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THE

COTTAGE MAGAZINE;

OR,

Plain Christian's Library.

A NEW YEAR'S ADDRESS TO THE YOUNG.

Want of consideration has been the ruin of many a hopeful youth. They have no experience themselves of the dangers of the world, and the temptations with which they are surrounded, and they are ready to regard the warning that is tendered in love as the result of cold suspicion. They are apt to consider it either as a reflection on their discretion, or an attack upon the character of others. And, therefore, they are frequently inattentive to the most friendly admonitions, till they are involved in vice and misery. But I trust, my young readers, you will maintain a watchful inspection over your hearts and your conduct. Flee the very appearance of evil. To retain for a single moment an impure desire or sinful thought, involves you in guilt, and exposes you to danger. Repel with firmness every solicitation, however friendly its aspect, that would draw you from the path of rectitude, though it were but by a single hair-breadth. When you have once overleaped the boundary that separates right from wrong, and trodden forbidden ground, your downward career may become fearfully rapid. A few indiscretions at first may involve you in a course of action, that in a short period may terminate in an ignominious end. Many a youth who has begun his devious career with Sabbath profanation, has gone from one stage in crime to another, till he has brought himself to the gibbet. JANUARY, 1845.

Vol. XXXIV.

Think not lightly, then, of first deviations from the path of rectitude. Remember that, as immortal beings, every thought you indulge, every word you speak, and every step you take, is most important. It goes to make up that account you must render at the bar of God, before an assembled universe.

Remember, my young friends, you must take heed to your way according to God's word. The Bible is the only infallible standard of faith and manners.

First. It tells you how you may obtain pardon for past guilt. The scheme of salvation developed in the Bible, furnishes a glorious manifestation of all the divine perfections, and assures you, that God can, consistently with them all, and the stability of his government, extend pardon to all who believe in his Son. You are told in the word of God, of the amazing love of the Almighty

of the astonishing condescension of the Saviour, of his life of poverty, and toil, and labour, and his death of agony and shame, to make an atonement for the sins of all who believe on his Name. You are assured, that the law has been magnified and made honourable, and an everlasting righteousness brought in. Gethsemane's garden can witness the extreme agony by which your guilt was expiated. Calvary, and its rending rocks, can tell of the anguish of the mighty sufferer. The darkened sun, and the opening graves declared how he spoiled principalities and powers, and triumphed over them. And his resurrection from the grave, and ascension into heaven, and exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on high, demonstrate that redemption is accomplished. And now you have but to look to his atoning sacrifice, and put your trust in a risen Saviour,

and

repose your confidence on his finished righteousness; for the word of Jehovah has declared it, and the blood of Christ has ratified it, and the oath of the Eternal has confirmed it, that “there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus."

- This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ died to save sinners, even the chief."

Secondly. But the word of God also directs you to the only source of moral purity. It tells you that the Holy Spirit is ready to renovate your hearts, and to sanctify your natures. It directs you to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. It assures you that the blood of Christ Jesus cleanseth from all sin. It exhibits to you the great pattern of moral excellence, after which you ought continually to copy. “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,” &c. Jesus has left you an example that you should walk in his steps. Lay aside, then, every weight, and the sins which so easily beset you, and run with patience the race that is set before you.

The Bible also furnishes you with the most powerful motives to seek after purity of heart and of conduct. It assures you that sin and misery are inseparably linked together; that Christ died to promote your sanctification. “ Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, by the washing of water through the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that; it should be holy and without blemish.” It declares that heaven is a holy place, and that without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

Thirdly. The word of God furnishes you with a perfect rule for the regulation of every part of your conduct. It is a perfect directory to guide you in the performance of every duty. If you regard life as a journey, the Bible is the map on which is delineated, with perfect accuracy, the path that leads to heaven. Every devious path and byeway is clearly pointed out. The Bible clearly points out to you all the duties you owe to your God, to your fellow-men, and to yourselves. It clearly describes your social, personal, and relative duties in every situation, station, and period of life. It tells you

what sins you ought to avoid, and what conduct you are bound to pursue; what companions you should choose, and what associates you ought to shun.

And it tells you how you may obtain strength to enable you to accomplish the whole. And if, in compliance with its warm and pressing invitations, you take Christ's yoke upon you, which is easy, and his burden, which is light, the love of Christ will constrain you thus to judge,

" that if one died for all, then are all dead,” &c. You can never study the Bible with too much attention and care. Other books may mislead you-corrupt your morals and

pervert your hearts, but this will make you wise unto salvation. O, then, my young friends, daily search the Scriptures, for in them ye have eternal life, and they testify of Jesus !

But you must remember, that however valuable the Word of God is, it is but an instrumeut. And although it be an instrument devised by infinite wisdom, and therefore admirably fitted to accomplish the end for which it was given, yet it can only accomplish your salvation when made to bear upon your hearts by the agency

of the Divine Spirit. Hence the necessity of prayer for his enlightening and sanctifying influences.

You ought never to sit down to the study of the Bible without prayer. Prayer is the key that unlocks the treasures that are contained in the holy Scriptures. Were the Bible always studied in a devout and pious frame. there would be few controversies about its doctrines. Prayer is like Jacob's ladder; it opens up a communication between heaven and earth. It brings down Omnipotence to our aid. The Holy Spirit is given in answer to prayer. Were Christians more fervent in prayer, there would be fewer divisions among them, and much more of love and every kindly disposition. However widely they may differ in speculation, no sooner do they go to their closet and bend their knees at the throne of grace, than they appear as the children of one Father.

Let me again, my young friends, entreat you, as you value your souls, and as you wish to be useful in time, and happy through eternity, to devote yourselves to the service of God. The thoughtless around you may ridicule

your choice and laugh at your seriousness, but where will be their mockery when approaching dissolution exhibits this world in its own comparative insignificance, and opens to their eyes, closing for ever on earthly scenes, the momentous realities of eternity ? And where will be their scorn when the graves shall give up their dust at the blast of the archangel's trumpet, and summon them to take their stand with all the despisers of the gospel, on the left hand of the Judge. They may ridicule your choice now, but will they be of the same mind when they see you clad in all the glories of immortal beauty, and invited to spend an eternity of bliss in the presence of God and of the Lamb, and themselves vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, and doomed to dwell in everlasting fire with the devil and his angels ?

But perhaps some of you, my young friends, may see no great need for such urgency, even in a matter of so great importance. You are young, and anticipate many days of health, and of vigour. And you wish to spend a few of the years of youth, when you have the greatest , relish for pleasure, in what you may esteem harmless indulgence. I would most willingly grant all you can desire, could I be assured that the delay which you

desire is compatible with your everlasting safety. The youngest of you may not see the termination of the year on which you have just entered. How many of your acquaintance, during the year that is past, have been carried to the house appointed for all living, who were at this season last year, as young, and sprightly, and healthy, as yourselves. Presume not on futurity. The seasons may revolve as formerly, but you may be in eternity before the termination of another year. O, could I unfurl be

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