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" the South shall rise up in judgment with us, and « shall condemn us ; for she came from the uttermost
parts of the earth, to hear the wisdom of Solomon, “and behold a greater than Solomon is here!”— " Verily, it shall be more tolerable for the land of So“ dom and Gomorrha, in the day of judgment, than s6 for our city.”
Do ye consider, my brethren, the dignity and importance of that religion, to which your attachment is required ? Do ye reflect, that this is the masterpiece of infinite wisdom ; that here the Almighty made bare his holy arm, and put forth all his strength ? The introduction of this religion was the object of all the dispensations of the Deity upon earth. This is the centre in which terminates every line in the great circle of Providence. If one nation was victorious, and another put under the yoke ; if war was commissioned to ravage and lay desolate the earth, or peace to make the joyful inhabitants sing beneath the vine ; if kings were crowned, or were dethroned ; if empires rose or fell, all was preparatory and subservient to this grand event. The monarchies which prevailed in the world; whether Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, or Roman, weré erected as introductory to the Messiah, whose kingdom was to be without bounds, and whose reign was to be without end.
That great image which the Monarch of the east beheld in his dream, whose head was of gold, whose breast was of silver, whose thighs were of brass, and whose. feet were of iron, was set up by Providence, to prepare the way for the Stone which was cut out without hands, which was destined to smite the image, become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. All events, whether prosperous or adverse, whether malignant or benign, have co-operated towards the advancement of our religion. Saints have established it by their lives : martyrs have confirmed it by their death : hypocrites have added strength to it by their dissimulation : tyrants have purified it by their persecutions : infidels have corroborated it by their opposition : the ar
rows of its enemies have served for its protection : the resistance which it has met with, from the combined wit, and genius, and malice of mankind, have brought forth those illustrious and immortal defences which establish its truth upon the basis of demonstration.
Shall we not, then, reckon ourselves eternally indebted to the infinite goodness of God, and stir up all that is within us to bless his holy name ?--saying, in the language of true fervour of spirit,
66 We will praise thee, O God! we will praise thee with our " whole heart ! our lives shall be thy sacrifice! we “ will adore thee in death, and through eternity!"
God, from his throne in heaven, doth not behold an object more noble, and more worthy of his view, than a pious man ; a man who, conscious of the dignity and immortality of his nature, employs himself with fervour and zeal, in those devout exercises which assimilate him to the Divinity ; who, measuring time by his improvements in devotion and virtue, never lose's a day. He is the favourite of Heaven. The arm of the Almighty is stretched out in his behalf. The Lord loves him, and keeps him as the apple of his eye; he gives his angels charge concerning him, to preserve him in all his ways, lest at any time he should dash his foot against a stone. He delights to speak his praise in the assemblies of his saints and angels above: he writes his name in the book of his remembrance, and gives him the honourable title of the friend of God. He makes all things work together for his good in this world, and in the dark vale of death, opens his eyes to discern the dawning of heavenly day. In fine, he holds his very ashes sacred ; and, raising him up at the last day, carries him to his throne in heaven above, with the glorious company of the redeemed, to be inade partaker of his own happiness.
These are thy palms, O piety! thine is the king. dom prepared above ; thine the power with God and with man; and thine the crown of glory that fadeth not away!
SER MON III.
Eccles. xii. 1.
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
HEN Solomon, in early youth, had ascended
the throne of Israel, the God of his fathers appeared to him in a dream. The Almighty was graciously pleased to condescend thus to visit his creature, He put in his offer all the pleasures of the world, and desired him to ask, and he should receive ; to wish, and he should enjoy. The young king possessed a wisdom beyond his years, and a greatness above his
He did not ask to have his palace filled with the beauties of the east, to have his treasury stored with the gold of Ophir, or to wear the laurel of victory over the nations. He asked a greater boon than all these. “Give thy servant, O Lord,” replied the wise prince, " Give thy servant wisdom and understand
ing.” What he then made the object of his own choice, he recommends to you under another name, in the words of the text : “ Remember now thy Creator s in the days of thy youth.
This is the last chapter of the works of Solomon ; and these words may be regarded as liis dying advice to the young. The philosophers of antiquity, who held out the lamp of wisdom to the heathen world, gave the same advice to their followers. But between them and Solomon, there is this remarkable difference; they, from the obscure retirement of the schools, declaimed against pleasures which they had never tasted, and affected to despise honours to which they never had it in their power to ascend. But Solomon, a great and powerful prince, in the pleasurable time of life, had in his own person tried the experiment. He made the tour of the sensual world. He went in quest of happiness through all the scenes of life. He extended his search over the broad and flowery way, as well as in the narrow path, as it should seem by a particular permission of Providence, to save the pains of future inquirers. Solomon acted the libertine upon a principle of inquiry. The result of his researches was, that all unlawful pursuits began with vanity, and ended in vexation of spirit, and that the true happiness of man consisted in that understanding which teacheth us to depart from evil, and in that wisdom which instructeth us to fear the Lord.
It is common in Scripture, to express all the acts of devotion and virtue by some part, or principle of religion ; sometimes by wisdom and understanding'; at other times, by faitli, love, the fear of God, walking with God, and many other phrases ; all of which express the same meaning, and denote the whole economy of a religious life. So that remembering our Creator in the days of our youth, implies an early, and an entire dedication of ourselves to the service of God.
In further discoursing upon these words, I shall enforce the exhortation in the text, and endeavour to persuade you to remember your Creator in the days of your youth, from the peculiar suitableness of religion to the early period of life. And, in the first place, let me exhort you now in the days of youth, to remember your Creator, from your being as yet uncorrupted by the world.
Although both Scripture and experience testify that man is fallen, and that our nature is corrupted, yet it is equally certain, that our earliest passions are on the side of virtue, and that the good seed springs before the tares. Malace and envy are yet strangers to your bosom. Covetousness, that root of evil, hath not yet sprung up in your heart ; the selfish, the wrathful,
and the licentious passions, have not yet obtained do minion over you. The modesty of nature, the great guardian of virtue, is not seduced from its post.
You would blush even in secret, to do a deed of dishonesty and shame. High sentinients of honour and of probity expand the soul. The colour comes into the cheek at the smallest apprehension of blame; the ready lightning kindles in the eye at the least appear. ance of tụeachery and falsehood. Hence says our Lord to his followers, Unless you become as a child ; unless
you assume the candour, the innocence, and the purity of children, you cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Theretore, whilst you are yet an offering fit for heaven, present yourselves at his altar, deyote yourselves to his service. How
How beautiful and becoming does it appear for young persons, newly arrived in this city of God, to reinember the end for which they were sent into it, and to deyote to their Maker's service, the first and the best of their days? When they are in the prime of youth and of health, when the mind is untainted with actual guilt, and alive to every generous impression, to consecrate to religion the vernal flower of life ? 'The virgin innocence of the mind, is a sacrifice 'more acceptable to the Almighty, than if we should come before bim with the cattle upon a thou. sand hills, and with ten thousand rivers of oil. If there be joy in heaven over a great and aged sinner that repenteth, how pleasing a spectacle will it be to God, to angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, to behold a person in the critical season of life, acquit himself gloriously, and, despising the allurements, the deceitful, and transitory pleasures of sin, choose for limself that better part which shall never be taken away !
Dare then, young man, to remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth ; bave the courage to be good betimes. Beware of talling into the usual snare of the inexperienced ; beware of thinking that you have time enough to be religious, and, for that reason, may defer the work of your salvation to maturer age ; when, as