« السابقةمتابعة »
age; but they show that it has charms, that win the hearts of the sprightly and the young. The world seems to suppose, that what Satan leaves is all that should be devoted to God; but the young followers of the Lamb show that such are the excellences of his service, that it calls for their youth, their health, their prime, their all! How have the glories of religion been displayed by those young con verts, who, after a short course of humble piety, have bid an early, and yet joyful, farewell to all beneath the sun! who have seen no charms in this deluding world, sufficient to tempt their wish to stay; but who have calmly departed to eternal rest, before they had passed even sixteen, eighteen, or twenty years below. Will not you, my young friend, make that offering to the Lord, which such have made? Will not you tell a deluded world, that religion is better than life?
Early piety is honourable, as it is that which is most likely to become eminent piety. When faith, and hope, and love, and holiness in their fairest earthly form, appear, then is religion honoured most: Who is it that bears most of these divine fruits? Is it the late convert? Ah, no! "Those that are planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God, they shall STILL bring forth fruit in old age." It is the piety
of those who knew religion in earlier life, that thus bears fruit in age; and having borne it long, still bears it then; and becomes eminent on earth, or is glorified in heaven. If, as many believe, there be various degrees of happiness and glory, in the eternal world, who have so fair a prospect of reaching the higher, as those who begin the soonest ? A person setting out on a journey at daybreak, may travel further by noon, than he who sets out at noon, would do by midnight. So in religion, they who yield their hearts to Christ in youth, may get much forwarder in the way to heaven, by middle life, than they could do by extreme old age, if they were to put off the care of the soul to later years. Thus, every way, early religion, has its advantages. If you now come to Christ, and should live to old age, he may make your piety more eminent here, and give a brighter crown hereafter; or if you should die, as many do, in the prime of life, you will have lived long enough to find the way to glory and God,
"Long do they live, nor die too soon,
Who live till life's great work is done."
Whatever may befall you, nothing would come amiss, when either life or death were a blessing; when a longer stay below might
more mature the work of God in your soul, and a shorter one would remove you to speedier glory.
Early religion is not merely easy and honourable, but, in every view, profitable piety. "Godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." It brings its own reward; it will advance your temporal, spiritual, and eternal welfare. If you are rich, it would make you infinitely richer; would give you treasures, compared with which, the wealth of the world is lighter than a feather, weighed against mountains of gold. If poverty be your lot, this would make you partaker of those blessings, which constitute an angel's wealth. Though poor on earth, you would be rich in heaven. The soul that enjoys the blessings of the gospel, may truly say to its great Author,
"Thou art my God, and all the world is mine. While thou art sovereign I'm secure,
I shall be rich, till thou art poor;
For all I wish, and all I fear, heaven, earth, and hell are thine."
So profitable is true piety, that it would not merely be the source of numberless blessings, but would make all things blessings to you; pain and sorrow, as well as ease and comfort;
sickness, as well as health; and death, as well as life.
Glance at a few of the blessings, as de scribed in the scriptures, which the real possessors of religion enjoy. "There is joy, at their conversion, in the presence of the angels of God; joy over one sinner that repenteth. They are born of God; are new creatures in Christ Jesus; in them old things pass away, and all things become new. They are blessed, for their transgression is forgiven, and their sin is covered. While the world lieth in wickedness, condemned and perishing, there is no condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus. They have passed from death to life. Though their sins were as scarlet, they are white as snow; and though they were red like crimson, they are as wool. Jesus is the propitiation for their sins; they have redemption through his blood. They are redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. They were as sheep going astray, but are returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. They are accepted in the Beloved; and by the Father are made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; and have a hope laid up for them in heaven.' Being justified by faith, they have peace with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Son has made them free, and they are free indeed; and being made free from sin, they have their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. The world is without Christ, without hope, and without God; but they are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God. Even on earth they be long to heaven, for they are come unto mount Sion, unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven; and to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than that of Abel. God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city. The Father giveth them a place in his house. They are even the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon them, that they should be called the sons of God, nor doth it yet appear what they shall be; but they know that when He shall appear, they shall be like him, for they shall see him as he is. In their Father's house are many