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children, and spake of them with tender compassion. And, What think you ?-Do you owe nothing to him ? - Is he entitled to no regards and honours from you? This Divine Benefactor had you much on his heart when he came from heaven, when he dwelt on earth, when he suffered on the Cross, when he arose and ascended to heaven: He has you on his heart still : And, Will you make him no returns? Give him your hearts, and consecrate to him your lives : He has given his life for you. Renounce the vanities and vices of the world : He came to deliver you from this evid world. Confess his name before men : He has not been ashamed to own and commend the youths who believed in him. In a word—by the mercies of Christ I beseech you, that you present your selves living sacrifices holy and acceptable to him, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds.
We may observe, once more,
5. That youthful piety is peculiarly pleasing to Christ,
When children sung praises in the temple, Jesus vindicated them from the obloquy of the impious scribes, and applauded their faith and devotion, as bringing glory' to God. There were multitudes, who, on this occasion, súng 'the same anthem of praise ; 'but the children he singled out as objects of his special approbation and delight. Piety he loves in all. ; but in none more than in the young
Fear not, ye serious youths, that he will despise the day of small things that he will disdain the praises and prayers offered from your uninstructed tongues. He loves the undissembled language of the penitent and believing heart, however incorrect and imperfect may be the language of the lips. He observes your honest resolutions, hears your hum
ble prayers, and will assist your virtuous endeavours. He will not quench, but fan the smoking. flax. He will not break, but support the bruised reed. The good work which he begins, he is ready to complete.
Be encouraged, then, to commit your souls to the care, and to devote your lives to the service, of your Redeemer. When you see how pleased he is with
your obedience, Will you deny it to him?When you observe how he delights in your praise, Will you be silent ? The prophet says-He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. Great were his sufferings for the sins of men. But when he sees the success of them in bringing sinners to repentance and salvation, then he is satisfied; and peculiarly so, when such as you are drawn to him. He has made a general declaration, that those who come to him, he will not cast out; and a particular promise, that they who seek him early shall find
Go, my children, and seek him now. But think not at the same time, to indulge the pleasures of sin, and the vanities of the world. No; if
you seek him, let these go their way. He bore your sins, that you, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness.
Learn of him, and you will find that rest to your souls, which is not to be found in the ways of the world. Take his yoke, for it is easy. Submit to the burden which he lays on you, for it is light, and his grace, in the time of need, will sustain you. Trials you may meet with in his service, but he will not forsake you. He will proportion his grace to your temptations, or moderate them to your strength. He will lead you along by such gentle steps, that you will not faint, nor be weary. He will stay his rough wind in the day of his east wind. He will gradually train you up to such strength
and fortitude, that you may cheerfully meet every trial appointed you.
He considers the weak. ness of your age, and the feebleness of your first virtuous purposes. He knows your state, and remembers that you are babes. Wait on the Lord, and be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart. He giveth power to the faint ; and to them who have no might, he increaseth strength. When the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary ; they shall walk, and not faint.
The Necessity of early Religion
ECCLESIASTES xii, 1.
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
THIS advice of the preacher supposcs the importance of the rising generation. He consider. ed them as worthy of his particular attention; and surely they are worthy of their own. They should not view themselves as insignificant beings, placed in the world only for amusement, pleasure and trifling, but remember, that their own happiness, and the happiness of multitudes around them, and of thousands who are coming after them, much depends on the part which they shall act in life. They can in no way answer the vast design of their intellectual existence, nor sustain the dignity of their rank in the rational creation, without religion. The preacher, therefore, in our text, earnestly admonishes them to remember now their Creator in the days of their youth.
We may observe,
I. God is here exhibited to them in the charac. ter of their Creator.
As creation is the first and most obvious evi. dence, which they can have of the existence of the Deity, so their first apprehensions of him, and regards to him, are in this character.
In calling them therefore to early religion, Solomon, with great propriety, exhorts them to remember their Creator.
When they begin to reflect, they find that they can look back but a few months or years ; that the other day they had not even an existence; that very lately they rose from nothing, and became such be. ings as they are. Hence they know, that there must be some invisible power, which made them.
They find themselves placed in a spacious world, and surrounded with a thousand wonders ; they be. hold the heavenly curtains stretched over their heads, and beautified with innumerable lights; they see the earth peopled with various kinds of creatures, and spread with various bounties, for their supply; they observe the rolling seasons, and the daily changes of light and darkness. From hence they have sensible evidence, that there is a superior Being, who made and upholds them, and all things around them. If they naturally conclude, that every house is builded by some man ; the conclu. sion is as natural, that he who built all things, is God.
From the inward powers of perception, thought and reason, they know that the Creator must be perfectly wise. For he who formed the eye, Shall not he see ?--He wl.o planted the ear, Shall not he hear?
-He who teacheth man knowledge, Shall not he know?
When they consider the grandeur of the world, the mighty effects produced before their eyes, and the bountiful supplies afforded to all living creatures, they are at once convinced, that their Creator is infinite in power, rich in goodness, and pres, ent in every place.