O wicked men! wicked men! one word to you, all of you who know not God - I will give you a subject for your meditation tonight. It shall be a parable --
A certain tyrant sent for one of his subjects, and said to him, “What is your employment?” He said, “I am a blacksmith.” “Go home,” said the tyrant, “and make me a chain of such a length.” He went home; it occupied him several months, and he had no wages all the while he was making the chain, but only the trouble and the pains of making it.
Then he brought it to the monarch, and the tyrant said, “Go and make it twice as long.” He gave him no pay for it, but sent him away.
Again he worked on, and made it twice as long. He brought it back again, and the monarch said, “Go and make it longer still.” Each time he brought it, there was nothing but the command to make it longer still. And when he brought it up at last, the monarch said -- “Take it, bind him hand and foot with it, and cast him into a furnace of fire.”
There were his wages for making the chain!
Here is a meditation for you tonight, you servants of the devil!
Your master the devil is telling you to make a chain. Some of you have been fifty years welding the links of the chain; and he says -- “Go and make it longer still. Next Saturday night you will be drunk, and put another link on; next Monday you will do a dishonest action, and so you will keep on making fresh links to this chain.”
And when you have lived twenty more years, the devil will say, “More links on still!” And then, at last, it will be -- “Take him, and bind him hand and foot, and cast him into a furnace of fire.”
There is the subject for your meditation.
I do not think it will be sweet; but if God makes it profitable, it will do good. You must have strong medicines sometimes, when the disease is bad. God apply it to your hearts! Amen.
-Charles Spurgeon, “Meditation on God” (adapted)
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