Sermon 86. Unimpeachable Justice
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, June 15, 1856, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,and be clear when thou judgest."-Psalm 51:4.
YESTERDAY was to me a day of deep solemnity; a pressure rested on my mind throughout the whole of it, which I could not byany possibility remove, for at every hour I remembered that during that day one of the most fallen of my fellow-creatureswas launched into an unknown world, and made to stand before his Maker. Some might have witnessed his execution without tears;I think I could not even have thought of it for long together without weeping, at the terrible idea of aman so guilty, about to commence that endless period of unmingled misery, which is the horrible doom of the impenitent,which God hath prepared for sinners. Yesterday morning the sun saw a sigh which sickened it-the sight of a man launched, bya judicial process, into eternity, for guilt which has rendered him infamous, and which will stamp his name with disgraceas long as it shall be remembered.
There is now agitating the public mind something which I thought I might improve this day, and turn to very excellent purpose.There are only two things concerning which the public have any suspicion. The verdict of the jury was the verdict of the wholeof England; we were unanimous as to the high probability, the well-nigh absolute certainty of his guilt; but there were twodoubts in our minds-one of them but small, we grant you, but if both could have been resolved weshould have felt more easy than we do now. The one was concerning the criminal's guilt, and the other was concerning hispunishment. At least some few of our fellow-countrymen have been afraid, lest we may not have been justified when we spokeagainst him, and quite clear when he was judged. Two things were wanted: we should have liked to have had his own confession,and certainly we should have preferred something more than circumstantial evidence; we desired to have had the testimony ofaneye-witness, who could swear to the deed of murder done. But, moreover, there is also a strong feeling in the mind ofmany, that the severity of the punishment is questionable. There are some who pronounce authoritatively, that the murderer'sblood must be shed for murder; but there are some who think the Christian dispensation has ameliorated the law, and that nowit is no longer "eye for eye, tooth for tooth." Many persons in England have shuddered at the thought of executing a penaltysofearful, on any man, however great his crime, seeing that it puts him beyond the pale of hope. I shall not enter intothe question of the rightness of capital punishment; I have my opinion upon it, but this is not exactly the place to stateit: I only wish to use these facts as an illustration of the text. David says, "O Lord, hear my own confession: 'against thee,thee only, have I sinned,' and by my own confession thou wouldst 'be justified when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgest.'And, Lord, there is something else besides my own confession. Thou, thyself, wast eye-witness of my deed. 'Against thee,thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight;' and now thou art, indeed, 'justified when thou speakest, and clearwhen thou judgest.' And as to the severity of my punishment, there can be no doubt of that." There may be doubt of the severity,when man executes punishment for a crime against man, but there can be no doubt when God himself executes vengeance for acrime that is committed against himself. "Thou art justified when thou speakest; thou art clear when thou judgest."
Our subject this morning, then, will be, both in the condemnation and in the punishment of every sinner, God will be justified:and he will be made most openly clear, from the two facts of the sinner's own confession, and God himself having been an eye-witnessof the deed. And as for the severity of it, there shall be no doubt upon the mind of any man who shall receive it, for Godshall prove to him in his own soul, that damnation is nothing more nor less than thelegitimate reward of sin.
There are two kinds of condemnation: the one is the condemnation of the elect, which takes place in their hearts and consciences, when they have the sentence of death in themselves, that they shouldnot trust in themselves-a condemnation which is invariably followed by peace with God, because after that there is no furthercondemnation, for they are then in Christ Jesus, and they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The second condemnationis that ofthe finally impenitent, who, when they die, are most righteously and justly condemned by God for the sins they have committed-a condemnation notfollowed by pardon, as in the present case, but followed by inevitable damnation from the presence of God. On both these condemnationswe will discourse this morning. God is clear when he speaks, and he is just when he condemns, whether it be the condemnationwhich he passes on Christian hearts, or the condemnation which he pronounces from histhrone, when the wicked are dragged before him to receive their final doom.
I. In the first place, CONCERNING THE CHRISTIAN, when he feels himself condemned by conscience and by God's Holy Spirit, andwhen he hears the thunders of God's law proclaiming against him a sentence which, if it had not been already executed on hisSaviour, would have been fulfilled on him, the man has no grounds whatever at that time to plead any excuse; but he will sayin the words of the Psalmist, "Thou art justified when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgest."Let me show you how.
1. In the first place, there is a confession. With regard to the man who was executed yesterday, there was no confession; we could not have expected it; such crimes couldnot have been committed by a man capable of confessing them. The fact that he died hardened in his guilt is proof well-nighconclusive that he was guilty; for had he betrayed any emotion, or had he bowed his knees and cried for mercy, we might thenhave suspected that he had not been guilty of sodark a deed of blood; but from the very fact that he hardened his heart, we infer that he was capable of committing crimes,the infamy of which point them out as the offspring of a seared and torpid conscience. The Christian, when he is condemnedby the Holy Law, makes a confession, a full and free confession. He feels, when God records the sentence against him, thatthe execution of it would be just, for his now honest heart compels him to confess the whole story of his guilt. Allow meto makesome remarks on the confession which is followed by pardon.
First, such a confession is a sincere one. It is not the prattling confession used by the mere formalist, when he bends his knee and exclaims that he is a sinner;but it is a confession which is undoubtedly sincere, because it is attended by awful agonies of mind, and usually by tears,and sighs, and groans. There is something about the penitent's demeanour which puts it beyond the possibility of a fear thathe is a deceiver when he is confessing his sin. There isan outward emotion, manifesting the inward anguish of the spirit. He stands before God, and does not merely turn king'sevidence against himself, as the means of saving himself, but with tears in his eyes he cries, "O God, I am guilty;" and thenhe begins to recount the circumstances of his crime, even as if God had never seen him. He tells to God what God already knows,and then the Gracious One proves the truth of the promise, "He that confesseth his sin shall find mercy."
In the next place, that confession is always abundantly sufficient for our own condemnation. The Christian feels that if he had only half the sin to confess that he is obliged to tell outto God, it would be enough to damn his soul for ever-that if he had only one crime to acknowledge, it would be like a millstoneround his neck, to sink him for ever in the bottomless pit. He feels that his confession is superabundantly enough to condemnhim-that is almost awork of supererogation to confess all, for there is enough in one tenth of it to send his soul to hell, and make it abidethere for ever. Have you ever confessed your sins like this? If not, as God liveth, you have never known what it is to makea true confession of your sin; you have never had the sentence of condemnation passed on you, in that way which is succeededby mercy; but you are yet awaiting that terrible sentence which shall be succeeded by no words of love, but by the executionofthe sentence of infinite indignation and displeasure.
This confession is attended with no apology on account of sin. We have heard of men who have confessed their guilt, and afterwards tried to extenuate their crime, and shew some reasonswhy they were not so guilty as apparently they would seem to be; but when the Christian confesses his guilt, you never heara word of extenuation or apology from him. He says, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:"and in saying this, he makes Godjust when he condemns him, and clear when he sentences him for ever. Have you ever made such a confession? Have you everthus bowed yourselves before God? Or have you tried to palliate your guilt, and call your sins by little names, and speakof your crimes as if they were but light offences? If you have not, then you have not felt the sentence of death in yourselves,and you are still waiting till the solemn death-knell shall toll the hour of your doom, and you shall be dragged out, amidsttheuniversal hiss of the execration of the world, to be condemned for ever to flames which shall never know abatement.
Again: after the Christian confesses his sin, he offers no promise that he will of himself behave better. Some, when they make confessions to God, say, "Lord, if thou forgive me I will not sin again;" but God's penitents neversay that. When they come before him they say, "Lord, once I promised, once I made resolves, but I dare not make them now,for they would be so soon broken, that they would but increase my guilt; and my promises would be so soon violated, thatthey would but sink my soul deeper in hell. I can only say, if thou wilt create in me a clean heart, I will be thankfulfor it, and will sing to thy praise for ever; but I cannot promise that I will live without sin, or work out a righteousnessof my own. I dare not promise, my Father, that I will never go astray again;
'Unless thou hold me fast,
I feel I must, I shall decline,
And prove like them at last.'
Lord, if thou dost damn me, I cannot murmur; if thou dost cast me into perdition, I cannot complain; but have mercy upon me,a sinner, for Jesus Christ's sake." In that case, you see, God is justified when he condemns, and he is clear when he judges,even clearer than any earthly judge can be, because it is seldom that such a confession as that is ever made before the bar.
2. Again: when the Christian is condemned by the law in his conscience, there is something else which makes God just in condemninghim beside his confession, and that is the fact, that God himself, the Judge, comes forward as a witness to the crime. The convinced sinner feels in his own soul that his sins were committed to the face of God, in the teeth ofhis mercy, and that God was an exact and minute observer of every part and particle of the crime forwhich he is now to be condemned, and the sin which has brought him to the bar. "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."
The convinced sinner who has just become a Christian feels at that time that God was a witness, and that he was a most veracious witness-that he saw, and saw most clearly; and when God, by his law, says to him, "Sinner, you did such-and-such a thing,and such-and-such a thing," the awakened conscience says, "Lord, that is true; it is true in every circumstance." And whenGod goes on to say, "Your motives were vile, your objects were sinful," conscience says, "Ay,Lord, that is true; I know that thou didst see it, and that thou art a sure observer; thou art no false witness, but allthat thou sayest in thy law about me is true." When God says, "The poison of asps is under thy lips, thy throat is an opensepulchre, thou dost flatter with thy tongue," conscience says, "It is all true;" and when he says, "The heart is deceitfulabove all things, and desperately wicked," conscience says, "It is all true;" and the sinner has this awful thought, thatevery sinhe ever sinned is written in heaven, and God records it there; he feels, therefore, that God is just when he condemns,and clear when he judges.
And, moreover, God is not simply a veracious witness, but the testimony God gives is an abundant one. You know that in some cases which are brought before our courts, the witness swears that he saw the man do so-and-so; butthen he may be mistaken as to the identity of the person; perhaps he did not see the whole transaction; and then he has notpried into the man's heart to see what was the man's reasons, which may make the crime lighter or greater, as the case maybe. But here we have a witness who can say, "I saw all the crime; I saw the lust when it was conceived; I saw the sinwhen it was brought forth; I saw the sin when it was finished, bringing forth death; I saw the motive; I beheld the firstimagination; I saw the sin when, as a black rivulet, it started on its way, when it suddenly began to increase by contributionsof evil, and I saw it when it became at last a broad ocean of unfathomable depth-an ocean of guilt which human foot couldnotpass, and over which the ship of mercy could not have sailed, unless some mighty pilot had steered it by shedding hisown blood." Then the Christian feels that God having seen it all, is justified when he speaks, and clear when he condemns.I should feel a solemn responsibility, if I were a judge, in putting on the black cap, to condemn a man to death; because,however carefully I may have weighed the evidence, and however clear the guilt of the prisoner may have seemed, there is possibilityofmistake, and it seems a solemn thing to have consigned a fellow-creature's soul to a future world, even with a possibilityof an error in that judgment; but if I had myself beheld the bloody act, with what ease of mind might I then put on the blackcap, and condemn the man as being guilty, for I should know, and the world would know, that having been a witness I shouldbe just when I spake, and clear when I condemned. Now, that is just what the Christian feels when God condemns him in hisconscience, he puts his hand upon his mouth, and yields without a word to the justness of the sentence. Conscience tellshim he was guilty, because God himself was a witness.
3. The other question which I hinted at as being on the public mind, is the severity of the punishment. In the case of a believer, when he is condemned, there is no doubt about the justice of the punishment. When God the HolyGhost in the soul passes sentence on the old man, and condemns it for its sins, there is felt most solemnly in the heart thegreat truth, that hell itself is but a rightful punishment for sin. I have heard some men dispute whether the tormentsof hell were not too great for the sins which men can commit. We have heard men say that hell was not a right place tosend such sinners to as they were; but we have always found that such men found fault with hell because they knew right wellthey were going there. As every man finds fault with the gallows who is going to be hung, so do many men find fault with hellbecause they fear that they are in danger of it. The opinion of a man about to be executed must not be taken with regard tothepropriety of capital punishment, nor must we take the opinion of a man who is himself marching to hell concerning thejustice of hell, for he is not an impartial judge. But the convinced sinner is a fair witness; God has made him so, for hefeels in his soul that there will be pardon given to him, and that God, by grace, will never condemn him there; but at thesame time he feels that he deserves it, and he confesses that hell is not too great a punishment, and that the eternity ofit is nottoo long a duration of punishment for the sin which he has committed. I appeal to you, my beloved brethren and sisters.You may have had doubts as to the propriety of your being sent to hell before you knew your sins; but I ask you, when youwere convinced of God, whether you did not solemnly feel that he would be unjust if he did not damn your soul for ever. Didyou not say in your prayer, "Lord, if thou shouldst now command the earth to open and swallow me up quick, I could not liftup myfinger to murmur against thee; and if thou wert now to roll o'er my head the billows of eternal fire, I could not, inthe midst of my howlings in misery, utter one single word of complaint about thy justice?" And did you not feel that if youwere to be ten thousand, thousand years in perdition, you would not have been there long enough? You felt you deserved itall; and if you had been asked what was the right punishment for sin, you dare not, even if your own soul had been at stake,havewritten anything except that sentence, "everlasting fire." You would have been obliged to have written that, for you feltit was but deserved doom. Now, was not God just then when he condemned, and clear when he judged? and did he not come offclear from the judgment seat? because you, yourself, said the sentence would not have been one whit too severe if it had beenfulfilled instead of being simply recorded, and then you, yourself, set at liberty. Ah! my dear friends, there may be somewhorail at God's justice; but no convinced sinner ever will. He sees God's law in all its glorious holiness, and he smiteshis hand upon his breast, and he says, "O sinner that I am! that I ever could have sinned against such a reasonable law andsuch perfect commandments!" He sees God's love towards him, and that cuts him to the very quick. He says, "Oh! that I shouldever have spit on the face of that Christ who died for me! Wretch that I am, that I could ever have crowned that bleedingheadwith the thorns of my sins, which gave itself to slumber in the grave for my redemption!" Nothing cuts the sinner to thequick more than the fact, that he has sinned against a great amount of mercy. This indeed, makes him weep; and he says, "OLord, seeing I have been so ungrateful, the direst doom thou canst ever sentence me to, or the fiercest punishment thou canstever execute upon my head, would not be too heavy for the sins I have committed against thee."
And then the Christian feels too, what a deal of mischief he has done in the world by sin. Ah! if he has been spared to middleage before he is converted, he looks back and says, "Ah! I cannot tell how many have been damned by my sins; I cannot tellhow many have been sent down to perdition by words which I have used, or deeds which I have committed." I confess, beforeyou all, that one of the greatest sorrows I had, when first I knew the Lord, was to think about certainpersons with whom I knew right well that I had held ungodly conversations, and sundry others that I had tempted to sin;and one of the prayers that I always offered, when I prayed for myself, was that such an one might not be damned through sinsto which I had tempted him. And I dare say this will be the case with some of you when you look back. Your dear child hasbeen a sad reprobate; and you think, "Did not I teach him very much that was wrong?" and you hear your neighbours swear, andyouthink, "I cannot tell how many I taught to blaspheme." Then you will recollect your boon companions, those you used toplay cards or dance with, and you will think, "Ah! poor souls, I have damned them." And then you will say, "Lord, thou artjust, if thou damnest me." When you reflect what a deal of mischief you have done by your sin, you will then say, "Lord, thouart clear when thou judgest; thou art justified when thou condemnest." I warn you who are going on in your sins, that oneof themost fearful things you have to expect is, to meet those in another world who perished through being led astray by you.Think of that, O man! thou who hast been an universal tempter! There is a man now in perdition, who was taught to drink hisfirst glass through you. There lies a soul on his death-bed, and he says, "Ah! John, I had not been here, as I now am, ifyou had not led me into evil courses which have weakened my body, and brought me to death's door." Oh! what a horrible fatewillyours be, when, as you walk into the mouth of hell, you will see eyes staring at you, and hear a voice saying, "Here hecomes! here comes the man that helped to damn my soul!" And what must be your fate, when you must lie for ever tossed on thebed of pain with that man whom you were the means of damning? As those who are saved will make jewels in the crowns of gloryto the righteous, sure those whom you helped to damn will forge fresh fetters for you and furnish fearful faggots, to increasethe flames of torment which shall blaze around your spirits. Mark that, and be you warned. The Christian feels this terriblefact, when he is convinced of sin, and that makes him feel that God would be clear if he judged him, and would be justifiedif he condemned him. So much concerning this first condemnation.
II. But now a little concerning THE SECOND CONDEMNATION, which is the more fearful of the two. Some of you have never beencondemned by God's law in your conscience. Now, as I stated at first, that every man must be condemned once, so I beg to repeatit. You must either have the sentence of condemnation passed on you by the law in your conscience, and then find mercy inChrist Jesus, or else you must be condemned to another world, when you shall stand with all the humanrace before God's throne. The first condemnation to the Christian, though exceedingly merciful, is terrible to bear. Itis a wounded spirit, which none can endure. But, as for the second condemnation, if I could preach with sighs and tears, Icould not tell you how horrible that must be. Ah, my friends, could some sheeted ghost start from its tomb, and be re-unitedto the spirit which has been for years in perdition, possibly such a man might preach to you, and let you know what a fearfulthingit will be to be condemned at last. But as for my poor words, they are but air; for I have not heard the miserere of the condemned, nor have I listened to the sighs, and groans, and moans of lost spirits. If I had ever been permitted togaze within the sheet of fire which walls the Gulf of Despair-if I had ever been allowed to walk for one moment o'er thatburning marl whereon is built the dreadful dungeon of eternal vengeance, then I might tell you somewhat of its misery; butI cannotnow, for I have not seen those doleful sights which might fright out eyes from their sockets, and make each individualhair stand upon your heads. I have not seen such things; yet, though I have not seen them, nor you either, we know sufficientof them to understand that God will be just when he condemns, and that he will be clear when he judges. And, now, I must goover the three points again; but I must be very brief about them.
1. God will be clear when he condemns a sinner, from this fact, that the sinner when he stands before God's bar, will eitherhave made a confession, or else such will be his terror, that he will scarce be able to brazen it out before the Almighty. Look at Judas. When hecomes before God's bar, will not God be clear in condemning him? for he himself confessed, "I have sinned against innocentblood," and he cast down the money in the temple. And few men are sohardened as to restrain themselves from acknowledging their guilt. How many of you, when you thought you were dying, madea confession upon your death-beds to you God! And mark you, there will be many of you, who, when you come to die, though youhave never confessed, yet will lie there, and confess before God in your moments of wakefulness during the night, the sinsof your youth, and your former transgressions; and it may be, that when you are laying there, God's vengeance will be heavyonyour conscience, that you will be obliged to tell those who stand about your bed, that you have been guilty of notorioussins. Ah! will not God be just when you shall go straight from your death-bed to his bar, and he shall say, "Sinner, thouart condemned on thine own confession; there is no need for me to open the book, no need for me to pronounce the sentence;thou hast thyself pronounced thine own guilt; ere thou didst die, thou didst stamp thyself with condemnation; 'depart ye cursed!'"And though there will be many die who never made a confession in this world, and perhaps there will be some professorsso brazen-faced that they will even stand before God's throne, and say, "When saw we thee a hungered, and fed thee not? Whensaw we thee naked, and clothed thee not?" yet I cannot believe that most of them will be able to plead any excuse. I findChrist saying of one that he stood speechless when he was asked how he got in, not having on a wedding garment; and so itmay be withyou, sirs. You may brazen it out when here, you may scorn the law and despise the thunders of Sinai; but it will be differentwith you then. You may sit up in your bed, and rail against Christ, even when death is staring you in the face; but you willnot do it then. Those bones of yours which you thought were of iron, will suddenly be melted; that heart of yours, which waslike steel or the nether millstone, will be dissolved like wax in the midst of your bowels; you will begin to cry beforeGod, and weep, and howl: you yourself will testify to your own guilt, when you say, "Rocks! hide me; mountains! on mefall;" for you would need no mountains and no rocks to fall upon you, if you were not guilty. You will be justly condemned,for you will make your own confession when you stand before God's bar. Ah! if you could see the criminal then, what a differencethere is in him! Where now are those eyes that stared so impiously at the Bible? Where now are those lips which said, "I curseGod and die!" Where now is that heart which once so stout, that spirit once so valiant, as to laugh at hell and talk familiarlywith death? Ah! where is it? Is that the selfsame creature-he whose knees are knocking together, whose hair is standing upon end, whose blanched cheek displays the terror of his soul? Is that the selfsame man who just now was burning with impudentrage against his Maker? Yes, it is he; hear what he has to say, "O God, I hate thee; I confess it; I was unjust in theworld tat has gone by, and I am unjust now; wreck thy vengeance on me; I dare ask no mercy, and no pardon, for fixed ismy heart still to rebel against thee; indissoluble are the bonds of my guilt: I am damned, I am damned, and I ought to be."Such will be the confession of every man, when he shall stand before his God at last, if he is out of Christ, and unwashedin the Saviour's blood. Sinners! can ye hear that and not tremble? Then I have a wonder before me this day-a wonder of conscience,a wonder of hardness of heart, a wonder of impenitency.
2. But in the second place, God will be just, because there will be witnesses there to prove it. There will be none of you my dear friends, if you are ever condemned, who will be condemned on circumstantialevidence: there will be no necessity for the deliberation of a jury; there will be no conflicting evidence concerning yourcrimes; there will be no doubts to testify in your favour. In fact, if God himself should ask for witnesses in your case,all the witnesseswould be against you. But there will be no need of witnesses; God himself will open his Book; and how astonished willyou be, when all your crimes are announced, with every individual circumstance connected with them-all the minuteness of yourmotives, and an exact description of your designs! Suppose I should be allowed to open one of the books of God, and read thatdescription, how astonished you would be! But what will be your astonishment, when God shall open his great book and say,"Sinner, here is thy case," and begin to read! Ah! mark how the tears run down the sinner's cheek; the sweat of bloodcomes from every pore; and the loud thundering voice still reads on, while the righteous execrate the man who could commitsuch acts as are recorded in that book. There may be no murder staining the page, but there may be the filthy imagination,and God reads what a man imagines; for to imagine sin is vile, though to do it is viler still. I know I should not like tohave mythoughts read over for a single day. Oh! when you stand before God's bar, and hear all this, wilt thou not say, "Lord,thou wilt condemn me, but I cannot help saying thou art just when thou condemnest, and clear when thou judgest." There willbe eye-witnesses there.
3. But lastly, in the sinner's heart there will be no doubt at last as to the righteousness of his punishment. The sinner may in this world think that he can never by his sins by any possibility deserve hell; but he will not indulgethat thought when he gets there. One of the miseries of hell will be that the sinner will feel that he deserves it all. Tossedon a wave of fire he will see written in every spark that emanates therefrom, "Thou knewest thy duty, and thoudidst it not." Tossed back again by another wave of flame, he hears a voice saying, "Remember, you were warned!" He ishurled upon a rock, and whilst he is being wrecked there, a voice says, "I told thee it would be better for Tyre and Sidonin the day of judgment than for thee." Again he plunged under another wave of brimstone, and a voice says, "He that believethnot shall be damned;' thou didst not believe, and thou art here." And when again he is hurled up and down on some wave oftorture,each wave shall bear to him some dreadful sentence, which he read in God's Word, in a tract, or in a sermon. Yes, it maybe, my friends, that I shall be one of your tormentors in hell, if you should be damned. I trust in God that I myself shallbe in heaven; and perhaps, if ye are lost, one of the most powerful things that shall tend to increase your misery will bethe fact that I have always tried to warn you, and warn you as earnestly as possible; and when you lift up your eyes to heaven,youwill shriek, and say, "O God! there is my minister looking down reprovingly on me, and saying, 'Sinner, I warned thee.'"If thou art lost, it is not for want of preaching; if thou art damned, it is not because I did not tell thee how thou mightestbe saved; if thou art in hell, it is not because I did not weep over thee, and urge thee to flee from the wrath to come, forI did warn thee, and that will be the terror of thy doom-that thou hast despised warnings and invitations, and hastdestroyed thyself. God is not accountable for thy damnation, and man is not accountable for it; but thou thyself hastdone it. And thou wilt say, "O Lord, it is true I am now tossed in fire, but I myself lit the flame; it is true that I amtormented, but I forged the irons which now confine my limbs; I burned the brick that hath built my dungeon; I myself didstbring myself here; I walked to hell, even as a fool goeth to the stocks, or an ox to the slaughter; I sharpened the knifewhich is nowcutting my vitals; I nursed the viper which is now devouring my heart; I sinned, which is the same as saying that I damnedmyself; for to sin is to damn myself-the two words are synonymous." Sin is damnation's sire; it is the root, and damnationis the horrible flower which must inevitably spring from it. Ay, my dear friends, I tell you yet again, there will be nothingmore patent before the throne of God than the fact, that God will be just when he sends you to hell. You will feel that then,even though you do not feel it now.
I thought within myself just this minute, that I heard the whisper of some one saying, "Well, sir, I feel that such men asPalmer, a murderer, will feel that God is just in damning them; but I have not sinned as they have done." It is true; butif thy sins be less, remember that thy conscience is more tender, for according to the amount of guilt, men's consciencesgenerally begin to get harder, and because thy conscience is more tender, thy little sin is a great sin,because it is committed against greater light and greater tenderness of heart; and I tell you-that a little sin againstgreat light may be greater than a great sin against little light. You must measure your sins not by their apparent heinousness,but by the light against which you sinned. No crime could be much worse than the crime of Sodom; but even Sodom, filthy Sodom,shall not have so hot a place as a moral young lady, one who has fed the poor and clothed the naked, and done all shecould, except loving Christ. What say you to that? Is it unjust? No. If I be a less sinner than another, I all the moredeserve to be damned, if I do not come to Christ for mercy. Oh! my dear hearers, my beloved hearers, I cannot bring you toChrist. Christ has brought some of you himself, but I cannot bring you to Christ. How often have I tried to do it! I havetried to preach my Saviour's love, and this day I have preached my Father's wrath; but I feel I cannot bring you to Christ.I maypreach God's law; but that will not affright you, unless God sends it home to your heart; I may preach my Saviour's love,but that will not woo you, unless my Father draw you. I am sometimes tempted to wish that I could draw you myself-that I couldsave you. Sure, if I could, ye should soon be saved! But ah! remember, your minister can do but little; he can do nothingelse but preach to you. Do pray that God would bless that little, I beseech you, ye who can pray. If I could do more, I woulddo it; but it is very little I can do for a sinner's salvation. Do, I beseech you, my dear people, pray to God to blessthe feeble means that I use. It is his work and his salvation; but he can do it. O poor trembling sinner, dost thou now weep? Then come to Christ! O poor haggard sinner, haggard in thy soul! cometo Christ! O poor sin-bitten sinner! look to Christ! O poor worthless sinner! come to Christ! O poor trembling, fearing, hungering,thirsting sinner! come to Christ! "Ho!everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come, buy wine and milk; yea, come buy wineand milk, without money and without price." Come! Come! Come! God help you to come! for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.