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no tear in its eye, no outgoing hand nor strong warning voice. It is so calm, and writes down its little wordies on a paper, and reads the little wordies off, and never lifts its little voice nor breaks its little rules and proprieties. So correct, and so thoughtful, and so refined, while Lot is going to the devil! I am not against thoughtfulness; I am not against true culture, true refinement; but, as God would have me to be an honest man, from the soul within me I am increasingly against the bastard culture, the bastard refinement, the Brummagem thoughtfulness that stands in pulpits and professes to work in mission halls. Hence! far hence, ye profane! I know--I admit it! There is also a kind of bastard earnestness. You can roar, and stamp, and rage, and foam at the mouth, and not be in earnest; and you can be very quiet outwardly, and very calm, and yet be very intense.
So the angels hastened Lot. They put heart into it; they felt the burden. Sabbath-school teacher, there is a word for you to-day. Trying to bring it home to myself, I would like to bring it home to you. A little more heart, please, a little more urgency, a little more earnestness. “Oh," said one to me, “I find the longer I preach, that I fail in pleading with men." It is grand to make the
” discovery. “I cannot plead with men,” he says. And why? He cannot break away from convention, and routine, and decorum, and, like a living, warm-blooded, earnest man, say,
Flee from the wrath to come. I am afraid
Pardon me for leaving my paper, but you are in danger of the everlasting burning, the blackness of darkness for ever. Worldliness is killing you, formal religion is ruining you, and I want to speak plainly, and hasten you."
They hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife.” That one word I dwell upon, " Arise." It is repeated later on, when they said “Escape," and still further, when they said “ Flee.” We, who are coming to do work for Christ in this great city, need to use plain, short, sharp, rousing words. For the last thing men will do is to rise. Ah! my friend, the distressing thing about you is you are so difficult to lift. Possibly you are sitting here and saying in your heart, “I like it. I come here because the preacher is unconventional.” You can go to the devil under unconventional preaching. The trouble with some of you is you are so pliant. “That's it! Put it straight; give it us hot; go ahead !” But you sit still. If ever you are to be saved, some of you, there will need to be very, very close dealing. There will be need of coming to very close quarters with you.
“While he lingered, the angels laid hold upon his hand, and upon
the hand of his wife.” God save you, poor Pliable ! “ You bend to the breeze, and vanquish the breeze by bending to it.” Coming and going, coming and going, coming and going; but no rising, no fleeing, no salvation. O God, make me honest and urgent with perishing men! Are you saved, my lad ? Are you in Christ? Escape for thy life. Look not behind thee. Flee to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. Nothing less than angels, I believe, would have availed with Lot; anything less than this urgency, and he and all he had would have
been overwhelmed. For you know, though we preach the Gospel, it is only a Gospel at a certain point. The gospel of escape, “Flee for your life," is only a gospel when a man believes he is in danger, not till then. The Gospel that says, “The great Physician now is near," is a Gospel
, to folks who know they are sick, and will go and put themselves under His care. But there is our difficulty. I believe there was no city in all the world that believed less in fire and brimstone than Sodom an hour before the shower. So with you. I know there are some here who do not believe in this, and they say, “ If you can't move men by love, you will never drive them by force.” I believe in this; I believe the day is coming, and we have all got to pass through it, prophesied by Enoch, the seventh from Adam, “Behold, the Lord cometh to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all of their ungodly deeds that they have ungodly committed." The doom is not abolished; the darkness and the terror are but intensified. So I hasten you. We should all be eager, and strenuous, and urgent, avoiding rudeness, avoiding roughness, but filled with loving anxiety, delivered from a mere lip service and formality, using glowing words that come from glowing hearts.
“And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him." This is only a bit of our work standing up here preaching, delivering discourses. In fact, it may have no use at all; it will have use if we are in earnest, but there is a coming closer still. That is what I have been hinting at all along-we should
get into close grips with our congregations, and with all this London. How many men and women who have resisted sermons have been unable to resist a warm clasp of the hand, the other hand upon the shoulder, the tender, earnest, pleading look right into the face. Try it, my hearer, try it on with somebody to-day. Do not let London go down in its wallowing sin without trying this. And remember that we have an urgency, we have a battery to bring to bear on poor sinners and backsliders that the angels did not have. The angels would have a certain stand-offishness just where we should have a “standinishness.'
We can go to sinners and say, “ My brother, flee, for I know what it is to be a sinner, and I know what the safety is.” The angels could not say that. I read nowhere in the Bible of angels shedding tears. We could shed tears—
“ Tears of such pure, such deep delight,
Ye angels, never dimmed your sight.”
They never sinned; we have sinned. We have come back from the mountain of safety to the city only to take others away up with us. Where are you, dear brother, rescued from drink? Lay hold of some one else. Do not preach sermons at him in the technical, academic sense, but grasp him by the hand, and put the other on his shoulder, and tell him what an angel could not tell him. That is why the angel is not here. Be you his angel, his minister of grace; be you the vessel of God's mercy to his fainting heart. Tell him what Christ has done for you with an urgency and eagerness that no angel can command. Speak
to him out of your own heart, and out of your own experience to-day.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
the fallen Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.”
Thank God for that; that we have a greater tenderness, through grace, that we are greater in urgency than any angel or archangel could be. The Lord gets Himself brought to bear with greater power upon a sinner through a saved sinner than through an unfallen angel. For that we were redeemed, for that we have been plucked out of the fire, that we might pluck others-alas! alas! how many of us forget.
I have other matters to touch upon, and I must not keep you. I come back to the "thou.” I want to reach you to-day, my friend, those of you who stand in doubt, those who are not on the mountain, those who are not outside the circle of destruction and inside the circle of grace and salvation, those who are tempted to look back, those who are held down by worldly considerations, held down by the influence of society, held down by the influence of a cold, formal Church society. Thou singer in the choir, " Lest thou be consumed," art thou saved? Thou that leadest the praises of the redeemed in this house of prayer, art thou redeemed thyself? Or are you sitting there a poor, miserable backslider, or worldling, only wearing the clothes of religion, but unsaved, unsanctified; belonging in heart to Sodom, to London, to its giddiness, its frivolity,