This past Saturday night, I had finished my reading of C.H. Spurgeon’s stirring sermon “The Curse Removed” — which was originally preached in England, 160 years ago in 1857. It is no wonder that they call him “the Prince of Preachers.” His closing words will be well-worth your time:1
When I remember that I shall likely enough never see the faces of many of you again, I feel that there is a deep and an awful responsibility lying on me to speak to such of you as are careless.
There are some of you who are putting off the evil day; and you are saying, “If I be condemned, I care not for it.” Ah! my friend, if I saw thee carelessly asleep on thy bed, when the flames were raging in thy chamber, I would shout in thine ear, or I would drag thee from thy couch of slumber. If I knew that while thou hadst a bad disease within thee, thou wouldst not take the medicine, and that if thou didst not take it thou wouldst die, I would implore thee on my knees to take that medicine that would save thee. But, alas! here you are; you are in danger of destruction, many of you, and you have a disease within you that must soon destroy your lives; and yet what careless, hardened, thoughtless creatures you are, just caring for the body, and not seeking for Christ!
As the angel put his hand upon Lot, and said, “Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain, but flee to the mountain,” so would I do to you. I would come to each of you, and say, “My brother, carelessness may avail thee now; but carelessness will not stop the voice of death when he speaks. Indifference may silence my voice in your conscience; but when that gloomy skeleton tyrant comes to address thee, indifference will not do then.
Now thou mayest laugh; now thou mayest dance; now thou mayest be merry; now thy cup may be full to the brim; but what wilt thou do in that day, when the heavens are clothed with glory, when the books are opened, when the great white throne is set, and when thou comest to be condemned or acquitted before thy Maker?
Do, I beseech thee, do forestall the day. I beg of thee, for Christ’s sake, bethink thyself even now before thy Judge; conceive him there in yonder heavens upon his throne; imagine that now thou art looking upon him. Oh! my hearer, what wilt thou do? Thou art before the judgment-throne, without Christ; thou art there naked. ‘Rocks! hide me! hide me! hide me! I am naked!’ But thou art dragged out, sinner! What wilt thou do now? Thou art dragged naked before thy Judge. I see thee bend thy knee; I hear thee cry, ‘O Jesus, clothe me now!’ ‘Nay,’ saith Jesus, ‘the robe now is hung up forever, not to be worn by thee.’ ‘Saviour! spread thy wings over me!’ ‘Nay,’ saith he, ‘I called, and ye refused; I stretched out my hand, and no man regarded. I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh.'”
Do I talk realities, or mere fictions? Why, realities; and yet if I were reading a novel to you, you would be lost in tears; but when I tell you God’s truth, that soon his chariot shall descend to earth, and he shall judge us all, you sit unmoved and careless of that event. But oh! be it known to every careless sinner, death and judgment are not the things they fancy; everlasting wrath and eternal severance from God are not such light things to endure as they have conceived. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” “Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who among us shall abide with everlasting torments?”
Mr. Spurgeon is not done.
But to close: have I one here who is saying, “What must I do to be saved, for I feel myself condemned?” Hear thou Christ’s own words—”He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Dost thou ask me what it is to believe? Hear, then, the answer. To believe is to look to Jesus. that little word “look” expresses beautifully what a sinner is to do. There is little in its appearance, but there is much in its meaning. Believing is letting the hands lie still, and turning the eyes to Christ. We can not be saved by our hands; but we are saved through our eyes, when they look to Jesus. Sinner! it is no use for thee to try and save thyself; but to believe in Christ is the only way of salvation; and that is, throwing self behind your back, and putting Christ right before thee…
To believe is as a man would do in a stream. It is said, that if we were to fold our arms, and lie motionless, we could not sink. To believe is to float upon the stream of grace.