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3. Are any of you poor and reduced in your circumstances, set a double watch upon your conduct, and earnestly pray that God may preserve you from fraud and difingenuity of every kind. Rather suffer yourselves to be stripped of every thing, and apply to the charity of others, which is not finful, and ought not to be shameful, than take any dishonest methods of bettering your state. O melancholy thought, that many, when they become desperate in their circumstances, become also desperate in their courfes, and drown the reflection of their consciences in flothfulness and sensuality! Sincerity, integrity, patience and fobriety in a ruined fortune are doubly eminent; at least, whatever they may be in the light of the world, they are honorable and precious in the fight of God, and of all good men,
Before concluding, fuffer me to make one or two refections on the subject in general; the several parts of which I have now explained. And,
1. On what hath been said on this subject, I would graft this important lesson; that you should not only study to preserve yourselves from fin, but from all such circumftances of temptation as are dangerous to human constan. cy. This was the very ground of the prayer of the prophet in my text, and is the substance of the reasons he afsigns for his request. We are taught the fame thing in the strongest manner, by the several instances of human frailty, and the folly of presumptuous confidence, recorded in scripture. “Now all these things happened unto " them for ensamples, and they are written for our admo" nition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. " Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed " left he fall.” We are also taught the same thing by him who knew what was in man, as he has given us directi, ons in the form of prayer which he taught his difciples, to fay, Lord, “lead us not into temptation.”
Are you really unwilling to do evil, you will be con. çerned to keep yourselves out of the way of every folici- . tation to it. This is constantly the effect of a judicious and folid piety, and those who act otherwise shew that they either have no real goodness, or that they are very
weak Christians, and little acquainted either with them. felves, or this present evil world.
2. You may learn how necessary it is, that you should look for the divine assistance and direction, to avoid the temptation of every state of life. We are truly of ourselves unequal to the trials with which we are surrounded. Not that there is any thing unjust or oppressive in the measures of Providence; but because it seems good to our Maker, to oblige us to a constant dependance upon himself and his promised help. “ But God is faithful, who will not suffer “you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with “ the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may “ be able to bear it."
The lealt temptation may prove too hard for us, if we neglect to apply for supreme aid; but in divinę strength, we may bid defiance to the most formidable opposition. This temper is well exemplified and described by the apostle Paul to the Corinthians. " And he said unto me,
my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made ” perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I ra. “ther glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ
may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in in“ firmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecution, “ in distresses for Christ's fake; for when I am weak, then " am I strong.” · 3. From what liath been said, you may see what an in. separable connexion there is between true religion and your employments and state in this present world. They liave a mutual, firong, and constant influence upon one another. It is a fatal, though a common error to feparate them; entirely to confine religion to the times and places of immediate worship, and suppose that it hath nothing to do with the maxims of trade and commerce, or other worldly callings. On the contrary, your impressions of things spiritual and eternal, will direct and regulate your views as to the present life; and your success or misfortunes in worldly schemes, will have a certain and visible effect upon your Christian conversation, and the state of your souls. Therefore, let them never be separated in your own views, and let them still be kept in their proper order and fubordination. Though the light and trivial use, not only of the name of God, but of fcripture-language, is both sinful and dangerous ; and though a forward oftentatious piety may sometimes look fufpicious, yet it were to be wished we had more of a grave and habitual acknowledgment of God in all our ways.
This was the language of the Patriarchs of old. In one of the former discourses upon this subject, I took notice of Jacob's prayer, when he set out for Padan-aram. See after the increase of his family, how he expresses himself in answer to his brother Efau. “ And he lift up his eyes and saw " the women and children, and said, who are those with " thee? And he said the children which God hath graci
ously given thy servant.” See also the apostolical direction for the manner of projecting our future purposes. " Go to now, ye that say to-day, or to-morrow, we will go "into fuch a city, and continue there a year, and buy "and sell, and get gain.”
4. In the last place, let me beseech, in the tenderest manner, every one of you, rich and poor, to remember an approaching eternity. It will not be long till the ho. norable, and despised, the wealthy and the needy, the master and the servant, shall lie down in the dust. Lay hold of that covenant of peace which is ordered in all things and sure. Hear a great and constant truth. “ What is a * man profited, though he should gain the whole world
and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in ex"change for his soul ?" How many a Lazarus is now in Abraham's bofom; and how many a rich man, that once lived delicately on earth, is at this moment tormented in hell-fire! The gospel of peace is now preached in your ears. Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall be saved. I cannot promise that you shall be rich, but all things necessary are assured to you by the divine promise; food and raiment, fupport under trials, strength for duty, and in the world to come, ever).fling rest.
ON THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
Preached in the Old Presbyterian Church in New York, to a
very numerous audience, on the evening of the second Salsa bath in May, 1789.
MARK X. 13, 14, 15, 16.
And they brought young children unto him, that he should
touch them, and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and
forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon themi, and blessed them. HERE are few things in which persons of reflection,
in general, and especially those who fear God, are more agreed, than the importance of the rising generation; or, which is the true meaning of that expression, the im. portance of the instruction and government of youth.
This is a subject of great extent, and may also be taken up in a great variety of lights, I am one of those who think that it may, as well as many others, be, with much advantage, considered doctrinally ; and that a clear view of divine truth upon every subject, will have the most powerful and happy influence, not only in directing our sen. timents, but in governing our practice. Vol. II.