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tion in the vilible church, from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Mofes, and from Moses to Christ, and of such has not Christ declared the kingdom of heaven to confift? God forbid that true and rational christians should prohibit their infant feed from the precious ordinance, initiating them into the church, and placing them under the bleflings of the covenant of mercy. Miftaken, milinformed and deluded parents, despise the ordinance of baptism, some neglect it altogether, and some have contracted it into the narrow limits of adults. But can any make void the mercy and grace of God? Ignorant, weak and unnatural parents cannot. The covenant of grace rests upon a fir mer foundation, than the feeble opinions of men.
This I purpose to demonstrate with the leave of divine providence, in some future discourse, that those who deny baptism altogether, and those who deny it to infants, are grossly criminal before God, have departed from the truth, and must fall under the displeasure of heaven. It is an infinite mercy,
that tho' they may deprive their children of covenant blessings in the visible church, and wickedly screen them. selves from many gospel duties, yet I have always considered. the former as more confitent than the latter. This is a devia. tion which I must relinquish, and refer to future attention.
Thirdly, another thing implied in sober mindedness is cau. tion, circumspection, and prudence. How arduous the talk to reduce youth to these virtues? The word sober minded, is sometimes rendered discreet as in the verse preceding our text. This I apprehend would be a leading step to true religion, and perhaps it is a constituent of its nature. Nothing can form us to wisdom and discretion equal to religion. This is one of the highest evidences which can be afforded of real picty .Thus says St. Paul, “ Walk circumspe&tly, not as fools, but "as wife redeeming the time.” The resolution of the Pfalmist was, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way." To this Solomon often exhorts ; « My son, be wise, therefore get " wisdom, get understanding ?” Those who are young and
about entering upon the tumultuous ocean of this world, the best advice can be given you, is to take wisdom for your counfellor, and true religion for your monitor. These will be as a pillar of cloud to screen you by day, and as a pillar of light to direct your paths through this dark and dreary wildernets.
Fourthly, humility is another essential ingredient of a sober mind. Therefore St. Peter exhorts youth, “ To be cloathed
“ with humility." Perhaps more young people are ruined by pride than by any other fin. Let not the beautiful glory in his beauty, nor the ingenious in his wit, “But if any man s will glory, let him glory in the Lord." Our Saviour's dire&tion is, “ Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of « heart,"
Fifthly, purity and chastity are involved in and must not be neglected in the explanation of a fober mind. Remember our apostle deelares, “Fornication, uncleanness, and lafci. 64 viousness, youthful lufts." Abstain from every appearance of these things, and“ Even from the garment spotted by the 6 Alesh." Flear the warning voice of Solomon, “ Come not
near her house, whose feet go down to death, and her steps “ take hold on hell, lealt thou mourn at last, when thy dels .66 and thy budy are consumed."
Sixthly, fóber mindedness implies steadiness and compofure in opposition to an airy, fickle and giddy temper. "My heart “ is fixed, faith the Pfalmift, trusting in the Lord.” Establish “ your hearts therefore, and be not as Reuben, unstable as “ water, for such will never excel.” Halt not between opin. ions, but come to a conclusion, to be for God or the enemy. Chuse you this day whom you will serve, the Saviour or Destroyer of your souls. I must not omit, to observe,
Seventhly, that gravity, sincerity, seriousness, and an orderly conduct are involved in a fober mind. He who is serious is
his manners, grave in his deportment, and upright and sincere in his dealings, is not only usually stiled a sober, but a good man. Think not, O youth, I would persuade you to assume a dark countenance, a down cast look, and a gloomy phize of all people in the world, these are the most dangerous ; if they raise the fullen brow to a smile, injury follows after. And remember religion is a sweet, pleasant and cheerful thing. It Spreads pleasure over the face, and renders the conduct easy and accessable. In it is the command of heaven, « That we serve. «God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, in the abundance * of all things." Pleasure enters into the essence of religion, get there is a wide difference between a - religious cheerfulness and a vain frothiness.
But having thus explained the nature of Tobermindedness, I. proceed,
Secondly, to lay before the younger part of my audience, a? few of the innumerable motives, which should induce them to become foberminded. The topics, from which sobermind. edness might be urged upon you, are many indeed. Buo I have fo far enlarged on the former head, that brevity here is expedient. You will all, my dear youth, acknowledge, that you are finners and guilty before God. You are all by nature children of disobedience and children of wrath, and the scriptures have concluded you ail under sin. An awful sentence of death is passed upon you.. Yet blessed be the most high, there is a way of mercy and grace revealed in the Gospel, whereby you may be recovered from the ruin of your fall, relored to the favour of God, and made everlastingly happy. You are sherefore called upon to repent and believe the gospel. Hearten to the voice of divine persuasion and tender: compafli n. Turn unto the Lord with all your heart, and become foner ninded. In this way you will be comfortable in life, have Hope in death, and be happy forcyer. You are here in this
fife in a state of probation, and if you sincerely engage in religion, heaven will be your portion ; but if you continue in fin, impenitent and unconverted, after taking a few turns of levity on this mortal stage, then you must fink down into the regions of interminable despair. The longer you persevere in courses of folly and iniquity, the more difficult it will be to relinquith them. Be intreated now in this your day, folemnly to attend to the things of your peace. God is calling upon you--min- . ifters are calling upon you-the Holy Ghoit is now moving upon the hearts of many. Refilt not his motions, left God should swear in his wrath, my spirit shall no more Atrive witli you, neither shall
reft. Recollect for a mo. ment, what Christ Jesus has done to accomplish your falvation, Did he not descend from the glories of heaven--forsake the adoration of angelic hosts--come down into this wretched world --veil his divinity in humanity, and shroud all his infinite excellencies in the humiliating form of a fervant ? Did he not continually go about doing good-teaching guilty man the way of life--taking little ones into his arms--laying his hands upon them--blelling them and declaring, that of such is the kingdom of God ? Remember his poverty, cruel mockings and excruciating fufferings. Contemplate him in the garden of Gethefemene, agonizing under the awful weight of your iniquities, the pressure of which was such, that caused his blood to forsake its usual channels and fall in clotted drops to the ground. Behold him betrayed by one of his defciples, in the baselt and most deceitful treachery, with the tender and warmest signal of friendship. Follow him to the pretorium and to the high priests hall ; fee him arraigned before Pilate's unequal bar; barbaroully accused, and unjustly and inhumanly condemned -view him stripped of his own raiment, dressed in the mock robes of royalty, instead of a sceptre, a reed is put into his hand, and instead of a golden, a thorny crown is fixed on his head, and here he is molt contemptuously ridiculed in all his offices, he is smitten, tantalised, and when malice had exhausted all its stores, as the last and lowest exertion of meanness, he is fpit upon. Behold him dragged from this horror of contempt, hurried out of the city, away to Golgotha, there nailed to the cross, the delicate and nervous parts of the body, the hands and feet pierced through by the rugged steel, fufpended in this tremendous plight between heaven and earth, forsaken by his God, and all hell let loose upon him. He is here still fcornfully mocked, his fide pierced with a spear. While the sun is hiding his face from the scene, all nature in convulfion under the foot of the crois, he is praying for his murderers, expiring and shedding his blood for the atonement of their fins.
you enter into
All this, and infinitely more than can be described, did the son of God, my dear young friends, undergo and suffer for you. Are you able now to withstand this mighty collection of motives, still proceed on in sin, in impenitence, and unbelief; despise like the barbarous Jews, the blood of salvation ; trample it under foot, and make the desperate plunge into damnation ? Stop, my children, halt, pause, consider for a moment. Heaven is closing, hell is opening before you ; be entreated and befought by all the blood of God, shed on Calvary's hill, that you lay your ways to heart, cease from evil and immediately become fober minded. Others are bathing in this blood and drinking in the streams of life eternal, and why should not you? This is the last particular address, you will ever proba. bly hear from my aged lips. And I shall close it all in the words of Abraham's fervant to the house of Laban; “ If * you will deal kindly and truly with my master tell me, if “ not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand, or to the o left.” O! children, turn unto the Lord, and become sober. minded.