« AnteriorContinuar »
Heaven renews its joy, and resounds with gratulation. Eternal
From these considerations flows, of course, the great practical
all the prayers, counsels and assistance, of your friends ; and, what is infinitely more than them all, the protection and blessing of your God. Immensely do you need to remember, as a consideration ever to be before your eyes, and invariably to govern your conduct, that in life you must lay the foundation of your joy in the presence of Christ. Resolve, then, on this sacred day, and in this holy place, that a truth, so intertwined with your whole well-being, shall never be forgotten by you; never fail to influence; never cease to control.
You will neither wish, nor be able to forget the scenes, through which you have passed in this happy place. No period of your lives will be remembered with more pleasure; no spot of earth seem more exempted from the miseries of the curse.
The quiet, the order, the honourable and delightful employments, which you have found here ; the pleasing companions with whom you have lived; the, friendships which you have formed, and the numberless kind oflices which you have interchanged ; together with the affection, care and instructions, of your teachers; will rise continually to your view. The little sufferings, on the contrary, to which life is exposed even here ; the youthful rivalries; and the momentary dislikes; will of course be forgotten. You will often think, and say, that no time of your life passed with equal enjoyment, nor with equal freedom from suffering,
While your memory is thus frequently, and pleasingly, employed; let me especially persuade you to call to mind the truths, which you have been taught; the moral and religious precepts, so often, and so solemoly, enjoined upou you; the counsels of piety, which you have given to each other ; your allectionate assemblies for prayer; your solemn public devotions; and your delightful union around the table of Crist. Let those of you, who have publicly professed the Religion of the Redeemer, remember daily, that the vows of the Lord, your God, are upon you; and that you cannot go back. Let those of you, who have hitherto delayed to perform this great duty, hasten with all lowliness, and meekness of mind and with many tears for your sins, to confess Christ before men; aud to witness the good profession, even as he did.
Remember, I beseech you, that he, who died for you, hath said, “ One thing is needful.” In this declaration he has told you, that there is no other peedful thing. Chouse, therefore, that good part, which shall never be taken from you.
While others toil, and watch, and grieve, to dig deeper in the mines of avarice: while others strive, and pant, 10 climb the heights of ambition : while others imbrute themselves in the sty of sensuality: let it be your labour, your delight, your glory, to lay up tr asure in the Heavens ; tu seek the honour which comith from God only; and to acquire the pleasures, which at his right hand flow forever.
Begin now; or, if you have already begun, advance from this day; the work of your salvation. Into the way of well-doing resolutely enter. lo it patiently and perseveringly continue. Suffer no day to pass, without doing some real good. Let every morning, and every evening, open the doors of your closets, and invite pray
Father, who is in secret. Sabbath behold you going up to the house of the Lord. Be his tabernacles ever amiable in your eyes ; and one day, spent in his courts, better than a thousand, There the Lor God is a Sun, and a shield: there he gives grace and glory: and there he withholds no good thing from them, that walk uprightly.
Daily, and eagerly, diffuse religion around the circle of your connections. To them you can do good, every day you live. God, who has placed them always within your reach, demands of
you continual efforts for their well-being. How delightful will it
To your neighbourhoods, become blessings by every kind of-
As you advance in years, in reputation, and in influence, make it a commanding rule of your lives to befriend young men. They, as your own experience will powerfully teach you, will ordinarily need, more than any others, your advice, your reproofs, and your assistance. By your advice they will be more profited; by your reproofs, more amended; and for your assistance, more grateful; than those, who are older. Vigourously, and persuasively, impress upon their minds the supreme importance of religion. Whatever you say on this great subject they will feel. The golden moment you may chance to find, and may happily seize, in which they may be rescued from destruction, and directed to heaven. ln every such case, you will save a soul from death; and cover by this glorious act of charity a multitude of sins.
Love your Country. Learn, as well as you can, its real interests; and pursue them steadily; unawed by the fear of opposition; unallured by the hope of office, or the desire of gain. Covet the approbation, and tremble at the reproach, of conscience: but regard with indifference the popular breath, whether trumpeting slander, or shouting applause.
Never look either for subsistence, or for character, to popular suffrage, or governmental appointments; to public salaries, or official perquisites. He, who seeks for property, or reputation, from these sources, will, long before he is aware, have set up his soul at auction; and sold it for a place. For character, trust to your conduct; for subsistence, to your hands. In the wretched pursuit of office you will find temptations, and snares, and sins, at every step; will turn your backs upon your God; and wan
der every day. farther and farther from virtue, and hope, and heaven.
Build up every where the church of Christ; and every where spread, support, and foster, his Religion. Cherish it at home; and send it abroad. Labour with all your power to sow the seeds of eternal life, wherever there is a soil to receive them; and to convey the tidings of salvation, wherever there is an ear to hear them. On the final day it will be transporting to remember, that you have befriended the least of Christ's brethren. It will be divinely extatic to remember, that you have befriended them all. Let your right hand forget her cunning, ere you fail to prefer Zion above your chief joy. The first good, which you can do for mankind, is to live, as the Gospel requires you to live ; to adorn the doctrine of God, your Saviour. Let your light, therefore, so shine before others, that they, beholding your good works, may glorify your Father who is in Heaven.
To secure these delightful purposes, remember especially, that God is always where you are, and an awful witness of whatever you think, speak, or do. Continually refer your conduct to his omniscient eye; and regard it as the materials of your final account. Feel, that his favour is life, and that his anger is death.
Finally, seek always the company, the conversation, and friendship, of good men. They will furnish you a thousand unforeseen blessings in their kindness, their counsel, their example, and their prayers. He, that walketh with wise men, shall be wise. Of good men, in ancient times, it was said by the voice of God himself, “ They, that feared the Lord, spake often one to another.” What was the consequence? They shall be mine, saith Jehovah, in the day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son, that serveth him."
Can you, can I, want motives for such a life? What will procure us peace and consolation in the world? What will array the face of conscience in smiles; and tune her voice to harmony? What will gain the approbation, the friendship, and the prayers, of wise and virtuous men? What will make us blessings to our own souls, our families, our friends, our neighbourhoods, our country, and the world ? What will best requite the love of our
divine Redeemer? What will assure to us the blessing of forgiven sin, and the favour of a pardoning God? What will shed serenity, and peace, over the evening of life, and enable the setting sun to go down without a cloud? What will sooth the pain, and languor, of the last sickness; and disarm the final enemy of his sting? What will light up the lamp of hope in the grave? What will inspire the unembodied spirit with confidence, when it enters upon its lonely fight into the invisible world? What will open to its view the distant glory of Heaven, dimly, but extatically, dawning on its wistful eyes, and disclosing its untried way to the throne of infinite Mercy? A life, spent in honouring God, and doing good to mankind, will accomplish all these delightful things; will enable us to die the death of the righteous, and will make our last end like his.
Is there, then, one of you, who will not lead such a life. You are now all before me; all in the house of God; all employed in his worship. How solemn, how endeared, the assembly! how divine the employment! how becoming is it for immortal beings to hold their farewell meeting with their companions, and with cach other, in such a place on such a day, and for such a purpose !
These instructions are the last, which I shall ever address to you. Regard them as my dying words. Let them sink deep into your hearts. That I regard you with strong affection, I know you cannot doubt. From this affection they all spring. To
your best good, to your eternal good, they are all directed. Forget them not. Let them not fail of their full influence to produce this good.
You may live; I hope every one of you will live; through many years to come. How desirable will it be to live in such a manner, as to find, daily, the testimony of a good conscience, that in simplicity. and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, you have had your conversution in the world! You must die. How joyful will it be to fall asleep in the Lord Jesus ; give up your souls into the hands of God; and be able to say, with Addison, to those around you, " See, in what peace a Christian can die.” You will rise again. How transporting will it be to see you all ascending from the grave, with bodies, sown in corruption, weakness, and dishonour, but raised in incorruption, power,