I have just been reading through Ray Comfort's book on the life and quotes of DL Moody called "Moody Gold". There is one account in this book that I will never forget because it is a terrifying story, and a frightening reminder, that as sinners grow older, their hearts grow colder. And that there comes a time where they cannot find a place for repentance. Please read this story as told by DL Moody . . .
I remember a few years ago while I was still working in my church, I closed the meeting one night by asking any that would like to become Christians to rise, and to my great joy, a man arose who had been anxious for some time. I went up to him and took him by the hand and shook it, and said, "I am glad to see you get up. You are coming out for the Lord in earnest, are you not?"
"Yes" said he, "I think so. That is, there is only one thing in my way."
"What's that?" said I.
"Well" said he, "I lack moral courage. I confess to you that if such a man (naming a friend of his) had been here tonight I should not have risen. He would laugh at me if he knew of this, and I don't believe I have the courage to tell him."
"But" said I, "You have to come out boldly for the Lord if you come out at all".
While I talked with him he was trembling from head to foot, and I believe the Spirit was striving earnestly with him. He came back the next night, and the next, and the next; the Spirit of God strove woth him for weeks; it seemed as if he came to the very threshold of heaven, and was almost stepping over into the blessed world. I never could find out any reason for his hesitation, except that he feared his old companions would laugh at him.
At last the Spirit of God seemed to leave him; conviction was gone. Six months from that time I got a message from him that he was sick and he wanted to see me. I went to him in great haste. He was very sick, and thought he was dying. He asked me if there was any hope. Yes, i told him, God had sent Christ to save him; and i prayed with him.
Contrary to all expectations he recovered. One day I went down to see him. It was a bright, beautiful day, and he was sitting out in front of his house.
"You are coming out for God now, aren't you? You will be well enough soon to come back to our meetings again."
"Mr. Moody", said he, "I have made up my mind to become a Christian. My mind is fully made up to that, but I won't be one just now. I am going to Michigan to buy a farm and settle down, and then I will become a Christian."
"But you don't know yet that you will get well."
"O," said he, "I shall be perfectly well in a few days. I have got a new lease of life."
I pleaded with him, and tried every way to get him to take his stand. At last he said, "Mr. Moody, I can't be a Christian in Chicago. When I get away from Chicago, and get to Michigan, away from my friends and acquaintances who laugh at me, I will be ready to go to Christ."
"If God has not grace enough to save you in Chicago, He has not in Michigan" I answered.
At last he got a little irritated and said, "Mr. Moody, I'll take the risk," and so I left him.
I well remember the day of the week, Thursday, about noon, just one week from that very day, when I was sent for by his wife to come in great haste. I hurried there at once. His poor wife met me at the door, and I asked her what was the matter.
"My husband," she said, "has had a relapse; I have just had a council of physicians here, and they have all given him up to die."
"Does he want to see me?" I asked.
"Then why did you send for me?"
"I cannot bear to see him die in this terrible state of mind."
"What does he say?" I asked.
"He says his damnation is sealed, and he will be in hell in a little while."
I went in, and he at once fixed his eyes upon me. I called him by name but he was silent. I went around to the foot of the bed, and looked at his face and said, "Won't you speak to me?", and at last he fixed that terrible deathly look upon me and said:
"Mr. Moody, you need not talk to me any more. It is too late. You can talk to my wife and children; pray for them; but my heart is as hard as the iron in that stove there. My damnation is sealed, and I shall be in hell in a little while."
I tried to tell him of Jesus' love and God's forgiveness, but he said, "Mr. Moody, I tell you there is no hope for me." And as I fell on my knees, he said, "You need not pray for me. My wife will soon be left a widow and my children will be fatherless; they need your prayers, but you need not pray for me."
I tried to pray , but it seemed as if my prayers didn't go higher than my head, and as if heaven above me was like brass. The next day, his wife told me, he lingered until the sun went down, and from noon until he died all he was heard to say was, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved." After lingering along for an hour he would say again those awful words, and just as he was expiring his wife noticed his lips quiver, and that he was trying to say something, and as she bent over him she heard him mutter, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved." He lived a Christless life, he died a Christless death - we wrapped him in a Christless shroud, and bore him away to a Christless grave.
Are there some here that are almost persuaded to be Christians? Take my advice and don't let anything keep you away. Fly to the arms of Jesus this hour. You can be saved if you will.
(Excerpt from p62-64, Moody Gold, compiled by Ray Comfort).