A quaint preacher of the olden days in our country, Dan Baker, puts the
danger of delay in the way of a story. He tells of a man who was crossing the ocean. He
was leaning over the side of the vessel; it was a bright sunny day, and a wave broke the
surface of the water, just a little ripple here and there kissed by the rays of the sun.
And the man, as he leaned over the rail of the vessel, was tossing something in the air,
something which, when it fell through the sunlight, sparkled with singular radiance and
glory; and he watched it so eagerly as he tossed it up and caught it as it fell. He tossed
it up again and again and again, and it threw out its marvellous light as it fell through
the sunlight. At last an onlooker came and said, "May I ask what that is that you are
tossing up so carelessly?" "Certainly," he replied, "look at it, it is
a diamond." "Is it of much value?" asked the onlooker. "Yes, of very
great value. See the color of it, see the size of it. In fact, all I have in the world is
in that diamond. I am going to a new country to seek my fortune, and I have sold
everything I have, and have put it into that diamond, so as to get it into a portable
shape." "Then if it is so valuable, is it not an awful risk you are running in
tossing it up so carelessly?" "No risk at all. I have been doing this for the
last half-hour," said the man. "But there might come a last time," said the
onlooker; but the man laughed and threw it up again, and caught it as it fell, and again
and again, and once more, and it flashed and blazed with glory as it fell through the
sunlight, and he watches it so eagerly as it falls. Ah! but this time it is too far out.
He reaches as far as he can over the rail of the vessel, but he cannot reach far enough.
There is a little splash in the ocean. He leans far over the rail and tries to penetrate
with his eager gaze the unfathomable depths of deep blue ocean. Then cries, "Lost!
lost! lost! All I have in the world is lost!"
You say, "No man would be so great a fool as that; that story is
not true." That story is true, and the man is here tonight. Thou art the man! That
ocean is eternity; that vessel, life; that diamond, your soul, that soul of such priceless
value that Christ died to save it. And you have been trifling with it! I come to you
tonight and say, "My friend, what is that in your hand which you are playing with so
carelessly?" You say, "It is my soul." "Is it worth much?"
"Worth much? More than the whole round earth, ‘for what shall it profit a man if
he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’" "But don’t you think
you are taking an awful risk?" "Oh, no," you say, "I have been doing
this for the last five years, for the last ten, fifteen, twenty years." "Yes,
but you might do it once too often." "Oh, no," you say, and tonight once
more you throw it up. But you may throw it up once too often; it will fall too far out,
beyond your reach; there will be a splash, and you will try to look after it; not into the
impenetrable depths of the blue ocean, but into the unfathomable depths of the bottomless
pit as it sinks and sinks and sinks, and you will cry, "Lost! lost! lost! my soul is
lost!" That may be your cry some day. Come tonight, before it is too late, and put
your soul where it will be everlastingly safe, in the keeping of the Son of God.