He has Stood Before the World – Spurgeon Preaches About a Lost Preacher
He has stood before the world, proclaiming something which he called the gospel. He has been a noted preacher; the multitude have been hanging on his lips; they have listened to his words; before his eloquence a nation stood amazed, and thousands trembled at his voice. But his preaching is over; the time when he can mount the pulpit is gone; another standing-place awaits him, another congregation, and he must hear another and a better preacher than himself. There he lies. He has been unfaithful to his charge. He preached philosophy to charm his people, instead of preaching truth and aiming at their hearts. And, as he pants upon his bed, that worst and most accursed of men – for surely none can be worse than he – there come up one, a soul from the pit, and looking him in the face, says, “I came to thee once, trembling on account of sin; I asked thee the road to heaven, and thou didst say, ‘Do such and such good works, ‘ and I did them, and am damned. Thou dist tell me an untruth; thou didst not declare plainly the word of God.”
He vanishes only to be followed by another; he has been an irreligious character, and as he see the minister upon his deathbed, he says, “Ah! And art thou here? Once I strolled into thy house of prayer, but thou hadst such a sermon that I could not understand. I listened; I wanted to hear something from thy lips, some truth that might burn my soul and make me repent; but I knew not what thou sadist; and here I am.” The ghost stamps his foot, and the man quivers like an aspen leaf, because he knows it is all true. Then the whole congregation arise before him as he lies upon his bed; he looks upon the motley group; he beholds the snowy heads of the old, and the glittering eyes of the young; and lying there upon his pillow, he pictures all the sins of his past life, and he hears it said, “Go thou! Unfaithful to thy charge; thou didst not divest thyself of the love of pomp and dignity; thou didst not speak ‘As though thou ne’er might’st speak again, A dying man to dying men.’
Oh! It may be something for that minister to leave his charge, somewhat for him to die; but worst of all, the sting of death will be his sin: to hear his parish come howling after him to hell; to see his congregation following behind him in one mingled herd, he having led them astray, having been a false prophet instead of a true one, speaking peace, peace, where there was no peace, deluding them with lies, charming them with music, when he ought rather to have told them in rough and rugged accents the Word of God. Verily, it is true, it is true! The sting of death to such a man shall be his great, his enormous, his heinous sin of having deluded others.
From thoughts on the Last Battle – sermon by Charles Spurgeon