« AnteriorContinuar »
the duty of their minister, to make their children Christians in understanding, and on principle, as well as by name. What a dreadful responsibility is theirs, who neglect any probable means of putting their children into the way of salvation ! What anguish will pierce their hearts, if at the judgment-day their child shall cry out against them, My father and my mother forsook me; they kept me back from Christ; they gave me no preservative against sin ; I perish by their neglect ! But it is no less incumbent upon you,
Christian masters and heads of families, to direct your servants, and the younger inmates of your house, in the choice of their religion. When Joshua had proposed to the children of Israel, in the words of the text, Choose you this day whom ye will serve, he concluded by declaring, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. It is a part, a most important part of your duty towards your servants, to assist them, either by your own instructions, or by procuring for them that of others, in forming clear and active notions of religion. It is a part of the duty which you owe to the Church, of which you are members, to bring them into her bosom, and to enable them to profit by her ordinances and means of grace.
To you, my younger friends, let me say, with all the earnestness and sincerity of a real concern for your salvation, Choose you this day whom ye will serve.
You are old enough to discern between the good and the evil: both are set before you; and God expects that you will make your choice. Do not flatter yourselves that you can remain, for a certain number of years, in a state of neutrality and indifference, and then make your election; for that will be in effect choosing at once to serve the world rather than Christ : and you
will hereafter be not only less qualified, but less inclined to enter into the service of
your Redeemer. Remember, that you have been already solemnly dedicated to him; given to him; redeemed from your lost state ; made capable of sanctification, and, in due time, of advancement to glory. This is the great purpose of your life, and ought to be the main object of the whole and every part of it. To choose between Christ and the world, that is, the sinful pleasures of the world, is to choose, in all probability, between happiness and misery in this life, but certainly between eternal bliss and wo in that which is to come. If
you confess not Christ before men, if you make not an open choice of the Gospel, neither will he confess you
before his father in heaven; and if you mean to confess him at all, which you must do, to be saved, can there be any period of life so proper for it, as that, when you are first able to form a right judgment of the privileges and blessings which he offers to you? Believe me, he expects you to come to him now; to bring him the first-fruits of your life; to consecrate to him your reason, yet unperverted; your affections, yet uncorrupt : and in return, he will extend over you the arm of his protecting love; will pour his grace into your hearts; will give you a relish for the things of God; will enlighten you more and more in the saving truths of his Gospel; and will strengthen you to withstand the trials to which your age is most exposed.
But what I say to you, I say to all those, who have no fixed, and well considered, and heart-felt principles of religion ; Choose you this day whom ye will serve. You think, perhaps, that you are serving God: but it is not serving him, merely to attend the ordinances of public worship, and to abstain from the commission of the more flagrant sins, unless you serve him on principle; from a steady regard to his honour, and from a sense of gratitude for the mercies which he has wrought for you in Jesus Christ. It
not serving him, unless you are consistent in your profession and practice; devout in your own closet and in the bosom of your family, as well as at Church; diligent to read the word of God as well as to hear it; actively charitable and beneficent, as well as strictly just and honest; pure and holy in your secret practice and thoughts, as well as in outward appearance; observant of all the ordinances of religion, and not of some only, to the neglect of others; cheerfully and devoutly acknowledging the unspeakable mercy of God in the work of your redemption, not only in the ordinary solemnities of public prayer, but in the more characteristic and peculiar act of Christian worship, appointed by the Lord Jesus himself. Certainly no man who has really chosen his service, can refuse him that mark of honour and thankfulness, or deny himself that source of grace
and strength. May the Lord give us grace, seriously to consider the actual state of our souls; to feel the necessity of choosing, sincerely and resolutely, whom we will serve. May he take away from us all lukewarmness and indifference, in the momentous question of salvation, and dispose us by his grace to come unto him once and for ever. Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou