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(caption title) An Appeal to the Young
Rev. Jas. M'Gready
[between 1861 and 1865]
Call Number 4746 Conf. (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND:--You are born for eternity --you are to be an inhabitant of this world only for a few days or a few years. You have just to stay till you are prepared and qualified for an unseen world, where your state will be unalterably fixed in a solemn, an awful, unbounded, immeasurable eternity. Oh, how solemn! How awful the consideration! An eternity of unspeakable, indescribable glory and blessedness--or an eternity of unutterable, inconceivable woe and misery awaits all the numberless millions of Adam's numerous race. Then what inq uiry can be more rational and proper for a creature that must be an inhabitant of heaven or hell, than this: How will it fare with me after death? Am I walking the narrow way to eternal life? Or am I in the broad road to hell! Am I seeking, striving, watching, praying, and trying to make sure of Christ and Heaven? Or am I living thoughtless, careless, and prayerless, putting off repentance conversion, and the work of my soul to middle age, to old age, or to some future period? My dear young friend, how is it with you? Is Jesus precious to your soul! Is Christ the hope of glory formed in you? Have you found Christ, the pearl of unspeakable price? Can you tell the great things the Lord hath done for you? Is the Bible the sweetest book to you that you ever saw? Do you spend much time in reading it, and reading it with a praying heart ? Do you pray in secret every night and every morning? Is the work of your salvation--the business of your soul--the business of eternity--your chief concern? Does it occupy the highest place in your thoughts? Oh, for the Lord's sake, for your own soul's sake, propose these solemn questions to your heart and conscience. Oh my friend! the present time is the best time, the most precious time--the most suitable time that you will ever see till your dying hour, for the work of your salvation. You are young, your heart is tender, it is susceptible of good impressions--it has not yet grown hard and gospel trodden from having repeatedly resisted
the Spirit of God, and slighted the offers of mercy as is the case with the old impenitent sinner. Sweet promises are made in the book of God to youth, that old gray-headed sinners cannot claim, such as Proverbs 8: 17: "I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me." The ablest divines and most experienced and exemplary christians, such as Ambrose, Flavel, Doddridge and others, observe that the time of youth is in a particular manner a person's convertible age. They give it as their opinion that more precious souls are brought to Christ between the age of nine and eighteen than of any other class of mankind, and that scarcely any are ever converted in a place that has enjoyed the lovely means of grace, after the age of twenty-five or thirty years as the farthest. But oh, my precious youth, time is uncertain! Death comes like a thief in the night; you know not that you shall ever see twenty-five or thirty years of age. When you hear one sermon, you know not but that it may be your last. When you enjoy one offer of mercy, men or angels cannot assure you that you will ever have another. Oh then how dangerous to delay! How fatal the risk to put off the work of your soul one hour or one minute. Oh be entreated then to comply with the most reasonable command (if possible) in the whole book of God, viz: "To remember thy creator in the days of thy youth." Oh what can be more right and fit, in the very nature of things, than for a rational, intelligent creature, to remember, love, obey and serve his God, his maker, his preserver, his kind benefactor, the author of all the good that ever he enjoyed, or that a reasonable creature can enjoy. To remember, love and delight in infinite excellence--infinite glory--infinite beauty--infinite rectitude and purity. What exercise or employment can be so honorable or so respectable as to love, obey, or serve the almighty sovereign Lord of the Universe. To love, obey and delight in that Jesus that came into the world to save sinners; to seek and save them that were lost; to seek and save just such poor lost sinners as you and I are from sinking forever and ever in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. But further, I can tell you as a truth, as an unquestionable certainty--I can tell you from experience,
there is no happiness, pleasure, or comfort, on this side of heaven that is worth calling pleasure or happiness, but that which is to be found in religion. One half hour viewing the glory of God in the face of Jesus--beholding by faith the intrinsic beauty and glory of all the moral attributes of God, meeting, centering, uniting, and harmonizing in Christ's merits and atonement, feeling the love of God in Christ Jesus shed abroad in the heart, the Spirit of God bearing witness with the soul that it is born of God, thus feeling the joys of pardoned sin,--the blessed hope of eternal life--the dawnings of heaven on earth,--the sweet foretastes of immortal glory in the soul,--this, I say, affords more pleasure and real satisfaction than ever an Alexander, a Cæsar, or a Napoleon felt in all their victories, conquests, Pomp, or grandeur. These things sweeten all the sorrows and afflictions of life; these would communicate a heaven to the genuine christian, though he was chained in a dungeon, or burning at a stake, they make death desirable, and eternity delightful. Oh, my young friend! will you take a start for glory and blessedness? will you come with me to Emmanuel's land? to the paradise of God? I am bound for that happy country, it is my home, and the place where all my prospects lie. Oh come and enlist under the sweet banners of King Jesus; come and give your heart to Christ: put the crown of your salvation upon him that has many crowns upon his head.
"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."-- Isaiah lv: 6, 7.
"My son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind: If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever."--1 Chron. xxviii: 9.
Bestow, dear Lord, upon our youth,
The gift of saving grace;
And let the seed of sacred truth
Fall in a fruitful place.
Grace is a plant, where'er it grows,
Of pure and heav'nly root;
But fairest in the youngest shows,
And yields the sweetest fruit.
Ye careless ones, O hear betimes
The voice of sovereign love!
Your youth is stain'd with many crimes
But mercy reigns above.
True you are young, but there's a stone
Within the youngest breast,
Or half the cri es which you have done
Would rob you of your rest.
For you the public prayer is made,
Oh, join the public prayer!
For you the secret tear is shed,
O shed yourselves a tear!
We pray that you may early prove
The Spirit's power to teach;
You cannot be too young to love
That Jesus whom we preach.