I can usually tell whether inquirers have been the children of pious parents or no, if after a confession of great guilt they feel unable to proceed at the remembrance of what they once were. Groaning, and sobbing, and tears running down their cheeks, are the silent language of their woe. When I see this, I always know that the language that succeeds will be: “I have been the child of pious parents; and I feel that I am one of the worst of sinners, because I was brought up to religion; and yet I disregarded it, and turned aside from it.” O yes, the worst of sinners are sinners in Zion, because they sin against light and knowledge; they force their way to hell, as John Bunyan says, over the Cross of Christ; and the worst way to hell is to go by the cross to it. Many of you now before me were consecrated to God by a beloved mother, and your father taught you to read and love the Scriptures of truth. You were brought up like Timothy; you well understand the theory of the way of salvation, and yet you come here, young men, some of you enemies to God and without Christ, and despisers of his word; some of you are even scoffers, or if not actually scoffers, you say religion is nought to you, and by your actions, if not by your words, declare it is nothing to you that Jesus should die. Ah! when I speak to you, I would not forget myself. Should it ever be my lot to wake up in hell, I should be amongst the most horribly damned there, for I had a most pious training, and should be forced to take my place with the sanctuary sinners. And you that are such, whom I am addressing now, are you not afraid? Ask youselves now, “Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire?” Do you tremble and shake for fear, and with a penitent heart desire forgiveness? If so, then I say again, in my Master’s name—who spake nothing but love and mercy to penitent sinners, who said, “Neither do I condemn thee”—Jehovah now declares “I, even I am be that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, vol. 1 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 184. Vol. 1, Sermon No. 24; Titled: Forgiveness; Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 20, 1855. Click here for a free PDF of this sermon.