It is also implied that we seek the kingdom of God with perseverance. We must press on till we obtain. This is the great business of life--to get back from revolt, to obedience--from our state of rejection, cast out from God, to a state of acceptance, where we shall be sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. Then let us persevere in seeking the whole of this change until it be completely effected. The nature of the case demands such perseverance. The blessings within reach are too great and precious to be lost for want of perseverance in the pursuit. They will amply reward you for a whole life of most earnest seeking.
7. It is affecting to observe how difficult it is, when men have laid their plans for worldly good, to get them to change, and seek first their God. Even of professed Christians this is often true. They cannot go, with cheerful steps, even to a prayer-meeting. If they go at all, they are very late, to make the time as short as possible, and then they come with hearts full of the world. Instead of giving up their worldly plans and saying--"I must have salvation; my plans are all wrong from the beginning--all selfish in their spirit--and I must wash out all the past and begin a new life;"--instead of this, I say they cling ever more to their cherished plans. Perhaps I have told you how my mind became pinched under the pressure of this sort of question, after I had accepted the Bible as from God. When God's claims began to come home to my conscience, I said to myself, How do I know but God will want me to give my profession,--(to which I was very much attached,) and of so, what shall I do? This question grasped my conscience terribly, for I saw that becoming religious implied giving up my business, or, at least, making it entirely subject to God's control. Perhaps, said I, God will want me to go on a mission, or, at least, to preach the gospel. Can I consent to do it? The impression came down heavily on my mind--God wants you to preach his gospel! He does not want you to follow the law. Then I said--I have never consulted God at all in reference to the business of my life, though He has given Christ to redeem me and watch over me all my life long to do me good. I must do so now and henceforth! I ought to know what God would have me do, and I must know. I must not go on in this way.
The great point was now gained; I began to act as a rational being should, and God shed light on my path. Now, perhaps some of you, young people, have never asked God whether He wants you to get an education, and for what purpose. Some of you may have asked this question prayerfully; others not. If you have not, how do you know what God would have you do? Is it not plain that this neglect, on your part, amounts to moral insanity? Who of you all does not admit that you ought to attend to the great business for which God sent you into this world? Have you ever asked God to show you what your special errand in this world is? Suppose an angel should meet you today and should say--have you attended yet to the great business for which you were sent into the world? In the stillness of the midnight hour, you open your eyes and lo, an angel of God is before you--and he asks if you have done anything, after so long towards executing the mission for which you were sent into the world. O, how you are smitten with dread and horror when he tells you that, if you have not, he is commissioned to demand your soul! "This night," he cries, "thy soul is required of thee! "Then, you will readily believe that to neglect the great business of life, when you knew what it was, is indeed the worst insanity! O, take care of your soul; don't lose it; the treasures of eternity are in its welfare--and how can you throw them all away!IV. What are your reasons for this neglect of salvation?
1. Not ignorance, for you know your duty. Not the force of circumstance, for they have not excluded you from God and from due attention to his claims. There is no important reason. Could you study better without religion? Not so well. Would you be more happy without it? Nay, but far less so. Can you assign any reason for this neglect? What can it mean? Is it not moral insanity?
1. Christ says -- "Mary hath chosen;" -- from which you may see that something is to be chosen. To do this choosing must therefore be the great business of life. Christ presents Himself before us to be chosen. The thing to be done is to choose Him and to receive Him thus as our own portion. Mary made this wise discrimination, and seized on the one good part. Perhaps she did not understand that the thing to be gained as her life's great labor was to be chosen and then seized upon.
THE GREAT BUSINESS OF LIFE.
Who does not know that this is true? Again: another reason is, that if we will neglect this, we must inevitably lose our souls. "How shall we escape," says the apostle, "if we neglect so great salvation?" Men need not take great pains to ruin themselves; their ruin is inevitable, if they neglect to lay hold on the salvation which God has provided for them. Let them be good wives, good husbands, good parents, good children, good citizens, say prayers, go to meeting, and give money to send the Gospel to the heathen; let them do anything else in the world, if they neglect this in such a sense as not to make it the great business of life, they are sure to lose their souls. There is a great mistake on this subject, or else the Bible is not true. There is a great mistake on this subject, or else our own natures belie us. Our own natures affirm, that sin is an evil from which we ought to escape, that we should make it the most earnest and solemn business of our lives; and the Bible tells us to run for our lives, to "so run that you may obtain," "so fight that ye may obtain," "gird up your loins," address yourselves to it as if you were about to make it the great present, and perpetual business of life.
I could tell multitudes of facts where persons came to be conscious of this, when the providence of God aroused them from their sleepy state, and arrested their attention. In such cases they have made up their minds that nothing should, by any means, stand in their way nothing should by any means be allowed to hinder them making religion the great business of life. I shall mention one fact. A lawyer, a man of large business in his profession-this man had been awakened in a revival; he went to his office with a resolution to attend to his soul at the risk of neglecting everything else. As soon as he had reached his office, some individuals called upon important business, to whom he had promised his assistance. "Gentlemen," said he, "I cannot attend to your business now, I must first attend to my soul; I have neglected this business so long already, that if I allow myself to neglect it any longer, I shall lose my soul to all eternity.