Page images

Some of you may say, that I put an extreme case; that you have no wish for pomp, splendour, and giddy revelry; that you love domestic comfort and quietness; a friend, a book, and common employment; what is calm, rational, and innocent. I will suppose you, then, to be retired; averse to show, noise, and excitement. You cultivate your minds and tastes; you are social; you attend to family matters. But the one great and essential subject, the gospel of Christ, is, if not forgotten, a very remote and subordinate concern. The tame and quiet world is your idol-your choice. Your thoughts and feelings run in an earthly direction. Your pleasures and occupations are all below. You are not the glaring flowers that attract all eyes you are retired and unseen flowers; but earth is the soil in which you grow, and earthly is the dew with which you are fed. In this case you are unprepared for the trying and solemn events of life. You are not seeking the favour of God: you are not laying up treasures in heaven. would here ask you, Is it wise, is it rational, to make the world, in any form that it may assume, your choice? Ought you not to choose the good part, and to act in agreement with that choice?


I would persuade you to be true to your Baptismal promise and vow, which, I may presume, you have renewed in Confirmation. I would persuade you to renounce the world, to choose Christ and His gospel, to cast in your lot among the righte

ous. I do not allure you by fine promises of exemption from change and sorrow. "Many are the troubles of the righteous." "In the world ye shall have tribulation." I do not promise you a day without clouds, a path without thorns, a cup without bitterness, a sun that undergoes no eclipse.

The path of sorrow, and that path alone,

Leads to the world where sorrow is unknown.

There is a sense in which it may be said, that the wisdom from above will give you a paradise: but I know of no paradise on earth that has not thorns and weeds.

What, then, do I promise you? "In me," said our blessed Saviour, "ye shall have peace." This peace, I would observe, is "the peace of God which passeth all understanding." Nothing can be put into competition with this blessingpeace with God-true peace in our own souls. If you be in Christ, you have true happiness: for you are in a state of reconciliation with God, you enjoy His favour, and you will have increasing satisfaction in your. bosoms, as you advance in the pilgrimage of life, conscious that you are striving in all things to do the will of God. You will have repose and comfort in the days of change and trial, of pain and sickness; and you will be prepared for your departure out of this world, whenever that event may take place. You will do

good to others in your day and generation, being centres from which, by your spirit and example, will emanate a holy influence which may be made instrumental in turning many to righteousness. Your life will be adorned with those virtues which will never fade: it will abound with that excellence which will never perish. There will be a growing conformity between your will and the divine will and you will be able to contemplate the immensity of space, the duration of eternity, the revolutions of time, the ruin of created systems, the disclosures of the spiritual world, with calm, dignified, and happy souls, knowing that you are safe in the arms of Infinite Power, in the shelter of Infinite Love. Times, events, and scenes that inspire the thoughtless and vain with grief and dismay, with alarm and terror, will prove to you the sources of solemn delight. The pious soul has all good to expect-no evil to fear. In short, what has been so well said of Charity may with Justice be said of Religion:

Sweet peace she brings wherever she arrives;
And builds our quiet as she forms our lives :
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even ;
And opens in each heart a little heaven.

The young votary of the world is unacquainted with God and with himself; and lives an entire stranger to the sublimities and solemnities that belong to our existence. He is exquisitely alive

to the things of time; utterly torpid as to those of eternity. He abounds with laughter and levity, and hurries onward from joy to joy. A poetical rhapsody charms his imagination; the pages of a novel elicit his tears. The scenes of frivolous dissipation fill his heart with transport. The languages of Gaul and Italy are to him as the sweetest music. The hours of gay companionship are most delicious to his taste. How delightful the day! How is the path strown with roses! It is all illusion: the roses presently fade: the delight is soon lost.

Let us advert to young persons who are walking in the ways of wisdom. Observe their language, temper, objects, and employments; observe them on the Sabbath, and on the other six days of the week. They are calm, composed, cheerful, profitably engaged: you see and hear nothing which you can condemn as unpleasant, improper, and unreasonable. They know Jehovah-they know themselves-they strive to walk in holiness and obedience-the Scriptures are often in their hands-they worship God in private—they value the ordinances of religion-they love the society of the wise and good-they wish to use their talents, not to waste them. They have, as young people, their recreations and amusements; they have fancy, feeling, and taste: but all these are duly regulated. They find that the celestial Wisdom is a queen who has authority; but her exer


cise is as gentle as it is holy. In health they renounce the world; but they truly enjoy all that can be properly enjoyed. In the days of trial they know to whom to look, and into whose bosom to pour their grief. If they fade and fall in the bright morning of their days, they go down to the grave in peace, to be with Jesus, in whom they trusted, and whom they loved and followed.

You, my young readers, have a Choice to make: and since the case is such as I have stated it to be, you will admit that I cannot be too urgent in persuading you to make the right one. Review the subject, and apply it to yourselves with all possible fidelity and will you not then resolve, in the strength of divine grace-" As for me, I will serve the Lord-I will be the disciple of ChristI will take up my cross and follow Him-I will take His yoke upon me-I will seek to have a paradise within me-I will strive to obtain the paradise above?" I would urge you to this choice, to this resolve. O think of the glorious God, of the loving Saviour, of the gracious Sanctifier, of your own souls, of death, of the grave, of judgment, of eternity-of eternity to be spent in the perfection of felicity, or in anguish, despair, and horror. Think of these, and let not a subject of such infinite moment be set before you in vain.

But I leave all to God and to yourselves. He only can effectually impress the mind and heart of


The decision of your judgment and con

« PreviousContinue »