Sermon 169. What Have I Done?
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 27, 1857, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"What have I done?"-Jeremiah 8:6.
PERHAPS NO FIGURE represents God in a more gracious light than those figures of speech, which represent him as stooping fromhis throne, and as coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and to behold the woes of mankind. We must have love forthat God, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were reeking with iniquity, would not destroy those cities, although he knew theirguilt and their wickedness, until he had made an actual visitation to them and had sojourned for awhile intheir streets. Methinks we can not help pouring out our heart in affection to that God, of whom we are told that he inclineshis ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the faintest that breathes out the true desire. How can we resistfeeling that he is a God whom we must love, when we know that he regards everything that concerns us, numbers the very hairsof our heads, bids his angels protect our footsteps lest we dash our feet against stones, marks our path end ordereth ourways. But especially is this great truth brought near to man's heart, when we recollect how attentive God is, not merelyto the temporal interests of his creatures, but to their spiritual concerns. God is represented in Scripture as waiting tobe gracious, or, in the language of the parable, when his prodigals are yet a great way off he sees them; he runs and fallsupon their neck and kisses them. He is so attentive to everything that is good, even in the poor sinner's heart, that to himthereis music in a sigh, and beauty in a tear; and in this verse that I have just read, he represents himself as looking uponman's heart and listening-listening, if possibly he may hear something that is good. "I hearkened and heard; I listened; Istood still, and I attended to them." And how amiable does God appear, when he is represented as turning aside, and as itwere with grief in his heart, exclaiming, "I did listen, I did hearken, but they spake not aright; no man repented ofhis wickedness, saying, "What shall I do?" Ah! my hearer, thou never hast a desire toward God which does not excite God'shope; thou dost never breathe a prayer toward heaven which he does not notice; and though thou hast very often uttered prayerswhich have been as the morning cloud and as the early dew that soon passeth away, yet all these things have moved Jehovah'sbowels; for he has been hearkening to thy cry and noticing the breathing of thy soul, and though it all hath passed away,yetit did not pass away unnoticed, for he remembers it even now. And oh! thou that art this day seeking a Saviour, remember,that Saviour's eyes are on thy seeking soul to-day. Thou art not looking after one who can not see thee; thou art coming tothy Father, but thy Father sees thee even in the distance. It was but one tear that trickled down thy cheek, but thy Fathernoticed that as a hopeful sign; it was but one throb that went through thy heart just now during the singing of the hymn,butGod, the Loving, noticed even that, and thought upon it as at least some omen that thou wast not yet quite hardened bysin, nor yet given up by love and mercy.
The text is "What have I done?" I shall just introduce that by a few words of affectionate persuasion, urging all now present to ask that question: secondly, I shall give them a few words of assistance in trying to answer it; and when I have so done, I shall finish by a few sentences of solemn admonition to those who have had to answer the question against themselves.
I. First, then, a few words of EARNEST PERSUASION, requesting every one now present, and more especially every unconvertedperson, to ask this question of himself, and answer it solemnly: "What have I done?"
Few men like to take the trouble to review their own lives, most men are so near bankruptcy that they are ashamed to lookat their own books. The great mass of mankind are like the silly ostrich, which, when hard pressed by the hunters, buriesits head in the sand and shuts its eyes, and then thinks, because it does not see its pursuers, that therefore it is safe.The great mass of mankind, I repeat, are ashamed to review their own biographies; and if conscience and memorytogether could turn joint authors of a history of their lives throughout, they would buy a huge iron clasp and a padlockto it, and lock the volume up, for they dare not read it. They know it to be a book full of lamentation and woe, which theydare not read, and still go on in their iniquities. I have therefore a hard task in endeavoring to persuade you one and allto take down that book, and be its pages few or many, be they white or be they black, I have some difficulty in getting youtoread them through. But may the Holy Spirit persuade you now, so that you may answer this question, "What have I done?"For remember, my dear friend, that searching yourself can do you no hurt. No tradesman ever gets the poorer by looking tohis books; he may find himself to be poorer than he thought he was, but it is not the looking to the books that hath hurthim; he hath hurt himself by some ill trading before. Better, my friend, for you to know the past whilst there is yet timefor repairingit, than that you should go blindfolded, hoping to enter the gates of Paradise and find out your mistake when alas! itis too late, because the door is shut. There is nothing to be lost by taking stock; you can not be any the worse for a littleself examination. This of itself shall be one strong argument to induce you to do it; but remember you may be a great dealthe better; for suppose your affairs are all right with God, why then you may make good cheer and comfort yourself for hethat isright with his God has no cause to be sad. But ah! remember there are many probabilities that you are wrong. There areso many in this world that are deceived, that there are many chances that you are deceived too. You may have a name to liveand yet be dead; you may be like John Bunyan's tree, of which he said "'twas fair to look upon and green outside, but theinside of it was rotten enough to be tinder for the devils tinder box." You may this day thus stand before yourself your fellowcreatures well whitewashed, and exceeding fair, but you may be like that Pharisee of whom Christ said, "Thou art a whitedsepulcher, for inwardly thou art full of rottenness and dead men's bones." Now, man, however thou mayest wish to be self-deceived,for my own part I feel that I would a thousand times rather know my own state really than have the most pleasing conceptionsabout it and find myself deceived. Many a time have I solemnly prayed that prayer, "Lord, help me to know the worst of myown case; if I be still an apostate from thee, without God and without Christ, at least let me be honest to myself andknow what I am." Remember, my friend, that the time you have for self-examination is, after all, very short. Soon thou wiltknow the great secret. I perhaps may not say words rough enough to rend off the mask which thou now hast upon thee, but thereis one called Death who will stand no compliment. You may masquerade it out to-day in the dress of the saint, but death willsoonstrip you, and you must stand before the judgment seat after death has discovered you in all your nakedness, be that nakedinnocence or naked guilt. Remember, too, though you may deceive yourself, you will not deceive your God. You may have lightweights, and the beam of the scale in which you weigh yourself may not be honest, and may not therefore tell the truth; butwhen God shall try you he will make no allowances; when the everlasting Jehovah grasps the balances of justice and puts hislawinto one scale, ah, sinner, how wilt thou tremble when he shall put thee into the other; for unless Christ be thy Christthou wilt be found light weight-thou wilt be weighed in the balances and found wanting, and be cast away for ever.
Oh! what words shall I adopt to induce every one of you now to search yourselves! I know the various excuses that some ofyou will make. Some of you will plead that you are members of churches, and that, therefore, all is right with you. Perhapsyou look across from the gallery, and you say to me, "Mr. Spurgeon, your hands baptized me but this year into the Lord Jesus,and you have often passed to me the sacramental bread and wine. Ah, my hearer, I know that, and I havebaptized, I fear, many of you that the Lord hath never baptized; and some of you have been received into the church fellowshipon earth who were never received by God. If Jesus Christ had one hypocrite in his twelve, how many hypocrites must I havehere in nearly twelve hundred? Ah! my hearers, in this age it is a very easy thing to make a profession of religion: manychurches receive candidates into their fellowship without examination at all; I have had such come to me, and I have toldthem,"I must treat you just the same as if you came from the world," because they said, "I never saw the minister; I wrotea note to the Church, and they took me in." Verily, in this age of profession, a man may make the highest profession in theworld, and yet be at last found with damned apostates. Do not put off the question for that; and do not say, "I am too busyto attend to my spiritual concerns; there is time enough yet." Many have said that, and before their "time enough" has come,theyhave found themselves where time shall be no more. O! thou that sayest thou hast time enough, how little dost thou knowhow near death is to thee. There are some present that will not see New Year's Day; there is every probability that a verylarge number will never see another year. O, may the Lord our God prepare us each for death and for judgment, and bless thismornings exhortation to our preparation, by leading us to ask the question-"What have I done?"
II. Now, then, I am to help you to answer the question-"What have I done?"
Christian, true Christian, I have little to say to thee this morning. I will not multiply words, but leave the inquiry withthine own conscience. What hast thou done? I hear thee reply, "I have done nothing to save myself; for that was done for mein the eternal covenant, from before the foundation of the world. I have done nothing to make a righteousness for myself,for Christ said, 'It is finished;' I have done nothing to procure heaven by my merits, for all that Jesusdid for me before I was born." But, say, brother, what hast thou done for him who died to save thy wretched soul? Whathast thou done for his church? What hast thou done for the salvation of the world? What hast thou done to promote thine ownspiritual growth in grace? Ah! I might hit some of you that are true Christians very hard here; but I will leave you withyour God. God will chastise his own children. I will, however, put a pointed question. Are there not many Christians now presentwhocan not recollect that they have been the means of the salvation of one soul during this year? Come, now; turn back. Haveyou any reason to believe that directly or indirectly you have been made the means this year of the salvation of a soul? Iwill go further. There are some of you who are old Christians, and I will ask you this question: Have you any reason to believethat ever since you were converted you have ever been the means of the salvation of a soul? It was reckoned in the East, inthe time of the patriarchs, to be a disgrace to a woman that she had no children-to have none born unto God through hisinstrumentality! And yet, there are some of you here that have been spiritually barren, and have never brought one convertto Christ; you have not one star in your crown of glory, and must wear a starless crown in heaven. Oh! I think I see the joyand gladness with which a good child of God looked upon me last week, when we had heard some one who had been converted toGod byher instrumentality. I took her by the hand and said, "Well, now, you have reason to thank God." "Yes, sir," she said,"I feel a happy and an honored woman now. I have never, that I know of, before been the means of bringing a soul to Christ."And the good woman looked so happy; the tears were in her eyes for gladness. How many have you brought during this year? Come,Christian, what have you done? Alas! alas! you have not been barren fig-trees, but still your fruit is such that it can notbeseen. You may be alive unto God, but how many of you have been very unprofitable and exceedingly unfruitful? And do notthink that while I thus deal hardly with you I would escape myself. No, I ask myself the question, "What have I done?" Andwhen I think of the zeal of Whitfield, and of the earnestness of many of those great evangelists of former times, I standhere astounded at myself, and I ask myself the question, "What have I done?" And I can only answer it with some confusionof face. Howoften have I preached to you, my hearers, the Word of God, and yet how seldom have I wept over you as a pastor should?How often ought I to have warned you of the wrath to come, when I have forgotten to be so earnest as I might have been. Ifear lest the blood of souls should lie at my door, when I come to be judged of my God at last. I beseech you, pray for yourminister in this thing, that he may be forgiven, if there has ever been a lack of earnestness, and energy, and prayerfulness,andpray that during the next year I may always preach as though I ne'er might preach again.
"A dying man to dying men."
I heard the moralist whilst I was questioning the Christian, say, "What have I done? Sir, I have done all I ought to havedone. You may, as a Gospeller, stand there and talk to me about sins; but I tell you, Sir, I have done all that was my duty;I have always attended my church or chapel regularly every Sunday as ever a man or woman could; I have always read prayersin the family, and I always say prayers before I go to bed and when I get up in the morning. I don't knowthat I owe anybody anything, or that I have been unkind to anybody; I give a fair share to the poor, and I think if goodworks have any merit I certainly have done a great deal." Quite right, my friend, very right, indeed, if good works have any merit; but then it is very unfortunate that they have not any; for our good works, if we do them to saveourselves by them, are no better than our sins. You might as well hope to go to heaven by cursing and swearing, as by themerits of your owngood works; for although good works are infinitely preferable to cursing and swearing in a moral point of view, yet thereis no more merit in one than there is in the other, though there is less sin in one than in the other. Will you please toremember, then, that all you have been doing all these years is good for nothing? "Well, but, sir, I have trusted in Christ."Now, stop! Let me ask you a question. Do you mean to say, that you have trusted partly in Christ, and partly in your own goodworks? "Yes, sir." Well, then, let me tell you, the Lord Jesus Christ will never be a make weight; you must take Christwholly, or else no Christ at all, for Christ will never go shares with you in the work of salvation. So, I repeat, all youhave ever done is good for nothing. You have been building a card-house, and the tempest will blow it down; you have beenbuilding a house upon the sand, and when the rains descend and the floods come, the last vestige of it will be swept awayforever.Hear ye the word of the Lord! "By the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified." "Cursed is every one thatcontinueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them;" and in as much as you have not continuedin all things that are written in the law you are transgressors of the law, and you are under the curse, and all that thelaw has to say to you is, "Cursed, cursed, cursed! Your morality is of no help to you whatever, as to eternal things."
I turn to another character. He says, "Well, I don't trust in my morality nor in anything else; I say,
'Begone dull care, I pray thee begone from me.'
I have nothing to do with talking about eternity, as you would have me. But, sir, I am not a bad fellow after all. It is avery little that I ever do amiss; now and then a peccadillo, just a little folly, but neither my country, nor my friends,nor my own conscience, can say anything against me. True, I am none of your saints; I don't profess to be too strict; I maygo a little too far sometimes, but it is only a little; and I dare say we shall be able to set all mattersstraight before the end comes." Well, friend, but I wish you had asked yourself the question, "What have I done?"-it strikesme that if each of you would just take off that film, that films your heart and your life over, you might see a grievous leprosylurking behind what you have done. "Well, for the matter of that," says one, "perhaps I may have taken a glass or two toomuch sometimes." Stop a bit! What is the name of that? Stutter as much as you like! Out with it! What is the name of it?"Why, it is just a little mirth, sir." Stop, let us have the right name of it. What do you call it in any one else? "Drunkenness,I suppose." Says another, "I have been a little loose in my talk sometimes." What is that? "It has been just a merry spree."Yes, but please to call it what it ought to be called-lascivious conversation. Write that down. "Oh! no, sir; things are lookingserious." Yes, they are indeed; but they do not look any more serious than they really are. Sometimes you havebeen out on the Sabbath day haven't you? "Oh! yes; but that has been only now and then-just sometimes." Yes, but let usput it down what it is, and we will see what the list comes to. Sabbath-breaking! "Stop," you say, "I have gone no further,sir; certainly I have gone no further." I suppose in your conversation, sometimes during your life, you have quoted textsof Scripture to make jokes of them, haven't you? And sometimes you have cried out, when you have been a little surprised,"Lord,have mercy upon me, and such things. I don't venture to say you swear; though there is a Christian way of swearing thatsome people get into, and they think it is not quite swearing, but what it is besides nobody knows, and so we will put itdown as swearing-cursing and swearing. "Oh! sir, it was only when somebody trod on my toes, or I was angry." Never mind, putit down by its right name: we shall get a pretty good list against you by and by. I suppose that in trade you never adulterateyour articles. "Well that is a matter of business in which you ought not to interfere." Well, it so happens I am goingto interfere-and if you please we will call it by its right name-stealing. We will put that down. I suppose you have neverbeen hard with a debtor, have you? You have never at any time wished that you were richer, and sometimes half wished thatyour opposite neighbor would lose part of his custom, so that you might have it? Well, we will call it by its right name:that is"covetousness, which is idolatry." Now, the list seems to be getting black indeed. Besides that, how have you spent allthis year; and though you have pretended sometimes to say prayers, have you ever really prayed? No, you have not. Well, thenthere is prayerlessness to put down. You have sometimes read the Bible, you have sometimes listened to the ministry but haveyou not, after all, let all these things pass away? Then I want to know whether that is not despising God, and whether wemustnot put that down under that name. Truly we need go but very little further; for the list already when summed up is mostfearful, and few of us can escape from sins so great as these, if our conscience be but a little awake.
But there is one man here who has grown very careless and indifferent to every point of morality, and he says, "Ah! youngman, I could tell you what I have done during the year." Stop, sir, I don't particularly wish to know just now; you may aswell tell it to yourself when you get home. There are young people here: it would not do them much good to know what you havedone perhaps. You are no better than you should be, some people say; which means, you are so bad theywould not like to say what you are. Do you suppose in all this congregation we have no debauched men-none that indulgein the vilest sin and lust? Why, God's angel seems even now to be flying through our midst, and touching the conscience ofsome, to let them know in what iniquities they have indulged during the year. I pray God that my just simply alluding to themmay be the means of startling your conscience. Ah! ye may hide your sins; the coverlet of darkness may be your shelter; youmaythink they shall never be discovered; but remember, every sin that you have done shall be read before the sun, and men,and angels shall hear it in the day of final account. Ah! my hearer, be thou moral or be thou dissolute, I beseech thee, answerthis question solemnly to-day: "What have I done?" It would be as well if you took a piece of paper when you went home, andjust wrote down what you have done from last January to December; and if some of you do not get frightened at it I must sayyouhave got pretty strong nerves, and are not likely to be frightened at much yet.
Now I specially address myself to the unconverted man and I would help him to answer this question in another point of view."What have I done?" Ah! man, thou that livest in sin, thou that art a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God, what hastthou done? Dost thou not know that one sin is enough to damn a soul for ever? Hast thou never read in Holy Scripture thatcursed is he that sins but once? How damned then, art thou by the myriad sins of this one year! Recall, Ibeseech thee, the sins of thy youth and thy former transgressions up till now; and if one sin would ruin thee for ever,how ruined art thou now! Why, man, one wave of sin may swamp thee. What will these oceans of thy guilt do? One witness againstthee will be enough to condemn thee: behold the crowds of follies and of crimes now gathered round the judgment-seat thathave gone before thee into judgment. How wilt thou escape from their testimonies, when God shall call thee to his bar. Whathastthou done? Come, man, answer this question. There are many consequences involved in thy sin, and in order to answer thisquestion rightly thou must reply to every consequence, what hast thou done to thine own soul? Why, thou hast destroyed it;thou hast done thy best to ruin it for ever. For thine own poor soul thou hast been digging dungeons; thou hast been pilingfaggots; thou hast been forging chains of iron-faggots with which to burn it, and fetters with which to bind it for ever.
Remember, thy sins are like sowing for a harvest. What a harvest is that which thou hast sown for thy poor soul! Thou hastsown the wind, thou shalt reap the whirlwind; thou hast sown iniquity, thou shalt reap damnation. But what hast thou doneagainst the gospel? Remember, how many times this year thou hast heard it preached? Why, since thy birth there have been wagon-loadsof sermons wasted on thee. Thy parents prayed for thee in thy youth; thy friends instructed theetill thou didst come to manhood. Since then how many a tear has been wept by the minister for thee! How many an earnestappeal has been shot into thine heart! But thou hast rent out the arrow. Ministers have been concerned to save thee, and thoucast never been concerned about thyself. What hast thou done against Christ? Remember, Christ has been a good Christ to sinnershere; but as there is nothing that burns so well as that soft substance, oil, so there is nothing that will be so furiousasthat gentle-hearted Saviour, when he comes to be your Judge. Fiercer than a lion on his prey is rejected love. DespiseChrist on the cross, and it will be a terrible thing to be judged by Christ on his throne.
But again: what have you done for your children this year? Oh! there be some here present that have been doing all they couldto ruin their children's souls. 'Tis solemn what responsibility rests upon a father; and what shall be said of a drunken father?-thefather that sets his children an example of drunkenness. Swearer, what have you done for your family? Haven't you, too, beentwisting the rope for their eternal destruction? Will they not be sure to do as you do?Mother, you have several children, but this year you have never prayed for one of them, never put your arms round theirnecks as they kneeled at their little chair at night, and said, "Our Father;" you have never told them of Jesus that lovedchildren, and once became a child like them. Ah, then, you too have neglected your children. I remember a mother who was convertedto God in her old age, and she said to me-and I shall never forget the womanly grief-"God has forgiven me, but I shallnever forgive myself. For sir," she said, "I have nourished and brought up children but I have done it without any respectto religion." And then she burst into tears, and said, "I have been a cruel mother, sir; I have been a wretch!" "Why," saidI, "my good woman, you have brought your children up." "Yes," said she, "my husband died when they were young, and left mewith six of them, and these hands have earned their bread and found them clothes; no one," she said, "can accuse me of beingunkind to them in anything but this; but this is the worst of all; I have been a cruel mother to them, for while I fedtheir bodies I neglected their souls. But some have gone further than this. Ah, young man, you have not only done your bestthis year to damn yourself, but you have done your best to damn others! Remember, last January, you took that young man intothe tavern for the first time, and laughed at all his boyish scruples, as you called them, and told him to drink away, asyou did.Remember, when in the darkness of night you first led astray one young man whose principles were virtuous, and who hadnot known lust unless you had revealed it to him; you said at the time, "Come with me; I'll show you London life, I'll letyou see pleasure!" That young man, when he first came to your shop, used to go to the house of God on Sunday, and seemed tobid fair for heaven-"Ah," you say, "I have laughed religion out of Jackson, he doesn't go any where on a Sunday now exceptfor aspree, and he is just as merry as any of us." Ah! sir, and you will have two hells when you are damned; you will haveyour own hell and his too, for he will look through the lurid flames upon you, and say, "Mayhap, I had never been here ifyou had not brought me here!" And ah! seducer, what eyes will be those that will glare at you through hell's horror?-The eyesof one whom you led into iniquity! what double hells they will be to you as they glare on you like two stars, whose lightis fury,and wither your blood for ever! Pause, ye that have led others astray, and tremble now. I paused myself, and prayed toGod when I first knew a Saviour, that he would help me to lead those to Christ that I had ever in any way led astray. AndI remember George Whitfield says when he began to pray, his first prayer was that God would convert those with whom he usedto play at cards and waste his Sundays. "And blessed be God," he says, "I got every one of them."
O my God, can I not detect in some face here astonishment and terror. Doth no man's knees knock together? Doth no man's heartquail within him because of his iniquity? Surely it cannot be so, else were your hearts turned to steel, and your bowels becomeas iron in the midst of you. Surely, if it be so, the words of God are most certainly true, wherein he saith, in the seventhverse of this chapter-"The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, andthe crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord;" and certainlythat prophet was true who said, "The ox knoweth its owner, and the ass his masters crib; but my people doth not know, Israeldoth not consider." Oh, are ye so brutish as to let the reflections of that guilt pass over you without causing astonishmentand terror? Then, surely we who feel our guilt have need to bend our knees for you, and pray that God might yet bring youto know yourselves; for, living and dying as you are, hardened and without hope, your lot must be horrible in the extreme.
How happy should I be if I might hope that the great mass of you could accompany me in this humble confession of our faith;may I speak as if I were speaking for each one of you? It shall be at your option, either to accept what I say, or to rejectit; but, I trust, the great multitude of you will follow me. "Oh, Lord! I this morning confess that my sins are greater thanI can bear; I have deserved thy hottest wrath, and thine infinite displeasure; and I hardly dare tohope that thou canst have mercy upon me; but inasmuch as thou didst give thy Son to die upon the cross for sinners, thouhast also said, 'Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth,' Lord, I look to thee this morning, though I neverlooked before, yet I look now; though I have been a slave of sin to this moment, yet Lord, accept me, sinner though I be,through the blood and righteousness of thy Son, Jesus Christ. Oh Father, frown not on me; thou mayest well do so, but I pleadthatpromise which says, 'Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out. Lord, I come-
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bid'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.
My faith doth lay its hand,
On that dear head of thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.
"Lord accept me, Lord pardon me, and take me as I am, from this time forth and for ever, to be thy servant whilst I live,to be thy redeemed when I die." Can you say that? Did not many a heart say it? Did I not hear many a lip in silence utterit? Be of good cheer, my brother, my sister, that if that came from your heart, you are as safe as the angels of heaven, foryou are a child of God, and you shall never perish.
III. Now I have to address a few words of AFFECTIONATE ADMONITION, and then I have done. It is a very solemn thing to thinkhow years roll away. I never spent a shorter year in my life than this one, and the older I grow, the shorter the years get;and you, old men, I dare say, look back on your sixty and seventy years, and you say, "Ah, young man, they will seem shorter,soon!" No doubt, they will. "So teach us to number our days, O God, that we may apply our hearts untowisdom." But, is it not a solemn thing, that there is another year nearly gone; and yet many of you are unsaved? You arejust where you were last year. No, you are not, you are nearer death, and you are nearer hell, except you repent; and, perhaps,even what I have said this morning will have no effect upon you. You are not altogether hardened, for you have had many seriousimpressions. Scores of times you have wept under discourses, and yet all has been in vain, for you are what you were. Ibeseech you, answer this question, "What have I done?" for, remember, there will be a time when you will ask this question,but it will be too late. When Is that-say you-on the death bed? No, it is not too late there.
"While the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return."
But it will be too late to ask, "What have I done?" when the breath has gone out of your body. Just suppose the monument asit used to be, before they caged it round. Suppose a man going up the winding staircase to the top, with a full determinationto destroy himself. He has got on the outside of the railings. Can you imagine him for a moment saying, "What have I done?"just after he has taken his leap. Why, methinks some spirit in the air might whisper, "Done? you havedone what you can never undo. You are lost-lost-lost!" Now, remember that you that have not Christ, are to-day going upthat spiral stair-case; perhaps, to-morrow you will be standing in the article of death upon the palisading, and when deathhas gotten you, and you are just leaping from that monument of life down to the gulf of despair, that question will be fullof horror to you. "What have you done?" But the answer for it will not be profitable, but full of terror. Methinks, I seeaspirit launched upon the sea of eternity. I hear it say, "What have I done?" It is plunged in flaming waves, and cries,"What have I done?" It sees before it a long eternity; but it asks the question again, "What have I done?" The dread answercomes; thou hast earned all this for thyself. Thou knewest thy duty, but thou didst it not; Thou wast warned, but thou didstdespise the warning. Ah! hear the doleful soliloquy of such a spirit. The last great day is come; the flaming throne is set,andthe great book is opened. I hear the leaves as with terrible rustle they are turned over. I see men motioned to the rightor to the left, according to the result of that great book. And what have I done? I know that to me sin will be destruction,for I have never sought a Saviour. What is that? The Judge has fixed his eye on me. Now, it is on me turned. Will he say,"Depart ye cursed," unto me? Oh! let me be crushed for ever, rather than bear that sight. There is no noise, but the fingerislifted, and I am dragged out of the crowd, and singly I stand before the Judge. He turns to my page, and before he readsit, my heart quakes within me. "Be it so," says he, "it has never been blotted with my blood. You despised my calls; you laughedat my people; you would have none of my mercy; you said that you would take the wages of unrighteousness. You shall have them,the wages of sin is death." Ah! me, and is he about to say, "Depart, ye cursed?" Yes, with a voice louder than a thousandthunders, he says, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Ah! it is all truenow. I laughed at the minister, because he preached about hell; and here am I in hell, myself. Ah! I used to wonder why hewanted to frighten us so. Ah! I would to God he had frightened me more, if he might but have frightened me out of this place.But now, here am I lost, and there is no escape. I am in darkness so dark, there is not a ray of light can ever reach me.I amshut up so close, that not one of the bolts and bars can ever be removed. I am damned for ever. Ah! that is a dreary soliloquy.I cannot tell it to you. Oh! if you were there, yourselves, if you could only know what they feel, and see what they endure,then would you wonder that I am not more earnest in preaching the Gospels and you would marvel, not that I wish to make youweep, but that I did not weep far more myself, and preach more solemnly. Ah! my hearers, as the Lord my God liveth, beforewhom I stand, I shall one day stand acknowledged by our conscience as having been a true witness unto you this morning;for there is not one of you here today, but will be without excuse, if you perish. You have been warned, I have warned youas earnestly as I can. I have no more powers to spend, no more arts to try, no more persuasion that I can use. I can onlyconclude by saying, I beseech you, fly to Jesus. I entreat you, as immortal spirits that are bound for endless weal or woe,fly ye toChrist; seek for mercy at his hands; trust in him, and be saved; and, at your peril, reject my solemn warning. Remember,ye may reject it, but ye reject not me, but him that sent me. Ye may despise it, but ye despise not me, but a greater thanMoses, even Jesus Christ the Lord; and when ye come before his bar, piercing will be his language, and terrible his words,when he condemns you for ever, for ever, for ever, without hope, for ever, for ever, for ever. May God deliver us from that,forJesus' sake. Amen.