Simple but Sound
“One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” — John ix. 25.
*This date is an approximation of when this sermon was delivered.
DID it ever strike you how wonderfully calm and collected our Lord must have been at this time? He had been preaching in the temple, talking to a multitude of Jews. They grew furious with him; a number of stones which were used in repairing the temple were lying about on the floor, and they took up these stones to cast at him. He, by some means, forced a passage, and escaped out of the midst of them; and when he came to the gate of the temple with his disciples, — who seem to have followed him in the lane which he was able to make through the throng of his foes, — he saw this blind man; and as if there had been no bloodthirsty foes at his heels, he stepped—stopped as calmly as if an attentive audience had been waiting upon his lips, — to look at the blind man. The disciples stopped too, but they paused to ask questions. How like ourselves! We are always ready to talk. How unlike the Master! He was always ready to act. The disciples wanted to know how the man came to be blind, but the Master meant to deliver the man from his blindness. We are very apt to be entering into speculative theories about the origin of sin or the cause of certain strange providences; but Christ is ever for seeking out, not the cause, but the remedy; not the reason of the disease, but the way by which the disease can be cured. The blind man is brought to him. Christ asks him no questions; but, spitting upon the dust, he stoops down, and works the dust into mortar, and when he has done this, taking it up in his hands, he applies it to what Bishop Hall calls the eye-holes of the man (for there were no eyes there), and plasters them up, so that the spectators lock on, and see a man with clay upon his eyes. “Go,” said Christ, “to the pool of Siloam, and wash.” Some kind friends led the man, who was only too glad to go. Unlike Naaman, who made an objection to wash in Jordan, and be clean, the blind man was glad enough to avail himself of the divine remedy. He went, he washed the clay from his eyes, and he received his sight, — a blessing he had never known before. With what rapture he gazed upon the trees! With what delight he lifted up his face to the blue sky! With what pleasure he beheld the costly, stately fabric of the temple; and methinks, afterwards, with what interest and pleasure he would look into the face of Jesus, — the man who had given him his sight.
It is not my object to expound this miracle to-night, but well it setteth forth, in sacred emblem, the state of human nature. Man is blind. Father Adam put out our eyes. We cannot see spiritual things. We have not the spiritual optic; that has gone, — gone for ever. We are born without it, — born blind. Christ comes into this world, and his gospel is despicable in men's esteem even as spittle, — the thought of it disgusts most men. Gentility turns on its heel, and saith it will have nothing to do with it, and pomp and glory all say that it is a contemptible and base thing. Christ puts the gospel on the blind eye, — a gospel which, like clay, seems as if it would make men more blind than before, but it is through “the foolishness of preaching” that Christ saves them that believe. The Holy Spirit is like Siloam’s pool. We go to him, or rather he comes to us, the convictions of sin produced by the gospel are washed away by the cleansing influences of the Divine Comforter; and, behold, we, who were once so blind that we could see no beauty in divine things, and no excellence in the crown jewels of God, begin to see things in a clear and heavenly light, and rejoice exceedingly before the Lord.
The man no sooner sees than he is brought before adversaries, and our text is a part of his testimony in defence of the “Prophet” who had wrought the miracle upon him, whom not as yet did he understand to be the Messias.
“One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” Although the parable would furnish us an admirable topic, we prefer to keep to this verse, and linger upon the various reflections it suggests.
I. We have before us, in these words, AN UNANSWERABLE ARGUMENT.
Every now and then, you and I are called into a little debate. Persons do not take things for granted in this age, and it is quite as well that they should not. There have been ages in which any impostor could lead the public by the nose. Men would believe anything, and any crazy maniac, man or woman, who might stand up, and pretend to be the Messiah, would be sure to have some followers. I think this age, with all its faults, is not so credulous as that which has gone by. There is a great deal of questioning. You know that there is some questioning where there should not be any. Men, who stand high in official positions, and who ought long ago to have had their faith established, or to have renounced their position, have ventured to question the very things they have sworn to defend. There is questioning everywhere, but to my mind it seems, brethren, that we need not be afraid. If the gospel of God be true, it can stand any quantity of questioning. I am more afraid of the deadness and lethargy of the public mind about religion than any sort of enquiry or controversy about it. As silver tried in the furnace is purified seven times, so is the Word of God; and the more it is put into the furnace, the more it will be purified, and the more beauteously the pure ore of revelation will glitter in the sight of the faithful. Never be afraid of a debate. Never go into it unless you are well armed; and if you do go into it, mind that you take with you the weapon I am giving you to-night. Though you may be unarmed in every other respect, if you know how to wield this, you may, through grace, come off more than a conqueror. The argument which this man used was this, “Whereas I was blind, now I see.”
It is forcible, because it is a personal argument. I heard a person, the other day, use a similar argument. I had been laughing at a certain system of medicine, — and really it seems to me pardonable to laugh at all the systems, for I believe they are all almost equally as good or bad as the others. The person in question said, “Well, I can’t laugh at it.” “Why?” I asked, he, “it cured me.” Of course, I had no further answer. If this person had really been cured by such-and-such a remedy, it was to him an unanswerable argument; and to me, could he produce many other cases, it would be one that I would not wish to answer. The fact is, the personality of the thing gives it power. People tell us that, in the pulpit, the minister should always say “We”, as editors do in writing. We should lose all our power if we did. The minister of God is to use the first person singular, and constantly to say, “I bear eye-witness for God that, in my case, such-and-such a thing has been true.” I will not blush nor stammer to say, “I bear my personal witness to the truth of Christ’s gospel in my own case.” Lifted up from sin, delivered from bondage, from doubt, from fear, from despair, from an agony intolerable, — lifted up to joys unspeakable, and into the service of my God, — I bear my own testimony; and I believe, Christians, that your force in the world will be mightily increased if you constantly make your witness for Christ a personal one. I daresay my neighbour, over there, can tell what grace has done for him. Yes; but to me, to my own soul, what grace has done for me will be more of an establishment to me for my faith than what Christ has done for him. And if I stand up, and talk of what God’s grace has done for this or that brother, it may do very well; but if I can say, “I myself have proved it,” here is an argument which drives in the nail, — ay, and clinches it, too. I believe, Christian men, if you would prevail when you have to argue, you must do so by bearing a personal testimony to the value of religion in your own case, for that which you despise yourself you can never persuade others to value. “I believed, therefore have I spoken,” said the psalmist. Luther was a man of strong faith, and therefore he kindled faith in others. That man will never move the world who lets the world move him; but the man who stands firm, and says, “I know, I know, I know such-and-such a thing, because it is burnt into my own inner consciousness,” — such a man’s very appearance becomes an argument to convince others.
Moreover, this man’s argument was an appeal to men’s senses, and hardly anything can be supposed more forcible than that. “I was blind,” said he; “you saw that I was; some of you noticed me at the gate of the temple; I was blind, now I see. You can all see that I can look at you; you perceive at once that I have eyes, else I could not see you in the way I do.” He appealed to their senses. The argument which our holy religion, needs, at the present moment, is a new appeal to the senses of men. You will ask me, “What is that?” The holy living of Christians. The change which the gospel works in men must be the gospel’s best argument against all opposers. When first the gospel was preached in the Island of Jamaica, some of the planters objected grievously to it. They thought it an ill thing to teach the negroes, but a missionary said, “What has been the effect of your negro servant Jack hearing the gospel?” and the planter said, “Well, he was constantly drunk before, but he is sober now. I could not trust him, he was a great thief; but he is honest now. He swore like a trooper before, but now I hear nothing objectionable come from his mouth.” “Well,” said the missionary, “then I ask you if a gospel, that has made such a change as that in the man, must not be of God, and whether you ought not rather to put your influence into its scale than to work against it.” When we can bring forward the harlot who has been made chaste, when we can also show the drunkard who has been made sober, or, better still, when we can bring the careless, thoughtless man who has been made sedate and steady; the man who cared not for God, nor Christ, who has been made to worship God with his whole heart, and has put his confidence in Jesus, we think we have then presented to the world an argument which they will not soon answer.
If our religion does no more in the world than any other, well then, despise it; or if men can receive the gospel of Christ, and yet live as they did before, and be none the better for it, then tell us at once, that we may be undeceived, for our gospel is not wanted. But we bring you forward proofs. I hope, my brethren, there are scores and hundreds here who are yourselves the proofs of what the living gospel can do. Many and many a story could I tell of a man who was a fiend in human shape, a man who, when he came home from work, made it an hour of peril, for his wife and children fled to hide from him; and that man now, see him when he goes home, how he is welcomed by his wife, how the children run down to meet him; you shall hear him sing more loudly now than ever he cursed before, and he who was once a ringleader in the army of Satan has now become a ringleader in the army of Christ. I shall not say where he is sitting to-night. I should want many fingers if I had to point out all such who are here. The Lord’s is the glory of it. That is the argument, “Whereas I was blind, now I see.” Do we not know of some who, when they came to make their profession before the church, said, “If anyone had told me, three months ago, that I should be here, I should have knocked him down. If any man had said I should make a profession of faith in Jesus, I should have called him all the names in the world. I become a casting Methodist! Not I!” But yet grace has changed the man; his whole life is different now. Those who hate the change cannot help observing it. They hate religion, they say; but if religion does such things as these, the more of it the better. Now we want, dear friends, in the dark lanes and alleys of London, ay! and in our great wide streets, too, where there are large shops and places of business, we want to give the grovelling world this argument, against which there is no disputing, that, whereas there were some men blind, now they see; whereas they were sinful, now they are virtuous; whereas they despised God, now they fear him; we believe this is the best answer for an infidel age. What a deal of writing there has been lately about and against Dr. Colenso! You need not think of reading the replies to his books, for most of them would be the best means of sending people to sleep that have ever been invented; and, after all, they don’t answer the man; most of them leave the objections untouched, for there is a speciousness in the objection which is not very easily got over. I think we should be doing much better if, instead of running after this heathenish bishop, we should be running after poor sinners; if, instead of writing books of argument, and entering into discussions, we keep on each, in our sphere, endeavouring to convert souls, imploring the Spirit of God to come down upon us, and make us spiritual fathers in Israel. Then we may say to the devil, “Well, sir, you have stolen a bishop, you have taken away a clergyman or so, you have robbed us of a leader or two; but, by the help of God, we have razed your territories, we have stolen away whole bands; — here they are, tens of thousands of men and women who have been reclaimed from the paths of vice, rescued from the destroyer, and made servants of the Lord.” These are your best arguments; there are no arguments like them, — living personal witnesses of what divine grace can do.
II. We will change our view of the subject now. Our text presents us with A SATISFACTORY PIECE OF KNOWLEDGE: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
An affectation of knowledge is not uncommon. The desire for knowledge is almost universal; the attainment of it, however, is rare. But if a man shall attain the knowledge of Christ, he may take a high degree in the gospel, a satisfactory degree, a degree which shall land him safe into heaven, put the palm-branch in his hand, and the eternal song in his mouth; which is more than any worldly degrees will ever do. “One thing I know.” The sceptic will sometimes overwhelm you with his knowledge. You simple minds, that have read but little, and whose business occupations take up so much of your time that you probably never will be very profound students, are often in danger of being attacked by men who can use long words, who profess to have read very great books, and to be very learned in sciences, the names of which you have scarcely ever heard. Meet them, but be sure you meet them with a knowledge that is better than theirs. Don’t attempt to meet them on their own ground; meet them with this knowledge. “Well,” you can say, “I know that you understand more than I do; I am only a poor unlettered Christian, but I have a something in here that answers all your arguments, whatever they may be. I do not know what geology saith; I may not understand all about history; I may not comprehend all the strange things that are daily coming to light; but one thing I know, — it is a matter of absolute consciousness to me, — that I, who was once blind, have been made to see.” Then just state the difference that the gospel made in you; say that, once, when you looked at the Bible, it was a dull, dry book; that when you thought of prayer, it was a dreary piece of work; say that, now, the Bible seems to you a honeycomb full of honey, and that prayer is your vital breath. Say that, once, you tried to get away from God, and could see no excellence in the divine character, but that now you are striving and struggling to get nearer to God. Say that, once, you despised the cross of Christ, and thought it a vain thing for you to fly to; but that, now, you love it, and would sacrifice your all for it. And this undoubted change in your own consciousness, this supernatural work in your own innermost spirit, shall stand you in the stead of all the arguments that can be drawn from all the sciences; your one thing shall overthrow their thousand things, if you can say, “Whereas I was blind, now I see.”
Says one, “I don’t know how that can be.” Let me suppose that someone has just discovered galvanism, and I have had a galvanic shock. Now, twenty people come and say, “There is no such thing as galvanism; we do not believe in it for a moment,” and there is one gentleman proves by Latin that there cannot be such a thing as galvanism, and another proves it mathematically to demonstration, and twenty others prove it in their different ways. I should say, “Well, I cannot answer you in Latin, I cannot overthrow you in logic, I cannot contradict that syllogism of yours; but one thing I know, — I have had a shock of it, — that I do know;” and I take it that my personal consciousness of having experienced a galvanic shook will be a better answer than all their learned sayings. And so, if you have ever felt the Spirit of God come into contact with you, (and that is something quite as much within the reach of our consciousness as even the shock of electricity and galvanism,) and if you can say of that, “One thing I know, which cannot be beaten out of me, which cannot be hammered out of my own consciousness, that, whereas I was blind, now I see;” — if you can say that, it will be quite sufficient reply to all that the sceptic may bring against you.
How often, dear brethren, are you assailed, not only by the sceptic, but by our very profound doctrinal brethren! I know some very great doctrinal friends, who, because our experience may not tally with theirs, will sit down and say, “Ah! you don’t know the power of vital godliness;” and they will write very severe things against us, and say that we don’t know the great secret, and don’t understand the inner life. You never need trouble yourself about these braggarts; let them talk on till they have done. But if you do want to answer them, do it humbly by saying, “Well, you may be right, and I may be mistaken; but yet I think I can say, ‘One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.’” And I have known, them sometimes go to the length of saying, if we don’t hold all their points of doctrine, and go the whole eighteen ounces to the pound, as they do, — if we are content with sixteen, and keep to God’s weights and God’s measures, — “Ah! those people cannot be truly converted Christians, they are not so high in doctrine as we are.” Well, we can answer them with this, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” And you young Christians sometimes meet with older believers, very good people too, but very wise, and they will put you into their sieves. Some of our brethren always carry a sieve with them; and if they meet a young brother, they will try to sift him, and they will often do it very unkindly, — ask him knotty questions. I always compare this to a man’s trying a newborn child’s health by putting nuts into his mouth, and if he cannot crack them, saying, “He is not healthy.” Well, I have known very difficult questions asked about such things as sublapsarianism, or supralapsarianism, or about the exact difference between justification and Sanctification, or something of that sort. Now, I advise you to get all that sort of knowledge you can; but, putting all of it together, it is not nearly equal in value to this small bit of knowledge, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” Many and many an old Puritanic book have I studied, and tried to enrich my mind with the far-sought lore of the writers of them; but I tell you there are times when I would give up everything I have ever learnt, by nights and days of study, if I could but say for a certainty, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” And even now, though I have no doubt about my own acceptance in Christ, and my having been brought to see, yet, compared with this piece of knowledge, I do count all the excellency of human knowledge, — ay, and all the rest of divine knowledge, too, — to be but dross and dung, for this is the one thing needful, the one soul-saving piece of knowledge, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
My dear hearer, do you see a beauty in Christ? Do you see a loveliness in the gospel? Do you perceive an excellence in God your Father? Can you read your title clear to mansions in the skies? You could not do this once. Once, you were a stranger to these things; your soul was dark as the darkest night without a star, without a ray of knowledge or of comfort; but now you see. Seek after more knowledge; but, still, if you cannot attain it, and if you tremble because you cannot grow as you would, remember this is enough to know for all practical purposes, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
III. We will again change our view of the subject. This is A MODEL CONFESSION OF FAITH.
This blind man did not do as some of you would have done. When he found his eyes, he did not use them to go and hunt out a quiet corner so that he might hide himself in it; but he came out boldly before his neighbours, and then before Christ’s enemies, and said, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” Why, there are some of you who, I hope, have grace in your heart, but you have not courage to confess it; you have not put on your regimentals. I suppose you call yourselves members of the Church Militant, but you are not dressed in the true scarlet; you do not come forward, and wear the Master’s badge, and openly fight under his banner. I think it is very unkind of you, and very dishonouring to your Master. There are not many who speak for him, and it is a shame that you should hold your tongue. If he has given you eyes, I am sure you ought to give him your tongue. If he has taught you to see things in a new light, I am sure you ought not to be unwilling to confess him before men. After so much kindness in the past, it is cruel ingratitude to be ashamed to confess him. You do not know how much you would comfort the minister. Converts are our sheaves, and you, who are not added to the church, do as it were rob us of our reward. No doubt you will be gathered into God’s garner, but then we do not know anything about that; we want to see you gathered into God’s garner here; we want to hear you boldly say, “Whereas I was blind, now I see.”
You cannot tell, besides, how much good you might do to others. Your example would move your neighbours, your confession would be valuable to saints, and might be a help to sinners. Your taking the decisive step might lead others to take it. Your example might be just the last grain cast into the scale, and might lead others to decide for the Lord. I am ashamed of you, who were once blind, yet now see, but do not like to say so. I pray you lay the matter to heart; and, ere long, come out, and say, “Yes, I cannot withhold it any longer. Whereas I was once blind, now I see.”
“Well,” says one, “I have often thought of joining the church, but I can't be perfect.” Now this man did not say, “I was once imperfect, and now I am perfect.” Oh, no! If you were perfect, we would not receive you into church-fellowship; because we are all imperfect ourselves, and we should fall out with you if we did take you in. We don’t want those perfect gentlemen; let them go to heaven; that is the place for perfect ones, not here.
“Well,” says someone else, “I have not grown in religion as I should like to do; I am afraid I am not as saintly as I would desire to be.” Well, brother, stove after a high degree of holiness, but remember that a high degree of holiness is not necessary to a profession of your faith. You are to make a profession as soon as you have any holiness, and the high degree of it is to come afterwards.
“Ah!” says another, “but I could not say much.” Nobody asked you to say much. If you can say, “Whereas I was blind, now I see,” that is all we want. If you can but let- us know that there is a change in you, that you are a new man, that you see things in a different light, that what was once your joy is now your sorrow, and what was once a sorrow to you is now your joy, — if you can say, “All things have become new;” if you can say, “I feel a new life heaving within my bosom; there is a new light shining in my eyes. I go to God’s house now in a different spirit. I read the Bible, and engage in private prayer, after quite a different fashion. And I hope my life is different, I hope my language is not what it used to be. I try to curb my temper. I do endeavour to provide things honest in the sight of all men. My nature is different; I could no more live in sin as I once did than a fish could live on dry land, or a man could live in the depths of the sea,” — this is what we want of you.
Suppose now a person getting up in the church-meeting, (and there are scores and hundreds here who attend church-meetings,) and saying, “Brethren, I come to unite with you. I know the Greek Testament; I have also read a good deal in Latin; I understand the Vulgate; I can now, if you please, give you the 1st chapter of Mark in Greek, or the 2nd chapter of Exodus in Hebrew, if you like. I have also, from my youth up, given myself to the study of the natural and applied sciences. I think I am master of rhetoric, and I am able to reason logically.” Suppose he went on then to say what he knew about business, what a skilful tradesman he had been; and after going through that should say, “I have a great deal of theological knowledge; I have read the Fathers; I have studied Augustine; I could talk about all the ponderous tomes that were written in the ancient times; I am acquainted with all the writers on the Reformation, and I have studied the Puritans through and through; I know the points of difference between the great Reformed teachers, and I know the distinction between Zwingle and Calvin,” — I am sure, dear friends, if a man were to say all that, before I put it to the vote whether he should be admitted to church-membership, I should say, “This dear brother has not any idea of what he came here for. He came here to make a confession that he was a living man in Christ Jesus, and he has been only trying to prove to us that he is a learned man. That is not what we want;” and I should begin to put to him some pointed questions, something like this, “Did you ever feel yourself a sinner? Did you ever feel that Christ was a precious Saviour, and are you putting your trust in him?” and you would some of you say, “Why, that's just what he asked poor Mary, the servant girl, when she was in the meeting five minutes ago!” All that learned lumber is good enough in its place; I do not depreciate it; I wish you were all scholars; I love to see you great servants in the Master’s cause; but the whole of that put together is not worth a straw, compared with this, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” And this is all we ask of you; we only ask you, if you wish to join the church, to be able to confess that you are a changed character, that you are a new man, that you are willing to be obedient to Christ and to his ordinances, and then we are only too glad to receive you into our midst. Come out, come out, I pray you, ye that are hiding among the trees of the wood, come forth. Whosoever is on the Lord’s side, let him come forth. It is a day of blasphemy and rebuke. He that is not with Christ is against him, and he that gathereth not with him scattereth abroad. Come forth, come forth, ye that have any spark of love for God, or else this shall be your doom, “Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”
IV. And now, to conclude, my text may be used in a further way; for it sets before us A VERY CLEAR AND MANIFEST DISTINCTION.
You cannot every one of you say, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” My hearers, solemnly, as in the sight of God, I speak to you; lend me your ears, and may these few words of truth sink into your hearts! Are there not some of you who cannot even say, “I was blind”? You do not know your own blindness; you have the conceit to imagine that you are as good as most people, and that if you have some faults, yet certainly you are not irretrievably lost. You have no idea that you are depraved, utterly depraved, saturated through and through, and rotten at the core. If I were to describe you in Scriptural language, and say, “Thou art the man,” you would be shocked at me for giving you so bad a character. You are amiable, your outward carriage has always been decorous, you have been generous and benevolent, and, therefore, you think there is no need for you to be born again, — no necessity for you to repent of sin. You think that the gospel is very suitable for those who have gone into foul, open sin; but you are too good rather than too bad! O my hearers, you are stone-blind, and the proof that you are so is this, that you do not know your blindness! A man who is born blind does not know what it is to lose sight; the bright beams of the sun never made glad his heart, and, therefore, he does not know his misery. And such is your state. You do not understand what it is that you have lost; what it is that you need. I pray God to do for you what you cannot do for yourselves, — make you feel now, once for all, that you are blind. There is hope for the man who knows his blindness, — there is some light in the man who says he is all darkness, — there is some good thing in the man who says he is all foul. If you can say, —
“Vile and full of sin I am,” —
God has begun a good work in you. You know that, when the leper was afflicted with leprosy from head to foot, the priest looked at him, and, if there was a single spot where there was no leprosy, he was unclean; but the moment the leprosy covered him everywhere, then he was made clean; and so you, if you know your sin so as to feel your utterly ruined, lost estate, God has begun a good work in you; and he will put away your sin, and save your soul, Alas! there are many who do not know that they are blind.
And yet I know, to my sorrow, there are many of you who know that you are blind, but you don’t see yet. I hope you may, — I hope you may. To know your blindness is well, but it is not enough. It would be a dreadful thing for you to go from an awakened conscience on earth to a tormenting conscience in hell. There have been some, who have begun to find out that they are lost here, and then have discovered that they are lost hereafter as well. I pray you, do not tarry long in this state. If God hath convinced you of sin, I pray you do not linger. I prayed to-night that the Lord would save us, and he is waiting now. The way of salvation —oh, how many times I have preached this ! and how many times more will it be necessary to tell you over and over again the same thing? — the way of salvation is simply this, trust Christ, and you are saved; just as you are, rely upon him, and you are saved. With no other dependence, with no other shadow of a hope, sinner, venture on him, venture wholly, venture now. I hear the wheels of the Judge’s chariot behind thee. He comes! He comes! He comes! Fly, sinner, fly! I see God’s bow in his awful hand, and he has drawn the arrow to its very head. Fly, sinner! Fly! while yet the wounds of Christ stand open; hide thyself there as in the cleft of the Rock of Ages. Thou hast not a lease of thy life, thou canst not tell that thou shalt ever see another Sabbath-day to spend in pleasure; no more warnings may ever ring in your ears. Perhaps you will never have even another week-day to spend in drunkenness and blasphemy. Sinner, turn! God puts this alternative before some of you to-night, — turn or burn. “Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” One of the two it must be, — die or turn. Believe in Christ, or perish with a great destruction. “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” And you who are aroused and convinced to-night, I pray you to trust Christ, and live. The whole matter is very simple, “Whereas I was blind, now I see.” Dost thou to-night see that Christ, can save thee? Dost thou believe that he will save thee if thou wilt trust him? Then trust him, and you are saved. The moment you believe, you are saved, whether you feel the comfort of it or not; — ay, and the thought arising from the full belief that you are saved will yield you the comfort which you will never find elsewhere. Have I trust in Christ, O my soul? Thou knowest, O Lord, I have; thou knowest I have.
“Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on thee.”
It is written, “He that believeth on him is not condemned.” Then I am not condemned. Perhaps I feel at this present moment no joy, but then the thought that I am not condemned will also make me feel joy by-and-by; yet I must not build on my joy, I must not build on my feelings, but simply on this, that God has said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” I, believing in Christ, am saved. And that is true of you also, — you in the aisle over yonder; you by that door there, and you behind me here; it is true of every man, woman, or child in this place who has now come to put trust in Christ; it is true of the man in the smock frock, who did not intend to come here to-night, but who, seeing the people, strolled in, and who has been saying in his heart, “I will believe; I will trust Christ too.” Well, then, you are saved, your sin is blotted out, your iniquity is forgiven, you are a child of God, the Lord accepts you, — if you have really trusted Christ, — you are an heir of heaven. Go and sin no more; go and rejoice in pardoning love; and God bless you, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.