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WORTH OF THE SOUL.
except on the crucified Redeemer. Many, O Lord, are the devious paths of error; while strait is the way of life, yet, though strait, it leads to heaven. In that secure and peaceful path, O God, may I walk. May I be found in Christ. May I abide in him; and by this sacred connexion with bim, be blessed in this life and for ever.
And thou, blessed Jesus, be thou my hope and peace, and may I find thee my Almighty Saviour. Amen.
THE WORTH OF THE SOUL A REASON FOR EARLY
§ 1. The chief design of the preceding chapters has been to make you sensible of your need of spiritual blessings; and to give you a brief view of the nature of religion. Consider now more fully some of those reasons, which should induce you to embrace religion without delay. And may God enable me to set them before you with that affectionate earnestness and plainness, which become a dying creature, when addressing another who must soon be an inhabi. tant of heaven or hell!
One most weighty motive, to induce you to give your youth to God, is, that you possess an immortal soul. The body is the inferior part of your nature.
Pass away a few short years, and it must mingle with the clods of the valley. By the body you are allied to worms and dust; by the soul, to angels and to God.
It is almost impossible to use words strong enough to express the worth of the soul. Such
110 WORTH OF THE SOUL, AS IMMORTAL.
“Survey that midnight glory! Worlds on worlds !
Another poet, with equal truth and beauty, says,
“The sun is but a spark of fire,
Shall vever dic." § 2. Your soul is immortal. It derived its being from God. If religion be your choice, it will shine brighter than the stars of the firmament, when all those stars are gone out in eternal night.
A few years will finish all your delights, and hopes, and fears, below; then will your soul be fixeil where it must live for ever. my young friend, read these lines, the souls of millions are encountering all the sorrows, or are gladdened with all the joys of an endless world. For ages have the bodies of many of them been turned to dust; their very tombstones are mould. ered away; hut they all live in eternity, though
ITS VALUE PROVED BY MARTYRS.
forgotten here; they are hidden from your sight, but are more alive to joy or sorrow, than they ever were upon earth. Soon will the time ara rive, when you must meet this solemn change of being; when you must converse with man no more, but must become a companion of angels or of devils. And, 0, what is the worth of a soul! that may, through endless ages, shine in heaven, glorious as an angel of light; or which, covered with darkness, misery, and de. spair, must become a devil, in that lake of fire, where the fire never shall be quenched. O! in pity to your own precious and immortal soul, embrace, without delay, the gospel of your God.
§ 3. The worth of the soul is a subject, on which men of all descriptions have agreed; on which, the best and wisest have had their testi. mony confirmed, by the most careless and the worst. Martyrs have shown their sense of its value, by all their sufferings to secure its salvation. For this, thousands, as sensible as you of the comforts of life, have willingly forsaken “kindred, country, friends, and ease;" have been tortured on racks, or devoured by beasts of prey; been burned alive, or suffered torments far more intolerable than burning! “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned; were sawn asunder; were tempted; were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins; being destitute, af. flicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy; they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens, and caves of the earth." (Heb. xi. 37.) Impressed with the worth of the soul, many, with these dark scenes before them,
TESTIMONIES OF THE DYING
have bid farewell to all the allurements of the world, to meet the roughest storms of persecution, face its dangers and sink into the grave beneath them. Yet while some were burning, others were coming forward to take their places in the true spirit of the English martyr, who, at the place of execution, kissed the stake and exclaimed, “Welcome the cross of Christ, welcome everlasting life.”. Does one of all these martyr. ed myriads repent? Does one now imagine that he suffered more than salvation was worth? Ah no, if they could now address you, they might tell you, that sooner than lose the soui, they would burn in flames a thousand times hot. ter; suffer torments a thousand times more protracted; prisons a thousand times more dismal; and meet death, in forms, if possible, a thousand times more terrible. And was it worth their while, to endure so much to reach heaven; and is it not worth yours, in earnestness, to seek ad. mittance there?
§ 4. If, after the testimony of such distinguished witnesses, you should hearken to theirs, who have trodden a less brilliant and less suffering path to heaven, their testimony would be the
Say to the dying Christian, “You are in those circumstances, which enable you to view this world and the next aright; what should I mind ?" He, in purport, would reply, "Take care of your soul.” A dying saint said, to some friends that visited him, “You come hither to learn to die. I can assure you that
whole life, be it ever so long, is little enough to prepare for death. Have a care of this vain deceit. ful world, and the lusts of the flesh. Be sure you choose God for your portion; heaven for
TO THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 1)3 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 wisdom 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.”I 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
§ 5. Have you, my young friend, never been in that situation, in which the world appeared a dream, a cheat, a nothing ? Have you never lain
upon the bed of sickness, and passed weari. some days and sleepless nights of languor or of pain ? Have you never been in such circum.' stances 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 forgot what were then your views and feelings? Did the world appear as enchanting to you then,
+ Cæsar Borgia.
* Richard Baxter. + Sir T. Smith.
è Cardinal Mazarine