UPON WHICH ROAD ARE YOU TRAVELLING?
By Augustus Toplady
(1740 – 1778)
Taken from an address on Genesis 12:5
The readers of this address – and indeed the whole world at large – may be distributed into two kinds of people: those who are travelling to Canaan, and those who are going the direct contrary way. There are but two roads: the broad, which leadeth to destruction and the narrow, which opens into life.
All mankind are ‘travellers’: and ‘travellers’ at a very swift rate. The grand point is – where are you travelling to? Are you desirous of knowing whither your footsteps tend and toward what country thy face is set? If so, have recourse to the Scriptures of truth, but study them on your knees; that is, in a spirit of prayer and with the simplicity of a little child.
Suppose, for instance, that we look at John 16:8, where Christ thus describes the office of the Holy Ghost and the effects which His converting influences have on the human mind: “When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment”; that is, He shall, first, feelingly demonstrate to them their absolute sinnership and their total helplessness, working in them a deep sense and real hatred of self and sin; and He will, secondly lead them to rest on Christ and on His righteousness alone for justification.
Now, has God the Spirit done these things for you? Has He wrought, or begun to work these convictions in your soul? If He has not, nor so much as kindled a growing desire after Christ and His salvation in your breast, I dare not give you the right hand of fellowship. I dare not salute you as one of my fellow-travellers to the kingdom of God. No, you are yet in Egypt and you will quickly be in Hell, except the Holy Ghost take you in hand and give you a new heart and lead you to Christ.
But if you have ground to hope that this work of grace is experienced by you in some degree; if, on looking at your soul in the gospel-glass, you can discern the traces of faith, love, repentance and sanctification there, you are of the number of those who have been enabled, through grace, to set forth to go into the land of Canaan – and into the land of Canaan you shall come.
Two things are particularly needful for you to observe:
- That the world will endeavour to turn your feet out of the narrow way. If the wicked are so muzzled by providence that they cannot bite, they will snarl at least. If they cannot do you real injury, they will probably pelt you with scandal and sneer at you for being, in their opinion, righteous over-much. But let not this discourage you; but imitate the blind man in the Gospel, who the more he was exhorted by the multitude to hold his peace, cried out so much the more, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
- Beware of sin. May you be enabled to shun the remotest appearance of evil. Though a truly converted person cannot fall so as to turn back finally and perish everlastingly; yet, if he is not kept watching unto prayer, he may lose his peace and joy in believing and that inward testimony of the Holy Spirit, that felt fellowship with God and that sweet tranquillity of conscience, without which living scarcely deserves the name of life. It is a sad thing when a saint is overturned on the road. Though he cannot lose his soul, yet a fall may break the neck of his comforts and make him go halting to his journey’s end. “The Devil,” as one justly remarked, “is never better pleased than when he can roll a child of God in the dirt.” Beg of the Lord, therefore, to hold up your goings in His paths, that your footsteps slip not.