by Archibald Alexander

Between truth and error, light and darkness, there is a perpetual conflict. Every human soul experiences something of this. Evidence is always on the side of truth; but by the mind blinded by prejudice and passion, the evidence of truth is not seen, or not perceived with sufficient clearness to give it efficacy. A mind under the influence of depraved dispositions is incapable of judging impartially of the nature and evidence of truth; it is strongly biased by inclination to sinful indulgence, and by a fixed aversion to everything which tends to restrain the evil desires of the corrupt heart. Yet some rays of light will at times dart into such a soul, and awaken serious reflection; and conscience cannot be easy when the obligation of duty is felt, and the course pursued is seen to be a series of transgressions of God's holy law. Conscience asserts the rightful authority of God, and testifies against known sin.

The sinner is brought to a pause. The thoughts of death, judgment, and eternity, are dreadful. He begins to think of a reformation, the necessity of which he cannot doubt; but some darling lust puts in its plea and solicits indulgence. The deceitful heart promises, that if now indulged, it will consent to forsake the beloved sin at some future time—perhaps it promises never to solicit for indulgence again. "This once only" has been the plea which has often decided the eternal destiny of an immortal soul.

When the truth is heard from the pulpit, the sinner is often brought to a stand. He is convinced that his course of life is wrong, and that if persisted in, it must end in ruin. For a moment he hesitates—halts between two opinions—between truth and error, between duty and transgression, between the choice of life or death; but too often the pause is momentary, the hesitation which is painful is brought abruptly to a close.

The young man just entering on the path of sinful indulgence, whose conscience is not yet seared, and who has some knowledge of the truth--has to pass through many a tremendous struggle with his own conscience before he can go on in his sinful course without opposition. Often is he brought to halt between two opinions. Often does he resolve to break the chains of iniquity which begin to entwine around him; but these resolutions are like the cords on Samson's arms—under the power of the next temptation, they are like thread when it touches fire. Repeated efforts proving ineffectual, the vanquished soul gives itself up a willing captive to Satan. All serious opposition ceases. And now the sinner begins to justify his course by error and infidelity. He becomes ingenious in finding out arguments in favor of his licentious course. Hereafter there is no more halting between two opinions; he is carried down the strong current, until he plunges into the abyss of perdition!

The prophet addressed the idolatrous Israelites with the question, "How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." The object of Elijah was to bring them to a decision, one way or the other. Nothing is more unreasonable than hesitation in a matter so important, and where the duty and interest of those addressed were so manifest. But still they are left to choose. If they are willing to serve God, well; if not, choose whom you will serve. Only halt no longer. God hates this perpetual vacillation. "I wish that you were cold or hot," says Christ. "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of my mouth."

Sinner, make up your mind. You are left at perfect liberty. There is no constraint, no coercion. God will have none but willing servants. But know, that if you make a wrong choice, if your mind adopt a wrong purpose, and determine to follow an evil course, you will have no one to blame but yourself.