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adopt the language of Mr. N.'s favourite HERBERT:
“ Away Despair: my gracious Lord doth hear:
Though winds and waves assault my keel,
Storms are the triumph of his art:
From these facts we should see that Christ is able, not only to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him; but that he is able to bring the most hardened blasphemer and abject slave from his chains of sin and misery, to stand in the most honourable and useful station, and proclaim to the wretched and to the ruined the exceeding riches of his grace. I have observed, from my own experience as well as from that of others, how strong a hold Satan builds by despair. The pressing fascinations of the world, the secret invitations of sensuality, and the distant prospect of eternal things, form a powerful current against vital religion. The heart of a Christian is ready to sink whenever these proud waters rise. Let him, therefore, recollect, that his hope, his only hope, is in pressing right onward through a world of lies and vanity--that his present dispensation is the walk of faith, and not of sight--and that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie he has given strong consolation to such as flee for refuge to the hope set before them.
One could, indeed, scarcely conjecture that cases like Mr. N.'s should be so perverted by any of our children, as that they should take confidence in their sins from his former course of life; but, because such facts, as I am credibly informed, do exist, let us be upon the watch to counteract this deep device of the great enemy.
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, who may have read these Memoirs merely, perhaps, for your amusement, consider with what a contrary design St. Paul states his former unrenewed condition: I was, says •he, before, a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious—but for this cause I obtained mercy.
For what cause? Was it that men should continue in sin because a miracle of special grace has been wrought? To do evil that good may come, is the black mark of a reprobate mind. But for this cause, saith the Apostle, I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe in him to life-everlasting. The same caution is necessary whenever you may be tempted to hope for such a recovery as Mr. N.'s after erring like him. To proceed upon such a hope is a gross presumption. Thousands perish in wrong courses for one who escapes from their natural consequences. Pray, therefore, that you may be enabled to resist the temptation of perverting such extraordinary cases. God affords them to be a savour of life unto life, while Satan
would employ them to be a savour of death unto death. One, Almighty to save, affords you here, indeed, an instance of special mercy, which gives you the strongest encouragement in setting your faces towards his kingdom: and this is the proper use to be made of such a case.
Your parents, your most disinterested friends, are anxiously watching for your good; and they, perhaps, have put this book into your hand with a view of promoting it. The author has cause to thank God who put it into the heart of his pious parent to make a similar attempt, and bless it with success: and he could tell of more such instances. May, it please God that you may be added to the number!
Worldly prosperity would rather hurt than help you, before your minds become rightly directed. Mr. N. shews.us (p. 415,) that his firmest friend could not have served hiin, had not God first prepared his mind for the advancement. An enemy would occupy your minds with perishing objects; but God calls you to cultivate nobler feelings. He proposes glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life by the Gospel.–Seek, therefore, First THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS,
AND ALL OTHER THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO
END OF VOL. I.