Sermon 356. Words Of Expostulation
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, JANUARY 20, 1861, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT EXETER HALL, STRAND.
"And now what have you to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what have you to do in the way of Assyria,to drink the waters of the river?'
THE Jews had been chosen by God to be a special people separated to Himself forever. By various miracles, by many mercies,by strange deliverances, He had proved Himself to be to them a God worthy of their trust. Yet, strange to say- and yet notstrange when we know that they were fallen men likeourselves-the Jews were constantly desirous to mix with the nations. They broke down the hedges with which God had enclosedthem as a sacred garden; they desired to be laid like common lands, and to be joined with other peoples. No, more than this-theyforsook their own true andloving God who had never deserted them, and they sometimes adopted the deities of Egypt, and at other times the false godsof Assyria! They seemed never to be content with even the gorgeous ceremonials of their own Temple; they must build altarsafter the fashion of Damascus; theymust have Sitars on every high place, according to the custom of the accursed nations whom the Lord, their God, had drivenout before them! And they seemed as if they had never reached the full desire of their hearts till they had mingled with therites of God, all the filth and theabominations with which heathens adored their gods. Constantly did the Lord reprove them for this-for this infatuation oftheirs which made them turn aside from Him, the Living Water, to hew out to themselves broken cisterns which could hold nowater. They were "often reproved,"but they often "hardened their necks;" often were they chastened, and they were smitten so often that "the whole head wassick, and the whole heart was faint;" they had been chastened so sorely that from the soles of their feet even to their head,they were full of wounds andbruises, and putrefying sores! Yet they still went after evil; they still turned aside from the righteous and true God.
Our text contains one instance of God's expostulating with His people. He says to them, "What have you to do in the way ofEgypt, to drink the waters of the muddy river!"-for so it may be translated-and of course that term is applied to the Nileby way of contempt. "Why need you go to drink ofthat muddy river? What have you to do with Assyria, to drink the water of Euphrates? Why do you turn aside and leave yourown cool streams of Lebanon? Why do you forsake Jerusalem to turn aside to Noph and to Tahapanes? Why are you so strangelyset on mischief, that you cannot becontent with the good and healthful, but would even follow after that which is evil and deceitful?"
Taking the text just as it stands, I intend, by God's help, to make a question of it to you. To myself and to you may Godthe Holy Spirit apply it, and may this be a time for all God's people, to every convinced soul, yes, and to the careless,too-a time of searching of heart. May God question usand may we be prepared to answer honestly. May the Holy Spirit push home the solemn enquiries, and may we with truthfulhearts search and look and give earnest heed.
I shall apply the text to three characters-first to the Christian; secondly, to the awakened conscience; and, thirdly, tothe careless sinner. My sermon is not intended to instruct your minds, but to stir up your hearts.
I. Addressing myself to the CHRISTIAN, I shall use the text in three senses while I expostulate with you in regard to sin,to worldly pleasure, and to carnal trust.
1. And first, O true Believer, called by Grace and washed in the precious blood of Christ, "What have you to do in the wayof Egypt, to drink the waters of the muddy river?" What have you to do with the sins which once delighted you, and which nowfind happy pastime for the world? What have you todo with your deceitful lusts, with the indulgence of your old passions? What have you to do to follow the multitude whichdo evil? Believer, answer these questions especially if you have lately fallen into sin, if you have backslidden in heart,and if you have been led to backslidein your ways. Answer me, what have you to do-what excuse have you for what you have done? Do you see yonder a gang of men,dragging, like so many beasts of burden, a tremendous load? Listen to the cracking of the whip of the overseer! Do you seehow they pull and strain till itseems as if their every sinew would snap? Do you observe them as the hot sweat stands upon their brow? Look at them! Letthe gang stay awhile, while we examine them. I can understand why all these are oppressed with sore labor, for I can see thebrand of the slave owner upon theirbacks. Their flesh is scarred. But what does this mean? There is one among them who is not a slave-a man who is free! Whatdoes this mean? How is it that he does the slaves' work-that he bends his back to the task master's yoke, when he is a freeman? Can you answer thequestion? Let me ask it in your own case. I see the sinner burdened in the ways of evil; I see him pulling iniquity as thoughit were with a cart rope, laying hold with both his hands on everything that is full of iniquity. But what have you to dothere? The slaves of Satan are butacting out their condition; but what have you to do, to be his slave, since you have been redeemed with blood and set freeby power? Why, Man, you are no slave now you are a son of God! You are an heir of all things! You are joint-heir with Christ!What have you to do, then, in theservice of sin and of Satan? Why do you follow these menial tasks? You will become a man who is to wear a crown in Heavenand who, even now, can read his title to it! Answer, Christian, and be ashamed and be confounded, because you are demeaningyourself in thus sinning against yourown soul!
A vision flits before my eyes. The Lord God has made a great feast; armies have met together; terrible slaughter has beenthe consequence. Men's arms have been red up to the very elbow in blood; they have fought with each other and there they lay,strewn upon the plain-thousands of bleedingcarcasses. The vultures sniff the prey from far-off desert wilds-they fly, keen of scent. God has made a great feast forthe fowls of heaven, and for the ravenous beasts of the earth. Listen to the whirring of their wings as they come in multitudes,for where the body is, thereshall the vultures be gathered together. But what is that I see? I see a dove flying with the same speed as the vulturetowards the carrion! O dove, what has brought you there in dangerous connection with your fierce enemies? Where are you going?Is there anything in that bloodyfeast that can content you? Shall your meek eyes glare with the fires of anger? Shall your fair white plumage be stainedwith gore, and will you go back to your dove-cot with your pinions bloody red? I appeal to you, my Hearers! Can you answerthe question? Can you explain thestrange vision? How is it, then, that I see you, Christian, going with sinners after evil? Is it your food? If you are achild of God, sin is no more food for you than blood is for doves! If you have been "begotten again unto a lively hope bythe Resurrection of Jesus Christ fromthe dead," your peaceful soul will be as much out of element as a dove upon a battlefield! And the sight-the sightof sinwill be as horrible to you as the sight of slaughter to that timid dove which even now flies itself with rapid wings to thecleft of the rock. Christian, I say,if you do as the worldling does, you go against your nature-against your newborn nature! To him it is not strange-shouldnot the swine eat husks? Is it not his proper food? Should not the sinner love to sin? Is it not his very element? But whathave you to do? What have you todo, quickened of the Spirit, and renewed in the image of Christ- what have you to do?
You have seen in Scripture a dreadful picture of a madman, where Nebuchadnezzar the king runs with oxen and eats grass tillhis hair has grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. Is he not the pitiful picture of a backslider.For what is a Christian when he plunges into sin, butas one who makes himself like the beasts that perish, and who herds with the common-yes-and the unclean beasts of the earth?O Believer! If it is a pitiful thing to see a man make himself a beast, how much more lamentable to see a Christian make himselfa worldling! "Come youout from among them; touch not the unclean thing." Why should the soul of my turtle dove be given up to its enemies? Whyshould the lamb flock with the wolves? Come out, I pray you-leave this stygian filth and be clean, you vessel-bearer of theLord! Come forth from the midst ofthat plague land, where you can get nothing but the ashy hue of leprosy, and be clean! Today the Lord invites you; refusenot His invitation, but return, you backsliding children of men!
The question, then, cannot be answered-because when a Christian goes into sin, he commits an inconsistent act- inconsistentwith the freedom which Christ has bought for him, and inconsistent with the nature which the Holy Spirit has implanted inhim.
Let us press forward. Christian, what have you to do with sin? Has it not cost you enough already? What? Man, have you forgottenthe times of your conviction? If you have, my Brother, I have not. At the very mention of that word, I think I hear my chainsrattling anew. Was there ever a bond-slavewho had more bitterness of soul than I? Five years a captive in the dungeons of the Law, till my youth seemed as if it wouldturn into premature old age, and all the buoyancy of my spirit had been removed! O God of the spirits of all men! Most ofall ought Ito hate sin, for surelymost of all have I smarted beneath the lash of Your Law! And as I look round, knowing the experience of some of you, I canrecall to my mind the stories you have told me; how when you had first felt your need of a Savior, you could not endure yourselves.Ah, there are those amongyou, who when you were under strong convictions of sin were ready to commit self-destruction! You prayed, but found no answer;you sought, but obtained no mercy; there were not creatures out of Hell more wretched than you were then! What? And will yougo back to the old curse? Burntchild, will you play with the fire? What? Man, when you have already been torn in pieces by the lion, will you step a secondtime into his den? Have you not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all your veins once, and will you play uponthe hole of the asp, and put yourhand upon the cockatrice den? Have you not seen enough of the leopards, and of the dragons, and will you step a second timeinto their dens? Oh, be not so mad! Be not so foolish! Did sin ever give you pleasure? Did you ever find any solid satisfactionin it? If so, go back to yourold drudgery; go back, I say, and wear the chain again if you delight in it. But inasmuch as I know, and you know, thatsin did never give you what it promised to bestow-inasmuch as it did delude you with lies, and flatter you with promises whichwere all to be broken-I pray yoube not beguiled a second time! Be not a second time led into captivity-be free and let the remembrance of your ancient bondageforbid you to wear the chain again!
There is yet another light in which to put the sin of the Believer. Let me repeat the question once again-"What have you todo in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of the muddy river?" There is a crowd yonder. They have evidently assembled forsome riotous purpose. They are attacking one man.There are very many of them. Oh, how they howl!- oh, how they scream! They give Him no space to take His breath, no timeto rest. Let me press through the throng and look at the Man. I know Him at once! He has a visage more marred than that ofany other man. 'Tis He! It is theCrucified One, it is none other than Jesus, the Son of Man, the Savior of the world! Listen to the blasphemies which arepoured into His ears! See how they spit in His face, and put Him to an open shame. Onward they bring Him, and you hear themcry, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!Crucify Him!" They are doing it-they have nailed Him to the Cross-yonder is a man with the hammer in his hand who has justnow driven in the nails. Look round upon the mob. I can well comprehend why yonder drunkard, why yonder swearer, why the whoremonger,and the like ofinfamous notoriety should have joined in this treacherous murder; but there is one man there-I think I know his face-yes,I have seen him at the sacramental table, eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ! I have seen him in the pulpitsaying, "God forbid that I shouldglory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." I have seen him on his knees in prayer, pleading what he called, "Theprecious blood." What have you to do in this counsel of the ungodly, this scene of sin without a parallel? "What are you doinghere, Elijah?" In the name oflove's own self, and of every holy thing that can ever pertain to a human heart- what are you doing here? Are you sickenedat heart at such a spectacle-a Christian crucifying Christ? That spectacle is one in which you have had a share! You, too,when you have backslidden andhave sinned-you have "Crucified the Lord afresh and put Him to an open shame." Is there any other picture needed to setmy text in the very strongest light? "What have you to do, O Christian, in the way of Egypt, to drink the water of the muddyriver?" Cry revenge againstyourself, because you have murdered your Lord, and opened His wounds anew!
Have patience with me a moment while I turn my question over and revolve it yet again. Believer, you have rebelled againstyour God! You have done despite unto His Spirit! How will you answer for this? What will you say to a scoffing world whenthe quick eyes of the sinner shall detect you? Whatwill you say when he hisses out, "There's your religion"? How will you answer him? You may pretend to do so, but do younot feel that he will get the best of the argument? If he goes his way, and says the religion of Christ is a lie and an hypocrisy,what will you have to say?Surely you will have to hide your face in confusion, and bemoan yourself because by this act you have given the enemy causeto blaspheme! And what will you say to Christ's Church when the Church shall say to you, "What are you doing here?" How willyou excuse yourself for dishonestacts in business, or for any lust into which you have fallen? Will you tell the Church it was your old nature? But how willyou answer when the Church says, "They who are in Christ have crucified the flesh and its affections and lusts"? More thanthis, how will you answer your ownconscience? Will you use some Antinomian quibble, and apply that as a plaster to your wounds? No! If you are a child ofGod, you will have to smart for it. The waters of the muddy river may be sweet to the Egyptians, but they will be bitter toyou. You shall have, as it were, acauldron in your heart, if you drink thereof. Christians can never sin cheaply-they pay a heavy price for all the pleasuresthat they ever find in evil.
And what will you say to your Lord and Master next time you are at the sacramental table? How will you dare to eat that breadand drink that wine? And when you are alone on your knees, and seeking fellowship with Him, how will you dare to seek it,when you have just now been following His enemiesand imitating them? Ah, well may He say to you, "I have withdrawn Myself, I have gone, for you have grieved My Spirit, andvexed My soul." Believer, if Jesus Christ were here, what would you say to make an excuse for your sin? Surely you would bespeechless as the dumb, and silentas the grave! Your tears might make confession; your shudders should deepen your guilt; but your lips could not make anapology. What have you to do, O Christian, in the way of evil? What are you doing here, O God's Elijah?
I do not know whether there are any Christians here who have fallen into any special sin during this last week. If there are,Brothers and Sisters, open your heart to this question. It may be, my Master has sent me to you to nip your sin in its bud-tobring you back before you have backsliddenvery much. Turn, my Brothers and Sisters! He has not forgotten His love to you! Turn! His Grace is still the same! Withweeping and with bitter lamentation, come to His footstool, and you shall be once more received into His heart, and you shallbe set upon a rock again, and yourgoings shall be established.
2. To take a different view of the subject. The pleasures of this world sometimes entice the people of God, and they findsome degree of mirth therein. To those Christians who can find pleasure in the common amusements of men, this question maybe very pertinently put-"What have you to do todrink the water of that muddy river?"
I may be speaking to some Believers who try if they can, to keep their conscience quiet while they frequent places of amusement-theylend their sanction to things which are not spiritual, and sometimes even not moral. Now, I put this question to them. Christian,you have tasted of better drinkthan the muddy river of this world's pleasures can give you. If your profession is not a lie, you have had fellowship withChrist; you have had that joy which only the blessed spirits above, and the chosen ones on earth can know-the joy of seeingChrist and leaning your head uponHis bosom. And do the trifles, the songs, the music, the merriment of this earth content you after that? Have you eatenthe bread of angels, and can you live on husks? Good Rutherford once said, "I have tasted of Christ's own manna, and it hasput my mouth out of taste for the brownbread of this world's joys." I think it should be so with you. Again, Believer, have you not already learned the hollownessof all earth's mirth? Turn to your neighbor and ask him. Does he frequent the theater? Does he go from one party of pleasureto another? Does he indulge in thecommon pleasures of the world? Ask him whether they have ever satisfied him! If he is a worldling, and is honest, he willsay, "No." He will tell you that his soul pants after something better than fashion and dissipation can afford him. He willtell you, too, that he has drainedthat cup, and it is not the wine which he thought it was; that it excites for the moment, but leaves him weak, and miserableafterwards. What? Shall the parings and offal of this world's joys, suit the heir of Heaven?-You who profess to be of noblerbirth, and to be brother to theangels-no-next akin to the eternal Son of God Himself-are you to wallow in this mire, and think it a soft and downy couchfit for a royal resting place? Get up, Believer! You are not lost to every sense of shame! Betray not yourself in seekingsatisfaction wherein worldlingsconfess they have never found it.
But let me ask you-will these pleasures yield to you any helps in your growth in Grace? You say the world is crucified untoyou-will these pleasures help to crucify it? You have prayed that you may be made like Christ-will these things help to conformyou to His image? Often do you cry, "OhSpirit of God, purge out the old leaven from me." Will these help to purge out the old leaven? Unless you will fling thelie into the face of all your prayers, I pray you, shun these things! Fly at higher game than this. Let the mere hawk flyat the sparrow, but the eagle needssomething nobler to be the object of its chase. If you were of the world, it would be right for you to love her; if shewere your mother, you might nurse-but even then should not be satisfied with the breasts of her consolation. But you confessthat not thisworld, but the nextisthe mother of your soul! I pray you then, be not content with what this earth yields, but lift up your eyes, and expectyour manna to spring not from the earth, but from Heaven, and may it drop into your hands!
I can never understand that Christianity which alternately goes out to find joy in worldly amusements, and returns home tohave fellowship with Christ. In the life of Madame Guyon, who, though professedly a Papist, one must always receive as beinga true child of God, I have read an anecdotesomething to this effect. She had been invited by some friends to spend a few days at the palace of St. Cloud. She knewit was a place full of pomp and fashion and, I must add, also of vice. But being persuaded by her friend and being especiallytempted with the idea that perhapsher example might do good, she accepted the invitation. Her experience afterwards should be a warning to all Christians.For some years that holy woman had walked in constant fellowship with Christ-perhaps none ever saw the Savior's face and kissedHis wounds more truly than shehad done. But when she came home from St. Cloud, she found her usual joy was departed- she had lost her power in prayer;she could not draw near to Christ as she should have done. She felt in going to the lover of her soul as if she had playedthe harlot against Him. She wasafraid to hope that she could be received again to His pure and perfect love, and it took some months before the equilibriumof her peace could be restored, and her heart could yet again be wholly set upon her Lord. He that wears a white garment mustmind where he walks when theworld's streets are so filthy as they are. He that has a thousand enemies must take care how he exposes himself. He whohas nothing on earth to assist him towards Heaven should take care that he goes not where the earth can help towards Hell!O Brothers and Sisters, shun, I prayyou, fellowship with this world, for the love of this world is enmity against God! Now some will say that I am an asceticand wish you to become Puritans. I wish we were Puritans, most certainly, but I am no ascetic. I believe the Christian oughtto be the happiest man in the world,and I believe he is, too! But I know that this world does not make him happy-it is the next world. I say that the Believerhas a more sure and certain right to be a happy and a cheerful person than any other, but if only in this world we had hope,we would be of all people themost miserable, because this world yields no joy to us.
3. For one minute I shall now take my text with regard to the Christian in a third sense. We are all tried with the temptationto put our trust in things which are seen, instead of things which are not seen. The Lord has said it-"Cursed is he that trustsin man, and makes flesh his arm," but,"blessed is he that trusts in the Lord." Yet Christians often do trust in man, and then our text comes home-"What have youto do in the way of Egypt, to drink the water of that muddy river?" "Some trust in horses, and some in chariots, but we willstay ourselves upon the Lord Godof Israel." Look at yonder Believer; he trusts in Christ, and only in Christ for his salvation, and yet he is fretted andworried even though this is the day of rest, about something in his business. Why are you troubled, Christian? "Because ofthis great care," he says. Care? Haveyou care? I thought it was written, "Cast your burden upon the Lord." "Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayerand supplication, make known your needs unto God." Can you not trust God for temporals? "Ah," says the Believer, "I wish Icould." Believer, if you cannottrust God for temporals, how dare you trust Him for spirituals? Surely if He is worthy to be trusted with eternity, He mustbe fit to be relied upon in time. Can you trust Him for your soul's redemption, and yet not rely upon Him for a few paltrypounds? Then what are you trustingin? "Oh, I wish I had a good friend," says one. "I wish I had someone at my back to help me." Indeed, Sir, what have youto do to go in the way of Egypt, to want to drink of that water? Is not God enough? Do you want another eye beside that ofHim who sees all things? Do you wantanother arm to help besides Him who-
"Bears the earth's huge pillars up, Is His heart faint? Is His arm weary? Is His eye grown dim? If so, seek another God; but if He is Infinite, Omnipotent,faithful, true and All-Wise, why do you go abroad so muck to seek another confidence? Why do you rake the earth to find anotherfoundation, when this is strong enough and broad enough and deep enough to bear all the weight which you can ever build thereon?Christian, be single in your faith! Have not two trusts, but one! Believer, rest only on your God, and let your expectationbe from Him! God bless you, Believer. Let this question ring in your ears this week, and if you are tempted to sin, or to worldly pleasure,or to casual trust, think you see your minister, and that you hear him saying in your ears-"What have you to do in the wayof Egypt, to drink the waters of the muddy river? Or what have you to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of Euphrates?"
II. I now come to the second part of my subject. Let not our friends grow dreary. I shall be brief on the matter that remains-thatthe Word may be felt.
CONVICTED SINNER, I hope I have some such here. Some of those precious ones of God, whose eyes are bejeweled with the tearsof penitence, and whose hearts are like the fragrant spices, which when broken, send out a sweet perfume. And so, my Friend,you feel your lost estate. God's Holy Spirit haskindly looked upon you, and begun a good work in your soul. And yet during the past week, you have fallen into your oldsin. Ah, ah, smarting and yet sinning; wounded and yet rebelling! Pricked with the ox-goad, and yet kicking against the pricks!It is hard for you! It is hard foryou! To sin with a steeled conscience is easy, but to sin when conscience is raw, is hard, indeed! You have a hard task;you have to go on in sin, and tread its thorny path, when your feet are tender, having just been burned in the fire! And whatwas the cause of your sin, afterall? Was it worth sinning for-to grieve your conscience and vex the Holy Spirit? I have heard of a man who had just begunthe Christian life, and he had some months of sorrow, owing to a hasty temper. His neighbor had let some of his cattle strayinto the field; he asked him tofetch them out again, and mend the fence. His neighbor would not, and he flew into such a passion with him, that afterwardshe sat down and cried! Said he, "Why, if all the cows in the field were sold, and I had lost the money, they were not worththe bother I made about them, norworth one moment of the grief which I have to suffer." Oh, what fools we all are! Let us, however, write ourselves foolsin capital letters if when conscience is tender, we yet go and do the very thing which we hate, and choose the very cup whichwas so bitter to our taste, sonauseous to us just now!
And then, convicted Sinner, another question. You are under conviction of sin, and you have been lately-as it is a festiveseason-you have been frequenting the dance hall, or the theater. Now these are amusements for worldlings. Let them have them;I would not prevent them for a moment; letevery man have his own amusement and his own joy. But what is this to you? What have you to do with it? Why, you know youthought the place would fall down while you were sitting there! What business had you there? Suppose the devil had come into take one of his own away, and hadtaken you? He might have been forgiven for his mistake-for he found you on his grounds! You were trespassing, and thereforeif the old Giant Grim had taken you away to Despair's Castle, who could have blamed him? Were you not for the time in histerritory? Had he not, therefore, aright to do as he would with you? But you who have a tender conscience, how could you be merry there-listening to lightmusic while you had a heavy heart? I never like to see a newly-made widow at a wedding, and I do not like to see a convictedsinner where others are makingmerry. When you have joy in your heart, you may join with the kindred sympathy of other men's joys; but while your soulis bleeding, what a mockery, what a farce it is for you to be pretending to find joy in the very thing which has given youthe pain! You have heard the old andoft-repeated story of the celebrated clown who was under conviction of sin. He went to a certain doctor, and told him hewas exceeding melancholy, and he wished that he could advise him something that would cheer his spirits. The doctor prescribedfor him some remedies, but theyfailed. He went at last to a celebrated popular preacher-who ought not to have been a preacher, for he did not understandthe Gospel at all-and he, fool that he was, said to the poor man, "Well, I do not know what will cheer you up, but I shouldsay if you were to go and see thetricks and antics of such-and-such a person, the clown at such-and-such a theater, if anything would make you merry, thatwould." "Alas, Sir," said he, "I am that man myself!" So strange must have been his position, making others roar with laughterwhile he himself was roaring withterror! And yet this is just your position, convicted Sinner, if you can find merriment in the world! Let other men haveit; it is not the place for you-stand aloof from it, and go not there.
And then, again, take care, convicted Sinner, that you do not trust in yourself in any degree. What have you to do to go toEgypt to drink the waters of the muddy river? Your works have ruined you! How can they save you? Your works have damned you!How can they wipe out the sentence of damnation?Fly to Christ, fly to the flowing wounds, and to the open heart. There is hope for you there! But at the foot of Sinai thereis thunder and fire and smoke; and if Moses did exceedingly fear and quake, how much more should you, when the mountain seemsas though it would roll upon youand crush you, and bury your spirit in eternal destruction? God help you, convicted Sinner, never to go in that way of Egypt,to drink the waters of Sihon-for these things are not for you.
III. Lastly, to any here present who are CARELESS. I have a hard task, and but a few moments for the attempt to bring a reasonablequestion to unreasonable men. You tell me, Sirs, that you love the vanities of this world, and that they content you. I lookyou in the face and remind you that therehave been many madmen in this world besides yourselves! Yet as there is some spark of reason left, let me see if I can kindlea flame of thought therewith. Sinner, God is angry with the wicked every day. What have you to do with joy? You are alreadycondemned because you believe noton the Son of God! What have you to do with peace-a condemned man dancing in his cell at Newgate with chains about his wrists?You're a dying man; you may drop down dead in this Hall! What have you to do with merriment? You! If you were sure you shouldlive a week, you might spendsix days if you would, in sin; but you are not sure you will live an hour! What have you to do with sin and its pleasures?God is furbishing His sword today; it is sharp and strong as the arm which shall wield it. That sword is meant for you unlessyou repent! What have you to dowith taking your ease and eating and drinking and being happy? That man yonder, with his neck in the noose, and his feetupon the treacherous drop-is it fitting that he should sing songs and call himself a happy man? This is your position, Sir!Sinner, you are standing over themouth of Hell upon a single plank, and that plank is rotten! Your hope is as the spider's web-your confidence is as a dream!Death follows you, not as the slow-paced footman, but on horseback, the skeleton rider on his pale horse is rattling afteryou with tremendous speed! Andah, Hell follows him! Hell follows Death-the sure and certain consequence of sin! And what have you to do with making merry?Have you made appointments for the next week? Keep them if you dare, if in the name of God you can make it consistent; ifyou can make it consistent withreason to be busy about the body, and neglect the soul, to fritter away that time on which eternity depends, then go anddo it! If it is a wise thing for you to leap before you look; if it is a prudent thing to damn your soul eternally for thesake of a few hours of mirth-sayso-go and do it like an honest man! But if it is unwise to forget forever and only think of today;if it is the strongestmadness to lose your life to gain the mere apparel with which the body is to be covered; if it is madness to fling away jewels,and hoard up dust as you aredoing, then I pray you, I beseech you, answer the question-"What have you to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the watersof Sihor?" Turn, turn! "For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, saysthe Lord God: therefore turnyourselves, and I will love you." "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him returnunto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him. And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."
Lo, the Cross is lifted up before you! Jesus bleeds! His wounds are streaming with His life-blood! Yes and with yours, too!Believe, Sinner! Trust Him-with your whole heart trust Him! Come to Him, come to Him! With weeping and supplication I prayyou come! Knowing the terrors of the Lord, Ibeseech you! As one who pleads for his own life, I plead with you! By Heaven, by Hell, by time flying so swiftly, by eternityapproaching so silently, by death, by judgment, by the awful soul-reading eyes, by the rocks whose stony bowels shall refuseyour prayer to fall upon you, bythe trumpet, and the thunders of the Resurrection morning, by the pit of Hell and by the flame-I pray you think, and believein Him who is the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world!
God bless my words to you through His Spirit's energy, and He shall have the praise forever and ever! Amen.