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The Great Question.

The Great Question.

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What must I do to be saved ? — Acts xvi. 30.

What must I do to be saved ? — Acts xvi. 30.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 07, 2013
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THE GREAT QUESTION.BY THE REV. T. T. CASTLEMAN.What must I do to be saved ? — Acts xvi. 30.While St. Paul was Ijiiig one night asleep on Lis bed,he saw a vision of a man, who spoke to him, and said," Come over into Macedonia and help us." As soon as heawoke, he resolved to obey, the call, and very soon set oflf on the journey. As he went along through that ignorantand heathen country, he came to a city called Philippi.There he remained some days to preach the unsearchableriches of Jesus Christ. When the Sabbath day cameround, he went out upon the banks of a river on which thecity stood, and joined with a small company of people whomet there to pray. Among those who came to take part inthat worship was a woman named Lydia. She invited Paul,and another disciple of Jesus, whose name was Silas, to gowith her to her own house in the city, and remain there.There also they prayed. Just as they were going to prayer,a servant maid, who was possessed of an evil spirit, and whodid many curious and cunning things, came where they were.She followed them about from place to place. She criedaloud, saying, " These men are the servants of the MostHigh God, which show unto us the way of salvation." For(148)THE GREAT QUESTION. 149several days did she continue this, and greatly troubled andgrieved these men of God. At last St. Paul, wearied inpatience, turned upon her, and commanded the evil spirit,in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her; and imme-diately he came out. Before this she had brought muchgain to her masters by her cunning tricks and curiousprophecies. She was, therefore, of no more value to them.This enraged her masters against these good men. Theycaught them, and dragged them before the magistrates.They charged them with troubling the peace of the city,and raised a great excitement against them. The magis-trates stormed in fury, and rent their clothes. They hadthem severely beaten, then shut up in prison, and loadedwith chains. See now these servants of the Most HighGod, lying in their dungeon, bound hand and foot. Theyare strangers in a strange land ; without friends, withoutcredit, without one to feel for them. Yet they do notcomplain. They even rejoice that they are worthy tosuffer for Christ. They know that the Lord is on theirside.But the prisoners are there locked safe in the strongwalls. No one can come and let them loose. The officersthink there is nothing more to fear. At last the sun goesdown ; the noise and excitement of the city cease, and thepeople all go to their rest. Silence reigns over the city.
The jailer sleeps soundly on his bed, with a sword restingby his side. The clock strikes twelve, but still he sleeps.Presently God stretches out his arm from on high. Sud-denly there is heard something like the crash and roar of distant thunder. The foundations of the prison are shaken ;the doors are thrown wide open, as if by some sweepingtempest; the chains with which the prisoners are bound13*150 SERMON XII.fall from them, and they walk at liberty in their cell. Itis an earthquake. The keeper of the prison, in terror,leaps from his bed, and is about to kill himself with thesword ; for he knew, if the prisoners escaped, he must die.But St. Paul saw him, and cried out, " Do thyself no harm,for we are all here." Then the keeper of the prison sprangforward, and fell trembling before these men, and said,"iSVrs, ivhat muist I do to he saved f My unconverted friends, I wish to show you this day,why you should wake up from your careless sleep in sin,and cry out, " Sirs, what must we do to be saved?" Youare in a far more dangerous state than the alarmed jailoiat PhiHppi.1st. You are unconverted. I do not mean by uncon-verted, that you are swearers, and drunkards, and dreadfulsinners. I hope you have more respect for yourselves,your children, and your friends, than this. If there beany such here, may God speak to you this day with thevoice of an earthquake. When I say you are unconverted,I mean that you have not repented of sin ; that you havenot chosen Christ hy faith, as the Saviour of your soul ;that you lack that " one thing,'' — true religion, — withoutwhich you can never go to heaven. In this unconvertedstate you are under the condemnation of God. The Bibletells us that at death the unconverted will sink down into aburning pit. There are only two paths, in which we alltread as we travel to the eternal world. The one leads toheaven, and the other to hell. Every unconverted manamong you is travelling in that path which leads to theunquenching fires. You go forward every hour. You donot stop a moment. Every step you take brings you nearerto the last and fatal step. Did any earthly danger, half aaTHE GREAT QUESTION. 15lterrible as this, hang over your head at this moment, nopersuasi\)n would be necessary to make you fly for yourlives. Suppose some great and wise physician should comeand stand where I do now, and say to you, in great alarm,that a dreadful pestilence, such as the cholera, was coming
on like the wind. Suppose he should assure you that itwould creep into every door and every bed, and bringdown every man, woman, and child, to the grave. Wouldyou not obey his warning at once, when he said, "Arise,and make your escape ?" Who would not fly for his life ?But you are in a more fearful state than this. God him-self has warned you that there is but a step between youand the devouring flames of his wrath. And yet you sleepon in sin as if you had no cause of alarm. You are justas indiff'erent about it as if it were an idle tale. Oh ! I be-seech you, by the terrors of the Lord, awake and cry outin your soul, " What must I do to be saved.2d. You must soon be cut off from all hope of beingsaved.Look around you in the world. Does not every objectthat meets your eye, say to you, " Thou shalt die ?" Doesa day pass over your head that this truth does not sound inyour ear? Where are the people that you used to meetand talk with when you were boys and girls ? How largea congregation would be here, if all you once knew andloved, but who now sleep in the dust, could be with us !There would be no room in this house to hold them. It willsoon be so with you all. Every one of us will, before long, join that great congregation of the dead. Like a motherwho cannot bear to be parted from her children, the earthis constantly opening her bosom to receive us back again.Aftd, qhj how frail and uncertain is life ! We know not152 SERMON XII.when death may come. We can tell the time for the goingand returning of the seasons. AYe can tell when the wildgoose, the pigeon, and the martin, will pass from us intoother climes. We know when the leaf of the tree will budforth, and when it will wither and fall. We know whenthe corn will shoot out of the earth, and when it will begathered into the granary. But it is not so with death." Man knowcth not its time." But this one thing we know— that you must die. We know that you are dying noiv.The moment you began to live, that moment you began todie. While I speak to you, I am dying. While you listen,you are dying. The very breath you now draw, to makeyour life longer, shortens it. Ever}^ hour you live andlabour to fix yourself firmer in the world, brings you nearerto the grave. Every sound you hear, every sight you see,tells you that death is near. Why will you not considerthis ? You may shut your eyes against the solemn fact ;but this will not keep it oiT. You may try to drive out thethought of it from your minds, but the very attempt willbut bring it the nearer. Oh ! remember that nothing buta thin wall of flesh stands between your soul and the burn-ing pit. A thousand things are every day taking placearound you to break through this wall. You do not take astep in life, nor eat a morsel of food, nor draw a single

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