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What is it bút love, that urges your parents and friends?
I beg of you seriously to think of what we are. doing. If you were to see a shepherd, who had missed a lamb out of his flock, and was toiling and exhausting himself in the wilderness to find it and bring it back to his fold that it might not be devoured by wild beasts, you would see a picture of what we are doing.
Consider now, therefore, for a moment this very point which we have been speaking of,—the difficulty of getting you to attend to these things :that we have all wandered from God; that we have all erred and strayed like lost sheep; that we have left undone what we should have done, and done what we should not have done; that there is no health in us; that we are alive to every trifle, and ready for every foolish thing.
What child is there that does not get hold of and pay great attention to foolish trifles ?-an idle song? a foolish tale? to the very things that would corrupt him? But, when we are speaking to you of the only thing, either in this world or that to come which can make you happy, what is the reason, that, when the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in both worlds is set before you, your minds are light and wandering like chaff before the wind ?
I want to convince you that we are all, every one of us, perishing sinners; and that the god of
this world hath blinded our eyes, that the light of the glorious gospel of God should not shine into our hearts,
3. I will tell you what else has been said. It has been said, that there is not only a difficulty in making children think seriously of what they hear, but, because they are so young, it is VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND AND COMPRE
HEND THAT RELIGION BY WHICH THEY MUST
When we say, Hear, ye Children, the instruction of a father, if that instruction relates to their salvation, people are ready to say,
66 You never can make them understand you.
But this I must beg leave to deny. I acknowledge to you, that there are many things in the Bible, which are of such a deep and difficult nature, that the most learned man cannot entirely enter into them: but, with respect to what is necessary to your present and eternal happiness, you are not incapable of understanding it. For instance:if you can be brought seriously to think of the instruction afforded you at school, you can easily think and understand that you are a sinner, —that you have been unkind and ungrateful to your parents and friends,—that you have been sinners against God and his commands,—that you have told lies, and done things that your own consciences have told you were wrong, -and that you are sometimes committing a double fault, first committing the fault itself, then telling a falsehood to cover it.
Why a child knows-for I have been a child, and I recollect what a child thinks and does a child knows he is wrong, and that his manner of going on is contrary to what he reads in God's word; and a child can also read in the Bible, that the small and the great must one day stand before God in judgment: not only the aged, but the young must be judged. A child can see in the Bible, that, if God had not provided a Saviour, our mouths must all have been for ever stopped before him. Young and old are guilty before God.
Now, therefore, cannot you understand that you are sinners? Have you not been obliged, very often, to confess how wrong your conduct has been, both toward God and your parents ? On the other hand, cannot you understand how gracious God has been? not only in sending Jesus Christ to save sipners, who promises pardon through his blood, and his Holy Spirit to purify the heart and make it alive to God and to love him; but you may also read how gracious this Saviour was to those children that were brought to him, when his disciples would have kept them back that they might not be a trouble to him. He says, Suffer the little children to come unto me: and he took little children up in his arms, and blessed them; as though he had said, “ I love
children. Bring them to me.
I love children to come unto me; and therefore I now set it up as a monument in my Church to shew that I love them to come unto me.”
You can read in your Bibles about a foolish young man going away from his father's house, and advice, and instruction, and ruining himself. What a miserable mistake it is, for you to suppose that you can do better for yourselves, than your parents can or will do for you!—better, without your father's advice and counsel, thanwith it! And what a miserable mistake it is, for a man to think he can do better without God, than with him; to fly from God's own counsel, his unerring word of truth!
You can there read about poor Lazarus; and see what a crown is preparing for a man, if he has but a praying heart. Though covered with rags, his affliction is but for a moment: and he is removed, and carried into Abraham's bosom: while the rich man's glory passes away like a dream; and he goes down into hell, where he cannot get one drop of water to cool his tormented tongue.
You may, therefore, - see enough in the Bible, and in the good books put into your hands, to teach you what is the mind and will of God concerning you: and you are capable of receiving a gracious proposal from God in Jesus Christ, inviting you to come to him, that you may have life here and eternal life hereafter.
If your parents' houses were on fire, you would be glad of any hand to take hold of you, that you might not be burnt: now what is the Gospel?—It is God's hand stretched out, while he says, Hear, that your souls may live.
If you had lived in Noah's time, you would have understood, that, if you did not enter into the Ark, you must be drowned. So, at this day, Jesus Christ is preached in the Gospel to you, and is set forth as the only Saviour—the Deliverer--the High Priest sent from God to redeem you by his blood, and to take you to his kingdom when you die; and if you accept of God's salvation, you shall live, as Noah did.
Let me say one thing more to you.
Suppose, when you think of these things, you find your minds puzzled; and when you get home, you say—“ I cannot understand, after all the pains the Minister has been taking with me, I cannot understand how I am to be saved, and to escape the misery of the rich man that he was telling me of, and gain Abraham's bosom.”
Then I will tell you what to do:--go, and kneel down, and say,
“ O Lord! I am a poor, ignorant child : I cannot teach myself, and the Minister cannot teach me: but thou canst teach me. Thou didst teach young Samuel, when the High Priest could not: therefore send thy Holy Spirit to teach me, and to make me understand thy love. Oh, make a child to understand thy