The Profligate's Doom!

(Theodore Cuyler)

"He who is often reproved and hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy!" Proverbs 29:1

Not many years ago, an eminent London clergyman observed among his regular hearers, a young man whose appearance excited in him an unusual interest. He took pains to learn the young stranger's history, and found that he was the son of pious parents, and had been trained to respect the gospel of Christ. A devout mother had added to her prayers the fervent precept, "My son, if sinners entice you — do not consent!"

The young man at length was missed from his place in the church. The watchful eye of the minister sought for him in vain. He had met with a company of witty and engaging skeptics, who had persuaded him to abandon the house of prayer, for the more "manly" entertainments of their infidel club, where the ribaldries of atheists were rendered more palatable by the lively jest, and the exhilarating glass. His conscience stung him, but their merry laugh soon drowned the troublesome remonstrance. He proved to be an apt scholar in the ways of sin. His Sunday instructions among the skeptics soon prepared him for the haunts of revelry, and for those chambers which lie nearby the door of Hell. A short career of reckless dissipation did its work of ruin upon his slight and delicate frame.

His former pastor, who had well-near forgotten him, was one day surprised by an invitation to visit the unhappy youth on his dying bed. He found him sinking rapidly, and sinking without hope. As the man of God approached the bedside, the young man hid his face and refused to speak to him. Finding it impossible to draw a word from the wretched victim of remorse, who was just about entering eternity in such a state of sullen despair — the minister offered a fervent prayer and turned away. He reached the door, his hand was upon the latch, when the young man suddenly rose in the bed, and beckoned him to return. He went back and leaned his head over the bed to receive the message. The young man threw his arms about him and drawing his head close to his lips, whispered in convulsive accents, "I am damned!" and then sank back silent on his pillow. No further efforts or entreaties could rouse him. The heart-wrung pastor pleaded with him, but in vain. Having pronounced his own awful doom — his lips refused to speak again; and before the clock struck the hour of midnight, his unhappy soul was in the eternal world!

Young man! as you read the appalling narrative of the poor profligate's doom — you may be reading your own! If your feet have forsaken the house of God — if you have been seen on the seat of the scorner — if you have returned home at the midnight hour from the card table, or the drinking circle — you have good cause to tremble! Persist in your course of self-destruction, and you may meet that young man in the world of eternal despair! Partners in misery, you may, to all eternity, curse yourselves as the authors of your own damnation!