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children, he cries by his Holy Spirit, bearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Suffer little children, exclaimed his beloved Son, to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of fuch is the kingdom of God. In the Old Teftament is heard the gracious admonition; Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. And in the paffage from the New which I have propofed for our confideration, a paffage ftrictly connected by the context with the fubject of marriage, it is to young perfons that the promise, though pertaining to all Christians, is primarily addressed: I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you: and ye shall be my fons and daughters, faith the Lord Almighty.
How is an intereft in this promife to be obtained? By coming forth and being feparate from the pollutions of the world: by cleanfing ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and Spirit, and perfecting boliness in the fear of God.
In order to apply these universal instruc→ tions to the especial benefit of the young; I design in the present and in the fucceeding difcourfe to point out the diftinct bear ings of fome of the principal Christian virtues on the characters and duties of youth
in general, and, as opportunities arise, of each fex in particular.
I. The architect, whether purpofing to erect a cottage, or a palace, or a temple, provides for the fafety of the future fuperftructure by devoting his first care to the folidity of the foundation. In youth, as in every other period of life, the foundation of every Christian excellence is piety: a fervent love of God habitually fubmitting itself to the guidance of his law. Wherewith fhall a young man cleanse bis way? By taking heed according to thy word. Jofiah did that which was right in the fight of the Lord; and declined neither to the right hand nor to the left. Why? For while he was yet young he began to feek after the God of David, his father (a). Why had the young men whom St. John addressed been enabled to overcome the wicked One? Because, adds the Apostle, the word of God abideth in Youth is the season of ardent affecyou. tions. Shall the heart be warm in its at-tachment to earthly relatives and affociates: and cold towards your heavenly Father, your kindest friend; cold to Jefus Christ
(4) Pf. cxix. 9. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 2, 3.
who died for you, and is not ashamed to call you brethren? Youth is the feason when the perception of delight is the most lively, Shall you be penetrated with a feeling of obligation, with tender emotions of gratitude, towards an earthly benefactor; and unthankful to Him who giveth you all things richly to enjoy? Youth is the feason of ftrength and alacrity. Shall the fluggish spirit, the inactive feebleness, of age be seen zealous in labours for the glory of God; and fhall you be torpid as to his fervice? Youth is the feafon of inexperience. Shall you be earnest in the pursuit of human knowledge, obedient to human counfel; and negligent of the light which Jehovah has revealed, that it may be a lantern to your path, of that universal wisdom which is given by infpiration from Him, and is able to make you wife unto falvation through faith which is in Chrift Fefus? Youth, viewed with a reference to the protracted term of mortal life, poffeffes the fruits of but a fhort period for growth in grace. If the faint of an hundred years looks back from his deathbed with regret and self-abasement on his progress in the qualifications by which he is to be rendered meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the faints in
light do you, whofe progrefs is as yet comparatively fmall, you whofe career may to-morrow terminate in the grave, linger and loiter and trifle on your way?
II. Under the preceding head was included reverent acquiefcence in the doctrines and the commandments of the word of God. Hence the mind naturally proceeds to the fubject of docility under human inftruction.
To parents, as inftructors, the place of pre-eminence is affigned. Hear the inftruction of thy father; and forfake not the law of thy mother. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck (b). In the parent are united in a degree not to be paralleled in the cafe of any other earthly fuperior, authority and affection: authority established on peculiar foundations; and affection impelled by peculiar motives to temper the exercise of command, and fo to guide the reins as to render controul productive of the highest attainable benefit to the individual under fubjection. But according to the general order of nature, with the ancient is wisdom,
(b) Prov. i. 8, 9.
and in length of days is understanding (c). Men live not for themselves alone.
aged in the viciffitudes of their pilgrimage have collected experience for the young. Such is the appointment of Providence. Let youth respect the wisdom and the mercy of the appointment. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth (d). To those who have the rule over you whether it be to watch for your fouls as they that must give account; or to impart their acquifitions. in literature, in fcience, in profeffional skill, in the arts and the transactions of life ; render, to each according to his ftation and office, the deference which is due. To God alone be infallibility afcribed. But remember that the ground-work of improvement is a teachable fpirit. Diftruft yourself. Welcome with refpectful, attention the advice of your feniors: fpontaneously feek counfel from their better judgment. Your contemporaries in age, however amiable their difpofitions, however promising their talents, are expofed by youth to thofe very delufions by which your own opinions are likely to be mifled, by which the eyes of your elders may po
(f) Job, xii. iz.
(d) Lament. iii. 27.