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226 DEATH APPROACHING THE READER.
My young friend, shall such comforts be yoùrs ?
While you see them found even by those who once were heathens, will you neglect the Giver of them? If you have not committed your soul to Jesus, will you still hesitate to do so ? Perhaps your time for doing so is almost gone. Perhaps your days of health and vigour are al. most fled. Perhaps you now see your last summer or your last winter; the winter of the grave may be your next. Is any thing so important that it should lead you, for a single hour, to neglect that Saviour, whose favour will concern you for ever? O how gladly would millions, who were once the great, the noble, the wealthy, the young, the sprightly, and the gay; who once shone in the ball-room, and glittered in the theatre, welcome another day of grace, like that you now enjoy! O how gladly would millions, who were such but twenty or thirty years ago, now flee from the wrath to come! but, ah! they cannot; their day is past; but you may, and let me hope you do embrace the gospel; and let me, as it were, take you by the hand, and lead you forward to future scenes.
§ 5. You must die; yet if possessed of a humble assurance that Jesus is your Saviour, you may die in peace; and when that hour comes which has been passed with comfort by thousands who were safe in Jesus, and with terror by millions who were not; you undismayed may meet that solemn hour. Then, when Janguishing in your last sickness, you may wish for nothing less, and fear nothing more, than recovery and longer life. O! wben this scene of vanity is ending; when all your ornaments must be changed for a shroud, and all the amusements of
THE CHRISTIAN'S FAREWELL TO EARTH.
youth, or the cares of riper years, for the solemnities of the eternal world; then indeed will early piety appear a blessing past expression. Then all that you are eager for now will have vanished like a dream ; the pleasures and the griefs, the cares and the hopes of youth, and life, will be no more; but the blessings of religion will not have fled away. Then, when the last sands of life are running out, you may gladly say, These solemn, painful days will quickly hasten me over the tempestuous sea of life; and land me the peaceful shore of blest eternity.”
And when you reach the very borders of that awful and amazing state, as with an angel's eye, you might survey a vanishing world, and take å last adieu of earth and time. — “Farewell, ye scenes of imperfection! Farewell, folly, sin, and vanity! Farewell, all that once I knew - the spots I trod — the places where I dwelt - the scenes endeared by friendly converse treats made sacred by youthful devotion - all farewell! I go where joy for ever reigns. I go where sickness never comes. I go where death is never known. I go where perfection and purity, happiness and endless life, shall be my long, long portion. I go from mortal to immortal things; from dying men to the living God; from fickle mortals to the steadfast Saviour; from sinful creatures to joyful saints and holy angels. Adieu, vain world of cares, and doubts, and fears; yet, sacred world, where heaven was made my portion! Adieu, thou weary seat of troubles and imperfections; yet, endeared region, where the Saviour's love dawned upon my soul; and glory, honour, and immortality, became my inheritance! Adieu! for ever, departing world, adieu !
THE CHRISTIAN'S DEPARTURE.
But O! welcome, ye blessed spirits, that come to convey me to my God! Welcome, my Saviour's gracious call to his abode! Welcome, ye blissful scenes of
peace, and love, and joy, and Welcome, heaven! Welcome, everlasting life!
§ 6. At length your last conflict ends- your pulse stops- to beat no more for ever-your last hour comes—
-and goes—and you have done with the world for ever. Your tongue is silent-your eyes are closed — the silver cord is loosed, and the golden bowl is broken- surrounding friends look not on you, but on your lifeless clay - the soul is gone - gone to other scenes — to an unchanging, eternal world. O my young friend! dark and dismal as this hour appears to the eye of sense, if you are found in Jesus it will not be so to you; but when your last painful struggle is over, in a happier world will your departed spi. rit find that the blessed Jesus did not forget the kindness of your youth. Then will your triumphs begin. Others may hear your parting groan, your expiring sigh, while you triumphant. ly pass into your Redeemer's presence. Oblessed change, when mortals weep because a friend is dead, but angels exult because a friend has entered real life! Those who loved you may complain, “Alas! our beloved friend is dead today!” But could we hear the words of angels, we might hear—" Another heir of glory has now begun to live -- another child of sorrow has left all sorrows for eternal joys — the sad chamber of sickness for these blessed mansions of heaven — weeping mortal friends, for Jesus and for God; and now is this happy spirit with the Lord of Glory, who, a few hours ago, was a prisoner in a feeble, diseased, and dying body!”
229 § 7. O my youthful reader, if all the other advantages of early piety were to vanish in a moment, surely these should be sufficient to lead you to make humble religion your lasting, only choice. A few hasty years, at longest, must lay you in the dust; but O! think of such an entrance into glory, and of an eternal dwelling there! Think of the joy with which, after a life of humble religion, your spirit would ascend into the presence of your Saviour, even before your forsaken body was committed to the grave, even before your lifeless limbs were stiffened with the cold of death! Think of the congratulations of the holy saints and martyrs that fled to heaven before you, and of their warm welcome on your arrival there! Think of the approving smile of your Redeemer and your God! that smile which would repay in one hour, the labours of ten thou
Think of the delightful words, “Come, thou blessed !” Think of the joy with which you would behold the God you loved, and the Saviour you trusted! And O! think of that great day when the divine Redeemer, before an assembled world, would give you the crown of glory, that fadeth not away! Then you, a shining inhabitant of heaven, would see, without concern, the sun turned into darkness, and the moon cease to shine; the stars fall from heaven, and the heavens vanish away; and when the last trumpet shall have proclaimed, that time shall be no more, you might rejoice, that though time had ended, eternity will never end; that though earthly pleasures proved a dream, heavenly delight will endure for ever and ever; and O! you might add, “This eternity, this heaven is mine!»
And now, thou God of grace, let not those
230' FUTURE GOOD A MOTIVE FOR EARLY PIETY. who read these pages he unmoved by motives so powerful, that they should soften even hearts of stone, but by thy spirit make them successful; for without him even these will be urged in vain. Pity the young, that may be careless of these solemn truths, lead them to the Saviour. Then shall they find him their friend in life, in death, and at judgment, and for ever; and Thee their God through endless days. For Jesus's sake, thus bless them, O thou compassionate Lord of all.
THE FUTURE HAPPINESS OF THE YOUNG CHRISTIAN,
A MOTIVE FOR EARLY PIETY.
§ 1. HAVING, my young friend, endeavoured to persuade you to embrace early religion, by a view of the scenes through which you must pass on this side the grave, let me now beseech you to contemplate the infinitely important scenes beyond that solemn bound of earthly things.
The word of God reveals an awful judgment; but long before its solemn scenes take place; long before the resurrection day, your soul will pass into an endless world. The scripture doctrine is, that immediately after death the spirit passes to a state of glory or wretchedness. Thus Tesus said to the penitent malefactor, “ To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise;" the apostle spoke of being “absent from the body, and present with the Lord;” and Lazarus is represented by the Lord as conducted to heaven; and Dives as
Luke, xxiii. 43.
2 Cor. 7. 8.