Imatges de pÓgina



"one rose from the dead." "It is easier for a camel "to go through the eye of a needle, than for" and old sinner "to enter into the kingdom of heaven :" "with "men it is impossible; but with God all things are "possible." On this hinge turns his hope, all is reduced to this, the repentance of such a man MUST depend upon grace. Let us see then what reason you have to conclude that God will grant you this repenGod waits to be gracious; and of this grace we cannot speak too highly; but such views of it as encourage presumption, and countenance sin, are un questionably erroneous ones. He is gracious; but his grace lives in communion with his holiness and his wisdom. He is gracious; but the very notion supposes the exercise of it to be free, and that he may dispense it as he pleases. Though nothing can deserve his grace, many things may provoke it; and what reason have you to expect, that after you can sin no longer, he will in an extraordinary way extend the grace you have so long despised, and save you from a ruin the consequence of your own choice? And what view have you of God, if you suppose that he cannot righteously deny it? When you have rendered yourselves most unworthy of it as a gift, do you exact it as a right? Has he not told you that his "Spirit shall "not always strive with men ?" Is his mercy to have no limits, or his patience no end? If "sentence against


an evil work be not executed speedily," is it never to be executed? Were it common for God to call sinners by his grace at such a period, would it not have the most unfavourable effect, and encourage a hope which all the bible is levelled to destroy? God

designs to be honoured by his people in THIS world; he saves them, that they may serve him; he converts them, not to die, but to live. And therefore we find few, very few, becoming religious in advanced years; and observation abundantly proves that irreligious youth is followed, with wickedness in manhood, and indifference in old age; and that as men live, so they die.


Ah! how often do I think, as I ascend these stairs and look round on this assembly, how easy would it be to determine my hearers to a religious course, if the old did not fatally promise themselves weeks, the middle-aged months, the young, years to come! It is not absolute denial that destroys so many souls, but tampering delay. Of all the numbers who continually drop into perdition, is there one, who did not intend at some future period to "work out his salvation?" But before this other passion was fully indulged, and this other scheme was accomplished, while he was slumbering in negligence, or awaked by a midnight cry, he sprang up to find his lamp; the "Bridegroom "came, and they that were READY went in with him "to the marriage, and the door was SHUT." Eternal God! "so teach us to number our days, that we may "apply our hearts unto wisdom." Interpose in favour of the youth who are before thee; and suffer not procrastination, that "thief of time," that "child of the "devil," that "enemy of all righteousness," to deceive, and to destroy the rising hopes of our families, our churches, and our country. "Pour down thy Spirit upon "our seed, and thy blessing upon our offspring ;""may. "one say, I am the Lord's, and another call himself

"by the name of Jacob; and another subscribe with "his own hand, and surname himself by the name of "Israel."

To realize this pleasing prospect, let ministers, let tutors, let all unite their endeavours; but, O ye PAR. ENTS, a peculiar obligation devolves upon you. Awaken all your tenderness and anxiety, and give them a spiritual direction. You wish your children to be sober, submissive, dutiful; but piety is the only sure foundation of morality. You would not have your love for your children to be suspected; but wretched are those children who share only in a solicitude, which asks what shall they eat, or what shall they drink, "or wherewithal shall they be clothed?" What is the body to the soul? What is time to eternity? What is it to dispose of them advantageously in life, and leave them unprepared for death, unprovided for a new, a never-ending, a changeless period of existence? Are you the barbarous instruments of bringing these hap less beings into life, only to sacrifice them? Such parents are more cruel than Herod. He slew the children of others; these slay their own. He He only destroyed the body; these destroy the soul. His victims died innocent, and were doubtless saved; these parents will not suffer their offspring to die innocent; by their unkind care, they guard them till the season of safety is elapsed; till they are become accountable and criminal; and expose them when they know their death will be attended with their damnation. Men and brethren, escape this dreadful censure; distinguish yours not only from an openly wicked world, but from those modern professors of religion, who are al


'ways found in public hearing sermons, but can leave their families in disorder, and take no pains in the pi ous education of their children. Fear God yourselves, and teach your offspring to fear him. Recommend instruction by example, and crown all with prayer, prayer for them, and with them. Thus you will " train them up in the nurture and admonition of the "Lord;" thus you will rejoice here to see them "walking in the truth," and hereafter will lead them to the throne of glory-" Behold, here am I, and the "child thou hast given me."

But it is with you, my hearers, in early life, I wish to close this address. I see some in this assembly, who are distinguished by the fear of God in their youth; some Isaacs who prefer an evening-walk in the field to meditate, to the crowded avenues of dissipation : some Josephs, whose image is "a fruitful bough by a "well;" some Davids, who love the harps of Zion, and have no ear for the song of the drunkard," or "the mirth of fools;" some Timothys, who, " from a "child have known the Scripture, which is able to "make them wise unto salvation ;" and I hail you on your early escape from "the paths of the destroyer;" on your early separation from a world, which attracts only to shew its emptiness, and elevates only to depress; on your early union with the wise and good. Go forth, and in all "the beauties of holiness" honour God, and serve your generation according to his will. Religiously occupy the stations which you are to ennoble, and form the connections which you are to bless. "Adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour "in all things." Earnestly pursue the glorious course


which you have begun; be not weary in well-doing; grow in grace, as you advance in years; "abound more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment ;" approve things that are excellent ;" and "be sin"cere and without offence till the day of Christ."

[ocr errors]

And what hinders any of you, my young friends, from joining yourselves to the Lord? Weigh the reasonings which you have heard. Suspend for a while the influence of your passions, and endeavour to feel the force of the motives which have been adduced. Deliberate or rather decide; for there is no time for hesitation" now is the accepted time, now is the day "of salvation." The language of the Redeemer is "to-day ;" and will you say with Pharaoh, "to-mor"row?" Every delay will leave you more remote from the God you have to seek; every delay will place more barriers between you and heaven; every delay will increase your crimes, your passions, your aversions; every delay will diminish the efficacy of means, the period of divine patience, the time of your probation; while you hesitate, you die; while you promise yourselves years, perhaps you have not days; perhaps the shuttle has passed the loom that wove thy winding-sheet; perhaps in yonder shop lies rolled up, and ready to be severed off, the piece of cloth destined to be thy shroud; perhaps "the feet of them that "have buried thy" neighbour, are at the door “to 66 carry thee out!"

When Felix trembled, instead of cherishing his concern, he proposed a "more convenient season," which never came. It was the unhappy state of Agrippa to "be almost" but not altogether persuaded “to


« AnteriorContinua »