3. This duty is enforced by our obligation to employ all our time for the glory of God. If we neglect the systematic arrangement of all our affairs, we lose much precious time, which might have been employed in the service of the Lord.
I shall close this letter with a few remarks upon the nature of obligation. The very idea of obligation supposes the possibility of the thing being done that is required. There can be no such thing as our being under obligation to do what is in its own nature impossible. The idea itself is absurd. This principle is recognized by our Lord in the parable of the talents. The man only required of his servants according to their ability. Nothing, then, is duty except what can be done at the present moment. There are other things which may be duty hereafter; but they are not present duty. Now, the great principle which I would here establish is, as I have elsewhere remarked, that the obligation of duty rests upon the present moment. No principle can be of greater importance in practical life than this. It lies at the foundation of all Christian effort. It is the neglect of it which has ruined thousands of immortal souls, who have sat under the sound of the gospel. It is the neglect of it which keeps the church so low. If it is the duty of a sinner to repent, it is his duty to do it now; and every moment’s delay is a new act of rebellion against God. If it is the duty of a backslider to return and humble himself before God, it is his duty to do it now; and every moment he delays, he is going farther from God, and rendering his return more difficult. If it is the duty of a Christian to live near to God; to feel his presence; to hold communion with him; to be affected with the infinite beauty and excellence of his holy character; the obligation of that duty rests upon the present moment. Every moment’s delay is sin. And so of every other duty. Our first object, then, is to know present duty; our second, to do it. We cannot put off anything which we ought to do now, without bringing guilt upon our Souls.
Your affectionate Brother.
“She hath done what she could.”—MARK 14:8.
You doubtless feel a deep interest in the great benevolent enterprises of the present day. No one who possesses the spirit of our Master can be indifferent towards them. It is important, then, that you should know what you can do towards moving forward these enterprises. For, remember that your obligation is as extensive as your ability. Christ commended the woman, referred to in the passage above quoted for doing “what she could.” If you do more than any within the circle of your acquaintance, and yet leave undone anything that you