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The Convenient Season

The Convenient Season

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R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L.

" When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee."
ACTS xxiv. 25.
R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L.

" When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee."
ACTS xxiv. 25.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Dec 07, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE CONVENIENT SEASON R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L." When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." ACTS xxiv. 25. MOST of you know the occasion of this famous answer. Felix, the Roman governor, made it to St. Paul, who had been talking to him of religion : and when Paul " reasoned of righteousness, temper ance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time ; and when I have a convenient season I will call for thee." The words, as I said, have become famous. They have passed into a kind of proverb, when we want to signify the self-deceit with which we put off what we are afraid of, and do not like, but yet cannot altogether resist and deny. Felix felt the truth of what St. Paul said : he felt it so much that it made him tremble. A powerful ruler, and master of St Paul s life, and able with a word to put him to death, yet he was afraid of him. He was a bad man, and could not hear of the righteousness and temperance which he had set at naught, and of the judgment which his conscience told him must come, without alarm and distress. He could not shut his eyes to the fact that he stood in
serious danger : he felt convinced in his secret heart that what St. Paul said was the truth. But he soothed 232 VILLAGE SERMONS xxiv his conscience by saying that he would think of his words another time. Now it was not "convenient." There are all kinds of reasons why an unrighteous and unjust man finds it, at the moment, inconvenient to learn and follow righteousness why the sinner and ungodly finds it inconvenient to look in the face the tremendous certainty that he is one day to answer before the judgment-seat of God. But perhaps a time might come when it would be convenient Felix would wait till then, and in the meanwhile go on as usual. The looking forward to the fancied convenient season kept his conscience satisfied and cheated for the present. He even seems to have liked to hear St. Paul ; he was able, in spite of his trembling, to find pleasure in listening to words which were his own condemnation : he sent for Paul often, we are told, " and communed with him." But the time when God awakened his fears and made him think seriously what he was, and where
he was going to, that time had passed away unavail-ingly. We have no reason to think that Felix ever repented. And that convenient season, in which Felix, to his own ruin, cheated himself into believing how many of us believe in too. It is the great delusion which cheats us all more or less ; which has gone on cheating men from the beginning of the world ; which has been warned against, and preached against, and found by universal experience to be the most lying of delusions ; but which is yet, and will con tinue to be to the end, as strong as ever. What is it that enables us to listen unmoved to things which we know to be true, and, if true, most terribly im-xxiv THE CONVENIENT SEASON 233 portant to us, but the convenient season, which never comes ? How is it that people can hear the things that they hear, Sunday after Sunday, in church things which, so far from denying or con tradicting, they like to hear, they would be uncom fortable not to hear, how is it that they can hear

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