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and review the evidences of your faith ; to recollect the professions you have made ; to consider the characters of Christians, in ancient times and in your own ; diligently to attend on the means of instruction and edification; and to celebrate the ordinances of Christ; to look back on your own experience; to be diligent in present duty, and, especially, to give yourselves to prayer.
My dear friends! · EXHORTATIONS and advices of this kind can never be unseasonable. Warnings, respecting the danger of the errors, and arts, and conversation, and company, of irreligious men ; may not be equally necessary to all. Because men are distinguished by eminent piety, by habitual goodness and examplary conduct, the wicked do not attempt to ensnare and feduce them: like arrows darted against a buckler of steel, or a wall of adamant, the wit or arguments of infidels fall upon them harmless, as the chaff or the thistle down, the sport of the winds. Even to such confirmed Christians, however, it is not in vain, I trust, to represent the perversity of the irreligious; their attachment to
religion is thus increased : in regretting and lamenting the influence of irreligion, their zeal for repressing that influence, their concern for saving others, and especially those with whom they are connected, from the infection of irreligious principles and practices, is awakened.
EXHORTATIONS to save ourselves from the irreligious, I have said, are too necessary, in these days. Systems of Atheism and irreligion have been published and circulated, and adopted. Nor is it enough that men are not so openly and daringly wicked. “ By 6 their works ye shall know them, who are “ without God, without Christ, and there“ fore without all rational hope, in the " world.” They have not the faith of CHRIST; the fear of God is not before their eyes ; they have virtually rejected Christianity, who allow themselves in sinfulness, in whatever is condemned in Scripture, in those things against which the Lord hath manifested, and hath declared he will manifest, his awful displeasure.
. “They profess that they know God, but
“ in works they deny him :” works, or a course of life, more certainly, and more explicitly, declare what we are, than profesfions: Are these few ? Alas! alas! many in this manner declare that they renounce the Gospel, and are of the generation of the irreligious.
AGAINST the influence of irreligious principles and irreligious practice, we would warn and guard you all: but, in a particular manner, and with peculiar earnestness, I beseech and obtest those of the rising generation to save themselves from the loose principles and morals of the age. And, let me call upon their parents to be equally folicitous that their children be not infected and polluted with the profligacy of the age. Much, very much, depends on parents. Much, very much depends on the principles you instil, the course you prescribe, the example you exhibit : “ train up a child in the “ way he should go, and when he is old he “ will not depart from it.” My young friends! be thankful for the instructions, the examples, the zeal and the devotion, of your parents. You are not always under their
eye. eye. You must go abroad into the world. Launched on the ocean of life, be not carried about by every wind of doctrine ; by the principles or manners of the irreligious. When I think on the one hand, on the excellence and blessedness of the Christian character; and, on the other, on the perversity and wretchedness of the irreligious ; I cannot but be solicitous that you embrace the one and abandon the other. When I think, on the one hand, on the temptations to which you may be exposed, and on the other, your liableness to be perverted and infected by the opinions and manners of the age, “I stand in fear of you; I would ye “ knew," to use the words of St. Paul,, “what great conflict I have for you.” From you, my young friends, especially, the Ministers of religion expect the fruit of their labours. " What is their hope, or joy, or “ crown of rejoicing, are not even ye in the “ presence of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, at his “ coming ? for ye are our glory and joy." In the words of the fame apostle, after mentioning, also, the coming and glory of the LORD, “ who shall change the vile body, Mm