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them christians; to see them act, you might suppose them heathens.
Watch against resting your eternal hopes on outward privileges. You live in what is termed a christian land, but this does not make you a christian; for a true christian is a child of God "by faith in Christ Jesus." The young ruler was favoured with outward privileges. The inhabitants of Capernaum had enjoyed them, but sunk the deeper in hell through abusing them. And many, who ate and drank in the presence of Christ himself, and in whose streets he taught, will hear him say, "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity." Perhaps you have enjoyed all the privileges of a pious education, yet think not that these will take you to heaven. You must be born again. Your parents' prayers will not fix you in glory, if you do not learn to pray. Your parents' faith will not be accounted yours. Many parents will be found at the right hand of Christ, whose children will never join them there; and many children, who found the way to glory, though their parents lost it.
Trust not, my young friend, your eternal hopes on the strictest attention to the outward forms and duties of religion. Though you should say, All these have I observed from my youth, yet this observance is not a
foundation on which to rest for eternity. Oh eternity, eternity! who can be anxious enough to build their hopes aright, when building for eternity! Perhaps, from your infant days, the house of God may have been your resort. Perhaps few sabbaths could be named, on which you have not been there. Perhaps, in your chamber, or your closet, your morning and evening devotions have been regularly paid. Possibly few days could be found, in which, from your earliest childhood, to the present period, you have missed this stated offering to Heaven. Perhaps you are disposed to ask, What more can I want? Alas! you may have done all this, and yet want every thing that most concerns you. You may want a new heart, and an interest in Jesus Christ. The christian cannot live without prayer; but some attention to its outward forms does not make a christian. God, it is true, may have had your words; but who has had your thoughts? Who has had your heart? Has he had these too? Have not these often been employed on other subjects, when, on your knees, you professed to be engaged with God? While some have passed months and years without prayer, you may have constantly attended to religious duties, but how little earnestness, how little sincerity, how little life, has there been in
them. Consider how often, in private, you have knelt down and rose again, without a serious thought of God; how often, in public, you have listened with careless indifference; and then think whether you too may not be said to have spent days and months without prayer; and whether you have not really resembled those who live without God in the world.
Trust not your eternal all to the greatest freedom from open vice, and to, what the world may term, an innocent life. Perhaps, my young reader, the open vices, which ruin many, have not debased your character. Perhaps the impious profanations of the swearer never escaped your lips. Perhaps the excesses of the drunkard or the libertine have not polluted you. Perhaps your tongue has usually uttered truth, and the arts of the liar have been unknown by you. You may have been free from these and other open vices, yet this cannot give you any wellfounded hope of acquittal at the great day of judgment; for you have sins, and it is impossible for all the tongues on earth to express the evil of the smallest sin. Christ represents those whose sins are least and fewest as owing to God ten thousand talents; none owe less, though some may owe more. Thus the most virtuous and the most abandoned,
in the sight of God, approach much nearer to each other in guilt, than you probably imagine. Trust not then to any fancied freedom from sin. It can hardly be urged on you too earnestly, that a single unpardoned sin is sufficient to condemn a soul to all eternity. Did not one sin sink angels from heaven? Did not one, that would now be termed a little sin, turn Adam out of paradise?
Rest not your everlasting all upon the goodness or morality of your life. Morality is a lovely thing, it will adorn, but it cannot make a christian. A person may be moral, yet a stranger to religion; but cannot be religious, and not be moral. Various causes may produce morality of conduct, while the heart is altogether estranged from God. The young ruler, already mentioned, could say, respecting an outward attention to many of the commandments of God, All these have I observed from my youth; yet he was perishing in sin. In his case, you see how moral may be the life, how lovely the deportment, how earnest after religion the desires of one, who, after all, may fall short of religion, and thus fall short of glory. Has your morality been stricter than his? has your deportment been more amiable? or your desires after eternal life more earnest? If not, how can
you hope for heaven on this ground, wher. he had all these and yet was in the way to hell?
If you should not rest your eternal hopes on any of these things, much less should you on any other amiable qualifications.
Many young persons are possessed of a variety of these, who are destitute of all true piety. Though they trifle with God and eternity, yet affection to relatives and friends dwells in their hearts. Cheerfulness and good humour beam from their countenances; and the accomplishments of science adorn their minds. All they seem to want is the one thing needful; but in wanting that, as to the eternal world, they want every thing. Only the recommendations of that humble piety, which makes Jesus all in all, would avail them there. The charms of religion only will bloom beyond the grave; those of person, of disposition, of deportment, will not long keep their power to please. Where true piety is absent, these are momentary attractions, that must shortly fade, and leave no trace behind. Very quickly the most sensible tongue will be as silent as the most silly. Loveliness and deformity will be alike in the grave; and persons of the most amiable manners, and most engaging deportment, will there be on an equality with the savage and