A Simple Sermon For Seeking Souls
“Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
IT has been said by an eminent Divine that many of us in preaching the Word suppose too great knowledge in our hearers. “Very often,” says this Divine, “there are in the congregation persons who are totally unacquainted with the great science of divinity. They are entire strangers to the whole system of grace and salvation.” It is proper, then, that the preacher should address himself to his hearers sometimes as if they were totally ignorant of his message and tell it to them as a new thing, going over the whole of it as if he believed them to be ignorant of it. “For,” says this good man, “it is better to suppose too little knowledge and so to explain the thing clearly, to the mean comprehension, than to suppose too much and thus to let the ignorant escape without a word of instruction.”
Now, I think I shall not this morning err in his point of view. I shall assume that some of my congregation, at least, are totally unacquainted with the great plan of salvation. And you that know it well and have tried its preciousness will bear with me, I am sure, while I try in the simplest words that human lips can put together to tell the story of how men are lost and how men are saved according to the words of my text by calling upon the name of the Lord.
Well then, we must begin at the beginning. And we must first tell our hearers that inasmuch as our text talks of men being saved, it implies that men need saving. And we tell them that if men had been as God created them, they would have needed no saving. Adam in the garden needed no salvation. He was perfect, pure, clean, holy and acceptable before God. He was our representative. He stood as the representative for all the race and when he touched the forbidden fruit and ate of the tree of which God had said, “You shall not eat thereof, or you shall surely die”–when he so transgressed against God, he needed a Savior and we, his offspring through his sin, are born into this world, each of us needing a Savior.
We, who are now present, must not however throw blame on Adam. No man was ever yet damned for Adam’s sin alone. Children dying in infancy are, without doubt, saved by sovereign grace through the atonement which is in Christ Jesus. No sooner do they close their eyes on earth, being innocent of any actual sin, they at once open them in the bliss of Heaven. But you and I are not children. We need not talk just now of Adam’s sins. We have our own to account for and God knows they are enough. Holy Scripture tells us that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and conscience bears witness to the same truth.
We have all broken the great commands of God and in consequence thereof the just God is bound in justice to punish us for the sins we have committed. Now, my Brethren, it is because you and I have broken the Divine Law and are subject to the Divine wrath that we stand in need of mercy. Every one of us therefore–every one of us if we would be happy, if we would dwell in Heaven with God forever–must be saved.
But there is great confusion in the minds of men as to what being saved is. Allow me, then, to say that salvation means two things. It means in the first place, our escaping from the punishment of sins committed. And it means in the next place, the escaping from the habit of sin, so that in the future we shall not live as we have lived. The way in which God saves you is twofold–He finds man a sinner breaking His Law. He says, “I forgive you, I will not punish you. I have punished Christ instead of you–you shall be saved.”
But that is only half the work. He says in the next place–“Man, I will not let you go on sinning as you have been likely to do. I will give you a new heart which shall subdue your evil habits. So that whereas you have been the slave of sin you shall be free to serve Me. Come away, you are not going to serve that black master of yours any more. You must leave that demon–I will have you to be My child, My servant. You say, ‘I cannot do so.’ Come, I will give you grace to do it. I give you grace to break off drunkenness, grace to renounce your swearing, grace to give up Sabbath-breaking. I give you grace to run in the ways of My Commandments and to find them to be a delightful road.”
Salvation, then, I say, consists of two things–deliverance on the one hand from the habit of living in enmity with God. And, on the other hand, deliverance from the punishment annexed to transgression.
The great subject of this morning, which I shall attempt to dwell upon in very plain language, attempting no flights of oratory whatever–is how men may be saved. That is the one great question. Let them remember what to be saved is. It is to be made Christians to have new thoughts, new minds, new hearts and then, it is to have a new home forever at God’s right hand in bliss. How may they be saved? “What must I do to be saved?” is a cry springing from many lips here this morning. The answer of my text is this–“Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
I shall first try to explain the text a little–explanation. Secondly, I shall try to clear the text from some errors about salvation which are very popular–that will be refutation. And then, thirdly, I shall press the usefulness of my text upon your minds–that will be exhortation. Explanation, refutation, exhortation–you will remember the points and may God impress them upon your minds!
- First, then, EXPLANATION–What is here meant by calling upon the name of the Lord? And I tremble at this very moment when I try to explain my text for I feel it is very easy to darken words without knowledge. Full many a time has a preacher rendered Scripture dark by his explanations instead of making it brighter. Many a preacher has been like a painted window, shutting out the light instead of admitting it. There is nothing whatever puzzles me more and tries my mind more than the answer to that simple question, What is faith? What is believing? What is calling upon the name of the Lord?
In order to get the true sense of this, I turned to my concordance and looked up the passages where the same word is employed. And so far as I can judge, I may state from the authority of Scripture, that the word “call” signifies worship. So I might translate it thus–“Whoever worships God shall be saved.” But you must let me explain that word “worship” according to the Scriptural meaning of it in order to explain the word “call.”
To call upon the name of the Lord, in the first place, signifies to worship God. You will find in the book of Genesis that, “when men began to multiply upon the face of the earth, then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” That is they began to worship God. They built altars in His name. They certified their belief in the sacrifice that was to come by offering a typical sacrifice upon the altar they had built. They bowed their knee in prayer. They lifted their voice in sacred song and cried, “Great is Jehovah, Creator, Preserver, let Him be praised, world without end.”
Therefore–whoever he may be in the whole wide world who is enabled by grace to worship God, in God’s way, shall be saved. If you worship Him by a Mediator, having faith in the atonement of the Cross. If you worship Him by humble prayer and hearty praise, your worship is a proof that you shall be saved. You could not thus worship unless you had grace within your heart–and your faith and grace are proof that you shall have glory. Whoever, then, in lowly devotion, on the green sward, beneath the wide-spreading branches of a tree, beneath the vault of God’s Heaven, or in God’s house, or out of it–whoever shall worship God with a pure heart fervently, looking for acceptance through the atonement of Christ and meekly casting himself upon the mercy of God, shall be saved. So stands the promise.
But lest any man should run away with a mistaken idea of what worship is, we must just explain a little further. The word “call,” in holy Scripture signifies prayer. You remember the case of Elijah–when the prophets of Baal try to get rain from the false god, he said, “I will call upon God”–that is to say, “I will pray to God that He may send the rain.” Now, prayer is a sure sign of Divine life within. Whoever prays to God through Christ, with sincere prayer shall be saved. Oh, I can remember how this text cheered me once. I felt the weight of sin but I did not know the Savior. I thought God would blast me with His wrath and smite me with His hot displeasure!
From Chapel to Chapel I went to hear the Word preached but never a Gospel sentence did I hear. But this one text just preserved me from what I believe I should have been driven to–the commission of suicide through grief and sorrow. It was this sweet Word–“Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Well, I thought, I cannot believe on Christ as I could wish. I cannot find pardon but I know I may call upon His name. I know I pray. Yes and pray with groans and tears and sighs day and night. And if I am ever lost, I will plead that promise–“Oh God You said he that calls upon Your name shall be saved. I did call. Will you cast me away? I did plead Your promise. I did lift up my heart in prayer. Can You be just and yet damn the man who did really pray?”
Mark that sweet thought–prayer is the certain forerunner of salvation. Sinner, you cannot pray and perish. Prayer and perishing are two things that never go together. I ask you not what your prayer is. It may be a groan, it may be a tear, a wordless prayer, or a prayer in broken English, ungrammatical and harsh to the ear–but if it is a prayer from the inmost heart, you shall be saved. Or else this promise is a lie. As surely as you pray–whoever you may be–whatever your past life–whatever the transgressions in which you have indulged–though they are the foulest which pollute mankind, yet if from your heart you have learned to pray–
“Prayer is the breath of God in man
Returning from where it came.”
And you can not perish with God’s breath in you. “Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!”
But the word “call” signifies a little more, it signifies trust. A man cannot call upon the name of the Lord unless he trusts in that name. We must have reliance upon the name of Christ or else we have not called aright. Hear me, then, poor tried Sinner. You have come here this morning sensible of your guilt, awakened to your danger. Here is your remedy. Christ Jesus the Son of God became a Man. He was “born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.” He did this to save sinners such as you are. Will you believe this? Will you trust your soul to it? Will you say, “Sink or swim, Christ Jesus is my hope. And if I perish I will perish with my arms around His Cross, crying–
‘Nothing in my hands I bring
Simply to the Cross I cling’ “?
Poor Soul, if you can do that, you will be saved. Come, now, no good works of your own are needed–no sacraments. All that is asked of you is this and that He gives you. You are nothing. Will you take Christ to be everything? Come, you are black in sin, will you be washed? Will you get down on your knees and cry, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner–not for anything I have done, or can do–but for His dear sake, whose blood streamed from His hands and feet, in whom alone I trust”? Why Sinner the solid pillars of the universe shall totter rather than you should perish. Yes, Heaven should weep a vacant throne and an extinguished Godhead rather than the promise should be violated in any case in the world! He that trusts in Christ, calling on His name, shall be saved.
But once more and then I think I shall have given you the whole Scripture meaning of this. Calling on the name of the Lord signifies professing His name. You remember what Ananias said to Saul, afterwards called Paul, “arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.” Now, Sinner if you would be obedient to Christ’s Word, Christ’s Word says, “He that believes and is immersed, shall be saved.” Mark, I have translated the word. King James would not have it translated. I dare not be unfaithful to my knowledge of God’s Word. If it means sprinkle, let our Brethren translate it “sprinkle.” But they dare not do that–they know they have nothing in all classical language that would ever justify them in doing that and they have not the impudence to attempt it.
But I dare translate it–“He that believes and is immersed, shall be saved.” And though immersion is nothing, yet God requires of men who believe that they should be immersed, in order to make a profession of their belief. Immersion is nothing, I repeat. In salvation, it is only the profession of salvation. But God requires that every man that puts his trust in the Savior should be immersed, as the Savior was, in order to the fulfillment of righteousness. Jesus went meekly down from Jordan’s shore to be immersed beneath the waves. And so let every Believer be baptized in His name.
Now some of you draw back from the thought of making a profession. “No,” you say, “we will believe and be secret Christians.” Hear you this, then–“If any man be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this generation, of him will I be ashamed, when I shall come in the glory of My Father, with all His holy angels.” I will repeat a truism. Not one of you in your lives ever knew a secret Christian and I will prove it to you. If you knew a man to be a Christian, it could not be a secret. For if it had been a secret how came you to know it? Then, as you never knew a secret Christian, you are not justified in believing there is such a one. You must come out and make a profession.
What would Her Majesty think of her soldiers, if they should swear they were loyal and true, and were to say–“Your Majesty, we prefer not to wear these regimentals. Let us wear the dress of civilians! We are right honest men and upright. But we do not care to stand in your ranks, acknowledged as your soldiers. We had rather slink into the enemy’s camp and into your camps, too, and not wear anything that would mark us as being your soldiers!”
Ah, some of you do the same with Christ. You are going to be secret Christians, are you and slink into the devil’s camp and into Christ’s camp, but acknowledged by none? Well, you must take the risk of it, if you will be so. But I should not like to risk it. It is a solemn threat–“of him will I be ashamed when I come in the glory of My Father and all cannot be My disciple.” Now, then, I claim of every sinner here whom God has awakened to feel his need of a Savior obedience to the command of Christ, in this point, as well as in every other.
Hear the way of salvation–worship, prayer, faith, profession. And the profession, if men would be obedient, if they would follow the Bible, must be done in Christ’s way by a Baptism in water, in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God requires this. And though men are saved without baptism and multitudes fly to Heaven who are never washed in the stream–though Baptism is not saving–yet if men would be saved, they must not be disobedient. And inasmuch as God gives a command, it is mine to enforce it. Jesus said, “Go and preach the Gospel to every creature–he that believes and is immersed, shall be saved. He that believes not shall be damned.”
Here, then, is the explanation of my text. No Churchman [member of State Church] here can object to my interpretation. The Church of England holds dipping. It only says if children are weak they are to be sprinkled. And it is marvelous what a many weakly children there have been born lately. I am astonished to find any of you alive, after finding that so much weakness has everywhere existed! The dear little ones are so tender that a few drops suffice instead of the dipping which their own Church enforces.
I would that all Churchmen were better Churchmen. If they would be more consistent with their own articles of faith they would be more consistent with Scripture. And if they were a little more consistent with some of the rubrics of their own Church they would be a little more consistent with themselves. If your children are weak, you can let them be sprinkled. But if you are good Churchmen you will immerse them, if they can bear it.
II. But now, the second point is REFUTATION. There are some popular errors with regard to salvation which need to be cured by refutation. My text says, “whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Now one idea which conflicts with my text is this, that a priest or a minister is absolutely necessary to assist men in salvation. That idea is current in other places besides the Roman Catholic Church. There are many, alas, too many, who make a dissenting minister as much their priest as the Catholic makes his priest his helper.
There are many who imagine that salvation cannot be accomplished except in some indefinable and mysterious way–and the minister and the priest are mixed up with it. Hear, then–if you had never seen a minister in your lives, if you had never heard the voice of the bishop of the Church, or an elder thereof–yet if you did call on the name of the Lord your salvation would be quite as sure without one as with one. Men cannot call upon a God they do not know. The necessity of a preacher lies in telling what the way of salvation is, for how can they hear without a preacher and how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
But the preacher’s office goes no further than just the telling of the message and after we have told it, God, the Holy Spirit must apply it. For further we cannot go. Oh, take care of priestcraft, take care of man-craft, of minister-craft, of clergy-craft! All God’s people are clergy–we are all God’s cleros, all His clergy if we have been anointed with the Holy Spirit and are saved. There never ought to have been a distinction between clergy and laity. We are all clergy who love the Lord Jesus Christ and you are as much fit to preach the Gospel, if God has given you the ability and called you to the work by His Spirit as any man alive.
No priestly hand, no hand of Presbyterian–which means priest written large–no ordination of men is necessary. We stand upon the rights of manhood to speak what we believe and next to that we stand upon the call of God’s Spirit in the heart bidding us testify His Truth. But, Brethren, neither Paul, nor an angel from Heaven, nor Apollos, nor Cephas can help you in salvation. It is not of man, neither by men. And neither Pope, nor Archbishop, nor Bishop, nor priest, nor minister, nor anyone else has any grace to give to others. We must each of us go ourselves to the fountain head, pleading this promise–“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, shall be saved.”
If I were shut up in the mines of Siberia where I could never hear the Gospel. If I did call upon the name of Christ the road is just as straight without the minister as with him. And the path to Heaven is just as clear from the wilds of Africa and from the dens of the prison and the dungeon, as it is from the sanctuary of God. Nevertheless, for edification all Christians should love the ministry, though not for salvation. The Word of God is sweet to them and “beautiful on the mountains are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of peace.”
Another very common error is that a good dream is a most splendid thing in order to save people. Some of you do not know the extent to which this error prevails. I happen to know it. It is believed among many persons that if you dream that you see the Lord in the night you will be saved. And if you can see Him on the Cross, or if you think you see some angels, or if you dream that God says to you, “You are forgiven,” all is well. But if you do not have a very nice dream you cannot be saved. So some people think.
Now, if it is so, the sooner we all begin to eat opium the better. Because there is nothing that makes people dream so much as that and the best advice I could give would be–let every minister distribute opium very largely and then his people would all dream themselves into Heaven. But out with that rubbish! There is nothing in it. Dreams are the disordered fabrics of a wild imagination. They are the tottering often of the fair pillars of a grand conception–how can they be the means of salvation? You know Rowland Hill’s good answer. I must quote it, in default of a better.
When a woman pleaded that she was saved because she dreamed, he said, “Well, my good woman, it is very nice to have good dreams when you are asleep. But I want to see how you act when you are awake. For if your conduct is not consistent in religion when you are awake I will not give a snap of the finger for your dreams.” Ah, I do marvel that ever any person should go to such a depth of ignorance as to tell me the stories that I have heard myself about dreams. Poor dear creatures, when they were sound asleep they saw the gates of Heaven opened and a white angel came and washed their sins away and then they saw that they were pardoned.
And since then they have never had a doubt or a fear. It is time that you should begin to doubt, then, very good time that you should. For if that is all the hope you have, it is a poor one. Remember it is, “whoever calls upon the name of God,” not whoever dreams about Him. Dreams may do good. Sometimes people have been frightened out of their senses in them. And they were better out of their senses than they were in, for they did more mischief when they were in their senses than they did when they were out. And the dreams did good in that sense.
Some people, too, have become alarmed by dreams. But to trust to them is to trust to a shadow, to build your hopes on bubbles, scarcely needing a puff of wind to burst them into nothingness. Oh, remember, you want no vision, no marvelous appearance! If you have had a vision or a dream, you need not despise it. It may have benefited you–but do not trust in it. But if you have had none, remember that it is the mere calling upon God’s name to which the promise is appended.
And now, once again, there are others, very good sorts of people, too, that have been laughing while I was talking about dreams. And now it is our turn to laugh at them. There are some people who think they must have some very wonderful kind of feelings, or else they cannot be saved. Some most extraordinary thoughts such as they never had before, or else certainly they cannot be saved. A woman once applied to me for admission to Church membership. I asked her whether she had ever had a change of heart.
She said, “Oh yes Sir, such a change as you know,” she said, “I felt it across the chest so singular, Sir. And when I was a praying one day I felt as if I did not know what was the matter with me, I felt so different. And when I went to the Chapel, Sir, one night, I came away and felt so different from what I felt before, so light.” “Yes,” I said “light-headed, my dear soul, that is what you felt but nothing more, I am afraid.” The good woman was sincere enough. She thought it was all right with her, because something had affected her lungs, or in some way stirred her physical frame.
“No,” I hear some of you say, “people cannot be so stupid as this.” I assure you that if you could read the hearts of this present congregation you would find there are hundreds here that have no better hope of Heaven than that–for I am dealing with a very popular objection just now. “I thought,” said one addressing me one day, “I thought when I was in the garden, surely Christ could take my sins away, just as easily as He could move the clouds. Do you know, Sir, in a moment or two the clouds were all gone and the sun was shining. Thought I to myself, the Lord is blotting out my sin.”
Such a ridiculous thought as that, you say, cannot occur often. I tell you, it does, very frequently indeed. People get to supposing that the veriest nonsense in all the earth is a manifestation of Divine Grace in their hearts, Now, the only feeling I ever want to have is just this–I want to feel that I am a sinner and that Christ is my Savior. You may keep your visions and ecstasies and raptures and dancing to yourselves. The only feeling that I desire to have is deep repentance and humble faith. And if, poor Sinner, you have got that, you are saved. Why, some of you believe that before you can be saved there must be a kind of electric shock, some very wonderful thing that is to go all through you from head to foot.
Now hear this, “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. If you do with your heart believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and with your mouth do confess, you shall be saved.” What do you want with all this nonsense of dreams and thoughts? All that is wanted is that as a guilty sinner I should come and cast myself on Christ. That done, the soul is safe–and all the visions in the universe could not make it safer.
And now, I have one more error to try to rectify. Among very poor people–and I have visited some of them and know what I say to be true. And there are some here and I will speak to them–among the very poor and uneducated, there is a very current idea that somehow or other salvation is connected with learning to read and write. You smile, perhaps, but I know it is true. Often has a poor woman said, “Oh, Sir, this is no good to poor ignorant creatures like us. There is no hope for me, Sir. I cannot read. Do you know, Sir, I don’t know a letter? I think if I could read a bit I might be saved. But, ignorant as I am, I do not know how I can–for I have got no understanding, Sir.”
I have found this in the country districts, too, among people who might learn to read if they liked. And there are none but can unless they are lazy. And yet they sit down in cold indifference about salvation under the notion that the parson could be saved, for he reads a chapter so nicely. That the clerk could be saved, for he said, “Amen” so well. That the squire could be saved, for he knew a great deal and had a vast many books in his library. But that they could not be saved, for they did not know anything and that therefore it was impossible. Now, have I one such poor creature here? I will speak plainly to you.
My poor Friend, you do not need to know much to go to Heaven. I would advise you to know as much as ever you can–do not be backward in trying to learn. But in regard to going to Heaven, the way is so plain that, “the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein.” Do you feel that you have been guilty, that you have broken God’s Commandments? Do you feel that you have not kept His Sabbath, that you have taken His name in vain? That you have not loved your neighbor as yourself, nor your God with all your heart? Well, if you feel it, Christ died for such as you. He died upon the Cross and was punished in your place and He tells you to believe it. If you want to hear more about it, come to the house of God and listen and we will try to lead you to something else.
But remember, all you want to know to get to Heaven is the two things that begin with S–Sin and Savior. Do you feel your sin? Christ is your Savior. Trust to Him. Pray to Him. And as sure as you are here now and I am talking to you, you will one day be in Heaven. I will tell you two prayers to pray. First, pray this prayer–“Lord, show me myself.” That is an easy one for you. Lord, show me myself, show me my heart, show me my guilt. Show me my danger. Lord, show me myself. And, when you have prayed that prayer and God has answered it, (and remember, He hears prayer)–when He has answered it and shown you yourself, here is another prayer for you–“Lord, show me Yourself–Show me Your work, Your love, Your mercy, Your Cross, Your grace.”
Pray that and those are about the only prayers you want to pray to get to Heaven with–“Lord, show me myself.” “Lord, show me Yourself.” You do not need to know much, then. You need not spell to get to Heaven. You need not be able to speak English to get to Heaven. The ignorant and rude are welcome to the Cross of Christ and salvation.
Excuse my thus answering these popular errors. I answer them because they are popular and popular among some who are present. O men and women, hear the word of God once more! “Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Man of eighty, child of eight, young man and maiden, rich, poor, literate, illiterate–to you is this preached in all its fullness and freeness–yes, to every creature under Heaven–“whoever” (and that shuts out none)–“whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
III. And now I have nothing to do except to finish with EXHORTATION. My exhortation is I entreat you by the name of God believe the message which this day I declare from God’s Word. Do not turn away from me because the message is simply delivered. Do not reject it because I have chosen to preach it simply and plainly to the poor. Hear again–“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I beseech you believe this. Does it seem hard to believe? Nothing is too hard for the Most High. Do you say, “I have been so guilty, I cannot think God will save me”? Hear Jehovah speak–“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways. As high as the Heavens are above the earth, so high are My thoughts above your thoughts, My ways above your ways.”
Do you say, “I am excluded. Surely, you cannot mean that He would save me”? LISTEN–it says–“Whoever”–“whoever” is a great wide door and lets in big sinners. Oh, surely, if it says, “whoever,” you are not excluded if you call–that is the point.
And now I must plead with you and I will use a few reasons to induce you to believe this Truth. They shall be Scripture reasons. May God bless them to you, Sinner. If you call on Christ’s name you will be saved. I will tell you first, you will be saved because you are elect. No man ever called on Christ’s name yet who was not elect. That doctrine of election which puzzles many and frightens more, never need do so. If you believe, you are elect. If you call on the name of Christ you are elect. If you feel yourself to be a sinner and put your trust in Christ you are elect.
Now, the elect must be saved, for them there is no perdition. God has predestinated them unto eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of Christ’s hands. God does not choose men and then cast them away. He does not elect them and then cast them into the pit. Now, you are elect–you could not have called on the name of Christ if you had not been elect. Your election is the cause of your calling and inasmuch as you have called and do call upon the name of God, you are God’s elect. And from His book not death nor Hell can ever erase your name.
‘Tis an omnipotent decree. Jehovah’s will be done! His chosen must be saved, though earth and Hell oppose. His strong hand shall break their ranks and lead His people through. You are one of these people. You shall at last stand before His Throne and see His smiling face in Glory everlasting because you are elect.
Now, another reason. If you call upon the name of the Lord you shall be saved because you are redeemed. Christ has bought you and paid for you–poured out the hottest of His heart’s blood to buy your ransom–split His heart and shattered it to splinters to buy your soul from wrath. You are a bought one, you know it not but I see the blood-mark on your brow. If you call on His name, though you have as yet no comfort, yet Christ has called you His own. Ever since that day when He said “It is finished”–Christ has said, “My delight is in him, for I have bought him with My blood.” And because you are bought you shall never perish. Not one of Jesus' blood-bought ones was ever lost yet.
Howl, howl, O Hell, but howl you cannot over the damnation of a redeemed soul. Out with the horrid doctrine that men are bought with blood and yet are damned–it is too diabolical for me to believe. I know that what the Savior did He did and if He did redeem He did redeem and those redeemed by Him are positively redeemed from death and Hell and wrath. I can never bring my mind to the unrighteous idea that Christ was punished for a man and that such a man will be punished again. I never could see how Christ could stand in a man’s place and be punished for him and yet that man be punished again. No, inasmuch as you call on God’s name there is proof that Christ is your Ransom.
Come, rejoice! If He was punished, God’s justice cannot demand a double vengeance–first at the bleeding Surety’s hands–and then again at yours. Come, Soul, put your hand upon the Savior’s head and say, “Blessed Jesus, You were punished for me.” Oh God, I am not afraid of Your vengeance. When my hand is on the atonement, You must smite me through Your Son. Smite if You will but You cannot–for You have smitten Him and surely You will not smite again for the same offense? What? Did Christ at one tremendous draught of love drink my damnation dry and shall I be damned after that? God forbid!
What? Shall God be unrighteous–forget the Redeemer’s work for us and let the Savior’s blood be shed in vain? Not Hell itself has ever indulged the thought which has only been worthy of the men who are traitors to God’s Truth. Yes, Brethren, if you call on Christ, if you pray, if you believe–you may be quite sure of salvation–for you are redeemed and the redeemed must not perish. Shall I tell you one more reason? Believe this truth–it must be true–for you call upon the name of God.
“In My Father’s house,” says Christ, “there are many mansions,” and there is one there for you. Christ has prepared a house and a crown, from before the foundation of the world, for all them that believe. Come! Do you think Christ will prepare a house and not carry the inhabitants there? Will He make crowns and then lose the heads that are to wear them? God forbid! Turn your eyes towards Heaven. There is a seat there that must be filled and must be filled by you. There is a crown there that must be worn and must be worn by you.
Oh, be of good cheer–Heaven’s preparation shall not be too abundant–He shall make room for those that believe and because He has made that room, those that believe shall come there. Oh, would to God I might know that some soul here could lay hold on this promise! Where are you? Are you standing away among the crowd there, or sitting here in the body of the hall or in the topmost gallery? Are you feeling your sins? Do you shed tears in secret on account of them? Do you lament your iniquities? Oh, take His promise–“Whoever (sweet whoever!)–whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The devil says it is of no use for you to call. You have been a drunkard. Tell him it says, “Whoever.” “No,” says the evil spirit, “it is of no use for you, you have never been to hear a sermon, or been in the house of God these last ten years.” Tell him it says, “Whoever.” “No,” says Satan, “remember the sins of last night and how you have come up to the MUSIC HALL stained with lust?” Tell the devil it says, “Whoever,” and that it is a foul falsehood of his that you can call on God and yet be lost. No, tell him that–
“If all the sins that men have done
In thought, or word, or deed,
Since worlds were made or time begun,
Could meet on one poor head,
The blood of Jesus Christ alone
For all this guilt could well atone.”
Oh lay this to your heart! May God’s Spirit do it! “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”