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from you. Remember, you must meet them at the bar of God. How awful-how tremendous that meeting, if you shall there be found to have been accessary to their destruction, either by your neglect, or pernicious example, or both May it please God to give you grace to discharge this and every relative duty! Of him may you receive a heart to attend unto his voice, addressing you in his word and providenco ; and may you and yours have grace to walk in his paths, that lead unto life! Amen.
YOUTH REMINDED OF JUDGMENT.
ECCLESIASTES XI. 9.
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart
cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes ; but know thou that for all these things, God will bring thee into judgment.
HE inspired author of this passage has, in his writings, paid great attention to youth. He has given them « line-upon line, and precept upon precept. He wrote much to warn them of the dangers to which they are peculiarly exposed, to instruct them in particular and appropriate duties, and to lead them forward in general piety. In doing this, he at once supported the character of a wise man, and a benevolent parent.
It is observable, that youth is the proper age of discipline, and that consequences inost important to the happiness of the young, in time and in eternity, depend upon a wise and faithful improvement of it. This season in life affords the most favorable oppor
tunity to lay a foundation for useful human knowledge, and especially is it the best time to lay a safe foundation for eternal felicity. But alas ! the
young are not apt to set a just estimate upon it, nor to judge rightly in respect to the manner in which it may safely and lawfully be spent. They consider not, that the chief end of man is to glorify God. And that they ought in all things, and at every period in life, to keep this end in view. The morning of life is frequently devoted to vain and sinful gratifications. Seriousness is put off to a time of sickness or old age, or the known approach of death.
In support of the vanity and mirth of youth, some have the confidence to quote even the word of God. They insist, that agreeable to the scriptures, “ There is a time for all things.” That youth is a proper time for gaiety and worldly amusements. They appeal for justification to the words of the text, “ Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes.” These are indeed the words of Solomon, and words of divine inspiration ; but how easy is it, for the rain and sensual, to give them a wrong construction. Was there nothing in reason, and was there nothing in other parts of the scriptures inconsitent with a literal construction of such passages, they would doubtless be very pleasing words to youth in general. Would they not, my hearers, be pleasing to some of you ? Were you assured that there is no heaven, nor hell; no final judgment, nor solemn retribution, would it not give you great satisfaction ? Were you convinced of this, would you not sin without remorse or concern? If so, you must be convinced that you are wholly unprepared to come to judment. Yet, that God will judge the world in righteousness, there can be no rational doubt. Reason, or the light of nature, affords probable evidence of it; the fitness of things evidently requires it; and God himself hath solemnly an
nounced it in his word. He hath announced it in the last clause of the text;ma solemn clause, which must by no means be kept back, but ever be held up in connection with the preceding words, in which some pretend that great indulgence is allowed: “Know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment."
In further discoursing from the text, it is proposed to enquire,
I. What it is for youth to walk in the ways of their heart, and in the sight of their eyes.
II. How Solomon is to be understood when calling upon youth in the text, thus to walk.
111. To consider the import of this solemn warning, “ Know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”
I. It is proposed to enquire, what it is for youth to walk in the ways of their heart, and in the sight of their
To this I reply,
That for youth to walk in the ways of their heart, and in the sight of their eyes, is for them to pursue those objects, and indulge those inclinations, which are natural to young people : To follow the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. We are taught by experience and observation, that the young are inclined to be independent, heedless, and vain. In all matters relating to gaiety and amusement, they choose to be their own judges, and to act according to their own views and feelings , without paying a suitable regard to the advice, counsels, or admonitions of others, even if they are given by their best and ablest friends.