They were having a great banquet one night at Thebes in Greece. The chief ruler, Archias, and the other magnates of the city had taken their seats at the banqueting table; and the dancers and singers had commenced their entertainment. There were enemies plotting against the life of Archias and his companions. In the midst of the banquet a friend brought to him a sealed letter, warning him that he was in peril of assassination. Archias glanced at it and then, laying it aside, said, "Pleasure tonight. Business tomorrow." In a short time the assassins, who were diguised as female entertainers, drew their daggers and slew Archias and his companions.
For the great business of eternal life there is only one time, and that it today.
The only convenient season is God's season. Clement L. Vallandigham—the eloquent, powerful, and somewhat notorious "Copperhead" and opponent of Lincoln's administration—came of godly parents, his father being the pastor of the Presbyterian church at Lisbon, Ohio. Although he was the subject of many prayers and had before him daily the example of true Christian living, Vallandigham deferred till well along in life a profession of faith in Christ as his Saviour.
In a beautiful letter written in 1855 to his brother he pays an eloquent tribute to his godly home and his saintly father and mother, and then says: "Yet in all this have I not seen God visibly, palpably, seen and felt him as my God and Redeemer. Religion has ever been to me a thing belonging to the future, a something some day to be sought after, certainly to be sought after, but tomorrow. That tomorrow never came: there was no such thing in all God's creation to come; and I knew and realized it not these many years. Fool that I was! Tomorrow was ever one day in advance. Yesterday, this day, was the morrow. It came, but it was no longer tomorrow, but Today with all its terribleness, and it was all that belonged to me."
Listen! I hear the strains of music—glad, joyous, triumphant music. It is the song of those who overcame, who reached their goal, who won the prize, who escaped from the bondage of sin and habit, who stood on the stage of influence and usefulness, who drank the golden cup of happiness, who came off conquerors and more than conquerors. They are the men who said "Today."
Listen! I hear another music—not the music of triumph and gladness, but the music of a dirge, a lamentation, rising and falling in mournful measures. It is the song of those who lost the way and now wander in darkness, who threw away their talents and wasted their gifts, who are hopelessly enwound with the chains of evil habit, who cry in vain for loved ones hid in death's dateless night, whose lights went out while they slept and who now cry in vain at the golden gates of eternal life, "Open to us!" But the only answer that comes back is that word "Too late!"
When we say, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow" (Prov. 27:1), we do not mean that a man is not to take wise forethought for tomorrow. Any worthy life must plan nobly for tomorrow. Most of the blessings of civilization and liberty which we enjoy are fruit sown by men who thought about tomorrow. We should all plan for greater things, statelier mansions, a nobler life, tomorrow—and a life tomorrow that is better than today's. But no one can boast of tomorrow. No one can count on tomorrow. How many good things were going to be done tomorrow but were never done; for tomorrow was always one day ahead, or always one day behind—Yesterday.
He was going to be all that a mortal should be Tomorrow.
No one should be finder or braver than he Tomorrow.
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do Tomorrow.
Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd write Tomorrow.
And thought of the fol\s he would fill with delight Tomorrow.
It was too bad, indeed, he was busy today,
And hadn't a minute to stop on his way;
More time he would have to give others, he'd say, Tomorrow.
The greatest of workers this man would have been Tomorrow.
The world would have known him, had he ever seen Tomorrow.
But the fact is he died and faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do Tomorrow
A man once had a vision in which he seemed to be standing in the midst of an assembly of evil spirits. On the throne sat their dark ruler, Satan, grasping the scepter of wickedness in his hand. Summoning his subjects about him, Satan said in a loud voice, "Who will go to earth and persuade men to accomplish the ruin of their souls?"
One of the attendant spirits said, "I will go."
"And how will you persuade them?" asked the grim monarch.
"I will persuade them," was the answer, "that there is no heaven."
But Satan replied: "No, that will not do. You will never be able to force such a belief on the generality of mankind."
Then a second spoke up and said, "I will go."
"And how will you persuade them?" asked Satan.
"I will persuade them that there is no hell."
But again Satan answered: "That will not do. You will never persuade the generality of men that that is so, for conscience will witness against you. We must have something else, something which will appeal to all classes and ages and dispositions and which will be acceptable to the human race as a whole."
Thereupon a dark spirit glided forward and said, "Satan, I will go."
"And what wilt thou tell them?" asked Satan.
"I will tell them," answered the spirit, "that there is no hurry."
He was the spirit chosen to go—and still he is abroad in the earth.
Tomorrow is the chain that binds men to loathsome habit. Tomorrow is the barred and bolted door that shuts man out from the house of his dreams. "Tomorrow" is the epitaph upon the graves of those who failed and came short of life's true goal. Tomorrow is the downward path that leads men into the land of regret. Tomorrow is the siren's song that seduces men from the path of duty. Tomorrow is the slumber that paralyzes the energies of man. Tomorrow is the snare that traps men's feet. Tomorrow is the sword of self-destruction upon which men fall. "Tomorrow" is the word cut over the realms of the lost. "Tomorrow" is the word which, in that kingdom of the lost, blends with that other word "Never, nevermore." "Today" is the Holy Ghost's word. "Tomorrow" is the word of the tempter and deceiver of mankind.