« ZurückWeiter »
you the better. See how he remembers the kindness of youth, Jer. ii: 2. “ Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness," &c. He loves those who come in at the first sound of the gospel, far more than rebels, who stand out till the last, that they can do no
The fewer calls and invitations you resist, the more kindly will you be accepted of God. He loved a young Abijah, a young Josiah, a young Timothy; and John is called the disciple whom Jesus loved,” John xiii. 23. because he was youngest and earliest converted. See how affectionately Paul salutes Epenetus, by the title of his “ well beloved,” because of his being “ Christ's first fruits in Achaia,” Rom. xvi. 5. And if Paul loved him so much, to be sure Christ loved him far more.
Moreover, do not think that justice will spare you, if it find you in sin, and out of Christ, because you are young. Presume not upon mercy upon this account; remember that threatening, Psal. Ixviii. 21. 66 God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of him that goeth on still in his trespasses.” You have no ground to think that he will spare you till you be old and bald-headed : no, he may even take you by the hairy scalp while you are in your youthful vigour and freshness, and punish you, as he hath done many others before you.
O young folk, if you would mind your souls, and sanctify the Sabbath in the days of youth, take these few directions :
1. Look always on death as near, and within a few steps of you. Alas! many young folk think it is as improper for them to be thinking on their graves, as to think of going to bed at noon: their sun is high, and it is a long time to night; they look on death at forty or fifty years distance. o what folly is this! Do you not see graves of your length, and skulls of your size, in the church-yard : Yea, do you not see twenty die young, to one that live to old age ? Let death and eternity be then the frequent subjects of your meditation on the Lord's day.
2. Think much this day upon your vileness and misery by nature ; that you are “children of wrath, heirs of heli, enemies, to God, and strangers to Christ and the covenant
of grace; yea, servants to sin, and bond-slaves to the devil :-) For the prodigal never thought of turning to his father, till he saw himself in a lost and undone condition.
3. Think much on Christ's fitness, fulness, and suitableDess for all your wants and maladies. In him you may find a remedy for whatever troubles you. Is it guilt ? here is pardon. Is it great sins ? here's a Redeemer's blood that cleanseth from all sin. Are you condemned ? here sufficient righteousness to justify you. Is pollution and filthi. ness your fear ? here a deep and open Fountain that runs continually. Are you chained prisoners ? here liberty. Are you drowned in debt ? here a ransom and Surety. Are you diseased ? bere Balm. Are you poor ? here fine gold. Are you dead ? here the Resurrection and the Life. Are you starving ? here the manna and the fatted calf. Are you weak, and unable for duty ? here all-sufficient grace and strength. Yea, he 6 is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him :" And particularly, he says of little children, “Süfter them to come unto nie; and, him that cometh (saith he) I will in nowise cast out.”
4. Let children and young lolk carefully attend ordinances this day in the church; lie close by the pool side, tiil it please the Angel of the covenant to come and put you in. Study to remember what you hear, and give an account thercof to your parents when you come home.
5. Early acquaint yourselves with the scriptures ; read much of them this day, and meditate on them, Psal. cxix. 9. 66 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse bis way? by taking heed thereunto, according to thy word.” How came Tinothy to be so well acquainted wito Christ and his way? but because “ froin a child he knew the scriptures," 2 Tim. iii. 15.
6. Be much this day in prayer; for the prayers of young folk are very pleasant music in God's ears. It would be both very pleasant and profitable, if children of the same family would take some time this day to nieet, and read, and pray together; for so the examples, and hearing of one another, would be mutually helpful, and stir them up to a concern about their duty. It is the fault of parents, that do not put them on to this practice. If children did thus begin early to the service of God, it would become babitual and delightful to them afterwards. But, alas ! instead of this, many parents let their children run and play through the streets, and in the church and church.yard, on the Sabbath, without restraint. But, let such parents remember that though children die in their iniquities, yet their blood God will require at their hand one day,
II. I shall close with a word to aged people. You that are old men and women, give ear to what I am to say. Consider how many Sabbaths you have mis-spent, and mourn for it. In threescore years time you have above three thousand Sabbaths to reckon for, and if God “lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plumet,” you will not be able to answer for one of them. O humble yourselves deeply before God, and employ Christ to clear your counts for
Put on resolutions in his strength, to improve time better for the future, and particularly the Sabbaths which God may yet allow you, for securing an interest in Christ, and making provision for long lasting eternity. Have you not great need for it? Alas! there are many old
persons who have all yet to do. Their glass is near run, and their sun is at the setting; and yet they have their work to begin, and their journey to set out for; though they have lived threescore
years in God's world, yet they never spent three hours of all that time in sincere serving of God, or providing for endless eternity. They never coinmuned with their hearts, thought on their ways, shed a tear for sin, or fell on their knees to cry, “ Lord, what shall I do to be saved ?” What hope shall I have in a dying hour? Where will I take up my lodging through eternity? How mavy old persons are grossly ignorant of the first principles of religion! Yea, many children of five or six years old will far outstrip thein. O what is the reason of all this, but the neglect and mis-spendiag of the Sabbath day, and the contempt of the means of grace and knowledge which you might have enjoyed thereupon ? Well then, what resolve you to do for the time to come ? Have
not forgotten God and Christ, and neglected your souls and heaven long enough? Or, will you do it to your dying hour? Are you content to go to the grave without Christ, and without hope ? () what a sad sight is it, to see gray hairs and gracelessness meeting together! to see men put to look through their spectacles, but never minding to look to their Saviour:
to see them leaning on their staves, but never think of relying on Christ for salvation ! to see age forcing them to bow and bend their bodies to the earth, but yet never bowing a knee in secret, to beg repentance! () what a shame is it to live fifty or sixty years in the world, without a fervent prayer, or penitent tear for sin! to live without God, without Christ, and without faith! O what will you answer for the fearful abuse of God's long suffering patience! Old sinner, better thou hadst died when a child, or when first born, than to have lived so long, and go to hell at last. If thou diest old in age, and old in sin, what a hot and fiery hell mayest thou look for, at last! O how many Sabbaths and sermons ! how many calls, counsels, and exhortations, have you
to answer for! Remember, you will be called to an account for every year, month, day, and hour, you have lived: And, what account can you give of fifty years spent in sin, sixty years lived in a Christless and prayerless state, or three thousand Sabbaths trifled away? Will you not be persuaded then to flee to Christ, as thy Surety and Cautioner, to clear thy counts, and pay thy debts before the door be shut; and im-. prove the time and Sabbaths which remain, for God's glory and your precious soul's advantage. And to him, who can effectually persuade and enable you so to do, be praise for ever. Amen.
FOR THE SABBATI-DAY.
On the Burial of CHRIST, from John xix. 40, &c.
ON our Friday Christ was crucified and laid in the grave; on our Saturday, which was the Jewish Sabbath, Christ lay dead and buried all that day in the grave; on the Sunday, or first day of the week, Christ rose from the grave.
Observe, 1. How low Christ did humble himself for us ; he was content not only to become a man, but a poor man of sorrows for us, yea, a deserted man, a condemned man, a dead man, and lie as a dead corpse in the earth for us. This is the lowest step he could descend. Psal. xxii. 15. ^ Thou hast brought me into the dust of death."
2. Observe how he humbled himself in his burial : 1. He was not buried by friends, but strangers. 2. Not with herald, escutcheons, hearse, and other solemnities, as became the Prince of the kings of the earth, but in a very private, hasty manner. 3. Not in the sepulchre of the kings, and of his father David, not in the burying-place of his apces. tors, but in the sepulchre of a stranger. Behold! how poor was the heir of all things! While he lived, he had not a house of his own where to lay his head; and when he was dead, he had no where to lay his body. O deep humiliation ! Was he who lay in the Father's bosom from all eternity, now laid in the bosom of the earth : () wonder at it, that he was willing to stoop so low, to ransom our souls that were sunk as low as hell by sin! O! men and angels can never enough admire this love of Jesus! that he who wore the keys of hell and death at his girdle, should be con