The following excerpt is from “A Sermon for
a Winter’s Evening,” a message on John 18:18
by C.H. Spurgeon, first published in 1910.
Timely words, and true.
The text describes a scene in the courtyard
outside the High Priest’s house on the night
of Jesus’ crucifixion:
“And the servants and officers stood there,
who had made a fire of coals, for it was cold:
and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood
with them, and warmed himself.” (John chapter 18)
Though no doubt the motives which led both
Peter and John into the high priest’s house
were commendable, Peter’s position among the
soldiers and hangers-on around the fire was
extremely full of peril, and offered no
Did he not know that “evil communications
corrupt good manners”? Did he not know that
the men who had taken his Lord prisoner were
not fit associates for him? Should he not
have felt that, though he might have his
hands warmed, he would be likely to get his
heart blackened by mixing with such company?
Brethren, I like to warm my hands; but if I
cannot warm them without burning them, I
would rather keep them cold.
Many things are in a measure desirable; but
if you cannot obtain them without exposing
yourself to the smut of sin, you had better
let them alone. Has not our Lord called us
to go without the camp? Are we not warned
against being conformed to this world?
Deny yourselves the warm place around
society’s charcoal brazier, for its sulphurous
vapor will do you more harm than the cold. Some
tell us that we must keep abreast of the times;
but if the times run the wrong way, I see no
reason why we should run with them. Rather let
us leave the times, and dwell in the eternities.
If I must, in warming my hands, defile them—
I will sooner let them become blue with cold.