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Sinners know these things to be refuges of lies, because they do not save men from their sins. Certainly they must see this and know it to be the truth.
They resort to these refuges, not as being quite fully true, but as an excuse for delay. Miserable subterfuge, this. They are not honest, and therefore need not think it strange if they are deluded.
They admit that if one lives like Christ, all will be well; and they know that nothing less than this will avail for their safety.
Of course, to seek a refuge of lies is to tempt God to destroy you. How can it be otherwise?
Remember the test—this one plain simple principle: That and only that which saves from sin is true; all else is false and ruinous. Now you all have some hope of a happy future; what is this hope? Good or bad? Is it truthful and sure, or is it a refuge of lies?
Does your hope sanctify you—does it make you humble, holy, prayerful? Does your faith purify your heart? Have you the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering? Have you daily communion with God? Are you so united to Him that you can say—Truly we have fellowship with the Father? If so, this will be a hiding-place indeed—not one which the hail shall sweep away, but one which shall save the soul.
Have you the life of God in your soul? Does it pervade your heart, and diffuse itself over all the chambers of your soul? Let nothing less than this avail to satisfy your mind.
Hear Catholics talk about the Virgin and the sacraments and absolution; what are all these things, and a thousand more such, good for if they do not save from sin? What is the use of running after these things that do not save?
But you say—I love to believe that all will be saved; it makes me so happy. But does it make you holy? Does it renew your heart? This is the only sure test.
But you say, “I do not believe as you do.” I answer, here are great facts. You are in sin. Are you saved from your sin by your system? If so, well; if not so, then it is not well. Will your believing it to be one way or the other make it so? Does believing a lie make it the truth? If you were to believe that you could walk on the water, or that water could not drown you, and should leap overboard, would your belief save you?
Dying sinner, all those refuges of lies will surely deceive and destroy you. It is time for you to arise and say—I must have the religion of Jesus. Not having it, I can not go where Jesus is. With a lie in my right hand, what have I to hope for? None of you, I hope, have reached that forlorn state described by the prophet, “A deceived heart hath turned him aside, neither can he say to his soul, There is a lie in my right hand.”
O, sinner, there is a Refuge for you which is not one of lies. There is a Hiding-place for you which no waters can reach to overwhelm. It lies far above their course. O, take refuge in Christ! away with these refuges of lies! Cry out—Give me Christ and none besides! Christ and Him only—for what have I to do with lies and delusions? You need to come into such communion with Christ that His power and presence and fullness shall flow through your heart fully and freely, and be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life.9
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