We must always preach the gospel and always do so with some measure of urgency. De Witt Talmage was particularly adept at preaching with urgency as this excerpt from one of his sermon illustrates. He tells of the sinking of the ship Arctic and the heroic actions of one young man who was aboard it. And as Talmage does that, he warns his listeners not to delay but to turn to Christ at that very moment.
I remember the story of the lad on the Arctic some years ago—the lad Stewart Holland. A vessel crashed into the Arctic in the time of a fog, and it was found that the ship must go down. Some of the passengers got off in the lifeboats, some got off on rafts; but three hundred went to the bottom.
During all those hours of calamity, Stewart Holland stood at the signal gun, and it sounded across the sea, boom ! boom! The helmsman forsook his place, the engineer was gone, and some fainted, and some prayed, and some blasphemed, and the powder was gone, and they could no more let off the signal gun. The lad broke in the magazine, and brought out more powder, and again the gun boomed over the sea.
Oh, my friends, I behold many of you in immortal peril. Sickness will come down after awhile upon you, death will come upon you, judgment will come upon you, eternity will come upon you. Some, having taken the warning, have gone off in the lifeboat, and they are safe; but others are not making any attempt to escape. So I stand at this signal gun of the Gospel, sounding the alarm, beware! beware! “Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.” The wrath to come! The wrath to come! Boom! Boom! Fly to the hope of the Gospel. Jesus waits. He stretches out His arms to all this auditory, and cries tonight with a tenderness I have never heard before : “Come unto me, all ye! Come!”