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COME TO JESUS
"Come to Jesus" was a widely distributed and popular Gospel tract, especially among soldiers during the Civil War period. It was written by Newman Hall (1816-1902) and printed by the Evangelical Tracty Society of Petersburg, VA. This Gospel tract is in the Public Domain
LISTEN, dear fellow-sinner. How kind, how wonderful an invitation is this! God speaks, and speaks to THEE. The Father says, "COME." The Son says, "COME." The Holy Spirit says, "COME." The blessed angels echo the cry, "COME." Many poor sinners who have accepted the call, join their voices in the appeal, and say, "Come to Jesus." This little book unites in the entreaty, poor sinner, and with all earnestness, plainness and affection, implores thee to "COME to JESUS."
When he was himself on earth, well knowing and full of pity for the sufferings and sins of men, as he looked round on the crowd which one day surrounded him, he tenderly said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Mat. 11:28-30. What he said then he says NOW. The invitation he gave to the men of that day, he gives to THEE, my fellow-sinner: "Come unto me.', Art thou not heavy laden with guilt? O then come to Jesus and thou shalt find rest. COME TO JESUS; COME TO JESUS.'
COME TO JESUS.
HE promises rest. But far better than rest of body is rest of soul. It is wretched to be a slave, to groan, bleed, toil; but far worse to be Satan's bondman, dragging about an evil conscience and an aching heart. Rest from this cannot be had but by coming to Jesus. And if we come, he will lighten every other load. Are you poor? Come, and he will make you rich for ever. Are you sick? Come, and he will cure your worst disease. Are you sad? Come, and he will wipe away your tears. Are you bereaved? Come, and he will be to you a brother in adversity, who changes not, and never dies. Is sin a burden? O then come to Jesus and he will take it all away. Do you dread the day of death and judgment? Come, and that day will be the dawn of life and glory. O then come. To be merely called by such a person should beenough to make us glad. Of a stranger, we might say, "Perhaps he intends me no good;" of a poor man, "He cannot assist me, however willing;" of a selfish rich man," Who can expect aught from him?" But if a Howard or a Wilberforce said to a mourner, "Come," he might feel quite sure some kindness was intended. Now he who invites thee, sinner, is both able and willing to help. He has clothes for the naked, food for the hungry, wealth for the poor, eternal life for all. His very word, "Come," is enough to make thee glad. A blind beggar by the way side, hearing he was passing, cried out, "Mercy, mercy!" The people told him to be quiet; but he shouted the louder, "Have mercy on me!" Jesus invited him: and then some said, as though he might now be quite sure of a blessing, "Be of good comfort; rise, he calleth thee." They knew Jesus never called and then refused; and so they told him to rejoice. Sinner, be you of good cheer; the, same Jesus calleth thee. As the blind man threw off his cloak lest it should hinder him, do you cast off every sin that would stop you--rush through every crowd of difficulties, and falling at the feet of Jesus say, "Have mercy on me? I am blind, I am lost; save, or I perish." Are you too great a sinner? The more need to come. Have you a guilty conscience? With that guilty conscience come. Have you a wicked heart? With that wicked heart come. Have you nothing with which to purchase his favor? "Without money" come. Rich and poor, masters and servants, old and young, white man and black, sinners, of every class, COME.
Read Isa. 55; Matt. 8:1-17; 11:28-30; Mark 10:46-52; Rev. 22:17.
WHY SHOULD I COME?
YOU ARE A SINNER, COME FOR PARDON.
Perhaps you do not feel you are a sinner. At least, you think you are no worse than others, but better than many. You are no drunkard, thief, adulterer, but keep the Sabbath, read the Bible, and attend the house of God. But have you indeed obeyed all the commandments? Never broken any of them? Always been true, chaste, sober, honest, forgiving, kind? Never indulged in pride, malice, anger, deceit, or lust? God requires purity of heart as well as of outward conduct, and he knows all our thoughts. Have you then never cherished the thought of sin in your heart, though you have feared outwardly to commit it? Besides, the first and chief command is, to love the Lord our God with all our mind and strength. Have you always done this; always been thankful for his mercies; always carefully read his word in order to obey it; always tried to please him, loved to pray to him, taken delight in his day, his people, his worship; always striven to be "holy as he is holy," to make known his truth, to induce others to love him, and endeavored in all things to glorify him? If you have always done this, you have still only just done your duty, and have nothing to boast of. But you have not done it. Conscience tells you so. You know you have sinned thousands of times. You know you have sought your own pleasure, and in your best actions you have not been prompted by a desire to please God. You have lived for yourself; you have sought man's approval, but God has not been in all your thoughts. The Bible tells us, "If man say he hath no sin, he deceiveth himself. There is none righteous, no, not one. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." O, my fellow-sinner, is it not true of thee, "The God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, thou hast not glorified?" You are a sinner. Guilt, enormous guilt hangs upon you. In God's book all your sins are written down. You cannot get rid of them. Were you to labour for thousands of years, you could not atone for the least. All you could do would only be your duty. Paying to-day's debt still leaves yesterday's where it was. And were you to give all you possess, or suffer torture and death, it would not take away sin. The past cannot be recalled. But there is forgiveness, free, full, eternal, for the guilty. Jesus has pardon for thee, sinner, purchased with his own blood. Come for it. Come to Jesus Christ for it.
Read Exod. 20:1-18; Psalms 51:139; Matt. 5; Rom. 3:10-20, 23; 1 John 1:8-10.
GOD IS ANGRY--COME TO BE RECONCILED.
The Bible says "God is angry with the wicked every day. He hateth all workers of iniquity." And has not God much cause to be angry with thee, sinner? He gave and preserves your life and faculties, and bestows all your comforts. Yet you forget him. He has told you his commands; and these are all intended to do you good, yet you do not regard them. You do not reverence God, but live almost as if there was no such Being. What an ungrateful son would you be, if thus you treated your parents--if you avoided their company, disliked to think of them, and disregarded their wishes! Hear then what God says: "Hear, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." He is full of love to you, as a tender Father; but by your sins you have grieved him. Besides, he is your Creator, King, and righteous Judge, and must and will punish all sinners. He must act, to those who rebel, not as a kind parent, but as an angry monarch. It is your own fault, however, that he is angry. You make him so. Your sins separate between you and God. As long as you live without repenting of sin, his anger must ever be hot against you, sinner, and you cannot escape or hide from him. Wherever you are, he is there, and he is angry. He "compasses your path and your lying down," and he is angry. It depends on him whether or not you draw your very next breath, and he is angry. O sinner, better for all the world to be angry with thee than God. What an awful life is yours! The "wrath of God abideth on you." How dreadful to feel when going to bed, "God is angry"--to awake and know "God is angry,"--wherever you go, and whatever you do, "God is angry." And O, to die knowing that "God is angry;" and to stand before his judgment seat, and see that he is angry. Sinner, he is angry only while you make him so; he is willing to be your friend; he sent his Son with this message, "Be ye reconciled to God." If you will give your heart to that Messenger, and trust in him, all this anger will cease. O then, come to Jesus. Be no longer Gods foe, but accept the offer be his friend. But beware, beware of rejecting Jesus; for he says, "He that believeth not," that is, does not come to "the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Read John 3:36; Psalm 7:11; 11:5, 6; 21:8, 9; Rom. 1:18; 2:5-9; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Eph. 5:6; 2 Thess. 1:7-9.
HELL AWAITS YOU--COME TO BE SAVED.
Hell is not a fable invented by priests to frighten their fellow-men; but as sure as the Bible is the word of God, so sure is it that "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God." "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." "Then all men must give an account of the deeds done in the body." "God will judge the secrets of men." Then all sinners who have not obtained pardon by coming to Jesus will be on the left hand of the Judge, who will pronounce their dreadful sentence, "Depart, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' O who can tell the torments of that place? No more pleasant light of day, no more cheerful voice of friends, no more comforts of home, no more pleasures of the world and sin. The rich man can take none of his wealth with him, the gay man none of his amusements. Conscience will dart its sting past sins will be clearly remembered, and past opportunities of escape now gone for ever. O, that one of them might come back! O for one more Sabbath! O for one more hour to pray for mercy! But it will be then too late, too late. Darkness for ever, sin for ever, woe for ever, death for ever. Jesus speaks of it as "the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone --outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth--where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched"--where the wicked rich man, being in torments, cried out, "Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame." There he that is filthy shall be "filthy still," and "the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever." What misery can be greater than what such words as these describe? How dreadful, then, to be in hell! What more horrible? And every unforgiven sinner is on his way to it. You whose eye now reads this page, if you are not pardoned, you are on your way. Every hour brings you nearer. Once there, and all hope is gone for ever. But is there no escape? Yes; one way, and one only. Flee to Jesus. He came to save from hell. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in," cometh to, "him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Nothing can save you if you will not come; nothing can prevent your salvation, if you do come.
Read Matt. 18:1-13; 25; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 14:10, 11; 20:11-15; 22:11-15.
FOR PEACE OF CONSCIENCE, COME.
"There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Some sinners seem to be at peace, but it is only by refusing to think. They will not consider. But such thoughtlessness is not worthy to be called peace. It is like a man in a sinking ship, who will not examine what is the danger; or like a tradesman, who fancies all is not going on well, but will not look into his accounts, lest his mind should be disturbed. So the sinner fancies something is wrong, and fearing to be made unhappy, he banishes reflection about God and his soul. Yet every sinner thinks sometimes, and then he must be wretched. When death visits a neighbors house, or enters his own, or threatens himself, and at many other times, the thought will come, "God is angry; my soul is in danger; I am not fit to die." And how much such a thought damp his pleasure, and disturb his repose.
No, you cannot be at peace till you have obtained pardon. You may try all the pleasures of the world in turn, you may seek to drown thought by plunging deeper and deeper into sin, but you cannot be happy. But when we come to Jesus, all our sins are at once forgiven. We still think of them with sorrow, but we need no more think of them with terror. God says to us, "Your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more." He blots out "all trespasses." He "casts them behind his back into the depths of the sea." They will not be mentioned at the judgment day. "He will abundantly pardon." He now regards us with love. We need not be afraid of him. He invites us to trust him as a kind friend. Instead of hiding from him, as Adam did, we may hide in him, as David did, saying, "Thou art my hiding place." O what a happy change! I am a sinner still, but a sinner pardoned, reconciled, saved. And whatever dreadful things conscience may tell me, Jesus says, "Thy sins are forgiven thee; go in peace." "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Poor sinner, you and peace have long been strangers. Worldly pleasure is not peace; and nothing can give it while you and God are enemies, and your sins hang heavily on your soul. Come then to Jesus. He both makes and gives peace. Seek pardon through him, and you will soon know what is meant by "the peace of God which passeth all understanding."
See Isa. 55:7; 57:21; Micah 7:18, 19; John 14:27; Rom. 5:1; 8:31-34; Phil. 4:7.
FOR A NEW HEART--COME.
"Ye must be born again," said Christ to Nicodemus. There must be a great change in our thoughts and feelings respecting God, before we are able to serve him on earth and enjoy him in heaven. Sin has estranged our minds from God, so that we do not desire him and love him. True religion is not pleasant to us. This is being "carnally minded, which is death." To love the things which sin makes distasteful is a great change, like coming to life. It is called the new birth, or regeneration. "Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Unconverted sinner, how can you expect to enter heaven? You would not be happy there. A swallow enjoys the air, and a cow the meadows, but a fish would soon languish there and die; there must be adaptation. Music charms those alone who have an ear for it; books are no treat to those who dislike reading; and society is only pleasant when it is congenial. A clown would not feel at ease at court, the ignorant cannot enjoy the company of the learned, the profligate do not love the society of the virtuous; and just so the ungodly cannot take pleasure in religion. Is not the Sabbath to you a dull day, the Bible a dry book, religious conversation unpleasant, prayer a task, and the company of the pious irksome? But heaven is all Sabbath, all worship, all holiness --its inhabitants all righteous; and their talk and actions all have reference to God. Heaven is happy because it is holy, and because God is there. But if you do not love holiness and God, it would not be a happy place for you. You would wander about a miserable, solitary thing, damping the enjoyment you could not share, and polluting the temple in which you alone would be made to worship. Therefore, unless born again, you never will enter. You cannot, I know, change your own heart, but the Spirit of God can. And Jesus died to obtain for us the gift of the Spirit. And this gift is freely bestowed on all who sincerely apply to the Saviour for it. O then earnestly pray for the Spirit of God, that you may be born again. Come to Jesus with the petition of David, "Create in me a new heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." And for your encouragement, think of the gracious assurance of Christ, "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Read John 3:1-21; Rom. 8:5-9; Eph. 2:1-6; Psa. 51:10-12 ; Luke 11:1-13.
FOR THE PRIVILEGES AND JOYS OF ADOPTION--COME.
Persons of wealth sometimes take the children of the poor, and train them as their own; this is called adoption. And thus God describes his treatment of those who come to Jesus. "Ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord God Almighty." "We have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." We are permitted, in prayer, to address God as "our Father, which art in heaven." He loves these adopted children with more than an earthly parent's affection. He teaches, watches over, comforts, feeds, protects them. Sorrows are his kind chastisements, intended for their benefit. "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth." In all their trials, he consoles them. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." Sickness, poverty, bereavement, all their troubles, are overruled for their advantage. "All things work together for good to them that love God." "They shall not want any good thing." "No weapon formed against them shall prosper." In every difficulty and danger their Father is at their side. "Fear not; for I have redeemed thee. I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." They may tell their Father all their wants. "In everything make known your requests unto God." His ear is ever open to their cry, and his hand ever outstretched to do them good. As a Father, he provides for them an inheritance; but unlike those of earth, it is "incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away.' Oh what happiness to be a child of God; to feel "God is my Father! He loves me, pities, pardons, keeps me. I am safe from all evil. Wicked men and wicked spirits cannot harm me. God is my refuge, ever near; and he never slumbers, never is weary, never forgets, and will never change. He says, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting love.' He will be always near me while on my journey here, and at last will take me to dwell with him in his palace forever." What earthly greatness can equal this? Reader, would you be a child of God! You may, if you come to Jesus; for "as many as received," came to, "him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God."
See Psa. 91; John 1:12, 13; Rom. 8:14-17; 2 Cor. 6:17,18; Heb. 12:5-12: 1 John 3:1, 2.
THAT YOU MAY ENTER HEAVEN--COME.
As there is a place of punishment for the wicked, so there is a heaven of glory for all who come to Jesus. God, in his great love to sinners, sent his Son not only to deliver them from hell, but to make them happy and glorious with him forever. When a believer dies, though his body decays, his soul is at once with Jesus, which is "far better." How delightful is the description the Bible gives of heaven. We are told that sickness, sorrow, and death never enter there; that cares, fears, and anxieties are never felt there; that poverty, privation, unkindness, and disappointment are never known there. The body that will rise from the grave will be "incorruptible," and will never experience pain, weariness, or decay. Old age will never enfeeble, for there will be perpetual youth; and death will never snatch away those we love, for death itself will be destroyed. What is still better, there will be no more sin, but all hearts will be full of holy love to God, and to one another. Every one will rejoice in the society and happiness of every one else, and God himself will dwell among them. All the good men of former ages will be there --the martyrs, and apostles, and prophets. There, too, we shall meet with angels and archangels; and more than all, we shall behold Jesus in his glorified human body--we shall see his face and ever be with the Lord. To show how glorious heaven is, it is compared to a city with streets of gold, gates of pearl, and walls of jasper and emerald; to a paradise with a river clear as crystal, and the tree of life with healing leaves; to a place of rest after labor; to a father's house, a happy home. "They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. In his presence is fullness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore." "The best joys of earth are soon gone. Riches fly, health decays, friends depart, death is written on all things[."] But the joys of heaven are forever, and forever, and forever. Reader, this heaven may be thine. Jesus keeps the door, but he has opened it wide for all sinners to enter. If you will not come to Jesus, you cannot enter heaven; for he is the door, the only door. But he invites you to come. Yes, however guilty and vile you are, heaven may, and certainly will be yours, if you come to Jesus. "To you is the word of this salvation sent." O, then, for heavenly bliss, come to Jesus.
See John 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 4:17, 18; 5:1-4; Rev. 21:22.
WHO IS JESUS?
This is a most important inquiry, because no one can rightly comply with the invitation, "Come to Jesus," without a correct knowledge of who he is. Much depends on the answer we give to the question, "What think ye of Christ?"
JESUS IS GOD.
Before he appeared on earth, he had from eternity possessed all the perfections of Deity. As the Father is God, so also Jesus is God. This is a great mystery, but it is a great truth. The Bible clearly declares it. He is called "The Word;" and St. John tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made." And "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Speaking of himself, Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." He referred to the "glory which he had with the Father before the world began;" and declared, "I and the Father are one." We are told that he is "the brightness of the Father's glory," "the image of the invisible God," "God manifest in the flesh;" that "he is the same yesterday, to-day and for ever;" and that "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Jesus, therefore, is God; and is perfect in power and wisdom and goodness. There is nothing he cannot do; and as he never can change, he will never be unfaithful to his promises. Now, poor sinner, this is just such a Saviour as you want. If you needed a protector from some great danger you would go to some one who was mighty. Who so mighty as Jesus? All that God can do, he can do. There are no difficulties, dangers, or foes he is unable to conquer for you. Whatever your weakness, his strength must be all sufficient. It is not some frail fellow-man, it is not even an angel you are to trust in. It is one infinitely higher than all created beings --even the great God, mighty to save. We should have cause to fear, if any one inferior were our Saviour. But we may feel quite safe when he undertakes to save, who is the Lord of heaven and earth. Who can harm us, if he promises to help us? "If God be for us, who can be against us?"-- His power, wisdom, holiness, and goodness, are all employed on our behalf, as soon as we come to Jesus. With such a Saviour we cannot perish. "He is able to save to the UTTERMOST."
See John 1:1-3, 14; 8:58; 10:30; 17:5; Col. 1:14- 20; 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1; 7:23-28; 13:8.
JESUS IS MAN.
This is as true as that he is God. "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son." And Jesus, though "equal with God," "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and was found in fashion as a man." He was predicted as "a man of sorrows," and frequently styled himself "the Son of man." He became man in order to obey the law we had broken, and to suffer the punishment we had merited. Because no one can see God, he lived among us as a man, that from his spirit and conduct we might have a clearer idea of what God is. Thus he said "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." And he became a man that, suffering what we suffer, we might feel sure that he can sympathize with us. Thus we read, "In that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted;" and, "We have not a high-priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are."
Think, then, of Jesus as a man. Yonder is a funeral. It is a widow's only son, and she follows the corpse with a broken heart. Who is the man that sees her afar off, pities her, goes up to the dead body, restores it to life, and delivers the son to his mother? That loving but mighty man is Jesus. Who is this standing amid a crowd of little children, and taking them so kindly in his arms to bless them? It is Jesus. Who is that mourner weeping at the grave of Lazarus? It is Jesus. Who is it that all the sick, and the poor, and the sorrowful run after, and who heals and comforts them all, refusing none? It is Jesus. He is still the same; a loving, tender, compassionate man. You need not be afraid of him; he is a man, your brother. It is he who says to you, "Come unto me." Listen to him, sinner. He is the mighty God, and able to save you; but he is also the "man of sorrows," and full of sympathy and love. He knows, feels, and pities all your weakness and frailties and fears. He bids you not be afraid. As a brotherman, he stands with looks of unutterable kindness, and says, "come unto me, come unto me." O treat not with indifference so loving a Friend. Listen to him. Let your heart be touched by his tenderness. Trust in his promises. Come to Jesus at once. Rely on him as your Saviour, and obey him as your King, and he will be to you the "Friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
Read Isa. 53; Matt. ch. 26, 27; Luke 7:11-15; John 3; 16, 17; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:17, 18.
HE IS THE SAVIOUR OF SINNERS.
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to SAVE SINNERS"-- "Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour." This alone brought him to our wicked world. And how does he save? By standing in our place, and bearing the punishment we merited. We have broken the law, but he has perfectly kept it; for he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." We deserved death for our sins. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." But he died for us. "He gave his life a ransom for many." We were under the curse. "Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." But "he was made a curse for us." "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; and by his stripes we are healed." "He bare our sins in his own body on the tree." This is why he became a man, was "despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He "carried our sorrows." This is why he suffered temptation, groaned in Gethsemane, in his agony sweat great drops of blood, was scourged, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and nailed upon the cross. "He gave his life a ransom for many." We were slaves--he came to set us free. But the price he paid was his own blood. "Redeemed with the precious blood of Christ." We were prisoners at the bar, condemned to die; but he left his Father's throne, and came and stood at our side, saying, "I will die for them, that they may be forgiven and live for ever." And now that he has returned to his glory in heaven, he lives to save us. He watches over us, speaks to us by his word and by his Spirit, listens to our prayers, advocates our cause, helps us in our weakness, and "ever liveth to make intercession for us." He thus saves us both by his death and his life. He has paid all our debts, and is ready to supply all our wants. He saves those who trust in him from the sting of death, and delivers them from condemnation at the judgment day. We must appear before the Judge as guilty sinners; but if we can use this plea, "I trust in Jesus, who died for me," he will at once declare us to be fully acquitted, pardoned, saved. He says to thee, reader, "Poor sinner, thou art in danger of hell; but I have brought thee a free pardon, purchased with my own blood. I died for thee. I am able to save thee. Come unto me."
See Isaiah 53; Acts; 10:34-43; 13:16-41; Rom. 5; Gal. 3:13; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 9:11-28; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; 2:14.
HE IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR.
Jesus said, "I am the way: no man cometh unto the Father but by ME." We can only obtain pardon from God by coming to Jesus for it. All God's mercy for sinners has been placed in the hand of Christ, and no one can obtain it but from him. Some who neglect Jesus, yet hope in God's mercy. To them God But if they reject Jesus, they reject mercy. To them God will only be an angry Judge, "a consuming fire." Our own good works cannot save us. Our best actions are sinful; and if they were perfect, they could not atone for the past. St. Paul says, "By the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified." If we could have entered heaven by our own merits, why should Christ have died? We could have saved ourselves. O trust not in your own works, your good character, your honesty and charity--nothing but the righteousness and death of Jesus can save. Some think because they have been baptized and taken the sacrament, because they read their Bible, keep the Sabbath, and go to church they will be caved. Multitudes have done this, yet, having never come to Jesus, are now in hell. No sacrament, ceremony, creed, or church can save. None but Jesus can. Some rely on their priest. Sad mistake. Poor man, he needs a Saviour for himself. He cannot save his own soul, much less yours. None but Jesus can give absolution. His blood alone cleanseth from sin. Some pray to saints, angels, and the Virgin Mary; but who can tell whether they can listen to any who address them? and if they could can they save the soul? The Bible tells us plainly, "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Look then to no one else. Trust only in Jesus. He is seated on a throne of mercy, and invites all poor sinners to come at once close up to him. He alone has pardon to give. Why then stop to talk to fellow sinners, or even angels, when no being can help you but Jesus? You need no one to introduce you to him. The beggar and the prince, the black man, and the white, the ignorant and the learned, those clothed in rags and those in silk attire, are equally welcome. All are invited. You sin by looking anywhere else for help. He says, "look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth." Look away from men, away from yourself; look only to Jesus, for he alone can save.
See Acts 4:8-12; Rom. 3:20-28; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2; 5, 6.
HE IS A LOVING SAVIOUR.
There could be no stronger proof of this than his coming from heaven to suffer and to die. His own words were "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Why did he leave a holy heaven for a sinful world; the songs of angels for the temptations of devils, a throne of glory for a cross of agony? It was love only, only love. Love, not to friends but to foes. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He showed his tender love in a thousand ways when on earth, going about doing good, healing all manner of sickness, never turning from the poor and the sad, always the "Friend of sinners." How he wept over Jerusalem, as he thought of her sins and approaching sufferings. When in the agonies of death, how kindly he spoke to the penitent thief at his side; and how earnestly he prayed for his mocking murderers: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." He might easily have called forth an army of angels to deliver him; but if he had not died, we could not have been saved: and therefore, because he loved us, he drank the bitter cup to its very dregs. Now that he has risen again, his love to sinners is as great as ever. Love prompts him to intercede for us, to pity us, to send his Spirit to help us, to wait to be gracious, and saves us. He loves you; he died for you; he looks down with pity on you; he calls you to come to him. His love has spared you till now, though you have rejected him. His love bears with your sins, and again at this moment entreats you to accept a pardon purchased by his blood. If some friend had spent his fortune to deliver you from prison, or risked his life to save yours, could you treat him with neglect? But Jesus has done far more. He died to redeem you from eternal woe, and make you happy for ever in heaven. He comes to you, and showing the marks of his wounds, he says, "See how I loved thee, sinner. I love thee still. Come unto me, that I may save thee from sin and from hell." O reject not so gracious a Saviour. Trample not under feet such wonderful love. You will never meet with such another Friend. Trust him. Love him. You will always find him full of pity and tenderness. He will comfort, guide, protect, and save you amid all the dangers and sorrows of life, deliver you from the sting of death, and then make you happy for ever in heaven. O come to this loving Saviour.
See Luke 19:41-44; 23:33-43; John 10:1-30; 15:12-15; Rom. 5:6-8; Eph 3:17-19.
HE WILL BE OUR JUDGE.
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." The man of sorrows will come again as the God of glory, and "before him will be gathered all nations." "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him." How encouraging to believers. He is the very person they would have chosen for themselves, and when they see him on the throne they will rejoice, for their best Friend, who has promised to save them, will be their Judge, and therefore they will feel secure. But how dreadful for those who have rejected him. How terrible his look of reproach to those who pierced him by their sinful neglect. How dreadful to hear the voice which now says, "Come unto me," say, "Depart, ye cursed." Suppose a prisoner is soon to be tried for a crime for which he will lose his life. He is visited by a man of humble appearance, but great kindness, whose heart seems to overflow with pity for the prisoner. He has been laboring very hard for the culprit's escape at the trial. He tells him what he has done, and proves that he may be safely trusted. He assures him that he is quite able to secure his acquittal or his pardon, if only the prisoner is willing he should do so. He says, "I pray you let me come forward at the trial, and speak on your behalf. Let me plead your cause. I have saved many a prisoner whose case was as bad as yours; I can save you. I ask no payment. Love alone prompts me. Consent to let me help you." But the prisoner is reading, talking, or sleeping, and takes no notice of this friend. He comes again and again; but the prisoner dislikes his visits, and by his actions asks him not to come and disturb him. The trial comes on. The prisoner is brought into court. He looks at the judge in his robes of office; and sees he is the despised friend who came to him in his cell. But now his countenance is solemn and his voice severe. He who was refused as a friend now appears only as a judge. Sinner, he who as a judge will occupy the throne at the last day, comes to thee in thy prison, and offers to be thy Saviour. He is willing to plead thy cause, and promises thee a free and full deliverance at the trial. Refuse him not, for soon you must stand at his bar. Trust in him as your Advocate, if you would not tremble before him as your judge. Accept his invitation, if you would not hear him pronounce your doom. Welcome him now to your heart, that he may welcome you then to his kingdom.
See Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Thess. 4:16-18; Rev. 1:7.
WHERE IS JESUS.
It was the language of Job, "O that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat!" Is this thy language, poor sinner? Art thou anxious to know where to find Jesus? He is no longer on earth in human form, but has returned to heaven. There you may find him, seated on a throne of mercy, waiting to give eternal life to all who come to him. You may think it far to go, but the prayers of sinners reach heaven the very moment they are uttered, and are listened to by Jesus with kind attention. Yet if this seems hard to understand, know assuredly that Jesus is not only in heaven, but on earth too. He is God, and therefore is everywhere. He said to his disciples, "I am with you always." He is constantly present among us. In the sick chamber there is Jesus, ready to comfort the afflicted disciple who lies on that bed of pain. In the secret spot to which the sinner has retired to confess his sins, there is Jesus waiting to say, "Be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee: go in peace." In the church or the room where many or few have assembled to praise and pray, there is Jesus waiting to supply their wants. "Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Reader, he is near thee. Now, while thine eye reads this page, he stands close at thy side. He whispers in thine ear. He invites thee to seek him. If anxious to find him, thou hast no long journey to take, no long time to wait before thy request can reach his ear. He is nearer than the friend sitting beside thee, for he is at thy heart's door, knocking for entrance. Wherever thou goest he follows thee, his hands laden with blessings, which he offers to thee freely. He compasses thy path, and thy lying down; but it is always to do thee good. In the morning he stands at thy bedside, offering to clothe thee with his white robe of righteousness; and when thou art seated at the table, he asks thee to eat that bread of life which will save thy soul from death. He is so near that he will notice thy first faint effort to come to him, and will stretch out his hand to help thee. He is so near that he will see thy first tear of penitence, and catch thy first sigh for pardon. He is so near that before you call he will answer, and while you are yet speaking he will hear. Sinner, where-ever you are, there is Jesus. So that in all countries, under all circumstances, by day and by night, at home and abroad you may come to Jesus.
See Psalm 139; Isaiah 65:24; Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 14:18-23.