Reader, let me ask you a very important question
(James Smith, "Is It Possible?" 1856)
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction — and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life — and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14
Reader, let me ask you a very important question. I do so in love. It is a solemn and plain question — but do not be offended at its plainness. Receive it, consider it, and reflect upon it:
"Do you believe it is possible, that you may go to Hell?"
That many go to Hell — cannot be doubted.
That Hell is a dreadful place — cannot be questioned.
That many are now on the road to Hell — is as clear as daylight.
That few are sufficiently concerned to escape from Hell — is very evident.
Do you believe it is possible, that you may go to Hell? You, who, perhaps never entertain a thought of doing so? The very supposition is alarming, is it not? But may not any sinner go to Hell? And are not you a sinner? If any sinner may go to Hell, and you are a sinner — why then, may not you go there?
What if you should?
Yet, it is not only possible — but certain that you shall go to Hell, unless you experience a very great change. For "unless a man is born again — he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
How many go on as careless, as thoughtless, as indifferent about their souls — as if they thought it was impossible for them to go to Hell.
There is John Jones, the weaver. He has read the New Testament, he has heard the gospel, he knows that he has an immortal soul. But he never prays, he very often spends his Saturday nights at the ale-house, and he lies late in bed on Sunday mornings. Week after week he goes on like this. He has no care for his own soul, or the souls of his wife and children. He knows that he must die. He professes to believe in Heaven and Hell — but he acts just as though he never thought for one moment, that it was possible for him to go to Hell. Indeed, he troubles himself so little about God, or his soul, or eternity — that it appears that the thought has never entered into his head!
Roger Thomas, the blacksmith, knows all the news of the village. He talks much. He reads some. He swears often. He loves his pipe and his beer. He goes to church now and then on Sunday; but if you mark his conduct, listen to his conversation, and notice his spirit — you will be led to conclude that he never asks himself the question, "Is it possible for me to be sent to Hell?" No, no! He has too good an opinion of himself to even suppose such a thing. He has no idea that God would ever treat him so harshly as that. What, send him to Hell? If so, what would become of most of the people in the parish! "No, no, God is merciful," says he. He intends to repent by and bye. When he comes to his death-bed — then he will pray, read his Bible, and make his peace with God. Thus he flatters his own pride, deceives his own soul, and secures his own damnation!
Reader! Do you believe it possible that you may go to Hell?
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:21-23