The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The following excerpt is from The New Park Street Pulpit, volume 4, sermon number 196, "A present religion.""Would ye give up your religion for all the joys that earth calls good or great? Say, if your immortal life could be extinguished, would you give it up, even for all the kingdoms of this world?"
Oh! ye sons of poverty, has not this been a candle to you in the darkness? Has not this lightened you through the dark shades of your tribulation? Oh! ye horny handed sons of toil, has not this been your rest, your sweet reposer; Have not the testimonies of God been your song in the house of your pilgrimage?
Oh! ye daughters of sorrow, ye who spend the most of your time upon your beds—and your couch to you is a rack of pain—has not religion been to you a sweet quietus? When your bones were sore vexed, could ye not even then praise him on your beds?
Speak from your couches to-day, ye consumptives, blanched though your cheeks; speak this day from your beds of agony, ye that are troubled with inumerable diseases, and are drawing near your last home. Is not religion worth having in the sick chamber, on the bed of pain and anguish?
"Ah!" they heartily say,"we can praise him on our beds; we can sing his high praises in the fires." And ye men of business, speak for yourselves! You have hard struggles to pass through life.
Sometimes you have been driven to a great extremity, and whether you would succeed or not seemed to hang upon a thread. Has not your religion been a joy to you in your difficulties? Has it not calmed your minds? When you have been fretted and troubled about worldly things, have you not found it a pleasant thing to enter your closet, and shut-to the door, and tell your Father in secret all your cares?
And O ye that are rich, cannot you bear the same testimony, if you have loved the Master? What had all your riches been to you without a Saviour? Can you not say, that your religion did gild your gold, and make your silver shine more brightly? for all things that you have are sweetened by this thought, that you have all these and Christ too!
Was there ever a child of God who could deny this? We have heard of many infidels who grieved over their infidelity when they came to die. Did you ever hear of a Christian acting the counterpart? Did you ever hear of any one on his death-bed looking back on a life of holiness with sorrow?
We have seen the rake, with a wasted constitution shrivel into a corpse through his iniquities, and we have heard him bemoan the day in which he went astray. We have seen the poor debauched child of sin rotting with disease, and listened to her shriek, and heard her miserably curse herself that she ever turned aside, to what was called the path of gaiety, but what was really the path to hell.
We have seen the miser too, who has gripped his bags of gold, and on his dying bed we have found him curse himself, that when he came to die, his gold, though laid upon his heart, could not still its achings and give him joy.
Never, never did we know a Christian who repented of his Christianity. We have seen Christians so sick, that we wondered that they lived—so poor, that we pondered at their misery; we have seen them so full of doubts, that we pitied their unbelief; but we never heard them say, even then, "I regret that I gave myself to Christ."
No; with the dying clasp, when heart and flesh were failing, we have seen them hug this treasure to their breast and press it to their heart, still feeling that this was their life, their joy, their all. Oh! if ye would be happy, if ye would be saved, if ye would strew your path with sunshine, and dig out the nettles and blunt the thorns, "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
Seek not happiness first; seek Christ first, and happiness shall come after. Seek ye first the Lord, and then he will provide for you everything that is profitable for you in this life and he will crown it with everything that is glorious in the life to come. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God."