« PreviousContinue »
MEDITATIONS ON THE sider, that without this you cannot be saved. The words of Christ are, “ Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God:” (John, iii. 5.) He does not say, except a man be virtuous in his habits, or moral in his life, or except he attend the outward ordinances of religion, he cannot see the kingdom of God; for all this he may mind, and never reach heaven: but, “Except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” He represents that divine change which passes on the hearts of all those that come to God by him, as essential to the happiness of your soul. By his atoning death, he removed the obstacles to your happiness that lay on God's part; and, by conversion, would remove those which spring from yourself. Be assured, on God's authority, there is no new-discovered way to heaven. The path is marked out. Repent, and flee from the wrath to come. Believe, and yield thyself to Christ.
§ 10. A MEDITATION ON THE SUBJECT OF THIS CHAP
TER, CONCLUDING WITH A PRAYER.
And is it indeed true, O my soul, that the way of life is thus narrow! And can it be, that with so much to adorn the outward character, the heart may still remain in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity! Awakening truth! let it awaken thee. It is thy Judge that says, Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. It is he that tells thee, that many are called, but row chosen. Wilt thou trifle with his word! Wilt
WANT OP REAL PIETY.
107 thou deceive thyself,' and hope against hope, when vast eternity shall be the measure of thy sufferings or joys, and when the smile or the frown of thy God awaits thee! Wert thou now going into his presence, where would the next hour find thee? O my soul, thou must appear before that Judge, whose eyes are as a flame of fire;
who knows all thy secret sins, and from whom = the minutest circumstance cannot be concealed :
and what plea can I present to gain his pity ? Shall I tell him that some knowledge of himself has been mine; that, unlike the perishing hea
then, I called him Lord ? but, has not he said, E “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Would not this plea for mercy aggravate my guilt, and cause even the heathen to rise in the judgment against me to condemn me! They knew him not,
and could not love him; but I heard of him, ť and would not love him. Or should I plead the
privileges I have enjoyed ? Should I tell him of parents, now in heaven, whose prayers ascended to his throne for me? but, alas! my abused privi. leges double all my guilt. Should I plead with him that my life has been fair, my deportment lovely, my temper kind, my conduct just ? but can all this extenuate my rebellion against him, and my forgetfulness of God? I know how vain, how very vain, it would be for a criminal arraigned for murder and treason, to plead in his defence, that though certainly guilty of these crimes; yet that he had never stolen a flower from his neighbour's garden, or an apple from his orchard: nor will it more avail me, when charged with ingratitude to my best benefactor, with rebel.
108 PRÅYER FOR TRUE PIETY. lion against my God, to plead, in excuse for those vilest of sins, my kindness to my fellow-worms.
How solemn is the warning given me, from his sad condition, whose history I have been con. sidering ! How lovely was his deportment! how moral his conduct! how pleasing his early de
sire to find the way to life eternál ! yet I have · seen that the one thing he still wanted. And hast
thou, my soul, that one thing ? hast thou even as much to plead as he ? Can I say with him, All these have I kept from my youth ? Have I, in a humbler sphere, as seriously inquired the way to life and peace, as he did, in the midst of the ensnarements of riches and power ? Far as he went, he did not go so far as to become a Chris tian altogether; and what am I, whose concern for religion has been so much less fervent, whose outward conduct so much less conformed to the will of God? What then wilt thou do, O my soul ? canst thou bear to be banished from the realms of joy and love, and to hear thy now com. passionate Saviour bid thee depart for ever ?
O my God, never let me hear those awful words. Here I bow before thee, and have not one plea for mercy, drawn from any thing in my. self, which would deserve thy notice. But stripped of every other, let this be my plea, that Je. sus died for me a sinner. Thou hast taught me what to do; hast directed me to apply to him for life and peace. In him, thou hast laid a foundation on which I may build for eternity. There let me rest my all.
Wean me altogether from every other depen. dance. Search me and try me. If I deceive my own soul, discover to me the delusion, and save me from reposing my eternal hopes on any thing,
WORTH OF THE SOUL. except on the crucified Redeemer. Many, o Lord, are the devious paths of error; while strait is the way of life, yet, though strait, it leads to heaven. In that secure and peaceful path, O God, may I walk. May I be found in Christ. May i abide in him; and by this sacred connexion with bim, be blessed in this life and for ever.
And thou, blessed Jesus, be thou my hope and peace, and may I find thee my Almighty Sam viour. Amen.
THE WORTH OF THE SOUL A REASON FOR EARLY
§ 1. The chief design of the preceding chap. ters has been to make you sensible of your need of spiritual blessings; and to give you a brief view of the nature of religion. Consider now more fully some of those reasons, which should induce you to embrace religion without delay. And may God enable me to set them before you with that affectionate earnestness and plainness, which become a dying creature, when addressing another who must soon be an inhabitant of heaven or hell!
One most weighty motive, to induce you to give your youth to God, is, that you possess an immortal soul. The body is the inferior part of your nature. Pass away a few short years, and it must mingle with the clods of the valley. By the body you are allied to worms and dust; by the soul, to angels and to God.
It is almost impossible to use words strong enough to express the worth of the soul. Such
110 WORTH OF THE SOUL, AS IMMƏRTAL.
“Survey that midnight glory! Worlds on worlds!
Another poet, with equal truth and beauty, says,
“The sun is but a spark of fire,
Shall uever die." $ 2. Your soul is immortal. It derived its being from God. If religion be your choice, it will shine brighter than the stars of the firmament, when all those stars are gone out in eternal night.
A few years will finish all your delights, and hopes, and fears, below; then will your soul be fixed where it must live for ever. While you, my young friend, read these lines, the souls of millions are encountering all the sorrows, or are gladdened with all the joys of an endless world. For ages have the bodies of many of them been turned to dust; their very tombstones are mould. ered away; hut they all live in eternity, though