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ways before you, of which you know not the one that you ought to take, ought you not to apply the same principle here that you act upon in the common affairs of life? Is it not unquestionably your duty to inquire, and to compare, and to estimate the probabilities in favor of each, and to be influenced by what shall be found the stronger reason? But do you so, and do you adopt what appears to you the safer course? Is not such a manner of life as the Scriptures recommend, (even honest in fidels themselves being judges,) more likely to bring you to a happy end than any other ? Is it not safer to be devout than to be undevout ? to be just than to be unjust ? to be chaste than to be unchaste ? to be a man of prayer than to be a man of profaneness? an observer of the Sabbath than a violator of the same? Is it not safer to adopt the Christian system than to reject it to be like St. John than to be like Herod ? to follow the example of Moses than that of Pharaoh? Is it not safer to trust in Christ than not to trust in him, and safer to do all things whatsoever he commands than not to do them? Who will not give a ready affirmative to all these questions? In the one case we cannot lose any thing, and we may be, yes, we shall be, infinite gainers. In the other case we cannot gain any thing; it is not pretended; but we may lose every thing. In the former case we run no hazard ; in the latter we hazard our heaven, our immortality, our God. How shall we be able to answer, at the judgment day, for our dereliction of so familiar and rational a principle?
I could easily find materials to extend this dis
course to a much greater length; but it will be much more to your advantage if you will yourselves continue and conclude the subject which I have commenced. And if you should find that the prudential maxims and common sense principles, which hold and govern in the affairs of time, are set aside in the affairs of eternity, ought not the discovery to alarm you? Can it be safe to pursue a course with respect to the business of the soul, which, if adopted in relation to any other business, would inevitably lead to the most disastrous result? Is not the God of this life also the presiding Deity of that to come? Is not the governor of this world the governor in every world? Is not the same immutable Being the author of nature and the legislator of religion ? And when you shall find that even your own principles and opinions will not bear you out in your unconcern and inaction, will it not be time, high time, to make some change? Oh! that men were wise, that they understood this.
And do you, Christian hearer, be careful that your own principles do not condemn you. You cherish sentiments and entertain opinions that ought to act upon you with infinite power. You believe that Christ died for you, that the Holy Spirit inhabits you, that angels encamp about you, that eternity is your home, and heaven your inheritance. What manner of persons ought ye to be, holding such opinions, in all holy conversation. If Christ died for you, how profoundly thankful, how devotedly attached to him ! if the Spirit dwells in
you, how watchful against sin, how careful not to grieve him ! if angels encamp about you, how wary yourselves ! if eternity is your home, how thoughtful of it ! if heaven your inheritance, how weaned from the world ! if the soul is in your account a gem
of inestimable value, how careful of your own! and for others' souls, how concerned, how prayerful !
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this
day whom ye will serve.-Joshua xxiv. 15. How long halt ye between two opinions ? if the Lord be God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him.-1. KINGS xviii. 21. I would thou wert cold or hot.-REVELATION iii. 15.
THESE three passages of Scripture are selected, because they agree in recommending and urging decision in religion. It is not any particular decision which they recommend, but simply decision; not this or that branch of the alternative, but one branch of it, or the other ; the taking of a side, not designating the side, but leaving that to the choice of the individual; the being one thing or another, cold or hot ; for Jehovah or for Baal, mammon, or whatever god or idol the person may see it good to prefer. And this is what I am going to recommend now to you and to urge upon you decision, choice. And since I am not about to dictate how you shall decide, but only to recommend that you decide, I trust I shall be heard with even more than your wonted attention. I need not say that I am not indifferent how you decide. I need not avow my anxiety that you should not only come to some decision without delay, but that you should come to such a decision
shall never, never have cause to regret having made. I
pray, and trust that many unite with me in the prayer, that in choosing to-day whom you will serve, you may be inclined to choose to serve the Lord. But to recommend a decision in his favor is not the primary object now, but simply to recommend decision. Choose, this is all I have to say now. I leave all the rest with you.
That some of you are undecided, and these selections of Scripture therefore not inappropriate to your case, is manifest. You yourselves are conscious of it. When, however, I speak of you as being undecided, I do not mean all that is sometimes conveyed in that word. I do not mean that your hearts now fix on nothing, that there is no object on which at present your affections are supremely placed. I do not mean that there is any solid neutral ground on which you do or can stand; but I mean that while on the one hand
you have not decided for the service of God, neither have you on the other dispassionately and deliberately decided neither now, nor ever hereafter to engage in it. The state of mind to which I refer is real, and I believe is understood by
And I ask now what you, whose state it is, can say in favor of it? Why do you not decide one way or the other ? Indecision in reference to other matters, is never an agreeable state of mind. It is indeed positively and sometimes extremely painful, to have the mind alternately drawn in opposite directions, the judgment vacillating between contrary opinions, now inclining to this, then reverting to the other, uncertain, and not knowing what to do, when some