You Have a Soul

Yes, you have a soul that must live for ever—somewhere.

“Well, tell us something we don’t know—we all know that.”

But stay a moment. Your soul must live as long as God lives, either in heaven with its wondrous eternal joys, or in hell with its speechless everlasting woe. Can you tell me, if you died this moment, where your soul would be?

“Well, to be honest I cannot really tell for certain.”

And yet time is so short, life so uncertain, eternity so long, and you cannot tell for certain where you will spend your eternity. Are you serious? Do you mean to tell me all your thoughts are taken up with this life, and you forget the life to come? Do you really acknowledge that you are penny-wise and pound-foolish, time-wise and eternity-foolish, body-wise and soul-foolish? Alas! alas! how Satan and sin blind souls to their true interests.

I will run the risk of repeating myself. YOU—HAVE—A—SOUL. Weigh every word over, for I am sure that whilst in a general way you admit the fact, yet you are not at all alive to its importance, and what it means.

Suppose you meet a man with scarcely a piece of leather to hide his aching feet. His clothes are torn, and he looks hungry and woe-begone.

You are informed that he has vast estates, and a rent-roll of ten thousand a year.

You stop him, and say earnestly, “You have an income of ten thousand a year.”

He promptly replies, “I know it, tell me something I don’t know.” What would you think of him?

You reply, “He must be mad; I never heard of such a case.”

Stay a moment, friend. I know a ease far worse than that. As the prophet Nathan said to King David, so we can say to you—“THOU ART THE MAN.” Follow we carefully. You have a soul. You neglect it. It is infinitely more precious than a vast estate bringing in ten thousand a year. Bring all the gold and diamonds of the world, and heap them high above the Himalayas, and the glittering mass is worthless beside your possession—your one immortal priceless soul. And yet you have neglected it, and its eternal destiny is unsettled. What need to repeat to you earnestly and pointedly, YOU—HAVE—A—SOUL

The great Lover of souls, the Lord Jesus Christ, when on earth asked: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).

No Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever been able to give an answer to that question, for the soul is infinite in its preciousness and its duration of existence. No mind has ever been dexterous enough in the manipulation of figures to solve such a question.

We all pity the man who is so driven to desperation that he puts a revolver against his temples and blows his brains out, or throws himself into the canal and ends his miserable existence, thrusting thus his soul, unsummoned, into the presence of his Maker. The suicide sins against his body, but what of the careless sinner who sins against his soul—the soul-suicide?

Let me further illustrate. The King and royal party are expected to arrive at a large station by a certain hour, in order to grace some important event that claims national, rather than local importance. The mayor and officials of the city, and rank and fashion, are waiting to give his Majesty a warm welcome.

The whistle of the royal train is heard. All is expectancy. Instead of drawing up to a standstill opposite the carpeted and balconied platform, the train rushes on at a mad speed.

Just as it whizzes out of sight, some one shouts to the driver, “Where are you going?”

He answers indifferently, “I don’t know.” What would you call that driver?

“He must be mad,” you reply, “to act like that.” Stay a moment, friend. I know a case far worse than that. It is your own.

Follow we carefully. You carry fast to the pit of hell an occupant within your breast—your soul—infinitely more precious to you than the Sovereign of England could be to the English nation. You rush madly on, as fast as time can carry you, to eternity. We ask you, “Where are you going?” Is your reply any more sensible than that of the engine driver’s? Permit me to tell you that your folly is worse than madness.

You know it is for ever, and for ever, and for ever. You are going, a sinner, to meet God—to face Him about your guilty life and fearful indifference—to a great white throne—to a great gulf fixed—to eternity—to hell. Oh! wake up, ere it be too late. There is a Saviour—there is a way of escape.

The loss of wealth is a great loss; the loss of health is a greater; but the loss of the soul is the greatest possible loss.

Let me relate how a lady was awakened to a sense of her souls need. She lay dying in the ward of a large London hospital, disease doing its deadly work.

There was put into her hands a copy of that God-honoured book, “Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment.” The sufferer read on till she came to the lines—

“To lose your wealth is much,

To lose your health is more,

To lose your soul is such a loss

As no man can restore.”

As she read these lines they fitted themselves exactly to her case.

“To lose your wealth is much.” Once she had been wealthy, but a course of reckless extravagance had beggared her.

“To lose your health is more.” That likewise was true of her. Wealth and health were alike gone; and she, once the child of fortune, was dying alone and unbefriended in a large London hospital. She mourned over the loss of her wealth, that had taken wings and fled; she mourned over health no longer hers; but her soul she had not thought particularly about. Little as she knew it, she was on the eve of the greatest possible loss a man or woman can sustain—the loss of the soul.

As the lines put it—

“To lose your soul is such a loss

As no man can restore.”

As she read these four lines she became conscious that she was about to lose more than wealth and health, and she was aroused to a deep concern about her soul, and with the greatest anxiety read on, till by means of the little book she found “joy and peace in believing.”

If her loss of wealth and health led to the salvation of her soul, her loss was a real and substantial gain.

People mourn over losses in this life. Lost fortunes are often retrieved and lost health recovered, but the soul! Once lost, it is lost for ever, and in the words of the Lord Jesus, we would again press home the searching question, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Reader, you too may be on the eve of that greatest possible loss. If unsaved still, you are running an awful risk. Eternity, long, measureless, unending, will be all too brief to spell out that short word—l-o-s-t—when the soul is in question.

The great and important question arises, How can your soul be saved?

What lies between your soul and salvation, unsaved reader, is the serious question of your sins.

And here follow with great care. Make no mistake at this point, else it will be fatal.

Is salvation by works? Let Scripture itself answer.

“To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

“For by grace are ye saved through faith . . . not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8).

On the strength of these verses cease your working for salvation. Salvation lies not in your repentance however sincere; your tears, however profuse; your prayers, however earnest; your good works of any or every kind.

A work must be done, but blessed be God, it has been done by Another. The Lord Jesus Christ has died on the cross of Calvary, and shed his precious atoning blood.

How can sin be removed? “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”

Scripture puts the whole matter in a nutshell, “What must I do to be saved?” Hear the blessed answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“BE IT KNOWN unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39).

Reader, we part. Again I remind you earnestly, YOU—HAVE—A—SOUL. Where will you spend eternity? It is admittedly a careless day as to these things, therefore I make one last earnest appeal to you not to leave these matters unfaced, but to lose no time in trusting the Lord Jesus Christ, your only hope for eternity. He must be either your Saviour or your Judge, which shall it be?

The Gospel Messenger 1903, p. 287