“To be laughed at is no great hardship to me”

What does it look like when a preacher implores sinners to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20)? Perhaps it resembles something like this excerpt taken from the conclusion to a sermon by Charles Spurgeon (The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, vol. 4, sermon 171):

Preaching, you see, takes away my voice. Ah! it is not that. It is not the preaching, but the sighing over your souls that is the hard work. I could preach for ever: I could stand here day and night to tell my Master’s love and warn poor souls; but ’tis the after-thought that will follow me when I descend these pulpit steps, that many of you, my hearers’ will neglect this warning.

You will go; you will walk into the street; you will joke; you will laugh. …

To be laughed at is no great hardship to me. I can delight in scoffs and jeers; caricatures, lampoons, and slanders, are my glory; of these things I boast, yea, in these I will rejoice. But that you should turn from your own mercy, this is my sorrow.

Spit on me, but oh! repent!

Laugh at me: but oh! believe in my Master!

Make my body as the dirt of the streets, if ye will but damn not your own souls!

Oh! do not despise your own mercies.

Put not away from you the gospel of Christ. There are many other ways of playing fool beside that. Carry coals in your bosom; knock your head against a wall: but do not damn your souls for the mere sake of being a fool, for fools to laugh at.

Oh! be in earnest upon an earnest subject. If there be no hereafter, live as you like; if there be no heaven, if there be no hell, laugh at me!

But if these things be true, and you believe them, I charge you, as I shall face you at the judgment bar of the Lord Jesus in the day of judgment—I charge you, by your own immortal welfare, lay these things to heart.


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