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a melancholy thing; and scorned those blessings,
for which we should now think a thousand
worlds a little price. We ridiculed the folly of
professing to be strangers and pilgrims upon
earth; and looked down with contemptuous pi-
ty on those, whose chief concern on earth, was
safely to reach heaven. We thought our folly
wisdom, and their true wisdom folly. We heard
the tolling bell, but forgot that it would soon toll
for us.
We saw the opened grave, unmindful
that that land of silence would quickly be our
long home. Trifling as you, we stopped not to
consider what we were, and what we soon must
be. But youth failed us, death arrived, and the
lying vanities of life fled at its touch. Then we
discovered our misery. Then we saw our want;
but, Oh! too late. Woe is us! Our day of
grace is gone. The tidings of mercy are now
unheard by us.
The blood of Jesus can never
cleanse us; nor the compassion of God reach us
now. For the vain pleasures of a moment, we
have ruined a whole eternity."


§ 3. O my young friend! would the tale of horror, that such unhappy creatures, if permitted, could relate, make you feel how vain is youth? remember, I beseech you, that it is as vain, as you could hear their doleful lamentations. Millions of the young die every year. More than half mankind die before.they have reached their twentieth year; and what is there in you, to shield you from so common a lot? are you stronger, or healthier, or more sure of life, than others? Perhaps,

"The young disease, that must subdue at length,
Has 'Grown with your growth, and strengthen'd with your



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Or how easily may a fever seize upon you, and in a few days reduce you from the highest health, to feebleness and death! How quickly may any sudden change from heat to cold, or many other causes, inflame your lungs, or some other vital part, and in a few days, lodge you where? In the eternal world. How soon may a cold turn to a consumption, and before you think yourself seriously ill, you may be incurably so! How soon may numerous other diseases, at God's bidding, accomplish their awful errand! You perhaps now look forward to future years, which probably will never be yours; but if they should how soon the years now to come, will be years departed! Others ere long will tread upon your grave, as thoughtlessly as you do on theirs, who went before you. You live in a dying world, in a land of graves. On some spot of earth or other, fresh graves are ever opening. No minute passes in which some do not die. While you breathe some breathe their last. While you think of eternity, others as young as you, are passing thither, enraptured or dismayed. Ah, hapless state of an unhappy world! Some dying in youth, and others fooling their precious youth away. Some going to give up their sad account, and others swelling the black list on theirs. Some neglecting early piety, and others, too late, mourning their folly in doing so. Some trifling with a Saviour, and others trembling before him as their Judge. How soon, if you belong to the former of these classes, will time number you with the latter! You are on the verge of eternity, and some younger than you are daily dying, and entering on its amazing scenes. O, remember that youth is vanity, and life itself no better. And



should you continue careless of the Lord Jesus Christ, how bitter ere long will be the remembrance of your wasted youth! This one short and vain life is the only season, in which you may obtain peace with God, and receive the gift of life eternal; and would you still throw this one away? Alas, unhappy youth! who are so truly wretched as they, who do this, excepting they who have done it! Would the starving beggar that has but one penny, toss that away or the sailor that has but one way of escaping shipwreck, neglect that one! or the traveller who sees but one path from a tremendous precipice, slight that one! and will you waste in sinful delays, the flower and prime of that one vain life, in which eternal life may be sought in Christ and surely found? O! rather unite in the Psalmist's prayer, "So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

§ 4. Often indulge such reflections as these on the passing scenes around you.

That sun is setting, and has once less to set on me; in time I may soon behold its rise, but enter eternity before it set. This year is closing, and will never more close on me; it is finished; and has brought me so much nearer to the hour when time itself shall end with me.

Do I see a leaf in summer torn from the bough, on which it grew? such is my life. We all do fade as a leaf. Like the leaf, when age the winter of time comes on, it must fade; but as a summer storm may tear the leaf from the tree, and cast it to the ground, so disease may attack my health, and lay my body among the clods of the valley, and send my spirit to God who gave it. O, may I flourish in faith and love, that thus



being found waiting, I may welcome the coming of my Lord, though at the most unexpected hour.

Am I taking a journey, in a carriage going rapidly along? the trees, the hedges, the fields, the houses, seem all hastily passing by me; and would lead me to think, that I am sitting still to observe them glide away. But, ah! it is I who move, and they are still! Thus fast am I hastening to the end of my little journey of life, though I mark not its progress, or be thoughtless of its close.

Do I observe a sportsman aiming at a flying bird? it has left no trace behind, and probably his shot may bring it to the ground, and prevent its passing through the expanse before. My past years are gone as the years before the flood; and the years that are before me I may never enter. Death, that surest of marksmen, may have already received his dread commission, to number me with the dead. O, may faith and love prepare me for eternity before I feel the awful stroke of death! Seek then, my soul; O, seek without delay, these precious blessings! My stay here is all uncertain. My youth is vanity. My days are swifter than a shuttle; but what will become of thee, if these fleeting days should end, and thou shouldst then be found in thy present state? O, let me seek in Christ deliverance from my sins. Then grace shall make even the vanity of youth a blessing rather than an evil.

"Be wise, my soul, be timely wise,
Flee to the atoning sacrifice;
The gospel promises embrace,
And trust thy all to Jesus' grace."



§ 1. WHILE the various blessings, which attend a knowledge of the gospel, combine to form a motive for embracing early piety, motives of an opposite but most weighty kind, arise from the disappointments and the miseries, that attend the path of transgressors. "The way of

transgressors is hard." "There is no peace to the wicked;" God to them "distributeth sorrows in his anger."


Were we unacquainted with any actual miseries attendant on irreligion, yet there would be enough in the divine word, to convince you that it is ruinous and destructive. Depravity and corruption have led you into the ways of sin; and it is blindness that keeps you contented there. 'The understanding of men is darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." "The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him." "The god of this world," (or Satan,) "hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them." While in this state, you resemble a blind man in the midst of treacherous enemies; he does not see them, and so he does not fear them. Thus, on the edge of destruction, you are unconcerned, because blind to your state; Prov. xiii. 15. Is. lvii. 21. Job, xxi. 17. Eph. iv. 13. 1 Cor. ii 14. 2 Cor. iv. 4.

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