Now, my then, what bearing has this text upon the ungodly? There are some here, my dear friends, of whom I have sometimes thought that I could almost pray that God ‘should take them out of the world. I can tell you why; they are so wicked — so dreadfully wicked, such hardened reprobates, with such iron souls, that they seem as if they never would be turned to God, and whose portion it would appear to be damned themselves, and to lead others to the same condition. I know a village where there is a man so vicious, so abandoned, that I could almost pray for him to be removed out of the world; he is so awfully wicked that many of those I thought hopeful Christians have been poisoned by his example. Indeed, he seemed to be depraving the entire population. He stands like a deadly Upas tree, with outspread branches, overshadowing the whole place. He is consuming all around him; and instead of it being a mercy for him to be here, it would be like a mercy if he were gone. Are not some of you like that man? Are you not so bad that you are doing all the mischief in the world you can? You never do anything for the cause of Christ, you are always trying to do your utmost against it. You never sow a little blade of God’s grass where none grew before. You are of no service, and yet you are spared, because Jesus says, ” I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.” He prays that you may be in the world a little longer. And what has he preserved you from? First, fever comes and bows thee down; but Christ says, “Let him not depart yet. O spare him now.” And thou art spared. The second time, disease comes near unto thee, and great pains bow thee down. Again, he prays, “Spare him!” and thou art yet safe. The third time thou art fast approaching thy end. Now the angel of death is lifting up the glittering steel, and his axe is almost fallen on thee. Yet Christ says, “Spare him, angel! Spare him — peradventure he may yet turn to me with full purpose of heart.” He whom thou hates loved thee so much that he interceded for thee, and therefore thou wert spared till now. Remember, however, that this reprieve will not continue for ever. At last Justice will cry; “Cut him down, he cumbers the ground.” Some of you have been cumbering the ground for sixty or seventy years-old sinners; of no use in this world. Is it so? There you are occupying the ground, keeping other trees from growing, and of no use! Your family is being damned by your example; the whole neighbourhood is tainted by you. Do not tell me I should not speak so roughly. I tell you, as long as I have a tongue in my head you shall have no mincemeat from me. If you are lost, it shall not be for want of plain speaking and honest warning. Oh, ye cumber-grounds! how much digging and dunging have ye received at the Lord’s hand, and yet ye are fruitless. The axe will soon be at your root, and oh, the fire into which ye shall be cast! Ungodly man, thou art spared until thine overflowing cup of sin is dropping like oil upon the flame of vengeance, and the increasing fire will presently reach thee. The longer the archer draws the bow the mightier is the force of the arrow. What though vengeance tarries, it is that its sword may be sharpened and its arm nerved for direr execution. Oh, ye grey-heads! a little more delay and the stroke shall fall; tremble and kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
God is so gracious but one day will close the door! Prune B.T.