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THE IMPORTANT PERIOD AND THE
"He is of age-ask him."-John ix. 23.
THE birthday upon which young people come of age is justly considered as an important period in their existence. Then some are out of their apprenticeship, and others come into the possession of property, while those whose twenty-first birthday is distinguished by neither of these events, yet look forward to it as a time to be desired. Then, in some instances, comes the test of character, and, alas ! many fail. Restraints being taken away, they lay the reins upon the neck of inclination; money carefully amassed is carelessly squandered; important connections are hastily formed; and speculations are engaged in, which wise heads stood aloof from. It would be well if young people coming of age, would seek advice of those who have had some experience in the world before they form connections, or engage in business; and, above all, they would do well to ponder over that gracious direction, "Acknowledge God in all thy ways, and he will direct thy paths."
But young people are of age in the scripture sense, before they come of age in a legal sense. "He is of age," say the parents of the young man whose eyes the Lord opened. By this I understand, that he was old
enough to understand the questions proposed to him. Such are now addressed. You are not infants. You were once, and then you were tenderly cared for, fed, and clothed. You are not little children. Very lately you were, but that period is also gone by, and you are now youths, or young people, in a word you are This is the meaning of the expression, and a very solemn meaning it is. If, when an infant, or child, you had done things that were injurious to your fellow-creatures, you would not have been held amenable to the laws of your county, but now you would be. Man holds you responsible for your actions, and so does God.
RESPONSIBILITY! you have often heard the word mentioned. Do try and understand it. Before you, in God's word, is the rule for your actions; within you is the witness,—your own conscience. Above you is the Judge, the all-seeing, Almighty, and Holy God. Before you is ETERNITY. There you must dwell in perfect happiness, or inexpressible misery; reaping fruits corresponding with the seed which you have sown, Gal. vi. 7, 8. But this is not all; if you stop here, you will get only an imperfect view of the case. Within you is the disease of sin; before you, the gospel remedy, which you are invited to make use of; above you is the crown of glory, which can only be yours by "faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." If you perish, it will be as the rejector
of a salvation which you greatly need, and which is freely set before you.
You are arrived at an age capable of understanding all this, and feeling its importance. Thousands no older than you are have repented of sin, embraced the Saviour, chosen the way of holiness, and devoted themselves to God, and I want you to feel that you are arrived at a most important age or period of life.
You are not only responsible, but you are now most susceptible of feeling. Your conscience is not yet become callous, nor your mind blinded to your danger. Both may be the case soon; and therefore it is, that these subjects are especially pressed upon your atten
tion now. Hark! God says, "Remember now thy
Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come." Look at that imbecile old man; speak to him ; he cannot take in your meaning. He lived fifty years in the possession of the means of grace; he trifled with them, and quenched a thousand convictions. Ah! it is an evil day with him now. Look at that incurable lunatic! it is in vain to preach salvation to him now, and, while reason remained, he despised the Saviour. He is not responsible now, but he was once; and those responsible years all await the judgment day.
You, dear young friends, know what sin is; you have heard of judgment, of hell, and heaven; of the gospel, and how blessed those are who embrace it; and
often have the thrilling words been addressed to you, "What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" How deeply solemn is your situation! a voice seems to say to me, be earnest—“ Ask HIM!" I will not burden you with many questions,take this one,—Is your soul safe for eternity? This is the question, the grand question. You cannot be happy here without the hope of salvation. You cannot honour God unless you are saved by Jesus. The very end of your existence is lost, if your soul is lost. If this night the trump of the archangel should burst upon your ear, and, awaking from your slumber, you should see the Son of God in glory, your only question would be, “Is my soul safe?” This question may be satisfactorily answered. God has provided salvation, he invites you to partake of it; engages to save all who come to him; and thousands can testify that he is as good as his word.
Now, what say you to the question? science give an answer in the negative? Then, do you mean to let it remain so? Will you still go on caring about your body, your clothes, your food, and neglect your soul? Are you in doubt? let me assist you to decide. Where are you building your soul's hopeswhat is the element in which you delight to live-what is your grand desire, and what your most delightful employment? Is Christ your hope-holiness your
element? God's presence and blessing you desire? -and to promulgate his truth, and seek his glory, your great business? then be encouraged; follow on to know the Lord; seek daily the presence and power of the Holy Spirit; and if, like the young man whose eyes Jesus opened, you have to suffer for his name, he will give you strength to be his witness, and will own you as his, in the presence of his Father and of his holy angels.
"Early set forth on thine eternal race;
The ascent is steep and craggy, thou must climb,
A BIRTHDAY PRAYER FOR YOUTH. "So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."-Ps. xc. 12.
GOD hath into existence brought,
And made my life his care;
Let birthdays waken solemn thought,
The years of childhood now are pass'd,
And the world's wildering maze
I have to tread, O let me haste,
Unto a throne of grace.