Regeneration is the hinge of the gospel; it is the point upon which most Christians are agreed, yea, all who are Christians in sincerity and truth. It is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation. It is the very groundwork of our hopes for heaven, and as we ought to be very careful of the basement of our structure, so should we be very diligent to take heed that we are really born again, and that we have made sure work of it for eternity.
You think, mayhap, that heaven consists in those walls of jewels, in those pearly gates, and gates of gold; not so, that is the habitation of heaven. Heaven dwells there, but that is not heaven. Heaven is a state that is made here, that is made in the heart, made by God's Spirit within us, and unless God the Spirit has renewed us and caused us to be born again, we cannot enjoy the things of heaven.
Every man will clearly perceive that it must be impossible that a snail should build a city;--and there is just as much impossibility that a sinner unmended, should enjoy heaven. Why, there would be nothing there for him to enjoy; if he could be put into the place where heaven is, he would be miserable; he would cry, “Let me away, let me away; let me away from this miserable place!” I appeal to yourselves; a sermon is too long for you very often; the singing of Gods praises is dull dry work, you think that going up to Gods house is very tedious. What will you do where they praise God day without night. If just a short discourse here is very wearying, what will you think of the eternal talkings of the redeemed through all ages of the wonders of redeeming love? If the company of the righteous is very irksome to you, what will be their company throughout eternity?
The only heaven there is is the heaven of spiritual men, the heaven of praise, the heaven of delight in God the heaven of acceptance in the beloved, the heaven of communion with Christ. Now, you do not understand anything about this; you could not enjoy it if you were to have it; you have not the capabilities for doing so. You, yourselves, from the very fact of your not being born again, are your own barrier to heaven, and if God were to open the gate wide, and say, “some in,” you could not enjoy heaven, if you were admitted: for unless a man be born again, there is an impossibility, a moral impossibility, of his seeing the kingdom of God.
Men and women, if ye perish, my hands are washed in innocency; I have told you of your doom. I again cry, repent, repent, repent, for “unless ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” I came here determined this morning, if I must use rough words to use them; to speak right out against men and for men too; for the things we say against you now are really for your good. We do but warn you, lest you perish. But ah! I hear one of you saying, A I do not understand this mystery, pray explain it to me.” Fool, fool, that thou art; do you see that fire? We are startled up from our beds, the light is at the window; we rush down stairs; people are hurrying to and fro; the street is trampled thick with crowds: they are rushing towards the house, which is in a burst of flame. The firemen are at their work; a stream of water is pouring upon the house; but hark ye! hark ye! there is a man up stairs; there is a man in the top room; there is just time for him to escape, and barely. A shout is raised Aho! fire! fire! fire! aho!” but the man does not make his appearance at the window. See, the ladder is placed against the walls; it is up to the windowsill a strong hand dashes in the easement! What is the man after, all the while? What! is he tied down in his bed? Is he a cripple? Has some fiend got hold of him and nailed him to the floor? No, no, no; he feels the boards getting hot beneath his feet, the smoke is stifling him, the flame is burning all around, he knows there is but one way of escape, by that ladder! What is he doing? He is sitting down no, you cannot believe me he is sitting down and saying, “The origin of this fire is very mysterious; I wonder how it is to be discovered; how shall we understand it?” Why, you laugh him! You are laughing at yourselves. You are seeking to have this question and that question answered, when your soul is in peril of eternal fire! Oh! when you are saved, it will be time then to ask questions; but whilst you are now in the burning house, and in danger of destruction, it is not your time to be puzzling yourselves about free will, fixed fate, predestination absolute. All these questions are good and well enough afterwards for those that are saved. Let the man on shore try to find out the cause of the storm; your only business now is to ask, “What must I do to be saved? And how can I escape from the great damnation that awaiteth me?”
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible