Sermon 906. The Soul's Crisis
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Jesus of Nazareth passes by."- Luke 18:37.
Such was the news of that day. As an exclamation, doubtless it was often repeated when our Lord made His journeys throughthe land of Palestine and its outskirts-"Jesus of Nazareth passes by!" How quickly would the inhabitants of their cities andtheir villages be astir when the news reached them! What a curiosity there would be to see Him, knowing that His fame wasspoken of everywhere! What an eagerness among the multitudes to get close enough to hear Him! What an intense anxiety on thepart of some to go, themselves, and of others to take their sick and diseased friends that they might obtain health and cure!Oh, I think there was enough in those words to make men forego, awhile, their farms and their merchandise, their labors andtheir pleasures that they might feast their eyes and ears with the sight of His face and the sound of His voice-or much more,that they might obtain some grateful relief and get some substantial benefit from Him who went about doing good!
But, my dear Brothers and Sisters, I want you to catch the spiritual significance of these thrilling words. Did you understandthem aright, you would rise up and shake off your lethargy! You would be eager to greet His Presence and anxious to learnHis doctrine! That, however, which I am sure would stir you to the heart's core and excite all your passions is the vehementdesire to have salvation, present salvation, from Him! Surely you would be ready to receive Him into your house, to welcomeHim to your heart and to sit at His feet dissolved in wonder, love and praise! And yet full many of you who join the throngand mingle with the families that come up to seek the Lord are as unconcerned for yourselves as though your sins were of noconcern and your souls in no immediate peril!
Oh, it is high time that some here present were saved! In a short time you must be in another world. Hard by that column,on my right, in yonder gallery, in that next pew, there have usually sat two attentive hearers, husband and wife, who earlythis morning were suffocated by the smoke of their own burning house! I little thought that they would be preachers to ustonight-but they are so. The calamity, sudden and mysterious, which has removed them from our midst, sets "the uncertainlyof life," and the "preparation for departure" so vividly before us that we cannot refrain our emotions or restrain our sympathies.
Their absence should speak loudly to those who occupy the seat they have vacated, asking them whether they are ready to depart.Not less loudly should it speak to all sitting here, raising the question in the hearts of some of you who are careless aboutyour souls, how you could bear to pass out of this world if the arrow of death should overtake you unawares. A trifling accidentmay prove fatal! A slight illness may be the precursor of speedy dissolution! Can you imagine your own remorse as you glancebackwards at the Gospel you have listened to but never embraced-the blood of sprinkling you have heard of, but have neverbeen applied to your conscience-the Savior whom you passed by with indifference when He passed by you, ready to be graciousand you would not be His disciple? Ah, you may turn from such questions with a faint smile now-before long you will turn tothem with a pale shudder!
Are there any here present anxious to be saved? Let me have their solemn, earnest and devout attention! I pray God that whatI speak simply may just strike their consciences and touch their hearts. If they want their judgments informed, may the Wordcome with light to their spirits and in that light may they behold Christ and find salvation! Our text is taken from a littlenarrative of a blind man who sat by the side of the highway begging-not an inappropriate picture of you, my Friends, who aresolicitous of mercy and anxiously desirous of salvation. Are you not as blind and poor spiritually as he was literally?
I am sure that you will at once confess that you are blind. The eyes of your understanding are dim. Your heart is wrappedin darkness. You cannot see what you want to see. You do not even see your sin so as to repent of it with contrition. Youhave not yet seen the power of the precious blood of Jesus so as to believe in it as worshippers once
purged and abundantly conscious that it has procured their remission. While you are so blind, I am quite sure that you willnot be grieved or vexed with me if I say, too, that you are as poor as Bartimeus. His was poverty of pence, but yours is povertyof soul. You have no merit! You have no strength. You have no possibility of ever getting the means of spiritual livelihoodfor yourselves. You are as poor as the poorest beggar that ever asked a charity for God's sake from the wayfarers!
But you are sitting tonight in somewhat the same position as that blind man was, for he sat in the place of Jesus' passingby and you have come to the place where God's mercy has often been revealed-where saints and sinners have passed by in crowdsand where, blessed be His name!-Jesus Himself sometimes has passed by! What if tonight you should be apprised and aware ofHis Presence here and should cry out to Him and He should stop and open those blind eyes of yours and give you the light oflife and the joy of eternal salvation? What if you should have to go home and say to your friends and kinsfolk, "I have hadan experience tonight the like of which I never felt before! I have found a Savior! I have received the forgiveness of mysins! I am a new creature in Christ Jesus!"?
Why you would make angels sing fresh hallelujahs in Heaven, while on earth God would be glorified and yourselves and yourfriends would be blessed by so lively an exercise of faith and so wonderful a participation of Divine Grace!
I. Now, looking steadfastly that this may be the case, I wish to speak very pointedly to you about two or three things. First,when Jesus passed by the blind man it was to that man A DAY OF HOPE. He had given up all thought of ever being able to see,so long had his eyes been closed to the light. When Jesus passed by the case was different. He could perform any miracle-therewas no limit to His healing power-why shouldn't He open a blind man's eyes? And you, my anxious Friend, you have felt thatyou could not be saved. Of course, if it depended upon yourself you could not by any duties you discharged, or any servicesyou performed acquire merit enough to enter Heaven-or even to procure the forgiveness of your sins on earth.
But, if Jesus Christ has come into the world to save that which was lost, it is a totally different matter! He can certainlypardon the greatest offenders and He can deliver from going down into the Pit the most undeserving of rebels. It was an hourof hope to that blind man and if Jesus passes by now, this is an hour of hope to you! But, does He pass by? I answer-Yes!There are different respects in which this may be interpreted of our Lord's conduct. In a certain sense He has been passingby some of you ever since you began to discern right from wrong. You have, some of you, been nurtured and bred up under thehearing of the Gospel and you cannot remember the time when you did not know something, at any rate, of the facts and Truthsof God that pertain to Christianity.
Well, all this while Jesus Christ has been slowly passing by you-halting, pausing, giving you space-if perhaps you would callto Him for mercy. O take heed, that passing by may soon be over! The candle of life may be blown out. Yet while the Gospelrings in your ears, it is a day of hope to you-let not Satan or your own despairing heart persuade you to the contrary. Moreespecially is it a time of Christ's passing by when the Gospel is preached with power. If this evening the Gospel should socome to you as to win your attention and melt your heart-if you should feel a Divine influence exerted over you by it-theevidence will not be lacking that Jesus is passing by.
Or, if the Gospel, though it affects not you, should convey such an influence and bring forth such fruits in others who aresitting in the same pew with you, that they should be saved-depend upon it-the kingdom of God will have come near unto you!It will then have passed by and you will have received no blessing because you sought it not in faith. Yet responsibilitieswill have come upon you from which you will not be able to escape! Jesus will have passed by other blind men and they willhave asked for sight and had it, while you will remain blind-not because Jesus cannot heal you-but because you have not askedHis healing, but have continued still in your unbelief of Him. I feel conscious within myself that this very night Jesus is,in a special manner, present in this assembly.
Sometimes the preacher has yearnings within himself for the people as if he travailed in birth until Christ is formed in them.He wrestles with such an earnest longing after souls as if their peril and the conflict for their rescue were all his own-thatis no slight omen of the coming blessing. He perceives, also, the same desire in many of his converted hearers. As he knowsthat they are praying God with much vehemence of spirit to bring in the sinner, the atmosphere of prayer becomes to him anindication of the time and the place where Jesus manifests Himself, for where His people pray, Christ is surely present! Iencourage you then, dear Hearers, with hopeful signs of heavenly Grace!
This is a hopeful hour! If you have lived up till now unsaved, I indulge the fervent hope that the hour has now come whenyou shall find salvation! Though you may, up to now, have sought and sought and sought in vain, yet now, surely, the set timeto favor you has come! Lord, grant it may be so, that it may be so to many and we will bless Your name!
II. Secondly, as it was a time of hope to that poor blind man, so was it especially a TIME OF ACTIVITY. You that anxiouslydesire salvation regard attentively these words. A man cannot be saved by what he does-salvation is in Christ-yet no man issaved except as he seeks earnestly after Christ! This blind man did not open his eyes himself. What he did, did not help orcontribute in any degree to his attaining sight. Nevertheless, he had to seek Jesus to have his eyes opened. There was enoughin this to kindle all his passions, summon all his faculties and engage all his energies. But most certainly there was nothingin it to exercise his skill in discovering or applying a remedy-nothing to win him any honor-nothing to entitle him to anyreward.
Yet this man is a picture of what we should be if we desire to be saved. He listened attentively. He could not see, but hehad ears. He could catch the sound of footsteps. The silence that was broken by crowds coming along the road to Jericho waspeculiar. The tramp was of an unusual sort and the tone of voices far different from those of wrangling or of revelry, orthe songs of common travelers. He listened, yes, he listened with all his ears. So, dear Hearers, whenever the Gospel is preached,do not give it merely such a hearing as you might give to an ordinary story that is told you. But oh, hear it as God's Word!Hear it with bated breath and profound reverence! Drink it in as the parched earth drinks in the shower! Hear it fearing tomiss a single word, lest that should be the word that might have blessed you!
I believe attentive hearers are the most likely people to get the blessing. Let none of us, therefore, when we go to the courtsof the Lord's House and hear a Gospel sermon, suffer our thoughts to be wandering here and there, but let us give scrupulousheed so we may detect the footsteps of the Lord by the conversation of His disciples. But, this man, after he had heard withdiscrimination, enquired with eagerness what it meant. Oh, how I wish our hearers would begin to ask, "What does it mean?"I can say that I put my words as plainly as I can. Oftentimes when there is a bunch of gaudy flowers of rhetoric that I gladlywould use and could use, I have thrown them all on the dunghill because they might have stood in some poor sinner's way andhe might not have understood the plain Truth of God so well.
Ah, but still, for all that, talk as we may, the carnal mind understands not the things that are of God! It is a blessed signwhen men begin to say, "What is it all about? What is the drift of this Gospel? What does the man mean by sin and its heinousness?What does he mean by Christ and His precious blood? What is it all about?" O dear Hearers, some of you only skim your Bibleswhen you read them! I wish you would stop and ponder and ask of Christian people who have experienced these things, "Whatdo these texts mean?" So, too, if there is anything in a sermon that baffles you, I wish you would seek out some godly andinstructed Christian and say, "Explain to me what this thing means?" I should have great hopes of you if you were thus enquiringafter the plan of salvation.
Is it not worth your while to ask the question, Sirs? When a man has lost his way, he will ask 20 people sooner than he willcontinue to pursue a wrong course. And will you lose your way to Heaven through not asking old travelers to direct you? Do,I pray you, be in earnest to learn and it shall not be long before God shall teach you, for whenever He makes a man consciousof his ignorance and anxious to be taught, God the Holy Spirit is quite sure to instruct him before long. When this man hadasked the question and had been told in reply that Jesus of Nazareth passed by, notice what he did next-he began to pray.
We are told that he cried. His cry was a prayer and his prayer was a cry. It took the form of a piteous and emphatic outburstof desire-"You Son of David, have mercy on me." It was a short prayer. He did not need a book. Being a blind man he couldnot have used one if he had had it. Blessed be God, we need no Book of Prayers. We need such prayers as blind men can usequite as readily as those who can see. And what a comprehensive prayer it was-"Have mercy on me! Have mercy on me!" It wasnot the words of the prayer-it was the true desire and the believing confidence of the prayer that did the work. "You Sonof David, have mercy upon me!"
Now, my dear Hearer, you tell me that you wish to be saved, that you are anxious, no, enquiring-but do you pray? How can youexpect mercy if it is not thought by you to be worth the asking for? What? Will you have God give you it without your seekingit? He has done so sometimes, but the usual rule of Divine Grace, and the most proper rule is that you should humbly ask formercy at His feet. Will you do it? What? Is Hell so paltry a doom that you will not pray to escape from it? What? Is Heavenso trifling a destination that you will not pray that you may gain it? O Sirs, when
heavenly mercy is to be had for the asking, will you not invoke the Almighty and be obedient to the Redeemer to obtain it?Then how richly you deserve to die! Being placed on pleading terms, you will not plead! And being bid to seek the Lord whileHe may be found, you willfully refuse to seek Him!
Yes, richly do you deserve to perish in your sin! But it must not be so with you. I cannot look you in the face and thinkyou will do such despite to God's claims and your own interests. No, you will pray, I trust you will. You will cry with yourwhole heart to God! Be assured that never did a man really cry for mercy and continue to do so with his whole heart, but sooneror later mercy came! There are no praying souls in Hell! God never damns those who are suppliants for mercy. If you do butlay hold on the Cross of Christ and say, "I will not let this go except I get the blessing! I will not cease until I win mysoul's desire," you shall soon have the mercy that you seek! O that God would stir you up to pray!
As this man prayed, there were some standing by who said, "Hush! Hold your tongue! You disturb the preaching. We cannot hearthe silvery tones of the orator. Be still. It is not right for a beggar like you, crawling in the street, to disturb respectablepeople by your harsh, croaking voice-be quiet!" But his heart, being thus moved, there was no silence for his tongue! So muchthe more, with increasing vehemence and force, he iterated and reiterated the prayer, "You Son of David, you Son of David,have mercy on me! Have mercy on me!"
Now, if you desire salvation and have begun to pray, Satan will say, "Ah, it is of no use! Be quiet!" The flesh will say,"Why do you do this? There is time enough." Procrastination will come in and say, "When you grow old it will be time enough,then, to begin to seek the Lord." A thousand difficulties will be suggested, but, O Soul, if you are, indeed, set upon salvationand God has made you in earnest, you will say to all these, "Stand back! I cannot and will not be silenced by you! I musthave mercy! It is mercy I need and it is mercy I must have, or I perish forever and that I cannot afford! Therefore I willcry the more!"
I wish-but ah, it is not in my power-still, I do wish that I could persuade you to importunate prayer. May the Holy Spiritlead you to pray. Well do I recollect my own prayers when I was seeking Christ. I prayed for months and sometimes in the chamberwhere I sought the Lord, I felt as if I could not come away from the Mercy Seat till I had an answer of peace-but I waitedlong before I got it. Still, it came at last and oh, it is worth waiting for! If one had to plead for mercy by the 20 yearsat a time, yet if at last the silver scepter were stretched out it would well repay all the groans and the tears of the mostanxious spirits! Get to your chambers, then, or if you cannot get to your chambers, get to a saw pit, a hayloft-it mattersnot where-and pour out your heart before Him and do not rise from your knees until the Lord has said, "Your sins, which aremany, are forgiven you"!
After this man had thus pleaded, it is noteworthy that Jesus stood still and called him. I must call your attention to thismatter. As soon as Jesus had called the blind man, the effect produced on him is startling. I think I see him sitting thereby the wayside helpless. Jesus bids him come. He gets up and in a moment he throws off that outer garment which had been soprecious to him-in which he had so often wrapped himself up in cold nights-when he had to sleep beneath the open sky. Thatmuch prized, though all patched and filthy garment-he threw it right away! It might have made him a minute or two slower,so off he threw it and away he ran to Jesus!
Ah, and it is a great mercy when a poor soul feels that it can throw away anything and everything to get to Christ! "Oh,"says the sinner who really seeks a Savior, "if there is any sin that I indulged that prevents my finding mercy, only let meknow it and I will do away with it. Is there any habit I have which I do not even know to be sin, or a thing I do that givesme pleasure, but is objectionable in the sight of God, I will do away with it! O Lord, if I must be poor, or if I must besick, I will do away with my health and away with my wealth if I may but find mercy-
"The dearest idol I have known, Whatever thatidolis, Help me to tear it from its throne, And worship only You."
I charge you, seekers of Jesus, let nothing stand between you and Christ! You must have salvation! You cannot afford to dowithout it. O fling away, then, everything that might impede you. Cast off the garment that might trip you up in the heavenlyrace. Lay aside every weight and the sin that does most easily beset you and press to Jesus at once. Tonight, I pray you,press to Jesus with vehement speed and be not content till you get the blessing!
Once more. When this man had come to Jesus and Jesus said to him, "What will you that I should do unto you?" the man returneda straightforward and intelligent answer, "Lord, that I might receive my sight." Now, when you are at
prayer tonight, any of you, do not merely pray a general prayer, but put it before the Lord in plain language. I could suppose,for example, the tenor of your confession and petition might be something like this-"Lord, here I am. I have lived all thistime without regard of You. I have been a hearer at the Tabernacle. Sometimes I have been so deeply impressed that I haveshed many tears, but Lord, it has all come to nothing. Sermons upon sermons have I heard, yet sermon after sermon has beenlost upon me. I am afraid I am a Gospel-hardened sinner.
"I think, Lord, that sitting as I do right opposite the preacher, he speaking so pointedly as he does to me, witnessing, asI do, how others have been saved while I have been left unsaved, my heart must be like the nether millstone. Yet, Lord, Youcan save me. O have mercy on me! O melt this heart of stone! Break this adamant! Thaw this rock of ice! Lord, I know whatit is that hinders me-there is that cherished sin. There is that vile companion. There is that lust of the flesh. O God, enableme to give it up! Now help me to pluck off the right arm and tear out the right eye, for, oh, I cannot perish! I cannot perish!I cannot bear Your wrath in the world to come! I am afraid because of it! Therefore would I flee from it and find refuge inJesus!"
Or perhaps your case may be quite a different one and in pleading with God you may have to say, "Lord, I never was a keeperof Your Sabbath. I have been on all those holy days spending the time in sinful pleasure and I do not know that I have anyregard for You, but I fell into the crowd at the Tabernacle gates just now and got into the aisle and, Lord, Your Word hasfound me out and I feel as I never felt before! I do desire to be reconciled to You." Oh, you do not know how glad your heavenlyFather will be to hear that, for, just as in the parable, the father ran and fell upon the prodigal's neck and kissed him,so will our Father who is in Heaven run and fall upon your guilty neck and give you the kiss of pardon and of acceptance!And you, even you, shall be saved!
Glory be to God, there is none that will press and seek and knock and strive thus, but the mercy shall come unto them! Still,I cannot withhold one other remark. That which really brought salvation to this blind man was his faith, for Christ says,"Your faith has saved you." Now here is the greatest point of all-faith! Faith-for work without faith is of little worth.Faith is the great saving Grace-it is the real life-germ. "What is faith?" you ask. Anxious Enquirer, if you would know whatfaith is, understand that the other words for it are trust and belief. The faith that saves is a belief that Jesus Christ,the Son of God, offered an atonement for sin, and then, after a firm conviction, a simple trusting in that Atonement for yoursalvation.
Can you, this night-oh, I pray the Holy Spirit enables you!-can you, this night, trust Jesus Christ? When I ask that questionof an awakened sinner, it seems to me as if the answer should always be, "Can I trust Him? Yes, indeed! Such a Savior, soDivine, offering such a sacrifice as the death of Himself, surely I can trust Him!" Here is a nail upon which you may wellhang all the weight of the vessel! Here is a bridge over which tens of thousands of the heaviest sinners may safely cross!Come then, Sinner, what do you say? Are you resolved to trust Jesus? If so, your faith has saved you already! Go and wrestlein prayer till you get you an assurance of it.
III. Time flies and I must not tarry. Let me have a solemn word upon another point. When Jesus passed by, it was, as we havesaid, to the blind man an hour of hope and it was an hour for bestirring himself. Now we notice, thirdly, it was AN HOUR OFCRISIS. Did I not observe just now that while life lasts Jesus is passing by? That is true in one sense, but I do also believethat in many cases the hour in which they will ever be able to find mercy is past long before men die. There was a man whohad listened to an earnest Gospel exhortation and as he listened he felt that the preacher was speaking out his inmost heartto him. He thought within himself, "That is an important matter."
As he listened the importance of the matter seemed to strike him more and more. His tears began to flow and he resolved thatwhen he reached his home that night he would seek the Lord. As he went on his way, a companion met him and said, "Come withme," and he invited him to a certain ale-house. He was revolted at the thought for the moment. He stood still and the deliberationseemed to go on in his soul-"Which shall it be? Shall it be my jovial companion, or shall it be that earnest prayer on whichI have resolved?" He hesitated a moment and his better self, or rather the Holy Spirit within him, conquered, and that nightas he knelt, Divine light shone into his soul and he became a Christian!
On that same occasion there was another man who passed through precisely the same experience and to whom the same temptationcame. But he yielded to it and he was never after that troubled with such another difficulty. He listened again to sermons,but he never felt, under them, as he did under that. They lost all interest for him. After a time he left off attending themeans of Grace and he is at this time a blasphemer, though before he seemed to stand upon the very borders
of salvation! Probably to this last man there will never come a day of Grace again. He has now put himself beyond the reachof it, as to the means-for he attends no place of worship and gives no heed to anything of the kind. Religion has become athing for him to laugh at and its preachers the objects of his scorn.
Here were the turning points of these two lives-Divine Grace decided the one and the flesh decided the other-the one, in allhuman probability, is bound for Heaven and the other, alas, is bound for Hell. Such a night as this may have come now. I donot know that young man, nor where he sits tonight, but he is here. He has, after this service is over, an engagement of asort that if his sainted mother in the country could but know of it, it would make her very hair stand on end with horrorto think that her son should have come to that. I charge him by the living God to give up that sin, or else this night hemay seal his own damnation!
There sits here in this house a woman who will, this evening, if the Lord shall make her fulfill the purpose of her heart,seek Christ and find Him. But if the temptation that is now striving with her should overcome her and the evening should bespent, after all, in idle chat, her conscience shall be seared as with a hot iron and from this hour it shall not be possiblefor the shafts of the Gospel to come at her. O that God may decide your case rightly for you, helping your will, your stubbornand wicked will, to yield and bow to the blessed instigation of His Holy Spirit in your hearts, for I am persuaded that thisis an hour of crisis to many here!
IV. Lastly, remember that this hour of Jesus passing by is AN HOUR THAT WILL SOON BE GONE. Did you notice that word, "Jesusof Nazareth passes by"? He is not stopping, He is passing by, for He is going on towards the walls of Jericho to pass throughits gates. Blind man, it is now or never, for He is passing by! He has come up to where you are! Cry to Him now! He has passedyou, but cry to Him. Now, Man, He is long past, but He can yet hear you. Cry to Him now!
Ah, but He is passed and is gone and the man has not cried and now there is no other who can open his eyes, neither will thisSon of David, for He has passed by and been unasked, unsought to bless. You had Christ passing by when you were young. I wouldto God you had said to Him then, "Have mercy on me!" But you waited till He came up to you in middle life and yet you didnot seek Him. Alas, alas, for that! And now the gray hairs are stealing over you and half-a-century of unbelief has hardenedyour heart. You are getting close to 60 years of ungodliness, but He is not out of earshot yet. He will hear you now. O cryto Him, I pray you cry and may God's Holy Spirit, who is the Author of all true supplication, breathe in you, now, a cry thatnever shall be stopped until you get the answer, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
Now, it may be that some here to whom I am speaking think that this preaching is all child's play and that our talking aboutthese solemn things is very easy. I protest before God this night that I feel it to be stern hard work! Not but what it iseasy and delightful to preach the Gospel, but I yearn over the souls of some of you! I cannot understand why you crowd hereand when I know that there are perhaps half as many outside as inside, clamoring for entrance, I know not why it is. I donothing to attract you here, but speak right out my Master's Gospel. The truth is, if the Lord inclines your hearts and bringsyou within the sound of the Gospel which I am eager to proclaim, I feel a responsibility about you which it were not possiblefor you to estimate.
What if you should, in the Day of Judgment, be able to say, "We crowded to that house and we listened to that man, but hedid not tell us the Truth of God, or he told it to us so coldly that we thought it did not matter and we put it off"? Oh,if you are lost, yet bear me witness that I would gladly have you saved! And if persuasions could bring you to Christ, youshould not perish for lack of them. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." This is the message, but ifyou reject it, a weight falls on my spirit-it seems to crush me like a millstone-the thought that you should be lost! Forwhat is it to be lost? To be cast away from the Presence of God! To be cast into Hell! To have to suffer, and that forever,all that the Justice of God can demand-all that the Omnipotence of God can inflict!
Why, Sirs, if I have but a headache, or a toothache for one brief hour, my patience can scarcely endure the torture! Whatmust it be to suffer such pains for a century? Man, I cannot guess what it must be! What must it be to have ten thousand timesworse pains than these, forever and ever? Why, to be dejected in mind, to be despairing, to be disconsolate-how bewilderedit makes men! They take the knife or the poison in a fit of insanity-it may be they cannot bear their lives because of theiranguish and desperation. But all the pangs and racks and abandonment from which men suffer here are nothing to be comparedwith the woes and mental anguish of the world to come! Oh, the agony of a spirit doomed, forlorn, accursed, upon which Godshall put His foot in awful wrath and lift it up no more forever!
And there, as you lie, tormented to the quick, you will have this to be your miserable portion-"I heard the Gospel, but Iwould not heed it. Christ was put before me, but I would not acknowledge Him. I was entreated to believe in His name and flyto Him for salvation, but I hesitated-hung in suspense, objected-and at length denied Him. And all for what? For a littledrink, a little dance, a little sin that yielded me but slight pleasure-or for worldly gain, or for low and groveling vices-orfor sheer carelessness and gaiety! Lost, lost, lost! And for nothing! A sinner damned!"
He lost his soul, but he did not gain the world. He gained only a little frivolous pleasure, even that poor pittance he spentin an hour and then he was forever cast away! May it not be so with you-not with one of you, old or young! But may the Lordhave mercy upon the whole assembly, for His dear name's sake. Amen.-
"There is a time, we know not when,
A point we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men,
To glory or despair.
There is a line, by us unseen,
That crosses every path-
The hidden boundary between
God's patience and His wrath.
To pass that limit is to die,
To die, as if by stealth.
It does not quench the beaming eye,
Or pale the glow of health.
The conscience may be still at ease,
The spirits light and gay.
That which is pleasing still may please,
And care be thrust away.
But on that forehead
God has set
Indelibly a mark,
Unseen by man-for man as yet
Is blind and in the dark.
And yet the doomed man's path below,
Like Eden, may have bloomed.
He did not, does not, will not know,
Or feel that he is doomed.
He knows, he feels, that all is well,
And e very fear is calmed.
He lives, he dies, he wakes in Hell,
Not only doomed but damned!
O where is your mysterious brook,
By which our path is crossed,
Beyond which God Himself has sworn,
That he who goes is lost?
How far may we go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end? And where begin
The confines of despair?
An answer from the skies is sent-
'You that from God depart,
While it is called today,
Repent! And harden not your heart.'"
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Luke 18