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gospel, the most evangelical discourses concerning the nature and necessity of faith and repentance, and the most proper and pathetic addresses to the consciences of men, which by all means should be made use of, there will be no success attending them, unless the Spirit of the Lord takes of the things of Jesus, and powerfully applies them to the sinner's mind. Paul planted, and Apollos watered ; but God gave the increase. But as soon as the truth is brought home to the sinner's conscience, he becomes anxious to flee from the wrath to come. His dangerous condition alarms him ; for he now finds that he is condemned by the law of God, and shut up under an awful load of guilt. And while this conviction of his wretched circumstances excites him to search the scriptures, to attend the preaching of the gospel, and to cry, Lord, be merciful to me a sinner, he can find no encouragement, unless he is under a great mistake, from any thing but the Gospel, which reveals a fountain open for sin and for uncleanners, a perfect and an everlasting righteousness, which is brought in by Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believeth. And upon his being enabled to believe in this Divine Redeemer, he sees a ground of hope for him, and rejoices in Christ without confidence in the flesh. Under such a conviction of the truth, and thus inquisitive about the way to Zion, glad should I be to see this and every congregation in New-England. For if a man is not convinced that he is condemned by the law, he will not rejoice that salvation is brought to light by the gospel: if he is not sensible of his want of righteousness, he will not esteem it good news, that God justifies the ungodly. May the Spirit of God convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment 2. I shall conclude this discourse by observing, that there are two classes of men, whose general conduct is incompatible with their professed sentiments. (1.) The first of these are such as plead warmly for the dignity of man in his present state, his noble powers and capacities, and the influence of his obedience in recommending him to the Deity ; but at the same time are guilty of the most sordid vices. They swear on every trifling occasion, by the awful name of God; indulge themselves in drunkenness, uncleanness, &c. Thus, while they try to persuade us of the dignity of man, their own conduct, which is much more persuasive, leads us to conclude, or confirms us in the conclusion, that he is an enemy to God in his mind by wicked works. No person can degrade them, so much as they degrade themselves. (2.) The second sort are they, who are very sound in the faith, and very careless in their lives and conversations. You will scarcely be able to discover a single error in their creed; but you may easily find thousands in their practice. Of this class, there are many professors of Christianity, who are enemies to the cross of Christ. They profess that they know God; but in works deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Mark these men, ye who are the real disciples of an ascended Redeemer, and have no fellowship with them, that they may be ashamed. And be ever careful to continue in
your obedience: thus will you shew your faith by your works.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
YOUNG PEOPLE CALLED UPON TO CONSIDER, THAT FOR THEIR CONDUCT HERE THEY MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE HEREAFTER, AT THE JUDGMENT. SEAT OF CHRIST.
Rejoice, 0 young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth; and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the right of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all there things 6od will bring thee into judgment.
THE youth make a great part of our stated worshipping assemblies, are the flower of a community, and on them we naturally place our expectations of future supplies in the Church and in the State. If they shew an early regard to religion, and behave with duty and affection to their parents, they become the support and comfort of their age ; and they think themselves amply compensated for all that care and cost with which they have conducted them through their state of infancy and childhood to youth. But when they despise reproof, and betake themselves to vicious courses, the parents sink under discouragement, and fear their ruin both of soul and body. The joy of the parents on the one hand, and their grief on the other, can only be fully known to them, who sustain the affectionate relation. Parental affection is of a most delicate nature ; much of which appears in the conduct of Jacob, when he received the pleasing but unexpected tidings, that Joseph was yet alive. Though enervated with age and infirmity, he said, “It is enough : I will go and see him before I die.” And when Joseph presented himself to him, he cried, “Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” The same affection influenced David, when the troops marched in pursuit of Absalom, and those who had joined him in the conspiracy. A fear that they would not treat his son with that tenderness he desired, made him anxious to head the army. And when through much persuasion he was prevailed on to abide at home, “he stood by the gate side, and commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” After they had marched, the king remained in painful solicitude about the event. At length Ahimaaz came in haste from the camp, and as he approached the king, he cried, “All is well.” His majesty immediately asked, “Is the young man Absalom safe 2'' Scarce had Ahimaaz delivered his message, before Cushi appeared also with news from the army, who addressed David with, “Tidings, my lord the king.” The king, supremely anxious for the safety of his son, asked as before, “Is the young man Absalom safe : And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is,” i. e. dead. Struck with the sorrowful news, he went up into his chamber, and wept :
* Delivered at an Evening Lecture, May 8, 1771, at the desire of a number of young men, and published by request.