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It might then be known who chose the happy, who the wretched part. Young as you may be; yet a few years and this will be known. O fee to Jesus! choose religion! then will your life be blessed; your death happy; your eternity glorious. Remember that this is the most important choice you can ever be called to make. On this it depends, whether life shall be a blessing, or a curse ;-yourself an angel, or a devil;-God a friend, or an enemy;-Jesus a kind Saviour, or a dreadful Judge ;-heaven your home, or hell your prison - praise your sweet delight, or cursings and blasphemy your dreadful employment ;-angels and glorified saints your beloved associates, or devils and the damned your horrid companions ;Satan a vanquished enemy, or a horrid tormentor. May the God of heaven lead you to seek your happiness in the Lord Jesus and himself! If have made early religion your choice, may he lead you forward to the promised crown! and if you are not a partaker of that best of blessings, even now may he soften your heart to penitence! and direct you to his crucified Son! and thus, at length, bring you to that blessed world, where hope shall be exchanged for happiness; faith for sight; grief for gladness; danger for safety; death for life; and where, to complete all, saints will be for ever with the Lord.
Advice and directions to the young Christian.
Direction 1. Be thankful. You have peculiar reason for gratitude. Look around you, and see what multitudes die in sin; and why are not you one of their number? The grace of God has made you to differ. Perhaps you are poor, you are employed in the factory, the fields, or the mill, and many others are employed around you who are unacquainted with the blessings of religion; and why are not you, like them, poor for both worlds? Why have you riches that will endure when those of this world perish? you owe it all to God.
Direction 2. Be prayerful. Cherish a spirit of devotion. There can be no religion without prayer. The word of God says, "Pray without ceasing."
Have stated times for devotion. At the very least, begin and end every day with God. Take time from sleep, rather than want time for prayer. Watch against formality in your devotions. It is heartfelt, not cold, though studied prayers, that are acceptable to God. Besides your intercourse with God at stated seasons, often be looking up to him;
and ever go to him in the name of Jesus. Go into your closet, or down on your knees for prayer, with as much reverence as if you beheld the great and blessed God. Could you ascend into heaven, every morning and evening, to offer your devotions to the Most High, and then return again to earth, what a life of holiness would you lead! what fervent prayers and thanksgivings would you offer! O! consider that you are as much before the heart-searching God now, as you would be then.
Direction 3. Be humble. "Be clothed with humility." Wear it as a garment; let it appear in all your intercourse with God and man. "Pride goeth before destruction." Nothing would give Satan more advantage against you than pride. This would make you self-conceited, and unwilling to be reminded of your defects; and the next step to this is ruin. Remember what you were-a child of wrath;-what you are-a frail, defective creature;-and what you should beholy, as a saint in heaven, "perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect ;" and while this is the case, cherish humility.
Direction 4. Cleave to Jesus. Make him your all in all. Let his death be your hope, his life your pattern, his promises your encouragement, his precepts your guide. Watch
against every thing that would lead you to rest your hopes on any foundation except Christ crucified. Remember, that you always were, that you still are, and ever will be, at the best, but an unprofitable servant. Keep in mind that the Lord has said, "Without me ye can do nothing." Apply to him for strength, and grace, and every good. Consider that you are not your own; that you are not to live to yourself, but to Christ; and that this should be the governing desire of your heart, that the Lord Jesus Christ may be magnified and honoured in you, in your life and death.
Direction 5. Follow holiness, and live to the glory of God. Jesus expects more than a fair profession; he expects the fruits of holiness. You have much to do for the glory of God, for the honour of Christ, for the welfare of others, and the benefit of your own soul. Though your situation should be ever so humble, yet by the silent, but powerful eloquence of a life of constant holiness, you may do much to recommend the gospel.
Direction 6. Improve every help for growing in grace. Attend where the gospel is faithfully preached. Make those your friends who are the friends of Christ, and whose converse and counsel will help you onward to heaven. By all means seek admission
into the church of Christ. Avow yourself on the Lord's side, and openly take part with his people. Search the scriptures; read them daily, with prayer for divine humiliation, and the divine blessing. Read such practical works as Baxter's Saints' Rest; Doddridge's Rise and Progress; &c.
Direction 7. Live above the world. Consider it your chief business on earth to glorify God, and get safe to heaven. Confess yourself a stranger and pilgrim upon earth; and keep eternity and heaven in view. "Pray as for eternity; repent as for eternity; hear as for eternity; live as for eternity; obey, and do every thing as for eternity."
Direction 8. Be faithful unto death. The young followers of Jesus are exposed to many snares; irreligious connections are among the most fatal snares. Alas! there is too much truth in the severe observation; "How few young professors are there that will not forsake their christian friends, and their Redeemer, for an ungodly wife or husband." Watch against all the snares that would entangle your feet; and all the fleshly lusts that war against the soul. Keep in view, the blessings promised to those who persevere. When the world tempts you aside, think of Peter's words, "Lord, to whom shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life!"