THE HEIR OF HELL WALKING IN LIGHT
By J.C. Philpot
“Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” [Isaiah 50:11]
But we now have to draw a different picture, the fearful picture of an HEIR OF HELL WALKING IN LIGHT. Our materials for this sketch (for, of a character so various, so intricate. So ever-changing, so branching out into a thousand shapes and a million hues. Our description can only be a very feeble sketch) must be drawn from three sources: (1) From Scripture. (2) From observation of others.(3) From what I know of the deceitful workings and delusions of my own heart.
To some who know neither their own deceitfulness and hypocrisy, nor the awful delusions of the devil as an angel of light, I may appear harsh, bitter, severe, bigoted, narrow-minded, and to deserve every other term of reproach which self-seekers and flesh-pleasers heap upon those who fearlessly hunt out their refuge of lies. To preach the gospel in our days is to preach to PLEASE EVERYBODY AND OFFEND NOBODY, to starve the children, and feed the bastards, to beat the heir, and caress the dog, to call the children of God antinomians, and to call empty formalists decided Christians; to style opening up Satin’s delusions “preaching in a bad spirit;” and wrapping up hypocrites, impostors, Pharisees, and self-deceivers in their delusions, “not preaching in the spirit of the gospel.” This turning of things upside down, this calling good evil and evil good, and putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, may God ever keep me from, and may He enable me to speak boldly and faithfully, whether men will hear or forbear, that by manifestation of the truth I may commend myself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
I called your attention in the beginning of this discourse to the different form of the address to the heir of heaven and the heirs of hell. The first, I observed, was singled out by the hand of God as a solitary individual out of a numerous company by the expression, “Who is there among you?” etc.; whilst the latter were stamped as an immense troop by the differently worded phrase, “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire,” etc. The road to heaven is “strait and narrow, and few there be that find it;” whilst “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13-14). Thus the heir of heaven is represented as a solitary traveller, a lonely pilgrim, journeying on amidst darkness and sorrow; but the heirs of hell as a merry troop, with their blood boiling high with confidence, and their spirits undismayed with fear.
The blessed Spirit, then, calls our attention by the expression, “Behold!” “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire,” etc. Usually, I believe, whenever we find the word “Behold!” or the similar word “Lo!” prefixed to a passage of Scripture, it introduces something that is weighty and important. If a man says to us, “Look here or there!” we, of course, expect there is something strange, something worth seeing, something not of everyday occurrence. And thus the blessed Spirit seems in the text to call our attention to a strange sight, to something we should not expect to see, and which we might not observe, unless our notice was especially directed to it. And what is this strange sight, this spectacle, to which the Holy Ghost calls our particular attention? It is to “a generation pure in their own eyes, and yet not washed from their filthiness”(Prov. 30:12).
I may very simply arrange all that is said of the heirs of hell in the text under two heads: (1) Their conduct. (2) Their sentence.
1. Their Conduct
We will consider, then, as God shall enable us, their CONDUCT first, that we may understand their crime before we hear their sentence. The catalogue of their offences is a very short, but it is a very black one. The sum total of their crimes is stated in a few words, but it is heavy enough to sink them down into hell. To give their complicated offences a single name, we will call it “HIGH TREASON AGAINST JEHOVAH;” this is to say, high treason, first, against God the Father, in presuming to call themselves His children, when He has never elected them. Secondly, against God the Son, in calling Him their Saviour, when He never redeemed them. Thirdly, against God the Holy Ghost, in walking in a light which He has not kindled, and resting in a confidence which He has not inspired.
The charge against them consists of two heads-the bill of indictment, so to speak, contains two counts: First, that “they kindle a fire.” Secondly, that “they compass themselves about with sparks.” The one is the origin of their crime, the other the continuation; the first is the bud, the second the fruit. The first accusation is, that “lust conceives and bringeth forth sin;” the second accusation is, “sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Let us trace up their crimes then to the fountainhead. They “kindle a fire.”‘This implies their taking hold of religion without religion taking hold of them; that they come to the law without the law coming with power to them. But here ties the core of their offence, this is the turning point of their case, that they take up a counterfeit religion and call it the true one; that they kindle a false fire. and say that it came down from heaven. It would be a crime if the forgers of money were to coin gold and silver into sovereigns and shillings. It would be “an iniquity to be punished by the judge,” to be guilty of such daring presumption as to stamp the king’s head and superscription on coin that never came out of his mint. But to coin the king’s head upon lead and copper, to gild or plate over these base imitations, so as to represent the gold and silver coins of the realm, to utter and pass them off as genuine, in order to defraud honest men, this multiplies the offence a hundred-fold. According to the ancient laws of this land, therefore, the crime of forgery is high treason, and the punishment death. Apply this to the crime of false professors. If it were possible for these forgers to procure for themselves the right religion, which they can never do, for God keeps that in His own hands, they would still be guilty of the most awful presumption in calling their religion the religion of God. But when, as is the true state of the case, their religion is nothing but a base counter-felt, nothing but, “a potsherd covered with silver dross” (Pro. 26:23), it multiplies the offence a thousand-fold. Let us, however, enter more clearly into their case, that Scripture may be fulfilled: “Reprobate silver shall men call them, for the Lord hath rejected them,” and again, “Whose hatred is covered with deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation.” But as examples are more striking than mere assertions, and as it is better to describe living characters than hint a little here and a little there, which hints the right persons are never sure to take, I will, with God’s help, try to sketch out a few likenesses, who may, if they have a mind, see their faces in the looking-glass which I shall hold up before their eyes.
I might point then, first, if I were minded so to waste my breath and your time, to the heathen, the Jew, the Roman Catholic, and the Socinian, as all instances of men who “kindle a fire, and compass themselves about with sparks,” and shall at last “lie down in sorrow.” But I am not fond of shooting my arrows where they are not likely to hit, and prefer coming a tittle closer home. To preach so is to beat the air, and imitate the high-church ministers of the Establishment, who are wonderfully severe against the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, and the Papists and the Unitarians of present times, and know not that they themselves equal the Pharisee for self-righteousness, the Sadducee for unbelief, the Roman Catholic for superstitious ceremonies, and the Socinian for hatred and contempt of the doctrines of grace and the mysteries of vital godliness.
We will leave, then, such false religions as Popery and Socinianism to the righteous -judgment of God, who says of all such delusions: “Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up amongst My treasures? To Me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time” (Deut. 32:34-35). Let us rather pass on to such delusions as occur daily before our eyes. And I know not with whom we had better begin than the corrupt ministers of a carnal establishment. These take high ground, and put themselves forward as the only successors of the apostles, as the only ministers of Christ, the only stewards of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. I once heard a minister of this stamp declare, in a sermon preached at Oxford before the Bishop and his assembled clergy, that there was no hope of salvation whatever for any man who wilfully separated or dissented from the Church of England. And this is, I believe, the received opinion amongst such clerical bigots. But what is all their religion made up of from the first to last? It is nothing else but a tissue of forms and ceremonies of man’s invention. This is the fire which they have kindled, and these are the sparks with which they compass themselves. Their boast, for instance, that they receive their ministry in a direct line from the apostles, what is it but a spark of fire which they have kindled to warm themselves into a persuasion that they are the true ministers of Christ?
The road to The distinguishing mark of all false religion is, that It commences with man and not with God. “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire,” etc. So Aaron made the golden calf, so Nadab and Abihu offered false fire, so Korah, Dathan and Abiram took each man his censer, so Balak built seven altars and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar, so Gideon made an ephod in Ophrah, so Micah had a Levite for his priest, so Saul offered the burnt-offering Jeroboam set up the calves in Bethel, and the women wept for Timmuz at the door of the Lord’s house (Ezek. 8:14).
Every form or system, therefore, which is based upon FREEWILL and the power of the creature is stamped at once as false fire. But where shall we find the power of the creature more daringly asserted than amongst the Ranters and Wesleyan Methodists! Their creed is, that man can turn to God of himself, can make himself a new heart, can come to Christ, can believe, hope, and love of his own free-will, and by the exercise of that natural strength which they assert that all men possess. Thus, free-will kindles a fire and presumption blows up the coals. So that all their religion, so far as it is the work of the creature, is nothing but a counterfeit of the work of the Holy Ghost in the hearts of the elect. Natural belief supplies with them the place of supernatural faith creature confidence the place of divine assurance, cob-web hopes the place of a good hope through grace, fleshly convictions the place of godly sorrow, noise in prayer the place of the Spirit of supplications, and groans and shouts of “Amen” and “Lord, hear.” the place of communion with God. Shouting to the top of the voice is with them preaching with power, singing hymns to ballad tunes is praising God, free-will exhortations to dead sinners is preaching the gospel, working a reformation in the life is conversion to Christ, fiery zeal against the doctrines of grace is earnestness ‘in the cause of God, and going out of the world with a seared conscience is dying triumphantly in the full assurance of faith.
I once visited one of their converts, who was proclaimed all over the country as triumphing over death. He certainly had no fears of dying; but when I began to sound the foundation of his hope, I found him ignorant of himself, ignorant of the curse of the law, ignorant that he deserved to be sent to hell; and therefore, though he talked about Jesus Christ, he was yet ignorant of the blood of sprinkling and the revelation of a justifying righteousness.
Like all self-deceivers, he could not bear the probe. but after a few questions, turned away from me and returned no answer. Thus they begin in delusion, are trained up in it, and mostly die in it. The weekly confessional of the class-meeting kindles the fire of hypocrisy, each member not wishing to be behind another in experience. The love-feast, the watch night, by the excitement of lights, late hours and singing, the bawling of the preacher, and the groans and A mens of the hearers, kindle a fire which passes off for the love of God. The impassioned rant of a preacher, calling upon the wicked to turn to God, lights up a spark of natural feeling which they gladly seize as the meltings of the blessed Spirit. Zeal for John Wesley, or the cause of the Primitive Methodists, raises a fire within which blazed forth in the support of new chapels, local preachers, Arminian writings, and a thorough hatred of unconditional election, particular redemption, and imputed righteousness.
I remarked that false religion took a thousand different shapes and colors, and therefore we need not wonder if it sometimes clothes itself in a form the direct opposite to Arminianism. It matters little to Satan how the fire is lighted up, so long as the hand of God does not kindle it. DEAD CALVINISM is as good a kind of fuel with which to light up the flame of false religion as the rotten sticks of free-will and creature merit. Thus, a sound creed kindles the flame of pride over those whose judgments are not so well informed-, notions in the head light up the sparks of presumption; election floating in the brain sets on fire a false confidence; distinguishing mercy, received as a doctrine in the head and not felt as a truth in the soul, blows up the coals of arrogance; and sovereign grace itself, learned in a mechanical way like the lesson of a parrot, instead of melting the heart with flames of divine love, only hardens it like a piece of clay into stone.
Now all these dead Calvinists, these bastards and not sons, these children of the bond-woman and not the children of the free, however they may differ in their creed from the Arminians, resemble them in this-that they kindle a fire. It is not God that gives them either light or heat. They teach themselves the doctrines of grace, and do not receive them from heaven; and believe in election, particular redemption, imputed righteousness and final perseverance, not because any one of these truths has been sealed upon their hearts, but because they read of them in the Bible or hear them from the pulpit.
These, then, “kindle a fire,” for I am sure if God had kindled one in their hearts, and “shut it up in their bones” (Jer. 20:9), it would soon burn them out of a carnal establishment. “The Articles of our venerable Establishment, our incomparable Liturgy, the wisdom and piety of the Reformers, the apostolic succession Bishops, the admirable mean between Popery on the one hand and enthusiasm on the other, the eminent men that have been ministers in the Church of England, the judicious Hooker, the holy Leighton, the spiritual Hervey, the evangelical Romaine, the sound Scott, the pious Newton”-who has not heard all these sparks rushing from the fire kindled and blown up by the mouth of evangelical preachers? These are the sparks at which they warm themselves, when any damp, chilling convictions of the badness of their cause arise in their minds; and with the same embers do they kindle a fire in the bosoms of their hearers. But who that has a spark of spiritual light does not see that all these pleas and excuses are a false fire, and that the question at the last day will be, not whether Newton, Romaine, or Hawker remained in a carnal system, but what warrant had their apologists to do evil that good might come, or refer to the example of men instead of the standard of truth given by the ever-living God?
But I should omit a large section of fire-kindlers if I did not take notice of another class of religious professors, namely, the General Dissenters. These call themselves Calvinists, but are really Arminians, profess free grace, but actually are advocates for freewill. Sunk in carnality, buried in worldliness, steeped up to the lips in an empty profession, destitute of the life of God, these do indeed require the tinder-box of nature, the flint and steel of human exertion to procure some sparks of false fire. The Sunday morning prayer of the dead minister, furnished with overflowing supply of choice words and elegant phrases, and set off with a handsome gown and bands, easy action, soft manners, and a gold ring on each little finger, has a wondrous efficacy in lighting up the fire of natural religion which the busy week has well nigh quenched.
The spark being thus kindled, the nicely divided sermon proceeds to blow up the reviving embers by a lecture on the duty of believing, well seasoned with thunders from Mount Sinai, warnings against Antinomianism, and cautions against enthusiasm, and thoroughly spiced with human arguments, academic eloquence, appeals to reason, and quotations from authors. The drowsy prayer meeting, the monthly ordinance, the weekly lecture, the daily chapter, the formal family prayer, the legal author, the religious chit-chat, picked up by gossiping from house to house-all serve to blow up the dying spark of natural religion; and where these fail, aid is borrowed from the excitement of politics and the spirit of party, or burning zeal against what are called high doctrines, and the narrow-minded bigots that hold them. Thus a burning-glass is never wanting to kindle a fire, and bellows are always at hand to blow up the flame.
Now all these characters, however in other respects they differ, yet resemble each other in this particular, that they begin with God instead of God’s beginning with them. Thus their religion is not of heaven, but of earth; not the work of the Holy Ghost, but the hard labor of the creature; not the fruit of free grace, but the offspring of free-will; not a heavenly principle born of God, but a spurious imitation, born of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man.
But the characters we are describing are not only said to kindle a fire, but “to compass themselves also about with sparks.” These sparks, of course, rise from the same fire which they have kindled, and come out of the flame when blown up to its due height. With these sparks they are said “to compass,” that is, to surround themselves. Thus they stand in the midst of the flame, and the sparks that fly out of the fire on every side completely encircle them. But what is the effect of this fiery circle with which they are surrounded? It, of course, cuts off all view of everything beyond it. The sparks that fly up in every direction as the fire is blown, allow the kindlers of it to see nothing but the flame from which they proceed; and in proportion as the fuel bums and the sparks fly, does the blazing pile throw everything into darkness but itself and those on whom it glares.
Thus, all false religion, just in proportion as it seizes hold of the mind, blinds it to the truth, fills it with prejudice, sears the conscience, hardens the heart, inflames it with party zeal, and makes every faculty boil over with hatred, fury and bigotry against all that see not as it sees, and act not as it acts. Zeal for the false religion of the Church of Rome kindled the Smithfield fires in the days of bloody Mary, and zeal for the Church of England now inflames almost as violently the hearts of thousands against Dissenters. Zeal for the doctrines of Methodism warms some, zeal for moderate Calvinism, as it is termed, fires others. Each false sect has its own bonfire, and the light which comes from it, each is fully persuaded is the blaze of heavenly truth. ‘Me heat which is thrown out as the sparks fly upward increases the delusion by supplying a false warmth, a fiery zeal to put into action the erroneous persuasions which the light has kindled in the mind.
So that herein lies the counterfeit whereby false religion imitates the true. In true religion there is light to see and warmth to feel. In false religion there are just the same two properties. Does God cast a light into the hearts of the heirs of heaven? So does Satan cast a light into the heads of the heirs of hell. Does God communicate warmth, together with light, to make the hearts of His people bum within them? So does Satan, by the sparks of natural religion, ‘inflame ‘into bigotry, heat and zeal, the carnal minds of his children. Does the one see? So does the other. Does the one act from feeling? So does the other. Is the one convicted of truth? So is the other equally convinced of error. And does the one act from a desire to please God? So does the other think that by persecuting the saints he does God service. Thus, the more conscientious a man is, the greater enemy will he be to the Church of Christ if he compass himself about with sparks of false fire. The more that he acts from principle, the more determined will be his attacks; and the more that he is heated with false zeal, the more violent will be his opposition to the truth of God. Thus professors are far more bitter against the children of God than the profane; and those who have a false religion are much more violent against the truth than those who have no religion at all. Priests, therefore, have always been the greatest enemies of true religion in every age; and its greatest foes now are the corrupt priests in the Establishment and the false priests amongst the Dissenters.
2. Their Sentence
I said that I should consider, first, the conduct of the heirs of hell, and then their SENTENCE. Their sentence, then, as pronounced by the mouth of God in the text, is twofold. The first part is contained in the words. “Walk ye in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled.” To be given up to judicial blindness is one of the most awful sentences that can issue from the mouth of God. And such is the first part of the punishment awarded against those who kindle a fire, and compass themselves about with sparks. It is as though the mouth of the Judge of the whole earth spoke to them thus: “You have chosen to deceive yourselves; I will not undeceive you. You have kindled a false fire; I will not extinguish it that I may give you the true one. No. Walk in the light of your fire. Enjoy your false confidence, rest securely on your delusive hopes, foster your presumptuous faith, comfort yourselves with your rites, forms, and ceremonies, and be fully persuaded of the truth of your false doctrine. ‘I also will choose your delusions’ (Isa. 66:4). Thus go on to fill up the measure of your iniquities, to call evil good and good evil, and to put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, until you have neither eyes to see the one, nor taste to discern the other.”
This, then, is the sentence of God against those heirs of wrath who are wrapped up in the delusions of false religion. And as is the sentence, so is the execution. The effects we see every day passing before our eyes, and taking place in well-nigh all the churches and chapels of the land. Thus the professor of natural religion walks in the light which he himself has kindled. Divine wrath in his soul against sin and the curse of the law in his conscience have never roused him from his dream of creature merit and fleshly righteousness. Carnal security holds him fast in her iron arms. Vain confidence has drugged him asleep with her opium dose. Neither guilt nor terror, doubt nor fear, ever disturbs his repose. Like the Dead Sea, there is in him the utter absence of life and motion. Pleased with himself, and charmed, like a youthful beauty, with the reflection of his own face, he glides securely on through life without cutting conviction, one piercing thought, one staggering doubt whether he be going to heaven. Or if such doubts should for a moment arise, the consistency of his past life, his attention to what he calls “the duties of religion,” his kindness to the poor, and a thousand other such friendly suggestions, rise up in a body to expel the intruding doubt from his mind. He is cheerful, as having no trouble nor sorrow, and that is christened by the name of “cheerful piety.” He is good tempered, and that is called “Christian meekness.” He is friendly to all, and that is named “the spirit of a true Christian.” He attends church or chapel, kneels at the sacrament, or sits at the ordinance, and that is considered “the essence Of religion.” He has no doubt of his state, and that is called “enjoying a full assurance.” He is liberal to the poor, and that is termed “love to Christ,” He condemns nobody. and thinks well of everybody, and that is considered “walking in the spirit of the gospel.” He reads the Bible much, and religious authors more, and that is called being “a most advanced Christian.” He remembers texts and sermons for half a century back, and by repeating them continually passes Current as “a most established believer.”
Thus all these sparks of natural virtue and fleshly religion furnish light and heat by which he walks, and at which he warms himself. “He is not in trouble as other men”–that is, Christ’s men-“neither is he plagued like other men” (Ps. 73:5). He never feels cold, for his fire always burns; nor dark, for his sparks always give light. He never mourns, for he feels no sins to mourn for; nor is burdened with guilt, because his conscience was never made tender. He never grieves for the absence of God, because he has never felt His presence; nor cries that he may know Christ, for he thinks that he knows Him enough already. He never groans beneath temptation, because he has no new principle within to feel its load. The devil does not harass him, for he has him safe already; nor do the terrors of the Lord alarm him, for God has given him up to judicial blindness. Thus surrounded with prosperity, and furnished with more than heart can wish, “his house is safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon him; he sends forth his little ones like a flock, and his children dance; he takes the timbrel and harp, and rejoices at the sound of the organ” (Job 21:9-12).
But there is a second part of their sentence which remains to he considered: “This shall ye have of Mine hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Of this sentence part is executed in this life, but sometimes its whole weight is deferred until the life to come. Thus, in some cases, the delusion which is spread over the heart is rent asunder on a dying pillow. The flattery of professors, the self-deceit of the heart, the delusions of Satan, all which had buoyed up the soul with empty hopes, vanish into air at the approach of the king of terrors. One flash of eternal fire in the conscience dissolves the dream into which he had been cheated. The sparks of Tophet ordained of old, which the breath of the Lord like a stream of brimstone doth kindle” (Isa. 30:33), bum up the wood, hay and stubble accumulated for years. The reality of death, the certainty of eternity, the stern justice of God, the impossibility of escape, the recollection of the past, the terror of the future, the clamor of a guilty conscience, rush in like a flood, and sweep away into despair all the refuge of lies so long sheltered in. Free-will snaps asunder, “as the thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire” (Judges 16:9); human merit disappears, “as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney” (Hos. 13:3); natural faith withers away “as the streams of brooks when it is hot are consumed out of their place” (Job 6:17)-, and despair swallows up vain hopes, as “drought and heat consume the snow waters.”
He who thought that he was a great Christian now finds that he is no Christian at all. He who fondly imagined himself on the road to heaven, finds himself suddenly at the gates of hell. And now he learns that these doctrines are true which he either denied or held in unrighteousness. The iron gates of election, the deep impassable gulf of God’s decrees, the brazen bars of that reprobation which lie once disbelieved and fought against, but which is now borne witness to by his gnawing conscience, the irreversible purpose of Jehovah “to have mercy on whom He will have mercy,” and on them alone-all, all shut out hope, and drive the soul down fathoms deep into the agony of despair. “God now laughs at his calamity, and mocks when his fear cometh” (Prov. 1:26). He calls upon the Lord, but “He answers him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets” (I Sam.28:6). Thus, “he is brought into desolation as in a moment, and is utterly consumed with terrors” (Ps 73:19). So it was with Ahithophel, with whom David once took sweet counsel, and walked to the house of God ‘in company, who “when his counsel was not followed, gat him home to his house and hanged himself’ (2 Sam.17:23).So it was with Saul, when the Lord departed from him and became his enemy (I Sam. 28:16), and “he took a sword and fell upon it” (I Sam. 31:4). So it was with Judas, when he hanged himself in an agony of despair, and falling headlong his bowels gushed out. So it was with Francis Spira, at the time of the Reformation; and so have I known it myself in the death-bed of several professors.
But it is not always in this life that God executes this sentence, “Ye shall lie down in sorrow,” against the heirs of hell. On the contrary, in the majority of cases, the criminal is respited and the execution of the sentence deferred. This so stumbled Asaph, and made his steps well nigh to slip, that he saw the ungodly not only prospered in the world and increased in riches, but that even when they came to die, “there were no bands [that is, terrors in their death,” but even in that solemn hour that “their strength was firm.” And thus it is continually now. Hundreds of professors die like lambs, whose everlasting portion will be amongst the goats.
“Our departed friend” (says a paragraph in some religious periodical) “could not boast of great manifestations. He was indeed on principle opposed to those death-bed displays of which some think so highly. But he was a consistent character, an affectionate father, a kind husband, a warm supporter of the church,” or “a steady friend to dissent,” as the case may be, “and he is doubtless gone to his reward.” “So they wrap it up” (Micah 7:3). When the real state of the case is that he began ‘in delusion, continued in it, and died in it. The veil was not rent off his heart until the invisible state disclosed to him for the first time the awful reality that he had died with a lie in his right hand. Still the sentence is true, and executed to the letter, though deferred for a while. “This they have at God’s hand, they lie down in sorrow:” if not on a bed of death, on the flaming pillows of eternal fire.
But none of the heirs of heaven shall lie down in sorrow. There may be gloom, doubts, and fears for a time on a death-bed, mid if there has been a previous manifestation of pardoning love and the inward revelation of Jesus, there may not be triumphant joy, but there will be a hope that anchors within the veil, a faith that rests on the finished work of the Saviour, and a love that goes out after God. “The end of the upright is peace;” “they rest on their beds,” “have hope in their death” (Prov. 14:32), and find the rod and the staff of God to comfort them as they walk through the dark valley.
I have drawn two opposite characters their beginning, progress and end. Which are you? If an empty professor, unless grace prevent, your sentence is recorded, that you shall lie down in sorrow. If a living soul, though now you are walking in darkness, and have no light, you shall one day behold the face of God with joy.