Awake, and think of where you are, and where you are going. While you are in your unconverted, unbelieving state, all your sins are unpardoned, and the wrath of God abides on you. Suppose you saw a poor creature hanging over a burning fiery furnace, by nothing but a slender thread, about to break at any moment, would not your hearts ache for such a one? Sirs, it is your very case. You hang over the infernal burnings by nothing but the small thread of your lives, while you know not but it may break the next moment, and then where are you? Is this a state for you to go on contentedly and merrily in?
What condition is your soul now in? Are you changed and renewed by conversion, or not? Have you been soundly and savingly changed, both in heart and life? Where are your evidences? Can you show the marks of the Lord Jesus upon your souls? Where was the place? What were the means? When was the time that your soul was thoroughly renewed? At least, if you cannot show the time, place, or means, can you prove the thing? Can you say one thing I know, that I was blind, but I now see? Be not deceived. Nothing will avail you to salvation, except you become new creatures.
What if you should lose your soul? This is very possible. Yea, it is the case of the most. There are but few of the children of men that escape safe to heaven. Beware of your danger. Suppose a man were to travel through some perilous wilderness, having but one jewel in all the world, in which his all was bound. Oh, in what fear would this traveler go, lest he should lose this jewel and be robbed of all at once! Why, you are the man; this traveler is yourself; this jewel is your soul; this is this world you are to travel through–swarms of sins, legions of devils, and a whole world of temptations; these are the robbers that lie in wait for your soul. And if all that these can do can keep you out of heaven, you shall never enter there. Oh! what if your pride or worldliness, your delays and triflings in religion, should at last betray your soul into the robbers’ hands? Other losses may be repaired, but your soul being once lost, God is lost, Christ is lost, heaven is lost, all lost for evermore.
What do you do for your soul? What! have you an immortal soul to care for, and look no better after it, and bestow no more time or pains upon it, no more of your thoughts about it? So it may be said of many that are early and late at their worldly business, but let the care of religion lay by neglected. What! have these men no souls? Why, man! have you a soul, and yet do so little from day to day, for it? O sleeper, arise, call upon God, that you perish not. What will become of your soul, if you look to it only at this careless rate?
If God should this night require your soul where would death land you? There was one that promised himself many merry days and years (Lk. 12:19-20), as it is likely you do, but that same night God called for his soul. Are you prepared? Are you fit to die? O, dare not live in such a case, nor in that course, in which you would not dare to die.
Go then to Christ, seek the pardon of your sins through His death, commit your soul into His hands, believe in Him, and then His happiness shall be yours. But go, I beseech you, without delay.
What do you intend to do? Will you go on and die, or will you set upon a thorough and speedy conversion, and lay hold on eternal life? “How long will ye halt between two opinions?” Have you not yet resolved whether Christ or Barabbas, whether bliss or torment, whether this vain and wretched world, or the Paradise of God, be the better choice? Is it a disputable case, whether the vile puddle of sin is to be preferred before the water of life? Why stand wavering? When will you come to a fixed, firm, and full resolve? Do not you see how Satan cheats you by tempting you to delays? How long has he drawn you on in the way of perdition?
“Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation: today if you will hear his voice, harden not your heart.” Why should you venture a day longer in this dangerous and dreadful condition? What if God should this night require your soul! Others have had their day and have received their doom, and now you are brought upon the stage of this world. If you make not a wise choice now, you are undone forever.
And is it true indeed? Are life and death at your choice? Why, then, what hinders but that you should be happy? Nothing can hinder, but your own willful neglect or refusal. So I may say to you, See, here is Christ, here is mercy, pardon, life – what hinders but that you should be pardoned and saved?
One of the martyrs, as he was praying at the stake, had his pardon set by him in a box, which indeed he refused rightly, because upon unworthy terms, but here the terms are most honourable and easy. O sinner! will you burn with your pardon by you? Consent to Christ, renounce your sins, deny yourself, take up the yoke and the cross, and you carry the day; Christ is yours. Pardon, peace, life, blessedness, are all yours. Is not this an offer worth embracing? Why should you hesitate or doubtfully dispute about the case? Is it not past controversy whether God be better than sin, and glory than vanity? Why should you forsake your own mercy and sin against your own life?
Away with your sins, and come unto Him, lest devouring wrath overtake you. Ho, every profane sinner, come in and live. Return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy on you. “Though thy sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow: and though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’’
Abridged and the Old English has been modernized.