Imatges de pàgina
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is a great, and holy, and just Being, invisibly, but constantly, surrounding us; that he discerns every secret emotion of the heart, and notes every action of the life; and that, while his goodness will prompt him to reward every virtuous endeavour to please him, his justice will punish every wicked deed!

Let then the young be taught that it is in vain to attempt to hide any thing from that God with whom they have to do; that he is about their path, and about their bed, and spieth out all their ways-no where can they go from his presence, nor hide themselves from his Spirit; for the darkness is no darkness with him, but the night is as clear as the day; the darkness and light to him are both alike. With these simple but awful truths operating on their minds, how natural will be the inquiry-Shall I dare to transgress, when the omniscient eye of God is upon me? Shall I indulge sinful thoughts and emotions, when the Sovereign of the universe searches my heart? Shall I think to cover with the darkness of night unlawful pleasures, when the almighty Being who now surrounds me, will bring into judgment every secret thing?

3. With their duties to God the Father who made them, those should be enforced which result from the consideration of the obligations which they are under to God the Son, who hath redeemed them.

The infinite condescension and love which the Son of God displayed in taking upon him our nature, and in suffering and dying for the salvation of sinful man, are subjects particularly calculated to excite and interest the ardent feelings of youth. If the contemplation of disinterested and exalted affection, if the view of deep distress, if the exhibi

tion of great and glorious deeds call forth their gratitude, their sympathy, their admiration, how powerful must be these impulses, when they behold the Son of God so loving them as to give himself for them-so suffering as to sweat drops of blood, and to expire on the cross-and so displaying almighty power as to redeem the fallen race of man from sin, from Satan, and from death, and to lead his faithful followers to seats of glory eternal in the heavens!

Let your children be taught that for them the Son of God came down from the glory of heaven, encountered these aggravated sufferings, and achieved these glorious victories; and that they may thus feel the deep interest which they have in these great truths, endeavour to create the conviction that they are sinners, who need redemption. For this purpose, remind them of the sinful passions of their disordered nature, which are constantly urging them to gratifications destructive to their own purity and peace, and offensive to the holy Being who made, and who is to judge them; and call them to review the improprieties of conduct which may have marked their comparatively innocent lives. And then, when reflection and conscience awaken the sense of guilt, urge the awful truth, that their infinitely just and holy Makerso just, that he cannot spare the guilty; so holy, that the heavens are not clean in his sight, and that his angels are charged with folly-must view with displeasure their hearts corrupted by evil passions, and must punish the wilful transgressions which have marked their lives. Then unfold to them the gracious plan of salvation which God, who is rich in mercy, hath devised for reconciling

to himself his sinful creatures: his own eternal Son, assuming human nature, sustains the penalties of sin, and renders perfect obedience to the divine law; thus vindicating the justice and holiness of God, and rendering it possible for him to be just, and yet to justify his sinful but penitent creatures. Let them realize the affecting truth, that for them the Son of God thus gave himself; that to "redeem them and all mankind" was the object of all that he did and suffered-of his agony and bloody sweat, of his cross and passion, of his precious death and resurrection, of his glorious ascension. Impress upon them, that in that heaven to which he has ascended, he is still their compassionate and all-powerful Guide, Intercessor, and Comforter; that, through his merits and intercession, all their confessions, and supplications, and services will be heard and accepted; that whatever may be the changes and the trials to which, in this state of probation, they may be called, he will be with them, to succour and comfort them; and that, even through the dark valley of the shadow of death, he will conduct them to the joys of his presence, to the glorious kingdom of their heavenly Father.

These are the truths which will take hold on the affections of the youthful mind, which lay the most powerful restraints on sinful passion, and present the most animating motives to piety and virtue.

Say not that these mysterious truths are above the comprehension of the youthful mind. Not more so than the being and providence of God, his inspection and government of human actions. Close against the young the sacred truths of the Gospel, because they are mysterious; and for the

same reason you must shut against them the volume of nature; you must stop their progress in every intellectual pursuit, for mystery meets them at every step. The sublime events of the incarnation, the sufferings and death of the Son of God for the redemption of the world, are incomprehensible as to their nature and the mode of their accomplishment; but as to their efficacy, their practical tendency, the rules and motives of conduct resulting from them, they are congenial with the dictates of sound reason, they interest the finest and most powerful feelings of the heart, and they lead to a course of pure, fervent, and persevering virtue. Cavil as we may, "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" will still remain the indispensable condition of salvation; and the penalty will stand in all its appalling force-" He that believeth not, shall be damned." This principle of faith in Jesus Christ as the divine Mediator through whose blood alone we have redemption, is that which excites the highest fervours of piety, and the most holy acts of obedience. See its efficacy among the primitive Christians. It was at the cross of Christ that they poured forth the floods of penitential sorrow; it was with the cross of Christ that they allayed the pangs of an awakened conscience; it was from the cross of Christ that they derived that strength by which they overcame the world, and passed through the flames of persecution to that paradise which their crucified Saviour blesses with his presence. The same principles alone can now produce the same exalted effects. Disregard the distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel, reduce its Author to the level of a mere inspired teacher, and his instructions to a code of moral precepts,

and you divest it of its strongest appeals to the feelings and the hopes of guilty man, of its most powerful incentives to holiness, arising from the animating principle of love and gratitude to God the Father, who gave for us his only-begotten Son, and to God the Son, who came into the world to save us sinners. Impress then on the young, as our church has done, the duty of believing not only in God the Father who made them, but in God the Son who hath redeemed them, and you engage their warmest affections in the service of the God and Saviour who thus loved them.

3. In the further progress of Christian instruction they must be taught the necessity of their dependence on the grace of God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifies them and all the people of God.

And that they may feel the necessity of this dependence, they must be led to consider their natural weakness, the strength of their sinful passions, and the number and the power of the temptations to which they are exposed in the world; and at the same time they must be taught to view the holiness and the strictness of the laws of God, the constancy of that faith, the sincerity of that love, the unreservedness of that resignation, the universality of that obedience which God requires as necessary to his favour. The inquiries may then readily be pressed upon them-Can you, by your own powers, successfully oppose the temptations which find advocates in the passions of your hearts? Can you, by your own resolutions and endeavours, acquire those holy graces and virtues which are so opposed to those indulgences to which corrupt nature prompts, and which exact the subjection of

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