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ourselves. When angels came, you might go, my hearer. I sometimes fear lest I have been too tender with some: I have made excuses for you, and have accepted your own; but when I look at these angel-slummers, I am not sure that I should. When they came, and did not think it any demeaning of their dignity to come, and to lay hold of poor wretches who did not know their own mercies, to hustle them, and bustle them, and hasten them, I think I ought to speak more firmly to this congregation in Regent Square, those whom I know, and those I don't know. My friend, maybe you are a little too dignified; maybe you are possessed with a notion that earnest rescue work is not for you, but for Salvation Army folks, or brazen-faced men like myself, who stand at any street corner and shout and make fools of themselves. God save you, and strip you of these filthy rags of your so-called refinement. Nay, nay, friend, my words are sharp, but my heart is warm : the urgency is great. We want the brightest, the fairest, the best born and bred and dowered, for the roughest work; we want the chief sitters in our pews, the shining ones, the leaders of “fashionable churches” and “fashionable religion " to show that after all there is only one fashion. One is our Master, even Christ, and all we are brethren; saved ourselves by grace, that we may hastily and heartily save others. May the angels lay hold of some of us this morning to go out with us to rescue work. Verily we shall be in good company. Remember, above all, that you go with our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. And you never did a grander or more glorious thing; you never did anything that better became your silks and satins than going out to rescue sinners. You are not degrading yourself, you are not steppingdown; you are stepping up, up, up! All heaven is intensely interested in saving sinners : so interested that it does not stand afar off and nourish itself “ in dainty loves and slothful sympathies," but comes down and in to the very darkest and foulest, and lays hold, as here, with its own shining hands. And then notice whom they came to rescue.
« The angels hastened Lot." Lot. Ah ! friend, it's an awful problem, life in a great city. Look at this poor Lot, and think what a sad pass he has come to, that he should need to be hastened. I have been talking about slums and slummers, and perhaps making you think you are to start off incontinently to some dark and degraded part of the city; while lo, there is Lot sitting next to you ! Lot. Religious man, Lot. Well-brought-up man, Lot. And yet he is in imminent danger of the devouring fire. He is becoming steadily part and parcel of Sodom's iniquity; he, and his wife, and his daughters, and all that he has steadily, steadily being sucked down in its dark and swirling vortex. Not giving up God, not giving up religious profession outwardly; but he is “in Sodom,” steeped in it, and it will need a pull and a leverage from the throne of God Himself to lift him out of the bog where he is sinking.
It was Lot whom they went to hasten. I speak to Lot this morning, and I would speak warningly and yet encouragingly. Ah ! Lot, it was a bad day for you when you parted with Abraham, a bad day when you pitched your tent
towards Sodom because there was better grass there, better forage for your flocks. For you not only pitched your tent towards Sodom, by-and-bye we got you living in it. A bad day for some of you when you came to London. You never knew how little religious pith, and stamina, and backbone were in
Out yonder in a quiet country place you were a decent elder or deacon. You were so shored up yonder, Abraham on the right hand, and some other body on the left hand, that you never knew what a weakling you were. You made a respectable appearance, and show, and muster, for you were well surrounded and held up. You were in a little place, and a great many people knew you. You could not hide yourself, and you and your family were very regular at Church and Sabbathschool. But coming to London-alas! alas! you have got on in one way, but you have got fearfully “off” in another way. You are a richer man to-day, you live in a bigger house, your sons and daughters have grown up and got well married and settled, like yourself. But it is all on the surface—in behind, what rottenness; in behind, what forbodings; in behind, what regrets, what yearnings for those poorer but cleaner, holier, and happier days.
It is Lot who has to be rescued-Lot who should have needed it, so to speak, no more than Abraham himself. Oh the power of the world! Oh how it tries us and
proves us, as God often said to Israel, “ To show us what is in our hearts, and whether we will walk in His law or no.” Now, I do not mean for a moment to say that we are all that way. Abraham grew, Abraham flourished and waxed
great, and rich, and mighty. He had faith; his spirituality kept pace with his material advantage and increase. But there are many Lots who succeed temporally at the expense of their spiritual welfare; who barter' eternity for time; who make the worse appear the better reason; who go into shady ways and methods, trying to make out that they are not shady, or that they will take the “shade" off them. “I will stand firm. True, I am going into Sodom, but I will make Sodom serve my ends. I will buy and sell, but I will go no further than buying and selling. I will be true to God, I will set a fence of godly principle about my home and about my business. When it comes to morals, and conscience, and religion, I will be as sound as a bell, as firm as a rock.” And have you? Have you? Alas! alas! how many overrate their strength and underrate the power of common custom and example, and forget that word in the New Testament, “ Because of abounding iniquity the love of many shall wax cold.” Oh how often that is exemplified by people who come up to London! They get on outwardly, but they go down inwardly. In all that makes a man a man, in all that makes your house a home, in all that makes for true wealth and success, you are a poorer, cheaper creature than when you came here.
May the angels' words to-day stir up and rouse us: Arise, take thy wife and two daughters: escape for thy life ; look not behind thee, neither stay in all the plain; but flee to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.”
“They hastened.” Oh for Divine urgency! Mightn't we take a leaf out of their book in the matter of urgency? They hastened Lot.” Even the warmest of us, are we as warm as we should be, as warm as we might be ? Are we not a little afraid almost of earnestness ? Hasn't it become a little unfashionable to plead with people? The angels were not ashamed to be in earnest. Hear it, hear it, HEAR IT, ye superfines ! The angels were not ashamed of being in dead earnest. Hear it, divinity-students, coming preachers, the angels were not ashamed to be anxious and urgent, and to lay hold of people with their hands. I am afraid we, their successors, are losing ourselves. Now, I do not say that we need to be rough, or rude, or boisterous, but I do say that a large amount of present-day preaching in pulpits, and in missions, and, indeed, Gospel work generally, will never serve the need or do the turn. It is too dainty, it is too mighty fine altogether. The devil can stand it beautifully. He doesn't care how much of it goes on; it hurries up nobody. There is too much ice and icicle about it--too much of self-consciousness about it, as if the angels had moved about saying, “I wonder what our friends will think when they see us down here among these shady people." They had no self-consciousness or vanity. They only thought of their Lord, and their miessage, and the dangers. Angels believe in the “ terror of the Lord”; and you will never, never get vulgar if you are in earnest, and you may be most horribly vulgar when you think you are charmingly fine. There is too much-perhaps it is too roughly expressed; but I will risk it—of this damning vulgarity abroad to-day: an earnestness that doesn't plead, that has