« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
DO YOUR DUTY.
I have spoken of your dangers ; but do not suppose that you are a helpless creature, cast upon the mercy of exposures which you cannot avoid, to be only pitied if you perish. Far from it.
You can see your dangers and avoid them. There is a way of deliverance — hope — salvation. It is only needful that you open your eyes to plain truth and
God has done enough for your salvation; all Heaven will vindicate his conduct towards you.
He has thrown the light of eternal truth upon your path; he has warned you ; he has commanded and invited you; he has given you Sabbaths and preaching, and many Christian sympathies and prayers ; he has shown you your duty over and over again ; he has spread out Heaven with its glorious joys on the one hand, and hell with its darkness and woes on the other; - he has informed you that now is the time to shun the one and to secure the other, and warned you of the consequences of delay.
Against all this, have you hitherto sinned? And still has God borne with you ?
then ever say, that he has not done all that was necessary to save you, had you but hearkened to his voice ? Is it not enough to break your heart, to think how long he has forborne ; against how much goodness you have rebelled ; against how much light and love you have sinned?
I cannot believe that you will intentionally trifle
with these remarks, or impute them to a mistaken zeal ; but I do seriously fear, dear youth, that you will pass them by with only that slight and momentary attention which hardens the heart. I beseech you not to do it. You may think little of all this now. In the gay season of youth, full of health and promise, with a long life in prospect; running the giddy round of fashionable pleasures, countenanced by the example of others; with a flattering world before your eyes, and eternity out of sight - you can easily forget what vast and sacred obligations you are violating, and what a fearful account you are making up for a future day.
But be admonished, you cannot always forget! A change is approaching a judgment at hand! The bustle of business, the fair promises of the future, the giddy rounds of pleasure, the thoughtless companions, the flatteries of the world, will all pass away and leave not a wreck behind! Even in the midst of life, “at such an hour as you think not,” death's awful bereavements are at your door. Of all these things he will strip you, and hand you over a naked sinner to the judgment. If he finds you unprepared, he will deliver you up to the insufferable retributions of a remorseful conscience, an offended God, a rejected Saviour, a wasted probation, a ruined character, avenging justice, and an undone eternity!
"Going before to judgment."
I HAVE hesitated whether to insert this chapter. It is not my design to speak of the future judgment. That there will be righteous discriminati and awards of character in eternity, is one of the plainest doctrines of revelation, and one of the first and most essential principles of moral government. But it would occupy too much space here to introduce that subject; and besides, it belongs more properly to the pulpit and to theological works. I think, however, my reader will not deem it irrelevent to the nature and design of this work, if I introduce a short chapter touching the retributions of sin, as they sometimes begin to manifest themselves before the close of this life.
I do this for the following reason. There is a sentiment lurking in many minds whose moral discriminations are not quick and keen, that although there may be some inconvenience attending sin, after all we exaggerate its evils — that the way
of transgressors is about as easy and pleasant as the way of the obedient, at least to those who choose it, and that for aught that appears, the righteous and the wicked may be presumed to fare nearly alike in the end.
It seems to have been for the admonition of such, that the inspired pen wrote, “Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.”
That is, sometimes sin begins to be overtaken with retributions in the present world, enough at least to illustrate the fact, that we are under a righteous moral government. They seem to anticipate the retributions of eternity. Many are so sceptical in regard to what lies beyond the grave, that God sometimes brings the judgment in a measure over to this side of it. For the same reason that he sometimes brings a portion of the very joys of Heaven into the soul of a dying Christian, that he may thereby encourage the good in the way of obedience, he also sometimes brings a portion of the very woes of perdition into the soul of the dying ner, that he may thereby persuade the wicked to turn.
As an illustration of this, I have concluded after much hesitation, to state the particulars of a case which fell under my own observation. I shall state the facts as they occurred, without any exaggeration or embellishment.
A young man left his father's house in the country, at the age of fifteen. He had a pious mother, and had been the subject of early religious instructions and impressions. After he began to reside in the city, according to his parent's directions he attended for awhile upon the faithful preaching of the gospel, and was of hopeful habits. He however, kept himself aloof from the more personal and special means of religion, yet still believing it to be important, and designing to attend to it at a future time. He formed an acquaintance with associates less favorable to religion, with whom his feelings gradually learned to sympathise. He went on in this way some four or five years without much obvious change; though he was of course resisting convictions, hardening his heart, grieving the Spirit of God, and laying the fouudation of his moral ruin. He often received letters from his mother, reminding him of his duty, and urging him to it, over some of which he was constrained to drop a tear and make good resolutions.
But the way of his heart was steadily backward from God. Every month hardened him the more in impiety. He at length began to give rather free indulgence to the theatre, and to other dissipating amusements and pleasures. His place in the horse of God was sometimes vacated, especially in the afternoon, and he was almost never at the evening religious lectures. His mother's letters he read