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And lived for years to come, and bless'd us still:
Dear relatives and friends, his special charge!
What did I say? the ship was wreck'd and lost ?
Nor is all lost to those who yet survive:
* It has been observed that Mr. Hall's last public sermon, in his own connexion, was preached at Olney Association, June 2, 1790, from Acts xx. 24.Neither count I my life dear,-that I may finish my course with joy, &c.
And his communications yet are seen ;
Yes, here's Elijah's mantle : may there too
And tread his steps; that all may see and say,
SKETCH OF A SERMON TO YOUNG PEOPLE.
Psalm xc. 14.
o satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and he glad all our
The season is returned, my dear young people, in which you expect I should address you on your eternal interests. I hope what I have heretofore said to you, not only on these occasions, but in the ordinary course of my labours, has not been altogether in vain. Some of you, I hope, have already set your faces Zion: ward. Happy should I be to see many more follow their example!
The words which I have read to you express the desire of Moses, the man of God, in behalf of Israel, and especially of the
* Mr Hall wrote many of the Circular Lellers to the churches of the Northamptonshire and Leicestershire dssociation, most of which have been noticed already, as well as his Help to Zion's Travellers. He also printed A Charge to Mr. Moreton, delivered at his ordination at Kettering, 1771 ; and a Funeral Sertnon for Mrs. Evans, of Foxton, 1775.
rising generation. That generation of men which came out of Egypt with Moses were most of them very wicked. Though God divided the sea to save them, and caused manna to fall from heaven to feed them, with many other wonderful works; yet they did little else than provoke him by their repeated transgressions. , Ten times they tempted him in the wilderness; and, to complete their crimes, they despised the good land, and disbelieved His promises who had engaged to put them in possession of it. The consequence was, Jehovah sware in his wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. So they were all, except Joshua and Caleb, doomed to die in the wilderness. On occasion of this melancholy sentence, (the account of which you will find in the fourteenth chapter of Numbers,) it is supposed that Moses, the man of God, wrote this plaintive psalm; in which he laments over the mortality of man, and supplicates divine mercy to mitigate the doom. And the doom, as it respected Israel, was mitigated, or at least mingled with much mercy. Though the fathers were sentenced to perish in the wilderness, yet the promise was accomplished in the rising generation. Your little ones, said the Lord, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. This younger generation, from that time, became the grand object of hope to Moses, and his companions. Their great business in the wilderness, for thirty-eight years, was to teach them the good knowledge of God, and to form their spirit and manners for his service. How ear. nestly did Moses pray for the Lord's blessing upon these their labours, towards the close of this psalm. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children ; and let the beauty of Jehovah our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us ; yed, the work of our hands establish thou St. To the same purpose is the petition which I first read. O satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. These petitions, too, were graciously answered. God's work did appear to Moses and bis associates, and his glory to their children, and that at an early period. His spirit was richly poured forth upon the Israelitish youth. The beauty of the Lord their God was upon them, and the work of their bands was established,
It was this amiable generation that extorted the admiration of Ba. laam himself: How goodly are thy tents, 0 Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! It was of them that the Lord declared, that Israel then was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase.
I hope I need not say, that this prayer of Moses, on bebalf of the Israelitish youth, is expressive of the desires of your minister, and of your parents : you know it is so. O that it may also express your own!
There are two things pertaining to this subject, which require particular notice; namely, the object desired, which is an early participation of divine mercy; and the influence of such a participation of mercy on the happiness of future life.
I. Let us notice the object desired. This is mercy, a being satisfied with mercy, and a being early satisfied with mercy. Pay attention, young people, to each of these particulars.
1. The grand object that you need is mercy, the mercy of God, against whom you have sinned.—Holy angels worship God; but this prayer would not fit their lips. They are guilty and undone sinners, to whom the voice of mercy is addressed ; and such are you, and therefore it becomes you to sue · for this all-important good. Mercy is of two kinds, common and special. Every good we enjoy is mercy ; but they are not common mercies only, nor chiefly, that are here desired. They would not have satisfied Moses, nor will they satisfy us. That which he sought on behalf of the Israelitish youth, and what we seek on bebalf of you, is saving mercy, renewing mercy, forgiving mercy; that which Saul the persecutor obtained, having sinned in ignorance and unbelief.
2. The blessing here sought is not only mercy, but a being satisfied with mercy.-If the rising generation among the Israelites obtained mercy, Moses and Aaron, and all their godly associates, would feel satisfied on a review of their labours ; and if you, young people, obtain a similar blessing, we sball feel the same. Nor shall we be satisfied with any thing short of it. We are glad to see you sober, intelligent, ingenious, and industrious ; we rejoice in your temporal prosperity ; but this will not satisfy us.How should it? To care for the less, and not for the greater, were cruel beyond expression. Nor will any thing short of saving mercy satisfy you. You may think that pleasure will, but it will not ; por fame, nor riches, nor aught else under the sun. Immortal minds can be satisfied with nothing short of an immortal good. Read, and carefully consider, the first three verses of the fiftyfifth chapter of Isaiah. But in order to be satisfied with mercy, you must possess a thirst after it. Nothing satisfies but that which corresponds with our desires. Have you such desire ? Do you call upon the Lord for mercy ? and that with your whole heart ? How many heathen are there in a Christian country, who live without prayer! and how many who pray in form, without any earnest or sincere desire after those tbings for which they pray! Such will never be satisfied. But if mercy be the one thing desired, you need not fear being satisfied with it, for there is enough in God, enough in Christ, to assuage all your thirst. With the Lord there is merey, and with him is plenteous redemption.—Open your mouth wide, and he will fill it. The Spirit, in the invitations of the word, says, Come; the bride, or church of Christ, says, Come ; and whosoever will, let him come, and tıke of the water of life freely.
3. The blessing to be sought is, not only a being satisfied, but satisfied early with divine mercy.-Moses desired that his prayer might be speedily answered ; and if genuine piety appeared in the young people at an early period of life, this his desire would be accomplished. Piety is a beautiful flower at any age, but most so in early life. How amiable did it appear in these young peo. ple. It is called the love of their espousals, which the Lord afterwards remembered for the sake of their posterity. How amiable did it appear in Isaac, in Joseph, in Samuel, in David, in Abijah, in Josiah, and in many others ! But let us proceed to observe
II. The influence which a participation of divine mercy, and especially an early one, will have on the happiness of your future life—this good obtained, you will rejoice and be glad all your days. It is a notion imbibed by many who are strangers to true religion, that it makes people melancholy and miserable. But this is false. The contrary is the truth. Every one that has known it has spoken well of it. The reproaches of those who know it not, are