« AnteriorContinuar »
decided attention to it is as much our wisdom as it is our duty and safety. Shall I cherish an aversion or an indifference which I am compelled to condemn? Or shall I neglect a subject which ought to have our first regard ?
“I have been taught to reflect on those important truths, that God is our happiness, Christ our Saviour, and the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier; that man is a depraved and sinful creature, and has no access to God, no communion with Him, but through the mediation of Christ and by the influences of the Spirit. These are undoubtedly the great truths of Scripture, and should be treated
" I have seen that the true acknowledgment of Christ is the essential point in saving piety. I am to look to Him, to receive Him, to confess Him, to follow Him. He must be in me, and I in Him; He being the Vine, and I being a branch in that Vine.
“I have seen what religion makes a young person to be. Hindrances to my becoming religious have been noticed. I have also been persuaded to lay the subject to heart, and to make the wise choice.
" What shall I now say to these things? I clearly see that the world, with all its pomp, delights, and treasures, is as nothing, and that religion is every thing. I cannot doubt as to what I ought to be, and as to what I ought to do.
“Shall I still admire myself, and boast of my wisdom, power, and virtue? I think of the glorious God: and what is my wisdom but folly, my power but weakness, my virtue but a mere tinsel goodness? If I look to myself, I must remain what I am-a sinful creature, without a participated salvation.
“Shall I follow the multitude, and satisfy myself that I am what other young people are, and act as they act? The multitude may be mistaken in their views and perverse in their conduct. The Bible does not call me to be a follower of the world, but of Christ. It warns me against the world. It is, therefore, no vindication of my sentiments and proceedings, to say that I think and act as others. If I follow the worldly and perverse I shall perish with them. I ought not to follow men, but as they are followers of God.,
“Shall I cleave to the pomps and vanity, the pleasures and amusements, of the present world ? How pleasing are these to the eye, the ear, and the fancy. But they are empty and transient things. Were I on the bed of illness, I should not regard them. If I choose what the world gives its votaries, I only grasp a shadow. A day spent in vanity may be pleasant for the time; but it affords no satisfaction afterward. The great God did not make man to be a secular trifler, hunting after vanities.
“Shall I make religion a notion, à rite, a decent
formality, an inefficient profession; a comparative nothing? Have I not been guilty of this ? I have repeated prayers, gone to Church, at times read the Bible, and attended to my duties. But I have not regarded religion as the great affair of my soul and eternity. I have engaged in the services of religion ; and when they were concluded, I have thought no more about it. Is this to treat such a subject properly? Is this to please God, to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, to walk in the path that leads to future blessedness ? No: religion is more, far more, than vague notion, customary form, and uninfluential profession.
“ There is a great and glorious God, a gracious Redeemer, an almighty Sanctifier. All true blessedness is from God. I can be really happy only by knowing Him, loving Him, and walking before Him according to the gospel. His favour is life: His displeasure is misery. O let me not presume to trifle with the awful Majesty of heaven and earth.
“I am immortal. This frail tabernacle will sooner or later mingle with the dust: but my soul will never die. It will live for ever. It will be happy or miserable through all eternity. Can I endure the thought of ruining my soul for the few and empty and transient pleasures of a vain and evil world?
Eternity is before me: and I know not how soon I may be in eternity. Eternal blessednesshow delightful! Eternal misery-how tremendous! Surely I do not think and feel and act aright, but as I think and feel and act as a creature who is to exist for ever.
“ Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
“I am a sinful creature. I know but little yet about myself; but I know that this is true :-I have disregarded Christ and the gospel : I have not sought the principles of a new and divine life. But if I live thoughtless and heedless, impenitent, unbelieving, unpardoned, unsanctified—if I live in sin, though I am commended by the world, sin will be my ruin. I ought, then, to seek the mercy and grace of the gospel, that I may be freed from it.
“ Salvation is to be found in the ways of wisdom, and in no other. If I would enjoy the favour of God here, and be happy for evermore, I must receive the truth as it is in Jesus; I must be, in mind and heart and conduct, one of His true followers. I am called a Christian ; but if I am not truly such, my guilt must be great; for I abuse the tender mercies of our God. If Christ be not in me, and if I be not truly devoted to God in heart and life, I am destitute of true piety, and my hope of heaven is a vain presumption. If I would have salvation, with all its glory and felicity, Wisdom must be my teacher and guide.
" What do I renounce? The world; pomp, pleasure, vanity, and idle amusements; thoughtlessness, sin, and follý; error, presumption, pride, and security. What do I choose? God, salvation, and heaven; present holiness and eternal glory; the instructions of wisdom, the government of grace, the pleasures and the sorrows of piety, the satisfaction of goodness, the recompense of reward. I choose Christ and His Cross; His example, and the crown of glory. Be these my choice: and they will give me joy in youth, happiness in mature life, consolation in old age, satisfaction through the whole of my pilgrimage, hope in death, and the perfection of blessedness through all eternity.
“Such, O ever-present God, are thoughts and feelings. But how vain are these, and how soon shall I lose them, unless Thou art pleased, of Thy great mercy and grace, to begin