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now have? Will not their dominion over you be even more en. tire? Will you not become more and more absolutely the bondslaves of sin, and of Satan?
Look at those, who have gone before you. How evidently are most of them swallowed up in care, toil, and anxiety ; the fear of poverty; the love of place and power; sordid covetousness; and the gross indulgence of sensuality. Examine them, man by man. Which of them do you see moved by religious considerations ; deserting his pleasures ; and renouncing his sins ? Who among them remembers GOD; seeks his face; or strives to enter in at the strait gate? Who among them, while Death is advancing to his door, takes the alarm? Mark the miser, with one foot in the grave; and you will see, that, instead of shuddering at the sight of this melancholy mansion, his mind is wholly engrossed by new bargains, and new gains. Mark the whole host of veterans in the service of iniquity. Do they not become daily more stupid, hardened, and wicked. What one of them remembers God? Is not their day an evil day to them? Do not you discern it to be an evil day? Believe me, my young friends, grey haired sin is most obstinate sin; and grey haired repentance is a strange and solitary repentance. Who would hazard his soul upon such a plank? Who would venture upon a gulf, where, ordinarily, nothing is found but shipwreck; and where the shores have long been whitened by the bones of those, who were lost?
Some of you have, not improbably, grown up with few, or no, religious instructions. Your parents, in several instances perhaps, have been so busied in acquiring wealth, that they could not find time to provide for your salvation ; nor even to ask it at the hands of God. This is, indeed, a melancholy case. Your parents have failed of their first duty; and you have lost your best privileges, If good impressions have not, bad impressions have, been made upon your hearts, while they were most tender and susceptible. Probably you have not been driven, but weaned, from heaven ; have been taught to sin by example, and been left to it by negligence; have never learned to remember God; but by the sight of business, bustle, and pleasure, have been persuaded to say to him, VOL. II.
" Depart from us : for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." In a word, you are now suffering the very evils, which have been mentioned in this discourse, as flowing from a bad education.
But, unhappy as this case is, it is not of course desperate. The ways of GoD“ are not our ways; neither are his thoughts our thoughts.” He may look upon your calamities with an eye of peculiar compassion ; may exert towards you peculiar long suffering; and may spread before you in his Providence peculiar motives to repentance. He took Abijah to himself from the palace of Jeroboam, from the side of the golden calf in Bethel, and from the foot of its altar. Surely, then, there is hope for you. Awake from the sleep of sin, and death ; and “ lay hold on eternal life." Feel all the dangers of your situation ; the inestimable worth of your souls ; the incomprehensible importance of the means of grace, and the day of repentance. Remember, that God is more angry with you, every day, for every sin ; and that at no distant time, if you continue to harden your hearts, he will “ swear in his wrath, that you shall not see his rest."
Others of you have had a happier lot; have had religious parents; and have been instructed by them in the fear of God, and the knowledge of your duty. You have also seen, in the undeceiving evidence of their lives, that they believed the doctrines which they taught, and loved the precepts which they enjoined. What has been the issue of these privileges ? God has“ your hands a price, to get wisdom.” How plainly have you been destitute of a heart to the divine attainment! How obviously have you devoted yourselves to worldly pleasure ; forgotten God; lightly esteemed Christ ; trifled with your duty; and disregarded your souls ! How often have you profaned the Sabbath ; idled, and slept, away the solemn season, consecrated to the worship of God; and turned a deaf ear to the thunders of the law, and the invitations of the Gospel! How regularly have you hardened your hearts against the reproofs of your parents; the solemo warnings of the desk; the threatenings of the Scriptures ; the alarms of Providence; the invasions of disease; and the knell of death! How foolishly have you flattered yourselves, that you
could " hide in secret places,” so that God could not see you; and said, that “the darkness should cover” your sins from his sight; voluntarily forgetting, that he “ fills heaven and earth” with his presence, and that “the darkness and the light are both alike to him."
Look back on all your past life ; and see whether there is any thing which your consciences can remember with comfort, or even with hope. Is not the whole volume a blank of good ; and filled up with evil?
A cumbrous record, written out only in melancholy lines of sin and shame: a story of guilt ; of hatred, and forgetfulness, of your Maker ; of crimes perpetrated, and duties left undone ; of sabbaths wasted, and a sanctuary profaned; of heaven refused, and souls cast away ? This volume must be read before God. All these things will be rehearsed to you, and confessed by you, in the judgment; and will constitute a part of those works, according to which you will be judged.
If this be your situation ; your peculiar privileges will only aggravate your guilt, and your condemnation. You will have known your Lord's will, and done it not; and will, therefore, be beaten with many stripes.
Awake, then, to a sense of your danger. See Satan, the world, evil companions, and many temptations, all labouring to destroy you ; God labouring to prevent your destruction ; and yourselves uniting with his enemies, to accomplish your ruin. How long do you believe he will permit this controversy to be carried on? How long will it be before he will say of you, “ Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone ?"
THE YOUTH OF NAIN,
LUKE vii. 11-15.
And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city cal. led Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow ; and much people of the city was with her,
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, “ Weep not."
And he came, and touched the bier ; and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, “ I say unto thee Arise."
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother,
In the preceding part of this chapter we are informed, that our Saviour, entering into Capernaum, was intreated by a Centurion, distinguished for his unrivalled faith and piety, to heal his sick servant. He accordingly healed him. The next day he left Capernaum, to perform the duties of his ministry in other places, In his progress he passed through Nain, a city near to Mount Ta. bor, and six miles from Nazareth. As he came nigh to the gate, he met a funeral procession, following a youth to his burial. This youth was an only son ; and his mother was a widow. The family, it would seem, was greatly respected by the citizens; and the event excited an uncommon degree of sympathy; for we are told, that much people of the city accompanied the mourn. ing parent to the grave of her son,
Our Lord, whose tenderness was supreme, and whose benevolence was manifested on every proper occasion, was moved with compassion at the sight of this afflicted mother ; and directed her to weep no more. Having said this, he came, and touched the bier ; upon which the bearers stood still. Then, with a solemnity, and authority, suited to his own character, and exhibited by him on every important occasion, he said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” Accordingly he arose, and sat up, and began to speak. Our Lord then delivered him to his mother.
We cannot wonder, that a miracle of such a nature, performed before such a concourse, should be followed by great fear in all those who were witnesses of it; that they should glorify God; that they should cry out, “ A great prophet has arisen up among us, and God has visited his people ;" or that the fame of this glorious transaction, and its divine author, should suddenly " spread throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about."
This is the first instance, in which Christ exhibited to the world the life-giving power, challenged by him in the 5th chapter of John as his personal prerogative. “ As the father," saith he, “ raiseth up, and quickeneth, even so the Son quickeneth,” that is, giveth life to, “whomsoever he will.” This stupendous pow. er he afterwards exercised in various instances ; particularly on the daughter of Jairus, on Lazarus, and on himself.
This story is in many respects interesting and instructive. The very manner, in which it is related, is remarkably beautiful and affecting. It is told with the utmost degree of that simplicity, which is a prime ingredient in all fine narration. The circumstances are selected with singular felicity, and are pre-eminently fitted to touch the heart. The miracle itself was of the most glorious kind conceivable. It was equally wonderful and benevolent. It was the first fruit of that divine power, which will hereafter be displayed in a manner still more awful and amazing at the final day : “ when all, that are in their graves, shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth ; they, that have done good, to the resurrection of life ; and they, that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation." It was a