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the leading steps in vice and secured himself in it, may be cxpected to take any or all the others, as passion or circumstances shall dictate. He has broken the bonds of restraint asunder and cast away its cords from him. Need I then descend to particulars respecting the disgusting details which remain ? the haunts of revelry and vulgarity - the rides of pleasure, attended with drinking, smoking, swearing, racing, on the Lord's day — the riper and more desperate stages of gambling and drunkenness -- the bacchanalian revels and bawdy songs and the other last throws and struggles of vice, terminating in an early and infamous grave, and a ruined eternity?

This is but a feeble sketch, a rude outline of the temptations which beset all, and of the ruin which overtakes many of the young men of our cities. The filling up of the picture, together with the flesh and coloring of real life, would create an image too frightful to behold. We are accustomed to see only a part at a time ; the impression is thus weakened and adapted to our endurance. I forbear to exhibit the whole picture. I cannot find it in my heart to lacerate the sensibilities of my reader, by drawing the curtain entirely aside, entering quite into the penetralia of city abominations, and presenting a full-length portrait of what is there. I confess that when I consider what our fallen nature is, and look upon the numerous temptations

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which press upon young men, my wonder is, not that more than half of them go to destruction, but that any escape. I am constrained to look upon those who do escape, with an admiration, not unlike that with which they looked upon the three spotless youths, who walked in the midst of the burning fiery furnace and came forth unburnt.

But this is not all. Far from it. There are two kinds and degrees of ruin. The first is that which a man experiences when he falls a victim to those vices which condemn him among his fellow-men, cast him down from society, and consigu him to destruction upon earth. The second is that which he experiences when, after a life of impiety, he is overtaken with the more solemn and fearful retributions of eternity. If the first overtakes you, the second will of course; but you may escape the first and yet perish by the second. You are by far the more in danger of the latter alone; for temporal perils are the more obvious and tangible ; the retributions of eternity are out of sight, and by many sensual minds disbelieved and even ridiculed ; the vices condemned on earth afford no respite, but bring speedy execution; and the selfish and lax morality of men is very prone to laud the individual who accommodates their temporal interest, however he may violate other and higher obligations.

Suppose then that you escape the contagion of vice, surmount the more gross temptations which beset your lower nature, and allow some superior selfish passion to have the dominion over you — the passion for wealth, honor, rank, power, office, glory. It is more prudential, looks higher and farther than the baser sensual passions which society condemns, but it violates infinite and everlasting obligationsit robs the soul of God and robs God of his glory it goes directly athwart the end for which you were made. Controlled by this, you walk not by the law of God, but by the lustings of a selfish heart and the imaginations of a carnal and earthly mind. You look forward to a prosperous business, a high rank, a fine house, a beautiful or a rich wife, a bright and promising family, a plentiful and honorable manhood, and perhaps also to civil and political distinction, as the summum bonum, the god and portion of your soul. The God in whose hands your breath is, and whose are all your ways, you do not glorify. To the God who made you, to the Saviour who redeemed you, to the kingdom of righteousness, to the cause of human salvation, you live not.

You are living supremely, though prudentially, to yourself. Destitute of piety towards God, possessing no higher character than mere worldly morality, you have no portion above, no treasure in Heaven. You have all your good things here.

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Now in some respects it is more difficult to convince you of your error, than it is the immoral youth. For we can show by occular evidence that immorality tends to ruin, even in this life ; whereas the perdition of the moral irreligious youth, such as the young man in the gospel, will not appear till the judgment-day. It lies in eternity, and hence demands an active faith in the principles and truths of the gospel. The danger is, that you will continue to neglect God, wrap yourself in a mantle of self-righteousness, cast aside all concern about eternity, and be satisfied to take the world for your portion.

How difficult to penetrate your mind with the motives of eternity! You perhaps hear the gospel preached on the Sabbath, and it may be also in a weekly lecture; but these are only occasional admonitions, whereas the influence of the world is a continual dropping through the whole week. Worldly motives are before your mind six days, where the motives of eternity are but one.

And then also sceptical views, more soothing and comforting, are sometimes thrust before you,

and if


do not venture at once fully to admit them, yet they insidiously exert so much influence upon your mind as greatly to paralyse the power of truth. “It may be so," you say.

" At least I am willing to keep clear of fanaticism."

Then there is the influence of your companions,

to whom you feel strongly committed ; a false shame; a dread of appearing in any place of known religious conversation; a shyness towards your pastor and towards all religious people; a disposition to resist conviction and to postpone present duty, and a thousand things of this sort, in addition to the natural aversion of your mind to religion, to hold you back from the Saviour and chain you to the world, even when under the most urgent calls of God and strivings of his Spirit.

If you have pious parents at a distance, you perhaps receive affectionate letters from them warning you of your danger and urging upon you the immediate and solemn claims of religion. A father's admonitions or a mother's entreaties sometimes move you; but you pacify your conscience with the resolution that you will at least pursue an honorable course and do nothing to bring your parents to shame.

Weeks, months, years roll on. The world is steadily gaining ascendency over you; your early religious instructions are losing their power. Sin is growing stronger, conscience less active, your heart harder and more determined in its way; God is becoming more displeased, his Spirit more grieved, Heaven more distant. The moral gulf between you and the sovereign and supreme good is growing deeper, and the unchanging retributions of eternity are approaching.

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