‘What is your war-cry?’ There has been a good deal of wickedness these last few days in London. I love to see holy mirth; I delight to see men well feasted. I like Christmas. I like the generosity of those who give to the poor. I would not stop a smile. God forbid me! But cannot men be happy without drunkenness? Cannot they be mirthful without blasphemy? Are there no other ways of finding true pleasure besides selling your soul to the devil? O sirs! I say there have been thousands in this huge city who have been going about the streets, and whose cry has been, ‘Sin, and the pleasures thereof! Where is the music-hall? Where is the casino? Where is the tavern? Where is the ballroom? Sin, and the pleasures thereof.’ O Satan! you have many soldiers, and right brave soldiers they are, and never are they afraid of your cause, nor ashamed of your name nor of your unholy work. Yes, you are well served, O prince of hell! And rich will be your wages when your drudges earn the fire for which they have laboured. But I hope and trust there are some who will change their watch-note. You have not nailed your colours to the mast, have you? Even if you have, by God’s grace I would pull the nails out. Are you determined to die? Will you serve the black prince for ever, and perish with him? Jesus Emmanuel, the captain of our salvation, bids me cry to you, ‘Enlist beneath my banner.’ Believe in him, trust in him, and live. Oh! trust the merit of the cross, the virtue of the blood, the tears, and the dying groans. This it is to be a Christian, and ever afterwards this shall be your war-note—‘Holiness, and the cross thereof!’
For meditation: The cry ‘What have I to do with thee, Jesus?’ (Luke 8:28) can quickly be replaced by an eagerness to follow Jesus and witness for Him (Luke 8:38–39). Under conviction of sin, even the cry ‘Crucify him’ (Luke 23:21,23) was within weeks drowned by the question ‘What shall we do?’ (Acts 2:36–37). Have you changed your tune and called upon the Lord to save you (Acts 2:21)?
Sermon no. 496 29 December (Preached 28 December 1862)