Saturday, May 09, 2020

An Alarm to a Careless World in the Year of Corona

BernbaumJG / CC BY (Creative Commons)
A series of severe earthquakes shook London, England, in November 1755, causing massive damage.

Those same earthquakes destroyed the city of Lisbon, Portugal, frightening many and causing others to wonder about the unusual seismic activity in a region not typically known for earthquakes.

Though there was much widespread concern over the earth-shaking, few people at the time contemplated the shaking as a temporal warning to consider one's relationship with God.

However, a Christian nobleman in London wrote to his pastor, a man named William Romaine (1714-1795) and appealed:
"Awaken the people and call them from the lethargy in which they have too long lived. Speak to them, persuade them, as one knowing the sudden Judgment of the Lord. Speak to their hearts and consciences with such plainness ... that unless they repent, they must perish."
In response, William Romaine preached a sermon on Sunday, November 30, 1755, entitled An Alarm to a Careless World: A Discourse Occasioned by the Late Earthquakes. The message would later be placed in print, and it became for over a century (AD 1760-1860) one of the most used tools to awaken thoughtless, reckless people to their relationship with God.

Because the message takes time to read, you might choose to ignore it. So, I'd like to entice you by taking from Romaine's sermon The Ten Ways You Can Know People Are Prepared To Meet God:
  1. They have no dread, no fear in their minds.
  2. They are not afraid of bad news, nor live in fear of tomorrow.
  3. They possess peace and joy, which arises from a sense of God's loving them in Jesus Christ.
  4. They know their God as the Lord of nature and all men, and He will make all things work together for good, and therefore their hearts are established and they will not shrink though the earth should quake from its very foundations and the hills should be carried into the midst of the sea (Psalm 46).
  5. If the entire course of the world changes, they have nothing to fear.
  6. God is their friend.
  7. They are kept by the arms of the Almighty.
  8. In life and death, they can keep their minds on God in perfect peace.
  9. You can see clearly that these are Christians in a safe and happy state.
  10. For God has promised them this safety and security, and in Him, they rest.

The English language in Romaine's day has dramatically changed. 18th-century English idioms do not resonate with 21st-century American people. Romaine's warning does not register with the modern person because it is difficult to read.

With this in mind, I have modernized Romaine's sermon. I've used 21st-century idioms in place of 18th-century ones, chosen more appropriate words in a few places, and made spelling changes and other stylistic adaptations that make Romaine's warning more readable today.

William Romaine's initial desire was "to speak to hearts and minds with plainness." I trust this updated version will accomplish the original purpose. 

William Romaine was an orthodox Christian, as am I, and our beliefs are summarized in the  Apostles' Creed:
I believe Jesus was crucified, died, was buried and on the third day rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. 
The coming again of Christ to judge the living and the dead is a common theme throughout the Bible and Christian history.  Every disastrous and unsettling event in this world is a shadow pointing us to the reality of impending Judgment for those not at peace with God.
 God uses a growing sense of human mortality as a means to prepare people to meet Him. 
With this in mind, I encourage you to read An Alarm to a Careless World in the Year of Corona.


An Alarm to a Careless World in the Year of Corona
A Warning from Recent Events to Those Living Careless Lives
William Romaine (ed. Wade Burleson)

If you are careless about the way you live by giving little thought of God or His command to love Him and other people as much as you love yourself, you may wrongly imagine your life is safe and under control. But unless you turn from your carelessness, your life cannot be safe.

As long as the One who created you is your enemy, you can experience no real peace. May God open your eyes to see this truth practically, that you may discover your need to be at peace with Him.

The way to find this peace is to appeal to God for it through your faith in Jesus Christ and to stop living a careless life. But we live in a time of violent opposition to this message of personal reform. The world may have more to fear from God's judgment to come than the shaking under us, the sickness around us, or the storms above us.

Our prayer is that God will delay His coming judgment so that you and others will hear the alarm sounding and come to faith in Christ and cease your careless ways of living before it is too late.

"Prepare to meet your God" Amos 4:12

It is essential in light of recent events to call on you to give serious thought to God and His coming to our world. The first time our Lord came to earth He came to visit us as one of us, God appeared among us in the Person of a humble, suffering, dying Savior. But another is coming, not far away, when every person will see Jesus in His full Majesty. He first came to us in human humiliation, but He will come to us again in Divine exaltation. We wait for that great Day when Jesus comes to judge both the living and the dead. Our expectation is that when He comes, we will be given abundant life that never ends because of our faith in Him and our peace with Him. The news is not as good for those who've lived careless lives. 

We do not know or even pretend to know the precise time of His coming, for no man knows the day or the hour.  However, the Judge Himself has given us some signs and markers that provide indisputable evidence that His coming is close, that He may be even standing at the door. These signs are like budding tree leaves that signify the coming of summer.

Whenever we see the Scriptural signs and markers of Christ's coming, we must be faithful watchmen and sound the alarm so that you may be ready. Otherwise, the Lord will come on a day when you are not looking for Him, or in an hour when you are unprepared for Him. It is then that you will be cut off from His goodness, and given a portion among those who shall be found "weeping and grinding their teeth" for your missed opportunities. 

This warning comes at an appropriate time, for many are feeling the world-shaking, both literally and figuratively. "Prepare to meet your God" from Amos 4:12 is chosen as the alarm bell to awaken you to the imminent coming of Christ as your Judge. We hope this verse makes a deep impression on you, and it causes you to think about your future meeting with your Creator.

Prepare to meet your God. 

Prepare to meet the eternal and almighty God who is coming in all His glory to judge you. You will have no excuse for your carelessness; you will stand with guilt for your refusal to embrace Him in faith and to love others more than yourself. You will hear your sentence of death, which is never to be reversed. So unless you desire to face your Judge with no plea but personal guilt and to listen to a sentence commensurate with your carelessness, it is suggested you prepare to meet your God. 

You will meet Him soon, that is certain, and the primary business of your life should be to prepare for this meeting. With proper preparation, when He comes, you will actually enter His presence with the joy that comes from having peace with God. 

There are three things that we must seriously consider from Amos' warning to prepare to meet your God.
  1. We must recognize that God, who first came to the world in great humility to visit us as Savior, is now preparing to revisit the earth as Judge. 
  2. We must, therefore, be prepared to meet Him as Judge.
  3. We must understand the Good News that there is a way to be adequately prepared to meet God as Judge, prepared so well that when the Savior comes again as Judge, we can lift up our heads with joy, knowing that our Savior from judgment is coming.
May God's Spirit, from whom all adequate preparations come, assist us to prepare. By His grace, may we see that the knowledge of the Savior's readiness to come in Judgment is one of the best means of preparing us.

First, prepare to meet your God.

The suffering Jesus who died on the cross was as united with the eternal God as the soul and body of one person are united so that God and man are one in Christ. At His first coming, God visited us in great humility, and the majesty of God was veiled under the covering of humanity. Still, at His second coming, every person will see Jesus is God indeed. Every eye will behold the divine glory of the suffering Savior, and those who once pierced Him at His bitter death will then confess to their everlasting shame that He is the almighty God of heaven and earth.

Because of this, we should be prepared to meet Him. At the time appointed, He came to suffer for the sins of the world, and at the time set, He will come to judge the human race. His second coming is as sure as His first. It was foretold in the Old Testament, promised in the New, and the Scriptures cannot be broken. 

God revealed His coming in judgment in the most transparent manner to the patriarchs of faith. Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied of God's judgment by saying: 
“Behold, the Lord comes with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage." Jude 1:14-16
Abraham knew that God was to come to execute judgment upon all people, and speaks of the right manner and conduct of this judgment with confidence:
"Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" Genesis 25:18
Job had the same confidence of Abraham that God would judge rightly when he said:
"I could only plead with my Judge for mercy." Job 9:15
 Solomon, a prophet and one the wisest man of ancient times, plainly described the coming judgment of God toward man when he said,:
"God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14
And the Judge Himself has given us a very detailed description of that Day in three gospel writers of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), and He has called us, again and again, to be always ready and prepared for the Day of Judgment.

Jesus' apostles appealed to others based on their certainty of everyone's appearing before the judgment seat of Christ and frequently mention "the terrors of the Lord" and how through them, they "persuade men" to believe on Christ and repent of their careless living (see II Corinthians 5:10-11).

And then there is a remarkable fact, which gives much weight to the above prophecies, that when our Lord describes the general judgment, He confirms His account with a promise that He would come to judge the Jewish nation before that generation of Jews passed away (Matthew 24:34).

Accordingly, Jesus came within a generation to judge the Jewish nation (AD 70). There has not been even the smallest prophecy foretold concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, or the dispersion of the Jews over the face of the earth, that has failed to come to pass. It is a matter of fact that Christ has already acted as Judge over Israel, and He will come again to complete His office as Judge of the world. It is not more certain that the sun will rise tomorrow than that He who judged the Jewish nation will soon come to judge the nations.

Christ's second coming as Judge is as fixed and appointed in the fullness of time as was His first coming as Savior. He will come in His glorious Majesty at the last day. In the meantime, God comes with many singular strokes of vengeance to awaken careless and sleepy people. He visits the inhabitants of the earth with His judgments so that they may learn right living, and He has lately sent some of His heaviest judgments. It is our hope you have been awakened to your need to prepare to meet your God.

Though the day and the hour of the Last Judgment are not known, the marks and signs of His coming are fulfilled daily. The Lord says there are world events that serve as signposts and markers of His certain coming, and these things include wars and rumors of war, great earthquakes in different and unusual places, disease and pestilence around the world, and many other strange and fearful events. But the worst sign of all is the present decay of faith in Christ. This alone renders all the rest more terrible and the world ripe for God's judgment. For Jesus Himself said:
"For when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8
The answer seems there will be so little faith, that Jesus will scarcely find any at His coming among those who are living. Those having faith in Him will be diminished from among mankind. Looking around, nations are putting to death those who name Christ as Savior and Lord. Even in countries like the United States and England, religious denominations have sadly fallen from the faith, and have preserved very little more of Christianity than the mere name.

In those churches that keep up "a form of godliness" (Scripture reading, prayer, worship, etc...), there is a lack of power, and even those few persons who live by "the power of the Spirit" are treated as unorthodox or unwanted.

These are some of the sure signs of our Lord's coming in final Judgment. We are assured that His coming is not at a great distance. When we see tree leaves budding, we know that summer is near. And so likewise, when we see these things come to pass, we know that Christ's coming to establish heaven on earth is at hand. It will not be long before the Son of man comes with power and great glory, and because we are confident He will come, and yet we do not know the day nor the hour, we are to always wait in watchfulness and prayer.

Our Lord requires us to always be in this frame of mind, for with His own words, He says, "Surely I come quickly" (Revelation 22:20). "Surely," says the Almighty Judge, "I come quickly for Judgment" - to which those who know the Judge reply, "Even so, come Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

Would it be wonderful if we all could see the signs of His coming and say, "Amen! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"?

Are you ready for His coming? Are you not only prepared, do you pray for His coming? Do you wait for it in faith, and are you looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ? If you can say, "Yes!" to these questions, then indeed, you are at peace with God and joyfully expect His coming. But if you do not find yourself at peace and filled with joy at the knowledge of Christ's coming in Judgment, then the next section may be of some help.

Second, prepare to meet your God.

Since Christ will soon come in Judgment, you ought, therefore, to be prepared to meet your God. He will come in all the glory and majesty of God, attended with a multitude of the heavenly host, and before Him will all the nations be gathered. Everyone, including you, must appear before Him. You will meet the almighty God in personal judgment when He comes to take vengeance on His those who have rejected Him and lived careless lives. Should we not be prepared for such a meeting?

You cannot resist the Almighty. You cannot run from His presence. You cannot conceal your secret thoughts from Him. You cannot avoid this meeting. Is it not then in your best interest to make the almighty Judge your friend?

Jesus once gave us a parable about this upcoming meeting with Him as Judge:
"Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace." Luke 14:31-32
So it is when you have secured terms of peace with your sovereign Judge, and when you are under the protection of His almighty power, then you are prepared to meet Him in Judgment. This preparation to meet Him ought to be the principal business of your life, and you ought to labor to secure His friendship.

But how shall you make God your friend? Your careless living has made Him your enemy. The presence of guilt in your conscience makes the thought of His coming to Judge you a terrible thought indeed. Only those already condemned have no fear of God. But you have a healthy fear of facing Him. You know that if you could take away your failures in life to love God and to love others as you should have done, then your Judge verycould be your friend. But how can you cleanse your soul which is already stained? How can your life be purged of the pollution caused by your failure to obey God in loving Him and your fellow man more than yourself?

Faith in the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for failures like us is the only way of bringing our mind, soul, and emotions into a joyful state of anticipation in meeting our Judge. But the only way you will ever see your need for Jesus is to be awakened with alarm! A sinner often feels secure in sin, One cannot be prepared to meet God until there is an awakening of one's awful condition. You must be deeply convinced of your guilt and danger, and understand the sense of both, before you will ever be humble enough to trust Jesus and not yourself. This is the first step of preparation to meet your God.

The Holy Spirit must open your eyes to see your ruined condition. You must see that the God who created you is at enmity with you because of your rebellion toward Him. Since your God is the God of all nature, even the powers of nature are bent on your destruction because of your sin. If you are to be delivered, it must be of the free mercy of your Judge, for there is nothing in you that can purge the past or change your character.

The religious hypocrites and self-righteous are smug about their standing with God. But you must come to the place where you lack the confidence to even look to heaven. You must see yourself for who you really are, and feel the pain of your careless living, and cry out: 
"Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." 
Under this conviction of a need for mercy, you will labor, feeling the pain of your need and fear from an initial lack of confidence that your Judge will be merciful. Yet, this is the very entrance and door to your deliverance, and it is the first step of preparation to meet your God. Therefore, it is a great blessing indeed when you come to the end of confidence in yourself and your abilities to offer God anything in payment for your past mistakes. It is even a greater blessing to disdain any future promises of reform to God because you don't even trust yourself.  For you see, the deeper and more distressing your self-knowledge becomes, the greater the necessity will it be for you to find mercy from your Judge. You'll begin to seek a solution outside of yourself. The certain promise from God is that when you seek His righteousness, you will find it.
"Blessed is he who hungers and thirst after righteousness, for he will be filled." Matt 5:6
In God's own good time, you will begin to find your interest in this promise. You will have faith to apply this promise to yourself. You will hunger for Christ, and you will find your satisfaction in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and not your own (see Philippians 3:7-11).  The love of God in Christ will begin to fill your heart by the Holy Spirit, giving you joy and peace in believing in Him. The sense of God's love for you in Christ suffering and dying in your stead, rising again for your righteous standing before God, will cast out fear. You will come to know with assurance that Jesus Christ is both your Savior and God. 

You will begin to find daily proof of Christ as your Savior and Lord through a change in the way you live. Your desires will be so entirely changed, that you find yourself loving and delighting in doing the will of God. You will have the strength and grace to live according to His royal command to love other people the way He has loved you (John 13:34) . This commandment will be no burden for you, for it is fulfilled simply by God's love for you overflowing from within you to others. You will come to the place of watching and praying for the Lord's coming, whenever and however He comes (e.g. in your death or in His coming in Judgment to the world), and you are fully prepared to meet Him. Your Judge is now your Friend.

This is the method that the gospel (e.g. good news) prepares us to meet our God.
  1. The gospel first convinces us of our predicament because of our sin, a state of enmity with God, and our unpreparedness to meet Him.
  2. The gospel then convinces us of our reconciliation with God through the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and we come to trust Christ as our only source of right standing before God.
  3. The Holy Spirit then bears witness with our spirits, that we are God's children, and that we have the outward witness of a change of life, loving others the way He has loved us - unconditionally, sacrificially, and selflessly. 
  4. We then come to the place of full and complete assurance of our friendship with the almighty Judge, for He has washed us from our sins in His blood, clothed us with His all-perfect righteousness, having delivered us from the fear of Judgment.
  5. Our fear in this life and the next is removed for "perfect love casts out fear," and what can we fear when our Savior is our Judge? He will come in Judgement on those who do not know Him, but His omnipotence is our protection. He ushers us into His eternal kingdom, where we enjoy all the blessings of His grace and goodness forever.
Blessed is the person who is prepared to meet God in this manner. Are you prepared? Have you secured friendship with your Judge? When He comes, are you ready to meet Him? Your eternal happiness or misery depends on how you respond to the call to prepare to meet your God

We trust that the importance of preparing to meet God has commanded your attention, for you have read the warning to this point. We close with a final lesson.

Third, prepare to meet your God.

You have heard the character of the Judge; He is your God. He is One who inhabits eternity. The Lord of hosts is His name. He is the almighty Creator of all things visible and invisible. He spoke and brought into existence the things which are made.. He commands and they stand fast. His providence rules over all things, and He upholds everything by the word of His power.

This eternal, infinite, and almighty God has appointed a day where He will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not know their God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He shall punish them with everlasting destruction from His very presence, and from the glory of His power. Such is the glorious majesty of the Judge, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Are you prepared to meet Him? Is there fear or dread in your mind at the thought He could come tonight? If you should hear the loud trumpet of God calling the world to judgment, and if you should see the Lord of heaven and earth coming with thousands and ten thousands of angels and saints, how would it affect you? 

Consider whether you could stand the shock of it all. Look into your heart and see if you are ready to appear before Christ's seat of Judgment. Put the question to yourself like this: 
"Suppose the Judge were to come at this very hour. Am I prepared to meet my God?"
If you are prepared, then you are happy and at peace. But if you are not, you are and will be miserable unless you can be persuaded to seek to make your Judge your Friend. This will be an attempt, with God's help, in two or three closing remarks.

First, if you do not believe the doctrines that have been laid out in this post, then you must understand the trouble you are in. Many are open enemies to the God of the Bible and His Christ. They have denied that Jesus is God, and they believe they are out of reach of His judgment. I hope you are not in this category. If you are, when events in this life put a fear in your heart, the only comfort you can find till be to listen to those who scoff at the gospel and seek to assure you that all that happens is the result of merely natural causes. Have you considered whether it is any less terrible to be destroyed by natural causes than it is to be destroyed by the God of nature?

It is a poor philosopher indeed who must get rid of Providence behind nature to get rid of fear from nature. For safety, some will take shelter in atheism. They talk incessantly about a Supreme Being in their efforts to deny His existence, and yet they indeed are rank a-theists, for their supreme being is one of nothingness. Don't fall for their poison.

God has been pleased to reveal His essence and personality to us, and His revealedaccount of Himself they deny. Consequently, whatever they set up against Him, be it a God in one Person, or thirty thousand gods, it is all a mere imagination, one supreme being with existence. No wonder they live such libertine lives since they are without God in this world. And what can we do for those like this, people who have adopted a system of practical atheism? All we can do is pray that the eternal Spirit will open their eyes that they may have a glimpse of the truth and see that Jesus is God.

If, however, they continue in their denial of Jesus Christ, and if they continue to refuse to confess Him before men, there is coming a day when they all shall confess that He is God indeed. At the glory of His appearance, these bold blasphemers who now ridicule His divinity will be calling on the mountains to fall on them and the hills to cover them. The majesty of God the almighty Judge will strike them with terror. When they are called before His throne to give an account for their hard speeches against Him, they will stand guilty, trembling, and waiting for their righteous sentence.  The sentence will carry with it inexpressible misery as they hear, "Go you cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." I hope you are not among those on that Day.

Second, it could be that you are moving from carelessness regarding God into consideration of these claims. It could be that you even consider yourself a Christian, but your profession means little since you live for this world and seldom think of eternity. Your own personal pleasure and entertainment in this life is the chief object of your pursuit. You fight for money, honor, and power, that you may enjoy yourself more. Be careful. All without Christ pursue such things, and they go securely on in their sins, careless about any concern of eternity. Even professing Christians can have hearts engaged in other matters than preparing to meet their God. 

Attachment to this world is the greatest obstacle to preparation to meet God. This is why were are forbidden to love this world or the things in it.
"Love not the world, or the things of the world, for if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." I John 2:15
 Of course, if the love of God is not in us, we cannot be prepared to meet Him in judgment. Consider this when you attempt to speak "peace to your soul" while you continue to indulge in your sin against God. You may profess a belief in God, and even that He will one day Judge the world, but you continue in your sins. The Judge may come for you tonight, and you are not prepared. You have no concern about meeting Him, though you should.

You continue to hate others, be unforgiving to others, judge and condemn others, and live an uncharitable, selfish life, and yet you have no concern? What can anyone think of such conduct? Certainly, a person of sound mind cannot act in such an absurd manner. It is against reason. If you were to set out on a journey of several hundred miles, would you not make more preparation for the journey than you are right now doing for eternity? It is against your best self-interest to consider any and all present and empty indulgences in sin as an equivalent for your eternal happiness.

Are you in this state? Are you guilty of these inconsistencies? The Judge may come within the hour, and you are not looking for Him. He may come and find you unprepared as you are at present. You cannot promise yourself an hour to prepare in. His judgments are now on the earth, and they are sent to wake you out of your false security. Oh that you would be awakened by them and see your sense of false security.

Do you not suppose that the inhabitants of the Lisbon, Portugal thought themselves safe the morning of the great earthquake, just as you feel safe at present? They did not imagine that God was going to destroy them that morning. You have heard how they were surprised and overthrown with great destruction. While they were speaking, "Peace, peace" unto themselves, they were called in a moment to Judgment. One had his heart set upon getting a financial fortune that day, and was just sitting down to count his accounts, and was cut off in a moment, called to Judgement with a soul full of the love of money.

Another, intent upon feeding the desire for wild and illicit indulgences had his soul taken in the middle of an act of immorality, his soul brought before the all pure and holy Judge. One with an oath in his mouth was calling for damnation upon his own soul. The earthquake came while the words were in his mouth, and down he will sink in judgment for his sins. It is dreadful to think of how the people of Lisbon were surprised and cut off in their sins.

Suppose such a judgment came upon your city this day, how would it overtake the people of your city? Those with wealth and riches, tired by the diversions and entertainments of the preceding day, would be surprised in their sleep and would awake in the eternal world full of hatred to Jesus Christ and His people, and the holy faith. And the poor of your city, they would be about the devil's work, careless in their sins, lying, cursing, swearing and blaspheming God, but snatched way with some horrid imprecation in their mouths.

Why may this not happen to you in your city as well as to the inhabitants of Lisbon? Why may you not be cut off like this to die in your sins, yes in the very act of sin? You have more reason to fear it than they had, for your sins are greater than theirs. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the people of Lisbon were greater sinners than all others. Jesus says, "Not at all. Except you repent, you will also perish" (Luke 13:3).

The immorality of the Portuguese run even more rampant in our cities. Worse, the contempt of Jesus Christ and His people, as well as opposition to the progress of the gospel at present among us, are crimes of deeper guilt than the Portuguese had to answer for in their lifetimes. The common people of Portugal were in much more darkness than the people of this country, and they had not the light of the gospel shining as clearly among them as you have. Therefore, they were not as guilty of that one damnable sin which makes all other sins so exceeding sinful. When you reject the light of your gospel understandings, and you act contrary to the light you have, and you continue in your sins, your guilt is worse.

God sends His ministers to plead with you, but their counsel you reject with contempt. His good Spirit strives with you, but you resist and grieve Him. You have the Scriptures in your hands, and you may there read the dangers of your careless way of life, but the Scripture has no influence. If none of these incentives prevail, be assured that your guilt will increase in proportion to the advantages you enjoy. The more reason there was for your being prepared to meet your God, the heavier condemnation there will be if He should come and find you unprepared.  May you consider these things in your heart, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, now resolve to prepare yourself for the coming of the almighty God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And finally, if there is any desire to be prepared to meet God, there is one motive which ought to have a great weight on you, and it is a matter of fact. There are, thank God, many persons in your city who have obtained the love and friendship of the Supreme Judge. Look into their lives, and examine them closely. See how they are affected with the reports of these temporal judgments which are now on the earth. Look what you see in them:
  1. You will find no dread, no fear in their minds.
  2. They are not afraid of bad news, nor live in fear of tomorrow.
  3. They possess peace and joy, which arises from a sense of God's loving them in Jesus Christ.
  4. They know their God as the Lord of nature and all men, and He will make all things work together for good, and therefore their hearts are established and they will not shrink though the earth should quake from its very foundations and the hills should be carried into the midst of the sea (Psalm 46).
  5. If the entire course of the world changes, they have nothing to fear.
  6. God is their friend.
  7. They are kept by the arms of the Almighty.
  8. In life and death, they can keep their minds on God in perfect peace.
  9. You can see clearly that these are Christians in a safe and happy state.
  10. For God has promised them this safety and security, and in Him, they rest.
When you see this, how does it affect you? Do you not also wish that you might find the protection of the Almighty God? Whenever God comes to visit a sinful people laden with iniquity, to be glorified in their destruction, you may be exceeding glad, knowing that your eternal redemption is at hand.

Lay all these considerations together, and they may strengthen you. God is preparing to meet you in Judgment, and eternity depends on your being prepared ot meet Him. You have no time to loaf. He may come for you this night. Are you prepared? What will your condition be if He calls you unprepared? 

Come to Him this moment. Go to the throne of grace for pardon in Christ, lest you should be called before the throne of Christ without pardon. Cry aloud for mercy. The Judge may still be called upon before He takes His seat in Judgement. Plead with Him until you are convinced He is your Friend. Remind Him of His love for sinners. Speak of His bloody sweat, His bitter cross and suffering, His cruel mockings, beatings, and scourgings, which He endured all for sinners. 

Plead these with Him and lay before Him the torments and the shame of the cross. Call upon the piercing of His hands and feet, which are the engraving of His love for sinners. Be assured that His tender heart is not wanting of love for sinners, for He bled to death for their salvation. Place your whole trust and confidence in the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, and doubt not but He will hear your plea and will give you such a taste of His pardoning love, to fill you with His gifts and grace, that you will be fully prepared to meet your God.

We trust that God has answered our prayers for you today, and if it is His will, that will be disposed toward you to grant the grace for you to seek an interest in the Judge of all the earth. We don't think you would have read this far without His mercy.

He is coming in Judgement, and He comes quickly. May the Holy Spirit prepare us all to meet Him! If He should come tonight, how would HE find you? Are you ready? Are you fit to die? Have you prepared? If you should hear a great cry at midnight, and the Savior comes, are you ready to meet Him as a bride her groom? 

And, if you should die in a sudden earthquake, or a heart attack, or a tragic accident, are you confident that the Judge is your Friend? Think of what an awful thing it would be if you were to enter your eternal world this very night where your fate is unalterably fixed. O what continual preparation you should be making for eternity! If you die unprepared, ALL is lost. 

Beg of God, right now, to show you your danger and ask Him to deliver you from it. The door of mercy is still open. Oh, that you will find the entrance and press forward until you receive the grace to prepare you to meet your God. Why don't you look to Him right now, and in the following prayer, ask Him to assist you to "prepare to meet your God."

"Almighty God, please give me the grace that I need to cast away the selfish works of darkness and to put on the armor of light, right now in this life of mortality, the time in which your Son Jesus Christ visited us in great humility, so that in the Last Day, when He shall come again in glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, I may be prepared to meet him and may rise to  the life immortal, through Him who lives and reigns with You, and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever. Amen."

If you have prayed this prayer, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at


Rex Ray said...


For all you had to say, you didn’t mention one of the most important verses in the Bible that tells man how to be save. (John 3:16) Notice it doesn’t say anything about Jesus being a judge.

Wade Burleson said...


Take up your complaint with Willam Romaine in heaven. :) He died 200 years ago and its his message, not mine.

Rex Ray said...


Yes, I see now. I should have taken your advice: “Because the message takes time to read, you might choose to ignore it.”

If William Romaine hadn’t died 200 years ago, I’d ask him, “Which is better to win the lost to Christ; the fear of hell, or the love of Jesus?”

RB Kuter said...

GREAT message from God! As I read it I kept thinking of Billy Graham's powerful sermons pleading for people to recognize their condition and take steps NOW to prepare to meet your God. It sure peels away all of the non-essentials and lays bare the TRUTH. Thank you for sharing this.

Christiane said...

by the grace of the Holy Spirit, an encounter with the Holy Gospel of St. John has led many people into conviction, and being in the state of conviction leads to repentance, and repentance leads to peace in Christ

this peace of Christ is a great and holy mystery, but it is a very real place of rest and sanctuary in times of grief and sorrow and I can witness to this truth that in the peace of Christ, we sense that we are being cared for and for this, there is no rational 'explanation', instead only comes a profound response of thanksgiving to God Who shelters us in our weakness

Bob Cleveland said...

Three principles always scream at me. Perhaps because I'm 81 years young:

1) One thing is absolutely true of every human being: We're going to die.

2) On the day we die, the absolutely most important thing, to us, is our faith in God, and our relationship to Him.

3) If that is the most important thing to us on that day, then it should the most important thing to us, today, too!

Tom said...


Did you purposely not attach the link to the sermon you referenced in your usual manner?

"In response, William Romaine preached a sermon on Sunday, November 30, 1755, entitled An Alarm to a Careless World: A Discourse Occasioned by the Late Earthquakes. The message would later be placed in print, and it became for over a century (AD 1760-1860) one of the most used tools to awaken thoughtless, reckless people to their relationship with God."


Chris said...

Rex Ray,

I am not Wade, nor am I William Romaine, but I would like to answer your question from my personal opinion and experience.

Growing up as a "Fundamental, Independent, Bible-Believin', Sin-Hatin', God-Fearin', Devil-Stompin', Blood Bought, Worthless Sinner, King James Only BAPTIST" - the fear of hell was drilled into our minds on a nearly daily basis.. I remember accepting Christ at the age of 5 in Sunday School because I did not "want to burn in hell forever" and I wanted to be with Jesus - because that is where mommy and daddy and everyone else I knew would be.

For the next 35+ years of my life - I have struggled with my complete understanding of my relationship with Christ.. I followed the self-righteous paths of the authority in my life as the means of my measure of Christianity.. I feared making God angry by going against anyone or anything that was authority in my life.. I worshiped the Power of the Pulpit more than the Prince of Peace. - Which resulted in a life of fear rather than peace. (funny out that works)

It has only been in recent months that I am even beginning to truly get a grasp of what it means to know how much God loves me, for who I am, where I am, as I am. - I still struggle with the desire to please people and have the praise of man as my validation. - Although, I do feel I have came a LONG way in the most recent months.

My point is - if I would have been led to Christ by the teaching of His Love and Grace and Mercy - I truly believe I would be much more effective for the Kingdom today.

I do not blame those that taught me, nor do I blame my parents, or anyone else in my life. I am grateful that I was able to have a church upbringing at all, as many in the world do not get that privilege. - I just wish I knew then, what I know now.

I heard best as once said, "Everyone wants to avoid hell and go to heaven, they just don't want God to be there."

I am afraid that is how my thinking was for many years.. I looked forward to Glory land, but not to Glorify Him.

Thankfully, I realize that I serve a God that loves me despite my misconceptions of Who He Is.

He only left us 2 commandments, Love Him & Love Others - To me, that is the message to preach!


Rex Ray said...


WOW! Are you sure you’re not a preacher? That was a great sermon!

Isaac said...

I'm with Chris on a response to such a message. I've sat under stern, legalistic, Calvinistic preaching for long enough to cringe when guilt and fear is stressed over God's love. I think of the two thieves being crucified with Jesus. Both were judged for their crimes. One mocked Jesus while dying but the other, clearly guilty of serious sin, received amazing love and forgiveness from Jesus. I'm deeply grateful that God forgave me of a life of terrible sins. Love is a great motivator to move people towards God.

Wade Burleson said...

Great comments, Christiane, Isaac, Rex, and Chris!

RB Kuter said...

Just read article in "American Institute for Economic Research" by Jeffrey A. Tucker, May 1, 2020. It brings up the point that in flu season of 1968 the Hong Kong flu killed 100,000 people in the U.S., one million worldwide. No "shelter in place", few school closings, no government legislation, certainly no trillion dollar spending. The US population was 200 million compared to today's 320 million. Woodstock rock festival went on without any proposal to postpone or cancel.

Again, this brings up questions as to why the out of control panic propaganda this year when all appearances are that this is a normal flu season in terms of numbers infected and deaths and the apparent bogus data collection (Brix: "Any death with anyone infected with COVID 19 will be attribute to COVID 19") it is obvious that this year's COVID figures are likely to be greatly exaggerated.

There are many who could benefit and many proposals as to motives for creating the panic and sabotaging a raging hot economy prior to the orchestration of the pandemic scenario.

Sure hope someone in the upper ranks of authority bring these questions to the table. This would be a very sinister ploy.

Rex Ray said...

Thanks Wade,

Our Dad said as a young preacher his favorite topic was: “…whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7), but later changed to (a man with his back to the wall)

How about this? I’m was scheduled this week to see a doctor for a yearly checkup, but it’s been changed to a phone call.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, how can they do all the blood work and stress tests and colon work and all that stuff over the phone? What about the "making you cough" thing or looking way down into your ears and into the pupils of your eyes? What about putting the stick in your mouth and making you say, "Aaaaaaaah"? What about your not having the access to all of those magazines you read while waiting in the big room with CNN or "Kelly and Ryan" (formerly, "Regis and Kathie") playing without sound on the TV hanging in the corner?

No, I believe you should insist on waiting until you can go into the office, otherwise you are going to miss out on all of that fun and special attention and extra benefits. They are trying to cheat you. Don't fall to their schemes!

Christiane said...

Good Morning REX RAY and RB

I think I know how the medical 'phone thing' works. The physician knows what to ask to determine if you ought to come on in for any tests or procedures, so it is like a 'screening' phone call, and does not necessarily rule out an office visit. But people are trying still to be protective, as the full extent of how this virus in affecting people is still not known, as we are finding out sadly with how some young children are experiencing a type of serious inflammation that is believed to be related to the virus.

We had thought that the children might be spared somewhat, so this new development is a most un-welcomed and frightening discovery. . . .

My brother still sees his patients: 'well' children in the mornings, and 'sick' children later and he is also busy with his hospital visits as well. People are doing the best they can to protect all concerned. Please, good people, be self-protective and try to avoid crowds and shield yourselves from those who are coughing. Do what you can and pray for better days to come. We don't know enough yet to take things for granted.
May God have mercy on us all together.

Rex Ray said...

RB Ruter,

Yeah, you’re right, but when did you tell your doctor what to do? :)

Now my brother, Hez, that’s a different story as he had valley-fever.

His weight had dropped from 210 to 140, and his son-in-law had carried him into a hospital and put him in a wheelchair.

The doctor had been a college football linebacker. He sent his wife to the waiting room.

“Why didn’t you let my wife stay?”

“Because I don’t what her to hear this! Mr. Ray, you’re a walking dead man, and you’re not even walking. Now get on that table and let me have a look.”

“My friend, I’ve been on every doctor’s table in Arizona! I know the “poke and drill” better than you! So why don’t you hop up there, and I’ll waste 20 minutes of everybody’s time, and send you home to rest for two more weeks!”

“Sorry, Mr. Ray, I’d listen to you, but I’m the doctor and you’ll listen to me! You’re not going home. We are going to do this drill, and you are checking into room 450. I can beat this! Together, we all can beat this!”

“Why didn’t you say that earlier; now move over and let me up there.”

RB, the doctor beat it, but too much medicine ‘killed’ his kidneys, and he had dialysis the rest of his life.