A Sermon Delivered by ROBERT BARCLAY at an Open Air Service In London; Date and Place Unknown.
Sermons of Robert Barclay, Edited By His Widow, Sarah Matilda Fry Barclay. London: Hodder and Stroughton, 1878, pages 133-137.

This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 3: The 19th Century.

"Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is ho that talketh with thee. And be said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." John 9:35-39.

We shall all agree that this man had good reason for believing on Jesus Christ our Saviour. I may ask of every individual here, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" This is a Christian country, but how many there are who, if they were to answer the question honestly, would reply, "No, sir, I do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and this is the reason why I do not come to church or chapel. I do not wish to. hear anything about religion." There may be some here who say, "I, sir, do not believe in Jesus Chris, the Son of God; who he that I might believe on Him?" There may be some also who say, "I do not know, and I do not want to hear the question answered, who is He? If you had come to give me bread, or money, or work, I would, listen to you. I am weary and heavy laden; give me rest from my troubles and I would hear you."

I really do not know that it would be worth while for you or me to talk, or to think much about religion, if we all lived here on earth for ever. If this were the case, the only thing we should have to think about would be, what shall we eat and drink, and how shall we be dressed? It would then be a matter of very great importance whether we lived in a palace or in a cottage. The man who said, after he had pulled down his barns and built greater, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry," would then have been quite right. As God said to that man, so now He says to men who think only of this life, who are living carelessly and thoughtlessly, forgetting that they have souls as well as bodies: "Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of time:" and then what becomes of all these outward things? If there is a God, if there is a hereafter, if there is a heaven of happiness for those who honour God, is it well, my friends, that any should be ignorantly blind? and because they do not know the way to heaven, or because they only care to know the way to get the good things of this world, should be shut out from happiness in tiffs world and in the next? Blow the reason why we are asked to listen to the Gospel, is that we know that we cannot always live on this earth, and that there is a life beyond the grave in which our souls will live for ever. Although we have not the power of making ourselves happy, we have the power, and an awful power it is, of making ourselves as miserable in this world as we wish, if we choose to act contrary to the light which God has given, to shut out the Holy Spirit of God, which tells us the difference between right and wrong. Now I do not know whether it has ever struck you, that there was a time when there were no Sundays, no churches nor chapels, no Sunday-schools, no gentle and loving Christian teachers, no kind Christian word to the sinner going on in his wickedness, telling him that the wages of sin is death.

Before our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ left this world, He commanded His disciplles to preach tho Gospel to every creature. Now the first thing which the disciples and Apostles of our Lord taught to an unbelieving world was this,--that God commands all men everywhere to repent, and for this reason, because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by that Man whom He has ordained, and of this He has given assurance--clear proof---in raising Jesus Christ from the dead. They further taught that all men, without any distinction, small and great, should stand before our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and give an account of the things done in the body. This doctrine excited a great deal of attention because it had never been heard of before. A few days ago I traveled by the South Western Railway; my attention was excited by coming to a broad heath, stretching far away for miles, with the hills in the distance; all at once we came to a garden laid out, with walks, and surprised at its extent we look more closely and find it is a cemetery --the great Woking Cemetery. Here is tho great burying-place of London. Have you not often wondered where the thousands upon thousands who are dying every year in this vast Metropolis are buried? Here we look upon miles of graves, and as I passed I thought of the important truth set forth in the Gospel, that there certainly will be a day of judgment.

          "A few more years shall roll,
             A few more seasons come,
          And we shall be with those that rest
             Beyond the silent tomb."

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee if thou art a Christian; but, whether thou art a Christian or not, remember that God will bring thee to judgment. Now this judgment is described in the Gospel as a perfectly just judgment. That is a most important thing. It is not, O man, that thou shalt be judged by a harsh, severe, and unjust tyrant, on principles which thou dost not understand, but on those which every creature under heaven will acknowledge to be perfectly just. Men's consciences will then awake and condemn them. All will be strictly cleared up. All the things which have been spoken or done in secret will be revealed. All the great crimes which men here cannot judge will be dealt with as they deserve. Now, O man or woman, I appeal to you in the sight of God, can you abide that tremendous day of reckoning? Do not think that your being wilfully ignorant of the way of salvation will then be passed over. When men are dying they often feel the deep importance of these subjects. I was a few months ago standing by the deathbed of a young man who had had very few advantages; he was not considered a bad young man, and had supported himself, till I sent him into the Consumptive Hospital. I paid him one sad visit there and prayed with him, and now I stood by his deathbed. He said, "I have been very wicked, but I trust God will pardon me for the sake of Jesus Christ." I replied, "My dear lad, I wish you could feel that He has pardoned you. What would you do if He now restored you to life and health, would you be His?" He looked at me and said something to this effect, "Ah, what would I not do!" "Have you sought God's forgiveness for all your sins? What is it that specially troubles you? Do tell me what it is that hangs most heavily on your mind." He said, "Broken sabbaths. I have not done anything very particularly wrong, but I went out holiday keeping on the Sunday. Oh, what would I not do to tell the young fellows I went with, if God should make me better " He had neglected the opportunities of hearing of the great salvation which is freely offered to a sinful world. Broken sabbaths! ah, what a heavy source of trouble they have been on many a deathbed! I believe this young man found peace and salvation.

A near relative of mine, a young man in the bloom of life and health, after a very short illness, died, and his last words to his weeping sister, when the voice had almost gone were, "I am very happy: safe in Jesus." Are you "safe in Jesus?" if you are not, prepare for that judgment day: listen to the Gospel. It does not flatter you, it tells you the truth, that you are a sinner and that you can never abide the judgment day. But, as the Apostle Paul says, "God being rich in mercy, in the great love wherewith he loved us," sent His Son, who was one with Him--into the world to save us from our sins. "God so loved the .world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that, the world through Him might be saved." "Have I any pleasure, saith the Lord, in the death of the wicked?" Do you believe that He who made you, and who gave you the power of knowing right from wrong, desires that you should he unhappy here and miserable hereafter?