by A. S. Ormsby
"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.'*—Acts xxvi. 28.
"They called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go."—Gen. xiv. 58.
"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."—2 Cor. vi. 2.
"Almost persuaded" now to believe;
"Almost persuaded" Christ to receive,
Seems now some soul to say!
"Go, Spirit, go Thy way!
Some more convenient day
On Thee I'll call"
"Almost persuaded!" What solemn words for any man to utter! Yet they were uttered once, and in principle, they are being uttered day by day by the hundreds who throng the churches and chapels of our land.
My reader, "Are you a Christian? Are your sins forgiven? Have you got eternal life?" You say, "No." Then literally you are only "almost persuaded." You go to a meeting, you hear a solemn warning, or it may be a loving invitation given in God's name; you realize for a few moments the tremendous importance of having salvation, the urgent necessity of fleeing from the wrath to come. You are interested, aroused, convicted; but, alas! not converted, though you leave the place with the full intention of having the matter settled between you and God. But Satan is ready to catch away the "good seed" which has been sown. You find an invitation on your return home to a ball, a concert, theatricals, next week. You feel you must accept it; you cannot yet give up the "friendship of the world," though you know that it is "enmity with God." Oh, poor soul! poor soul! How all heaven mourns over your indecision! God warning, and you indifferent; Christ pleading, and you unaffected; the Holy Ghost striving, and you resisting. What will the end be? The end so near, so close at hand—
"Almost persuaded!" harvest is past;
"Almost persuaded!" doom comes at last.
"I have my business to attend to, my family to look after; I have no time to think of these things," was the reply of a well-to-do tradesman to whom I was saying a few words about Christ. Ah! he had time to settle his accounts, time to visit the public-house, time to go to the theatre; but no time to think about Christ, no time to thank God for the gift of His Son, no time to look eternity in the face.
Is it so with you? Oh, beware! There was another man of whom we are told, that, as Paul reasoned before him of "righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come," he was so deeply affected that he "trembled;" but what did he say? "Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." (Acts xxiv. 25) And so Paul, the aged prisoner, was led back to his dark, damp dungeon, and Felix returned to his life of luxury and pleasure; and the "convenient season," so far as we know, never arrived. And if you are only "almost persuaded" to-day, and death were to lay its relentless grasp upon you to-night, let me warn you, you would be altogether LOST. If you die only "almost" saved, it is to be altogetherlost. Lost for eternity!
Very urgent was Eliezer's entreaty: "Send me away that I may go to my Master." (Gen. xxiv. 56) His Master's was a message which admitted of no delay, no indecision. The answer must at once be given. And so the damsel was called, and the question was put: "Wilt thou go with this man?" and direct and definite came the ready response, "I will go" There was no hesitation, no indecision, no demand for delay, from the one whose heart had been sought for Isaac. Her whole future was, as it were, staked upon the reply to that question; hence, she felt it was one not to be trifled with. All the joy of union with Israel, all the glory and honour of connection with him, might be forfeited by an undecided reply. And so we find that friends and relations who might have hindered the ready (they may have thought rash) acceptance of the message, saying, "Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten" are unheeded; and promptly and confidently she decides to go.
These are just two pages out of the life-histories of two persons written for our admonition by the Spirit of God. In the one case, we see a man "almost," in the other, a woman altogether "persuaded." In the one, we see a man unsatisfied, and yet undecided to become a Christian; in the other, a woman satisfied, and decided to go to Isaac (type of Christ in resurrection).
Only a page out of two life histories; short, but, oh, how solemn! Only a servant delivering a message, by two persons to be so differently received. Only a moment, when, unknown to each, the turning-point in life's road is reached, and the goal is fixed for eternity.
And thus it is going on all around us day by day. The many in the churches and chapels "almost persuaded," the few fully decided for Christ. Which are you? Oh, if undecided up to this moment, we plead with you to be so no longer! How sad we think it, a noble vessel to be lost within sight of home! How solemn, as well as sorrowful, if you should be lost within sight of Heaven! "Almost persuaded" to be a Christian, "almost persuaded" to be saved—
"Almost, but lost."
God places a period of time before you. He says, "Now is the accepted time;" nay, more, He says, "Now is the day of salvation." Beware of saying "to-morrow" when God says "to-day!" Beware of saying "by-and-by," when He says "NOW!"
"Almost persuaded!" come, come to-day;
"Almost persuaded!" turn not away;
Jesus invites you here, angels are lingering near,
Prayers rise from hearts so dear, oh, wanderer, come!