Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

several years

II. I would apply myself to delaying sinners, to those that are yet out of Christ, and have all to do for eternity still. They are living in a state of wrath, and yet they linger, and put off their removal from Sodom. They delay repentance, and go on in their sin. I would say to you, as Prov. vi. 9, “ How long wilt thou sleep, 0 sluggard ? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?" I must expostulate with you on this head.

First, Ye young people, why do ye delay repentance? why are ye like the wild asses' colts, untractable and unteachable? No doubt, ye think it is too soon for you ; that it may be time enough

after this. Ye think repentance and seriousness suits best with the wrinkled brows, the pale face, and hollow eyes, &c.; that it is pity to spoil the bloom of youth with such work. When do ye mean to repent then? It is like, it is when ye are settled in the world, or when yo grow old ; at least the days of youth must be over first. But, poor fool,

1. Is the debt of sin so small upon thy head, that thou must run thyself deeper in the debt of God's justice? Dost not thou know that thou wast born a child of wrath ? Eph. ii. 3; that thou broaghtest that into the world with thee, that will damn thee, if thou repent not, and come to Christ? And will not that sink thee deep enough in destruction, though thou add no more to it, unless thou repent?

2. Is not the same holy law binding on thee, since thou couldst discern betwixt good and evil, that is binding on the oldest alive? Have the young a liberty to sin, and to cast off the fear of God and religion, more than the old ? See Gal. iii. 10, “ For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse : for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Here there is no exception. The follies of youth men may pass; but assure yourselves, God will not pass them : Eccl. xi. 9, “ Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." And I doubt not, but if ye saw your sinful thoughts, words, and actions, whether vain or vile, laid before you, as you must reckon for them at length, how few soever your years have been, you will see them to be more than the hairs on your heads. And I must tell you, that being yet unrenewed, and strangers to the life of grace, all your actions have been sin: Prov. xxi. 4, “ An high look, and a proud heart, and the ploughing of the wicked, is sin.” And is it not then time to repent ?

- Re

3. Who has assured thee, that ever thou shalt see the age tlou speakest of? Go to the churchyard, and ye will see graves of all sizes, of your length and under.

There are far more young corpses, than there are of those that carry gray hairs, ten to one.* Most men and women are cut off before they come to old age. What has befallen others as young and flourishing as you, may befal you too. And therefore, since ye know not but ye may die young, repent while ye are young, lest in the end ye find yourselves miserably disappointed. ', 4. Who has best right to your youth and strength ? God or the devil ? God is courting you for his own gift : Eccl. xii. 1, member now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” Satan will labour to keep his possession. God is the first and last; and he required the first and best, the first-fruits, the first-born, the morning-sacrifice; and he requires the first of your days, and he takes pleasure therein: Jer. ii. 2, “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown." And will ye devote the first and best to sin and Satan, reserving the last and worst to your Creator?

5. Great is the advantage of those that get a gripe of religion while they are young, beyond others, in many respects. (1.) Readily their passage in the pangs of the new birth will be easier than that of others. In none is that scripture fulfilled more, Mark iv. 27. of the seed's springing and growing up, none knoweth how, than where grace joins with good education in young persons. The nail lately driven, draws easily in comparison of that which has been long rusted in. Where grace catches persons before they begin to dip into the gross pollutions of the world, it frees them of much remorse that these must occasion to those that have been led away with them. (2.) Young people's affections are easiest moved; and as they move easiest, so they move most vigorously, whatever way they be set. Hence they lie most fair for tasting the sweet of religion: Hos. ii. 14, “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.” God sometimes dandling young converts upon the knees, and giving them sensible tastes of the pleasure of religion, is agreeable to the particular promise made for their encouragement, Prov, viii. 17, “I love them that love

me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (3.) They are in the fairest way to have most access to serve God in their generation.

* It is observed, by those who have accurately examined the records of the dead, that one half of mankind die before five years of age, and near a third more befure twenty. How few then must arrive at old age ?

[ocr errors]

Suppose a man to be converted when he is old, his salvation will be secure; but, alas ! his time for serving God's honour in the world is almost gone ere he puts hand to work.

6. Lastly, God commands you to repent presently, and therefore it is on the peril of your soul, that ye venture to delay a moment longer : Heb. iii. 7, 8, “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Remember that word, Eccl. xi. 9, 10, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.” A sinful youth will at length make a sad soul. Ye know not how soon God may be provoked against you to cut you off, if you delay. Monuments of the Lord's anger have been set up in childhood and youth, as well as in old age. Witness the children at Bethel, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24.

Let not Satan deceive you, as if there were no pleasure in religion. No, Wisdom's “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace,” Prov. iii. 17. There is a sweet in religion a thousand times preferable to all the pleasures and vanities youth gades after.

Secondly, Ye middle-aged people, why do ye delay repentance ? why do not ye think with yourselves seriously, where ye are like to take up your eternal lodging, and prepare for eternity by repentance ? No doubt ye think yo have time enough too; but no time at present, for ye have another thing ado, the care of a family upon your heads, Luke xiv. 20. When is your term-day of repentance ? It is like it is when ye shall have more time than now, or when ye grow old. But, o sirs,

1. What know ye that ever you shall see old age? Yea what dost thou know, but, as Luke xii. 20, “this night thy soul shall be required of thee"? Alas! shall men thus from time to time venture their eternal state upon a mere uncertainty? Thy life is but a day, a short day, a winter day, and thou hast a long journey to go; thy forenoon is past already, and wilt thou sleep on till the evening that will soon be upon thee? The declining sun calls thee to awake.

2. What reason is there, that thy business in the world should shuffle out thy business for eternity ? Remember they had as good excuses as you, who upon the sending of them were rejected, and it was declared their day of grace was past, Luke xiv. 18, 19, 20, 24. Oh hast thou not a soul to provide for, thy eternal state to look after? Can ye wonder, if, as ye prefer the world to Christ now, he

give you your portion in this life; and if ever the time come that thou set thyself to repent, he deny thee his grace, and bid thee go to the gods thou hast served ?

3. Consider the advantages thou hast now for seriousness, when the foam of youth has settled, and the infirmities of old age have not yet drawn on. O consider, and shew yourselves men. Ye have spent your youth in vanity, and will ye spend this age too that way? What is it ye design for God, the dregs of thy years, that age that is the sink of infirmities? and ye will part with sin, wheu ye can follow it no longer. O sirs, what confidence can ye have, that God will accept that off your hand ? Mal. i. 8. “ And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil ? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil ? offer it now unto thy governor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person ? saith the Lord of hosts."

4. Suppose ye should live till ye grow old, 0 how few are there that get grace to repent when they are old ? I shall not say, there are none such ; but truly though they be, they are very rare. Be not ye encouraged to delay, because some were called at the eleventh hour, Matth. xx. 6; for if ye mark the text, these were others than those that were standing there at the third, sixth, and ninth hour. We set no bounds to sovereignity; but as for those that live under the gospel, and spend their best days in sin and estrangedness from religion, common observation tells us, that it is God's ordinary way to plague them with hardness of heart, when they grow old : Job xx. 11. “ His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust." About three hundred years after Christ, there was one that had lived a pagan till he was an old man; when he told Simplicianus that he was a Christian, he would not believe him: but when the Church saw that he was really so, their was great shouting and gladness, saying, Caius Marius Victorius is become a Christian ! They wondered to see a man when he was old born again.

5. Lastly, Will ye see the deceit of delays. When ye were young, did ye not put it off to this time? and now when that is come, ye are as unready as before. Delay no more then lest ye sleep the sleep of death.

Thirdly, Old people, why do ye delay repentance : why is not your heart bowing to God's call, when ye are begun to bow to meet the grave? Ye that have always thought ye had time enough all your days, ye will think there is time enough yet. But when is your term-day for repentance ? a death-bed, it is like. And when ye come there, ye will hope it will be but a sick-bed, and so drive off your work till the utmost point. But, O sirs,

1. May not the time past of your life suffice to have wrought the will of the flesh? Must ye have “yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep?" Well, when ye have taken it over the belly of God's call to you all your days, what confidence can ye have to look for grace or mercy then ? Sin, Satan, and the world shall have all your time, and ye will look to God, and seek his favour, when ye can do no more. 0, are ye not afraid, that that be accomplished on you ? Prov. i. 24. &c. " Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would have none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you,” &c. I trow, if your conscience were awakened just now, ye should have enough ado to fasten your feet on a promise

[ocr errors]

of mercy.

[ocr errors]

2. How do you know, that ye will get a death-bed or sick-bed ? What do ye know, but that in a moment ye may drop into eternity, as many have done ? Mind him who used to say, three words would do his turn at death. Death does not always send messengers to warn us of its approach. Nay, see what our Lord says expressly, Matth. xxiv. 48–51. “ If that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming. And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken : the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not ware of; and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

3. Lastly, And is dying such an easy business, that ye must be laying up other work, yea your main work, for a dying time? I should think, that dying itself, with the pains, throes, and sickness that ordinarily attend it, were enough of themselves. Surely, if we were rightly exercised in bealth, we would endeavour, that when we come to die, we should have nothing ado but to die. But I pray you remember, you may come to die roving, without the exercise of your

But though ye should have it to the last, I pray you consider, is the work of repentance such an easy work as to leave it till the time you can do nothing else? Will ye put off turning to God, till ye are not able to turn yourselves on a bed, but as ye are lifted ? taking heaven by storm, till your strength be gone? crying to God, till ye are not able to speak two sentences at once? making ready for death, till it be come to your bed-side ?

Use ult. I exhort you all to delay repentance and salvation-work no longer.

reason.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »