Exactly so it is with us as ministers: when we can rest satisfied with using the means for saving souls without seeing them really saved, or we ourselves being broken-hearted by it, and at the same time quietly talk of leaving the event to God’s disposal, we make use of a truth to cover and excuse a falsehood; for our ability to leave the matter thus is not, as we imagine, the result of heart-submission to God, but of heart indifference to the salvation of the souls we deal with. No, truly, if the heart is really set on such an end, it must gain that end or break in losing it.
He that saved our souls has taught us to weep over the unsaved. Lord, let that mind be in us that was in Thee! Give us thy tears to weep; for, Lord, our hearts are hard toward our fellows. We can see thousands perish around us, and our sleep never be disturbed; no vision of their awful doom ever scaring us, no cry from their lost souls ever turning our peace into bitterness.
It is told of Archbishop Usher that, at one period of his life, he used on Saturday afternoon to go alone to a river-side, and there sorrowfully recount his sins, and confess and bewail them to the Lord with floods of tears. Is this not fitting to reprove many, many of us? And even where we lament our sins, how many of us go apart oftentimes to weep over lost souls, to cry to the Lord for them, to implore, to beseech, to agonize with him in their behalf? Where is the water-side beside which our eyes have poured out streams in our intense compassion for the perishing?
Do we believe there is an everlasting hell—an everlasting hell for every Christ-less soul? And yet we are languid, formal, easy in dealing with and for the multitudes that are near the gate of that tremendous furnace of wrath! Our families, our schools, our congregations, not to speak of our cities at large, our land, our world, might well send us daily to our knees; for the loss of even one soul is terrible beyond conception. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered the heart of man, what a soul in hell must suffer forever. Lord, give us bowels of mercies! “What a mystery! The soul and eternity of one man depends upon the voice of another!”
This post is a continuation of Horatius Bonar’s Words to Winners of Souls (see here for book information).