The Best Friend! J.C. Ryle, 1878

“This is my Friend!” Song of Solomon 4:16

A friend is one of the greatest blessings on earth. Tell me not of money — love is better than gold; sympathy is better than lands. He is the poor man — who has no friends!

This world is full of sorrow — because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. It is a lonely place. It is a disappointing place. The brightest sunbeam in it, is a friend. Friendship halves our troubles — and doubles our joys!

A real friend is scarce and rare. There are many who will eat, and drink, and laugh with us in the sunshine of prosperity. There are few who will stand by us in the days of darkness — few who will love us when we are sick, helpless, and poor — few, above all, who will care for our souls!

Does any reader of this paper want a real friend? I write to recommend one to your notice this day. I know of One “who sticks closer than a brother!” (Proverbs 18:24.) I know of One who is ready to be your friend for time and for eternity, if you will receive Him. Hear me, while I try to tell you something about Him.

The friend I want you to know is Jesus Christ. Happy is that family in which Christ has the foremost place! Happy is that person whose chief friend is Christ!

I. Do we want a friend in NEED? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Man is the neediest creature on God’s earth, because he is a sinner. There is no need as great as that of sinners: poverty, hunger, thirst, cold, sickness — all are nothing in comparison. Sinners need pardon — and they are utterly unable to provide it for themselves; they need deliverance from a guilty conscience and the fear of death — and they have no power of their own to obtain it. This need, the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to relieve. “He came into the world to save sinners!” (1 Tim. 1:15.)

We are all by nature, poor dying creatures. From the king on his throne, to the pauper in the workhouse — we are all sick of a mortal disease of soul. Whether we know it or not, whether wefeel it or not — we are all dying daily. The plague of sin is in our blood. We cannot cure ourselves — we are hourly getting worse and worse! All this, the Lord Jesus undertook to remedy. He came into the world to bring in health and cure; He came to deliver us “from the second death;” He came “to abolish death, and bring life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (Jeremiah 33:6; Rev. 2:11; 2 Tim. 1:10.)

We are all by nature imprisoned debtors. We owed our God millions — and had nothing to pay. We were wretched bankrupts, without hope of freeing ourselves. We could never have freed ourselves from our load of liabilities, and were daily getting more deeply indebted. All this the Lord Jesus saw, and undertook to remedy. He engaged to “ransom and redeem us.” He came to “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” “He came to redeem us from the curse of the law.” (Hos. 13:14; Isaiah 41:1; Galatians 3:13.)

We were all by nature shipwrecked and cast away. We could never have reached the harbor of everlasting life. We were sinking in the midst of the waves — hopeless, helpless, and powerless; tied and bound by the chain of our sins, foundering under the burden of our own guilt, and likely to become a prey to the devil. All this the Lord Jesus saw and undertook to remedy. He came down from Heaven to be our “mighty helper.” He came to “seek and to save those who are lost;” and to “deliver us from going down into the pit.” (Psalm 89:19; Luke 19:10; Job 33:24.)

Could we have been saved without the Lord Jesus Christ coming down from Heaven? It would have been utterly impossible. The wisest men of Egypt, and Greece, and Rome never found out the way to peace with God. Without the friendship of Christ — we would all have been lost for evermore in Hell.

Was the Lord Jesus Christ obliged to come down to save us? Oh, no! no! It was His own free love, mercy, and pity — which brought Him down. He came unsought and unasked — because He was gracious.

Let us think on these things. Search all history from the beginning of the world — look around the whole circle of those you know and love — you never heard of such friendship among men. There never was such a real friend in need as Jesus Christ!

II. Do you want a friend in DEED? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The true extent of a man’s friendship must be measured by his deeds. Tell me not what he says, and feels, and wishes; tell me not of his words and letters — tell me rather what he does. “A friend is measured by what he does.”

The doings of the Lord Jesus Christ for man are the grand proof of His friendly feeling towards him. Never were there such acts of kindness and self-denial — as those which He has performed on our behalf. He has not loved us in word only — but in deed.

For our sakes, He took our nature upon Him, and was born of a woman. He who was very God, and equal with the Father, laid aside His glory for a season, and took upon Him flesh and blood like our own. The almighty Creator of all things — became a little babe like any of us, and experienced all our bodily weaknesses and infirmities, sin only excepted. “Though He was rich — He became poor; that we through His poverty — might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9.)

For our sakes, He lived thirty-three years in this evil world, despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Though He was King of kings — He had nowhere to lay His head; though He was Lord of lords — He was often weary, and hungry, and thirsty, and poor. “He took on Him the form of a servant, and humbled Himself.” (Philippians 3:7, 8.)

For our sakes, He suffered the most painful of all deaths, even the death of the cross! Though innocent, and without fault, He allowed Himself to be condemned, and found guilty. He who was thePrince of Life — was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and poured out His soul unto death. He “died for us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10.)

Was He obliged to do this? Oh, no! He might have summoned to His help, more than twelve legions of angels, and scattered His enemies with a word. He suffered voluntarily and of His own free will, to make atonement for our sins. He knew that nothing but the sacrifice of His body and blood — could ever make peace between sinful man and a holy God. He laid down His life — to pay the price of our redemption. He died — that we might live. He suffered — that we might reign. He bore shame — that we might receive glory. “He suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us — so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21.)

Such friendship as this surpasses man’s understanding. Friends who would die for those who love them — we may have heard of sometimes. But who can find a man who would lay down his life for those that hate him? Yet this is what Jesus has done for us. “Christ died for the ungodly. God commends His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners — Christ died for us. When we were God’s enemies — we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son!” (Romans 5:6, 8, 10.)

Ask all the tribes of mankind, from one end of the world to the other — and you will nowhere hear of a deed like this! None was ever so high and stooped down so low — as Jesus the Son of God! None ever gave so costly a proof of his friendship! None ever paid so much and endured so much to do good to others. Never was there such a friend in deed as Jesus Christ!

III. Do we want a MIGHTY and POWERFUL friend? Such a friend is Jesus Christ.

Power to help, is that which few possess in this world. Many have desire enough to do good to others — but no power. They feel for the sorrows of others, and would gladly relieve them if they could; they can weep with their friends in affliction — but are unable to take their grief away. But though man is weak — Christ is strong; though the best of our earthly friends is feeble — Christ is almighty! “All power is given unto Him in Heaven and earth.” (Matthew 28:18.) No one can do so much for those whom He befriends, as Jesus Christ. Others can befriend their bodies a little — He can befriend both body and soul. Others can do a little for them in time — He can be a friend both for time and eternity!

(a) He is able to pardon and save the very chief of sinners. He can deliver the most guilty conscience from all its burdens, and give it perfect peace with God. He can wash away the vilest stains of wickedness, and make a man whiter than snow in the sight of God. He can clothe a poor weak child of Adam in everlasting righteousness, and give him a title to Heaven that can never be overthrown. In a word, He can give any one of us peace, hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God — if we will only trust in Him. “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin!” (1 John 1:7.)

(b) He is able to convert the hardest of hearts, and create in man a new spirit. He can take the most thoughtless and ungodly people, and give them another mind by the Holy Spirit whom He puts in them. He can cause old things to pass away, and all things to become new. He can make them love the things which they once hated — and hate the things which they once loved. “He can give them power to become the sons of God.” “If any man is in Christ — he is a new creature.” (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17.)

(c) He is able to preserve to the end all who believe in Him, and become His disciples. He can give them grace to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, and fight a good fight until the last. He can . . .
lead them on safely in spite of every temptation,
carry them home through a thousand dangers, and
keep them faithful, though they stand alone and have none to help them. “He is able to save them to the uttermost, all who come unto God by Him.” (Hebrews 7:25.)

(d) He is able to give those who love Him the best of gifts. He can give them in this life — inward comforts, which money can never buy — peace in poverty, joy in sorrow, patience in suffering. He can give them in death — bright hopes, which enable them to walk through the dark valley without fear. He can give them after death — an unfading crown of glory, and a rewardcompared to which, the Queen of England has nothing to bestow.

This is power indeed! This is true greatness! This is real strength!

Go and look at the poor Hindu idolater, seeking peace in vain by afflicting his body; and, after fifty years of self-imposed suffering, unable to find it.

Go and look at the benighted Romanist, giving money to his priest to pray for his soul — and yet dying without comfort.

Go and look at rich men, spending thousands in search of happiness — and yet always discontented and unhappy.

Then turn to Jesus, and think what He can do, and is daily doing for all who trust Him. Think how He . . .
heals all the broken-hearted,
comforts all the sick,
cheers all the poor that trust in Him,
and supplies all their daily need.

The fear of man is strong,
the opposition of this evil world is mighty,
the lusts of the flesh rage horribly,
the fear of death is terrible,
the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour
— but Jesus is stronger than them all, Jesus can make us conquerors over all these foes!

And then say whether there was ever was so mighty a friend as Jesus Christ.

IV. Do we want a LOVING and affectionate friend? Such a friend is Jesus Christ.

Kindness is the very essence of true friendship. Money and advice and help lose half their grace, if not given in a loving manner. What kind of love is that of the Lord Jesus toward man? It is called, “A love that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:19.)

Love shines forth in His reception of sinners. He refuses none who come to Him for salvation, however unworthy they may be. Though their lives may have been most wicked, though their sinsmay be more in number than the stars of Heaven — the Lord Jesus is ready to receive them, and give them pardon and peace! There is no end to His compassion! There are no bounds to Hispity! He is not ashamed to befriend those whom the world casts off as hopeless. There are none too bad, too filthy, and too much diseased with sin — to be admitted into His home! He is willing to be the friend of any sinner. He has kindness and mercy and healing medicine for all. He has long proclaimed this to be His rule: “Whoever comes unto Me — I will never cast out.” (John 6:37.)

Love shines forth in His dealings with sinners, after they have believed in Him and become His friends. He is very patient with them, though their conduct is often very trying and provoking. He is never tired of hearing their complaints — however often they may come to Him. He sympathizes deeply in all their sorrows. He knows what pain is — He is “acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3.) In all their afflictions, He is afflicted. He never allows them to be tempted above what they are able to bear. He supplies them with daily grace for their daily conflict. Their poor services are acceptable to Him. He is as well pleased with them as a parent is with his child’s endeavors to speak and walk. He has caused it to be written in His book, that “He takes pleasure in His people,” and that “He takes pleasure in those who fear Him.” (Psalm 147:11; 119:4.)

There is no love on earth that can even be named together with this! We love those in whom we see something that deserves our affection, or those who are our relatives — but the Lord Jesus loves sinners in whom there is no good thing. We love those from whom we get some return for our affection — but the Lord Jesus loves those who can do little or nothing for Him, compared to what He does for them. We love where we can give some reason for loving — but the great Friend of sinners draws His reasons out of His own everlasting compassion. His love is purely unselfish — purely free. Never, never was there so truly loving a friend as Jesus Christ.

V. Do we want a WISE prudent friend? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Man’s friendship is sadly blind. He often injures those he loves by injudicious kindness. He often errs in the counsel he gives — he often leads his friends into trouble by bad advice, even when he means to help them. He sometimes keeps them back from the way of life, and entangles them in the vanities of the world, when they have well near escaped. The friendship of the Lord Jesus is not so — it always does us good, and never evil.

The Lord Jesus never spoils His friends by extravagant indulgence. He gives them everything that is really for their benefit. He withholds nothing from them that is really good. He requires them to take up their cross daily and follow Him. He bids them endure hardships as good soldiers. He calls on them to fight the good fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. His people often dislike it at the time, and think it hard — but when they reach Heaven, they will see it was all well done.

The Lord Jesus makes no mistakes in managing His friends’ affairs. He orders all their concerns with perfect wisdom — all things happen to them at the right time, and in the right way. He gives them . . .
as much of sickness — and as much of health,
as much of poverty — and as much of riches,
as much of sorrow — and as much of joy —
as He sees their souls require.

He leads them by the right way to bring them to the city of habitation. He mixes their bitterest cups like a wise physician, and takes care that they have not a drop too little — or too much.

His people often misunderstand His dealings — they are silly enough to imagine their course of life might have been better ordered. But in the resurrection-day, they will thank God that not their will — but Christ’s will was done.

Look round the world and see the harm which people are continually getting from their friends. Mark how much more ready men are to encourage one another in worldliness and levity — than to provoke to love and good works. Think how often they meet together, not for the better — but for the worse; not to quicken one another’s souls in the way to Heaven — but to confirm one another in the love of this present world. Alas, there are thousands who are wounded unexpectedly in the house of their friends!

And then turn to the great Friend of sinners, and see how different a thing is His friendship from that of man. Listen to Him as He walks by the way with His disciples — mark how He comforts, reproves, and exhorts with perfect wisdom. Observe how He times His visits to those He loves — as to Mary and Martha at Bethany. Hear how He converses, as He dines on the shore of the sea of Galilee: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” (John 21:16.)

His company is always sanctifying.
His gifts are always for our soul’s good.
His kindness is always wise.
His fellowship is always to edification.

One day with the Son of Man — is better than a thousand in the society of earthly friends! One hour spent in private communion with Him — is better than a year in kings’ palaces. Never, never was there such a wise friend as Jesus Christ.

VI. Do we want a TRIED and PROVED friend? Such a friend is Jesus Christ.

Six thousand years have passed away since the Lord Jesus began His work of befriending mankind. During that long period of time, He has had many friends in this world. Millions on millions, unhappily, have refused His offers, and been miserably lost forever; but thousands on thousands have enjoyed the mighty privilege of His friendship and been saved. He has had great experience.

(a) He has had friends of every rank and station in life. Some of them were kings and rich men, like David, and Solomon, and Hezekiah, and Job. Some of them were very poor in this world, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, and James, and John, and Andrew. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(b) He has had friends of every age that man can pass through. Some of them never knew Him until they were advanced in years, like Manasseh, and Zacchaeus, and probably the Ethiopian Eunuch. Some of them were His friends even from their earliest childhood, like Joseph, and Samuel, and Josiah, and Timothy. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(c) He has had friends of every possible temperament and disposition. Some of them were simple plain men, like Isaac. Some of them were mighty in word and deed, like Moses. Some of them were fervent and warm-hearted, like Peter. Some of them were gentle and retiring spirits, like John. Some of them were active and stirring, like Martha. Some of them loved to sitquietly at His feet, like Mary. Some dwelt unknown among their own people, like the Shunamite. Some have gone everywhere and turned the world upside down, like Paul. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(d) He has had friends of every condition in life. Some of them were married, and had sons and daughters, like Enoch. Some of them lived and died unmarried, like Daniel and John the Baptist. Some of them were often sick, like Lazarus and Epaphroditus. Some of them were strong to labor, like Persis, and Tryphena, and Tryphosa. Some of them were masters, like Abraham and Cornelius. Some of them were servants, like the saints in Nero’s household. Some of them had bad servants, like Elisha. Some of them had bad masters like Obadiah. Some of them hadbad wives and children, like David. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(e) He has had friends of almost every nation, and people, and tongue. He has had friends in hot countries and in cold; friends among nations highly civilized, and friends among the simplest and rudest tribes. His book of life contains the names of Greeks and Romans, of Jews and Egyptians, of bond and of free. There are to be found on its lists . . .
reserved Englishmen and cautious Scotsmen,
impulsive Irishmen and fiery Welshmen,
volatile Frenchmen and dignified Spaniards,
refined Italians and solid Germans,
crude Africans and refined Hindus,
cultivated Chinese and half-savage New Zealanders.
But they were all alike Christ’s friends!

All these have made trial of Christ’s friendship, and proved it to be good. They all found nothing lacking when they began — they all found nothing lacking as they went on. No lack, no defect, no deficiency was ever found by any one of them, in Jesus Christ. Each found his own soul’s needs fully supplied; each found every day, that in Christ there was enough and to spare. Never, never was there a friend so fully tried and proved as Jesus Christ.

VII. Last — but not least, do we want an UNFAILING friend? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The saddest part of all the good things of earth is their instability.
Riches
make themselves wings and flee away;
youth
and beauty are but for a few years;
strength
of body soon decays;
mind
and intellect are soon exhausted.
All is perishing.
All is fading.
All is passing away.
But there is one splendid exception to this general rule, and that is the friendship of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus is a friend who never changes. There is no fickleness about Him. Those whom He loves — He loves unto the end. Husbands have been known to forsake their wives; parents have been known to cast off their children; human vows and promises of faithfulness have often been forgotten. Thousands have been neglected in their poverty and old age — who were honored by all when they were rich and young. But Christ never changed His feelings towards one of His friends. He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8.)

The Lord Jesus never goes away from His friends. There is never a parting and good-bye between Him and His people. From the time that He makes His abode in the sinner’s heart — He abides in it forever. The world is full of leave-takings and departures; death and the lapse of time break up the most united family; sons go forth to make their way in life; daughters are married, and leave their father’s house forever. Scattering, scattering, scattering — is the yearly history of the happiest home. How many we have tearfully watched as they drove away from our doors, whose pleasant faces we have never seen again! How many we have sorrowfully followed to the grave — and then come back to a cold, silent, lonely, and blank fireside! But, thanks be to God, there is One who never leaves His friends! The Lord Jesus is He who has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5.)

The Lord Jesus goes with His friends wherever they go. There is no possible separation between Him and those whom He loves. There is no place or position on earth that can divide them from the great Friend of their souls. When the path of duty calls them far away from home — He is their companion. When they pass through the fire and water of fierce tribulation — He is with them. When they lie down on the bed of sickness — He stands by them and makes all their trouble work for good. When they go down the valley of the shadow of death, and friends and relatives stand still and can go no further — He goes down by their side. When they wake up in the unknown world of Paradise — they are still with Him. When they rise with a new body at the judgment day — they will not be alone. He will own them for His friends, and say, “They are mine! Deliver them and let them go free.” He will make good His own words: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20.)

Look around the world, and see how failure is written on all men’s schemes. Count up the partings, and separations, and disappointments, and bereavements which have happened under your own knowledge. Think what a privilege it is that there is One at least who never fails, and in whom no one was ever disappointed! Never, never was there so unfailing a friend as Jesus Christ!

And now, allow me to conclude this paper with a few plain words of APPLICATION. I know not who you are or in what state your soul may be; but I am sure that the words I am about to say deserve your serious attention. Oh, that this paper may not find you heedless of spiritual things! Oh, that you may be able to give a few thoughts to Christ!

(1) Know then, for one thing, that I call upon you to seriously consider whether Christ is your Friend, and you are His.

There are thousands on thousands, I grieve to say, who are not Christ’s friends. Baptized in His name, members of a Christian Church, attendants on His means of grace — all this they are, no doubt. But they are not Christ’s friends.

Do they hate the sins which Jesus died to put away? No.

Do they love the Savior who came into the world to save them? No.

Do they care for the souls which were so precious in His sight? No.

Do they delight in the His Word? No.

Do they try to speak with the Friend of sinners in prayer? No.

Do they seek close fellowship with Him? No.

Oh, reader, is this your case? How is it with you? Are you or are you not, one of Christ’s friends?

(2) Know, in the next place, that if you are not one of Christ’s friends — then you are a poor miserable being.

I write this down deliberately. I do not say it without thought. I say that if Christ is not your friend — then you are a poor, miserable being.

You are in the midst of a failing, sorrowful world — and you have no real source of comfort, or refuge for a time of need. You are a dying creature — and you are not ready to die. You have sins — and they are not forgiven. You are going to be judged — and you are not prepared to meet God: you might be — but you refuse to use the one only Mediator and Advocate. You love the world better than Christ. You refuse the great Friend of sinners, and you have no friend in Heaven to plead your cause. Yes, it is sadly true! You are a poor, miserable being! It matters nothing what your income is — without Christ’s friendship, you are very poor.

(3) Know, in the third place, that if you really want a friend — then Christ is willing to become your friend.

He has long wanted you to join His people, and He now invites you by my hand. He is ready to receive you, all unworthy as you may feel, and to write your name down in the list of His friends. He is ready to pardon all the past, to clothe you with righteousness, to give you His Spirit, to make you His own dear child. All He asks you to do, is to come to Him.

He bids you to come with all your sins; only acknowledging your vileness, and confessing that you are ashamed. Just as you are — waiting for nothing — unworthy of anything in yourself — Jesus bids you come and be His friend.

Oh, come and be wise! Come and be safe. Come and be happy. Come and be Christ’s friend.

(4) Know, in the last place, that if Christ is your friend — then you have great privileges, and ought to walk worthy of them.

Seek every day to have closer communion with Him who is your Friend, and to know more of His grace and power. True Christianity is not merely the believing a certain set of dry theological propositions — it is to live in daily personal communication with an actual living person — Jesus the Son of God. “To me,” said Paul, “to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21.)

Seek every day to glorify your Lord and Savior in all your ways. “He who has a friend, should show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24), and no man surely is under such mighty obligations as the friend of Christ. Avoid everything which would grieve your Lord. Fight hard against besetting sins, against inconsistency, against backwardness to confess Him before men. Say to your soul, whenever you are tempted to that which is wrong, “Soul, soul — is this your kindness to your Friend?”

Think, above all, of the mercy which has been shown you, and learn to rejoice daily in your Friend! What though your body is bowed down with disease? What though your poverty and trials are very great? What though your earthly friends forsake you, and you are alone in the world? All this may be true; but if you are in Christ, then you have a Friend, a mighty Friend, a loving Friend, awise Friend, a Friend that never fails. Oh, think, think much upon your friend! Yet in a little while, your Friend shall come to take you home, and you shall dwell with Him forever. Yet in a little while, you shall see as you have been seen, and know as you have been known. And then you shall hear assembled worlds confess, that he is the rich and happy man, who has had Christ for his friend!

POOR MISS SMITH, WHERE IS SHE NOW?

image

(Mary Winslow, “Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy”)

She entered the train in full expectation of many years of health, wealth, and happiness in this world–and in a few hours was gone forever! Poor Miss Smith–where is she now?

Oh to live for eternity, a glorious eternity! What madness not to be preparing for it. There is nothing on earth so important as to be ready for eternity. Like Miss Smith, you may leave your home in health and in high spirits, in the anticipation of meeting dear friends–and in a few hours be ushered into the presence of the great Judge of Heaven and earth, to be tried at His bar, and acquitted or condemned. But this is a subject ridiculed and slighted by the ungodly.

Try to live on earth, as you expect to live in Heaven. Walk holy and uprightly–just as if the Lord were with you, and in your midst.

I often long to see Jesus–and also Heaven. Heaven is an ocean of love!

Earth is a weary place to me–and Heaven looks very inviting!
To be freed from a body of sin and death,
to be done with the conflict,
to shed no more tears,
to breathe no more sighs,
to have grappled with, and to have overcome the “last enemy,”
to enter into an eternal rest,
to behold Jesus in all His beauty and glory,
to unite my praises with those who are dear to me by nature and by grace,
Oh is not this worth living for, and is it not worth dying for!
O blessed hope of immortality!

A few more steps, and I too am there–a sinner saved by sovereign grace!

I want to have all my thoughts centered on Jesus–He is all and everything to my soul. As I near my home in Heaven, He grows more and more endeared. I feel that Heaven would be no Heaven to me, were He not there.

YOUTH WARNED!


A sermon by John Angell James, preached in Carrs Lane Meeting House, on Sunday Evening, January 4th, 1824, and addressed particularly to young men.

“Likewise, exhort the younger men to be sober minded.” Titus 2:6

I wish it were possible, young men, for me to disclose to you the deep solicitude and earnest desire for your welfare, with which I meet you this evening, and commence this effort of ministerial fidelity—such a knowledge of my feelings and my motives would ensure me your serious and candid attention. In selecting you as the special objects of my address, I have been influenced by a painful conviction, which I would be glad to have disproved, that there was scarcely ever a period when such admonitions as those which I shall deliver on the present occasion, were more needed by people of your gender and age. Without pretending to say that the youth of this generation are more corrupt than those of former times, I will assert that their moral interests are now exposed from various causes to very imminent peril.

The improvement and diffusion of modern education, have produced a bold and independent mode of thinking, which, though it be in itself a benefit, requires a proportionate degree of religious restraint to prevent it from degenerating into lawless licentiousness. It is probable also, that of late years parents have relaxed the salutary rigor of domestic discipline. Trade and commerce are now so widely extended, that our youth are more from beneath their parents’ inspection than formerly, and consequently more exposed to the contaminating influence of evil company. The habits of society in general, are becoming more expensive and luxurious. And in addition to all this, the secret but zealous efforts of infidelity to circulate written works, which by attempting to undermine revealed religion, aim to subvert the whole fabric of morals—have most alarmingly increased irreligion and immorality.

But whatever are the causes, the fact to me is indubitable, that multitudes of the young men of the present day are exceedingly corrupt and profane. Such a state of things rouses and interests all my feelings as a father, a minister, and a citizen—I am anxious for my own children, as well as for the youth of my flock, my town, and my country. You are to be the fathers, young men, of the next generation; and most solicitous do I feel that you should transmit true religion—and not vice, to posterity. Listen then with seriousness to what I shall this evening advance, from motives of pure and faithful affection.

I shall direct your attention to that solemn portion of sacred Scripture which you will find in Ecclesiastes 11:9. “Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sights of your eyes; but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment.”

The design of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes seems to be this—after detailing the good things of life to the widest extent, setting them in the strongest light, and granting to them every possible advantage which their most passionate admirers contend for—to demonstrate, that as they are attended with so many inseparable evils, are so short-lived in their continuance, so unprofitable in the hour of death, and so utterly useless in the eternal world beyond the grave, they are insufficient for the needs, and inadequate to the happiness of the soul of man. No one was more capable of forming a correct opinion on this subject than Solomon; since no man ever commanded more resources of earthly delight than he did, or ever more eagerly availed himself of the opportunities which he possessed—and yet he grew disgusted and dissatisfied with sensual pleasures, and at length give us the sum total of worldly enjoyment in those two ciphers—vanity and vexation of spirit. His testimony, therefore, is to be considered (not as the cynical declamation of an ascetic, who had never tasted sensual indulgence—but) as that of a man who had drunk the cup of earthly pleasures to its dregs—and who found those dregs to be wormwood, gall, and poison! “I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! All is vanity and vexation of spirit!” Ecclesiastes 1:14.

I am aware that some expound the language of the text as containing an intimation of Solomon’s willingness to allow young people the full gratification of their senses, and the indulgence of their appetites, coupled with an admonition to let their pursuit and enjoyment of pleasure be regulated by a reference to the judgment of God, as it is recorded in the Scripture, and will be published at the last day. Although I do not think this is the meaning of the text, because the terms employed in the passage are generally used by the sacred writers in a bad sense, as importing criminal indulgence, yet there is nothing in the sentiment to which, when properly explained, I object.

I allow youth all that pleasure which the Word of God sanctions, and which his sentence in the day of judgment will not condemn. I would say, “Young man, enjoy yourself, your senses are in full vigor, your imagination lively; it is the spring season of your existence, gratify your genius and your taste. And as long as your pleasures accord with the letter and spirit of revelation, and will secure the approbation of God in the judgment day—they are innocent and lawful. But take heed how you allow yourself any gratification until you have tested it by the Word of God, and proved it to be innocent.”

I am quite willing to make the Scriptures the standard of our pleasures, as well as of our duties. Religion and melancholy are not as some think synonymous terms. Piety is as far from gloom as noontide is from midnight. “Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.” There is joy and peace in believing, a peace that passes understanding, a joy unspeakable and full of glory. Religion gives the substance of happiness for the shadow; the reality for the name. It allows all that enjoyment of the comforts of earth—which is not incompatible with the pursuit of eternal salvation in heaven.

I. The text properly explained, consists of an IRONIC address. Under a seeming permission, this language contains a very strong and pointed prohibition. It is as if the writer had said, “Thoughtless and sensual young man, who has no idea of happiness but as arising from fleshly indulgence, and who is drinking continually the intoxicating cup of worldly pleasure—pursue your course if you are determined on this mode of life, gratify your appetites, indulge all your passions, deny yourself nothing, eat, drink and be merry; disregard the admonitions of conscience, trample under foot the authority of revelation—but do not think that you shall always prosper in the ways of sin, or carry forever that air of jollity and triumph. The day of reckoning is at hand, when for all these things, you will be called into judgment! God now witnesses, and takes account of all your ways, and will one day call you to his judgment, and repay you according to your doings!” “For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

It is implied in this address, that young men are much addicted to sensual pleasure. This has been the case with every generation and in every country—and it is too common not only for the young themselves—but even for their seniors and their sires to justify or palliate their wicked excesses. We frequently hear the abominable adage, “Youth for pleasure, manhood for business, and old age for religion.” It is not possible for language to utter, or mind to conceive, a more gross or shocking insult to God than this!—which is in effect saying, “when I can no longer enjoy my lusts, or pursue my gains—then I will carry to God a body and soul worn out in the service of sin, Satan, and the world!” The monstrous wickedness and horrid impiety of this idea is enough, one would think, when put clearly to him, to shock and terrify the most confirmed and careless sinner in existence.

There are many things which tend to cherish in the youthful bosom, and to justify in the estimation of young men—the love of sensual pleasure. At their age care sits lightly on the heart, the passions are strong, the imagination is lively, the health is good, the social impulse is felt in all its energy, the attractions of friends are powerful; and this they imagine is the ideal time for them to take their fill of pleasure. They think that they shall settle down by and by, when the season of youth is past; and that sobriety, morality, and religion will all come in the proper order of nature. Worldly pleasure, decked in the voluptuous attire and the gaudy ornaments of a harlot, appears to their heated imagination, with all the attractive charms of a most bewitching beauty. They yield themselves at once to her influence, and consider her as abundantly able to afford them all the happiness they desire. Their great concern is to gratify their senses. The soul and all her vast eternal concerns is neglected for the pleasures of fleshly appetites, and is condemned to the degradation of acting as a mere waiting maid to minister to the enjoyment of the body.

Young men, can you justify, either at the bar of reason or Scripture, such an appropriation of the ‘morning of your existence’, of the best and loveliest portion of your life? If there is indeed a God who made and preserves you, is it reasonable that the season of youth should be passed in a manner hateful in his sight? Is this the way to ensure his blessing on your future days? Is it reasonable that your youthful vigor, should be exhausted on vices forbidden by his Word? Were the noble faculties of the human soul conferred for no other purposes than to be slaves to sinful corruptions? To what part of the Word of God will you turn and not find your practices condemned? Where is it said that young people may innocently walk in all kinds of sensual indulgences? On what page of the book of God’s truth do you find these allowances for the excesses of youth, which you make for yourselves, and ill-judging friends make for you? “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.” (Isaiah 5:11-12) This is the testimony of the Lord, delivered as much against the sins of youth as those of riper years.

And is it not mentioned among other vices by Paul, “that men should be lovers of pleasure—more than lovers of God?” There is no exception in your favor, from the obligations of piety, in all the Word of God! On the contrary, how many are the admonitions to youthful piety—there is not one duty of true godliness binding upon you in future years, which does not rest with all its authority upon you at the present moment. Is youth the season for sinful pleasure then! Is this best and most influential portion of your existence—to be deliberately given up to vice! That is a dreadful idea; repugnant alike to reason and Scripture!

1. If sensual pleasure be pursued as the object of youthful years—see how it will influence all your PURSUITS. Where young men live in this way, it directs their reading, which is not pious or improving—but light, trifling, and polluting. Inflammatory novels, stimulating romances, lewd poetry, immoral songs, satires against pious characters, and arguments against Scripture and biblical morals—are in general the works consulted by corrupt and wicked youth, and by these they become still more wicked. Never did the press send forth streams of greater pollution than at this time. Authors are to be found, of no small abilities, who pander to every corruption of the youthful bosom. Almost every vice has its high-priest—to burn incense on its altar, and to lead its victims, decked with the garlands of poetry or fiction, to their ruin.

(As for Byron, his exquisite pathos and almost peerless beauty, can make no atonement for his vices, and should have no power to reconcile us to his works. He is, indeed, as he has been styled, the master of a satanic school. Infidelity and immorality never before received such patronage from the poetic muse. Never before was genius seen in closer union with vice. His works are enough to corrupt the morals of a nation, and seem to have been written for the purpose; and he appears to have been stirred up by an evil spirit, to attempt, by his poems that mischief which the wit of Voltaire, the subtleties of Hume, and the popular ribaldry of Paine, had in vain endeavored to effect. If young men would not be cursed by the infidelity and immorality which lurk within his pages, let them beware how they touch his volumes—as they would a beautiful person infected with the plague.)

2. A love of sinful pleasure will give the tone to your CONVERSATION—which will be vain, loose and unprofitable; if not obscene, filthy and profane. Jests against religion; sneers at the piety of the godly; irreverent and shocking swearing; and a boastful parade of the immoralities they have committed—the females they have seduced, or the revels they have shared in—make up the conversation, I fear, of some circles. Young men, is this the reason why the noble faculty of speech was given to you—that distinction of man from the brute creation; that exquisite vehicle of thought and medium of communication between mind and mind? Can you think of the strains of conversation to which you have often listened, and in which you have often joined, without horror? Could the discourse of a single evening be written down just as it occurred, in all its mindlessness, silliness, obscenity and profanity—and then read over to you; surely, surely, if every spark of shame was not extinguished in your nature, your faces would be covered with blushes, and your soul filled with confusion at the shocking recital.

There is something most disgusting and most horrible, to hear a man boast of the crimes which he has committed, and with bragging, set forth the pains which he has taken to blast the prospects of others—and ruin his own immortal soul. The Scripture makes it a sin even to be proud of good deeds; but to be proud of evil ones is a disposition truly hellish! For young men to study first to excel in deeds of riot and debauchery, and then to proclaim their feats, is to brag who shall be at once most brutalized and most diabolical, and then to be proud of the hellish attainment!

As for swearing, I scarcely know anything which more decidedly proves a depraved heart; since it gratifies no passion and indulges no appetite—but is unmingled wickedness against God. Probably there is nothing which has a more polluting effect on the imagination, or a more hardening influence on the heart—than filthy, obscene, and profane conversation; and the man who can ever listen to it with pleasure must already have become very vile, and is hourly becoming more so!

3. A love of sensual pleasure will, of course, direct young men in the choice of their COMPANIONS; and these will not be the moral and serious—but the thoughtless, the mirthful, and the wicked. Comradeship seems necessary to give zest to vice. There is something cowardly in sin. It does not desire ‘solitude’ and ‘contemplation’. To the sinner’s perturbed mind, ‘solitude’ soon fills the mind with frowning forms; and ‘contemplation’ is broken by threatening voices. He rushes, therefore, into company to recruit his courage and gratify his lusts; not to persuade himself that he is doing right—but to get rid of the consciousness that he is doing wrong, and drown the clamors of his conscience in the uproar of his companions; at once to be wicked and merry.

Young men, if you determine to live in the gratification of your passions and the indulgence of your sinful appetites, you will soon have associates suited to your taste, and that will never disturb your conscience with the language of warning or reproof. And will these be wicked fools, blaspheming scoffers, apostate people, hardened sinners, degraded sots, dissolute infidels, abandoned prostitutes! Look at the mirthful party. Can you approve it? Are there not moments, when you feel the last dying remains of moral feeling stirring within you in sickening revulsion at such society as this? But even these ‘dying, lingering signs of a conscience’ which are not quite dead, will soon vanish—and you will yield yourself without a struggle to all the corrupting, damning influence of bad company!

4. The recreations and amusements of young men who live in sinful pursuits are of the same nature as their reading, conversation, and company—polluted and polluting!

The THEATER is generally frequented by them; the theater, that corrupter of public morals; that school where nothing good and everything bad is learned; that resort of the wicked and school of vice; that broad and flowery avenue to the bottomless pit! Here a young man finds no hindrances to sin, no warnings against wickedness, no mementos of judgment to come! But, on the contrary, everything to inflame his passions, to excite his immoral desires, and to gratify his appetites for vice! The language, the music, and the company, are all adapted to a sensual taste—and calculated to demoralize the mind!

Multitudes of once comparatively innocent and happy youths have to date their ruin for both worlds, from the hour when their feet first trod within the polluted precincts of a theater. Until then they were ignorant of many of the ways of vice. That fatal night was the dreadful season of their initiation into the ‘mysteries of iniquity’! Afterwards they fell from morality and respectability, and continued falling deeper and deeper in vice, until earth, tired of the sickening load of their corruption, heaved them from her lap—and hell, from beneath, moved to gather them at their coming! When, therefore, a young man acquires and gratifies a taste for theatrical representations, I consider his moral character in imminent peril.

It is by no means the author’s intention to affirm that all who frequent the theater are wicked people. Far be it from him to prefer an accusation so extensive and unfounded as this. No doubt many amiable and moral people are among the admirers of dramatic representation. That they receive no contamination from the scenes they witness, or the language they hear, is no stronger proof that the stage is not immoral in its tendency and effects, than that there is no contagion in the plague, because some constitutions resist the infection. That people fenced in by every conceivable moral defense and restraint, should escape uninjured, is saying little; but even in their case, I will contend that the mind is not altogether uninjured. Is it possible for an imperfect moral creature (and such are the best of us,) to hear the irreverent swearing, the filthy allusions, the anti-Christian sentiments, which are uttered during the representation of even our purest plays, and hear these for amusement, without some deterioration of mental purity?

And it should be remembered that none but the pure in heart shall see God. But let us think of a young man going alone and unprotected to a theater, or in the company only of others of his own age, and after having his passions inflamed with all he has seen and heard within, then returning home through the crowds of scantily dressed prostitutes which infest the surrounding areas of every theater. Is this a school to improve his morals? Yes, the morals of the whorehouse! The advocates of the stage should be candid, and instead of talking about its improving the taste or the morals of the age, should frankly confess (as they cannot be ignorant of it), that it is indeed a very dangerous place for young people—but that it is an amusement of which they themselves are very fond, and that they are determined to enjoy it whatever havoc it may make in the character of others.

If it were admitted that occasionally some one person had been improved by theatrical satires on vice, (though, by the way, to laugh at vice is not the best way of becoming virtuous), will they not confess that for this one case of improvement, a thousand cases of ruin could be found?

Mirthful PARTIES, where eating, drinking, and revelry, are carried on until midnight, or until morning, are another source of ruin! Meetings, not for the interchange of the civilities and courtesies of life, and restrained within due limits of time, sobriety, and expense; not for the feast of reason and the flow of soul; not for the cultivation and enjoyment of friendship—but for the celebration of Bacchanalian orgies! Young men, such meetings unfit you not only for the serious pursuits of godliness—but even for the duties of business. Their expense impoverishes your purse, their influence impairs your health, and their guilt ruins your soul!

GAMBLING is another amusement to which young men, addicted to pleasure, frequently have recourse. A passion for gambling is one of the most ruinous propensities that can infect the human heart! It is to the mind, what a love of alcohol is to the body! And to the man addicted to gambling and play—the ordinary pursuits of business will be as flat and uninteresting—just as looking forward to a day of bread and water, is to the drunkard craving and waiting for his liquor. Gambling is a system of excitement and stimulants, which prepares the passions for every excess. It is a ‘parent vice’, and its ‘offspring’ are as deformed and monstrous as itself! It produces a serpent brood of crimes—among which fraud, suicide, and murder, have all been found. Young men, as you would not have these vices generated in your heart, harbor not in your bosom the mother that bears them! Retreat from the billiard and card table! If you would not end up as a gambler—avoid all gambling!

Every friend to the morals of his country must deplore the increasing passion for the brutal and brutalizing sport of PRIZE FIGHTS. This practice is more demoralizing than it is possible to describe. It is fraught with such deadly mischief to the national demeanor and conduct, that it should become a matter of most serious consideration with the legislature whether more effective measures ought not to be taken for its suppression. There is scarcely a vice which tends to disturb the order of society that is not cherished, and, to a considerable extent, encouraged, by this odious system.

Independently of the offensive spectacle exhibited by two men acting the part of wild beasts towards each other, and endeavoring, if not to tear, to beat each other to pieces; independently of the fatal manner in which these conflicts sometimes terminate—what a system of gambling of the most pernicious description is connected with this practice! What habits of idleness are contracted! What a spirit is generated among the laboring classes to excel in these feats of brutal courage and savage skill! What a lure is held out to the indolent! What what a temptation thrown in the way of the industrious! Where are all the thieves, the cheats, the murderers of a country, most likely to be assembled at any given time? Around the prize fight ring. What a revolting and shocking instance of this kind of amusement have we lately had in a neighboring county.

At the very time when the Hertfordshire murderers were arraigned for a deed which had circulated horror through the kingdom; while the sentence was being pronounced upon them, will it be believed that 30,000 people were assembled to witness this their favorite recreation, by which the murderers were trained for the crime which hurried them to the gallows? In what school were they trained to commit murder? In the ring of the prize fight! And yet thirty thousand people, at the very time when they were being doomed to death, were assembled to patronize the practice. In this town the fate of the murderers was lost sight of—in that of the fighters; and it seemed a matter of less concern whether they were condemned, than who won the prize fight!

Let any one conceive the mass of crime which was committed within the circle that surrounded the combatants; let him think of the oaths that were sworn, the pilfering that was carried on, the diabolical rage that was felt, the gambling that was practiced; let him add the numbers who closed the evening with intoxication, the multitudes who were then first led astray from the paths of morality by acquiring a taste for evil conduct and evil company. Let anyone think of these things and say if the place on which this crowd were assembled, did not contain a greater accumulation of crime than could be found on the same space in our world. Who can wonder at the prevalence of vice, when such things are going on? But we may wonder to hear of noblemen, gentlemen, lawyers, being present. May our youth have wisdom enough to abhor the practice; may they see that one of the nearest roads to ruin is by the ring of a prize fight. To all the flimsy arguments by which the practice is attempted to be defended, may they reply—that to be brutal is not the way to embellish our nature, and that the ferocity of a tiger and the dexterity of a savage is no ornament to a civilized rational creature.

Still, after all that can be said of these practices, young men are to be found who will justify them on the grounds already stated. But try them by their effects. See their influence on personal godliness. Godliness, alas! such people make no pretense whatever to it. They have not the fear of God before their eyes. They are not only without piety—but against it. “God is not in all their thoughts.” They are atheists in practice—if not in opinion. If a man loves such pleasures more than God, he has not even the semblance of piety. He is not even moral. It is true he may not be a murderer, robber, housebreaker—but he is still an immoral man if he be living in drunkenness, swearing, or fornication.

Try this mode of life by its influence on their USEFULNESS. Young men who live in the enjoyment of wicked pleasure, are defeating one end of their existence, which is in every possible way to benefit the human race—to do good by their property, example, and principles. Instead of this, their property is squandered upon their vices, and not devoted to relieve the misery, and promote the happiness of mankind. The influence of their example, instead of falling around them like the refreshing dew—sends forth a withering blight. Their principles, instead of resembling precious grain, are the seeds of poison, which they scatter along their path. They have no part in benevolent and Christian institutions. I have known young men, who, while they were moral, were active as teachers of Sunday schools, and agents of other philanthropic institutions, immediately as they acquired a taste for sinful gratifications, withdraw their names, and retire from the scenes of Christian mercy. They ceased to be philanthropists when they became immoral; and now, instead of doing good, they do harm. On how many such do the curses of indignant, heart-broken parents rest, for corrupting their sons, and seducing their daughters.

Who shall depict, in proper colors, the crime of SEDUCING, and then abandoning an innocent female? And yet how common is it! She, poor wretched victim, the dupe of promises never intended to be fulfilled, and at length deserted as a worthless, ruined thing—seeks by the wages of iniquity to prolong a miserable existence, until, in her garret, consumed by disease, she closes a life of infamy by a death of unspeakable horror. If at the recollection of her untimely death, her betrayer feels a pang of remorse, his pity comes too late for her; it cannot restore the peace and purity, that, with felon hand, he stole from a bosom which was serene until he invaded its tranquility; it cannot repair the virtue he corrupted; it cannot build up the character he demolished; it cannot rekindle the life which he was the means of extinguishing; much less can it call back from the torments of the damned the miserable spirit which he was the instrument of hurrying to perdition!

Ah! how, one should think, must her upbraiding spirit haunt his imagination; how often must he hear her groans of despair, and see her frenzied appearance, seeming in every agonized distortion to say, “Look at me, my destroyer!” The seducer, I admit, is less guilty than the murderer—but how much less? The murderer extinguishes life at once; the seducer causes it to waste away by slow degrees amidst unutterable torture! The murderer hazards his own life in the commission of the crime; the seducer exposes himself to no personal risk! The murderer is visited with the heaviest sentence that the justice of the country can inflict—but the seducer can revel in impunity, and can go on from conquering to conquer in his desolating career, and defy all justice—but that of heaven!

Yes, the guilty and polluted wretch will be greeted in fashionable and moral society with the same welcome as before, though he comes to it with the guilt of female ruin fresh upon his soul. Oh! when shall the time arrive that reputable females will resent this cruel indignity offered to their gender. When will they protect the virtue of their weaker sisters, by frowning from their society, the individual who has betrayed one of their number to her ruin! When shall the time come that the profligate and debauchees, by the consentaneous feeling of virtuous women, shall be banished from their presence? If any individual shall glance on these passages who is guilty of this great wickedness, let him ponder on his guilt, and never cease through life to weep for his sin, looking for pardon through the blood of Christ. If anyone should read this discourse, who meditates the crime, may I come between his ‘basilisk eye’ and the victim marked for ruin, and already flattering under the spell. Pause, young man, oh! pause, before you resolve to ruin two souls at once, and produce an entanglement of sin and misery which eternity itself shall never unravel!

I would not throw the blame of seduction entirely on my own gender. There are not a few to whom Solomon’s description of the female tempter will apply in this age. What numbers of ‘abandoned women’ infest our streets before the sun is set. Is there no means of being rid of this nuisance? If not, let our youth beware, and remember the words of scripture, “Hearken unto me now therefore, O you children, and attend to the words of my mouth, let not your heart decline to her ways; go not astray in her paths. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death!”

Amidst all your sinful jollity—are you happy, young man, in your sins? Are vice and bliss synonymous? Is immorality the road to happiness? Are you satisfied with your course? Do you approve of it as the most rational mode of life? Have you the sanction of both your judgment and your conscience? You know you are not happy! You may be gratified—but you are not satisfied! You may have pleasure—but you have nothappiness! When the ‘honey of gratification’ is all gone, is there not a sting left behind? Expose to us your wounded, bleeding heart; admit us to your chamber at midnight, when left alone with an angry conscience, to be lashed almost to madness. Let us hear your heartbroken reflections, when you heap your envenomed reproaches upon your own folly and wretchedness. Oh! what proofs could we recollect, even from your own lips, that the way of transgressors is hard, and the pleasures of sin are but for a season!

Have there not been times also, when, in the very midst of the riot and revelry—a mysterious hand, visible only to you—came forth and wrote your doom before your eyes; when conscience arrested you, as God did Belshazzar, at the feast? From that moment the pleasure was all gone. You tried to be merry—but your smile was as the laughter of a demon, which could but ill conceal the torture that raged within; and you retired, as Esau did, when he had eaten his pottage, reflecting that it was for this you had sold your soul! What makes you so afraid in a time ofsickness? Because you seem to see death on the pale horse approaching you, and hell following in his aftermath!

Add up, young men, all the pains of vice—the anxiety which precedes, and the remorse which follows it, the stings of conscience and the reproaches of friends, the fear of being detected, and the shame of detection when it has taken place—and say if they do not far overbalance the pleasures of sin. I will concede to you, that sin has its gratifications—but are they not as Solomon calls them, “The crackling of thorns beneath a pot”—a noisy, but fleeting blaze?


II. I conduct your thoughts to the second part of the subject, and show you the END of these things—as it is set forth in the solemn warning contained in the text.
“Know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” He who will hereafter be the judge—is now the witness of your conduct! God is everywhere present, and knows all things, “Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will become night’— even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You!” (Psalm 139:1-12)

Such is the solemn description which the Scriptures give us of an everywhere and ever-present God. He is not far from any one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being. Yes, the Lord God is everywhere—not excepting even the haunts of vice. You may exclude your parents, your teachers, your ministers, from the scenes of your iniquity! You may shut out the sun—but you cannot shut out God! He is with you in the tavern, the brothel, the theater! Are there not times and places, in which, if the form of your father were suddenly to appear before you, you would almost sink into the earth? But lift up your eyes, and see, behold, the Great Spirit is there! What! tremble at a father’s glance—and yet not be terrified at the presence of a God, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and who cannot look upon sin but with abhorrence? Will you swear, and drink, and commit lewdness when the holy and all-seeing Deity is there to take account of all, and preserves the record on pages more durable than brass? The Grecian philosopher thought it would be a sufficient check to sin, to admonish his disciples to act as they would do, if they knew the eye of Plato was upon them. And shall it be no control upon your passions, to remember, that God sees you! And for all He sees will bring you into judgment?

1. Reflect upon the CERTAINTY of judgment. It is not a cunningly devised fable—it is not a mere terrifying picture intended to embellish Scripture. You know that there is a judgment to come! The very heathen expect it, conscience foretells it, guilt forebodes it, reason proves it, Scripture declares it! “God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has ordained. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things which he has done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad.” You may unhappily forget the judgment—but you cannot disbelieve it.

2. This judgment will be PERSONAL. Know you, young man, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. The subject concerns us all, and each one in particular. To everyone who shall read these pages, the admonition is individually addressed, “Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sights of your eyes; butknow that for all of these things, God will bring you to judgment!” (Ecclesiastes 11:9) “For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14) None are so high as to rise above this accountability to God; none so low as to be beneath it. John saw the dead, small and great, standing before God to be judged.

When men transgress the laws of their country, they are led on by the hope that they shall not be detected or brought to trial—they calculate the chances of escape, and indulge the expectation of impunity. But there is no room for such a hope, in reference to the judgment of the great God—this it will be impossible either to evade or resist. It is as certain that you will stand before the tribunal of Christ, and be tried for your life—as that you now exist! To that tribunal you will certainly be brought—whether willing or unwilling. Rocks and mountains will not hide you; no power on earth will shelter or detain you. God has declared that he will undertake this matter himself. Will you hide? Where will you go from God’s presence? Go where you will—you will be surrounded still by God! Will you resist God’s arrest? “Do you have an arm like God’s?” The whole universe is represented as brought together to judgment, with the same ease as a shepherd collects a flock of timid sheep. No! No! Nothing can prevent your being placed at the tribunal of heaven!

Young men, bear me witness, I give you public warning of this event. In God’s name, I serve you with notice of the trial. Prepare to meet your God! He is coming! He is coming—and you must meet him! O think of judgment to come—in the midst of all your sinful pleasures and criminal liberties—think of it! Will you drink the drunkard’s cup; will you go to the brothel, to the gambling table, to the scene of riot and wickedness—knowing that for all these things God will bring you into judgment? With the terrible solemnities of the last day before your eyes—will you, canyou, dare you—proceed in the career of vice? Conscience—O faithful monitor! O dreadful avenger! I charge you to whisper in the sinner’s ear, when going to the scene of his unholy pleasures, “But know, that for all of these things, God will bring you to judgment! For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.”

3. This judgment will be EXACT and IMPARTIAL. “But know, that for all of these things, God will bring you to judgment! For God will bringevery act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.” All that you have done shall be brought to light and reviewed. Thestandard by which actions will then be tried, will be the Word of God. This is the book which will then be opened, according to which people’s characters will be decided, and the sentence pronounced. Men will not be allowed to compare themselves with each other. Nor will those ‘false standards of morality’ and ‘accommodating rules of custom’ which they have now adopted, be then admitted. The laws which ‘fashionable or customary vices’ have modified to suit themselves, will be all disallowed and swept away then!

Men may now sneer at the puritanical precision and austerity which attempt to bring them to the Bible as the standard of morals—but what will they do and say when God shall open this now neglected book—and judge them according to what is written therein. How will they be confounded when they find all their pleas for a different test of character and conduct overruled—and the Bible alone be admitted as the sole rule of conduct. Then will all you have done, young men, be brought to light! I will read a passage of Scripture that should make your ears tingle. “The Lord has sworn—Surely I will never forget any of their works.” This is spoken in reference to the wicked. God has bound himself then by oath, not only to the salvation of the righteous—but to the condemnation of the wicked—none of all their evil works are to be forgotten.

You may now successfully attempt to conceal many of your evil ways from your parents, teachers, and ministers—and admire your skill in the art of deception! But remember there is ONE whom you cannot deceive, and from whom you can conceal nothing, “He will bring every secret thing into judgment!” The veil will be torn from every dark and unknown transaction. The curtain of secrecy will be drawn aside, and every scene of vice exposed—just as it occurred. Think of this, and think what will be your confusion and dismay, your reproach and anguish, when all those deeds which you wish to be buried in eternal oblivion shall be remembered against you! There is no such thing as ‘oblivion’ with God—nor shall you find the ‘stream of forgetfulness’ in the eternal world. You will be tried and sentenced according to the advantages which you have enjoyed for knowing and doing the will of God. Your Bible, your parents’ instruction, your ministers’ sermons, the advice you have received—the warnings you have heard, the stirrings of conscience you have felt, will all be taken into the account! Yes, and even this feeble though faithful effort to reclaim you, shall not be forgotten in the fearful reckoning.

4. The CONSEQUENCES of this judgment will be dreadful and eternal. The sentence which will then be pronounced upon the wicked you may even now read copied down from the lips of him who will be the Judge. Read it, and let your hearts meditate on the terrors of “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!” Every word is replete with horrifying ideas! It forms as a whole, the most appalling doom of which the mind can entertain any conception; and its execution upon the wicked shall constitute that hell of which the Word of God says so much—but of which multitudes, to their ruin, think so little. The sentence by which the law of the land deprives a man of his temporal life is terrible; but what is this to the doom which subjects the soul to the bitter pains of eternal death.

When the judge at our trials orders the convicted felon to be brought up for condemnation, puts on the black cap, and is about to pronounce the sentence, what a deadly silence pervades the court; you may almost hear the throb of palpitating hearts; terror sits on every brow; and it seems almost as if death in a visible form, had appeared to seize his victim; while the poor culprit himself sinks to the earth beneath the weight of the sentence, and departs in the silence of petrifying despair, or the outcries of frantic grief. And yet, may that poor creature, though properly denied mercy by the tribunal of human justice, obtain it from the throne of heavenly grace; and the judge, in the very act of excluding him from human mercy, prays that the Lord would have mercy on his soul.

What then must be the horror which in final the day of judgment, shall accompany the sentence of the wicked. No accent of mercy will be heard mitigating the horrors of that act of justice—that sentence dooms the soul to death—no other and higher tribunal shall be found, to which an appeal may be carried for pardon and life. The sentence of the wicked in that day will be final, irreversible, and eternal. There is nothing to follow it—but “the worm which never dies, and the fire which is never quenched; weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.” I cannot, if I would, describe the torments of lost souls in prison.

I say, I can neither disclose nor describe those scenes; but the Word of God declares that “upon the wicked he will rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.” Young men, think what it must be to dwell forever in a world where all the evil passions of human nature will attain the full maturity of their strength, and will not have one moment’s cessation or gratification; and where all their force will be concentrated, like the venom of an enraged scorpion, for the purpose of self torment.

5. The judgment may be NEAR at hand. The coming of the Lord draws near; the Judge stands at the door; the end of all things is at hand. The day of death is in one respect, as the day of judgment with us all, “Then the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” This year you may die! Many as young, as healthy, as wicked, as careless as yourselves—have died the past year. Where are they? Before another year closes, you may follow them into eternity. A fever, a fall, an accident, a midnight revel, a fatal quarrel, the violent hands of wicked men, or the hand of vengeance from a holy God—may within this year—smite you to the earth, and send you to the grave without warning, and to judgment without preparation. “They sing to the tambourine and the lyre and rejoice to the sound of the pipe. They spend their days in prosperity, and in a moment go down to the grave. How oft is the candle of the wicked put out—and how oft comes their destruction upon them? They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carries away. One dies in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.”


In the CONCLUSION of my discourse, I divide the congregation into three classes.

1. Those young men who are living in the fear of God, and walking in the ways of true godliness. Happy, thrice happy youth! Your obligations to divine grace are immense and eternal. You have made a blissful exchange of the pleasures of sin and folly—for those of wisdom and piety. Be grateful to God for the mercy with which he has visited you. Still continue “to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Remember that you are not already perfect; but forgetting the things that are behind, press towards the mark of the prize of your high calling in Christ Jesus—adorn the doctrine of God your Savior in all things. Be not high minded—but fear. Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. Flee youthful lusts. Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace—with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Be not ashamed of Christ. Disregard the sneers which your piety will not fail to bring down upon you, from those who think it strange that you run not to the same excess of riot—and speak evil against you. Their scorn is your honor. They envy you in their heart, while they persecute you with their lips. They regard you with much the same feelings as Satan did our first parents, when he looked at them through the gate of Eden, before the fall. Be holy, happy, and useful—and let your character appear surrounded and adorned with this triple glory of true religion. You have raised our expectations; support them. You have begun our joy, fulfill it. Persevere, increase, go on to perfection.

II. Those who are moral—but not godly. Of this class, there are many. There are young men, adorned with every amiable disposition, every social virtue, every social excellence, who lack only one thing to finish their character. But that one—O! how important, how necessary—true religion. There may be morality without religion, though there cannot be religion without morality. Morality is the duty which we owe to ourselves and our fellow creatures—piety is the duty which we owe to God. Morality is a right disposition to man—piety a right disposition towards God. Although the latter involves the former, the former does not necessarily include the latter. Alas, alas! that moral men should not also be pious. This appears to have been the case with the young man mentioned in the gospel, of whom it is said that Jesus loved him—he was eminently moral—but could not endure the self-denying religion of the cross, and with all his virtues fell short of heaven!

What you need, young men, is regeneration of heart by the Holy Spirit. You must be born again of the Spirit, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. You must have—a new heart—a holy bias—a spiritual disposition—a heavenly tone of feeling. You must be brought to fear God as your habitual principle of action, and to love him supremely, as the master passion of your soul. Under a deep conviction of sin, you must have repentance towards God, and faith in Jesus Christ.

You must be justified by faith, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. You must be sanctified by the truth and Spirit of God. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. The grace of God which brings salvation, must teach you not only to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts—but to live soberly, righteously and godly, in the present evil world. Morality alone will not do. Morality may save you from the miseries of open vice—but not from the bitter pains of eternal death. It will bring its own reward—but that reward ends with the present world. It will improve your temporal interests as men; it will lessen your condemnation as sinners—but it will not entitle you to the character of Christians here, nor will it be followed by glory, honor, immortality and eternal life—hereafter. It is extremely probable that if you are satisfied with being moral, to the neglect of piety, you may not long retain even your virtue. Temptations may assail you, too powerful for anything short of that religion which engages Omnipotence for our defense. In one unguarded moment, you may become the victims of those spiritual enemies which lie in wait to deceive you. It is God alone who can preserve you—but without piety, it is not likely that you will enjoy his protection. It is but just that he should leave to themselves, those who do not seek his counsel and assistance by prayer.

I am addressing many who are exposed to imminent danger; since being only sojourners in the town, as clerks or apprentices, they are removed from beneath the inspection of a father’s wakeful eye, and unless they live beneath the roof of their employer, have no other restraint upon their conduct than that which is imposed by their own internal principles. Yours is a situation pregnant with peril. Hitherto you may have happily escaped the “corruptions that are in the world through lust.” But beware, I beseech you, of the evils that surround you! Avoid bad company! “a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” “Do not be deceived! Bad company corrupts good morals!” One sinful associate may drag you down from the moral elevation on which you now stand, into the vortex of ruin in which he is sinking. Rather have no companions than bad ones.

Acquire a taste for reading, and through the medium of books converse with the ‘mighty dead’. Your company may be courted; but receive with cautious reserve and suspicion, every advance that is made for your friendship. Determine to be the friend of no man in whom you do not perceive the most unequivocal proofs of moral worth. Shun a wicked companion, as you would an assassin! If you have been too unguarded in this respect, and united yourselves with associates whose conduct is in the least degree immoral, shake them off without hesitation, as you would a viper from your hand, or a scorpion from your lap. If you continue their acquaintance you will probably become as bad as they are. Wicked men have an infernal ambition to render others as corrupt as themselves. They are like the devil, as in many other respects, so particularly in this, “they go about seeking whom they may devour.”

But above all things, fear God. My first and last advice to you is, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.” True religion will guardyou in danger; guide you in difficulty; comfort you in solitude. In your Bible you will always find a companion, when the hours and cares of business are over. And though you are not at home, true religion will procure you companions whose society will not corrupt, and pleasures which will neither glut nor pollute.

III. The third class of young men which I would address are those whose character I have described, and whose sins I have reproved. Unhappy youths! may this plain and faithful address produce the desired effect. Pause and ponder. Look at your course—and consider where it is conducting you! Sin is your enemy for both worlds; it is alike the foe of your body and your soul. It will corrupt your health. “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. Though evil tastes sweet in his mouth and he conceals it under his tongue, though he cherishes it and will not let it go but keeps it in his mouth, yet the food in his stomach turns into cobras’ venom inside him. He swallows wealth but must vomit it up; God will force it from his stomach. He will suck the poison of cobras; a viper’s fangs will kill him.”

Sin will blast all your temporal interests, by producing the habits which lead to poverty, and hindering the virtues which have a tendency to wealth. Wastefulness, intemperance, and debauchery, must have resources, and if these cannot be supplied by the ordinary proceeds of honest industry, extravagance may soon be followed with robbery. Robbery may be followed with infamy and death. Young men, let the recent events which have circulated such horror through the country, be felt as a solemn warning to you. Let the fate of the desperately hardened murderer, who has the last week expired on the gallows, be as a flaming beacon to warn you against sin.

Say not, that amidst all your gaieties and vices, you are never likely to commit his crimes. We read in Scripture of the deceitfulness of the human heart—as well as of its desperate wickedness. And wherein lies its deceitfulness? In leading men on step by step in the vortex of vice, until it has conducted them infinite lengths beyond the spot to which it first directed their attention. When the prophet of the Lord disclosed to Hazael his future career of evil, the Syrian exclaimed, “Is your servant a dog that he should do this thing!” His indignation was honest at the time—but his heart was deceitful; and he lived to be worse than Elisha had foretold. There was a time when the felon lately executed would probably have shuddered at the idea of needlessly torturing a fly—but he lived to perpetrate, without pity or remorse, the crime of murdering a man!

Sin is deceitful, young men. No one becomes wicked all at once. The way of a transgressor is like that of a stone rolling down hill, which when it is once set going, moves at every revolution with accelerated speed. He begins with little sins, and these lead on to greater ones; from acts he proceeds to habits—from habits to inveterate custom; from custom to glorying in his wickedness. Vice first is pleasing, then it grows easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed; then the man is impenitent, then he is obstinate, then he resolves never to repent, and then he is damned!

Let the wicked then forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return unto God, for he will abundantly pardon. With the Lord there is mercy—that he may be feared; and plenteous redemption—that he may be sought unto. Even yet God waits to be gracious. Jesus Christ is able to save unto the uttermost, all who come unto God by him. Pause, consider, repent, believe, and be holy. Admire the patience of God which has borne with you so long. Be thankful that you have not been cut off in your sins, and sent to that world, where mercy is never dispensed by God, nor hope indulged by man.

From this time—read the Scriptures daily; attend the solemnities of public worship; pray to God for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, without which you can do nothing; forsake evil company; avoid all occasions and excitements to sin; consider your end; meditate constantly upon the approaching day of judgment. “But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be on fire and be dissolved, and the elements will melt with the heat.” (2 Peter 3:10-12) Amen.

CHARLIE COULSON, THE CHRISTIAN DRUMMER BOY (AN INTERESTING READ)

The following story is a true account, taken from an old, out-of-print book called “Touching Incidents And Remarkable Answers To Prayer”. It was complied by S. B. Shaw and published in 1894 “I was a surgeon in the United States Army during the civil war. After the battle of Gettysburg, there were hundreds of wounded soldiers in my hospital. Many were wounded so severely that a leg or an arm, or sometimes both, needed to be amputated. One of these was a boy who had only been in the service for three months. Since he was too young to be a soldier, he had enlisted as a drummer. When my assistants came to give him chloroform before the amputation he turned his head and refused it. When they told him that it was the doctor’s orders, he said, ‘send the doctor to me’. I came to his bedside and said ‘young man, why do you refuse chloroform? When I found you on the battlefield, you were so far gone that I almost didn’t bother to pick you up.

But when you opened those large blue eyes, it occurred to me that you had a mother somewhere who might be thinking of you at that very moment. I didn’t want you to die on the field, so I had you brought here. But you’ve lost so much blood that you’re just too weak to live through an operation without chloroform. You’d better let me give you some.’ He laid his hand on mine, looked me in the face and said, ‘Doctor, one Sunday afternoon, when I was nine and a half years old I gave my heart to Christ. I learned to trust Him then, and I’ve been trusting Him ever since. I know I can trust Him now. He is my strength. He will support me while you amputate my arm and leg’. I asked him if he would at least let me give him a little brandy. Again he looked at me and said, ‘Doctor, when I was about five years old, my mother knelt by my side with her arms around me and said: “Charlie, I am praying to Jesus that you will never take even one drink of alcohol. Your father died a drunkard, and I’ve asked God to use you to warn people against the dangers of drinking, and to encourage them to love and serve the Lord”. I am now 17 years old and I have never had anything stronger than tea or coffee. There is a very good chance that I am about to die and to go into the presence of my God. Would you send me there with brandy on my breath?’ I will never forget the look that boy gave me. At that time I hated Jesus, but I respected that boy’s loyalty to his Saviour. And when I saw how he loved and trusted Him to the very end, something deeply touched my heart. I did for that boy what I had never done for any other soldier – I asked him if he wanted to see his chaplain. Chaplain R. knew the boy well from having seen him frequently at the tent of payer meetings. Taking his hand, he said, ‘Charlie, I’m really sorry to see you like this’. ‘Oh, I’m all right, Sir,’ Charlie answered. ‘The doctor offered me chloroform, but I told him I didn’t want any.

Then he wanted to give me brandy, which I didn’t want either. So now, if my Saviour calls me, I can go to Him in my right mind.’ ‘You might not die Charlie,’ said the chaplain, ‘but if the Lord does call you home, is there anything I can do for you after you’re gone?’ ‘Chaplain, please reach under my pillow and take my little Bible. My mother’s address is inside. Please send it to her, and write a letter for me. Tell her that since I left home,

I have never let a single day pass – no matter if we were on the march, or the battle-field, or in the hospital without reading a portion of God’s word, and daily praying the He would bless her.’ ‘Is there anything else I can do for you, my lad?’ asked the Chaplain. ‘Yes – please write a letter to the Sunday school teacher of the Sands Street Church in Brooklyn, New York.

Tell him that I’ve never forgotten his encouragement, good advice, and many prayers for me. They have helped and comforted me through all the dangers of battle. And now, in my dying hour, I thank the Lord for my dear old teacher, and ask Him to bless and strengthen him. That is all’. Then turning to me, he said, ‘I’m ready, doctor. I promise I won’t even groan while you take off my arm and leg, if you don’t offer me chloroform’. I promised, but didn’t have the courage to take the knife in my hand without first going into the next room and taking a little brandy myself. While cutting through the flesh, Charlie Coulson never groaned.

But when I took the saw to separate the bone, the lad took the corner of his pillow in his mouth, and all I could hear him whisper was, ‘O Jesus, blessed Jesus! Stand by me now.’ He kept his promise. He never groaned. I could not sleep that night. Whichever way I tossed and turned, I saw those soft blue eyes, and when I closed my own eyes the words ‘Blessed Jesus, stand by me now,’ kept ringing in my ears. A little after midnight, I finally left my bed and visited the hospital – a thing I had never done before unless there was an emergency. I had such a strange and strong desire to see that boy. When I got there, an orderly told me that 16 of the badly wounded soldiers had died. “Was Charlie Coulson one of them?’ I asked. ‘No sir,’ he answered, ‘He’s sleeping as sweetly as a babe.’ When I came to his bed, one of the nurses said that at about nine O’clock, two members of the Y.M.C.A came through the hospital to read and sing a hymn. Chaplain R. was with them, and he knelt by Charlie’s bed and offered up a fervent and soul’s stirring prayer. Then, while still on their knees, they sang one of the sweetest of all hymns, ‘Jesus lover of my soul’. Charlie sang along with them, too. I couldn’t understand how that boy, who was in such horrible pain, could sing.

Five days after I performed the operation Charlie sent for me, and it was from him t hat I heard my first Gospel sermon. ‘Doctor’, he said, ‘my time has come. I don’t expect to see another sunrise. I want to thank you with all my heart for your kindness to me. I know you are Jewish, and that you don’t believe in Jesus, but I want you t o stay with me, and see me die trusting my Saviour to the last moment of my life.’ I tried to stay, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the courage to stand by and see a Christian boy die rejoicing in the love of that Jesus who I hated. So, I hurriedly left the room. About 20 minutes later an orderly came and found me sitting in my office with my hands covering my face. He told me that Charlie wanted to see me. ‘I’ve just seen him’, I answered, ‘and I can’t see him again’. ‘But, Doctor, he says he must see you once more before he dies.’ So I made up my mind to go and see Charlie, say an endearing word, and let him die. However, I was determined that nothing he could say would influence me in the least bit, so far as his Jesus was concerned. When I entered the hospital I saw he was inking fast so I sat down by his bed. Asking me to take his hand, he said,

“Doctor, I love you because you are a Jew.’ The best fried I have found in this world was a Jew.’ I asked him who that was, and he answered, ‘Jesus Christ and I want to introduce you to Him before I die. Will you promise me? Doctor, that what I am about to say to you, you will never forget?’ I promised, and he said, ‘five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and asked Him to make His love known to you.’

Those words went deep into my heart. I couldn’t understand how, when I was causing him the most intense pain, he could forget all about himself and think of nothing but his Saviour and my unconverted soul. All I could say to him, was, ‘Well, my dear boy you will soon be alright’. With these words I left him, and 12 minutes later he fell asleep, ‘safe in the arms of Jesus’.

Hundreds of soldiers died in my hospital during the war, but I only followed one to the grave, and that was Charlie Coulson. I rode three miles to see him buried. I had him dressed in a new uniform, and place in an officer’s coffin, with a United States flag over it. That boy’s dying words made a deep impression upon me. I was rich at that time so far as money was concerned, but I would have given every penny I possessed if I could have felt towards Christ as Charlie did. But that feeling cannot be bought with money. Alas, I soon forgot all about my Christian soldier’s little sermon, but I could not forget the boy himself. Looking back, I now know that I was under deep conviction of sin at that time. But for nearly ten years I fought against Christ with the hatred I had, until finally the dear boy’s prayer w as answered and I surrendered my life to the love of Jesus.

About a year and a half after my conversion, I went to a prayer meeting one evening in Brooklyn. It was one of those meetings where Christians testify about the loving kindness of God. After several had spoken, and elderly lady stood up and said, “Dear friends, this may be the last time I have a chance to publicly share how good the Lord has been to me. My doctor told me yesterday my right lung is nearly gone, and my left lung is failing fast, so at the best I only have a short time to be with you. But what is left of me belongs to Jesus. It’s a great joy to know that I shall soon meet my son with Jesus in heaven.

‘Charlie was not only a soldier for his country, but also a soldier for Christ. He was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, and was cared for by a Jewish doctor, who amputated his arm and leg. He died five days after the operation. The chaplain of the regiment wrote me a letter, and sent me my boy’s Bible. I was told that in his dying hour, my Charlie sent for that Jewish doctor, and said to him, ‘Doctor, before I die I wish to tell you that five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ for you’.

As I heard this lady speak, I just couldn’t sit still. I left my seat, ran across the room, and taking her hand said, ‘God bless you, my dear sister. Your boy’s prayer has been heard and answered! I am the Jewish doctor that Charlie prayed for, and his Saviour is now my Saviour! The love of Jesus has won my soul!’

HOW DO I GET OUT OF PORNOGRAPHY AND MASTURBATION?

The first time I was so guilty and dirty.

The second time I was torn between two feelings.

The third time I went numb and went along.

The fourth time It was normal.

The fifth time I called it fun.

The sixth time It was just ordinary, but I couldn’t stop.

The seventh time I said, “Just one more time.”

The eighth time I said that this would be the last time.

The ninth time I was tired of trying to stop, so I stopped counting.

The tenth time, There has been many tenth time.

I have an addiction.

Oh, wretched man that i am. Who will deliver me from this!

DEAR READER, IS THIS YOUR CASE AS THIS WAS MY CASE BACK THEN?

If you have lost count of your addiction to pornography and masturbation, there is still a way out… I’m not here to tell you about the dangers of it, but I’m not trying to add to your pain. Although trying to show love doesn’t mean I should sugarcoat the truth…God is against pornography which leads to masturbation.

Every porno addict is a masturbator..And the end of this sin is hell…But there is only one way out…No doctor can help you get out, no psychologist can help you out, no drugs can help you out. In fact the devil doesn’t want you to be free from this. He is so concerned about your soul ending in hell.

Can you recall how it all started? Can you remember how you started looking at naked pictures and videos, from there sex stories. The music industry has not helped you. The music industry and movie industry has been really helping Satan on you. You have tried to stop it.

You say today I won’t masturbate, the next thing you fall into it. It feels good then but after that you become sorrowful…

Even sometimes you see it now as a normal thing, there is no more remorse or guilt about this sin against the Almighty…By this you can acquire demons, now you always dream sex, don’t you know a lot has happened to you? this! i didn’t want to go into;

so I’ll like to stop here… You are a christian you say, nobody knows about it, yes!. But God knows about it.

You post good posts on Facebook but engage in sex chat with the opposite gender privately.

You go to visit immoral pages on the internet.

How long will you continue to pretend that all is well? Even when God sends someone to help you, and ask you about your faith, you always reply that all is well. Why are you hiding in hypocrisy?

You can’t deceive God. He has been calling on you to stop. Like HE is also doing today, now!

Would you reject Him again? Maybe someone has told you it’s not a sin. “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28).

Is this not lust? What pictures come to your mind during this act, are they not put in your mind by the devil?

Trying to stop it yourself you cannot help you. You have been advised maybe to always not to be alone in a place but to be in the midst of people where you will not be able to do this..Yes! True! But what about night? What of when everyone has slept? What of when it is just you in the bathroom or toilet?

You see, the psychologist cannot help you. ONLY JESUS CAN HELP YOU... Think about how painful this your act is to Him, how He died for you. Think about your eternity in hell, if this act is not stopped now that there is still grace and mercy…

The way out is:
1). You must feel guilty (godly sorrow)

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

You must acknowledge that what you have been doing is wrong and that you have offended God.

2). Confess your sins to God, believing He will forgive if really you are willing to forsake this act.

3). Promise Him you do not want to do it again, make up your mind not to.

4). Abstain from the internet and media which usually prompt you to fall. Avoid these things till you are totally delivered. And stop watching immoral videos, whether music or movie, you may think they don’t matter but has a great role to play in this issue.

5).Avoid evil communication, avoid friends who are immoral. Break up with friends that discuss immoral with you.

6).Self control- discipline your body, subject it under your control

7).Know that your body is the temple of God and not for immorality

8). Always remember, the soul which sin shall die (eternal death, which is hell)

9). Only prayer and the Word of God can help you out…Always pray and study the word of God.

Associate with godly people not those who will prompt you to sin. I would also advise that you stay away from the media and the internet for sometime. And when you are on internet, turn off your image on your browser, I mean put off the images. Prevent your browser from displaying images, this will also help you. Make friend with godly people. Run from people and things that will stir up lust in your heart. Deal with your eyes.

Discipline your eyes. “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30).

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” (Job 31:1). 10).
Ask God to deliver you totally, with God all things are possible, don’t give up….The devil is a liar, making you to ask yourself now “can I ever stop this?.” Listen to God, now, He is saying YES MY DAUGHTER, YES MY SON YOU CAN….
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

LET US ADD THIS… Please Don’t make Excuses, but just admit that you have been committing sin. If truly you need God’s mercy to pardon your sins and give you grace to overcome them, then you need to face it by yourself and acknowledge your sin. Don’t excuse sin because everybody is doing it – in your church (even your pastors, parents or partners), in your family, in your place of work, etc. Don’t says, “Does that means everybody doing it will go to hell fire?”

Yes, everybody can go to hell and God will still be righteous. Jesus said instead of you to be thinking how many will be saved, YOU strife to be saved NOW. Don’t excuse sin because of its popularity, it’s in person – you, face it. And sin is sin, either small or great, there is no difference, you just be sincere and confess it.

Psalm 51:3
For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight.

Make a Genuine Confession. Do you wonder why you’ve made several confessions of your sins and yet you still have guilt of those sins, you still go back into such sins, and your salvation is not certain or you find yourself going back into your sins?

It’s simple: you didn’t make genuine confession. Genuine confession is not just using the name of Jesus, not answering alter call and so on.

Take the next 2 steps that lead you to genuine salvation in Jesus Christ:

First Repent before You confess. There are many fake confessions, but if you sincerely want to make acceptable confession, you must first repent. No need for you to confess if there is no repentance in you. Repentance is thoughtful realization of your sins and determination to forsake them. If you confess without readiness to forsake the sins you confess, you are simply wasting your time, and the sins will soon get you down. To repent is not to be sorry for your sins, if you are sorry without readiness to forsake all, you will have a sorry case and that is not a genuine salvation.

Humble yourself before God now and surrender all. Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Now all you need to do is to go before God in prayer as you confess your sins and ask God to forgive you through His Son Jesus Christ. Tell Him you are sorry for how you have lived and all you have done, ask Him to cleanse you by the Blood of Jesus and give you a new heart and a new spirit. He will do it as He has promised in His Word saying, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9.

PLEASE PRAY NOW, AND DON’T DELAY AND DO NOT RETURN BACK TO IT. PRAY FOR GOD’S GRACE TO HELP YOU. YOU WON’T GO TO HELL
BECAUSE OF THIS SIN IN JESUS NAME! PLEASE PRAY NOW! MAY GOD ANSWER YOU AND HELP YOU…

This message is coming due to the imminent return of our LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST, WHO has urged all men in this end time, to be reconciled to HIM. PREPARE YOUR HEART AND BODY FOR THE LORD.

“Behold, I come quickly…Rev 3:11

TIME IS ALMOST OVER, GRACE AND MERCY ALMOST OVER …. Please let’s Make good use of it now.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:13-14).

ACCEPT THIS MESSAGE AND BE SAVED… AMEN!