A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, July 25, 1858, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, At The Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes. (Ho 12:10)
1. When the Lord wished to wean his people Israel from their iniquities, he did not leave any stone unturned, but gave them precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. He taught them sometimes with a rod in his hand, when he struck them with a severe famine and pestilence, and invasion; at other times he tried to win them with bounties, for he multiplied their grain and their wine and their oil, and he did not inflict them with famine. But all the teachings of his providence were unavailing, and while his hand was stretched out, they still continued to rebel against the Most High. He hewed them by the prophets. He sent them first one, and then another: the golden mouthed Isaiah was followed by the plaintive Jeremiah; while at his heels in quick succession, there followed many farseeing, thunder speaking seers. But though prophet followed prophet in quick succession, each of them uttering the burning words of the Most High, yet they ignored his rebukes, and they hardened their hearts, and still went on in their iniquities. Among the rest of God’s methods for getting their attention and striking their conscience, was the use of similitudes. The prophets were accustomed not only to preach, but become actual signs and wonders themselves to the people. For instance, Isaiah named his child, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, so that they would know that the judgment of the Lord was hastening upon them; and this child was ordained to be a sign, “for before the child shall have knowledge to cry, my father and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away by the king of Assyria.” On another occasion, the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go and remove the sackcloth from off your loins, and take off your shoes from your feet.” And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners, and the Ethiopians as captives young and old, naked and barefoot, to the shame of Egypt.” Hosea, the prophet, himself had to teach the people by a similitude. You will notice in the first chapter a most extraordinary similitude. The Lord said to him, “Go, marry a woman who is a fornicator; for the land has committed great fornications, departing from the Lord,” and he did so; and the children resulting from this marriage, were made as signs and wonders to the people. As for his first son he was to be called Jezreel, “for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu.” As for his daughter, she was to be called Lo-ruhamah “for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.” Thus by various significant signs, God made the people think. He made his prophets do strange things, in order that the people might talk about what he had done, and then the meaning which God would have them learn, would come home more powerfully to their consciences, and be the better remembered.
2. Now it struck me that every day God is preaching to us by similitudes. When Christ was on earth he preached in parables, and, though he is in heaven now, he is preaching in parables today. Providence is God’s sermon. The things which we see around us are God’s thoughts and God’s words to us; and if we were only wise there is not a step that we take, which we would not find to be full of mighty instruction. Oh you sons of men! God warns you every day by his own word; he speaks to you by the lips of his servants, his ministers; but, besides this, by similitudes he addresses you at all times. He leaves no stone unturned to bring his wandering children to himself, to make the lost sheep of the house of Israel return to the fold. In addressing myself to you this morning, I shall endeavour to show how every day, and every season of the year, in every place, and in every vocation in which you engage, God is speaking to you by similitudes.
3. I. EVERY DAY God speaks to you by similitudes. Let us begin with the early morning. This morning you awoke and you found yourselves naked, and you began to put on your clothes. Did not God, if you would only have heard him, speak to you by a similitude? Did he not as much as say to you, “Sinner, what will it be when your vain dreams shall have ended, if you should wake up in eternity to find yourself naked? How shall you clothe yourself?” If in this life you cast away the wedding garment, the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ, what will you do when the trumpet of the archangel shall awaken you from your clay cold couch in the grave, when the heavens shall be blazing with lightnings, and the solid pillars of the earth shall quake with the terror of God’s thunder? How will you be able to dress yourself then? Can you confront your Maker without a covering for your nakedness? Adam did not dare to, and will you attempt it? Will he not frighten you with his terrors? Will he not cast you to the tormentors that you may be burned up with unquenchable fire, because you forgot to clothe your soul while you were in this place of probation?
4. Well, you have put on your clothes, and you come downstairs to your families, and your children gather around your table for breakfast. If you have been wise God has been preaching to you by a similitude then: he seemed to say to you—“Sinner, to whom should a child go but to his father? And when he is hungry where should he go except to his father’s table?” And as you feed your children, if you had an ear to hear, the Lord was speaking to you and saying, “How willingly would I feed you! How would I give you of the bread of heaven and cause you to eat angels food! But you have spent your money for what is not bread, and your labour for what does not satisfy. Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good for you, let your soul delight itself in rich dainties.” Did he not stand there as a Father, and say, “Come my child, come to my table. The precious blood of my Son has been shed to be your drink, and he has given his body to be your bread. Why will you wander hungry and thirsty? Come to my table, oh, my child, for I love my children to be there and to feast upon the mercies I have provided.”
5. You left your home and you went to your business. I do not know how much time you spend at work—of that we will say more before we shall have completed your similitudes this morning—but you spend your time in your work; and surely, beloved, all the time that your hands were busy, God was speaking to your heart, if the ears of your soul had not been closed, so that you were heavy and ready to slumber, and could not hear his voice. And when the sun was shining in the high heaven, and the hour of noon was reached, might you not have lifted up your eye and remembered that if you had committed your soul to God, your path should have been as the shining light which shines more and more to the perfect day? Did he not speak to you and say, “I brought the sun from the darkness of the east; I have guided it and helped it to ascend the slippery steeps of heaven and now it stands in its zenith, like a giant that has run his race, and has attained his goal. And even so I will do this for you. Commit your ways to me and I will make you full of light, and your path shall be as brightness, and your life shall be as the noonday: your sun shall not go down by day, but the days of your mourning shall be ended, for the Lord God shall be your light, and your salvation.”
6. And the sun began to set, and the shadows of evening were drawing on, and did not the Lord then remind you of your death? Suns have their setting, and men have their graves. When the shadows of the evening were stretched out, and when the darkness began to gather, did he not say to you, “Oh man, take heed of your evening time, for the light of the sun shall not endure for ever? There are twelve hours when a man shall work, but when they are past there is no work nor device in the night of that grave where we are all hastening. Work while you have the light, for the night comes when no man can work. Therefore, whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Look I say to the sun at its setting and observe the rainbow hues of glory with which it paints the sky, and mark how it appears to increase its orb as it nears the horizon. Oh man kneel down and learn this prayer,—“Lord, let my dying be like the setting of the sun; help me, if clouds and darkness are around me, to light them up with splendour; surround me, oh my God, with a greater brightness at my death than I have shown in all my former life. If my deathbed shall be the miserable pallet, and if I expire in some lonely cot, yet nevertheless, grant, oh Lord, that my poverty may be gilded with the light that you shall give me, that I may exhibit the grandeur of a Christian’s departure at my dying hour.” God speaks to you, oh man, by similitude, from the rising to the setting of the sun.
7. And now, you have lit your candle and you sit down; your children are around you, and the Lord sends you a little preacher to preach a sermon to you, if you will hear it. It is a little gnat, and it flies round and round about your candle, and delights itself in its light, until, dazzled and intoxicated, it begins to singe its wings and burn itself. You try to shoo it away, but it dashes into the flame, and having burned itself it can scarcely fly through the air again. But as soon as it has recruited its strength again, mad-like it dashes to its death and destruction. Did not the Lord say to you, “Sinner, you are doing this too, you love the light of sin; oh! that you would be wise enough to tremble at the fire of sin, for he who delights in its sparks, must be consumed in the burning!” Did not your hand seem to be like the hand of your Almighty, who turns you away from your own destruction, and who rebukes and strikes you by his providence, as much as to say to you, “Poor silly man do not destroy yourself.” And while you see perhaps with a little sorrow the death of the foolish insect, might not that forewarn you of your awful doom, when, after having been dazzled with the giddy round of this world’s joys, you shall at last plunge into the eternal burning and lose your soul, so madly, for nothing but the enjoyments of an hour? Does not God preach to you thus?
8. And now it is time for you to retire. Your door is bolted, and you have closed it securely. Did not that remind you of that saying, “When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us;’ and he shall answer and say to you, I do not know who you are?” in vain shall be your knocking then, when the bars of immutable justice shall have tightly closed the gates of mercy on mankind; when the hand of the Almighty Master shall have guided his children inside the gates of Paradise, and shall have left the thief and the robber in the cold chilly darkness, the outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Did he not preach to you by similitude? Even then, when your finger was on the lock, might not his finger have been on your heart?
9. And at night time you were startled. The town clock awoke you with its chiming the hour of the night, or the tramp of the policemen on his beat. Oh man, if you had ears to hear, you might have heard in the steady tramp of the policeman the cry, “Behold, the bridegroom comes; go out to meet him.” And every sound at midnight that awoke you from your slumber and startled you upon your bed, might seem to forewarn you of that dread trump of the archangel which shall herald the coming of the Son of Man, in the day he shall judge both the quick and the dead, according to my gospel. Oh that you were wise, that you understood this, for all the day long, from dewy morning until the darkness of the evening time, and the thick darkness of midnight, God always preaches to man—he preaches to him by similitudes.
10. II. And now we turn the current of our thoughts, and observe that ALL THE YEAR around God does preach to man by similitudes. It was only a little while ago that we were sowing our seeds in our garden, and scattering the grain over the broad furrows. God had sent the seedtime, to remind us that we too are like the ground, and that he is scattering seed in our hearts each day. And did he not say to us, “Take heed, oh man, lest you should be like the highway where the seed was scattered, the birds of the air devoured it. Take heed that you are not like the ground that had its foundation on a hard and arid rock, lest this seed should spring up and by and by should wither away when the sun arose, because it had not much depth of earth. And be careful, oh son of man, that you are not like the ground where the seed sprang up, but the thorns sprang up and choked it; but be like the good ground where the seed did fall, and it yielded a harvest, some twenty, some fifty, and some a hundredfold.”
11. We thought, when are were sowing the seed, that we expected one day to see it spring up again. Was there not a lesson for us there? Are not all of our actions like seeds? Are not our little words like grains of mustard seed? Is not our daily conversation like a handful of the grain that we scatter over the soil? And ought we not to remember that our words shall live again, that our acts are as immortal as ourselves, that after having laid a little while in the dust to be matured, they shall certainly arise? The black deeds of sin shall bear a dismal harvest of damnation; and the right deeds which God’s grace has permitted us to do, shall, through his mercy and not through our merit, bring forth a bounteous harvest in the day when they who sow in tears shall reap in joy. Does not seedtime preach to you, oh man, and say, “Take heed that you sow good seed in your field?”
12. And when the seed sprang up, and the season had changed, did God cease then to preach? Ah! no. First the blade, then the ear, and then the full grain in the ear, had each its homily. And when at last the harvest came, how loud was the sermon it preached to us! It said to us, “Oh Israel, I have set a harvest for you. Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap. He who sows in the flesh shall by the flesh reap corruption, and he who sows in the Spirit shall by the Spirit reap life everlasting.” If you have an opportunity to journey into the country during the next three weeks, you will, if your heart is rightly attuned, find a marvellous mass of wisdom couched in a grain field. Why, I could not attempt for a moment to open the mighty mines of golden treasure which are hidden there. Think, beloved, of the joy of your harvest. How does it tell us of the joy of the redeemed, if we, being saved, shall at last be carried like shocks of grain fully ripe into the garner. Look at the ear of grain when it is fully ripe, and see how it bends toward the earth! It held its head erect before, but when becoming ripe how humble it becomes! And how does God speak to the sinner, and tell him, that if he wishes to be fit for the great harvest he must drop his head and cry “Lord have mercy upon me a sinner.” And when we see the weeds spring up among wheat, have we not our Master’s parable over again of the tares among the wheat; and are we not reminded of the great day of division, when he shall say to the reaper, “Gather first the tares and bind them in bundles, to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” Oh golden field of grain, you preach to me well, for you say to me, the minister, “Behold, the fields are ripe already to the harvest. Work and pray the Lord of the harvest to send out more labourers into the harvest.” And it preaches well to you, oh man of years, it tells you that the sickle of death is sharp, and that you must soon fall, but it cheers and comforts you, for it tells you that the wheat shall be safely housed, and it bids you hope that you shall be carried to your Master’s garner to be his joy and his delight for ever. Listen, then, to the rustling eloquence of the golden harvest.
13. In a very little while, my beloved, you will see the birds gathering around the housetops in large flocks, and after they have whirled around and around and around as if they were taking their last sight of Old England, or rehearsing their supplications before they launched away, you will see them, with their leader in advance, speed across the purple sea to live in sunnier climes, while winter’s cold hand shall strip their native woods. And does not God seem to preach to you, sinners, when these birds are taking their flight? Do you not remember how he himself puts it? “Yes, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming; but my people do not know the judgment of the Lord.” Does he not tell us that there is a time of dark winter coming upon this world; a time of trouble, such as there has been none like it, neither shall be any more; a time, when all the joys of sin shall be nipped and frostbitten, and when the summer of man’s estate shall be turned into the dark winter of his disappointment? And does he not say to you, “Sinner! fly away—away—away to the goodly land, where Jesus dwells! Away from self and sin! Away from the city of destruction! Away from the whirl of pleasures, and from the tossing to and fro of trouble! Hurry, like a bird to its rest! Fly across the sea of repentance and faith, and build your nest in the land of mercy, so that when the great day of vengeance shall pass over this world, you may be safe in the clefts of the rock.”
14. I remember well, how once God preached to me by a similitude in the depth of winter. The earth had been black, and there was scarcely a green thing or a flower to be seen. As you looked across the field, there was nothing except blackness—bare hedges and leafless trees, and black, black earth, wherever you looked. Suddenly God spoke, and unlocked the treasures of the snow, and white flakes descended until there was no blackness to be seen, and all was one sheet of dazzling whiteness. It was at that time that I was seeking the Saviour, and it was then I found him; and I remember well that sermon which I saw before me: “Come now, and let us reason together; though your sins are as scarlet they shall be as snow, though they are red like crimson they shall be whiter than wool.” Sinner! your heart is like that black ground; your soul is like that black tree and hedgerow, without leaf or blossom; God’s grace is like the white snow—it shall fall upon you until your doubting heart shall glitter in whiteness of pardon, and your poor black soul shall be covered with the spotless purity of the Son of God. He seems to say to you, “Sinner, you are black, but I am ready to forgive you; I will wrap your heart in the ermine of my Son’s righteousness, and with my Son’s own garments on, you shall be holy as the Holy One.”
15. And the wind of today, as it comes howling through the trees,—many of which have been swept down,—reminds us of the Spirit of the Lord, which, “blows where it wishes,” and when it pleases; and it tells us to seek earnestly after that divine and mysterious influence, which alone can speed us on our voyage to heaven; which shall cast down the trees of our pride, and tear up by the roots the goodly cedars of our self-confidence; which shall shake our refuges of lies around our ears, and make us look to him who is the only covert from the storm, the only shelter when “the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”
16. Indeed, and when the heat is coming down, and we hide ourselves beneath the shadow of the tree, an angel stands there, and whispers, “Look upwards, sinner, as you hide yourself from the burning rays of sun beneath the tree; so there is One who is like the apple tree among the trees of the wood, and he bids you come and find shade beneath his branches, for he will screen you from the eternal vengeance of God, and give you shelter when the fierce heat of God’s anger shall beat upon the heads of wicked men.”
17. III. And now again, EVERY PLACE to which you journey, every animal that you see, every place you visit, has a sermon for you. Go into your farmyard, and your ox and your donkey shall preach to you. “The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider.” The very dog at your heels may rebuke you. He follows his master; he will not follow a stranger, for he does not know the voice of a stranger, but you forsake your God and turn aside to your crooked ways. Look at the chicken by the side of that pond, and let it rebuke your ingratitude. It drinks, and every sip it takes it lifts its head to heaven and thanks the giver of the rain for the drink afforded to it; while you eat and drink, and there is no blessing pronounced at your meals, and no thanksgiving bestowed upon your Father for his bounty. The very horse is checked by the bridle, and the whip is for the donkey; but your God has bridled you by his commandments, and he has chastened you by his providence, yet you are more obstinate than the donkey or the mule; still you will not run in his commandments, but you turn aside, wilfully and wickedly following out the perversity of your own heart. Is it not so? Are not these things true of you? If you are still without God and without Christ, must not these things strike your conscience? Would not any one of them lead you to tremble before the Most High, and beg of him that he would give you a new heart and a right spirit, and that no longer would you be as the beasts of the field, but might be a man full of the Divine Spirit, living in obedience to your Creator.
18. And in journeying, you have noticed how often the road is rough with stones, and you have murmured because of the way over which you have to tread; and have you not thought that those stones were helping to make the road better, and that the worst piece of road when mended with hard stones would in time become smooth and fit to travel on? And did you think how often God has mended you; how many stones of affliction he has cast upon you; how many wagon loads of warnings you have had spread out upon you, and you have been none the better, but have only grown worse; and when he comes to look on you to see whether your life has become smooth, whether the highway of your moral conduct has become more like the king’s highway of righteousness, how might he say, “Alas! I have repaired this road, but it is none the better; let it alone until it becomes a very bog and quagmire, until he who keeps it so poorly shall have perished in it himself.”
19. And you have gone by the seaside, and has not the sea talked to you? You are just as inconsistent as the sea, but you are not nearly as obedient. God keeps the sea, the mountain waved sea, in check with a belt of sand; he spreads the sand along the seashore and even the sea observes the landmark. “Do you not fear me? says the Lord: will you not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though its waves toss themselves, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it?” It is so. Let your conscience prick you. The sea obeys him from shore to shore, and yet you will not have him to be your God, but you say, “Who is the Lord that I should fear him? Who is Jehovah that I should acknowledge his sway?”
20. Hear the mountains and the hills, for they have a lesson. Such is God. He abides for ever, do not think that he shall change.
21. And now, sinner, I entreat you to open your eyes as you go home today and if nothing that I have said shall strike you, perhaps God shall put into your way something that shall give you a text, from which you may preach to yourself a sermon that never shall be forgotten. Oh! if I only had time, and thought, and words, I would bring the things that are in heaven above, and in the earth beneath and in the waters under the earth, and I would set them all before you, and every one of them would give their warning before they had passed from your mind, and I know that their voice would be, “Consider the Lord your Creator and fear and serve him, for he has made you, and you have not made yourself;” we obey him, and we find it is our beauty to be obedient, and our glory always to move according to his will; and you shall find it to be the same. Obey him while you may, lest perhaps when this life is over all these things shall rise up against you, and the stone in the street shall clamour for the condemnation, and the beam out of the wall shall bear witness against you, and the beasts of the field shall be your accusers, and the valley and hill shall begin to curse you. Oh man, the earth is made for your warning. God wishes to have you saved. He has set sign posts everywhere in nature and in providence, pointing out the way to the City of Refuge, and if only you are wise you need not lose your way; it is only your wilful ignorance and your neglect that shall cause you to run on in the way of error, for God has made the way straight before you and given you every encouragement to run in it.
22. IV. And now, lest I should weary you, I will just notice that every man in his VOCATION has a sermon preached to him.
23. The farmer has a thousand sermons; I have pointed them out already; let him open his eyes wide, and he shall see more. He need not go an inch without hearing the songs of angels, and the voice of spirits wooing him to righteousness, for all nature around him has a tongue given to it, when man has an ear to listen.
24. There are others, however, engaged in a business which allows them to see very little of nature, and yet even there God has provided them with a lesson. There is the baker who provides us with our bread. He turns on the oven, and he causes it to glow with heat, and puts bread in it. Well may he if he is an ungodly man, tremble as he stands at the oven’s mouth, for there is a text which he may well comprehend as he stands there: “For the day comes that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud and those who do wickedly shall be as stubble; they shall be consumed.” Men gather them into bundles and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Out of the oven’s mouth comes a hot and burning warning, and the man’s heart might melt like wax within him if he would only regard it.
25. Then see the butcher. How does the beast speak to him? He sees the lamb almost lick his knife, and the bull goes unconsciously to the slaughter. How might he think every time that he kills the ignorant animal, (who knows nothing of death), of his own doom. Are not all of us who are without Christ, fattening for the slaughter? Are we not more foolish than the bull, for does not the wicked man follow his executioner, and walk after his own destroyer into the very chambers of hell? When we see a drunkard pursuing his drunkenness, or an unchaste man running in the way of lewdness, is he not like an ox going to the slaughter, until a knife slits its throat? Has not God sharpened his knife and made his axe ready so that the fatlings of this earth may he killed, when he shall say to the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field, “Behold, I have made a feast of vengeance for you, and you shall feast upon the blood of the slain, and make yourselves drunken with its streams?” Indeed butcher, there is a lecture for you in your trade; and your business may reproach you.
26. And you whose craft is to sit still all day, making shoes for our feet, the lapstone in your lap may reproach you, for your heart, perhaps, is as hard as that. Have you not been smitten as often as your lapstone, and yet your heart has never been broken or melted? And what shall the Lord say to you at last, when you still have a stony heart within you, he shall condemn you and cast you away because you would have nothing to do with his rebukes and would not turn at the voice of his exhortation?
27. Let the brewer remember that as he brews he must drink. Let the potter tremble lest he is like a vessel marred upon the wheel. Let the printer take heed, so that his life is set in heavenly type, and not in the black letter of sin. Painter, beware! for paint will not suffice, we must have unvarnished realities.
28. Others of you are engaged in business where you are continually using scales and measures. Might you not often put yourselves into those scales? Might you not imagine that you saw the great Judge standing by with his Gospel in one scale and you in the other, and solemnly looking down upon you, saying, “Mene, mene, tekel,—you are weighed in the balances and found lacking.” Some of you use the measure, and when you have measured out, you cut off the portion that your customer requires. Think of your life too, it is to be of a certain length, and every year brings the measure a little farther, and at last there come the scissors that shall clip off your life, and it is done. How do you know when you are come to the last inch? What is that disease you have in you, but the first snip of the scissors? What is that trembling in your bones, that failing in your eyesight, that fleeing of your memory, that departure of your youthful vigour, but the first cut? How soon shall you be ripped in two, the remnant of your days past away, and your years all numbered and gone, misspent and wasted for ever!
29. But you say you are engaged as an employee and your occupations are many. Then many are the lectures God preaches to you. “A employee waits for his wages and the hireling fulfils his day.” There is a similitude for you, when you have fulfilled your day on earth, and shall take your wages at last. Who then is your employer? Are you serving Satan and the lusts of the flesh, and will you take out your wages at last in the hot metal of destruction? or are you serving the fair prince Emmanuel, and shall your wages be the golden crowns of heaven? Oh! happy are you if you serve a good employer, for according to your employer shall be your reward; as is your labour so shall the end be.
30. Or you are one who guides the pen, and from hour to hour wearily you write. Ah! man, know that your life is a writing. When your hand is not on the pen, you are still a writer; you are always writing upon the pages of eternity; you are writing your sins or else your holy confidence in him who loved you. Happy shall it be for you, oh writer, if your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, and if that black writing of yours, in the history of your pilgrimage below, shall have been blotted out with the red blood of Christ, and you shall have written upon you the fair name of Jehovah, to stand legible for ever.
31. Or perhaps you are a physician or a pharmacist; you prescribe or prepare medicines for man’s body. God stands there by the side of your pestle and your mortar, and by the table where you write your prescriptions, and he says to you, “Man, you are sick; I can prescribe for you. The blood and righteousness of Christ, laid hold of by faith, and applied by the Spirit, can cure your soul. I can prepare a medicine for you that shall rid you of your sins and bring you to the place where the inhabitants shall no more say, ‘I am sick.’ Will you take my medicine or will you reject it? Is it bitter to you, and do you turn away from it? Come, drink my child, drink, for your life lies here; and how shall you escape if you neglect so great a salvation?” Do you cast iron, or melt lead, or fuse the hard metals from the mines? then pray that the Lord may melt your heart and cast you in the mould of the gospel? Are you a tailor? oh, be careful that you find a suit for yourself for ever.
32. Are you busy in building all day long, laying brick upon brick and the mortar in its crevice? Then remember you are building for eternity too. Oh that you may yourself be built upon a good foundation! Oh that you may build on it, not wood, hay, or stubble, but gold, and silver, and precious stones, and things that will abide the fire! Take care man lest you should be God’s scaffold, lest you should be used on earth to be a scaffolding for building his church, and when his church is built you should be cast down and burned up with unquenchable fire. Take heed that you are built upon a rock, and not upon the sand, and that the vermilion cement of the Saviour’s precious blood unites you to the foundation of the building, and to its every stone.
33. Are you a jeweller, and do you cut your gem and polish the diamond from day to day? Would to God you would take warning from the contrast which you present to the stone on which you exercise your craft. You cut it, and it glitters the more you cut it; but though you have been cut and ground, though you have had cholera and fever, and have been at death’s door many a day, you are none the brighter, but the duller, for alas! you are no diamond. You are only the pebble stone of the brook, and in the day when God makes up his jewels he shall not enclose you in the chest of his treasures; for you are not one of the precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold. But whatever your position is, whatever your vocation is, there is a continual sermon preached to your conscience. I wish that you would open both your eyes and ears from now on to see and hear the things that God would teach you.
34. And now, dropping the similitude while the clock shall tick but a few times more, let us put the matter thus—Sinner, you are as yet without God and without Christ; you are liable to death every hour. You cannot tell if you may be in the flames of hell before the clock shall strike ONE today. You are today “condemned already,” because you do not believe in the Son of God. And Jesus Christ says to you this day, “Oh, that you would consider your latter end!” He cries to you this morning, “How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you refused.” I entreat you, consider your ways. If it is worth while to make your bed in hell, do it. If the pleasures of this world are worth being damned for all eternity for enjoying them, if heaven is a cheat and hell a delusion, go on in your sins. But, if there is hell for sinners and heaven for repenting ones, and if you must spend a whole eternity in one place or the other, without similitude, I put a plain question to you—Are you wise in living as you do, without thought,—careless, and godless? Would you ask the way of salvation now? It is simply this—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” He died; he rose again; you are to believe him to be yours. You are to believe that he is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him. But, more than that, believing that to be a fact, you are to cast your soul upon that fact and trust in him, sink or swim. Spirit of God! help us each to do this and by similitude, or by providence, or by your prophets, bring each of us to yourself and save us eternally, and to you shall be the glory.