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The Editor's Annual Address
TO HIS YOUNG READERS.
BELOVED YOUNG FRIENDS,
I once heard of a minister, who, when addressing a number of young people, took for his text the words “ Little Children," from the last verse of the first epistle of John. He said it was a short text, and the sermon would be short too. He then said he should talk to them about five things, each of which would begin with the letter “D,” and as they had five fingers on each hand, they would easily remember the things he was going to talk about.
I am not going to give you his address; but, if you please, I will give you a short one of my own from the same text and in the same way; for in it I think I can tell you all I wish to say to you at the close of another year.
The Five Things I would now write about, all beginning with “D," are your
I. Your Dignity.–Some people might say of you—“Oh! he is only a child !" Well: but a child is made in the image of God, and that is more than can be said of sun, or moon, or stars, in all their glory-or diamonds, or pearls, in all their brightness or birds or flowers in all their beauty. Every child has a soul of more value than the whole world.
“The Sun is but a spark of fire
A transient meteor in the sky;
Can never die !"
II. Your Depravity.—This is a sad word. It means that the soul—that once pure and precious gem-has lost its holy bright
Now every child born into the world is born in sin. And this is soon seen when that child grows up to know good from evil. Some are worse than others, but none are truly good and holy asangels are in heaven. And if children grow up in sinful ways they will grow more and more sinful and unholy.
"A sinful creature I was born,
And from my birth have strayed ;
Without thy mercy's aid." III. Your Danger.--You all know that when any one does wrong, he not only knows that he has done wrong, but his own heart condemns him, and he feels guilty, and knows he is in danger of being punished. Now have not you done wrong to God by not loving him with all your heart, which is the very first thing you ought to do, and do it all your life long as angels do? Instead of this have you not loved to do wrong things? If so, that is sin ; and as God hateth sin and will punish all who live in sin, you are in danger of being cast out from heaven for ever. Remember, God knoweth if you live in the love of sin ; for he is greater than your heart, and knoweth all things. See, then, with open eyes, your danger, and cry
“Oh God, my inmost soul convert,
Eternal things impress:
And wake to righteousness.” IV. Your Deliverance.--Danger is dreadful when there is no hope of Deliverance. Danger of sinking into hell is the greatest danger of which you can think. But from this great danger our Heavenly Father sent his Son from heaven to save us. His name is Jesus, because he'saves from sin; and not only from sin, but from its punishment. And he is mighty to save, and willing to save you—every one of you. You know what he said once “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” Oh! go to him, my young reader---go to him-above all things let me persuade you to go to him—the loving Saviour, who loved you and gave himself for you, that he might deliver you from sin and death. Hear what he now says to each of you
The child that longs to see my face,
Is sure my love to gain;
Shall never seek in vain.” V. Your Destiny.—That is your everlasting state. Will it be in heaven for ever, or in hell for ever? It will be in hell for ever if you live and die in sin, for Jesus himself said—“If ye die in your sins where I am you can never come.” But if you are truly sorry for the sin you have done, and ask God to forgive you for Christ's sake, he will blot out all your sins as with a cloud. He will, too, if you ask him, give you his Holy Spirit to teach you, bless you, and guide you all the way to heaven; where, with holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect, you will live amidst the glories of Paradise. Your eyes shall then see the King in his beauty, and your immortal tongue shall never cease to sing, in sounds to mortal ears unknown, “Salvation to God and the Lamb!”
Oh may you reach that glorious place,
And sing his praise to harps of gold. Application.--All sermons have applications, or they ought to have. This must have a short one. Do you ask what an application is? It is something like sticking a plaister over a sore place. If you had a sore place perhaps you would rather stick the plaister on yourself, because you would do it more gently. And so I would advise you to apply this sermon to yourself. You may do it better than I could, and more gently. Only commit it to memory, and so make it stick fast on your heart and do you good. Some naughty children tear off a plaister as soon as it is put on, and that only makes the sore place worse than it was before. I fear some of you may do so with this sermon. You may read it and forget it for ever! If you should do so, it will have been written in vain; but if it is made to stick fast on your heart, it may, under God's blessing, do you good by healing that bad place in your heart; and, by making you pure and holy, prepare you for everlasting life in heaven!