It is a woeful thing to consider what slight thoughts the most have of this thing. So men can keep themselves from sin itself in open action, they are content, they scarce aim at more; on any temptation in the world, all sorts of men will venture at any time. How will young men put themselves on the company, any society; at first, being delighted with evil company, then with the evil of the company! How vain are all admonitions and exhortations to them to take heed of such persons, debauched in themselves, corrupters of others, destroyers of souls! At first, they will venture on the company, abhorring the thoughts of practicing their lewdness; but what is the issue? Unless it is here or there one, whom God snatches with a mighty hand from the jaws of destruction, they are all lost and become after a while in love with the evil which at first they abhorred. This open door to the ruin of souls is too evident; and woeful experience makes it no less evident that it is almost impossible to fasten upon many poor creatures any fear or dread of temptation, who yet will profess a fear and abhorrence of sin.
Sinners are not unjustly condemned for their depravity, but that their inability is blameworthy. Great care needs to be taken in stating this doctrine accurately. Otherwise men will be encouraged to put it to wrong use, making it a comfortable resting place for their corrupt hearts. By a misrepresentation of this doctrine more than one preacher has “strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way” (Ezek. 13:22).
Only suppose if they could be permitted to come back to this world, if they were allowed another period of trial, how they would spend their restored life! How earnest would be their penitence, how intense their devotion, how profound their humility, how holy their actions! Think then that you still have in your power that for which they would give millions of worlds. “Hell,” says one writer, “is truth seen too late.”
How unreasonable then is it to despair of mercy; while this season, this opportunity of obtaining mercy is afforded; unless you are determined not to improve it. The precious privileges which you enjoy, while this season continues, render despair still more unreasonable. What walls are these which surround you? Are they not the walls of God’s house, a place where he has recorded his name, and respecting which he says, Wherever I record my name, there will I meet with you and bless you?