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concerned; in which not only her eternal salvation, but her present happiness is involved. The doctrines of the Bible are arrayed in the most beautiful and striking colours which creation affords. Heaven and earth were made to furnish their contribution, when man was to be taught that science which was to make him wise to salvation ; something which might enforce or illustrate was borrowed from every element. The appearance of the sky, the storms of the ocean, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the fruits of the earth, the seed and the harvest, the labours of the husbandman, the traffic of the merchant, the seasons of the year, all were lạid hold of in turn. And the most important moral instruction, for religious truth, was deduced from some recent occurrence, some natural appearance, some ordinary fact.
Fancy not that the Bible is too difficult and intricate to be presented in its own iraked form, and that it tends to puzzle and bewilder the youthful understanding. In all needful and indispensable points of knowledge, the darkness of Scripture is but å partial darkness, like that of Egypt, which benighted only the enemies of God, while it left his children in clear day. It is not pretended that the Bible will find in the young reader clear views of God and of Christ, of the soul and eternity, but that it will give them. And if it be the appropriate character of Scripture to enlighten the eyes of the blind, and to make wise the simple, then it is as well calculated for the youthful and uninformed as for any other class. And though the Scriptures may contain some things which the pupil may not comprehend, the teacher may address to her the words of Christ to St. Peter, “ What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."
In your communications with young people on this momentous subject, take care to convince ihem, that as religion is not a business to be laid aside with the lesson, so neither is it a single branch of duty; some detached thing, which, like the acquisition of an art or language, is to be practised separately, and to have its distinct periods and modes of operation. But let them understand that common acts, by the spirit in which they are to be performed, are to be made acts of religion. Let them perceive that Christianity may be considered as having something of that influence over the conduct, which external grace has over the manners; for as it is not the performance of soune particu
lar act which denominates any one to be graceful, grace being a spirit diffused through the whole system, which animates every sentiment, and informs every action : as she who has true personal grace has it uniformly, and is not sometimes awkward and sometimes elegant; does not sometimes lay it down, and sometimes take it up; so religion is not an occasional act, but an indwelling principle, an informing spirit, from which indeed every act derives all its life, and energy, and beauty.
Give them clear views of the broad discrimination between practical religion and wordly morality. Shew them that no good qualities are genuine" but such as flow from the religion of Christ. Let them learn that the virtues which the better sort of people, who are yet destitute of true Christianity, inculcate and practise, resemble those virtues, which have the love of God for their motive, just as counterfeit coin resembles sterling gold: they may have, it is true, certain points of resemblance to others; they may be bright and shining; they have perhaps the image and superscription; but they want sterling value, purity, and weight. They may indeed pass current in the traffic of this world, but when brought to the touchstone, they will be found full of alloy; when weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, they will be found wanting; they will not stand the final trial which is to separate the “ precious from the vile;" they will not abide the day of his coming, who is a “ refiner's fire.”
It is of the last importance to possess the minds of young persons with a conviction, that it is the purity of the motive which not only gives worth and beauty, but which in a Christian sense gives life and soul to the best of actions. Nay, that while a right intention will be acknowledged and accepted at the final judgment, even without the act, the act itself will be disowned, which wanted the basis of a pure design. “ Thou didst well that it was in thine heart to build me a temple," said the Almighty to the monarch, whom yet he permitted not to build it. How many splendid actions will be rejected in the great day of retribution, to which statues and monuments have been raised on earth; while their almost deified authors shall be as much confounded at their unexpected reprobation, as at the divine acceptance of those “whose life the world counted madness."
EARLY PIETY RECOMMENDED.
A DISCOURSE BY THE REY. R. CECIL,
Eccles. xii. 1. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while
the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. My dear young friends, this discourse is particularly addressed to you. Our hearts' desire and prayer to God for you is, that you may be saved. We cannot bút recollect the errors and snares of our own childhood-we admire and adore the hand of God by which alone we escaped-we bless him for timely help afforded us by our friends—and, in turn, we would now assist you. Oh! that your prayers and endeavours may join ours, and that the divine blessing may rest upon us both, while we call you to remember your Creator in the days of your youth !
The wise man concludes a variety of instruction with an admonition to youth; and, in order to your more clearly perceiving the meaning and importance of it, I proceed to state,
1. How you are called to remember your Creator.
2. When you should especially remember him :- In the days of thy youth.
3. Why such remembrance should not be deferred ;because, evil days come, and years draw nigh, in which thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.
1. Consider how you should remember your Creator. Begin with remembering who he is. I assure you, we, your ministers, must come to the Bible as our only guide, to know any thing of this grand truth; and there we find our Creator io be that same and only God into whose name ye were baptized; namely, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, three Persons, but one God. Any other notion of God is but a creature of the imagination; and to worship such a creature, is to worship an idol.
Then you should remember your Creator, as to what he bas done: for all we, like sheep, have gone astray. You have heard of wicked persons who, by toys and promises, eatice silly children from their parents' door, and after car: rying them to a distant spot in some wood or cellar, there strip them, and sometimes murder them. It is thus that sin and Satan deceive and ruin us, and thus robbed of every good, we must have perished in our lost state and condition, if God had not so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This, my young friends, is your only hope, as well as mine. We can now come to God the Father, through the complete atonement of God the Son, and by the assistance of God the Holy Ghost: and consider, after what God has thus done, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?
Again, you should remember your Creator as to what he is doing. He is not only your Creator and Governor, but also your friend. He is raising up ministers to instruct you-he is sending you invitations and messages of gracehe is sending a word to you by his minister at this time he not only affords you the common help and care of your parents, but disposes kind friends in this place to instruct you in his ways and ordinances, and thus lead you to himself. Remember, therefore, your Creator in these his means of grace. Remember him by prayer, reading his word, and constantly attending his house. Thou meetest those, saith the prophet, that remember thee in thy ways. Particularly watch against Sabbath-breaking; the neglect of God's house; or inattention to its services while you are in it: for this is not only to forget him who is present, and who hath said, In all places where I record my name, I will come unto thee, and will bless thee; but it is despising both the means of grace and the hope of glory,
Remember also your Creator as to what he has promised to do; for " the Lord is a Sun and Shield, he will give grace and glory; and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.-Ho! every one that thirsteth, saith he, come ye to the waters; and 'he that hath no money. Come, poor and unworthy as you are (as if God should say) and I will give you my best blessings; blessings which will cheer like wine, and nourish like milk. As the King of Heaven, I will give beyond all you can ask, or even think; and among these, I will give a new heart, and a right spirit to employ and enjoy them: but remember, my young friends, ibat you must pray for these blessings, because they are freely proinised to such as ask, but not to such as prove they despise them, by asking them not.
Lastly, Remember your Creator as to what he hath determined to do. He will be your judge. There is not one of us but must stand before his bar; and who then will not feel the inportance of remembering his Creator while life was granted ?—for the youngest child that reads his Bible, and learns to call things by the names that God calls them, and treat them as he treats them—such a child, I say, has already become truly wise, and shall be everlastingly happy. On the contrary, if a man be ever so noble, or learned, or rich, yet if he does not regard what God has promised, and what he has threatened, he is but a fool in God's sight now, and inust soon be in his own sight for ever.
There was a man once who, because he was rich, clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, cared for none of these things of which I have been speaking: he did not remember his Creator; but he that said, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all that forget God, soon sent him thither; and when he lifted up his
in hell, being in torments, and there complained of his misery, it was said to him, Son, remember.
Such a state is enough to make one tremble; and loudly speaks the importance of the text. Indeed, all the wisdom of this world cannot furnish you with so perfect a maxim as that in your Bible : Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding ; in all thy ways acknowledge him. Acknowledge (as one expresses it) bis word, by consulting it—his providence, by observing it his wisdom, by admiring it-his sovereignty, by acquiescing in is-his faithfulness, by relying on il-and his kindness, by being thankful for it; and he shall direct thy paths. But, in the text, there is particular mention made of the season,
2 When your Creator should specially be remembered ; namely, In the days of thy youth.
First, Because youth is the time when we are most capable of receiving impressions, and forming right habits and dispositions. You have seen a young shoot in a garden ; how easily at first can it be bent and trained ! but let it grow to an old tree, and it becomes hard, stubborn, and untractable. Thus youth is the season of growth and motion : allow me to call it the inayday of man. If you go abroad on this day, you will see life putting itself forth in a thousand forms in the gardens and fields around you. It is also from these present appearances that we form our hopes of the autumn-so in youth, if the inind be not cultivated, and do not put forth blossoms of hope, we look forward to age with dismay, if not despair.