by J.C. Ryle
You cannot trifle for ever: a time will come when you must be serious. You cannot put off your soul’s concerns for ever: a day will come when you must have a reckoning with God. You cannot be always singing, and dancing, and eating, and drinking, and dressing, and reading, and laughing, and jesting, and scheming, and planning, and money-making. The summer insects cannot always sport in the sunshine; the cold chilly evening will come at last, and stop their sport for ever. So will it be with you. You may put off religion now, and refuse the counsel of God’s ministers: but the cool of the day is drawing on, when God will come down to speak with you. And what will your end be? Will it be a hopeless one, like that of Lot’s wife?
I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to look this question fairly in the face. I entreat you not to stifle conscience by vague hopes of God’s mercy, while your heart cleaves to the world. I implore you not to drown convictions by childish fancies about God’s love, while your daily ways and habits show plainly that “the love of the Father is not in you.” There is mercy in God, like a river—but it is for the penitent believer in Christ Jesus. There is a love in God towards sinners which is unspeakable and unsearchable—but it is for those who “hear Christ’s voice and follow Him.” Seek to have an interest in that love. Break off every known sin; come out boldly from the world; cry mightily to God in prayer; cast yourself wholly and unreservedly on the Lord Jesus for time and eternity; lay aside every weight. Cling to nothing, however dear, which interferes with your soul’s salvation; give up everything, however precious, which comes between you and heaven. This old shipwrecked world is fast sinking beneath your feet: the one thing needful is to have a place in the lifeboat and get safe to shore. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure. Whatever happens to your house and property, see that you make sure of heaven. Oh, better a million times be laughed at and thought extreme in this world than go down to hell from the midst of the congregation and end like Lot’s wife!
by J.C. Ryle
HT The Old Guys