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exist in connexion with a subject like Religion. For Religion is infinitely the highest and most imfinitely im- portant of all subjects. Think for a moment what it treats of. Religion speaks to us of God-His character-His will; it speaks of the nature of man-our relation to God-our duty in life-and of that mysterious world which awaits us when this life shall have passed away for ever. Our existence in this world is limited to a few short years; and it is of unspeakable importance for us to know what shall succeed the present life, and in what manner we may best be prepared for the solemn change which takes place at death. What does our Maker demand of us? and how can we secure His favour? These are questions which every reflecting man will acknowledge to be far more weighty and significant than any that are connected merely with worldly things. Scientific inquiry is interesting, and, in its place, important; but religious inquiry is unspeakably more momentous.

Religion, then, is infinitely important. But many forget this. Most men occupy themselves only with worldly things; they are busied only about their temporal wants.. They think far more of the desires of the body, than of the necessities of the soul. Few will deny in words that religion is important; but countless multitudes act as if it were utterly unimportant. The corrupt passions of human nature are exceedingly strong, and, in cases innumerable, their tumultuous violence drowns the voice of reason and conscience. Very many who would shudder at being called Atheists, yet lead a life of practical Atheism;-they seldom or never think of God.

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Now, what is the chief danger that lies in the way of the educated youth of Bombay? It is this very forget

fulness of Religion of which I have been speaking.

State of Re

I think you will agree with me in saying that the state of Religion among the educated youth of ligion among Bombay may be described as follows. GeIndian youth. nerally speaking, they are aware of most of

the great differences that exist among the various systems of religion prevalent around them. They will also pretty generally admit that only one of these systems can be true. They may farther admit, when the question is pressed upon them, that it is their duty to compare the different forms of religion, in order that they may discover which one is supported by satisfactory evidence. But here a difference comes in between the young men who are educated at Missionary Institutions, and those who are educated at Institutions in which no attention is paid to the study, of religion. Young men who have studied for four or five years at Missionary Institutions, have been familiarized with the all-important subject of Religion, and they have almost invariably a conviction that Christianity is a Revelation from God. On the other hand, young men educated at those seminaries from which the study of religion is unhappily banished, have very ill-defined notions on the whole subject. The educated Pársí may perhaps half believe Pársíism to be true; but he only half believes it. The educated Hindu may half believe Hinduism; but he only half believes it. Some of these young men are avowed sceptics, that is, they are not convinced either that man requires, or that God has given, any Revelation at all. Some of them will admit that if any religion be indeed a revelation from God, it probably must be Christianity, as that is the faith of the most highly civilized and intellectual nations. A common opinion among these young men is this, that all religions have something good in them, and that all have also something bad. But in fact, the minds of young men educated in seminaries from which the study of religion is excluded, are in a state of exceeding confusion and uncertainty on the whole subject, scarcely knowing what to admit, and what to deny. This is truly a melancholy state of things.

On the whole, I fear it must be admitted in general that the educated youth of Bombay banish the subject of Reli

gion as far as possible from their thoughts.

This is true

even of the young men educated at Missionary Institutions as well as those trained in non-religious Institutions.

The students in Missionary Schools are, indeed, well acquainted with the character and claims of Christianity, and seldom can they seriously deny the purity of the one or the validity of the other. But they feel that, if Christianity is true, they themselves are in a false position. For Christianity forbids them to remain in heathenism; she commands them to repent, to believe in Christ, to be baptized, and enter the Christian Church. This they are not prepared to do. They know it to be their duty; but they shrink from performing the duty. They are unable to make the sacrifice that Christianity asks. Her com

mands are painful; it is irksome to think of them,-and therefore, they endeavour to forget them. If this is true of most of the students even in Missionary Institutions, we need not wonder that those of other seminaries in which no attention is paid to religion, should in general entirely dismiss the subject from their thoughts.

Neglect of Religion highly sinful and dangerous.

But this conduct is at once highly sinful and highly dangerous. Earnestly do I hope that you, my young friend, will pursue a different course. You were created to glorify God. Your first and highest duty is to seek Him-to inquire what you are to believe respecting Him, and what duties He commands you to perform. Neglect this, and you are most criminal. Inattention to religion would be exceedingly sinful and perilous, even if you were assured that your life would be protracted to a thousand years; but how great the folly, and how fearfully perilous the delay, when your life may terminate this very hour!. Again and again have we been deeply distressed by the sudden death of young Natives, who were amiable and interesting, but who had shunned to think of the claims of God and religion. I have one very talented young man particularly

in my eye at this moment, who had often expressed his
determination to attend to the solemn inquiry and examine
the evidences of Christianity, as soon as he could find time.
That time never came.
Death arrived before the expect-
ed leisure. Who knows whether you who now read these
lines, may not suddenly be seized by some of the many
deadly maladies that lie in wait for human beings? Ere
to-morrow's sun arise, your corpse may be hurried to the
funeral pile, some ceremonies performed over you, the
flames kindled, and in a few minutes your body be a heap
of ashes! Alas! where then will be the undying spirit?
It will have returned to its righteous Judge, to answer for
the deeds done in the body-for opportunities neglected-
warnings unheeded-and the commands of God despised.

Let me earnestly entreat you to think on these things. Your Maker has given you faculties that raise you far above the inferior animals. He has endowed you with Reason and Conscience. Use them. Reflect. Listen to the voice of conscience testifying that your highest duty is to seek God. Seek truth in all things and especially seek it in Religion. more than life. you in all your inquiries!

Seek it, and embrace it. Cherish it And may God himself direct and bless

I am,

Your sincere friend.

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I shall now take it for granted that you admit the infinite Necessity of importance of the inquiry, Which is the true Prayer. Religion, and that you desire honestly and earnestly to attend to the considerations which may be brought forward on the subject. Before entering, however, on that inquiry, there is still one thing which I must solemnly press on your attention. You believe in the existence and superintending providence of a Supreme Being," whose tender mercies are over all His works, and who will assuredly look with complacency on every pure and elevated aspiration of soul in the creatures He has formed. You acknowledge the propriety of prayer being offered to such a Being. Prayer is suitable and necessary even in the ordinary affairs of life; and it is especially important when we are occupied with matters of moment that closely concern our happiness. In undertaking, then, an inquiry like the present, prayer is altogether indispensable. Go with a simple, child-like heart to God. Entreat Him to guide you in your inquiries. Beseech Him to grant you a humble, candid, teachable mind. Ask Him to remove all prejudice of understanding and all hardness of heart. Plead that you may not only know

the truth, but love it, profess it.


may meekly receive, and honestly

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