Charles H. Spurgeon

Text: Jeremiah 4:14 – “O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?”

Now, secondly, let me show WHAT BAD LODGERS THEY ARE. Vain thoughts get admittance into our heads and hearts, and there they make themselves at home, and do mischief without end. They run upstairs and downstairs, and all over the house, and they multiply every day; but they are dreadful pests, the worst lodgers the soul can harbour. For, first, they are deceitful. The man that says, “When I have a more convenient season I will send for thee,” does not send for Paul any more: he never intended to do so. A man says, “To-morrow”; but to-morrow never comes. When that comes which would have been “to-morrow” it is “to-day”; and then he cries, “To-morrow,” and so multiplies lies before God. What deceptiveness it is on the part of any man who knows to do good and does it not, that he should think to put off God with empty promises. Now, listen to that: “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” “Sin.” That is God’s word, not mine. But you ask me, “To him that knoweth to do good, and truly intends to do it, does not the intention remove the sin?” I answer decidedly, No. “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” So long as he refuses to do what he knows to be right he is sinning, and every minute that he delays heaps up another sin, and so the sin multiplies like money that is borrowed at compound interest; the amount of guilt runs up, and you never know what it comes to. Delay in performing duty is the most mischievous evil, doing infinite damage to the heart in which it lodges, because it defiles it with falsehood upon falsehood, and thus provokes the Most High. Oh, I would turn such a lodger as that out. David said, “He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my house.” Do not suffer these vain thoughts to lodge a day longer; for they disgrace you, and place you in jeopardy.

Vain thoughts are bad lodgers, for they pay no rent; they bring in nothing good to those who entertain them. There is the lodger of self-righteousness, for instance: what good does self-righteousness ever do to the man who entertains it? It pretends to pay in brass farthings: it pretends to pay, but the money is counterfeit. What good does it do to any man to harbour in his mind the empty promise of future repentance? God help you to get rid of these bad lodgers of instability, self-sufficiency, and constantly promising, because they pay no rent, And so you Christian people who are always on the verge of being splendid, you members of churches who are always going to be generous, who are quite certain that you shall be useful, only you never are, what profit has ever come to God or yourself from this continued hesitation? Let such a lodger as that depart at once, for the longer he lingers the more will you lose by him.

The next reason for the ejectment of these lodgers is this: that they are wasting your goods and destroying your property. These bad lodgers are causing you such daily loss that before long you will be utterly ruined unless you can cleanse your house of them. You cannot afford to give them shelter: send them packing at once. Worse than their damaging your house, they are damaging you. Bad lodgers will break your windows, burn your shutters, pull down your wainscots, and do a thousand spiteful things. When they will neither pay nor go, they will do all the mischief they can: and thus do vain thoughts— foolish, ineffectual thoughts— work us grievous ill; for the man that resolves and does not carry out the resolve grows in irresolution. O God, how are men hardened, besotted, befooled, and enslaved by vain thoughts? How long will you let these lodge within you? Shall they remain till they have plundered you of heart and hope, and left your mind a wreck and ruin?

Worst of all, these vain thoughts are bad lodgers because they bring you under condemnation. There have been times when to entertain certain persons was treason, and many individuals have been put to death for harbouring traitors. Rebels condemned to die have been discovered in a man’s house, and he has been condemned for affording them a hiding-place. Now, God declares that these vain thoughts of yours are condemned traitors. Are you going to harbour them any longer?

(To be continued)