The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
W. H. Jordan
Take from the book, The Baptist Pulpit of the United States, 1860, Joseph Belcher, Ed.
There is a necessity for the destruction of those who reject the gospel, resulting from the moral character of such persons. There is no fitness in them for the enjoyment of heaven. They are fit only for destruction. What employment will they find in heaven adapted to their taste? The angels of God are engaged in studying the eternal and unsearchable mysteries of redemption. They are singing the praises of Jesus. The pillars of heaven are trembling, and its vault resounding, with the mighty song of the great congregation, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." Patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, are gathering around the throne, in joyful acclamation, to put the crown upon the head of Him who has been despised, rejected, and crucified by the gospel-slighter.
He cannot lift his song; he cannot bend his knee amid that glorious multitude. He does not love the Saviour. The guilt of his blood is upon his soul. Where will he find society? If he go to Abraham, he has no heart for any other song than the praises of that Redeemer, even whose distant day gladdened his heart. If he turn to Moses, his face is shining with a brighter glory than on that eventful day when he returned from communion with God in the holy mount, as he now looks upon the face of Him of whom he once did write. The strains of seraphic animation and profound adoration, breaking from the harp of Paul, in the praises of Him who came into the world to save the chief of sinners' rebuke the hope of any companionship with him. He has already pronounced, with what he saw of the Redeemer's glory, even amid the impurities of this mortal state.
"If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed." Where will he seek repose for his guilty heart and his unblessed feet? Every place is fragrant with the love of Christ, resplendent with the beauties of holiness, and perfumed with the breath of the Lord. The unsullied flowers of paradise strike an awe upon his guilty soul, and remind him that this is no place for the enemy of God and the despiser of the Lamb. Where will he find companionship? Not until he sinks into that dark abyss, where are to be found, "weeping, and wailing and gnashing their teeth," the enemies of God and the despisers of Christ. Ah! little does the sinner know what he is doing, when he is rejecting a crucified Saviour. If there be such a thing as responsibility—if men be not above it as gods, or below it as brutes—the rejection of the gospel must involve a fearful responsibility.
But, after all, objects, perhaps, the unwilling sinner—seeking rather to justify himself in his sins than to be saved from them—it is severe, it is hard, it is unjust, to condemn a creature to eternal misery for the sins of this short life. Hard and severe I will acknowledge it to be. Such it will be found—to a degree of which, at present, we can form no adequate conception—by all who shall unhappily fall under so disastrous a doom. But that it is not unjust, I think, all that has been said is calculated to show.
Let it, furthermore, be asked, is the condemned criminal a proper judge, either of the nature of his crime, or the degree of its criminality? Sin, let it be remembered, consist', not so much in action as in principle. It needs not years for a man to prove whether he be a thief, a liar, a traitor, or a murderer. Let principle display itself in one single characteristic act, and his character is confessed, his doom pronounced. He is just then what, without an entire revolution in the moral elements of his character, he will forever be. By one single act—indeed, by one unholy thought—as well as by years of protracted profligacy, may 'a creature expose himself to eternal damnation.
This view agrees, too, with all the analogy with which we are conversant, By one false leap, may a man precipitate himself into a bottomless abyss. It requires not many—nor does the nature of the case admit of it—but by one false step, he falls from the greatest height to the lowest depth. Such has been the unhappy fall of man. Such the depth from which the Son of God came to rescue him.
As in the natural, so also in the moral aspect of the subject, we are supplied with analogy illustrative of the decisive character of a single act. Who would acknowledge any force in the complaints of the condemned criminal, with his hands bloody with the murder of his brother, and ready, when freed from their manacles, to repeat his crime, arguing the injustice of depriving him—for one single act—of his life, which can never be restored to him? What shall redeem lost character, or brighten tarnished reputation?—reputation lost by one foul, one damning act? How many, by one false, one fatal step, stamp upon their character indelible disgrace? It will be in vain to complain that it is hard. Such is the natural course of things. There is no remedy for it.
But, says the sinner, I cannot understand how men should deserve to be damned for the sins they commit in this world. What then? Is it, therefore, not true? Is the proposition to be admitted, that nothing is true—in physics, in morals, in religion—which men do not understand? Is our understanding the rule by which to ascertain the dimensions, the line by which to sound the depths of all truth.
Can we see no necessity, with our very limited faculties—blinded and depraved as they are by sin—for an infallible revelation, that we may both know and do our duty? Alas! how great is the folly—how great, too, the danger, rejecting the sure word of God—of betaking ourselves to the bewildering and delusive glare of human reason! God has mercifully given us a light, to which, if we take heed, we shall do well. If we neglect it, we shall stumble in darkness.
It only remains, my friends, that I press upon your minds the solemn subject of this discourse—the certain and just destruction of those who refuse submission to the gospel of Christ. If you reject "the glad tidings of great joy," the publication of peace and love from God to man—upon the authority of that Saviour who came to redeem you from hell, and who will judge us all in the last great day, you will be damned.
Oh! fearful doom of the impenitent sinner! Think of it now, before it is too late! Think of your souls! Think of the love and blood of Christ! Think of the terrors of an avenging God! What will become of the sinner, if he shall despise the grace of the gospel?
Soon will he be ripe for the sickle of avenging justice! Soon the Spirit of God will be gone, and all holy influence have forsaken him! The measure of his iniquity now full—the willing and fast-bound captive of the devil—he stands for a time to attract upon his guilty head the lightning of the Divine wrath! Miserable man! He has rejected Christ! Such is his awful doom! May God, of his infinite mercy, save us from such a guilt, and from such a doom. Amen.