“Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?” —Proverbs 15:11
If God can read the heart, O man, what a sorry, sorry thing thy fair pretense must be! Ah! ah! ah! what a change will come over some of you! This world is a masquerade, and ye, many of you, wear the mask of religion. Ye dance your giddy hours and men think you to be the saints of God. How changed will you be, when, at the door of eternity, you must drop the visor, and must renounce the theatricals in which you live! How you will blush when the paint is washed from off your cheek— when you stand before God naked to your own shame, a hypocrite, unclean, diseased, covered up before with the gew-gaws and the trickery of pretended formality in religion, but now standing there, base, vile, and hideous! There is many a man that bears about him a cancer that would make one sick to see. Oh! how shall hypocrites look, when their cancerous hearts are laid bare! Deacon! how you will tremble when your old heart is torn open and your vile pretences rent away! Minister! how black you will look when your surplice is off, and when your grand pretensions are cast to the dogs! How will you tremble! There will be no sermonizing others then! You yourself will be preached to, and the sermon shall be from that text, “Depart ye cursed.” O brethren, above all things shun hypocrisy. If ye mean to be damned, make up your minds to it, and be damned, like honest men; but do not, I beseech you, pretend to go to heaven, while all the while you are going to hell If ye mean to make your abodes in torment for ever, then serve the devil, and do not be ashamed of it; stand it right out, and let the world know what you are. But oh! never put on the cloak of religion. I beseech you, do not add to your eternal misery by being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Show the cloven foot; do not hide it. If you mean to go to hell, say so. “If God be God, serve him. If Baal be God, serve him.” Do not serve Baal and then pretend to be serving God.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, February 14, 1858 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 4 Sermon No. 177, “God, the All-Seeing One”