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tance shall be ours." [Luke, chap. xx.] In consequence of this brutal and ungrateful resolution, they actually murdered him; and what, think you, will their offended Maker do to them as the reward of their villainy? Our Saviour informs us, "he shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and give the vineyard to others;" by which is meant the Gentile world, to whom the gospel was to be preached, upon the rejection of the Jews.
But will God only punish his chosen. nation, and will he suffer those who now partake with them of his revelation, and are his in a more immediate manner, as the redeemed of his Son-will he suffer us Christians to escape, if we neglect so great salvation? No, my young friend, after all that God has done for you; after the invitations of his mercy, the instructions of the gospel, and the offers of his grace; after he has, according to the parable, planted you on a fruitful hill, that is, incorporated you with his own people, and adopted you as his children in Christ Jesus; for he has fenced you from the power of temptation, by the hopes and fears of a life after death,
and strengthened your resolutions by the promise of being ever present with you :he will not let you escape unpunished, if you wilfully continue in sin, when you have thus received the knowledge of the truth.
As God is infinite in goodness, and would not that any should perish, so he is willing to bear long with his creatures. He will try you by prosperity, to excite your love and gratitude he will also, perhaps, chas ten you with sickness and adversity, to cause you to remember him in the time of trouble, and to bring you to a due sense of duty, and a recollection of your salvation. He will endeavour to work in your heart, by the motions of his Holy Spirit, whose secret energy will be felt in the reproaches of conscience, and the remorse of having acted wrong. Such will be the dealings of the Almighty to bring you to repentance ; "for, as a father pitieth his own children, even so is the Lord merciful" unto all his creatures.
But then, you must consider that every perfection of the Divine nature is equally infinite; and although he is long-suffering.
yet he will by no means clear the guilty. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the people that forget God:" and our Saviour assures us, and repeats the terrible warning no less than three times over, that it is better to lose an eye, to part with a limb, or to suffer any misery in this world, so that after death we may enter into life, that is, into a life of happiness, than to be condemned to hell, 66 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." The worm here mentioned is generally thought to mean the upbraidings of a guilty conscience, which is elsewhere called the worm which never dieth, to signify that the reproach of a condemned sinner will never be at an end. And whether the instruments of future misery to the wicked be what we now understand by the element of fire, or not, we may be sure that God, who is infinitely powerful, and has every thing in the universe at his command, can never want the means to afflict those whom he shall adjudge to a state of punishment. Who, then, my young friend, would dare to try the arm of Omnipotence? Who, in their
senses, would venture to defy that Power to which they can make no resistance.
You are now unexperienced in the ways of the world; but many of my readers may hereafter be called forth into the temptations of life; and you who are now reading this page, may be assaulted by the sophistry of vice, and the arguments of infidelity. But when you are in such a situation of danger, if others should ridicule your faith, or seek to undervalue the importance of moral virtues, endeavour to recollect this one strong argument on the side of religion and truth-that, whatever may happen to you after death, you will be safe in having lived" soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present world." You will have no. thing to lose when this life is ended: and the gospel assures you, that the wicked" shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal."
It has been repeatedly urged to you, that the practice of virtue is even here the best method to promote and ensure your temporal advantage; that in general, honour, esteem, and confidence, are the recompence
of integrity, truth, and goodness; but even if you should be liable to distress, and actually suffer evil, from adherence to the duties of a Christian, yet at the close of all, at the awful period of death, when you must inevitably leave every comfort of the present state, you will have the satisfaction to reflect, that you are going to the possession of endless and unspeakable bliss. Whereas, on the other hand, could you suppose it possible that the future agonies of the sinner may be less than the Scriptures repre. sent, yet you must feel the uncertainty of such a thought as but a very poor conside. ration; for if the Deity, who cannot lie, is what we believe him, the author of that re. velation, then "there is no peace to the wicked;" and, however, prosperous they have lived upon earth, they will, in a future state, in vain wish to pass that gulph which separates them from God and happiness. What then, my dear young friend, can the advocates of infidelity propose to you in exchange for the blessed hopes of which they desire to deprive your soul? Can they offer, in the highest of sensual enjoyments, any that are equal to the satisfaction of a