Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. vii. 1.

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, faith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing : and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, andyeshall be my sons and daughters, faith the Lord Al" mighty. Having therefore these promises', dearly beloved; let us cleanse ourselves from all filthinefs of fe/h and spirits per* feeling holiness in the fear of God.

TI7HEN a person conversant with the vegetable productions of the earth observes in the forest a plant, whose properties he is desirous of improving; he removes it from its native wild into his garden. There, rooted in luxuriant foil, sheltered from inclement blasts, secured Bb 2' against against immoderate humidity, duly watered In seasons of drought, d^efended from. tlie encroachment of worthless herbs which even in that cultivated spot, are continuallyspringing on every side'; it testifies by a conspicuous transformation the fostering care'of its protector. Its growth enlarges; its juices are meliorated; its tints are heightened; its fragrance is exalted; its fruits are multiplied. It is no longer a barren weed: but the delight of Him who has appropriated it to himself.

In correspondence with the general out-.. lines of this similitude, the God of mercy purifies unto himself a peculiar people. By the ministration of the Gospel He rescues them from the noxious vicinity of wickedness; sustains them with his arm ; nourishes them by his grace; cheers them with the light of his countenance ,y and', enables them to bring forth fruit unto perfection.

Between the objects of .favour, however, in the two cases^ there exists a very important differencq. . The plant, is unconscious, senseless, passive. It knows, not. its. benefactor nor his purposes. Choice has no concern in, its improvement. Not so the human being ' addressed by the GospeL Him God has creates a moral agent., Irqm; ''' 3 ., ,: 'i him


him'God requires active concurrence ?' cooperation of the will manifested by exertions of obedience. He does nOt hurry the man by arbitrary force from amidst the thorns and thistles of iniquity. Come out from among them, he cries, and be separate. Bestowing on the helpless individual adequate powers by the.influence of his Spirit; He commands him to exert them and come forth.

To remove an aged plant from the forest, and to cause it to flourish in the garden, might be a task level to the skill of the cultivator. But he gives the preference to a younger stem, whose fibres are less firmly riveted in the foil, and less closely interwoven with the roots of the contiguous thicket. To pluck up the veteran sinner^ however deep he may have shot his roots downwards towards hell ; and to enable him to flourish like a green olivetree in the courts of the house of his God; is an undertaking devoid of difficulty to the Omnipotent. But with singular complacency hk looks On those, who have received Him as the guide os their youth. Out oftht mouth even os bales and sucklings He perfecleth praise. Advancing childhood receives new marks of his love. Come, ye B b 3 children, children, he cries by his Holy Spirit, hedrken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lords buffer little children, exclaimed his .beloved Son,, to come unto me, aud forbid them notV for of such is the kingdom of God. la the Old Testament is heard the gracious ;admoriition; Remember thy Creator in she days of thy youth. And in the passage from the New which I have proposed for pur consideration, a passage strictly connected by ;theicontext with the subject of marriage, it is to young persons that tfte promde, though pertaining to all Christiaris* fs primarily,, addressed: / will'receive, you, and will. be a Father unto, you: arid ye Jhau be ,. , my sons #nd daughters % faith the Lord jll

- TO&*i v >,., c.. A.,.?' \ '....'.nl i"l. .

Jiow is an interest in this promise^ so be obtained? ,6y coming, forth and being fepar^te from the pollutions of the world: by GJLeanfmg ourselves frotn allfilthinefs ofjlefh and Spirit, and perfecling holinessinthe fear of Gad. ,*'

In order to apply these universal instructioqs to the especial benefit of the young; , J design in the present and in the succeeds ing discourse to point out the distinct bearings of some of the principal Christian virtues on the characters and duties of youth

in in general, and, as opportunities arise,' bf each sex in particular.

;5.LTne architect, whether purposing to ereit a cottage, or a palace, or a temple, provides for the safety of the future superstructure by devoting his first care to the solidity of the foundation. In youth, as In every other period of life, the foundation of every Christian excellence is

~' piety: a fervent love of God' habitually submitting itself to the guidance of his law. Wherewith stall a young man cleanse his <way t By taking heed according to thy 'Word, jfofiab did that which was right in the fight of the Lord; and declined neither:to the right band nor to the le/t. Why? For 'while he rwas yet young he began to seek after the God cf David, his father {a). Why had the young men whom St. John addressed been enabledto overcome the wicked Ones Because, 'adds the Apostle, the word of God abideth in you. Youth is the season of ardent affections. Shall the heart be warm in its attachment to earthly relatives and associates:

V and'cold towards your heavenly Father,

'"your kindest friend j cold to Jesus Gnriil

t' , . ''' , ;'''

(a) Ff. c%\i. 9. .1 idhron. xXiiv?. J, 3.

r'\ æ'--': Bb'4;' -," who

« AnteriorContinuar »