“Whether we gather in the harvest or not, there is a reaper who is silently gathering it every hour. Just now, it is whispered that he is sharpening his sickle. That reaper is death!
You may look upon this great city as the harvest-field, and every week the bills of mortality tell us how steadily and how surely the scythe of death moves to and fro, and how a lane is made through our population, and those who were once living men are taken, like sheaves to the garner, carried to the graveyard, and laid aside.
You cannot stop their dying; but, oh, that God might help you to stop their being damned! You cannot stop the breath from going out of their bodies; but, oh, that the gospel might stop their souls from going down to destruction!
It can do it, and nothing else can take its place. Just now, the cholera has come again. There can be little doubt, I suppose, about it being here already in some considerable force, and probably it may be worse.
The Christian need not dread it, for he has nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by death. Still, for the sake of others, he may well pray that God would avert His hand, and not let His anger burn.
But, since it is here, I think it ought to be a motive for active exertion. If there ever be a time when the mind is sensitive, it is when death is abroad. I recollect, when first I came to London, how anxiously people listened to the gospel, for the cholera was raging terribly.
There was little scoffing then. All day, and sometimes all night long, I went about from house to house, and saw men and women dying, and, oh, how glad they were to see my face!
When many were afraid to enter their houses lest they should catch the deadly disease, we who had no fear about such things found ourselves most gladly listened to when we spoke of Christ and of things Divine.
And now, again, is the minister’s time; and now is the time for all of you who love souls. You may see men more alarmed than they are already; and if they should be, mind that you avail yourselves of the opportunity of doing them good.
You have the Balm of Gilead; when their wounds smart, pour it in. You know of Him who died to save; tell them of Him. Lift high the cross before their eyes.
Tell them that God became man that man might be lifted to God. Tell them of Calvary, and its groans, and cries, and sweat of blood. Tell them of Jesus hanging on the cross to save sinners. Tell them that—
“There is life for a look at the Crucified One.”
Tell them that He is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him. Tell them that He is able to save even at the eleventh hour, and to say to the dying thief, ‘Today shall thou be with Me in Paradise.'”
–Charles H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, Volume 1 (Cincinnati; Chicago; St. Louis: Curts & Jennings, 1898), 1: 371.