How long will you love vanity?

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"How long will you love vanity?" Psalm 4:2

The Lord is often represented in His word as expostulating with us. He manifests the deepest interest, shows intense pity, and uses many means to draw us back from the vortex of ruin.

But man, thoughtless man, silly man . . .
  rushes on his way,
  trifles with his soul, and
  plays on the brink of the most dreadful precipice!

He is in love with his sin, and therefore in love with his own destruction! But God does not abandon him to despair—but touchingly, tenderly, lovingly, He expostulates with him and asks, "How long will you love vanity?"

Man by nature sets his heart upon what is vain and worthless—that which is not suited to, or required by, his immortal nature. Vanity represents that which is light, changeable, and of brief duration. Man displays his love of vanity . . .
  by preferring human friendship, to God's friendship,
  by thinking much more of the creature, than the Creator;
  by preferring earthly riches, to heavenly felicities;
  by preferring carnal pleasures, to spiritual delights!

Nor only so, but he manifests his foolishness by indulging in sin, the worst of vanities!

Look at the profane swearer, the drunkard, the glutton, the proud, the lover of pleasure. They are in love with vanity! They imagine that they shall have pleasure and enjoy happiness, but they never ponder the questions, "What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

God asks the lover of vanity, "How Long!" "How long will you love vanity?" You have been doing so for years. Some for twenty, some for forty, and some for sixty years! You have manifested love to vanity, though warned, though convinced you were doing wrong, though you have often promised to reform. You are still loving vanity . . .
  though mortality is at work within you,
  though death is very near to you,
  though eternity is within a step of you,
  though Hell is ready to receive you!

You persevere in loving vanity . . .
  while a pardon is presented to you,
  while peace with God may be enjoyed by you,
  while holiness may be obtained by you, and 
  while Heaven is within your reach!

How long will you love vanity?
Until some affliction unfits you to seek the world?
Until God's Spirit no longer strives with you?
Until Satan fills your heart?
Until God laughs at your calamity?
Until some sudden stroke takes you away to Hell?

How long?

Let your past foolishness suffice; and now, while the door of mercy is open, enter!

Now, while the way of escape is clear, flee for your life!

No one ever came too soon, thousands have delayed too long! No one ever regretted that he was saved too early, millions have cursed their folly that they were not saved at all! Myriads wish that they had never been born, because they persevered in such folly. Beware then, beware—lest you rue your folly too late! Love vanity no longer!