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but the visible approach of death ; not any love of God or goodness, but the fear of impending torment, has roused him for a moment from his lethargy, and awakened him to some little transient sense of his condition. And that were the apprehension of danger removed, and his prospect of life lengthened, he would return with greediness to the iniquities of his youth, and lay aside his thoughts of religion and the grave together.
Far be it from a preacher of the gospel to teach, that any Sinner, who comes to God with repentance and faith, can be rejected. But habits of evil, by length of time rooted deeply into our frame, are not to be torn from us without so many ftruggles, and so much pain and trouble, as few or none, upon the trial, find themselves willing to endure.
What spectacle more melancholy, than that of an old sinner, at last smitten with temorse? beginning to be sensible of the deformity and danger of the course of life he is in, yet unable almost, and not quite willing to forsake it ; under a load that sits heavy on him, with just perhaps the power, and not the resolution to shake it off; fond of his old practices and companions, yet wishing a thousand times he had never known them; and afraid of the consequence, which he is going forward still to meet : how hard is
repent. ance, but death is dreadful : forgive, he tries to say, and holds up his shaking hands towards heaven: to be forgiven, I must repent: to repent, is to offend no more, what pain foever it may coft me, to repair all wrongs, restore unfair gains, be brought perhaps to want, exposed perhaps to infamy. Alas! who that has done evil long, can at last repent worthily? how easy to be innocent! impofsible to become fo! how terrible is judgment! how bitter is a true and late repentance! VOL, II.
Poor, unhappy man! would you envy him his meditations? yet with these fruitless wishes, ineffectual efforts, distracted apprehensions, many pass into eternity, who might once have been eminent saints with a part
of that self denial, which now only disturbs them in their fins, and avails nothing to their salvation.
These are the great arguments, it must be acknowledged, for an early piety; and they are sufficient surely to recommend it to the choice of every young person, that will reflect upon them as he ought.
Yet there is still remaining another motive besides these; which, though comparatively small, will have some weight, if they who have indeed cast off the fear of God, have not loft also the sentiments and feelings of men, but remain still open to the impressions of humanity and compassion. How happy for both
parties! is some youth, careless, I confess,
but but perhaps not cruel, could be induced to do good to himself for another's sake, and enter immediately on a sober and pious life, that his Father, or Mother, might have comfort in him: as it is written, A wise son maketh a glad father, Prov.x.I. but a foolish fon is the heaviness of his mother.
It is a well known observation, that if you say of any person he is ungrateful, you give him the very worst of characters. Whoever is without gratitude, is devoid of all virtue. If a man can be so insensible and mean, as to forget the law of kindness, and break through the strong but liberal restraints of love, cunning he may be called, but can never be truly wise, or capable of any generous or virtuous action; and as little indeed of any real piety towards God, for he that loveth 1 John iv. not his brother, his benefactor, friend, fa- 20. ther, whom he hath seen; how can he love God, whom he hath not seen?
Now we may venture to assert, that if a man has any well wilhers, any benefactors on earth, to whom he is bound by indiffoluble ties of gratitude, his parents are the persons.
Indeed one is willing to think, that many of those young people whose behaviour is so blameable, are not sensible of the uneasiness it occasions, nor at all aware how much anguish is endured on their account.
They run heedlessly forward in the broad and open path, and have no thought but of the pleasure they are pursuing.
Yet stop, young man, we beg, a little, to look towards thy poor parents. Think it not too much to bestow a moment's reflection upon those, who never forget thee. Recollect what they have done for thee. Remember all all in. deed thou canst not: alas! ill had been