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resolve, to regard religion on some future day, reconciles you to the disregard of it at present. You will now treat it as others do : the serious examination of it is postponed. Hence your path is open before you : you join your coevals : you walk in their ways : you visit, and revisit, the springs of earthly delight: and when you have gone round the circle of vanity, and sober years are arrived, you will take up the long-neglected and subordinated theme. Attention to it at present would be a restraint, compelling you to relinquish what you wish to obtain, and to walk in a course too strict and regulated to be compatible with happi
approve the subject itself; you attend its forms: but you will not aim to examine its discoveries, to enter into its spirit, or to assume its yoke.
May I expostulate with you for a moment? Then I would say—“Ingenuous Youths! is this the
way in which you ought to treat your God and Saviour ? Does He deserve such conduct at your hands? If you disregard Him in your early days, are you certain that He will not disregard you in future life? Is this the manner in which you will treat the Bible—the word of God to man ? Is this the manner in which you will treat your immortal souls, the sublime part of your nature ? Is this the manner in which you will treat eternity—compared with which even the long life of Methuselah is an absolute nothing? If religion be the greatest and
best cause, of which you cannot doubt, then surely it is most wise and reasonable to prefer it to the world. You would not say to a parent, a friend, or a benefactor-'I must to-day do my own will and pleasure : to-morrow, or next week, or next year, I will attend to your requests and directions:and can you seriously think of acting thus towards God? Would it not be far better, before you plunge into the world, to pause, to meditate on things, and to make your choice according to the sober dictates of wisdom-not according to the suggestions of worldly feeling? Would it not be wise to consider things in their nature, operations, and results ? Think of serious things in a serious manner; and implore the Father of lights to be merciful to you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.'”
“O Almighty Lord, and Everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of Thy laws, and in the works of Thy commandments; that through Thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul ; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Amen.
0 Gracious Lord God, I thank Thee for being called to serious reflection in my youthful years ; for being exhorted to examine spiritual things with becoming attention. I acknowledge that I am Thine, and that I am under every obligation to fear, love, and obey Thee. Thou knowest my foolishness ; how apt I am to listen to seducing voices, and to follow vain inclinations; how I put off religion, and cleave to the world, and perversely flatter myself that I shall find happiness in it. In the moments of calm thought, I know that I act very improperly ; and I am compelled to condemn myself. If many around me are thoughtless as to their salvation, why should I be so ? I see and own that religion is the great and glorious cause, and that it deserves my supreme regard. O how can I venture to put off any longer a subject that is essential to my present and eternal welfare? Pity me, O Lord, a young, feeble, and wayward creature ; and so endow me with the light of Thy truth and the power of Thy grace, that I may not be inconsiderate; may not yield to the world and to my own heart; and may not think wrongly of religion, or treat it improperly. I am Thine, O Lord, as Thy creature: I am Thine by Baptismal engagement: O make me Thine also, I beseech Thee, by the effectual operations of Thy Spirit. Deliver me from thoughtlessness, trifling, and delay. Suffer me not to listen to any vain persuasions ; but enable me to be true to my reason and conscience, and to Thy holy word. Save me from all my enemies : save me from myself. O let me now consider my ways, and the end of all things: and let me enter on that path of righteousness which will lead me to Thyself and everlasting happiness. While the world unfolds before me those prospects which are pleasing to the eye, and promises me those pleasures which are gratifying to the carnal heart, so enlighten, purify, and strengthen my soul, that I may not amuse myself with fallacious hopes, nor be won by the fascinations and attractions of any thing below; but may always feel and act as an immortal being, who is walking on the verge of eternity. Receive, O gracious Father, these my petitions, and answer them in the multitude of Thy tender mercies, to Thy honour and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
* What is the heaven we idly dream?
Such as in sleep would hardly soothe
The present life, instead of being the whole, is comparatively nothing : a stage, a porch, a dream, a weary day's journey. What is this drop to the ocean before us ? What this moment to Eternity ? As a theatre, indeed, in which God exhibits the wonders of his providence and grace ; or as a stage on which we are to act our parts without any opportunity of repetition ; the present state is infinitely grand and important: but surely no greater imposition can be put upon the Pilgrim, than to persuade him that he is at Home ; or to make him forget and drown his eternal interests in such a vision of the night as this life.”—Cecil.
Youth is the season of feeling, imagination, and dreams; of projects and expectations. This remark is trite: but it is important to examine the subject, and to invite the young to reflect upon human life with sobriety and truth.