Page images
[ocr errors]

terror of the mighty in the land of the living." I may say as the Lord saith to Nineveh, “ Art thou better than populous No?"* or art thou more rich than Cræsus ? or more potent than Xerxes with an army of a million of men ? or more resolute than Alexander, Cæsar, or Pompey? Alas, “ what can you do in the day of visitation, or in the desolation that shall come from far ? to whom will you flee for help? and where will you leave your glory ?”+ How soon can the infinite God crush such worms under his foot, and spurn you to the abodes of misery? you are no adequate matches for the omnipotent God.

(4.) May not your hearts or God's ear be shut ? so that either you cannot repent, or God will not accept your repentance. Alas, sirs, your hearts are every day hardening like the hoof of an animal with travelling; you are as a smith's iron under the hammer, every blow increases its hardness, or as the high way padded hard with treading on it. Your hearts are every day hardening through the deceitfulness of sin ; if you will not repent to-day, you will be less inclined to-morrow; "to-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts;" # as if it were said, if ever you intend to comply with God's mind, oh do it now, or else your hearts will be more hardened to your ruin, or God's ear may be turned from you; he may say, " Because I have called, and ye refused, -you shall call upon me, but I will not answer; you shall seek me early, but shall not find me." He gave you space to repent, and you repented not; therefore he may justly leave you in a bed of security, or cast you into a bed of calamity. 11 God gives repentance, and if you have long neglected his grace, he may cease striving with you, and woe unto you

, when he departs from you: you may outlive your day, and oh the doleful case of such as have spent their day of grace! Study Esau's case, Heb. xii. 17, “For ye know, how that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, (in the margin, no way to change his mind, his father's mind,) though he sought it carefully with tears." O distressing state, miserable condition ! The door may be shut, the portcullis let down, the gulf fixed, and your souls irrecoverably lost, and then woe be to you.

3. This conviction will fall heavily on some parents, masters, tutors, or guardians, who have the charge of educating youth, who do not put them in mind of this duty, to remember their Creator. Alas, this is for a lamentation; young striplings marry wives, and have children, before they are qualified to teach them any thing but childish toys, games, sports, and Ezek. xxxii. 27. Nahum ii. 8.

+ Isa. x. 3. # Heb. iii. 13. Psalm xcv. 7, 8. || Prov. i. 24–28. Rev. ii. 21, 22.


so become childish playfellows, rather than grave parents, or gracious patterns of their poor offspring. O miserable church, that have no fitter persons to instruct others, than such as want instruction themselves ! In the primitive church, such persons were kept among the catechumens, to be trained up for God in the essentials of the christian religion ; but now children are as princes, and babes rule over some families, if not in age, yet in knowledge : * this is a judgment, and the hidden, unseen cause of many open abominations, and much horrible atheism. If the gardener neglect his garden, weeds will spring up : vice needs not to be planted, the soil is fruitful enough in the wild fruits of darkness: if men neglect to sow good seed, the devil will not fail to sow tares. Oh what numerous instances have we of the sad fruit of neglected education ! simple ignorance in youth, becomes affected ignorance in age; blushing sins in children, if not corrected, become impudent sins in age ; brutish children become diabolists. Oh what a cutting wound that must be to a father's heart, whose son's life tells his conscience, what a graceless son once spake in words to his guilty father, “ If I have done evil, I have learnt it of you." | Consider,

(1.) You have been instruments to give your children a miserable existence. Alas, they were born blind, they are the devil's slaves, children of wrath by nature, and though you cannot make them good, why will you not lament over them, and endeavour after their good ?

(2.) You have them in their tender years, wherein you have more advantage over them. Men prune plants, break horses,

, train

up hawks to the lure, when young; irrational creatures feed their

young till they can seize prey on their own wing; if you do not the like, you are more irrational, you miss

your season. (3.) They will take more notice of you than others. Your

) authority over them, will add an emphasis to your admonitions: children have a natural reverence for parents. Men are very tenacious of that which is (Tarporápádorov) delivered to them by their parents. Let cloth be dyed in wool, not in the web, the colour will be more lively and durable. How apt will children be to say, The minister speaks out of spleen, and what has he to do with me ? but they have experience of parents' affection, and know their authority, and will more easily submit. 0 o why should you lose these golden hours ?

(4.) How unlike are you to the pious parents in scripture ? all the patriarchs of old taught their families. Abraham would command his children and honsehold to keep God's ways. Joshua resolves that he and his house would serve God. Solo Isa. iij. A. of Job xxx. 7, 8.

Şi malè feci, à te didici.

mon's father taught him, and he teacheth his children to keep God's commandments and live. * Timothy's grandmother Lois, and mother Eunice had trained him


from a child in a knowledge of the holy scriptures, and you are far from the frame of God's children, if you neglect this.

(5.) You flatly disobey a divine command : "train up a child in the way he should go".“ bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" this is that which God established as a testimony in Jacob, and appointed as a law in Israel, that they should make them known to their children ; + and dare you live in the wilful neglect of a divine command ?

(6.) Common humanity will rise up against you. Have you no love to the offspring of your own loins ? are you become cruel like the ostriches in the wilderness ? & cruel to their souls, their better part? what! will you cark and care to get food and raiment for their dying bodies, and have you no regard for their never-dying souls? O merciless parents, that will not speak a word to save them from hell!

(7.) How will the wretched children of profane or negligent parents, reprobate them in hell, and curse the day that ever they were born of such cruel parents? O the doleful cries of your lost children will ring confounding notes in your ears! Ah guilty and miserable father! ah cruel mother! that would never speak one word to prevent my falling into this place of torments, or help me up towards heavenly felicity; nay, your bad example and wilful neglect drew me into this eternal misery; you had time enough, and motives enow to persuade you to your duty, had you warned me while my heart was tender, and affections pliable, you had delivered your own souls and me from this scene of woe; it was as easy for you to have put a Bible, as a play or a novel, into my hands; to have corrected me for sinning, as for offending you about a trifle; one word in season might have saved my poor soul : but the day is past, you and I are to smart here for our folly together, to all eternity. Oh what gnashing of teeth will this cause against each other, and against themselves for ever!

what would


have us to do for our children? I answer,

(1.) Instruct them in the main principles of religion, teach them catechisms, inculcate practical truths, the immortality of their souls, their woful state by nature, the necessity of conversion, the excellency of Christ, the nature of saving faith and repentance, the use of the sacraments, the importance of eternity, the great end of their lives, the account they must

. Gen. xviii. 19. Josh. xxiv. 15. Prov. iv. 4." + Prov. xxii. 6. Ephes. vi. 4. Psalm lxxviii. 4–6. # Lam. iv. 3,

You will say,

[ocr errors]

give, the necessity of preparing for death, &c.; familiarize these things to them, and enforce them by your affectionate entreaties to regard them.

(2.) Teach them by your practice: let your lives be a lively comment on your rules, they will take more notice of what you do, than what you say; children are apish imitators of parents, examples are cogent arguments ; say as Gideon, “ look on me, and do likewise;" * let them never see you do any thing that you would not see them do, commend religion to them by your own experience, say, taste and see that the Lord is good, try God's ways, and you will find, as I have found, that his paths drop fatness.

(3.) Correct them when they need it. A child differs nothing from a servant, he is of a servile spirit, and must be kept in awe; you must chasten him betimes, and while there is hope, before his sinfulness grow up into stubbornness, and he be past dealing with. “Withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die; thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." +

(4.) Pray over them, follow your instructions, examples, corrections, with earnest supplications. Alas, all your doings will not avail, without God's grace and blessing to second all ; you cannot prevail, but God can ; pour out your souls with them and for them. “ ( that Ishmael might live before thee !"# You lose all your labour without divine concurrence ; he only can water the seed that you sow, and make it spring up; he must strike with the great hammer; he who must teach and reach their hearts, sits in heaven: plead the covenant for them, and put them daily into God's hands, if you would see them do well.

But this is not pertinent to my design; I shall therefore return to young people.

Secondly, Exhortation and instruction may be suggested to young people, by the doctrine of the text. Be sure you take the wise man's advice, to “ remember your Creator now in the days of your youth.” I need not repeat the arguments already advanced, nor add new ones. Enough has been said to convince the judgment of the equity, the honour, and the advantage attending

this course, and danger of the contrary. And you may reflect upon the import of this word, remember ; how you may use your memory aright for promoting religion ; wherein remembering our Creator hath influence on practical godliness. I refer you to what has been said on these things. All I shall yet further add, is to lay down some practical directions proper

• Judges vii. 17. + Gal. iv. 1. Prov. xiii. 24. xix. 18. xxiii. 13, 14. # Gen. xvii. 18.

[ocr errors]

for young persons entering upon the stage of this world, and launching into this tumultuous ocean, that they may steer their course aright to the haven of eternal rest, in these twenty particulars :

1. Remember your pedigree. Whatever respectable or noble blood you derive from your ancestors, yet your blood is tainted, you are the degenerate offspring of father Adam. You were in his loins, and sinned in him, and are fallen from God by his sin. God planted you a noble vine, wholly a right seed, but you are turned into a degenerate plant of a strange vine unto him. God made us upright, but we have sought out many inventions. * Whatever beauty is on your natural face, sin has marred the face of your souls; whatever escutcheons blazon your arms, be sure you have lost God's image; though you may derive your family from honourable progenitors, yet know it, your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite; you were conceived in sin, and are by nature children of wrath;f it becomes you to know your origin, that you may be ashamed and vile in your own eyes.

2. Look after regeneration. You need a sanctifying change, corruption cannot inherit incorruption, therefore you must bear the image of the heavenly Adam. You must be partakers of the first resurrection, and second birth, or never think of going to heaven. However amiable you are, you must be new creatures ; though you may have kind natures, yet you must be partakers of a divine nature; I though you should derive your pedigree from the stock of ancient kings, yet unless God be your Father, and Jerusalem above be your mother, you are spurious and can never inherit the kingdom of God. You may be respectable to the outward view, but your souls must be cast in another mould, or cast to devils who once were better than you are. || Your old state must be renewed, and a new visage put on the face of your souls, or God will not know or own you: rest not content without it, pray, “ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” S

3. Bind yourselves apprentices. You are already under bonds, even from your infancy ; your parents dedicated you to God by baptism, you then took bounty-money to be Christ's soldiers. Confirm that vow now; let it appear you are not forced disciples, but volunteers in God's service; take

the oath of allegiance to him ; renew your baptismal covenant; take Father,

[ocr errors]

• Rom. v. 12. Jer. ii. 21. Eccles. vii. 29.
+ Ezek. xvi. 3, 4. Psalm li. 5. Ephes. ii. 3.

I Cor. xv. 45-50. Rev. XX. 6. John ii. 3. 2 Cor. v. 17. 2 Pet. i. 4.
Gal. iv. 26. Rom. vi. 17.

§ Psalm li. 10.

« PreviousContinue »