« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
you read. Do not lie, nor swear, nor break the Sabbath, nor commit any of the sins of which I have told you; and, in short, strive to avoid every sin whatever. Avoid the company of those who lie, swear, and break the Sabbath ; for they will try to make you as bad as themselves. "A companion of fools shall be destroyed,” but “he that walketh with wise men shall be wise.” Never forget to pray to God as soon as you rise in the morning, and before you lie down to sleep at night.
Now there are many things to encourage you to follow the advice now given. A promise is made to those who seek God early in life. “ I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.” Samuel, Abijah, Josiah, and Timothy, are highly commended in the Bible for their early piety. Our Saviour received little children with the most tender affection. He says of them, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not."
“ And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” O, if you knew how good he is, you would not rest till you should know how he is to be found, and then you would immediately go to him. If you seek God early, God will bless you; and his people will bless you; and all
generations will call you blessed. O, then, make glad the hearts of your parents, and the people of God; make glad your own heart, by seeking the Lord and saving your soul.
II. I have a few words to persons in middle life. It has already been shown that all are defiled with sin; but a few particulars in reference to this class of persons will be needful.
First. What, then, is your conduct in the house of God, if you are ever found there? When you go to the place of worship, what induces you to go? Is it mere custom ? Is it fear of being less respected by staying away? Do you go to stop the mouth of conscience by a form of worship, without the spirit of it ? Do you go to see and be seen, to gratify curiosity ? What is your conduct in the house of worship? Do you listen to the preaching of the Gospel as an idle tale? Do you apply the truth to others, and not to yourselves? Do you observe the manner in which the truth is spoken, more than the truth itself? Do you listen to the word at all, or are your thoughts wandering upon other matters ? Once more I ask, what good do you obtain by going to the house of God? Do you get convictions and then cast them off? Do you hear calls to repentance, and disregard them? reproofs, and hate them ? instructions,
and forget them? Who of you can candidly answer these questions, without confessing that he has committed very aggravated sins even in the place and hour of worship?
Second. If we follow you to your daily employments, how shall we find you conducting there? If you have no regular and lawful em-. ployment, then this is a sin; but if you have, did you ask God to direct you in your
choice among the various occupations of life? “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shali direct thy paths.” Did you
then acknowledge God in the choice of your occupation? Do you endeavour to ascertain how you can glorify God in your daily employments ? Are there not many
you who never had one thought of glorifying God in your employments? And do you look to God for a blessing on the works of your hands? To whom do you attribute the success of your efforts ? Do you ever bless God for that success? And when successful, what use do you make of your success? Does it make you humble, or lift you up? Do you spend the gifts of God in the service of sin, or as the Gospel requires ?
Third. If you were to be examined in your intercourse with the world, how would you stand the test ? Do you love communications
that are made in the fear of God, or those which are not?
- Evil communications corrupt good manners."
“ He that walketh with wise men shall be wise ; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” What company do you most delight in ?
66 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” And if you are pleased with the company of religious persons, is it their affability, their discretion, their learning, or some other good quality, if they possess any of these things; or is it their religion which most pleases you? Let me entreat you to inquire every night of your soul, how you have conducted through the day; what has been your conversation ; whether
have bridled your tongue, or employed it in speaking vain and idle words. “If any man among you seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.” Have you spoken evil of any one? “Put them in mind—to speak evil of no man." How grossly do men violate these precepts every day.
All of you stand, in some way or other, related to others, either as masters or servants, parents or children, husbands or wives. These relations demand peculiar duties. Have you
fulflled or even thought of half these duties? In engaging persons in your employment, did you
ask for direction from God ? It is to be feared, that even in a matter so important as the choice of husbands and wives, few go to God in prayer for his direction. Again, how do you conduct in these relations ? And do you ask God to teach you your duty in them all ? And especially I would ask, do you seek the spiritual good of all connected with you in these relations ? Masters, servants, parents, children, husbands, wives, do you pray for one another? Can there be husbands and wives, who never pray for each other? Parents for children, and children for parents, will toil with long patience for the body; when perhaps they have never prayed for each other's salvation.
Fourth. In your seasons of secret worship, how are you occupied ? Do you take more time in the morning for adorning your bodies than
your souls? Nay, do not some of you go to your daily employment without praying to God at all? If you pray in secret, what leads you to it, a conscientious regard to duty, or custom, or some other wrong motive ? And is the duty a burden, or is it pleasant to you? Can you say that you perform it in such a manner as to receive the promised blessing in return?