A Letter From a Friend
Dear Young Friends:
When young I felt the need of the Saviour, and was about eleven years old when I first rejoiced in his love. Previous to that time I had conviction of sin. I can recollect when very young, of feeling the necessity of having my sins forgiven and washed away, least I should be for ever miserable.
I had praying parents, who felt great anxiety for the welfare of their children. I remember of trying to appear perfectly indifferent before them, for fear they would think I was under conviction, while I bore an aching heart, and night and day was troubled, fearing death might come upon me while in sin. When thunder-storms would arise, O, what dreadful suffering I passed through in my mind. Nights I would often awake and cry, not daring to close my eyes in sleep, for fear the judgment might come, or the lightning kill me, and I be lost forever.
Children, if any of you are without a hope in Christ, and you fear or tremble when any storm shall now arise, ask yourselves this question: If I fear now, how shall I stand in the great and dreadful day of God's wrath? None of the wicked can escape them. There will not be an hour, a moment lent you then to get prepared for that dreadful day.
You will then witness, not merely rain, lightning and thunder; but every island will flee away, and the mountains will not be found.
"And there fell upon men great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent."--Revelation 16:21. The storm of God's wrath is soon coming upon a guilty world, and can you endure the thought of coming up to such a scene without a hope in God, and feeling that his withering frown is upon you? If you want a shelter, you must seek it now, and then you will be hid when the fierce anger of the Lord shall come.
I remember of often hearing my mother pray for us; one night in particular after I had retired. I shall never forget that earnest prayer for her unconverted children. She appeared to be much distressed, as she wrestled with God for us. I never shall forget these words which kept in my mind day and night. "O! Will they wade through so many prayers, to destruction and misery." As I looked the matter over, thoughts would rush into my mind like this: The saints, and especially my parents, desire to save me from destruction, and yet I am so unthinking and cruel as to wade through their prayers, or drive off conviction that pressed upon me, and by my heedless course, plainly show that I choose death rather than life.
Dear children, if you have praying parents, prize their prayers, heed their instructions, and remember that you will have to give an account for the privileges you now enjoy. All heaven is interested in your salvation. God has given his only beloved Son to die for your transgressions, angels are watching over you, and are trying to turn your attention to God, to seek your soul's salvation. Christians are interested for you, and labor and pray for you. Your parents, who have watched over you all your life, if they are Christians, are deeply interested for you. They bear your case to the throne, and earnestly plead for God to spare you, to not cut you off in sin, and you be lost forever. Their aching hearts will find no rest until they see you followers of the meek and lowly Saviour. And will you steel your hearts to all their prayers offered for you? Will you not be interested in your own soul's salvation? Will you think it brave (as I once thought) to appear unconcerned and thoughtless, as though you disregarded a mothers tears and prayers? O, will you "wade through so many prayers to destruction and misery?" When all are willing to help you, will you not help yourselves?
I now have a mother's feeling of strong attachment and love for my children, and have often wished that I had my youthful days to live over again. O, how careful I would be of my parents feelings. I would love to obey them. I would open my whole soul to my anxious parents, and not do as I once did.
If I was reading my Bible, and my parents would be coming into the room, I would hide it for shame. Children, if there is any one entitled to your confidence, it is your dear parents who have spent so many anxious hours for you in your infancy, and all your life, have watched over you, and loved you as none but a parent can love.
YI, December 1, 1852