‘And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place.’ Genesis 19:12
If you do not care for the souls of others, you do not know the value of your own. God’s people are a tender-hearted people. Like their Saviour, they cannot look upon Jerusalem without weeping over it: they cannot view with complacency the destruction of any; much less can they be careless concerning the condition of those who spring from their own loins, who are united to them by ties of blood. We love the souls of men. Like Doddridge, we dare say in the sight of God: ‘My bowels yearn o’er dying men.’
I set you down as nearer akin to a devil than to a saint, if you can go your way and look into the face of your friend or child, and know him to be on the downward road, and yet never pray for him nor use any means for his conversion. May God grant that no doctrinal belief may ever dry up the milk of human kindness in our souls! Certainly the doctrines of divine grace, such as election and effectual redemption, will not do so. Error may petrify, but truth melts. May we feel that no dogma can be scriptural which is not consistent with a sincere love to men. Truth must be consistent with its Author’s character; and he who has revealed saving truth is the God of love; he is love itself; and that cannot be true which naturally and legitimately would lead men to be unloving! May we be such parents, such brothers, such sisters, such children, that it shall be the first anxiety of our spirits that our children, our parents, our husband, our wife, our brothers and our sisters, should be brought to partake with us of the things of God!
For meditation: At best human love can only long to perish in the place of others (Exodus 32:32; 2 Samuel 18:33; Romans 9:3), but it’s the thought that counts. Are you really concerned for others (Romans 9:1–2; Philippians 3:18–19)? The best way to show it is to pray for them (Romans 10:1) and point them to the Saviour who died in the place of others (1 Peter 2:24).
Sermon no. 601
21 November (Preached 20 November 1864)