A minister of the Gospel said to an audience: “Before next Sabbath some of you will be gone.” And a man said during the week: “I shall watch now, and if no one dies in our congregation during this week I shall go and tell the minister his falsehood.” A man standing next to him said: “Why, it may be yourself.” “Oh, no,” he replied; “I shall live on to be an old man.” That night he breathed his last.
Standing before some who shall be launched into the great eternity, what are your equipments? About to jump, where will you land? Oh, the subject is overwhelming to me; and when I say these things to you, I say them to myself. “Lord, is it I? Is it I?” Some of us part to-night never to meet again. If never before, I now here commit my soul into the keeping of the Lord Jesus Christ. I throw my sinful heart upon His infinite mercy. But some of you will not do that. You will go over to the store to-morrow, and your comrades will say: “Where were you yesterday?” You will say: “I heard Talmage preach, and I don’t believe what he preaches.” And you will go on and die in your sins.
Feeling that you are bound unto death eternal I solemnly take leave of you. Be careful of your health, for when your respiration gives out all your good times will have ended. Be careful in walking near a scaffold, for one falling brick or stone might usher you into the great eternity for which you have no preparation. A few months, or weeks, or days, or hours will pass on, and then you will see the last light, and hear the last music, and have the last pleasant emotion, and a destroyed eternity will rush upon you. Farewell, oh, doomed spirit! As you shove off from hope, I wave you this last salutation. Oh, it is hard to part forever and forever! I bid you one long, last, bitter, eternal adieu!
“Who have fled for refuge.”—HEB. vi: 18.
Paul is here speaking of the consolations of Christians. He styles them these “who have fled for refuge.”
Moses established six cities of refuge—three on the east side of the river Jordan, and three on the west. When a man had killed any one accidentally he fled to one of these cities. The roads leading to them were kept perfectly good, so that when a man started for the refuge nothing might impede him. Along the cross-roads, and wherever there might be any mistake about the way, there were signs put up pointing in the right way, with the word “Refuge.” Having gained the limits of one of these cities the man was safe, and the mothers of the priests provided for him.
Some of us have seen our peril, and have fled to Christ, and feel that we shall never be captured. We are among those “who have fled for refuge.” Christ is represented in the Bible as a Tower, a High Rock, a Fortress, and a Shelter. If you have seen any of the ancient castles of Europe, you know that they are surrounded by trenches, across which there is a draw-bridge. If an enemy approach, the people, for defense, would get into the castle, have the trenches filled with water, and lift up the draw-bridge. Whether to a city of safety, or a tower, Paul refers, I know not, and care not, for in any case he means Christ, the safety of the soul.