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A Home Mission Sermon
by C. H. Spurgeon
"Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. For there is no work, nor device,
nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go." Ecclesiastes 9:10.
IF God had willed it we might each one of us have entered Heaven at the moment of our conversion. It was not absolutely
necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here. It is possible for a man to be taken to
Heaven and to be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, though he has but believed in
Christ a solitary moment.
The thief upon the Cross had no long time for the process of sanctification. For thus spoke the
Savior, "Verily I say unto you this day shall you be with Me in Paradise." It is true that in our case sanctification is a
long and continued process and we shall not be perfected the being of sin shall not be cast out till we lay aside our
bodies and enter within the veil.
But nevertheless, it is quite certain that if God had so willed it, He might have sanctified us in a moment. He might
have changed us from imperfection to perfection, He might have cut out the very roots of sin and have destroyed the very
being of corruption and have taken us to Heaven instantly, if so He had willed it. Notwithstanding that, we are here and
why are we here? Would God keep His children out of Paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Does God
delight to tantalize His people by keeping them in a wilderness when they might be in Canaan? Will he shut them up in
prison when He might give them instant liberty, unless there are some overwhelming reasons for His delay in giving them
the fullness of their life and bliss?
Why are they here? Why is the army of the living God still on the battlefield? One charge might give them the victory.
Why are God's ships still at sea? One breath of His wind might waft them to the haven. Why are His children still
wandering here and there through a maze, when a solitary word from His lips would bring them into the center of their
hopes in Heaven? The answer is, They are here that they may glorify God and that they may bring others to know His
love. We are not here in vain, dear Brethren.
We are here on earth like sowers scattering good seed. Like plowmen plowing
up the fallow ground. We are here as heralds, telling to sinners around, "What a dear Savior we have found," and heralding the coming of our Master. We are here as the salt to preserve a world which otherwise would become putrid
and destroyed. We are here as the very pillars of this world's happiness for when God shall take away His saints,
the universal moral fabric "shall tumble to its fall." And great shall be the crash, when the righteous shall be removed
and the foundations shall be shaken.
Taking it therefore for granted that the people of God are here to do something to bless their fellow men, our text
comes in very pertinently as the rule of our life. May God help us to practice it by giving us much of His powerful Spirit.
"Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might." This is what you are here for. You are here for a certain
purpose. That purpose will soon be ended and whether it is accomplished or unaccomplished, there shall never be a second
opportunity for attempting it, "for there is no work, nor device nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, where you
go." So far as this world is concerned, the grave is the end of our doing. So far as this time and state are concerned, the
grave shall be the burial of our wisdom, our knowledge and our devices.
Now, I shall, this morning, first, endeavor to explain the preacher's exhortation. And then endeavor to enforce it by
I. First, I shall explain THE PREACHER'S EXHORTATION. I shall do so by dividing it into three parts What
shall I do? "Whatsoever your hand finds." How shall I do it? "Do it with your might." And then, why shall I do
it? "For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, where you go.
1. First, then, are there not some here who are saying, I hope I love Christ I desire to serve Him, for I have been
saved by His work upon the Cross what then can I do? "The answer is "whatsoever your hand finds to do." Here we
will observe, first, that this refers us to the works that are near at hand. You are not called upon today, the most of you,
to do works which your eye sees far away in Hindustan or China. The most of you are called especially to do the work
which is near at hand. People are always desiring to be doing something miles off. If they could but be somewhere else,
what wonders they would accomplish! Many a young man thinks if he could stand up under a banyan tree and discourse
to the black faces in India, how eloquent he might be.
My dear Fellow, why don't you try the streets of London first, and see whether you are eloquent there? Many a lady
imagines that if she could move in a high circle she would no doubt become another Lady Huntingdon and do wonders.
But why cannot you do wonders in the circle in which God has placed you? He does not call you to do that which is
leagues away and which is beyond your power. It is that which your hand finds to do. I am persuaded that our home duties
the duties which come near to us in our own streets, in our own lanes and alleys are the duties in which we ought
most of us mainly to glorify Christ. Why will you be stretching out your hands to that which you cannot reach? Do that
which is near which is at your hand.
People sometimes come to their minister and say, "What shall I do for Christ?" In nine cases out of ten it is evidence
of a lazy, idle spirit, when men ask what they shall do. For if they were really in earnest wanting to do something
they would find themselves placed in the midst of such a press of work, that the question would not be, "What can I do?"
but, "Which out of all these shall I do first? For here is enough to fill an angel's hands and occupy more than all a mortal's
time." Very often I find men ambitious to serve God in an orbit in which they will never move. Many say, "I wish I
could become a preacher." Yes, but you are not called to be a preacher, it may be.
Serve God in that which your hand
finds present. Serve Him in your immediate situation, where you now are. Can you not distribute tracts? "Oh yes," you
say, "but I was thinking of doing something else." Yes, but God put you there to do that. Could you not teach an infant
class in the Sunday School? "I was thinking of being the superintendent of the Sunday School." Were you, indeed? But
your hand has not found out how to get there. Do what your hand has found it has found an infant class to teach.
Could you not endeavor to instruct your family and teach your servants in the way of God God helping? "Oh yes,"
says one, "but I was thinking about organizing a Dorcas Society, or a Ladies' Visiting or Tract-Distributing Society."
Yes, but your hand has not found that out yet. Just do that first which is nearest to you.
Begin at home. When Jerusalem was built, every man built before his own house. Do you the same. There is a wise
provision by our rulers, that every man should cleanse the street in front of his own house. Why will you, who live here in
Southwark walk all the way to Islington to cleanse the street in front of somebody else's door? Stop and attend to your
own work, and if everybody will do that which comes immediately under his own eyes and is found out by his own
hand then how much may be accomplished. Depend upon it, there is more wisdom in that than some of us dream.
"Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it." Do not be prowling about for work, but do it where it is when your hand
Again "whatsoever your hand finds to do," refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our
heart finds to do that we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart, God accepts the will for the deed. But if we would be
eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart and talking of them with our lips. We must
get plans that are tangible, schemes that we can really manage, ideas that we can really carry out. And so we shall fulfill
the exhortation of Solomon, "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it."
I will give you an illustration. Not many months ago in a certain magazine, which I will not mention, there was a
supplement given upon China. In the supplement the Churches represented by that magazine were exhorted to raise
enough money to send a hundred missionaries to China. There was a vary earnest appeal made to the Churches a glorious
blast of trumpets as if something very great was coming. The mountain was in labor and labor it did. Now, I have
been told that the secretary of the Chinese mission called upon the editor of the aforesaid magazine and said, "I see you
have a proposal to send a hundred missionaries to China.
Will you strike the two zeroes off and find money enough to
send one?" It is said that they who aim at the moon will shoot higher than those who shoot at a bush. It may be correct,
they may shoot higher, but I do not think they are so likely to hit their mark. Shooting high is not the thing it is hitting what you shoot at now. If they had said, "We will do our utmost to send one missionary to China," they might have
effected it. But they were talking about a hundred and they have not succeeded, nor are they likely to do.
The exhortation of our preacher would come home to such people. They have got it in their hearts to do it. They say
when they grow big enough they mean to accomplish great things. "Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel
you shall become a plain." Now, instead of meddling with that great mountain, suppose you try your faith upon a fig
tree first. And, then, if you moved that first, you might have confidence to move a mountain.
John Bunyan was a very
wise man when he thought once he would try to work miracles. Instead of ordering the sun and moon to go back several
degrees, as he rode along he thought he would tell the puddles in the road to become dry. It was a miracle that would not
interfere with anybody and therefore a very proper one to begin with. But in the beginning the thought came into his
mind, "Pray first." And when he prayed he could not find any promise that he could dry up the puddles and so he determined
to leave them alone. I hope those men who come with some splendid vision in their heads would only try to do
what they can and no more.
When they become giants, let them do a giant's work, but as long as they are dwarfs, let them do a dwarf's work.
Remember, the exhortation of the great man is to do not great things, but to do the things that your hand finds to do
present things, possible things. Do not be scheming and speculating about what you would do if your old aunt were to
leave you twenty thousand pounds, or what you would do if you were to become prime minister and so forth. Do what
you can, in your workshop or shed, or with a needle in your hand. And if ever you have a scepter which is not likely
but you use your needle well, you would be the most likely person to use your scepter well, also.
There is another word of exhortation which seems to strike me as being very necessary when addressing God's people,
it is this "Whatsoever your hand finds to do." Suppose, now, the duty which lies against our door to be a very disagreeable
one. A sad thing that any duty should be disagreeable to the man who has been saved by Christ, but so it is.
There are some duties which, while we are nothing but poor flesh and blood, will always be less agreeable than certain
others. Yet, mark you, though the duties seem to you to be degrading and disagreeable, contrary to your taste, yet the
exhortation has it, "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might." Whether it is the visitation of the poorest
of the poor or the teaching of the most ignorant whether the hewing of wood or the drawing of water the very lowest
work in the Lord's House if your hand finds it, do it.
You will remark in many Christians and possibly if you are wise you will remark in yourself, how we all have a preference
to do those duties which we regard as being honorable, as coming strictly within the range of our own office those which probably will be rewarded with the praise of men. If there is any duty that shall ever be heard of till the Day
of Judgment, if there is any work that never shall be seen until the blaze of the last day shall manifest it to a blind
world then we generally avoid such a duty and seek another. Oh, if we did but understand the true majesty of humility
and how great a thing it is for a Christian to do little things to bow himself and to stoop we should rather envy the
meanest of the flock than the greatest and each of us try to wash the saint's feet and perform the most menial service for the Master.
Often, I think, when you and I are standing back from some humbling duty, if Christ Jesus should come by that way
and do it, how we would blush. Let me give you Christ's own picture. There was a poor wounded Samaritan who was left
half dead. There was a priest coming to Jerusalem. He was busy with his sermon, looking over his notes and thinking of
what he should have to say to the people when he addressed them. Well, there was a poor fellow on the other side of the
road, wounded. It was no business of his he was a preacher. If he went to interfere with that poor man's wounds, he
was quite sure it would be such a ghastly sight that he would not be able to preach half so well, so he passed by. Well,
then there came a Levite, a good respectable deacon in the sanctuary. "Well," he says, "I must make haste and catch the
minister, or else I shall not be in time to read the hymns." It was no business of his to go and see after the poor man who
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At last the Master Himself came that way and He, the Head of the Church, the Prince of Preachers, the Great Deacon,
the Great Servant of servants, He did not disdain to bind up the broken heart and to heal the poor man's wounds.
There is a story told in the old American war, that once upon a time George Washington, the commander-in-chief, was
going around among his soldiers. They were hard at work, lifting a heavy piece of timber at some fortification There
stood the corporal of the regiment calling out to his men, "Heave there, heave ahoy!" and giving them all kinds of directions. As large as possible the good corporal was.
So Washington, alighting from his horse, said to him, "What is the
good of your calling out to those men why don't you help them yourself and do part of the work." The corporal drew
himself up and said, "Perhaps you are not aware to whom you are speaking, Sir. I am a corporal." "I beg your pardon,"
said Washington, "you are a corporal, are you? I am sorry I should have insulted you." So he took off his own coat and
waistcoat and set to work to help the men build the fortification When he had done he said, "Mr. Corporal, I am sorry I
insulted you, but when you have any more fortifications to get up and your men won't help you, send for George Washington,
the commander-in-chief ,and I will come and help them."
The corporal slunk away perfectly ashamed of himself. And so Christ Jesus might say to us, "Oh, you don't like
teaching the poor. It is beneath your dignity. Then let your Commander-in-Chief do it. He can teach the poor, He can
wash the feet of the saints, He can visit the sick and afflicted He came from Heaven to do this and He will set the example
for you." Surely we should each be ashamed of ourselves and declare from this time forward whatever it is, be it great
or little, if it comes to our hand and if God will but give us help and give us grace, we will do it with all our might. I have
thus explained what we are to do.
2. And, now, How are we to do it? "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might." First, "do it." That
is do it promptly. Do not fritter away your lives in setting down what you intend to do tomorrow as being a recompense
for the idleness of today. No man ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we have honored Christ and are blessed,
it is by the things which we do today. For after all, the ticking of the clock said today! Today! Today! We have no other
time in which to live. The past is gone. The future has not come. We have, we never shall have, anything but the present.
This is our all. Let us do what our hand finds to do. Young Christian, are you just converted? Do not wait until your
experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Determine now to bring forth fruit. This very day,
if it is the first day of your conversion, bring forth fruits meet for repentance even now. And you who are now in middle
age, say not, "I will begin to serve Christ when my hair shall be frosty with age." No. Now do it do it "do it with
your might." Oh that God would keep us to this that we would always do our day's work in our day and serve Him
I have heard of a certain Divine who was a preacher at Newgate. He preached a sermon divided into two parts the
first was to the saint, the second was to the sinner. When he had finished the first part, to the saint, in the morning, he
said he would preach to the sinner the next Sunday morning and then finish his sermon. There was a poor man who was
hanged on the Monday and who therefore never heard that part of the discourse which was best adapted to his case. How
often may we be found in the like light. We may be saying, "I will do him good, by-and-by."
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But he may be dead then
and our opportunity will be gone, or, what is just as likely, we may be dead, also. And then all our opportunities will be
passed and it will be totally out of our power to do anything. Do it! Do it! Do it! This is what the Church of Christ wants
to have proclaimed as with the sound of a trumpet in all her ranks, "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it." Put it not
off one hour. Do it! Procrastinate not a day. "Procrastination is the thief of time." Let him not steal your time. Do it, at
once. Serve your God now. For now is all the time you can reckon on.
Then, the next words, "Do it with your might." Whatever you do for Christ, throw your whole soul into it. Christ
wants none to serve Him with their fingers He must have their hands, their arms, their hearts. We must not give Christ
a little slurred labor, which is done as a matter of course now and then. But when we serve Him, we must do it with all
our hearts and soul and strength and might. Among the old Roman pagans, they were accustomed to slay the beasts and
cut them open, in order to discover future events. If ever they cut open a bullock and could not find the heart, it was always
considered by the people to be an ill omen. And depend upon it, if you cut your works open and cannot find your
hearts in them, it is an ill omen for your works they are good for nothing and their object shall never be accomplished.
The worst part of the Christian Church at this time is that it seems as if many of our ministers and their Churches had
lost their hearts. Step into your Churches and Chapels everything is orderly and precise but where is the life, where is
the power? I confess that I would rather address a congregation of ignorant men who are alive and enthusiastic, than a
congregation of the most learned and orderly who are dead and blank upon whose ears all the preaching in the world
falls as but a dull monotony. About three weeks ago I was addressing a Methodist congregation. They leaped on their
feet, now and then, and cried, "Hallelujah, Glory be to God!" My whole soul was stirred within me and I felt that I could
preach, and preach again and never grow weary while these people drank in the Word with real life. I am persuaded that
real good was done and that they did not forget what was said.
But, then, our people take things so orderly. They come and take their seats so quietly, until it often seems that one
might preach to a set of statues or wooden blocks, with just as much hope of effect as to preach to them. We want life, we
want heart heart in the ministry, heart in the deacons, heart in all the offices of the Church and until we have this we
cannot expect the Master's blessing. You are going to teach in the Sunday-School this afternoon, are you? How are you
going to teach? "I am going to do as I have often done." Stand back! If you are going to serve Christ, stand back till you
have got your heart with you and take with you all your strength and all your might and say as David did, "Bless the
Lord and serve the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me."
Serve the Master and spend yourself in your strength. I
would rather have no sermon than a dull sermon no teaching than sleepy teaching no prayers than lifeless prayers. A
cold religion is tasteless. Let us have a hot religion that will burn its way into the heart. This is the religion that will
make its way in the world and make itself respected, even though some pretend to despise it
"Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."
But where is the might of a Christian? Let us not forget that. The might of a Christian is not in himself, for he is perfect
weakness. His might lies in the Lord of Hosts. It will be well for us if all we attempt to do is done in God's strength,
or else it will not be done with might it will be feebly and badly done. Whenever we attempt to serve a loaf in the winning
of souls, let us first begin with prayer. Let us seek His help. Let us go on with prayer mixed with faith. And when we
have concluded the work, let us commend it again to God with renewed faith and fresh prayer.
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What we do thus will be
well done and will not fail in its effect. But what we do merely with creature strength, with the mere influence of carnal
zeal, will come to nothing at all. "Whatsoever your hand finds to do," do it with that real might which God has promised
them that ask it, with that real wisdom which He gives liberally which He bestows on all who seek it meekly and
reverently at His feet. God help us, then, to carry out this exhortation, "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with
3. And, now, the third part of the exhortation was, Why? We are to do it with all our might. Death is near and when
death comes there will be an end to all our serving God on earth, an end to our preaching, an end to our praying, an end
to our doing anything for God's glory among the perishing souls of men. If we all lived in the light of our funerals how
well should we live! Some of the old Romish monks always read their Bibles with a candle stuck in a skull. The light from
a death's head may be an awful one, but it is a very profitable one. There is no way of living like that.
There is an old monkish legend told of a great painter who had begun a painting, but did not finish it. And as the
legend went, he prayed that he might come back on earth that he might finish that painting. There is a picture, now extant,
representing him after he had come back to finish his picture. There is a solemnity about that man's look as he
paints away with all his might, for he had but little time allowed him and a ghastliness, as if he knew that he must soon
go back, again and wanted his labor to be finished.
If you were quite sure of the time of your death, if you knew you had
but a week or two to live, with what haste would you go round and bid farewell to all your friends! With what haste
would you begin to set all matters right on earth, supposing matters are all right for eternity. But, Christian men, like
other men, forget that they are mortal and even we who profess to see into the future and declaring that we are looking
for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God even we seem to think that we shall live here forever!
It is well that God puts a thorn into our nest, or else, often His own birds of Paradise would build their nests here
and never mount higher. Let us pause a moment and think that in a short time we must die. The hour is not to be staved
off. When yon winged arrow shall have ended its hasty journey and found its target in this heart, then all is over. I may
preach to you today and exhort you to flee from the wrath to come. But when this tongue is sealed in silence, I can no
more warn you. If I have been unfaithful and have not discharged my Master's message and faithfully told it, I cannot
come back and tell it over again.
Mother, you can pray for your children, now. But when death shall have sealed your eyes in darkness, there can be no
more prayers lifted up forever. You can teach them now in God's Word and labor that they may be brought to know
their mother's God, but it shall be all over, then. You may now, O Sunday-School teacher, instruct those children and,
God blessing you, you may be their spiritual father and bring them to Christ. But it shall one day be whispered in your
class, "teacher is dead." And there is the end of your labor. Your children may come to your grave and sit down there
and weep, but from the clay-cold sod no voice of warning can come up. There, your warning and your love is lost, alike
unknowing and unknown.
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And you, the servant of Christ, with great stores of wealth, you have this day money with which God's cause might
be greatly helped. You have talent, too, which might fit you well to stand in the midst of the Church and serve it. You
are going the way of all flesh. Grey hairs are scattered here and there. You know that your end is approaching. When
once death shall have come, you cannot devise liberal things. Your brain cannot form new devices for the spread of your
Master's kingdom, neither can your heart, then, bend and weep over sinners perishing, or your tongue address them with
Think, dear Friends, that all we can do for our fellows we must do now. For the cerement shall soon
enwrap us, the hands must soon hang down and the eyes be shut and the tongue be still. While we live let us live. There
are not two lives accorded us on earth. If we build not now, the fabric can never be built. If now we spin not, the garment
will never be woven. Work while you live and live while you work and God grant to each of us that we may discharge
in this life all the desires of our hearts in magnifying God and bringing sinners to the Cross.
II. Now, having thus explained and opened the exhortation, I shall pray that God's Holy Spirit may be solemnly with
me while very briefly and very vehemently I endeavor to STIR UP ALL PROFESSORS OF RELIGION HERE PRESENT
TO DO WHATSOEVER THEIR HANDS FIND TO DO, TO DO IT NOW, AND WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT.
If Christ Jesus should leave the upper world and come into the midst of this hall this morning, what answer could you give
if after showing you His wounded hands and feet and His rent side, He should put this question, "I have done all this for
you. What have you done for Me?" Let me put that question for Him and in His behalf. You have known His love, some
of you, forty years, some of you thirty, twenty, ten, three, one. He has done all this for you has bled away His precious
life has died in agonies most exquisite upon the Cross. What have you done for Him? Turn over your diary now. Can
you remember the contributions you have given out of your wealth and what do they amount to? Add them up.
Think of what you have done for Him, how much of your time you have spent in His service. Add that up. Turn over
another leaf and then observe how much time you have spent in praying for the progress of His kingdom. What have you
done there? Add that up. I will do so for myself and I can say without a boast I have labored to serve God and have been
in labors more abundant. But when I come to add all up and set what I have done side by side with what I owe to Christ,
it is less than nothing and vanity.
I pour contempt upon it all, it is but dust of vanity. And though from this day forward
I should preach every hour in the day though I could spend myself and be spent. Though night should know no rest
and day should never cease from toil and year should succeed to year till this hair was hoary and this frame exhausted.
When I come to render up my account He might say, "Well done," but I should not feel it was so, but should rather say,
"I am still an unprofitable servant. I have not done that which it was even my bare duty to do much less have I done all
to show the love I owe."
Now think what you have done, dear Brothers and Sisters, and surely your account must fall short equally with
mine. But as for some of you, you have done positively nothing. You have joined the Church and have been baptized and
that is about all. You have sometimes doled out a little from your abundance to the cause of Christ, but oh, how little
when you think He gave His all for you! Others there are of you who out of your little have given much, out of your
weakness have been strong, in your poverty you have never been poor towards Christ's cause. You shall not lack your
reward at last, but even you will come with the rest of us and say, "Lord help us to love the poor and by Your amazing
love to us constrain us to devote ourselves wholly, unreservedly to You."
Another argument let me give you, why you should serve Christ with all your might now. You believe, my dear
Hearers, that if men die unconverted their doom is fearful beyond all expression. You and I are compelled to believe from
the testimony of the Spirit, that the punishment of those who die impenitent is beyond all that words can describe. They
sink into a pit that is bottomless, into a fire that never can be quenched, where they are eaten by a worm that dies not.
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You know, and sometimes your hair has almost stood on end with the thought that the wrath to come is more than the
soul can conceive. And is it possible, can it be possible with this belief in your mind that many of your fellow creatures
are going post-haste to this awful, this fearful Hell and that you are idle and doing nothing? May God forgive you if such
is your unfeeling state of heart that you can contemplate a fellow creature perishing in the fires of Hell and yet permit
your hand to hang down in listless idleness.
O children of the living God, I beseech you by the fires of Hell, by the agony that knows of no abatement, by the
thirst that is not to be mitigated by a drop of water, by the eternity which knows no end. I beseech you by the wrath to
come, earnestly strive to be the means in God's hand of awakening poor souls and bringing them to the mercy of Christ!
Be earnest. If you do not believe this Bible, I care not what you are earnest or dull. But if you do believe it, act as you
believe. If you think men are perishing if the Lord's right hand is dashing in pieces His enemy then I beseech you be
strengthened by the same right hand to endeavor to bring those enemies to Christ that they may be reconciled by the
blood of the Cross.
And now, last of all, let me appeal to you in this way. Possibly, in my explanation, I have led you to form in your
heart some great scheme of what you would do. Let me knock that all to pieces, because that is not my text. It is not a
great scheme, but it is, "whatsoever your hand finds to do," that I want you to do. My dear Friends, many of you are
parents of children. It is quite certain, whatever else may be your duty, that your duty as parents is first. As their parents
you owe them a duty.
You have responsibilities towards them and it is your duty to bring them up in the fear and nurture
of God. May I earnestly beg and beseech you, not to neglect this. For remember, you will soon be gone and will not this
be a thorn in your dying pillow, if, when your children stand around your bed to bid farewell to their dying father, or
their dying mother, they shall have to say to you, "You are going from us, but we shall not miss you. We shall miss you
as far as temporal things are concerned, but when you are dead we shall be as well off in spiritual things as we were before,
for you neglected us."
They will not say so but do you suppose they will not think so, if such is the truth? Children are always quick, and if
they say it not they would feel it. Will it not be far better, if God so blesses you, that when you lay sick and dying, there
shall be a daughter wiping the hot sweat from your brow and saying, "Fear not, mother, though you walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, God is with you and you need fear no evil"?
Will it not be a satisfaction to you, father,
when you die, if glancing at the foot of the bed, you can say to your son, "Farewell, my son. I bless God that I leave you
in this world to carry on the work which I have begun, for you are walking in your father's steps." I know of no greater
joy than for some aged Patriarch and I know of one God bless him, he is preaching the Word, I doubt not this morning
to be able to look to sons and daughters converted to Christ and then to look to another generation and see grandchildren
converted to Christ. It must be a noble thing to die and leave behind three generations and many of these already
able to call the Redeemer blessed.
O neglect not your present work, I beseech you, or otherwise you shall lose the present blessing. And by neglecting
this present duty which concerns your own household, you shall incur a household curse and make your deathbed uneasy,
so that you shall toss there with those eyes looking on you and silently charging you with having neglected their souls.
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Sunday-School teachers, I give you the same exhortation. I pray God that when you die it may not be said in your
schools, "Well, we do not miss so-and-so at all. She was not a teacher we could desire, she filled up a gap and that is all
we can say." I hope it may be said of you, my Brothers and Sisters, in the holy work of Sunday-School teaching, "They
are gone to their grave and there is a vacancy made which will not soon be filled."
But still your children shall gather
round your coffin and say, "God be blessed that we ever had such a teacher!" And though they are not converted, yet
shall their little eyes weep when they think, "Teacher will never weep over us again. Teacher will never pray for us any
more, teacher will never tell us of Christ again." And that very thought may be more powerful in their minds than all
you ever said to them and may, perhaps, effect the work which was not accomplished when your soul left your body.
And now I charge myself most solemnly in this conclusion, to be more earnest than ever in preaching the Word to
you to preach it in season and out of season. To preach it with all my might, for I shall soon be gone. Life lasts not
long, and when we have all departed, may others not think that we went before our work was fully accomplished. Once
when George Whitfield was very sick and ill he was laid down by his friends by the fireside and he lay there as if he were
Presently he opened his eyes and a poor old Negro woman, who had watched over him when others had given him
up, spoke to him and said, "Massa George Whitfield are you still alive?" He looked and said, "Yes, I am. But I was in
hopes I should have been in Heaven." Then the old woman made this pretty speech. "Ah, Massa George," she said, "you
went to the very gates of Heaven and Christ said, 'Go back, Massa George. There are many poor Negroes down on the
earth that I mean to have saved. Go back and tell them I love them and mind you, do not come back any more till you
bring them all with you.' " So Whitfield recovered strength and even found, as the old women said, a desire not to go
Home till he could take these poor Negroes with him.
So may it be with us. May we live till we shall bring many souls home with us to Glory and then may it be said
"Servant of Christ, well done,
Rest from your loved employ.
The battle's fought, the victory's won,
Enter your rest with joy."
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, for he that believes and is baptized shall be saved and he that
believes not shall be damned."