that worthless parchment; take awaythatrobe; ay, cast it to the winds. Give it to the kings of the earth who live; but I have to die, and of what use are theseto me? Give me a pardon, and I will not care to be a Caesar. Let me live a beggar, rather than die a prince." So is it withthe sinner when he comes to God: he comes for salvation. He says-
"Wealth and honor I disdain;
Earthly comforts, Lord, are vain,
These will never satisfy,
Give me Christ, or else I die."
Mercy is his sole request. O my friends, if you have ever come to God, crying out for salvation, and for salvation only, thenyou have come unto God aright. It were useless then to mock you. You cry for bread: should I give you stones? You would buthurl them at me. Should I offer you wealth? It would be little. We must preach to the sinner who comes to Christ, the giftfor which he asks-the gift of salvation by Jesus Christ the Lord-as being his own by faith.
4. One more thought upon this coming to Christ. In what style do these persons come? I will try and give you a description of certain persons, all coming to the gate of mercy, as they think, for salvation.There comes one, a fine fellow in a coach and six! See how hard he drives, and how rapidly he travels; he is a fine fellow:he has men in livery, and his horses are richly caparisoned; he is rich, exceeding rich. He drives up to the gate, and says,"Knock at thatgate for me; I am rich enough, but still I dare say it would be as well to be on the safe side; I am a very respectablegentleman; I have enough of my own good works and my own merits, and this chariot, I dare say, would carry me across the riverdeath, and land me safe on the other side; but still, it is fashionable to be religious, so I will approach the gate. Porter!undo the gates, and let me in; see what an honorable man I am." You will never find the gates undone for that man; he doesnotapproach in the right manner. There comes another; he has not quite so much merit, but still he has some; he comes walkingalong, and having leisurely marched up, he cries, "Angel! open the gate to me; I am come to Christ: I think I should liketo be saved. I do not feel that I very much require salvation; I have always been a very honest, upright, moral man; I donot know myself to have been much of a sinner; I have robes of my own; but I would not mind putting Christ's robes on; itwould nothurt me. I may as well have the wedding garment; then I can have mine own too." AH! the gates are still hard and fast,and there is no opening of them. But let me show you the right man. There he comes, sighing and groaning, crying and weepingal the way. He has a rope on his neck, for he thinks he deserves to be condemned. He has rags on him, he comes to the heavenlythrone; and when he approaches mercy's gate he is almost afraid to knock. He lifts up his eyes and he sees it written, "Knock,and it shall be opened to you;" but he fears lest he should profane the gate by his poor touch; he gives at first a gentlerap, and if mercy's gate open not, he is a poor dying creature; so he gives another rap, then another and another; and althoughhe raps times without number, and no answer comes, still he is a sinful man, and he knows himself to be unworthy; so he keepsrapping still; and at last the good angel smiling from the gate, says, "Ah! this gate was built for beggars not forprinces; heaven's gate was made for spiritual paupers, not for rich men. Christ died for sinners, not for those who aregood and excellent. Hoe came into the world to save the vile.
'Not the righteous-
Sinners, Jesus came to call.'
Come in, poor man! Come in. Thrice welcome!" And the angels sin, "Thrice welcome!" How many of you, dear friends, have cometo God by Jesus Christ in that fashion? Not with the pompous pride of the Pharisee, not with the cant of the good man whothinks he deserves salvation, but with the sincere cry of a penitent, with the earnest desire of a thirsty soul after livingwater, panting as the thirsty hart in the wilderness after the water-brooks, desiring Christ as they thatlook for the morning; I say, more than they that look for the morning. As my God who sits in heaven liveth, if you havenot come to God in this fashion, you have not come to God at all; but if you have thus come to God, here is the glorious wordfor you-"He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him."
II. Thus we have disposed of the first point, the coming to God; and now, secondly, WHAT IS THE MEASURE OF THE SAVIOUR'S ABILITY?This is a question as important as if it were for life or death-a question as to the ability of Jesus Christ. How far cansalvation go? What are its limits and its boundaries? Christ is a Saviour: how far is he able to save? He is a Physician:to what extent will his skill reach to heal diseases? What a noble answer the text gives! "He is ableto save to the uttermost." Now, I will certainly affirm, and no one can deny it, that no one here knows how far the uttermostis. David said, if he took the wings of the morning, to fly to the uttermost parts of the sea, even there should God reachhim. But who knoweth where the uttermost is? Borrow the angel's wing, and fly far, far beyond the most remote star: go wherewing has never flapped before, and where the undisturbed ether is as serene and quiet as the breast of Deity itself; youstill, beyond the bounds of creation, where space itself falls, and where chaos takes up its reign: you will not cometo the uttermost. It is too far for mortal intellect to conceive of; it is beyond the range of reason or of thought. Now,our text tells us that Christ is "able to save to the uttermost."
1. Sinner, I shall address thee first; and saints of God, I shall address you afterwards. Sinner, Christ is "able to saveto the uttermost;" by which we understand that the uttermost extent of guilt is not beyond the power of the Saviour. Can any one tell what is the uttermost amount to which a man might sin? Some of usconceive that Palmer has gone almost to the uttermost of human depravity; we fancy that no heart could be much more vile thanthat which conceived amurder so deliberate, and contemplated a crime so protracted; but I can conceive it possible that there might be evenworse men than he, and that if his life were spared, and he were set at large, he might become even a worse man than he isnow. Yea, supposing he were to commit another murder, and then another, and another, would he have gone to the uttermost?Could not a man be yet more guilty? As long as ever he lives, he may become more guilty than he was the day before. But yetmy textsays, Christ is "able to save to the uttermost." I may imagine a person has crept in here, who thinks himself to be themost loathsome of all beings, the most condemned of all creatures. "Surely," says he, "I have gone to the utmost extremityof sin; none could outstrip me in vice." My dear friend, suppose you had gone to the uttermost, remember that even then youwould not have gone beyond the reach of divine mercy; for he is "able to save to the uttermost," and it is possible that youyourself might go a little further, and therefore you have not gone to the uttermost yet. However far you may have gone-ifyou have gone to the very artic regions of vice, where the sun of mercy seems to scatter but a few oblique rays, there canthe light of salvation reach you. If I should see a sinner staggering on in his progress to hell, I would not give him up,even when he had advanced to the last stage of iniquity. Though his foot hung trembling over the very verge of perdition,Iwould not cease to pray for him; and though he should in his poor drunken wickedness go staggering on till one foot wereover hell, and he were ready to perish, I would not despair of him. Till the pit had shut her mouth upon him I would believeit still possible that divine grace might save him. See here! he is just upon the edge of the pit, ready to fall; but erehe falls, free grace bids, "Arrest that man!" Down mercy comes, catches him on her broad wings, and he is saved, a trophyofredeeming love. If there be any such in this vast assembly-if there be any here of the outcast of society, the vilestof the vile, the scum, the draff of this poor world,-oh! ye chief of sinners! Christ is "able to save to the uttermost." Tellthat everywhere, in every garret, in every cellar, in every haunt of vice, in every kennel of sin; tell it everywhere! "Tothe uttermost!" "He is able to save them to the uttermost."
2. Yet again: not only to the uttermost of crime, but to the uttermost of rejection. I must explain what I mean by this. There are many of you here who have heard the gospel from your youth up. I see somehere, who like myself are children of pious parents. There are some of you upon whose infant forehead the pure heavenly dropsof a mother's tears continually fell; there are many of you here who were trained up by one whose knee, whenever it was bent,was ever bentfor you, her first-born son. Your mother has gone to heaven, it may be, and all the prayers she ever prayed for you areas yet unanswered. Sometimes you wept. You remember well how she grasped your hand, and said to you, "Ah! John, you will breakmy heart by this your sin, if you continue running on in those ways of iniquity: oh! if you did but melt, and you would flyto Christ." Do you not remember that time? The hot sweat stood upon your brow, and you said-for you could not break herheart-"Mother, I will think of it;" and you did think of it; but you met your companion outside, and it was all gone:your mother's expostulation was brushed away; like the thin cobwebs of the gossamer, blown by the swift north wind, not atrace of it was left. Since then you have often stepped in to hear the minister. Not long ago you heard a powerful sermon;the minister spoke as though he were a man just started from his grave, with as much earnestness as if he had been a sheetedghostcome back from the realms of despair, to tell you his own awful fate, and warn you of it. You remember how the tears rolleddown your cheeks. while he told you of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come; you remember how he preached to youJesus and salvation by the cross, and you rose up from your seat in that chapel, and you said, "Please God I am spared anotherday, I will turn to him with full purpose of heart." And there you are, still unchanged-perhaps worse than you were; andyou have spent your Sunday afternoon the angel knows where: and your mother's spirit knows where you have spent it too,and could she weep, she would weep over you who have this day despised God's Sabbath, and trampled on his Holy Word. But doestthou feel in thine heart to-night the tender motions of the Holy Spirit? Dost thou feel something say, "Sinner! come to Christnow?" Dost thou hear conscience whispering to thee, telling thee of thy past transgression? And is there some sweet angelvoice, saying, "Come to Jesus, come to Jesus; he will save you yet?" I tell you, sinner, you may have rejected Christto the very uttermost; but he is still able to save you. There are a thousand prayers on which you have trampled, there area hundred sermons all wasted on you, there are thousands of Sabbaths which you have thrown away; you have rejected Christ,you have despised his Spirit; but still he ceases not to cry, "Return, return!" He is "able to save thee to the uttermost,"if thoucomest unto God by him.
3. There is another case which demands my particular attention to-night. It is that of the man who has gone to the uttermost of despair. There are some poor creatures in the world, who from a course of crime have become hardened, and when at last aroused byremorse and the pricklings of conscience, there is an evil spirit which broods over them, telling them it is hopeless forsuch as they are to seek salvation. We have met with some who have gone so far that theyhave thought that even devils might be saved rather than they could. They have given themselves up for lost, and signedtheir own death-warrant, and in such a state of mind have positively taken the halter in their hand, to end their unhappylives. Despair has brought many a man to a premature death; it hath sharpened many a knife, and mingled many a cup of poison.Have I a despairing person here? I know him by his sombre face and downcast looks. He wishes he were dead, for he thinks thathellitself could be scarce worse torment than to be here expecting it. Let me whisper to him words of consolation. Despairingsoul! hope yet, for Christ is able to save to the uttermost;" and though thou art put in the lowest dungeon of the castleof despair, though key after key hath been turned upon thee, and the iron grating of thy window forbids all filing, and theheight of thy prison-wall is so awful that thou couldst not expect to escape, yet let me tell thee, there is one at the gatewhocan break every bolt, and undo every lock; there is one who can lead thee out to God's free air and save thee yet, forthough the worst may come to the worst, he "is able to save thee to the uttermost."
4. And now a word to the saint, to comfort him: for this text is his also. Beloved brother in the gospel! Christ is able tosave thee to the uttermost. Art thou brought very low by distress? hast thou lost house and home, friend and property? Remember, thou hast not come "to the uttermost" yet, Badly off as thouart, thou mightest be worse. He is able to save thee; and suppose it should come to this, that thou hadst not a rag left,nor a crust, nor a drop of water,still he would be able to save thee, for "he is able to save to the uttermost." So with temptation. If thou shouldst havethe sharpest temptation with which mortal was ever tried, he is able to save thee. If thou shouldst be brought into such a predicament that the footof the devil should be upon thy neck, and the fiend should say, "Now I will make an end of thee," God would be able to savethee then. Ay, and in the uttermost infirmity shouldst thou live for many a year, tillthou art leaning on thy staff, and tottering along thy weary life, if thou shouldst outlive Methusaleh, thou couldst notlive beyond the uttermost, and he would save thee then. Yes, and when thy little bark is launched by death upon the unknown sea of eternity, he will be with thee; and though thick vapours of gloomy darkness gather round thee, andthou canst not see into the dim future, though thy thoughts tell thee that thou wilt be destroyed, yet God will be "able tosave thee to theuttermost."
Then, my friends, if Christ is able to save a Christian to the uttermost, do you suppose he will ever let a Christian perish?Wherever I go, I hope always to bear my hearty protest against the most accursed doctrine of a saint's falling away and perishing.There are some ministers who preach that a man may be a child of God (now, angels! do not hear what I am about to say, listento me, ye who are down below in hell, for it may suit you) that a man may be a child of Godto-day, and a child of the devil to-morrow; that God may acquit a man, and yet condemn him-save him by grace, and thenlet him perish-suffer a man to be taken out of Christ's hands, though he has said such a thing shall never take place. Howwill you explain this? It certainly is no lack of power. You must accuse him of a want of love, and will you dare to do that?He is full of love; and since he has also the power, he will never suffer one of his people to perish. It is true, and evershall be true, that he will save them to the very uttermost.
III. Now, in the last place, WHY IS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS "ABLE TO SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST?" The answer is, that he "ever livethto make intercession for them." This implies that he died, which is indeed the great source of his saving power. Oh! how sweet it is to reflect upon the great and wonderous workswhich Christ hath done, whereby he hath become "the high priest of our profession," able to save us! It is pleasant to lookback to Calvary's hill, and to beholdthat bleeding form expiring on the tree; it is sweet, amazingly sweet, to pry with eyes of love between those thick olives,and hear the groanings of the Man who sweat great drops of blood. Sinner, if thou askest me how Christ can save thee, I tellthee this-he can save thee, because he did not save himself; he can save thee, because he took thy guilt and endured thy punishment.There is no way of salvation apart from the satisfaction of divine justice. Either the sinner must die, or elsesome one must die for him. Sinner, Christ can save thee, because, if thou comest to God by him, then he died for thee.God has a debt against us, and he never remits that debt; he will have it paid. Christ pays it, and then the poor sinner goesfree.
And we are told another reason why he is able to save: not only because he died, but because he lives to make intercession for us. That Man who once died on the cross is alive; that Jesus who was buried in the tomb is alive. If you ask me what he is doing;I bid you listen. Listen, if you have ears! Did you not hear him, poor penitent sinner? Did you not hear his voice, sweeterthan harpers playing on their harps? Did you not hear a charming voice? Listen! what didit say? "O my Father! forgive-!" Why, he mentioned your own name! "O my Father, forgive him; he knew not what he did.It is true he sinned against light, and knowledge, and warnings; sinned wilfully and woefully; but, Father, forgive him!"Penitent, if thou canst listen, thou wilt hear him praying for thee. And that is why he is able to save.
A warning and a question, and I have done. First, a warning. Remember, there is a limit to God's mercy. I have told you from the Scriptures, that "he is able to save to the uttermost;" but there is a limit to his purpose to save. If I read the Bible rightly, there is one sin whichcan never be forgiven. It is the sin against the Holy Ghost. Tremble, unpardoned sinners, lest ye should commit that. If Imay tell you what I think the sin against the Holy Ghostis, I must say that I believe it to be different in different people; but in many persons, the sin against the Holy Ghostconsists in stifling their convictions. Tremble, my hearers, lest to-night's sermon should be the last you hear. Go away andscorn the preacher, if you like; but do not neglect his warning. Perhaps the very next time thou laughest over a sermon, ormockest at a prayer, or despisest a text, the very next oath thou swearest, God may say, "He is given to idols, let him alone;my Spirit shall no more strive with that man; I will never speak to him again." That is the warning.
And now, lastly, the question. Christ has done so much for you: what have you ever done for him? Ah! poor sinner, if thou knewest that Christ died for thee-and I know that he did, if thou repentest-if thou knewest thatone day thou wilt be his, wouldst thou spit upon him now? wouldst thou scoff at God's day, if thou knewest that one day itwill be thy day? wouldst thou despise Christ, if thou knewest that he loves thee now, and will display that love by-and-bye?Oh! there are some of you that will loathe yourselves when you know Christ because you did not treat him better. He willcome to you one of these bright mornings, and he will say, "Poor sinner, I forgive you;" and you will look up in his face,and say. "What! Lord, forgive me? I used to curse thee, I laughed at thy people, I despised everything that had to do withreligion. Forgive me?" "Yes," says Christ, "give me thy hand; I loved thee when thou hatedst me: come here!" And sure thereisnothing will break a heart half so much as thinking of the way in which you sinned against one who loved you so much.
Oh! beloved, hear again the text,-"He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him." I am no orator, Ihave no eloquence; but if I were the one, and had the other, I would preach to you with all my soul. As it is, I only talkright on, and tell you what I do know; I can only say again,
"He is able;
He is willing: doubt no more.
Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify:
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings us nigh-
Come to Jesus Christ, and buy."
For he is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him." O Lord! make sinners come! Spirit of God! make themcome! Compel them to come to Christ by sweet constraint, and let not our words be in vain, or our labour lost; for Jesus Christ'ssake! Amen.