The American preacher, Rowland, noticed that he was frequently accused of being insane and unrealistic. He spoke much of eternity, especially eternal condemnation of the wicked, a matter not widely accepted by the contemporary Americans. When a person wishes to silence his conscience whilst sinning, he will ridicule anyone who speaks of hell and the eternal damnation as outdated beliefs that promote fear and self-destruction.
This preacher would often tell the following story to his listeners:
As I was once walking along a hilly and rocky path, I suddenly heard human voices coming from a rocky hole along the side. Very cautiously, I walked towards the voices to find three men who had virtually been buried in this hole. Instinctively I began to scream for help at the top of my voice, although the town was about a mile away. Some people heard my cries and rushed to me and find me appealing for help but unable to rescue the men in strife. These people then exerted all their effort to rescue the men and we rejoiced.
The thing that astonished me is that no one accused me of insanity then, when I saw these men being buried alive and screamed and appealed for their help. Many, however, accuse me of it when I find multitudes of sinners perishing and sliding to their eternal death and I scream so that they may escape to the Lord Christ, the Divine way, that they may not perish.(6)
Truly many will ridicule us when we care for the salvation of our brethren as the people and their leaders ridiculed Jeremiah the Prophet for, he says,
“For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, ‘Violence and plunder!’ Because the word of the LORD
Was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor
Speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (Jer. 20.8-9).
(6) Naismith, Archibald 2400 Outlines, Notes, Quotes, Anecdotes for Sermons. Vol. 2. 144.
It Fears its Own Shadow