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THB sole design of this little volume, is to arge the young to yield themselves to God. It interferes not with the minor distinctions that divide the fol. lowers of the Saviour; but inculcates that heartfelt Religion, whose importance they all unite in acknowledging.
The Author of the book has no expectation of its being applauded for elegance of language, or the beauties of imagination. He has not written seeking human applause as his reward; for what is human applause ? the applause of a world whose duration
- of a world that will soon vanish away like smoke; - of a world whose very existence may be next to forgotten by the soul, in the distant and interminable scenes of eternity. The minister of the gospel meets with the best commendation, not when the discourse he may have delivered from the pulpit or the press is much admired, much applauded, but when the sinner becomes dissatisfied with himself and his pursuits ; when the prodigal says, “I will arise and go to my father;" when the pepitent weeps in secret over the crimes that have been brought to bis review. Such applause the writer covets, and for such he does not hesitate to pray.
He freely con: fesses, that it is his desire to do something for pro
moting the kingdom of Christ beyond the narrow limits of his own congregation, and the confined space of a few short years.
In composing the subsequent pages, it has been the Author's wish to imitate the serious plainness which prevails in the writings of some of those eminent men, who lived a century and a half, or two centuries
ago, rather than the more polished but much less impressive manner of the present age. Gospel truth is now often held forth iu so refined a style, that the offence of the cross ceases, the force of divine truth is lost; it is little better than the mere wisdom of words, and has not much more effect than sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
How far the writer of this little book has succeeded in his aim, must now be left to the decision of God, If he deign to employ it as an instrument of advancing his cause, it will be successful; but if he have nothing for it to do, the sooner it shall sink into oblivion the better.
INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS TO THE YOUNG READER.
§ 1. My dear young friend, if a person could rise from the dead to speak to you, could come from the other world to tell you what he had seen there, how attentively would you listen to his discourse, and how much would you be affected by it! Yet a messenger from the dead could not tell you more important things, than those to which I now beseech you to attend. I come to entreat you to give your heart to God; to follow the divine REDEEMER now; and to walk in the pleasant path of early piety. O that I could, with all the fervour of a dying man, beseech you to attend to your only great concerns for of how little consequence is this poor transient world to you, who have an eternal world to mind! - It is not to a trifle that I call your attention, but to your life, your all, your eternal all, your God, your Saviour, your heaven, your every thing that is worth a thought or a wish. Do not let a stranger be more anxious than yourself for your eternal welfare. If you have been thoughtless hitherto, be serious now. It is time you were so.
You have wasted years enough. Think of Sir Francis Walsingham's
“While we laugh all things are serious around us.
God is serious, who preserves us, and has patience towards us; Christ is serious, who shed his blood for us ; the Holy Spirit is serious, when he strives with us; the whole crea
INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS tion is serious in serving God and us; all areserious in another world; how suitable then is it for man to be serious! and how can we be gay and trifling ? Do you smile at this grave address, and say, this is the cant of enthusiasm ? O, think, that those who laughed at these solemn truths, when the last hundred years began, now laugh no more! The friendly warning may be neglected, and the truths of the bible disbelieved, but death and eternity will soon force on the most careless heart, a deep conviction, that religion is the one thing needful.
Yes, my young friend, one thing is needful; so said the Lord of life; needful to you, to me, to all. The living neglect it, but the dead know its value. Every saint in heaven feels the worth of religion, through partaking of the blessings to which it leads; and every soul in hell knows its value by its want. It is only on earth that triflers are to be found; and will you be one of them? God forbid !
Read, I beseech you, this little book, with serious prayer. Remember that it is your welfare which is sought. I wish you to be happy here, and when time is past, happy for ever. Fain would I persuade you to seek a refuge in the skies, and friends that never fail. I plead with you a more important cause than was ever conducted before an earthly judge. Not one which concerns time only; but which concerns a long eternity. Not one on which a little wealth or reputation depends; but one on which your eternal poverty or eternal riches, eternal glory or eternal shame, a smiling or a frowning God, an eternal heaven or an eternal hell, are all de pending. And it is your cause I plead and not