« PreviousContinue »
Sober mindedness warmly recommended to those
who are Young
Tit. ii. 6. Toung men likewise exhort to be fober minded.
VARIOUS and extensive are the duties incumbent upon the ministers of the gospel. So numerous, important, and solemn, that the apostle after a review and consideration of them, exclaims, “ Who is sufficient for these things ?” They are to teach the whole counsel of God; every doctrine, duty and virtue contained in the scriptures. They are with propriety to address every rank, from the highest dignity of honor to the lowelt grade of mankind. From those who sway sceptres and fit on thrones, down to the poor and those who sit on dunghills ; all these various degrees are to be instructed by them. How much need have they of all kinds of learning and wisdom, common and uncommon, to enable them to adapt their instruction to an infinity of cases. St. Paul taught people of every class, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, ministers and people, servants and children. He inftru&cd min. ifters how and to whom they should preach. He gave directions and counsels to Timothy and Titus relative to things of the Lighest importance. He sometimes prescribes to them the subjects on which they should preach, and mentions the various classes of mankind to which they were to address them. selves, and how their exhortations ought to be ordered. In this chapter Titus is counfelled to preach the duties incumbent on every age and sex. He must teach aged men how they ought to conduct : “ so that their hoary head being found in " the way of righteousness might be a crown of glory to them.” The aged women also he was to instruct, “ that they may be « in behaviour as becometh holiness. That the
young women < should be fober, discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, &c. * Young men likewise, exhort to be fober minded.” Thus ministers should be particular in their preaching. That by touching every ones case, they may affed the consciences of all. They must give to e Sery one his portion in due season. Alas, how few are disposed to take their portion, and how ready are we to make application to others of that wluch we ought to take to ourselves ?
The young persons to whom Titus is to address himself, he is to exhort. This word implies instruction, direction and perfuafion. In order to exhort any person to the performance of his duty, he must be first taught the nature, use and advantages of it ; in the next place he must be directed how to comply therewith and reduce the instruction to practice; then persuasi- . on, commonly called exhortation, is neceffary-in which motives and considerations are used, with the tendereft application to the passions, to influence and induce persons to yield a willing obedience. Here the benefits and bleflings of com. pliance with duty, and the dangers of non-compliance are to be urged and pressed upon the conscience by every argument.
The exhortation is here directed to those who are young, and the duty to which they are to give their attention is to be sober. izinded. The whole duty incumbent upon youth is compre
hended in this single phrase. And no doubt infinite wisdom selected this term, as the reverse of it is too incident to the young, to wit, levity, vanity, folly and inconsideration. And I hope, my dear young friends, you will suffer this exhortation to be pressed upon you with all earneftness, as it is the counsel of an inspired apostle, yea, of God your Maker himself. And according to your conformity to it or otherwise, you will be finally judged and so faved or lost to all eternity. The whole of this fubject will be confined to these two things,
First, the explanation of fober mindedness.
Secondly, to lay before the younger part of my audience, some of the innumerable motives which should engage them to be fober minded.
None who are acquainted with the nature and conduct of youth, and the state of the world in general, can deem such a subject either unseasonable or impertinent.
First your attention is invited to the explanation of Cober mindedness, to which the young are exhorted.
First it may be observed, that this phrase imports a found mind, and thus it is rendered in another epistle. “ For God “ hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and "of a sound mind.” A found mind is opposed to one that is disordered and corrupted; and this is unhappily the case of every mind by nature. We are born unholy and unclead, vi tiated and depraved. “ We were shapen in fin and brought “ forth in iniquity. God made man upright but he hath “ fought out many inventions." By reason of our apostacy our minds are become the abodes of darkness, confusion and disorder. Those powers which were first formed for subjection have usurped the government in the soul; the inferior paffions and sensitive appetites now rule over the superior faculties of
reason and understanding. Reafon, which was formed to go vern and direct in the human mind, is ejected from its throne; the understanding is overwhelmed in clouds of darkness; and the lower propensities and affections bear sway and triumph; hence all is anarchy and derangement in the soul. In order to become of a sound mind, these maladies must be healed, and these disorders must be rectified. And this is done by regeneration, repentance and faith ; by a restoration of the lost image of God; of divine love and holiness. Hereby the mind becomes sound, and thus persons are formed to be sober minded.
Secondly, it implies in it confideration and thoughtfulness. The heart is naturally full of vain, foreign and impertinent thoughts. When, my young friends, will you command home your roving minds, and begin to think soberly and seriously as you ought to think? When will you turn your minds to matters of infinite moment ?-to think with anxious solicitude about the concerns of your everlasting peace? “Thus faith “the Lord of hosts, consider your ways." Enter into your hearts and lives, and confider whether they are right with God according to the Gospel. Consider for what your capacities were created; for the fervice of your generation, for usefulness in the world, for the enjoyment of God and happiness forever. Consider whether it be not full time for the youngest of you to meditate upon the design of your creation, and reflect how you have lived and what you have been doing. Your passed years are gone as a tale that is told. Surely the season is come, that the youngelt of you should awake from your ilumbers of folls, and turn from your excursions in the fields of delusion, and begin to exercise your thoughts upon religion and the salvation of your souls. When the apofile issues forth this admonition to youth, that they should be fober minded, it is the same thing as to exhort them to be religious. And o that God would impress the counsels upon your hearts, in such a manner, that you would not allow yourselves peace, nor indulge your eyes ir: fcep, nor your eyelids in fumur, till this most important matter be secured, that you are whoily reduced to the renunciation of youthful lufts, your souls dedi. cated to God, and by faith reposed in the bofom of your precious faviour. Remember, all youthful follies, all manner of sin and blafphemy shall be forgiven, and heaven will not, and earth and hell cannot pluck you out of his hands. Consider, death is approaching, -eternity opening,--and before the sun concludes the day, you may launch into that future and unknown world---you may pass the bourne from whence there is no return ! “ O that you were wise, that you understood “ this, that you would consider your latter end.” You know that multitudes have launched out of this state by unforeseen and unexpected deaths. Accidents, which no human powers can provide against, have instantly broken the thread of life, and in a moment opened the gates of eternity. My children, many deaths you have already escaped, and whether ever you will escape another is with a sovereign God, who gives not an account to any of his matters. Consider, God may not preserve you from another, and it is an absolute certainty you cannot preserve yourselves ; wherefore, immediately receive the divine counsel and turn unto the Lord,
• Turn ye, turn ye, “ for why will you die?” There is no cause why you should perih, but what arises from yourselves. There is enough in your heavenly father's house, and an abundance to spare, Instantly give yourselves up to the blessed Jesus, who poured out his foul unto death for you. He is the compaffionale Saviour of youth; loved children; took them into his divine arms; laid his blessed hands upon them; and declared that of fuch is the kingdom of heaven. Those who deny children the blessed dedication to the arms of Jesus, I pass ihem over to their ignorance and their master; but Christ is merciful to little ones, whatever may be the ignorance, delusion, and perverliness of unhappy parents, delitute of natural afection. Are not children of the church Gou's children :-were they Loc his, and de oted to bini, in all the forms of vilble institu