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TO THE READER.
A MINISTER of the gospel was once summoned to visit a young lady in deep affliction. She was an entire stranger, but had been occasionally one of his hearers. The case was represented as urgent, and no time was lost in complying with the invitation. But though it required not more than half an hour to reach the house, yet he arrived too late. Although not dead, she was not in a state to be spoken to, and the medical attendant decidedly forbade any attempt to converse with her. Upon inquiry of her mother, it was stated that she had been ill for several weeks, and had frequently expressed the strongest desire to see that minister; but her friends put it off till it was too late, and shortly after she died without the
opportunity of an interview. Reader, pause and reflect upon these words—too late! They seem to suggest this lesson -Think in time. No one was ever injured by thinking in time; but multitudes have had to deplore, in reference to all sorts of subjects and interests, that they began to think when it was too late. If persons are about to take any important step in life, upon which their future comfort or success depends, they usually think intensely, and always will do so, if they are wise. Take the following illustration :- A man has a cause to be tried before a judge and jury, which involves his property, his character, or his life: will he wait till the day and hour of trial, before he inquires what may be necessary to his defence? Will he not endeavour to anticipate every argument or proof that may be brought against him, and
be in his favour? The answer is, he certainly will, if he is wise.
Let us conceive another case. You are aboui to embark on board a ship for a long and perilous voyage. Not only yourself, but those dearest to your affections are to be your companions, to be bound with you to the same destination. Would you not use every precaution to ascertain the trustworthiness of the vessel, the captain, and the crew? Would you not sit down, and both calmly and carefully think, what would be desirable for your comfort, or required for your necessities during the voyage ? All this, you admit
, is perfectly reasonable and prudent. To neglect thinking in time in any of these instances, and many similar ones, would justly expose any person to the charge of rashness, folly, or thoughtlessness; and if, by such neglect,
he should at last become involved in difficulties and sufferings, he would have little claim upon the sympathy of his fellow-men. He might have avoided all these inconveniences by the exercise of only ordinary prudence. He did not employ forethought, and so he has become inextricably perplexed. To induce you to think, to direct you how to think efficiently, and to prompt you to think in time, upon the most important of all concerns, is the object of the present volume. If you are right and safe in your hopes and prospects for futurity, the reading of these pages will confirm you in them ; but if you are mistaken, deceived, or have hitherto been thoughtless and careless, not now to think, may be to inflict upon yourself irreparable injury. You must think at some time, and if that should not be till it is too late, your thoughts will then only prove tormentors. They
will certainly issue in remorse, agony, and terror. But some of my
“ It is yet time enough; it is not too late: we will think hereafter, when we have more leisure, or a better inclination." If
will examine this reason for delay, you will at once perceive its fallacy. The precise period when it may be too late to think of your soul and its salvation, no human wisdom can determine. It is impossible for yourself, or any one else, to foresee and fix the day, the month, or the year. It is the uncertainty of the period when consideration may be too late, that should induce you to think without delay. Can you say that the awful meaning of the expression too late may not be felt by you this week, to-morrow, or this night? It may even now, with all its infinite and endless consequences, be hanging over you
By the Sovereign Author of your being you are allowed no time for delay, and if you take it, you take it upon a fearful venture. If
should repent too late, what is the doom that awaits you? Then you will be a lost soul! Many are lost because they did not think of repenting till it was too late. Think in time. Your immortal soul may be saved or lost, as you now think, or refuse to think; yea, it must ere long be either saved or lost for eternity. Read this little treatise, there fore, under the impression that, by the divine blessing, it may lead to your conversion.