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Christian; that he will, from the first, be known as one determined to do his duty towards God. He will form no irreligious friendships, and then he will have none to sunder. He will fall into no irreligious practices, and then he will have none to abandon. He thinks he can thus avoid the awkwardness of a public change. He is ungenerous enough to wish to steal thus secretly into the kingdom of heaven, without humbling any of his pride by an open admission that he has been wrong. He waits for a more convenient


When he finds himself on college ground, however, his heart does not turn any more easily to his duties towards God. First, there is the feverish interest of the examination, then the novelty of the public recitation-room,-the untried, unknown instructor, the new room-mate,—and all the multiplied and varied excitements which are always to be found in college walls. There are new acquaintances to form, new countenances to speculate upon, and new characters to study, and in these and similar objects of occupation and interest, week after week glides rapidly away. At last one Saturday evening, the last of the term, he is walking over the college grounds, and among the other serious reflections that come upon his mind, there are the following,

"One whole term has now passed, and what have become of all my resolutions to return to God? How swiftly the weeks have glided away, and I have been going farther and farther from God and from duty. I find that I cannot, in college, any more than in any other place, become a Christian without effort and self-denial. I must come boldly to the duty of giving up my heart to God, and commencing publicly a Christian life, and whenever I do this it must be hard at first. I will attend to the subject this vacation. I shall be quiet and retired at home, and shall have a favourable opportunity there to attend to my duty and make my peace with God. I will come back to college, next term, a new man." Such are his reflections. Instead of resolving. to do his duty now, he looks forward again, notwithstanding his former disappointment, to another more convenient season. The bustle of the closing term, and the plans and preparations for the approaching vacation, soon engross his mind, and instead of coming to his Maker at once, and

going home a Christian, he puts it off in hopes to return one. Vain hope! He will undoubtedly come back as he goes, procrastinating duty.

Term after term, and vacation after vacation, pass away, and the work of preparing for another world is still postponed and neglected. The longer it is postponed the worse it is, for he is becoming more and more known as an irreligious young man, and becomes more and more intimately connected with those whose influence is all against religion. He soon quiets conscience with the reflection that while he is in the lower classes, he is much more under the control of public opinion; others, older and more advanced than he, take the lead in forming the sentiments of the community, and it is harder for him to act independently now, on a subject which affects his standing in the estimation of his companions, than it will be when he shall have passed on to a higher class, and shall have influence in forming a public sentiment, to act upon others, instead of having others form it for him.

The closing months of college life at last come on, bringing with them less and less disposition to do his duty. He has become familiarized to the idea of living without God. His long and intimate acquaintance with irreligious companions has bound him to them by ties which he is not willing to sunder: not ties of affection-for there is seldom much confidence or love in such a case; they are ties of mere acquaintance, mere community of sentiment and action. He dreads to break away from what gives him little pleasure, and is thus bound by a mysterious and unreasonable, but almost hopeless slavery. He leaves college either utterly confirmed in insensibility to religious truth, or else, when he occasionally thinks of the subject, faintly hoping that, in the bustle of future life, some more convenient season may occur, which he may seize as a time for making his peace with God.

This is the history of many a college student, and by a slight change of the circumstances of the description, it might be made the history of thousands of others in every walk of life. The secret of this procrastination is this. The subject of it is deluded by the chimerical hope of finding some opportunity of coming to God, without real submission, of changing sides on a most momentous subject, without the

mortification of changing,-of getting right without the humiliating acknowledgment of having been wrong. Now these difficulties, which constitute the straitness of the gate through which we must enter, cannot be avoided. We cannot go round them,- -we cannot climb up some other way, and it is useless to wait for some other way to offer. The work of coming directly and decidedly to your Maker, to confess sin and to ask its forgiveness, must be done. The public acknowledgment that you have been wrong, which a public change of conduct implies, must be made, and it will be painful. Irreligious friends must, as intimates and associates, be abandoned, and whenever that is done it will require an effort. These steps must be taken, and the difficulty of taking them is increased, not diminished, by the lapse of time.

My reader, is not the reason why you cannot repent of sin and love God, this, that you can never say, "I am willing to do it now?" Are you willing to be, from this time, the servant and follower of Jehovah, or are you trying the mad experiment of postponement and delay?

II. Love of the world. This is the second of those three secret obstacles to piety which I was to mention. I mean secret obstacles in the way of those who think that they wish to be penitent, but that they cannot. I am not now considering the causes which are operating so extensively in chaining the great mass of mankind down in their bondage to sin. I speak only of those who feel some interest in this subject, who think they desire salvation, and are willing to do what God requires, but cannot. Under this second head I am to endeavour to shew that many of my readers, who are in this state of mind, are prevented from doing their duty by a secret love of the world. I shall not, however, succeed in showing this, unless you co-operate with me. If while you read it you put yourself in an attitude of defence, you can easily set aside what I have to say. I shall suppose, however, that you really wish to know, and that you will apply what I present, with impartiality and candour to yourselves.

In one sense, it is right to love the world. God has made it for our enjoyment, and filled it with sources of happiness, for the very purpose of having us enjoy them. We are to look upon it therefore as a scene in which the

Creator intended that we should be happy, and we are to derive from it all the happiness that we can.

There are, however, temptations in this world, as all will admit; that is, pleasures which beckon us away from duty. When a young person begins to think of religious duty, these pleasures, which have perhaps long been enjoyed, come up to view,-not very distinctly, but still with so much effect as to blind the mind and harden the heart. Perhaps, my reader, you can think of some irreligious companion whom you know you must give up, if you become an open and decided Christian. Even if you do not give up him, you expect that he will give up you, if such a change should take place in your character. Now, although you do not distinctly make a comparison between the pleasures of his society on the one side, and the peace and happiness of religion on the other, and after balancing their claims, decide against God and duty,—although you make no formal decision like this, yet the image of that friend, and the recollection of the past pleasures of his society, and the prospect of future enjoyment, come into your mind, and secretly hold you a prisoner. The chain is wound around your heart, and its pressure is so gentle that you scarcely perceive it. Still it holds you firmly, and until you loosen the link, it will hold you. You do right while you are in this state of mind to say that you cannot love God. Our Saviour says the same-"If any man come to me, and hate not," that is, is not cordially willing to give up, if necessary, "his father and mother, and wife and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." You cannot be the disciple of Christ till you are willing to give up the world in all its forms.

Perhaps it is not a friend which keeps you from the Saviour, but some other object. You may indulge yourself in some practice, which conscience secretly condemns. Perhaps there is a favourite amusement, which you must give up, if you should become a consistent Christian. You do not distinctly bring this up before your mind, into formal comparison with the hope of a happy immortality, and decide that it is superior. It insinuates itself into your mind, and shuts its avenues against the light. You wonder that you do not see and feel, and cannot discover the cause.

III. Fear of the world. Where love of the world binds

one soul in sin, the fear of it, in some form or other, binds ten. Every one is surrounded by a circle of influence, it may be small or great, which is hostile to piety. To take the attitude of a humble Christian, in the presence of this circle of acquaintances and friends; to abandon your past course of conduct, with the acknowledgment that it has been entirely wrong; and to encounter the cold and forbidding or perhaps scornful looks of those whom you have been accustomed to call your friends, all this is trying. You shrink from it. You do not very distinctly take it into consideration, but it operates with an influence the more unmanageable, because it is unseen. My object in alluding to it here, therefore, is to bring it out to view, that you may distinctly see it, and bring fairly up the question whether you will be deterred by such a consideration from doing your duty towards your Maker.

These three reasons are ordinarily the causes why those who are almost Christians do not become so altogether. They are strong reasons. They hold a great many individuals in lasting bondage, and they probably hold many of my readers in their chains, and will probably continue to do so, after this plain exposition of them. It is no small thing, and, with hearts and habits like ours, it is no easy thing, to become a Christian. The inquiry is not unfrequently made, why the preaching of the gospel in this world produces such partial effects, and surprise is expressed that so few are found to comply with its reasonable claims, and to respect its awful sanctions. But when we look at those circumstances in the case which exhibit the greatness of the sacrifice which every man must make who really becomes a Christian in a world like this, we may rather be surprised that so many are found to come to the Saviour.

Jesus Christ foretold all these obstacles. He was very frank and open in all his statements. He never has intended to bring any one into unforeseen difficulties. He stated very plainly what he expected of his followers; he described the sacrifices they must make to please him; the troubles they must endure; and when he left them at last, he told them plainly that if they should persevere in his service, after he was gone, they must go on expecting to suffer, to bleed and to die in his cause.

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