posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Guile Forsaken When Guilt Is Forgiven," a sermon originaly preached at the Met Tab in London and published in 1877.
ne sorry piece of craft which Satan teaches to many is to make them doubt, or pretend to doubt, anything in Scripture which frowns upon them. If they find that dying as they are they will be driven from the presence of God for ever, they comfort themselves by recollecting that a wise man has discovered that everlasting does not mean for ever, and they hear that a clever divine has found out that there is to be a general jail delivery in hell, and everybody is to be admitted into heaven in due time.
They hear this and they hear that, and as drowning men catch at straws so do they cling to any new inventions which promise them ease in their sins. They lay the flattering unction of false doctrine to their souls as if it were the balm of Gilead. "Perhaps it may be so," they say, and thus they risk their future happiness upon so poor a chance as the hope that, perhaps, these modern thinkers may turn out to be right, and the plain teaching of Scripture prove to be a mistake.
It is a wonderfully easy thing to make yourself out to be an honest sceptic, and from this earthwork to assail your assailants, and yet all the while you may have no doubt at all, but in the core of your heart may, like the devil, believe and tremble. Ah, ye pretended doubters, if you were stretched on a dying bed you would believe the old revelation fast enough, and begin to cry out for mercy in the scare which the approach of death would bring upon you.
Half the men who talk so much about their not believing, believe a great deal more than they would like to admit, and they dare not test their own imaginary infidelity by spending an hour alone in their chamber at eventide and looking into their own hearts. There are many hypocritical believers, but are there not quite as many pretended unbelievers to whom doubting is a mere sop to quiet the Cerberus of their conscience? Guile plays its part with the human intellect, and conjures up an army of ghosts in the form of doubts, but when the sun of truth arises they immediately disappear.