posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following is an excerpt from "Grace Reviving Israel," a Sermon delivered in 1860 at Tottenham Court Road Chapel, London.
henever I look abroad on the aggregate assemblies of religious people, I am obliged to hold a large number of my hearers in supreme contempt. Are you not one day crowding to hear me preach what I think the truth, and another day cramming a place where a man is preaching the very opposite to what I hold to be true?
The fact is, some of you have no idea of what fundamental truth in theology is. The popular cry is for liberality of sentiment, and if a man happens to say a hard word against anything he thinks essentially wrong, he is accounted a bigot directly.
Many of you shrink from the imputation of bigotry, as if it were more awful than heresy in regard to the faith. You would as soon be called a common informer as be called a bigot. I beseech you, do not be appalled at a taunt.
Do not be a bigot, but do not be ashamed of being called one.
A man ought to have stable principles, and not be ever shifting about from one set of opinions to another.
We are often told by some ministers in their drawing rooms, that God will not ask in the day of judgment what a man believed, for if his life has been correct, it will not much matter what doctrines he held.
I am at a loss for the authority on which they base such laxness. I wonder who told them that was the truth. I have read my Bible through, and I have never found a text that could absolve my judgment from its allegiance to my Maker.
I hold, that to believe wrongly is equally as great a sin in the sight of heaven as to act wrongly. Error is a crime before God, and though there is liberty of conscience, so far as man and man are concerned, there is no liberty of conscience with God. You are not free to believe truth, or to believe error just as you like. You are bound to believe what God says is truth, and on your soul's peril be it, that you believe two things that are contrary, or confound the positive and the negative, where faith is the evidence of justification, and unbelief the seal of a sinner's doom.
Methinks God will say to you at last, "Man, I gave thee brains; I endowed thee with reason; how couldst thou suppose thyself less responsible for the use of thy brains than for the use of thy tongue?"
One man says, "Yes;" another says "No," and because it is the fashion to call out "Liberality, liberality, liberality," thou dost assent to both, and joining the crowd thou art sincere in neither.
Thou oughtest rather to say, "I believe that what I hold is true, and if I did not, I should not avow it, and believing it to be true, I cannot hold that the opposite is true, nor can I be continually going to hear one doctrine at one time and another at another; my conscience demands that I distinguish between things that differ."