The Enchanted Ground
No. 64. Delivered on February 3, 1856, By C. H. Spurgeon, at New Park Street Chapel.
“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:6.
I. What Is That State of Sleep into Which the Christian Man May Fall?
The man who is asleep is in a state of insensibility
The man who is asleep is subject to various illusions.
The man who is asleep is in a state of inaction.
The man who is asleep is in a state of insecurity.
II. Some Considerations to Wake up Sleepy Christians.
Awake from your slumber, because your Lord is coming.
Will you sleep while souls are being lost?
III. When Is the Christian Most Liable to Sleep?
When his temporal circumstances are all right.
When all goes well in spiritual matters.
When we get near our journey’s end.
IV. A Little Good Advice to the Sleeping Christian.
Keep Christian company.
Look at interesting things.
Let the wind blow on you.
Think of the place to which you are going.
As the spiritual guide of the flock of God along the intricate mazes of
experience, it is the duty of the gospel minister to point out every turning
of the road to heaven, to speak concerning its dangers or its privileges, and
to warn any whom he may suspect to be in a position peculiarly perilous.
Now, there is a portion of the road which leads from the City of
Destruction to the Celestial City, which has in it, perhaps, more dangers
than any other portion of the way. It does not abound with lions, there are
no dragons in it; it has no dark woods, and no deep pitfalls, yet more
seeming pilgrims have been destroyed in that portion of the road than
anywhere else, and not even doubting Castle with all its host of bones can
show so many who have been slain there. It is the part of the road called
the Enchanted Ground. The great geographer, John Bunyan, well pictured
it when he said-
“I then saw in my dream, that they went on until they came into a certain
country, whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy, if he came a
stranger into it. And here Hopeful began to be very dull, and heavy of
sleep; wherefore he said unto Christian, I do now begin to grow so
drowsy, that I can scarcely hold up my eyes; let us lie down here, and
take one nap.
“CHR. By no means, lest sleeping we never wake more.
“HOPE. Why my brother? sleep is sweet to the laboring man; we may be
refreshed if we take a nap.”
“CHR. Do you not remember that one of the Shepherds bid us beware of
the Enchanted Ground? He meant by that, that we should beware of
sleeping; wherefore "let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be
There is no doubt, many of us, beloved, who are passing over this plain;
and I fear that this is the condition of the majority of churches in the
present day. They are lying down on the settles of Lukewarmness in the
Arbors of the Enchanted Ground. There is not that activity and zeal we
could wish to see among them; they are not perhaps, notably heterodox;
they may not be invaded by the lion of persecution, but they are somewhat
worse than that- they are lying down to slumber, like Heedless and Too-Bold in the Arbor of Sloth. May God grant that his servant may be the
means of arousing the church from its lethargy and stirring it up from its
slumbers, lest haply professors should sleep the sleep of death.
This morning I intend to show you what is meant by the state of sleep into
which Christians sometimes fall; secondly, I shall use some considerations, if possible, to wake up such as are slumbering; thirdly, I shall mark sundry times when the Christian is most liable to fall asleep: and shall conclude by giving you some advice as to the mode in which you should conduct yourselves when you are passing over the Enchanted Ground, and feel drowsiness weighing down your eyelids.
I. First, WHAT IS THAT STATE OF SLEEP INTO WHICH THE CHRISTIAN MAN MAY FALL?
It is not death. He was dead once, but he is now alive in Christ
Jesus; and therefore shall never die; but though a living man shall not die,
being quickened by an immortal life, yet that living man may sleep, and that sleep is so nearly akin to death, that we have known slumbering Christians mistaken for dead, carnal sinners. Come, beloved, let me picture to you the state of the Christian while he is in a condition of sleep.
First, sleep is a state of insensibility and such is that state which too often
is upon even the best children of God. When a man is asleep he is insensible. The world goes on, and he knows nothing about it. The watchman calls beneath his window, and he sleeps on still. A fire is in a neighboring street, his neighbor’s house is burned to ashes, but he is asleep and knows it not. People are sick in the house, but he is not awakened; they may die, and he weeps not for them. A revolution may be raging in the streets of his city; a king may be losing his crown; but he that is asleep shares not in the turmoil of politics. A volcano may burst somewhere near him, and he may be in imminent peril; but he escapes not; he is sound asleep, he is insensible.
The winds are howling, the thunders are rolling across the sky, and the
lightnings flash at his window; but he that can sleep on cares not for these,
and is insensible to them all. The sweetest music is passing through the
street; but he sleeps, and only in dreams does he hear the sweetness. The
most terrific wailings may assail his ears; but sleep has sealed them with the wax of slumber, and he hears not. Let the world break in sunder, and the elements go to ruin, only keep him asleep, and he will not perceive it.
Christian, behold your condition- have you not sometimes been brought into a condition of insensibility? You wished you could feel; but all you felt was pain because you could not feel. You wished you could pray. It was not that you felt prayerless, but it was because you did not feel at all. You sighed once; you would give a world if you could sigh now. You used to groan once; a groan now would be worth a golden star if you could buy it. As for songs, you can sing them, but then your heart does not go with
them. You go to the house of God; but when “the multitude that keep holy
day” in the full tide of song send their music up to heaven, you hear it, but
your heart does not leap at the sound. Prayer goes solemnly like the
evening sacrifice up to God’s throne; once you could pray too; but now,
while your body is in the house of God, your heart is not there. You feel
you have brought the carcass of your being, but the soul is gone away from
it: it is a dead lifeless corpse. You have become like a formalist; you feel that there is not that savor, that unction, in the preaching, that there used to be. There is no difference in your minister, you know; the change is in yourself.
The hymns and the prayers are just the same, but you have fallen into a
state of slumber. Once if you thought of a man’s being damned you would
weep your very soul out in tears; but now you could sit at the very brink of
hell, and hear its wailings unmoved. Once the thought of restoring a sinner
from the error of his ways would have made you start from your bed at
midnight, and you would have rushed through the cold air to help to rescue
a sinner from his sins. Now, talk to you about perishing multitudes, and
you hear it as an old, old tale. Tell you of thousands swept by the mighty
flood of sin onwards to the precipice of destruction, you express your
regret, you give your contribution, but your heart goes not with it. You
must confess that you are insensible- not entirely, but too much so. You
want to be awake, but you groan because you feel yourselves to be in this
state of slumber.
Then again, he that sleeps is subject to various illusions. When we sleep,
judgment goes from us, and imagination holds carnival within our brain. When we sleep, dreams arise and fashion in our head strange things. Sometimes we are tossed on the stormy deep, and anon we revel in kings palaces. We gather up gold and silver as if they were but the pebbles of the shore; and anon we are poor and naked, shivering in the winter blast. What illusions deceive us! The beggar in his dreams becomes richer than Solomon; and the rich man as poor as Lazarus; the sick man is well, the healthy man has lost his limbs, or is dead. Yes, dreams do make us descend to hell, or even carry us to heaven.
Christian if you are one of the sleepy brotherhood, you are subject
to diverse illusions. Strange thoughts come to you which you never
had before. Sometimes you doubt if there be a God, or if you do
exist yourself. You tremble lest the gospel should not be true; and the
old doctrine which ones you did hold with a stern hand you are almost
inclined to let go. Vile heresies assail you. You think that the Lord that
bought you was not the Son of God. The devil tells you that you are none
of the Lord’s, and you dreams that you are cast away from the love of
the covenant. You cry
“I would, but cannot sing;
I would, but cannot pray”
You feel as if it were all in question whether you are one of the Lord’s
or not. Or perhaps your dreams are brighter, and you dreams that
you are somebody, great and mighty, a special favorite of heaven- pride
puffs you up; you dream that you are rich and have need of nothing,
while you are naked, poor, and miserable. Is this your state, O Christian?
If so, may God wake you up from it!
Again, sleep is a state of inaction. No daily bread is earned by him that
sleeps. The man who is stretched upon his couch neither writes books,
nor tills the ground, nor ploughs the sea, nor does anything else. His
hands hang down, his pulse beats, and life there is, but he is positively
dead as to activity. Oh, beloved, here is the state of many of you. How
many Christians are inactive! Once it was their delight to instruct the young in the Sabbath-school, but that is now given up. Once they attended the early prayer-meeting, but not now. Once they would be hewers of wood and drawers of water, but alas; they are asleep now. Am I talking of what may happen? Is it not too true almost universally? Are not the churches asleep?
Where are the ministers that preach? We have men that read their
manuscripts, and talk essays: but is that preaching? We have men that can
amuse an audience for twenty minutes is that preaching? Where are the
men that preach their hearts out, and say their souls in every sentence?
Where are the men that make it, not a profession, but a vocation, the
breath of their bodies, the marrow of their bones, the delight of their
spirits? Where are the Whitfields and Wesleys now? Are they not gone,
gone, gone? Where are the Rowland Hills now, who preached every day,
and three times a day, and were not afraid of preaching everywhere the
unsearchable riches of Christ? Brethren, the church slumbers.
It is not merely that the pulpit is a sentry-box with the sentinel fast asleep,
but the people are affected. How are the prayer-meetings almost universally neglected? Our own church stands out like an almost solitary green island in the midst of a dark, dark sea; one bright pearl in the depths of an ocean of discord and confusion. Look at neighboring churches. Step into the vestry, and see a smaller band of people than you would like to think of, assembled round the pastor, whose heart is dull and heavy. Hear one brother after another pour out the dull monotonous prayer that he has said by heart these fifty years, and then go away and say, “Where is the spirit of prayer, where the life of devotion?” Is it not almost extinct? Are not our churches “fallen, fallen, fallen, from their high estate?” God wake them up, and send them more earnest and praying men.
Once more. The man who is asleep is in a state of insecurity. The murderer smites him that sleeps; the midnight robber plunders his house that rests listlessly on his pillow. Jael smites a sleeping Sisera. Abner takes
away the spear from the bolster of a slumbering Saul. A sleeping Eutychus
falls from the third loft, and is taken up dead. A sleeping Samson is shorn
of his locks, and the Philistines are upon him. Sleeping men are ever in
danger; they cannot ward off the blow of the enemy or strike back.
Christian, if you are sleeping, you are in danger! Your life, I know, can
never be taken from you, that is hid with Christ in God. But oh! you
may lose your spear from your bolster; you may lose much of your faith;
and your cruse of water wherewith you do moisten your lips may be stolen
by the prowling thief. Oh! you little know your danger. Even now the
black-winged angel takes his spear, and standing at your head, he says to
Jesus, (to David) “Shall I smite him? I will smite him but once.” (David
says) our Jesus whispers, “You shall not smite him. Take his spear and his
cruse, but you shall not kill him.” But oh! awake, you slumberer! Start up
from the place where you now lie in your insecurity. This is not the sleep
of Jacob, in which ladders unite heaven and earth, and angels tread their
ascending rounds; but this is the sleep where ladders are raised from hell,
and devils climb upward from the pit to molest your spirit!
II. This brings me to the second point, SOME CONSIDERATIONS
TO WAKE UP SLEEPY CHRISTIANS.
I remember, once in my life, having a sleepy congregation; they
had been eating too much dinner, and they came to the chapel
in the afternoon very sleepy, so I tried an old expedient to rouse
them. I shouted with all my might, “Fire! fire! fire!” When starting from
their seats, some of the congregation asked where it was, and I told them it
was in hell for such sleepy sinners as they were. So, beloved, I might cry,
“Fire! fire!” this morning to waken sleepy Christians; but that would be a
false cry, because the fire of hell was never made for Christians at all, and
they need never tremble at it. The honor of God is engaged to save the
downcast sheep, and whether that sheep is asleep or awake, it is perfectly
safe, so far as final salvation is concerned. There are better reasons why I
should stir up a Christian, and I shall use a very few of them.
And first, O Christian, awake from your slumber, because your Lord is
coming. That is the grand reason used in the text. The apostle says, “You
are all the children of light, and the children of the day.” “Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” “You, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.” O Christians, do you know that your Lord is coming? In such an hour as you think not, the man who once hung quivering on Calvary will descend in glory! “The head that once was crowned with thorns” will soon be crowned with a diadem of brilliant jewels! He will come in the clouds of heaven to his church. Would you wish to be sleeping when your Lord
comes? Do you want to be like the foolish virgins, or like the wise ones
either, who, while the bridegroom tarried, slumbered and slept. If our
Master were to appear this morning are there not half of us in such a state
that we should be afraid to see him? Why; you know, when a friend comes
to your house, if he is some great man, what brushing and dusting there is.
Every corner of the room has its cobwebs removed; every carpet is turned
up; and you make every effort to have the house clean for his coming.
What! and will you have your house dusty, and the spiders of neglect
building the cobwebs of indolence in the corners of your house when your
Lord may arrive tomorrow? And if we are to have an audience with the
Queen, what dressing there is! How careful will men be that everything
should be put on aright, that they should appear properly in court dress!
Do you not know, servant of the Lord, that you are to appear before the
king in his beauty, and to see him soon on earth? What, will you be asleep
when he comes? When he knocks at the door, shall he have for an answer,
“The man is asleep; he did not expect you?” Oh, no; be like men who watch for their Lord, that at his coming he may find you ready. Ah! you
carnal professors, who attend plays and balls, would you like Christ to
come and find you in the middle of your dance? Would you like him to
look you in the face in the theater? Ah! you carnal tradesmen, you can cheat, and then pray after it. Would you like Christ to find you cheating?
You devour widows’ houses, and for a show make long prayers. You would not mind him coming in the middle of your long prayer; but he will come just at that poor widows’ house is sticking in your throat, just as you are swallowing the lands of the poor oppressed one, and putting in your own pocket the wages of which you have defrauded the laborer. Then he will come, and how terrible will he be to such as you! We have heard of the sailor, who, when his ship was sinking, rushed to the cabin to steal a bag of gold, and though warned that he could not swim with it, tied it about his loins, leaped into the sea with it, and sank to rise no more. And I am afraid there are some rich men who know not how to use their money who will sink to hell, strangled by their gold, hanging like millstones round their necks! O Christian, it shall not be so with you; but wake from your slumbers, for your Lord comes.
But again, Christian, you are benevolent; you love men’s souls, and I
will speak to you of that which will touch your heart. Will you sleep while
souls are being lost? A brother here, some time ago, rushed into a house
which was burning, and he saved a person from it; he then returned to his
wife, and what did she say to him? “Go back again, my husband, and see if
you cannot save another. We will not rest until all are delivered.” Methinks that is what the Christian man would say “If I have been the means of saving one soul, I will not rest until I have saved another.” Oh, have you ever thought how many souls sink to hell every hour? Did the dreary thought that the death knell of a soul is tolled by every tick of yonder clock, ever strike you? Have you never thought that myriads of your fellow creatures are in hell now, and that myriads more are hastening there? and yet do you sleep? What! physician, will you sleep when men are dying?
Sailor, will you sleep when the wreck is out at sea, and the life-boat is
waiting for hands to man it! Christian, will you tarry while souls are being
lost? I do not say that you can save them- God alone can do that- but
you may be the instrument; and would you lose the opportunity of
winning another jewel for your crown in heaven? would you steep while
work is being done? Sleepy Christian, let me shout in your ears -you
are sleeping while souls are being lost! -sleeping while men are being
damned! -sleeping while hell is being peopled! -sleeping while Christ is
being dishonored! -sleeping while the devil is grinning at your sleepy face!
-sleeping while demons are dancing round your slumbering carcase, and
telling it in hell that a Christian is asleep! You will never catch the devil
asleep; let not the devil catch you asleep. Watch, and be sober, that you
may be always up to do your duty.
I have no time to use other considerations, though the subject is large
enough, and I should have no difficulty in finding sticks enough to beat a
sleeping dog with. “Let us not sleep as do others.”
III. Now it may be asked, WHEN IS THE CHRISTIAN MOST LIABLE TO SLEEP?
First, I answer, he is most liable to sleep when his temporal circumstances are all right. When your nest is well feathered you are then most likely to sleep; there is little danger of your sleeping when there is a bramble bush in the bed. When all is downy, then the most likely thing will be that you will say, “Soul, soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your rest, eat, drink, and be merry.” Let me ask some of you, when you were more straitened in circumstances, when you had to rely upon providence each hour, and had troubles to take to the throne of grace, were you not more wakeful than you are now? The miller who has his wheel turned by a constant stream goes to sleep, but he that attends on the wind, which sometimes blows hard and sometimes gently, sleeps not, lest haply the full gust might rend the sails, or there should not be enough to make them go round.
Those who live by the day often sleep not by day, but they sleep in
the night- the sleep of the beloved. Easy roads tend to make us slumber.
Few sleep in a storm; many sleep on a calm night. He is a brave boy,
indeed, who can have his eyes sleepy when “upon the high and giddy mast,
in bosom of the rude imperious surge;” but he is no wonder who sleeps
when there is no danger. Why is the church asleep now? She would not
sleep if Smithfield were filled with stakes, if Bartholomew’s alarm were
ringing in her ears; she would not sleep if Sicilian Vespers might be sung
on tomorrow’s eve- she would not sleep if massacres were common now.
But what is her condition? Every man sitting under his own vine and his
own fig tree, none daring to make him afraid. Tread softly! she is fast
asleep. Wake up church! or else we will cut down the fig tree about your
ears. Start up! for the figs are ripe, they hang into your sleepy mouth, and
you are too lazy to bite them off.
Now, another dangerous time is when all goes well in spiritual matters.
You never read that Christian went to sleep when lions were in the way; he
never slept when he was going through the river death, or when he was in
Giant Despair’s castle, or when he was fighting with Apollyon. Poor
creature! he almost wished he could sleep then. But when he had got half
way up the Hill Difficulty, and came to a pretty little arbor, in he went,
and sat down and began to read his roll. Oh, how he rested himself! How
he unstrapped his sandals and rubbed his weary feet! Very soon his mouth
was open, his arms hung down, and he was fast asleep. Again the
Enchanted Ground was a very easy smooth place, and liable to send the
pilgrim to sleep. You remember Bunyan’s description of some of the
arbors: “Then they came to an arbor, warm, and promising much
refreshing to the weary pilgrims; for it was finely wrought above head,
beautified with greens, and furnished with benches and settles. It had also
in it a soft couch, where the weary might can.” "The arbor was called the
Slothful’s Friend, and was made on purpose to allure, if it might be, some
of the pilgrims to take up their rest there when weary." Depend upon it, it
is in easy places that men shut their eyes and wander into the dreamy land
Old Erskine said a good thing when he remarked: “I like a roaring
devil better than a sleeping devil.” There is no temptation half so
bad as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we
get into confidence and full assurance that we are in danger of slumbering.
Take care you who are full of gladness. There is no season in which we are
so likely to fall asleep as that of high enjoyment. The disciples went to
sleep after they had seen Christ transfigured on the mountain top. Take
heed, joyous Christian, good frames are very dangerous; they often lull you into a sound sleep.
Yet there is one more thing; and if I ever were afraid of anything, I should
fear to speak before my grave and reverend fathers in the faith the fact that
one of the most likely places for us to sleep in is when we get near our
journey’s end. It is ill for a child to say that, and I will therefore back it up
by the words of that great pilot John Bunyan: “For this enchanted ground
is one of the last refuges that the enemy to pilgrims has, wherefore it is, as
you see, placed almost at the end of the way, and so it stands against us
with the more advantage. For when, thinks the enemy, will these fools be
so desirous to sit down as when they are weary? and when so like to be
weary as when almost at their journey’s end? Therefore it is, I say, that the
enchanted ground is paced so near to the land Beulah, and so near the end
of their race.
Wherefore let pilgrims look to themselves, lest it happen to them as
it has done to these that, as you see, are fallen asleep, and none can
awake them.” May a child speak to those who are far before him in years
and experience? But I am not a child when I preach. In the pulpit we stand
as ambassadors of God, and God knows nothing of childhood or age; he
takes whom he wills, and speaks as he pleases. It is true my
brethren; that those who have been years in grace are most in danger of
slumbering. Somehow we get into the routine of the thing: it is usual for us to go to the house of God; it is usual for us to belong to the church, and
that of itself tends to make people sleepy. Go into some of your churches
in London, and you will hear a most savory sermon preached to a people
all sound asleep. The reason is that the service is all alike; they know when
they have got to the third “Our Father which are in heaven,” when they
have passed the general confession, and when they have got to the sermon-
which is the time to sleep for twenty minutes. If the minister should smite
his ecclesiastic fist upon the Bible, or enliven his faculties with a pinch of
snuff, or even use his pocket handkerchief, the people would wake up,
because it would be something out of the usual course. Or, if he uttered an
odd sentiment they might be aroused, and would probably think that he had broken the 59th commandment, in making some of the congregation smile.
But he never violates decorum; he stands the very mirror of modesty and
the picture of everything that is orderly. I have digressed, but you will see
what I mean. If we are always going on the same road we are liable to
sleep. If Moab gets at ease, and is not emptied from vessel to vessel, he
sleeps on, for he knows no change; and when years have worn our road
with a rut of godliness, we are apt to throw the reins on our horse’s neck
and sleep soundly.
IV. Now, lastly, let me give A LITTLE GOOD ADVICE TO THE SLEEPING CHRISTIAN.
But Christian, if you are asleep, you will not hear me. Will I speak
gently, then, and let you sleep on? No I will not. I will shout in your
ears, “Awake you that asleep! Arise from the dead and Christ shall give
you light. Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways and be wise. Put
on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem. Put on your glorious array, you
church of the living God.”
What is the best plan to keep awake when you are going across
the enchanted ground? This book tells us that one of the best plans is to
keep Christian company, and talk about the ways of the Lord. Christian
and Hopeful said to themselves, “Let us talk together, and then we shall
not sleep.” Christian said, “Brother where shall we begin?” And Hopeful
said, “We will begin where God began with us.” There is no subject so
likely to keep a man awake as talking of the place where God began to save him. When Christian men talk together they won’t sleep together. Hold Christian company, and you will not be so likely to slumber. Christians who isolate themselves and stand alone, are very liable to lie down and sleep on the settle or the soft couch, and go to sleep, but if you talk much together as they did in old time, you will find it extremely beneficial. Two Christians talking together of the ways of the Lord will go much faster to heaven than one; and when a whole church unite in speaking of the Lord’s loving-kindness, verily beloved, there is no way like that of keeping themselves awake.
Then let me remind you that if you will look at interesting things you will
not sleep- and how can you be kept awake in the Enchanted Ground better
than by holding up your Savior before your eyes? There are some things, it
is said, which will not let men shut their eyes if they are held before them.
Jesus Christ crucified on Calvary is one of these. I never knew a Christian
go to sleep at the foot of the cross; but he always said-
“Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the cross I spend.”
And he said too-
“Here I’d sit for ever viewing
Mercy’s streams in streams of blood.”
But he never said “Here I would lie down and sleep,” for he could not
sleep with that shriek, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” in
his ears. He could not sleep with “It is finished! “going into his very soul.
Keep near to the cross, Christian, and you will not sleep.
Then I would advise you to let the wind blow on you; let the breath of the
Holy Spirit continually fan your temples, and you will not sleep. Seek to
live daily under the influence of the Holy Spirit; derive all your strength
from him, and you will not slumber.
Lastly, labor to impress yourself with a deep sense of the value of the
place to which you are going. If you remember that you are going to
heaven, you will not sleep on the road. If you think that hell is behind
you, and the devil pursuing you, I am sure you will not be inclined to
sleep. Would the man-slayer sleep if the avenger of blood were behind him, and the city of refuge before him? Christian, will you sleep while the
pearly gates are open, the songs of angels waiting for you to join them;
a crown decorated with delight to be worn upon your brow? Ah, no!
Dearly beloved, I have finished my sermon. There are some of you that I
must dismiss, because I find nothing in the text for you. It is said, “Let us
not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” There are some here
who do not sleep at all, because they are positively dead! And if it takes a
stronger voice than mine to wake the sleeper, how much more mighty must be that voice which wakes the dead! Yet even to the dead I speak; for God can wake them, though I cannot. O, dead man! do you not know that
your body and your soul are worthless carrion; that while you are dead you
lie abhorred of God; that soon the vulture of remorse will come and
devour your lifeless soul, and though you have lived in this world
these seventy years (perhaps) without God, and without Christ, in
your last hour the vulture of remorse shall come and tear your spirit; and
though you now laugh at the wild vulture that circles in the sky, he will
descend upon you soon, and your death will be a bed of shrieks, howlings
and wailings, and lamentations, and yells? Do you know more still, that
afterwards that dead soul will be cast into Tophet; and as in the East they
burn the bodies, so your body and your soul together shall be burned in hell?
Go not away and dream that this is a fantasy. It is truth. Say not it is a
fiction: laugh not at it as a mere picture. Hell is a positive flame- it is a fire
that burns the body, albeit that it burns the soul too. There is physical fire
for the body, and there is spiritual fire for the soul. Go your way, O man,
such shall be your fate. Even now your funeral pile is building, your years of sin have laid huge trees across each other, and see, the angel is flying down from heaven with a brand already lit! You are lying dead upon the pile! He puts the brand to the base thereof! Your present disease proves that the lower parts are kindling with the flame; those pains of yours are the crackling of the fire. It shall reach you soon old man- it shall reach you soon you poor diseased one; you are near death, and when it reaches you, you shall know the meaning of the fire that is unquenchable, and the worm that dies not. Yet while there is hope I will tell you the gospel. “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believes not shall be,” must be “damned.” He that believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, with a simple naked faith, comes and puts his trust in him, shall be saved, without anything else; but he that believes not shall inevitably- hear it, men, and tremble-he that believes not shall assuredly be damned.
P.S. It is frequently objected that the preacher is censorious: he is not
desirous of defending himself from the charge. He is confident that many
are conscious that his charges are true, and if true, Christian love requires
us to warn those who err; nor will candid men condemn the minister who is bold enough to point out the faults of the church and the age, even when
all classes are moved to anger by his faithful rebukes, and pour on his head
the full vials of their wrath. IF THIS BE VILE, WE PURPOSE TO BE VILER STILL. -C. H. S.