A Terrible Charge!
by James Smith, 1858
It was on a cold winter's evening, when a minister of Christ entered the chamber where a poor woman lay dying. There was much to distress and trouble her — but all seemed to be swallowed up in one terrible charge which she brought against herself: "Oh, Sir, I hate neglected my soul!" She had lived many years — but she had neglected to seek the salvation of her soul. Her days were now drawing to a close; she felt the approaches of death, she realized that she was nearing eternity, and now she felt most keenly, the folly of which she had been guilty — she had neglected her eternal soul! The body had been thought of, cared for, and provision had been daily made for it; but the soul, the principal, the immortal part, had been neglected. It was now summoned to leave the body, and could not resist. It was required to appear before God, and account for its conduct, and it could not refuse. But what could it say? What excuse could it make? What account could it give?
Oh how terrible to meet the eye of God, to stand naked and alone before God, to be called to an account for one's conduct by God who knows all that we have done, all that we have said, and all that we have thought!
How fearful to have to make the confession, that through thirty, forty, fifty, or more years, notwithstanding all the warnings we have had — we have neglected our souls. We knew that we must live forever — but we made no provision for it! We knew there was a hell — but we never sought to escape it! We knew there was a heaven — but we never sought to obtain it!
Reader, how is it with you? Is your soul safe? Is it in Christ? Have you obtained the pardon of your sins? Are you at peace with God? Are you sanctified and made fit for heaven? Can you say, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
If your soul is in the hands of Jesus — it is safe. But if it is there, you must have placed it there, and you are aware of the transaction. The soul never comes into the hand of Christ — by chance. Nor can it be placed there — by another. It is each man's own act and deed. Nor will any commit the soul to Jesus, until perceiving its importance, realizing its danger, and being convinced that no one else can save it. But until the soul is committed to and received by Jesus, it is not safe; and if the soul is not safe, we are guilty of neglecting it.
We do not neglect our health. We do not neglect our appetites. We do not neglect to place our money in safety. We do set neglect a host of inferior things; and yet the soul, which is a jewel of priceless value, is neglected by us. What must angels think of us? How must devils, who seek our destruction — laugh at our folly! Ah! it is the height of folly to neglect the soul. Thousands have regretted doing so in a dying hour. Millions bitterly regret it now in hell! But such regrets are vain. Their eternal doom is eternally fixed! From them, hope has forever fled.
But with us — the case is different; for if hitherto we have neglected our souls — we may change our course; and seeking, obtain their salvation. There is now a Savior. For us, there is yet hope. The cleansing fountain is yet open, in which we may wash and be clean. A pardon is still offered us, which may be embraced and enjoyed. A title to heaven, with all its glories — may yet be obtained by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. As yet, his blood cleanses from all sin. As yet, his righteousness fully justifies every believer before God. As yet, he makes intercession for transgressors, who come unto God by him. As yet, his arms, his heart, are open to receive and bless every returning prodigal. He has not begun to reject sinners yet. He has not yet withdrawn his free invitation. He has not yet left the throne of grace — for the throne of judgment.
It is still as true as ever — that there is forgiveness with him. It is still as true as ever — that he will never cast out. It is still as true as ever — that he is able to save unto the uttermost. Let us, then, consider our ways, see the danger of our souls, and at once come to the Lord Jesus, that we may be saved by him. Nor let us rest short of certainty, or be satisfied until, from the heart we can say, "O Lord, I will praise you; though you were angry with me, your anger is turned away, and you comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation!"
Bock of ages! cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From your wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to your cross I cling;
Naked, come to you for dress,
Helpless, look to you for grace;
Black, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die!