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up our prayers to God for
you may for the remainder of your lives live worthy of
your Christian profession; and that knowing that you are the servants of the living God, you may walk as in his fight, avoid all such things as are contrary to your profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same.
And may God, who has made you hiş children by adoption, bring you in his good time to his everlasting kingdom, for Jesus Christ's fake, the Son of his love!
To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour, thanksgiving, and praise, now and for ever. Amen.
PREACHED AT A CONFIRMATION.
THE DANGER OF LIVING, LIKE CHILDREN, AT
ALL ADVENTURES, WITHOUT THOUGHT, OR REASON, OR FEAR, OR STEADINESS.
I COR. xiii. II.
WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I SPAKE AS A CHILD, I UNDERSTOOD AS A CHILD, I THOUGHT AS A CHILD: BUT WHEN I BE. CAME A MAN, I PUT AWAY CHILDISH THINGS.
HE Apostle's design in these words is to
shew the great difference there will be betwixt our knowledge in this life and in the life to come, even as great as betwixt the weak and foolish thoughts of children, and the fober reasonings of men.
He supposeth, that if men are not very much wanting to themselves, they will think, and live, and reason, and speak, at another rate than they did when they were children.
And so they certainly will, if they have made use of that reason, and those opportunities of improving their understanding, which God has afforded them in his holy word. But they do not always do so.
Hence it comes to pass, that the greatest part of men spend their thoughts and time about things as little to the purpose as the merest children. People will hardly believe this. It is necessary, therefore, that they should be convinced of it, and see the danger of living like children, at all adventures, without thought, or reason, or fear, or sense.
If children have no foresight; if they have no serious aim, or design, in any thing they do; if they fear no evil; if they are apt to be tossed to and fro, and know not what to believe or do; why, this is their character, we look for no better from them.
And if we blame them for being ignorant, foolish in their choices, careless of their ways, it is to cure them of their faults, lest the vices should grow up with them, and when for the time they should be men in understanding, they should continue to have the folly, the weakness, the ignorance of children.
Now, whatever we think of ourselves, this is the case of an infinite number of people, who grow older without being wiser to any good purposes. And who, when they leave the world, have no sign of virtue to Jew.
We should be convinced of this, if we had but the patience to compare our thoughts, and words, and actions, with the designs and manners of children, whom we despise for their weaknesles, and correct for their follies.
a Wisd. v. 13.
Now, though such a comparison may be very uneasy, yet, since it may put us upon considering whether we are as wise as men should be, I will choose this very plain way of instruction.
I. And first, This is the character of children, to be very ignorant; or, as God is pleased to express it, not to know their right hand from their left. We hope that time and age will cure this; and we are often at a great deal of pains and expence to improve their understandings; and we are well satisfied when we see that they know the world, and are like to live in it. But neither we, nor they, consider what a fad thing it is to know the world, without knowing its snares, and temptations, and dangers, and how to avoid them. And yet this is what men seldom teach their children, seldom learn themselves. And what is the consequence of this? Why, generally speaking, both old and young live in a dark ignorance of what concerns another world. And though they are well acquainted with the names of religion, of christianity, of God that made them, of heaven the portion of his faithful servants, and of hell the just reward of the wicked; yet they consider no more how people ought to live, who have heard of these things, than their very children, who only know them by rote.
Now; this is a truth which can never be sufficiently lamented, That when people come Jonah iv. II.