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were you in heaven you could have no pleasures that would suit your taste; and consider further, that as you die, so must you remain for ever. “ He that is unholy, must be unholy still.”—Does not this indicate that your hearts are not fit for heavenly society? Were you as you should be, religion itself would be your amusement: Were you reconciled to God, you would find the contemplation of his promises, in his word, sufficient entertainment, without any occasion for fashionable pleasures to supply the vacancy of the tedious hours. Let me ask you these necessary questions. Have you any good reason to believe that you are born again *? What evidence have you, besides the patience and long forbearance of God, that he now loves you? Or, can you honestly say that, in return for his love, you have given him your whole heart? Should not you be afraid of dying? Durst you say with Simeon, “Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace?” Go home, and let the questions which I have asked you ring in your ears, and sink into your hearts, and remain there for matter of private meditation. If yourselves angry, ask whether the cause be not that you are conscious of your danger? If you be tempted to fly from serious thought, is it not a proof that you cannot bear the accusations of an evil conSCIENCE? May Almighty God bring you to a hearty concern for eternity. Oh! humble yourselves before him; look to the Saviour, and rest not till you know that he is yours“ to the saving of the soul t.”
Consider also whether you have not much to answer for before God, for having been the means John iü. 3.
you find of corrupting youth by your bad example and conversation. Ask yourselves, have I taught my children to pray and seek the Lord? Have I been frequent and earnest in instructing them, and keeping up the spirit of family-religion ? Have their souls, and those of my Apprentices and Servants, lain upon my heart? Have I been concerned for their spiritual more than for their temporal good? What example have I set them? If any of my Children manifestly lead wicked lives, will not they on this head have cause to accuse me at the last day? But, -dreadful thought !-Have not some of them laboured in all sincerity to serve God with a good conscience, and to escape the pollutions of the world, and do not I, in effect, hinder and prevent them? Do not I perpetually tell them, that they are unnecessarily anxious concerning the care of the soul; too scrupulous, in general, about religious matters; that they spend too much time in these things, or think too deeply on them; that they grow gloomy, unsocial, and enthusiastic ? Again, have I not in some instances, even enjoined them no longer to frequent the company or follow the
+ Heb. x.
ways of persons, whom I thought over-religious, or too much abstracted from the customs of the world ? Did I, or did I not do this for the purpose
preventing further SERIOUS impressions on their minds? And lastly, with the design of effacing such impressions, have I not often taken advantage of the taste or temper of my children; laid snares for them in various ways; and particularly, by introducing them to pernicious amusements and diversions ?- It will be a poor defence here to say that
you always intended their good, when the fact stands against you, that you may have ruined their souls.--Tremble, Ogrey-headed sinners, if any of you know yourselves thus guilty :-To have destroyed their bodies were a far less evil in its consequences.
Let your past lives, however, have been what they may, if, with God's blessing, I have reached the consciences of any, you need not despair. Come to Christ's blood, convinced of sin, and he will save you to the uttermost. Those, indeed, who delay their conversion to the eleventh hour, have to struggle with many difficulties. For, notwithstanding that they may be exceedingly desirous to seek after God, and to give him their hearts, they will be sore let and hindered by the habits and prejudices which they must have contracted. These have been rendered stubborn by time. They will find them not easy to be subdued.
“ Can the Ethiopian, saith the Lord, change his skin, or the Leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil *.” I say this not to discourage any of my aged hearers, who lam ent their past neglect of Christ, but to stir them up to diligence, in the business of their salvation. All things are possible with God, and if you seek earnestly to win Christ, and to be found in him, you will not seek in vain.
You, who are young, and have not yet contracted strong habits of iniquity, or rooted prejudices against the truth, have not to contend with the same hinderances. Avail yourselves of the advantages which you possess : Remember your Creator now
Jer. xiii. 23.
in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them *. If you wish to glorify God, by your living and dying behaviour, you must begin, in early life, to look for “the consolation of Israel,” and to wait on the Lord in the diligent use of all his ordinances. If you desire, with the aged Simeon, to depart in peace, your eyes having seen the Lord's salvation, you must employ the same means, which Simeon employed, you must walk in the same steps in which Simeon walked.
" Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” A question of the last importance. And the answer, both brief and satisfactory, is to be found in the hundred and nineteenth Psalm, in the same verse in which the question is asked; “ by taking heed thereto, according to God's word f.
To conclude. May the design of our Lord's coming in the flesh be fulfilled in you all, both old and young! May you depart from iniquity, and cleave to him for righteousness and strength! May you rejoice in Christ Jesus, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment !
* Eccles. xü. 1.
+ Psalm cxix. 9.
THE PORTION OF THE MEN OF THE WORLD,
AND THE HOPE OF THE GOLLY.
Psalm xvii. 14, 15.
Men of the world, which have their portion in this life,
and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasures : They are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold thy presence in righteousñess; I shall be satisfied, when I awake,
with thy likeness. Though the evidences of a future state are by no means so clear in the Old Testament as in the New, yet it may seem wonderful, that
learned men should have asserted that in the former, there is to be found no revelation whatever of a future life or of immortality. The truth is, these positions are there repeatedly revealed. The single passage before us contradicts the opposite opinion; and at the same time serves to admonish ingenious and learned persons, that, in religious inquiries, when they lean, as the Scripture says, to their own understandings *, they are ever in danger of falling into the most gross and palpable absurdities.
* Prov. ii. 5.