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ing your Creator in the days of your youth explained, solemn reasons alleged for the faithful performance of it, and several unhappy causes illustrated, which very often prevent it from being performed. Let me now endeavour to impress all these things upon your consciences, and, if possible, persuade you that they are directed personally to you.
I ask you, then, Have you remembered your Creator in the days of your youth? If you answer this solemn question with the frankness which it demands, most of you will tell me that you have remembered the world, pleasure, and sin, but have forgotten the God that made you, and lightly esteemed the rock of your salvation. Many of you prove that this must be your true answer, by the eagerness and constancy with which you trifle away this golden period of life in pleasure, folly, and sin; some of you by a stupid, shameful inattention to your salvation and your ruin, in the house of God; and some of you by sleeping the sleep of death at the foot of the cross. This is language which a child cannot misconstrue.
I ask you again, When do you design to perform this duty? You will probably reply, " At some future season, which you "intend shall be more convenient, when you shall be less en"grossed by the objects of the present life, when your relish "for pleasure shall be blunted, and when your minds shall be "more at leisure for the concerns of another." Are you sure that such a time will come? Are you sure that death will not first come and blast every hope of this nature? Are you sure that God will not say to you, as he said to Hananiah by the mouth of his prophet, "This year thou shalt die." Nay, that he will not say to you, as to the rich man in the parable, "This night thy soul shall be required of thee?" Should this be done, what will be your condition?
But should you be permitted to live, have you any solid reasons to believe that the day of reformation will ever be nearer than it is now, particularly that it will be brought nearer by your procrastination; that thief, which steals away, not only your time, but your conscientiousness, your serious impressions, your resolutions, nay, even your thoughts of amendment and your hopes of salvation. Will you not then be ab
sorbed by avarice and ambition, as you are now by pleasure? Be not deceived; old age, nay, middle age, is an inauspicious unhappy day for repentance.
What are the reasons why you do not now remember your Creator? Your own lusts, the enjoyments of this world, the temptations which you spread before yourselves, the snares set for you by others, evil communications, and evil examples. Will not these have the same influence upon you hereafter which they now have? Will not their dominion over you be even more entire? Will you not become more and more absolutely the bond-slaves of sin and of Satan?
Look at those who have gone before you. How evidently are most of them swallowed up in care, toil, and anxiety, the fear of poverty, the love of place and power, sordid covetousness, and the gross indulgence of sensuality. Examine them, man by man. Which of them do you see moved to religious considerations, deserting his pleasures, and renouncing his sins ?
Do they not
Who among them remembers God, seeks his face, or strives to enter in at the strait gate? Who among them, while death is advancing to his door, takes the alarm? Mark the miser, with one foot in the grave, and you will see that, instead of shuddering at the sight of this melancholy mansion, his mind is wholly engrossed by new bargains and new gains. Mark the whole host of veterans in the service of iniquity. become daily more stupid, hardened, and wicked. of them remembers God? Is not their day an evil day to them? Do not you discern it to be an evil day? Believe me, my young friends, grey-haired sin is most obstinate sin; and greyhaired repentance is a strange and solitary repentance. Who would hazard his soul upon such a plank? Who would venture upon a gulf where, ordinarily, nothing is found but shipwreck, and where the shores have long been whitened by the bones of those who were lost?
Some of you have, not improbably, grown up with few or no religious instructions. Your parents, in several instances perhaps, have been so busied in acquiring wealth, that they could not find time to provide for your salvation, nor even to ask it at the hands of God This is, indeed, a melancholy case.
Your parents have failed of their first duty, and you have lost your best privileges. If good impressions have not, bad impressions have, been made upon your hearts, while they were most tender and susceptible. Probably you have not been driven but weaned from heaven, have been taught to sin by example, and been left to it by negligence, have never learned to remember God, but by the sight of business, bustle, and pleasure have been persuaded to say to him, "Depart from "us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." In a word, you are now suffering the very evils which have been mentioned in this discourse as flowing from a bad education.
But unhappy as this case is, it is not of course desperate. The ways of God are not our ways, neither are his thoughts our thoughts. He may look upon your calamities with an eye of peculiar compassion, may exert towards you peculiar long-suffering, and may spread before you, in his providence, peculiar motives to repentance. He took Abijah to himself from the palace of Jeroboam, from the side of the golden calf of Bethel, and from the foot of its altar. Surely, then, there is hope for you. Awake from the sleep of sin and death, and lay hold on eternal life. Feel all the dangers of your situation, the inestimable worth of your souls, the incomprehensible importance of the means of grace and the day of repentance. Remember that God is more angry with you every day for every sin, and that at no distant time, if you continue to harden your hearts, he will swear in his wrath that you shall not see his rest.
Others of you have had a happier lot, have had religious parents, and have been instructed by them in the fear of God and the knowledge of your duty. You have also seen, in the undeceiving evidence of their lives, that they believed the doctrines which they taught, and loved the precepts which they enjoined. What has been the issue of these privileges? God has put into your hands a price to get wisdom. How plainly have you been destitute of a heart to the divine attainment! How obviously have you devoted yourselves to worldly pleasure, forgotten God, lightly esteemed Christ, trifled with your duty, and disregarded your souls! How often have you profaned the Sabbath, idled and slept away the solemn season consecrated
to the worship of God, and turned a deaf ear to the thunders of the law and the invitations of the Gospel! How regularly have you hardened your hearts against the reproofs of your parents, the solemn warnings of the desk, the threatenings of the Scriptures, the alarms of providence, the invasions of disease, and the knell of death! How foolishly have you flattered yourselves that you could hide in secret places, so that God could not see you, and said that the darkness should cover your sins from his sight, voluntarily forgetting that he fills heaven and earth with his presence, and that the darkness and the light are both alike to him.
Look back on all your past life, and see whether there is any thing which your consciences can remember with comfort, or even with hope. Is not the whole volume a blank of good, and filled up with evil? a cumbrous record, written out only in melancholy lines of sin and shame; a story of guilt, of hatred, and forgetfulness of your Maker, of crimes perpetrated, and duties left undone, of Sabbaths wasted and a sanctuary profaned, of heaven refused and souls cast away? This volume must be read before God. All these things will be rehearsed to you, and confessed by you, in the judgment, and will constitute a part of those works according to which you will be judged.
If this be your situation, your peculiar privileges will only aggravate your guilt and your condemnation. You will have known your Lord's will and done it not, and will, therefore, be beaten with many stripes.
Awake, then, to a sense of your danger. See Satan, the world, evil companions, and many temptations all labouring to destroy you; God labouring to prevent your destruction, and yourselves uniting with his enemies to accomplish your ruin. How long do you believe he will permit this controversy to be carried on? How long will it be before he will say of you, "Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone?"
THE YOUTH OF NAIN.
LUKE VII. 11—15.
"And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
"Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city was with her.
"And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.'
"And he came and touched the bier, and they that bear him
"And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.' "And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.
delivered him to his mother."
In the preceding part of this chapter we are informed, that our Saviour, entering into Capernaum, was entreated by a centurion, distinguished for unrivalled faith and piety, to heal his sick servant. He accordingly healed him. The next day he left Capernaum, to perform the duties of his ministry in other places. In his progress he passed through Nain, a city near to Mount Tabor, and six miles from Nazareth. As he came nigh to the gate, he met a funeral procession following a youth