James Smith, 1860
When I look around me, I see that all are traveling to the grave — and to somewhere beyond that. If our journey ended with the grave, it would be a dreary ending — but it does not. There are two countries beyond the grave. The one is exquisitely lovely, it is beautiful and glorious beyond our conception. The other is extremely dreadful — no one can form an adequate idea of its horrific nature and character. To one of these countries we are traveling, and we shall soon be landed there. But the roads are directly opposite. The way to Heaven is Jesus — and the walk to Heaven is holiness. The way to Hell is self — and the walk to Hell is sin. No one who lives a life of faith in the Son of God, or a life of holiness, will ever end his journey in Hell. And as little reason has he to expect Heaven, who lives to himself, or lives in sin. We choose our road, and so reach our end.
Reader, where are you going? Your course by nature, was the course of this world. The way of the world leads to the regions of woe. But you have been called to, and warned by God's servants. You have been checked and hindered in your way, by the dispensations of a wise and holy providence. You have been called to go, by those who are walking in the narrow way, and invited to go with them. Why will you not come to Jesus?
Why will you persevere in sin, when you know that the end of these things is eternal death? Is sin so very pleasant? Is the prospect of Hell so very charming? Why, O why, will you not come to Jesus? He waits to receive you with open arms. He is ready to bless you with pardon, peace, and everlasting life. No one who comes is rejected by him. He never passes the sentence of death — but upon the obstinate, hardened, and persevering sinner. We may imagine that we see the tear in his eye, as he says, "As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies." Nor is it without emotion that he says to such as refuse to come to him, "You will not come to me, that you might have life."
But have you repented? Do you see your folly, feel your danger, discover your criminality, and resolve to come to Jesus, to come unto him at once? If so, in his name, I bid you welcome. If so, with the Spirit and the bride unite, and cry, "COME." Come directly to his loving arms, or come and cast yourself down at his nail-pierced feet. Come and appeal to his clemency. Come cast yourself on his mercy. Come and give yourself up to him entirely, to be saved by him wholly, to be saved by him alone. Come and prove how freely, how fully, how readily Jesus can forgive. He will not make you wait, if you come to cast yourself on his mercy without reserve. He stipulates for no qualifications — but only a full surrender, just as you are, to be saved by him freely, fully, and forever.
The viler you feel yourself, the more clear is your warrant to come to him; and the worse you are in your own sight, the warmer will be your welcome. You cannot be too bad for Jesus, for however aggravated your transgressions, however enormous your sins, however dreadful your crimes — the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin. Man's sin can be no match for a Savior's merit. No case can go beyond God's uttermost.
Well, friend, what do you say? You have heard these things over and over again, and are perhaps almost tired of hearing them. But if you have not come to Jesus, if your sins are not pardoned, if you are not saved by his grace — then you have hitherto heard them in vain. Once more, therefore, we venture to expostulate with you, again we invite you to Jesus, again we show our desire for you to be blessed. O that we could so invite, as to flash the subject on your minds like lightning; and so set forth the excellency of Jesus, that it may beam upon you with all the loveliness of the morning light! O that we could win you for Christ, bring you to Christ, that we may see you happy in Christ!
May the Lord, who uses the weak things to accomplish his great and mighty purposes, use these lines for your salvation. If you are saved, will you put them into the hand of some unsaved one, direct his attention to them, and pray the Holy Spirit to accompany the reading of them, with his mighty power.