The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit,
volume 11, sermon number 616, “The special call and the unfailing result.”
“How gracious that calling must have been since it came to you from God;
came to you irresistibly, and came to you with such personal demonstration!”
Some of you were drunkards, were profane, were injurious. Many of you cared neither for God nor man. How often have you mocked at God’s word! How frequently have you despised God’s ministers! How constantly has the holy name of the Most High been used in a flippant, if not in a profane manner by you! and yet for all that, he fixed his eye upon you and would not withdraw it; and when you spurned the grace that would have saved you, still he followed you, determined to save, till at last, in the appointed time, he got the grasp of you and would not let you go until he had made you his friend, turned your heart to love him, and made your spirit obedient to his grace.
I think, throughout eternity, if we had this problem to solve, why did he call me, we should still go on making wrong guesses, but we never could arrive at the right conclusion, unless we should say, once for all, I do not know. He did as he willed. He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. He will have compassion on whom he will have compassion.
And here let me say, if these things be so, oh, should not this calling of ours to-night evoke our most intense gratitude, our most earnest love? Oh, if he had not called thee, where hadst thou been tonight? Thou shalt sit to-night at the Lord’s table: where wouldst thou have been but for grace?
To repeat the old saying of John Bradford, when he saw a cartful of men going off to Tyburn to be hanged, “There goes John Bradford but for the grace of God.” When you see the swearer in the
street, or the drunkard rolling home at night, there are you, there am I, but for the grace of God. Who am I—what should I have been if the Lord, in mercy, had not stopped me in my mad career!
I know there are some of us who can remember the old story of Rowland Hill, when a good Scotchman called to see him, and without saying a word, sat still for some five minutes, looking into the good old gentleman’s face. At last, Rowland Hill asked him what engaged his attention. Said he, “I was looking at the lines of your face.” Well, what do you make out of them? “Why,” said he, “that if the grace of God hadn’t been in you, you would have been the biggest rascal living;” and some of us do feel just that, that if it had not been for the grace of God we should have been out-and-out ringleaders in every kind of infamy and sin.
I know for myself I can never do things by halves. If I had served Baal I would have built him an altar, and made victims smoke upon it day and night; and if we serve God zealously and earnestly, we have the more reason to be humble and to lay low in the dust; for that very zeal of spirit would have been turned to the very worst account unless grace had been pleased to transform us.
Why, there are some people in the world that seem too insipid to do any good or hurt, and they have reason to be thankful if they are converted, but still not that reason that others have, who, if they did mischief, would do it with both hands, and if they do anything for God, must do it with all their might. This was a kind and gracious call, when we consider what we might have been.
“The Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon