The Deceitfulness of Sin!
James Smith, 1859
A death-bed is a great revealer. Some time ago, I was called to visit a lovely young woman on her death-bed. She had regularly attended the means of grace, often felt impressed under the Scriptures — but never came to saving faith. She was suddenly seized with illness, which soon terminated fatally. On that sick bed, she saw things very differently to what she had done, and deeply regretted the course she had pursued. Often on her dying pillow, she was heard to exclaim, "Oh the deceitfulness of sin! Oh the deceitfulness of sin!" She now saw that it had deceived her, and bitterly regretted that she had yielded to its fascinations.
Reader! Sin is very deceitful. It never appears at first in its true colors — but wears a mirthful garment to deceive. Beware of it, lest it deceive you. Many have never been undeceived — until it was too late; the door of mercy was closed, and they were beyond the reach of salvation.
JANE JONES was a lively, good-tempered, kind young woman. Her conduct was moral, and she stood well with her employers. She read her Bible, sometimes attended a place of worship — -and her case appeared very hopeful. But she was invited to a public dance. She hesitated about going. She was pressed, and was assured there was no harm in it. She went. She was fascinated. She soon gave up reading her Bible. Then she neglected public worship, and went out visiting friends on the Lord's day. She acquired a fondness for dress, for mirthful company, for music, for parties — in a word, for all that was frivolous and mirthful.
But in the end, she was ruined. She lost her job and her character, her conscience became hardened, she could laugh at serious things, and became a victim to the deceitfulness of sin. One step led on to another, until she perished in her own deceivings, and became the victim of her own folly!
Had she refused to go to the dance, had she kept to her Bible and the house of prayer — she might have lived respected, and died happy.
Young woman! Beware of the village dancing-room. It was the ruin of Jane Jones — and has been the ruin of thousands beside!
SAMUEL SMITH was a sober, steady, and industrious young man. He promised well. In the Sunday school he had learned many useful lessons, and under a faithful minister became "almost a Christian." But he was urged to join a club which met at a tavern, and, from an exaggerated representation of its advantages — at length did so. At first he went, paid his money, drank his pint of beer, and returned home. At length he took a pipe of tobacco. Soon after, he remained to hear one song. Soon he became fond of the society of vain, mirthful, thoughtless young men — and at times drank so much that could not walk straight when he went home. A craving for strong drink, mirthful company, and foolish jests was produced, and step by step he was led on until he squandered his property, destroyed his health, and ruined his soul!
Disease was generated by his bad habits — his constitution was undermined, and he sank into a premature grave. He was another victim to "the deceitfulness of sin."
Young man! avoid the tavern as you would a house full of disease! Join no society or club which holds its meetings there. The ruin of thousands has been accelerated thereby. If you take one step in sin — you will be tempted to take another, and another, until you are undone! Yielding to temptation, is like making a break in a huge dam — the waters will soon become all-powerful, and carry everything before them. If you begin — you cannot stop when you will; for habits are soon formed — but, once formed, are not easily broken off! Hence that fearful text of Scripture, "Let the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots — then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil."
HENRY MAYNE was a kind-hearted, amiable lad, a good son, and a faithful employee. His conscience was tender, his conduct was consistent. His mother was proud of him, and his father used to say, "there was not a better lad in the town than our Henry!" He had just turned his eighteenth year when he was coaxed away one day to the races. There he was introduced into mirthful company, which proved a snare to him. He became selfish, and his temper was soon soured. He could not bear the restraints of home. He was now too much of a 'man' to be tied to his mother's apron string — nor would he put up with the old man's lectures. If he earned money — he had a right to do what he pleased with it, and he would, too!
He left home, went to lodge with a loose young man, and was soon added to the number of those who are destroyed through "the deceitfulness of sin." Poor Henry! he might have been a respectable young man, a useful member of society, and a happy Christian — but sin deceived him, and he died as he lived — a slave to his passions, one of the dupes of Satan — led captive by the devil at his will.
Reader! beware of yielding to temptation! Beware, Oh beware, of taking the first step in the road to ruin! Seek grace from God in prayer, to enable you to live godly, righteously, and soberly in the present world. Keep, Oh keep eternity in view, for you must live forever in happiness — or woe! Your eternal destiny is fixed — by the course you pursue in time. There is a strait gate and a narrow way that leads to glory, and comparatively few go in thereat: and there is a wide gate and a broad road that leads to destruction — and multitudes, multitudes, go in thereat! Strive, therefore, to enter in at the strait gate, and be sure you enter it by a living faith. It leads to the way of holiness, it conducts to the presence of God.
Do not be deceived by sin! Do not walk in the way of sinners. Young woman! avoid the dancing-room, it is one of the first steps to ruin! Young man! avoid the tavern, and the race-course — for there Satan lies in wait to destroy. The best way to escape from all the traps and snares that Satan lays for you — is to come to Jesus, and be saved from sin and the wrath to come through him!