The Facts of the Case

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
THERE are certain people, who sometimes alone, but more frequently in small bands, stand forth in the street and preach. Probably you have often seen them at it, especially on a Sunday evening; and possibly you have even stopped for a while and listened, until something that was said had an uncomfortable ring about it, when you passed on, dismissing their words from your mind with the reflection that after all they were only "ranters," good people doubtless, and well-meaning too, but much mistaken in their efforts. People who benefit nobody by their earnest shoutings, and only succeed in making tremendous fools of themselves.
Being myself an occasional preacher in the open air, I want to remind you of this: that making full admission of the many mistakes which the best of us make, and the inexcusable absurdities of some, admitting poverty of speech, lamentable ignorance of English grammar, grotesqueness of attitude, and all the rest of it; yet behind and beneath these things there lies the bed-rock of FACTS, and that when presently you render an. account of yourself to God, it is with these facts you will have to make your reckoning, and not with the way in which they were preached.
For after all, a fact couched in very inadequate language is—a fact. A fact expressed ungrammatically is—a fact. A fact emphasized with gestures so inappropriate as to be ludicrous is—a fact.
Preachers, or no preachers, you must face the facts of the case. Afresh we earnestly urge them upon you. Briefly they are these:
Like a mighty octopus, sin has within its grasp all the unconverted members of the human family. None are accepted. "They are all under sin; as it is written. There is none righteous, no, not one." (Rom. 3:9, 109What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:9‑10).)
Do you require further proof of this? Then I call upon you to face, fairly and squarely, the actual record of your life. You will tell me that your recollections are very imperfect, and God alone can know it. Precisely! Then honestly face your history as you remember it, and commence with the history of to-day, then try last week, then the months and the years. Begin! and spare not! Do not forget those thoughts defiled and defiling which often flit across your brain—that storm of passion which swept across your soul when you were so recently thwarted—those words too, no sooner uttered than you could have bitten off your tongue, but said for all that—that half—truth skillfully uttered to hide the whole truth, a lie to call it by its right name—that deed, and no eye saw it but God's. Ah! sinner, these things you know, and it is to these and not to sins of immorality and the like, that I appeal as proof that you have sinned, and that sin like a monster has you within its grasp.
And if, while admitting your sins, you still think that to say you are under sin's power is going too far, I will propose to you one last test; it has only to be applied with absolute honesty to bring conviction. It is this. Attempt to liberate yourself from sin's grasp, and stand forth a free man or woman, just for one month. Will you try?
The fact of the matter is that the action of sin with some of us is very mild, but none the less sure. Moreover, people quite unconsciously slip into its grip; just as with the "drug habit" of which we have heard lately in certain newspapers. If they are to be believed, there is many a fashionable lady and gentleman in London to-day who has become an absolute slave to the taking of drugs. The victims themselves seem unconscious of their captivity, and only awaken to its reality when they attempt to break off the habit. Then the hideous fact is discovered. They are as much a slave to their dram as the drunkard to his pot, only in a respectable way.
Unconverted reader, I repeat it. You are in the grip of sin. Now for our second fact.
“And thinkest thou this, O man,... that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” (Rom. 2:33And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:3).) How can you possibly think this? In every well-governed state upon earth the commission of crime is followed by the judgment of the criminal, except where through man's fallibility he remains undetected, or justice miscarries. God is infallible, and do you dream for one instant that God will govern His universe less righteously than man governs his state? Impossible!
Oh! do you wonder that we are in earnest about your soul? Think of the end of life's journey. Think of the last farewell to the lovely scenes of earth, and all that your heart holds dear; and then think of that moment when beyond the grave, called to life by the almighty voice of the Son of God you stand before Him. No evasions then. No excuses then. Cornered you will be at last, and forced to face facts as you have never faced them before.
You will stand before God, and stand there ALONE. You must not talk about forgiveness justice steps forward with unsheathed sword, whilst Mercy stands with averted face. And then the rehearsal of life's sad story with all its sin and guilt, when conviction like the, lightning's flash will strike home to your soul; then collapse, total irremediable collapse followed by the dread sentence, "Depart from Me," and then you will go from the presence of God and of Jesus, of light and of love, into the blackness of darkness for ever— forever— FOR EVER. By the terror of the Lord be persuaded to flee to Christ, that its awful reality may never be known by you. But we have a blessed fact now to draw your attention to.
God ever was willing to save, but now His willingness is clearly proved by the death of Jesus. Actions speak louder than words, and if “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," then it is clear that He is willing.
But more, He is able. Again we turn you to the Cross of Christ. The self-same death that proved that He was willing has become the means whereby He is righteously able to save. It has met the claims of God's righteousness against us, both in respect of our sins, and our wretched and hateful condition as sinners.
God is willing and able to save you, but remember! JUST NOW. Yesterday is past, beyond recall. To-morrow, for you, may never be. To-day is the message. “To-day if ye will hear His voice.”
And the way of salvation is simply this: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God bath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:99That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9).) F. B. H.