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they listened to the Saviour's voice, and I hearkened not; they turned to God, and I refused to turn. Now they are blest, and I undone. Wretched creature! and have I sold my soul for a moment's base delight? have I valued eternal glories at so little a price? have I preferred the world and the devil to a compassionate Saviour, and a gracious God? Alas! I have. Woe is me! all is lost! my soul is lost! and damnation, with all its horrors, must be mine to all eternity."
Eternity! eternity! this completes the sinner's misery. O, young sinner! if once you sink to hell, it will make even hell itself more horrid to think that you must be for ever there. Had a lost soul in hell, but the faintest hope of deliverance, though at the end of as many millions of ages, as there are drops in the sea, hell would lose half its horrors; but now, alas! eternity, which might have been the measure of their joys, will be the only measure of their torments. There the fire never shall be quenched. Could a lost soul drop but one tear, once in ten thousand years, and do this till a sea as vast as all the seas on earth together, were filled with tears, all its sufferings, in that long, long period, would be but the beginning of eternal misery. All those millions of years of wretch
edness, would bring the unhappy soul no nearer to an end of its torments, than one poor fleeting hour. Oh, infinitely miserable creatures! that when millions of years of sorrow are past, can only say, "These flames again, these tortures again ;" and when millions more have fled, will still find ther miseries beginning; and for ever see an eternity of misery still before them. Were these sorrows to be borne, only for the most numerous course of ages, they would be more supportable; every hour of misery would then bring on an end of all misery; and of the most deeply undone sinner it might be said, that a time would come, when devils should cease from tormenting, and the unhappy should be at rest. But Oh, eternity! that joyful or dreadful word forbids the hope. Oh, pitiable folly of unhappy men! wretched madness of miserable sinners! so wilfully to refuse a Saviour's grace, and so obstinately to plunge into perdition. And, O my young friend! is not this yours? If it is, these sorrows will soon be yours. You may forget how fast eternity comes, but will never forget how slow it goes. O! will you make light of Jesus still? and still refuse your heart to him? Oh! if you do, alas for you! that ever you were born. A head-ache, or a toothache, or a burning fever, for one night are
painful; but what is this to a painful eternity? How slowly go your hours when kept sleepless with pain! how long they seem! while you count hour after hour in sad succession, and wish the morning to appear; but there is no easy morning to follow the night of hell. What life of sinful pleasure and neglect of Christ, can ever make amends for this? How short is the trifling! and how long the sorrow! How short the pleasure! and how long the pain! How short the momentary satisfaction! and how long the dreadful punishment! O, my young friend! could you now look into that flaming prison, and see the immortal spirits, that might have reached heaven, now weltering in the lake of fire; you would behold what you, even you, must be ere long, unless you seek that grace which leads to glory. Could you see this, it might then be said to you, "Hither tend the paths of transgression. Hither a youth, spent in folly and vanity, has conducted many; here end the pleasures of sin." O, flee from destruction! flee from the tempter! flee from all that would charm you to neglect your God, for such charms allure to hell!
Some objections to early piety briefly stated and answered.
PERHAPS you feel that religion is important; but urge some of those objections to early religion, which abound in this corrupt and wretched world. Permit me then to enumerate a few of these, and to give them a plain, though serious answer.
Objection 1. I am but young; I have time enough yet; I do not mean to put religion off for ever; but why should I begin with it
Answer. Young as you are, you are not too young to die; nor, if you die in sin, are you too young to be lost for ever. Young as you are, were you to die with only one of your youthful sins upon you, that one would sink you to destruction. Young as you are, you are not too young to be called to meet your God, to stand at his judgment bar, and to be fixed in heaven or hell for ever. In this island alone it is computed, that nearly seven thousand persons die every week; numbers of these are the young; and while
so many graves are opening every day, may not one soon be opened for you? Why should you promise yourself that you shall see old age, when so few comparatively reach it? But if you should, "he, that, in his youth, reckons it too early to be converted, in old age, may find it too late to be saved."* It is a dreadful fact, that few do turn to God in age; so few as to warn the young, not to expect to be made partakers of grace and glory, unless brought to Christ in youth.
Obj. 2. Perhaps, my young friend, such is your humble lot in life, that you have to object,
I am poor, and possess but little knowledge. I work hard all the week, and if I do not make Sunday a day of recreation and amusement, I can never take my pleasure; I see too my superiors in riches and knowledge, giving themselves little concern about religion, then why should I mind it?
Ans. You should regard religion as your chief concern, because you are not to follow the example of the great and the noble, but that of the blessed Saviour, who was in this world a man of poverty and sorrows. And though you may have no day for recreation except the Sabbath, yet what will be the end of that pleasure, which is gained by profaning