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FROM SATAN'S MALICE

119

Some he tempts to presumption, others to des. pair ; and in a thousand different ways strives to keep the sons of men fast in his hellish chains.* Bui though the devil is a fallen and infernal spi. rit, you have no reason to doubt that he was once one of an exalted rank. He knows what heaven is, for he has lost it; he knows what immortali. ty 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. It is a prize which he thinks worth his care and labour. No watchfulness seems to him too much for the accom. plishment of its ruin. Though you may be inactive, he is activity itself. Though you may be negligent and slothful, in seeking the salvation of your soul, he is watchful and diligent in seeking its destruction.

A PRAYER IMPLORING A DEEPER SENSE OF THE VALUE OF

THE SOUL, WITH A DEVOUT COMMITTAL OF IT TO THE 8AVIOUR'S CARE.

O thou Almighty Father of Spirits, by thee this curious mortal frame of mine was formed, and from thee my immortal spirit came. Thou didst create man to bear more of the image of thyself, than any besides of these thy lower works. Thou didst breathe into him the breath of life, by which he became a living soul; while all thy other creatures here, are the creatures of a day. From thee have I received a soul, that must live through an eternity, as lasting as thy own.

I know, O Lord, that it is appointed unto all men once to die; and I, ere long, must sink

* The young reader is recommended to read Brookes's Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices, a truly excellent little work.

PRAYER FOR A DEEPER

120 beneath the stroke of death. These hands will forget to labour. These eyes will need the cheering light of day no more. This tongue will be silent. This heart will be filled with fear or love no longer. These limbs will become cold in death ; none on earth will be concerned with me, nor I with them ; but the worm will crawl and feed upon this flesh of mine, or corruption consume it, “till not one wretched trace remains resembling me!” But, O my God! that soul which thou hast made the tenant of this dying frame, must defy the power of death; must spring forward into new and unknown scenes; must behold the glories or terrors of the invisi. ble world; while eternity, vast, boundless, joyful, or dreadful eternity, becomes the only limit of my suffering or happiness. With this prospect before me, let me prize my soul as a treasure, compared with which all the treasures of a thousand worlds were emptier than a bauble and lighter than vanity. O, let me feel its worth as I shall do on the bed of death! O, let me know its value as they have done who gladly bore prisons, and flames, and martyrdom, in every dreadful form, that they might but keep their immortal spirits safe beneath their Redeemer's care; and who thought all their sorrows well repaid, by landing on the peaceful shore of heaven! O, let me feel the value of my immortal soul, as they have done who trifled with theirs, till their day of grace was gone; and who then, in confusion, agony, and horror, bewailed their dreadful sin! Lord, may I learn from the joyful or sad experience of others, not to slight thy love! Thou hast cared for my eternal welfare, ind thought no sacrifice too costly when the

SENSE OF THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 121 bappiness of my immortal spirit was at stake. Let endless praises be paid thee for thy condescending kindness, praises as lasting and as fervent as thy love. Bless the Lord, O my soul, who redeemed thy life from destruction. And now, O Lord, may thy Holy Spirit, whose grace I have so often resisted, whose teachings I have so often slighted, may he possess this soul of mine, and make it a temple worthy of himself. Shed abroad thy sanctifying influences upon me, implant every grace within me, and train up my deathless soul for that holy, and happy world, where I shall never be tainted with sin, or feel pain or sorrow more.

Blessed Jesus, thou hast died to set my spirit free from condemnation to eternal death: and take this precious jewel, and keep it safe beneath thy tender care. I cannot guard it from its ravenous foes. They seek its destruction ; but, al.. mighty Saviour, they cannot tear the soul away that is lodged within thy protecting arms. Το thee would I commit mine. It is the purchase of thy blood! and thou wilt keep what I commit unto thee. Guard my soul from every foe, while I am a pilgrim here; and, in my departing hour, may I see heaven opened, and expire with the dying prayer of thy first Martyr on my lips, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Amen.

CHAPTER VII.

THE IMPORTANCE OF RELIGION FURTHER SHOWN, BY

REFERENCE TO THE COUNSEL OF THE MOST HIGH, COYTAINED IN HIS WORD

& 1 Os all subjects in which eternity is

THE BIBLE A GUIDE TO HEAVEN.

py shore.

122 concerned, the word of God is our surest guide. Do not you profess to believe that word? By it your views should be regulated, as by it your conduct will be judged. A distinguished Christian, who is gone to his eternal rest, referring to the scriptures, justly says, “I have thought I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God; just hovering over the great gulf, til), a few moments hence, I am no more seen: I drop into an unchangeable eternity. I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that hap-,

God himself has condescended to teach the way. For this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O, give me that book! At any price give me the book of God! I have it; here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri, (the man of one book.) Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men ; I sit down alone, only God is here. In his presence

I read his book; for this end, to find the way to heaven.” What this pious writer felt himself to be you, my young friend, are now; a crea ture hastening to eternity, as fast as an arrow darts through the air, or as a shuttle through the loom : and will you not make that sacred book your guide ? It teaches you that religion 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

open, I

REPRESENTS RELIGION AS MOST IMPORTANT. 123 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.

§ 2. 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, 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 un. righteous 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 Job, xxviii. 21. Ps. cxi. 10. Is.lv. 6, 7. Mark, viii. 36. Luke, x. 42.

Lnke, xiii. 24.
John, iii. 7. John, i. 36. Acts, xvi. 31.

Matt. vi. 33.

Matt. vii. 13.

Matt. vii. 14

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