from a blog post here , an opening quote read by Clint Clifton at a seminar on Evangelism. The Quote is from a sermon by Edward Payson.
What is below is an edited version of the end of his sermon.. with some words changed to modernize it.
I cannot, must not, however, conclude, without addressing a word, my professing friends, to you. And I hope you will bear with me, if, in view of such a subject as this, I address you with obvious severity.
We all deserve damnation, a thousand times, for our stupid insensibility to the situation of those, who are perishing around us. We profess to believe the word of God; but can you prove that you believe it? Do you act, as if you believed it? Do you believe that many of your acquaintances, your children, are in danger of the fate, which has been so vividly described in the bible?
Dare you go to God, and say, Lord, I believe thy word, I believe that all your warnings and threats will be fulfilled… and then, as if I believed nothing… turn away, and coolly pursue my worldly business, without uttering one agonizing cry for those, who are exposed to this danger? Dare you go and claim relationship to Christ, and profess to have his Spirit, and then make no effort, or only a few faint efforts, to save those, for whom he shed not tears only, but blood?
Here is what I have to say to you… go, inconsistent, cruel, hard-hearted professors; go, slumber over the ruin of immortal souls; wrap yourself up in your selfish temporal interests, and say, I have no time to spare for rescuing others from everlasting burnings. Go, wear out your life in acquiring property for your children, and leave their souls to perish in the fire that never shall be quenched. Go, adorn their bodies, and banish from their minds if possible… the knowledge of such a wicked disease… .and leave in their chest that immortal worm, which will gnaw them forever. And when God asks, where is your child? your brother? your friend? Reply, with the irreverent Cain, I know not, I care not: am I his keeper?
Say, then, Christian, do you believe that Christ died to save you from the misery, which I have so imperfectly described? Dost thou believe, that if he had not loved you and given himself for you, the gnawing worm and the unquenchable fire would have been your portion forever? O then, where is thy gratitude, thy love?
It is expressed in the act of becoming a witness of Jesus Christ to those who are melting into hell around you.
Edward Payson was a 18th century congregational pastor in New England, during the second great awakening. “National Preacher” Volume 35, Issue 8 on page 245.
(HT:Michael Mckinley at Ninemarks blog)