Words of Warning!
"Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him — for what he deserves will be done to him!" Isaiah 3:11
"To whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever." 2 Peter 2:17
Unconverted Sinner, your state is sad, and your misery is great! No tongue can tell how sad is that state — no soul can conceive how great is that misery. Your heart may well meditate terror, for you are still unpardoned, uncleansed, unsaved! Your feet are just about to stumble upon the dark mountains; and woe, woe, yes, ten thousand times woe to your poor soul, if this night it were required of you!
Poor forlorn soul! You have no God, and therefore you have no happiness! You have no Christ, and therefore you have no pardon, no peace! You are without a father, without a friend, without a hope, and without a home! This earth is truly to you "a wilderness and a land of darkness." You walk through it a houseless, homeless wanderer, with . . .
no arm to lean upon,
no chosen companion of your secret thoughts and feelings,
no friend to soothe your griefs or share your joys!
You may have what men call a father, a brother, a home, on earth; but you can not call God your father, nor Jesus your brother, nor Heaven your home above! You wander on from day to day, a houseless, homeless outcast, seeing nothing around you but trouble and sorrow, and nothing before you or above you but the blackness of darkness forever! (Jude 13).
You are an enemy to God! (Romans 8:7). And who has ever hardened his heart against Him and prospered? An enemy to the blessed God! An enemy to Him who made you — to one who has never wronged you in ought — to one that has loved you with a love so true and tender as to give His only begotten Son for you! Yes, you hate Him! (John 15:24). You treat Him as if He were some hateful and hated fellow worm, whose company you could not endure (Job 16:14). Oh, what vile ingratitude, what desperate malignity, thus to return enmity for friendship, hatred and scorn for gentleness and love! The most lovable object in all the universe — is the object that you hate most! Oh, what madness, what enormous wickedness! You are a child of wrath! And oh, what words can express, or what mind can conceive — all that is meant by this? Everything threatens wrath to you. You do not yet, indeed, gnaw your tongue for pain, or gnash your teeth in agony — but you shall shortly do so, if grace does not prevent it. I dare not call you a "vessel of wrath fitted for destruction" (Romans 9:22); for who knows but your God may yet pluck you as a brand from the burning — but at least I know that, so long as you remain unconverted, you are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. And if to be a child of wrath be so awful a thing, even when seen afar off in this place of mercy — then oh, what must be the horrors of that wrath throughout eternity!
A child of wrath! — that is, all made up of wrath — whose very being is wrath! The air you shall breathe in, shall be wrath — burning wrath! The light in which you shall dwell, shall be scorching wrath; how different from the pleasant sunshine of earth, and the cool fresh air of morning. Wrath shall be within you and around you, above you and beneath you — wrath shall throb in every pulse and flow in every vein!
And it shall be forever! Oh, that word which sums up all despair! Forever! The eternal wrath of the eternal God — the unchangeable wrath of the unchangeable God! Poor child of wrath, will you not turn and flee?
You are a child of the devil! (Matthew 13:38; Acts 13:10). Satan is your master, and you are his willing slave. Poor miserable soul, can you be content with such a master and such a bondage? Remember,
your bondage is eternal,
your chains are eternal,
your prison house is eternal, and
your torment and your tormentors are eternal! If you die out of Christ, Hell must be your habitation forever. Oh, what an abode! — amidst flames and wrath; echoing eternally with wailings of woe that might melt the very mountain rock!
It is called "a lake burning with fire and brimstone" (Rev. 21:8; Psalm 11:6); that is, with the hottest, fiercest, most penetrating, most tormenting of all flames! It is called a lake. Not a river, whose waters of burning anguish might be dried up or pass away; nor a sea which ebbs and flows, and whose wide extent, or perpetual change, or windswept surface might furnish some respite, some cooling relief. No, but a lake — still, stagnant, gloomy, and unchangeable!
But more than this — your soul itself shall be its own Hell. Even were there no flames without, the furnace within shall be torment beyond endurance. Your passions, your unsatisfied desires, your conscience, will be your worse tormentors, worse than all the fiends of darkness — tormentors from which you can not flee. All that you might have gained, and all that you have lost forever — shall curse you with their bitter memory. Earth lost — friends lost — possessions lost — time lost — the soul lost — Heaven lost — eternity undone!
Poor sinner, why will you not live? Precious immortal, why will you die? (Proverbs 1:23; Ezekiel 33:11). Poor Christless soul, what a bitter lot is yours! What a doom of wrath and woe! To be tormented day and night forever, in presence of the holy angles and in presence of the Lamb! The bottomless pit encloses you forever, and seals your everlasting despair. Ah! The most distant and lonely hill of immortality would be welcome/ in comparison with this; yes, the gloomiest wilderness of earth would be a Paradise when compared with this! There joy is a thing unknown. Love is a thing forgotten, or remembered only as a part of the once-familiar scenes of earth now gone forever! There is no peace nor hope in all the God-forsaken regions of the damned! No Savior troubles you now with His offers of life. No God wearies you with His messages of love. Life and love belong only to Heaven — and you are in Hell. Your portion is the second death. Who shall undo your prison bolt, or unbind your chain? Who shall fetch water to pour upon the unquenchable fire, or obtain even one drop to cool your burning tongue? Who shall dig the worm that never dies out of your tortured marrow? Who shall soothe your hopeless wailing or dry up your everlasting tears? No friends now — no companions now! The mirth of the world is over, and all its glory is departed. The song and the dance are over (Job 21:12-13). The revelry of midnight is hushed, and the pleasant sunshine of earth has been exchanged for the blackness of darkness forever.
With all these certainties in view, oh!, what is this world to a dying creature? What are all its pleasures or its business to a being formed for immortality?
Poor dying sinner! Do you not know that Jesus died that He might deliver you from a present evil world? Poor child of sin and dust — will you not become an heir of endless glory? Sinner as you are, still there is hope — hope for you; for you are in the place of hope. This is the acceptable year of the Lord, and God wills not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). He has no pleasure in your death. He lays His solemn command on you, that you should believe and be saved; so that the highest act of iniquity is to refuse salvation, to refuse the free gift of life! He entreats you to turn and live. He yearns over you with a father's tender love. Yes! The love of your God is a true and sincere love. It is no mere idea — it is reality. The words in which He has declared this to you are not the language of mockery; they are not mere words of course. They do mean all that they seem to do — only they come infinitely short of the sincerity, the warmth, the tenderness of His paternal affection. They are but rays from the Sun of love. They are but the scattered drops from the ocean, the measureless ocean of the Father's love! No fondest parent's melting breast yearns like your God's to make you blessed.
Poor sinner! If you die, it is not because of any lack of love in God or any lack of sufficiency in Christ. It is not because God would not be reconciled to you — but because you would not be reconciled to God. His heart is toward you; His desires are toward you. He longs to welcome you to the family mansion, and to place you again at the family table. Your sins and iniquities have not made Him cease to care for you. His interest in your welfare is still as sincere and deep. Not that He palliates your sin, or excuses your continuance in it — no, but that He longs to deliver you from it; and so warm and tender is the interest which He takes in you, that He seeks to compass this deliverance by every means.
Do not suppose that there must be something good about you before He can feel kindly towards you. His thoughts towards you have always been, and still are, thoughts of unutterable compassion. In your misery, in your blindness, in your forlorn state of sin and danger — there is something which calls forth the affectionate interest of Him who made you. Oh, despise not, deny not, distrust not — love so infinite, so divine! Do not wait, do not delay. Do not say, "I must try to prepare myself for coming to God." No! Come at once! Come as you are! Come this moment! As the Lord lives, there is but one step between you and life — one step between you and peace! Take that one step! Believe what your God has made known regarding His well-loved Son, "that believing, you may have life through His name."