Why Go to Hell?

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By Archibald G. Brown - Preached December 18th, 1870 at Stepney Green Tabernacle

"Why will you die?" Ezekiel 33:11

Doubtless those of you who were with us last Sunday evening have not yet forgotten the subject of discourse. It was a solemn time to us all. God was in our midst, and we felt that we had received a warning from Him to prepare for death. "This year you shall die!" sounded in our ears, and not knowing who the one would be, many of us took the message as if specially addressed to ourselves. Looking death in the face, and contemplating the tremendous results depending on it — we realized something of the experience of one of old when he exclaimed "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God."

Many of you will also remember that I said while preaching, that it was deeply laid upon my heart that some of my hearers would be in eternity before the year was out. This statement proved to be only too true. Oh, how much greater would have been the solemnity of the service, if you all had but known what I learned only three minutes after the sermon was concluded. While I was preaching, there was one lying a corpse, who was in this Tabernacle on the previous Sabbath evening. He heard with many of you that sermon on the text, "Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife!" and alas on the following Tuesday, he was cut down with little warning. I know he was impressed — but whether more than that, I cannot say. What a voice this has to us! It says to me, "Preach as a dying man to dying men; waste no time over mere prettinesses of speech — but plead with men as for eternity."

"O God, save me from trifling with immortal spirits, and speaking as if I only half believe the warnings that I utter, or the gospel that I proclaim!"

But my hearers, it speaks to you. Before this year has gone, few though its remaining days are, some of you may be swept away as with a flood! Time with you may be over — and eternity commenced!

Is it so? How then should you listen — with what breathless interest should you attend when we tell you of the only way whereby you may be saved. Will you sit listless and careless as if the subject did not concern you, when we plead with you about matters which will decide your eternal well-being — or eternal woe? Awake! awake!! you drowsy ones, for what I have to tell you this night will be remembered by you either in Heaven — or in Hell.

My subject is a more stupendous one than last Sunday night's. Then I spoke only of the death of the body — but now I am going to speak about the death of the soul.

Listen to me, you shall. God has brought you this evening under the sound of the word, and there is something within me that tells me that God will this night give me a message to some of you. I do not doubt some will be offended, for I will speak some plain truths in rather rough language; I do not care not if some are offended — for I must have souls at any price. An overwhelming desire is within me to clear myself of the blood of all, and if I have never warned or pleaded with you before, I will now, God helping me.

This year has almost gone; but one Sunday now remains, and that, being Christmas day, many of you will not be here. To numbers of you, then, this is the last sermon I will preach this year — to some perhaps, it is the last forever. I am going to ask you a startling question tonight, one very different from my usual kind. Hundreds of times I have asked you, "Why will you not be saved?'' But now I ask you, "Why will you be damned?" It is not this evening, "Why will you not go to Heaven?" but "Why will you go to Hell?"

I want a reason for your madness. I want a cause for your preference for perdition. But wait, I am in error; it is not I — but God, who asks the question. It is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who says, "Say to them: As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live! Turn, turn from your evil ways, for why will you die?"

Looking now to the Lord for power and earnestness, I will try and dwell upon three things in the text:
First, you have in it a horrible resolution implied — to die.
Secondly, a plaintive question asked — why?
Thirdly, a glorious truth taught — God does not desire your ruin.

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