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that are seen and temporal, than to those that are unseen and eternal ? You may not be a worldling in the sense of money-getting, or in the way of fame and ambition, or fashion, or gay amusements. You may not be a frequenter of theatres, or horse-races, or card-tables. You may not seek companions at the inn parlour, nor with sabbath- . breakers, nor at the fashionable watering-place, nor at the ball-room. Yet you may be a worldling. You may frequent a place of worship, and yet be a worldling. Your friends and acquaintances may be the choicest of religious people, and yet you may be a worldling. Your life may be in the element of the world. Your chief pleasures may arise even from things innocent and lawful. Your portion may be nothing better than an earthly inheritance, or merely the hope of gaining one. And if so, you need conversion. How much more, if your conscience clearly convicts you of loving something in this world more than you love any thing or any being out of this world! You know who it is that says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me: and he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me,” Matt. x. 37, 38. The same authority decides the case of all who come under the denomi. nation of worldly : “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world," 1 John ii, 15, 16.
The glorious and gracious Being who says, in the passage quoted above from Matt. x. 37, “ He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter,
more than me, is not worthy of me,” has a supreme right to your heart; but the world you so intensely love has none. The language which he has there employed exclusively befits the mouth of God, and I trust you feel involuntarily, and without any argument or illustration, that it becomes him alone, who has a right to say, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength,” Mark xii. 30. He alone can judge the state of your heart, whether you are not now among the unhappy class to whom he says, “I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you," John v. 42. It must, therefore, be a situation of no common peril to fall under his displeasure, and to feel in one's own conscience that the sentence of the apostle Paul cleaves to us: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema" (accursed) “Maran-atha," (the Lord cometh,) 1 Cor. xvi. 22.
Poor votary of the world, in some or in any of its forms, what have you to say to all this ? Let me suppose you summoned to appear and answer to the claim of your Saviour. What answer would you make? What answer could you make ? Could it be that of Peter, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee?” John xxi. 17. Could you say that? No: your conscience testifies, your life shows, that you have loved a very different object. In the light of the Divine presence, the truth must appear and be confessed. It is certain, then, that every worldly-minded person, in whatever form he has shown his love of the world, would be obliged to make this confession:“ Lord, if I must judge only by my past life, I fear I have shown no love to thee, but, on the contrary, have loved what thou hatest, and hated what thou lovest.” Perhaps, some would even be ready to think, if not to say, that they really had no wish to love Jesus Christ; they see nothing to engage their affections either in him or his religion. Oh that such could be persuaded to reflect upon the fearful alternative of not loving Jesus Christ, and of not being loved of him! Oh that such would pause before they proceed further to act out their dislike of Christ and his religion ! Oh that they would anticipate the situation in which they will be placed when the Judge shall stand before their door; and when it is quite certain they would gladly renounce every other object, and every other pleasure, for the delight which the assurance of his favour would impart ! But if such delay till conversion is impossible, they will have cause, through eternal ages, to deplore the folly that blinded them to the love of Christ, and the love of their own souls; and induced them to prefer the love of the world, or the love of sin, or the love of some poor frail fellow creature, which, in the end, has left them disappointed, dissatisfied, and lost.
Immortal man or woman, why will you incur this fearful, this tremendous fate? Why, for the sake of this wretched world, or any thing in it, will you incur the anathema of your Creator and Saviour? Does any uncertainty attach to the issue of such a life as you are leading? Is it not clear that your heart is hostile to Christ, or, at least, that it is not enraptured with his love? and if so, the issue is not doubtful; you must perish, unless you change. The decree of Heaven is before your eyes. The tender and compassionate Saviour, the greatest Lover of souls, says, you are not worthy of him; he disclaims you ; he leaves you, as you have left him, to love the world, and 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 happi. ness, 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 delay. ing 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 may do good; there may be some 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 infatuation 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? Have you ever heard of any one who had a good reason to give? The writer could tell you of many who have delayed, and though only intentionally for a little while, yet they lived to deplore, and died ta 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. mits no excuse. If, as you admit, salvation is your object, and an object of inexpressible importance, compared with which every thing is light as