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to have chosen that good part, which none can take away. But, ah great God, what am I that I should speak of reaching the conclusion even of this little book! Though I have read its first pages, I know not that I shall live to read its last. Young and vigorous as I may now be, perhaps, before I can reach its end, my time may be finished; my eyes closed in death; and my soul called to meet thee, my long-neglected and much-injured God. O then teach me to be wise without delay. Teach me what religion is, and enable me to choose it as my portion. Teach me what I am; and lead me to Jesus Christ, thy once crucified, but now exalted Son. O make me thine! O Saviour, make me thine! O God of glory, make me thine without delay, and teach me all thy will! Then whatever be the means of awakening my soul, thine shall be the praise, for it is thy work, and the glory is justly thine.
Hear me, O thou most merciful Father, and wash my sins away in the atoning blood of Christ; hear me, and let my youth from this day be devoted to thee; hear me, for the sake of thy beloved Son: and now to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be glory and dominion, world without end. Amen.
The fallen and ruined state of man.
I Now, my young friend, address you on a subject unspeakably important; as no hope can be entertained of doing you lasting good, till you feel the truth of the statements contained in this chapter; but if you be led, by the Divine Spirit, to perceive that this chapter describes your own condition, there will then be a pleasing prospect of your becoming acuainted with those things which belong to our everlasting peace.
In reference to bodily disorders it is said, that to know our disease is half the cure: the same observation will apply to the disorders of the soul. If one deeply infected with a fever, or the plague, were so deluded, as to believe that he enjoyed perfect health, or to think himself, at worst, but slightly dis ordered, and were therefore to neglect the means for restoring health, how soon would death and the grave convince him of his sad mistake! Such a delusion is seldom met with; but an infinitely more dreadful and more mischievous delusion, is as common as the
light of day. Perhaps you labour under its baleful influence. Perhaps, if your life has been unstained by flagrant enormities, you imagine yourself a good-hearted young man, or an innocent young woman. Your sins are softened down under the name of youthful follies. The deep corruption of your nature is totally concealed from your view. You are in danger of dying eternally of the worst of plagues, while thinking that all is well. You are exposed to the wrath of a justly offended God, and saying to yourself, "Peace, peace."
Perhaps you exclaim, "Shocking doctrine!" whilst, full of indignation, you are almost ready to throw this book aside, before you have glanced at the proofs afforded in scripture, for the assertions I have made. If this be the case, I beseech you to remember I appeal to scripture, not to your passions; to the declarations of God, not to worldly delusions. You may cry out at the sight of a shroud, a coffin, a grave, 66 Shocking objects!" but your loudest exclamations will not lessen the awful realities, by which many have happily been shocked into a timely consideration of, and preparation for, approaching death.
Refuse not then to listen to the declarations of God, on this momentous subject; to
refuse to hearken to them, is to seal your own destruction.
His word assures you, that every human being is born into this world with a corrupt and sinful nature.-God formed man "his own image," innocent and holy; but fallen man begat a son, "in his own likeness," corrupt and fallen like himself. Such is the exceeding sinfulness of human nature, that the word of God describes it by declaring that we are "shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin." Man is "a transgressor from the womb," and " goes astray speaking
lies." "Foolishness is bound" even " in the heart of a child." "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; is only evil and that continually; he is abominable and filthy, and drinketh in iniquity like water." As he advances in life, do his corruptions weaken? The words of the apostle answer No. "We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand." And what is the dreadful result of this examination?" Every one of them is gone back; they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no not one."
This sinfulness of your nature, my young friend, is not partial; but, like a mortal poison, spreads through and pollutes the whole. The heart which should be the best part of man, is now the worst. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." Such are the windings of its corruption, that no eye but that of Jehovah can trace them out. "It is full of evil." merely tainted but filled with sin, and madness dwells in it. From this corrupt fountain flows as corrupt a stream. "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, theft, false witness, blasphemies, covetousness, wickedness (or malevolence,) deceit, lasciviousness, (or immodesty,) envy, pride, foolishness," (or levity.) Not merely is the heart thus polluted, but the lusts of men war in their members. The eyes, the ears, the hands, the feet, the lips, are all defiled by different sins; and the tongue, that member which was formed peculiarly for its Creator's praise, "is now a world of iniquity, and is set on fire of hell.” Such is man: and has he any deeds of righteousness to counterbalance this exceeding sinfulness? O let the evangelical prophet an
"We are all as an unclean thing; and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities,