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A SERIOUS ADDRESS 10 the YOUTH of boin
Sexes in Philadelphia, upon the Worth of the Soul. Delivered in the University-Hall, to a crowded Audience of young People, May, 20, 1785. By ELHANAN WINCHESTER.
MY DEAR FRIENDS, IF I knew how to address you in such a manner as to affect your hearts, and bring you to a serious consideration, it would give me great pleasure. This I have often attempted in pub. lic, but, I fear, without the desired effect. And as I feel myself constrained, by the love I bear to you, to try this method, by leaving you these few lines in print, I beg that you would read and consider them with that serious attention which subjects of such importance deserve.
My earnest prayer to God is, that he would bless this short address to the good of your preeious souls ; and that you may have the same icelings in reading, that I had in writing:
It has been a great grief to me to see the vice, levity, fally, and madness, that so universally
seem to reign in this place ; and in order to recover and secure you therefrom, I beg leave to impress upon your minds the consideration of the amazing worth of your precious and immortal souls ;. I mention this. in particular, because nothing can do you any good until you sensibly feel the force and importance of this consideration.
Christ, who well knew the worth of souls, says, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The worth of souls appears from inany considerations. I shall just mention these thirteen.
1. The soul proceeded from God in a different sense and manner from any part of the creation besides.
2. The soul hath in itself an, intrinsic excel lency, worthy of that divine original from whence it sprang:
S. It is a subject capable of grace and glory,
4. The great preparations God makes i souls in his kingdom, speak their infinite postb.
5. The price with which they are redeemed, proclaims their value in the most expressive manner. Christ shed his own most precious blood to redeem and save the souls of men from sin. O dear souls, if you think little of yourselves, God did not think lightly of you, or he never would have sent the darling of his heart to suffer such, shame and pain on your account The blood of God, as it is called, Acts xx. 28, is of infinite value ;. and yet no less a price thas
this would answer the purpose'; no, "not thousands of rams, and ten thousands of rivers of oil," nor could our first born, and the choicest fruit of our bodies, take away the sin of our souls. Oponder seriously upon this! I have been exceedingly astonished when I have heard men make a jest of the concerns of their souls, tri. fling with them in the most careless manner, and selling them for vanity and songs, when I considered the price that has been paid for them. God was not in jest when he gave his only begotten Son out of his bosom ; Christ was not in jest when he lived and died for the good of mankind; and, oh! what madness is it for men to neglect and trifle with their own souls !
6. Eternity itself 'seems stamped upon the very actions of men, and even upon their words and thoughts; they pass not away unnoticed, but follow them into the other world. In this world we sow, in the next we reap; “He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting ; he that soweth iniquity, shall reap vanity; they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same ; they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind; they that sow in tears, shall reap in joy ; sow to yourselves in righteousness picap in mercy ; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This evidences the digni. ty and transcendant worth of the soul, that all its actions here are like seeds sown for a future state.
7. Both heaven and hell strive for the soul of man, and this contention speaks it a most precious and invaluable treasure.
8. There is great joy in heaven among the angels, and great rage in hell among the devils, when a soul turns to God; and that which makes Christ, saints, and angels rejoice, is no light or trifling thing ; and therefore it is evi. dent that the soul is very precious.
9. The institution of gospel ordinances, &c. (compared in the scripture to a lamp fed with golden oil) for the express purpose of sav. ing souls, is no small evidence of their value. The preciousness of the light of the gospel shows that the work to be accomplished by the same is of the greatest importance.
10. The great encouragement and rewards that God promiseth to them that win souls proclaim their worth, and the great value that God sets upon them.
“ He that winneth souls is wise; and they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.
11. The dreadful threatenings of God against such as neglect souls are great proofs of their worth. These thunder bolts are found in many places in scripture, but especially in Ezek. iii. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. and chap. xxxiii. from the beginning to the end of the 9th verse, where God assures the unfaithful watchman, that the blood of those who perish through his neglect shall be required at his hand. 0 dreadful thought! Therefore I desire to clear my gar