A Voice from Hell!

James Smith, 1856

"I beg you, father Abraham — send Lazarus to my father's house! For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment!" Luke 16:27-28

Jesus takes off the covering from the bottomless pit, and gives us a bird's-eye view of Hell! There is a young man there. He was rich. He was surrounded by a multitude of earthly goods. He has forfeited them all — and now he is in Hell. His doom is fixed, and fixed forever. He cannot obtain one single drop of water to cool his parched tongue!

He finds that it is now no use asking favors for himself. But he has brothers — five brothers. Can he prevent their coming to Hell? He will try. He therefore prays that Lazarus may become a missionary, and be sent on a mission of mercy to his father's house. Hear him: "I beg you, father Abraham — send Lazarus to my father's house!" Who would expect to find pity in Hell — or prayer in Hell! But here it is! Can earth be worse than Hell? Can professed Christians be worse than a lost soul?

Reader, do you have any relatives? In what spiritual state are they in? Are they on the road to Hell? How do you act toward them? This poor wretch in Hell could not go to his brethren — but you can. Do you go to them on purpose to testify to them — lest they go to that place of torment? When did you visit them expressly for this purpose? You can visit them — do you? When did you write a loving letter, well steeped in prayers and tears, to them — to endeavor to bring them to Jesus? When did you send them a pointed, powerful tract, accompanied with strong crying and tears to Him who is able to save them from death? When did you send them a spiritual book, beseeching God, as for your life, to make it a blessing to them?

Shall lost souls in Hell wish to send someone to their ungodly relatives — if possible to prevent their damnation — and will you neglect your relatives? Has the love of Christ no power in your heart? Has pity for the souls of your lost relatives no influence? Is Hell only a fable? Is eternal torment only a trifle? How can you love your neighbor as yourself, and not put forth direct, personal, and frequent efforts for his salvation? How can you make Christ your example, when He came from Heaven on purpose to save sinners — and suffered, bled, and died to prevent their damnation — if you let them go to Hell without pity or concern?

Alas! alas! Where has zeal for God fled? Where is love to souls to be found? Paul could say that, when at Ephesus, for three years, he ceased not to warn every one day and night with tears. But where are they now, who are kept awake at night by love to souls? Where is he who daily weeps over careless souls, while he warns them to flee from the wrath to come? How few — how very few — do in public and private, by tongue and pen, by example and the press, beseech sinners to be reconciled to God!

May God Almighty awaken us, rouse us, and fill us with burning zeal, so that we may resolve that if souls who live near us determine to go to Hell — that they shall go with the name of Jesus sounding in their ears, and the way of salvation plainly placed before their eyes. O! for the power of the Spirit of God to awaken the church, to convert sinners, and grant us a great and glorious revival, which shall spread from east to west, from north to south! O Jesus, Savior, send the Comforter to convince of sin, and work salvation in millions of human souls, for your mercy's sake. Amen.