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CHAPTER XV.

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THE YOUNG SINNER'S INGRATITUDE TO GOD, AND
CRUELTY TO HIS OWN SOUL, URGED AS REASONS
FOR EMBRACING RELIGION IN YOUTH.

$ 1. I HAVE already, my young friend, shown To you, that by the piety of youth you may testify is the most gratitude for divine love; and that God ank would remember this kindness of your youth, to 2 your infinite advantage: but perhaps you still - VL remain undecided. I beseech you then, spend a . lew moments in meditating on the unkindness of

a youth of sin to God, and on its cruelty to yourom self. Indulge those thoughts that may now be 05. useful; but which will otherwise fill your last

bours with horror, and plant your dying bed with

thorns.
in While you continue careless of religion, you
– 9. Jead a life of base ingratitude to the God that
Le gave you being. Ingratitude has been pronoun-
2007 ced

ut vices first, most infamous, and most accurs’d.”
is indescribably base when manifested to a

dor parent, in this world; but baser still is gratitude to God. Has not he given you life,

crowned that life with comfort ? Whence

ome ease of health ? or whence the cheerful Fabrigour of youth but from his kindness to you? Mience the friends, the parents, the comforts

you have enjoyed ?* All are the gifts of

d. He has blessed you here, and in the gift eremu Jesus, provided for your blessedness hereafter;

u does all this goodness merit no thankful Ieturn? Shall God be thus kind to you, and

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254 BY IRRELIGION THE YOUNG BASELY
you unkind to him? Do you remember a fable,
which perhaps you may have read in your child-
hood ? A compassionate countryman found a
serpent, chilled with frost; he pitied it; he put
it in his bosom. The vital warmth restored it to
life and activity; but what was its first action ?
It would fain have destroyed its benefactor.
Apply this fable to the present subject. Has
not God done more for you than words can ex-
press ? Are not you indebted to him for life,
breath, being, and all things ? Through his fos
tering care, you have reached the vigour and
bloom of youth; and what are your first actions ?
Neglect of God and religion; and thus base in.
gratitude and sin. O, is not this imitating the
serpent? It is true, your abused benefactor is
beyond the reach of real injury; but your in.
gratitude is the same, as if he could receive the
greatest injury from you. You deny him your
favoured youth. The time in which you are
most favoured by God, the blooming season
which he values most, that very time, that very
bloom, you give to Satan, the world and sin, O!
while you act this part, little as you may suspect
it, the venom of the old serpent is rankling in
your heart.

Perhaps you delude yourself by imagining that you shall present him the latter part of life; but does not his goodness claim all your days? Besides, what can the aged convert offer? “His riches ? but he can use them no more : his pleasures ? but he can enjoy them no longer : his honour ? but it has withered on his brow: his authority ? but it has dropped from his , feeble hand. He leaves his sins, when they will no longer bear him company."

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UNGRATEFUL TO GOD AND CHRIST. 255 reme $ 2. In neglecting early piety, you are unrados grateful to the Son of God." He humbled him

self to earth, he hungered and thirsted, groanepite ed and wept, endured the thorns, the scourge, armbes the cross, and even bled and died in pity to your as it soul; and he demands no return, but what is for ed in your good as well as his glory. He demands content your heart, and you refuse to give it. Were not han

they basely cruel and ungrateful to him, who du cried, “Not this man but Barabbas ;” who thus The preferred a murderer to the Lord of life; but the you act as guilty a part while you prefer the counter World, that delusive destroyer, to a dying Savi.

our, and a gracious God! Rather you do worse

than the murderers of the Lord of glory did. collat Many of them knew not what they did, when

Joey preferred the murderer Barabbas to the cule blessed Jesus. You are more ungrateful to

urist than they; while you profess to view him as the Son of God, and Saviour of men, and yet, reality, prefer to him, not Barabbas, but sin

Watan. Perhaps you say, “Surely I do not ct this horrid part;" but O! deceive not your A heart, for in God's esteem you do, while you use to yield your youth to Christ. Though jou may merely neglect his grace, yet according

Scriptures, grace neglected is grace refused; though you may be merely careless of the

Jesus, through thoughtlessness or love to world, yet it is most certain, that a Saviour orighted is a Saviour rejected; and O dreadful!

rejected for what? for vanity, folly, and pleaon bloure; or, in plainer words, for the service of the

orld, and the devil. And O! rejected by whom?

one to whom Christ has an everlasting right. Chas such a right to you, and in denying your

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256 IRRELIGION, INGRATITUDE TO GOD, heart to him you are not merely guilty of the most base ingratitude, but of the vilest injustice. You rob him of his right. You rob not man, but God; you rob God of his honour, and the divine Sa. viour of what is most justly his; God said of old to Israel, “ Will a man rob God ? yet ye have robbed me.The language of his word is, “Ye are not your own, but bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” What would you think of a man, that might rob an affectionate parent, to give what he stole from his best friend, to a most de testable and cruel enemy of that parent and of himself? Oh, folly, madness, wickedness, ingratitude! My young friend, is not this the part you act, if you deny Jesus what is his due? and give what his love claims to his greatest enemy and yours! If you refuse him your youth and prime, to which he has an endless right, and give that youth and prime to Satan? Love so amazing, so divine as his, demands “ your life, your soul, your all;" and shall it have no grateful return ? When you owe God every thing, will you be so base as to give him nothing? .

§ 3. In refusing your youth to God, you are guilty of the greatest cruelty to yourself. Better far had it been for you never to have been born, than to come into the world to spend a few sin. ful years, and then to go and make your sad abode with devils and the damned; where the worm never dieth, and the fire never shall be quenched. You would think any one dreadfully cruel to himself, who might cut and mangle his own body, who might tear off his own flesh, who might thrust his own limbs into the fire, and keep them there, in misery till they were consum. as pe' AND CRUELTY TO THE SOUL. 257 wilapil ed. But which is worst, to mangle a mortal bo

dy, or undo an immortal soul? to thrust a limb

into the fire, or to throw the soul into hell ? If What you beheld one, that, by a fall from his horse, or cook from a house-roof, had his limbs broken, and lay fwrithing in agony on the ground, would you not

declare him cruel to himself, if a friend stood by
ready and able to cure him, and he were to re-
fuse the needful help? But which is worst, to

linger down to death in agony, through slightcasing a surgeon's aid; or linger a few years, a deand in the praved, condemned, and ruined creature, and

then sink to endless wretchedness, through neg

lecting a divine Saviour's help? If your body w were in such melancholy circumstances, you

would welcome friendly aid, and while your soul is in a state far more melancholy, I beseech you, neglect not that of the Lord Jesus Christ.

ou would not be so cruel to yourself, as to trust a foot, or a hand, or even the point of a unger into the fire ; 0, be not so cruel to your own soul, as to undo it with a sure and everlastung destruction! Every moment that you delay to turn to God, is à moment of cruelty to your soul, your own, your, immortal soul. What would you think of a husbandman, who, in spring, wigat sow his fields with poisonous weeds, and say, "I'll pluck them up in winter !” Distracttu man! Where would be his harvest ? In inter, he should be enjoying the harvest, of uch the seed was sown in spring, and not then,

want and misery, be tearing up the weeds that nad ruined his land. And will you, by neglecting early piety, sow the seeds of sin in youth, oping to pluck up the poisonous weeds in age? coaps that age may never come. With all

Led; which the sees Deton in want and my

his hoping to Colbes Perbaps th

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