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not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them 3.
Eighth. The dying love of Jesus Christ. If other motives to serve God in youth were wanting, let this suffice, the unspeakable love of the Eternal Son of God. Already have I more than orice drawn your attention to this astonishing subject. Yes, my young friends, he left the glories of heaven and was made man for your redemption. He lived a life of woe and suffering and indignity for your sakes. All the bitter anguish of his last sufferings was for the salvation of a ruined world. Go once again and view him 'expiring on the cross. See his hands, his head, his feet pierced and wounded for your sins. Mark his dying countenance full of sorrow, woe, compassion, grief, resignation, love! Hark, he exclaims, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Contemplate the affecting scene. Look on him whom you have pierced, and mourn. Say, can you remain unmoved? Does no penitence stir in your hearts? Will you crucify to yourselves the Son of God afresh? Will you trample on his blood? Will you persevere in the practice of those sins which nailed him to the tree? Will you neglect and forget all his love, his grace, his sufferings? Behold! He views you,
3 Eccl. xii. 1:
as it were, from the cross, and calls on you to repent, invites you to believe, bids you to forsake your sins, and join yourselves to his church? And will you, can you turn away from him that speaketh from heaven? Forbid it, "most merciful God,--for to Thee we turn-tbat any young persons, who have been brought to thy holy baptism, should refuse to confirin their vows and devote themselves to Thee! Give them, O give them, we entreat Thee, Thy special grace, that they may awake 'from their fatal delusion, and consecrate themselves to Thy service in the Son of Thy love!
Lastly. The abundant grace of God, which can make even the most difficult undertakings practicable. I close by proposing this motive, because too many are disposed to consider the work of religion, however important, to be impracticable. They shrink from the effort which it requires; they have already, it may be, made some attempts, and have failed; they now therefore affect to think it impossible for them to serve God. Let me then assare such persons, that, though of ourselves we can do nothing, yet God giveth more grace. Religion is perfectly practicable; the strength and mercy of Christ are infinite; God can make us victorious over every enemy. All excuses on the ground of the difficulties of the service of Christ are the offspring of indolence or aversion. The
slothful man saith, there is a lion in the way, a lion is in the streets. There is nothing which stands between you and everlasting salvation, but a proud, obstinate, unholy will. Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life, is the reproachful language of our Saviour. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, to will and to do of his good pleasure, is the emphatic argument and direction of his Apostle. It is your duty then to venture every thing on the promise of God. You may resolve 'on taking upon yourselves the vows of religion in his strength. Only rise and be doing, and God will be with you. Nothing harsh, nothing severe is enjoined; the faintest desire, the weakest effort, shall not. be despised. The very rite of confirmation will, under the divine blessing, be the means of conveying to you some measure of the grace you need. · It shall certify you of God's favour and gracious goodness towards you; the united prayers of the Bishop and the congregation shall not be offered in vain. You shall be endued with the Holy Spirit, to enable you to fulfil your promises ; you shall go on, if you are not wanting to yourselves, from strength to strength, relying on the Lord, and the power of his might; for The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings, as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint“.
FOR A PERSON WHO IS ABOUT TO BE CONFIRMED.,
O MOST gracious and blessed God, who hast so loved the world as to give thinè only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, I beseech Thee to have mercy upon me, a guilty sinner! Enable me, by thy grace, to enter into a solemn covenant with Thee, in the sacred rite of Confirmation; give me thy Holy Spirit, as my Teacher, Comforter, and Sanctifier. I bless Thy holy name that I was born of Chris. tian parents, and was admitted to Thy holy baptism. O, strengthen me with Thy heavenly grace, that I may indeed take upon myself the Vows which were then made in my name. I desire, O God, truly to repent of all my sins; I would abase myself before Thee for my original and actual transgressions, and especially for the wicked affections of my heart. I implore of Thee, O Lord, the free pardon and forgiveness of my iniquities, through the alone merits and satisfaction of Thy Son our Lord. I plead no other name under Heaven, but only the name of thy dear Son; I desire to devote and give up myself to Thee, according to the tenour of thy gracious covenant. I would renounce the works of the Devil, the world, and the flesh, and dedicate my body, soul, and spirit to thee, as no longer my own, but bought with the inestimable price of the blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ. . I pray, O Lord, for the especial aid of thy Holy Spirit, that I may be truly sincere in my engagements which I make before Thee, and that I may have power to keep the same. Assist me, O Lord, in preparing for the public confirmation of my vows. Be with me during the solemnities of the ordinance itself. May the prayers of Thy servant the Bishop be heard and answered. May Thy Holy Spirit be conferred upon me. May I devoutly expect and depend upon His grace; and may this occasion be ever preserved in my remembrance in future years, to the glory of Thy great name and the benefit of my soul. These mercies I humbly implore, -in the name and through the mediation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
4 Isai. xl. 30, 31.