A Regret and Determination
James Smith, 1860
Some time ago, I wrote a letter to one who was under deep conviction of sin, and under much discouragement was seeking a saving interest in the Savior. My letter was made a comfort to him, and the advice I was enabled to give, proved a blessing. I have just received a letter of thanks, telling me he believes he has now obtained the pardon of sin — but was suffering under sore temptations, and was passing through a severe conflict. But one portion of the letter struck me as likely to be useful to others, especially to the young, therefore I copy it, in order to make a few remarks upon it. It is this:
"Oh, that I had given my heart to the Savior when I was a boy — I would not now have to suffer this remorse of conscience! I have truly proved Satan to be a hard task-master — but I will serve him no more! God give me grace to resist him!"
How often we have heard people regret that they served Satan so long — and sought the Lord so late. But we never heard anyone regret that he sought the Lord so soon, or broke off from Satan's service so early. How many we have known who have been made to possess the iniquities of their youth, and have found all their latter days clouded, by the effects of their early transgressions. When God has forgiven us — we cannot forgive ourselves. Satan will accuse us with the past, and trouble us with temptations which derive their power from our former course; and through the memory, bring back former scenes to harass and distress us. Oh, the pangs felt by one who has lived long in sin, even after being savingly converted to God!
Mark my friend's view of religion — it is giving the heart to the Savior. Jesus asks for our hearts. He created them for himself. He desires them for his residence. He wishes to make them holy and happy. He might seize them by his power, or command them by his authority — but he stoops to ask for them, as if we were doing him a favor. "My son — give me your heart."
But he is refused. His request is slighted. He is treated with contempt, and the heart is given to the world, to sin, to Satan, to anyone, or anything in preference to him! Is it not astonishing, that he will accept it at all after this? Yet, he never refuses the heart that is sincerely offered to him. However polluted, however depraved, however hardened by sin — he receives it and washes it in his blood, softens it by his love, and adorns it with the graces of his Holy Spirit. He takes the heart that was only fit fuel for everlasting burnings — and makes it fit for the presence and enjoyment of God! How astonishing!
How many have testified that Satan was a hard task-master — but no one ever found Jesus so. The very pleasures of sin — are a vile and degrading bondage! But the service, the religion of Jesus — is perfect freedom. Every servant of Jesus will speak well of his service, and better of the Master. No one ever regretted entering into his service, or wished they had delayed to do so longer. Oh no! His service is sweet. His yoke is easy. His burden is light.
To serve Jesus on earth is pleasant — but what will it be to serve him in Heaven?
The service of Satan is hard on earth — but what will it be in Hell?
The work of sin is bad enough — but what will the wages of sin be!
No slavery is like the slavery of sin!
No task-master is half so iron-handed as Satan!
No end is so dreadful as the end of a sinner's course! His light will go out in blackness of darkness. His day will end in a night of eternal agony and woe.
Reader, have you given your heart to Jesus?
Is he enthroned in your affections?
Have you felt your need of him?
Have you felt an all-conquering desire after him?
Have you gone as a poor sinner to him?
Have you cried to him for mercy?
Have you laid your heart at his feet?
Are your affections set on things above, or on things below?
You may judge yourself, and ascertain your true state by this, for where the treasure is — there will the heart be also.
If you have not given your heart to Jesus — do so at once. If there is a doubt about it, surrender it afresh, and make the matter sure.
Are you young? A young man or a young woman? Then let me beseech you to give your heart to the Savior, while you are yet young. Ah how many have said, "I wish I had given my heart to the Savior when I was a boy! I wish I had given my heart to the Savior when I was a girl!" You may escape the remorse suffered by such, and while you are yet young, you may enjoy the sweetness, the power, the pleasures of real religion.
"I will serve Satan no more! God give me grace to resist!" said my friend. May you say so too.
You have served Satan long enough — too long! Break off from him then at once. Flee to Jesus at once. Seek grace to resist him at once. There is a throne of grace — fall on your knees before it. God gives grace to the graceless — ask him to give grace to you. He gives more grace to those who have a little — seek more grace.
In a word, seek to be a very decided, devoted, and useful Christian. You may be. God will make you so, if you desire to be so, and if you put yourselves into his hands to be made so.
Jesus Christ is just suited to you.
He alone can make you happy.
He alone can make you holy.
He alone can give you a title to Heaven.
He alone can make you a blessing on earth.
He alone can blot out all your past sins — and give you wisdom, strength, and grace to enable you to honor him in future.
My friend obtained pardon — and so may you. He obtained mercy — and so may you. He has become a new creature — and so may you! Oh, that you were wise — that you may understand these things, and would consider your latter end! Oh, that before you rise up from reading these lines — you may give your heart to Jesus, to be his wholly, his entirely, and his forever!
Why should this earth delight us so?
Why should we fix our eyes
On those low grounds where sorrows grow,
And every pleasure dies?
While time his sharpest teeth prepares
Our comforts to devour,
There is a land above the stars,
And joys above his power!