That is what you must do with your sermons, make them red-hot; never mind if men do say you are too enthusiastic, or even too fanatical, give them red-hot shot. There is nothing else half as good for the purpose you have in view. We do not go out snow-balling on Sundays, we go fire-balling; we ought to hurl grenades into the enemy’s ranks.—C.H. Spurgeon, The Soul Winner: How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour; Fleming H. Revel edition, 69.
“And next I think it will be admitted by all, that the way of salvation by good works would be self-evidently unsuitable to a considerable number. I will take a case. I am sent for in an emergency, and it is the dead of night. A man is dying, smitten suddenly by the death-blast. I go to his bedside, as requested. Consciousness remains, but he is evidently in mortal agony. He has lived an ungodly life—and he is about to die. I am asked by his wife and friends to speak to him a word that may bless him. Shall I tell him that he can only be saved by good works? Where is the time for works? Where is the possibility of them? While I am speaking, his life is struggling to escape him! He looks at me in the agony of his soul, and he stammers out, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Shall I read to him the Moral Law? Shall I expound to him the Ten Commandments and tell him that he must keep all these? He would shake his head and say, ‘I have broken them all; I am condemned by them all!’ If salvation is of works, what more have I to say? I am of no use here. What can I say? The man is utterly lost! There is no remedy for him. How can I tell him the cruel dogma of ‘modern thought’ that his own personal character is everything? How can I tell him that there is no value in belief, no help for the soul in looking to Another—even to Jesus, the Substitute? There is no whisper of hope for a dying man in the hard and stony doctrine of salvation by works!”
“At the close of a dark and gloomy day, I lay resting on my couch as the deeper night drew on; and though all was bright within my cosy room, some of the external darkness seemed to have entered my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. In sorrow of heart I asked, “Why does my Lord deal thus with his child? Why does he permit lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to his poor servants?” For a while silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the crackling of the oak log burning in the fireplace. Suddenly I heard a sweet soft sound, a little clear musical note like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window. “What can it be? Surely no bird is singing out there at this time of the year and night.”
‘My friend exclaimed, “It comes from the log on the fire!”
‘The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak’s inmost heart! Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all was well with him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight flecked his tender leaves with gold. Ah, thought I, when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us then indeed we are purified and our God is glorified. As I mused, the fire burned and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely set forth before me. Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before.”
“Beware of light thoughts of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God. But alas! very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world: the sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least. By degrees men get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and then follows an unholy presumption: “We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent.” So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names. Christian, beware how thou thinkest lightly of sin. Take heed lest thou fall by little and little. Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns, and pierced His heart! It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Saviour, and you will see it to be “exceeding sinful.”-Charles Haddon Spurgeon