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an account thereof in the day of judgment;" and thoughts also are to be taken into the account; for “ the thought of foolishness is sin.”' “How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?" was Jeremiah's reproof to Jerusalem. Indeed, it is obvious that all is wrong, while the thoughts are wrong. For as a man “ thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If the thoughts of the heart are right, the actions will also be right; but if the thoughts be evil, whatever the actions may be, they do not proceed from right motives, and therefore they are sinful. Even the "ploughing of the wicked,” is said to be “sin." Not that the wicked should cease from plough. ing, but that they can do nothing acceptable to God, while their hearts are not right in his sight. And the Scriptures teach that we came into the world with wicked, depraved hearts; and thus the broadness of the command reaches to every period of life. The Psalmist exclaims, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity." "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born.” Augustine bitterly lamented the sins of his childhood. “ Was it not ill and sin,” said he, “to seek with tears what would have proved hurtful if it had been given ? to be angry with those who were nowise obliged to be under my command,
because they would not obey me? Was it not ill, that I endeavoured to strike even those who were every way my superiors, because they would not obey me in those things wherein they could not obey, without hurt either to me or some others ?”
In prosecuting this subject, three things must be kept in mind. First, all the thoughts, words, and deeds of one who has not been “ born again,” are sinful; for a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Secondly, whatever has not respect to the glory of God, as its end, is sin. “ Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Thirdly, whatever is not done in the name of Christ, as the one through whom our persons and performances are to be accepted, is sin; “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."
I. Children and young persons, I have a message to you from God. All of you, even the youngest,“ have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" that is, you have done that for which you will be cast, soul and body, into hell, if you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
If you reau ite fifty-first Psalm, you will see that you were born sinners. And every day brings you intelligence of the death of some person, once as young, as healthy, and apparently as likely to live as you. And if God should now take you away by death, what would become of you, if you are not reconciled to him? Perhaps you
wish to know what some of the sins are of which you are guilty. Did you never disobey your parents? If you did, you disobeyed God; for God commands children to obey and honour their parents. And when your parents or teachers have corrected you for your faults, were you never angry at them? If so, it was sinful. It is sinful to be angry at them; and sinful not to do better when corrected. “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way; and he that hateth reproof shall die." Tell me, when you had thoughts that you were ill-treated by some of panions, did you never desire to be avenged ?
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath.” Do you not sometimes become angry with your companions, and call them by opprobrious or reproachful names? This then is another sin. Whoever calls his brother a " fool, shall be in danger of
hell-fire.” Do you not sometimes wish to be qut of sight of your parents, or teachers, so as to do what you would fear to do in their presence? If so, surely you must have forgotten that God is everywhere, or you would never presume to do before him, what you dare not do before your parents. Have you not been glad when the Sabbath day was over, or at least when divine service was closed ? Has it not been a burden to you to sit so long in the house of worship? And during divine worship, are you not thinking of your sports and your pastime? or what is worse, talking to one another, instead of listening to the preacher ? This is also sinful; for God regards those as mockers, who draw nigh to him with their lips, or with forms of worship, while their hearts are far from him. Do you pray to God morning and evening? I fear that many of you are so wicked as to forget or neglect to pray morning and evening. If you have never been guilty of stealing, have you not sometimes been guilty of telling lies, or of profane swearing? Now the Bible tells us, that such persons “shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.” Did you never go to your play when you
should have gone to your prayers ? And what will become of children, who think
more of their sports than of God and their souls? I will ask you but one question more, and that is, if 'possible, to awaken you to a concern for
your soul. Do you ever think of death? If
you look into a grave when it is opened, instead of one who has life, who can speak and walk, you see nothing but lifeless remains, fast returning to dust. But in a little while you will be thus mouldering in the grave. You must certainly die, and you know not how
And if the sins of which I have told you, and probably very many other sins of which I know nothing, be not forgiven, you cannot be saved. Will
you not then
of sin immediately?
But perhaps you wish to be told what you must do in order to be saved. First of all, give your heart to the Lord. Repent and turn to him. Pray like the distressed publican; “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner,” say, “Lord, thou hast promised a new heart to sinners like me, and I have need of it, for my heart is very wicked. Save me from my sins, for Christ's sake.” Who knows but that the Lord, who hears the lions and the ravens when they cry for food, may
Bible and your Catechism ; but first pray to God to bless them to you, and make you understand what