Hard work, and bad pay!
(Archibald Brown, "Hard Work and Bad Pay!" 1868)
"The wages of sin is death!" Romans 6:23
What! is the reward for all that hard toil — death? Yes, death! Oh, extraordinary wages — but more astonishing still, that any should be found to work for them!
The death of the body, is but one result of sin. If sin had not found its way into God's fair earth — then death also would have been forever a stranger. Death is the dark shadow that sin casts. For six thousand years men have been receiving the wages of death. Death has passed upon all men, for all have sinned.
Think of the aggregate of sorrow that has come on this fallen world through death, the fruit of sin. Could all the groans that have burst from broken-hearted mourners since our first parents wept over their murdered son, be gathered into one — what a deep thunder-peal of anguish it would be! Were all the tears collected that death has caused to flow — what a briny ocean they would constitute! Let those call sin a trifle who dare — but to us it is clear that what could bring on man so dreadful a curse as death, must in itself be something unutterably horrible!
And yet mere physical death, is the least that is meant here. If this was all the Lord meant — if men when they die, die like dogs — there would be no occasion for the agony of soul we often have. But alas! alas! the death referred to here is a death that never dies! It is placed in contrast to "eternal life." It means eternal death; in another word, HELL! Here, poor sinner, are your wages — here is the result of a life's toil for Satan, HELL!
Let me say moreover, sin pays some of its wages now; it gives sometimes an installment of Hell on earth. The wretched debauchee often finds it so. Mark his haggard countenance, his trembling gait; follow him to the hospital — no don't — let his end remain secret; terrible are the wages he receives!
Look at the drunkard; he is paid for his sin in his home, until not a single stick remains to tell of a place that once was bright and happy. Have you ever seen a drunkard in delirium tremens? If so, you will never doubt about the wages he receives in this life. Hearken to his shrieking — listen to his raving as he imagines he is being dragged to Hell by ten thousand fiery snakes!
This is all included in the wages "death;" and yet after all, this is nothing. If the only wages for sin were those received in a lifetime, we could be calmer. But oh, Eternity, Eternity is sin's long pay-day — and the wages paid is Hell!
Suppose a person were to go to a blacksmith and say to him, 'I want you to make me a long and heavy chain — I will pay you well for it.' The blacksmith, for the sake of the money, commences it; and after toiling hard for some time, finishes it. The person calls, and says on looking at it, 'Yes, it is a good chain — but not long enough; work on it another week, I will then call and pay you for it.' Encouraged by the promise of full reward, the blacksmith toils on, adding link to link. When his employer calls again, he praises him as before — but still insists that 'the chain is too short.' 'But,' says the blacksmith, 'I can do no more; my iron is all gone, and my strength too.'
'Oh then, just add a few more links, the chain will then answer my purpose, and you shall be well paid.' The blacksmith, with his remaining strength, and last few scraps of iron, adds the last link he can. 'The chain will now do,' says the man, 'you have worked hard and long; I will now pay you your wages.' And taking the chain, he suddenly binds the blacksmith hand and foot, and casts him into a furnace of fire!
Such are the wages of sin. It promises much — but its reward is damnation!
Servants of sin and Satan, behold your future doom! Be honest, and confess that your service is hard work, and bad pay. God forbid that in this large concourse of people, there should be a single one who will ever learn by bitter, eternal experience that "the wages of sin is death!"