But if we consider how men generally conduct themselves in things on which their well-being infinitely more depends, how vast is the diversity! In these things how cold, lifeless, and dilatory! With what difficulty are a few, out of multitudes, excited to any tolerable degree of care and diligence, by the innumerable means used, in order to make them wise for themselves! And when some vigilance and activity is excited, how apt is it to die away, like a mere force against a natural tendency! What need of a constant repetition of admonitions and counsels, to keep the heart from falling asleep! How many objections are made! How are difficulties magnified! And how soon is the mind discouraged! How many arguments, often renewed, variously and elaborately enforced, do men stand in need of, to convince them of things that are almost self-evident! As that things which are eternal, are infinitely more important than things temporal, and the like. And after all, how very few are convinced effectually, or in such a manner as to induce them to a practical preference of eternal things! How senseless are men of the necessity of improving their time, as to their spiritual interest, and their welfare in another world! Though it be an endless futurity, and though it be their own personal, infinitely important good, that is to be cared for. Though men are so sensible of the uncertainty of their neighbours’ lives, when any considerable part of their own estates depends on the continuance of them; how stupidly senseless do they seem to be of the uncertainty of their own lives, when their preservation from immensely great, remediless, and endless misery, is risked by a present delay, through a dependence on future opportunity! What a dreadful venture will men carelessly and boldly run, repeat, and multiply, with regard to their eternal salvation; who yet are very careful to have everything in a deed or bond, firm, and without a flaw! How negligent are they of their special advantages and opportunities for their soul’s good! How hardly awakened by the most evident and imminent dangers, threatening eternal destruction, yea, though put in mind of them, and much pains taken to point them forth, show them plainly, and fully to represent them, if possible to engage their attention! How are they like the horse, that boldly rushes into the battle!
The Works of Jonathan Edwards Vol. 1 (Peabody, MA; Hendrickson Publishers, Inc; 2007) p. 158-159.