A Word to the Unconverted
James Smith, New Park Street Church, London, 1849
My dear fellow-sinner, I feel deeply concerned for your present and everlasting welfare; and with that feeling I write these lines for you. You have an immortal soul--it can never die, or cease to exist--it must live forever! You are at present in a lost state; it is not merely the case that you may be lost, you are lost now! You are a sinner against God! You are condemned already! Every hour you are sinning, and every sin calls to God, for vengeance on your guilty head! If you die in your present state--you are everlastingly undone!
Love prompts me to tell you of your dangerous situation, you are under the curse of the Almighty, and the wrath of God abides on you! Satan is seeking your eternal destruction, and the road you are traveling leads to endless despair! You must he born again--or you are lost forever!! You must be saved now--or you are eternally undone! You have no future to presume upon, no promise that God will meet you on the bed of death; you may be taken away with a stroke, in a moment, in the midst of your sins! The wicked are taken away in their wickedness; only the righteous have hope in their death.
Do not presume on the mercy of God, for it is expressly said in his word, "He hates all workers of iniquity." And you are a worker of iniquity at present!
Think of that dreadful word "Forever!"
Think of those indescribable torments which never end!
Think of that place where horror-creating darkness always reigns!
Think of that faithful God who has pledged himself to punish you, if you die in your present state, with everlasting destruction, away from his presence, and the glory of his power.
Think of Hell! Who shall attempt to describe what Hell is? Who shall tell us what are the excruciating pains, the various tortures, and the interminable miseries which are in store for all who die outside of Christ?
"No words can declare, no fancy can paint,
What rage and despair, what hopeless complaint,
Fills Satan's dark dwelling, the prison beneath;
What weeping and yelling, and gnashing of teeth!"
But Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; he fulfilled the law, suffered for sin, rose from the dead and is gone into Heaven, and is able to save to the uttermost, all who come unto God by him. His precious blood is a complete antidote for all the repentant sinner's woes; his righteousness will enable all who embrace it to stand bold in the presence of God; his grace will pardon all the believer's sins; and his power will overcome all the Christian's foes. He can save to the uttermost, no case is too desperate; no sinner too vile; no period of a man's life too late—if God the Holy Spirit draws the soul to him.
But have you ever applied to Jesus? Have you heartily sought a saving interest in his blood--the pardon of your sins--and the justification of your persons? Though Jesus is a Savior--an able, suitable, and willing Savior; yet he saves none but those who apply to him—who under a sense of their lost, miserable, and fearful state, fly for refuge to lay hold on him. You must know Christ for yourself--you must apply to him for yourself--you must feel his power in your heart, his blood in your conscience, his light in your understanding, and his sanctifying grace in every faculty of your soul, if ever you are saved. The darkness of sin and ignorance has long surrounded you--you are darkness--but if ever you are saved, you must be made light in the Lord. The stony heart must be taken away--and the heart of flesh given.
You must discover your awful state, loathsome condition, and dreadful desert. You must be led to Jesus as a poor, wretched, miserable creature; seeking for his mercy, pardon, and peace. You must be led to receive Christ into your heart--to cast your guilty soul entirely upon his mercy and merit--and have his kingdom set up within you, which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. You must receive the Spirit of Christ—and be conformed to the image of Christ. Notions will not do; duties will not do; your own works will not do: you must possess Christ as your Savior, his obedience must be your justifying righteousness; his blood the price of your pardon; his Spirit your sanctifier; his name your plea; his promise your ground of hope; and his person and perfect work your only foundation.
You must know him to be God, and your God; a Savior, and your Savior; as peace, and your peace; as a prophet, and your prophet; as a king, and your king; to rule in you and reign over you forever. You must be led by the Spirit of God . . .
to know the truth, and by it be made free;
to love holiness, and earnestly follow after it;
to hate sin, and mourn over it before God;
to walk uprightly, and yet place no dependence in it;
to joy in God, as your reconciled God and friend;
and to prove Christ to be precious, most precious to your soul.
You must be led to value and prize Christ . . .
more than the world, with all its riches, honors, and pleasures;
more than life, with all its comforts, endearments, and connections;
more than anything and everything besides.
The Lord Jesus must be . . .
your food and drink, on which you live;
your rest and refuge, to which you retire;
your life and light, which above all things you prize;
your joy and peace, which you cannot but value;
your delicious banquet, which you wish always to enjoy;
your boast and glory, of which you often speak;
your all in all, which would be enough, if all else was lost, and without whom all beside is nothing.
You must take Christ to be . . .
your wisdom, in all difficult cases;
your righteousness, in which to stand before God with acceptance;
your sanctification, to make and present you spotless and faultless before the presence of his glory;
your strength, to enable you to perform his precepts, obey his will, conquer your enemies, and honor his dear name;
your salvation to deliver you from sin, Satan, the present evil world, death, Hell, and the grave;
and your exceeding great reward, when time shall be no more.
You must make Immanuel . . .
your advocate before the throne, and put your entire cause into his hands;
your physician, to heal all the maladies of your soul and body;
your refuge in every time of distress;
your shield to preserve you from danger;
your dependence in all straits and difficulties; and
your confidence for evermore.
You must . . .
know God in Christ, as your Father;
approach God through Jesus, as your Mediator;
and go to God with him as your plea.
You must live to his glory on earth--if ever you enjoy his glory in Heaven.
My dear fellow-sinner, I charge you—do not deceive yourself. Search the Scriptures to see whether these things are so; search your own soul, to see if you possess these things; search into your life, and see if your conduct proves that you are a real, decided, spiritual Christian. All religion without these things--is mere vanity and vexation of spirit; with them it is joy and peace. Without possessing these things--you are lost; with them--you are saved forever! As well have no religion, as not true religion; and no man can have true religion without knowing something about the things above mentioned, and manifesting the same to the world.
Your soul is of immense value,
time is flying,
eternity is just at hand,
death is coming,
and after that the judgment!
I shall meet you at the judgment bar of God—and you will meet me there. You cannot say that you were not warned of your danger, or that your fearful state was never pointed out to you, or the way of escape made known. I have set before you your state, I have preached unto you Jesus in this book, I have solemnly warned you to flee from the wrath to come. If you love darkness rather than light, if you prefer sin and the world--to Jesus, if you are content to go on in ignorance, until you are landed in the dark regions of perdition—then your condemnation is just, and your eternal punishment will be dreadful!
"This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." John 3:19
"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:26-29
"Stop, poor sinner! Stop and think,
Before you farther go!
Will you sport upon the brink
Of everlasting woe!
Once again, I charge you, stop!
For unless you warning take,
Before you are aware you drop
Into the burning lake!
Though your heart be made of steel,
Your forehead lined with brass,
God at length will make you feel,
He will not let you pass.
Sinners then in vain will call,
(Though they now despise his grace)
Rocks and mountains on us fall,
And hide us from his face!
But as yet there is a hope
You may his mercy know,
Though his arm is lifted up,
He still forbears the blow!
'Twas for sinners Jesus died,
Sinners he invites to come,
None who come shall be denied,
He says "There still is room."