“Come unto Me,” says the Savior, “all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
“He who believes on the Son shall not perish, but have eternal life.”—”He who believes on Him is not condemned.”—”He who comes unto Me I will never cast out.”—”Everyone who sees the Son, and believes on Him may have everlasting life.”—”He who believes on Me has everlasting life.”—”If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink.” “Whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” (John 3:15, 18; 6:37, 40, 47; 7:37; Rev. 22:17.)
An affectionate INVITATION to all who desire their souls to be saved. I invite every reader of this paper who feels the value of his soul, and desires salvation, to come to Christ without delay, and be saved. I invite him to come to Christ by faith, and commit his soul to Him, that he may be delivered from the guilt, the power, and the consequences of sin.
My tongue is not able to tell, and my mind is too weak to explain, the whole extent of God’s love towards sinners—and of Christ’s willingness to receive and save souls. You are not straitened in Christ, but in yourself. You mistake greatly if you doubt Christ’s readiness to save. I know there are no obstacles between that soul of yours and eternal life, except your own will. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.” (Luke 15:10) You may have heard something of the wonders of the choruses at the Crystal Palace concerts. But what is all that burst of harmony in the “Hallelujah Chorus,” to the outburst of joy which is heard in heaven when a soul turns from darkness to light? What is it all but a mere whisper, compared to the “joy of angels” over one sinner taught to see the folly of sin, and to seek Christ? Oh, come and add to that joy without delay!
If you love life, I beseech you to lay hold on Christ at once, that your soul may be saved. Why not do it today? Why not this day join yourself to the Lord Jesus in an everlasting covenant which cannot be broken? Why not resolve, before tomorrow’s sun dawns, to turn from the service of sin, and turn to Christ? Why not go to Christ this very day, and cast your soul on Him, with all its sins and all its unbelief, with all its doubts and all its fears?
Are you poor? Seek treasure in heaven and be rich. Are you old? Hasten, hasten to be ready for your end, and prepare to meet your God. Are you young? Begin well, and seek in Christ a never-failing friend, who will never forsake you. Are you in trouble, anxious about this life? Seek Him who alone can help you and bear your burdens—seek Him who will never disappoint you. When others turn their backs upon you, then will Jesus Christ the Lord take you up. Are you a sinner, a great sinner, a sinner of the worst description? It shall all be remembered no more if you only come to Christ—His blood shall cleanse all sin away. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow.
Go then, and cry to the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of the value of your soul, and think of the one way of salvation. Call on the Lord in earnest prayer. Do as the penitent thief did—pour out your heart before Him—cry, “Lord remember me, even me!” Tell him you come to Him, because you have heard that He “receives sinners,” and because you are a sinner and want to be saved. Tell Him the whole story of your past life. Tell Him, if you will, that you have been an unbeliever, a profligate, a Sabbath-breaker, a godless, reckless, ill-tempered man. He will not despise you. He will not cast you out. He will not turn His back upon you. He never breaks the bruised reed, or quenches the smoking flax. No man ever came to Him and was cast out. Oh, come to Christ, and your soul shall live!
My last word of application shall be an affectionate EXHORTATION to every reader of this paper who has found out the value of his soul, and believed in Jesus Christ. That exhortation shall be short and simple. I beseech you to cleave to the Lord with all your heart, and to press towards the mark for the prize of your high calling.
I can well conceive that you find your way very narrow. There are few with you—and many against you. Your lot in life may seem hard, and your position may be difficult. But still cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you. Cleave to the Lord in the midst of persecution. Cleave to the Lord, though men laugh at you and mock you, and try to make you ashamed. Cleave to the Lord, though the cross be heavy and the fight be hard. He was not ashamed of you upon the Cross of Calvary—then do not be ashamed of Him upon earth, lest He should be ashamed of you before His Father who is in heaven. Cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you. In this world there are plenty of disappointments—disappointments in properties, and families, and houses, and lands, and situations. But no man ever yet was disappointed in Christ. No man ever failed to find Christ all that the Bible says He is, and a thousand times better than he had been told before!
Look forward, look onward and forward to the end! Your best things are yet to come. Time is short. The end is drawing near. The latter days of the world are upon us. Fight the good fight. Labor on. Work on. Strive on. Pray on. Read on. Labor hard for your own soul’s prosperity. Labor hard for the prosperity of the souls of others. Strive to bring a few more with you to heaven, and by all means to save some. Do something, by God’s help, to make heaven more full and hell more empty. Speak to that young man by your side, and to that old person who lives near to your house. Speak to that neighbor who never goes to a place of worship. Speak to that relative who never reads the Bible in private, and makes a jest of serious religion. Entreat them all to think about their souls. Beg them to go and hear something on Sundays which will be for their good unto everlasting life. Try to persuade them to live, not like the beasts which perish, but like men who desire to be saved. Great is your reward in heaven, if you try to do good to souls. Great is the reward of all who confess Christ before the sons of men.
The honors of this world will soon be at an end forever. But the crown which Christ gives, never fades. Seek that crown, my believing reader. Labor for that crown. It will make amends for all that you have to pass through in this troublous world. The rewards of Christ’s soldiers are for evermore. Their home is eternal. Their glory never comes to an end!
OUR SOULS! by J. C. Ryle