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The ship on fire—a voice of warning

‘Escape for thy life; … Thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life.’ Genesis 19:17,19

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 17:28–33

This alarm demands of every one of us who are unsaved, an undivided attention. You have fifty things to think about. You tell me you have a thousand cares. O sirs, a man whose life is in danger, has no other care than to save his life. Did those who were rescued from the ‘Amazon’ have time to save their money and their gold? We are told that they were utterly destitute when they landed at Margate, and what does it matter? Would not a flush of joy be on their cheeks because their lives were preserved? If one said to his fellow, ‘Where is your purse?’ ‘Oh,’ would say the other, ‘never mind my purse; I am in the lifeboat; my life is saved.’ And what is the loss after all, if you lose the world and gain your soul? Those on board the ship had not time to save their clothes. They ran just as they were, half-naked, to the vessel’s deck, and so must you. I know you will tell me you are not living to make money; if you could just make ends meet, keep your family—that is all—are you not to think of this? It is well and good; far be it from me to discourage prudent carefulness in all matters; it is your business to see to temporal matters, but still your paramount business must be your soul; even necessaries must not come between your soul and your most serious thoughts. You must see to this first and foremost, and remember there is a promise about it—‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’

For meditation: We are horrified by fires on earth; how much more should we dread the everlasting fires of hell (Isaiah 33:14). It’s far better to have Christ and lose out on earth than to end up in hell without Christ (Mark 9:43–48).

N.B. This sermon was preached following the burning of the ship Amazon off Broadstairs on the Kent coast. All the passengers and crew were saved. The captain was in Spurgeon’s congregation on this occasion as was his custom when on shore.

Sermon no. 550
8 November (1863)

365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2: A Unique Collection of 365 Daily Readings from Sermons Preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from His Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (365 Days With Series); edited by Terence Peter Crosby; (c) Day One Publications, 2002.
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