The Final Separation

   (No. 1234)

   DELIVERED BY

   C. H. SPURGEON,

   AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

   "And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate
   them, one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the
   goats." Matthew 25:32.

   JESUS Christ, the man of Nazareth, who is also the Son of God, was
   crucified, dead and buried, and the third day He rose again from the
   dead. After He had showed Himself to His disciples for 40
   days--sometimes to one alone, at other times to two or three together,
   and on one occasion to above 500 Brethren at once--He ascended into
   Heaven. From the Mount Olivet, from the midst of His disciples, He rose
   into mid air and, by-and-by, a cloud received Him out of their sight.
   That same Jesus who is gone into Heaven shall so come in like manner as
   He was seen to go up into Heaven. That is to say, in Person, in His own
   risen body. The same Christ who rose into the skies will, in the latter
   day, surely descend again. The time of His coming is not revealed to
   us--"Of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels of
   God," but the time is certainly growing nearer every day, and we cannot
   tell when the hour shall be.

   We are told that He will come quickly. It seems a long time since that
   was said, even 1,800 years, but we remember that things which are slow
   with us, may be very quick with the Lord, for one day with the Lord is
   as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. It is not for us
   to know the times and the seasons. They remain hidden in the purpose of
   God. For excellent reasons these times and seasons are unrevealed, that
   we may be always on the watchtower, not knowing at what hour the Lord
   Jesus may be revealed.

   To the ungodly world He will come as a thief in the night and take them
   unaware. But we, Brothers and Sisters, are not in darkness that that
   day should overtake us as a thief. Being children of the day, we are
   taught to be wakeful, and standing in the clear light, with our loins
   girt, we ought to be always looking for our Master's appearing. Always
   are we to be watching, never sleeping. Our text tells us that as one
   result of His coming there will be a general judgement. I am not going,
   tonight, to try and arrange the other events which will happen at the
   Lord's coming.

   It is probably true that at His coming there will be, first of all, a
   resurrection and rewarding of His saints, a dividing of the 10 cities
   and the five cities, according to the faithfulness of those who were
   entrusted with talents. And at the close of that period will come that
   last tremendous day of which Prophets and Apostles have spoken--

   "The day that many thought should never come; That all the wicked
   wished should never come; That all the righteous had expected long; Day
   greatly feared, and yet too little feared By him who feared it most."

   A day of fear and wrath! A day of destruction of the ungodly! A testing
   day to all mankind! A day which shall burn as an oven! We may
   tremblingly say of it, "Who may abide the day of His coming, and who
   shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like
   fuller's soap."

   At that day when Christ shall come He shall judge all nations. There
   will be gathered before Him not only the Jews, to whom the Law was
   given, but the Gentiles, also. Not merely those nations who for many an
   age have heard the Gospel, but those to whom it shall then have been
   but lately published, for the kingdom of God must be published
   throughout all nations as a testimony against them. Everywhere Christ
   will have been preached and, then, from all regions, men shall be
   summoned to stand before Him. Remember, not merely all the living
   nations, but all the nationalities that have passed away.

   There shall rise from the dead the hosts that perished before the flood
   and those, also, who were drowned amid its awful surges. There, too,
   shall appear the myriads that followed at the call of Nimrod, the
   swarms of the sons of Japheth who divided the isles of the Gentiles,
   and the hordes that marched to battle at the command of the kings of
   Assyria and

   Babylon. The dead of Egypt shall rise from their beds of spices, or
   from the earth with which their dust has mingled. The tens of thousands
   shall be there over whom Xerxes wept when he remembered how soon they
   would all pass away. The Greek and the Persian, these, shall rise, and
   the Roman, too, and all the hordes of Huns and Goths that swarmed like
   bees from the northern hives. They all passed into the unknown land,
   but they are not lost--they shall each answer to the muster roll in the
   Great Day of the Lord.

   The earth, which is now becoming more and more a graveyard, shall yield
   up her dead and the sea, itself, transformed into a solid pavement,
   shall bear upon its bosom the lonely ones who today lie asleep in her
   gloomy caverns. All of woman born shall come forth from the prolific
   womb of the sepulcher--myriads, myriads countless as the drops of the
   morning, or as the sands of the sea shore. Multitudes, multitudes shall
   be gathered together in the valley of decision! Their bones shall come
   together and breath shall enter their bodies anew, and they shall live
   once more. Long as they have slept in the tomb, they shall all rise
   with one impulse and start up with one thought--to appear before their
   Judge.

   The Great White Throne shall be set on high, all pure and lustrous,
   bright and clear like a sapphire, as one vast mirror in which man shall
   see himself and his sins reflected--and on that Throne shall sit the
   Son of Man. That same Jesus who was nailed to the tree and rose to
   Heaven shall sit upon the Judgement Seat, appointed to determine the
   cases of all mankind of every age. What an assemblage! No imagination
   can compass it. Far as the eyes can see--yes, far as the eagle's pinion
   can soar--the earth shall be covered with men like a field with grass
   in the springtide! And there will they all stand with the Judge upon
   the Great White Throne as the common center of observation, for every
   eye shall see Him, and they, also, that crucified Him. And all the
   kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.

   It will be a motley throng, as you may well imagine, but the Shepherd,
   the great Shepherd, the Judge, Himself, shall divide them. That
   division will be the one work of the Judgement Day. He will divide them
   as readily and unerringly as a shepherd divides his sheep from the
   goats. Your business, tonight, shall be to draw the attention of each
   one to that division, that each of you may enquire what will be the
   result of it upon himself. I have thought it over on my own account,
   and desire to think of it, still. I would bid my mind fly into the
   future and see, for a moment, "the pomp of that tremendous day when
   Christ, with clouds, shall come."

   I would anticipate the verdict of that hour and I would think of the
   dread alternative of Heaven or Hell. I pray we may all think of it and,
   especially you who are unprepared for it, that you may at once fly to
   Him whose blood and righteousness, alone, can make you hold up your
   head in that tremendous hour. Three things we shall speak about--the
   first is the division. The second is the Divider. And the third is the
   rule of the division.

   I. The first, then, is THE DIVISION. "Before Him shall be gathered all
   nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd
   divides his sheep from the goats." That is to say, first, they shall be
   divided into two parts--His sheep and the goats. There shall be two
   positions--He shall put His sheep on the right hand, but the goats on
   the left. Is there no place for a third party? No, for the simple
   reason that there will, then, be no third class. And there will, then,
   be none for this reason--that there never was a third class!

   I know there are some here, tonight, who dare not say they believe in
   Jesus, but they would not like to be put down among the ungodly. Yet I
   pray you remember that there are but two books--and in one or the other
   of those two your name must stand recorded by the hand of God--for
   there is no third book. There is the Lamb's Book of Life and if your
   name is there, happy are you! If it is not there, your sins still stand
   recorded in the book which contains the condemning evidence which will
   seal the death warrants of unbelievers.

   Listen to me! There are in this world, nowhere, any other sort of
   people beside those who are dead in sin and those who are alive unto
   God. There is no state between! A man either lives or is dead! You
   cannot find a neutral condition. A man may be in a swoon, or he may be
   asleep, but he is alive--there is no state that is not within the
   boundary of either life or death! Is not this clear enough? There is no
   state between being converted and unconverted--between being quickened
   and being dead in sin. There is no condition between being pardoned and
   having our sins upon us. There is no state between dwelling in darkness
   and being brought into marvelous light.

   One or the other must always be our condition--and this is the great
   folly of mankind in all times--that they will dream of a middle state
   and try to loiter in it. It was for this cause that the old Prophet,
   standing on Carmel's brow, said, "How long halt you between two
   opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him: but if Baal, follow him." And
   it is for this reason that we have constantly to call the attention of
   mankind to the great declaration of the Gospel--"He that be-

   lieves and is baptized shall be saved: he that believes not shall be
   damned." God has given to the preacher two hands, that he may set the
   people on each side and deal out the Truth of God to two characters and
   no more. Be not deceived about it, you are either on the way to Heaven
   or on the road to Hell.

   There is no "purgatory" or middle condition in the next world.
   "Purgatory" is an invention of the Pope for the filling of his cellar
   and his pantry--and no more profitable speculation has ever been set
   than the saying of masses and the robbing of dupes under the pretence
   of altering that state which is fixed forever! Purgatory Pick-Purse was
   the name the first Reformers gave it. But you will go to Heaven or to
   Hell--and you will remain in one place or the other--for you have
   either a character that is fit for Heaven or a character that is fit
   for Hell. There is no character which can be supposed, if we understand
   the Scriptures correctly, which would be fit for a middle place. And
   neither is there any middle place prepared for it. "He shall separate
   them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
   and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the
   left." The human flock will be divided into two companies.

   Observe, next, that they will be divided readily. It is not everybody
   that could divide sheep from goats. I suppose, according to your
   ordinary judgement of goats, you could very readily tell them from
   sheep. But one who has traveled in the East and even in Italy, knows
   that it takes somewhat tutored eyes to know a certain kind of goat from
   a certain kind of sheep. They are extremely like each other--the wool
   of some sheep in a warm climate becomes so like hair and the hair of a
   kind of goat is so much like wool, that a traveler scarcely knows which
   is which--but a shepherd who has lived among them knows the difference
   well.

   So in this world, it is easy enough to tell the sinner from the saint
   in some cases--you need no great wit to discern the characters of the
   grossly dishonest, the drunk, the debauched, the Sabbath-breaker, the
   profane. You know that they have no part among the people of God, for
   they bear upon themselves the ensigns of the children of the Evil
   One--the immoral are easily separated from the pure in heart. But
   inside the Church there are a number of persons who have so much about
   them that looks good and yet so much that is terribly inconsistent,
   that we are quite unable to discover which is their true nature!

   Thank God we are not called upon to judge them, nor even allowed to do
   so. The most experienced pastor must scarcely attempt to do so.
   Certainly, if he feels so much trouble about the matter that he takes
   it to his Lord and asks for directions as to how to deal with these
   tares, he will be told to let them grow on till harvest time, lest in
   rooting up the tares he should root up, also, the wheat with them. I
   talked, today, to a certain good man who labors hard among the poor in
   the East end. He said, "We have a great number who profess to be
   converted, but," he said, "I do not think that much more than one in
   five actually stay and turn out to be really so.

   "But," he said, "we have no trouble about them in the Church--no such
   trouble as you would be likely to have with your people, because," he
   said, "among the class of people who go to the Tabernacle there is a
   feeling that it is right to go to the House of God at least once on the
   Sabbath, if not twice. And if persons join the Church, there, they
   will, from habit. continue to attend. But," he said, "the moment a man
   of the poorest class ceases to be a Christian in heart, he ceases, at
   the same time, to attend the public services, because there is no
   fashion to keep him up to it. And so he follows his own tastes, stops
   at home and loafs about, and in all probability gets drunk, or falls
   into some other of the common vices of his class, and he is sifted off
   at once."

   In such cases the classes are easily separated. But among a more
   respectable class of people, who do not drink and who observe the
   Sabbath, you will have a number of people who remain in the Church,
   though they have no secret piety, no real love to Christ, no private
   prayer and, therefore, there is all the more danger. Now, dear Friends,
   what we cannot do, and must not try to do, Jesus Christ will do easily
   enough. The Shepherd, when He comes, will soon separate His sheep from
   the goats. His eyes of fire will read each heart. The hypocrites in the
   Church will tremble in a moment-- instinctively reading the meaning of
   that glance, as Christ, will, by that glance say to them, "What are you
   doing, here, among My people?"

   Remember, that as the division will be made readily it will be made
   Infallibly, that is to say, there will not be found among the goats one
   poor trembling sheep left to be driven off with the unclean herd. When
   Christ says, "Depart, you cursed," He will not say that to one sincere
   but feeble soul. Ah no, you may condemn yourself, but if you really
   have a living faith, the Lord will not condemn you. You may often be
   afraid that He will bid you depart, but He will not. No

   lamb of His flock shall be among the goats! The whole company of His
   redeemed shall be safely gathered into their eternal mansions--

   "Lord, those shall bear that day, so dread, so splendid, Whose sins
   are, by Your merits covered over, Who when Your hand of mercy was
   extended, Believed, obeyed, and owned Your gracious power; These,
   mighty God, shall see without dismay The earth and Hea ven before them
   pass away!" The sword cuts the other way, too, and therefore be sure of
   this, that there will be no goat allowed to enter the pastures of the
   blessed among the sheep! No unconverted graceless person will follow
   the Great Shepherd to those living fountains, above, which afford
   eternal draughts of bliss to the purchased flock. Though the sinner may
   have led a sort of outwardly consistent life for 40 or 50 years. Though
   he may have preached the Gospel and done many wonderful works, yet
   Christ will say to him, "I never knew you." He will not be able to keep
   on his sheep's clothing, then, or bleat any longer in sheep
   fashion--Christ will know him under whatever disguise he may wear! He
   will find him out and drive him to his own place, so that not a single
   one of the accursed shall enter into the city with the blessed. It will
   be an Infallible judgment! There is, therefore, good reason that we are
   prepared for it. There is no bribing or deceiving the Judge and no
   avoiding His tribunal. Oh, be ready to face that eye which will read
   you through and through!

   That division, when it shall take place, let me further beg you to
   remember, will be very keen and sharp. Think it over, think it over,
   for some of you may have to smart through it. Two men shall be in the
   field, one shall be taken and the other left. There were two laborers
   who worked together, they had guided the same plow and driven the same
   oxen, but the one shall be upon the right hand and the other on the
   left. Two carpenters at the same bench had handled the same hammer and
   the same plane, but one shall be taken and the other left. Two had
   served in one shop at the same counter with the same goods--and one
   shall be taken and the other left--they were familiar acquaintances and
   old shop mates, but one shall rejoice to hear the welcome "Come," and
   the other shall tremble as he receives the dread sentence, "Depart."

   Alas, the division will come closer home, still. Two women shall be in
   one house--the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall
   be grinding at the mill, that is, engaged about the household duties,
   grinding the morning's breakfast corn--one shall be taken and the other
   left. So you may be two servants in the same house, cook and housemaid,
   one saved and the other lost. Two sisters living together under the
   same roof, one brought into Glory and the other cast into shame. Two of
   you may be dwellers under the same roof, eating bread at the same
   table, drinking from the same cup and yet one of you shall feast at the
   eternal banquets and the other shall cry for a drop of water to cool
   their burning tongue! You would not like to be separated, but separated
   you must be.

   Alas, there will be a separation still more painful! Two shall be in
   one bed, the one shall be taken and the other left--the husband torn
   away from the wife--and the wife taken from her husband. Oh, there will
   be partings, there will be partings and, consequently there will be
   weeping, there will be weeping at the Judgement Seat of Christ! Not for
   the godly, for in them the glory of their Lord will swallow up all
   other thought, but for the Christless, the prayerless, the graceless.
   Oh, the wailing of the children, and the wailing of the women, and the
   wailing of the husbands, and the wailing of the fathers when their
   children are saved, or their parents are saved, or their husbands and
   wives are saved--and they themselves are cast out forever!--

   "O there will be mourning Before the Judgement Seat, When this world is
   burning Beneath Jeho vah's feet. Friends and kindred then shall part,
   Shall part to meet no more; Wrath consume the rebel's heart, While
   saints on high adore!"

   The separation will be agony, indeed, to the lost! I could scarcely
   have the heart to bid a man, "good-bye," if I knew that I should never
   see him again. The worst wish I could entertain concerning the worst
   enemy I ever had--though I do

   not know that I have one in the world--would not go so far as to say I
   wished I might never see him again. Since I hope I shall be where Jesus
   is, I should like to see him, be he who he may, and see him there among
   the blessed. But it must not be. It must not be if sinners will not
   repent of sin if they persist in rejecting Jesus Christ. Unless you
   believe in Jesus, the parting will be keen and cutting, dividing
   between joints and marrow, tearing asunder marriage ties and bonds of
   filial or parental affection--slaying all vain hopes forever. O
   impenitent souls, I could weep for you! If you are linked in blood
   relationship with the saints, it will not help you if you die
   unregenerate! Though you were bone of each other's bone, and flesh of
   each other's flesh, yet must you be separated unless you are one with
   Christ! I entreat you unregenerate ones to lay this to heart at once
   and trifle no longer!

   That division, dear Friends, remember, will be very wide as well as
   very keen, for the division will be such as will be represented in its
   distance by Heaven and by Hell--and what a distance is that! The
   distance between God and Satan! Between happiness and misery! Between
   Glory and everlasting contempt! Between infinite joy and boundless
   sorrow! Between songs and weeping! Between triumphs and wailing,
   feasting and gnashing of teeth! If the only division would be such as
   might arise from difference in degrees of Glory, (if such there is),
   one might still pine to have the companionship of our dear ones--but
   the difference is between Heaven and Hell--and Christ says of it that
   there is "a great gulf fixed" so that they that would pass from us to
   you cannot and neither can they come to us that would come from there.
   The distance will be wide as eternity, the separating gulf will be deep
   as the abyss and impassable as Hell.

   And, remember, the separation will be final. There is no flinging a
   bridge across that vast abyss. Damned spirits may look down into that
   dread gulf, into the unutterable blackness of its darkness, but they
   will never see a hope of crossing to the land of the blessed. The key
   is lost--they can never come out of the dungeon of despair. "Forever,
   forever, forever," is written upon the chain which binds the lost
   spirit! No hope of restoration was ever indulged by a man in Hell and
   it is idle to dream about it now. Of all figments of the imagination,
   it has the least support in Scripture. The lost sinner is forever
   separated from Jesus and from the disciples of Jesus, however near akin
   in the flesh those disciples may have been to him. Unalterable and
   eternal is the separation!

   Beloved, these are such weighty things that while I dwell upon them I
   feel far more inclined to sit down and weep than to stand up and speak
   to you. The theme causes me to feel the weakness of mere words and in a
   measure makes me lose the power of expression, for what if any ofyou
   should be lost forever? It was a touching thing to me, yesterday, when
   I saw a Sister in Christ who has been my hearer for many years. She
   told me that she was decided for Christ by my saying, when I went away
   last time, that perhaps I might never address you again and might find
   a grave in a foreign land. I felt that it might be so at the time I
   uttered the words, though I am glad that they have not been fulfilled.

   She thought, "Well, he has been preaching to me these many years, and
   if I die unconverted, I shall never see him again." And then it flashed
   across her mind, "How much worse to feel that I shall never see the
   King in His beauty! I shall never see the Savior!" And she was thus led
   by the Holy Spirit to give her heart to Jesus. Perhaps the Lord may use
   the thought of this separation to move some of you to say, "I will come
   to Jesus and I will rest in Him." O Lord, my God, grant it may be so,
   for Jesus' sake!

   II. We have spoken about the division. We will now have a few words
   about THE DIVIDER. "He shall separate them, one from another." Christ
   Jesus will be the Divider of the race of men into two parts and this I
   am glad to know, because, first of all, this will be the occasion of
   lasting, yes, of eternal joy to all the saints. No child of God will
   ever have a doubt in Heaven, but it is necessary that they begin their
   bliss with a very strong assurance of Divine Love, or else, I think,
   they might.

   Unless God had ordained the method at which the text hints, I could
   well imagine myself in Heaven saying to myself, after I had been there
   a little while, "Oh, can it be, can it be that I am here? I do remember
   the sin of such a day and the shortcomings of such an hour, and my
   murmurings, and my unbelief, and all my departures from my God, and am
   I here, after all?" I could imagine, if there had not been the means
   used to put an end to such a possibility, my saying, "Surely I am to
   taste this only for a moment that I may be driven to my due deserts,
   after all, that my Hell may be made the more terrible because I have
   seen what Heaven is, and that my hunger may grow the more intolerable
   because I have eaten of the bread of angels."

   If such a fear were possible, behold the answer to it. "He, the Judge,
   the Judge, the Judge, Himself, has said, 'Come, you blessed of My
   Father.'" That Judge cannot be mistaken, for He is Jesus the Infallible
   Son of God! God Himself has

   blessed His chosen and Jesus tells them so in the most plain
   terms--"Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
   for you." Since Jesus has decreed this everlasting happiness, the child
   of God cannot doubt throughout eternity! That voice will sound forever
   in his ears, sweeter than music of flute or harp or dulcimer! "Come,
   you blessed of My Father." Why, it will be the very basis of the bliss
   of Heaven to think, "Jesus bade me come. Who shall ask me the question,
   'How came you in here?' Did not He admit me? Who shall question my
   right to be here? Did not He say, 'Come, you blessed of My Father'?"

   Do you not see that it is a choice and comforting fact that we shall
   not divide ourselves at the last, nor shall an angel do it who might
   err, but the Divider will be Jesus, Himself, the Son of God! And,
   therefore, the Glory which He metes out to us will be most surely ours
   and we may enjoy it without fear. But then, note on the other hand,
   that this will increase the terror of the lost, that Christ will divide
   them. Christ, full of infinite Love, would He destroy a sinner unless
   it must be! He that would have saved Jerusalem and wept because it must
   be destroyed! The guilty city was resolved to perish, but as her Lord
   pronounced the sentence, He wept! When I hear of a judge putting on the
   black cap to condemn a man, I like to read in the papers, "The judge's
   voice faltered and he was evidently unable to suppress his emotion as
   he uttered the sentence of death."

   What right-minded man could be otherwise than moved when compelled to
   deliver his fellow creature to the gallows? But no judge on earth has
   such compassion for his fellow man as Jesus has for sinners! And when
   it comes to this, that He says, "I must do it, I must condemn you,"
   then, Sinner, it must be so, indeed! When Incarnate Love says, "Depart,
   you cursed," you must be cursed with an emphasis. You must be infamous
   beings, indeed, when He, whose lips drop blessings as lilies drop
   sweet-smelling myrrh--when He calls you so! There must be something
   very horrible about you that He should bid you, "depart." And, indeed,
   there is an abominable thing in you, for unbelief in God is the most
   horrible thing, even in Hell!

   Not to believe that God is Love is worthy of the utmost condemnation.
   You will have to say, if you are lost, "I was condemned by the most
   loving Judge that ever sat upon a judgement seat. The Christ that died
   lifted His pierced hands at the very moment when He said, 'Depart, you
   cursed!'" Yet there is something more, though this might be enough. If
   you should be lost, as God forbid you should, it will infinitely add to
   your terror to know that you were condemned by One who is infinitely
   Just. You will feel that the Christ who condemned you was the holiest
   of Men, in whom was no sin and, besides that, He is pure and perfect
   God, so that you will not be able to quibble at the sentence. Neither
   will there be any question about a new trial--your own conscience will
   make you feel that the decision is final, for it is just--and you will
   be too well assured of its reality and certainty, for He who will
   pronounce that sentence is the God of Truth. He said, "I am the way and
   the truth." You would not have Him for the way, but you will find Him
   to be "the truth." And when He pronounces you cursed, cursed you will
   be beyond all question!

   Once more, if He that condemns you is the Christ of God, you will know
   that He has power to carry out the sentence, for all power is given
   unto Him in Heaven and in earth, and the government shall be upon His
   shoulders. And if He says, "Depart into everlasting fire," into that
   fire you must go. If He declares that the fire shall never be quenched,
   depend upon it, it will burn on forever. And if He decrees that the
   worm shall never die, that worm will live and gnaw to all eternity, for
   He who gives forth the sentence is able to make it good. Remember how
   He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Heaven and earth shall pass
   away, but My Word shall never pass away"? Firmer than the rocks shall
   stand the irrevocable decree--"these shall go away into everlasting
   punishment and the righteous into life eternal." My soul trembles while
   I thus proclaim Jesus as the Judge whose awful voice divides the
   sinners from the saints.

   III. Lend me your ears but for a minute or two longer, while I notice,
   in the third place, THE RULE OF THE DIVISION. Did you notice where the
   division is made? It is very wonderful to notice--very wonderful,
   indeed! The great division between the sons of men is Christ. Here are
   the sheep--there are the goats. What separates them? Christ! He is the
   center! There is no great barrier set up, as it were, on that last
   tremendous day, but He, Himself is the division. He shall set the sheep
   on His right hand and the goats on His left.

   Now, that which parts us tonight into two portions is our relationship
   to Jesus Christ. On which side of Christ are you, tonight? I want you
   to question yourselves about that. If you are on His right hand, you
   are among His people. If you are not with Him, you are against Him, and
   so are on His left hand. That which parts the saint and the sinner is
   Christ. The moment a sinner comes to Christ he passes over to the other
   side and is numbered with the saints. This is the

   real point of separation. Christ stands between the Believers and the
   unbelievers, and marks the boundary of each class. When Aaron stood
   between the living and the dead swinging the censer full of incense,
   what separated the dead from the living? Remember the scene before you
   answer the question.

   There they lie! There they lie, I say, stricken with pestilence! The
   unseen avenger has slain them in heaps. But here are the living,
   rejoicing and safe. What separates them? The priest standing there with
   the censer! Even thus, our great High Priest stands, at this moment,
   between the living and the dead, while the incense of His merits
   ascends before God and makes the most real dividing wall between dead
   sinners and those who are alive unto God by Jesus Christ. Christ is the
   Divider! Christ is, Himself, the Division. But what is the rule by
   which He separates the people? The rule of the division is, first,
   actions. Actions! Did you notice that? He says nothing about words. He
   dwells upon deeds of mercy, "I was hungry and you gave Me meat. I was
   thirsty and you gave Me drink. I was naked and you clothed Me." These
   are all actions.

   Now, perhaps you would have liked the Judge to have said, "You were in
   the habit of singing hymns out of 'Our Own Hymn Book.' You were known
   to talk very sweetly about Me and call Me, Master and Lord. You were
   accustomed to sit at the Communion Table." Not a word is said about
   these things! No, nor is anything said about ceremonial actions. He
   does not say, "You used to bow before the crucifix. You reverently
   stood up at one part of the service and knelt at another. You walked
   round the Church singing the processional hymn." Nothing is said about
   these performances, only common actions are noticed--"I was hungry and
   you gave Me meat. I was thirsty and you gave Me drink." These are all
   commonplace matters. Actions will be the great rule at the Last
   Judgment.

   I am not preaching, now, contrary to the Gospel, but only repeating in
   other words what our Lord, Himself, has said. "We shall give an account
   for the deeds done in the body, whether they are good, or whether they
   are evil," is the statement, not of the Law, but of the New Testament
   of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Those that have done evil shall go
   away into eternal punishment. Are we, then, saved by our works? By no
   means! Yet our works are the evidences of our being saved--and Grace
   will bring out these evidences in our lives if we possess them. A
   Magistrate judges by the actions as proved upon evidence. It is true he
   may and will have respect to the motive which urged the action, but
   first of all the actions, themselves, must be before him in evidence.
   And so here the King mentions the actions that were done.

   Let us notice that the actions which were the rule ofjudgement were,
   all of them, actions about Christ. I want you to carefully note this.
   The Lord says, "/ was hungry and you gave Me meat. I was thirsty and
   you gave Me drink. I was sick and you visited Me." This summary is made
   up of actions about Christ. I will, therefore, earnestly put this
   question to each of you--What actions have you ever done in reference
   to Jesus? "I am a Church member," says one. I will not hear about that
   just now, because the Judge will not say anything about it. I am glad
   you are an avowed disciple, if you are honestly so, but do your actions
   prove that you are really so? That is the question. Have you ever done
   anything for Christ? Have you ever given anything to Christ?

   Could Christ say to you, "I was hungry and you gave Me meat. I was
   thirsty and you gave Me drink"? Now, I know some professors of whom I
   fear that Jesus Christ could not speak thus, for He cannot speak that
   which is not true. Their pockets are hermetically sealed, like tins of
   Australian meat--even the smell of their money never reaches Christ's
   poor. Give meat to a hungry man? Not they! Let him go to the parish.
   Give clothes to a naked man? Not they! What do we pay taxes for? The
   idea of giving anything to another, or doing anything for another,
   without getting paid for it or praised for it, seems to them to be out
   of all character!

   Now, selfishness is as much opposed to the spirit of the Gospel as the
   cold of the northern region is to the warmth of the sun. If the sun of
   Christ's love has shone into your heart, you will love others and you
   will show your love to others by desiring to do them good in all sorts
   of ways. And you will do it for Christ's sake--for Christ's sake--so
   that when He comes, He will be able to say, "I was hungry and you gave
   Me meat. I was thirsty and you gave Me drink. I was sick and you
   visited Me. I was in prison under reproach and you came unto Me." What
   have your actions been with regard to Christ? I pray you, Brothers and
   Sisters, who are one with me in the profession of allegiance to Christ,
   judge yourselves by your actions with regard to Him, as I, also, will
   judge myself.

   Now, notice that Christ, as it were, inferentially, tells us that the
   actions which will be mentioned at the Judgement Day, as the proof of
   our being the blessed of the Lord, spring from the Grace of God, for He
   says, "You blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
   from before the foundations of the world." They fed the hungry, but
   Sovereign Grace had first fed them. They clothed the naked, but
   Infinite Love first clothed them. They went to the prison, but

   Free Grace had first set them free from a worse prison. They visited
   the sick, but the Good Physician, in His Infinite Mercy, first came and
   visited them!

   They evidently had no idea that there was anything meritorious in what
   they did. They had never dreamed of being rewarded for it. When they
   stand before the Judgement Seat, the bare idea of there being any
   excellence in what they have done will be new to the saints, for they
   have formed a very low estimate of their own performances--and what
   they have done seems to them too faulty to be commended. The saints fed
   the hungry and clothed the naked because it gave them much pleasure to
   do so. They did it because they could not help doing it--their new
   nature impelled them to it. They did it because it was their delight to
   do good and was as much their element as water for a fish or the air
   for a bird! They did good for Christ's sake, because it is the sweetest
   thing in the world to do anything for Jesus.

   Why is it that a wife is so kind to her husband? Because it is her
   duty, you say. All very well, but the real reason is because she loves
   him so intensely. Why is a mother so careful over her baby? Is there
   any rule or act of Parliament commanding mothers to be fond of their
   little ones? No, there is no act of Parliament. There is an act of God
   in the bosom, somewhere, passed in the chamber of the heart, and the
   mother cannot but be kind. Now, when the Lord puts a new nature into us
   and makes us one with Jesus Christ, we cannot help loving His people!
   And, seeking the good of our fellow men and the Lord Jesus Christ will
   be, at the Last Day, an evidence that there was love in the heart,
   because love was shown by your actions. May God grant that when the
   Judge of all shall come, we may be found renewed in heart and full of
   love through the power of His Holy Spirit.

   "Oh," says one, "I wish I had that renewed heart which would produce
   such actions." Jesus can give it to you! You will always live for self
   in some sense or other until you are saved--even the most philanthropic
   who have loved their fellow creatures best, without religion--have
   generally sought their own esteem. And the verse is true concerning the
   praise of our fellow creatures--

   "The proud, to gain it, toils on toils endure;

   The modest shun it but to make it sure." But when you receive a new
   heart you will not live for the approbation of your fellow men. Then
   your alms will be done in secret and you will not let your left hand
   know what your right hand does. Then, when you do your kindnesses, it
   will not be that others may publish abroad the announcement that you
   have visited the sick and clothed the naked, but your deeds will be
   done behind the door and in the corner, where none shall know of them
   but your God and the grateful recipients of your bounty.

   You will quietly put into the treasury the two mites that make a
   farthing and think yourself unobserved, but One who sits over against
   the treasury, who knows your heart, will take good note of it. Your
   Lord will accept what you do because you do it out of love to Him--and
   at the Last Great Day, while you blush to hear it, He will tell it to
   the angels and to the listening hosts of earth and Heaven--and swing
   wide the gates of immortal bliss and let you in, according to the
   promise of His Grace. God bless you, Beloved, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

   PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON--Matthew 25. HYMNS FROM "OUR
   OWN HYMN BOOK"--846, 362, 360.