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14. Engage the whole man in God's worship. Make conscience of inward sincerity, and upright aims in God's immediate service. Do nothing without warrant from the word of God, and have a spirit suited to the word, and God's glory as the end.
15. Look to yourself amidst unforbidden liberty. The rankest poison is conveyed in sweetest perfumes; we suspect least when we are in most danger; a calm precedes a storm; descent into a whirlpool is easiest.
16. Look to principles as well as privileges. Mind dispositions, as well as God's dispensations about you. Wait on God in the way of his judgments as well as mercies. Evidence your title to the legacy you expect from God's love or Christ's purchase.
17. Let every one be better, none worse for you. Do good to every one's soul or body. A good report makes the bones fat. Have some savour of goodness in all companies. Exempla movent, monent, trahunt.* Make not others' sins yours.
18. Be of a public spirit, and of public utility. A private Christian is of both if he act as a Christian, but a magistrate (as you may come to be) much more. In both capacities, a selfish person is an empty vine and hateful.
19. Study perfection; rest not satisfied with attainments. Be holily covetous, and ambitious. Si dixisti, Satis est, periisti. You will not be so good here, but you may and must be better. Grow in knowledge, holiness, acquaintance with God, and heavenliness.
20. Deny yourself in all. Get out of self into Christ in every duty. Be clothed with humility; that is the comeliest ornament. You can scarce have too mean thoughts of yourself, supposing you do not deny the grace of God in you, or unjustly detain from men the use of it, or from yourself the comfort you may have by it. But boast of, or trust in no good you have or do, for it is not yours, and it is mixed with your infirmities.
I am loth to weary you with rules which I cannot practise myself, but am reaching after. We all have a place in this * Examples influence, admonish, and excite imitation.
+ If thou sayest, It is enough, thou art undone.
school. Death only advances us to commence perfect graduates. It is above, that the spirits of just men are made perfect. O that we might endeavour to do God's will here on earth as it is done in heaven, with at least similar sincerity, zeal, universality, and constancy! It would be a happy thing if, when we are alone, we behave ourselves as if we were in heaven with God; and when we are with others, as if we were come down from heaven, to shew men what a life is led above.
But lest I should discourage you, I must put you in mind of Jacob's ladder, Jesus Christ, from whom you will have strength for your progress, pardon of failures, and a sure hold with his right hand to keep you from falling. If you have Christ you have all, if you want Christ you want all; according to that useful distich :
Si Christum discis satis est, si cætera nescis,
Oh for Christ at God's right hand for your justification, reconciliation, and acceptance in duties! Oh for Christ in your heart, for sanctification, mortification, and consolation! Study Christ, whom you can never know too well, or love too much. Christus et cœlum non patiuntur hyperbolem.* Christ is the sun of righteousness; the sun was ever admired and deified by the heathens, but we cannot overprize Christ; they called the sun
os, from by, the most high God, but we are sure our Jesus thought it no robbery to be equal with God. The sun is in constant motion. As the Father works in daily providence, so our dear Lord does in us and for us in his constant influence. The sun shoots his rays downwards, so doth our Lord convey his mercy to the sons of men, that our fire of love may mount upwards. O the benefits of this glorious sun! Eudoxus said, he was made for no other purpose than to behold the sun; yea, he could be content to be burnt up by the heat of it, so that by that near approach he might learn its nature. This, this indeed, is that noble and necessary study, without which we are dunces, and shall be swallowed up in eternal darkness. O sir, amongst all the varieties in this world, admire nothing but Christ. Time would fail to tell of his ex
* Christ and heaven do not admit any hyperbole
cellencies, he is the chief of ten thousand. Study him in a fourfold respect :
1. As propounded nobis, to our eyes and ears in the word and
2. Præ nobis, before us, as our pattern for imitation.
3. Pro nobis, for us in the sacrifice of his death, as an expiation of our sins.
4. In nobis, in us by the habitation of his Spirit, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, without which all the former are insignificant to our souls.
And in order to your prizing, admiring, and improving discoveries of the blessed Jesus, be sure you study original corruption, natural inability, and the abominable nature of sin, which is worse than the basest creature, the misery of hell, or the devil himself, inasmuch as the cause hath more malignity than the effect. This also is an endless, fathomless subject; never any sounded to the bottom of it, as Augustine saith of original sin: Traductâ culpâ, nihil ad prædicandum notius, nihil ad intelligendum secretius. It cannot be told how cunningly sin steals upon men, and how insinuatingly it works within them, and how notoriously it breaks out in many! and this comes on gradually, for, nemo repentè fit turpissimus.* Sin carries men down to hell by winding stairs. Obsta principiis ; stop this disease betimes; flee from youthful lusts. Joseph would not breathe in the same air with his lascivious mistress. Be very scrupulous about tampering with occasions of sin.
Ne pecces, Deus ipse videt, tuus angelus astat,
But if you have sinned despair not of pardon, repent and believe. Remember there is no sin so little but without repentance it is damnable; and there is no sin so great, but upon repentance and faith in Christ it is pardonable. Thus ends
Your cordial friend,
• None becomes wicked all at once.
Aug. 28th. 1689.
ECCLESIASTES 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.
It is of great importance to the health of a place to have clear air and pure water; strong winds clear the air, pure springs produce wholesome streams: the former proceeds from the immediate hand of God, and the latter derives advantage from the sedulous hand of man. How careful are men to keep their springs from pollution or putrefaction! Much more care should all men take to prevent the seduction or depravation of youth, and to season their minds with salutary truths, and to have their hearts furnished with saving grace. O what influence may a rising generation have upon the future! Education and examples are propagating. God sajth of Abraham, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord."+ Observe it, how can Abraham command his successors when himself is dead and gone? The virtue of his commands survives his person; though he be gone, his pattern and instructions live and flourish to many generations: as many copies are taken after the original of the king's picture, or as one circle occasioned by a stone cast into water multiplies to a hundred. What need then have parents, tutors, ministers, and magistrates, to mould the spirits of young persons for God, to be a seminary for the church and the commonwealth! that such fresh and refreshing streams may make glad the city of our God. There is nothing in which young persons are more faulty than in their forgetting God, and there is nothing produces more mournful effects in
The following Treatise is taken from a Manuscript Volume belonging to the descendants of Mr. Heywood, which has been written with great accuracy by the Author, and apparently finished with more care than several of the Works published by himself.
+ Gen. xviii. 19.
the world, it brings both sin and misery; and there is nothing that God inculcates as a caution to Israel of old, so much as to guard against this: "Beware lest thou forget the Lord thy God-only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen;" therefore it is said, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God;"* this is the character of graceless souls.
No wonder then if the royal preacher affix this memento on the doors and before the eyes of all young persons, of both sexes and of all degrees, nobility, gentry, ministers, and people, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." It is now as seasonable an admonition as it was in his days; for as the world grows old, so young persons presently arrive at shamelessness, and to the highest degree of profligacy; though young in years, they grow old in sensual indulgences and profaneness.
The text presents to us two things; namely, a duty, “Remember thy Creator;" and an argument, "Before evil days come."
In the duty we have for consideration, the agents, young persons; the act, remember; the object, thy Creator; and the season, now, in the days of thy youth.
1. Why calls he on young persons?
(1.) Because the old will not hearken, but grow obstinate. (2.) Because the young are most apt to forget God, chap. xi. 10; this is an antidote against their sin.
(3.) The word is feminine, this denotes tenderness of spirit; they are now most soft and pliable, soon receive impressions. The word is significant, rarely used, for other words that signify age are masculine.
(4.) The word may be translated choice of days. Saul is called, "a choice young man, and a goodly:" and any thing that is most excellent and the very best, is called choice, as "choice sepulchres," "choice gold and silver," "choice firtrees;" and so this time of youth is the flower of man's age.† In these passages the same word is used.
2. Why doth he bid them remember? why not rather fear, love, serve God?
(1.) Because as forgetting God is the root of all sins of omission and commission; so remembering God is the principle of graces, holiness, and obedience. Men never commit a sin but they forget God; Heb. xii. 5, "Ye have forgotten the exhortation;" so holiness is mindfulness of God and his word.
Deut. vi. 12. + 1 Sam, ix. 2.
Gen. xxiii. 6. xlix. 11. Prov. viii. 19. Isa. xxxvii. 24.