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not returned unto me, saith the Lord. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel! and, because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel! The Day of Judgment approacheth: therefore, Brethren, be ye ready: for he, who hardeneth his heart, shall surely be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Christians! be wise to use your afflictive dispensations as from God.
The winter season is precious to the husbandman; for he then sows his corn: so is it with the Christian: weeping must not, therefore, hinder sowing. Affliction, when sanctified, is a gift: It is given, says the Apostle, in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his name.
Affliction, indeed, is the only gift, for which we are not commanded to pray; but a wise and instructed Christian will know that he ought to pray for a sanctified use of it when sent: we ought to pray that all this cost may not be in vain: we ought to pray, that, by all these afflictions, we may be brought nearer to God, and more out of the world, and never doubt any word of God, or murmur against any of his dispensations, however much we may for the present suffer. In sickness and pain, we not only send for a physician, but we commit ourselves to him: we take thankfully his medicines, though they are unpalatable: we trust to him, that he will restore us to our health.
Ah! which of us all thus trusts the Lord? Who is there among us, that thus takes his bitter medicines, though we are sure he cannot mistake our case? Physicians may err: He cannot. And yet, has he never taught us by past trials?--have we never received relief in times past? Who, that is thoroughly instructed, can avoid saying, with David, from what is past, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes ?
Take then, Christian! your particular case to the Bible this day: and that case will open to you much meaning in the Bible, while the Bible itself will throw a meaning on your case however dark: it will place your situation in a new point of view: you may so have the good word brought home to your hearts and consciences, that, like Hannah, you may go away no more sad, but rejoicing in the God of your salvation.
May we all be so instructed in the school of affliction, that we may stand as those that are spoken of in the seventh chapter of the book of Revelation: These are they, which came out of great tribulation; and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb !
TO CHILDREN AND PARENTS. *
PROVERBS IV. 1.
Hear, ye Children, the Instruction of a Father.
THE speaker here is King Solomon; who,
; while he is about to offer some very interesting remarks and to enforce some very instructive doctrines, calls for a particular attention. He calls as one that is a father, as a man of experience, as a man of an affectionate heart; and he dec!ares that he himself was instructed in this way, under the blessing of God, so as to be made wise. I, says he, (iv. 3—13.) was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thy heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom: get understanding—the wisdom that is from above—the wisdom, which will make a man wise unto salvation.
Get wisdom: get understanding : forget it not, neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore get wisdom; and, with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thy head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom: I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
* This Sermon was preached at the first establishment of the Schools for Religious Instruction at St. John's Chapel.
Take fast hold of instruction: let her not go: keep her, for she is thy life.
I shall address
I. I address CHILDREN.
Hear, ye Children, for I speak to you: hear, ye Children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
1. I must inform you that your INTEREST HAS BEEN SERIOUSLY THOUGHT OF by your Ministers, and by some other friends who belong to this place.
And, in order to give you the more simply and
plainly my mind upon the subject, I will tell you what has been our conversation respecting you.
We have said : “ What a number of precious souls are here! And what a number are there about the streets, who, when we come to converse with them, are totally insensible with respect to the things of God! What can be done for them? Can we think of any plan? Can we contrive any thing to set them on thinking? Suppose we get a number of them together, and give them such little help as we can; and get them a master and mistress to teach them to read, and collect a little money to buy them some books, and gather them together, and contrive methods that we may at least set some of them to remember their Creator in the days of their youth.”
2. It has been said, that it is VERY DIFFICULT, AFTER ALL, TO GAIN YOUR ATTENTION.
Though we say to children, Hear, ye Children, the instruction of a father ;-of a father ;-of those, who love you,—of those, who would save you from eternally ruining yourselves :—yet, it has been said, “ How difficult it is to get these chil
4 dren seriously to attend!”
Is this the case, my Dear Children? Is it not? And yet, are we not planning, and consulting, and devising expedients for your good? Do we not propose to make you happy ?-to put you out of danger? Are we not consulting your best interests, in this world and in that which is to come?