Sinners Delay Concerns Of The Soul
And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
The subject of the Apostle’s preaching.
How Felix was affected by it.
How he conducted himself in these circumstances.
Subject: Sinners delaying in
putting off the great concern of their souls till a supposed more convenient
1. How sinners oftentimes do
2. The reasons or causes why
sinners do thus.
3. The end of it.
I. I would briefly observe
how sinners do frequently delay and put off the great concern of their souls
till a supposed more convenient season.
(1.) They sometimes put off
to certain times they set, when they intend... Children sometimes... Shall know
more — Know better how to pray and perform other duties of Religion that
grown-up persons perform.
’Tis a common thing for
young people. Till settled in the world.
season:” a better inclination... not so much inclined to mirth and youthful
vanities... fewer temptations... out of the way of young company... more in the
way of those who are solid and serious persons.
They esteem the present
season very inconvenient for religion... being so very convenient for other
purposes... Now a very convenient time to take liberty in mirth and youthful
Many that are past their
youth put off to a supposed more convenient season... when got through such and
such particular affairs wherein they are now involved... when they hope they
shall be more at liberty... or till in this and the other respect they are got
into more convenient circumstances.
(2.) There are many that
delay and put off without fixing any time in their mind... hoping for a more
convenient future time...
The present time appears
peculiarly inconvenient... feel a great opposition... have many temptations...
hope it will be better with them... not feel such an aversion... fewer
Wait to have the Spirit of
God strive with them.
Now a time of general
deadness, and very inconvenient on that account... all the talk is of other
things... put off till a time of the outpouring of the Spirit of God...
Or, perhaps, they are hoping
for some greater advantage in other respects, some better means than now they
enjoy, or a better concurrence of circumstances to favor a design of seeking God
and their salvation.
The cause of persons thus delaying.
senselessness of their danger and necessity.
Insensible of the reality...
insensible of the greatness... senseless of the heinousness of their sin... a
2. The importunity of
lust... Job 20:12 — “Wickedness is sweet in his mouth; he hides it under his
tongue; he spares it, and forsakes it not, he keeps it still in his mouth.”
3. Aversion to their duty.
4. Ignorance of themselves
5. A spirit of
self-blinding... The blinding influence of a sinful self-love... promise
themselves future opportunity... better opportunity... that God will hear...
6. The subtle temptations of
III. The evil of it.
1. ’Tis exceeding wicked.
disobedience...willful, resolved, wickedness....determine to continue in sin,
and an allowance of it...
’Tis not only designedly
committing one act of wickedness, but deliberately determining on a course of
it... a course of manifested wickedness... neglect of many commands...
gratification of many lusts... horrible ingratitude, abusing the past “long
suffering”... horrible presumption on future mercy... contempt of offered
2. ’Tis exceeding
foolish... Hereby they reject and miss a good deal of present good... willfully
continue in a miserable state... bring a great deal of certain future misery
They run a dreadful
risk...depend on innumerable uncertainties.. life continued... means of grace
continued... use of reason... disposed... “more convenient season”...given
one... if disposed whether succeed... whether God won’t give over to delusion
and to hard-heartedness...
Depend on many things that
are not only uncertain, but very improbable... disposition... convenient
season... thought when they were children... make their case more and more
dangerous...depending on greater conveniences they make inconveniences for
themselves... and by this means many thousands are actually undone...
This may be of warning to
sinners not to delay and put off...
You have heard how common
this is... Men are exceeding prone to it... Does your own experience confirm
what has been said in this matter? And are there not some here who are now doing
as has been represented? Have we not reason to think that there are many here
present that say as Felix, “When...” etc.?
Undoubted, by what is
everywhere to be seen at such a time of general deadness and regardlessness of
religion as this is: a good evidence of the exceeding proneness to put off...
Let all take warning...
You have heard something in
general of wickedness and folly; but here consider more particularly —
1. What guilt you contract:
what a horrible thing it is to live in known and willful disobedience to God;...
what great light ye will sin against if you...
2. What would you think of
your delays if God should say to you, “Thou fool, this night...?”
3. If the future time you
are putting off to should never come, how far it will probably be from being a
“more convenient season.”...
In many respects, far more
inconvenient... God’s anger increased... your heart harder, more stupid...
every evil habit established... sloth... a carnal, worldly disposition... an
habitual making light of things affecting such awakenings... Satan’s great
opportunity to establish his interest... commonly an increase of inconvenience
of outward circumstances... increase of temptations... commonly many
inconveniences arise that never would be thought of... less likely ever to set
about the work... Satan hath greater advantages if they do... more likely to be
unsteady...more likely soon to be discouraged... the work is greater and harder
that they have to do... less time to do it...
4. Others have lamented
their folly in delaying... many when under concern... I who have long been in
the work of the ministry... many on a death-bed.
5. How much otherwise you
deal with God, and desire that God should deal with you.
6. If you continue still to
delay after the warning you have this day, how aggravated your wickedness will
How have you been warned
hereof before... and how have you gone from the meeting-house and still...
How can you excuse yourself
to go home tonight and do nothing? or to do a little this evening, and then
to-morrow, or in a few days?...
Consider how unreasonable
And if now again, ... and
there be a God,... how many you reasonably suppose He will resent it?
7. If you still... what
danger that you will be utterly given up before the time comes... Giving up a
8. Inquire whether you
yourself don’t believe [that] there are many now in Hell through this very
Here some, perhaps, may say,
to excuse themselves, and quiet their own consciences with respect to this, “I
don’t delay and put off the concern of my soul. I am in a way of seeking my
Here I would put two or
three questions to such persons.
1. Whether you are in a way
of minding this affair more than all other? “Seeking FIRST the kingdom of
God,” — “one thing.”...
2. Is your reformation
universal? Sins of omission... commission...
3. [Do you feel] as much
pains as ever you take will be needful? Forsaken all practices you think you
would need to forsake? Complied with all duties? As earnestly?... Do you intend
to continue? How has secret, closet religion been with you? How have you kept
the Sabbath? Attended the sermons? If not, ... you are guilty of the
forementioned wickedness,...willful disobedience — guilty of folly. Therefore,
if you have any regard to... think on your mercies, and “turn your feet,”...
and whatever “your hands find to do.”...