Is he a brute? Is he a maniac?
(John Angell James, "The Anxious Enquirer" 1834)
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"What will it benefit a man, if he gains the whole world yet loses his soul?
Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26
Consider what the loss of the soul includes:
It is the loss of everything dear to man as an immortal creature. It is the loss of Heaven, with all its honors, felicities, and glories. It is the loss of everything that can contribute to our eternal happiness.
The loss of the soul includes in it all that is contained in that dreadful word, Hell. Hell is the eternal endurance of the wrath of God. It is the coming down of the curse of the Almighty upon the soul; or rather, it is the falling of the soul into that curse, as into a lake which burns with fire and brimstone.
All the tears that ever have been or ever will be shed on the face of the earth; all the groans that ever have been or ever will be uttered; all the anguish that ever has been or ever will be endured by all the inhabitants of the world, through all the ages of time—do not make up an equal amount of misery to that which is included in the loss of one human soul!
Consider that the eternal loss of the soul is not a rare, but a very common occurrence. The loss of the soul is so tremendous a catastrophe, that if it happened only once in a year, or once in a century, so as to render it barely possible that it should happen to you—it would be reckless carelessness not to feel some solicitude about the matter!
How much more, then, when, alas! it is an every-day calamity! So far from its being a rare thing for men to go to Hell—it is a much rarer thing for them to go to Heaven! Our Lord tells us, that the "road to destruction" is thronged, while the "way to life" is traveled by few. Hell opens its mouth wide and swallows up multitudes in perdition! How alarming is the idea, and how probable the fact—that you may be among this number! Some who read these pages will very likely spend their eternity in Hell.
Concern, then, deep concern about the salvation of your soul, is the most reasonable thing in the world! Can that man have a soul, or know that he has one—who is careless about its eternal happiness?
Is he a man—or is he a brute?
Is he a rational being—or is he a maniac?
Ever walking on the edge of the precipice that hangs over the bottomless pit—and not concerned about salvation! Oh, fatal, awful, destructive indifference!
Look into the bottomless pit—can you be too anxious to escape its torments?
Look into Heaven—can you be too anxious to obtain its glories?
Look into eternity—can you be too anxious to secure immortal life?
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14