Beloved youth, when I, who am old, look upon your
condition, I cannot but pity you. I do not envy your gaiety and pleasure.
The cup which you hold in your hand is inebriating, it is poisoned! The
pleasures which you are seeking are "the pleasures of sin," which are
short-lived, unsatisfactory, and leave a sting behind. Many are cut down
like the flower of the field in the midst of their earthly career. Oh how
many are hurried away in an unprepared state. Many others, when the season
of youthful gaiety and thoughtlessness is past, are visited with sore
afflictions, in the suffering of which all their former pleasures are
forgotten, and often embittered by the reflection that they were sinful
pleasures, or were mixed with sin. Remorse for the sins of youth is an
unwelcome visitant, but one which cannot easily be shaken off.
When afflictions are sanctified they become real
blessings. But many suffer who, instead of being made better, are made worse
by all their sufferings. They become impatient, and murmur at the
dispensations of God towards them, as though they were punished more than
their sins deserved.
Oh, young man, permit me to call your attention to your
soul's salvation. This you cannot but know is your great, your highest
interest. And why do you neglect it? Why do you put far off the evil day?
Your continuance on earth is altogether uncertain. Prepare, I beseech you,
to meet your God! "Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of
salvation." You will lose nothing, but be great gainers, by giving your
hearts to God in the days of your youth. "Wisdom's ways are ways of
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
A good conscience, and a lively hope of everlasting life,
are the purest sources of joy upon earth. When affliction falls on the
pious—and they are not exempt—there is a gracious promise that it will be
for their good; yes, that it will work out for them an "exceeding and
eternal weight of glory." Let the summons of death come when it will, they
are ready. The day of death to such is far better than the day of their
Young man, as you have but one short life to live upon
earth, have you no desire that it should be occupied in doing good? Are you
willing, at the last account, which all must give, to be in the class of
those who have lived to no good purpose, who have done nothing for the
benefit of their race? You say that you intend to be pious hereafter. What a
delusion! Evil habits will grow with your age, sinful desires will not be
lessened but increased by indulgence. Old age, if you are permitted to reach
it, will find you a hardened sinner; your conscience seared, and all your
habits of iniquity confirmed. Oh, could you hear the wailings of a multitude
of souls now in hell, methinks their lamentation would be that they
procrastinated attention to the salvation of their souls. Why will you run
the dangerous risk? Consider that eternal life and eternal death are now set
before you; and God calls on you to choose which you will have.