صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

your shop!" and then he bought a hundred more of the same books, to give to those who could not buy them. How much happier now is he of whom you have been reading, than he would have been if he had continued the same thoughtless creature as he was, when he entered the bookseller's shop. Now, though to us his name is unknown, we have reason to believe he forms one of the company above; but had he continued to waste his fleeting years, he might, in hopeless misery, have been wishing in vain for those precious hours he had wasted on plays, and romances, and novels. Had he slighted good Mr. Boulter's advice, he might now in hell have been lamenting his folly. Yes, think that while you are reading this little book, millions of wretched souls, in utter darkness and despair, are cursing that desperate madness, which led them to turn a deaf ear to such friendly warnings, once addressed to them. O my young friend, I beseech you by the joys of saints in heaven, and by the terrors of sinners in hell, trifle not with this affectionate call.

Consider further-If you were going a journey, you would make preparations for it. Would you not if going to travel only one or two hundred miles? and were you thus far from home, would not your thoughts be often

there? and if obstructions lay in the way, that threatened to prevent your ever returning, would you not exert all your skill and power to remove them? And are you indeed only a stranger and traveller upon earth? Are you only going forwards through a little span of time to an eternal world? And there to find an endless abode, amidst the deepest sorrow or the most perfect joy? And do many things unite to hinder you from reaching the kingdom of heaven? Is this the case? Indeed it is. And will you go forward thoughtless whither you are going? Thoughtless of what awaits you on your entrance into that unseen world, that unseen, unknown, endless world, of joy unspeakable, or of grief beyond expression.

Were your soul intrusted to another's care, would you not complain of his cruelty, if you saw one begging him to seek its happiness, and yet perceived him turning a deaf ear to the request, and careless whether you were saved or lost? Would you not cry out, "O unhappy creature that I am to have my eternal all intrusted to a wretch so cruel, that he will see me sink into the pit of destruction, to spend a dreary eternity there, rather than give himself any care or concern about my eternal happiness!" Would such be your

complaint in this case? O be not then by carelessness more cruel to yourself!

While, therefore, in what follows, I would address you with affectionate earnestness, I once more entreat you seriously to regard the plain, but important truths I shall present to you; and forgive me that I am not earnest enough when speaking to you on things of everlasting consequence. Did we but feel the thousandth part of the worth of an immortal soul, I might abhor myself for writing so coldly, and you blush and be confounded, at having ever needed warning and advice to lead you to seek its welfare. It is impossible to be earnest enough with you: if you ever know the worth of true piety you will be convinced that it is. Did we see thousands asleep on the brink of a precipice, and some every moment falling and dying, could we too earnestly endeavour to awaken those not yet undone? O my young friend, if you have been a careless trifler with the gospel of Christ, danger infinitely worse, eternal danger threatens you. Awake, awake, I beseech you, awake! Awake, before it is too late! before eternity seals your doom! before God forgets to be gracious! Awake! as in the sight of God, I call on you, awake! Act not the sluggard's part! say not a little more

sleep, a little more slumber! Close not your eyes to sleep in sin again! lest

-you should shortly feel,

The sleeper sleeps no more in hell.

Awake! I beseech you, and begin to mind that one thing, which is so needful to you, that food is not half so needful to the poor wretch perishing of hunger; nor help to him that is sinking in the waves, or scorching in the flames.

A prayer for young persons, imploring the divine blessing upon themselves while reading this book.

Great God, thou seest me, a young and thoughtless creature. Young as I am in years, yet I have gone far in sin. So far that thou mightest justly have said with respect to me, "Cut down that cumberer of the ground:" and had that dreadful sentence been long ago pronounced and executed, I must have owned it just. My years are few, but my sins are many; more numerous are they than my days or hours; more countless than the hairs of my head. Alas, blessed God, what a part have I acted! I have received life from thee, and employed it in neglecting and sinning against thee. I might have only seen the light and closed my eyes

in death, but thou didst watch over me in infancy, didst guard me in childhood, and hast brought me to the blooming days of youth; and how have I requited thee? Wretch that have been, to requite thy love with ingratitude, thy goodness with neglect! Foolish creature that I have been, to spend the flower of my years in grieving thee, my best Friend; in pleasing Satan, my infernal foe; and in undoing my own immortal soul. O make me sensible of my sin; teach me to bewail and loathe my folly; and help me to forsake it. Now let me begin to live that life which on a dying bed I shall wish to have ived. Gracious God, thou hast spared me in mercy; let me not be thus mercifully spared in vain; but let my life, which has been too long spent without thee, now be devoted to thee. Pour out thy Spirit on me, for he alone can teach me what thou art. Give me to thy Son, and thy Son to me. Thou art permitting me in this little book to read a serious invitation to early piety, enable me to regard the truths it teaches; and may I read them with a devout and attentive mind. May the persuasions and motives here presented to me enter iny heart; and may I, when I reach the conclusion of this oook, be no longer the thoughtless creature I have hitherto been; but may I be found

« السابقةمتابعة »