“What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Mark 8:36
Ask the DYING sinner; stand by his bedside, and inquire of him, whether it proves a comfortable and supporting thought that he has cared more for the world than for his soul.
You wish to be saved. There are few that do not—but unfortunately men generally want to be saved in their own way, and not according to the Bible; they love the crown, although they will seldom take up the cross. Friend, you need not be in any uncertainty about it; you may soon know what your state is; it is all to be found in this little Book; the marks, the signs, the tokens, the evidences are so clearly recorded, that he who runs may read. And what are they? Listen, I beseech you.
It is written here, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” “There is not a just man upon earth that does good and sins not.” Do you know this? Have you been brought to the wholesome conclusion that you are no better than a lost sinner by nature, wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, without one spark of natural goodness, deserving of nothing but God’s wrath and condemnation? Oh! if you have not, tremble for yourself and repent! Be very sure you are losing your own soul.
Again, it is written: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “You must be born again.” Have you gone through that mighty change? Do you feel an abhorrence of former carelessness and indifference, a desire to serve God from the heart, a putting away of old things and a putting on of new? Has godly sorrow wrought in you repentance unto salvation? Oh, if it has not, tremble for yourself! Know for a certainty you are losing your own soul!
Again it is written, “He who believes not shall be damned.” “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Have you any of this faith? Have you been convinced of the utter insufficiency of your own righteousness, of the wretched poverty of your own best works? Have you come in humility and lowly-mindedness, renouncing all confidence in yourself—to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, trusting simply in His blood and righteousness, resting solely on His merits and intercession? Oh! if you have not, tremble for yourself and repent. Be not deceived! You are losing your own soul!
Lastly, it is written: “Be holy, for I am holy.” “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” What do you know of this holiness? Can you say that God the Holy Spirit has actually begun the blessed and never-dying work of sanctification within you? Do you feel any pure love towards God and your neighbors? Is it your supreme desire to advance God’s glory? Have you any zeal for the extension of His kingdom? Do you strive not to be conformed to this world? Do you profess to regulate every thought and word and action by the Holy Scriptures? Do you hunger and thirst after a complete mortification of sin, and look forward with longing to the time when Satan shall be bound, and there shall be no more struggle between the flesh and the spirit? Are you meek and gentle towards all men? Do you redeem the time daily, looking on every minute as a talent for which you are accountable, and aiming to be employed as far as possible, in the things which are just and honorable and lovely and of good report? Are the ordinances of Christ’s Church sweet and precious to your soul? Are prayer and praise a delight—in public, in your family, in private? Is your Bible your daily food, a light to your feet and a lantern to your path? Are you above the fear of men, and can you think lightly of their praise in comparison with that which is of God? Do you count all things but loss, if you can but win Christ? Do you count the life that now is, as nothing compared with that which is to come? Oh! if you know not something, however little, of these things, tremble for yourself and repent! Rest assured you are losing your own soul!
O beloved, be merciful to yourselves. Cease to think so much about this vile body, this perishable world! Think more about those precious souls which Jesus purchased with His own blood—about that eternal resting-place where your Savior sits at the right hand of God. “Labor not for the food which perishes—but for that food which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you.”
True Christian, a word for you. You know these things; you can say, “By the grace of God I have been brought to see the emptiness of this world, and the value of my soul; by the grace of God I am what I am.” Oh, remember then, to make full proof that you are one of Christ’s flock, by your daily conduct, your habits, your temper.
Let your life throughout the coming year be a silent witness to the Gospel. Strive to assist Christ’s ministers, in your families and among your friends and acquaintances, by speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, by showing them what great things your heavenly Father has done for you. Let all take knowledge that to have been with Jesus has made you happier, holier, better in every relation of life! And so perhaps it may please God to give some repentance to the acknowledging of the truth—and thus their souls may be delivered from the snare of the devil, and saved in the great day when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed!