Art thou in Christ, or art thou not? Hast thou fled for refuge to him who is the only hope for sinners? or art thou yet a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel, ignorant of God and of his holy Gospel? Come be honest with thine own heart, and let thy conscience say yes, or no, for one of these two things thou art to-night thou art either under the wrath of God, or thou art delivered from it. Thou art to-night either an heir of wrath or an inheritor of the kingdom of grace.
First, to-night we shall try the prisoner: secondly, we shall declare his sentence; and thirdly, if we find him confessing and penitent, we shall proclaim his deliverance; but not unless we find him so.
To be damned in a crowd is no more comfortable than to be damned alone. It is true, thou hast been no worse than thy fellow-creatures but this will be of very poor service to thee.
He will deal with thee as severely and as justly as if there were never another sinner in all the world. And pray, what hast thou to do with other mens sins? Thou art not responsible for them. God made thee to stand or fall by thyself According to thine own deeds thou shalt be judged.
Religion is a thing between God and thine own soul, O man; and therefore, I do beseech thee, do not look upon thy neighbours, but upon thine own heart.
If you had never committed one single act of sin, yet the thought of sin, the imagination of it would be enough to sweep your soul to hell for ever. If you had been born in a cell, and had never been able to come out into the world, either to commit acts of lasciviousness, murder, or robbery, yet the thought of evil in that lone cell might be enough to cast your soul for ever from the face of God.
Oh! there is no man here that can hope to escape We must every one of us bow our heads before God, and cry, “Guilty, Lord, guilty every one of us guilty.
I would rather stand in this pulpit and preach twenty sermons on the love of Jesus, than one like this. It is very seldom that I meddle with the theme, because I do not know that it is often necessary; but I feel that if these things were kept altogether in the background, and the law were not preached, the Master would not own the gospel; for he will have both preached in their measure, and each must have its proper prominence.
I would that I might preach every hour, and every moment of the day, the unsearchable riches of Christ; for what an awful thing it is to die without a Savior. And then, I thought how many a time I had stood in the pulpit, and had not preached in earnest as I ought to have done; how I have coldly told out the tale of the Savior, when I ought to have wept very showers of tears, in overwhelming emotion.
My heart, and my whole spirit are stirred for you. My harshest words are far more full of love than the smooth words of soft- speaking ministers, who say, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. Do you think it is any pleasure to me to preach like this? Oh! I had far rather be preaching of Jesus; his sweet, his glorious person, and his all-sufficient righteousness. Now come, we will have a sweet word before we have done.
Faith believes in Christ when it sees sin to be black, and trusts in him to remove it all. Now poor sinner, with all thy sin about thee, take this promise in thy hands, go home tonight, or if thou canst, do it before thou gettest home go home, I say, up-stairs, alone, down by the bed-side, and pour out thine heart, “O Lord, it is all true that that man said; I am condemned, and Lord I deserve it. O Lord, I have tried to be better, and I have done nothing with it all, but have only grown worse. Lord, I have slighted thy grace, I have despised thy gospel: I wonder thou hast not damned me years ago; Lord, I marvel at myself, that thou sufferest such a base wretch as I am to live at all. I have despised a mothers teaching, I have forgotten a fathers prayers. Lord, I have forgotten thee; I have broken thy Sabbath, taken thy name in vain. I have done everything that is wrong, and if thou dost condemn me, what can I say? Lord, I am dumb before thy presence. I have nothing to plead. But Lord, I come to tell thee to-night, thou hast said in the Word of God, Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. Lord, I come: my only plea is that thou hast said, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Lord, I am a sinner, he came to save me. I trust in it sink or swim Lord, this is my only hope: I cast away every other, and hate myself to think I ever should have had any other.© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
If you cannot pray such a long prayer as that, I tell you what to go home, and say. Say this, “Lord Jesus, I know I am nothing at all; be thou my precious all in all.”