a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon
1 Corinthians 7:29
IV. THIS ALARMS US, and well it may, on their account.
Let me toll a knell. It is a dismal knell I have to toll for the unconverted man to whom life has been a joy, for he has prospered in the world. You have succeeded in the enterprise on which you set your heart. You have bought the estate that you longed to secure. It is a fine place certainly, but you have only got it for two or three years! Would I have taken it for that term? No, I would not have taken it on a nine hundred and ninety-nine years’ lease. Freeholds for me!
Did I say two or three years? Nay, there is not a man beneath the sun, who can guarantee that you will hold it for three weeks. “The time is short.” Drive down the broad avenue, walk round the park, look into the old feudal mansion, but “the time is short,” very short, and your tenure very limited. You have gained your objective, you are possessed of real property, what next? Why, make your will. The thing is urgent. “The time is short.” But what have you not done?
You have not believed in Christ, you have not embraced the Gospel, you have not found salvation, you have not laid hold on eternal life, you have not a hope to solace you when your strength fails, and you pant for breath. How few the opportunities that remain!
Some of you have attended my ministry all the while I have been in London, I wonder how much longer you will hear me, and yet remain unsaved. Your turn to die will come at length. You ail a little, but your trifling indisposition does not yield to treatment, the symptoms grow serious, the disease is dangerous, your death is imminent. Pain unnerves you, terror distracts you. Your family and your friends look at you with helpless pity.
The doctor has just left you in dismay. Send for the priest, or fetch the parson, but what can they do for you unless you believe in Jesus? ’Tis over, the last struggle! Then picture yourself to yourself—a lost spirit, asking for a drop of water to cool your tongue! That will be your portion, sinner, unless you repent.
Think you, sirs, there is but a step between you and death, a short step between you and hell, unless you believe in Jesus. Do you still imagine that there is time enough and to spare? I beseech you, do not cherish so vain a thought. It may be that you suspect me of exaggerating, that I cannot do in such a case as this. Time is rushing on, swiftly but silently. While I speak, the minutes pass, the hour is soon gone, the day is almost spent. I charge you then, by the ever-blessed Spirit, listen now to the warning, escape from sin, get out of that broad road which leads to destruction, believe in Jesus, lay hold on eternal life. May the Spirit of God arouse you!
May these words be blessed to you! They would be put more forcibly if I knew how. With all the fervor of my soul, I entreat you, for I know your everlasting interests are in imminent jeopardy. God grant that you may not linger longer, lest haply you linger too long, and perish in your lingering! “The time is short.”
In a little while there will be a great concourse of people in the streets. I think I hear someone inquiring, “What are all these people waiting for?” “Do you not know? He is to be buried today.” “And who is that?” “It is Spurgeon.” “What! the man that preached at the Tabernacle?” “Yes, he is to be buried today.” That will happen very soon, and when you see my coffin carried to the silent grave, I should like every one of you, whether converted or not, to be constrained to say, “He did earnestly urge us, in plain and simple language, not to put off the consideration of eternal things. He did entreat us to look to Christ. Now he is gone, our blood is not at his door if we perish.”
God grant that you may not have to bear the bitter reproach of your own conscience! But as I feel that “the time is short,” I will stir you up so long as I am in this Tabernacle, and I do pray the Lord to bless the word every time I preach it from this platform. Oh, that some souls may be saved, that Jesus Christ may be glorified, Satan defeated, and heaven filled with saved ones!
“’Tis not for man to trifle! Life is brief; And sin is here. Our age is but the falling of a leaf, A dropping tear. We have no time to sport away the hours; All must be earnest in a world like ours. Not many lives, but only one, have we,— Frail, fleeting man: How sacred should that one life ever be,— That narrow span! Day after day filled up with blessed toil, Hour after hour still bringing in new spoil.”