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reunited to thy child, in a world where there will be no possibility of separation again. But if thou art still Christless and careless, thy child beholds thee with pity; and, could grief be felt in heaven, would feel it for thee. Turn then unto the Lord : at thy repentance all the angels will rejoice; and surely, among them, thy glorified infant will feel a peculiar sensation of bliss, even in the paradise of God. Between thee and him there is a great gulf; but, blessed be God, this gulf is not yet impassable.
5. And you who have passed through the period of infancy, remember, that to your salvation are required explicit acts of faith in Jesus, and lives devoted to him. Flee then in time to this Redeemer, lest death surprise you, and you for ever be filled with agony, that you were not removed from earth before you arrived at years of discretion.
YOUTH CLEANSING HIS WAY.
PSALM cxix. 9.
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By
taking heed thereto, according to thy word.
We are born in a state of depravity; our affections by nature are alienated from God, and we are prone to evil. This is a truth that does not rest merely upon the unequivocal testimony of the scriptures, though nothing can be more explicit than their language on this point: it is proved also by daily observation and universal experience. It is recognised in all the restraints, the punishments, the vigilance, that are found necessary in the education of those, even of the tenderest years.
But this depravity, perceptible even in infancy, becomes more perceptible in youth. The seeds of evil germinate as we advance in life; and not only the heart, but the “ way," the general course of conduct, becomes polluted, Not that all, who are not the subjects of renewing grace, are equally sinful. Some rush to excesses at which more modest sinners tremble: such are those young persons who pour
forth their blasphemies against the God of heaveri, and deride the faith of the Christian, and the sacrifice of the great Redeemer: such are those who early plunge into every scene of vice, and before they have attained the years of manhood, drink the cup of sensual pleasure to its dregs : such are those whose conversation is marked by obscenity or profanity; who alternately wound modesty, and sport with the name of the tremendous God, or in profane levity imprecate upon themselves that “ damnation which slumbereth not.” Though the “ way” of these and similar heaven-daring youth has a peculiar awfulness and depth of guilt, yet it is not they alone who need to be cleansed : it is necessary, indispensably necessary, for all who have not experienced the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit. Though by the restraining grace of God you may have been kept from these gross sins; though your external deportment may have been decent; though you may have many moral virtues and amiable qualifications; though you may resemble that interesting young
ruler who came to the Redeemer, to whom but “ one thing was wanting;" yet you still need to be cleansed by the Spirit, and the blood of Jesus, and without it you must for ever be undone.
Is it not true, my dear young friends, that the greater part of you must be placed in one or the other of these two classes ? I know, and from the bottom of my heart I bless God for it, there are some of a different character; some who remember their Creator and Redeemer in the days of their youth; some whose early years are sanctified by vital piety; some, the hope of this flock, and the future pillars of this church, who, instead of laying up a store of anguish and remorse for the time to come,
are, under the influences of the Spirit, preparing for usefulness, when the heads of the older followers of Jesus shall be mouldering in the dust. On such may the dearest blessing of God Most High ever rest! May they enjoy the peculiar benediction of that Saviour who delights in the early convert! May their number be augmented! But, my brethren, how few are these, in comparison with those who are either indulging in gross vice, or occupied only with the world? How many of our youth, over whom we
while we see them regardless of eternity, careless of maintaining communion with God in prayer, neglecting his word, “ lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God,” unaffected by the dying love of Jesus? How many who, like that unhappy young prodigal in the gospel, have left their heavenly Father's house, have endeavoured to withdraw from him and to shake off his authority, and forgetful of the plenty and felicity which he is ready to bestow, are endeavouring, vainly endeavouring, to satisfy themselves with the husks of earth?
Oh! that at last, you, my young friends, would like him, “ come to yourselves;" would feel your guilt and your misery; would resolve to retrace your steps; would desire the renewal of your hearts, the reformation of your lives, the salvation of your souls! Oh! that you would cry, with a deep sense of the importance of the question, “ Wherewithal shall the young cleanse their way?"
This is to be done,
I. By “ taking heed to their ways ;" by circumspec. tion and serious consideration.
God, in our conversion, deals with us as reasonable beings. Those who are savingly brought to
him, are first made to pause in their career, and solemnly consider their character and conduct.
And is it not fit and proper, my young friends, that you should seriously inquire of reason, of conscience, and of religion, 6 What is the path in which I am treading; who has directed me to it; who are my companions in it, the saints or the neglecters of God; those with whom I would wish to stand or not in the judgment-day? Have I assurance that the path in which I walk conducts to felicity and glory, or have I not cause to apprehend that it leads to darkness and despair? Am I acting according to the end of my creation, and the immortality of my destination, aiming habitually and supremely at that which constitutes the true interest and the chief felicity of man, and living in a manner correspondent to the solemn relations which connect me to my Maker and my Judge ?"
I appeal to yourselves, my young friends ; does it not become accountable and mortal creatures, who to-morrow may be in the grave and at the awful and decisive bar of the Eternal, thus to “ take heed to their ways?" If " the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib,” should not these shadows of thought and gratitude in irrational creatures, fill those endued with understanding and immortality with shame, if they “ will not know” the hand that feeds, nor “ consider” their everlasting interests ? Does not your repugnance to “ come to the light," and your indisposition to examine the grounds of your hope, show a consciousness that they will not bear examination, and that your title to the peace you enjoy is false and deceitful ?
Yet, simple and evident as are these truths, how many of you are there, my young friends, who live