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delusive destroyer, to a dying Saviour, and a gracious God! Rather, you do worse than the murderers of the Lord of glory did. Many of them knew not what they did. You are more ungrateful and unkind to Christ than they; while you profess to view him as the Son of God, and the Saviour of men; and yet, in reality, prefer to him, not Barabbas, but sin and Satan. Perhaps you say, "Surely I do not act this horrid part;" but O! deceive not your own heart, for in God's esteem, you do, while you refuse to yield your youth to Christ. Though you may merely neglect his grace, yet, according to the scriptures, grace neglected is grace refused; and though you may be merely careless of the Lord Jesus, a Saviour slighted is a Saviour rejected; and O, dreadful! rejected for what? for vanity, folly, and pleasure; or, in plainer words, for the service of the world and the devil. And O! rejected by whom? By one to whom Christ has an everlasting right. Yes, he has such a right to you, though you may refuse to acknowledge his claim; and, in denying your heart to him, you are not merely guilty of the most base ingratitude, but of the vilest injustice. You rob him of his right. Love so amazing, so divine as his, demands " your life, your soul, your all;" and shall it have no grateful
return? When you owe God every thing, will you be so base as to give him nothing?
In refusing your youth to God, you are guilty of the greatest cruelty to yourself. Better far had it been for you never to have been born, than to come into the world, to spend a few sinful years, and then to go and make your sad abode with devils and the damned; where the worm never dieth, and the fire never shall be quenched. You would think any one dreadfully cruel to himself, who might cut and mangle his own body, who might tear off his own flesh, who might thrust his own limbs into the fire, and keep them there, in misery, till they were consumed. But which is worst, to mangle a mortal body, or ruin an immortal soul? to thrust a limb into the fire, or to throw the soul into hell? If you beheld one, that by a fall from his horse, or from a house roof, had his limbs broken, and lay writhing in agony on the ground, would you not declare him cruel to himself, if a friend stood by, ready and able to cure him, and he were to refuse the needful help? But which is worst, to linger away to death in agony, through slighting a surgeon's aid; or to continue a few years, a depraved, condemned, and ruined creature, and then to sink to endless and hopeless wretchedness, through neglecting a
divine Saviour's help? You would not be so cruel to yourself as to thrust a foot, or a hand, or even the point of a finger into the fire; O, do not be so cruel to your own scul, as to undo it with a sure and everlasting destruction! Every moment that you delay to turn to God, is a moment of cruelty to your soul, your own, your immortal soul. Oh, miserable folly! to set no value now on those things, for which you would, ere long, think the wealth of worlds a trifling price. On this side the grave, to let eternal salvation be almcst the only thing you neglect, while, on the other, it will be the only thing that is worthy of your desire.
In neglecting early piety, you are unkind to all that wish you well. To that blessed Spirit, who strives with you; to those holy angels, who would fain rejoice over you; to those ministers of the gospel, that labour and pray for your conversion; to those friends, if you have such, who are the friends of Christ, and who wish to see you such also. How much comfort you deny them! What pleasure your conversion might give them! but you refuse them this pleasure. While thus basely ungrateful to your God, to the Lord Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit; while thus cruel to yourself; while thus unkind to angels, to ministers, to christian friends;
whom, O young sinner, do you please? Only those malignant spirits, who watch for your destruction, and seek your ruin: only the devil and his angels. They look on you as their own. O could you see that hateful foe, would you then act this wicked part? yet, if you do not prepare to meet your God, remember, you will soon be given up by him into the hands of Satan.
The vanity of youth, and the uncertainty of life, reasons for the immediate choice of early piety.
CONSIDER What others were a few seasons ago, that are now fixed in the eternal world. They were as young, and perhaps, alas! as thoughtless and as gay as you. When you pass through a burying-ground, look at its graves; read the inscriptions there; and see how many, in the bloom of life, have been cut off, and called to meet their God. There lie the young, the healthy, and the strong. There lie many whom the world once charmed, and who for it slighted their immortal souls. And what is the world to them now? Perhaps before twelve months more depart, your now youthful and healthful body may be like theirs; your active limbs may be mouldering into dust; your eyes closed upon the world; and all its pains and its pleasures will neither pain nor please you in the grave. Where are they now, and where must you shortly be? They, a few