Spurgeon relates a story that should give us pause for too quickly comforting ourselves with someones deathbed conversion. This isn’t to say they don’t happen, but…well, I leave the story to Spurgeon.
“I have heard of a city missionary who kept a record of 2000 persons who were supposed to be on their deathbed, but recovered and whom he should have put down as converted persons had they died; and how many do you think lived a Christian life afterwards out of the 2000? Not two. Positively he could only find one who was found to live afterwards in the fear of God. Is it not horrible that when men and women come to die, they should cry, ‘Comfort, comfort?’ And that hence their friends should conclude that they are children of God, while, after all, they have no right to consolation, but are intruders upon the enclosed grounds of the blessed God. O God, may these these people ever be kept from having comfort when they have no right to it! Have you the other blessings? Have you had the conviction of sin? Have you ever felt your guilt before God? Have your souls been humbled at Jesus’ feet? And have you been made to look to Calvary alone for your refuge? If not, you have no right to consolation. Do not take an atom of it. The Spirit is a convincer before he is a Comforter: and you must have the other operations of the Holy Spirit, before you can derive anything from this.”
Phil Johnson’s weekly dose of Spurgeon:
I know of no surer way of a people’s perishing than by being led by one who does not speak out straight, and honestly denounce evil.
If the minister halts between two opinions, do you wonder that the congregation is undecided? If the preacher trims and twists to please all parties, can you expect his people to be honest? If I wink at your inconsistencies will you not soon be hardened in them?
Like priest, like people. A cowardly preacher suits hardened sinners. Those who are afraid to rebuke sin, or to probe the conscience, will have much to answer for. May God save you from being led into the ditch by a blind guide.
And yet is not a mingle-mangle of Christ and Belial the common religion of the day? Is not worldly piety, or pious worldliness, the current religion of England? They live among godly people, and God chastens them, and they therefore fear him, but not enough to give their hearts to him. They seek out a trimming teacher who is not too precise and plain-spoken, and they settle down comfortably to a mongrel faith, half truth, half error, and a mongrel worship half dead form, and half orthodoxy.
God have mercy upon men, and bring them out from the world; for he will not have a compound of world and grace. “Come ye out from among them,” saith he, “be ye separate: touch not the unclean thing.”
“If God be God, serve him: if Baal be God, serve him.” There can be no alliance between the two. Jehovah and Baal can never be friends. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” “No man can serve two masters.” All attempts at compromise or comprehensiveness in matters of truth and purity are founded on falsehood, and falsehood is all that can come of them.
May God save us from such hateful doublemindedness.
Phil Johnson’s Weekly Dose of Spurgeon has posted a great excerpt.
He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart. Oh, if some of you were like your fathers you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing. You would have hurled out of your pulpits the men who are enemies to the fundamental doctrines of your churches, and yet are crafty enough to become your pastors and undermine the faith of a fickle and superficial generation.
Read the rest of it here.
Jonathan Watson of The Banner of Truth Trust has written an insightful article on Spurgeon’s goals in preaching to unbelievers. Colin Adams has boiled this lengthy article down into an accessible outline.