An Unanswered Question

“What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Matthew 16:26

That is putting the case in its most favourable light. The whole world is the largest possible gain. But suppose a man gets it, it cannot keep him from trouble; it cannot give him peace of conscience; it cannot comfort him in sorrow; it cannot make a soft pillow for him when he is dying; it cannot purchase heaven for him when he is gone. All he can do with the world, after he has it, is to keep it until he dies; he cannot carry any part of it with him to the other life. “How much did he leave?” asked one, referring to a millionaire who had just died. “Every cent,” was the reply. He left all. So it is easy to see that there is no profit, but rather a fearful and eternal loss, in gaining even all the world at the price of one’s soul.

Then think for how much smaller price than “the whole world” many people sell their souls. Some do it for a few hours’ guilty pleasure; some for a political office; some for money; some for honour which fades in a day. In a newspaper this advertisement appeared: “Wanted — A nice cottage and grounds in exchange for a lot of choice liquours.” No doubt many people answered the advertisement. Men are continually giving home and property and peace and love for strong drink. They are selling their souls also in many other ways for pitiable trifles. They are bartering their heavenly birthright for a mess of pottage.

What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Ah! that’s the trouble. When the soul is lost, there is no way of recovering it. When we have made our choice, and lived our life, whether right or wrong, there is no possibility of changing the results. Life is given to us only once; and if we live it wrongly, there is no chance to live it over again. A soul lost cannot be gotten back; no money will redeem it.