A cooler hell
"God, I thank You that I'm not like other peoplegreedy,
unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get."
Many please and satisfy themselves with mere civility and
common morality. They bless themselves that they are not
swearers, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, nor adulterers,
etc. Their behavior is civil, sincere, harmless, and blameless.
But civility is not sanctity. Civility rested inis but a beautiful
abominationa smooth way to hell and destruction.
Civility is very often . . .
the nurse of impiety,
the mother of flattery, and
an enemy to real sanctity.
There are those who are so blinded with the fair shows of
civilitythat they can neither see the necessity nor beauty
of sanctity. There are those who now bless themselves in
their common morality, whom at last God will scorn and
cast off for lack of real holiness and purity.
A moral man may be an utter stranger . . .
to the filthiness of sin,
to the depths and devices of Satan,
to their own hearts,
to the new birth,
to the great concerns of eternity,
to communion with Christ,
to the secret and inward ways and workings of the Spirit.
Well, sirs, remember thisthough the moral man is good for
many thingsyet he is not good enough to go to heaven! He
who rises to no higher pitch than civility and moralityshall
never have communion with God in glory. The most moral
man in the world, may be both Christless and graceless.
Morality is not sufficient to keep a man out of eternal misery.
All morality can do, is to help a man to one of the best rooms
and easiest beds which hell affords! For, as the moral man's
sins are not so great as othersso his punishments shall not
be so great as others. This is all the comfort that can be given
to a moral manthat he shall have a cooler hell than
others have. But this is but cold comfort.
Morality without piety is as a body without a soul. Will
God ever accept of such a stinking sacrifice? Surely not!
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even
look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have
mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than
the other, went home justified before God." Luke 18:13-14