Why (as the Holy Ghost said, To day if you will hear his voice,…
A hermit was conducted by an angel into a wood, where he saw an old man cutting down boughs to make up a burden. When it was large be tied it up, and attempted to lift it on his shoulder, and carry it away; but, finding it very heavy, he laid it down again, cut more wood, and heaped more on; and then tried again to carry it off. This he repeated several times; always adding something to the load, after trying in vain to raise it from the ground. In the meantime, the hermit, astonished at the old man's folly, desired the angel to explain what this meant. "You behold," said he, "in the foolish old man an exact representation of those who, being made sensible of the burden of their sins, resolve to repent, but soon grow weary, and, instead of lessening their burden, increase it every day. At each trial they find the task heavier than before, and so put it off a little longer, in the vain hope that they will by and by be more able to accomplish it. Thus they go on adding to their burden till it grows too heavy to be borne; and then, in despair of God's mercy, and with their sins unrepented of, they lie down and die. Turn again, my son, and behold the end of the old man whom thou sawest heaping up a load of boughs." The hermit looked, and saw him in vain attempting to remove the pile, which was now accumulated far beyond his strength to raise. His feeble limbs tottered over their burden; the poor remains of his strength were fast ebbing away; the darkness of death was gathering around him; and, after a convulsive and impotent attempt to lift the pile, he fell down and expired.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
WEB: Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice,