Men believe that things will be as they choose to have them to be. “Their inward thought is that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations, they call their lands after their own names.” (Psalms 49:11)
Some flatter themselves because they lead moral and orderly lives. Some flatter themselves because they live in a place where the gospel is powerfully preached among a religious people, where many have been converted. They may think that they have always been suited and set for heaven’s reward, or they may feel that they will be saved through some association. Some flatter themselves because they were born to godly parents. Some believe that if they live without any vice and are not addicts to one substance or another, that God will not cast them into Hell. They hope that their orderly and strict lives will move God to give them some special grace, some unknown dispensation. And they flatter themselves as those whom the Lord mentioned, “that trusted in themselves that they were righteous.” (Luke 18:9)
But such thoughts are only the evidence of vanity. They spring from a corruption of human thought, and not from the Word of God.
When we are young we are disposed to think that death is a long way down the road. It is the farthest thing from our minds. Yet as we grow and change, we see the swathe cut by the eternal hand and feel the closer chill from the door of the nether world. So as we go we understand that death stands near to us, but we live often with a false hope that its presence will not come upon us suddenly and that its stare will remain distant. But everlasting ruin lays hidden as a snare, and all hope is suddenly and fully cut off, as the apostle noted to the Christians in Thessalonica “When they shall say ‘peace and safety’ then sudden destruction comes upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
The point is – we should know that there is a reason why it is as the Lord had said, “Many shall be called but few will be chosen.”
All know that everyone must face death, and that after there remains another world. Reason tells us that as it is in the Word of God, only two states exist in that other world: eternal life and eternal damnation. Further we are told that there is only one way of escaping the misery of eternal loss and torment and of obtaining the blessedness of eternity. Yet men and women flatter themselves by one false means or another, in the ways described here and in numerous others that this is not true. And so they are kept steadily and uninterruptedly going on the broad way that leads to destruction. Therefore unless something is done by them, such souls are headed into the open gates of Hell to be lost forevermore.
For this reason the truth of the scriptures has little effect on many people. Lessons and essays like these have even less effect. Such things make no impression on most minds. The pronouncements of God concerning their fate, the fiery pit that awaits them and God’s threatening to cast every soul who will not hear his Son into the lake that eternally burns does not so much as move them to attention. It is a picture in the mind of coming destruction and ruin, yet they pay it no heed. They believe that they hear the voice of Christ in everything they do, when it is the cry of lost souls that sounds in their ears. The threatening is not heard; it does not speak to them but to some other.