Evening, December 30, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness?” — 2 Samuel 2:26
If, O my reader, you are merely a professor, and not a possessor of the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the following lines are a true picture of your end.
You are a respectable attendant at a place of worship; you go because others go, not because your heart is right with God. This is your beginning. I will suppose that for the next twenty or thirty years you will be spared to go on as you do now, professing religion by an outward attendance upon the methods of grace, but having no heart in the matter. Tread softly, for I must show you the deathbed of such a one as yourself. Let us gaze upon him gently. A clammy sweat is on his brow, and he wakes up crying, “O God, it is hard to die. Did you send for my minister?”
“Yes, he is coming.” The minister comes.
“Sir, I fear that I am dying!”
“Have you any hope?”
“I cannot say that I have. I fear to stand before my God; oh, pray for me!”
The prayer is offered for him with sincere earnestness, and the way of salvation is for the ten-thousandth time put before him, but before he has grasped the rope, I see him sink. I may as well put my finger upon those cold eyelids, for they will never see anything here again.
But where is the man, and where are the man’s true eyes? It is written, “In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.” Ah! Why did he not lift up his eyes before? Because he was so accustomed to hear the gospel that his soul slept as it was preached. Alas! If you should lift up your eyes there, how bitter will be your wailings. Let the Savior’s own words reveal the anguish: “Father Abraham, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” There is a frightful meaning in those words. May you never have to spell it out by the red fire of Jehovah’s wrath!