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you study his word? did you attend to the duties of life? and strive to improve to some good end even your leisure hours ?" then, then shall I be willing to reply, "Lord, my time was otherwise employed. Novels and romances occupied the leisure of my days; when, alas! my bible, my God, and my soul were neglected!" In this way, and many others, is time, that most precious blessing, squandered away. Does not conscience remind you of many wasted hours? hours which, though thoughtlessly thrown away, might have been found more valuable than mountains of gold or of pearl.
Wilful neglect of the soul and eternity is another common sin of youth. Young persons presume on future life; and grieve the Holy Spirit, by delaying to regard the one thing needful. They trust in their youth. God reproves the folly, and says, "Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth;" but few will listen to the warning. Instead of doing so, they flatter themselves that they shall live for many years; and think sickness, death, and judgment far from them. Hence they neg lect the soul, and seem to imagine religion unsuitable, or at least not needful for themselves. The blessed God calls on them in his word; the crucified Saviour bids them
come to himself; "I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me." The ministers of the gospel urge the advice upon them; prayers are offered, tears shed for them; yet many persist in their own ways; and, whatever they do, will not remember their Creator in the days of their youth. My young friend, has this been your sin and folly? Oh, if it has, remember how many ways there are out of the world; how many diseases to cut short your days. God gives you time enough to secure salvation; but think not that he gives you any to spare.
An attachment to sensual pleasure and worldly gaieties is another most prevalent sin of youth. The word of God describes those who live in pleasure, "as dead while they live;" and classes with the most abominably wicked, those who are "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." Though such are the declarations of the Lord, yet pleasure, pleasure, is the chief object of thousands of the young. Some pursue it in the gross and brutish paths of rioting and drunkenness, of chambering and wantonness; others in less profligate ways, but with hearts not less intent upon it The card-table, the dance, the horse-race, the play-house, the fair, the wake, are the scenes of their highest felicity. My young friend, has not this love of worldly
pleasure dwelt in your heart? Perhaps you have not run into scandalous and disgraceful excesses, but have you not had a greater love to worldly pleasures than to God and religion? If you have, you but too surely bear that awful mark of being a child of destruction, that you are a lover of pleasures more than a lover of God. Have you not been present at scenes of sinful amusement and guilty festivity ? Have not you been as
anxious as others for those sensual delights, which were most suited to your taste? and, while thus loving this world, have not you forgotten that which is to come? and been more earnest about a day of promised pleasure, than about securing an eternity of pure, celestial joy? Think not that I mean to insinuate, that the christian should be the slave of melancholy. Far from it; none have so much reason to be cheerful as he,
"Who reads his title clear,
To mansions in the skies."
But wide is the difference between the innocent cheerfulness and humble joy of the christian, and the vain pleasures of a foolish world. Let conscience now answer, as in the sight of God: has the love of worldly and sensual pleasure been cherished in your heart? If your situation has prevented your
freely following the delights of sense, has the love of them dwelt within? If it has, though you should not have had the opportunity of indulging your worldly taste once in a month, or a year, you are still, in God's sight, as much a lover of pleasures as if these had occupied every moment of your time.
Sabbath-breaking, though not confined to the young, is a sin that eternally ruins thousands of them. God calls the sabbath-day his own, but makes the profit of it ours; and sabbaths spent in holiness, devotion, faith, and love, are blessings which help the soul on towards heaven; while broken sabbaths increase the sinner's load of guilt here and of misery hereafter. At the beginning of time, God set apart the sabbath for sacred uses; and his express commandment is, "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy." He calls for the day. He does not say, Keep holy the sabbath morning, or the sabbath afternoon, or the sabbath evening, but the sabbath day. Though this sacred commandment is thus positive and express, yet no sin is more common than sabbathbreaking. Some profane the whole day; others a part of it. Some employ many of the precious hours of the sabbath in attending to their worldly employments. Others make it a season for finery and gaiety. They
go even to the house of God merely to see or be seen. They idle away their sacred time in trifling conversation, vain amusements, and silly mirth; or waste the holy day by rambling in the fields, with companions as frivolous and worldly as themselves. How have your sabbaths been spent? Have you been one of the thoughtless young women, or loose young men, that, on the sabbath day, in giddy, but truly pitiable parties, throng our streets, or wander in our fields? Have you been one who has made that most blessed day no blessing to yourself?
I have now named a few youthful sins, but think not that these things are all. No; every sin to which our fallen nature is prone, has been found, not merely in those who, by years, were ripened in guilt, but in those also who were beginning the journey of life. Not to enumerate the darker crimes of the multitude, who drink in iniquity like water, where, my young friend, is the youthful heart, that never felt the rising emotions of those vile passions, pride, envy, malice, or revenge? Where is the youthful tongue, that never uttered a profane, or wanton, or, at least, an unkind or slanderous word? Where is the youth, possessed of the forms of piety, that never mocked God, "with solemn sounds upon a thoughtless tongue ?" Where