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you choose God for your portion; heaven for your home; God's glory for your end, his word for your rule; and then you need never fear but we shall meet with comfort." Or ask the dying profligate, he who treated all religion as a dream, and the soul as a trifle, say to him, What shall I chiefly mind, and would he not reply, "Take care of your soul, and avoid my folly; for I have ruined mine ?" One unhappy man, who had lived in wealth and splendour, but had trifled with eternal things, a short time before death, said, "I had provided in the course of my life for every thing except death, and now, alas! I am to die, although entirely unprepared." Another, who was eminent for his knowledge and learning, but who had been negligent of the great salvation, said, "It is lamentable, that men consider not for what they are born into the world, till they are ready to go out of it." Another, who was distinguished for his talents, his ambition, and his success in gaining worldly honours, not long before his death, cried out, "O my poor soul! what will become of thee! whither wilt thou go!"
Have you, my young friend, never been in that situation, in which the world appeared a dream, a cheat, a nothing? Have you ever lain upon the bed of sickness, and passed wearisome days and sleepless nights
of languor or of pain? Have you ever been in such circumstances, as to expect that a few days or weeks would end your mortal course; fix your body in the grave, and your soul in eternity? and have you forgotten what were then your views and feelings? Did the world appear as enchanting to you then as it does now? Did the soul and its salvation then seem a thing of little moment? Rather, did not the world seem vanity of vanities? Were you now on a bed of sickness, or languishing and dying, would not these be your views? And must not you, ere long, be in such a situation? And will you not then confess, that the only thing that deserves your care, is the immortal soul? O why neglect it, when you might secure its salvation! Why put off entering the way of life, till that way is shut for ever! By the testimonies of others to the worth of the soul, and by the convictions of your own mind, I beseech you to secure its salvation, by applying, without delay, to the Son of God for life.
Reflect on the interest taken in the welfare of your soul, by those who are best ac quainted with its worth. Angels are not uninterested, where the soul is concerned. There is joy in the presence of the angels of God, "over one sinner that repenteth." 0, shall these happy spirits take so much in
terest in the welfare of your soul, and will you yourself be careless! Shall they be willing to minister to you, as unseen messengers of love; and will you neglect that soul, over which they would fain rejoice; whose mortal course they would cheerfully attend; and which they would gladly conduct to the bosom of Christ!
But it is not merely the inferior, though glorious, inhabitants of heaven, whose conduct testifies the worth of the soul. God, the great and blessed God, has so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, to be a ransom for the ruined souls of men; and Jesus Christ, the brightness of his Father's glory, has suffered and died, to redeem immortal souls from death. O, learn the worth of your immortal spirit, from what passed on Calvary in its behalf. See the God of glory resigning his best Beloved to unbridled fury, stripes, and death; to the torturing cross, the bloody spear, and the dismal grave. See the patient Son of God, accomplishing what none but he could perform, and bearing a load of human guilt and sorrow, more vast and dreadful than any tongue can tell. See this, and learn the value of your soul. And can it be to you a matter of little moment, whether your immortal soul is saved or lost!
As thus, in the most affecting manner, the
Father and the Son have declared the value of the soul, so also, my young friend, learn the same, from all which the blessed Spirit does for the salvation of sinful men. He strives with them. It is by his light that they discern the Father and the Son. Has not he exerted his power in your heart? Have not you felt those convictions of sin and folly, those devout impressions, and salutary desires, which really came from above? Has not the still small voice within, as it were, said to you, "Turn to God; forsake the world: your ways lead to misery, they will be bitterness in the end; follow religion and be happy." Have not you banished the warning, and quenched the holy thoughts and desires thus given you from above? Yet has he left you? Has not your conscience been alarmed, and these sacred impressions been repeated again and again? Why does the blessed Spirit thus strive with you? Why did he not take your first repulse, and leave you for ever? Why has he followed you with these salutary warnings? You did not seek them. Why has he made your heart at times almost begin to melt? Why let you feel the sting of sin? Why alarmed you at your situation? Why showed you your danger? Why induced you at times, if you would go no further, yet to wish you were a christian?
To wish that you were like some that you perhaps know? Why has the blessed Spirt bestowed all this care on a poor, thoughtless, ungrateful creature, whose heart has been shut against his gentle influence? Why, my young friend, but because he wishes you well for ever? God would not have you perish. Shall angels, shall the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all, all express concern for the welfare of your soul, and will you slight that soul yourself?
If, to all this evidence of the worth of your soul, I add more, it shall be, that even the malice of devils may teach you the value of your soul. You are taught, in the word of God, that "Satan walketh about, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." You are assured that he comes and takes away the seed sown in the careless heart; and that we have to "wrestle with the rulers of the darkness of this world." He knows what heaven is, for he has lost it; he knows what immortality is, for he is doomed to it; and his artifices, his assaults, his watchfulness, his activity in the dreadful work of destruction, prove how highly he values the immortal soul. No watchfulness seems to him too much, for the accomplishment of its ruin. Though you may be inactive, he is activity itself. Though you may be negligent