Biblical Perspectives Magazine, Volume 25, Number 2, January 8 to January 14, 2023

Alarm to the Unconverted


By Joseph Alleine


And now, beloved, let me know your mind. What do you intend to do? Will you go on and die—or will you turn and lay hold on eternal life? How long will you linger in Sodom? How long will you halt between two opinions? Have you not yet resolved whether Christ or Barabbas, whether bliss or torment, whether this vain and wretched world—or the paradise of God, is the better choice? Is it a disputable case whether the polluted waters of this world are better than all the streams of Eden; or whether the vile pool of sin is to be preferred before the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb? Can the world really do that for you, which Christ can? Will it stand by you to eternity? Will pleasures, lands, titles, and treasures go with you after death? If not, had you not need look after something that will? What do you mean to stand wavering? Shall I leave you at last, like Agrippa, only almost persuaded? You are forever lost if left here; as good be not at all—as not altogether a Christian. How long will you rest in idle wishes and fruitless purposes? When will you come to a fixed, firm, and full resolve? Do you not see how Satan cheats you by tempting you to delay? How long has he drawn you on in the way of perdition!

Well, do not put me off with a dilatory answer; tell me not later. I must have your immediate consent. If you are not now resolved, while the Lord is treating with you and inviting you, much less likely are you to be later, when these impressions are worn off, and you are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Will you give me your hand? Will you set open the door and give the Lord Jesus the full and ready possession? Will you put your name unto His covenant? What do you resolve upon? If you still delay, my labor is lost, and all is likely to come to nothing. Come, cast in your lot; make your choice. 'Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation; [2 Cor 6:2] today, if you will hear His voice.' [Heb 3:7] Why should not this be the day from which you are able to date your happiness? Why should you venture a day longer in this dangerous and dreadful condition? What if God should this night require your soul? O that you might know in this your day the things that belong to your peace, before they be hid from your eyes! This is your day—and it is but a day. Others have had their day—and have received their doom! And now are you brought upon the stage of this world, here to act your part for your eternity. Remember, if you do not make a wise choice now, you are undone forever. What your present choice is—such must be your eternal condition.

And is it true indeed? Are life and death at your choice? Why, then, what hinders but that you should be happy? Nothing does or can hinder but your own wilful neglect or refusal. It was the saying of the eunuch to Philip, 'See, here is water, what hinders me to be baptized?' [Acts 8:36] So I may say to you, 'See, here is Christ, here is mercy, pardon, life; what hinders you from being pardoned and saved?' One of the martyrs, as he was praying at the stake, had his pardon set by him in a box, which indeed he rightly refused, because upon unworthy terms; but here the terms are most honorable and easy. O sinner, will you perish with your pardon by you? Do but henceforth give your consent to Christ, to renounce your sins, deny yourself, take up the yoke and the cross—and you win the day. Christ is yours; pardon, peace, life, blessedness, are all yours. And is not this an offer worth embracing? Why should you hesitate or doubtfully dispute about the case? Is it not past controversy whether God is better than sin—and glory than vanity? Why should you forsake your own mercy—and sin against your own life? When will you shake off your sloth, and lay by your excuses? Boast not of tomorrow, you know not where you may lodge this night!

Now the Holy Spirit is striving with you. He will not always strive. Have you not felt your heart warmed by the Word, and been almost persuaded to leave off your sins and come to Christ? Have you not felt some motions in your mind, in which you have been warned of your danger, and told what your careless course would end in? It may be you are like young Samuel who, when the Lord called once and again, knew not the voice of the Lord—but these motions are the offers, and callings, and strivings of the Spirit. O take advantage of the tide, and know the day of your visitation.

Now the Lord Jesus stretches wide His arms to receive you. He beseeches you by us. How movingly, how meltingly, how compassionately He calls. The church is put into a sudden ecstasy at the sound of His voice, 'it is the voice of my beloved!' [Song 2:8]. O will you turn a deaf ear to His voice? Is it not the voice that breaks the cedars, and makes the mountains to skip like a calf; that shakes the wilderness, and divides the flames of fire? It is not Sinai's thunder—but a soft and still voice. It is not the voice of Mount Ebal, a voice of cursing and terror—but the voice of Mount Gerizim, the voice of blessing and glad tidings of good things. It is not the voice of the trumpet nor the noise of war—but a message of peace from the King of peace. I may say to you, O sinner, as Martha to her sister, 'The Master has come, and he is calling for you.' [John 11:28] Now then, with Mary, arise quickly and come unto Him.

How sweet are His invitations! He cries in the open concourse, 'If any man thirsts—let him come unto me and drink' (John 7:37). How bountiful is He! He excludes none. 'Whoever will, let him take the water of life freely' (Rev 22:17). 'Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine that I have mingled. Forsake the foolish and live' (Prov 9:5-6). 'Come unto me, take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, and you shall find rest to your souls' (Matt 11:28-29). 'Him who comes to me, I will never cast out' (John 6:37).

How does He bemoan the obstinate refuser! 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered your children, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings—and you would not!' (Matt 23:37). 'Behold me, behold me: I have stretched out my hands all the day to a rebellious people' (Isa 65:1-2). O be persuaded now at last to throw yourselves into the arms of His love.

Behold! The Lord Jesus has thrown open the prison doors—and now He comes to you by His ministers, and beseeches you to come out. If it were from a palace or paradise that Christ did call you, it were no wonder that you were unwilling; and yet how easily was Adam beguiled from it; but it is from your prison, from your chains, from the dungeon, from the darkness, that He calls you, and yet will you not come? He calls you unto liberty, and yet will you not hearken? His yoke is easy, His laws are liberty, His service is freedom, and whatever prejudice you may have against His ways, if God may be believed, you shall find them all pleasure and peace, and shall taste sweetness and joy unutterable, and take infinite delight and felicity in them (Prov 3:17; 1 Pet 1:8; Psalm 119:103,111,165).

Beloved, I am reluctant to leave you. I cannot tell how to give you up. I am now ready to close—but I would see a covenant made between Christ and you before I end. What! shall I leave you at last as I found you? Have you read thus far, and not yet resolved to abandon all your sins and to close with Jesus Christ? Alas, what shall I say? What shall I do? Will you throw away all my importunity? Have I run in vain? Have I used so many arguments, and spent so much time to persuade you—and must I sit down at last in disappointment? But it is a small matter that you disregard me; you put a slight upon the God who made you; you reject the compassion and beseechings of a Savior, and will be found resisters of the Holy Spirit—if you will not now be prevailed upon to repent and be converted.

Well, though I have called you long, and you have refused, I shall yet this once more lift up my voice like a trumpet, and cry from the highest places of the city before I conclude, with the miserable exclamation, 'All is over!' Once more I shall call after heedless sinners, that, if it be possible, I may awaken them; 'O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord' (Jer 22:29). Unless you are resolved to die, lend your ears to the last calls of mercy. Behold, in the name of God, I make open proclamation to you, 'Hearken unto me, O children; hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not' (Prov 8:32-33).

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." (Isa 55:1-3).

Ho, everyone who is sick of any manner of disease or torment—or is possessed with an evil spirit, whether of pride, fury, lust—or covetousness—come to the Physician! Bring your sick! Lo, here is He who heals all manner of sicknesses, and all manner of diseases, among the people (Matt 4:23-24).

Ho, everyone who is in distress, gather yourselves unto Christ, and He will become a Captain over you. He will be your protection from the arrests of the law; He will save you from the hand of justice. Behold, He is an open sanctuary to you; He is a known refuge. Away with your sins and come in unto Him, lest the avenger of blood seize you, lest devouring wrath overtake you.

Ho, every blind and ignorant sinner, come and buy eye salve, that you may see. Away with your excuses; you are forever lost if you continue in this state. But accept Christ for your Prophet, and He will be a light unto you. Cry unto Him for knowledge, study His Word, take pains about religion, humble yourself before God, and He will teach you His way, and make you wise unto salvation. But if you will not follow Him—but sit down because you have but one talent, He will condemn you for a wicked and slothful servant (Matt 25:24-26).

Ho, every profane sinner, come in and live! Return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy on you; be entreated. O return, come! You who have filled your mouth with oaths and execrations; all manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven you, if you will but thoroughly turn unto Christ and come in. O unclean sinner, put away your whoredoms out of your sight, and your adulteries from between your breasts, and give yourself unto Christ, as a vessel of holiness, alone for His use; and then, 'though your sins be as scarlet—they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson—they shall be as wool' (Luke 7:47; Isa 1:18; Hos 2:2).

Hear, O you drunkards, how long will you be drunk? Put away your wine. Though you have rolled in the filthiness of your sin, give yourselves unto Christ, to live soberly, righteously, and godly; embrace His righteousness; accept His government; and though you have been vile, He will wash you (Rev 1:5).

Hear, O you loose companions, whose delight is in vain and wicked society, to sport away your time in carnal mirth; come in at Wisdom's call, and choose her and her ways, and you shall live (Prov 9:5-6).

Hear, O you scorners, hear the word of the Lord. Though you make a mock at godliness and its professors, though you have made a scorn of Christ and His ways—yet even to you does He call, to gather you under the wings of His mercy. In a word, though you should be found among the worst of that black roll—yet upon your thorough conversion you shall be washed, you shall be sanctified, you shall be justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God (1 Cor 6:10-11).

Ho, every formal professor, you who are but lukewarm and resting in the form of godliness. Give over your halting; be a true Christian; be zealous and repent; and then, though you have been an offence to Christ—you shall be the joy of His heart (Rev 3:16-20).

And now bear witness that mercy has been offered you. 'I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that you may live' (Deut 30:19). I can only entreat you and warn you. I cannot otherwise compel you to be happy; if I could, I would. What answer will you send me with to my Master? Let me speak to you as Abraham's servant to Nahor's family, 'And now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me.' O for such a happy answer as Rebecca gave them: 'And they called Rebecca, and said unto her, Will you go with this man? and she said, I will go' (Gen 24:49-58). O that I had this answer from you!

Why should I, who agonize for your salvation—be your accuser? Why should the passionate pleadings of mercy be turned into horrid aggravations of your obstinacy and additions to your misery? Judge in yourselves; do you not think their condemnation will be doubly dreadful—who shall still go on in their sins, after all endeavors to recall them? Doubtless it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, yes, for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for you! (Matt 11:22-24).

Beloved, if you have any pity for your perishing souls, close with the present offers of mercy. If the God that made you have any authority with you, obey His command and come in. If you are not the despisers of grace, and would not shut the doors of mercy against yourselves, repent and be converted. Let not heaven stand open for you in vain. Let not the Lord Jesus open His stores and bid you buy without money and without price in vain. Let not His Spirit and His ministers strive with you in vain, and leave you now at last unpersuaded, lest the sentence go forth against you, 'The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out. They are called rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them' (Jer 6:29-30).

'Father of spirits, take the heart in hand that is too hard for my weakness. Do not end—though I have done. A word from Your effectual power will do the work. O You who has the key of David, who opens and no man shuts—open this heart, as You did Lydia's, and let the King of Glory enter in, and make this soul Your captive. Let not the tempter harden him in delays. Let him not stir from this place, nor take his eyes from these lines, until he resolves to forego his sins, and accept life on Your self-denying terms. In Your Name, O Lord God, did I go forth to these labors; in Your name do I close them. Let not all the time they have cost be lost hours; let not all the thoughts of the heart, and all the pains that have been about them be lost labor. Lord, put Your hand upon the heart of this reader, and send Your Spirit, as once You did Philip to join himself to the chariot of the eunuch while he was reading the Word. And though I should never know it while I live—yet I beseech You, O Lord God, let it be found at the last day that some souls are converted by these labors; and let some be able to stand forth and say that by these persuasions they were won unto You. Amen, Amen.' Let him who reads say, Amen.

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