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of moral action, should learn that wisdom, the beginning of which is the fear of the Lord, and habituate themselves to act in obedience to its dictates. If so happy as to have been trained to this from infancy, in remembering their creator, they will feel a lively gratitude to him for the pious care of their parents, to form their minds to an acquaintance with him, and with their du. ty. But if, as with many it is the unhappy case, they have received no early instruction from parents, or never been taught to know the Lord, or to realize their dependence upon him, and accountableness to him; still they are not excusable in choosing to “live as without God in the world.” Some knowledge of his being, perfections, and government they must have acquired, notwithstanding their disadvantages, and therefore cannot be excused from the duty of remembering their creator in the days of their youth. .
Under the law the first fruits of the field, of the flocks, and of the herds, were to be devoted to the Lord. And are not the first thoughts, affections, and services, of the rational soul to be employed to his glory, and consecrated to his honour? Is he not entitled to the dew of thy youth? to the earliest services and honours in
thy power to render? Sentiments of filial duty may lead you to perceive what you owe to our universal parent. If bound to honour your father and mother, must you not much more be obliged to remember your creator, and be obe: dient to him?
The infant is not more dependent on its im. mediate parents for its preservation and support, than all human beings are upon their creator for the continuance of life, the bounties of provi. dence, and blessings of grace. Nothing there. fore can be more reasonable, than that your thoughts should be fixed upon him, and your hearts and lives governed by his law, since ydu are absolutely dependent upon him for all you possess, or hope to enjoy.
Should you pass the days of your youth un. mindful of God, and regardless of his law, what restraint will be imposed upon your passions ? What prevent your running into the excess of folly and wickedness? In justice God may withhold his restraining grace, and leave you to rush into the most reprehensible and reproach. ful sins; into crimes that will bring you to pub. lick shame, and, possibly, subject you to the highest penalty of human laws. To tlie want of early piety, or of an early habit of fixing the
thoughts upon God, as a being who understands all our ways, and to whom we must give account, may be traced those crimes, which have marked with infamy, or brought to an untime. ly grave, many of your fellow beings..
Real and peculiar advantages result from carly piety. "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” It gives dignity to youth, and extorts from the unprincipled some proof of the secret apprehension they have of superiour worth. This worth excites their envy, but their envy shew's their consciousness of superiority in the object of it. In the hour of temptation nothing can afford so great security as habitual mindfulness of the creator. This guards against the most trying, by suggesting the thought, “ How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Its effects are seen in the son of Jacob, sold by his envious brethren into Egypt. Assaulted in his youth by a powerful temptation, he resisted it with firmness, because his mind was fixed upon God and his law. The temporary effect of his virtue was unpleasant; but God overruled it for his advancement to power, honour, and dignity. In the course of a wise, providence he was ex52 alted above his enemies; but his undissembled piety and virtue rendered him benignant and forgiving to those who had sought his life. ,
The proper remembrance of your creator in the days of youth will preserve you from a thousand snares, temptations, and sorrows, into which the thoughtless multitude are hurried, and by which they are often loaded with disgrace, or involved in ruin. But, if this evil were not to be apprehended from the neglect of so important a duty, an early acquaintance with religion, and habitual attention to the duties of it, will render its exercises delightful to the soul. As the youthful mind is most free from prejudice, and susceptible of good impressions, so the heart is like to be more firmly established in the principles and habits of piety and virtue by cultivating them in the morning of life; the fruit of which will be peace, hope, comfort, and joy in the various stages of your present existence, and their ultimate reward will be glory and blessedness in heaven. Be entreated, then, “ in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning,” to give to God “the dew of thy youth.” Then you may hope he will satisfy you with life, and show you his salvation; that he will guide you with his counsel, and be your unchangeable portion. SERMON III. .
MOTIVES AND ENCOURAGEMENTS TO
PROVERBS viii. 17. I love them that love me, and those that seek me early
shall find me.
In the context wisdom is personified, and represented as addressing herself to the children of men. Our object is to invite the attention of all, of the young in particular, to the calls of wisdom, which are the calls of God, to a devout and holy life. “Doth not Wisdom cry? and Understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors; unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men. O ye simple, un.