06 March 2011

A Dreary Task; A Terrible Truth

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Frank Turk

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Heaven and Hell," a sermon on Matthew 8:11-12 delivered on Tuesday evening, 4 Sept 1855 atKing Edward's Road, Hackney.

The second part of my text is heart-breaking. I could preach with great delight to myself from the first part; but here is a dreary task to my soul, because there are gloomy words here. But, as I have told you, what is written in the Bible must be preached, whether it be gloomy or cheerful. There are some ministers who never mention anything about hell. I heard of a minister who once said to his congregation, "If you do not love the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be sent to that place which it is not polite to mention." He ought not to have been allowed to preach again, I am sure, if he could not use plain words. Now, if I saw that house on fire over there, do you think I would stand and say, "I believe the operation of combustion is proceeding yonder?" No; I would call out, "Fire! fire! and then everybody would know what I meant. So, if the Bible says, "The children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness," am I to stand here and mince the matter at all? God forbid! We must speak the truth as it is written. It is a terrible truth, for it says, "the children of the kingdom shall be cast out!" Now, who are those children? I will tell you. "The children of the kingdom" are those people who are noted for the externals of piety, but who have nothing of the internals of it. People whom you will see with their Bibles and Hymn Books marching off to chapel as religiously as possible, or going to church as devoutly and demurely as they can, looking as sombre and serious as parish beadles, and fancying that they are quite sure to be saved, though their hearts are not in the matter; nothing but their bodies. These are the persons who are "the children of the kingdom." They have no grace, no life, no Christ, and they shall be cast into outer darkness.

... First, notice, they are to be cast out. They are not said to go; but, when they come to heaven's gates, they are to be cast out. As soon as hypocrites arrive at the gates of heaven, Justice will say, "There he comes! there he comes! He spurned a father's prayers, and mocked a mother's tears. He has forced his way downward against all the advantages mercy has supplied. And now, there he comes. "Gabriel, take the man." The angel, binding you hand and foot, holds you one single moment over the mouth of the chasm. He bids you look down—down—down. There is no bottom; and you hear coming up from the abyss, sullen moans, and hollow groans, and screams of tortured ghosts. You quiver, your bones melt like wax, and your marrow quakes within you. Where is now thy might? and where thy boasting and bragging? Ye shriek and cry, ye beg for mercy; but the angel, with one tremendous grasp, seizes you fast, and then hurls you down, with the cry, "Away, away!" And down you go to the pit that is bottomless, and roll for ever downward—downward—downward—ne'er to find a resting-place for the soles of your feet. Ye shall be cast out.

And where are you to be cast to? Ye are to be cast "into outer darkness;" ye are to be put in the place where there will be no hope. For, by "light," in Scripture, we understand "hope;" and you are to be put "into outer darkness," where there is no light—no hope. Is there a man here who has no hope? I cannot suppose such a person. One of you, perhaps, says, "I am thirty pounds in debt, and shall be sold up by-and-by; but I have a hope that I may get a loan, and so escape my difficulty." Says another, "My business is ruined, but things may take a turn yet—I have a hope." Says another, "I am in great distress, but I hope that God will provide for me." Another says, "I am fifty pounds in debt; I am sorry for it; but I will set these strong hands to work, and do my best to get out of it." One of you thinks a friend is dying, but you have a hope that, perhaps, the fever may take a turn—that he may yet live. But, in hell, there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying—the hope of being annihilated. They are for ever—for ever—for ever—lost! On every chain in hell, there is written "for ever." In the fires, there blaze out the words, "for ever." Up above their heads, they read "for ever." Their eyes are galled, and their hearts are pained with the thought that it is "for ever." Oh! if I could tell you to-night that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might be saved, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought of it. But it cannot be—it is "for ever" they are "cast into utter darkness."

But I want to get over this as quickly as I can; for who can bear to talk thus to his fellow-creatures? What is it that the lost are doing? They are "weeping and gnashing their teeth." Do you gnash you teeth now? You would not do it except you were in pain and agony. Well, in hell there is always gnashing of teeth. And do you know why? There is one gnashing his teeth at his companion, and mutters, "I was led into hell by you; you led me astray, you taught me to drink the first time." And the other gnashes his teeth and says, "What if I did? You made me worse than I should have been in after times." There is a child who looks at her mother, and says, "Mother, you trained me up to vice." And the mother gnashes her teeth again at the child, and says, "I have no pity for you, for you excelled me in it, and led me into deeper sin." Fathers gnash their teeth at their sons, and sons at their fathers. And, methinks, if there are any who will have to gnash their teeth more than others, it will be seducers, when they see those whom they have led from the paths of virtue, and hear them saying, "Ah! we are glad you are in hell with us, you deserve it, for you led us here." Have any of you, to-night, upon your consciences the fact that you have led others to the pit? O, may sovereign grace forgive you. "We have gone astray like lost sheep," said David. Now a lost sheep never goes astray alone, if it is one of a flock. I lately read of a sheep that leaped over the parapet of a bridge, and was followed by every one of the flock. So, if one man goes astray, he leads others with him. Some of you will have to account for others' sins when you get to hell, as well as your own. Oh, what "weeping and gnashing of teeth" there will be in that pit!

Now shut the black book. Who wants to say any more about it? I have warned you solemnly. I have told you of the wrath to come. The evening darkens, and the sun is setting. Ah! and the evenings darken with some of you. I can see gray-headed men here. Are your gray hairs a crown of glory, or a fool's cap to you? Are you on the very verge of heaven, or are you tottering on the brink of your grave, and sinking down to perdition?

C. H. Spurgeon


donsands said...

That would have been a heavy Sunday service to be at. But needed just the same.
I can appreciate the way this preacher chooses his words, and then makes sentences and paragraphs that have such force upon the heart and mind.
Have a terrific Lord's day. Lord heal and bless. Amen.

DJP said...

Wow. Just... wow.

Excellent and timely choice, Frank. Leaves me sobered, humbled, well-nigh speechless, and running to Christ.

Stefan Ewing said...

It is a good, sobering corrective to read on a Sunday morning, as one gets ready to serve with the body of Christ.

John Dunn said...

Certainly a sobering reminder of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ . . . in sharp contradistinction to the soothing words of "another gospel" as proclaimed by Rob Bell&Co.

And the Saints will be rejoicing in the vindication and triumph of God's justice at that last Day as (Rev. 18:20-19:6)the wicked are judged.

donsands said...

I wanted to also say, that portrait of Charles Haddon Spurgeon is striking.

Also my pastor read from Spurgeons devotional, Morning & Evening, in church service today. Here's the beginning words from our brother Charles:

"Regeneration is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation, and we should be very diligent to take heed that we really are “born again,” for there are many who fancy they are, who are not. Be assured that the name of a Christian is not the nature of a Christian; and that being born in a Christian land, and being recognized as professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever, unless there be something more added to it—the being “born again,” is a matter so mysterious, that human words cannot describe it."

Wendy said...

What a sober thought and convicting on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

"Certainly a sobering reminder of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ . . . in sharp contradistinction to the soothing words of "another gospel" as proclaimed by Rob Bell&Co"

Could you imagine this being preached at Mars Hill? They would run out of the building like it was on fire!

ANiMaL (richard) said...

He was 21 when he preached that? Wow. What happened to men who preached that some might be saved? Why haven't I? Oh may God forgive my wicked mouth that doesn't proclaim so quickly the gift of God unto all mankind.

Anonymous said...

"Are your gray hairs a crown of glory, or a fool's cap to you? Are you on the very verge of heaven, or are you tottering on the brink of your grave, and sinking down to perdition?"

I wish he'd quit beating around the bush. :)