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First edition, 2000
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
(caption) Motives to Early Piety
(caption) [Selected for the Soldiers.] No. 322
Raleigh, N. C.
Reprinted by Strother & Marcom, Book and Job Printers
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MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND--While I see so many youth hastening unprepared to eternity, I cannot forbear calling to you to stop for a moment, and consider what affecting MOTIVES urge you to make your peace with God.
Your Christian friends earnestly desire your salvation. They see your danger. They know that unless your heart is renewed by the Holy Spirit, your soul must be lost. It is with pain that they see you in the pursuit of siuful pleasure, trifling away your precious time, and treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath, preparing for a more aggravated doom. They plead with you. They weep and pray for you, night and day. They long to rejoice over you as a new-born heir of heaven. And must they plead, and weep, and pray for you in vain? O do not despise their reproof. Let them embrace you as a fellow-heir of the grace of life. Let their hearts be made glad by seeing you turning from sin and folly, and accepting the offers of eternal life.
The angels of God desire your salvation. Yes, their golden harps are turned to raise a louder song of joy over every one who will repent. Will you not be first to cause the arches of heaven to re-echo, that another wanderer has returned? Shall angels long for your salvation, and you be unconcerned about it yourself? But more,
Christ himself desires your salvation. For this he became "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." For this he endured the agony of the garden and the cross. He calls you, by his word, by his providence, and by his Spirit. He declares that he "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." And shall he call in vain? Is it nothing to you that he shed his precious blood, and bore the wrath of Jehovah for perishing sinners? O heart of adamant, that will not melt in view of such condescension, suffering, and love. O vile ingratitude, that can behold, unmoved, "the Son of God in tears," offering himself or man's redemption.
Consider, also, the glories of heaven. There is the throne of God and of the Lamb. There, the pure river of the water of life forever flows. There, saints and angels offer their unceasing praises. There, your departed Christian friends mingle their voices with the heavenly choir. There, all unite in shouting, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent-reigneth." "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." There, every humble penitent at last arrives. There is the consummation of all his happiness. There he takes his fill of pleasure, for ever to increase with his capacity. It is there the angels wait to rejoice at your conversion.
Think, too, of the misery of hell. O the horrors of despair! What pencil can paint, What tongue can tell, or what pen can describe them? Weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth constitute the horrid discord of the abodes of the damned. There, the stings of a guilty conscience, that worm that never dies; heart-rending reflections on murdered time; the view of saints in glory afar off; the surrounding gloom of the infernal pit; unavailing lamentations and despair, all conspire to render their misery complete. O, "who can dwell with devouring fire? Who can inhabit everlasting burnings?" Can you disregard the groans of those who are now suffering the just vengeance of an angry God? Will you sleep on, and delay, until you are awakened by the howlings of that tempest which will assuredly be poured out upon the wicked? Alas, what will you then do; how will you then escape, if you "neglect so great salvation?"
Consider the worth of the soul. Its value can be measured only by eternity. When millions of millions of ages shall have rolled away, your soul will still be active, and its capacity to suffer or enjoy for ever increasing.
"O the soul that never dies"--here spending its short probation, and preparing for the glories of heaven or miseries of hell.
Death is rapidly approaching. Perhaps this night you will close your eyes to awake in eternity. Thousands have been thus surprised. How many of your companions are gone, never to return. Their state is fixed. They are now
enduring the wrath of God, or singing his praises in the paradise above. Whoever you are, you may be assured that death is nigh to you. To him you must yield, willing or unwilling; and eternal woe must be your doom, unless you haste to Christ, the only refuge from the impending storm. O remember, that you are mortal, that time flies, that death approaches, and that you have yet no hope, but are exposed every moment to be cut down, and consigned to everlasting ruin.
The day of judgment is at hand. Soon the loud trump of the archangel will awake the sleeping dead; and you among them will come forth to "the resurrection of life," or "the resurrection of damnation." Then the Saviour, whom you have loved, or despised, will appear in the clouds of heaven, to give to every one "according as his work shall be." Before him you must stand with assembled millions, while he bids you depart, or welcomes you to a seat at his right hand. How dreadful must be that day to you, if you are not clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness. What will you do when the judge shall pronounce your awful doom? How will you then feel, when your dear relatives and friends shall arise to meet Christ in the air, and go with him to the New Jerusalem above, while you are left behind, a companion of wretched men and devils--forever to sink in misery--for ever to remain an outcast from the presence of God, from your Christian friends, and without the prospect of any alleviation of your woe? With what agony must you take up your final abode, where "the smoke of your torment will ascend up for ever and ever."
Other motives might be urged, but if these will not awaken you to a sense of your danger, others would be unavailing. Now, you have a day of grace. Now, the saints are praying for you; the angels of God wait to rejoice over you; the Lord Jesus Christ, by his word and by his Spirit, is entreating you to come; the glories of heaven are offered you; the miseries of hell are unveiled to your view; while the worth of your soul, the rapid approach of death and judgment, urge you to make haste--to escape for your life from the destruction that awaits you. O, my young friend, as you value your eternal well being,
I beseech you awake from this slumber. Arise, and go to Jesus. Go to him a humble beggar; go, penitent and believing. None such were ever sent empty away. While you tarry, your sins are accumulating, your danger is increasing. Delay a little longer, and your soul, your precious, immortal soul, is lost forever.
As the beloved man who wrote these lines was drawing near to death, he was asked, "Do you feel that it is your choice now to go?" "Yes," he replied, "if it is God's will.,'
"Should he please to restore you, would you not be willing to remain here and labor a little longer?"
"O yes, I think so, if it was his will. But my work on earth is all done. I want now to go and be with Christ. Prophets, and apostles, and martyrs are there; and many pious friends are there--I feel that I should like to meet them. Christ will be there; and we shall be like him, and see him as he is; that will be enough."
Again he repeated the words, "Home, home" and prayed, "O, for a free and full discharge. Lord Jesus, come quickly. Why wait thy chariot wheels so long? I dedicate myself to thee. O may I have the victory. O come quickly. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."
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