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misery; and death summoned the unhappy criminal to the bar of his God. Shall add another fact? A young person called upon an aged man afflicted with illness, and hastening to the grave; the youth spoke to him of the blessed Saviour and the precious gospel; for a few minutes he listened with serious attention, then burst into a flood of tears, and exclaimed, "Ah, my young friend, had I thought on these things thirty or forty years ago, what a happy man might I now have been; but now it is too late, hell must be my portion for ever!"
The Most High says, "Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth?" you, will you, hesitate to say, "Great God, thou shalt indeed be my guide ?" If you delay, consider well what you are about, and do it deliberately. Try if you can make a memorandum to this effect; "That having weighed the importance of true religion, you yet resolve to pay it no attention at present; that you resolve, for some years more, to plunge deeper and deeper in the service of the devil; that though you are persuaded your present path conducts to hell, yet that you will not so soon leave the way to hell for that to heaven; that though living every day on the goodness
of God, you resolve to spend at least some years more in insulting him, in forgetting his love, in abusing his mercies, and in tempting him to cut you down as a cumberer of the ground, to send you to perdition;-that though the blood of the Saviour was shed to redeem you, yet that you will spend some years more, in all manner of ingratitude to him, and in doing what you can, to defeat the end for which he died;—and that having done all this, till, if God spare you, all the best and prime of life is past, that you will then profess to forsake these evil ways; will declare that you are very sorry for what you have so wilfully done; and that you then will offer to God, the wretched dregs of a life spent in serving the devil." Could you commit to writing such horrid resolutions as these? If you could not, O! do not do by your actions, what you would not profess by for remember that "actions your words ; speak louder than words."
O be persuaded now to yield yourself to God; and then as your years pass you shall walk in the way to heaven, and at length arrive there in either case, how blessed a change would the grace of God have made in your condition! Should you be spared for future years, how happy an alteration would it be, though you began the year in sin, ere it ended to be able to say, "God and all his
love, Christ and all the riches of his grace, and all the sweet promises of Scripture, and all the glories of heaven are mine!" But perhaps before even this year shall conclude, your mortal course may finish. If it should do so, and none can tell that it will not, how infinitely important is it for you, without an hour's delay, to flee to Christ; for then how happy a year would even this, though your last year, be to you! How changed next new year's day would your state then appear! O happy change! to have begun the year on earth, and ended it in heaven.
And now, my young friend, permit me once more affectionately to remind you, that life and death are set before you. "I call heaven and earth to record against you, that
have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life." The only alternative presented to you is, religion and heaven; or, want of religion and hell. Which, O! which is your choice? Again I remind you, that now is the time of mercy. Perhaps your decision this day may be that by which your eternal state will be fixed. Choose, then, the way of life, if you have not already chosen it. Peace attends it, and happiness is at its end: happiness inconceivable, unutterable, and eternal. And will you choose? or have you chosen humble religion? If you have, let me take
by the hand and lead you into yonder fair and spacious world. May I imagine that I see you arrived there? or are you determined never to go thither? May I imagine, that I see you before the throne of the Eternal, adorned with the splendours, and blest in the raptures of heaven? Ah! is it but deception? do you still slight the way that leads a sinner to glory and to God? May I imagine, or is that too happy a supposition, that you ascribe your early choice of the way of life, to the blessing of the Most High on this little volume? O! if in any instance this be the case, blessed be God, who gave the disposition to write it; and blessed be the day, that saw it begun! May I imagine, that you look on this as the happy day, that led you to Jesus; and thus fixed your joy, for an eternity, where days and years, and ages are no more? O my brother! my sister! may I fancy that I meet you there with your great interests and mine secured for ever? Blessed hour! blessed scene! O! in the prospect of it, let me urge you to make religion your earliest, only choice. It is the best that you can make. Were you prevailed on this day to obey the gospel and begin a life of early piety, how happy a day would this be to you! the best and happiest day of your life. The day that you might look back upon with most pleasure, even
from a death-bed, and from the eternal world. Will you then, in God's strength, determine to make early religion your first concern, and never more to refuse the Saviour's grace? If you will, seek help from God in fervent prayer; commit your soul to Jesus; and then how happily will you, ere long, enter endless blessedness; when this vain and inconstant world, this deceitful and fleeting life, are passed away for ever. Then how happy will you be a hundred years hence, when others are as busy about this world, and you are quite forgotten, and your very tombstone hardly to be read by passing travellers! Then, in what inconceivable blessedness will your happy spirit dwell, long after "not one wretched trace" remains of the hand that has written, or the eye that reads. Choose but religion. Give yourself to Christ, and life or death will be equally a privilege. Your last sigh will then be a forerunner of eternal praise, your last pang of eternal raptures; and the paleness of death will be seen on your countenance, but a moment before
the glories of eternal life. Yet a few years, and you, if you know the Saviour's grace, shall experience a far more transporting ge than any heart can conceive. O! could we see, what thirty or forty years will disco ver, it might then be seen what are the upon your heart, of this little book.