We submit that no one can tell just how much there is in the heart that needs to be consumed. There are things dormant in the unsanctified heart of which the man never dreams. There are serpents coiled in balls, and vipers spitting poison, and centipedes, and fat blinking toads, and vampires, and lizards, and tarantulas, that we never suspect of being in the soul. But they are there.
The embryos of crime.
It is God’s mercy that says, “Be ye holy,” for He knows that unless we get cleaned out and purified the inner reptiles will poison us to death. Every unsanctified man carries in his bosom the seeds of all possible crimes, the embryos of all black actions. There are times when we half believe that something of the kind is true. Did you ever stand by the cage of a lion and watch his restless pace and feel that you had something in you kindred to him? Many a man has gazed into the green eyes of a wild beast and trembled, feeling a similarity of nature. Every son of Adam feels the beast stir in him at times, until Pentecost eradicates the bestial principle.
The embers from which hell-fire is kindled smoulder in the unsanctified heart. It is dangerous to attempt to build a Christian character over a latent volcano. A once active volcano becomes inactive. The lava cools, the ashes settle, and the smoke drifts away. An enterprising farmer covers a considerable space of the once fiery volcanic field with fresh earth carted from a fertile valley. All goes well for a year or two. The garden prospers, the vegetables are most encouraging, and the produce is abundant. But one morning the farmer notices that smoke is issuing from the crater at the summit of the mountain. The sky blackens and red flames flash amid the clouds of smoke. The land is shaken with earthquakes. Suddenly, right in the middle of his verdant field, a great red-lipped chasm opens and blue flames leap upwards and surge toward the sky. His crops are blasted with the “fierce heat of the flame,” and the work of years is wrecked in a moment.
BLUE FLAMES OF GEHENNA
No permanent Christian life can be built upon the foundation of an unsanctified heart. For a time the graces of the Spirit may seem to grow, but in some sad hour the surface will split open and the man will leap back aghast at the blue flames of Gehenna, which singe his brows and blacken his cheeks.
The prophet and prince.
An old white-haired prophet and a gay young prince are in conversation. The aged man bows his head upon his staff and weeps.
“For what are you weeping, old man?”
“Ah, I am thinking of the black and dastardly crimes you will commit when you have once become king.”
“Is thy servant a dog, a ruthless town whelp, that he should do such things?”