The matters with which the census shall have to do will be decisive. Perhaps, my hearer, your name could not be written today among the regenerate, but there is hope yet, and we trust by God’s grace before you leave here you may have a portion among the sanctified. If we could take today the number of God’s people, at present converted, I thank God that before another hour it would be imperfect, for there would have been others added to the visibly called of God. But the last census shall be decisive. To its number none shall be added; from its multitude none subtracted. Once let that be taken, and the angel shall cry in heaven, ‘He that is holy, let him be holy still;’ and his voice shall reverberate to hell, but other words shall he sound there, ‘He which is filthy, let him be filthy still.’ That shall be decisive, the last polling of the people, the last counting of the jewels and casting away of the counterfeits, the last bringing in of the sheep and banishment of the goats. This makes it all-important that you and I should know today whether, when the Lord ‘writeth up the people,’ it shall be said ‘that this man was born there.’ Oh that we were wise to look into futurities! We are so short sighted we see so small a distance. We only see time and its trickeries, its paint, its gilt. Oh that we were wise that we understood this, that we would remember our latter end! So, come the census day when it may, we may each have our name written beneath our Lord the Lamb in some humble place among the chosen of the Lord our God.
For meditation: While voting at an election may be voluntary, registration before a certain date at a census is compulsory and failure to do so is a punishable offence. God has commanded all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and trust in the Saviour. Failure to register and be found in Christ (Philippians 3:9) will spell disaster (Revelation 20:15).
N.B. This sermon followed the taking of the 1861 census during the previous week.