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unworthy of notice. To render this evident, let me request your attention to a few remarks.
1. To have participated of mercy is to have all your sins forgiren; and is not this a source of joy and gladness ? You may think but little of these things in the hour of health and thoughtless dis. sipation ; but whenever you reflect, whether it be under a sermon, or on a bed of affliction, or on any other occasion, you will feel the force of such truths as these : Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is covered !-Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee! I cannot perceive what grounds there can be for joy or gladness, while your sios are unforgiven. To rise every morning, and to retire every evening, with the curse of the Almighty on your heads, must needs be a dreadful thing ; and if you be not shockingly hardened in unbelief and stupidity, it must render your life far from happy. You may rejoice and be glad in many things, but it is only while you forget your true condition. One thought on this subject dissolves the charm, and sinks you in melancholy. O, my dear young people, drink but at this fountain, and it will prove the water of life! It will banish suspense and dread ; and will take away all that is terrible from these most terrible of all words_DEATH, JUDGMENT, and ETERNITY.
2. The partaking of divine mercy will furnish you with great sources of enjoyment in the study of truth.-While blinded by your own carnality, the things of God will appear uninteresting, if not foolishness ; but having known the gift of God, you will ask, and he will give you more and more of this living water. Knowl. edge of any kind is food to an ingenious mind; but mere science has not that rich and interesting quality which attends evangelical truth. Astronomy may amuse you, and even deligbt you, by showing you the wonderful works of God, but the gospel gives you an interest in all. If you are Christians, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours. The study of nature is a source of pleasure ; but the gospel, of joy. It has with great propriety been called, “ The wisdom that speaks to the heart.” Such was the decision of the Earl of Rochester, in his wisest days.-Juy, and especially the joy of the gospel, possesses much of that charming perturbation of spirit, which is not excited but by great, interesting, and transporting objects. Happiness may cause a smile, but joy will add to that smile a tear, and perhaps a flood of tears. What a delicious enjoyment! Thus may you rejoice and be glad all your days.
3. By a participation of divine mercy, all your duties will be converted into pleasures.-Without this, every duty will be a task : Praying, reading, and hearing, sabbaths, and all other religious opportunities, will either be disregarded, or if through custom you attend to them, yet your heart will not be in theun. They will appear as lost time; and such, indeed, they will prove. Time so spent will to you be lost, and worse than lost. But true religion will inspire your hearts with love; and this will render every religious duty a delight.
4. A participation of the mercy or grace of God will shed a lustre on all your natural enjoyments.—To bave only natural enjoyments is to have a slender, short lived, and uncertain portion. To have to reflect in the midst of your pleasures, . Now I am receiving my good tbings, and these, for ought that appears, are to be my all,' is sufficient to spread a damp over every thing: but to have earthly good with a blessing, with the good-will of Him that dwelt in the bush, must give them a tenfold sweetness. Art tbou but a Christian ; Eat thy bread with gladness, and drink thy wine with a cheerful heart, for God now accepteth thy labour.
5. A participation of divine mercy will support your hearts under the heaviest affictions, and enable you to rejoice and be glad, while others are sinking under their burdens.-You are young, but you must lay your accounts with those ills which are common to men. Some of you, who may be engaged in trade, may sustain heavy losses ; but this will bear you up. If you have Christ, you will never bave lost your all. When poor Moab was wasted, she had nothing left. Well, therefore, might Jeremiah bewail her condition. (Chap. xlviii. 36.) But when Judah was gone into captivity, she could yet say, The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him. Others of you may pass through life in poverty. Hardly bestead and hungry, you have little to lose ; and, if destitute of religion, may be tempted to curse your king and your God, and look upward. But the hope of the gospel will cause you to rejoice, even in this situation. Though no fruit appear on your vide, nor flock in your fold, nor herd in your stall; yet you will rejoice in the Lord, and be glad in the God of your salvation.
6. A participation of God's special mercy affords an assurance, that all the blessings before mentioned are but the beginnings of joy, the earnest of everlasting bliss.—Here we are at a loss. Now are we the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but this we know, that we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. O happy people! Well are they exhorted to rejoice always, and again to rejoice—to sing aloud upon their beds—to count it all joy, even when they fall into divers trials, knowing that these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
To all this may be added, the earlier you obtain these blessings, the greater will be your enjoyment.—Early piety will save you from much wickedness. The conversion of a soul, especially at this period, hides a multitude of sins; and renders life much more happy as well as useful. Evil habits are broken with difficulty. Those who return to God in old age, seldom do much for him, or enjoy much from him. Manasseh, though he obtained mercy, yet did but little towards undoing the mischief which he had wrought in Israel. He could lead his people and his family into wickedness while he was wicked; but he could not lead them back again when he returned. Amon, his successor, imitated Manasseh the idolater, not Manasseh the penitent. And as to himself, though he cast the idols out of the temple, and out of the city, yet the far greater part of the work of reformation was left for his grandson Josiah. That amiable young prince began, in the sixteenth year of his age, to seek after the Lord God of his fathers; and in the twentieth, he set about a thorough work of reformation ; and God was with bim, and blessed him, and he, like his ancestor Abraham, became a blessing.
0, young people, a thousand arguments and examples might be adduced to show the force and propriety of the petition ! If you have a spark of ingenuousness towards God in your hearts, you would not desire to put him off with the refuse of a life spent in the service of sin. You would offer him the first fruits of your days ; the best of your time, strength, talents, and influence.And this is not all. Time flies. Years roll over in quick succession. Death sweeps away the young as well as the aged. Out of the burials that we have had this year in our congregation, five out of six have been young people ; some of them under twenty years of age, and others of them but little past that period. None of them seem to have thought much of dying, yet they are gone from the land of the living! Hark! from their tombs I bear the
language of warning and solemn counsel! Whatsoever thy hand Į findeth to do, do it with thy might ; for there is no work, nor device, í nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Join . 1with your pastor, join with your parents, join with all that seek
your welfare, in praying, 0 satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
What shall I say more? Will you, my dear young people, will you drink and be satisfied at the fountain of mercy; a fountain that is wide open, and flows freely through our Lord Jesus Christ? You cannot plead the want of sufficient inducements. Ministers, parents, Christians, angels, the faltering voice of death, the solemn assurance of a judgment to come, and above all, the sounding of the bowels of Jesus Christ, all say, Come. But if, like those who refused the waters of Siloah, you prefer the follies and pursuits of the present life to the joys of immortality, our souls shall weep in secret places for you. Tribulation and anguish will overtake you, even in this life; and under it, instead of the consolations and hopes of the gospel, you will have to reflect, . This I have brought upon myself; and these are but the beginnings of sorrows ! Vol. VIII.
TO THE AFFLICTED.
Those whose Christian compassion induces them frequently to visit the sick, see and hear things of which others can scarcely form any conception. They see affliction, not merely in easy circumstances, wherein it is alleviated, as far as possible, by the comforts of life, but as it exists in the poor man's dwelling, aggravated by privations and hardships, many of which would seem intolerable to some, even in a time of health. They sympathize with you, and as far as they are able, it is presumed, administer to your relief.
But there is one thing which has particularly struck the writer of this address ; namely, the different manner in which affliction is borne by religious, and by irreligious people. He wishes to be understood as speaking generally, rather than universally. Some who are thought to be religious, and are not so; and some that are truly religious, are the subjects of morbid nervous sensibility ; while others who are not so, have much constitutional patience and equanimity. But other things being equal, he has perceived a wide difference in favour of religion. In visiting the dwellings of Christian people in times of affliction, his heart has been cheered by their cheerfulness. Their troubles have seemed to be more than balanced by their enjoyments. Hope has glistened in their very tears, and submission to the will of God has brightened their emaciated countenances. But on entering the abodes of the irreligious, such discontent, despondency, and misery have appeared, that he has come away quite dejected. The smile of hope, and the tear of joy, were there alike unknown : all was darkness, and the prospect of thicker darkness.
Let us try to find out the causes and the cure of this state of mind, which adds so much to the miseries of life. If every one could tell his tale, and would tell the truth, we might hear some such accounts as these :