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perish with the world. No: he does not yet leave
you, for he prompts us to love you, to admonish you, to reason with you, to entreat you to cease from pursuing the fleeting shadow of happiness, and embrace the substance; to awake from mere dreams of bliss, and enter upon the real enjoyment of that divine love which is the true life of the soul. You must be converted from the love of the world to the love of God. You must turn, if you would live in immortal felicity; or, if you persist in loving the world, you must abandon the hope of glory. Be converted, or perish.
SOME, who have perused this treatise thus far, have been ready to parry all our remarks with this observation, this fatal salvo, this opiate of the conscience : -It is all true, scriptural, important, excellent. We mean to be converted : we are only delaying for a little, and we think we have good reason for delay. We shall become real Christians at last,—all that could be wished.
The fearful import of these words, “only delaying a little," none of those who use them can tell. Here lies, effectually hidden from their view, one of the deepest, deadliest, most successful of all the various devices of Satan. The notion of delay in reference to your conversion may be illustrated by connecting the same idea with the presence of alarming disease in the body. There may be cases in common life, in which a little delay can
do no harm, and
be attacks of disease, in which a little delay might not incur danger. But there are many others in which it would prove fatal. If aid does not arrive in time, it may be of no avail. Who, then, likes to run the risk of delay, even in common attacks of disorder ? But every delay in conversion involves the risk of perdition. It is positive infatua tion to delay in a case where it can do no good, and may involve irretrievable destruction. Why should you delay your conversion ? Have you ever tried to answer this question ? Have you ever met with one good reason for it? ever heard of any one who had a good reason to give? The writer could tell you of many who nave delayed, and though only intentionally for a little while, yet they lived to deplore, and died to experience, the folly, the infatuation of delay.
But let us bring this matter to the test. There can be nothing gained, nothing saved, nothing made easier by delay. You cannot by delay find out any thing to save your soul better than conversion. Who could dare to say, that by delaying his salvation he is doing no wrong, or doing himself any good? Is conversion a good or an evil? If it is a good, and you wish for it, the sooner you experience it, the better. If, without it, you confess yourself in peril of damnation, then, to incur that peril any further, is a species of folly that ad
If, as you admit, salvation is your object, and an object of inexpressible importance, compared with which every thing is light as air, worthless as the dust beneath your feet, then, to delay the possession or pursuit is criminal trifling, and utterly irreconcilable with rationality How would you judge, if an earthquake had al
ready passed under the place of your abode, il already the fragments of your dwelling were begin ning to fall. Would you think it rational and safe to delay a little longer? Would you need to be admonished from without-Escape instantly. Another shock will bring the entire building to the ground? Could you coolly say to the friendly monitor, I mean to escape, but I am only delaying a little, to finish something, to bring something with me
Shall not that last warning prevail ? Another moment and
dear for your delay! No sinner ever yet intended to be lost; and yet how many have been lost by delay, the last day alone will reveal. He that delays conversion is in the direct way to be lost. He is regardless of the fact, that every moment he delays he is resisting God, he is increasing his sins, he is hardening his heart, he is placing more difficulties in his own way; he is tempting God to cast him off altogether, and encouraging Satan to tempt him further into sin. It is awful to think of the anguish which is often experienced by procrastinators when they come to feel that they have delayed too long. My flesh has trembled when I have heard their piercing shrieks, and seen their frenzied looks, and experienced the difficulty of administering any word of hope, or of finding any promise strong enough to subdue their spirit.
If conversion is admitted to be indispensable for a sinner, if its nature has been truly, (that is, scripturally,) described in the foregoing pages, if every one who only procrastinates a little feels the unutterable importance of that conversion, how ought such to shrink from the thought of delay, though it should be never so short, since it may be, and most probably will prove to be, but
the beginning of that series of resolutions and delays which will end in final impenitence! Your resolution has, perhaps, already been formed and broken; and more than once you have said sincerely and seriously, as before the eye of God, “I will repent and be converted." But yet the resolution remains to be carried into effect, and that with a mind weakened in its purpose, more familiar with the violation of its vow, and more prepared to admit the renewed force of those feelings and reasons for delay which have already more than once mastered it and made it falter in its purpose. There is a solemn and appropriate passage of Scripture, which you will do well to weigh seriously, and impress immediately upon your mind : “He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."* Many, many sinners have experienced the awful truth of this threatening, and have lived long enough in the habit of delay to feel that they were given over of God to that impenitency which they had dared to prolong, by trifling with the divine warning; and have died exclaiming, with the Hon. F. Newport, the noble Altamont, and others, It is too late! But did you ever know or hear of any one that had repented too soon? Can you imagine it possible that any one should ever say he had been converted too soon? Do you think you shall ever feel that? Is there not yet danger that you may have to say, It is too late! The only certain security you can possess, and the only safegard against that danger, is to repent now, be converted, turn to God now; delay not another moment, lest that should be a moment too late! When
* Prov. xxix. 1.
The voice of Noah was heard preaching righteous. ness, and predicting the deluge, he was scorned and mocked; but after the door was shut, and the rains began to descend, and the floods to cover the plains and surround the hills, many, who before had scorned, would fain have taken refuge in the ark, rather than flee to that only resort, the tops of the mountains, which their reason showed them would soon be covered. But it was too late; God had shut in Noah, and in so doing, had shut out the unbelieving and delaying sinners. Think, then, reader, can you still delay?
This term includes all those who have not given and will not give any serious or fixed attention to their conversion. They are so engaged by their affairs, so enslaved by their pleasures, so entangled by the snare of some sin, that they will, perhaps, scarcely have patience to read these lines specially addressed to themselves. Yet it is with the most anxious concern to do them service, with the most tender pity for their immortal souls, with the most respectful and earnest entreaty, that they are now admonished. If
will take this seasonable and well-meant warning, you may yet escape the wrath of God and taste the joys of true religion. It is not, in your case, yet too late. You may be saved -saved from eternal death, which is undoubtedly at the end of your present course and be admitted to everlasting felicity.
You are careless. You know that you are.