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Reader, these are a few of the many vain excuses made by persons to justify their neglect of religion, which have come under the writer's personal observation. What now, fellowtraveller to an eternal world, what is your state before God? Are you among the negligent and careless, a class that fearfully abounds ? If so, away with all those refuges of lies, wherewith Satan and an evil heart are deluding you. Try your vain excuses before your conscience, and if you are honest, the verdict will be, guilty. Test them by the word of God, still the verdict would be, guilty. And if conscience and Scripture alike condemn you, will not He who gave you both, to admonish and instruct you, also condemn you in the day of judgment ? “ Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” Gal. vi. 7. Be warned in time; open that neglected book, the Bible; read and pray; it tells you of mercy-of a Saviour whose blood can cleanse you from all sin. Delay not to seek his face, lest death should surprise you as it did poor F-, and you should have to say, in bitterness of soul, “ The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved,” Jer. viii. 20.
Are you a formal professor ? Do you say, “Well, I make no excuse; I go to my place of worship; I read my Bible; I say prayers; and do all I can; and if I am not right, who can be ?” And do you think these things will save your soul? “Why, yes," you say, “what more can I do?" Ah, friend, you are deceiving yourself ; you are making a saviour of your duties. There is no way to heaven in that direction : you must be born again; you must go as a sinner to Jesus Christ, look on the Son of God dying for sinners, and if saved, it must be by faith alone in his blood and righteousness, and not by your own doings,” Ephes. ii. 8, 9.
Are you a Christian? Then, live above the world, close to God, looking unto Jesus. Be decided. Inconsistencies in a professor dishonour God, grieve the Spirit, please Satan, and prove stumbling-blocks to the world. But rather so live that you may, by God's grace, through Jesus Christ, be found in heaven.
Show pity, Lord, O Lord, forgive;
Some sure support against despair. •
This exhortation was given to Lot on the eve of a most tremendous judgment, from which he was miraculously delivered. The inhabitants of Sodom dwelt in a very rich country. “ The plain of Jordan, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, was well watered everywhere, as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.” It was also under a bright and genial sky; so that the fruits of the climate would always reach their highest perfection. Yet these men, so highly favoured, were strangely ungrateful and base. “ The men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." How mournful, that God's bounty should be so often grossly abused, and his kindness made the occasion of aggravated sin !
In course of time, Lot became an inhabitant of the town. Those who know the bewitching influence of sin, will think that he acted most foolishly in placing himself and his family in the midst of so much temptation. He was led away by the “lust of the eye” to choose the well-watered plains of Jordan for his abode, though thus he would become connected with the guilty inhabitants of Sodom. The wickedness in this city now became so great that it must be punished. Lot had preserved his integrity. The sins of the people grieved him. He was
to the moun your lifed in heavennaed you to have forgoteart with
66 vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.” “ His righteous soul was troubled from day to day with their unlawful deeds." Therefore the Lord would deliver him, and as many of his family as could be persuaded to go out with him. He was reluctant to leave the city, for there were still in it some of his own children ; and how could he give them up? Here we learn the evil of mingling with improper society : even should we ourselves escape unhurt, which is not at all probable, it may prove the destruction of those who are exceedingly dear to us. But mark the mercy of the Lord towards Lot : “ While he lingered, the men [the angels] laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him; and they brought him forth and set him without the city.” And then comes the exhortation; mark its emphasis, and the extreme danger in which Lot himself then stood; “ Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed."
Reader, your life is in danger; the precious life of your soul! There is a God in heaven by whom you have been created and preserved. He has commanded you to serve him, and pay him the homage of your heart; but you have forgotten him, and neglected his law. You have defiled your heart with sin, and indulged in many wicked practices, Your own conscience condemns you, and declares that in the sight of God you are guilty. All your life long, by day and by night, when alone and in company, his eye has rested on you. He has read every thought, feeling, and desire. He has marked every word and action. . And in the roll of heaven, every sin, with all its aggravation, is recorded :—the sabbaths you have broken, the offers of mercy you have neglected, the falsehoods you have told, the oaths you have wickedly sworn, the dishonesties you may have committed, and every stain upon your character, whether open or secret-all are written down in characters that cannot fade... This God is a jealous God. He is a consuming fire. He will come in awful grandeur, and call you to his bar. He will say of you, if found impenitent there, “ Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” , ., This, reader, is your danger. That soul of yours, formed for the praise and worship of Jehovah, for the fellowship of holy and happy angels, and for the glories of God's presence-that soul is in danger of being cast into hell, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Escape, then, for thy life! Flee from this awful danger. Oh, flee! for your eternal all is at stake; and a moment may decide your
ESCAPE FOR THY LIFE.
You, perhaps, have already lingered in the plain ; and are still in great danger of staying and looking behind you. Satan whispers in your ear, “ How can you forsake your former companions-how can you give up old acquaintances ?--how can you abandon endeared pursụits-how can you forego longindulged pleasures---how can you act contrary to your irreligious relatives—how can you part with gains and wealth-how can you submit to the shame and self-denial of the cross ?" These, and many other like suggestions, Satan will ply you with ; and entreat you to pause, and put off your flight to a more convenient season. But what says the word of God ? “ Escape for thy life ; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain.”
You must, if you would be saved, commence a resolute and determined course. There is nothing of so great value as your soul! There is nothing so important as eternal happiness. There is nothing so pressing and urgent as deliverance from eternal ruin. Turn your back, then, on the sinful pleasures of the world. Abandon its follies. Address yourself to the journey before you. “ Stay not in all the plain ; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed."
Do you look abuut you, and ask, “ To what mountain ?” Behold yonder mountain, ever and anon burning and blazing with fire ; covered with blackness and darkness, and surrounded with tempest. Listen to the sound of the trumpet and the voice of words. What are those words? Hark! “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." Look at the assembled multitudes, trembling and quaking at the terrible sight. That mountain is Sinai, where God issues his law in awful majesty. That provides no asylum, no refuge for the sinner ... But, behold, on the other hand, another mount. The cloud of darkness is just withdrawing; the rays of heaven begin to shine upon “the place which is called Calvary." There God, reconciled, shows his face, and whispers pardon in the soft accents of mercy and love to every penitent sinner. Escape to that mount; and as you draw near you will behold One nailed to a cross. That One is the Son of God-his only begotten Son, his well-beloved Son; whom, because he so loved the world, he gave up to suffer, to bleed, and to die; that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That gracious Being himself so loved the world, that he came into it in human form- took to himself “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh”-that, in a body like our own, he might bear the curse of a broken law in our stead. God has accepted his death as a sacrifice for our sin. Rejoice, then, that by grace, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, you may find in him a" balm for every
we cast" sou not till, mys of sing and or grace unto perditiling
wound, a cordial for your fears.”—“Escape, then, to that mount, lest thou be consumed.”
Unconverted reader, your danger is awful! No tongue can describe it. If you tarry where you are, destruction is certain; if you begin the journey and look back, you are not fit for the kingdom of heaven. “Remember Lot's wife.” As Lot was flying, “ his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Beware of ever “looking back," and especially of " drawing back unto perdition.” “ Stay not in all the plain.” Seek for grace to tear yourself from all the entanglements of sin, and to break through all its bonds. Rest not till, by the help of God's Holy Spirit, you have cast yourself at the feet of Christ-till your soul is purged from all its guilt by his blood-till you have found à sanctuary for your soul in his love, and have obtained peace and pardon through his sufferings unto death, and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Till these ends are gained, you are in great danger. If you neglect this warning, and refuse this Saviour-if you still linger about your sins, and look back longingly after your carnal delights, though destruction may not come upon you immediately, it will at length, and ERE LONG, overtake you with far more terror than the destruction of Sodom. May God in mercy prevent it; and for the sake of his dear Son, grant you the Holy Spirit to lead you to the only refuge, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE DANGER OF DELAY.
And stay not for the morrow's sun;
The harder is she to be won.
Oh hasten mercy to implore,
And stay not for the morrow's sun;
Before this evening's stage be run.
Oh hasten, sinner, to return,
And stay not for the morrow's sun ;
Before thy needful work is done.
Oh hasten, sinner, to be blest,
And stay not for the morrow's sun;
Before the morrow is begun.
O Lord, do thou the sinner turn;
Now rouse him from his senseless state.
Nor rue his fatal choice too late.