21 JULY (PREACHED THURSDAY 20 JULY 1775)
Believe in Him
‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.’ Acts 16:31
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Luke 12:1–12
And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made … [Acts 16:13]. In the meantime there was a poor sinner who perhaps had never been at a place of prayer in his life, nor knew what prayer meant—he was a stranger to the Apostle and the Apostle to him. How should they be brought together? To effect this the Lord permitted Satan to rage—a great mob and clamour was made, Paul and his companions beaten and delivered to the charge of this very jailer. He little thought these men were come to show him the way of salvation—he gladly executed his charge and put them in the dungeon. But at midnight while they prayed and sang, there was an earthquake, the prison doors were thrown open, and the jailer, awaking in surprise, thinking the prisoners were escaped and fearing to be punished, was going to kill himself. Paul, though he saw him not, was informed of his intention and cried out, Do thyself no harm. All these circumstances concurred to awaken his conscience; fears of another kind took of him, his heart smote him for his sins, particularly for the abuse offered to the servants of God. He sprang in trembling and cried out, Sirs, what must I do? My text is the answer to this question.
The means by which God awakens sinners are various, but all lead to this enquiry. I hope some of you are earnestly concerned about it; to you especially I address myself, Believe.
A Believer, free from care,
Suddenly the prison shook,
May in chains, or dungeons, sing,
Open flew the iron doors;
If the LORD be with him there;
And the jailer, terror-struck,
And be happier than a king:
Now his captives’ help implores:
Paul and Silas thus confined,
Trembling at their feet he fell,
Though their backs were torn by whips,
‘Tell me, Sirs, what must I do
Yet possessing peace of mind,
To be saved from guilt and hell?
Sung his praise with joyful lips.
None can tell me this but you.’
SERMON: ACTS 16:31 [2/4]