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her holy image has been welcomed with affection, and treated with respect. Religious books have been put into your hands. Schools selected for your education which would aid the work of your parents, and every thing kept out of your way which would be likely to be an impediment to the formation of your religious character, and your pursuits of eternal sal-, vation. Thus, so far as means go, the very avenues of perdition have been blocked up, the way to destruction has been filled with mounds and barriers; while the path of life has been carefully laid open to your view, and every thing done to facilitate your entrance to the road of immortality. You have been born, 'cradled, and instructed in an element of religion; you have trod the ground, and breathed the atmosphere of piety. What advantages !! Whọ shall count their number or calculate their value !!
And now think of the responsibility which all these privileges entail upon you.
This thought fills me with trembling for you, if you do not tremble for yourselves. Man is an accountable being, and his accountability to God, is in exact proportion to his opportunities for knowing and doing the will of his Creator. No talents of this kind, that are intrusted to man, are so precious as those of a religious education; and with no persons will God be so awfully strict in judgement, as with those who have possessed them. A law of proportion, will be the rule of the final judgement. Ten talents will not be required from those, to whom only five were delivered; nor will only five be demanded from those, with whom ten were
entrusted. This is plainly stated by Christ in that most impressive passage, “ That servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. - But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask more. Who upon this scale, shall measure the height and depth of your responsibility? The poor Pagan who hews down a tree, makes a god of its wood, and worships the deity which he has thus fashioned ; who lives in all kind of lust; and cruelty, and falsehood,--the Mahometan, who turns his face to the rising sun, and calls upon his prophet,--the rustic, who revels in the village where his father rioted before him, and where neither of them ever heard one parental admonition, nor one gospel sermon-nay, even the infidel who derides the Scripture, and was taught to do it by his sire, will not have so much to account for in the day of scrutiny, as. you who have enjoyed the advantages of a pious education. Think, I beseech you, upon all your privileges, the instructions, the warnings, the admonitions, the reproofs you have received even from your infancy-your father's earnest prayers, and your mother's monitory tears-domestic teachings, and ministerial advice-sabbaths spent, and sermons heard_all, all must be accounted for at the last day; all will be demanded in judgement. You may now think lightly of these things, but God does not. You may forget them as they pass, but God
* Luke xii. 47, 48.
does not. They are dealt out to you as precious things : the number of them is written down amongst the records of Omniscience, and in that day when the throne shall be set, and the books shall be opened, the improvement of each will be demanded, by a voice at which the universe shall tremble. You will not be tried as one that had only the feeble glimmering of natural reason to guide his perceptions, and his conduct; but as one that walked amidst the noontide splendour of divine revelation, as one that occupied just that station in the moral world, where the light of heaven fell with the clearest and the steadiest brightness.
Do fancy yourself called into judgement to answer for your religious privileges : summoned by a voice which it is impossible to resist, from the throng of trembling spirits waiting for their doom ; fancy you hear the voice that commanded the universe into being, saying
66 Child of the righteous, son of many prayers and much anxiety, give an account of thyself; exhibit the fruits and improvement of all thy rich and innumerable advantages for a life of piety. Ye parents who taught him, bear witness. I intrusted him to your care.
Did ye bring him up in the fear and nurture and adinonition of the Lord ? Resign your trust;
deliver your testimony; clear yourselves." Impressive and awful spectacle !! stand before the tribunal of God, confronted by the mother that bore you, and the father that loved you. If you have neglected your advantages, and lived without piety, what a testimony will they bear. 6. Thou art our witness, O God, and that unhappy individual in whom
we once delighted as our child, but whom we now renounce for ever, with what affectionate solicitude, and unwearied perseverance; with how many tears and prayers we laboured for his salvation. But all was useless. This is not the season of mercy, or we would still pour over his guilty head one more fervent prayer for his salvation; but forbidden to commend him to thy mercy, we can now do nothing but leave him to thy justice.” Miserable man, what can he say? He is speechless. Conscious guilt leaves him without excuse, and despair seals up his lips in silence. One piercing, agonizing look is directed to his parents, ore deep groan escapes his bosom, as the ghosts of murdered opportunities rise upon his vision, and crowd the regions of his fancy. As his distracted eye ranges o'er the millions who stand on the left hand of the Judge, there is not one whose situation he does not envy. The Pagan, the Mahometan, the poor peasant who sinned away his life in a benighted village, even the infidel, going up to receive his doom for blaspheming the God of revelation, appears less guilty, less miserable than he.
But were my pen dipped in the gall of celestial displeasure, I could not describe the weight of the sentence, nor the misery which it includes, that will fall upon the ungodly child of righteous parents. Who shall portray the hell of such a fallen spirit, or set forth the torments with which it will be followed to the regions of eternal night? We all know that no sufferings are so dreadful as those which are self-procured ; and that self-reproach infuses a bitterness into the cup of wo, which exasperates the anguish of despair. Disappointment of long and fondly
cherished hopes is dreadful; but if there be no reason for self-reproach, even this is tolerable : but to suffer, through eternal ages, in the bottomless pit, with no prospect but of misery, no employment but that of numbering over the advantages we once possessed for escaping from the wrath to come--this is hell. My children! my children! my heart agonizes as I write. I groan over these lines of my bookthese pictures of my fancy. Do take warning. Hearken to these sentiments. Let them have their due weight upon your minds—treasure up this conviction in your minds--that of all lands on the earth, it is the most dreadful to travel to the bottomless pit from a Christian country; and of all the situations in that country, it is the most awful to reach the bottomless pit from the house of godly parents. Let me be any thing in the day of judgement, and in eternal misery, rather than the irreligious child of religious parents.*
On the most prevailing obstacles which prevent young people from entering on a religious life.
Our Lord has most explicitly taught us, my dear children, that the entrance to the path of life is not unattended with difficulty, nor to be
* There is a little repetition in this chapter, of some of the sentiments in the first; but as the subject led to it, the author was not anxious to avoid it.