All this is not, simply that people think it all hypocrisy or formalism; it is, that it shakes the foundation on which they themselves are building. If these, who desire to keep the sayings of Christ and do them, are building on the Rock, then they themselves, with their easy ways, are building upon the sand. Would they dare to' speak plainly, it is the one common maxim of all, that Heaven is very easy to gain, that it is even difficult to perish. Would they be content to take the same degree of pains about the very slightest thing which really touches them, nay, about their estates, their very buying and selling, their every-day traffic, their everyday pleasures, that they do about their souls? Would they keep their worldly accounts, as they do the account of their soul? Would they risk the favour of any one, whose goodwill was of any importance to their earthly happiness, in the way they do that of Almighty God? What uncertainty will they not bear, what fickleness! how will they bring all things to bear to gain it; how long will they bear to toil for it, how will their souls hang upon it, how will they feed themselves with the very thought of it, however distant! Patience, endurance, toil, self-denial, all which, endured for God, would win Heavenly Crowns, His Favour and His Love, become easy graces, so soon as the object is one of earth. For Him Alone nothing is done, all is too hard, Who will be the Friend of the soul at once, Who first loved it, in order to win its love.


What does lie at the root of all this intense serving of self, and this forgetfulness of God, but a deep, fixed persuasion that God cannot mean to be what they think so severe; that He cannot really intend to destroy so many: that although God Himself has said "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil," it must be safe to be with the multitude? And they will bear themselves out by a bold praise of God, as though God would "accept flattering words;" and men who know not what real love is, who never thought of God so as to love Him, and could scarcely pretend that they know what it is to love Him, or that they ever felt it, will say that so heavy dealings are contrary to the Love of God. It is but a few steps further, to deny that Hell will last for ever, or to deny Hell altogether. The principle is the same. It is just as hard to conceive of one soul, or Satan himself, lost for ever, as to believe that any number will, however miserably large.