"THE UNPARDONABLE SIN"
Dr B R Lakin
 
    Before we begin our message, let us turn and read four or five passages, both in the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures. These Scriptures will form a background or foundation for the message that we are to deliver today.

    Turn first to Psalm 51:11, "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me."

    Here is another, Proverbs 1:24-31, "Because I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded: But ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh. When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."

    Another found this time in the New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32, "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."

    Again Mark 3:29-30, "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."

    Another in Luke 14:24, "For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper."

    Now for one final passage, turn to I John 5:16, "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it."

    In the beginning of this message, I think it might be well to point out the distinction, or difference, between what is commonly called, "The Unpardonable Sin," and the "Sin Unto Death," for there is most certainly a very great difference between the two.

    The Unpardonable Sin, or the Sin Against the Holy Ghost, can only be committed by sinners, unregenerated people, and has to do with their soul.

    The Sin Unto Death can only be committed by Christians or twice-born men and women, and has to do with the body, not the soul.

    In I Corinthians 11:30, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."

    The cemeteries around the little town of Corinth had in them bodies of many Christians, who had died prematurely. Unconfessed and continuously practiced sin brings us inevitably under the chastening hand of God, and after that chastening, if a believer refuses to judge sin and put it out of his life, I believe there comes the destruction of the flesh, that the soul might be saved; undoubtedly some Christians die before their time.

   
Perhaps there is no doctrine, in all the Bible, around which there has centered so much discussion among scholars and Bible students, as that of the commonly called "Unpardonable Sin." I wonder if "The Sin Against the Holy Ghost" would not be a better term than "The Unpardonable Sin." As the late Dr. T. T. Martin once pointed out in his message along this line, "All sins are unpardonable." The word "pardon" means to let off without recompense, therefore, if the sinner could pray and confess his sins and God could pardon them, then Jesus Christ need not have died upon the cross.

    Sinners are not pardoned. They are paid for by the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not pardon or forgive sinners upon mere confession. I made that statement once, and a preacher came up with his Bible and opened it to the Epistle of John and said, "Look at this: 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."' I said, "You are entirely right, my brother, but you fail to grasp the meaning of the little word 'we' Who are 'we'? If you will go back to the beginning of that chapter, you will find something like this, 'Little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.'" So that was written to Christians, and not to sinners, or that is, unsaved people. God forgives His children upon confession, but the unsaved, unregenerated man has to be redeemed by the Blood of Christ.

    I am deeply aware of the fact that I do not know, or am not as familiar with this subject as many others are, however, preaching and traveling for twenty-five years over this country has given me a conviction that far more people than we have ever imagined have already committed this sin.

    Several years ago I was told of an incident by a preacher friend of mine, who visited a neighbor one day, who was dying. He had been an extremely wicked man, and when he came to die, he sought salvation. Preacher after preacher was sent for, but none went. Then he sent for my friend, who made his way across the hills to the home of the dying man. He said several times during the day the man asked him to pray, and he would do so. When he was getting ready to leave in the afternoon he said to him, "Every time I go to pray, a brass wall seems to come between God and me." Then calling the preacher by name, he said, "I have known for twenty years that my day of Grace has been sinned away." The preacher left late that afternoon and he was told that a little past midnight the man died. Now that is a terrible thing for one to carry about with them; for more than twenty years, the realization that the last light had gone out and they were traveling hopelessly the road to an eternal hell.

    It is a terrible thing to be forsaken of God and doomed before we die. In the Word we read where God said, "Let Ephraim alone, for he is joined unto his idols."

    I wonder if some of you Christians who read this message have ever stopped to consider the fact that there are some people whom God never impresses you to speak to. When God lets a man alone, He never directs anyone to speak to him. Some of you unsaved, I wonder if you have ever thought it strange that no one seems to speak to you about your soul, and eternal things.

    In John 16:8 it says, "When the Holy Spirit has come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."

    The Holy Spirit is not just an influence; not just one of the attributes, like love, mercy, or justice, but a real Person — the third Person of the Trinity. He has a definite work to do, and that work is to reprove the world of sin. When you resist Him and sin against Him, you are sinning, not against an influence or impersonal one, but a Divine Person.

    Let us discuss the subject positively and negatively, or negatively and then positively.

    In order to clear away the brush, let us think for a moment about what the Sin Against the Holy Ghost is not.
 
 

It Is Not Drunkenness

 
    First of all, it is not drunkenness. I receive hundreds, yea, thousands of letters, week after week and month after month, here at the Tabernacle, not only from broken-hearted wives and mothers, but even little children. A little girl wrote me the other day and said, "Please pray for my daddy. He is such an awful drunkard, he is killing mamma and me."

    Then I receive letters from men themselves, who are cursed with the habit of drink. Some say, "It looks like I was born with a thirst for booze. Looks like I have gone beyond the mercy and grace of God." To all such my heart goes out in profound sympathy.

    So much has been said about the evils of drink, I sometimes feel that it is a waste of time to say more, yet I feel that I would be indeed an ingrate if I did not say, and say it from my very heart, I regret that America has cursed herself again with the damnable, dirty liquor traffic; a traffic, I believe, that is the arch enemy of all mankind. This traffic has done more to blight youth, wreck manhood, break hearts, make orphans, turn homes into a living hell, and fill the world with disease, crime and poverty.

    Any man who tampers with strong drink will kind it wrecking his manhood, and destroying his soul. It laid hold upon men like Jerry McCauley, Sam Hadley, Mel Trotter, Howard Cadle and many others, and almost completely destroyed them.

    As horrible as this sin is, it is not the Sin Against the Holy Ghost.

    Some of the most powerful preachers and witnesses we have had for Christ have been men who have been redeemed from the life of a drunkard — men like Hadley, Trotter, Walter McDonald and others. So if Jesus Christ could save men like that, He can save you. If drunkenness were the unpardonable sin, or the sin against the Holy Ghost, then men like Jerry McCauley, Sam Hadley, Mel Trotter, Howard Cadle, and others who are now in heaven, would have to pack up and go to hell.
 

It Is Not Gambling

    There is another sin that is quite prevalent today, and one, perhaps, almost as hard to get men redeemed from, as it is that of the drunkard, and perhaps harder. I refer to the sin of gambling.

    I doubt if we have ever seen a time, in our country, when gambling is as widespread as it is at this moment. It is practiced in the lowest dives, in the humblest cottage, and beyond that into the most fashionable and aristocratic homes and hotels; from the humble working man in his overalls, to the high government official in great places of governmental authority.

    Someone has said, "A man to be a gambler must needs first be a thief at heart." That is, a man who plans and is determined, and wants to get something without giving value received for it, is a thief at heart. The man who gambles and loses is a fool. The man who gambles and wins is a thief. So a man to be a gambler, must either be a thief, or a fool.

    I want you young men to hear me. If you have any regard for the happiness and welfare of your friends or yourself, and if you place any value whatsoever upon your soul, I would urge you to refrain from forming the habit of gambling.

    Mr. Cadle used to say that he would rather attempt to lead to Christ a half dozen drunkards than one gambler.

    Though you have the habit of gambling, still this is not the Sin Against the Holy Ghost. I am thinking of Baxter F. McLinden, known as Cyclone Mac, of Bennettsville, South Carolina. Mac, according to his own testimony, was reared in a good Presbyterian home, by godly parents. He went, like many young men, into the paths of wickedness, and became a gambler. After breaking his mother's heart, and disappointing the hopes of his father, he was running a gambling dive in Bennettsville, he said, with a barber shop in front for a blind. He had not been inside a church for eight years. One morning Will Huff and Bud Robinson started putting up a gospel tent in Bennettsville for a series of meetings. That morning a man came by the shop and said, "Baxter, I saw your mother this morning and she said they are going to have a revival and if you are not saved during this revival she is afraid you are gone." He said, "I cursed and said, 'Do not tell me anything my people say about me anymore. I do not care to hear it.'" That night when he closed his barber shop, he said he could not find anyone to gamble with, so he said, "I said to myself, 'I believe I will go over to the tent. Maybe I can rustle up somebody over there.'" He went in and sat down in the rear of the tent, and that night, he said, Will Huff stood up and for one hour looked straight at him; scalded, lacerated, cut and bled, as he said, "Man, your home is a hell; your mother's heart is broken; your wife's hopes blighted." And when he had finished his message that night, he said Bud Robinson walked over bench after bench and came to where he was, looked into his face and said, "Young man, the man that makes the appearance that you make and looks like you do, God, or the devil one, is going to use him in this community." He turned and went away.

    "I went home that night," he said, "but not to sleep. All through the night I could see the saintly face of Bud Robinson and hear him say, 'The man who looks like you and makes the appearance that you make, God, or the devil one, is going to use him in this community. I would get up and go to the closet and take a bracer, but it wouldn't touch the spot. Along toward morning Rena, my wife, said to me, 'Baxter, what's the matter? I know you have said a hundred times tonight, O God, will daylight never come?"'

    Next morning he went down to the shop, and he said, "I cursed preachers; I damned the meeting, but one thing I could not do, I could not keep my eyes off the clock, or forget the announcement, 'Song service at ten-thirty and preaching at eleven."'

    He said, "At ten-thirty old Charley Tillman stood up in the tent and started to sing:

    'I possess my home in Canaan, yes, I do. And I know that Jesus saves me, through and through."'

    He said to the fellows in the shop, "I believe I will go over and see what those ginks are talking about."

    They said, "Mac, I would be ashamed to go over there, and you drunk."

    He said, "I went over and sat down and that morning Will Huff preached for another hour. When he finished the message, I went to the front and hit the altar like a sack of sand. I rose from the altar and went home that day for lunch. Rena did not have lunch quite ready, so I stood with my foot up in the window and looked out into the garden. A neighbor came in and said, 'Did you know Baxter was at the altar this morning?"'

    He said, "I reached in my pocket and pulled out a pair of dice and threw them away, and I can hear them click yet." That is what the Bible means, when it says, "Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts."

    He sat down and ate his lunch, and when he started, Rena said, "Come home early, honey, and I will go with you tonight."

    "That night," he said, "she walked me down and sat me at the front in the tent. Will Huff preached again and I went to the altar."

    Bud Robinson tells the rest. He said, "For seventeen days and nights I saw him at the altar of prayer I heard him argue with the preacher that it was not wrong to fight bulldogs and game chickens. On the seventeenth night I witnessed a Saul of Tarsus conversion. His mother looked like she was walking on a sea of glass. His wife was hanging on to God for him."

    Old Baxter said, "I came out of the meeting that night, started down the road and the stars came out on dress parade and the trees bowed down their heads to say, 'We are glad!'"

    Baxter F. McLinden, from that night, went forth to become one of the greatest preachers of the South. He preached to the greatest crowds of any evangelist in America, perhaps, except Billy Sunday.

    A few years ago he suddenly went home to be with Jesus, proving positively that gambling is not the Sin Against the Holy Ghost. If gambling were the Sin Against the Holy Ghost, then Baxter McLinden would have to pack up and leave heaven today and go to hell.

    No, my friend, if you are a gambler, remember you can find salvation and deliverance from that awful sin, in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 

It Is Not Profanity

 
    I would like to mention another very common sin which is not the Sin Against the Holy Ghost — the sin of profanity. It seems that we are becoming the most profane nation upon the earth.

    I heard the story of a missionary who stepped off a boat in New York City one day bringing with him a man fresh from heathenism. A man swore and the missionary stopped him and said, "Please, sir, do not swear. I have with me a heathen here and this is the first time he has ever heard God's name taken in vain."

    I have been on street cars, buses and railroad trains, and have heard God's name taken in vain in such a vile way, until my patience revolted, and I have promised God that wherever I go I am going to condemn, in no uncertain way, this useless sin — this vile, vulgar, useless, sinful habit.

    Someone has given ten reasons against profanity. I want to quote them for you here:

1. It is unnatural.
 
2. It is irrational.
 
3. It is without excuse.
 
4. It is unprofitable.
 
5. It is corrupting.
 
6. It is unmanly.
 
7. It is ungentlemanly.
 
8. It is defiant.
 
9. It is hazardous.
 
10. It is soul-destructive.

    

    This same person goes on to say that when a man swears he does ten things:

1. He breaks the Command of God.

2. He violates the Law of the Land.

3. He transgresses the Rule of Good Manners.

4. He outrages decency.

5. He insults good people.

6. He profanes sacred things.

7. He shows bad breeding.

8. He dishonors his parents.

9. He does what, if he has a conscience, he will be ashamed of.

10. He does what he will regret.
 
 

    I have seen men who it seemed to me had in their blood a disposition to commit certain sins; born with a thirst for strong drink, or with a tendency to steal, but I seriously doubt if one has ever been born with a cussing constitution.

    Have you ever noticed how irrational a man who swears is? He swears at his friends; swears at his enemies; swears when he is mad and swears when he is glad.

    Dr. George A. Lofton's book, "Character Sketches," pictures the Devil fishing for sinners. He uses various baits to allure his prey, but when he wants to catch a cusser he uses the bare hook. The profane man swears without cause. It is possible that men are born with an appetite for alcohol, or with a disposition to commit certain sins. But no man was ever born a cussing creature. Cursing is the shriveled fruit of a depraved brain. It is the vulgar expression from a heart that is vile, ugly and venomous.

    Cursing is ungentlemanly. Because men realize this, their oaths are silenced in the presence of ladies and ministers of the Gospel.

    Cursing reveals ignorance. The English language is filled with strong descriptive adjectives. Our great statesmen have found it quite useful as a medium of expression. But men who are limited in their vocabulary have to fill in the gaps left by their ignorance with curse words.

    It is degrading to swear. It drags God down to the level of man. It exalts man above God. It hardens the hearts of those who hear it and brings contempt from those who have character. I have just as much right to spray poison gas in your home as you have to befoul the air that I breathe with profanity.

    Robert G. Ingersol, an infidel, said, "The man who swears is either very wicked or very foolish." If there is no God, then you are wasting your breath; and if there is a God, and every man by intuition knows there is — it is a very wicked thing to take His name in vain.

    But profanity, as low, degrading, vile and inexcusable as it is, is not the unpardonable sin.
 

It Is Not Murder
 

    There are many people who feel that murder is the unpardonable sin. It is an awful thing for one man to take the life of another. In these lawless days, the columns of our daily papers are filled with accounts of homicidal slaughter. But these heartless children of Cain who dare to end the lives of others with the strength of their own hands will pay the price of remorse and condemnation.

    Human life has become a cheap commodity on the market of the world. Perhaps the tremendous loss of life in the great world wars has caused us to lose sight of the great value of a human soul. When the government licenses murder in wholesale lots, it becomes difficult for men to distinguish between private killing and public or mass slaughter. But God has commanded, "Thou shalt not kill."

    Though it is true that the Bible declares that "No murdered hath eternal life in him," we do not believe that murder is the unpardonable sin. The murderer when committing the act of murder has no eternal life in him, but that does not preclude the fact that he can never be saved.

    Moses, one of God's chosen men, in the days before his usefulness killed a man in cold blood, but God forgave him and mightily used him after that.

    Paul. as chief persecutor gave his consent for Stephen to be stoned. and yet he was forgiven and became the beloved apostle.

    An evangelist was travailing on an Italian mail boat. He noticed a man pacing the deck nervously. Going up to the distressed man he said. "Sir, I'm a minister of the Gospel. It is obvious that you are disturbed in your soul. Is there anything I can do to help you?' The man, feeling that he was sincere in his desire to help him, asked if they might talk privately in his stateroom. He said, "Twenty one years ago, I killed a man in the state of Arizona. Luckily, I thought at the time, another man was accused of the crime, and I quietly left the state and went down into old Mexico. But the guilt of my awful sin preyed upon my mind and in desperation I went to a priest. He told me that if I would pay one hundred pesos that he would grant me absolution for my sins. I paid that amount, but still the heavy burden of guilt pressed down upon my soul. At length, I returned to the state of Arizona and confessed to the authorities that I was the real murderer. The court recommended leniency and I served ten years in state's prison for my crime. But, even after all of this, there is a load on my heart that is crushing the life out of me." The evangelist laid his sympathetic hand on the man's head and said, "My friend, your case is very plain. The justice of man has been met, but the demands of God have never been complied with. You confessed your sin to the authorities, and you should have asked God for pardon also. For God's plan is, 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' "

    The murderer in great agony of soul, poured out his heart to God. His true penitence was visible. In a moment he arose to his feet and with a smile he said, "It's gone, the burden is gone."

    No, murder is not unpardonable. David, who had killed maliciously said, "He hath forgiven mine iniquities, he hath pardoned my transgressions."
 

It Is Not Unbelief
 

    Infidelity and unbelief are flagrant insults to an omnipotent God. Many are of the opinion that infidelity is the unpardonable sin. The Psalmist said, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God," but the infidel and atheist blatantly declare with their lips that there is no God.

    A man who doubts the existence of God is lower than the devils of hell. Even the devils declared when they were broached by the Son of God, "O thou son of David, why hast thou come to destroy us before our time?" The devils believe and tremble.

    Atheism stimulated by the communistic influence has filtered into the current of our American life. It is proclaimed by unbelieving professors in our leading universities. It is even advocated in the form of Modernism by instructors in many of our church institutions. Many young people who came from fundamentally sound Christian homes go back to their parents with cynicism, doubt and unbelief in their hearts.

    But as damaging and ravaging as infidelity and unbelief are, they do not comprise the unpardonable sin. Some of our greatest Christian leaders were former infidels and skeptics. If infidelity were unpardonable then, Dr. R. A. Torrey, Dr. B. H. Carroll, Robert Hall, Christmas Evan and Horace Bushnell could never have been saved, and have been the great blessing to the world that they were. They prayed the prayer, "Lord I believe: help thou mine unbelief," and the God of heaven came down and touched their blinded eyes and they were made to cry, "One thing I know; whereas I was blind, I now see."

    If none of the foregoing sins are unpardonable, the question naturally follows, "What then is the Unpardonable Sin, or the Sin Against the Holy Ghost?"

 
IT IS BLASPHEMY

    The Unpardonable Sin may be committed in either of three ways: First, it may be committed by blasphemy, by attributing the works of God to the Devil. The Pharisees committed this sin against the Holy Ghost when Jesus was casting out demons and doing mighty works, they said, "He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth out devils." In their wrathful anger against the Son of God, they unwittingly committed a sin which according to Jesus was unpardonable. Jesus turned to these bitter religionists and said, "Verily I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but, he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."

    "Grieve not the Spirit," was the impassioned plea of Paul. It is possible to insult the Spirit of God and sin against the Holy Ghost. "My Spirit shall not always strive with man," was the warning way back in the first book of the Word of God. There is a definite line of teaching in the Word that men may so grieve the Spirit of God, that it will be impossible for them to gain back the consciousness of God's dealings which they once felt.

    The Holy Spirit descended on the occasion of Christ's baptism as a dove. A dove is a sensitive creature. He may be frightened. The brusque, rough treatment of men may cause a dove to depart, never to return again. The Spirit of God may be blasphemed, and one way in which He can be sinned against said Jesus, is to attribute His manifestations to Satan.

    It is possible also to insult the Spirit of God to the point of causing His departure.

    Aaron Burr, a member of one of America's most talented families, besmirched the family name and brought disgrace to his American heritage by his traitorous and sinful acts. But, there is a chapter of his life which forms a background for the shameful acts which characterized his black history. As a young man in an American university, he went to a revival meeting which was being sponsored by the school which he attended. Many of his classmates were accepting Christ. But Aaron Burr, though deeply impressed, revolted at the thought of becoming a Christian so young in life. As he trembled under the conviction of his sins, he begged the Holy Spirit to leave him alone. He said, "Holy Ghost of God, you leave me alone, and I will leave you alone."

    Many years later it is said that he attended a religious service in England, and someone approached the now aged Aaron Burr and asked him if he would not become a Christian. He said, "I would very much like to be. But years ago I made a bargain with the Holy Spirit. T told Him thee if He would leave me alone, that I would leave Him alone. He has complied with my request. Not once since that day in the revival at the university have I ever felt an impulse to be saved. I have no feeling, I have no disposition to seek Christ. The Holy Spirit took me at my word, and He has departed from me forever." He had grieved the Holy Spirit, and had crossed that dark chasm of indifference, where God can no longer strive with men.

    Andy Atkins lived in a small Illinois town where a great revival was in progress. People were coming to Christ by the score. Great conviction descended on the little community like a vapor from above. Hardened sinners were being saved nightly. The Holy Spirit dealt with Andy Atkins, but he laughed it off and scoffed about the meeting, saying that the whole thing was of the devil and he refused to attend the services or to do anything about his soul's salvation. The meeting closed without Andy once darkening the doors of the church. A few days after the meeting an infection broke out under his right arm. He hurriedly boarded a train and went to Rochester, Minn. for examination. His infection was pronounced the most deadly form of cancer and he was given only a few weeks to live.

    When the news filtered through the neighborhood, some of his Christian friends went to talk to him about his soul, but his heart was even more hardened than before. As they plead with him to give his heart to God, he arose and said, "Get out of this house, you're wasting your time. I believe in God but I can never know Him. I believe in Hell and I will soon be there. I've insulted God and His Spirit has departed from me. I thank you for your interest, but it is too late. I'm a doomed man and I'm bound for Hell."

    It is a tragically foolish thing, to trifle with the Holy Spirit. In these days of shallow preaching, the manifestation of old time conviction is rarely seen. But, if men could realize what an awful thing it is to grieve the Spirit of God they would take this matter of sinning against the Holy Ghost more seriously.
 

IT IS A DEFINITE REFUSAL

 
    Second, we may commit the unpardonable sin by a definite refusal or rejection of the call of Christ.

    "Then shall they call upon me and I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. For they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord." Proverbs 1:28, 29.

    And again in Proverbs 29:1, "He that being often reproved and hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy."

   
    Jesus is a gentleman. He will not force or pry His way into your life. He has said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in and sup with him and he with me."

    He knocks gently, faithfully and mannerly. He wants you to open the door, but it is your prerogative to refuse to let Him in if you wish. You may spurn Him, reject Him and insult Him if you like. But there is danger in refusal. There is an eternal destiny wrapped up in your decision.

    A guide was showing some travellers over the Alps. They observed black crosses here and there among the big peaks in the mountains. One of the men inquired what these black crosses meant. The guide explained that the black crosses marked the spots where men had slipped and fallen into the deep ravines to their death. The black crosses are placed there to warn others to be careful at these danger points

    Friends of mine, shall a black cross be erected to mark the place where you rejected the Blessed Savior, or shall a red cross be placed to denote that you have made your decision to accept Christ. You will spend eternity either under the dark shadow of the black cross of rejection, or beneath the crimson rays of the cross of Calvary. What shall your decision be?

    Two roads stretch out before every man. One is a broad way filled with the giddy, careless, thoughtless throng. This road is easy to travel. It is inclined toward Hell. Your steps quicken as the pace of sin is increased. But, as the end of this road is reached the shadows of night engulf the wayfarer. He can only go on into the night, because he has lost all will to turn back. Suddenly it dawns upon him that he has taken the easy road, but the wrong one. He is lost, eternally lost.

    The other road is narrow, the entrance of which is not commodious nor convenient. This road winds up mountain sides, over stoney places. The travellers are few, but in the hearts of those who dare to take this highway, there is a definite conviction that though the ascent is sometimes toilsome, the road leads to a city in which there will be no sorrow, "And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

    As Jesus himself said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction: and many there be that go in thereat: but strait is the gate and narrow the way which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it." Every man must make his decision. But, a definite refusal will bring death and remorse.

    God has given every man the power of choice. Eternity is at stake, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve."

   
    Beulah Holdreath was a beautiful young lady in the bloom of health. She went with her boy friend to a revival meeting where the Spirit of God was dealing mightily with men and women.

    She was convicted of her sins. The urgency of the Divine call was heavily upon her. She wept under the sway of God's call, but presently her pride got the best of her. She stiffened haughtily and said, "Not tonight, some other time I will give my heart to Christ." It is dangerous to thus spurn the call of God. The next day she went down town with a group of young people and they spoke of the meeting the night before. She laughed giddily, and said, "Oh, that's not for me, I'm too young to be a sober Christian." The words had scarcely left her mouth when she clutched her throat and said, "Take me home, I'm choking." They quickly made an effort to get her to her home, but before they could do so she was dead. Some say, "Just a coincidence." But, it is dangerous to refuse the call of God. This is one way in which we may sin against the Holy Spirit.
 

IT IS NEGLECT

 
    Probably the most common way of sinning against the Holy Ghost is through sheer procrastination.

    "God who in sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past to the fathers by the prophets, Hath in there last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his Glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power. When He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For it the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him."
(Hebrews 2:1-3.)

    Neglect is the pass word to Hell. Satan's most useful tool is procrastination. Someone has said, "Procrastination is the thief of time," but it is worse than that, it is the murderer of souls.

    The road of neglect leads to the city of failure. Neglect your finances and you will go bankrupt. Neglect your health and you will soon lose it. Neglect your soul and you will be lost.

    There is an old legend which tells of a meeting of the demons of Hell. They gathered together to discuss how best they might cause men to be lost. Satan himself was in charge of the proceedings. He asked for suggestions of how the population of Hell might be increased. One devil arose and suggested that they tell the people of the world that there is no God. But, Satan himself countered the idea. He said, "Men are not fools, they know there is a God. That  will not do." Another said, "We will tell them that the Bible is not true." "Nonsense," said the Devil, "intelligent men realize that any book that has withstood the test of centuries can be nothing but the Word or God." Still another said, "We will tell them that Jesus was not the Son of God." But, still the Devil complained that such a lie would not be believed by man. "Go into the world," said Satan, "tell them there is a God. Tell them the Bible is true. Tell them that Jesus is the Son of God. But, tell them to take their time. Neglect is our campaign slogan, and 'How shall they escape if they neglect?' "

    In Johnstown, Pennsylvania one beautiful summer Sunday there were sixty persons attended the Bible class in a certain Sunday school. The next Sunday only eighteen of these sixty were living. Forty-two of them had gone into eternity. They had lost their lives in the historic Johnstown flood. As they left the church that bright Sunday morning, they had heard their last Bible lesson. They had improved or neglected their last opportunity for Salvation. How earnestly that teacher would have taught, and how attentively that class would have listened to that lesson, if they had known that for two out of every three of them it was to be the last time they would have the opportunity to hear the Gospel. "Now is the accepted time; today is the day of Salvation." "Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

    There are golden moments of opportunity in every life. If these opportunities are bungled, the price is often tragic and eternal. Napoleon was a great military conqueror it is said because he knew how to make use of opportunities. He is quoted as saying; "In every battle there is a crisis, ten or fifteen minutes only, on which the victory or defeat depends. To make proper use of this short space of time means victory: its neglect will spell defeat."

    In the matter of our Salvation, there are seasons of opportunity, when the urge to accept Christ is strong. To neglect this most important crisis may mean the loss of your soul

    There are thousands in Hell today who believed in God, believed that Jesus was God's Son, and believed that the Bible was true. They simply deferred the matter of accepting Christ until they had crossed the dead line and were lost.

    God has given every man a certain spiritual perception. But this may be stifled and abused until it is deadened and irresponsive. You have an alarm clock in your home. Suppose that tomorrow morning when the alarm sounds that you ignore its ring, and turn over indifferently and go to sleep. If you turn a deaf ear to that alarm for a few mornings, you will get to the place where you won't even hear it. Even though the alarm sounds as loudly and as clear as it did when you heeded its call, you cannot hear it. Your ability to hear it is gone.

    Just so, the Gospel call is the alarm of the soul. In the days of youth it sounded loud and clearly. You were afraid of Hell, and afraid to die without Christ. But. now the alarm is no longer heard. Your spiritual perception is deadened, your spiritual hearing is gone.

    If a man continually and unrelentingly rejects the call of God, there can be no forgiveness. God cannot forgive unless there is a disposition on the part of a man to find pardon. So, in this manner one can commit the unpardonable sin.

    May God help men to realize what an awful thing it is to reject and grieve the Blessed Saviour, who loved us so much that He paid the penalty that rightfully belonged to us.

    There was on old man who lived in a cabin down in the hills of West Virginia. He worked hard in the day time and relished his much needed rest at night. He had a faithful dog that was true to his master. One dark night the old man was awakened by the barking of the dog. He was annoyed by the loud barking and went to the door and commanded the beast to be still. Just as he got sealed down to sleep again, once more he was disturbed by the barking of his pet. He went to the door again, called loudly and with an oath he silenced his dog. But, after a while the animal once more barked loudly, and the old man grabbed his shot gun? ran to the door in a fit of rage, and shot his pet. He soon was soundly asleep. But. through the dark shadows came the thieves that the faithful dog was trying to warn his master of. They crept into the house; slugged the old man and stole his belongings. He had shot his best friend.

    The watch dogs of Grace and Mercy pursue many a person faithfully. Christ as the best Friend seeks to help and save them. Let us not be found guilty of spurning the One who loved us more than all others. Let us not grieve His Spirit. May God forbid that anyone within the scope of this message shall ever commit the Unpardonable Sin!
 

WHAT THEN?
(Malachi 4:1; John 3:16)

When the great plants of our cities
Have turned out their last finished work;
When our merchants have sold their last yard of silk
And dismissed the last tired clerk;
When our banks have raked in their last dollar
And paid the last dividend;
When the judge of the earth says, "Close for the night,"
And asks for a balance, "WHAT THEN?"

When the choir has sung its last anthem,
And the preacher has made his last prayer;
When the people have heard their last sermon
And the sound has died out on the air;
When the Bible lies closed on the altar
And the pews are all empty of men.
And each one stands facing the record,
And the great book is opened, WHAT THEN?

When the actors have played their last drama,
And the mimic has made his last fun;
When the film has flashed its last picture,
And the billboard displays its last run;
When the crowds seeking pleasure have vanished,
And gone out in the darkness again—
When the trumpet of ages has sounded,
And we stand up before Him, WHAT THEN?

When the bugle call sinks into silence
And the long marching column stands still,
When the captain repeats his last orders,
And they've captured the last fort and hill;
And the flag has been hauled from the mast head
And the wounded afield have checked in,
And a world that rejected its Savior,
Is asked for a reason, WHAT THEN?

 
(Author Unknown)
 

Dr B R Lakin

Date Unknown