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of God; of that heavenly Kingdom where His will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven ? Art thou, then, one of those who walk not in the way of transgressors ; nor stand in the council of the ungodly ; nor sit in the seat of the scorner ; but whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, meditating therein day and night ? Dost thou hunger and thirst after RIGHTEOUSNESS? Dost thou pray for the guidance of thy Lord, and watch for the manifestation of His will, more than they who watch for morning? Is thy soul as a weaned child to the allurements of the world, sin, and self? Dost thou dig for Truth as for hid treasure, seeking wisdom before all worldly honours, gains, and rewards? Dost thou prize those who are upright and virtuous, wherever and under whatever circumstances they are found ? Hast thou an eye to discover, and a heart to love the image of thy Lord, whether those who bear it inhabit a hut, or adorn a palace ? Couldst thou have discovered a constellation of heavenly attributes in Him who was born in the stable and cradled in the manger of Bethlehem ? Couldst thou have discerned the divine root and offspring of David, in the lowliest of the Judean valley ; in other words, art thou free from the blinding sins of prejudice and worldly wisdom ? As a little child, willing to be instructed, dost thou sit at thy Saviour's feet, to hear His words? Then art thou, beloved youth, not far from the kingdom of thy Lord. Such characters, and such alone, shall enter therein. The good Shepherd will bear thee, as it were, in his bosom, above the rough path of tribulation, which leadeth to rest and peace. Those good angels, who are sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation, watch over thee with unremitting care. Their benevolent natures rejoice, that a ransomed child of the human family should, by the mediation of Him they adore,
approach nearer the Throne of the Holy One than they. There is joy throughout their hosts when thou turnest thy heart to seek their Creator. When thy Lord's voice is heard amid the stillness of a cloud of witnesses, saying, “ My son, give me thine heart,” how do they rejoice, when thine heart replies, “Lord, it is thine by creation, thine by redemption ; purify its affections, and accept of them all as thy living sacrifice, and my reasonable service!" But can it be possible that these animating truths are addressed to one dead in trespasses and sins, who is as void of the noble ambition of God's dear children as the brutes who live by instinct and perish without hope? If thou canst not answer in the affirmative to the preceding questions, thou art such an one. Perhaps thou makest thy boast that thou art negatively good, that is to say, thou dost not commit glaring immorality. Admitting this to be the case, thou hast little cause of self-complacency ; thou art convicted of that black, and monstrous crime ingratitude, and that toward thy first Benefactor, to love and serve whom thou art bound by every tie, human and divine. Art thou willing and content to wear out thy term of probation, deceiving and being deceived ; living in open rebellion against the authority and love of God, which constrains thee by every noble motive to serve him here, and reign with him hereafter? Is it thy voluntary lot to grovel amid the perishable enjoyments of animal nature, and at last experience that dust is thy portion ? Hast thou a human soul, and one spark of that Spirit which was breathed into thy being with its life, and canst thou slavishly endure the ignominious yoke of Satan's bondage, without one aspiring thought after freedom from sin, without one magnanimous struggle to assert thy immortal character and claims ? Pluck out a right-eye passion, cut off a right-hand prejudice without
hesitation, if thou wouldst yet be saved ; let the vile idols on whom thou hast mis-spent thy service and homage, no longer provoke the Holy One of Israel to anger. He cannot share thy heart with such abominations. Beware of procrastination : another and another year hath the Father, at the intercession of His beloved Son, had patience with thee : another day, and he may say in his wrath, cut down the unprofitable cumberer of the ground. Arise now, O prodigal, and with a contrite heart return to thy Heavenly Father, from whom thou hast so long, so deeply revolted. If thou comest to Him in the Name of Christ; He will in no wise reject thee, for as His Majesty, so is His mercy to the penitent. O deceived youth, instantly determine, and having determined, linger not by the way, neither waste one moment in looking behind thee; danger is in delay, ruin in hesitation, and despair in turning back ; none such being fit for the Kingdom of God.
Should mountain-like difficulties arise in terrific range to oppose thy return; should floods of tribulation threaten thee, fear not to go forward ; these are unreal phantoms which the adversary has raised to frighten and seduce thee back to his bondage. Mountains oppose no barrier to true Faith! Many waters cannot quench pure Love !