« AnteriorContinuar »
2 COR. vi. 17, 18. vii. 1. Come out from among them, and be ye sepa
rate, faith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing : and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye fall be my fons and daughters, faith the Lord Al. mighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved ; let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of fless and spirit, per
fecting holiness in the fear of God. W HEN a person conversant with the
El 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 soil, Theltered from inclement blafts, fecured
Bb 2 ' against against immoderate humidity, duly watered in seasons of drought, defended from the encroachment of worthless herbs which even in that cultivated spot are continually springing on every fide'; 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 outs 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; and, enables them to bring forth fruit unto perfection.
Between the objects of favour, however, in the two cases, there exists a very important difference. The plant is unconscious; lenseless, 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 created a moral agent. From ... 3...
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 firınly riveted in the foil, and less closely interwoven with the roots of the conti-' guous thicket. To pluck up the veteran finner, 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 complacenty he looks on those, who have received Him as the guide of their youth. Out of the mouth even of babes and sucklings He perfecteth praife. Advancing childhood receives new marks of his love. * Come, ye
children, he cries by his Holy Spirit, bearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Suffer little children, exclaimed his beloved Son, to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. In the Old Testament is heard the gracious admonition; Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. And in the passage from the New which I have proposed for our confideration, a passage striatly connected by the context with the subject of marriage,
it is to young persons that the promise, : though pertaining to all Christians, is primarily addressed: I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you: and ye shall be
my fans, and daughters, faith the Lord Al: mighty... Cine
How is an interest in this promise to be obtained? By coming forth and being lepa- rate from the pollutions of the world : by
cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of Alejb and Spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God, over
In order to apply these universal instructions to the especial benefit of the young; I design in the present and in the fucceeding discourse to point out the distinct bearings of some of the principal, Christian virtues on the characters and duties of youth
in general, and, as opportunities arise, of each sex in parcicular.
oss og I. The architect, whether purposing to erect à cottage, or a palace, or å témple, 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 all a young man cleanse his
way? By taking beed according to thy word.
Fosiab did that which was right in the fight of the Lord; and declined neither to the right band nor to the left. Why? For while he was yet young he began to seek after the God of David, bis father (a). Why had the young men whom St. John addreffed been enabled to overcome the wicked One ? 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 : and cold towards your heavenly Father, your kindest friend; cold to Jesus Christ
: (*) Pf. cxix. 9. : 2 Chron. xxxiv. 2, 3. :