G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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final consequences of refusal. " Neither is there salvation in any oth-
er ; for there is none other name under heaven given amongst men,
whereby we must be saved." Religion is not a choice between this
system and that system — between this savior and that savior ; but it
is the Lord Jesus Christ, or everlasting death — salvation in God's
way, or everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from
the glory of his power ; and the final consequences of refusal are dura-
ble as eternity. God has decreed, that that which a man sows he also
shall reap ; and that he who " sows to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap
corruption." Oh ! what a fearful harvest is that which the lost soul
will infallibly reap in hell ! — and that harvest shall still be " bringing
forth fruit unto death ;" so that through interminable ages the woe of the
lost shall only be begun. And all this for rejecting — what ? Not the
service of a tyrant, but of the ever-living God, All this for rejecting
— what ? Not the unreasonable demands of one who hates our spe-
cies, and scatters misery and death through his vast dominion, but of
one who loves sinners ; and so loveth them, as to give his only begot-
ten Son to suffer and to die for their redemption. If any thing can
add sharpness to the pains of hell, it must be the recollection that all
this is borne in consequence of such infatuation — in consequence of
such madness, as that which put away salvation, and refused eternal
life. There would be something tolerable in damnation itself, were the
hopeless sufferers doomed to it by a decree from which there was no
escape ; there would be some solace in the thought — " Well, whatever
I had done-'would have been in vain, for the gates of eternal life were
barred against my admission." But oh ! what will it be for the lost
soul to find that the " head and front of his offending " was this — he
■would not go to Christ, he would not have Christ to "reign over him ;"



EARLY DEDICATION TO GOD. 163

he deliberately put away eternal life, when God's own hands placed it
within his reach, and offered it for his acceptance.

4. In the fourth place, I would set before you some encouragements
to hope. From the observations which I have already addressed to
you, I would have you draw this conclusion, that your only chance of
salvation is in instantaneous submission to Christ. And it is not a
mere chance, it is a certainty ; for " God is faithful ;" — and the ac-
ceptance of the sinner depends on his faithfulness — "who will have
all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." The
awakened sinner, then, needs not go to the throne of God with a bare
perad venture as to the question of his acceptance ; he may be certain
that God will accept him. God is more willing to bless the penitent
than the penitent to receive his blessing — is more willing to clasp in
the everlasting arms of his mercy the prodigal, than the prodigal is to
leave the husks eaten by the swine, and throw himself at his Father's
feet. Wherever unwillingness may be found, there is no unwillingness
on the part of God. He is saying, " Turn ye, turn ye ; why will ve
die ? " And he is saying so to every unconverted hearer this evening.
He is saying so especially to the young, who have not yet given their
hearts to Christ, He is inviting them to do it now ; he is inviting them
from this very hour — from this very service, to say, each for himself,
" My Father, thou art the guide of my youth." And, my dear young
friends, what a kind father God will be ! It was my happiness, first
to bow before his throne with acceptance in my early days ; and the
only regret I have in relation to that matter, is, that I did not sooner
bow before him. Oh I if I can persuade the youngest child here, who
is capable of listening to this discourse, that Christ is waiting for him
— that God is waiting for him — that the Holy Spirit is waiting for
him, I shall not have labored in vain, or have spent my strength for
nought. I am persuaded there is a great mistake in the church of
God concerning the possibility of youthful piety and of youthful de-
votion. I am thoroughly persuaded, as the result of long experience,
that it is no mere proverb, no mere parable in which the psalmist says,
" Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength,
because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the
avenger." Many a Christian parent has overlooked the most valuable
part of early education, under the vain imagination that the time was
not come to lead the heart of his child to God. So soon as the child
is capable of understanding the outline of the gospel — so soon as the
child is capable of knowing what was meant when the Savior said,
" Suffer Httle children to come imto me, and forbid them not, for of
such is the kingdom of heaven " — so soon can conversion take place,



164 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

and so soon can conversion bring forth its appropriate fruits, and put
to shame " the enemy and the avenger." My dear Christian friends,
you who are parents, agonize with God for the salvation of every one
of your children, until " Christ be formed in them the hope of ever-
lasting glory." To be nursing " vessels of wrath fitted unto destruc-
tion," oh ! what a mournful task ! And yet this is what many a Chris-
tian parent is undoubtedly doing ; and doing, because he has never
aright regarded his responsibility, or the claims of Christ. The parent
should account every child that is given to his care, as coming from
God with this express declaration, " Take this child and nurse it for
me." Oh! for that care — for that piety — for that devotedness,
which shall make every Christian father and every Christian mother, a
father in Israel and a mother in Israel, rearing seed — godly seed —
for the church of God, and for his heavenly kingdom. It is marvel-
lous indeed — it is marvellous indeed, how indifferent some Christian
parents are to the religious condition of their offspring. I have some-
times been shocked, when on asking religious parents concerning their
children, they have replied, " We have no hope of them at present,
sir, but they are but young as yet." Oh ! the devil takes their hearts
in early days, and why should not Christ have them ? If they are old
enough to love the service of sin, and the pleasures of the world, they
are old enough to love the service of Christ, and to know the pleasures
of devotion. I know that some faint-hearted and timid Christians will
marvel at the agony and holy piety and devotedness which will lead
a Christian parent to mourn over his little one who as yet gives no signs
of a decided conversion. But why do the faint-hearted so censure ?
Simply because they believe not the facts of the case. No man would
censure for his intensity of feeling, no man would censure for the ut-
most extravagance of manner, the poor man who was standing in the
street while his house was in flames, and was watching the operations
of the firemen as they were raising their ladders to the topmost win-
dows, where his wife and children were all imploring help, and expect-
ing every moment of delay to be fatal, and to sink them into the yawn-
ing gulf beneath. Every heart would glow with sympathy, and eve-
ry hand would be stretched out to rescue the sufferers. But if a man
be indeed anguished because his A^ife and children are unconverted,
why is he censured ? Because mankind heed not the declarations of
God ; and therefore heed not the " lake which burns with fire and
brimstone." They are ready to give the man their sympathy, whose
wife and children are in danger of perishing in the flames, for they be-
lieve the fire will burn ; but they charge that man with enthusiasm who
feels, and deeply feels, the condition of his unconverted friends and



EAKLY DEDICATION TO GOD. 165

relations. But, my hearers, shall we care for the opinions of the
world ? The day is coming which will prove who are right and who
are wrong ; but until that period, as Christians who " know in whom
they have believed," by all that is sacred, by all that is glorious, by all
that is triumphant in the sacrifice and mediation of Christ, we are
bound to labor, and to labor to the utmost, for the salvation of souls.
But, to return. Let none go away from the sanctuary to-night, and
say, " I am no longer a child, and therefore the warning of the preach-
er did not apply to me ; I own that I am unconverted, but I am not a
youth, and therefore the invitation of mercy, as sounded in the text,
is not intended for my ear." My dear friend, I beseech you, in God's
name, go not away with such an impression as this. The matter is
worse for you ; one of God's promises has lost its force ; wait a little
longer, and all his promises will be by-gone things. You can no long-
er make him the " guide of your youth," for your youth is past ; wait
a little longer, and there will not be one promise in his word to encour-
age you ; wait a little longer, and you will not have one opportunity of
flying for refuge to lay hold on the hope that is set before you. Take
warning from the fact that a part of God's mercy is gone for ever ; —
take warning from the fact that a part of his invitations can give no
longer utterance and warning. Take warning. Oh ! fly for refuge
now, while one promise is left — while one hope of mercy remaineth.
God has not yet in anger withdrawn his graciousness, he has not yet
in anger shut up his tender mercies ; but he soon will. And let no
one say, I am clear from my obligations, because though I once was
the child of many prayers, my parents have long since ceased to pray
for me. Ah ! they have been in heaven, perhaps, these many years ;
and the last parting regret of their souls, as they left this world, was
that their sons, that their daughters were unconverted. But, imagine
not that any length of duration can obliterate the obligations, which
press, and shall forever press upon your souls. The years of Methu-
selah would not even weaken them. Live and die unconverted, and
eternity itself shall but perpetuate them for ever and ever. Refuse
the gospel, trifle a little longer with the salvation which is thus set be-
fore you, and you will infallibly perish in your sins ; and as God is in
heaven, your portion will be in hell for ever, And do not think that
yours will be mere damnation. Yours will be damnation under the
most awful, under the most aggravating circumstances, which we can
conceive ; and when ages of interminable sufiering shall have rolled
away, the fresh corruscations of ever-burning light shall mark your
locality in hell ; and the lost spirits look down, and Tyro and Sidon, yea,
and Sodom and Gomorrah, shall dva'l(!:?r \n the distance as they pass



166 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

by, and see the severer doom that greets the child of many prayers.
Once again, what is done must he done quickly. If you had a mere
chance of inheriting a large fortune, and the limitation of that chance
turned upon a little delay unknown to you — say that the application
must be made within a hundred days, or that the appHcation must be
made within seven years — let me ask, is there one of you who would
let to-morrow's sun set on the world without having made sure of his
claim, without having made it sure without uncertainty and without
delay. Surely your soul deserves that which a little property would
not be denied ; surely the Lord Jesus Christ deserves that which Mam-
mon would at once have as his tribute ; surely if you would be thus
anxious to receive a little of this world's wealth, you must be equally
anxious, you ought to be equally anxious, to secure the great salvation.
The truth is, if you will not answer in the affirmative to the question
of my text, " Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me. My Father,
thou art the guide of my youth ? " I fear that the concealed evil in
your soul is infidelity, which you would not own, but which you fondly
cherish. You believe not that God has spoken to you — you believe
not that he will speak to you in accents of thunder by and by. But
you must believe, and that right soon. You may now close your eyes
against the brightest revelations of the Son of God ; you may now
stop your ears against the sound of salvation, and trifle with redeem-
ing love ; but remember that your eyes and your ears will be unstop-
ped, and that very shortly you will behold the Lord " coming with
clouds," and that you will " wail because of him." There will be no
infidelity then ; there will be no avoiding his gaze then. In vain shall
you " call upon the rocks to hide you, and upon the mountains to cov-
er you from the wrath of the Lamb," which shall " come upon you to
the uttermost;" and in vain shall 3^ou attempt to close your ears —
those ears which have refused to listen to the invitations of redeeming
love — in vain shall you attempt to close your ears against the awful
thunders which shall say, " Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels." The lost spirit will then say,
" Well, I never thought it would come to this ; I only intended to neg-
lect the salvation of my soul for a little season, I never intended to
neglect it altogether ; God is my witness that I did not intend for ever
to neglect his Holy Spirit ; I wanted only a httle of this world's pleas-
ure ; I wanted only a little of this world's sin ; I saw that others had
been recovered after they had gone as far, or a httle farther than my-
self, and I took courage from their example ; I never intended to per-
ish in my unbelief, I never intended to reject finally the grace of God.
But oh ! what a mistake have I made ! I went a httle too far ; I went



EARLY DEDICATION TO GOD. 167

beyond the verge of mercy. God had long tolerated me, but at length
he said he would tolerate me no longer ; he said — ' I will bear with
the transgressor no longer ; my ministers, let him alone ; Providence,
let him alone ; my Spirit, let him alone ; ' and the result is that I am
lost. Here I am, and here I must be for ever." My dear young
friends, shall it come to this ? Shall it come to this, after all that you
have heard, after all that you have felt, after all that you have received ?
Shall others press into the kingdom of God, and shall you be shut out ?
Shall it be said of some of you, " Many shall come from the east and west,
and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom
of heaven, but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out ? " Shall
you be among them ? You wiB, you infallibly will, in God's name I tell
you 3^ou will, unless you answer in the affirmative the question of my text,
" Wilt thou not froni this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the
guide of my youth ? " God is sincere in asking it, the Holy Spirit is
sincere in asking it, Christ is sincere in asking it. Will you doubt the
sincerity of the Almighty ? will you dare to trifle a little longer and
a little longer with the great salvation ? Well, then, in conclusion,
mark my words. You may forget all this sermon now, but you will
remember it in hell. Nay, nay, I will not undertake to say that you
will remember my poor arguments and weak illustrations there ; they
are poor and weak indeed, compared with the awful truth ; but this I will
undertake to say, you will remember my text there, you will never forget
it. It will be written m your conscience as with a pen of iron in letters
of living fire ; you will remember, that then, that there, that at this
time, God said unto you, " Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me,
My Father, thou art the^ guide of my youth ? " — and you dared to
say, " Lord, I will not have thy guidance ; Lord, I will not accept
thy salvation, I Avill have none of thy counsel, I reject thy reproof."
Remember, that if you make this hard bargain, you must stand by it,
and none will have a right to complain. Remember it is your own
doing ; for God invites you, heaven invites you — will you not repent,
will you not be saved ?

In conclusion, I tell you I have no hope of your conversion to God,
if your reply is, " I will think of this matter." I have no hope of your
conversion, if your reply is, " I will meditate on this matter when I
go home." Do it now. God is waiting. Now let the resolve ascend
to his throne, before the last hymn is over, before the service closes. —
Let the answer be made to God now — " My Father, I will say unto
thee, ' thou art my guide ; ' my Father, I will consecrate my body,
soul, and spirit unto thee. Thanks, immortal thanks to thy name, that
I have the power to do it. I bless thee that I am not in hell ; I bless



168 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

thee that I have not perished in my sins ; I bless thee that I have not
sinned away the last hope of mercy, and that thou art waiting to be
gracious ; and now, after having tried thy patience so long, I will try
it no more. My Father, be thou the guide of my youth, my portion
and my hope, my guide even unto death." Amen.



SERMON XIV., - .

god's love to the world.

BY REV. W. ATHERTON.

" For God so lovpd the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life." — John iii. 16.

The chapter now before us contains a variety of important and inter-
esting matter. In the beginning we have an annunciation, accompanied
by a solemn asseveration, which is enough to make any man thoughtful ;
in the conclusion, we have a denunciation which is enough to make any
thoughtful man tremble ; and in the interval, we have glad tidings of
great joy, suited to all people. In the commencement we hear it said
by Jesus Christ, " Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." This is enough to
make any man thoughtful ; especially when we consider that it is ad-
dressed to an old man — to a religious man — to a master in Israel ;
and that it was necessary to tell even him that he must be bom again.
In the conclusion of the chapter, we are told — " Pie that believeth not
the Son shall not see Hfe ; but the wrath of God abideth on him." —
This is enough to make an unbeliever tremble. Then, in the middle
of the chapter, we have indeed tidings of great joy ; for it is said,
" God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world ; but that
the woi'ld through him might be saved. As Moses lifted up the ser-
pent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up ; that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. —
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The coming of Jesus Christ into our world ; the work he performed ;
the redemption which he eflected ; and the greatest events the world
ever knew, or of which men can ever be told. This was the great ob-
ject of creation — the grand design of Providence. This event was
revealed to men by the holy prophets, announced by the voice of an-



god's love to the world. 169

gels, recorded by the pen of inspiration, and is of the greatest impor-
tance to us. The words of the text lead us to consider,

I. The objects of God's love.

" God so loved the world." This expression has various significations
in Scripture. Sometimes it means the globe on which we live, — the
earth which we behold, with all its various scenery, its furniture, and
the animals by which it is inhabited. Thus it was said, " He was in
the world, and the world knew him not." " He came into the world
to save sinners." But while heaven is God's throne, the earth is his
footstool. Much as it is desired ; much as it is idolized ;• much as it is
pursued ; — this world is the most despicable of all God's creatures, —
it is that on which he sets his feet. And yet men set their hearts on
the footstool, while they might have the throne. The words of the
text cannot apply to this.

By this term we sometimes understand the Crentiles in every nation,
age, and circumstance, as distinguished from the Jews, who had a rev-
elation of the true God, the knowledge of his will, and the services
of his law ; while the rest of mankind, the Gentiles, were in the
grossest ignorance, addicted to the vilest superstitions, and sunk into
the most sensual idolatries that ever disgraced men. Thus we read,
" If the fall of them," — that is, the Jews — " be the riches of the
world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how
much more their fulness ? " Here the words " world " and " Gen-
tiles " are evidently synonymous. And again : " If the casting away
of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receivino- of
them be, but life from the dead ? " Here, also, the term " world "
means the Gentiles. Now " God so loved the world," — the Gentile
world — a world perishing in ignorance and idolatry, that he gave bis
Son to die for them.

The term means, also, the ungodly part of mankind, as distin-
guished from believers who have " passed from death unto life." Thus
Christ said to his disciples, " Ye are not of the world, but I have
chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." Be-
lievers are not of the unenlightened, carnal, unregenerate world. They
are separated from it, hated by it, opposed to it ; and these are rea-
sons why they should not wish to be united to it.

The term most commonly signifies all mankind — every child of
Adam. In this sense wo read, " the whole vjorld lieth in wickedness ; "
— '■^ t\ie whole world is become guilty before God." And in this
extended sense we understand the term in the text. This sense fully
accords with all the attributes of Deity, and is well supported by the



170 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

united testimony of tlie Holy Scriptures. Hence, we are told that
Christ " loved the church, and gave himself for it ; " and again, that
he " died for the ungodly ; " and the ungodly and the church include,
of course, all sorts and conditions of men. " He is the propitiation
for our sins ; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole
world." The term "the whole world" is only employed twice in the
sacred volume : and on both occasions by this same apostle. First, he
says, "the whole world lieth in the wicked one;" and again, —
" Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world." We can
assign no reason whatever why the words should not be understood in
the same sense in one place as in the other. But we are told, also,
" if Christ died for all, then were all dead ; and he died for all, that
they should henceforth live unto him." The same " all " that were
dead in sin, is the "all for Avhom Christ died." Again: "He gave
himself a ransom for aZZ." " All we like sheep have gone astray ; the
Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all." The same " all " that had
gone astray like lost sheep, was the " all " whose iniquities were laid
on him. And lest still we should suppose that " all men " meant only
a part, we are expressly told that " Jesus Christ, by the grace of God,
tasted death for every man.^^

Here, then, we have a ground for hope. We are the objects of God's
love. Men can only exclude themselves from his compassion by wil-
ful obstinacy and unbelief. God has given a commission to his minis-
ters to go " into all the world, and preach the gospel to every crea-
ture;'' and " God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever-
lasting life." Let us consider,

II. The nature and degree of this love.

1. Its nature. But in speaking of the nature of this love, it is
much more easy to say what it is not, than to say what it is. It could
not be a love of complacency. We love objects on account of their
excellency, or their beauty, or their fitness to make us happy. But in
man there is, by nature, no moral excellence, no rectitude of principle,
no beauty of holiness. His nature is depraved, his principles are cor-
rupt, his actions are defiled, his soul is black with pollution, the whole
head is sick, the whole heart is faint ; he is so destitute of every par-
ticle of righteousness that he has nothing to cover or conceal the naked-
ness of his nature. God must, therefore, look upon such a creature
with the greatest abhorrence.

It must, therefore, be a love of pity. He looked down from his
hif'h and holy habitation, and saw that men everywhere were filled



god's love to the world. 171

with all unrighteousness, stung by the scorpion sin, Avrithing in anguish,



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 19 of 45)