Now or Never

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
IN the northern part of the kingdom, a few years ago, a young coal miner had to descend a mine before the rest of the pitmen arrived. It was about two o'clock in the morning. He stepped into the cage, and was soon slowly descending the shaft, some sixty fathoms in depth. For a short time after leaving the edge of the shaft all went well; but suddenly, when some twenty fathoms below the surface, the cage caught the side of the pit, and tore away a portion of the woodwork; some of it fell down the shaft, other portions fell upon the top of the cage. The young man was in imminent peril, and he knew that, unless some great deliverance came, the cage must be smashed to pieces and he be a dead man in a few more moments. Then he remembered that some thirty fathoms from the top was an old disused mine, and that the "eye," as the pitmen call the hole or entrance, was still open. He at once made up his mind to try the desperate course of leaping into this hole as the cage passed by it. The risk was fearful, but the only chance for his life lay in getting out of the cage, for the timbers continued to fall upon it from the sides of the pit.
He prepared for the dreadful leap across the yawning chasm as soon as the opening should appear to view. In a few seconds it came in sight. With firmly closed lips, and every nerve of the body at the utmost stretch, he made a spring. The gulf was crossed, and a place of safety reached.
Oh, what a palace those slimy, wet walls of the old mine seemed to that young man! Had he remained in the cage he must have been dashed to pieces; had he been one second later in leaping into the hole in the mine, he would have been hurled to the bottom of the shaft. It was with him "now" or "never." He took the "now," and was saved through God's mercy.
Some time after this narrow escape from death, the Holy Spirit led this young man to see his vileness and his sinfulness in the sight of God, and for months he was in a wretchedly unhappy state of soul.
He made his condition known to several Christians, but obtained no help from them; indeed, they rather hindered his finding rest, for the substance of their advice was, "Believe; only believe, and it will be all right by and by"; or they would ask the question, "Do you feel any better?" Instead of showing the young seeker whom and what he had to believe, they cast him back upon himself —miserable self.
Holding a responsible office, the young man's duty was to examine the "workings" of the mine, to see if they were free from explosive gas, and safe for the men to work in. One morning, after making the accustomed examination, he retired to a disused part of the mine, to pray and seek rest in Christ, as he had done for some time.
On this occasion he had in his pocket part of a tract which had impressed him a few days before, and upon his knees, by the light of the Davy lamp, he read the tract, part of which was as follows—
“It is not by repentance"—he had been seeking to repent—"nor by prayers"—he had prayed much—"nor by cries"—often and long had he cried—"nor by tears" —he had wept much—"but through a full trust in Christ, we are saved!”
Full trust in Christ! Simple faith in Him! No, this he had left undone; all the rest he had tried; and instead of trusting to Christ, he had been trusting to himself. Yes, instead of faith in what Christ had done, he was trusting in his own doings. The young man now saw his error; and more, he saw that Christ alone could save him, and he there and then trusted Him, and was filled with holy joy and peace.
Years have passed away; that once young man still lives to praise the Lord, who saved him, and often does he repeat these words to himself: "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." (Psa. 40:22He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. (Psalm 40:2).)
Reader, the writer is he who took that desperate leap. He appeals to-day to you; for, through the infinite mercy of God to him, he is now safe in Christ and saved forever.
God has His "now" and His "never." Here are a few of God's "nows":—
“The hour is coming, and NOW is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." (John 5:2525Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:25).)
And here, reader, is one of the "nevers" of God's word. Oh, may it never be your portion to hear it as addressed to you! —
"I NEVER knew you: depart from Me.”