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minds. You cannot endure the idea of being excluded from the world of bliss and glory—of being consigned to darkness, anguish, and despair. But what will save you from the misery that you would shun, and raise you to the happiness that you would enjoy? The words of Christ, and those only, are the words of eternal life. The way of righteousness, and that only, leads man to final felicity. By faith in Christ is sin forgivenby the Spirit of Christ is the soul sanctified. By the power of divine grace
the true Christian is preserved in an evil world, and rendered meet for heaven. In short, it is true religion, it is the gospel of Christ, understood, received, felt, and acted upon, which gives man the excellence that fits him for the blessed state of perfect holiness, life, and joy.
In this manner I would lead you, my young 'reader, to see the real character of religion ; not by any declamatory expatiating on its nature and excellence, but by a calm statement of its operations and effects. The conclusion at which we now arrive is simply this, All which men say against religion amounts to nothing, and only shows their ignorance of it, and disinclination to it. Further, religion, whether we consider its nature or its operations, has every attribute that satisfies and delights the mind which looks upon it in a proper manner.
Religion, it is true, may prove the source of greater or of less measures of sensible or conscious spiritual enjoyment; and that from various causes. It is by no means to be supposed that all real Christians have the same measure and degree of happy thought and feeling. But without genuine piety, man, however splendid his temporal condition may be, is a destitute, forlorn, and miserable being: and, on the contrary, with genuine piety, man, though he walk in the path of obscurity, poverty, or affliction, is the possessor of substantial happiness. Religion has much influence on the natural and social life, by the temperance and prudence, the kindness and calmness, which it inculcates and produces. But it is pre-eminently —the affair of the soul: and the more purely, unreservedly, and fully the true believer enters into it, the more will he'see of its glory and feel of its consolations ; the more entirely will he be convinced, that its voice is truth, that its spirit is love, that its yoke is easy, that its service is perfect freedom, that the water from its spring is and refreshing, that its fruits are pleasant to the taste, and that all its operations are—the communication of blessedness to the immortal soul.
“ Almighty God, who didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful people, by the sending to them the light of Thy Holy Spirit; grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end." Amen.
O God and Heavenly Father, I cannot but acknowledge, on serious thought, that religion demands my supreme regard ;—that the gospel is worthy of all acceptation. If I follow the world in their errors, follies, and vanities, I shall enjoy their pleasures, and be such as they are: but if I act in this manner, I cannot be a true Christian ; I cannot answer the purpose for which I was created ; I cannot enjoy Thy favour and eternal happiness. An unchangeable eternity depends on the few and uncertain days of this life. O, deeply impress my heart with this solemn thought: and enable me by Thy grace to spend every day with a due recollection of what lies before me, and as I shall wish, when my last hours arrive, that I had spent it. The world will only employ me in worldly things, which will soon leave me, or I shall soon leave them. It is Thy word only, O Lord, that teaches me how to live ; how to use the world, to spend my time, and to employ my faculties, so that I may be happy aud useful here, and be blessed and glorious for ever. The world, with all its boasted treasures and specious promises, will do nothing for me, except it be to amuse me, cheat me, and ruin me. It is the gospel of Thy dear Son, it is the wisdom from above, that will enlighten, renew, and exalt me; that will raise me from death to life, from slavery to liberty ; that will make me humble in prosperity, and resigned in affliction; that will make me useful to others, and happy in myself; that will make me blessed here and for ever. This I now see to be the plain and indisputable case. Grant me grace, O Lord, that I may retain this conviction, and henceforward act more and more upon it. Grant that I may renounce the world, and every doctrine of error. Lead me, I beseech Thee, into the knowledge and experience of true godliness, that I may glorify Thee by a life faithfully devoted to Thy service, and be Thine both here and for evermore, through Jesus Christ our only Lord and Saviour. Amen.
RELIGION A SUBSTITUTION.
“ Two worlds are ours : 'tis only sin
Forbids us to descry
Plain as the sea and sky.
And love this sight so fair,
“Bring spiritual things to spiritual : debase not thy spiritual and high-born soul by matching it to the low and inferior things of the world : let not thy pure and spiritual soul be unequally yoked with the dregs and dross' of any worldly enjoyment. God and Christ and the things of eternity are suitable to the soul : they are spiritual, like thy spiritual and better nature : and though to a carnal heart these seem but empty and notional things, yet a child of God tastes more sweetness and comfort in these things, than in whatever the world can present unto him. The love of God, the consolations of his Spirit, actings of grace, hopes of glory,—these invisible things,—these are the true riches.”—Bp. Hopkins.
Wishing you, my youthful readers, to become Christians in the full and proper sense of the word,