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and slothful in seeking the salvation of your soul, he is watchful and diligent in seeking ts destruction.
The word of God is a sure guide to hea ven, and calls upon you, at all events, to embrace religion. It teaches you that this is true wisdom, and all else folly. That this is the "one thing needful," the "good part." It teaches you to seek this, whatever you lose by pursuing it; to embrace it, though at the expense of all you possess; to hold it fast, though that or life must be resigned. It teaches you that, in possessing the blessings of religion, you would possess every good, and that the want of them is worse than hunger, poverty, or pain; prisons or martyrdom. That if you enjoy the Saviour's love, it is a matter of very little importance what you suffer, for here will be found enough to make amends for all; and that if you have not this, it signifies little what you possess ; for the want of this is the want of every thing that is worth the thoughts or wishes of an immortal soul.
The judgment of the blessed God, as to the importance of real piety, and of piety in youth, is solemnly given in his word. There his beloved Son, and his inspired messengers speak, in his name, to you; and, O God of mercy, give my youthful readers grace to
listen to those admonitions of thine, that I would now repeat to them. Behold then, my young friend, "Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil, is understanding. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. Call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? One thing is needful. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Enter ye in at the strait gate; Strive to enter in; because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Ye must be born again. Behold the Lamb of God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Lay hold on eternal life. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth. I love them that love me; and they that seek me early shall find me."
Are not these important admonitions, the admonitions of your God? Any one of them should be sufficient to claim your attention, and engage your heart; how much more should their united counsel! Religion is the blessing which they teach you to choose; a
blessing which makes the poorest rich; and without which the wealthiest are poor. The Lord Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, gave it as his solemn and deliberate judgment, that but "one thing is needful." He made this impressive declaration, to one who loved him, and whom he loved, "One thing is needful." Compared with it, all that man deems most important, is an insignificant trifle. His wisdom, folly. His business and cares, laborious idling. His pomps and pleasures, as vain as the plays of children; and his possessions, as worthless as their toys. But one thing is needful.
O, my young friend, remember that if you were as poor as Lazarus, as afflicted as Job, as persecuted as Paul, the love of Christ would make you happy. And O consider that without this you must be a miserable wretch, though you were to live in wealth, pomp, pleasure, and even royal splendour.
While the divine Saviour represents real religion, as an infinitely important blessing, his word directs you to exert all the earnestness of your soul in its pursuit. You are exhorted to "labour for the meat which endureth unto eternal life;" to labour to enter into rest; to strive to enter in at the strait gate; to give all diligence to make your call
ing and election sure. He calls on you to run, with the perseverance of a racer; to sacrifice every good for this one, in the spirit of a merchant, who would sell his all, to buy one immensely valuable pearl; to fight with the resolution of a soldier, determined to conquer or die; and even to suffer, with the constancy of a martyr, sooner than by neglecting himself to lose eternal life. In two most impressive passages, has the divine Saviour given this last exhortation. "Fear
not them which kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do." The loss of mortal life, he teaches you to look upon as a little thing if the soul is but safe. "And if thy hand offend (ensnare) thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend (ensnare) thee, cut it off, it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend (ensnare) thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire; where the worm dieth
not, and the fire is not quenched." How solemn an admonition, to make every sacrifice for eternal life, is contained in this awful passage! Not merely does the Son of God command you to part with toys and trinkets for his sake, but, if any thing as dear and useful as your hand, your foot, your eye, would ensnare your soul, you must part with such a beloved but destructive object; and esteem no sufferings too great to encounter, when life eternal is at stake. To cut off a right hand, to amputate a right foot, to tear out a right eye, would be to nature dreadfully severe; yet his direction is, if any thing which it would cost you as much pain to resign, as to do all this should endanger your salvation, bear the pain; and, whatever the body suffers, take care that the soul is not undone. Most of the Lord's hearers were the poor; and to them the right hand is peculiarly important, as by its labour their support is earned; and thus maimed they might but linger out the remainder of a wretched existence. Taking these things into consideration, how solemn, and in what a decisive strain is the counsel of him, who spake as never man spake. It is as if he had said, Salvation is the one thing needful; and think nothing too precious to be resigned on its account; what though any