Do Not Linger

Taken from J.C. Ryle's sermon on Genesis 19:16 — "He lingered."

But to walk closely with God--to be really spiritually-minded--to behave like strangers and pilgrims--to be distinct from the world in employment of time, in conversation, in amusements, in dress--to bear a faithful witness for Christ in all places--to leave a savour of our Master in every society--to be prayerful, humble, unselfish, good-tempered, quiet, easily pleased, charitable, patient, meek--to be jealously afraid of all manner of sin, and tremblingly alive to our danger from the world--these, these are still rare things! They are not common among those who are called true Christians, and, worst of all, the absence of them is not felt and bewailed as it should be.

In a day like this I venture to offer counsel to every believing reader of this paper. Do not turn away from it. Do not be angry with me for plain speaking. I bid you "give diligence to make your calling and election sure," (2 Peter i. 10.) I bid you not to be slothful--not to be careless, not to be content with a small measure of grace--not be satisfied with being a little better than the world. I solemnly warn you not to attempt doing what never can be done--I mean, to serve Christ and yet keep in with the world. I call upon you, and beseech you to be a whole-hearted Christian, to follow after eminent holiness, to aim at a high degree of sanctification, to live a consecrated life, to present your body a "living sacrifice" unto God, to "walk in the spirit." (Rom. xii. 1; Gal. v. 25.) I charge you, and exhort you--by all your hopes of heaven and desires of glory, if you would be happy, if you would be useful--do not be a lingering soul.

Would you know what the times demand?--The shaking of nations--the uprooting of ancient things--the overturning of kingdoms--the stir and restlessness of men's minds--what do they say? They all cry aloud--Christian! do not linger!

Would you be found ready for Christ at His second appearing--your loins girded--your lamp burning--yourself bold, and prepared to meet Him? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy much sensible comfort in your religion--feel the witness of the Spirit within you--know whom you have believed--and not be a gloomy, complaining, sour, downcast, and melancholy Christian? Then do not linger!

Would you enjoy strong assurance of your own salvation, in the day of sickness, and on the bed of death?--Would you see with the eye of faith heaven opening and Jesus rising to receive you? Then do not linger!

Would you leave great broad evidences behind you when you are gone?--Would you like us to lay you in the grave with comfortable hope, and talk of your state after death without a doubt? Then do not linger!

Would you be useful to the world in your day and generation?--Would you draw men from sin to Christ, adorn your doctrine, and make your Master's cause beautiful and attractive in their eyes? Then do not linger!

Would you help your children and relatives towards heaven, and make them say, "We will go with you"?--and not make them infidels and despisers of all religion? Then do not linger!

Would you have a great crown in the day of Christ's appearing, and not be the least and smallest star in glory, and not find yourself the last and lowest in the kingdom of God? Then do not linger!

Oh, let not one of us linger! Time does not--death does not--judgment does not--the devil does not--the world does not. Neither let the children of God linger.

Ryle, J. C. (2010-04-27). Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots (pp. 138-139).  . Kindle Edition.

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For the Sake of the Kingdom of Heaven

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