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Here is the beginning of all our future misery. Children are indulged; they are suffered to have their own wills, to make their own choices, which are always foolish. This helps to strengthen their corruption, which will make their hearts to ache before ever they can master it. Whereas, if they were brought up in the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom; if they were made sensible betimes, what they were sent into the world for, what they ought most to fear, and what to hope for, above all earthly blefiir 5; if they were taught the
of Gori's commandments, and discreetly corrected when they should forget their duty; this would preserve their minds from the corruptions of an evil world.Whereas those that are accustomed to evil, and have the feeds of wickedness cherished in their hearts, will meet with the greatest difficulties in overcoming their evil habits.
Now, this being very often the case, there is no way left, but,
2dly. To fice to God for help, and beg his molt gracious assistance to break these double bonds; to put his fear into our hearts; to awaken in us a lively sense of our eternal ruin; to draw us by the cords of love, that our faith, and fear, and love, may make us choose the way of God's commandments, and keep us stedfast in them, till, by perseverance in well-doing, we have made our calling and election fure.
Let us consider, that we are now no longer children; that it is now our duty to live like men, who know or ought to know the danger of living in a stupid neglect of eternity.
If children are led by ill examples to think of nothing but their present satisfaction, it is because they are no better taught, and know no better; but this will not excuse them when they come to be men. It will not then be enough to say, I do as the rest of the world does. This will not satisfy an awakened conscience, which will tell us, that God has expressly commanded us not to be conformed to this present evil world. To conclude:-All Christians agree in this,
, that some time in our lives we must resolve in good earnest to put away childish things, and to live like men who have their senses about them. Among these, very many put off their conversion so long, till death overtakes them unawares. Some contract such evil habits, as make them plainly despair of ever overcoming them. Others live in a way of repenting and sinning all the days of their life.
To prevent all these mischiefs as much as may be, the Church has appointed a time when all people shall be called upon to consider, to resolve, and to promise, to live as becomes men, as becomes Christians, as becomes those that hope for falvation. The time the church has appointed is, when children are come to years of discretion. And this she has done for a very good reason; namely, that people may, with their own choice and confent, dedicate themselves to God, before fin and bell have got the dominion over them, before evil habits are become a second nature.
And a fad account are those parents like to make, who neglect such a time of preparing their children to receive the grace of God, then offered them after so seasonable and solemn a manner. They do not consider, that the wifeft of men, without the grace of God, are too weak for fo great a work as all Christians are to go through.
What then do they think will become of their children, whom they abandon to the malice of the devil, who, like a roaring lion, walketb about seeking whom he may (be permited to) devour, finding them out of God's ways and protection?
Let all others put their trust in God, whose grace is sufficient to enable us to do whatever he expects from us. This he has shewn in the conversion of others, whom he has effectually called from an evil life to a life of true religion, in spite of all their enemies, and the great corruption of their nature.
God grant that we may never resist his grace, nor grieve his Holy Spirit, by which we are fanctified. To whom, &c.
PREACHED AT A CONFIRMATION.
THE KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY FOR EVERY ONE WHO TAKES UPON HIMSELF THE PROFESSION OF A CHRISTIAN, POINTED OUT
LUKE xiv. 28, 29, 30.
FOR WHICH OF YOU INTENDING TO BUILD A TOWER, SITTETH NOT DOWN FIRST, AND COUNTETH THE COST' WHETHER HE HAVE SUFFICIENT TO FINISH IT? LEST HAPLY AFTER HE HATH LAID THE FOUNDATION, AND IS NOT ABLE TO FINISH IT, ALL THAT BEHOLD IT BEGIN TO MOCK HIM, SAYING, THIS MAN BEGAN TO BUILD, AND WAS NOT ABLE TO FINISH.
OUR Bleffled Saviour well forefaw, that
to the world, when men were told that their becoming members of the Church of Christ gave them a title to the protection and love of God, a right to heaven and eternal happiness, many would defire to become Christians.
Now, that they might not be deceived in their hopes; that they might not undertake a profession in hopes of being great gainers by it, and afterwards forsake it because of the difficulties they might probably meet with;
he makes use of this parable, to make men sensible how wisely they go about their worldly concerns:-That they may not be discouraged or disappointed, they sit down, and confider with themselves, they consult with others wiser than themselves, they think what difficulties they shall meet with, what it will cost them to compass their ends. From whence he would have us make this conclusion; That for the very same reason, when people desire to become Christians in hopes of salvation, they ought in the first place to know what will be expected from them, and whether they will resolve to do what is expected from them.
If a man has a house to build, before he lays one stone, he considers what the charge may be, whether he is able, and whether he is resolved, to lay out so much upon it.
it. And he that would be a disciple of Christ, if he does not resolve before-hand to do what Christ expects from his faithful servants, will not only become a scandal to his profession, but will certainly come short of what he hopes for by being a Christian.
Therefore, to carry on the design of this parable:----As a man, who is about to undertake any work of moment, would be glad to be informed what difficulties he is likely to meet with, what will be necessary to bring his work to perfection, how much he will be a loser if he miscarries; it is as necessary that