The Journey of the Eight

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
NOT long ago eight men were riding through the streets of London utterly ignorant of where they were going. They had boarded an omnibus with the intention of going to a certain place. But a detective, unseen by the eight men, climbed up beside the driver, and told him to drive to the Clerkenwell Police Station.
The eight men, it appears, had been trying to rob a young Indian medical student, and the detective had seen their game and had adroitly planned to effect their capture.
In due course they were arraigned before the magistrate. One of their number was sent to jail for a year, two for three months, three were "put under probation," and two were "bound over.”
Can it be possible that this true narrative of a recent happening has its counterpart in the case of the reader of these pages?
You cannot deny that you are traveling. Every tick of your watch, every throb of your pulse, every breath that you draw, reminds you of this. Along life's highroad you are passing, and the days, as they hurry by, are but milestones along the way. Going, quickly going, you most surely are!
But can you answer the question as to whither you are bound? The eight men intended to go to a certain place, and imagined that they were journeying thither, while, in point of fact, they were being conveyed to a very different destination, and one they did not like. You, perhaps, take for granted that you are progressing in the right direction, and you quite intend to reach heaven some day. Is it quite certain, however, that your face is really turned in that direction, and that your feet are treading the road that leads to life and glory?
What have you been doing? The eight men had been concerned in an attempt to rob a fellow-creature. Have not you robbed Gad? He brought you into existence for His own purposes. Have you not used the life He gave you for yourself? Have you not done your own will instead of His? Have you not sinned against Him in thought, and word, and deed? What is this but robbing God?
His eye has been upon you just as the detective's eye was upon the men of our story. Not that God is anything like a detective. His heart is full of love for men, and it gives Him no pleasure to witness their sin. But He is holy, and intolerant of evil. Is it not therefore a serious thing for you that God has observed your every action, and is fully cognizant of every thought and motive that has ever found a place in your mind?
Because He is holy, He cannot be lenient with sin. Justice must be done. Have you taken this into consideration? How terrible a discovery awaits the man who thinks he is journeying to realms of happiness, when in reality he is traveling on to a day of just retribution for his sin!
And because sin is a matter of such infinite seriousness in the estimation of God, punishment must of necessity be infinite in duration. An offense against a fellow-man may be met by imprisonment for a few months, or penal servitude for a term of years. But an offense against God gains infinitely in gravity, since He is a Being of infinite holiness and majesty.
Yet He is absolutely just, and will not visit all with the same intensity of punishment. There are those that will be "beaten with few stripes," and those that will be "beaten with many stripes." Finite beings are incapable of bearing punishment infinite in intensity. But they are capable of committing sins of infinite enormity, in that they commit them against a Person of infinite dignity and holiness. Therefore, if the atonement of infinite value, which infinite love has made, be spurned and rejected, punishment infinite in duration must ensue.
Of this we are solemnly assured in many plain passages of Scripture. “These shall go away into everlasting punishment,"(Matt. 25:46.) “The fire that never shall be quenched." (Mark 9:43.)
In spite of all the clever and learned attempts to discredit the truth of eternal punishment, it has been conclusively shown that the Scriptures teach it, and that He who is the very embodiment of divine love, the Lord Jesus Christ, affirmed it strongly.
There is no need, however, for you to suffer either "the few" or "the many" stripes. There is One whose infinite greatness and worth made it possible for Him to give Himself a ransom for all (See 1 Tim. 2:6). He hung on the Cross as Sin-bearer, dying vicariously to make propitiation on behalf of men.
Because of this, you may be saved. On the ground of Christ's atoning sacrifice you may enjoy the eternal favor and blessing of God. For this you must definitely accept the Savior as your own, putting your soul's confidence in Him.
Then you will be able to say, "With His stripes I am healed." (Isa. 53:5.) You will be able to look back to Calvary and say: "The stripes that were my due fell upon Him," and with adoring gratitude you will be able to face the future without a fear, for you will be saved, with God's great salvation. H. P. B.