It is of no importance to the writer who thou art, but it is of infinite importance to thyself what thou art. Are you, Reader, a sinner on the road to misery; or are you a saint on the road to blessedness? One of these you must be. There are but two masters. Christ and Satan; two roads, the narrow and the broad; two destinations, heaven and hell. As your present and everlasting well-being depend on your character in this world, it is surely of the utmost importance that you ascertain what you are. The matter is momentous. Let conscience reply.
Are you among the number who are madly pursuing the vanities and pleasures of this fleeting world? Are you alive for time, asleep for eternity?
Then you are cultivating Satan's ground, and securing your own destruction.
Whoever is a friend of the world, cannot be the friend of God (Matt. 6:24; James 4:4). Oh, think what is implied in that expression, not to be a friend of God! If not the friend of God, you must be the friend of Satan; but Satan is a hard master. What wages do you expect in such a service? "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Will you serve him now, who will be the companion of, and add to the eternal torment of his followers? What can be said to you, who prefer such a master to Him who is "Emmanuel, God with us" (Matt. 1:23); and who prefer such a service to His which is perfect freedom? You know not what you do. You are heaping up to yourself "wrath against the day of wrath" (Rom. 2:5), standing on the brink of eternal ruin (Psa. 9:17). You cannot escape the eye of omniscience. Do you ever think, when committing sin, that though it may be hid from man, "Thou, God, seest me" (Gen. 16:13)? Ah! I fear not. No language can describe this infatuation; but there is a period fast approaching, when it will be felt in all its tremendous reality.
Remember, you cannot remain long an inhabitant of this world-you are to die. It may be the moment is at hand. "This night thy soul may be required of thee" (Luke 12:20). Yet, after death, you are to exist forever. Forever! Where? Ah, where? If you are living without God, you cannot mistake the place whither you are bound. And can you, without horror and dismay, contemplate that place where the worm dieth not, and the fire is never quenched-where there are weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth? (Mark 9:43-48). Think of such inevitable destruction, and say if you maintain the determination to let others go to heaven, there to enjoy uninterrupted felicity, whilst you, having chosen that in which God delights not, shall be thrust down to hell, to spend your FOREVER in the blackness of darkness (Jude 13). Away with such a wicked and horrific thought! What! An intelligent being preparing, deliberately preparing himself, for everlasting burnings! How tremendously affecting to a serious mind! And all for the pleasures of sin, which last only for a short season.
Does the world never frown upon you, that you so love it? And oh, let me ask you what the world will do for you at death? Will it afford you one shadow of comfort? How often do the agonies of a guilty conscience, on a deathbed, present a specimen of the misery which will be completed in eternity? Think not it will be time enough to relinquish sin, when sickness and death approach. A deathbed may never come to you-you may be hurried to the eternal world without a moment's warning. "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). We never read in the Bible that tomorrow will be time enough. Who will presume to say that he will live another day, and do this or that? (Psa. 95:7; Prov. 27:1).
Jehovah hath "no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Hearken to the melting, beseeching expostulations: "Turn ye, turn ye; why will ye die?" (Ezek. 33:11). "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come: and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). Yes, God is willing, through the merits and death of Christ, to save all who apply to Him in earnest. Of this you ought not to doubt; look to Calvary's cross for the delightful attestation, that "God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Multitudes have already experienced the blessedness of crediting this truth. Still there is room-room in God's vineyard-room in heaven for you. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and there is salvation in no other (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Haste then to Jesus the refuge of the soul, for the avenger of blood pursues. You are safe in no place, and at no time, but under the covert of redeeming blood. Happy are they who are in such a state; happy, indeed, is the people whose God is Jehovah. Christ is precious to them, their treasure is in heaven, their hearts are also there. "And when Christ, who is their life, shall appear they shall also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). Happy people in time- happy through eternity. Will you not join the happy, the blessed number? Oh, let there be joy in heaven on your account (Luke 15:7). Is there no feeling awakened within you by the recollection that you have a soul to be saved, and a crown of glory set before you?
Could I tell you the bliss experienced by the children of God, even "in this vale of tears," would it not affect you, to think you are a stranger to the sweets of the Christian religion? You know not what is meant by "the communion of saints." How delightful is it for Zion's children to converse about the things that concern the King, the Lord of Glory, or their own precious immortal souls-to sympathize together with the benighted heathen, or the world lying in wickedness! How animating to bow the knee at the footstool of mercy, and supplicate for pardon and peace for all mankind! How enrapturing to converse regarding the triumphs of the cross-the prosperity of the church-the inroads made on Satan's kingdom, by the daily and hourly accessions to the number of the saved-and the final and universal conquest of light and truth over darkness and error! What contemplations arise in connection with the land of consummate bliss-the Zion above-the new Jerusalem! And oh, how sweetly comforting to have the prospect of meeting hereafter in that land "of cloudless sky," and there rehearsing together the wonders of redeeming mercy! In that land the redeemed shall not love, adore, and praise, as they were wont to do on earth. There, love shall forever glow without the least abatement-admiration shall forever increase-and the most exalted and harmonious songs of praise shall burst forth from ravished hearts, through the endless ages of eternity! There are the white robes-the crown of glory-the palms of victory-the ever delightful worship-the hallelujahs which make heaven's portals ring-and there is to be seen the object of incomparable wonder, to whom this praise belongs-the Man Jesus Christ, on His throne, high and lifted up; and all this blessedness has been provided by infinite love!
What think you, O Reader, of such things? What think you of Christ (Matt. 22:42)? Of what He has done to save sinners? Of what He has gone to prepare for those who love Him? Say, hath not His love a depth and a height, length and a breadth, which passeth all knowledge? (Eph. 3:18-19). Surely there is nothing but Christ and His cause worth living for!
There is a reality in religion, whatever scoffers may say. A present reward is experienced in the keeping of God's commands. "Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace" (Prov. 3:17). This peace passeth all understanding-it must be enjoyed to be perfectly understood. the world can neither give it nor take it away. You are capable now of becoming an expectant, and at last a partaker of this infinite blessedness. Be entreated to accept of the Saviour, to give yourself up entirely to Him, and undoubtedly you will say, you never knew happiness, real happiness, till you became a possessor of real religion. Come to Christ as you are, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (Rev. 3:17). In Him all fulness dwells (Col. 2:9). Trust alone in His blood and righteousness. He has done all that is necessary for your salvation.
Once more, if you are still disposed to remain careless about your soul and eternity, I must cease addressing you, or attempting to delineate your fearful state. Time is given to prepare for eternity; miss this, and you are lost forever. Oh, kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way (Psa. 2:12). Escape for your life-look not behind. Death is approaching-judgment is approaching-Eternity is approaching.