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post than this? The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
I shall conclude this Discourse, by first answering a common OBJECTION, and then adding a word of EXHORTATION.
The OBJECTION which a young person is apt to bring, (and which, while young, I felt myself) is this: I believe," says he, "that real religion is the better part ;-the one thing needful, which, alone, shall never be taken away. I believe there is nothing that can for a moment be balanced against it: for what shall it profit me, if I could gain the whole world, and lose my own soul? What a shocking thing it would be, upon leaving this world, to have nothing on which to rest the sole of my foot? Certainly, to be truly religious, is to be truly wise. But, the great difficulty is, HOW, and by what means, I may attain to it? For when I have tried to remember my Creator, my heart and thoughts are the next moment gone from Him. Sometimes, after a sermon, I go home, and think what a blessed thing it is to be a Christian: but, on the Monday, other things come before me, and drive these better thoughts away; and I feel no disposition, through the week, to pursue them. I imagine, therefore, that I am not able to be religious."
My Dear Children, I have felt all this before
you: but observe, I knew not then expressly the Christian Secret, where to get strength; and therefore failed in my endeavours. We, who have long run the Christian Race, feel that we have no power in ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God. Yet the Apostle, who said this, could also say, I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.My Son, saith he, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. Observe, Children, he was to be strong through the grace which is in Christ. Now we can say the same to you be strong: but in His strength. You must not only believe in Him, as a Saviour through his Cross; but hope to run the race which He sets before, by his POWER working in you to will and do of his good pleasure. Run, therefore, by looking unto Jesus.
Suppose there was a necessity for you to lift a great weight from the ground: you might indeed try, and try again, and find your own strength exerted in vain; but if your Friend or Parent, who set you the task, came and joined his hand to yours, it might then be lifted with ease. And thus it is that the feeblest Christian succeeds in his endeavours.
Or, to return again to the garden :-you have heard of trees being ingrafted: now the graft is a little stick or peg of wood, which would dry and rot if left by itself; but the gardener fixes it into the stem of a living tree, and, thus receiving
life or sap from the stem to which it is united, it soon becomes one with the tree itself, and thereby buds, and blossoms, and brings forth fruit. In this way we find our Lord teaching his disciples how to succeed in his service. I am, says he, the vine: ye are the branches. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me, ye can do nothing.
You see then, Dear Children, the Christian's Secret. He employs almighty grace for the performance of a work, which cannot be don without it. Take my yoke, saith Christ, and learn of me, and ye shall find rest. Bear my Cross, and ye shall find it bear you. If your Father, or Mother, or Minister is pressing forward in the heavenly road, bless God for the example; but believe me, neither your Father, your Mother, nor your Minister could bear up under their difficulties, if there was not one mightier to bear them up. He is able to do the same for you, a Child ; and has already done it, in innumerable instances. If even so great a character as David be left to himself, the weakest and vilest creature cannot fall lower than he did.
Upon the whole, you see that nothing in religion can be done without Christ, while every thing to which he calls us may be done with him. In this way it is, that the Christian becomes a conqueror: for who is he, that overcometh the world; but he, that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
I shall leave you this morning with only adding a short word of EXHORTATION.
You have been shewn
1. How you should remember your Creator. 2. WHEN HE should specially be remembered: and 3. WHY you should not put off this remembrance. Now let me beseech you to think seriously of the dreadful evil of living longer destitute of a real acquaintance with, and remembrance of your God; and to think, on the other hand, of the blessed privileges of those who truly remember Him. Cleave to him, therefore, for He is thy Life. And that, in the days of thy youth; for then it is not only done with less difficulty, but your Youth may be your only opportunity for doing it at all: and should you even live to old age, I have shewn you how evil those days are for such a work, and how unlikely it should succeed if put off to that time..
Oh, that it may please God to help, if it were but one of you, to become wise unto salvation from this moment! Then shall we, and even the Angels, rejoice that another lost sheep is found and secured. In thus addressing you, we seek only to make you truly rich, truly wise, truly happy: and we know none can be really so till he remembers his Creator.
When you see a poor, forsaken, wicked Child, wandering about the streets, ragged, hungry, and diseased, you are naturally led to pity him; but
it would be well if you recollected that his rags, and hunger, and disease are not the principal parts of his wretchedness. They render him, indeed, very pitiable, and call for such help as we can afford him; but, as I said before, his outward want is not the worst part of his misery: the worst part is, what we call his moral misery, namely, that he knows not God, and never remembers his name but to profane it-that he is a willing slave of the Devil, who tempts him to swear, to lie, and to steal that in short he is a lost sheep, wandering from Christ, the true and only shepherd and bishop of souls. What are his outward rags, and filth, and wants, and diseases, compared with this? They only respect his dying body; but
these wants and disorders beggar and destroy his immortal soul.
But now suppose that any one of us could bring this poor Child to read the Bible, to pray for grace, and to remember his Creator in the days of his youth; his wants and disorders might be removed: but even if they were to remain, and he to lie in the street, like Lazarus, covered with diseases, and with none but dogs to pity him; yet, if his heart could rise to God, and his faith take hold of a Redeemer, what then would be the changes and chances of this mortal life to him? As it was said of Joseph in his affliction, it must be said of him in his very lowest and worst temporal circumstances his God is with him: Angels are