A Course of SERMONS ON Early Piety. By the EIGHT MINISTERS who carry on the Thursday-LECTURE in BOSTON. With a PREFACE by the Reverend Dr. INCREASE MATHER, And also clos'd with a Discourse lately had by Him to Young People.

Hac Casti Maneant in Religione Nepotes.

BOSTON: in N. E. Printed by S. Kneeland, for N. Buttolph, B. Eliot, and D. Henchman, and Sold at their Shops. 1721.

[Page i]

A PREFACFE OF Dr. Increase Mather.

WHEN the Eight Ministers who at this time carry on the an­cient and famous Thursday-Lecture of BOSTON, agreed upon Preaching Eight Ser­mons on the Nature, and Methods, and Motives, of EARLY PIETY, I did with Satisfaction Look on this their Agreement as a Motion from GOD; And I could have no Greater Joy, than to see my Children thus Walking in the Truth, and so zealous to Invite and Perswade the Children of their People, to Chuse the Way of Truth, and Walk with the GOD of their Fathers.

THEY have sollicited a Line or two, from my [Page ii]Aged and now Shaking, Hand, to Testify my Sa­tisfaction in what they have done, and I Cheerful­ly give it.

PIETY, or, the Return of a Soul to GOD in His CHRIST, and a Godly, and Sober, and Righteous Life led upon it, is the whole Duty, and Interest, and Wisdom of Man; And the more Early the Piety, the Greater the Wisdom and Comfort and Glory of them that come into it. These are Things that cannot be Spoken a­gainst!

I therefore do Recommend this Book, of Early Piety, not only unto the Young People in the Country, but also unto their Parents; Advising them to Recommend it unto their Families, and make it accompany the Charges which they Lay upon their Children, to know and Serve the GOD of their Fathers.

AS for me, I am now in the Eighty Third Year of my Age. And having had in my Mino­rity, an Opportunity to Converse with the most Renowned Servants of GOD, who were the First Planters of this Country, and of the Churches in it; and having been for Sixty Five Years a Preacher of the Gospel, after my poor manner, in these Churches; Except some Years, when I have been favoured of GOD with Opportunities to Serve Him in Europe, first, when I was a very Young Man, in Dublin, in Glocester, and in Guer [...]sey, before the Year 1662. and after words, when I was was more than Thir­ty Years ag [...] absent from my Charge, for Four Year [...] in an A [...]ency for the Country: I cannot [Page iii]but be in the Disposition of those Ancient Men, who had Seen the Foundation of the First House, and Wept with a Loud Voice, to see what a Change the Work of the Temple had upon it. I wish it were no other than the Weakness of Ho­race's old Man, the Laudator Temporis acti, when I complain that there is a Grievous Decay of Piety in the Land; and a Leaving of the First Love: And that the Beauties of Holiness are not to be seen in our Churches, as once they were: A Fruitful Christian, grown too Rare a Spectacle: Yea, too many are Given to Change, and Leave that Order of the Gospel, to Sett up and uphold which, was the very Design of these Colonies: And the very Interest of NEW-ENG­LAND seems to be Changed from a Religious to a Worldly Interest. On which Accounts, it is to be feared, that awful changes are further coming on the Country; and that the Holy SON of GOD, offended at the Apostasy, may order for it, a deep share in the Cup of Trembling, which He is now upon giving to the Sinful Nations. I must Weep, and I now do it with a Loud Voice, for what I see. Oh! That my Head were Waters, & my Eyes a Fountain of Tears!

NOTHING will contribute so much, to avert the Evil Tokens, at which they who dwell in the Wilderness may be afraid; as a Revival of PIETY, Even of EARLY PIETY, in the Ri­sing Generation.

MY own poor Essays for that purpose, have been Published, and Repeated, and some of them Reprinted many Years ago. And now, I Ear­nestly [Page iv]pray to the GOD of all Grace, that He would succeed these Holy Labours of My Sons, to serve the same Designs of Early Piety.

I will call them, My Sons; Because the First of them, (whom also, being Fifty Eight Years Old, the r [...]st esteem as a Father to them,) is by Na­ture so; and has for One and Forty Years as a Son with a Father Served with me in the Gospel. The Rest of them are such as I have Reason to Love as my Children. They are all of them Faithful Servants of GOD; and precious Gifts of our Ascended SAVIOUR unto His Churches. They have all of them heretofore given unto the Public in the Way of the Press Desireable Fruits and Proofs of their Abilities; whereof some have been upon the Subject of Early Piety. And what Acceptable Words must these Preachers bring, when they have been such Laudable Examples themselves in their own Practice of that EARLY PIETY, which they thus Preach unto others!

I am going the Way of all the Earth, and have been many Years Longing for that Blessed Hour, when I shall (I have a Good Hope thro' Grace) be received into the Everlasting Habi­tations, and into that World, which has no Sin and no Temptation to Sin in it, and where a CHRIST is to be seen in His Wondrous Glories. But, Thou, O Lord, How Long!

AS Polycarp going to dy, gave his Testimony, That he had Served CHRIST more than Four­score Years, and had always found a Good Master of Him! I would now also Dy bearing my Testimony for Him, who in my Early Youth [Page v]mercifully Siezed me f [...]r Himself, That in all my Pilgrimage I have also found a Good Master of that Glorious LORD. But what a Good Master I shall find Him, I know not Now, I shall know Hereafter. I shall not know, till He sent for me! — Which, O my GOD and SAVIOUR, I am daily waiting for; — Why is [...]hy Chariot so long in coming? Why tar­ry the Wheels of thy Chariot!

Increase Mather.


  • SERMON I. THE Pious Parents Wishes. By Dr. COTTON MATHER.
  • SERMON II. The Nature of Early Piety as it respects GOD By Mr. WADSWORTH.
  • SERMON III. Early Piety as it respects Men. By Mr. COLMAN.
  • SERMON IV. Early Piety as it respects Our-selves. By Mr. SEWALL.
  • SERMON V. The Obligations to Early Piety. By Mr. PRINCE.
  • SERMON VI. The Advantages of Early Piety. By Mr. WEBB.
  • SERMON VII. Objections Answered. By Mr. COOPER.
  • SERMON VIII. Exhortations and Directions to Young People. By Mr. FOXCROFT.
  • To those is Added, SERMON IX. Advice to the Children of Godly Ancestors. By the Reverend and Aged Dr. INCREASE MATHER.
[Page 1]

What the Pious PARENT wishes for.


Give unto Solomon my Son a PERFECT HEART.

O BLESSED and Hopeful CHILDREN, and what Comforts to their Pa­rents, that are made Par­takers of such a Blessing! O Blessed and Joyful PA­RENTS, that may see such a Blessing Obtained for their Children! EARLY PIETY is the Glo­rious Blessedness. A PIOUS MIND is that Perfect Heart, which we have in Prosecution. There is an Unspeakable Passion in the Souls [Page 2]of Parents, To see their Children Happy. Nature knows not a Passion more Vehement more En­gaging. I am going to show you, O CHIL­DREN, What will make you Happy: I am go­ing to show you, O PARENTS, How you may come to see them Happy. O set your Hearts unto these Things; Your Life is in them. Give a Great Attention. But, O Gra­cious GOD, make Thou a Good Impression upon the Hearers of them!

I Remember that on a Coin of the Empe­rour Constans, which we have in our Hands, there is the Emperour drawing a Youth after him, and those Words about him, Faelix Tempo­rum Reparatio: Intimating, That for the Re­forming of the Times, Youth is Principally to be dealt withal. Sensible of This, the mana­gers of your Lectures, propose now a Sett of Sermons on EARLY PIETY; Hoping in, and Waiting on Heaven, to give an Efficacy to them.

WE find the Illustrious David a little before he died, very Sollicitous about the Welfare of the Son, that was to Survive him, and Succeed him; To have the Son, whom his own Eyes, and the Eyes of the People were much upon, Do worthily after he should be Dead.

BEHOLD, First, The Method which is ta­ken by a Father full of Goodness, that so he might have an Happy Son, and a Son that [Page 3]should be like him. He Prays for the Son: He carries him to GOD; he commits him to GOD; he intreats GOD Mercifully to take Notice of him. No Method like to This.

BUT then, Behold, Secondly, The Blessing to be sought in this Method; the Blessing which alone makes an Happy Son. A Perfect Heart is that Blessing. A Perfect Heart is here desired for a Solomon: A Thing enough to make an Happy Solomon! I observe by the way an Hebrew Elegancy in the Original. The Name of Solomon is derived from that Word that Signifies, To be Perfect, as well as to be Peaceable; and the very Word that is used here. It is, q. d. ‘Lord, make my Solo­mon a Real Solomon, give to my Solomon the Heart of a Solomon, let the Heart as well as the Name of my Son, have that Perfection, which will have Peace Entail'd upon it.’

I am again to tell you, That a Pious Mind, is the Thing to be Understood by a Perfect Heart. And this is the DOCTRINE which now very strongly demands a devout Recep­tion with you.

THE PIOUS MIND, of a PERFECT HEART will make Blessed CHILDREN: And PA­RENTS ought fervently to pour out their Prayer unto the GOD of all Grace, to pour down such a Blessing upon their Children.

[Page 4] I. IT will be proper, in the First place, to declare, what that Blessing is, which being found in our Children, they will be known to be an Offspring which the Lord has Blessed. Children, It is a Perfect Heart that must be found in you, if you would not incur the Doom of cursed Children. But I am again, and again, to tell you, that a Pious Mind is that Perfect Heart. A Principle of PIETY in­fused into the Heart, is that which will make it a Perfect Heart. We do not Expect from you an absolute perfection, which the heart of no Man in this World may pretend unto; or an Heart perfectly, compleatly, exactly, and in all points Conformed unto the Law of GOD, which no Man in this World has attain'd un­to. Since the Fal [...] of Man, there never was but ONE MAN, whose Heart in all things complied with the Will of GOD; And HE was more than a Meer MAN. It was thy heart, O our IMMANUEL. It was HE, who with a Perfect Heart, wrought out, and brought in, the Righteousness, which alone you are to plead before GOD, O our Children, that you may be Justified. Who can say, I have made my heart clean? But then, there is a [...] Evangelical perfection, which will be Expect­ed and Required of you. Otherwise, O [...] who was no Old Man could not have made su [...] an Appeal to the Glorious GOD, as that, Is [...] XXXVIII. 3. O Lord, I have walked before the with a perfect heart. The exceeding Broad La [...] of our GOD, may say, Tho' Noah and Jo [...] [Page 5] stood before me, I would condemn them; they should not so much as deliver their own souls, by the perfection of their own righteousness. And yet both Noah and Job, had that Character, He was a perfect Man: Which implies a per­fect heart in those holy ones. Truly, such an Heart is produced, where a Principle of PIE­TY is in its operation.

WHEREFORE, First, O Children, If you would be owned for Children of a perfect heart, you must make sure, of an Hearty, Real, Thorough Conversion unto GOD. You read of such an Excellent Thing as that; Ezek. XXXVI. 26. A new heart will I give you. This New Heart will be a Perfect One. A Changed Heart, a Cleansed Heart, an Heart with a New Biass upon it; an Heart no longer set upon the Vanities of the World; an Heart wherein GOD resumes His Throne, and Idols are dethroned, and GOD has the Regards paid unto Him, which have heretofore been Sin­fully paid unto Creatures; This is the Per­fect Heart. An heart filled with the Love of GOD, and set above all Things, to chuse and to do the Things that please Him; an Heart filled with the Love of CHRIST, and closing with Him in all His Offices, and Feeding and Living on the Fulness of which there is All in Him; an Heart filled with the Love which is due to Mankind, and which will make one do as he would be done [...]. This is the Pious Mind, which, O Children, You must come into, [Page 6]if you would not perish Wonderfully. And there will be a Perfect Heart, in this Pious Mind. There will be this to Legitimate the Expression; A True Conversion to PIETY, is what will reach to every Faculty of the Heart. The New Creature, in the Converts of Zion, is Perfect, in that it has every part; tho' the Renovation be but in part. A Young Person brought home to GOD, has his Understanding Enlightened; his Phantasy Regulated; his Memory Purified; his Will Rectified; his Af­fections brought into Order; he gives up his whole heart unto GOD; he reserves no Powers of his Mind, but concerning all of them, he says, Oh! Let my SAVIOUR take possession of it.

SECONDLY; As we would bring out Children to a Profession of PIETY, so we would Exhort them to Sincerity in their Profession, Children, Get a Sincere Heart, and you will have a Perfect Heart. Sincerity has a sort of Perfection in it. You must have your Heart engaged in what you do about the Ser­vice of God; and when He calls, Prov. XXIII. 28. My son, give me thy heart; your heart must reply, My God, I am intirely thine! The Heart as well as the Name, is to be given unto the Lord; the Heart is to be washed from Wicked­ness, and every thing that is offensive unto GOD, must be banished from it. This is [...] perfect heart. And a Young Person of such [...] Pious Mind, will Realize the Eye of GOD up­on [Page 7]him, and behave himself as having his ve­ry Heart Naked and Open before Him. Walk before me and be perfect, said our God unto the Patriarch. Children, you must Walk as be­fore GOD, wherever you come. And here­withal, both do that which is Right; and have a Right Aim in your doing of it. Sin­cerely Aim at Offering up to GOD, an Accep­table Sacrifice; not aiming at the Praise of Man in what you do; not meerly seeking to avoid the Censures, of your Superiours, or your Observers, in what you do.

THIRDLY. We cannot be satisfied, Except our Children Endeavour an universal Obedience unto GOD. What is a perfect heart? A Da­vid, even one of a thousand, shall be our inter­preter. Says he, 'Tis to keep the Command­ments, even to do all these Things. Children, You will be before GOD, what you Desire, and Study, and Labour to be. A Perfect Heart, and a Perfection of Obedience to God, is to be mightily and constantly Endeavoured with you. You have those two together, 1 Chron. XXVIII. 9. My son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and a willing mind. Your heart will be perfect if your Mind be Willing, to be, and to do, all that you find GOD enjoyning upon you. A Young Person willing to be perfect and intire, lacking of nothing in his Obedience to GOD; willing and wishing to be made perfect in e­very good Work, doing the Will of God; willing [Page 8]and wishing to deny all ungodliness and lead a Godly, and a Sober, and a Righteous Life; And one, who if he might have his Will would ne­ver Sin against the GOD that is above; One who makes it his Exercise to keep a conscience v [...]id of offence towards God and man: This is one of a Perfect Heart. Oh! may you all, with such a Pious Mind, have Respect unto all the Commandments of God!

Finally, O, our Children, Being thus disposed for PIETY, and Resolved for the ways of GOD, we must have you fixed in your Holy Resolutions, with an Humble Dependence on your SAVIOUR, for the Aids of His Grace. You must come to that, Psal. LVI. 7. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: It is an heart fixed for GOD. This Fixed Heart, will be a Perfect Heart. You must not only Begin well, but Hold on, and Hold out, unto the End. A Pious Mind will be sure to do so; will with a Patient continu­ance in Well-doing, lay hold on Eternal Life. The Apostasy of Solomon was very disagreea­ble to the Perfect Heart which the Prayer of his Father beg'd on his behalf. But then in his Recovery out of his Apostacy, we may hope that the Prayer was answered.

THIS, This is the Blessing, which will in­vest our Children with all Blessings; all the Blessings of Goodness are Comprehended in it This the Blessing, which, Oh! what shall we do, that our Children may be enriched with it

[Page 9] II. I said, What shall we do? And this is what I am going to tell you. And now, O ye Parents, this Commandment is for you! It is required of you, To pour out your Fervent PRAYER unto the GOD of all Grace, that He would pour down the Blessing of a Perfect Heart, and a Pious Mind upon your Children. As for the Genuine Children of Abraham, I know them, says the Lord; Whatever Offspring may be given to them, they will cry to GOD, Oh! That my Offspring may live in thy sight! Yea, they will keep crying to Him, till their Weeping Faith has received this Answer from Him; As for that Offspring, I have heard thee! Behold, I have Blessed it.

PARENTS, What is your main concern for your Children? PIETY in you, will make it your main concern that they may have a Pious Mind Enlightening and Inclining of them. If your main concern be, to get the Riches of this World for your Children, and leave a [...]el­ly-full of this World unto them, it looks very suspiciously, as if you were yourselves the People of this World, whose Portion is only in this Life. Most certainly, you are Earthly Minded ones, if your main concern for your Children be, that they may have the fine Things of the Earth heaped upon them, and if in your Thoughts for them you only Mind Earthly Things. Your own heart is not Right in the Sight of GOD, if you are not thorough­ly perswaded of this, That for your Children [Page 10]to be enriched with a Perfect Heart will be of more Account than for them to be suppli­ed with Silver and with Gold, or with any perishable Riches. You are directed, Mat. VI. 33. Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. The direction is, That you do so [...] your Children, as well as for yourselves. Oh! Seek first that with the Righteousness of a Pious Mind they may be brought into the Kingdom of God. We read indeed, That Wis­dom is good with an Inheritance, But what Good will any Temporal Inheritance do them, if your Children be not made Wise unto Salva­tion? Parents, if you have a Perfect Heart yourselves, nothing but such an Heart in your Children can make you easy about them. You are yourselves without the Fear of GOD, if you can easily bear to see your Children with­out it. We read, Prov. XVII. 25. A foolish son is a grief to his father, and a bitterness to her that bare him. To see a Son taking such Cour­ses, as a Pious Mind cannot but abhor to take such, that if he Dye Impenitent, he must be mourned over as another Absalom: To see a Daughter so Lewd, so Base, as a Pious Mind would abhor to be, one of whom you must complain, Alas, my Daughter, thou hast brought me Low, and thou art one of them who Trouble me. What a Grievous Bitterness must such a Thing be to Parents, that are not utterly Forsaken of GOD. Parents, This is the Thing to be again and again Urged upon you. Write after the Copy of the Beloved Man, who had an Heart after [Page 11]the Heart of GOD. Lift up a Prayer, yea, a Cry that shall reach and pierce the Heavens, unto the Glorious Lord; Lord, Give Thou a Perfect Heart unto mine Offspring. The Pa­rents of Old came unto our SAVIOUR for their Children, that had Maladies on them, or were seized by Evil Spirits; And He had Compassion on them. Oh! Implore this Com­passion of your SAVIOUR for your Children. A Pious Mind, would relieve all their Mala­dies, would rescue them from all Evil Spirits would make Lovely and Happy Children of them.

THE Matter is to be yet more distinctly Prosecuted, with several Admonitions of the Lord.

FIRST. I pray, What is that Heart which these poor Children of yours are born withal? Truly, such an one as you know, that you be­fore them were born withal. A Sinful Heart, a Corrupt Heart, a Vicious Heart, an Heart that is a very Hell of Wickedness. What are your Children by Nature! Such a Nature as the Poison of the Old serpent entring into our First Parents, has brought upon them? It is a sad Relation, which the O [...]cles of GOD have given of it; Eph. II. 3. By nature the Children of wrath. What is the Heart which your Chil­dren bring into the World with them? What? But an Heart that is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked? What, But an evil Heart of Unbelief which always departs [Page 12]from the Living GOD? It is the same Heart, that the People before the Flood were infect­ed withal; Gen. VI. 5. Every Imagination of the thoughts of the heart only evil continually. O Wretched Heart! Who and what shall deli­ver your Children from such an Heart? Or, How can you bear to see them ly in these deadly Circumstances; thus Dead in Trespasses and Sins? A Perfect Heart will be the only deliverance of your Children from this Wretch­ed Heart. Nothing but a Pious Mind, and a Sanctifying Work of God upon the Heart, can bring the Heart of your Children out of the woful Depravation, that Sin has brought upon them. And O Parents, you are concerned the more to seek this Deliverance for them, inasmuch as it is thro' your Mediation, that this Distempered Heart is convey'd unto them. 'Tis an Hereditary Distemper; thro' you Loins there is made the Conveyance of it. The best of Parents have such an Heart-break­ing Thought as this to Humble them. Eve [...] the Sons of Jesse the Righteous, may say, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother con­ceive me. Oh! What Reason have you to do all that can be done, that the Heart of your Children may be cured of the Leprosy, and the Grievous Diseases, which you have given them? It was a Fair Law concerning the Man that had Wounded another; Exod. XXI. 19. He shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. What! won't you do what you can, that your Chil­dren may be Thoroughly healed of the Wounds, [Page 13]given them, whereto you yourselves are Ac­cessary? O Worthy to be called Parricides rather than Parents! Entrails you may have; but Bowels you have none, if you can see the forlorn State of your Children, and not have your Bowels bleeding over them.

SECONDLY. If once you may see a perfect heart in your Children, Oh! how well, how well, do you see them therein provided for? Parents, If you will not provide for your Chil­dren, what are you? Ostriches. Nay, Infidels! Nor is this Term hard enough. You have the Brand of such in 1 Tim. V. 8. If any pro­vide not for his own, he is worse than an Infidel. If your Children once come to have a Perfect Heart in them, they are well-provided for; never till then! The Hebrew Word for peace, comes from this Root, Shalam, to be perfect. Verily, They that have a perfect heart, have a Root of peace within them; a Root which all the peaceable fruits of Righteousness will grow upon. A perfect peace will be that which a perfect heart will have a Claim unto. A per­fect heart is that Godliness which has the Pro­mise, both of the Life that now is, and of that which is to come. It is promised unto the up­right walk, which a perfect heart leads unto, The Lord GOD is a sun and a shield; The Lord will give Grace and Glory; no good thing will he withhold from it. It may be, you can't lay up any great portion of Wealth for your Children. Oh! But if you can get a perfect [Page 14]heart into them; then they have a Portion, and a Goodly Heritage. Yea the Infinite GOD Himself is their Portion. Then you may be sure, that God will be their Father, and their Father will know what they want and grant it unto them. You may be sure, That when Father and Mother forsakes them, the Lord will take them up. Yea, Then you may be sure, that they are not brought forth for the Murder­er: You may be sure, That they shall be Blessed with all the Spiritual Blessings in the Heavenly places. You may be sure, they shall have a share in the Inheritance of the Saints in Light, and one Day come to Inherit all things. Oh! the Glad Parents that can see their Children thus Admirably Provided for Yea, I will bring you forth now, and say unto you, Look now towards Heaven, and tell the Stars if thou art able [...] number them. Tell the very Great and preci­ous Promises of God, which glitter like Stars in the Firmament, which He has Expanded over His Church; All These will I give unto thee, and unto thy Offspring, saith the Lord, If a perfect heart in you prepare you for it.

THIRDLY. If your Children remain desti­tute of a perfect heart, their Condition is, how Deplorable, how Deplorable, how beyond all Expression Miserable! Parents, can you see your Children in a Slavery to the powers of dark­ness, and serving divers Lusts, worse of it than any Slaves on the Coast of Barbary, and [Page 15]not be in anguish to see them set at Liberty! Can you see your Children, fallen into the cruel Fangs of Lyons or of Tygers; and not with Agony call for some help unto them! Can you see your Children fast asleep in an House on Fire over their heads; and not fly with Agony to help them out of the Flames! This is their very Condition. And nothing, I say unto you, nothing but a Perfect Heart brought into them, can Save them out of it. Strangers to a perfect heart, they Dye in their Sins; Dye, so that it had been Good for them, they had never been born. Be you and your Children what you will, if they never have a perfect heart produced in them, the Great GOD says upon them, as in Amos IX. 7. Are ye not as Children of the Ethiopians unto me, saith the Lord! Yea, because in the Church-state you have them Lifted up to Heaven, their Damnation will be more Dreadful, and a Deeper and Hotter Hell will be assign'd unto them, than what shall be inflicted on the Children of Ethiopians. Your Children, have upon them the spots that show they are not the Children of GOD, until a perfect heart have taken away those Ugly and Filthy spots. But then whose are they? The heart of your Chil­dren has in it, the seeds of Eternal Death, the Worms that will never Dye. The Dispositi­ons in the Carnal Mind of your Children, are such, that they cannot please GOD in them: They are full of Enmity to GOD. The Holy GOD can be no other but a Consuming Fire [Page 16]unto them, until they have an Heart other­wise Disposed. GOD will be Terrible [...] to them in His Holy places; yea, Fearful to be spoken! The Holy places themselves can­not but be Terrible, uneasy, ungrateful to them; they will not be able to breath in so pure an Element. Nothing but a perfect heart can Save them from the Wrath to come. They are Fuel for the Devouring Fire and the Ever­lasting Burnings, until a perfect heart has giv­en another Temper to them. Oh! If you would not have these Children cast into the place of Dragons, or would not yourselves be such unto them, you must be in pain to get a perfect heart into them. They are undone, undone;—Till this be done for them.

FOURTHLY. The perfect heart, which is the ONE THING to be Desired for your Chil­dren, and what should be sought after; Where is it? Whence comes it? Who gives it? Sure­ly, none but the GOD of all Grace can give it. It is the Glorious GOD, who says, Ezek. XXXVI. 26. A new heart will I give you. If we could our selves give a perfect heart unto our Children, and fill their Heart with the Love of their GOD and their Neighbour, and a Zeal to do Good, what Virtuous Parents would not presently do it with all their Heart? Lord, It should be the First Thing that we would presently do for our Children; T [...] make them Thy Children. But it is Beyond us. It is Above us. A very Distinguishing stroke [Page 17]and beat of a perfect heart is, a Faith in the only SAVIOUR; a Flight unto Him for His Great Salvation. But whose Gift is this! We are told, Eph. II. 8. Faith is the Gift of God. And so, we are else-where told more than once, That GOD gives Repentance. A perfect heart, which is always a very Tender one; 'tis a Stone turn'd into Flesh. Who but the Almighty GOD can do such a Thing as that? Create in us a clean heart, O our GOD. It is a Creating Work, to make a perfect heart. None but GOD the Creator of all things, can do such a Thing. This is my Glory, saith the Lord, and my Glory I will not give unto a­nother.

Fifthly. PRAYER, PRAYER, to the GOD of all Grace, is not this the Way to ob­tain the Gift? By pouring out your Prayer to a Gracious GOD for it, you may obtain of Him. So we are taught, concerning the Bles­sing of a perfect heart; Ezek. XXXVI. 27. I will be enquired of on the behalf of the house of Israel, to do it for them. [It should be ren­dred so.] When Parents do with unceasing Fervour implore our Good GOD, that He would please to do this Good unto their Chil­dren; To make them Good, and upright in Heart; it is a sign, that He will at some time or other do it for them. Our Good GOD is willing to bestow the Grace of a Perfect Heart, when He is asked for it. Nay, there is no Case, wherein that Word is oftner fulfill'd, than it [Page 18]is in This; Ask, and it shall be given you. Not is there any Prayer more grateful unto GOD, than This. Parents, There is nothing for which you can go to GOD with more of En­couragement and Expectation; O Do Thou give a perfect Heart unto this Child; The Heart of thy Children; O my GOD. I can lead you to a Word, worth more than a Rock of Dia­monds, or a Mountain of Gold! It is that Word, Luk. XI. 13. If you that are Evil, know how to give good Gifts unto your Children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit unto them that ask Him? What a ravishing Word is This! Quicken'd by it, Oh, Go now to your Heavenly Father, not only for your selves, but also for your Children. With Tears beg it of Him; O my Father, I long, I long for it, That my Children may be thy Servants. O my SAVIOUR, if Thou will allow of it, the Descent of thy Holy SPIRIT upon them will make them so. O my GOD, Let thy Good SPIRIT lead them into the Land of Rectitude O SPIRIT of Grace, do thou take possession of them. 'Tis very certain, That if GOD give His Holy SPIRIT unto your Children, the Holy SPIRIT will give a perfect heart unto them. The Holy SPIRIT will Renew a right Spirit in them; will Purify their Heart by a Faith of His Working there; will make them the Temples of GOD. The Holy SPIRIT will write his Laws in their Heart, and Rectify all Dis­orders there, & bring all things to rights with in them. Yea, as we Read, That when the Ho­ly [Page 19]SPIRIT first fell on the Gentiles, the Spec­tators were astonished at what they saw: The Holy SPIRIT falling on your Children, you will see Things done for them, that will fill you with Astonishment; but, Oh! What Sa­tisfaction! Oh! What Consolation! Ask, Ask, and see what will be done for you.

BUT then, it must be Remembred, That your Prayer for the Renovation of your Children, and their thus passing from Death to Life, must have Two Concomitants.

First; YOUR SAVIOUR has told you, That Men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Your Prayers for your Children must be, Oh! how Importunate; — such as compassionate Heaven uses to give no Denial to! Prayers, and Supplications, with strong Crying, and Tears, to Him that is Able to Save your Children from the Death, which you are Afraid will feed upon them! Oh! Plead with a Compassionate GOD, as a Soul Wrestling with Him, and Weeping in Supplications, that will humbly protest, Lord, I will not let thee go, except Thou Bless the Chil­dren, and put thy fear into them! Humbly Plead with Him His Promise, and shew Him His own Hand-Writing; Even that Word, on which He has caused you to hope; Isai. XLIV. 3. I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my Blessing upon thine offspring. Do thus, until the New-born-Child shall be called a SAMUEL, and you may say, I have asked him and gained him of the Lord. But then, The Importunity [Page 20]of your Prayers must especially be expressed in the Perpetuity of them. The Mercy of seeing your Children turned from Darkness unto Light, and from the power of Satan unto GOD perhaps will not be presently granted you Nay, you may see, as in the Grant of every Special Mercy it uses to be, a Sentence of Death long written upon it, before you receive it. A GOD who waits that He may be Gracious, will have this Mercy waited for: Bu [...] the Mercy is worth waiting for: And if you don't grow weary of calling upon GOD but still follow Him with your Incessan [...] Prayers, O you that keep Sewing in Tears you shall anon see a comfortable Harvest You shall find, That the Lord is Good unto them that wait for Him, unto the Soul that seek [...] Him. There will be a Month, wherein GOD will find these Wild Children, and make New Creatures of them. It may be, O Hezekia [...] GOD will by'nd by throw thy Wicked M [...] nasseh into the Chains of such Afflictions [...] such Convictions, as will compel him to See [...] the GOD of his Father. My Friend, Crying [...] thy SAVIOUR, that thy Child may be fre [...] from the Devils that have possession of it, [...] may appear Deaf unto thy Cry; He ma [...] seem to treat thee like a Dog. But still, Ho [...] on! Hold on! Pray on! O my SAVIOUR ha [...] Mercy on my sinful Child, and let no Devil [...] tain him from thy Service! Do so, until the hear Him say, Great is thy Faith; Be it un [...] thee as thou wilt!

[Page 21] Secondly. YOUR Pains must accompany your Prayers. You must Instruct your Chil­dren, you must Advise your Children, as well as Pray for them; speak to them, as well as for them. You must Restrain them, and use all the Methods of Prudence to keep them from the Paths of the Destroyer; use all the Methods of Wisdom, to win their Souls, and spread the nets of Salvation for them, to see a CHRIST formed in them. Not only Pray for the Children, but also lay the Charges of GOD up­on them: Like David who Charged Solomon his Son, and said, Keep the Charge of the Lord thy GOD, to walk in His Ways. On! with all possible solemnity lay upon them those Char­ges, 1 Chron. XXVIII. 9. Know thou the God, of thy father and serve him. Take them aside, and Charge them immediately to consider th [...] in Ways, and look into the state of their Souls. Charge them, with Distressed Souls, to Em­brace an Offered SAVIOUR with all His Be­nefits; Charge them, to keep up the Religion of the Closet, and Read the Word, and seek the Face of GOD in their daily Retirements. And Charge them; to shun dangerous Compa­ny; to Forsake the Foolish and Live; And Re­member the Bonds of GOD, that in their Baptism were laid upon them. Yea, then cause them to kneel down by you, and make them the Witnesses of the Weeping Supplicati­ons, with which you carry them unto the Lord. Not only the Servants, but also the Handmaids of the Lord, have done thus; And [Page 22]the Success of it on their Children has been ad­mirable! But then there is one thing more to be Expected from you. Parents, Be Pat­terns: let your Children see in you, the Pat­terns of All Goodness. Be Exemplary; with Holiness in all manner of Conversation, give them an Example of a Prayerful, Watchful, Fruitful walk with GOD. In you let them see how they should walk, that GOD may be pleased with them. When Elisha was con­cerned for a Double Portion of the Spirit, that had been in his Predecessor, Elijah told him, that if he saw him at his mounting up to Hea­ven, he should have it. This may be, and has been, so far alluded to; Oh! if your Children may see you going to Heaven, and may see the Heavenly Flights of your Souls, in your Contempt of Earth, your Horror at Sin, your Value for CHRIST, and your Com­munion with GOD; there would probably fall upon them, a Mighty Portion of the Spirit which you desire for them; the Spirit of PIETY, which you have desired for them.

III. IT is now Time, for our Children to be­come sensible of an Inference, which there can be no avoiding of. Certainly, O Children, you should be as much concerned for yourselves; as you see your Parents are for you; you ought fervently to make your own Prayer, to the GOD of all Grace, for that Perfect Heart and Pious Mind, which our Parents are seek­ing for you. 'Tis what I am now to press [Page 23]upon the YOUNG PEOPLE in the Auditory: Oh! Let it become your Hearts Desire, and your Prayer unto GOD, that a perfect heart may be given unto you. Fall down, Oh! Fall down before the Glorious GOD, with such a Petition as this; Lord, Bestow all the Disposi­tions of a Pious Mind upon me! If any of you, and, alas, how many of you, Lack this Wis­dom, let them Ask it of GOD, and it shall be giv­en them. Think not to say within yourselves, That because you have Parents who have Pray'd for you, there is no need of your Pray­ing for yourselves. For I say unto you, That if you have not so much Tendency to a Pious Mind as to Pray for a Pious Mind yourselves, and if the Fruits of a Pious Mind be not found upon you, GOD will how you down, and cast you into a Fire that never shall be quenched.

THERE is a Passage in the Psalms, which a Famous Jew, would have to be Read thus; Psal. CXIX. 126. It is Time to work for the Lord, for they have made void thy Law. The Men without whose Vision the People would perish, do see a sad Spectacle in the Rising Generation among us. They see vast Num­bers of YOUNG PEOPLE with Madness in their heart, going down unto the Dead; They see Busy Apostles of Satan using various Arts to render the Ministry of the Gospel Despica­ble, and even Detestable unto them, and so utterly to defeat the Hopes of their being brought Home unto GOD; They see Little Foxes using more than Little Attempts to [Page 24] Spoil the Vines, and Sowre and Wither the Tender Grapes, into the Grapes of Sodom Their Eye affects their Heart, and they weep in secret places, to see the Souls of the Chil­dren ripening apace for a Wrath unto the ut­termost; and Spiritual Plagues worse than Brimstone scattered on our Habitations. Where­fore It is Time to work for the Lord; and a very Considerable stroke of the Work, which our Hand finds to do, is to prevail with you, O our Exposed Children, that you get a Pious Mind and that you Do with your might what you have to do, for the Obtaining and Expressing of such a Mind, before your going down to the Grave, whether you are going. Children, O [...] the Perfect Heart which has been Commended unto you, don't you hear the Heart-melting sighs of Heaven over you, Oh! That there were such an Heart in them; that they would fea [...] me, that it might go well with the Children forever!

THE Pious Mind, that would raise you t [...] that inestimable Dignity; You are my Sons an [...] my Daughters saith the Lord Almighty! Th [...] Pious Mind that would fetch down from th [...] Throne of GOD, these Joyful Tidings [...] you, Child, Be of good cheer, thy Sins are forg [...] ­en thee! The Pious Mind, that would so [...] dorn you, as to procure that Applause fo [...] you, Soul, Thou art a Daughter of GOD, all Glo­rious within, and the King shall greatly desi [...] thy Beauty. The Pious Mind, that would re­commend you to the Angels as the Guardia [...] [Page 25]which would make All things work together to your Good, and invite those Morning Stars to sing together over you, Arise, and shine, for thy Light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee! This Pious Mind, Oh! when shall this Wisdom enter into your Hearts? When will you Get this Wisdom? 'Tis the principal Thing. And it would be a Good step towards it in you, if you would esteem it so. Yea, we should with a Glad Heart, think, we saw the Beginning of a Pious Mind in you, if we saw you Beginning to Go and Pray and Weep unto your SAVIOUR for it. This Grace begins in the Desires of the Grace! It was a Suit once made; Neh. I. 2. O Lord, Be Attentive to the Prayer of thy Servants, who desire to fear thy Name. You Begin to Fear GOD, and are listed among His true Servants, when you Desire to Fear Him. Were this Prayer made in Earnest with you; Glorious GOD, change my Heart, and Bestow a Pious Mind upon me! Verily, That Pious Mind would be seen dawning in you, that will shine more and more unto the perfect Day. When GOD has wrought such Desires in the Mind of a Young Person, 'tis a Token for Good; He intends [...] Blessed Answer to them.

CHILDREN, Entreat us not to leave you, or [...]o Return from following after you; until we see our GOD becoming your GOD, and until we hear you with a Pious Mind calling upon Him for the Grace of such a Mind. On that [...]assage of the Preacher, The words of the Wise [Page 26]are as Goads, the Ancients urge that our Sermons ought for to have Pungencies in them. Children, There are Pungent Things to be now spoken to you. Oh! May Two or Three Expostulations make a strong Impression upon you! We read indeed of a fiery Bruit, That he believes not the Sound of the Trumpet, the Thunder of the Captains, and the Shouting. But, Oh! Fool-hardy Youths, Be not as the Horse that has no understanding; For there shall be many sorrows to such Wicked Fools. You that now mock at Thunderbolts, may think to mock on; But your Mocking is very near to a Ca­tastrophe; GOD will change it into Mourn­ing for you; GOD will with Swift Executi­ons bring upon you, Things which should be trembled at.

IN the mean time, There are some awful Questions that I am to leave with you Questions to be trembled at. I will demand of thee, O Young One, walking in the way [...] thine own Heart; I will Demand of thee, a [...] Answer thou me. But if you decline to Answer my Questions, The Great GOD shall from the Sacred Place of Thunder Answer them.

QUESTION, 1. ARE you sure, that y [...] shall have any more Time, than This very [...] allow'd you, to make sure of what you m [...] in a Pious Mind be brought unto? Is th [...] any Report more common than this; [...] Young Ones are dead. Are not our Golgoth [...] full of Graves, that reach not unto your [...] mensions! [Page 27]Of the Six Thousand, Four Hun­dred and Odd, that have Dyed in our City within Twenty Years, (besides our very many YOUNG MEN who have dyed abroad) were there not probably more than Three Thou­sand, who had not reached unto their middle-age! If you Harden your Hearts, and refuse to Day to hear his voice, how do you know, but the Angel of Death may stand by your Bed-sides, and with an uplifted hand Swear by Him who Lives for ever and ever, That you shall have no Longer time to Live; and have order to strike you down immediately? Is a­ny of you all assured of This; that this is not the Last Sermon that shall ever call upon you?

UNTO this Question, hear the Answer of GOD; Prov. XXVII. 1. Boast not thy self of to morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

QUESTION, II. IF you Dye in your Sins, without that Holiness of a Pious Mind, without which no Man shall see the Lord; What will become of you! Can any Imagination yet clo­thed in Flesh, form a clear and full notion of what you must endure in the strange Punish­ment, reserved for the workers of Iniquity! But [...]re there not Great Plagues and of a long Con­ [...]inuance, which you must look for; Tremen­ [...]ous things to be done unto you by the Hands [...]f an Infinite GOD, Resolving to have a Tri­umph of His Justice, in what He will do up­on [Page 28]you, if you go away unreconciled unto Him!

UNTO this Question, hear the Answer of GOD; Heb. X. 31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the living GOD:

QUESTION, III. IF you are the Children of Parents who have been themselves of a Pious Mind, and who have done a great deal to bring you unto a Pious Mind; but you remain impe­nitent after all; must not you receive a great­er Damnation than any other Children in the World? If you go on to Grieve and Kill your Parents, what a Vengeance will pursue such Murderers! If you go on still in your Trespasses what Wounds will your aggravated Impieties Expose you to! In the Torments of Hell, ar [...] there any who do under more Flaming To [...] tures cry out, I am Tormented in this Flam [...] then such as have a Father Abraham, and Re­ligious Ancestors to make a bitter mention of? How will you bear the many stripes, whic [...] by Sinning against what you know to be th [...] Will of GOD, you will bring upon your U [...] happy Souls! How will you bear to hear th [...] Sentence of the Eternal Judgment, and th [...] that were your Loving, Tender, Heart-broke [...] Parents acquiescing in it!

THE Great GOD shall Answer the Questi­on; Prov. I. 25, 26. You have set at nought [...] counsel; I will laugh at your calamity; when you destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distr [...] and anguish cometh upon you.

[Page 29] CONSIDER these Things, O YOUNG PEO­PLE, Consider, lest the Glorious One Exaspera­ted by your Impenitency, tear you to pieces and there be none to deliver you!

BUT, Oh! could our YOUNG PEOPLE be brought once to some CONSIDERATION! Certainly it would be an Introduction to all Good, and what the Pious Parent wishes for. When we read, Prov. I. 4. Of giving to the young man discretion, the Hebrew Word, which we render Discretion, may be rendred Thought­fulness. How Discreet and how Pious would our Young People soon become, if they would but grow Thoughtful, and ponder the Paths of their Feet, and Think on what is before them!

OF a YOUNG MAN coming to be what he should be, and what, O Young People, we wish you all to be, we read, Luk. XV. 17. He came to himself. Oh! that the Experiment might now be made among our Children, who are Exceeding Mad, and will be so, till a Per­fect Heart bring the Young ones to be Sob [...]r-Minded: Which is what we now Exhort them to. It may be, my Child, a little CONSI­DERATION may bring thee to thyself; and upon it, we should soon see thee in a Right Mind, and with a Perfect Heart coming to Bless the most High, and Praise Him that Liveth for e­ver and ever.

[Page 30] WHEREFORE, First. IN an Affectuous CON­SIDERATION, Take the Wings of the Morn­ing, and Fly up to the Heavenly World. Con­sider, the Glorious Things that are spoken about the City of GOD, and what thy EARLY PIETY will bring thee to Enjoy in the Mansions there Walk about that Zion, the City of the Living GOD; go round about her, consider her Palaces; and see what is done by the Great GOD there for them who betimes take Him for their ow [...] GOD, and their Guide unto Death, and beyond it. Think, ‘If I go up to that World, I shall se [...] a perfect Rest from every thing, that can he [...] be uneasy to me: I shall have no sorr [...] there, but all Tears shall be wiped from my Eye: Think again, If I go up to that World, I shall find in the Alsufficient GOD, all that is Re­lishable and Valuable in any Creatures here and inconceivably more; and an Admirable CHRIST will fill me with all the fulness of GOD. Think once more; ‘If I go up to that World, shall Reap a full Harvest of all my patie [...] continuance in well-doing; and let me no [...] never so much abound in the Work of [...] Lord, I shall then find my Labour not [...] vain for the Lord. And then let thy CON­SIDERATION lead thee to the Etern [...] which That World will be Brightened a [...] and Sweetned withal; the Duration [...] thy Felicity in the Everlasting Habitations the Eternal Glory whereto the GOD of [...] Grace will call thee, when He brings th [...] [Page 31]into Early Piety. Think; ‘If I come to be Comforted in That World, it will be with an Everlasting Consolation. The Foun­tains of Living Water whereto I shall be led, will be running for evermore. My Knowledge will be Eternally progressive; My Delight will be Eternally varied. After I have been satisfying my self in the Eter­nal GOD, for as many Millions of Ages as there are now Beams of Light in the World, I shall be no nearer to the end of my Sa­tisfaction, than I was the First Moment of my Entring into the Joy of my Lord.

BUT then, Go on; Let thy CONSIDE­RATION remove the Bars of the Pit, and uncover the dismal Vault, and look down into the Infernal World. Consider the Tre­mendous Things which are inflicted on the Despisers of Early Piety, who for being so, shall be condemned and confined unto that Place of Torment. Visit the gloomy and howling Regions, where GOD sets th [...]m in dark Places, who have been Dead of Old. GOD hedges them about, they cannot get out; GOD ma [...]s their Chain Heavy: Also when they Cry and Shout, He shuts out their Prayer. GOD is as a Lion unto them in the Secret Places; He pulls them in pieces and makes them desolate. GOD causes the Arrows of His Quiver to enter into them, and He fills them with Bitterness. Think; ‘If I must go down to That World, I shall carry [Page 32]with me the raging desires of the Divers Lusts, which I am now Serving of. But they will only help to torture me; and I shall not have so much as a Drop of Water to gratify them. I shall be hardly bestead, and hungry, and Fret my self, and Curse GOD, and Look upward. And when I look back unto the Earth, and Remember the Good Things I received there; Oh! the Dimness of the Anguish I shall have upon me, finding my self Driven into Darkness Think again, ‘If I go down to That World all the Pains that ever I did or could suffer by the Mediation of my Sens [...] here, I shall have more immediately dispensed unto me there, in very Tormenting Sentiments which a provoked GOD will compel me to; and all those Pain little enough to punish my Crimes i [...] Denying the GOD that is Above. Thin [...] once more; If I go down to That Worl [...] an Almighty GOD Himself, will take [...] into His own Hands, and make me fee such scalding Strokes of His Wrath, [...] no Tongue is able to express, no Heart [...] able to conceive. Immediate [...]manation from an Offended, Omnipotent, Omnipresent GOD, will penetrate like Lightenin [...] into my Soul; Immediate Coruscations fro [...] GOD acting as a Consuming Fire: GOD Himself will fight against me, with a Stro [...] Arm, and in Great Wrath. And can [...] Hands be Strong or can my Heart endur [...] [Page 33]when GOD shall deal with me?’ But then, Let thy CONSIDERATION mind thee of the Eternity which renders That World yet more Terrible; The Everlasting Punishment which the Wicked Haters of GOD, and of Early Piety shall go down into. Think; ‘If I come to be Tormented in the Flames of That World, I know not of any Per [...]od for my Torment. An Aking Tooth for one Month, how tedious would it be unto me here! But if I lie down among the Damn­ed, I must undergo much worse Griefs than That; and after as many Millions of Years, as there are Leaves on the Trees, or Dro [...]s in the Sea, or Sands in the Shore. I have no prospect of any Period. The Mediator de­livering up His Kingdom, I shall be left still under the Vengeance of GOD, with no [...] Intercessor for me; Laid in the lowest Pi [...] shut up, where I cannot come forth any more.’

LET the YOUNG PERSON thus Muse till [...] the Fire Burns. It may be hoped, the issue will be, He Considers and He Turns! The issue would be, that, From this Time the Young Person with a Perfect Heart will say unto GOD, LORD, Thou art my FATHER, Thou art my SAVIOUR, Thou shalt be the Guide of my Youth.

CHILDREN, Let not your Concern for a Per­fect Heart, be put off; upon a prete [...]ce, I can do [...] nothing of my self; nor can I change my own Heart. Our SAVIOUR bids the Man that [Page 34]had a Withered Hand, Stretch out thy Hand. Instead of making an Excuse, Lord, I can't! He Tryed it, and he Did it. Make the Trial, O Soul upon a Return to GOD; make the Trial, whether thou can'st Pray for a Perfect Heart, with Cries that shall pierce on the Hea­vens. And then make a Trial, whether that Withered Hand of thine, be not so Enlivened by Him, as to Take hold on his Covenant, and there­in Lay hold on Eternal Life, and come to those Mo­tions of EARLY PIETY which nothing but a Perfect Heart ever comes unto. Try, Oh! Try, whether with a Perfect Heart, thou canst come to this; and set thy Heart (yea, thy very Hand) unto such an Instrument a [...] this; Great GOD, I am willing that Thou shouldest be my GOD. Great GOD, Thou hast made me willing to be thy Servant. Blessed SAVIOUR, Thou hast Conquered my Soul, and I am willing, that thou shouldest make me Righteous, and make me Holy: Reconcile the Great GOD unto me, and enable me to Live unto Him.

[Page 1]

A SERMON, Setting forth the Nature of Early Piety.
Preached at Boston-Lecture, March 30, 1720. 1.


Come ye Children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

THE Title of this Psalm shows, that holy David was the Author of it. He had been in eminent Danger among the Philistines, God Graciously & Wonderfully deli­vered him; & his Heart was fill'd with holy Gratitude to God for this Deliverance. He said, v. 1. I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be continually in my mouth. He stir'd up himself and others too, to Bless and Praise God for the great Deliverance He had favour­ed him with. v. 3. O magnifie the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Indeed, [Page 2]God the Inexhaustible Fountain of Living Wa­ters, is freely and Communicatively Good to all that Sincerely Seek and Serve Him. David therefore Exhorts to such a Seeking and Serv­ing of God. v. 8, 9, 10. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him — there is no want to them that fear him — they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Our Text it self is of the same General strain, Namely, to Incite and Quick­en others to Seek and Serve God. Come ye Children (says David) hearken unto me, &c. David, by God's Command was anointed King, (1 Sam. 16.12.) and by his Spirit was made a Prophet, (Act. 2.29, 30.) this holy Man, this true Saint, this royal Prophet, said, Come ye Children. He gives them the kind compel­lation of Children, which notes, his tender, pa­ternal regard to them; (Like as a father piti­eth his children, Psal. 103.13.) and the Dispo­sition which was (or should have been) i [...] them, viz. that they were as ductile, tractable, teachable as Children are (or should be) ready to receive wholesome Instructions, and good Impressions on their Minds. Come ye Chil­dren, Come, indeed its worth your while to come; well worth your while to Hear, Learn, Observe the things I have to Teach you, viz. to Fear God. So Children, mind what I say, it's well worth your while to come, to come from Sabbath to Sabbath, from Lecture to Lecture, to imbrace all Opportunities, to improve all pro­per seasons, to be Instructed in and Quicken­ed [Page 3]to, what's for the Good of your Souls, your precious Immortal Souls which are of more worth than a World. Well, says David, come ye Children and I'll teach you. Teach what, why the Fear of the Lord. He would teach them to be Sincerely and Practically Religious; to Know, Trust in, Love, Fear, Serve, Obey God, so as to be Happy in His Favour. He would teach them what was most needful, useful, pro­fitable to them.

HERE we may Observe, that true Saving Graces are inseperably connected together, they all spring from the same Regenerating, Renewing Change wrought in the Soul; from the Image of God Renewed in, & impressed on the Heart by the Holy Spirit. Where there's one Saving Grace, there are all Saving Gra­ces. Agreeably whereto we find, that the general Comprehensive Blessings of the New-Covenant, are sometimes pronounc'd concern­ing Persons, as endow'd with this or that par­ticular Grace. Thus, Blessed is the Man that Trusteth in the Lord. Jer. 17.7. So, There are inconceivable Treasures of Goodness stor'd up for those that Love God. 1 Cor. 2.9. Again, Blessed is the Man that Feareth the Lord, that Delighteth greatly in His Command­ments, Psal. 112.1. Therefore by the Fear of the Lord, spoken of in our Text, we may un­derstand Universal Piety, even all that Know­ledge, Faith, Repentance, Love, Fear, Hope, Holy Obedience, which the Gospel requires as ne­cessary in order to our happiness. The Fear [Page 4]of the Lord, in our Text, seems to be of the same extent with, Eccl. 12.13. Fear God and keep his Commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 1 Pet. 1.17. Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. In fear, that is, in a serious consciencious regard to all that God teaches you, and requires of you. From the Text thus opened, we might note,

  • (1.) That those who have true Piety themselves (as the Psal­mist speaking in our Text, had) will be willing to be at pains, to promote the like Piety in others. If Piety be suitably awake and active in them, they'l not grudge the taking pains to teach, exhort, incite others to know and serve God. They'l be for provoking others to love and good works, Heb. 10.24. They will have no greater joy, than to hear that others walk in the truth, Joh. 3 Ep. v. 4.
  • (2.) So excellent is Early Pie­ty, that it's not beneath the greatest and best of Men, to endeavour the promoting it. Tho' Da­vid was anointed to be King, and was a Pro­phet; yet he thought it not below or beneath him, to Instruct others, even Young Ones, Chil­dren, to Fear the Lord. I acknowledge, the Word Banime, Sons, here rendred Children, strict­ly taken is not limitted to Young Ones; yet since it's here rend red Children, & may well extend to Young Ones, (tho' not exclusive of others) shall at present speak to the Text, chiefly as it con­cerns Persons while Young. And indeed the best and greatest Persons, in their several Sta­tions and Capacities, should do what they can to incourage and promote true Piety in such. [Page 5] Magistrates in their Places, by incouraging Schools and Colleges; Ministers in their Places, by Publick and Private Instructions; should strive to promote true Piety in Young Persons.
  • (3.) Good Instructions (or teachings) ordinarily are needful in order to the fear of God, or true Practical Piety. I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Man is born as a Wild Asses Colt, (Job. 11.12.) He needs to be taught the right way, in order to his walking in it. Prov. 19.2. That the Soul be without knowledge, it is not good. Sound knowledge is needful, in order to a right practice. He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths, Mic. 4.2. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them, Job. 13.17. But the Doctrine I design chiefly to insist on at present, is this, viz.

DOCTRINE. THAT Children, Young Persons should make it their chief, principal care and business to Fear God, to be Sincerely and Practically Pious.

THIS, this was the thing which the Royal Prophet in our Text, was so sollicitous to in­culcate on Children, namely, to Fear God. As soon as Children become capable of acting as rational Creatures, by deliberately considering things, by intelligently chusing and refusing; even then (and afterwards forever) they should fear God; should make it their chief endea­vour to please Him, th [...] they may enjoy Him. This truly, is the one thing needful; all other [Page 6]matters are baubles and trifles compar'd to this. Here's the truest Wisdom they can ma­nifest. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding, Job. 28.28. Therefore Persons should, remember their Creator in the days of their Youth, Eccl. 12.1. God gives them great incouragement to do so, in saying, Prov. 8.17. I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me.

I shall now endeavour in some measure to describe the Nature of Early Piety, shewing what it is, wherein it does consist, how or wherein it should exert or exemplify it self.

HERE therefore we may Enquire,

Quest. WHAT's here imply'd or comprehend­ed, in Childrens fearing of God.

Answ. THEIR searing of God according to the sense of our Text, may well comprehend in it these following things, viz.

1. THEIR believing of, and meditating on, the Being and Attributes of God. The belief of a God of an Eternal Power and God-Head, of a being infinitely perfect, that is the Maker and Go­vernour of all things; is the very Founda­tion, the first Article of all true Religion. He that does not believe there is a GOD, can neither Love nor Fear Him. Heb. 11.6. With­out faith it is impossible to please God; for be that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently [Page 7]seek him. God is indeed Infinite, Eternal, Unchangeable in His Being, Wisdom, Power Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth. He's the Sovereign Maker, Preserver, Supream Lord and Governour of all Creatures: He does according to his will, in the Armies of Hea­ven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, Dan. 4.35. God has made Men for Eternity, and they shall be Eternally happy or misera­ble, according as they submit to or rebel a­gainst, Him their Maker, Lawgiver and Judge. It's therefore the indispensible Duty, and un­deniable Interest of all Persons Young as well as Old, to fear and obey God. A firm belief of such things as these, is necessarily imply'd in, or absolutely necessary in order to, a right fear­ing of God. Children therefore can't have their thoughts & Meditations better imploy'd, than on the Being and Perfections of God. Children are apt to have their Meditations run much on empty bubbles and vanities; but when they're duly exercis'd on God and His matchless Excellencies, it's the most pro­per and noble Imployment they can possibly be engaged in.

2. THEIR Hearty, Studious, Diligent ac­quainting themselves, with God's Will Revealed in His written Word. How far those utterly un­acquainted with the Scriptures, are capable of Knowing and Fearing God; I shall not now inquire. But those Young ones Refer'd to in our Text, were the Children of the Covenant, the Children of God's Professing People, to [Page 8]whom He gave His Word, Statutes, and Judg­ments tho' He dealt not so with every Nation Psal. 147.19, 20. Rom. 3.12. If Young Per­sons among a Professing People, would right­ly Fear God, they should Diligently Study His Will, to Direct them in it, and Quicken them to it: For His Revealed Will, show [...] what He Forbids, what He Requires, and what Obligations they're under to Obey Him He has shewed them what is good, and what b [...] requires of them, (Mic. 6.8.) this He has do [...] in the holy Scriptures, which are able to ma [...] wise unto salvation, thro' faith in Christ Jesus 2 Tim. 3.15. Timothy in his Childhood kne [...] those Scriptures, and so should others also [...] ­ven while they are Children. The Scripture are God's Law, they are Christ's Love-Lett [...] to His People, they are the Saints Chart [...] containing the Priviledges belonging to them Children therefore should maintain a Dilige [...] Constant Practice of Reading the Holy Scrip­tures; of regarding them as the light of the feet, and lamp of their paths, Psal. 119.10. Search the Scriptures, (Joh. 5.39.) Let the wo [...] of Christ dwell in you richly. Meditate on Go [...] Law, night and day, (Psal. 1.2.) Hide it your hearts, that you may not sin against God: Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? taking heed thereto according to thy word, Psal. 119.9, 11. O Children, you can't right Fear and Serve God, unless you're acquaint with His Revealed Will. You must Know [...] Will, else you can't Do it; what He Forbid [Page 9]that you may Avoid it; what He Requires, that you may Perform it. Study to Know God's Will, both as a Part and as a Means, of that Fear you owe to Him: As a Part of it, for it's what He Requires. 1 Chron. 28.9. Know thou the God of thy Fathers. Rom. 12.2. That ye may prove what is that good, and accep­table and perfect will of God. Hos. 4.6. My people is destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I also will reject thee. Again, Study Gods will, as a Means of that Fear you owe to Him. Practice, is the end that should be aim'd at in Seeking know­ledge. We should Study to Know God's Holy Will, with a Purpose, Desire and Design to Do it, to conform to it. Josh. 1.8. This Book of the Law [...]all not depart out of thy Mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night; that thou mayst Observe to do according to all that is written therein. Mat. 28.20. Teaching them to Observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. The Commands of Christ should be Taught (and therefore Learnt) that they may be Observ'd, and Obey'd. Therefore O Children, Prize your BIBLE as the best of all Books; Prize it above gold, above much fine gold, esteem it sweeter than honey or the honey­comb, Psal. 19.10. It shows you how to get Peace with God, how to Please Him, how to Honour Christ and get Honour in His Sight; it shows you how to get Pardon of Sin, how to behave yourselves in every Station and Con­dition, how to get a Sanctified [...]e of Providences, [Page 10]how to save your Souls, to escape Hell, to get to Heaven, and possess Eternal Glory. O [...] let this best of Books, be the chief Subject of your study and meditation. How much time is wretchedly mispent, thrown away, lost, i [...] reading Play-Books, or filthy and profane Writ­ings! But seriously and diligently to read and study the Holy Bible, is one good Mean to make us wise to Salvation, holy in Time and Happy to Eternity. Again, for Children rightly to Fear God, implies,

3. THE serious Consideration, of their natu­rally sinful and guilty state. If Young Person seriously read and study God's Word, and con­sider what's therein contained; they mu [...] needs see, that as they proceed from falle [...] Apostate Adam, they're unspeakably vile, fil­thy, guilty. They were shapen in iniquities and conceived in Sin, (Psal. 51.5.) their hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperate wicked, (Jer. 17.9.) their carnal minds are en­mity against God, not subject to his law, [...] indeed can be, (Rom. 8.7.) Their Hearts natu­rally, are a meer nest, root, fountain of Si [...] and wickedness; an evil Treasure from when proceed evil things, viz. Evil Thoughts, Mur­ders, Adulteries, &c. Mat. 12.35. & 15. [...] Indeed, as sharers in the guilt of Adam's fi [...] Sin, they're Children of Wrath by Nature, (Ep [...] 2.3.) liable to Eternal Vengeance, the U [...] quencheable Flames of Hell. But beside this, their Hearts (as hath been said) are [...] speakably wicked, estrang'd from God, enmi [...] [Page 11]against Him, eagerly set in pursuing Vanities, on provoking God by actual Personal trans­gressions, whereby they merit and deserve greater measures of Wrath. And while they continue in such a state, Sin reigning and tyranizing in them, Guilt lying on them; I say, while so, they have no true fear of God before their Eyes, (Rom. 3.18.) They have not that Fear of God which is acceptable to Him. They that are in the flesh cannot please God, Rom. 8.8. While they're in this state, they can yield no acceptable Service to God, nor have they any title to His pardoning Mercy, or reconciled Favour. Truly it behoves them most seriously to consider how filthy, guilty, odious, abominable they are both by nature and by practice. They should see their Sick­ness, and so their need of a Physician; their danger of the pursuing Wrath of God, and so their need of refuge, Mat. 9.12. Heb. 6.18. Their rightly fearing of God, implies,

4. THEIR turning from Sin to God in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man in One Person, is the only Mediator between God and Men, (1 Tim. 2.5.) the Only and All-sufficient Saviour of Sinners, Act. 4.12. He came to save His People from their Sins & Iniquities, [...]o purity 'em and make 'em zealous of good Works, (Mat 1.21. Tit. 2.14.) to save and deliver them from Wrath to come, 1 Thes. [...]. 10. It's only in and thro' this blessed Me­diator and Redeemer, that Sinners can obtain [...]ardon of Sin, Peace, Friendship, Reconcilia­tion with God. God is in Christ reconciling [Page 12]the World unto himself, 2 Cor. 5.19. God can be Just and the Justifier of him that believes in Jesus, Rom. 3.26. Indeed the Spirit of God must set in, with His Word, and make it efficacious to convince the Soul of it's Sin, Guilt, Dan­ger, and to draw it to Christ, trusting only in His Meritorious Righteousness for Pardon Peace and Reconciliation with God. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, Joh. 3.3. God must take away the heart of stone, give an heart of flesh, (Ezek. 36.26.) must renew Persons in the Spirit of their minds; grant to them the washing of Regene­ration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, (Ti [...]. 3.5.) Create them in Christ Jesus to good work (Eph. 2.10.) They must by Faith receive Christ (Joh. 1.12.) else they can't have peace wi [...] God. Being justified by faith, we have pea [...] with God thro' our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 5. [...] He that believeth not is condemned already— [...] that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life and he that believeth not on the Son, shall [...] see life, but the wrath of God abideth on bi [...] Joh. 3.18.36. It's absolutely necessary [...] have a Regenerating, Converting Change wro [...] in the Soul; to have the Soul united [...] Christ by Faith. Oh Children, this is t [...] one thing needful, most needful, most profi­table. Don't think it enough that you were born of Christian Parents, that you were Baptized, Educated, Instructed in the tr [...] Christian Religion, that hitherto you've l [...] blameless Religious Lives to outward ap­pearance; [Page 13]all these things may possibly be true of many Hypocrites, all these things may be true of you, and yet you perish forever. See to it therefore, that you Heartily Repent of Sin, and Submit to Christ as Prince and Savi­our. Repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, (Act. 20.21.) are the Great Things Inculcated in the Gospel. The Scope of the Gospel is, to turn men from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive the forgiveness of Sins, and [...]an inheritance among them that are Sanctify'd by Faith in Christ, Acts 28.18. There­fore Content not yourselves, with any thing short of an Hearty Submission to the Calls of the Gospel. Don't think 'twill be Time enough to mind your Souls hereafter; don't indulge yourselves in any vicious Cour­ses, in any ways of known Wickedness, there­by Provoking God, Dishonouring Christ, Re­sisting the Holy Ghost, grieving your Pious Pa­rents and Neighbours, gratifying the Devil, and Treasuring up Wrath against the Day of Wrath. Don't be Agents for Hell, Factors for the Devil, hastening to, and ripening for Damnation. But penitently Fly to Christ for Refuge, to Save you from Sin, Guilt, Wrath and Misery, seriously consider with yourselves, how contrary your fallen Natures are to the Holy Image and Laws of God; how frequent­ly, basely, abominably you have broken the Holy Laws of the Glorious God, that Good God who's the Author of your Beings and all [Page 14]your Benefits: Consider the terrible, Eternal Wrath and Vengeance, which your Sins have justly deserved; and your own utter inability to Save yourselves therefrom; and then be a­shamed of, and self-loathing for, all your offences. Young Persons are often apt to be very Proud, often Proud of their fine gay Cloaths, in which they appear to the view of Men; but if they duely consider'd, how Dirty, Filthy, Loath some, Abominable their Sins render them in th [...] Sight of the Infinitely Holy God; this might Justly fill them with the greatest shame, grief sorrow, self-abhorring for their Sins. Then sh [...] ye remember your own evil ways, and your doing that were not good; and shall loath your selves in your own sight, for your iniquities and f [...] your abominations—be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, Ezek. 36.31, 32. Nothing should be so great a Grief, Load, Burden [...] you, as the Sinfulness of your Natures; an [...] the numberless Sinful Thoughts, Words, a [...] Actions that have issued therefrom. Psal. [...]18.—I will be sorry for my sin. And you should as Heartily and unmoveably, Trust Jesus Christ for Pardon. Indeed, if you do [...] Penitently receive Christ by Faith, you a [...] not accepted of God. (Eph. 1.6.) You ha [...] no True Fear of God in you; a Slavish Te [...] ­fying Fear you may possibly have; (the D [...] ­vils believe and tremble) but a true Fi [...] Fear of God, such as is acceptable to Him, you have not unless you receive Christ by Faith unless you submit to Him as the Prophet, Prie [...] [Page 15]and King of your Souls. This Hearty, Peni­tent Trusting in, Submitting to, Christ, is a most Necessary Profitable Duty, it should not be Delay'd, but most Speedily ingaged in. To day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts, Heb. 4.7. Those who are not United to Christ by Heart Purifying Faith (whatever their Outward Religious Performances and Priviledges may be) are Children of the De­vil, Slaves to their own Lusts, Enemies to God and Christ, the Subjects of Guilt, having no Pardon of Sin nor Title to Glory, but are Condemn'd by the Law, and are every mo­ment in danger of droping into Hell. O [...]rest not in such a Condition, but most Speedily, and Heartily Submit to Christ on Gospel terms, that it may be well with you forever. As Childrens rightly Fearing of God, Implies their Receiving Christ on Gospel terms, so it Im­plies,

5. THEIR having their Hearts rightly Affec­ted to God, and Conformed to his Preceptive Will. Indeed it Comprehends those two Extensive Duties, of Loving God with all our Heart, and our Neighbours as ourselves, Mat. 22.37—39. But I shall chiefly confine my self to consider [...]he First of these, viz. First Table Duties; the [...]atter being to be Handled by others in their [...]ecture-SERMONS. Well, if Young Persons would rightly Fear God, their Hearts should [...]e duely Affected to Him, and Conform'd to [...]is Precepts. Prov. 23.26. My son give me [...]ine heart. They must Believe with the [Page 16]Heart; their Heart must be right with God, an [...] stedfast in His Covenant: They must cleave [...] the Lord with full purpose of Heart. Under this Head I might say,

  • 1. THEY should Love God. True Love t [...] and Fear of, God, always go together, Deu [...]. 10.12. They should Love God (and that a [...] their Days) withal their heart, soul, mind a [...] strength. They should Love His Law. Psal. 119.97. O how love I thy law! it is my medi [...] tion all the Day. They should esteem it ab [...] gold, above much fine Gold, and count it swee [...] than the honey or honey-comb, Psal. 19.10. They should Love His Holy Sabbaths, House, Or [...] nances, Worship, Psal. 27.4. and 84.10. They should Love His Children, for His sake; [...] bearing His Image and doing His Will, (1 J [...]. 3.14. & 5.1.) and His Ambassadors, Minist [...] as His Officers for their Work sake; they should Love 'em and Submit to 'em, as i [...] ploy'd by Him to watch for their Souls, 1 Th [...] 5.12, 13. Heb. 13.17.
  • 2. THEY should Desire to Please and Glor [...] God. They should chuse the things that ple [...] God, (Isai. 56.4.) walk worthy of him to [...] pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, [...] 1.10. They should so act, not as pleasing [...] but God which trieth their hearts, 1 Thes. 2. [...] Their Desire should be to Glorify God [...] their bodies and spirits; to Glorify Him wh [...] ther they eat, or drink, or whatsoever they, [...] 1 Cor. 6.20. and 10.31. Therefore they should Fear to Displease or Offend God, in [...] [Page 17]matter whatsoever; either by Omitting what He Requires, or Committing what He Forbids. Thus should Children (as well as others) do. Obadiah said to Elijab, 1 King. 18.12. I thy ser­vant fear the Lord from my Youth. Abijah while a Child had in him some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel, 1 King. 14.1, 3, 13. While King Josiah was Young his Heart was tender, and he humbled himself before God: He exercis'd an holy Love to Him, and Fear of Him, 2 Chron. 34.8, 27. When Joseph was Young, he Fear'd God, desir'd to please Him, and to shun what would Offend Him, saying. Gen. 39.9. How shall I do this great wickedness and sin against God? Oh that there were such an Heart, in all the Children of the Covenant; that they would Fear to Offend God tho' never so strongly Tempted to it. Flee youthful lusts. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
  • 3. THEY should be Thankful to God for all his Favours to them. 1 Thes. 5.18. In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. God is their Ma­ker, Preserver, only Benefactor, the Guide of their Youth, the Give [...] of every good Gift. Therefore they should say, as Psal. 103.2. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. They should be Thankful for all Benefits, especially for those which bear a Favourable aspect on their Spiritual Welfare; that they were born under the Gospel, in a Land of Bibles, Ministers, Sabbaths, Ordinan­ces; [Page 18]that they were Born of Christian Pa­rents, under the Wing of the Covenant, that they had a Christian Education, being brought up in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord. They should be Thankful, that th [...] Lord Jesus Christ, did take hold of their Souls (as it were) by Parental Instructions before they could be tainted with those Errors and False Notions, which the Children of Heathen, Jews, Mahometans Suck in (as [...] were) with their Mothers Milk. Divin [...] preventing Goodness in this Regard, should be Gratefully Acknowledged. Truly, they should be Unspeakably Thankful for, and to our Lord Jesus Christ, for the Influences [...] His Good Spirit, the Restraints of his Grac [...] for any well grounded hopes (if such the [...] have) of Eternal Glory. Oh Children, [...] Thankful to God for these Things, yea, f [...] his Loading you daily with his Benefits.
  • 4. THEY should be patient under Div [...] Chastenings and Rebukes. Heb. 12.5. Desp [...] not the chastening of the Lord, neither faint [...] thou art rebuked of him. Don't murmur (1 Co [...]. 10.10.) nor fret; but be patient in tribulation (Rom. 12.12.) bear the indignation of the Lord because you have Sinn'd against Him; Be s [...] and know that he is God; be dumb and open [...] your mouths, because he does it. Heb. 12. [...] We have had fathers of our flesh which correct us, and we gave them reverence, shall we not [...] rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirit [Page 19]and live? Lam. 3.27. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Doubtless multitudes of Young Persons, have had much Spiritual advantage by their Afflictions. Has not much Sin been prevented, their corrupt Inclinations greatly check'd and restrain'd, by the Trials they have met with? May not many of them say, as Psal. 119.67, 71, 75. Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word—It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.—I know, O Lord, that all thy judgments are right, and that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me. Be patient therefore under Trials.
  • 5. THEY should submit and resign themselves to God's Providential Dispose. God's Providence governs the World, they should consider and regard it in all they meet with; and be wil­ling that He should deal with them as He pleases; Learning in every state wherein they are, therein to be content, Phil. 4.11. They should say, the will of the Lord be done, (Act. 21.14.) It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good, (1 Sam. 3.18.) Behold here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him, 2 Sam. 15.26. They should say to God, after the example of our Holy Redeemer, Never­theless, not my will, but thine be done, Mat. 26.39.
  • 6. THEY should grieve for, and hate; th [...]se things that are hateful and provoking to God. They should hate all Sin in themselves and [Page 20]others, hate even every false way, (Psal. 119.128.) hate the works of them that turn aside, hate vain thoughts: they should hate Sin with a perfect hatred, and that because 'tis hateful to God. They should grieve & mourn for their own Sins, (Psal. 38.18.) and for the Sins of others also. I beheld transgressors and was grieved, because they kept not thy word, Psal. 119.158. Oh Children, you should greiv [...] for your own sinful Thoughts, Words, Actions; and for the wicked Words and Actions you hear and see in others. Do you hear other Chil­dren speak profanely, Curse and Swear; speak obscene filthy Words? Do they call wicked Na [...]s, tell Lies, behave themselves vicious [...] on any account? Well, don't imitate the [...] things, but mourn for them because they provoke God, and wrong the Souls of the guilty.
  • 7. THEY should Chuse, Trust and Delight i [...] God in Christ as their Portion. Lam. 3.24. T [...] Lord is my portion, saith my Soul; therefore u [...] I hope in him. Psal. 71.5. Thou art my hope, [...] Lord God; thou art my trust from my Youth. They should trust in the Lord for ever, (Isa [...]. 26.4.) cast all their cares and burdens upon Him; commit the keeping of their Soul unto Him. They should delight themselves [...] the Lord, count Him their exceeding joy; a [...] rejoyce in him always, Psal. 37.4. & 43.4. Phi [...]. 4.4. They should prize the Light of God countenance above Corn & Wine, (Psal. 4.6, 7.) And tho' Creature helps fail; yet they should [Page 21] rejoyce in the Lord, and joy in the God of their Salvation, Hab. 3.17, 18. Oh Children, if you have God in Christ for your Portion, it's an unspeakably greater benefit and blessing, than to have Rich Parents, Fine Cloaths, Great Estates, or any outward temporary Injoyment whatsoever. Oh, long after, and trust in, God, as he, Psal. 73.25, 26. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. And as Children fearings of God, im­plies their having their hearts rightly affected to him, and conform'd to his Precepts; so it implies,

6. THEIR Sincere, Fervent, Constant Indea­vours, that their whole Outward Carriage and Behaviour may be agreeable to God's Will, and Pleasing in His Sight. Their Mouths, and their Hands, as well as their Hearts, should be im­ploy'd for God. Rom. 10.10. Psal. 24.3, 4. With their Bodies as well as Spirits, they should Glorify God, 1 Cor. 6.20. If their Hearts are right with God, Renew'd and Sanctify'd; then from this Good Treasure within, they will bring forth Good Things, Mat. 12.35. Indeed they should yield Uni­versal Obedience to God's Commands, have res­pect to them all. Obey my voice and do them, according to all that I command you; so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God, Jer. 11.4. But inasmuch as I'm to speak chiefly of First Table Duties; I shall under [Page 22]this Head particularly say of Children o [...] Young Persons.

1. THEY should Pray to God in Secret. Mat. 6.6. Enter into thy closet, and when thou has [...] shut thy door, pray to thy Father with is in se­cret; and thy Father which seeth in secret sha [...] reward thee openly. Isai. 55.6. Seek ye th [...] Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Children should very Early Pray to God in Secret; and should maintain a steady course of so Praying as long as the [...] live. Morning and Evening they should g [...] alone, pour out their Souls to God, Confess th [...] Sins to Him, Pray that He would Pardon their Sins for Christ's sake, that He would fill the [...] with His Spirit, with Heavenly Wisdom a [...] Grace. They should Pray to the GOD of th [...] Fathers, for all the Blessings they need. Ps [...] 86.16. Give thy strength to thy Servant, sa [...] the Son of thine handmaid. They should Pra [...] for more knowledge, (Psal. 119.18.) wisdom (Jam. 1.5.) for unwearied Supplies of Gra [...] that they may shun wickedness and practise [...] ­ness, Psal. 19.13, 14. & 25.4, 5. They should Pray for all the blessings they need, both fo [...] Body and Soul, for Time and for Eternity; a [...] as they should Pray for themselves, so the [...] should for others too. Pray one for another Jam. 5.16. Oh Children, be not so vile an [...] wicked, as to live without Secret Prayer; don [...] let a Morning or Evening pass, without you [...] getting alone for this most profitable, reaso­nable Service.

[Page 23] 2. THEY should Remember the Sabbath-Day to Keep it Holy. Lev. 19.30. Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my Sanctuary. Oh Chil­dren, dont Profane God's Sabbath by Idleness, Playing, by needless speaking about Worldly mat­ters; much less by any thing in it self Sin­ful; but imploy the Sabbath, in Praying, Reading the Holy BIBLE and good Books, Learning your Catechism, Receiving the Good Instructions of Parents and Masters; in going to the House of God, and there Diligently and Reverently Attending on His Holy Worship. Isai. 58.13. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not do­ing thine own ways, nor finding thine own plea­sure, nor speaking thine own words.

3. THEY should Own and Renew their Baptis­mal Covenant with God. God Blessed Abraham (the Father of the Faithful) saying, I will be a God to thee and to thy seed, Gen. 17.7. This Covenant continues under the New Testament Dispensation; the Promise is to you and to your Children, Act. 2.39. Believers and their Seed, are in Covenant with God. They which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham, Gal. 3.9. It was God's Command, that Abraham's Seed which were capable of it; viz. the Males, should receive Circumcision the first Seal of the Covenant, Gen. 17.10. So 'tis God's will now, that Baptism (which comes in the room of Circumcision, Col. 2.11, 12.) should be Ap­plied [Page 24]to the Children of Believers; which Children are Disciples in the same Covenant with their Parents. Mat. 28.19, 20. And when those Baptiz'd in Minority, come to years of Discretion, to be Capable of delibe­rately Chusing and Refusing; then they should seriously Consider with themselves, that A­greeably to God's Will they were Solemmly Devoted, Consecrated, Given up to God in Baptism; to be His Covenant Servants, to Serve God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost forever; therefore they should Chuse and Own this Lord God of their Fathers to be their God. This is but agreeable to Da­vid's Solemn Charge to his Son. 1 Chro [...] 29.9. Know thou the God of thy Fathers, [...]n [...] serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind. So Exod. 15.2. — My fathers God, a [...] I will exalt him. When Children therefore come to years of Discretion; they should chuse, own, profess the God of their Father [...] to be their God. They should in Secret Transact with the Father of Spirits; and with utmo [...] seriousness and solemnity, Personally Re [...] the Dedication of themselves to God. As while Minors they were given to God in Bap­tism; so when grown up, they should Perso­nally, yea and Publickly too (tho' first in Secret Renew the Dedication of themselves to the Ser­vice of God; Trusting in Christ for the Par­don of their Sins, and for Grace to yield Sin­cere Covenant Obedience. Isai. 44.5. [...] shall say, I am the Lords, and another shall [...] [Page 25]himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and sir­name himself by the name of Israel. The little ones (Children as well as others, among a Pro­fessing People) should Own God for their Co­venant God, Deut. 29.11, 12. David was Born in Covenant with God, and (no doubt) receiv'd Circumcision the Seal of it at eight days old; yet when grown up, he Personally Renew'd his Covenant with God, saying, Psal. 119.106. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

4. THEY should wait on God in all His Ordi­nances, and therefore Seriously and Devoutly come to the Lord's Supper. They should not forsake the assembling themselves together, (Heb. 10.25.) but Reverence God's Sanctuary (Lev. 19.30.) love the habitation of his house, and the place where his honour dwells, (Psal. 26.8.) Account­ing one day in his courts better than a thousand, (Psal. 84.10.) desiring to dwell in the house of the Lord all the Days of their lives, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple, Psal. 27.4. They should have earnest hun­grings and thirstings after God in His Ordi­nances, [Psal. 42.1, 2.] to see his power and his glory in his Sanctuary, Psal. 63.2. Indeed, they should walk in all the ordinances and com­mandments of the Lord blameless, Luk. 1.6) There­fore they should Heartily and Seriously wait on the Lord in the Ordinance of His Supper. They should Examine themselves, & so eat of that bread and drink of that cup: and should do it in re­membrance [Page 26]of Christ, to shew forth His Death, till He come. They should seriously Consi­der the Author, Nature, End, Use of this Or­dinance; and should come to it out of Love and Obedience to Christ; to promote His Glory and their own Spiritual Good; they should Renew and Seal the Covenant Dedica­tion of themselves to Him; in this holy In­stitution. Indeed they should not dare to Neglect this Ordinance; in Neglecting of it, they Disobey God, Dishonour Christ, Grieve the Holy Spirit, Gratify the Devil, set an ill Example before Men, and Wrong their own Souls; and how dare they bring the Guilt of these Things upon themselves?

THUS I've given some few General hints, Shewing what's Implied in Childrens, Young Ones, Fearing of God, or being Practically Pi­ous. We may say by way of USE,

  • 1. IT's matter of Lamentation, that there's [...] more of this Fear of God appearing in the Chil­dren, the Young Persons, among this People. [...] to be hop'd indeed, that there are many Children, Young Persons among this People, who Remember their Creator; who Fear the Lord in their Youth, and give comfortable Evi­dences of their Sincere Piety. Yet it's mat­ter of Great Lamentation, that there are no more such. Are there not many Young Per­sons, who show little if any Regard to God, to Christ, to the Welfare of their Precious Immortal Souls? Are there not many Young [Page 27]Ones, who seldom if ever Read God's Holy Word, unless (as 'twere) constrain'd or com­pell'd to it? Many who scarce Learn, or soon Forget, their Catechism, that form of sound Words? Many who give little if any Reason to think, that they retire Morning and Even­ing for Secret Prayer? Many who show little if any Regard to God's Holy Sabbath, but ra­ther Profane it by Playing, Idleness, Worldly and vain Discourses, Neglects of Private and Publick Exercises of Religious Worship? How Few are there comparatively, that when they are grown up do seriously Renew their Bap­tismal Covenant, and seriously Approach to the Lord's Table? Alas, how many are there, who evidently Disregard their Baptismal De­dication to God? Tho' in Baptism they have been Solemnly Dedicated, Consecrated to the Service of God; and are Oblig'd with Body and Soul to Glorify God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; yet when grown up, don't they seem Practically to Re­nounce the God of their Fathers, to cast off the hope of their Fathers; and to imploy their Bodies and Souls in the Service of the Devil, and their own Lusts and Corruptions? Nay, are there not some Young Persons, Children of the Covenant, Baptized Ones, that are very Ignorant of Christianity; nay, some will take God's Holy Name in vain, will Curse and Swear Profanely? Such are Guilty of horrid Sacriledge, they Rob God, their Persons which were Consecrated to God, [Page 28]they imploy in the Service of Satan and th [...] Gratifying their own Corruptions. Surely such Things as these, ought to be deeply be­wail'd and lamented. All that have at Hea [...] the Cause of God, the Honour of Christ, th [...] Good of this People; should bewail what [...] amiss among us, and Pray for the Out pou [...] of God's Spirit for the Mending and Reform­ing of it.
  • 2. THOSE of us who have pass'd thro' the Tim [...] of our Youth, should be Humble for the Sins the [...] Committed. Was not much of our Childhoo [...] and Youth, spent in Vanity? If we seriously Reflect and look Back, may'nt we call [...] Mind, that we were very Unmindful of Go [...] of Christ, of the Concerns of our Souls; tha [...] we did not so Early, Steadily, Constan [...] Read God's Word, Pray in Secret, Devoutl [...] attend His Publick Worship as we shoul [...] have done? How little Good did we ge [...] how little Good did we do, how much Gui [...] did we contract in our Younger Days? In­deed, so far as we were Restrain'd and Influ­enc'd by the Word and Spirit of God, w [...] should Bless Him for it; yet have we no [...] great Reason to be deeply Humbled and Se [...] Abased, that we were not more Early, Hea [...] ­ty, Fervent, Diligent, Constant in Seeking and Serving of God? If we had been due [...] Studious, Diligent, Constant in Duty; [...] much greater Progress might we have [...] in Holy Knowledge and Practical Pi [...] [Page 29]How much reason have we to Pray, as Psal. 25.7. Remember not against me the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercies remember thou me, for thy goodness sake, O Lord.
  • 3. ALL that are concern'd with Children, with Young Persons, should strive to Incourage and Promote true Piety in them. Parents should do so, Masters and Mistresses in Families, and [...]n Schools, should do so; Ministers should do [...]o, Feeding the Lambs as well as the Sheep of Christ's Flock. Godliness is profitable for [...]he present and future life, 1 Tim. 4.8. All, [...]n their several Stations and Capacities, [...]hould Incourage and Promote what is so pro­ [...]table. Nothing is more Threatening to the Welfare of a People, than to have their Young Ones generally Ignorant, Irreligious, Dis­ [...]rderly. When it is so, it looks as tho' Ini­ [...]uity would soon abound, to the pulling [...]own heavy Judgments. So, nothing looks more Promising, than to have their Young Ones generally Fearing and Serving of God. Prov. 14.34. Righteousness exalteth a nation, [...]ut sin is a reproach to any people. All proper Methods therefore should be taken, to Pro­mote true Piety in Young Persons. Psal. 78.—8. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he command­ed our fathers, that they should make them known unto their children. That the generation [...] come might know them; even the children [Page 30]which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget th [...] works of God, but keep his Commandments. When true Practical Religion is thus Propa­gated among a People from one Generation to another, 'twill be Unspeakably profitable and advantagious to them. Psal. 103.17, 18. The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to e­verlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto childrens children; to such [...] keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. Psal. 67.5,— [...] Let the people praise thee, O God; let all [...] people praise thee. Then shall the earth yie [...] her increase; and God even our own God sha [...] bless us and all the ends of the earth shall fe [...] him.
[Page 1]

The Nature of Early Piety as it respects Men.


Honour thy Father and Mother, which is the First Commandment with Promise.

ON the last Lecture the Na­ture of Early Piety was stated and explained as it respects the Glorious GOD; that is to say, the Duty of Young People toward Him their Creator and Redeemer was laid before them; that which follows next in Order, and which [...]herefore falls to me (in the Course and Me­thod [Page 2]we have gone into) is to speak of th [...] Nature of Early Piety as it respects Men; th [...] is to say, the Duty incumbent upon You [...] People, by the Law and Commandment o [...] GOD their Saviour, to Men, in the various Relations wherein they stand to them. T [...] which End I have chosen these Words of th [...] Apostle, which repeat the first part of th [...] Fifth Commandment, Honour thy Father a [...] Mother; and refer to the latter part of [...] saying, that it is the first Commandment wi [...] promise.

SO that we have here a Precept and Commandment directed to Young People, and Reason given to recommend it to them, a [...] enforce it on them.

1. THE Precept, the same which was giv [...] from the beginning at the Delivery of t [...] Law from Sinai; and HE who then spake by Angels in Thunders from the burni [...] Mountains, now speaks it to you, O our Children, from the mouth of His Apostle, (the [...] postle of the Gentiles) another Angel of [...] Church; and not to you only, but to the who [...] Assembly who are included with you in th [...] Law which is exceeding broad; and the [...] fore we hope that you will attend with gr [...] fear and reverence, as the Parents with th [...] Children in the Congregation of Israel di [...] when these Words were first spoken from He [...] ven: for in the Name of that Great G [...] whose Voice then shook the Earth, and [...] trembling People pray'd that they might [Page 3]more hear it as they then did, lest they shou'd [...]ie under the fright; in the Name of this Great GOD (I say) I bring this part of His Law to you this day; Honour thy Father and Mother.

THE Precept in my Text not only speaketh [...] to Children, but is immediately directed to [...]hem; for so the Chapter begins, CHILDREN, [...]hey your Parents in the Lord, for this is right: Honour thy Father and Mother.

HAD I taken these Words out of the Com­mandment it self, as it lies in the 20th. Chap. [...]f Exodus, they had been meant and directed [...]s well to Parents and Masters, Magistrates [...]nd Ministers, as unto Children; But here [...]hey are spoken and meant to You Children [...]nd Young People, in your Age of Government [...]nd Subjection.

BUT by Father and Mother as you are to [...]nderstand firstly and chiefly your proper Parents, your Natural Father who begat thee, [...]nd thy Mother who bare thee, so also those [...]hat may stand in the Place of Parents to thee, [...]o whose Care and Government you may be [...]ommitted if you are Orphans, or by whom [...]ou may be Adopted, or being destitute and [...]elpless may be cast upon by the Providence [...]f GOD.

MOREOVER, tho' the Text here mea [...]s [...]nd limits the Precept strictly to Children, [...]nd the Father and Mother, spoken of are the [...]atural or legal Parents; for Masters and [...]ervants are afterward spoken to by them­selves; [Page 4]yet I shall take leave to speak [...] Father and Mother here in the same latitude and extent as the Fifth Commandment in [...] Decalogue is ever to be interpreted; And [...] by Father and Mother is here meant all yo [...] Superiours in Family, School, Church and Commonwealth; yea every Relative you have [...] the World, your Equals, or your Inferiou [...] are to come into Consideration with you: And the Honour here required of you takes in [...] whole Duty which GOD requires of you [...] every Relation wherein you stand toward M [...] So great and broad is the Commandment befo [...] you.

2. THE Reason annexed to it is of singul [...] Observation and very great weight: which [...] the first Commandment with promise. That [...] to say, Explicit and express; for every Commandment has a promise and a threatni [...] both implied. The Fifth Commandment [...] the Decalogue has this singular and distinguishing thing in it, which the Holy Ghost thin [...] worthy of special remark. It is the first [...] cept in the Second Table of the Law, and [...] a Promise added to enforce it; which n [...] of the following Commandments have. [...] thus, It is the first, yea the only, Commandment of the Ten with a particular Promi [...] (the promise of a particular Mercy.) In [...] Second Commandment we find a general Pro [...] of mercy made, but in the Fifth Commandment there is a particular Mercy specif [...] namely a long and happy Life on the Ear [...] [Page 5]The Mercy promised in the Second Command­ment is to all that keep the Commandments in General; that Mercy promised in the Fifth Commandment is unto them that keep this Commandment. So that this is Eminently the Commandment with promise, ‘having a special Promise annexed to the particular Duty commanded. The Promise annexed to the Second Commandment is a general one which relates to the whole Law; but this is a special one which respects this Command­ment in particular.’

NOW Children, GOD prescribes to You a [...]ecial Regard unto this His Commandment, which contains in it the Piety which you are [...]o discharge towards MEN. You must consi­der it as a prime and special Precept of His Law: you must discharge the Duties which [...]re prescribed in it in obedience unto the [...]reat GOD, whose Commandment it is: You [...]ust eye his Authority and act for His Glory, [...] doing your Duty to your Parents, your Su­periours, Inferiours and Equals; you must [...]e the Promise too which He has annexed to [...]is Commandment; that you may obtain [...]is Favour and Blessing.

WHEREFORE (Children) mind it, both [...]he Precept and the Promise mean that from a [...]ous heart and mind, from a principle of Grace [...]ithin you, in a religious manner and for [...]ly Ends; for the honour of God and for [...]our own Eternal Salvation, you observe [...]ese Duties which are this Day Preach'd to [...]u from these Words.

[Page 6] OBSERVE therefore, that Piety toward G [...] is presupposed, and to be laid in the Foundation of these Moral Duties which God sen [...] me now to require of you; else tho' yo [...] carry your selves laudably toward your Parents at home, and in the sight of all M [...] abroad, yet you will be no Examples of Ea [...] Piety, nor have any part or lot in the thi [...] for tho' you could say to me when I ha [...] done, as the Young Man in the Gospel said [...] our Saviour, All these have I kept and do kee [...] yet it must be said to thee again, One th [...] thou lackest; if thou dost it not from the fe [...] and love of God in thy Soul, from a Principle of Grace and Piety within thee.

I call upon you therefore, Children, to remember how you were taught the Fear of [...] Lord the last Lecture-Day, and in that fe [...] God now to hearken to me, and set your sel [...] by the help of God's Grace to observe and [...] the things that are now to be command [...] you of God: For else instead of the promi [...] blessing, you will find the Commination [...] contrary Curse, which is implied in the Promise, executed upon you, if not in this [...] yet (which is infinitely worse) in that wh [...] is to come.

ONE thing more let me here hint to yo [...] Children, ‘You may and shou'd in your Obedience to God have respect unto the pro [...] and reward of God; yea unto a present [...] temporal reward of your Piety toward M [...].’ It has the promise of the Life that now [Page 7] that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the Earth; as are the Words after my Text. "You must eye the Command­ment of God in the first place, (obey your Parents in the Lord, because He commands it, and in all things that are agreeable to His Will; because this is right and just, by the Law of Nature and Nations as well as by the written Word) and then have respect unto the Recom­pence of Reward.

HAVING thus opened the Text unto you [...] little, and I hope in such manner as to awaken your Attention, and if it might be to touch your tender hearts; I now come to de­clare to you (our Children) how true Piety ought to be operating in your Souls, and how it ought to be expressed in your Words, Actions and Behaviour toward MEN: and herein you are always to exercise your selves that you may keep a Conscience void of offence toward GOD.

NOW the best and plainest Method, as well as fullest Manner, wherein I may lay your Duty before you, is I think in these Four Heads, in which our Boston-Catechism, or Milk [...]r Babes hath long since given it: FAMILY, SCHOOL, CHURCH and COMMONWEALTH.

First then,

1. EARLY Piety will show it self in the [...]eligious Carriage of Children and Young Peo­ [...]e in the FAMILIES whereof they are a part, [...]nd in a conscientious discharge of the parti­cular [Page 8] Duties which they owe (by the Law [...] GOD) unto one and another in the Family. For instance, Thou art a Child of the Family or in it, and must shew Piety to thy Parent [...] o [...] those that are instead of Father and Mother to thee: Thou art a Brother or a Sister in [...] Family, and hast Brethren and Sisters to she [...] Piety unto: There are Servants in the Family, and there is a Piety to be express'd them; or Thou art a Servant in a Family and there is Piety to be express'd by th [...] toward all in the House. Here then,

1. THOU art a CHILD of the Family, [...] in it, and thy first and earliest Piety must [...] expressed to thy Parents, or those that [...] instead of Father and Mother to thee. T [...] Relation and so this Duty stands first in t [...] order of Nature; for next to thy duty God thy Heavenly Father is that which th [...] owest to thy Earthly Parents. Thy Father and Mother are nextly and immediately [...] ­der God the Instrumental Authors of thy Bei [...] you are the Children which God hath given them; theirs is the propriety in you as f [...] as you are born, and they have the [...] Dominion and most rightful Government [...] you, and an absolute one for your Good your Infancy; you being altogether inca [...] ble of acting for your self. And then G [...] has implanted in your Parents that tender [...] unspeakable love, desire, care and solicit [...] for your Good; and from the Day whe [...] [Page 9] [...]ou were born they have been expressing it [...]ward you in such ways and with such plea­ [...]re, as to oblige and bind you to render our very selves to them, and all the reve­ [...]nce, honour, gratitude and affection of your [...]ouls, in subordination to GOD, and the ho­ [...]our and obedience which you owe to Him. [...]e how GOD has joined piety to Parents [...]ith piety toward Himself, Lev. 19.3. Ye [...]all fear every man his mother and his father [...]d keep my sabbaths, I am the LORD. Children, [...]t me tell you, you cannot fear and wor­ [...]p GOD if you do not fear your Father and [...]ur Mother. Your Father in heaven will [...]cept of no Worship from you, if you do not [...] the same time carry your selves piously [...]ward your earthly Parents. And mind, as [...]ur Mother is named in the Commandment [...]gether with your Father, and as in the place [...]t now quoted, the Mother is first named [...]d then the Father; so be sure God means [...]rein especially to admonish you to honour [...]d fear your good Mothers, whom you may [...] most likely, and in danger, to set light by; [...]t to whom you are no less bound and oblig­ [...] than to your Father; only your Mothers [...]ll teach you, as by Precept so by their own [...]verence and Subjection to your Fathers, [...]at your first Regards are to their will and [...]mmands.

CHILDREN! Your Duty to your Parents [...]so large and Copious a Subject that I can [...]t hint at the Particulars contained in it. [Page 10]You must love 'em, next to GOD, with [...] your Souls; as they do you. The Inward [...] ­teem of your Souls must be upon all occa [...] expressed in all your Words to 'em and of [...] in all your Actions and whole Behaviour be [...] them. Your whole carriage must be full high Reverence toward them. Yea, were [...] to be hereafter Governours and Kings [...] must continue this, as Joseph bowed hi [...] with his face to the earth when he brought [...] Sons out from between Jacob's knees; and Solomon rose up from his Throne to meet [...] Mother and bowed himself unto her. T [...] Illustrious Examples are recorded for [...] Admonition and Imitation, who have Pa [...] to honour.

MOREOVER, Piety requires that this y [...] Reverence to your Parents do shew it self [...] most ready Obedience to all their lawful Com­mands; and any Unlawful ones we wil [...] suppose from them. Col. 3.20. Childre [...] your parents in all things, for this is well p [...] ­ing to the LORD. That is, says one, [...] when they call you, go where they send [...] do what that they bid you, do not what [...] forbid you; and all as Children from a p [...] ciple of Love.’ Do this in the fear of [...] Prov. 13.17. The eye that despiseth to ob [...] mother; the ravens of the valley shall pick [...] and the young eagles shall eat it. Let that C [...] fear lest he perish by the Judgments of G [...] and come to the Gallows, or some disa [...] End.

[Page 11] TO Obedience belongs your diligent and reverent Learning of your wise and good Pa­rents, who will be careful to Instruct you, Believe, receive, retain their Words, Prov. 1.8. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Solomon piously remember'd and recorded the good Doctrine and Institutions of his pious Parents: Prov. 4.3, 4. I was my fathers son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments and live. Especially it will be your Piety, O our Young People, to regard solemnly the way of Worship wherein you have been instituted from the Word of God: Take heed to thy self and keep thy soul diligently and cleave to the God of thy father and to his Ordinances; lest thou forget them, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but teach 'em thy sons, and thy sons sons. Once more,

PIETY requires thy reverend Submission as to the Instructions, so to the Admonitions, Rebukes and Corrections of thy Parents; which to refuse is rebellion against God and his Au­thority which He has invested Parents withal; the which Parents can no more put off as they please than they can or may Natural Affection, Prov. 13.24. He that spareth his rod hateth his son. Wherefore you must needs be subject, and give reverence to the fathers of your flesh when they correct you, Heb. 12.9. You know how God has declared the desert of the re­bellious [Page 12]Son, that he is detestable to Him and to men, Deut. 21.20.

AGAIN, Piety requires Children to Imit [...] their Parents in what is Good and Exemplary in them; and in that only. Let their virtuous and godly lives be a living Law to you and had in great Veneration by you, as long as you live. But carefully cover what is ami [...] in them, as becomes the children of Jap [...] whom GOD hath enlarged; and to whom [...] was reckoned for Piety that he went backward and drew a covering over his Fathers nakedne [...] Gen. 9.23.

MOREOVER, Piety requires of Children that they be just and faithful to the Parents outward Estate; that they never [...] of it but what is given to them, nor [...] it but rather help and serve it if they c [...] A Child may not Steal from his Father, [...] he that wasteth him, is a son that causeth sh [...] Prov. 19.26.

ANOTHER great branch of filial Piety to requite and recompence your Parents, to y [...] Ability when you are grown up, for all t [...] kindness and goodness to you: This [...] the Law of God unto you, 1 Tim. 5.4. [...] them learn to shew Piety at home and to req [...] their Parents, for that is good and accepta [...] before God.

BUT how can Children ever requite th [...] Parents? they may, by being wise and pious it shall be an ample reward; Prov. 23. [...] Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and [...] [Page 13]that bear thee shall rejoyce: they must by de­fending their parents person, or name, or memory; speaking with their Adversary in the gate, Psal. 127.5. They may by ministring to them in sickness, in weaknesses and in age; with pleasure tending those who first tended us. As years and infirmities grow upon thy Parents let thy tender and reverend regards grow toward them; remembring how in thy helpless age they pitied and ten­der'd thee. It is the Commandment of God to thee, Prov. 23.22. Despise not thy Mother when she is old. Vile and impious is the Youth that does. Deut. 27.16. Cursed be he that setteth light by his Father or his Mother! and all the people shall say, Amen. He perishes under a universal Curse: all must consent and agree in it. Finally, Piety will teach you to requite your Parents by contributing chearfully to their Sustenance and Support out of your estate if they stand in need of it. Read Josephs filial piety, Gen. 45.9, 10. Haste you and go up to my Father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy Son Joseph, God hath made me Lord of all Egypt, come down unto me, tarry not;—and here will I nourish you. CHRIST teaches you, Mat. 15.4. that the honouring your Fa­ther and Mother includes Maintenance and Relief; and He vehemently condemns the False gloss or tradition of the Pharisees which taught otherwise. O Child, whoever thou art, desire to be unto thy Parents another Obed, of whom we read, Ruth. 4.15. He shall [Page 14]be to thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thy old age.

ONCE more, Piety will teach Children to pray for their Parents, and to thank GOD for the blessing they have in 'em; reverent­ly to rise up and call them blessed; and to de­sire their blessing, p [...]ize their prayers, see [...] that their Soul may bless them. You can [...] value the blessing of pious Parents at too hig [...] a rate, nor is any pains too great to obtai [...] it; as Joseph went with his two Sons to Ja­cobs knees; with utmost reverence and jo [...] But O fear a Parents Curse! Micah had mo [...] religion than to make light of this; he re­stored the eleven hundred shekels of silver ab [...] which his Mother cursed. Pious Jacob tremble [...] at the tho't of Isaac's Curse: Whether [...] laid it to heart we know not; but the sto [...] is dreadful to read, Gen. 9. ult. Cursed be Ca­naan, a servant of servants shall he be to [...] Brethren; Blessed be the Lord GOD of Shem, [...] Canaan shall be his servant.

I shall only add, That Piety will tea [...] Children to have a just regard to the Wisdo [...] and Advice of Parents, in the disp [...]sing [...] themselves to Callings, into Families, or Marriage; and when God takes Parents aw [...] Piety requires their Children to mourn [...] 'em and over them; as Joseph fell upon [...] Fathers face, and wept upon him and kissed [...] as soon as he gave up the Ghost, Gen. 50.1.

[Page 15] BUT so much of the Piety of Children to Parents; on which I have enlarged more than I design on any other head, because it is indeed the first and greatest branch of Early Piety toward Men, and is to be laid in the founda­tion of all the following Instances. I will only recommend it further from the Example of CHRIST; the most blessed and glorious Pattern of it. Children, When the SON of GOD took our Nature of the blessed Virgin Mary, we read of Him that He was Subject to his Parents, Luk. 2.51. And as He hung on the Cross He cast down a dying look upon his Mother, and said to the beloved Disciple who stood by her,—Behold thy Mother: John understood the meaning of that gracious en­dearing word, and from that hour took her to his own home, Joh. 19.27. ‘Thus Christ being made of a Woman was made under the Law of the Fifth Commandment, to teach the Seed of the Faithful to approve them­selves unto Him a Faithful Seed by their careful observance of this Commandment David was a Type of CHRIST in this par­ticular, that in the day of his distress he took care of his exposed Parents, and found a shelter for them. 1 Sam. 22.3.’ But how glorious was the filial piety and dying love of the Son of David, who when He was suffering under the weight of His Eternal Fathers frowns, and crying out to Him, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me; yet found a heart and leisure to look down upon [Page 16]his poor pierced Mothers Soul, and provide [...] her a Son and a Home the few days she ha [...] to outlive Him. O Children, imitate yo [...] Saviour in filial piety. And you that are Parents, exact, require, constrain this Duty, fe [...] and reverence from your Children toward yo [...] or you cruelly abandon them to a reproba [...] state; for it is awful to observe to you, a [...] both Parents and Children have reason to thin [...] of it with trembling, that among the Sins f [...] which God gave up the Heathen to a repro­bate mind this is one, Disobedience to Parents Rom. 1.30. And when the worst of Men a [...] spoken of that shall come in the last da [...] these come into the numeration, 2 Tim. 3 [...] Disobedient to Parents.

BUT I must leave this Copious Head, a [...] go on to say,

2. THOU art a BROTHER or a SISTER [...] the Family (we will suppose) and hast Bre­thren and Sisters to show Piety unto. Th [...] are thy Companions and Equals, and next [...] thy Parents in blood and in the bonds of Nature; and here GOD and thy Parents requ [...] thee to bestow thy next love. Be not l [...] Cain, who was of the devil, and slew his brother; but Love as brethren, heartily and fer­vently, with utmost Endearment. Be me [...] kind, and obliging in your carriage to [...] another: Let not anger rise and rest in y [...] hearts, nor passion rage in your looks, in yo [...] words, in your actions one against anoth [...] The devil, not GOD, (not CHRIST the L [...] [Page 17]of God, not the HOLY SPIRIT, the Dove) dwells in that heart and house, where Chil­dren quarrel, give hard and ill words, call names, wish evil, fight and strike. Trem­ble at Christ's words, Mat. 5.22. He that saith, thou fool, shall be in danger of [...]ell fire. Bear one with another, bear much (if much must be) one from another: Be silent; suffer wrong, answer not again, turn the other cheek; it is thy Brother. Yet reprove him, more gently or severely, as there may be occa­sion; tell him of the fault and sin in what he says or does; and if he will not hear thee inform thy Parents of his evil manners; bring them the report of his evil deeds as Joseph did to Jacob concerning his brethren; and tho' by him thou be hated for it, God will love thee. But be sure that you be always true one to another and just: do not bely nor falsely accuse; nor lie and deny when you are justly accused. Finally, Children, Pray for one another; and why should not the Children of the same house pray with one another, and teach one another? Show to each other a reverence and fear of God in all your Con­versation together; put one another upon fear­ing God and praying to Him, and on avoiding Sin: Especially let each other see that you love and honour the Holy Bible, God's holy Sabbaths, his Ministers and his Worshippers. And let the Governours of families teach, require and [...]ead the Children into this pious behaviour one toward another. But,

[Page 18] 3. THERE are SERVANTS in the Family and you must be very good and pious toward [...]hem, or thou art a Servant in the family and there is a piety to be expressed by thee toward all that are in the house. An ingenious servant is like a child in a family, and should be in a manner treated as one; a [...] the Son in childhood is as a servant tho' h [...] be heir of all. The Children of the hous [...] must not be suffered to be imperious, insolen [...] tyranical toward the meanest servant therein and much less toward the superior servants [...] whom it may at times and in many cases belong to direct and over rule the Children f [...] their good, and for the good order of th [...] Houshold. Abrahams Servant was a kind [...] Son to his Master, and a kind of Father [...] Isaac: Had he begat him he could not ha [...] spoken nor done more for him than he did. Such a servant if an equal in years shou [...] be regarded by children as a kind of brothe [...] or if their elder and set to take care of the [...] as a kind of under Parent.

BUT then the Servants in a family the [...] must shew piety, first to their Master and Mistress, secondly to the Houshold.

1. TO your Master and Mistress your d [...] ty is given in our Context, in such words [...] shew the piety and religion that is to gove [...] you in all the Service you do. Eph. 6.5, 7, 8. Servants, be obedient to them that are yo [...] masters according to the flesh, with fear [...] [Page 19]trembling, in singleness of heart as unto Christ: (stronger Words could not be put together not with eye service as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord and not to men; (how is the Precept press'd on you by being thus doubled? And yet a motive is added, the most inforcing that can be tho't of) knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 'Tis the Commandment with promise you see to Servants, and a greater Promise than of the life that now is.

YOU see (you young people who are Ser­vants) that GOD your Great Master in Hea­ven demands and exacts piety in you toward Him; and that from this heavenly principle you honour your Masters; 1 Tim. 6.1. Let [...] many servants as are under the yoke [...] their own masters worthy of all honour; that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. Also that you fear them, and be subject to them, tho' they be not so pious and good to you as they should be; 1 Pet. 2.18. Servants, be sub­ject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward; for this is thankworthy if a man for conscience s [...]ke to­ward God endure grief suffering wrongfully. O glorious Piety! prescribed you in this truly Divine precept. So serve and shine in the Families where you are.

BE diligent, mind your business, redeem [Page 20]your time, use your best skill and strength study to please, and study your Masters in­terest every way you can; Shew all good fideli­ty, and adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour i [...] all things, Tit. 2.10. Be true and speak the truth: fear a lye, and loath it, as you would Gebazi's leprosie. Preserve your Mas­ters credit and reputation as far as in yo [...] lies, and keep his trust and secrets.

BE submiss, humble, silent, not answering again: keep the good Orders of the house and especially good hours; submit to reproo [...] and correction; if for your faults take [...] thankfully as well as patiently, and if wrongfully endure the grief: knowing that of t [...] Lord ye shall receive the reward of the Inheri­tance; for ye serve the Lord Christ, Col. 3. [...] So Joseph when a Servant was faithful a [...] a blessing, and then suffer'd meekly for [...] fidelity and gratitude to Man, and for h [...] piety toward GOD, Gen. 39.8, 9.

2. THERE is a Piety toward the Housh [...] to be commended to young persons that a [...] Servants in families. And this again is, either toward your Fellow-Servants, or to the Children of the Families where you dwell.

TO your Fellow-Servants be loving, ki [...], courteous, obliging, grateful; meek, gentle, peaceable; Study to be quiet and to do your [...] business: assist one another, hear with o [...] another: give good Words and give [...] good Example: speak to one another of t [...] [Page 21]things of God, admonish one another and submit one to another, and be cloathed with hu­mility; pray one for another and put one a­nother on praying to God: As God has bro't you together under one roof, and into a kind of Relation as well as Acquaintance with each other, so dwell together as the servants of God and heirs together of the grace of Life. O what blessings would a Family of such Ser­vants be one to the other!

AND then to the Children of the family Servants should express their piety, as by carrying toward them with great respect, so with a most endearing love and tender care. Give 'em a good example: teach and instruct 'em as you may be able and there may be occasion: reprove what you see amiss and evil in them; win 'em from it if you can: if there be need threaten 'em to inform their Parents, and be as good as your word if they scorn your words: praise and encourage what is good in 'em, and put 'em upon every thing that is good and holy, ingenuous and com­mendable. O the extensive Benefit which a Family may receive from a good Servant! think not thou art a dry shrub, that God ex­pects and that the World can receive nothing from thee: Know it, that you may be an un­known blessing to the World in your inferior place: desire and endeavour to be so; and God advance thee and enlarge thy opportu­nities to honour Him. And let Masters and Mistresses cherish and encourage such dispo­sition [Page 22]in their Servants; reward 'em and do 'em honour.

AND thus I have got thro' the first Head of Early Piety, in the Family to which you belong, and in the Relation wherein you stand; as Children, Brothers and Sisters, or Servants.

I shall not be so long on the remaining Heads.

II. FROM the Family let us pass to the SCHOOL. And here Children Consider, it is your Parents that put you to School, and it is their love and affection to you, their care and concern for you, both for your temporal and Eternal good, that makes 'em do it: They do it in duty to GOD, that you may be an in­structed Seed to serve Him; they do it in duty to the Public that you may be blessings in your generation; they could not answer it to GOD or Man; nor to their own Hearts (which love you and fear God) to leave you in your natural Ignorance and rudeness [...] they would be cruel, unnatural and barbarous to you, as well as Irreligious toward God not to be thoughtful for your Education and instruction; and therefore they put you under the care of Vertuous, prudent and accomplished Persons to form you aright in mind and in manners, under the blessing of God upon their great pains which they daily take with you; your Minds to useful Knowledge, for that the Soul be without knowledge is not good; and your manners to a regular practice of Virtue and piety.

[Page 23] NOW Children, you ought to be very sensi­ble of the great benefit you have by, and be very thankful to GOD and Man for the ear­ly Means of Instruction which you enjoy: And you must be told that your Advantage and Happiness in this respect is peculiar a­mong the English Provinces; for your wise and pious Ancestors made it their first and chief care to have Religion and Learning flourish among their Posterity; to which end as they put themselves under the watch of learned and holy Pastors, so they provided Schools (Inferior and Superior) for their Chil­dren; and agreeably to their pious hope and endeavour Sobriety and Literature has been the distinguishing honour of the Children of New England unto this day.

THIS day therefore we call upon you, our Children, and Young People, as you would be now the Children of GOD, and hereafter Men of GOD like your Fathers who are now in Glory, religiously and diligently to improve the Means of Education which you are bless'd with. God expects it of you, your Parents command it, your Ministers charge you; and you are wicked before God if you are idle and negligent at School. Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get Wisdom, and with all thy getting get Understanding: Exalt her and she shall promote thee, she shall bring thee to honour if thou doest embrace her: she shall give to thine head an Ornament of Grace, a Crown of Glory shall she deliver to thee.

[Page 24] BUT if you are idle at School you deceive your Parents, you are base and ungrateful to them, you do in effect ly to 'em from day to day; You say, Sir I go to learn, but do not [...] you disobey 'em and rebel against them; nay you in effect rob 'em and steal from 'em, de­fraud and cheat 'em: in all this wickedness you daily live; and is it not the way to be cursed children?

I will only add, That you must love and esteem, honour and fear, obey and submit to your Masters and Mistresses at School, in like manner as you would to your Father and Mo­ther at home. It has been sometimes made a Question, to which one owes most? to his Father for his Being, or to his Tutor for his Institution? But there is no question to be made of this Truth, — that the like Piety which a Child ought to show to the One at home, he ought to the other at School; and with a pious Reverence next to that with which thou dost remember thy Parents, remember always thy wise and learned and faithful Tutors. The great Apostle gratefully speaks of his being brought up at the feet of Gamaliel; from which our Children should learn to sit with humility at the feet of them that instruct 'em, and to mention their Name [...] with honour as long as they live. God commands your pious Veneration toward them whom He has adorn'd, endow'd qualify'd and call'd to teach you. And let all that are [...] honoured to be Teachers of Children and [Page 25]Youth, use their Authority over them, and their Interest in them, to form them (by the Grace of GOD) unto Early Piety and religion.

BUT then you have your School-Mates, and Piety obliges you not to hinder them in learning or tempt them to play and idleness, but rather to put them on minding their Book, or if they need it to help them in learning it, or if they be diligent to be admonished by their Example, or if they can inform thee to ask of them. And you should be kind, humble, meek, grateful one toward another as the dear Children of God, and walk in peace and love.

III. FROM the School I lead you, our Baptised children, into the CHURCH of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Thither your Pa­rents carried you as soon as you were born, and gave you up to GOD in Baptism. Your Pastors (your Parents Pastors) then pray'd over you and bless'd you in the Name of the LORD, the whole worshipping Assembly joyning with them. And being thus Early [...]aken into the Church of Christ, you are most strongly obliged to be pious and religious be­times, and in the fear of God to shew piety to the Ministers of Christ, and to the People of God with whom from Sabbath to Sabbath you come to worship.

AND first, If there be any Piety in you it will influence your hearts and appear in your [Page 26]behaviour toward the Ministers of Christ. They are Fathers by Office, not only to you but also to your Fathers; and your pious Parents do themselves entreat them as such, and require you to do so, for the relation they stand in to God and his Worship, and to esteem them highly for their Works sake.

YOUR Ministers owe and have a special regard and respect to You, the Children and young people of their Flocks; You are witnesses for us this day that we have so; for you are a pleasant and beautiful part [...] them; the Lambs, of whom Christ hath sai [...] unto us, If ye love Me feed them. Your faithful Pastors are therefore tenderly concerned for your Souls and zealously affected towar [...] you; travelling in birth till Christ be formed [...] you, till you are New-born. You therefor [...] owe it both to God and them, that you love and reverence their Persons and their Office [...] and if you honour and fear God, or rega [...] your own Salvation you will do so. Yo [...] must account of them as Ministers of Chr [...] and Stewards of the mysteries of God, and wh [...] you see 'em say to yourselves, These are t [...] Servants of the Most High GOD which shew [...] the way of Salvation. You must rememb [...] that they have Rule over you in the Lord an [...] submit yourselves to them; for they watch [...] your Souls. You must hearken to 'em in public and in private, in GOD's house and [...] your Fathers houses. When they speak [...] you the Word of God believe 'em fully [...] [Page 27]perfectly, and lay up their words in your hearts; desire their Prayers; form yourselves by their grave and gracious Conversation; pray for 'em, thank God for 'em; observing that they naturally care for your Souls, and that they have no greater Joy than to see you walking in the truth. Do not easily believe E­vil of them; abhor the act of those that would insinuate into you vile things respect­ing them, to spoil them of your reverence and you of profiting by their Ministry; re­buke and avoid them that would teach you to mock at and revile them; remember the fate of the forty two Children that perished [...]n such an action, 2 King. 2.24. Let us see that you reverence God's Sabbaths, and fear his Word, and love his Ordinances; and ne­ver dare to trifle and play while your Minis­ters and Parents are praying to God and GOD [...]s speaking to us and you; lest thou mourn at [...]he last and say, How have I hated instruction, [...]nd my heart despised reproof? and have not o­beyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my [...]ar to them that instructed me? I was almost in [...]l evil in the midst of the congregation and as­sembly.

AND finally, When God takes up your Mi­nisters by death from your heads, and you are [...]o more to see their grave faces, nor ever a­gain to hear their gracious words and plea­sant voice, mourn humbly before God your [...]ss and cry after them, My father, my father, [...]e chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof.

[Page 28] BUT then besides your Ministers, you may see in the Church of God a great many shin­ing Gracious Saints, Excellent Christians, some Elder some Younger, whom you ought piously to observe, love, honour and imitate; and [...] they never so mean on worldly accounts yo [...] should admire and venerate 'em for the Gra [...] of Christ in them. This shall be your Pie [...] before God and his People, if his Saints [...] the Excellent Ones in your eyes; and if y [...] honour them that fear the LORD. Especially let Children call often to remembrance the [...] feigned Faith, the bright Devotion, the shining Meekness, the strict and holy Life, of th [...] pious Mothers and Grandmothers, who are [...] them as Eunice and Lois were to Timoth [...] and desire to be like them in the Church [...] Christ, and shew that their Spirit is in [...] also. Emulate their Goodness, whose Na [...] are in the Book of Life.

AND let Parents and Tutors instill i [...] young persons this reverence of holy Minist [...] and of godly People.

IV. I come now in the last place to te [...] Young Persons how Piety should be operat [...] in them toward their Superiors in the STA [...] or COMMONWEALTH:

  • 1. toward their KI [...] their Governour, and Magistrates their [...] Fathers.
  • 2. toward Persons of Eminence, Wisdom, Learning, Usefulness.
  • 3. toward Aged persons.
  • 4. toward the Rich and Poor.
  • 5. to their Equals and Companions.

And First,

[Page 29] 1. CHILDREN and Young People should be piously affected and should behave piously toward their Civil Fathers, their Rulers in the State. Your highest honour and fear is due to these. Fear God and honour the King go together. And you must render to all their dues, fear to whom fear, and honour to whom honour.

YOUR KING is the LORD's Anointed, and is to his People as the Breath of their nostrils. You read of old that Kings were called Abi-melech, the King my Father. Such Children) think your KING to be: such King GEORGE is. Your GOVERNOUR is sent by Him and represents his Royal Person to you. Your Magistrates are the Fathers of the Coun­try; are of it by Birth and Education mostly, [...]ave all their Interest in it, and are its own [...]y Choice. They are God's Ministers to us for [...]ood. Piety teaches you the greatest inward [...]nd outward Reverence before them and to­ward them. Your Parents owe Submission and Obedience to them, and much more [...]ou. Job was a grave, a wise and righteous [...]uler, and he tells us — that when he went [...]t to the Gate thro' the City (the Gate was the [...]ace of Judicature) the young men saw him and [...]d themselves [...] rose and stood up. Piety teaches You [...] [...], and the El­ders to show this respect [...] presence of their Governour. You must submit your selves [...] every Ordinance of Man for the Lord's sake. [Page 30]Gratitude demands this of you, for from you [...] Infancy you have been protected and defended, you and your Parents also, by the good Go­vernment which God hath set over you. T [...] that it is owing (under God's favour) that you were not torn by enemies, robbers or mur­derers from your Mothers breasts in the ye [...] wherein you were born, or that you now en­joy one safe and quiet night.

CHILDREN, Pray for your Rulers and Gi [...] Thanks to GOD for them, Pray for His m [...] Excellent MAJESTY King GEORGE: P [...] for your Excellent GOVERNOUR, who hear [...] ­ly seeks your peace; Pray for all that are [...] Authority, that you may lead a quiet and peace­able life in all Godliness and honesty, for this [...] good and acceptable in the sight of GOD your Sa­viour 1 Tim. 2.2. Never learn to despise Go­vernment: Presumptuous are they and self- [...] ­led, who fear not to speak evil of dignities, 2 P [...] 2.10. God has dignified and put honour [...] your Rulers: Fear thou to do 'em the l [...] dishonour. It may be they find Grace to [...] faithful to GOD, as Moses was, and like [...] muel can affirm their Integrity, and must not be sinful then and dangerous to mur [...] against them? Numb. 12.8. Wherefore [...] were ye not afraid to speak against my serv [...] Moses? Exod. 22. [...]. Thou shalt not revil [...] gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people. He [...] represents Him as vile and execrable, w [...] he deserves it not, he curses him. You [...] [Page 31]how miserably Dathan and Abiram perished, The earth opened it's mouth and swallow'd them up, and they went down alive shrieking into the pit. One piteous and lamentable thing in the sin and ruine of these men, was that their Wives, their Sons, and their little Children came out in defiance to GOD and his Servant Moses, and stood in the door of their tents with them, and went down with them. Oh! The Children should have fled from their rash Pa­rents that dreadful Day and they had liv'd and been blessed by GOD! Let Parents, Tu­tors, Ministers instill betimes into young people the principles of Loyalty, honour and subjection to Government.

2. THERE are in the Common-wealth Per­sons of Eminence for Wisdom, Learning, Virtue and various excellent Endowments, who may not be in any place of Power: And it is the Wisdom and will be Piety in young people to observe, love, and honour the Gifts of GOD in them, and the Image of GOD upon them. Learn of them, desire to be such your­selves in your Generation, and beg of GOD to make you such.

3. YOUNG People owe a Piety unto the Aged. Let the Hoary Head, found in the ways of Righteousness, be a Crown of Glory in your youthful eyes. It is some faint I­mage of Moses his shining Hair after he had been long on the Mount. Christ does not [Page 32]disdain to represent his own Eternity by th [...] dim visage of Age with us: Rev. 1. [...]. His head and his hair were white as wool, [...] white as snow. No wonder then that He [...] made it his Law to thee, Young Person, Lev [...] 19.32. Thou shalt rise up before the he [...] head, and honour the face of the old man; [...] fear thy GO [...] I am the LORD. This Law [...] our God is doubtless given with such Solem­nity, because Young People are apt to des­pise or neglect the Aged under their deca [...] and Infirmities. But piety and discreti [...] will teach you to bear with and cover th [...] Infirmities, to Entreat them as Fathers, [...] speak to 'em and of 'em with decency, to [...] modest and silent often before them, a [...] let Days speak; to consult and advise [...] them, for with the Aged is Experience a [...] Wisdom; to believe them, for they kn [...] and listen to 'em for they love you and [...] your good; to oblige, serve and help th [...] that their Soul may bless you; to de [...] their prayers and prize their Blessing; [...] repent of having disobliged and offen [...] them and ask their forgiveness; to [...] their heavenly walk and godly end; [...] desire their life and mourn at their de [...] for the world loses the benefit of their ample, Faith and Prayers. Let the Age [...] in behaviour as becometh Holiness before Yo [...] people, to command their reverence.

[Page 33] 4. YOUNG People should behave piously toward the Rich and the Poor. Learn betimes not to value Men meerly for their rich state, their gold ring and goodly Apparel; which are apt to take away the eyes and [...]earts of simple Youth; No, Children! let [...]ur adorning be the hidden man of the heart in [...]at which is not corruptible; the Ornament of [...] wise and gracious Spirit, which is in the [...]ght of God of great price. Honour that [...]herever you see it, whether it be in a poor [...]an or a rich. Yet where God gives riches [...] a man, and advances him hereby in [...]tward rank above some of his Nei'bours, [...] calls you to pay unto him a particular [...]tward respect; which at last you give [...] the Providence of God. But be sure [...]at you never despise the poor because he is [...]or: particularly I would direct this coun [...] and charge to the children of the rich: [...] you humble and respectful to the poor: [...] will please God, and honour you among [...]e people of God. Think not, young man, [...]at thy Fathers poor Nei'bour is thy Inferiour: [...] no means. Especially behave not thy self [...]oudly against him if he be Ancient; and [...] he be pious reckon him great and rich; [...] his prayers and hear his words. Learn [...] your Parents (we hope they'l teach you) [...] be pitiful tender and good to the Poor [...]ile you are young: love to see your [...]ents give to them, and to be the secret [Page 34]carriers of their Charity. But let [...] warn you, Children, of a very cruel [...] barbarous piece of rudeness to the poor [...] miserable, which we sometimes have s [...] with grief in our streets: I mean yo [...] insulting and abusing a poor Creature in r [...] or in drink, or craz'd: it is an unchrist [...] and evil thing in you to do so. Piety [...] teach you more Humanity. Fear God [...] Child, and thank him that you art not th [...] Miserable, nor born of him. Say, Did [...] He that made me in the womb make him? [...] did not one God fashion us in the womb?

5. AND lastly, Young people have th [...] Equals, their Acquaintance and Companio [...] and these must shew piety in their Com [...] ­sation together. Be sober, grave, ch [...], religious, and as chearful as you will. K [...] no evil company. Walk with the wise and wiser and make them wiser. Foolish [...] wicked Companions destroy one anoth [...] Serve one anothers Souls: walk toge [...] towards Heaven. Watch over and admo [...] one another. Speak often to each [...] of GOD and CHRIST and Holiness, of [...] and Death and Hell; of Heaven and Eter­nal glories. Pray one for another [...] Combine and meet to pray together; as [...] of you do. Shew to one another that [...] fear God; encourage and assist one ano [...] in every thing that is holy and [...] and so edify your selves together, [Page 35]one another in love. And honour in one another whatsoever things are honest, pure, lovely and of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think of these things, and emulate them, imitate them in each other.

AND thus, Young People, I have (in the plainest method and most pressing Words I could) laid before you that Piety toward Men which is incumbent on you as Christian Children. Thus you must honour your Parents, your Magistrates, your Ministers, your Tu­tors and Masters; yea honour all men.

IN doing this you will greatly honour and please GOD, bring glory to his Name in your early days, and secure to your selves his fa­vour and Blessing, which is more than Life.

ALL this you owe to your Father in Hea­ven: He has required it of you: He is [...]our Fathers GOD and you must thus exalt Him, in a conspicuous early Piety before [...]en, which when they behold they will give [...]ory to Him.

SO live, your Parents joy, your Tutors pride, [...]our Pastors crown, the delight of Mankind; [...]nd inherit their joint Blessing. The Eyes [...]t see you shall bless you, and in you shall [...]rael bless. GOD before whom your Fathers [...]alked, the GOD which led them into and [Page 36] fed them in this Wilderness; the Angel which redeemed them and their Posterity from a [...] evil unto this day, bless you, our CHILDREN [...] the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whos [...] Name is named on you, bless you; as he [...] promised to them that keep this Command­ment; and make you to grow into a multitu [...] in the midst of the Earth.

[Page 1]

Sober-Mindedness Explain'd as a necessary Part of Early Piety.


Young Men likewise Exhort to be Sober-minded.

THE Apostle Paul having laid the foundation of a Christian Church in the Island of Crete, left Titus the Evangelist there, to set in order the things that were wanting, and Ordain Elders in every City, Tit. 1.5. And that Titus might the [Page 2]better perform the duties of his Office, the Apostle furnisheth him with several excellent Instructions respecting his Doctrine and Life. Among others we have this direction rela­ting to Young Persons. Young men likewise exhort — Exhort. The Word signifieth to call unto, to beseech, comfort, Exhort. [...] is commonly translated Exhort, as a learned Man observeth. Young Men, Juniors, Young­er Persons: The Word is translated, Younge [...] Luk. 22.26. To be sober-minded. The Word in the Original signifieth to be sober, tempe­rate, chast, wise, discreet. It is translate [...] Discreet, 5. v. Context. To be of a right a [...] sound mind, to govern their affections, appe­tites and passions; and therefore it is a m [...] suitable Exhortation for such as are in th [...] heat of Youth, and so inclin'd to give th [...] reins to their unruly lusts, and Exorbita [...] passions. In a word, It may refer either [...] to the body, or mind, and importeth a due [...] ­gulation of both, according to God's Word.

DOCTRINE. IT is the Duty of Young Persons to be Sober-minded.

THE Apostle under the infallible guida [...] of the Spirit of God, giveth this in charge [...] Titus, to Exhort —. And it is writ [...] for the instruction of Gospel Ministers [...] End of the world: Here then is the Cal [...] [Page 3]GOD to Young Persons; Men, and Women; Be sober-minded. The Grace of God that bring­eth salvation hath appeared to all men; Teaching us that we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, Tit. 2.11, 12.

YOU have had the Duties of Godliness and Righteousness Explain'd; It remains, that we consider the duties you stand oblig'd to, re­specting yourselves. Indeed the Duties we are now speaking of, come under the general head of Justice or Righteousness, and are to be referr'd to the Second Table of the Law. Thus for Example, The Seventh Command­ment requireth the Preservation of our own as well as our neighbours Chastity. For the Illustration of the Doctrine, I shall consider several things implied in being Sober-minded.

I. YOUNG Persons must take care that their minds be under the governing influence of right Principles.

WE have observed that the word signifieth to be of a right mind. Thus Mark 5.15. He that had been possessed, is said to be in his right mind. Now if we would have a sound mind in a spiritual sense, we must seek to get our minds enlightened with the Saving knowledge of the truths of God's Word, and make use of the Excellent Rules there laid down, for the right government of our lives. The Apostle Peter Exhorts believ­ers, 1 Pet. 1.13. Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober—. Now this Girdle is [Page 4] Truth. Eph. 6.14. — Having your loins girt about with Truth—. This Girdle is not only for ornament, but also for strength to the fa­culties of the Soul, that they may not be loosed in an hour of temptation. And there­fore unless Young Men wear this Girdle, they will be of dissolute lives and manner. The Understanding is the leading faculty and therefore if that be blind, there must be disorder and confusion in the whole ma [...] Agreeably it is said of the Gentiles, that they walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkned, being alienated from the life of God, thro' the ignorance that is [...] them—, Eph. 4.17, 18. And thus, Rom. 1.2 [...] Their foolish heart was darkned— And then [...] follows, ver. 24. Wherefore God also gave the [...] up to uncleanness—. And it is very observa­ble of Young Persons, that their ignorance their want of right judgment, prudence and discretion, are often the causes of great irre­gularities in their conduct and behaviour. The Youth who yielded to the enticement of the Adultress, is call'd, A young man v [...] of understanding, Prov. 7.7. If you wou [...] then discharge your Duty towards your selves you must obey that Word, Prov. 7.4. S [...] unto wisdom, thou art my sister; and call under­standing thy kinswoman. You must ask of Go [...] that Wisdom which is from above, and [...] ­sure up the Word of God in your hearts [...] the due regulation of your Thoughts, Wo [...] and Actions. If you would think sober [...] [Page 5]the great matters of Religion, and act as wise Men, when you grow up to Years of under­standing, you must not take up your Religi­on meerly as a Tradition from your Fathers; but should search the Scriptures, and read other good Books, that you may understand the ground and foundation Principles on which it is built; That you be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, and cunning craf­tiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, Eph. 4.14. You should hold fast the form of sound words which you have heard, in faith & love which is in Christ Jesus. The Catechism you generally learn in your Childhood, is an excellent Body of Divinity, and well worthy the study of your riper Years. A very pro­fitable exercise it might be for our Young People to get some good Exposition on the Catechism, and study it with diligence and earnest Prayer to God, to lead them into all Truth, comparing the Doctrines therein laid down, with the texts of Scripture brought to confirm them. To the Law and to the Testi­mony! Unless our Young People be well established in the Doctrines of the Gospel, and under the government of the sacred truths there deliver'd; there will be the greatest danger of their slighting, and then betraying that cause of God for which our Fore-Fathers came into this Land when it was an howling Wilderness.

[Page 6] II. YOUNG Persons must take heed that they be Wary, cautious and deliberate.

YOUNG Men are full of heat, and there­fore prone to be too quick and sudden in th [...] motions; rash and heady in their resolve. They are apt to determine upon things great Consequence before they have we weighed them. Now this precipitancy [...] often-times the cause of great blunders [...] their Conduct, and in many instances th [...] have reason to repent at leisure. And there­fore if Young Men would be sober-minded they must look about them, be willing [...] take advice of such as are of riper years [...] greater experience; and not abound in the [...] own sense. And above all you should lo [...] up to God in Prayer to guide you by [...] counsel, and commit your ways unto [...] Crying to him, as Jer. 3.4.—My father, [...] art the guide of my youth. With the we [...] advised there is Wisdom. Such will wa [...] circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise [...] but if you are rash, inadvertent, and lean [...] your own understanding, you will exalt foll [...].

III. YOUNG Persons must be Humble, and ta [...] heed they do not think of themselves more high [...] then they ought.

THIS is implied in Sober-mindedness Rom. 12.3.—I say, thro' the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to thin [...] of himself more highly then he ought to thin [...] but to think soberly—. It is the same wor [...] [Page 7]which is used in our text. Young People must then be Humble. You should Earnestly seek after such a frame of spirit as the Psal­mist had, Psal. 131.1. Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exer­cise my self in great matters, or in things too high for me. You must humble your selves, and become as little children, mean, and lit­tle in your own eyes; or you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Pride is a lust of the mind, and is a Sin which easily besets Young Persons. Isai. 3.5. The child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient. They are oftentimes ignorant of themselves, Novices, and so prone to be lifted up with pride, and in danger of falling into the Condemnation of the Devil. If Young Persons have wit and parts, beauty, riches, fire apparell and the like how apt are they to swell with pride! There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes [...] and their eye-lids are lifted up, Prov. 30.13. Many declare this Sin in their looks, gestures, and carriages. Thus the Daughters of Zion were haughty, and walked with stretched forth necks. Their Pride was also declar'd in the excess of their Apparel; for which reason, God threatned to take away the bravery of their Ornaments. Isai. 3.16,—18. Young People are apt to be conceited, and to magnify themselves; to be desirous of vain glory, and ambitious of more honour and respect than they deserve. Let them there­fore be deeply humbled for their Pride, and [Page 8]by the Grace of God cast down their proud imaginations, and every thing that exalteth it self against God. Obey that Command, 1 Pet. 5.5. Ye younger, submit your selves unt [...] the elder: yea, all of you be subject one [...] another, and be cloathed with Humility—. Th [...] Grace becometh you. This Garment well [...] and suits you; for Sin hath made you nake [...] to your shame. It is pleasing to God; b [...] the contrary is abominable in his sight. Pro [...] 16.5. Every one that is proud in heart, is [...] abomination to the Lord—. God resisteth th [...] proud, and giveth Grace to the humbl [...]. Humble your selves then, that God may exalt you. Beware of Pride, lest God be pro­voked to leave you to some Sin which shall be a blot and stain that shall cleave to you and not be wiped away. O remember that word, Prov. 16.18. Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall.

IV. YOUNG Persons must look to it that [...] be of a Meek and Quiet Spirit.

MEEKNESS is a Grace of the Holy Spirit whereby we regulate our Anger, according to the rules of God's Word. Now the con­trary Sin, rash and immoderate Anger, of [...] prevails in Young People, who have a natur [...] Fervour of spirit in conjunction with a vi [...] ­ous disposition to this Sin. How soon do [...] observe wrathful passions working in [...] Children! Now this is a great Sin, and [...] to other Sins. Persons in their passion [...] many times Curse and Swear and call W [...] ­ed [Page 9]names; Sins highly provoking to God, and such as all, and particularly our Young People, shou'd carefully avoid, and therefore shun this temptation to them. To be angry with our brother without a cause or in an undue mea­sure is a Breach of the Sixth Commandment, and it leads to more hainous Violations of it. How often do Men smite their neighbour with the fist of wickedness, when in the heat of pas­sion! Yea, this Sin hath produced bloody ef­fects, and proceeded to Murder. A dreadful example we have to our purpose in the slaugh­ter of the Shechemites by Simeon and Levi, of which Jacob speaks, Gen. 49.6, 7. O my soul, come not thou in their secret; unto their assem­bly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man—Cursed be their anger for it was fierce; and there wrath for it was cruel—. Let us all then, and particularly our Young People, obey that Command; Col. 3.12, 13. Put on therefore — meekness, long-suffering. Forbearing one another—. O Young Men! Be gentle, and easy to be en­treated; not wrathful and revengeful. A­void this great Sin, and all the occasions of it, as grievous words, which stir up anger, Prov. 15.1. It is true, we may be angry and not sin; Eph. 4.26. Be angry and sin not—. But then, when we are angry without cause, or in undue measure, when we retain it, and let the Sun go down on our wrath, when we suffer our Anger to degenerate into malice and hatred, we break God's Law and are found [Page 10]transgressors: We do that which is sinful and displeasing in His sight, as well as hurtful and dishonourable to our selves. Mat. 5.22. He that is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the judgment. Such do expose themselves to the righteous judgment of God, and also to manifold mischiefs from Men. Prov. 25.28. He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down and with­out walls. How naked and expos'd are such! Let our Young People then he deeply hum­bled for their rash anger and passion; parti­cularly, if you have at any time been fill'd with rage at your Parents or Masters, for giving you needful Correction. Fly to the Blood of Jesus Christ for Pardon, and ask of God His Spirit; for the fruit of the Spirit i [...]—Gentleness, Meekness, Gal. 5.22, 23. O take heed that you do not give up your selves to rash Anger and Passion, which is a short madness! Watch over your hearts, and Pray to God to keep them, and to enable you to govern your Passion. A meek and quiet spirit is an excellent spirit indeed. 1 Pet. 3.4. — The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. O seek this Ornament, and never forget to wear it! Such a Spirit is pleasing to God, lovely in the eyes of Men, and of great be­nefit to Societies. Their well-being doth very much depend upon this, that the several Members put off Wrath, Anger, Malice; par­ticularly, the tranquillity and good Ord [...] [Page 11]of Families, do very much depend on this, that Young Men and Women take care to govern their Passion. Where an angry spirit prevails, there will be strife, and then confu­sion and every evil work. One character in the description of the perillous times of the last days, is that, Men shall be fierce, 2 Tim. 3.3. O fly from this Sin then, and follow after Meekeess.

V. YOUNG Persons must be moderate in their Desires and Pursuits of sensitive Pleasures.

Beza translateth the words, Exhort Young Men that they be Moderate: And without question, a moderation of our desires of car­nal pleasures, is one thing intended in this Exhortation; for this is what persons in the vigour and heat of Youth, are exceeding prone to and have been often cast down by. [...] this Age you have the highest gust and rel [...] for, and the most Exquisite sense of carnal pleasures. And this is a bait which Satan doth frequently, and alas! how successfully use, to take Young People in an evil net. That may often be given as the Character of Young Men, 2 Tim. 3.4. Lovers of plea­sures more than lovers of God. They are for Play and Pastime; now this, and then the other Diversion consume their precious time. They are ready to say with the rich fool; Soul, take thine ease, Eat Drink and be merry; and to promise themselves that to morrow shall be as this day and more abundant. They put far away the evil day, and then give a [Page 12]loose to their sensual inclinations. Accord­ingly the Royal Preacher speaks to Young Per­sons, Eccles. 11.9. Rejoyce, O young man in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart and in the sight of thine eyes: but know the [...] that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. By this Ironical concession, th [...] Wise Man intimateth that the hearts [...] Young Men are set on their Pleasures; Bu [...] then he giveth a check to them by calling upon them to remember the Day of Judgment when God will reckon with them, an [...] give them sorrow and torment according [...] they have liv'd in sinful Pleasures. O [...] Exhorted therefore to moderate and mortify your love of Pleasures! which hath fla [...] their Ten Thousands. Fly those youthfu [...] [...]usts which war against the Soul. Abstain wholly from such pleasures as are forbidden and take care to use those delights which a [...] in themselves lawful, as not abusing them. O do not waste your precious time, which [...] so short and uncertain, in sports and recrea­tions, but use them with great moderation, and in such a manner that you may be prepar'd for serious Employments, and weighty Business. These Pleasures immoderately in­dulg'd, blind the mind, stupify the conscience [...] debauch the affections, and will make yo [...] carnal, sensual and bruitish. They cho [...] the good seed of the Word; and tho' they [...] but for a season, yet if you live in the [...] [Page 13]they will drown your Souls in eternal Per­dition, and bring you to that place where is weeping and gnashing of teeth forever. Look to God then for His Grace, and by the spirit mortify these deeds of the flesh. Sure­ly it is better to cut off a right hand, or pluck out a right eye, than to be cast into that Fire which can't be quenched. The time would fail me to mention all the delights and pleasures whereby Young Persons are ensnar'd and ruin'd. I shall mention some of them under following Heads.

VI. YOUNG Persons must be Temperate.

WE are commanded to add to knowledge temperance, 2 Pet. 1.6. I use the word here in a restrained sense, for a due regulation of the Appetite respecting meat and drink. Now this is a considerable branch of Sobriety, and a Duty incumbent on all, particularly on Young Men. Be you perswaded then, to hearken to the Counsel given you. Prov. 23.19—21. Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not amongst wine-bibbers; amongst riotous caters of flesh. For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty. There was a Law of old which threatned death to such wicked Young Men, as persisted in these Sins, notwithstanding the admonitions of these Parents. Deut. 21.18—21. If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father—. Then shall his father and mother lay hold [Page 14]on him, bring him out to the elders of his City—. And they shall say unto the elders of his City, this our son is stubborn — he is a glut­ton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his Ci­ty shall stone him with stones that he die—. You see here that the incorrigible Youth who would not be reclaim'd from such Sins, wa [...] to be put to death. And know it these sin [...] of Gluttony and Dunkenness are not less pro­voking to God under the Gospel Dispensatio [...] than they were of old under the Legal. No [...] such works of darkness are more hainous i [...] the sight of God, when committed under th [...] Light of the glorious Gospel. Agreeably, w [...] have those words, Rom. 13.13. Let us wa [...] honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drun­kenness—. Take heed then lest at any tim [...] your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness. Manifold are the mischievous consequences, and bitter fruits of this Si [...]Wine, and new wine take away the heart, Hos. 4.11. This Sin strangely besots and infatuate [...] Men, & makes them vile. Such excesses clou [...] and enfeeble the mind, & take off the heart fro [...] all that is good. They who drink to excess will forget the Law, and be in the utmost hazza [...] of falling into many foolish and hurtful lusts* [Page 15] Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, Prov. 20.1. If you enflame yourselves with it, you may be left to take God's dreadful Name in vain, and to scoff at all that is seri­ous. Who hath wo? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath redness of eyes? they that tarry long at the wine, that go to seek mix'd wine. Again; this Sin marreth the beauty and sprightliness of Youth; it blasteth it, and renders it a fading flower. But what is inconceivably more hurtful, it wounds the precious Soul, and provoketh God to with­draw even the common restraints of His Grace. This Sin quencheth the motions of God's Holy Spirit, Eph. 5.18. Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spirit. And if this be persisted in, it will destroy Body and Soul in Hell. Drunkards are numbred among them that shall not in­herit the Kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6.10. Such must be washed, and sanctified, and justi­fied in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God, or be cast out of God's Pre­sence for ever. Let us all then, and parti­cularly, Young People, be Exhorted to fly these Sins. When you eat and drink, let it be for strength, and not for Drunkenness. Do not frequent Taverns, and indulge your selves in Night-Revels. It is a shame and scandal for Young Men, or any others, to be at Publick Houses enflaming themselves with strong drink, when they should be in their Closets, praying to that God who seeth in [Page 16]secret, or attending Family-Duties, or at rest in their Beds. Take heed then, Have no fellowship with such unfruitful works of dark­ness; but rather reprove them. This Sin may seem pleasant now; but know it, At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an ad­der. Thy eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth on the top of [...] mast, Prov. 23.32,—34.

VII. YOUNG People must be Chaste.

THIS is an eminent branch of Sobriety. And it is a great Duty commanded in God's Law. The Seventh Commandment is, Thou shal [...] not commit Adultery, Exod. 20.14. It re­quireth Chastity in body, and mind, in tho [...] words, and actions; and forbids all filthine [...] and uncleanness. We are now especially to con­sider it as it respects Young People, and suc [...] as are in a single state. It must [...] said to Young People, as well as others, [...] in 1 Thes. 4.3, 4. This is the will of Go [...] even your sanctification: that every one of yo [...] should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour. Take heed to your selves [...] avoid all impurity, and all means a [...] provocations thereunto. You must [...] the Grace of God keep your selves from [...] Uncleanness in heart speech and behaviou [...]. If you would be Sober-minded, you must [...] [Page 17]the inward lustings of the heart subdued and mortifyed. That these are a breach of the Seventh Commandment we are told, Mat. 5.28. And thus our Saviour also assureth us, that out of the heart proceed evil tho'ts, murders; adulteries, fornications;—These are the things which defile a man, Mat. 15.19, 20. And therefore there must be great care to abstain from lustful thoughts, and impure imagina­tions. We must take heed we do not enter­tain, and defile our minds with filthy specu­lations, and burn with unclean desires. But on the contrary, we must mortify evil con­cupiscence, lest we be led aside of our own lust and enticed. You must also take care that you do not yield any of the parts of your Bodies as instruments to uncleanness. The Countenance and outward Gestures are the index of the Mind, and therefore you must take care that these be grave and modest, that you be not light and wanton in your looks and gestures. We read of a wicked person that winketh with his eyes, speaketh with his feet, and teacheth with his fingers, Prov. 6.13. The eye is a window at which much Sin is let into the Soul, and therefore if you would preserve your Chastity, you must make a Co­venant with your eyes, as Job did, Job 31.1. and take heed you be not as they who have eyes full of Adultery. Again, You must look to God to keep the door of your lips, and refrain from that evil Communication which corrupts good manners. Eph. 4.29. Let no [Page 18]corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. Col. 4.6. Let your speech be always with grace, season­ed with salt. Let your tongues be employ'd in singing the Praises of God, and not in singing filthy Songs. O do not turn your Glory into shame, by employing the powers of Speech to such vile purposes! And the [...] take heed you do not listen to the corrupt com­munications of others. Again, Take heed and beware of all wanton dalliances and impu [...] touches. To be sure then you must take heed and beware of all gross Acts of filthiness whether alone, or with others. Be exhorte [...] to fly that heinous Sin of Onan; for which the Lord slew him, Gen. 38.9, 10. Mr. Po [...] hath these words upon the place; ‘Tw [...] things are here noted (says he) The Sin i [...] self, which is here particularly described [...] the Holy Ghost, that Men might be instructed concerning the nature, and the great evil of this Sin of self-pollution; which is such, that it brought upon the Act [...] of it, the extraordinary Vengeance of God and which is condemned not only by Scrip­ture, but even by the light of Nature, and the judgment of Heathen, who have expressly censured it as a great Sin and as [...] kind of Murder.’ ‘Whereby we may suffi­ciently understand how wicked and abo­minable a practice this is amongst Christi­ans and in the light of the Gospel, whi [...] lays greater and stricter obligations [...] us to purity; and severely forbids all filthi­ness [Page 19]of flesh and Spirit.’ And Young Persons must keep themselves pure, and not allow themselves in any Acts of filthiness with others. They must take heed to themselves that they do not Entice others to this great Sin: And if they are Enticed, must answer as Joseph replied to the impure sollicitations of his Mistress; Gen. 39.9. How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God. You must avoid the Company of such, as you would persons that have some deadly infecti­ous Distemper; and not consent to be with them, or to give them an opportunity to repeat their sollicitations. Prov. 5.3,—12. This Sin committed between Single Persons, is a great breach of God's Law, and not to be accounted a light matter. Yea for Persons that contract an intimate acquaintance with a purpose of Marriage, to come together be­fore it be consummated; is not to be ac­counted a small Sin: No! It is a dishonour to God, and scandal to Religion, and as such to be carefully avoided by all, and particu­larly by our Young People. A more hainous Transgression of the Seventh Commandment it is for Persons to commit this Sin where one or both are in a Married state: An hor­rid Violation this is of the Marriage Cove­nant, which God calls His Covenant, and ac­cordingly was of old punished with Death. Lev. 20.10. And the man that committeth A­dultery with anothers man's wife, even he that committeth Adultery with his neighbours wife, [Page 20]the adulterer & the adultress shall surely be put [...] death. A great aggravation of this Sin it [...] for Persons near a kin by Consanguinity [...] Affinity, to commit this Sin together. Of thi [...] great Sin of Incest we read, Lev. 18.6,—18 Nor can Marriage make this lawful; for al [...] Marriages contrary to the Law of God, a [...] null and void. God doth not joyn such Persons together. Again, It is an high aggra­vation of this Sin when Violence is offer'd i [...] the Commission of it. As Amnon forced [...] Sister Tamar, 2 Sam. 13, 14. An hor [...] Crime! There are other Violations of [...] Seventh Commandment, which it might we [...] fill one with horror, to think that any shou [...] be guilty of. But I pass them over in silen [...]. O that such Abominations may never be com­mitted in our Land! Let us all, and parti­cularly our Young People be Exhorted to [...] this great Sin of Uncleanness in all the Degrees, Kinds and Branches of it. This is [...] youthful lust; a Sin which such as are in [...] heat and strength of Youth are peculiarly d [...] pos'd to, and in danger of. Prov. 7.6, 7, 8, 9, [...]—21, 22, 23, 24,—26. For at the win [...] of my house I looked through my casement, [...] beheld among the simple ones, I discerned an [...] the youths, a young man void of understanding passing through the street near her corner, an [...] went the way to her house, In the twilight in [...] evening, in the black and dark night: And be [...] there met him a woman with the attire of [...] harlot, and subtil of heart. With her much [...] [Page 21]speech she causeth him to yield, with the flatter­ing of her lips she forced him. He goeth after [...]er straightway as an ox goeth to the slaughter, [...] as a fool to the correction of the stocks: Till [...] dart strike thro' his liver, as a bird hasteth [...] the snare, and knoweth not that it is for [...]is life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye [...]hildren, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let [...]ot thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray [...] her paths. For she hath cast down many wound­ed: yea many strong men have been slain by her.

AND that you may be Excited to fly this [...]in, Consider the hainous Nature, and dreadful [...]onsequences of it: It imprints an espe­cial mark of dishonour & infamy on the Body, [...] Cor. 6.18. — He that committeth fornication, [...]nneth against his own body. It consumes the [...]ody, Prov. 5.11. wasteth the Estate, ver. [...]. It corrupts and infatuateth the mind. [...]os. 4.11. Whoredom and wine take away the [...]art. It is a wound to our good Name, Prov. [...] 33. A wound and dishonour shall he get, and [...] reproach shall not be wiped away: It hath [...]oth a natural and moral tendency to shorten [...]fe. Joh 20.11. His bones are full of the sin of [...] youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. [...]ob 36.14. They die in youth, and their life is among [...]e unclean. In a word, It destroyeth the pre­cious Soul, and Exposeth to dreadful Judg­ments in this World, and that which is to me. Heb. 13.4. Whoremongers and adulter­ [...]s God will judge. Such may hide their Sins [...]om Men; but they cannot escape the Righ­teous [Page 22]Judgment of GOD, nor the Vengea [...] of Eternal Fire, unless they Repent, and [...] to Christ [...]. This Sin persisted in, will shut [...] out of Heaven, and provoke God to cast [...] down where the Worm never dieth,—1 Co [...] 6.9—Be not deceived: neither fornicators— [...] adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of them­selves with mankind. ver. 10.—shall i [...] the kingdom of God. The wise M [...] speaks of such who are given up to this [...] as abhorred of the Lord, Prov. 22.14. [...] mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he [...] is abhorred of the Lord, shall fall therein. [...] we have then been Guilty of this Sin, in [...] degree or kind, we should be deeply hum­bled in the sight of God, and go to the Foun­tain which is set open for sin and uncleanness to the Blood of Christ which cleanseth from [...] sin. We should ask the Holy Spirit to [...] us from our Filthiness. And Cry to God [...] Create a clean heart within us. And that [...] may be preserved from this Sin, we should [...] the Company of unchast and wanton Perso [...]. Observe a Decorum in our Garb and Dress [...] well as look and gesture; 1 Tim. 2.9. [...] like manner, that women adorn themselves in mo­dest apparrel, with shamefacedness and sobri [...]. Again, We must avoid the Sin of idlen [...] which leads to this, and many other Si [...]. One of the Sins of Sodom was abundance [...] Idleness.—We must be diligent in some [...] ­ful Calling—. And when it is need [...] use that remedy which God hath provid [...] [Page 23]1 Cor. 7.2. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, [...] every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. And then take care [...]hat we preserve Conjugal Fidelity, and Purity.

VIII. YOUNG Persons must be Frugal & Thrifty.

YOU must Avoid Prodigality and Profuse­ness, and take heed you be not as the Prodi­gal Son, who wasted his substance with riotous [...]ving, Luk. 15.13. If your Parents have left you an Estate; Or you have other ways [...]otten it; you must consider this is a Talent which God hath lent you, and which he re­quireth you to employ in His Service, and for His Glory. Take heed therefore that you do [...]ot waste it to gratify your Ambition, or sen­suality. Do not affect to make a greater [...]ow than your Estate will bear. Do not consume what God hath given you upon your lusts. Particularly, Beware of the Sin of Gaming which is a breach of the Eighth Com­mandment. The money which is lost by Gaming is vilely cast away, and that which is gotten by it, is dishonestly gotten, and [...]ust be restor'd, or it may be a Moth to your whole Estate. In a word, see to it that you [...]o not waste your Estates, or what may be given you by your Parents, in unlawful Recrea­tions and Pleasures, or by the immoderate use of such as are in themselves innocent & lawful.

I may say; That Young Persons must take [...]eed and beware of carnal Confidence and Pre­sumption. Do not presume on God's Mercy,[Page 24]while you persist in Sin: Be not so presump­tuous as to Promise yourselves a more conve­nient season for working out your Salva­tion, when God says; To Day, if ye will hear a Voice, harden not your hearts. Do not imagine that God will always strive with you, or tha [...] it is in your power to Repent. Such va [...] and impious Imaginations are Repugnant to Sober-mindedness, and prove pernicious t [...] many Young People, who by Presumption hope, and so perish.


USE, I. IS this the Duty of Young Men: Then such as are of riper years should be Sober minded.

MIDDLE-Aged and Elder Persons should take care that their moderation and due reg [...] ­lation of their Appetites be Conspicuous It is your Duty to be Examples of Prudence [...] Meekness, Temperance, &c. Thus you should teach Young Persons Sobriety by your well ordered Conversation.

USE. II. LET us look back upon the Sin [...] and Follies of our Youth, and be deeply Humble [...].

THE best of us have abundant reason to la­ment the sinful follies and miscarriages of o [...] Youth; for Childhood and youth are vanity Eccl. 11.10. Let us reflect upon them wit [...] deep abasement, mourn after a godly sort up­on the account of them, and fly to the Gra [...] and Mercy of GOD in JESUS CHRIST for Pa [...] ­don and Cleansing. Who can understand h [...] [Page 25]Errors? Lord cleanse us from secret faults. Remember not the sins of our Youth, nor our transgressions, according to thy mercy, remember thou us, for thy goodness sake, O Lord. If the Lord should mark iniquities, the iniquities of our Youth, we shall not be able to stand. Let us then deprecate His entring into Judgment with us, and have our entire dependance on Jesus Christ for Righteousness. Unless your Sins are covered they are all remembred by God against you, as if committed but Yesterday. We had need therefore be Earnest with God to blot out our Transgressions according to the multitude of His tender Mercies. And if we are Converted ourselves we should strengthen our Younger Brethren and Children. The Re­membrance of the Temptations and Sins of our Youth should excite our Tender Compas­sion toward our Young People, and quicken us to do our utmost to Preserve them, or Re­cover them, if fallen into Sin.

USE, III. LET our Young People be Exhorted to be Sober-minded.

I Beseech you, suffer the Word of Exhorta­tion which is now given you in the Name of the Lord. Do your Duty towards yourselves in the Exercise of a regular Self-love; Govern your Appetites and Passions according to the Rules of God's Word. And for this End, O Young Man! Know thyself: Learn from God's Word how you were made in your First-Pa­rents, and how vile and wretched you are by the Fall. Reverence thyself: Consider the [Page 26]excellent powers and faculties with which God hath endowed you. GOD your maker teacheth you more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh you wiser than the fowls of heaven, Job 35.11. Be ye not then as the horse, or as the mule which have no understanding. You have a precious immortal Soul within you, capable of Knowing, Glorifying and Enjoying God for­ever. O do not make it a slave to brutish lusts and vile affections; Do not Marr and De­stroy God's Workmanship. The Loss is you [...] own if you do, and who can declare how great a Loss this is to Lose your Soul forever? B [...] sensible that you have not so much as the seed [...] and principles of Grace in you by nature, an [...] Cry to God to renew you in the Spirit of your minds, that being born of the Spirit, you may be enabled to discharge these duties from a gra­cious Principle, and with a sincere aim at God's Glory. Put on Christ, and make no provision fo [...] the flesh to fulfill it in the lusts thereof. Learn [...] Him who was meek and lowly; harmless and undefiled. Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

AND now, Let us Cry to God to Pour out His Spirit upon us, and upon our Children, that by the Grace of God which hath appeared to us we may be taught To live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.

[Page 1]

The Great and Solemn OB­LIGATIONS to Early Piety.


My Son give me thine Heart.

THIS Book is call'd the Proverbs; because it is a Divine Collection of the Proverbs, i. e. the wise and pithy Sentences of Solomon the Son of David King of Israel. The great design in general is to bring the Sons of Men to know wisdom and in­struction, [Page 2]to perceive the words of understanding, and also to receive the instruction of wisdom justice and judgment and equity. In particular, To give subtilty to the simple, and to the young man knowledge and discretion. Thus He tell [...] us Himself in the 4 first verses.

AS King Solomon excelled all the Earth i [...] Wisdom; so He was Renowned also for hi [...] excellent Sayings. It is said He spake thre [...] Thousand Proverbs—And there came of a [...] people to hear his wisdom, from all the Kings [...] the Earth that had heard of his wisdom, 1 King. 4.32,—34.

IN these excellent Proverbs He dispens' [...] His Wisdom. Like Moses, His Doctrine drop­ped as the Rain on all about Him: His Speed distilled as the Dew; as the small Rain upon the tender Herb, and as the Showers upon the Grass, Deut. 32.2. In this respect tha [...] Prophecy of his Father David was accom­plished in Him, Psal. 72.6. He shall com [...] down like Rain on the mown Grass, and as th [...] showers that water the Earth. And on this account in seems to be that when the Queen of Sheba had seen His Wisdom, and the sit­ting of His Servants, and the attendance [...] His Ministers; she cry'd out to the King in admiration, 2 Chron. 9.3,—7. It was a tru [...] report which I had heard in mine own Land of thy sayings and of thy wisdom: Howbeit I be­lieved not their words, until I came, and [...] eyes had seen it; and behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me [Page 3]For thou exceedest the fame that I heard: Hap­py are thy Men, and happy are these thy Ser­vants, which stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom.

HAPPY were they that continually stood before Him and heard these wise and excel­lent Proverbs proceed from His Mouth! Happy are we that have them copied out and set before us; that we may continual­ly read and study them. But most happy those that carefully Observe and Follow them. By receiving these instructions of Wisdom; we shall become Wise like Him that gave them: They will give even sub­tilty to those that are simple, and to the Young Man Knowledge and Discretion.

AND indeed in the midst of all His Speeches, we may plainly observe, that this most Wise and Foreseeing King had a singular view to the Rising Generation. He clearly saw of what Importance it was to Instruct the Youth in the Principles of Wisdom, and that these were the likeliest and the fittest to learn them.

THE Grown up in Years had spent a deal of Time: their season of Service would soon be over, and they were so throughly fix'd and riveted in their several Ways and Prin­ciples, that they were not so like to learn or receive Instruction. The Good had receiv'd it and were wise already; and 10 had less the need to be Taught than others: He need not take abundance of pains with these, for [Page 4]they would hear and increase in l [...] ­ing, and of their own accord aspire [...] higher degrees of Wisdom and Knowledge. The Bad had receiv'd such ill and deep Im­pressions from their long continuance in their sinful courses, that there were little hopes of their hearkning to Him. They are estranged from the womb, they have gone astray ever since they were born—, and they are like the deaf adder, that stops her ears, which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, cha [...] they never so wisely, Psal. 58.3,—5.

THE Tender Youth were the most fit and apt to Learn, and the easiest and likeliest [...] receive Instruction: They were the spring­ing Supports of the Rising Age: and if these could be imbued with Wisdom; How Wise and Happy would be the next Genera­tion? King Solomon sees it; and therefore He continually fixes His Eye upon them: H [...] shows a singular regard and view to them in His Wise Speeches and Immortal Writings.

IT seems indeed as if the Books of the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, were written chiefly for the Instruction of Youth. For the Book of the Proverbs begins thus — My So [...] hear the instruction of thy Father, &c. Prov. 1.8. Throughout the whole Book He is conti­nually recurring to this peculiar expression. My Son, My Son; and a Learned Man observes that He repeats this Title Twenty Three times, to show, that the main E [...] his Writing was the Instruction of [...] [Page 5]Ones. And the Book of the Ecclesiastes ends with such words as these— And further, By these my Son be admonished: of making many Books there is no end, and much study is a wea­riness of the flesh: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep His Commandments, For this is the whole Duty of Man, &c.

THIS Great and Renowned King conde­scends to be a Preacher to Children. He speaks to every Child about Him, when He says, My Son: and He calls upon them by this endearing Term in our Text; to express His tender Affection, and engage them to Him.

BUT we must here remember, that Solomon was a Divinely Inspired Preacher: and He does not speak so much in His own Name, as in the Name of God that imploy'd and mov'd Him. It is in the Name of God, and to God Himself that He requests the Youth to give his Heart. The Wise Man does not speak these Words in His own behalf; but in the behalf of God, whose Messenger he was. And indeed, if we judge aright [...] they are the Words of God Himself by this Inspired Preacher. Like as the Apostle▪ tell [...] us, that He and other Ministers were Em­bassadors imploy'd by Christ and that by them even God and Christ intreated Men to be Re­conciled to God, 2 Cor. 5.20. It is God our Heaven­ly Father who does here most earnestly desire this Gift from Youth and Children to be [Page 6]Presented to Him; and to whom it is most especially and principally due.

IN the Name of God I require you there­fore now to yield Obedience to this Great and Important Doctrine.

DOCTRINE. THAT Youth and Children must give up their Hearts to God in their Early Days.

AS this Great and Royal Preacher did: so I now apply my self to the Youth and Chil­dren round about me: I tho' most unworthy, speak by the same Authority: I am the Minister of God unto you: I am come with the same design: I deliver you the same Message: It is the Word and Voice of God Himself: And in His Name I plainly tell you, yea and God tells you by me, that you must now give up your Hearts to God in your Youthful Age.

BUT for Illustration I shall endeavour these Two Things,

  • 1. TO show you what it is to Give up your Hearts to God; And
  • 2. WHAT are those Great and Solemn Obligations you are under to it.

THE First of these I shall be very Brief upon: Because the Nature of Early Piety, both as it relates to God, our Neighbour and [Page 7]Our-selves has already been Explain'd and set before you. The Latter I shall more Largely Treat of; it being my peculiar Pro­vince, to set before the Children of our People, the Great and Solemn Obligations they are under to be Religious in their Youth­ful Age.

First. WHAT is it to give up your Hearts to God.

NOW to give up your Hearts to God, is to give up yourselves to God intirely and for ever thro' Christ, and with all your Hearts.

1. IT is to give up your selves Intirely to God.

YOU must give up your selves and all you have intirely to Him in your Early Days. You must give up your Bodies and all its Parts & Members, and especially the Tongue to God. You must give up all your Senses to Him: your Strength and Vigour, and your Health and Beauty. You must likewise give up your Spirit, Temper, and all your vari­ous Appetites and Passions to Him. And to be sure you must also give up your most Precious Souls, with all their Faculties, Abilities and Powers to God: Your Imagination, Under­standing, Reason, Judgment, Conscience Affections, Will and Memory; And in Fine, you must give up all your Knowledge, Wit and Ingenuity; and all the Treasures and Endowments of your Minds: You must in­tirely give them all to God without the least Reserve.

[Page 8] AND For what Ends and Purposes must you give them to Him?

I answer, you must give them all to God, to be Sanctify'd, Possess'd and Govern'd by Him. You must give them up to be His own Inheritance and Propriety. You must give them up, to live and move and act for God and to be improved intirely for His Intere [...] and Service. You must give up your selve [...] to seek and know Him, and to adore and serve Him. You must intirely give up you [...] selves to God, to be Disposed of as He see [...] Good, to study to know His Mind and Will and to do and suffer what ever He require of you. You must give up your selves, to de [...] all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously & godly in this present world Tit. 2.12. You must give up your selves; that i [...] Eating, Drinking, or whatever else you do, you may do it to the Glory of God, I Cor. 10. 31. And Finally, you must give up your selves to God; To have Communion with Him and Enjoy Him: To be fill'd with all Hi [...] fulness, and to be made compleatly like Him.

AND in giving up your selves to God you must also give up all you have. You must give up your very Lives and all your Power of Speaking, Tho't and Action. You must devote your Studies, Learning, Interest, Ho­nour and Repute to God; your Recreations Pleasures, Affairs and Time [...] and to by sure whatever you esteem and value, [...] must give up to God. In short, you must [Page 9]give Him all you are possessed of, can Suffer, Do, Enjoy or Have: You must keep nothing from Him: you must intirely Resign and Devote them to Him: and you must give them up, to be subordinated and im­proved for His own Glory, and to be Disposed of according to His Sovereign Pleasure.

2. YOU must therefore give up your selves to God for ever.

GOD will have you for His own for­ever; or not at all. He would have you be in an Eternal Subjection to Him. He would have you be the Eternal active Instru­ments of His Glory and Honour. God would have you yield Eternal Adoration to Him. He would have you to be the Eternal Objects of His Delight and Love: and He would have you to be forever Happy in the Service and Injoyment of Him.

YOU must therefore give up your selves and all you have to God, for ever. You must make such an absolute Devotion of yourselves to God; as never to have the least pretence or right, to free your selves again. You must give up yourselves intirely to God in an E­verlasting Covenant, never to be broken. And this O Children you must do in your Early Days.

3. YOU must give up your selves to God in Christ.

CHILDREN! out of Christ God wont accept you. God has indeed an unalienable Right and Propriety in you: you must needs be His own forever: and He will Eternally use you for His Glory. But out of Christ [Page 10]He'l surely make you the miserable Instru­ments of the dreadful Glory of His Power and Justice; and not the happy Instruments of the Glory of His Grace and Mercy. You are both by Life and Nature most abomina­ble and guilty Sinners; and out of Christ God utterly abhors you and is angry with you; He can't accept, He can't Forgive you, He cannot be Reconciled to you. But in Christ His Son, our Mediator, and in Christ alone, God is Reconcileable to such sinful Children, and He is ready to Forgive you and Receive you. 2 Cor. 5.18, 19.

YOU must therefore give your selves to God in Christ; or He'l cast you off. You must in the first place go to Christ the Son of God and your Mediator. You must pre­sent and give your selves to Christ; that He may give you unto God. You must plead with Christ to Accept and take you for His own: and you must not doubt but He'l receive you; since He was so much dis­pleas'd with those that hinder'd Children from coming to Him, and said let them come, for of such is the Kingdom of God, Mar. 10.13,—16.

CHILDREN, you must not therefore Doubt but Christ will Accept and Bless you upon your coming and giving up yourselves unto Him. And then in Christ, you may with an holy Confidence give up your selves to God. Christ will become your Mediator; and in Blessing you, He'l take away the [Page 11]guilt and curse of Sin, He'l purge you from it, and He'l make you thro' His Blood a most acceptable offering unto God. Christ will readily introduce you to Him: He'l be pleas'd to make such a Present unto God, and God Himself will be pleased to Receive it.

4. AND Lastly, YOU must thus give your selves to God with all your Hearts.

THIS Giving up yourselves to God must not be a meer formal action; but it must be an hearty Offering and Devoting of yourselves to God. It must be Done in the Heart, and from thence it must Proceed; or God will not Regard you. Your Hearts must be given up to God: Or you are not intire or sincere in your Devotion to Him. And if you give up yourselves to God, without your Hearts approving and concurring; your Offering is but the Sacrifice of Hypocrites, which is an abomination to Him.

NO! your Hearts are the Principal and most Peculiar Things which God Regards; and they indeed include and contain all o­thers. The Preacher therefore does not say the Hand or Head, but Heart; Because by the Possession of the Heart God has all the mem­bers of the Soul and Body devoted to Him; and without the Heart God values not the Rest. To give to God an Outward show of Piety, is but a mocking of Him, unless your Hearts go with it. Give your Hearts, and you give Him all: Give Him not your Hearts, [Page 12]and you really give Him nothing, whatever else you seem to give Him.

YOU must be sincere and hearty therefore in your giving up yourselves; or you Do not Truly give yourselves to God. You only make an Outward show: But God Beholds your secret Enmity and Aversion to Him. You must not only give up yourselves intirely and forever to Him; But you must also do it without Reluctance. You must do it freely, and with full consent of Soul. In Fine, you must set your Heart and highest Love on God: And from your highest Esteem of God and your earnest Desire to Injoy and Serve Him you must Give your selves unto Him.

AND thus have I briefly shown you what it is to give up your Hearts to God: And this you must take care to do in your Youth­ful Age. This is your first and great and most incumbent Duty. You must not allow yourselves to Live an Hour, no not a Moment till you have given yourselves to God. As soon as you were capable of Knowing Him you should have given yourselves to Him And if you have not done it yet; you must do it now, and without the least Delay.

AND in order to convince you of this most incumbent Duty, we now Proceed more large­ly to Consider.

Secondly. WHAT are those Great & Solemn OBLIGATIONS you are under thus to give your selves to God in your Early Days.

[Page 13] IT is very likely many of you Think, that this is a matter of very great Indifference. Multitudes among you seem to think so, by your lewd ungodly Lives, and by your light and vain Behaviour in the House of God. You seem to think as if you were not under any Obligations to be Religious in your Youthful Age. Or at least you think, your Obligations are but trifling things, and of little Force and Moment. Many of you seem to be intirely careless whether you give your Hearts to God or no. You exceedingly neglect Him, and you rather set your selves against Him: You give up your Hearts to Earthly Things and Pleasures, and to Youth­ful Lusts and Vanities, and not to God. Alas, you little think what Great and Solemn Ob­ligations are lying on you to Devote your Hearts to God in your Early Days!

YOUR Obligations are the most Great and Solemn that can be Tho't of: And if you be'nt Obliged to give your selves to God, you are obliged to nothing. And your Ob­ligations are so exceeding numerous, that I cannot mention nor conceive them all: nor can I now express a thousandth part of those I might conceive: For I can Think of Nothing, but it is an Obligation on you to be Religious.

EVERY Attribute of God is an Obligation on you to give your selves unto Him. Every Work of God you see, presents an Obligati­on to you. Every Mercy you receive, and every Affliction which you meet with; yea [Page 14]every Good and every Evil which you hear of in the World. Every Thing contained in the Word of God; and every Thing you Have, or are able to Do for God is an Obli­gation on you to give your selves unto Him.

BUT I must confine my self to a Few.

1. THERE is a GOD, a most Glorious and Sovereign God; and therefore you are obliged to give your Hearts unto Him in your Early Days.

THIS Argument and Obligation rises from the Being, Nature and Perfections of God. And I begin with this, because it is the First Foundation of all Religion. Now I need not g [...] about to prove that there is a God. I believe you are sensible, that this Glorious Sun, & Moon and Stars, & even You yourselves could not be made without Him. I shall only now con [...]ide [...] briefly who and what He is; and you will clearly see yourselves obliged to give your Hearts unto Him in your Early Days.

1. HE is most Glorious and Perfect in Him­self: and therefore you are Obliged to give your Hearts unto Him in your Early Days.

YOU have learnt already that there is b [...] One only True and Living God: and that He is a Spirit of Himself, and for Himself Of Himself; i. e. He is the first Cause, He is Self-existent, or He Existeth Live and Acteth of Himself alone, and from no other: and For Himself; i. e. He is the highest End, He Lives and Acteth Supream­ly [Page 15]for Himself alone, and in subordination to Himself, for other Things.

GOD is absolutely Perfect: a most Pure Spi­rit; without Body, Parts or Passions, and Free from all Composition. And you have also Learnt; that He is Infinite, Eternal and Unchangeable in His Being, Wisdom, Power, Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth. God is without Beginning, and He can never have an End. He is Immense and Omnipre­sent. He is always present in every Place; and He always views every Thing Present, Future, Past and Possible. God is Omniscient also, i. e. He always sees and knows whatever has been, is, and will come to Pass. Yea, God intirely sees whatever might have been, and whatever can be. He is an All-wise and All-mighty Being. He is immutably the same from Everlasting to Everlasting. He is Inde­pendent, Supream and Sovereign, Self-suffici­ent, All-sufficient, and in Himself alone is Infinitely happy.

SUCH a Glorious Being is surely most worthy of our highest Love and Admiration. If any Thing should be Lov'd or Admir'd by you for its Excellency or Perfections; surely God must be so. Every Divine Per­fection is most worthy of your highest Love, Delight and Wonder; and every Divine Perfection is a great and indispensible Obliga­tion on you to give your hearts to God. I might easily show how they are, if I had Time to run into particulars. But in general, [Page 16]How highly should you reverence and fear Him? How profoundly should you adore and worship Him? How earnest should you be to know Him & to be acquainted with Him? How desirous should you be of the Favour, Love and Friendship of so Great a Being? How ready should you be to serve Him? and how heartily should you resign your selves unto Him?

OH Vain Youth and Children, How inex­cusable is it that you should refuse your Hearts to this most Glorious and Perfect Be­ing, and give them up to perishing and em [...] Things and Pleasures!

2. GOD is the Infinite and Sovereign Foun­tain of Being, Life and Goodness: and therefore you are obliged to give your Hearts unto Him in your Early Days.

GOD alone is infinite in all Perfections: He has an infinite source of Goodness in Him. He is the only Living and Self-Existent Being: and therefore He is the Infinite and Sovereign Fountain of Being, Life and Goodness unto others. And as God is Infinite in Life and Goodness; so He is Infinitely, Bountiful and Liberal. He is an Eternal Fountain full and overflowing, and that can never be exhausted or diminished. As God can make you to Live for ever; so He is freely communicative of Eternal Life unto you. He is infinitely exuberant in Goodness and Happiness: and He is more full and abounding in them to you [Page 17]than the Sun itself in warmth or Light unto the World.

HOW much are you then obliged to give your hearts to Him, who is the only Infinite and Sovereign Fountain of Life and Goodness. They all depend upon his Sovereign Will and Pleasure, and from him they must proceed. To be sure you all desire to live for ever and be happy: and how inconsistent is it to refuse your hearts to Him from whom alone they flow? But this brings us to the Second Head. viz.

II. GOD has made All Things for His own Glory and He has made You to Glorify and Enjoy Him for ever: and therefore you are Obliged to give your Hearts to God in your Ear­ly Days.

THIS Argument and Obligation rises from your Creation and the Ends thereof. And surely this is the most inviolable Obligation on you to give your selves to God; from whom you have intirely received your very Life and Being, and that you may thereby answer the Ends of them.

BUT here are these two Particulars.

1. GOD has made you and all other Things: and therefore you are Obliged to give your Hearts to God in your Early Days.

WE observ'd before that God is the Sove­reign Fountain of Life and Being: And now, that He is the actual and universal Creator. Before He made the World, it intirely de­pended [Page 18]on His Sovereign Will and Pleasure whi­ther or no to bring it into Being. But first He will'd it and spake the Word; and then the whole Creation in a moment sprang from nothing. He brought this lower World in­to a beautiful Order, and made every Kind of Creature in it in Six Days time. God is the Creator and Former of all things.

AND God having therefore made all Things in the World, He has an absolute Right & Propri­ety in them. They are the Things of God; And therefore 'tis Just and Right they should be Improved for Him. Youth and Children, you are therefore Gods by Right of Creation: And so are all other Things in the World. Surely then, you are indispensably oblig'd to Give yourselves and all you have to God, whose Due you are. You must be devoted to God, you must Live to God, and you must improve every Thing for God; or you profanely rob Him of his Right and Due.

BUT then, as the Crown of all his Works in this World below, He made and formed Man. He formed a most beauteous Body of the Dust of the Earth, and He breathed into it a Soul, a Spirit Immortal. In every suc­ceessive Age, as the Children of Men have Dy'd, God has wonderfully made and raised up others. How devoutly does the Psalmist admire His Creator for so Glorious a Work, in Psal. 139.14 — 18.

YEA 'tis now, but a little while, that you came out of the Creating Hands of God. [Page 19]Youth and Children! the very Name you [...]are Reminds you of your late Creation. We call you Young —which is as much as to say, you are but newly made, you are but newly come out of the Hands of God. The Preacher therefore mentions this as a peculiar Obliga­tion on you to Remember God in your Early Days, Eccl. 12.1. Remember now your Creator in the Days of your Youth. It is as if he should say—Your very Youth should put you in mind of God: He has but just now bro't you out of nothing into a wonderful Being: and this wonderful Work which God has so lately accomplished for you, should lead you to Him.

CHILDREN! will you refuse your Hearts to Him that made you? and almost as soon as ever you are come out of his Hands? — O [...]ase Ingratitude!

YEA in some respects you are even Now in the Forming Hands of God. God has not brought you yet to your full maturity either of Soul or Body. He is now a Build­ing up your Bodies every Day: and in a few Years Time you expect He'l raise you to your Perfection of Strength and to your Hight of Stature. God is also gradually increasing the Powers of your Minds: and you hope it won't be long before He'l bring you to your [...]trength of Reason and Understanding? You plainly see that God is even Now a Forming [...]ou: He is carrying you on to the Perfection of [...]ife: and will you now deny him your Hearts, [Page 20]even while he's a making you? — I wan't Words to describe such a vile Injustice, such an horrid Ingratitude. But

2. THE End of God's making all Things, i [...] His Sovereign Glory; and of His making You is to Glorify and Enjoy Him for ever: an [...] therefore you should be intirely Devoted to Him

GOD always acts in perfect Wisdom: and before He Creates or Forms, He first propose [...] an End that moves Him. His own Glory mu [...] needs be the Sovereign End of all His Works The Glory and Honour of God were the great Design He pursu'd in every Thing He ha [...] made: and therefore this is one of the high­est Obligations on you to give up your selves and all you have to God. Surely the gre [...] Intention of God Himself in the Creation [...] Things should direct and govern you. Surely you should exactly conform to the Sovereign Design of Him that made them.

REMEMBER then, that God has made a [...] Things firstly for Himself and for His So [...] reign Glory; and if you dont devote you [...] selves to God, you don't comply with th [...] Design of your great Creator. If you do [...] Improve your selves and all you have for th [...] Glory of God; you live and act in a bold op­position to His Design and End in making them: you presumptuously abuse the Thing of God which he has made for His Glory: an [...] you vilely pervert them from the Ends [...] proposed, to ends of your own.

[Page 21] BUT in a peculiar manner God has bro't you out of nothing and Formed you, To Glo­rify and Injoy Him forever. This was God's great Design in Creating and Forming you; To Glorify and Serve Him with the highest Delight, and to Enjoy Him for ever. These are the Two great Ends of God in making and sending you into the World: and don't you think that they oblige you to mind them? Can you imagine, you may be allowed to neg­lect the very Ends for which God has so won­derfully made you and sent you into the World? Can you dare to cross them, or live in a contrariety to them? Oh how horrid and heinous is this, and how incensing to your Sovereign and Almighty Creator!

III. GOD takes a Sovereign and Providen­tial Care of all His Works, and a Particular Care of you: and therefore you ought to be Devoted to God.

THIS Argument rises from the Work and Design of Providence. God having Created the World, He does not desert; But He con­tinually exercises a Sovereign Providence over [...]t, and every thing He has made. And God having bro't you out of nothing, and made [...]ou to shew forth His Praises; He takes a Particular Care of you, that you may answer the End of your Being. Children! You are the Peculiar Care of Providence; and there­fore you ought to be Devoted to God.

[Page 22] AND in this Care of Providence there are these Four Things;

1. GOD is your Continual and Intire Preser­ver, and of all Things else: and therefore you should be Intirely Devoted to Him.

GOD Upholds the whole Creation by a con­stant act of His Power and Wisdom: and thi [...] if possible continually increases His Right and Interest in it. There is nothing in all the World, but always needs His supporting Hand. If God withdrew the Exercise of H [...] Sovereign Wisdom, they would quickly ru [...] into the last Confusion. And if God with held the Exercise of His Sovereign Power they would immediately vanish to nothing God continually bears up the Pillars both [...] Heaven and Earth. He continually support and upholds them, and every thing in them both in their Being & Order. Heb. 1.3. They in­tirely depend upon God to Preserve them. An [...] to be sure He Sustains them for the same De­sign for which He has made them. He up­holds them, that they may accomplish the Glorious End of their Almighty Creation.

AND in Particular God is your Great Pre­server. You intirely and constantly Depe [...] upon Him for the continuance of your Life [...] Being. As God has granted you Life & Fa­vour: so it is His Visitation that has Prese [...] ­ved your Spirit, Job 10.12. God is you [...] Constant and Supream Supporter and De­fender. He continually holds your Souls [...] Life, and Protects your Lives from mu [...] ­tudes [Page 23]of Evils that wou'd soon Destroy them. God has All along been your Great Preserver: And He Now Upholds you and Bares you up from sinking into nothing, Death and Misery. If God had not continually Protected and Up­held you; you had long before this Time gone down with multitudes of other Chil­dren into the Rotting Grave. You had been before this Time Consumed to Ashes; or the Worms had now been Feeding on you, as they are on others. And if you have not given yourselves to God, you had now been suffering with multitudes of other wicked Children the Vengeance of Eternal Fire.

AND now Consider Children! How great and constant are your Obligations to Devote yourselves and Live to God, in whom you Live and Move and have your Being, Acts 17.28. Every Hour God upholds your Lives, He adds the more to your great and multi­plied Obligations. And every Hour you neg­lect to give your Hearts to God, you dread­fully increase your Guilt and Sin, against Him. O Sinful Children! How contrary do you Walk to God! While God is Heaping Obligations on you, you are most ungrateful­ly affronting and abusing Him. What! wou'd you have God Preserve His Creatures, that you may abuse them to His Dishonour? Or would you have God uphold your Lives, that you may Sin the more against Him? — How in­expressibly black and horrid is this extream Ingratitude and Impiety!

[Page 24] 2. GOD is the Sovereign Observer of all Things, and He takes a Particular Notice of you: and therefore you should be intirely Devo­ted to Him.

GOD must needs Observe the Things H [...] has made, To see if they answer the Ends o [...] His making them. He must needs Observe i [...] they are Improved, or Abused, and Pervert­ed, from His Service and Honour which [...] Created them for.

BUT in a peculiar manner, the Eye of God is upon the Children of Men, the Master-piec [...] and Lord of His Work in this lower World Prov. 5.21. For the ways of man are before th [...] eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his going [...] Yea, He Pondereth the Hearts of Men. Prov 21.2. O Youth and Children! The peculi­ar Eye of God is always upon you; Both [...] see what you Want and what you Do, w [...] you Have and How you use or abuse it. Go [...] does not barely see you, as an unconcerned Spectator, but He takes peculiar notice of you as your Sovereign Lord. He Observes you Wants that He may Pitty you and Supply them. He Observes your Sins and Danger [...] that He may Warn you of them, and S [...] you from them. He Observes your Trouble [...] that He may Support you under, and Deli [...] out of them. He Observes your Du [...] that He may Quicken and Help you to the [...] He Observes your Prayers, that He may gi [...] them an Answer. He Observes your [...] that He may Bring them into Judgment. H [...] [Page 25]Observes your Obedience, that He may Reward and Bless you. And He Observes your Faults, that He may Chastize and Punish you. Jer. 32.19. And Chap. 17.10. Now Children! What a Great and Solemn Obligation is this upon you, To give up your Hearts and Lives to God! When the Glorious and Watchful Eyes of God are always on you, and He care­fully Looks both to your Hearts and Actions. When He Views and Ponders all your Ways: And when He looks to see How you use or a­buse His Creatures. When He looks upon you with a Gracious Eye of Love and Favour, if you be intirely Devoted to Him; but with a dreadful Eye of Anger, if you Live and Walk in your own Devices.

3. GOD is the Supream and Sovereign Lord and Ruler of all the World, and in a peculiar manner your Sovereign Lord: And therefore you should be intirely given up to Him.

GOD has an absolute Right to Govern the Things he has made, and which he continually upholds by a Sovereign Act of his Power and Wisdom. He has an Eternal Right to Give his Creatures, what Laws he Pleases, and to Rule them as he sees Good. And as God has such a Right, he is infinitely capable of Maintaining and Improving it, according to his Sovereign Pleasure. God therefore Or­ders and Rules the World and all Things in it as he Pleases. Psal. 103.19. His King­dom ruleth over all. Eph. 1.11. And He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

[Page 26] AND among the Rest You are also Subject to his Laws and Government. God is your Sove­reign Lord and King: And his Sovereign Will and Pleasure is to Controul and Govern you. He has given you Laws to Guide you in your Obedience to him: And his Laws are strictly Holy, Just and Good. Mic. 6.8. He hath shewed the O man what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do just­ly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. And as God gives you Laws, so he Actually Rules and Governs you according to his Sovereign Pleasure. Dan. 4.35. And he doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his Hand, or say unto him what doest thou.

AND how strongly are you then obliged to Devote your selves and Live to God? It is the highest Justice, that you should intirely yield obedience to His Sovereign Laws and Government. Youth and Children! Can you think your selves exempted from the Sovereign Will and Government of God? Can any of you Think that God gives you Leave to Trample on His Supream Authori­ty, and Rebel against Him? Or can you pos­sibly Imagine that you may Reject His Laws, abuse His Creatures, and Resist Him as you Please, and God not Resent it? — O No! Vain Youth! GOD will some time or other make you dearly Know that He is your Sovereign Lord and Ruler; and that you shall not harden [Page 27]yourselves against Him, and go unpunished.

4. AND lastly therefore, GOD is the Righte­ous and Sovereign Judge and Rewarder, and He'l Judge and Recompence you just as you de­serve: and this is another Great and Solemn Obligation on you to be devoted to Him in your Early Days.

IT is most fit and necessary, that He who made, upholds, Observes and Rules the World, should also Judge it. God best only knows the Good and Righteous Ends for which He made it: and He knows best how far they have been perverted or advanced. The Great and Sovereign Lord of Heaven and Earth must needs take care to maintain the Glory of his Authority and Power, and do Justice to Himself. And therefore God must Judge the World.

AGREABLY to this we find in Act. 17.31. That He hath appointed a Day wherein He will Judge the World in Righteousness, by that Man whom He hath ordained, even Christ; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the Dead.

AND let me tell you, O Youth and Children! God will surely Judge You with he rest of Men; and He'l give you your just Deserts. If the Judgment does not come before you Die, as there is none on Earth is certain but it may come to Night; yet after Death then comes the Judgment, Heb. 9.27. Your Souls will then immediately be Judg'd by God, and either Doom'd to be Bound and Reserv'd with [Page 28] Devils in Chains of Darkness or Transported with the Saints to Paradise, till the Resur­rection of your Bodies and the Judgment of the Great Day. Then your Bodies shall be raised from the Dead, and your Souls shall join them; and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the Right Hand of Power and coming in the Clouds of Heaven, Mat. 26.64. And, When the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and all His Holy Angels with Him; then shall He sit upon the Throne of His Glory, and be­fore Him shall be gathered all Nations, Mat. 25.31, 32. For we must all appear before the Judg­ment Seat of Christ; that every one may re­ceive the Things done in his body according to that he has don [...] whether it be good or bad, 2 Cor. 5.10. The son of man shall come in the Glory of His Father with His Angels; and then He shall Reward to every man according to his works, Mat. 16.17. Then the Dead Small and Great shall stand before God: The Books of God's Remembrance and Omniscience shall then be opened: and the Dead shall be Judged out of those Things which were writ­ten in the Books according to their Works. The Sea shall give up the Dead therein, and Death and Hell shall deliver up the Dead in them: and they shall be Judged every one according to their Works. And whosoever shall not be found written in the Book of Life shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, Rev. 20.12—15.

[Page 29] AND Oh! Youth and Children! How great­ly does this oblige you to Devote your selves, and Live to God? Oh! How subject and obedient should you be to Him that is your Sovereign Judge; and who now observes you, that He may hereafter Judge, and give you Righteous Judgment? You may Rejoyce O Young Man in thy Youth, and let thy Heart chear thee in th [...] 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. Thus the wise Man tells you in Eccl. 11.9. and in the following Chapter, and the two last verses, Let us hear the Conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep his Commandments; For this is the whole duty of man: For God will bring every work into Judgment, with every secret Thing, whether it be good or whither it be evil. And Prov. 24.12. If thou sayest, Behold we knew it not; Doth not He that pondereth the Heart consider it? And He that keeps thy Soul, doth not He know it? and shall not be render to every man according to his work?

IV. GOD's wonderful. Grace and Kindness to you is a vast and infinite Obligation on you [...] to give your Hearts to Him in your Early Days.

I might have reduced this under the Two last General Heads: But This Kind of Obli­gation is so peculiar, and so exceeding vast and comprehensive, that I think it best to be considered by it self. It contains Ten Thou­sand [Page 30]times Ten Thousand Obligations in it, even as many as are your Sins & Mercies. Every Mercy is a great Engagement to you: And I had as good go to Reckon the Spires of Grass, or the Sands of the Sea shore as the Mercies of God. But in General,

1. GOD Has been wonderfully Kind and Gra­cious to you: And therefore you are under the highest Obligations to give up your Hearts to God.

GOD has been wonderfully Kind in your very Creation. God has not made you Brutes, but Reasonable Creatures. God has made you Capable of Knowing, Loving, Serving, Injoy­ing Him, and of being Beloved and made Happy in Him for ever. God has given to many of you healthy and comely Bodies: And He has given you all most Precious and Immortal Souls. He has given you your Un­derstanding, your Wit, your Memory, your Vivacity, your Easiness to Learn, your Tongues, your Utterance, your tunable Voices; and all your other Natural Indowments.

GOD has been also very Gracious to you in the Circumstance, Time and Place of your Bir [...], He has bro't forth many of you of Rich and Ho­nourable Parents: And what is a Thousand times a greater Priviledge, God has made many of you to come of those that are Ver­tuous and Godly. The most of you are Born in His Gracious Covenant: a distinguishing Favour. Yea God had been graciously pro­viding for you before ever He made you. He had planted His Gospel in this Age of the [Page 31]World and in these Ends of the Earth; and He had bro't the most of your Parents into the Bonds of the Covenant. He has made the Lines to fall to you in pleasant Places, and has given you a goodly Heritage, Psal. 16.5, 6.

GOD has been gracious to you ever since you were Born. He has Fed you, Cloath'd you, nourish'd you, and has made you to increase and grow. He has tenderly watched over you both by Night and Day. He has order­ed it that the most among you should be Bap­tized and have a Good and Happy Education. He has advanced you in Knowledge, Under­standing, Learning: And to many among you He has graciously continued one or both of your Parents alive; and where they are Dead, he has graciously raised up Friends to take care of you, to Cherish, Protect, Advise and Guide you.

GOD has been wonderfully Gracious in multitudes of Temporal Blessing and Comforts. How often has God defended and saved you in the midst of Dangers? How often has God delivered you from Sickness and other Afflictions? How many Temporal Benefits has he daily bestowed upon you? You know not the Number. GOD has given to many of you the invaluable Mercies of Strength and Health, and tho' you may yet be insensible of so great a Priviledge; yet God has granted you to live in a Place of many Precious Civil Liberties.

[Page 32] BUT above all God has been wonderfully gracious to you, in what he has Done by Christ for your Eternal Salvation and Happiness. When you were Condemned, Lost and Pe­rishing Sinners; God from His Astonishing and Sovereign Grace has given his only and Eternal Son to Dye to Redeem you. Herein he has shewn his Astonishing and So­vereign Love; that when you were ungodly, Christ Dyed to save you. And when Christ has Dyed to purchase your Eternal Redemp­tion; God has sent forth His Spirit to Con­vert you and bring you to it. Rom. 5.5,—8.

GOD has distinguished his Grace, in bestow­ing on you a multitude of Spiritual Priviledges, and Advantages. He has allowed you the means of Grace and Eternal Life. He has given you the knowledge of Christ and his glorious Gospel. The Things which he has hidden from multitudes of the Wise and Prudent of the Earth, He has revealed to you. He has given you his blessed Word: and to every one among you I may say as the Apostle in 2 Tim. 3.15. And that from [...] child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation, thro' Faith which is in Christ Jesus. God has also granted you the pure Ordinances of his House and Worship. God has given you most ex­cellent Catechisms, and Trained you up in the most material Truths of Revealed Religion.

GOD has sent you multitudes of Instructi­ons, Warnings, Councils, Examples, Encou­ragements, [Page 33]Corrections. He has given you the hearing of a great many Sermons. He has given you the priviledge of multitudes of Prayers. He has innumerable Times made you the Offers of Grace and Salvation: He has earnestly Sollicited you to accept and embrace them. He has often set Eternal Life and Death before you, and urged you to the Choice of Eternal Life and Happiness.

AND in Fine, GOD has given you a great many powerful Convictions of Conscience, and the workings of his holy Spirit; To open your Eyes and to turn you from Dark­ness to Light and from the power of Satan to God; that you may receive the forgive­neess of your Sins and Inheritance among all them which are Sanctifyed thro' Faith in Christ. Acts 26.18.

2. GOD is Still very wonderfully Gracious to you: and therefore you are exceedingly obliged to give up your Hearts unto Him in your Youth­ful Days.

NOTWITHSTANDING all your daring Sin and Contempt of God, He is yet uphold­ing and sparing you from your deserved Pu­nishment. The Devils are your malicious Enemies; and as roaring Lions they would fall upon you and dreadfully torment and devour you, but that God continually restrains them. 1 Pet. 1.5. Tho' you have constantly abused the Riches of God's Goodness; He is yet continuing them unto you. You are yet the amazing Monuments of his Mercy, Pa­tience [Page 34]and Forbearance. O that you might now be led to Repentance by them!

GOD continues to you multitudes of Tem­poral Blessings. You can look on nothing, you can think of nothing, but you behold a Mercy of God's bestowing: and He still pre­serves your most Precious Lives, whereby alone you can enjoy and relish them. He keeps you every moment from dropping into Hell, while you are abusing His Patience. And He is filling your unthankful and unfruitful Lives with a great variety and abundance of Delights and Comforts.

HE continues to you multitudes of Spiritual Advantages. The means of Grace, and the hopes of [...]ory: His powerful restraints on many violent Lusts: and the lively helps of His Spirit to inlighten, awaken, convert and comfort you, and lead you in the way Ever­lasting.

YEA God is even at this very moment using Means to save you and bring you to Eternal Happiness. He grants you this very Oppor­tunity of hearing the Things that concern your Everlasting Peace and Welfare. He now brings Me to Preach the words of Eternal Life unto you, to You, O Youth and Children; and he brings You now to hear them, that your Souls may live.

GOD takes not any Pleasure in your Death and Destruction: He delights not in your Ruin and Misery: He is loath to give you up and Destroy you: He had rather you should [Page 35]turn from your Sins and be Saved, and He greatly desires it. He commands me to tell you as in Ezek. 33.11. Say unto them, As I live saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die O house of Israel?

IN Fine, God is Ready to Receive and For­give you. He is ready to be Reconciled E­ternally to you: and to enter into an Ever­lasting Covenant of Grace and Friendship with you. He is ready to make you His Children for ever, and to give you a right to all the Priviledges of the Sons of God. He is ready to Bless you with all Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly Things in Christ. He is perfectly free and ready to save you and make you happy for ever. After all your heinous Sins and slights of his Grace and Mercy; God now repeats his compassionate calls and tenders to you. He Invites and calls you, as in Isai. 55.3. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

YEA God and Christ now Intreat and urge you to be Reconciled to God. For God hath committed to us his Ministers the word of Re­concilation: Now then we are Embassadors for Christ, as tho' God did beseech you by us; we pray you now in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.—We then as workers together with them beseech you also that ye receive not his [Page 36]Grace in vain. For he hath said I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in a day of salva­tion have I succoured thee: Behold now is the accepted time, Behold now is the Day of Salva­tion. 2 Cor. 5.19—6.2.

3. ALL these Mercies flow from God's Abso­lutely Free, Sovereign and Distinguishing Grace: and this is a vast Obligation to Give up your selves unto Him.

YOU deserve not the least of these Mer­cies. You deserve to be intirely and for ever banished from the Favour of God and all his Goodness. You were Born full of Sin and Enmity to Him: and Hell was your deserved Portion as soon as ever you came into the World: And ever since, you have hardly done any thing else but forgotten, neglected, slighted, and rebelled against Him. You have abused His Mercies disobeyed His Voice, dishonoured His Name, and cast His Autho­rity under your Feet. Alas! You have hard­ly done any thing else but abounding and growing in Sin, Repeating your Affronts of your Great Creator, and deserving a severer misery. Oh! How exceeding great are your Sins and Guilt under the invaluable means you have enjoy'd! and how Wonderful is the Forbearance and Long-suffering of God!

HOW Distinguishing is His Goodness and Patience to you! How many Millions of Children have never enjoyed your Mercies? How many Millions have perished and are [Page 37]perishing in the Heathen World? Oh how many Millions of other Children are now in the Grave and in Hell who came into the World since you, and were not such heinous Sinners; while God preserves you from going down into the Pit, and from the dreadful place of your Torment!

AND now O Children! How innumerable and vast are your Obligations to be Devoted to God? What could God have done more for you than He has done? Would you have Him to have given you Heaven and Glory against your Wills? Why he has sent his Son to Purchase them for you; He hath Offer'd them to you; He has us'd all the means you can devise, and more, that he might bring you to the happy Possession. If you yet refuse Him your Hearts, when he has done so much to Deserve them, and at the same time give them to the vile Pleasures of Sin or the Trifles of the World; How great and inexpressible is your Guilt and Ingrati­tude? You deserve a thousand times greater Punishment than Gomorrah or S [...]dom; and if you Die in your Sins, God will surely give it you. I beseech you therefore (Children,) by the Mercies of God, that you present your Bo­dies (and Souls) a living sacrifice, holy and accep­table unto God which is your reasonable service, Rom. 12.1.

[Page 38] V. YOU still Continually and Intirely Depend upon God for all that is Good: And therefore you are under the highest Obligations to be Devo­ted to Him.

YOU cannot Live or Subsist a moment longer without the Continuance of His sup­porting Goodness and Power. You can't have any Comfort or Mercy that you Want, unless God Bestow it. You can't have any that you Possess continued to you, unless God continue it. You still intirely Depend upon God for every Mercy, both for Soul and Body, for Time and for Eternity. You still Intirely and Continually Depend upon God, to Defend and Preserve you from multitudes of Tempo­ral Evils: Yea, to keep you out of Hell and Eternal Miseries.

AND surely Children! Such a state of con­stant and absolute Dependance upon God is one of the strongest Obligations. When you still continually Depend upon God both for Being. Preservation and Happiness, for every Thing you want and for every Thing you have; can you yet Refuse to Live to God: You most un­gratefully and madly Sin against your own Happiness and Mercies.

DO you not Reckon it a vast Obligation upon you to be Devoted to your Parents, be­cause your Dependance is on them to keep and support you and contrive for your Com­fort, and when you come of Age to give you a Portion? And how vastly greater is your [Page 39]Obligation to be Devoted to God your Hea­venly Father? When your Parents as well as yourselves have an Intire Dependance upon Him both for the Preservation of Life, for a Temporal Subsistence and Comfort, and for an Eternal Inheritance.

BUT I must not Inlarge.

VI. YEA the very Light of Nature, Reason and Natural Conscience Oblige you to be Devo­ted to God.

CHILDREN! You are Born into the World with a Sense of this Great and Fundamental Duty. It naturally rises from the Power and Light of your Minds: And is one of the First Dictates of Reason.

GOD Himself has set up a shining Light in you to Lead you to Him. The Wise Man therefore tells us, Prov. 20.27. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord: searching the in­ward parts of the [...]elly. This Spirit of Man is his Reasonable Soul and Conscience: And it is the Candle or Light of the Lord. God has kind­led it, inspired it and set it up in you; to show you your Duty, and to help you to Dis­cern and Judge of yourselves and your Acti­ons: And this Heavenly Light shows you, as soon as ever you come to Know any Thing of God, that you should be Devoted to Him. It clearly and strongly Convinces you; that this is a most important and indispensa­ble Duty. And when you Refuse to give up yourselves unto God; This Light of your Con­sciences [Page 40]clearly Discerns it, It shows you your Wickedness, and Terribly Reproves and Threatens you. You may often neglect it and desparately Try to Quench and Destroy it: But it Burns so strongly, that it can never be in­tirely Extinguished. It is the Faithful Deputy and Witness of God: The Eternal Judge which He has set up in your Souls: And it will never utterly Leave you.

CHILDREN! The very natural Light of your Reason and Conscience oblige you therefore to be Devoted to God. It plainly and irresisti­bly shows you this Duty. In the name and stead of God, it Peremptorily re­quires you to do it. It solemnly warns you to refuse it at your Peril. If you are devoted to God; it approves and rejoyces you: But if you keep your Hearts from Him; It will accuse, convince and reprove you: and it will more or less dreadfully condemn and punish you, Rom. 2.14, 15.

VII. THE Word of God which is His Re­vealed Will and Law does in a more especial manner Oblige you to Devote yourselves is Him.

THE Word of God as you have Learnt is contained in the Holy Scriptures: And the Apostle assures you in 2 Tim. 3.16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for in­struction in righteousness. It is an Express Re­velation of the Mind and Will of God con­cerning [Page 41]the Children of Men, and of the way of our Eternal Salvation and Happiness. It is an abundantly clearer and fuller Discovery than the Light of Nature can possibly yield us. God has sent it, Oh Children to You: And it is a vast addition to your Obligations from your natural Reason and Conscience to be Devoted to God.

O YOUTH and Children! Here is the Will of the Great and Sovereign GOD expresly Revealed and Proclaimed to you. And Every Thing Revealed in His Word Obliges you to give yourselves to Him. It is even Firstly Revealed and Written for this great End and Purpose. Psal. 78.5—7. For he established a a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers; that they should make them known to their children: That the ge­neration to come might know them, even the children which should be born: which should a­rise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God; but keep his commandments:

IN General, All the Instructions and Truths contained in the Scriptures are both a means and ingagement to Lead you to God. All the Counsels and Exhortations in them: All the Warnings and severe Reproofs: All the Commands and Institutions: All the Graci­ous Promises and Terrible Threatnings: All the Instances both of Sin and of Goodness, and especially of Early Religion: All the Examples both of Judgment & Mercy: And in Fine, all the [Page 42]Gracious Invitations and Directions that are given in Scripture, are Designed as a means to Bring you to God; and are Great and High Obligations on you to give yourselves to Him.

IN Particular, GOD therein Expresly Re­quires and calls you to give up your Hearts to Him in the Time of your Youth. Thus it is Expresly Required in the Text: And surely, when God has once Expresly Requi­red it, 'tis enough to Oblige you: He has Declared His Will, and He need say no more.

HOWEVER I shall mention a few more Pla­ces; that the Revealed Will and Command of God may appear more clearly, and come with a stronger Influence on you. Psal. 34. 11,—14. Come ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord, &c. Prov. 8.32,—36. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways, &c. Exod. 22.29. Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and — the first born of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Prov. 3.9. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase. Mat. 6.33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righ­teousness, and all thes [...] things shall be added un­to you. Eccl. 12.1. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth—. Prov. 24.21. My son fear thou the Lord —. 1 Chron. 28.9. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth [...] [Page 43]hearts, and understandeth all the Imaginations of [...]e Thoughts: If thou seck him, he will be found [...]f thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee [...]ff forever. 2 Tim. 2.22. Flee also Youthful Lusts: But follow Righteousness, faith, charity, [...]eace with them that call on the Lord out of a [...]ure heart. Psal. 148.12, 13. Both Young Men [...]nd Maidens, Old Men and Children. Let them Praise the Name of the Lord: for his Name alone [...] excellent, his Glory is above the earth and hea­ven.

VIII. YOU are under the highest Obligations [...]o give up yourselves to God; Because it is of [...]he Highest Importance and Necessity to You.

THERE is nothing in the World of greater Moment or Necessity. There is no­thing of greater Importance to the Glory and Honour of God, the Good & Welfare of Others, or Your own Salvation and Happiness.

THE Glory and Honour of GOD your Creator [...]s highly concerned in the Devotion of your­selves to Him. In the very Giving up your­selves to God, you do Greatly Honour Him: And in Refusing or Neglecting it, You [...]o exceedingly Dishonour Him in the Eyes of Men and Angels. And then a Life of Obe­dience and Service whereby God is great­ly Glorifyed, does intirely depend upon the [...]evoting your selves to Him. If you resign your selves to God, you will live to His Ho­nour; But if you refuse to give your selves [...] Him, you will continue to dishonour Him [...]nd Rob Him of His Glory.

[Page 44] AND as the Glory and Honour of God, so the Good and Welfare of Others Require and Oblige you to be Devoted to Him. God re­quires you to Promote the Welfare of Others: And if you give up your selves to God; in subjection and subordination to Him, you will be devoted to the Service of Men. With an Holy and Ardent Zeal for His Honour and Glory; You will earnestly Labour to pro­mote their Temporal and Eternal Welfare.

BUT especially the Devoting your selves to God is of the greatest Importance and Ne­cessity to Your own Salvation and Happiness. Children! You are by Nature in a state of Sin: You are condemned by God to Eternal Misery: You can never deliver your selves: And if you give not up your selves to God thro' Christ, you can never be saved. There is no other way to be saved from Hell and E­ternal Misery: And if this be intirely and heartily done and continued in, you shall surely be saved from them. And surely the [...] this Great Law of Necessity and Self-Preservation which is one of the First Laws of Nature, oblige you to be Devoted unto God. And the [...] unless you give your selves to God, you can never be Happy: For you can never have [...] share in His Favour, and you can never injoy Him; who is the only suitable and Perfe [...] Happiness, and Satisfactory Portion.

IX. YOU are under the highest Obligation [...] be Devoted to God; Because it is most highly pleasing both to God, Angels and Men.

[Page 45] IT is most highly Pleasing to God: For in this you Obey & Honour Him, you are in the way to be Saved and Happy, to do Good in the World, and to answer the Great Ends of your Being. God beholds you with sin­gular Delight and Pleasure: He highly ap­proves, esteems and commends you: and He very dearly loves you. Prov. 8.17. I Love them that love me, and those that seek me Early shall find me.

AGAIN, It is most highly Pleasing to the Glorious Angels. Those Pure and Heavenly Creatures are most intirely devoted to God: They are perfectly Happy in their conformity to Him; and they exquisitely desire and de­light to see You so too. They are extreamly displeas'd at your Living without God in the World: But when you Repent and Give your selves to Him; the glad Tydings are carried to Heaven, and then there is Joy over you among the Angels of God, Luk. 15.10.

AND then this is also most highly pleasing to the Best and Greatest of Men. King David himself esteemed the Saints to be the most Excellent in the Earth, and in them was his highest Earthly Delight, Psal. 16.3. And the Divine Apostle tells the Elect Lady, and so will all your Pious Ministers speak to your Pa­rents, as in 2 Joh. 4. I rejoyced greatly that I found of thy Children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

TO be sure, your Early Devotion to God will be exceedingly delightful to your Reli­gious [Page 46]and Sollicitous Parents. It will be their Great Honour and Joy; as your neglect of Piety will be their most sensible Disgrace and Sorrow. Prov. 10.1. A Wise Son make to a Glad Father: But a Foolish Son is the Heaviness of his Mother.

CHILDREN! Your Early Piety will be abundantly Pleasing both to God, An­gels and Men; as your continuing in Sin does extreamly Offend them. And this does there­fore highly oblige you to be Devoted to God.

BUT These Things will be more largely Handled in the Next Discourse concerning the GREAT ADVANTAGES of Early Religion.

X. YOUR Baptismal Devotion is a Great, [...] Solemn & most indispensable Ingagement on you [...]o give up your Hearts to God in your Early Days.

IT is a wonderful Grace of God that when you were vile, abominable and sinful Wretches, and could do nothing for His Service; that yet He was Free to receive you into [...] Gracious Covenant, and take you into His par­ticular Care. And it was a distinguishing Kindness of God, to bring you forth in th [...] Age and Place of the World; and of Believi [...] Parents, whom He had brought into a pecu­liar Relation to Himself, and into the Bonds of the Covenant: And that as soon as yo [...] came into the World, they solemnly Offere [...] you up to God to be His own for ever. They did it by His Divine Appointment: They did it in Baptism, as a Publick Seal of the Cove­nant: And then God was pleas'd to receive [Page 47]you into it, and to take you into His Gracious and Peculiar Care.

AND indeed your Parents have offer'd No more to God than what was His own Before; Being just come out of His Creating and Form­ing Hands, and made to serve and enjoy Him. But God having made you Their Children, the Children of His Covenant People, He would have them to offer you to Him; that You might also be bro't into the Covenant with them, and have the Benefits of it. If they, had not done it; they had been Unkind and cruel as the Ostriches of the Wilderness. For God had told Abraham the Father of Believers, that the Man Child who receives not the Seal of the Covenant; That Soul should be cut off from His People, having broken His Covenant, Gen. 17.14. Yea if your Parents had not thus given you to God, they had grievously Sin'd and run the desperate Hazard of being Destroyed themselves; as Moses had like to have lost his Life for neglecting to apply the Seal of the Covenant unto one of his Children, Exod. 4.24, 25.

AND now, Children Consider, How Solemnly you were then offered up to God.

DESCENDING of Sinful Parents, you were conceived in Sin, you were born in Ini­quity, and bro't forth in Pollution and Sor­row. You were sinful, impure, and loathsome in the eyes of God. You were the Children of Wrath, and condemned to Hell. You were in a perishing and helpless Estate: and if you [Page 48]had dy'd in that state, you had been miserable for ever. But God then pitied you; and your Parents pitied you, and came and offered you to Him. Here they bring their poor crying Infants in Swadling Cloaths, to give them up to God. Men and Angels look on and behold the Transaction. Prayers are earnestly made for you by the Publick Assembly: And they are the Eye and Ear-Witnesses of your being Devoted to God. You are openly presented to receive the Mark of His Children: And the Name of the Great GOD, Father, Son, & Holy Ghost is solemnly pronounc'd and put upon you; as a Seal of your being taken into His Holy Covenant, and a Sign that He accepts and challenges you to be His Peculiar Peo­ple. Being offered up by Believers in the Seal of the Covenant, He takes you into His peculiar Care: And thro' the State of your Infancy, He secures your Salvation.

AND now O Children! God has graciously taken Care of you: He has dealt as a kind Father to you: He has nourished and kept you: He has guided and brought you to Years of Choice and Discretion: He has bro't you to this present Occasion: He offers you Eter­nal Life and Happiness: He repeats the Offer [...] He moves you to Embrace it: And you having injoyed the Benefits of His Gracious Covenant; He now expects and Requires you to perform the Duties. When He receiv'd you into it, He receiv'd you to be His peculiar People, and He then laid you under the solemnest Bonds to be devoted to Him.

[Page 49] IF you Refuse to give up your Hearts to this Covenant God; you most wickedly violate and profane His Covenant: You cast down His Honour with contempt on the Ground: And as you unhappily Forfeit the great and de [...]rable Blessings of this most ex­cellent Covenant; so you miserably Intail on your selves the dreadful Execrations & Curses that are denounced against the Violaters of it. And for your Awakening, I desire you to Read those awful Chapters, the 28 & 29 of Deuteronomy; where you will most livelily see the solemn Obligations you are under to Keep the Covenant of God.

XI. THE Desires, Labours, Prayers and Ex­pectations of your Pious Friends and Relatives, are vast Obligations on you to give up your selves to God in the Days of your Youth. And

XII. AND Lastly, Your Knowledge of all these Things, the Inculcations of them on you, the Convictions of your Conscience, and the Strivings of the Holy Spirit of God.

BUT your Obligations are Innumerable, and I must draw to a Close. I shall only briefly represent the PARTICULAR OBLIGATIONS you are under to give up your selves imme­diately to God in the Days of your Youth, with­out any Delay, and so come to a Conclusion.

AND Here I must tell You

THAT the Service of God is the very De­sign of your Beings, and of all your Mercies.

IT is therefore the constant and whole Work of your Lives; and all these Obligations are [Page 50]Now and always upon you, and oblige you Now as much as ever to be Devoted to God.

TILL you give your selves up to God, you therefore Live and Continue in the sinful Vio­lation of them all, and a daring opposition and rebellion against Him.

YOU thereby dreadfully Grow in your Guilt and Wickedness, and Increase the Wrath and Curse of God upon you.

YOUR Early Devotion to God is necessary to Prevent and Avoid abundance of Sin and Evil; and to Obtain & Do abundance of Good in the World.

THE Present Life is the only space or Season of giving up your selves to God.

AND the Time of Youth and even this very Day may be your only Opportunity.

THE Spring & Prime of your Lives is cer­tainly the Fittest and most suitable Season: most Easy and Pleasant for you, and most Honour­able and Delightful to God.

AND Lastly, If you now Refuse to give up your selves to God, there is the greatest Dan­ger and Likelihood that you Never will do it; but go on in your Sin, grow more averse to Religion, and dreadfully increase your Guilt in This World, and your Eternal Doom and Torment in the Other.

FROM all these Considerations & Reasons, you are indispensably Obliged both in Duty, In­terest & Wisdom, NOW immediately to Devote your selves to God in the Days of your Youth, and without any Delay.

[Page 51] BUT, a Few REFLECTIONS, and then I have done. And

  • 1. FOR those that are of a Younger Age—Oh How Great, How exceeding Great must then be Your Sin & Wickedness; if after all, you re­fuse to be Devoted to God! How exceeding great and extream is your Folly and Madness! And how inexpressibly severe will be your Fu­ture Punishment? Oh! How many Millions of Great Obligations do you contemptuously Sin against and violate! and Every one of them is a Fearful and Higher Aggravation of your Guilt and Misery.
  • 2. FOR the Elder Ones among us—And what an Awakening Word is this to those that are of a more Advanced Age, and yet have never given up themselves to the God that has made and preserv'd them! Every Moment of your Lives, you have pro­ceeded in the Breach of all these Great Obligations. Oh! what an inconcei­vable Measure and Height of Iniquity are you by this time risen unto! While you have re­fus'd to be Devoted to God, you have never done One acceptable Thing to Him in all your Lives. You have all this while been doing nothing else but continually Sinning against Him. And Oh! what dreadful Stores of Wrath have you by this time treasured up to your selves against the Day of Wrath, & the Revelation of the righteous Judgments of God, who will render to Every Man according to his deeds? Rom. 2.1,—6.
  • 3. FOR us All; and so to CONCLUDE. Oh! then [Page 52]Let us Continually Remember the many Great and Solemn Obligations we are always lying under to be Devoted to God. We are His own already by Ten thousand times ten Thousand Ob­ligations. If we have refus'd to give up our selves to Him; we have most wickedly violated and sinn'd against them all. And Oh! How pro­digiously vast & amazing is the Sin! God Him­self even seems to be astonished at it; in Isai. 3.2. Hear Oh Heavens and give ear O Earth: for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourished & bro't up Children, and they have rebelled against me!

AND can there be a greater Sin, more Com­plicate and Comprehensive, more Heinous and Provoking? And yet, Alas, there is This One greater than all; and that is your Persist­ing therein. By Persisting in your Refusal to be Devoted to God, you do daringly Justify all your past Sins in the sight of God & the World: And every Moment you Persist in your Sins; you implicitly approve them, you Repeat their Commission, and so continually Redouble the Guilt of your Sins and the weight of your Punishment.

OH then, Let us seriously Think upon those Awful Words in Prov. 1. from the 20 to the End: And then let us delay a moment no longer; But now Immediately give up our selves with our Hearts to God. and then Faithfully serve Him, and we shall Enjoy Him For Ever. AMEN.

[Page 1]

The Peculiar Advantages of Early PIETY.


Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye Children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

THAT which I shall endea­vour at this Time, by the help of God, is to set be­fore our Young People, the peculiar Benefits and Ad­vantages of Early Piety. You have already heard the Duty in the several great Branches of it excellently explained un­to [Page 2]you: And your Obligations unto it Strong­ly inculcated. That therefore which offers it self next to our Consideration, is the Sin­gular Benefits and Advantages of Remembering our great Creator in the Days of our Youth: And as this has fal'n to my Lot, I have made choice of these Words of Divine Wisdom, as an Introduction to the present Discourse. They are found among the Proverbs of Solo­mon, the Son of David the King of Israel. And as the general Design of this book (as was excellently observed unto you the last Lec­ture) was to form the Manners of Youth, or to Teach them betimes how to Fear and Serve God aright; in which their highest Wisdom and Happiness consists: So I take this to be the more particular Design of the Words now read unto you. This seems to be very evident from the manner in which they are deliver­ed. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye Chil­dren: &c. These Words (as I said before) are the Words of Divine Wisdom, or the Words of JESUS CHRIST, the Essential Wisdom of the Father; in whom are bid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge, (Colos. 2.3.) and they are spoken to Children. Chiefly to Those that are Children in Years, as well as in Un­derstanding. And they contain an earnest Ex­hortation to the most important Duty, back't with the most forceable Motive that cou'd [...] tho't of. The Duty you are exhorted unto is to hearken now to the voice of your Great Saviour, i. e. to learn those Lessons of Early [Page 3]Piety that you have been already instructed in: And to learn them Now; to day; instantly; without making one Moments delay in this matter of infinite Concern. And the Singu­lar Encouragement you have unto the Duty, is a most gracious Promise of Blessedness in case of Obedience, as in the Words to be in­sisted on — For blessed are they that keep my ways. The Original Word in this place for blessed, is a most comprehensive Term; and as Criticks observe, includes all kind of Hap­piness in it. Hence the meaning of these Words is, That all Those who hearken to the voice, or keep the Commandments of their Great God and Saviour from their Youth up, shall be every way blessed of Him. They shall be blessed with all Outward Blessings as far as is needful for them; but especially with all spiritual Blessings, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. They shall be blessed both in their Souls and in their Bodies. They shall be blessed in this Life, at Death, and forever in the World that is to come. They shall be very remarkably blessed in all these, and such like respects. This, Children, is the glori­ous Encouragement you have from these Words of your Saviour, to be religious now, in the Days of your Youth.

HENCE the Doctrine I shall insist upon from the Words is this, namely,

DOCTRINE. ALL those who hearken to the voice of Christ, [Page 4]or become truly Pious and Religious in their Childhood and Youth are, and shall he h [...]ppy and blessed in a very peculiar and Distin­guishing manner.

Or more briefly thus.

THE Early Convert has many very peculiar and distinguishing Priviledges and Advantage [...] belonging unto him.

IN the Prosecution of my present Design I have nothing to insist upon but the Proof of this Point. And this I shall endeavour i [...] a very plain and familiar Enumeration of se­veral of those blessed Privileges and Advan­tages that are, and shall be the distinguishing Crown, and Glory, and Happiness of the Ear­ly Convert. I say, several of these Benefits and Advantages: For it is impossible for me, or for any man living to say how many, or how great and excellent they are.

I shall therefore only Select some few of the most remarkable of them; and enlarge upon them as the Time will allow.

AND here I earnestly call upon you, the Young People of this numerous Assembly to give your present most serious and devout At­tention. For I am now speaking unto you in the Name of the Lord; And I hope in His Fear, and with a most tender Concern for the Eternal Salvation of your precious and immor­tal Souls. And then besides, what I have [Page 5]to offer unto you, may, if carefully attended into, prove Instrumental (by the Grace of God) to instill high and honourable Tho'ts of Early Religion in you; and so be an hap­py means to perswade you to the present most delightful Exercises of it. For Happiness (no doubt) is the Mark you are aiming at. Your sprightly, vigorous, and active Powers [...]re in the full pursuit of such things (what­ever they be) as you hope to reap substantial Profits and Pleasures in the Possession of. Your Tho'ts and Contrivances, your Labours and Endeavours are, that your Lives may prove a most delightful Scene unto you. And when the striving Spirit of God is at work on your tender Consciences, and you begin to en­tertain any serious Tho'ts about your Souls and another Life, you are ready to flatter yourselves presently with the Hopes of com­pleat Eternal Happiness in the World to come. Now I hope (by the help of Grace) to make it evident before I conclude, That a Life of true Religion entered upon, and persevered in from your Youth up, will more effectually answer all your rational and immortal Desires after Happiness than any other Methods you can propose or prosecute. There is no other Course of Life attended with so many high and honourable; with so many peculiar and distinguishing Advantages, as this is. This you'l quickly see in the process of this Dis­course. But before I enter into the particu­lars of this most delightful Subject, I shall, as [Page 6]a Foundation to all the rest, briefly observe this in General unto you, Namely,

BY an Early Conversion to God, you'l come early into the Covenant of His Grace; and so betimes obtain a Right and Title to all the great and invaluable Privileges that are con­tained in it. Every Sinner from the first Mo­ment of his true Conversion is taken into Co­venant with God; into that Covenant of His, that is in all things well-ordered and sure. Now this Covenant comprehends all possible Bles­sings in it. It includes all things that pertain to Life and Godliness: Every thing that i [...] needful for your present Support and Com­fort; and all that is necessary to render you compleatly and eternally Blessed in the World to come. God has graciously Promi­sed His Covenant Servants, (and He'l be as good as His Word) that he'l give Grace and Glory; and no good thing will he withold from them. (Psal. 84.11.) This Happiness there­fore in general, have all the Saints from the Lord: But the Early Convert enjoys it with a remarkable Emphasis. He comes first into the Possession of it, which is a Signal Favour of God unto him. And then besides, all the distinguishing Privileges of it fall to his happy Lot and Portion.

THIS you will plainly see, as I name the several Particulars unto you. And here in naming of them, I shall (for the help of Memory) observe this easy and most natural Distribution of them. And [...]ay,

  • [Page 7]I. WHAT the special Benefits and Advan­tages of Early Religion are in this Life.
  • II. WHAT they are like to be in a Dying Hour. And then,
  • III. WHAT Good we shall reap from it, in the World to come.

I. I shall begin with the Special Benefits and Advantages of Early Religion in this Life and World. And these I shall consider,

  • 1. In Outward Regards.
  • 2. In Inward and Spiri­tual Respects.

1. EARLY Religion is frequently attended with many Outward Privileges and Advanta­ges in this Life. The Apostle Paul observes unto us, (in 1 Tim. 4.8.) That Godliness is profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. And in these Words he (no doubt) re­fers to that Promise of our Blessed Saviour in Mat. 6.33. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. All these things, i. e. Food and Raiment and the other necessaries and conveniencies of Life, spoken of in the pre­ceeding Context. And tho' this Promise. of Outward Blessings as the Reward of Obedience is not (perhaps) so large and extensive in these Gospel Days, as it was under the Old Testament Dispensation: Yet we may reasona­bly expect from hence, to be some way or o­ther [Page 8]Gainers by Godliness even in Outward Regards. And the Early Convert has the fairest Prospect of any before him, to be a Gainer by it in these two Respects.

1. BY being Religious betimes you take the most proper and direct Course you can to get and establish a good Name, Credit and Repu­tion in the World, among all those whose Value and Esteem is worth a having. True Piety im­parts a real Glory to those that embrace it. It inspires them with such Noble Principles and Virtues that are the distinguishing Ho­nour and Ornament of those that have them. Hence it is the wise Man observes, That the righteous is more excellent than his neighbour. (Prov. 12.26.) And among these the Early Convert has vastly the Preheminence. Grace is beautiful in all; but it is eminently so, in such as are Godly betimes. It appears more pure and unmixed in them. For they have not so many of the Scandalous out-breakings of Sin and Corruption to Tarnish and Eclipse the Glory of it, as those that make longer Delays in Religion, usually have. It is therefore the Crown, and the Laurell of the Youth. It makes his face to shine, beyond all the Charms of the most ruddy Complexion: And is a greater Ornament unto him than the rich [...]st Pearls, or the most costly Array. Hence all Those who know how to prize and value Men and Things according to their true worth, will account you, the Excellent in the Earth. Your Name, will be much set by, by all [Page 9]the wise and good, the sober and virtuous that shall have any Knowledge of You. And while the vain and extravagant Youth is the shame of his Age, and the Grief of all that have the best Interests at Heart, your godly and wise Rulers and Ministers, your pious and prudent Parents and Neighbours will look upon you with Pleasure and Delight. Such precious Sons of Zions (as you'l then be) will in their Esteem be comparable to fine gold: And they'l account you the Riches and Glory of your Country. And as they see you grow up and improve in Grace and Virtue, they'l look up­on you as the hope of future Time; and so be able to dye with the greater Comfort in the Prospect of being succeeded by such as are like to do worthily in their Day and Gene­ration. This is the Honour you'l have from the Saints. And then, as to the rest of Mankind, tho' their Credit & Esteem is not so much to be regarded; yet such of them as have any of the Remains of Morality in them can't but re­verence that Sobriety, Temperance, Wisdom, Pru­dence, Justice, Meekness, &c. that will adorn your Conversation in the World. And even the most profligate Wretches upon Earth, that are lost not only to Religion; but even to Mo­ral Honesty it self; and that are ready upon all other Occasions to express their Hatred against you and the ways of Godliness; will yet (if they have any important affair to ma­nage, that requires the Exercise of Moral vir­tues, such as Prudence, Justice, Integnity, Fide­lity [Page 10]&c. in those they Trust it with;) I say, They will sooner commit it into your Hands then into the Hands of their merry Compa­nions that are equally vicious with them­selves. And this is a plain Evidence that undisguised Virtue commands secret Respect wherever it appears. — And thus good under­standing giveth favour in the eyes of men, Prov. 13.15. Now such an established Reputation in the World is the greatest of all Outward Advantages. It will put many an Opportuni­ty into your Hands to Do and Enjoy good here which otherwise you'l certainly miss of. And hence it is Solomon truly observes unto us. Prov. 22.1. A good name is [...]ther to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour ra­ther than silver and gold. But then,

2. THOSE that are Virtuous betimes have the most rational Prospects before them of coming to the Possession and Enjoyment of a sufficiency of the good Things of this Life. There is not only a Moral but Natural Ten­dency, in the Exercise of many Christian vir­tues, to get and secure to ourselves, as much of this World as our State and Circumstan­ces in it may call for. Solomon observes un­to us in Prov. 10.4. That the hand of the dili­gent maketh rich; while he that dealeth with a slack hand becometh poor. And then by mode­rate Expences, Temperance, Frugality, and the like, the Virtuous Man keeps what the Idle Spend-thrif [...] prodigally throws away. Hence then, as length of Days, are said to be in [Page 11]the right hand of wisdom; so are Riches and Honour said to be in her left hand. (Prov. 3.16.) But suppose the Covetous Worldling should by his extream Parsimony, or by sparing more than is mete, by Rapine and Theft, by Bribery, Extortion, Cheating, and the like evil Courses, amass to himself a larger Pos­session then you are ever like to come fairly at: Yet herein you'l (undoubtedly) have the Advantage of him. viz.

YOU'l have a better Right and Title to the Little you lawfully possess. You'l not only have a Natural or Civil Title unto it (which is more then the cheating Miser has:) But you'l have a Covenant Right and Title unto it which [...] more than any wicked Man has to the lea [...] of his Enjoyments. For Godliness (as I said before) has the Promise of the Life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. (1 Tim. 4.8.) And as you'l have the best Title to what you possess. So,

YOUR Enjoyment, which is the End of Possession, will (in all Probability) be more sweet and pleasant. You wont have those stings of Conscience, which usually attend an ill gotten Estate, and a guilty Mind, to eat out the Comfort of what you have. And then besides, 'Tis likely you may be favoured with a more healthly Constitution, which is the very soul of all Outward Enjoyment. For Temperance, and Frugality are Friends to to the Health of the Body; while Intempe­rance, Unchastity, beastly Sensuality, Luxury, &c. [Page 12]disorder the Frame of Nature, corrupt the Juices of the Body, consume the Flesh, wast the Spirits, breed loathsome Diseases, — and so either cut short the Days, or fill them up with pain and anguish. And to these I shall add,

THE Religous Man has the peculiar Blessing of God upon all his Outward Possessions whe­ther more or less: So that if there be any thing real to be enjoyed in them, the Saint shall have the Comfort of them if God s [...] it to be best for him. And hence the Ps [...] mist assures us in Psal. 37.16. A little that, righteous man hath is better then the riche [...] many wicked. But after all, suppose y [...] should be reduced to the lowest Circumstances in the World, and have nothing that you ca [...] call your own in it (as it must be confessed, has sometimes been the case with very emi­nent Saints; and hence we read of such as and poor in this world, but rich in faith, Jam. 2.5. [...] I say, suppose this shou'd be your case; yet by being strictly religious you'l find your ac­count even in this Life. God will give you Contentment with your Outward State and Condition. And he that is contented in this reaps the proper fruit of Possession: And En­joys himself with far more ease and freedom, tho' he lye with Lazarus at the Gate, than a wicked Dives can do, in his rich Apparel, far­ing Sumptuously every Day.

AND thus, Children, you see, that even in Outward Respects, the Early Convert has the [Page 13]most rational Prospects before him, of being the Happiest Man; even in this Life and World. And I have the rather enlarged up­on this Head, because One great Objection which Young People have against Early Piety, is a groundless Conceit that as soon as ever they become truly Pious and Virtuous they must instantly abandon all that is pleasant in this World: Whereas if you will but impar­nally consider what has been said it may have to convince you that the Early Convert takes the most proper and Rational Course of [...]y to lead a quiet, and peaceable, and happy [...]se, even in this World. But now these Outward Advantages are the least article in the Saints Inventory. There are innumerable other Privileges and Advantages you'l obtain a Title unto by the Early Dedication of your selves unto God, the least of which (if laid in the Balance) would weigh down this whole World, with all that is desireable in it. And these are the Benefits I shall now direct my tho'ts unto. Hence,

II. EARLY Religion is attended with ma­ny peculiar Spiritual Privileges and Advanta­ges in this Life. All such as Devote and give up Themselves to God in their Child­hood and Youth, shall from this Time forward be invested with all Spiritual Blessings in hea­venly places in Christ Jesus. To instance here in some few of these inestimable distinguish­ing Privileges.

[Page 14] 1. THE Early Convert is blest with an Ear­ly Adoption into the Number of GOD's Chil­dren. Every one that is Renewed and Sanc­tifyed by the Spirit of God, immediately be­comes a Son, a Child of GOD by a most graci­ous Adoption, John 1.12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Hence Those that are first Converted unto God, have the peculiar Honour to be first invested with this Privilege. And how great the Dignity and Advantage of this is will appear if we briefly consider what it is to become a Child of God; and what distinguish­ing Privileges such are Favoured withal.

AND here briefly;

TO become a Child of GOD is to be taken into the nearest Relation to God that any Creature is capable of. The most glorious An­gels in Heaven have no higher Title than to be called the sons of God. (Job 38.7.) Nay to be called the son of God in an appropriate sense: i. e. to be the only begotten Son of God — His well beloved Son — the Son of His Love, &c. is the most intimate and exalted Relation that the Second Person in the Ever-Blessed Trinity stands in unto God the Father. How amazing then is the infinite Condescention of the Great God towards such sinful, polluted Worms of the Dust as we are, that He should Advance us to the Dignity of Children by a gracious Adoption! It is an Ho­nour done us, that simply considered, is in­finitely [Page 15]greater than if we had been born of a David, of a Solomon, or of any of the most Splendid Monarchs that ever sway'd a Scepter in this World.

AGAIN, To become a Child of God is to be made like unto God. By a gracious Adop­tion you'l have the Image of the Heavenly A­dam livelily enstampt upon you, (1 Cor. 15.49.) That Image of His, which consisteth in righte­ousness and true holiness, (Eph. 4.24.) This Image you'l be changed into from Glory to God, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, 'till at length you shall perfectly be transformed into His Like­ness, as far as your Nature and Capacity will allow of, (1 Cor. 3.18. 1 John 3.2. compa­red.) And how glorious is the Dignity of this! To bare a Resemblance to earthly Ma­jesty makes a splendid appearance in the Eye of the World. But unspeakably more glori­ous in the Eyes of GOD, Angels and good Men is the least Saint, being made a partaker of the Divine Nature, (2 Pet. 1.4.)

AND then besides, To become a Child of God, is to be enabled to live a Life of God in this world. Those that are the Children of God are the Followers of their Great God and Saviour; and imitate Him in all His imitable Perfections. (See Eph. 5.1.) And this is the most noble and divine Life that can pos­sibly be led by us. For as God is the Origi­nal of all Excellency and Perfection; so a Conformity to His blessed Image and Exam­ple will exceedingly refine our Nature, and [Page 16]vastly exalt us above the common Level of Mankind. Thus you see what it is to be­come a Child of God: And how honourable the Relation is.

AND now the distinguishing Privileges of it are no less wonderful and glorious. For by being a Child of God, You have His Fatherly Compassions always extended towards you. Psal. 103.13. Like as a Father pitieth his Chil­dren; so does the Lord pity them that fear him. His watchful Eye will ever be upon you, His tender Care over you, and His bountiful Hand open unto you. And then besides, You may repair unto Him at all Times as Children to their Father. You may make Him your Re­fuge in every Time of Trouble: You may o­pen all your wants and Griefs unto Him: You may cast all your Burdens upon Him: And beg all needful supplies from Him. All this you may do with the Liberty and Free­dom of Children; And be assured, That His Ear will ever be open to your Requests. For the Eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his Ears are open to their Cry, (as in Psal. 34.15.) And to these I shall add, By virtue of your Adoption you'l obtain an unalienable Right and Title to the Inheritance of Children — An heavenly Inheritance — the Inheri­tance of the Saints in Light. And that which will be the crown and glory of all is, you'l be made a joynt Heir with Christ of this Inheri­tance. Rom. 8.16, 17. The Spirit it self bar­eth witness with ours, that we are the Children [Page 17]of God. And if Children then Heirs; Heirs of God, and joynt Heirs with Christ. These Things I have but just named unto you. But however by these hints you see what the Dig­nity and Benefit of Adoption is. Well then might the Apostle John break forth into those Admiring Expressions, at the Consideration of [...], 1 John 3.1. Behold! what manner of Love [...]e Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should [...] called the sons of God. And now, Dear Children, By an Early Conversion to God [...]ou'l not only obtain this blessed Privilege of adoption; but you will have the Honour to [...]e the first in it — The first of your Age and Day —. Your Early Conformity to the Image of your Dear Saviour, will make you the first-born among your Brethren and Companions. Now the Birth-right has ever been accounted [...] Singular Privilege. The Excellency of Dig­nity belongs unto it. And the first-born have [...]sually had distinguishing Honours conferred upon them. And in particular it has been Customary for the Father of the Family to [...]ive a double Portion to the eldest Son in it. [...]nd after this manner will your heavenly Fa­ther honour the Early Convert at last; as [...]ou may hear before I conclude the Discourse.

2. BY an Early Conversion to God you'l be [...]e first in obtaining Pardon, Peace and Recon­ciliation with God in and thro' Christ. A Per­ [...] is no sooner Converted from the Error of [...] ways to the wisdom of the Just, but he ob­tains [Page 18]the free Remission of all his Iniquities. The Debt that he owed to Divine Justice is now paid, his Bonds cancelled, and an Act of Indemnity past upon him. Hence you read in, Rom. 8.1. There is therefore now no Condem­nation to them that are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. And be­ing thus justifyed from the Guilt of all his Sins, he obtains Peace and Reconciliation with God. His former Enmity against God is no [...] in a great Measure removed, and Gods Anger turned away from him. And therefore from hence forward, We hear the blessed Procla­mation of Peace between them as in, Rom. 5.1. Therefore being justifyed by Faith we have Peace with God. And this Peace is bro't a­bout and Concluded only in and thro' the Lord Jesus Christ; as in the place but now mentioned. And hence it is Christ is called our Peace, (Eph. 2.14.) And we are said [...] obtain forgiveness thro' his blood according [...] the Riches of his Grace, (Eph. 1.7.) and t [...] he reconciled by his Death, (Colos. 1.21, 22. And now this Pardon, Peace, and Reconciliati­on is an unspeakable Privilege to all that a [...] in the happy Possession of it. This will ap­pear, if you do but consider on the one han [...] what a dreadful Thing it is, to lye under th [...] Guilt of all your Sins, and so both to be a [...] Enemy to God, and to have Him for your [...] ­censed Adversary. Every such Sinner is ‘un­der the Wrath and Curse of God; and [...] made liable to all Miseries in this Life, [...] [Page 19]Death it self, and to the Pains of Hell for ever.’ He is liable to Vindictive Horrors of Conscience in this World, and to endless, in­supportable Vengeance in the World to come. And so on the other hand, the greatness of this Privilege will appear, if you do but con­sider, what the happy Effects of Pardon and and Reconciliation with God are. These are Peace in a Mans own Conscience; an Interest in the Favour of God which is better than Life; and a sure Title to eternal Salvation. Hence the Pardon of Sin has obtain'd the name Re­demption, Eph. 1.7. And hence it is the Par­doned Man is expresly called a blessed Man, Psal. 32.1, 2. Blessed is he whose Transgression is forgiven, whose Sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not Iniquity, and in whose Spirit there is no guile. And now, Children, since Pardon, Peace and Re­conciliation with God, are such a blessed Ad­vantage to all that have an Interest in them, it must needs be an Additional Privilege to come Early into the Possession of them. By this means, you'l enjoy more of the happy fruits of them, and for a longer Time than others. You will have your Pardon to show, while other Vain Youth carry about their Chains of Guilt with them. You'l be able to call God your Father and Friend, while they can't but look upon Him as their Enemy and Avenger. Your Title to Heaven will be se­cure, while their Title is to seek. And while They hang over the Lake that burns [Page 20]with Fire and Brimstone, by the slender threat of Life only, you will have a Crown of Glory i [...] reserve for you. And in a word, there is nothing now but this momentany Life that can stand be­tween you and the perfection of Happiness And now judge how great this Privilege of Early Conversion is.

3. ANOTHER present Advantage of an Early Dedication to God is this, You'l hereby escape innumerable Sins, Snares, Temptations, and Sorrows, that others unavoidably involve [...] themselves in. You all of you know, That Childhood and Youth are said to be vanity, Eccl. 11.10. There is no Age of Mankind more prone to Sin, or shew more of sinful Levity than Youth: Nor is there any Age encom­passed with more ensnaring Temptations than this Age. And therefore, when the Young Man gives loose to his Corruptions, and walks i [...] the ways of his heart, and in the sight of his ou [...] eyes, you see what fearful work he quickly makes of it. He runs into the way of every Temptation, and his Feet are presently en­tangled in the Snares that Satan lays for him. He has no Bridle upon his Lusts, and therefore gives himself over unto Lasciviousness, [...] work all uncleanness with greediness. Hence there is no Sin so Infamous, so Vile, or Dis­graceful, but you may oft-times behold the Young Man void of understanding, Vigorous i [...] the pursuit and practice of it. And by this Means he many times brings a blot upon hi [...] Name which he can never wipe off in this [Page 21]World: And, always dreadfully dishonours the Name of God, grieves his Pious Parents and Friends, and makes the most amazing work for an after Repentance. And therefore if ever the profligate Wretch be brought to a true sense of the evil of his ways, and so obtains the mercy of God after he has wasted away the best of his Days in Sin and Vanity; his Repentance is usually attended with unspeak­ably more Grief, and Sorrow and Anguish of Soul. His bones are broken, and heart deeply wounded with the Sins of his Youth. And these make him to go Mourning and Limping to his Grave. But now an Early Conver­sion to God, will (by divine Grace) prove a most effectual Remedy against all these Evils. It will fill you betimes with Hatred of Sin; It will make you watchful against Temptations unto it: And when you are assaulted by them it will enable you to say with that gracious and renowned Young Man, How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? (Gen. 39.9.) And thus by escaping the Sins of Youth you'l prevent the doleful Sorrows and Agonies of an after Repentance for them. And Now this Advantage, tho' a negative one only, is worth more than all the positive Blessings this World can afford. And it is the Singular Happiness of an Early, Serious, and Devout Dedication to God.

4. BY entering betimes into the Service of God you will find the Duties of Religion more easy, sweet, and delightful unto you, than other­wise [Page 22]you'l (probably) ever find them to be. There is (indeed) a great deal of Labour, and Pains, and Cost to be expended in a Life of Religion. Many of the Duties of it are attended with uncommon Difficulty. They are directly contrary to Flesh and Blood. And there is nothing our Corrupt Nature more re­luctates at, than at the tho'ts of them. Such are the Duties of Self-denial, of bearing the Cross, of forgiving and loving our Enemies, and the like. Hence it is the way to Heaven is compared to a strait gate, and a narrow way. And hence it is, we are called upon to strive, even to Agony, that we may enter in at it, (Luk. 13.24.) But however, the Service is not so difficult, but there is a real Pleasure and Delight to be met withal in it. The Work many times carries its own Wages in it. Hence the Psalmist observes, That in keep­ing God's Commands there is a great Reward, Psal. 19.11. Now the Early Convert bids the fairest of any for this Reward in Duty. For as he that sets out late in the Service of God; and begins his work either at the Sixth or Ninth or Eleventh Hour, has a great deal more Work to do, and less time to do it in: more numerous and powerful Lusts to subdue, and less measures of Grace to make head a­gainst them: so it is frequently seen that such drive on more heavily in their Work than o­thers. The Service of God which should be their Delight is too much a toil and a burden unto them.

[Page 23] BUT now as to the Early Convert, he loses comparatively but little of his Time. He be­gins his Work in the Morning of his Day. And by a diligent Prosecution of it he inures himself to the Service of Christ. And this (by the Grace of God) renders the Yoke of Christ easy and his burden light unto him. Custom in Duty habituates it unto Him. An [...] what is habitual is easy and pleasant unto us. Hence he that sets out first in the Service of God usually runs the ways of God's Commands with a more enlarged heart. He finds the ways of Wisdom to be ways of plesantness, and all her paths to be peace. He takes inexpressible De­light in the most difficult Duties of Christia­nity; and can deny himself, take up the Cross, forgive an Enemy, and the like, with greater Cheerfulness, than others are wont to gratify their sensual Desires and Appetites withal. In a word, by a long course of Obedience to the Commandments, it will become your Me [...]t [...]and Drink, to do the will of your heavenly Father. And now, Children, This is an Advantage highly worth a seeking after, and will un­speakably more than recompence your Early. Diligence in the Work of your Lord.

5. THE Early Convert is like to make the richest Improvements in Grace and Holiness. As Natural Habits are confirmed and strength­ned by [...]epeated Acts; so are the gracious Ha­bits of a Sanctified Mind. Hence the sooner you begin the Exercise of Grace, the more [Page 24]time you are like to improve in it. And if you are but industrious in this Improvement you'l quickly find that as your Days are Mul­tiply'd your Graces will be upon the thriving hand. They will every Day grow more lively, and vigorous and active in you. You will hereby obtain a more compleat and entire victory over your unruly Lusts and Corrupti­ons. The longer you maintain the War a­gainst them (provided you are vigilant and re­solute in it) the less head will they be able to make against you, and the less Disturbance will you meet withal from them. By a con­stant levelling at the Root of Sin, the Habits of it will by degrees grow weaker and weaker in you. And hence many that at their first setting out in the ways of God, have found their wicked Lusts and Passions very exorbi­tant and unruly, have (by the Grace of God) in continuance of time brought them into very great subjection. Their towering Pride has been battered down into the lowest Humi­lity: their raging Anger, that was won't furiously to break bounds upon every frivilous Occasion, has been softened down into a Dove­like Meekness: and this under the highest personal Affronts: their revengeful Spirit has been melted down into the most kind and be­nevolent temper: and their selfish Disposition changed into the most self-denying frame. And so with respect to every other vile Lust and Affection. And then as to the several Graces of the Spirit (which are comparatively but [Page 25]weak and feeble at the Sinners first Conver­sion) these by long Experience and Diligence in the Work and Service of God do exceed­ingly grow and improve, strengthen and in­crease themselves. Your Faith which at first appears but weak and tottering, and ready to fail upon every new Difficulty or Tempta­tion, will by long experience and exercise grow more fixed and steady, more uniform and lively in exerting it self upon the proper Ob­jects of it; and so upon Trial will be found unto praise and honour and glory: As Abraham by being strong in Faith gave Glory to God. Your slender hopes will by the same means strengthen and increase, and become as an An­ [...]ther sure and stedfast cast within the vail. Also your Love to, and Delight in God and Christ, and the things of His Kingdom will enkindle into an holy same, and become more vigorous and active by a frequent Meditation upon those Glorious Objects, and by the larger Experience you will have of the Divine Goodness unto you. Your filial Fear and Re­verence of God will increase by your more frequent and near approach to His most awful Sacred Majesty. Your Submissions to the Di­vine Will, the oftner they are made, the more lowly and entire will they prove. Your Pati­ence by frequent Exercise under Trials, will at length come to have its perfect work.— And so may it be said of every other Grace. The more time you improve, and the oftner you are in the Exercise of it, the more will [Page 26]you strengthen the Habit, and invigorate the several actings of it. And thus (if God spare your lives any considerable time in this World,) you are like to be the greatest proficients in the School of Christ, to make the largest Im­provements in Grace and Holiness, and by this means to grow up to strong men in Christ Jesus, while others that set out later in the Day will remain but Babes in Christ, in com­pare with you. And this is another singular Privilege of Early Conversion, and a mighty Encouragement unto it. And as a necessary consequent upon this,

6. THE sooner you begin in the Service of God, the more Work you are like to do for Him; and so bring the greater Revenue of Glory to His Name. The Glory of God is the great End for which we were all made. And [...]ince this was the principal End of your Be­ing, it must needs be your highest Wisdom, Perfection and Happiness to answer it in the best manner you can. For the Glory of any Creature is to answer the Original Design of it. Now the most effectual course you can take in order to this, is to begin Early in the Service of God, and to persevere with Diligence in it. For observe, if you do but Devote your selves to God in your Childhood and Youth, God will put many Opportunities into your hands to serve Him, which He won't favour others withal; and He will help you to improve many more which vain Youth forever carelesly let slip. And by this means [Page 27]you'l become Plants of Renown in the Vine­yard of God: And the longer He spares you in it, the more of the precious Fruits of Righ­teousness will you bring forth, which are by Jesus Christ to the Praise and Glory of God. And what a Distinguishing Crown of Honour will this be upon your Heads? It will ren­der you lovely and desirable in the Eyes of your Great God and Saviour. Hence,

7. Lastly, BY setting out Early in the Service of God you'l experience more of the Special Favour of God, and of the Substantial Comforts of true Religion while you live. The Early Convert is the Darling Child in the Kingdom of Grace God has indeed an astonishing Love for all that are Conformed in any good Degree, to the Image of His Son: but He seems to have a very peculiar distin­guishing Affection for all those that seek and serve Him from their Youth up. This is plainly intimated unto us in those words of Divine Wisdom, (Prov. 8.17.) I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me. And then besides, our blessed Redeemer gave no small proof of it, when He fixed up­on John the Youngest of all His D [...]s [...]iples, as His beloved Disciple, (See Joh. 21.7, 2 [...].) And as the Early Convert is a favourite Child of God; so (no doubt) God will make more sig­nal discoveries of His Fatherly Affection unto him. Your Great Saviour (if you seek Him betimes) will suffer you with John to lean up­on his Bosom, while others shall be honour­ed [Page 28]only with the Privilege of sitting at the Table with Him. He will take you more frequently into the Chambers of His Delight; and shew you more of the Riches and Honours of His Kingdom. He will give you greater quiet and tranquility in your own Minds; and a more established Peace in your Consci­ences. He will multiply the comforts of the Holy Ghost unto you; and so Anoint you with the oyl of joy and gladness above your fellows. And hence you'l sit under the shadow of your Saviour with greater delight; and his fruit will be sweeter to your taste. You will enjoy abun­dant more of it, and for a longer season than others. In a Word, By your Early Devoting your selves to the Fear and Service of God, you will make wonderful Improvements in a Life of Communion with God, and so reap the first Fruits of the Heavenly Canaan in greater plenty while you are here in the Wilderness. below. And now, dear Children, what a Glorious Privilege is this? Don't you account it your Honour and Happiness to be the Dar­lings of your Earthly Parents? Is not a spe­cial Interest in their Love, and their constant Smiles upon you reckoned among the greatest of your Earthly Comforts? They are certainly thus esteemed by every dutiful and obedient Child. But what is all this to an Interest in the more peculiar Love of God, and the more abundant Joys of the Holy Ghost? Is not one Smile from our Heavenly Father infinitely more to the pious Soul than all the [Page 29]Happiness this World can afford? How trans­cendent then is the Dignity and Happiness of being His Favourite Children? And thus upon the whole, you may plainly see, That a Life spent in the Service of God is the most profitable and pleasant Life in the whole World. And consequently that those who begin and end the Day of Life with God, make the best and wisest Provision for themselves in time, as well as to all Eternity. And thus I have past thro' the First general Head under the Doctrine; and considered several of the spe­cial Benefits and Advantages of Early Religion in this present evil Life and World.

II. I proceed now more briefly to shew, What the Singular Advantages of it are like to be in a Dying Hour. Death you are sensi­ble is Advancing apace towards us all: To­wards those of you that are in your Childhood and Youth, as well as towards those that are of riper Years. We read in, Gen. 3.19. Dust thou art and unto Dust shalt thou return. And according to this Decree, the Apostle asserts (in Heb. 9.27.) It is appointed unto men once to dye —. What man therefore is he, that liv­eth, and shall not see Death? And since Death is thus unavoidable, and is attended, at the same time, with the utmost of natural Hor­rors: (As every one knows that has had any realizing Apprehensions concerning it.) I say since it is thus, it must needs be a point of the highest Wisdom in us to think seriously [Page 30]of the Evil Day before it comes: And to make the speediest and best Provision against it that we can: That so when we come to Encounter Death, The Prospect of it may not Affright us into Everlasting Horror and Des­pair. Now the most proper Course you can possibly take, not only to prevent this An­guish and Distress in your Conflict with Death: But also to overcome the Fears of it, and so be able to meet and embrace it, as an absent Child wou'd do, the Messenger that was sent to Conduct him to his Fathers House, is to begin a Life of Religion Now while you are in the Morning and Flower of Youth. For be­sides a constant habitual preparation for Death, which is an unspeakable Privilege, you'l en­joy all your Days, you will reap these special Benefits by it, when you come to meet the King of Terrors, and to look Death steadily in the Face.

1. YOU will be able to Reflect and Look back with greater Comfort upon your past Life and Conversation in the World than o­therwise you would do; or than many other dying Saints are enabled to do. You will not have the Sins of Youth: At most you will not have so many of them to come to your Re­membrance, and Distress you in a Dying Hour, as otherwise you will have. For do but consider, How is it possible, that a poor Prodigal that returns to God after he has con­sumed the biggest part of his Time and Talents in the Service of Sin and Satan, should find [Page 31]his Account in the midst of the Agonies of Death, as the Early Convert is like to do? Death (indeed) will eventually prove gain to every true Penitent. But then the Aggra­vated Sins of Youth will afford a most melan­choly Prospect unto him, that has wasted away the best of his Days in Sin and Vanity; and will in all probability extort such a mournful Petition as that in a Dying hour, Psal. 25.7. Remember not the Sins of my Youth, nor my Transgressions: according to thy mercy remem­ber thou me, for thy goodness sake, O LORD. And this will very much damp the Joys and Comforts of his last Minutes. Whereas on the other hand, The Early Convert when he comes to lye upon a Death Bed, may first look back and take a Prospect of his past Life, and then look upward, and Appeal to God in the Language of holy Hezekiah, Isai. 38.3. — Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in Truth, and with a perfect heart, and have (by thy Grace) done that which is good in thy sight. And who but they that have had the happy Experience of of it, can tell how great the Consolation in it is?

2. YOU will (doubtless) enjoy so much the more of the Comforts of the Holy Ghost at Death, by how much the sooner you set out in the Service of God. God will never forsake any of His Children in their greatest Extremity. He [...] afford them His Enlightening, Supporting, and Comforting Presence in their most dark [Page 32]and disconsolate Hours. Hence that in Psal. 112.4. Unto the Upright there ariseth Light in Darkness. i. e. The Light of Divine Consola­tion and the Joy of the Lord will refresh them in their deepest Distresses. May we there­fore imagine, That the Early Convert shall miss of it in his last Conflict with Death? Or, Is it not much more reasonable to suppose, That since he set out betimes in the Work of his Lord, and has patiently born the heat and the burden of the Day, and is now come weary to the End of his Labours, that therefore his most Compassionate Lord has a more refreshing Cor­dial to revive his spirits withal, now the shadows of the Evening are come upon him? See how David (one that feared the Lord from his Youth) comforted himself with the Hopes of this aforehand; (and doubtless he experi­enced much more when he came to the Tryal than he had hitherto conceived of) Psal. 23.4. Yea tho' I walk thro' the valley of the shadow of Death I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod, and thy staff they comfort me.

3. THE sooner you begin to Live to God, the brighter are your Evidences for Heaven like to be in a Dying Hour. You'l then have this convincing Proof of the Sincerity and Up­rightness of your Hearts which a later Peni­tent will want, namely, That you renounced and abandoned your Sinful Lusts and Pleasures for the sake of your Great Saviour, when you were in the midst of the Strongest Temptati­ons to pursue and gratify them; And were in [Page 33]the best condition for the Enjoyment of them. And then besides, 'Tis very probable, the Ho­ly Spirit will give in a more clear and ample Testimony to the Truth of your Graces. And by this means you'l have the most ravishing Prospects of Happiness and Glory before your Eyes: And so pass thro' the Shades of Death in the Chariot of Praise. And then,

1. Lastly, YOU will hereby leave a more honourable Name behind you at Death. The wise Man assures us, That the Memory of the Just is blessed, (Prov. 10.7.) But among these the Name of the Early Convert will ap­pear in a brighter Character; with fewer stains upon it; and with more noble Embel­lishments which will exceedingly recommend it to those he shall leave behind. These are the distinguishing Privileges and Honours of Early Religion in a dying Hour. And now, Children, were these the first Fruits you were ever like to reap of your Early Conversion to God, (which you abundantly see, from the preceeding Discourse, are not so: But sup­pose it were so, yet) such Singular Privileges alone in a Dying Hour would more than re­compence the most diligent Labours of the longest Life. But I must now Dismiss this Second general Head; and pass on more brief­ly to say,

III. WHAT the Special Advantages of Early Religion are like to be in the World to come. And here I shall mention but these two only,

  • [Page 34]1. IF you Dye Young (as who knows but you may) you will certainly be Admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven; while the wicked and profane Youth that Dyes in his Sins shall be cast down into Hell. Christ will gather the Lambs of His Fold into His own Bosome, while the Seed of evil Doers shall be rejected and excluded forever. And this will be such a dis­tinguishing Glory, that Eternity it self will be short eno' to declare the Blessedness that will most certainly follow upon it. But then,
  • 2. SUPPOSE you shou'd live any consider­able Time in the World, then afterwards you will be advanced to higher Degrees of Glory in the World to come. The Rewards of Hea­ven, indeed, are not of Debt but of Grace, as they respect us. And therefore he that has spent the most Time, and done the most Ser­vice for God in his Day, can't by any Des [...] of his own lay claim to the least Degree of Heavenly Glory. But however, such are the Sovereign Determinations of Divine Grace, for the Encouragement of Early and industrious Piety, that God will Reward every man in the World to come, according to his works. (See Rom. 2.6.) i. e. God will render unto him, not only according to the Quality of his works in general, but in proportion to the Quantity of them. This is plain from the Parable of the Talents; as you find it recorded with the Explanation of it in, Mat. 25.10. — 30. Hence its evident, That Those who begin first [...]d do most for God in their Day and Genera­tion, [Page 35]shall be exalted to the highest Degrees of Glory in Heaven. The chief Seats in those blessed Mansions above are prepared for them, and stand ready to receive them. And there­fore as they pass out of Time into Eternity, They shall be advanced to those Thrones of Glory; and from thence shall they Shine for­ever and ever, as Stars of the first Magnitude in the Firmament of Glory. And what a Transcendent Privilege is this! The chief Seats of Honour and Dignity among Men, are very much sought after, and prized by the Men of this World. But the least Degree of Heavenly Glory is infinitely more excellent than all the Glory of the World put together. There is such Immensity in it, That Eye has not seen, nor Ear heard, neither has it entred into the Heart of Man, to conceive of it, as it really is. How Surprizingly great then will the Honour and Happiness be, not only to be Ad­mitted to the Glories of Heaven; but to be Advanced to the highest Degrees of that Glo­ry? Verily, Heaven it self will forever ring with the loudest Acclamations of Praise from such as shall be the Objects of this distin­guishing, eternal Favour.

THUS I have passed thro' the several par­ticulars at first proposed. And I might have enlarged upon every one of them to very great Advantage would the Time have al­lowed.

BUT since it will not I will finish the pre­sent Discourse will this brief Reflection upon the Whole. viz.

[Page 36] SINCE the peculiar Advantages of Early Re­ligion are such as we have heard, Those of you that are in your YOUTHFUL DAYS should improve the Consideration of them as a most powerful Argument, to Seek, and Serve God, the God of your Fathers, without any far­ther Delay. It is not possible you should have any more alluring and perswasive Motives to the Duty than are contained in the Things that have already been set before you. I have therefore nothing farther to offer at this Time to enforce the Advice upon you. But shall Conclude with my earnest Wish and Prayer to that GOD, with Whom is the Suc­cess of all our Labours, that He would be pleased graciously to bless this, and all the o­ther Endeavours of this kind, which (I trust) are Sincerly Designed by His Servants, for your highest and best Good. AMEN.

[Page 1]

Objections Answered.


But when the Young Man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful.

AN Essay to promote early Piety, to teach Young Peo­ple that Fear of the Lord which is the Beginning of Wisdom, and that good Un­derstanding which all they have who do God's Command­ments, must needs be allow'd to be very Noble and Worthy. In Prosecu­tion [Page 2]of such a Design, our young people have had in several Discourses the Duties of early Piety explain'd, their Obligations to it laid down, and the Advantages of it set forth. The Part assign'd me towards this Work, is to consider the Discouragements, reply to the Objections, which may arise in the Minds of any of them against being early Religious, and which Satan, (who to be sure will do all he can to Counterwork us) will not fail to call before them. The Text I have read, and only propose to take Rise from, will ap­pear, I hope, not altogether improper to the Occasion, if we consider the Story which it relates to, and is a part of. There was a hopeful, sober, well inclin'd Young Gentleman (as he is by some call [...]d) of a plentiful Estate, and in some public Post, who came to CHRIST and Address'd Him upon a most se­rious and Important Case: Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal Life? This Young Man was Instructed in and did believe the Doctrine of eternal Life; and was concern'd how he might obtain it: He was sensible there was something to be done in order to the obtaining of it; and was de­sirous to know what it was that he might do it. He applies himself for Information a­bout this Matter, the best that cou'd be; to the fittest Person, even to our Lord JESUS CHRIST, who is the great Teacher come from God, who alone has the Words of Eternal Life; and who is Himself the Way, the Truth, and [Page 3]the Life; and after a very fit Manner, with Humility and Earnestness. Mark says, that he came running, and kneel'd to Him; and by the Question it self as he here puts it, he seems to be in good earnest: Good Master what shall I do, &c?

IT was a lovely sight this to behold. It is truly a blessed sight to see any Persons seriously con­cern'd about their Souls & another World, solli­tously inquiring how they may get to Heaven. It is especially a lovely sight to see Young Persons so concern'd, thus inquisitive. A lovely sight this! but alass! how rare among the Young People of the present day? It is too rare a­mong Young People of every Quality, who are generally apt to think, it is time eno' yet for such an Enquiry; but especially among such as rise up in the World in superior Cir­cumstances with respect to outward Rank and Estate, who having mighty notions about this World, do but little regard the things of another; whose earthly Inheritance too often takes off their eyes and hearts from the heavenly.

OUR Saviour in Answer to the Question of [...]his Young Man, says to Him, If thou wilt en­ [...]r into Life, keep the Commandments. There [...]s one way of Salvation for Old and Young, [...]iz. the way of Faith, Repentance, and holy Obedience. They that don't walk in the Way of God's Commandments, are certainly out of the Path of Life. This is the Way that God has mark'd out, and there is no think­ing of any other. And blessed are they that [Page 4]do his Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of Life, and may enter in thro' the gates into the holy City, Rev. 22.14. Young Persons are as much bound and obliged to keep the Commandments of God as others are: Nor must they think that the Heedlesness and Inconsiderateness of Youth will excuse or justify them, when they wander out of the Way thereof. No: It is expected from them, that they take heed to their way according to God's Word; they must bear the Yoke, the Yoke of God's Commandments, in their Youth, if they would see Life, obtain Happiness here and hereafter. Christ says to this Young Man, If thou wilt enter into life, keep the Command­ments.

THE Young Man asks of Him again, Which? He might have concluded all: For there is the same Authority enjo [...]ning one as another, and every Command of God is equally oblig­ing. But he asks, we'll suppose, for a more full and particular Information; that he might know which were of the greatest Im­portance, and which he must have a more especial Regard unto. And we should all of us endeavour to get as clear and distinct [...] Knowledge of our Duty [...] we can. We shou'd desire to know what is good, and what the Lord our God doth require of us.

CH [...]T in [...]nceth to him in several of th [...] [...] of the Second Table. Jesu [...] [...] s [...]lt do no Murder, thou shalt no [...] commit [...]d Aultery, thou shalt not Steal, thou shall [Page 5]not bear false Witness, honour thy Father and thy Mother: And thou shalt love thy Neighbour as by self. Our Saviour instanceth in second Table Duties only, not as if they were of greater Importance than the first, but (as one lays upon it *) because tho' first Table Du­ties have in them more of the Essence of Re­ligion, yet second Table Duties have in them more of the Evidence of it; and to teach us that tho' a meer moral Man comes short of being a compleat Christian, yet an immoral Man is certainly no true Christian.

[THESE Commandments which our Saviour [...]ere instanceth in, and so recommends to the Young Man as necessary for him to observe and keep, our Young People have had explain'd to them in those Discourses which opened the Nature of Early Piety as it relates to others, and unto themselves.]

THE Young Man replys, All these have I [...]ept from my Youth: what lack I yet? It had been happy for him indeed if he could have [...]ightly and truly made such an Answer as [...]his, All these have I kept from my Youth: [...]ut it was a confident boasting that discover'd [...]is great Ignorance and Conceit. Had he known the Spiritu [...]y and Extent of the Di­vine Law, that it not only forbids the out­ward Acts, but the inward Lusts and Motions of the heart, he would never have answered [...]hus, but on the contrary would [...] said [Page 6]with Concern and Shame, and Grief, (as the best of us have reason to do before God) "all these have I broken from my Youth". However, according as he understood the Law, 'tis thought, he said true. Take them externally, and in the literal sense, and he might have kept the Commandments. He might be un­reproveable with respect to them before Men, tho' he could not be before the All-seeing, Heart-searching God. He was free from any gross Violation of them; And it was a happy thing that he could so speak. It is truly a Favour of God to any, which they should think of with Thankfulness to him, when their Youth has not been stain'd by any scandalous Sins. But we must not think this sufficient; we must not stop here; for meer Morality will never carry any to Heaven. It is not enough for you, Young Persons, that you be blameless in your outward Carriage and Con­versation, but you must become really, in­wardly practically religious and godly. Ma­ny cannot say for themselves what this Young Man d [...]d; and yet as far as he went, he did not go far eno'; he was not altogether [...] Christian, but was like to come short of E­ternal Life.

CHRIST therefore, in Answer to his fur­ther Inquiry, What lack I yet; tells him what he must come up to, if he would approve himself a Christian indeed and so make sure of Eternal Life. Jesus said unto him, if tho [...] wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give [Page 7]to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Hea­ven; and come and follow me. Religion in­dispensably requires this of every one of us that we do resolvedly and practically, prefer Heaven before Earth, a Part in Christ before all the Wealth and Riches in this World, so [...]s to be willing and ready to part with our [...]ll in this World, for Christ and Heaven, if He should call us thereunto: Upon no less Terms can any of us now be the true Disci­ples of Jesus Christ. To prove this Young Man therefore, and see whether he was in­deed so set for Heaven and Eternal Life as he seem'd to be, Christ gives him this ‘Com­mand of Trial’, Go, sell all thou hast in this World, and give it to the poor, and follow me, and take up with a Treasure in Heaven in­stead of all. At this it was that he went away sorrowful. He could not comply with this Motion. Could not come up to these Terms. He Objected against this as an hard saying, and was discourag'd by it from following Christ, and any more seeking after Eternal Life. If Religion would cost him so dear as this came to, he must even have done with the Tho'ts of it. This Saying of Christ was such a Discouragement and Objection as he could not get over; it proved a fatal Hinderance and Impediment to him.

BUT it is now time for me to dismiss the Text and Context, and to apply my self to that single Part assign'd me in the present [Page 8]Work, which as I told you before is to consi­der and reply to some Discouragements and Objections which Young People may have a­gainst being Religious in their Youthful Days.

Obj. I. IF I am Religious in my Youthful Days (may the Young Person think and say) I shall debar and deprive my self of those Pleasures and Delights of Life, which Youth is the proper Season for the Taste and Injoyment of.

TO this I Answer,

1. RELIGION does not wholly debar you of and restrain you from the Delights and Pleasures of this Life. I deed you must not make Pro­vision for the flesh, to fu fit the Lusts thereof. You must not give Appetite and Sense its full Swinge. Nevertheless, there is not a total Restraint laid upon you. It is not criminal for you to be cheerful and merry in Conver­sation. Young people may use the Divertise­ments and Pleasures of life, such as are pro­per to their Age, so as they do but keep within the Bounds of Innocence and Modera­tion. Religion is not such a sower ill [...]aturd thing as you may imagine it to be. It does not give a total Prohibition of earthly Plea­sures, but allows of, yea directs to the sober and moderate Use of them. Eccl. 9.7, 8, 9. Go thy Way, eat thy Bread with Joy, and drink thy Wine with a merry heart; for God now ac­cepteth thy Works. Let thy Garments be always white; and let thy Head lack no Oinment. Live [Page 9]joyfully with the Wise whom thou lovest, all the days of the life of thy Vanity, which he hath given thee under the Sun: for that is thy Portion in this Life, and in thy Labour which thou takest under the Sun. Use this World you may, so you do not abuse it. Religion would only direct and lead you to such a Use and Injoyment of earthly Pleasures and Delights, as may be without Offence to God, and Hurt to your selves.

2. THE Pleasures which Religion requires you to deny yourselves in, and abandon; What are they? They are mean and base at best; suited only to the Inferior Part of Man. They have in them more of the Beast than the Man; and the Bruit Creatures may have a more exquisite Sense of them than we have. And what are these to a rational Soul? To us, whom God hath taught more than the Beasts of the Earth; and made wiser than the Fowls of Heaven? They are false and deceitful; have in them the Shew of Pleasure only, and not the Substance, the Appearance and Name rather than the Thing; The Fruition of them does not answer the Expectation. Solomon ran a prodigious length in Sensualities, in the Pursuit of forbidden Pleasures. He prov'd his heart with Mirth, & gave himself to know Mad­ness and Folly; whatsoever his Eyes desired he kept not from them, he withheld not his Heart from any Joy. Well, and what Satisfaction did all this afford him? Why truly none at all. He said of Laughter it is mad: and of [Page 10]Mirth, what doeth it? Eccl. 2.2. Again, they are vanishing and perishing. The World pass­eth away, and so do the Lusts thereof. The Pleasures of Sin they are but for a Sea­son, and a very short Season too. They will perish in the using. They are easily disturb'd and dash'd, and quickly over and gone. Once more, They are destructive and deadly. Bitter Sweets! They please and gratify now, but they will fling and torment hereafter. The Fruit and End of them is Death. Prov. 9.17, 18. Stolen Waters are sweet, and Bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the Dead are there; and that her guests are in the Depths of Hell. So then the Pleasures which Religion requires you to abandon, are such as you have little Reason to be fond of: However the corrupt heart may find some Reluctancy in refusing them, yet (as one apt­ly uses here the Words of Abigail to David about his denying himself the Satisfaction of being reveng'd on Nabal) afterwards it shall be no G [...]ief unto you, nor Offence of heart, 1 Sam. 25.31.

3. THE Delights and Pleasures which are to be found in the Ways of Religion, are Incom­parably better that those which you m [...]st de­ny yourselves in and abandon. There is this Commendation given of Wisdoms Ways, Pr [...]v. 3.17. Her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, and all her Paths are Peace. They are not only pleasant Ways, but Ways of Pleasantness, in the Abstract; as one observes upon the Place. [Page 11]There is such Pleasantness no where else to be found as in these Ways. The Delights that are to be met with in the Way of Duty and Religion are such as the greatest Sensua­list cannot boast of. The Pleasures of Piety do exceed the Pleasures of Sin and Sense, in the Subject of them; the Soul the better and more noble part. In the Object of them; an Infinite God, a glorious Christ, all spiritual Blessings in heavenly Places. And in the Pro­perties of them; they are true and solid, pure and substantial, rational and sublime, durable and lasting, not so easily dash'd and broken by the little Accidents and sudden Changes of this life, and the longer the Injoy­ment is, the higher the Pleasure rises.

WHAT are the poor & beggarly Pleasures of this life, to the Testimony of a good Conscience, Joy in the Holy Ghost, Delight in God, and Communion with Him? Such as abandon sensual Pleasures for spiritual Delights, and holy Joys, they only exchange Dirt and Trash for Gold and Pearls, leave the Garlick and Onions of Egypt for the Milk and Honey of Canaan. O our Young People! If you did but once experience the Pleasures of true Piety, they would put your Mouths out of taste to the Pleasures of Sin and Sense; having tasted of this new Wine, you would not ask for the old, because the new is better. That pious Youth, Mr. Thomas Beard, who died at about Seventeen Years of Age, (whose Life is publish'd, and recommended to Young peo­ple [Page 12]by the late Mr. Henry, and is in some of your hands) could from his own happy Ex­perience write down such lines as these, There is nothing of Delight in the World comparable to what I have found in the Enjoyment of God. One Hours, yea one Moments Communion with God, is far beyond the sensual Delights of a whole Life. I have met with true and solid Comf [...]rt, and Soul satisfying Joy in the Way of Duty and Religion. O taste & see if it be not so.

Obj. II. THE Work of Religion is very hard and difficult; and I fear that if I make a Trial I shall find it insuperable, and not be able to go thro' with it.

Answ. WE would deal plainly and truly with you, and let you know the worst before-hand, that so you may sit down and count the Cost before you begin to build, and may so set out as that you may not turn back discou­rag'd by meeting with what you did not ex­pect: We do therefore acknowledge it to you, that it is no easy thing to be a true and thorough Christian. Those that are most acquainted with practical Religion, and the Power of Godliness, know this. The Christan Life is compar'd in Scripture to running a Race, to wrestling, to fighting, and the like; all which imply Difficulty, Opposition, Hardness, and the great Need there is of Skill, Activity, Strength, Resolution and Patience. Religion does not consult your carnal Ease, and Plea­sures. There are many laborious Duties for [Page 13]you to perform, many Temptations to resist, Corruptions to mortify, and Conflicts to en­dure. A few lazy Wishes and faint Endea­vours will never carry you to Heaven. You must watch and be sober, watch and pray, watch and work; you must gird up the Loins of your Minds, and put on and manage the whole Ar­mour of God, press on, and fight thro'. You must overcome the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, and take the Kingdom of Heaven by an holy Violence. Nevertheless, tho' the Work of Religion be thus hard and difficult, you should not object against it, you may not be discourag'd from it on the Account hereof.


1. IF there is any Truth in Religion, the Dif­ficulty that attends the Practice of it, cannot be allow'd to be a reasonable or sufficient Ob­jection against it. If there be a God that made you, that has a Right to rule you now and to judge you hereafter. If you have Im­mortal Souls within you, that must Live for­ever either in a World of Happiness or in a World of Misery. If you are hastning either to Heaven or Hell; and it is like to fare with you in the other World according as you have Liv'd in this: I say, if these things be true which Religion teaches, (as they cer­tainly are, and as you do believe that they are) why then surely no Pains can be judg'd too much to take, no Difficulties too great to be undergone, in an Affair of so high a Concern. Can you think any thing too much [Page 14]for to save your Souls, to escape Hell and ob­tain Heaven? Oh what Pains will Men take, what Difficulties will they go through, what Hardships will they endure in prosecuting Matters of far less Concernment; in Affairs that relate only to the Body and the Life that now is? What Trouble will Men be at to get the Riches, or the Honours, or the Pleasures of this World? Compassing both Sea and Land for them. What a Folly then, what a Shame is it for you to make such an Objecti­on in this Case? Wherein, if in any thing at all, Necessity is laid upon you, and Woe to you if you do not comply? One would think there is nothing so difficult, but it should be readi­ly and willingly entred upon and engaged in, if the Salvation of the Soul, and the eternal Welfare of that, be at all concern'd in it.

2. THE Difficulty that attends the Practice of Religion and Godliness can be no sufficient Objection against it, because The Way of Sin and Wickedness is attended with as much or more. It is really so, that there is many times more Self-denial undergone, and Pains taken, in the Service of Sin and Lust, than the Prac­tice of Religion calls for. Prov. 13.15. The way of Transgressors is hard, Jer. 9.5. They weary themselves to commit Iniquity. There is no worse Slavery than to Live in the Pur­suit of base Lusts. How is the Sinner in the Gratification of them, carried by Vio­lence and Headlong, contrary to the Dictates of his Reason, and the Checks of Conscience? [Page 15]How is his Time consumed therein, his Estate often wasted, and his Body enfeebled? How ‘many Thousands die Martyrs to their Lusts, and are burnt with as keen a Fire (tho' not so honourable) as that the Martyrs were fry'd in?’ Sometimes the very Contri­vance of Sin gives sufficient Uneasiness and Trouble; but more especially the Reflection on it. How does the Sinner start and recoil at his own Actions when he thinks them over? One of the greatest Troubles in this World is for a Sinner to look within himself, and re­member what he has done. The Scripture speaks of the Condition of Sinners in this World as full of Uneasiness and Disquiet. Isai. 57.20, 21. The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt: There is no peace saith my God unto the wicked. Such often dissemble their Con­dition, ‘and make an appearance of Satis­faction; but God who is acquainted with the secrets of all hearts, knows what horror rages in their Breasts.’

3. WHATEVER Difficulty attends the Practice of Religion and Godliness, the Grace of God can enable you thereunto notwithstand­ing. You are not left to struggle with the difficulties of Religion in your own single Strength, but God is ready to afford you His Help and Assistance, thro' whom strengthning of us we can do all things. You have not only the Outward Arguments of Religion to encourage you to encounter the difficulties of [Page 16]it, but the Promise of His Holy Spirit to help and assist you. Ezek. 11.19. I will put my spirit within them, and they shall walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments and do them. He is ready to do this for all that sin­cerely and in good earnest apply themselves to Him. Wherefore instead of objecting a­gainst, or being discouraged from Religion by reason of the difficulties that attend the practice of it, you should only be quicken'd thereby, according to the advice of the A­postle, Heb. 4.16. to come boldly to the throne of Grace, that you may find grace to help you in time of need.

4. THE greatest difficulty will be in your first setting out in the Ways of Religion. What in Religion may seem hard at first, thro' the Corruption of our Nature, and our former Ac­customedness to Sin, afterwards Use and Ex­ercise and the Grace of God will make easy. When once you are well entred in the Service of God, you will find it perfect Freedom; and in a little time you will be able to attest to the truth of that, 1 Joh. 5.3. His Com­mandments are not grievous. Christ's Yoke, (says One) grows easier and smoother, when we have born it upon us; tho' perhaps at the very first putting on, the flesh will strive hard to fling it off. I remember to have read in the Life of Mr. Philip Henry, that he once in Preaching from those words, Mat. 11.30. My yoke is easy, after many things insisted on to prove the Yoke of Christ an easy Yoke, [Page 17]at last appeal'd to the Experiences of all that had any time drawn in that Yoke, and then gave in his own Testimony after this affecting manner. I, said he, will here witness for one, who through Grace have in some poor Measure been drawing in this Yoke, now above Thirty Years, and I have found it an easy Yoke, and like my Choice too well to change.

Once more here,

5. THERE is that Sweetness and Pleasure accompanying the Practice of Religion and God­liness, and that glorious Reward following it, that far out-weigh all its Troubles and Difficulties. I might here show, if my pre­sent Limits would allow, how that in all the several Acts, Instances, and Duties of Religion, even those that seem the hard Lessons of Christi­anity, there is a Sweetness and Pleasure to be found, not only to support but delight the Soul. Her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, and all her Paths are Peace.

AND then, what a blessed Hope is set before you in the end to invite & animate you? All the Diffi­culties of Religion will be abundantly compen­sated by a glorious Recompence of Reward in the next World. Religion proposes so great a Reward to you, as that if you should spend your whole Life in Labour and Toil for it, it would be worth the while. It is the most noble that Mans Nature is capable of; set forth to us in Scripture by many chosen Com­parisons, as particularly by a royal Throne, a glorious Kingdom, and a glittering Crown. [Page 18]Rev. 3.21. Him that overcometh will I gra [...]t to sit with me on my Throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Fath [...]r on his Throne. Luk. 22.29. I appoint unto you a Kingdom, as my Father appointed unto me. Rev. 2.10. be faithful unto Death, and I will give thee a Crown of life. There is nothing greater aspired after by the ambitious Children of Men than a Crown and Kingdom; and they will wade thro' Fields and Seas of Blood to obtain one; and yet they strive but for a corruptible Crown. The Crown and Kingdom which Christ sets before you in the Gospel, is not like the Crowns and Kingdoms of this World, trou­blesome, thorny, tottering, fading things, but easy, steady, safe, and that shall never fade away. And now, O Young Man, shall not this so tempt and fire your Ambition as to make you think all Difficulty light and in­considerable that may lie in your way. Will not this, think you, countervail for a few days labour and difficulty?

Obj. III. BUT Religion will expose me to many Troubles and Sufferings: It is thro' much Tribulation that we must enter into the Kingdom of God: And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer Persecution.

TO this it may be answered, that

TROUBLES and Sufferings are to be met with out of the way of Religion. The Un­godly (besides Inward Troubles which are the [Page 19](worst) are liable to the same outward Afflicti­ons that others are; such as Bodily S [...]ck­nesses and Pains, the Deaths of near Rela­tives, Disappointments, Losses, and Impove­rishments, in their outward Estate. With respect to such things as these, we are told, All things come alike to all, there is one Event to the Righteous and to the wicked, Eccl. 9.2. So that as to the common & ordinary Afflictions of this Life, you'l be expos'd to them out of the way of Religion as well as in it.

AS to any Extraordinary Sufferings purely on the Account of Religion, such as the loss of Liberty, Estate or Life, (tho' indeed we should be ready to part with these in the Cause and for the Sake of Religion, should we be called to it, yet) you are not sure you shall meet with any of these. Bonds and Afflictions don't always abide the Saints. God don't call every one to resist unto Blood. Thanks be to God! Our Lot is cast in a Place and Time of Liberty and Peace, wherein the Churches have Rest and are Edified!

BUT suppose the worst, that you should be call [...]d to any such Sufferings on the account of Religion; the Sufferings can be but very short. The sharpest Sufferings of the present Time, they are bu [...] [...]or a moment, 2 Cor. 4.17. And then where God calls His Saints to extraordinary Sufferings, he usually gives them extraordinary Supports & Consolations under them. S [...]me Suffering Saints have said, As the Sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our [Page 20]Consolation also aboundeth by Christ, 2 Cor. 1.5

MOREOVER, the greater your Sufferings are here, the greater will be your Reward in Heaven: They will work out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory. And I reckon, says the Apostle, that the Suffer­ings of the present time, are not worthy to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed in us, Rom. 8.18.

AND then, let it be considered by you, that if you do not become Religious, you ex­pose yourselves to the endless and Insupporta­ble Miseries of the next Life, which the most exquisite Torments of the present Life, are but faint Resemblances of.

SO that upon the whole of this matter, it will be your Wisdom, Young People, to make Moses his Choice, who when he was come is Years, chose rather to suffer Affliction with the people of God, than to injoy the Pleasures of Sin for a Season. Heb. 11.24, 25.

Obj. IV. BUT I shall be reproach'd, derided and scoff [...]d at, especially by my old Acquain­tance and Companions, if I should now set up for serious Religion.

TO this I Answer,

THAT it is no Disgrace to be derided and mock'd at, but to deserve to be so. The best of Men have been so▪ Such as David, and Job, and Jeremiah, and Paul, and others of whom the World was not worthy. And I might Name a Greater than these, even our Lord JESUS [Page 21]CHRIST, a great part of whose Sufferings were the Derisions and Mockings that He met with.

THE Jests and Scoffs you may meet with, will be so far from a Disparagement to you, that they will be your Honour; and while they deride and mock you, others, the wiser and better Sort, will esteem and reverence you, and give you their best Regards.

YOU had better be derided by o­thers, than have your own Conscience re­proaching of you; and it is no Matter in whose Eyes you are contemned, so as you are but great in the Sight of the Lord.

THE Reproaches wherewith some, that sit in the Seat of the Scornful may reproach you, for your turning into the Way of Godliness, will fall upon themselves, will turn to their Condemnation and sorer Punishment, in that Day when Sinners must account for all their hard Speeches; but they will turn to your Ad­vantage and Blessedness. For our Saviour has said, Blessed are ye when Men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil a­gainst you falsly for my sake. Rejoyce and be exceeding glad; for great is your Reward in Heaven.

AND it will not be long before those who now deride and censure you, will openly ap­plaud and commend you, as the only wise and happy. We fools counted their Life Madness, and their End to be without Honour, how are they numbred with the Children of [Page 22]God, and their Lot among the Saints? So that the Reproaches you may meet with should be far from discouraging of you, they shou'd rather make you more Resolute in the Ways of God. You should Answer the Scorners, as David replied to the Taunt and Reproach of Michal the Daughter of Saul; It was before the Lord — And I will yet be more vile than thus, 2 Sam. 6.21, 22.

Obj. V. RELIGION is no Friend to Prosperity: I must look to be poor and low in the World, if I become religious; for I observe the most are so that are Religious.

I may reply here,

THAT it is a most foolish and absurd thing, to be Influenc [...]d by external Motives, and tem­poral Considerations, in matters of spiritual and eternal Concernment. What, I beseech you, is a Man profited, if he gain the whose World, and lose his own Soul; or what shall a Man give in Exchange for his [...]oul?

IT is true indeed, that the godly in the Earth, are often the poor of it, and Brethren of l [...]w Degree: But then they are in that State, in those Circumstances which Infinite Wisdom sees best for them, and in which their spiri­tual and eternal Welfare is most promoted, the best secured. And the Soul is the Man; that is best for Us, which is best for our Souls. If the Wicked have more of this World, they have need eno' of it; for it is their Portion: But deliver me, O Lord, from the Men of this [Page 23]World, which have their Portion in this Life!

HOWEVER the Objection is not true nei­ther: For Religion is a Friend to outward Prosperity. Godliness is profitable to all things. The Blessing of Temporals is in the Covenant; (as was show'd you under the Head of Ad­vantages, and therefore I will pass it here.)

BUT at last, Piety is the best Prosperity. The Merchandize whereof is better than the Mer­chandize of Silver, and the Gain thereof than fine Gold. Her Fruit is better than Gold, and her Revenue than choice Silver.

Obj. VI. RELIGION is no fashionable thing; there are but few that really mind it, of a­ny Age or Quality; why should I be al­most singular?

I Answer,

SERIOUS Religion, and strict Godliness, is but an Unfashionable thing in the World. The more's the Pity! But yet it is of Infinite Concernment to us that we heartily embrace it.

LET none urge this Objection, unless they are willing to loose the Favour of God, the Happiness of Heaven, and their own precious and immortal Souls out of Genteelity, unless they are willing to be damn'd and go to Hell for Fashion's sake; This I hope you'l account too great a Complement.

WE should let no Example influence us con­trary to what is our Duty and Interest. We shou'd not follow a Multitude to do evil; nor be conform'd to this World. The broad Way is [Page 24]never the better for being crowded. Hell will be never the pleasanter for the Company that is in it.

RELIGION is never the worse in it self let who will, and as many as will, sl [...]ght it. Sooner or later most Men testify to the Wisdom of it Vid. Dying Mens Living Words. Published by Dr. Lloyd.. Do you not observe, that they who care not to live the Life of the Righteous, yet de­sire to die their Death, and to have their last End like theirs? ‘Of the thousands whose Deaths we have seen or heard, what one Person, ever recommended an Irreligious Life (to those that stood about him, ready to gather his last breath) as Desireable; and did not rather warn them from it as Mis­chievous and Ruinous? What one Man in the World ever repented of a good life, when he came to die; and did not rather, with Tears for his own Miscarriages, and with all the Arguments imaginable exhort to it? That Person in a dying hour shall wish himself no Man, that hath not been a good Christian.’

Obj. VII. IF I am Religious in my Youth­ful Days, I shall die Young. This is what Sa­tan has sometimes buzz'd in the Ears of some seriously dispos'd Young Persons to affright and deter them. To it I say,

THAT tho' Piety does not secure a long Life in this World, yet to be sure it never shorten'd any ones Life in it: It is more likely [Page 25]to prolong it. For it keeps us from those Vices and Excesses which shorten Mens Lives. And it has the Promise of it, 1 Tim. 4.8. Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the Promise of the Life that now is.

THE Irreligious, they to be sure, have no Reason to expect to live long in the World, Eccl. 8.13. It shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall [...]e prolong his Days, because he fear­ [...]th not God. And we do see that many Un­godly ones die young. Job. 36.14. They die in Youth, and their Life is among the Unclean.

THEY that desire to live long in this World, the best Course they can take for it is, to become practically Religious and Godly. Psal. 34.12. What man is he that desireth l [...]fe, and loveth many days, let him depart from evil, and [...]o good. Solomon therefore makes use of it as an Argument to perswade us to be Religi­ous, Prov. 4.10. Hear, O my Son, and receive [...]y sayings, and the Years of thy Life shall be many.

MANY a Young Convert has attain'd to the Character of an Old Disciple, as well as well as Mnason spoken of Acts 21.16. How ma­ny of the Saints on Scripture Record, died in a good old Age? And we have some alive a­mong Us at this day, who can say in Davids Words Psal. 71.17, 18. O God, thou hast taught [...]e from my Youth and hitherto I have declared thy wondrous Works. And NOW I am old and gray-headed.

[Page 26] BUT suppose you [...] d [...]e Young, you may yet have a Sufficiency of Life? That Promise, Psal. 91.16. With long Life will I satisfy him, and shew him my Salvation, may be fulfill'd to one who dies in Youth. For it is the Nature of Grace to wean the Soul from this Life, to raise it above it, and to fix it upon another. Hence there have been found some Instances of gra­cious Young Persons, who have been not only willing, but desirous and glad to leave this World. And he that has liv'd so long in this World, as to become fit for a better, and wil­ling to leave this, He has liv'd long eno', and dies full of days.

AND then, (if you be Gracious) the days you lo [...]se on Earth, will be gain'd in Heaven; there you'l have Length of days for ever & ever.

Obj. VIII. IF I begin to be Religious now, it may be I shall not continue so: Many have Apostatized from good Beginnings; and it were better never to have known the Ways of God, than wickedly to depart from them.

I Answer,

THE Apostacy of some from good Begin­nings has been very sad and awful. And Woe indeed to them who having beg [...]n in the Spirit do end in the Flesh! But this should not discourage nor deter you from entring upon the Ways of God; but only serve to take you off from Self-Confidence, and put you upon more humble and earnest seeking that Grace of God, which shall be able to make you stand, to con­firm you unto the End.

[Page 27] THERE never was a true Convert, that to­tally Apostat [...]z'd. Being confident, says the A­postle, of this very thing, that he which hath be­gun a good Work in you, will perform it unto the day of Christ, Phil. 1.6.

THAT Proverb that is so often in the Mouths of profane ones, A Young Saint makes [...] old Devil is false and malicious. No! The Young Saint will more likely prove an Angel when he is old in respect of excelling Knowledge and Sanctity.

THE Young Hypocrite will prove an old A­postate; but the serious Youth, the longer he exper [...]ences Religion, the better he will like it▪ and the closer he will stick to it. And the Grace of Christ, in him and with him, shall be sufficient to make him finally Victorious o­ver all Difficulties, Temptations and Dangers.

Obj. IX. IT is time eno' for me to be Religious: I am Young, and have many Years before me.

THIS it may be, is the most common Objec­tion, and prevails most on our Young People, to cause them to defer and put off the great Work of Religion and turning to God; and so would have requir'd a more full and large Answer to have been given to it, but that the happy Labours of my Re [...]erend Brethren in the two Discourses immediately preceeding this, (wherein the Special Obligations to, and Pecu­ [...]or Advantages of Early Religion are excel­ [...]tly Argu'd with you) do spare me the Pains.

[Page 28] I shall therefore only take the Liberty to ask you that make such an Objection as this, that it is I me eno' yet, two serious Questions.

1. HOW know you that you shall have any o­ther Time than this afforded you? Have you a­ny Lease of your Lives? Have you made a Covenant with Death, and an Agreement with Hell, that you know shall stand▪ Is not the shortning and prolonging of your Life in the hand of God; of that God whom you can now so easily forget and neglect? Do not the most die Young? Are you not altogether Un­certain when Death may be Commissioned by the Great God to fetch you out of this World? May you not be cut off while you presume upon hereafter? Don't you think that there are many now in the Chambers of utter Dark­ness, who presum'd upon that hereafter which they never injoy'd?

METHINKS the Providence of God silences the Objection at this Time, when the Angel of Death stands with a drawn Sword over the Town, and threatens to come up into our Win­dows, and enter into our Palaces, to cut off the Children from without, and the Young Men from the Streets. *

[Page 29] 2. HOW can you expect to find Acceptance with God hereafter, if you neglect to seek and serve him now? The Hereafter you depend on [...]ay never come; but if it should, is God [...]ound to accept you then? Must He needs [...] up with the Refuse and Dregs of your [...]me, when you have serv'd the World, the [...]esh and the Devil, with your Flower and [...]ime? May He not then justly say, Go to the [...]ds you have chosen and serv'd.

WE would not discourage the Repentance [...] Endeavours of Sinners that are come to [...] last of their Time; and the Mercy of GOD in CHRIST is such as may prevent a [...]al Despair then: But verily it is (as one [...]lls it) an Extraordinary Act of Sovereign [...]ivine Grace when such are accepted.

OH then! do not run all Hazards with [...]espect to your Souls and another World, [...] you will do if you hearken to that Sug­ [...]estion, that it is Time eno' yet. But resolve [...]y the Help of God, that you will not defer [...]tting about the Work of serious Religion [...] longer. Don't think of a more Convenient [...]ason. To day, while it is [...]all'd to day, harden [...]t your hearts. Be speedy and instant as he [...]as, Psal. 119.59, 60. I thought on my ways, [...] turned my feet into thy testimonies. I made [...]ste and delayed not to keep thy Commandments.

I shall Name but one Objection more.

[Page 30] Obj. X. IF I had a mind to be Religious, yet there are so many different Paths in Religion, that I should be at a loss which to take: some cry up this Way, others that, so that I know not which to choose & fall in with.

Ans. I am afraid they that Object after this Manner, only pretend the Differences in Re­ligion to excuse their declining that which really they hate. For they are only the lesser Matters wherein Christians differ: And is it reasonable on the account of these to forsake those great and necessary things, wherein all are Agreed.

WE are not aiming, in our present Design, to bring you over to the Interests of a Party. No: ‘The Piety which we principally press on our Young People, is, what all true Christi­ans own to be necessary; what all Good Men tho' of different Perswasions on lesser Accounts, are United in, what all People when they come to Di [...], do advise, and com­mend, and bear their Testimonies to.’

THE Use you should make then of these Differences in Religion, is not to throw of all Religion; but to be Inquisitive after Truth And for this End, you should diligently study the Word of God, and humbly seek His Spirit to lead and guide you. I will add too, that you should not be backward to consult and advise with the Faithful Minister [...] of God. For the Priests lips should keep knowledge, [Page 31]and they should seek the Law at his Mouth: for he is the Messenger of the Lord of Losts, Mal. 2.7. Your Ministers all of them, would be glad to afford you what Light, Direction, and Help they can; and I am sure you should not neglect them; to take Counsel, and receive Light, from those who may not be suppos'd so able to give it you, nor to have the like Concern for you, and that aim only to bring you over to their own Party and Interest.

AS to what Way of Worship, and Form of Ministration you should attend on, I will only say this unto you; Choose that which (after humble Study and Prayer) you seri­ously and conscienciously judge to come near­est to the Holy Scriptures, (the only Rule and Standard of Faith and Practice) and the most likely to promote the Power of practical God­liness in your Lives, and so the Salvation of your precious Souls in the End.

THUS I have made some Reply to the most Considerable Objections which any of you may [...]ake against being Religious in your Youth­ful Days. It had been easy to have carry'd these things the length of several Sermons, but I was willing to take up as few Pages as possible, and hope what has been offer'd may be sufficient for the present Purpose.

CONSIDER now, DEAR YOUNG PEOPLE, of what has been said; and the LORD give you Understanding in all things!

[Page 32] THE LORD help you over all the Blocks and Bars that lie in your Way; and by His special Grace, effectually determine your Thoughts and Hearts for Himself and Ser­vice, and bring you into a serious and de­lightful Walk in the Ways of Piety!

MAY you be so Wise, as Early to choose the good Part, which cannot be taken away and may your after Course be agreeable to your Early Choice! That so you may say in the End, as the Psalmist, Psal. 119.30, 31. I have chosen the Way of Truth. I have stuck un­to thy Testimonies.

[Page 1]

Exhortations & Directions to Young People.

In the 2d. Epis. to Timothy, the 2d. Chap. & 22. Ver.

Flee also youthful Lusts: but follow Righteous­ness, Faith, Charity, Peace [or Union] with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

WE are still on the excellent Theme of Early Religion. In the Course of this Lec­ture you have already had the Nature of early Piety defin'd, and the several Parts distinctly illustrated; the Obligati­ons stated; the Advantages represented; and [Page 2]many Objections obviated. The Business now allotted Me (as the Conclusion of the whole Matter) is to make some Application or Improvement of the foregoing Discourses, in a Use of EXHORTATION and DIRECTION. And tho' indeed in Them there may have been offer'd Something of this Tendency; Yet if we consider the vast Weight, as well as Reach of the Argument, (together with the remain­ing Cold, and careless Unconcern about it, visi­ble in too Many of our Young People,) It will sufficiently appear, that the Task assign [...]d Me is not a Pleonasm or superfluous Addition.

AS to the Passage of holy Scripture now read; I shall not stay in showing the Connexion, nor in opening the Contents hereof. It may suffice to say, We have here an Address to a Young Man, and an Exhortation to Early Piety. I have chosen the Words only as an agrea­ble Foundation or decent Introduction to that part of the Subject, which falls to Me; and the Prosecution whereof I shall now imme­diately apply my Self to.

THE Method, I propose to go in, is this;

  • I. I shall speak to the Secure and thoughtless Sinners among our Young People.
  • II. TO the Thinking and Awakened.
  • III. TO the Penitent and Regenerate.

I shall endeavour with all [decent] Plain­ness of Speech, as far as I can, to adapt my Exhortations and Counsels to the respective [Page 3]Cases of each Rank; which being very un­like, they call for a distinct Consideration and different Management.

THE first Sort of Young Persons to be ex­horted are the habitually SECURE and Insensi­ble. Too many (I'm afraid) there are of this un­happy Character among our Young People, (as well as Elder,) notwithstanding the repeated solemn Calls, Warnings and Excitations they have had from time to time. Therefore there's Need of this Address to the Secure. And O that we might succeed in these our last At­tempts!—

LET every unconcerned unconvinced Young Man now before the Lord, consider I am par­ticularly speaking to Him, in the Name of GOD; that GOD who searches the Heart, who expects you take heed how you hear, and will one Day call you to an Account: In His great and dreadful Name (I say) I am now speaking to you. O consider this, Young Men & Children, and dare not to turn away your Ear, nor harden your Heart: but hearken to the Voice of GOD, and see that ye refuse not Him that speaketh from Heaven. Hearken to the Counsel which is brought you, and send Us not back to our Master with that melancholy Complaint — Who hath believeth our Report? We have laboured in Vain.—Yet, be it so, our Judgment is with the Lord and our Reward with God!

BUT, let me intreat you to suffer the Exhorta­tion. Be perswaded then, Oh Sinner! to s [...]ake off carnal Security, & seek after religious Convictions. [Page 4]Awake, Awake, O Sinner! Awake, Thou Slug­gard! Rise from thy Bed of Sloth. How long wilt thou slumber? Wilt thou not bethink & bestir thyself? When shall it once be? O Sinner, open thine eyes to behold the Light; open thine Ear to Discipline. Rise out of the Dust, shake thy self, and no longer fold thine Hands to Sleep. Do this now, my Brother, and deliver thy self; Give not sleep to thine Eyes, nor slumber to thine Eye-lids. Escape for thy Life; Escape to the Mountain, lest thou be consum­ed. Deliver thy self as a Roe from the Hand of the Hunter, and as a Bird from the Snare of the Fowler. Go to the Ant, thou Sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise. Awake thou that s [...]ep [...]st, and arise from the Dead. Knowing the Time, that now it is high time to awake our of S [...]eep, therefore cast off the works of Darkness.—

BUT (as the Prophet speaks, Jer. 6.10, 11.) To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot h [...]arken: Behold, the Word of the Lord is unto them a Reproach; they have no Delight in it! And indeed when I consider how powerful an Orator Satan is, and how great the Deceitfulness of Sin, and the infatu­ation of Self Love;—I am almost tempted, in Despair of Success, to desist from the present Attempt to awaken the Secure; and to break off in the words of the Prophet aforesaid,—I am full of the fury of the Lord, I am weary with h [...]lding in; I will pour it out upon the Children [Page 5]abroad, and upon the assembly of Young Men to­gether.

BUT when I consider again the Wisdom and the Power of CHRIST (whose Embassadors we are, and on whose Blessing we have leave to depend for Prosperity in our sincere Endea­vours,) my Hopes revive; and I can't but re­assume, and proceed in His Name & Strength to press the Exhortation. And O! that He, who can make dry Bones live, wou'd now breath in his Word; and speak to the Heart & Con­science of every one, while the Word is sound­ing in your Ears.

BUT what Arguments and Expressions shall I chuse? O that I might be directed to such, as shall affect and penetrate deep! GOD is our Witness, whom we serve in the Gospel of His Son, that our Hearts Desire and Prayer for you all is, that you may be saved.—Now therefore, as tho' God did beseech you by Us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God: And as workers together with Him we [...]eseech you, that ye receive not the Gospel of God in vain. In the Bowels of JESUS, and by all the Compassion you owe to your perishing Souls, we beg you, yea we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that you now, even now without any further Delay, bethink your selves; and let such Considerations as these, which follow, be of weight with you, (if the hardness of your Hearts will permit your tak­ing them in,) to hasten your seeking after sound Convictions.—I shall endeavour [Page 6]only to hint Things, a few Things; and leave you to enlarge on them in your retir'd Me­ditations: because otherwise I forsee I shall be tedious.

I. Then, CONSIDER the great SINFULNESS of your present Security. Great is your wickedness herein; your Guilt is very obvious and prodigi­ous. Your carnal Security implies the black­est Ingratitude, the basest Disingenuity, the vilest Injustice, Rebellio [...], and Presumption. It bewrays a secret Infidelity, and proceeds from accursed Principles. It is a manifest Disobedience to the preceptive Will of God. It is a slighting the Threatnings of His Law, a contemning the Promises of His Gospel; and opposing the gracious Designs of His Word and Ordinances and Providences. It is a high Contempt cast on the blessed GOD; 'tis a dishonourable Reflection on His Wisdom and Love in CHRIST; 'tis a Reproaching His Justice, Holiness and Truth; 'tis a Defiance to His Infinite Power; an abuse of His Mercy, and a mocking of His Patience! 'tis an inso­lent spurning at His Favour, neglecting His Service, misimploying the Time and Talents. He has given you, and a preferring the Devil before Him.—Further, It is a denying the Lord that bought you, and trampling under foot the Son of God. It is also a resisting the Holy Ghost, and doing Despite to the Spirit of Grace.

YOUR Security then is a heinous Iniquity. [Page 7]And what's an unspeakable Aggravation here­of, it immoveably fastens upon you the Guilt of all your other Sins. O secure Young Man, labour to see what horrible Guilt lies upon you! And let the Time past suffice to have been spent in this dreadful Wickedness. Now awake to Righteousness, and sin not.

2. CONSIDER the absolute INEXCUSABLENESS of your sinful Security. You have no Plea in the World to cover your Guilt. Your Se­curity is willful and chosen. It is against ma­ny Calls and Cautions both in the Word and Providence of God; you can't therefore plead, you have not been duly warn'd and called; God and Men are Witnesses to this—You can't plead invincible Ignorance of the way of Salvation, the necessity of Conversion, the need of Convictions, and the methods in order hereto: for Light is come into the World, and you chuse Darkness.—You can't plead insuperable Difficulties in the way: for Grace is offer'd, Grace sufficient; and you re­fuse it.—You can't pretend want of Encou­ragement; for great and precious Promises are set before you. — You can't pre­tend want of Helps to assist you; For you have all needful Means of Conviction and Awaken­ing. — You can't have the Face to pretend want of Leisure; that you have no Time to attend the necessary care of your Soul; being engag'd in other matters of higher Importance; For there is nothing of equal or comparable [Page 8]Moment with that: or being as a Servant in a continual Hurry of Care and Employment, and not at your own dispose: for you may, you shou'd in this Case, redeem Time from your Bed and Table, and otherwise; as knowing you have a Master in Heaven whose Service must not be dispensed with on any score whatever. — You can't be so absurd as to pretend any Unfitness of the present Time, or say that you are too Young, to concern your self about the grave Matters of Religion: For that which is at all Times your indispensable Duty, and so necessary to your present (as as well as future) Safety and Comfort, can't be begun too soon. Besides, How many Others no fitter by Na­ture nor riper in Years than you, have early sought and aright improv'd Convictions, to their saving Repentance? — What then will you say, when God shall arise? How wilt thou answer it, O Young Man, when God shall bring thee into Judgment, that thou hast not remember'd thy Creator in the days of thy Youth, but walked in the ways of thine own Heart, and in the sight of thine Eyes? Verily you have no Clok [...] for your Sin. Every Mouth shall be stopt. Behold, Heaven, Earth, and Hell shall bear Record against you; yea your own Cons­cience will be instead of a Thousand Witnesses, and strike you into silence and confusion. ‘Whoever remains Graceless in the Day of Grace, will be found Speechless in the Day of Judgment.’

[Page 9] 3. CONSIDER the extream FOLLY of your present Security, and the Madness of Continuing therein. O how unreasonable is it! 'Tis a Prodigy of Madness, as well as Wickedness. He is unworthy the Name of a Man, that al­lows himself in it. O that you cou'd see what a sottish, stupid, blind & mad Thing it is! I have not Words or Thoughts big enough to reach the Height of this Folly. Your carnal Security and Ease is most irrational and ab­surd in it's Nature, Grounds and Motives. It [...]s an open Contradiction to all genuine Prin­ciples of Reason, an offering Violence to all the Laws of Prudence and the Dictates of re­gular Self-love. He might well be call'd a Fool, who said to himself, Soul, Take thine Ease.— Let me here offer a few Hints, to il­lusttrate this Point a little.

YOUR Security is unreasonable, in that it is without all Ground; or stands on a deceitful Bottom. It is chiefly owing to careless Inad­vertence, or wild Presumption, or wicked Infi­delity. Your present Ease and Quiet is alto­gether false and delusive. It is mere Forgery and Fiction; a lying Vanity, and empty shew of Peace: And is as different from true solid Rest of Soul, as a killing Lethargy from the sweet and refreshing Sleep of Health: And at best it is but for a Moment. O the stupi­dity then of your beloved Dreams!

BUT your Folly will be more glaring, if we consider what a MISERABLE State it is you are secure and easy in. Your Misery is great upon [Page 10]you. The Miseries of your present State are dreadful and astonishing. You are at a Distance from the Blessed GOD, and are under His Wrath and Curse, in your Person and Enjoy­ments and all the Work of your Hands. — You are at War with GOD, in an active, as well as passive Sense: The carnal Mind in you is Enmity against God. — And you are at War with your selves; innumerable hurtful Lusts are in you, which war against the Soul, and with one another. And you are under the vilest Servitude and Bondage; possessed by the Devil, chained down to the Earth, and sold under Sin. You are also in a State of the utmost Poverty and Indigence. It was the just Charac­ter of secure Laodicea and belongs to you. Rev. 3.17. Thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. You have no Interest in GOD as your Portion, in CHRIST as your Redeemer, in the Holy SPIRIT as your Comforter: You are without Grace, Mercy, and Peace, at present and without all Right to Glory and Happiness hereafter. — And (which exceedingly aggravates all your Mise­ries) You are altogether unable to deliver yourself out of this deplorable Condition; and are also UNWILLING to accept of Deliverance. O amazing Stupidity and Indolence this! What a Riddle is here? Senseless and quiet under such a pressing Load of Evils! Hear O Heavens; and be astonished O Earth! Surely thou art more foolish than the Beast that hath no understanding and hast not the Know­ledge [Page 11]of a Man: To la [...]guish away an in­sensible Life in such a Miserable State! No­thing more unreasonable! Nothing so unaccoun­table!

EXCEPT it be, that you are fearless amidst innumerable DANGERS that threaten you; which are as awful, as the Miseries actually present are s [...]rrowfu [...]; and call for the most awaken'd Resentment and Horror. Oh what a dark and dreadful Prospect is there before you, secure Sinner! God has threatn'd to punish the Men that are at Ease from their Youth and settled on their Lees. — You are daily liable to, and may well expect, OUTWARD and tempo­ral Judgments, which may soon end or much embitter your Life; for the whole Creation is armed against you: And tho' through infi­nite Divine Patience you may prosper in your Wickedness, yet this will be only in Judg­ment, and for a Moment.

BUT you are especially in danger of SPIRI­TUAL Miseries. Your Security exposes you to all manner of Snares and Temptations to Sin the most gross and criminal; and even invites your subtil Enemy to take advantage hereby to pursue his malicious Designs, to your eter­nal Ruin. Mor [...]over you are in danger of [...]sing the Means of Grace, at least the saving benefit of Them. Yea [...] if you voluntarily and studiously r [...]main Secure, you are in dan­ger of being finally abandoned of GOD, judicially ha [...]den [...]; and so of growing worse and worse under the Means of Goodness. Abundance of [Page 12]sad Examples hereof Scripture and Observati­on afford us.

FINALLY Remember, You are in hourly danger of ETERNAL Miseries. Beyond and af­ter all the former Evils, there are unknown Plagues in Reserve for unregenerate Sinners in the coming World, which you are every moment in the utmost Hazard of. If you die unconvinc'd and impenitent, you will imme­diately be punish'd with an Everlasting Destruction from the Presence of the Lord. And die you will shortly: You may die in Youth; you may die speedily, perhaps suddenly, without Warn­ing and without Relief. You have abundant Reason to fear lest this be your dreadful Por­tion: For it is what the Word of GOD threa­tens to rebellious obstinate Sinners. Prov. 29.1. He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroy'd, and that with­out remedy. And the Providence of GOD is ever and anon presenting us with aw­ful Executions of this Threatning upon others: And you may reasonably ex­pect the same Treatment from vindictive Justice. It is a wonder of infinite Patience that you have been spar'd hitherto: But how much longer Divine Compassion will reprieve you, is an Uncertainty of trembling conside­ration. And if you should (as you have Ground to fear you shall,) be snatch'd away unex­pectedly, and hurl'd down suddenly into the horrible Pit and devouring Fire, how will the sad Surprize amazingly aggravate your fearful [Page 13]Doom; even as the Mid-night Cry is the more terrible to Us, as we start out of a pleasant Dream!

NOW reflect on these Things, O secure Sin­ner! Think of the awful Hazards you incur: and see your egregious. Folly. Surely Madness is in thy Heart! Were you not blinded by the God of this World and under the power of strong Delusions, methinks, it cou'd not be that you shou'd thus despise your own Soul, and ex­pose your self to such dreadful Risques. How [...]ad were it in a Man to sleep carelesly on the Top of a Mast, or the Brink of a Precipice! Much more is it in you to indulge your guilty Slumbers, over the Flames of Hell, and under the loud Thunders of Heaven. It is Folly in the Exaltation, thus to sleep in the midst of so many and such Dangers. Surely such deserve the Character of Sottish Children; and you may well lie down in your shame, and Con­fusion cover you, when you think of your astonishing Stupidity and Temerity; which declares you more foolish than the silliest Worm, that by a natural Instinct studies Self-preservation.

REMEMBER, it is one Point of Prudence to take a Prospect of Futurities, to view Things in their last Result as well as present Aspect: and 'tis a Maxim of Wisdom, that Evils in Reversion (however distant) do challenge the same notice and should alike affect us, as if actually present. Hence the Wise Man ob­serves, Prov. 22.3. A prudent Person foreseeth [Page 14]the evil and hideth himself: but the simple pass on and are punished. It is the Folly and Ruin of ma [...]y Young People, that they are so easily de­ceiv'd with present Appearances, & will not look forward to the End of Things; will not realize future Dangers, and govern themselves by the serious Thoughts of Invisible Realities.

REMEMBER, It is a Point of Prudence to improve the first convenient Season for the accomplishing Affairs of Weight and Necessity; and not to forego a present Opportunity on the presumption of another or better here­after. But now, how contrary to this Principle is the Conduct of secure Sinners? It is certain, Repentance is a matter of absolute Necessity; which must be seasonably minded, or you are undone for ever. And you are sure of no Season but the present. And yet how do you let slip one Opportunity after another? You will sleep on securely to day and defer till to morrow, tho' you can't promise your selves to live 'till then. On what Distraction is it thus to depend on a remote possibility, and venture your everlasting Concerns on so great an Uncertainty!

REMEMBER, It is a Point of Prudence to chuse the fittest Seasons. And now as to the Work of Repentance, the Time of Youth, the present Time is the best Opportunity for it. By an Early Conversion the great Ends of Re­pentance are most promoted, which are the Glo­ry of God, and our own Peace and Welfare. This Thought shou'd animate you to an early [Page 15]seeking a [...]ter Conviction which is a necessary Medium to Conversion. The Reasons that shou'd move you to seek Convictions at all have the same Force now as ever to engage you, [...]ay are more obliging now in the Days of your Youth.

IN the Time of Youth Convictions are to be attain'd with greater Facility. Youth is the Age of Discipline and Tractableness, and Ten­derness. Now natural Conscience is m [...]st wakeful and sensible and the Strivings of the Spirit ordinarily most effectual. Now you are clogged with fewer Impediments, and so Convictions will have easier Admission.

AND besides at this Age your Convictions will be lighter and more easily borne. If Repentance be delay'd, you will not be brought to it with­out more Pa [...]s and Groans; more Tears, and Terrors. The longer you sleep in carnal Se­curity, the opening of your Eyes will grow more Difficult, and the Scene more terrible; ‘more of Hell must be flasht in your Face, and there will be more amazing Aggravati­ons of Sin to rack the Conscience,’ and rend the Heart; and consequen [...]y greater Horrors will tak [...] hold of you. The Stings of Sin will be more in Number and greater in Smart; the wou [...]ds of Spirit deeper and the workings of Conscience more violent after­wards than in Youth. Delays will not mol­lify the Anguish but double the Torment of painful Convictions. It is wretched f [...]lly then to let go the present Season: It is contrary [Page 16]to right Reason which teaches us the Wisdom of Prevention; and forbids our doing that, (however grateful at present,) which will lay a Foundation for after-Sorrow and Regret. How great then is your Madness, O Sinner, in that by your present Security in the days of Youth, you are making Work for a bitter Repentance hereafter, and taking an unhappy Method to render your Conversion more dolo­rous and difficult, if you do at length obtain Mercy.

AGAIN, If Convictions are betimes begu [...] and entertain'd, the work will sooner be over. Ordinarily Young Converts are not so long as others under preparatory Terrors. As the A­gonies of the New-Birth in such are more tolerable; so they are more transient, and such have fewer After pains.

THESE Things abundantly show that the Time of Youth is the special Season for Repen­tance. Don't [...]en put it off on the vain Dream of a more convenient Opportunity hereafter. Behold now is the Day of Salvation. Be wise therefore and improve the present Day, for the seeking Convictions. Perhaps (as you've heard) this may be your only Op­portunity: But supposing it may be so, yet surely it is the best. The present Season is attended with peculiar Advantages: And there are no Objections occurring now, but what will equally lie against a future Season; when it becomes present; nay will then be much enhaunced and more invincibly embarrass you. [Page 17]Every Moment's Continuance in Security puts [...] farther off from Convictions, and is a nigh­ [...] Approach towards incurable Obstinacy. [...]nally, Remember, if you perish at last, your [...]estruction will be of your self. You chuse [...]eath and invade Damnation. You will be [...]stly charg'd with Self-Murder. And is not [...]is the Height of Phrensy?

THUS Y [...]ung Men and Brethren, I have own you in some little measure, how foolish [...]ur present Security is, and how extrava­ [...]ntly mad it will be to persist herein. O that [...]ou could be brought to see and realize these Things; and that seeing how your Conduct [...]terferes with all Rules of sober Reason, [...]ou may blush to act any more so inconsistent­ [...]y! O remember, and shew your selves MEN. [...]evere [...]ce the Character you sustain of rational Creatures; and think it beneath the Dignity of your Nature to be so foolish, sottish and [...]pid, as heretofore. We Young People are [...]ery apt to indulge a sinful Self conceit, and [...]ked Pride; more of us (it may be) perish [...] this Lust than by any other; and here we [...]ant a Check and had need study Mortifica­tion. But there is a commendable Self-conceit [...]nd lawful Pride; which 'twere well if we [...] more of it in us: I mean a proper sense [...] our real Excellency as reasonable Beings; [...]st value for the noble Powers we are en­ [...]d with, and an Ambition to do things [...]thy hereof: A holy Scorn and Aversion [...]all that looks like or leads to Sin and Folly, [Page 18]as a Degrading our Nature, and laying our Honour in the Dust. O let such a Principle be cherisht in us. Let us be too proud to liken our selves to unclean Devils by [...] or level our selves with untaught Brutes by Stupidity. Not a Few there are indeed, who take a Pride in carnal Security, and vainly boast of a resolved Bravery, as wise and heroic in them. ‘Tell them of such and such a thing that they have been warned about; they turn it off with a Smile and Brag, that for their Parts they never heed, they mind not what's said to 'em, nor ever thought on't since; and so glory in their Shame.’ These Fools in Isra­el hate Instruction and despise Wisdom. But so do not ye, My Brethren! The Wisdom o [...] the Prudent is to understand his Way, and to look well to his Goings; and Happy is the Man that feareth alway: But he that har­deneth his Heart, shall fall into Mischief; and at his End shall be a Fool.

HEARKEN unto Me therefore, O ye Children! Hear Instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

TO Such among you as are now a little ap­prehensive of the Guilt and Folly of your Se­curity; and begin to inquire, How You MAY OBTAIN SPIRITUAL CONVICTIONS, and get out o [...] your secure State?

TO Such (I say) I wo [...]'d offer a few Words by way of Counsel and Direction.

AND here in the first place,

[Page 19] LET Me caution you to beware of all the Causes of Security, and Impediments of Awa­kening. Watch against every Thing that [...]ends to nourish Sloth, and to prevent your [...]esiring, or Obtaining Convictions. You must learn the Causes of Security, and not be [...]gnorant of the Devices of Satan: You must watch and guard against them.

TAKE Heed then of affected Ignorance. It [...]s the Ruin of Many, They shut their Eyes a­gainst the Light that shines about Them, or [...]rn away their Face; whereby their foolish heart is darkned, and Satan keeps his Goods [...] peace.—Beware of false Reasonings and Pre­ [...]ices. Shut your Ears against all the Ca­ [...]ls and Objections of an evil Heart of Unbe­lief, which is Enmity against GOD, and is not subject to his Law. Take heed you don't entertain wrong and abusive Apprehensions concerning GOD; as being full of Revenge and inexorable; which will tend to damp all Thoughts of a Reconciliation; or as so full Grace and Pity that He can't be dispos'd to [...]amn His own Creatures, however Sinful; which will tend to harden you from the Fear of GOD. Beware of Misconceptions concern­ing CHRIST; as if His Satisfaction had taken [...]way the Obligation of the Moral Law as a Rule, remov'd the Necessity of Repentance and Personal Obedience, and purchased a Dispen­sation for Wickedness.—Beware of light Thoughts of Sin, as not being so evil, and [...]tensive to GOD, as 'tis represented.—Take [...]ed of loose Thoughts about the Scriptures [Page 20]as to their Divine Original, or just Translati­on.—Beware you don't dis-believe or make light of unseen Eternal Realities. Suffer not your depraved Senses to be Judges between Things present and Things to come. Hearken not to their false Reports, and flattering Pro­mises about Worldly Objects. Beware of a [...] immoderate Esteem of the World; lest this en­gross your Thoughts and Cares, Desires and Joys; and fatally divert you from minding your Everlasting Concerns; as was the case of the unhappy Young Man, of whom we read, Mat. 19.16—22.—Also abandon evil Company. Forsake the foolish, and live. Break off from your drunken Clubbs, or merry Meetings, and leave the Company in which you are won [...] to have your Riotings, your Chambering, and Wantonness, and evil deeds of darkness. De­part, I pray you, from the Tents of these wick­ed vain Persons, and touch nothing of their [...] lest you be consumed. Follow not their vicious Practices, nor listen to their ill Devices.

FURTHER, Beware of deceiving your self with a comparative Righteousness. Young People are very apt to take the measure of their own worth on Religious accounts (as well a [...] others) from such as are inferior to them; and to swell in their own Conceit when they behold others more prophane and wicked tha [...] themselves. They trust in themselves that the [...] are righteous, and despise others. They ar [...] pur [...] in their own eyes, if a little more refin' [...] than the looser Rabble. And therefore are se­cure [Page 21]and easy; and with the vain-glorious Pharisee can say, as in Luk. 18.11. God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are! O take [...]eed, that you don't depend on a meer com­parative Righteousness.

FINALLY, Let the Children of the Kingdom, [...]e Posterity of godly Parents, beware of [...]usting in the Privileges of their Birth, & E­ducation. Don't presume on your Covenant- [...]elation to GOD, or your natural Relation to [...]e Friends of GOD. Don't depend on your baptism: This alone profiteth nothing. Don't rest in your Parents Prayers for you: [...]alue them, but don't over rate them. All [...]he Interest they have in Heaven won't pur­chase a Dispensation for you! If you repent [...]ot, you must perish even as others, who are [...]he Seed of the Wicked and Aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel. Verily, tho' Noah, Da­ [...]iel & Job (and Abraham & Moses with them,) were [...]ne Ancestors & Advocates; yet they should [...]eliver neither Son nor Daughter that abides im­ [...]itent. If thou sinnest against the Lord, the [...]ope of thy Fathers, think not to escape the Ven­ [...]ence, which awaits the Children of Disobe­dience: Nay a most heavy Vengeance, aggra­ [...]ated by the Advantages you enjoy, which [...] many and great. Beware then of trusting [...] your pious Parentage, and the Privileges [...]ereof.—Receive these Cautions, O Secure [...]inner, and improve them.

BUT further let me now Advise you more directly in the following Particulars.

[Page 22] 1. ENDEAVOUR to furnish your self with suitable measures of KNOWLEGE in Spiritual Things. If you would awake to Righteous­ness, you must get the Knowlege of GOD; as is intimated 1 Cor. 15.34. Without Know­ledge (which is the Spring of rational Opera­tions) the Heart can't be good. Illumination is a necessary Antecedent to Convictions; tho [...] Conviction be not a necessary Consequent of That; For alas, many very knowing Professors, yea Preachers of the Gospel, are real Slaves of Satan: yet none can become the true Ser­vants of GOD without Christian Knowledge. You must therefore endeavour to get acquain­ted with the Things of your Peace, and know the Mysteries of Godliness. You must lear [...] to know your own Selves; what you were a [...] first created in Adam, what you are since A­postate; what you are still capable of being. You must endeavour after the clearest appre­hensions of GOD, absolutely and relatively consider'd; and of CHRIST the Redeemer; and the Holy SPIRIT the great Teacher, Sancti­fier and Comforter. You must understand the Terms of Salvation. You must know the Rule of Duty; together with the Grounds & Rea­sons of it. You must get acquainted with the Divine Threatnings & Promises, &c.

IF you are not duly inform'd of these Things, no wonder that you are secure and im­ [...]ent. If then you would obtain effectu­al Convictions, before all gettings get understanding, and search for Knowlege, as for hid Trea­sures. [Page 23]Labour after a teachable frame of Spi­rit; Use the Means; and cry to the GOD of Knowlege for Instruction. Thus you are exhorted and encouraged to do, Prov. 2. Begin. [...]o Prov. 8. Begin. which Scriptures turn to, and [...]ead at your leisure.

2. PERSUADE your self to MEDITATE; Commune with your own heart seriously and often [...]out the solemn Truths tending to Conviction. Simple Speculation without practical Reflecti­on can never have any warm & sensible Effects [...] your hard Heart. Barren Knowledge only [...]uffeth up the fleshy Mind. It is Musing makes the Fire burn. David witnesses, (Psal. 119.59.) [...] consider'd—& turn'd. The Prodigal Son's Repentance began here, (Luk. 15.17.) When he [...]me to himself, he said,—I perish—I will arise and go to my Father, &c. It is the want of se­rious Consideration that ruins Multitudes. Israel doth not know, my People doth not consider; therefore they have forsaken the Lord. (Isai. 1.3, 4.) If Men wou'd but bethink themselves, it may be they wou'd repent. (1 Kin. 8.47.) What is the Reason, that in times of Sickness or imminent Hazard, Conscience recovers some sense, Sinners are more concern'd than at other Times, and Fearfulness surprizes the Hypocrite? It is because now they are Considerate. They look about them, and take a fuller view of Things; and are therefore more affected. As Faith is necessary to make spiritual Things evident: so is Considera [...] to make them efficacious. This gives

[Page 24] Truths Weight and Warmth, and applies them wirh power to the Soul; and is the leading step towards Conversion.

LET Young People be perswaded then to give themselves to Meditation. Learn to fix your Thoughts and contract a Habit of Think­ing, sober serious Thinking. With the Reason that becomes Men, & the Sollicitude that becomes Sinners, set your selves to meditate on Divine & Spiritual things; especially those Truths which most tend to awaken you to Repentance.

O think on the Guilt, Pollution, and Mise­ry of your natural State. Think on the Evil of Sin in its Nature and Consequences. Think on the Sins of your past Lives; consider 'em in their Quality, Number, and aggravating Circumstances. Think on the infallible Know­lege, infinite Purity, and inflexible Truth, al­mighty Power and exact Righteousness of that GOD, whom you have provoked by your Sins. Think on the Reasonableness and Per­fection of His Precepts, the Dreadfulness of the Threatnings and Greatness of the Promi­ses annext thereunto. Think on your abso­lute Inability to fulfil the Law, to expiate for Sin, or endure the Curse. Think on the bles­sed Provision, made for you in JESUS CHRIST. Think on the Greatness of the Salvation pur­chased by CHRIST, and proposed in the Gos­pel; the Freeness and Grace of the Offer; the Condescention of the Terms; and the Assistance tender'd you. Think how much it [Page 25]cost the Son of GOD, even His own most pre­cious Blood, to procure this Redemption for you. Think much of CHRIST and Him cru­cify'd, of CHRIST and Him glorify'd. Think particularly on the Agonies of His Soul, which was exceeding sorrowful even unto Death; under a Sense of Sin and Apprehension of the Wrath of GOD; and endeavour after some I­mitation hereof. — Meditate on the Vanity and Meanness of all Earthly Things. Think on the Certainty and Awfulness of approach­ing Death, Judgment and Eternity. Think on the Glories and Joys of Heaven; the Miseries and Pains of Hell: And the infinite Folly you are guilty of in not taking a timely Care to secure the Former, and avoid the Latter.

THESE are some of the Things, which you should meditate upon, and a due Considera­tion whereof wou'd have a rational Tendency to impress your hard Heart and awaken you out of your sleepy Insensibility.

O Sinner, I beseech you then, Think on these Things sadly in the fear of GOD. Set your Heart unto all these Things, give thy self wholly to them. Let your Meditations be vo­luntary and chosen, free and unconstrain'd. Let them also be leasurely, frequent, & solemn. Take Time and take Pains, and be diligent in the Work.

THIS is a Duty of vast Importance; and therefore must not be trifled in, much less neglected. This also is what you have a na­tural Capacity for. You can thus meditate if [Page 26]you will. You don't want Ability; nor do you want Opportunity. And this is the best Use of your thinking Powers. Your Thoughts are generally buisy: And what can you em­ploy them about, that is of greater Weight or Value than the Subjects before mention'd? Your Minds are very apt indeed to run upon your worldly Affairs, Pleasures, Profits, Ho­nours, Friends, &c. But alas! how foolish are you in this? Since those other Meditations, recommended above, are incomparably more necessary, excellent, delightful, and beneficial: And in themselves are no greater Toil and Labour.

WHAT Excuse then can you frame? What Pretence to palliate your Neglect of holy spi­ritual Meditation? Verily thou art inexcusa­ble, O Man, whoever thou art, that livest in the omission hereof. Be exhorted then, to dismiss your vain Thoughts with shame and Regret for them; and to overcome your natu­ral Aversion to spiritual Meditation, and spee­dily set about this great Work. O that I cou'd perswade you THIS NIGHT to retire and spend a little Moment in serious. Debates with your own Heart on the Sin and Folly of present De­lays in the Affairs of your Soul! And hence­forward to accustom your self, now and then to separate some small Portion of your Time [tho' 'twere but a few Minutes in a Day] in solemn Consideration of some awakening Truths; possibly this might be blessed to your saving Conviction: And methinks, This were [Page 27]but an inconsiderable Thing to do for your Soul. —There can be no rational Expectation of your thorough Awakening, 'till you can be brought to sober Thinking. But if I cou'd persuade you to this, (so necessary, so cheap, so reasonable a Duty,) and you wou'd engage in it in Earnest, it wou'd be a hopeful Omen of your Conversion. ‘O therefore deny not this much to you self, deny it not to GOD, if you will deny it me. I have told the Truth: Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding! 2 Tim. 2.7. or if you put me to conclude in harsher Terms, they shall be still the Oracles of GOD. Psal. 50.22. Now consider this ye that forget GOD, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to de­liver.

AND so much for the Second Direction; which I have been the longer upon, because of it's singular Importance in the present Case.

3. YOU must with great Industry & Care improve all proper OUTWARD HEL [...]s and MEANS, conducible to Spiritual Conviction.

(1.) WITH a view to this End, Diligently read the Holy Scriptures, and other pious Books. Don't mispend your Time and endanger your Soul by conversing with idle, leud, prophane Authors; which tends only to exalt Folly and alienate you more from the Life of God. But read Religious Composures; Books of Devotion, practical Sermons, pious Lives, &c. particularly such as are most suited to the [Page 28]Case of the Secure. Chuse with Caution: Peruse with Deliberation & Diligence.

MORE especially be conversant with the blessed BIBLE. Give your self to reading in the Law of the Lord, which is perfect, con­verting the Soul, making wise the simple. Read your Bible frequently; Look into it Day & Night; and that with a reachable and obedient Spirit: with attentive Conside­ration: with firm Belief: and a wise Appli­cation of what you read, to your own Soul, by way of Trial & of Charge.— Observe these Directions in Reading your Bible; and this will probably be a successful Means of your Awakening. The Apostle tells Timothy, who from a Child had known the Holy Scriptures, that they are profitable for Doctrine, for Con­viction, for Correction; and able to make men wise to Salvation, (2 Tim. 3.15, 16.)

(2.) ATTEND on the Publick Ministry of the Word. The common Catechism (that ex­cellent Form of sound Words which you will do well to study much, and ought to hold fast in Faith and Love; This, I say,) teaches you, ‘that the SPIRIT of GOD maketh the Read­ing, but especially the Preaching, of the Word an effectual means of Convincing and Converting Sinners.’—The Truth of which Doctrine has been (thro' the Riches of Divine Grace) confirmed in innumerable Instances.— Attend then on the Word Preached. Look on the Publick Ministry, as a Divine Institution. [Page 29]Realize the special Presence of GOD with His faithful Ministers. Let every one so account of them as of the Embassadors of Christ, and Stewards of the Mysteries of God: and when they speak according to the Law and to the Testimony, receive their Message not as the Word of Man, but as (what it is indeed) the Word of GOD.—Let me here advise you, to be careful (tho' not too curious) in the Choice of the Ministry, you commit your Self to the Conduct of. Beware of an Ignorant Ministry; or a Ministry that is merely Speculative; or that is Superficial, and at best only throws a few Squibbs at grosser Sins, but seldom (if ever) touches on more hidden spiritual Sins; nor attempts to lay open the Misery, Guilt and Danger of a Natural state, and show Sinners their need of CHRIST for Righte­ousness & Strength, &c. Chuse not a Ministry of either of these dangerous Characters. But fix your self under a Skilful and Orthodox, a Godly and Experienc'd, a Practical Scriptural and Searching Ministry; which preaches JESUS CHRIST, and shuns not to declare the whole Counsel of GOD, and studies to commend itself to every Man's Conscience in the sight of GOD.

AND having chosen well, also improve well. Be swift to hear; and take heed how (as well as whom) you hear. Attend with Constancy, Reverence and Diligence, as an humble Lear­ner. Lay aside all superfluity of naughtiress: and receive with meekness the ingraffed Word, which is able to save your Soul. Receive [Page 30]the Truth in the Love of it; Mix the Word with Faith; Hide it in your Heart, and labour to press it on Conscience, both in the hearing, and afterwards.

UNDER the Conduct of these Rules make Use of the Word preach'd, as instrumental of Conviction & Repentance; and it may be 'twill work effectually in you; as it did in them, of whom we read, in 1 Thes. 2.13.

(3.) ENDEAVOUR to improve Awakening Providences for this End. Thus, Are you un­der Afflictions your self? Labour to get your Heart suitably affected. Don't set God's Judgments at defiance, nor harden your self against Discipline. Solomon sometimes ob­serves, that the Rod gives Wisdom. And Elihu before him; If they be bound in Fetters, and be holden in cords of Affliction: then he sheweth [...]hem their Work and their Transgressions, that they have exceeded. He openeth also their Ear unto Discipline, and commandeth that they return from Iniquity.— Afflictions by a natural Effi­cacy tend to soften & humble. When GOD's Hand is upon you then, take this Opportuni­ty to press after Convictions. In the Day of Adversity consider. Hear the Rod, and who hath appointed it. Receive Correction; set in with Providence, and work together with GOD. Thus Manasseh, & thus the Prodigal Son improved their outward Afflictions to their inward Humiliation & Repentance.

LET me add here; Observe, & Study to [Page 31]affect your self with the Death of other Young People; and the sad Outcries of the Impeni­tent in their last Moments. Look on what befalls others, as a Warning & Call from Hea­ven to you, & let it strike an Awe upon you.— Let the Sudden Deaths which you have seen or heard of at any Time alarm your Fears and rouze you out of your Security.— And when it is a Time of Spreading Mortality, when Death rides in Triumph in our Streets, (and GOD only knows how near such an awful Season may be!) This is a loud Summons to every One; especially to Young People who are most exposed to Infectious Diseases; a loud Call (I say) This is to Us to turn unto Him that smiteth. We should wisely observe, resent, & improve such Dispensations; and study to affect our Hearts, that we may trem­ble at the Arm of the LORD stretched out and humble our selves under His mighty Hand. This GOD expects. See Joel 2.1, &c.

(4.) ANOTHER good Help to be made Use of, is religious Company and Conference. He that walketh with the Wise shall be wise: But a Companion of Fools shall be destroy'd. (Prov. 13.20.) The Fruit of the Righteous is a Tree of Life; and He that winneth Souls is wise (Prov. 11.30) I have before directed you to desert (as ruinous) the unnecessary Company of Vain Persons. I now farther ad­vise you to betake your self to the Society of the Awaken'd and Converted; whose pious [Page 32]Example and Discourse, serious Counsels and Reproofs, may be blessed of GOD for your Conviction. The Apostle speaks of Some, who do not obey the Word, as if they might be won by the good Conversation of their Associates. Some have been wrought upon, this way, whom the Word did never reach. Resolve then to be a Companion of them that fear the LORD. Acquaint your Self betimes with the Godly; and perhaps their holy Communion may be a Savour of Life unto you. As live-Coals kindle those that are dead: So to con­verse with lively Saints may have a warm and enlivening Influence upon you. ‘Light may break in upon you, as a Flame from a spark­ling Fire!’

THESE are the external Helps, which you are advised to use.

4. HEARKEN to the lowest WHISPERS of CONSCIENCE; observe and cultivate the least Beginnings of Conviction. Hoist and spread the Sails when the Wind begins to blow. O­pen all the Powers of your Soul, to the Di­vine Breathings; and cherish the faintest Im­pulses of the HOLY SPIRIT. In the use of Means, wait and watch for Convictions; em­brace 'em at their first Offer or Approach. When Light flashes in upon you, don't let your Heart rise in Opposition, or your Mind divert and start away. But whatsoever good Thought is at any Time darted into you, im­mediately close with it and fasten it, as a Nail in a sure Place. Whatsoever devout [Page 33]Affection begins to stir in you, don't go to stifle and smother it, but carefully nourish it. Back the first Motions of the SPIRIT with lose Consideration and agreeable Ejaculati­ons: By which Method a little Spark may happily kindle into a living Flame, and a small Ray of Light prove the Dawning of the perfect Day.

5. SEEK to GOD by PRAYER, for Convictions. Prayer indeed shou'd precede, accompany and follow the Use of Means, and Endeavours: And it is an excellent Means it self. Pray to GOD then as for Pardon and other Mercies, so for Conviction and Repentance which is the Gift of GOD. Beg of GOD that He wou'd send His HOLY SPIRIT to convince you of Sin, of Righteousness, and of Judgment. Realize it that GOD only is able (and that He is graciously willing) effectually to en­lighten and awaken you; and in the belief of this, cease not day and night Crying to GOD, that He would open your Eyes and turn you from Darkness to Light. Beg that He wou'd not suffer you any longer to trample on Con­science, to resist the SPIRIT and be easy in your Bondage. Beg that He wou'd not leave you to your own foolish Heart and trifling Endeavours in see [...]ing after Convictions: Beg that GOD woul [...] [...]ake you out of your false Peace and Security, and inspire you with a just concern for your perishing Soul; that He would give you seeing Eyes, hearing Ears, and a contrite Heart.

[Page 34] BUT if you expect to obtain the desir'd Blessing, you must be diligent, and constant, in seeking it.— Use your self to transient, ejacu­latory Prayer on all proper Occasions, which will wonderfully tend to fix your Thoughts and warm your Heart, and perhaps may be the means of lasting Impressions.— Keep up a stated course of more solemn Prayer: & in the Name of CHRIST importunately beg for the teaching & convincing Influences of the Divine SPIRIT. Look to your own Spirit, and watch over your Senses, when calling upon the LORD. Don't hurry over your Prayers, and hasten to rise from your Knees. Make a solemn Business of this Duty. Retire into some secret Place, & devote some Time to the performance of it. Content not your self with a few bro­ken Petitions, put up when in Company with others, or in your Bed: Nay, but thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy Closet, and shut the Door, and pray to thy Father who seeth in secret. Make Conscience of doing this, Morning and Evening at least: And endeavour to be fervent in Spirit, & continue instant in Prayer without ceasing. Cold Formality, & Remissness in Prayer drive away the Holy SPIRIT. And I believe there is not a more common & fatal Impediment to Conversion, than the Neglect of, or Negligence in Closet-Duties. Beware then hereof.

THUS I have given you some imperfect Ad­vice, What Methods to take in Order to Con­viction. [Page 35]And now O Secure Sinner, We Charge you before GOD and the LORD JESUS CHRIST and the Elect Angels, that you observe these Things. But know it, if you will not hear: all these Words which I testify unto you this Day, are on Record, & will rise up in Judg­ment against you; which GOD forbid!

IT is Time now to hasten to the SECOND Branch of the Exhortation.

HAVING spoken to the Secure: I am now to Address those among our Young People who are under some CONVICTIONS and AWAKENINGS.

SOME of this Sort, I persuade my self there are here present before the LORD. Sure I am, there has been enough said for the Con­viction of every considering Sinner. And I hope there are not a Few, who are enquiring the Way to Zion, with their Faces thitherward.

UNTO such I shall therefore now offer Something by way of Counsel and Direction. The LORD, who knows who they are, make it a word in Season to them that are weary!

NOW in the First place, Let me exhort you to be THANKFUL to GOD for your present Troubles and Convictions.

SEE the Hand of GOD in Them. Look on your present Trouble of Conscience as the Work of the SPIRIT, whether common or special. They are GOD's Terrors, His Ar­rows. They must not be imputed to Satan, to your Selves, or to Distemper of Body, as [Page 36]the original Cause. No; For it is the Hand of GOD, which thus writes bitter Things a­gainst you, and makes you to possess the Ini­quities of your Youth. Own and Adore GOD herein. Also see the Mercy of GOD unto you, Prize your Convictions, and be thank­ful. Don't resent your Trouble as a Misery and Unhappiness; It is ten thousand Times more eligible than carnal Security, which is the broad Road to Hell.

CONSIDER; This Trouble of Conscience, is the Method of the Divine SPIRIT with all that are brought home to GOD; tho' there are very different Degrees of it. He humbles before He exalts. Moreover, This seems re­quisite in the Reason of Things, as a necessary Preparatory to saving Faith. For CHRIST will not be precious to any, till Sin & Wrath become bitter and burdensome to Conscience. —And then hereby you are brought nigh the Kingdom of God, and may take encourage­ment from the Invitations of the Gospel; which are peculiarly directed to such as la­bour & are heavy laden. — Your present Trouble is a Symptom of intended Mercy. It is wholesome Discipline you are under. ‘It is the SPIRIT of GOD that is wounding of you, & you need not fear a Lance in the Hand of Love & Tenderness.’ O don't re­gret your Case then; but be thankful to GOD, that you are not left to such a Spirit of Slumber, as many others about you are, and as you also deservedly might have been. [Page 37]Don't envy the secure their quiet & ease, which is false & groundless, and makes them the Objects of Scorn & Pity, rather than of Envy.

2. BE careful to PRESERVE your present Convictions; and watch against all that threatens you with the loss of them, or miscarriage under them. You are in great Danger: For the Devil hates to see you under this Trouble; He is afraid of losing a Subject, & gnasheth his Teeth for Vexation. And be sure he will use all his Art & Strength to recover & secure you in his own Possession. He will make use of the World without and a deceitful wicked Heart within to accomplish his malicious De­signs upon you. The Flesh, World, & Devil are in a cursed Concert to rob you of your present Convictions, or defeat the end of them. This speaks your Danger, & loudly calls up­on you to Watch & Pray that you enter no [...] into such Temptations, as may endanger you.

SEE then that you don't Espouse any flattering & stupifying Principles. a vast Variety whereof there is, agreeable to the Tendencies of corrupt Nature & the Dictates of the carnal Mind; which Sinners in their Distress often eagerly imbibe, whereby they are [...]ull'd into Securi­ty, & drown'd in Perdition. Watch against all such Opinions. Be careful therefore what Books you read: Beware also what Teachers you repair to in your Troubles. ‘There are many spiritual Mountebanks as well as natu­ral, that poison sick Souls, as others do sick [Page 38]Bodies.’ From such withdraw thy self.— But, Don't decline a Faithful Searching Ministry, because you can't sit under it with a quiet easy Consci­ence; as the Apostle has foretold some would do, (2 Tim 4.3, 4.) Neither date to hide or deride the Convictions of the Spirit, as the manner of some is; nor treat them as unwelcome Guests, by flying fr [...]m them, or resisting of them. — Again, Be­ware of a delaying Frame. Don't elude Cons­cience by idle Excuses. Take heed you don't betray your Soul into Rum by pretended Re­solutions of future Repentance. Take heed you don't abuse the Doctrines of the spiritual Impotence of Humane Nature, and of the Difficulty of Repentance & Obedience; and make them a pretence for sloth & present delay. — Take heed you don't presume on the Patience of GOD, & because you are Young put far from you the Evil Day, & apprehend­ing no present Danger be tempted to leave your Conversion as a matter of future con­cern, and suffer good Disposions to wear off and die away from Time to Time.— Again, Have a Care of proud Self sufficiency, and of undue Confidence in the Means of Grace, without a proper Respect to the supreme Ef­ficient; whereby you will dishonour and af­front the HOLY SPIRIT and provoke Him to suspend His Divine Influences; whereupon the most promising Means and best Endea­vours will be insignificant; and you will ne­cessarily return to former Security. Again, Beware of making rash Resolutions in your own [Page 39]Strength; whereby you will forfe [...]t the Aids of Divine Grace, and provoke GOD to leave you to the power of Satan, as a just punishment of your Pride and Presumtion. Again, Take heed of indulging any secret Lust, or persisting in any known Way of Wickedness; which will offend the HOLY SPIRIT, and must needs de­file and cloud and harden Conscience. Again, Beware of a Self-righteous Spirit. "Take heed of valuing your own Tears in the room of CHRIST's Blood", of advancing your own Performances into the place of His meritori­ous obedience, and setting your own Prayers in the room of His Intercession. If you in­dulge such a legal Pharisaical Spirit, you may perhaps pacify Conscience hereby, but you will only inflame the Wrath of GOD yet more against you, and provoke the Spirit to leave you. Again, Beware of Discouragement. As you must not give Way to false Hopes, so neither to Despondencies. Don't take up any desperate Conclusions, as if there was no Hope nor Help for you; this will check & chill Convictions, weaken and obstruct the Motions of the Spirit; and tempt you to abandon your self to sullen Melancholy or sottish Se­curity. Finally, Beware of all worldly Entice­ments and Entanglements. Endeavour to get above the Frowns & Flatteries of the World. Take heed lest you fall asleep on the soft Pil­low of external Ease, Pomp & Pleasure. Be blind to the deceitful Smiles, and deaf to the tempting Charms of a vain World. And take [Page 40]heed lest the Cares of this Life choak the Word, & you lose your Convictions in a Throng of worldly Fears, Projects, and Em­ployments. Multitudes do drown in the Sea, or bury in the Earth, or barter away in the Shop, or let one care or other suppress & shift off the Convictions they receive in the House of GOD. Unhappy Business has slain its Ten Thousands. Take heed lest being careful & cumber'd about many Things, you forget and forfeit the one Thing needful.

FURTHER Beware of Evil Company. This was caution'd against before as tending to keep Sinners secure; and now as tending to make Sinners secure. And indeed those under Con­victions have as much need of being warned against this Temptation, as those in Security. For how often do vain Companions perswade the convinced Sinner off of serious Resoluti­ons, & laugh him out of a pensive Frame, or hector away his Troubles? O save your self therefore from this untoward Generation. Have no Fellowship with the unfruitful Works of Darkness. Resolve with the Psal­mist, & say; Depart from me, all ye Workers of Iniquity, for I will keep the Command­ments of my GOD.—And also Beware of be­ing infected by Evil Examples. Others Secu­rity is, no Doubt, a common Temptation to Young People. They see their Companions, and alas! too often their Elders, Their Pa­rents (it may be) or Masters and Mistresses, These they observe are light and vain; and [Page 41]this prompts them to shake off awakening Thoughts & Fears. Beware O YOUNG MAN, of this too common Snare. Let neither Fear nor Love of any betray you into an Imitation of their Security. Dare to be singular in that which is good. Don't give Way to a vicious Shame or false Modesty, which may tempt you to sinful Compliances with others.

FURTHER, Beware of carnal Counsels in the day of your Distress. Unbelieving Friends are some of the worst Counsellours in this case. The best Advice that such miserable Comforters or­dinarily give is to heave off trouble some Impressi­ons, to enjoy ones self, & Friends, and the Com­forts of Life, &c. And what Numbers of Young People have fatally miscarry'd under hopeful Convictions by hearkening to such unhappy Advice? O stop your Ears against the baneful Counsels of carnal Acquaintants. Consult not with Flesh and Blood, My Son, if Sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Let the Counsel of the Wicked be far from you. Listen not to the ungodly Whispers or Clamours of Men of corrupt Minds, however you may be related to or dependent on them. In a word, Harden your self against the Flouts and Scoffs of them that are at Ease in Zion. Put on Courage and Resolution; for want where­of Conscience is not seldom over-awed & born down against it's own Light and Bent.

THUS I have caution'd you against some of the many Wiles whereby Satan uses to di­vert or pervert Convictions begun in Young [Page 42]People. O study the various Policies of the E­nemy. Be not ignorant of his Devices, lest he get an Advantage against you. Learn where his strength lies, and where your Weakness; the Delilah's Lap you are in danger of sleeping in; & be upon your Guard. Be jealous over your self, & fear lest there be some hidden Temptation, which thro' your Ignorance or Carelesness may secretly under­mine & evacuate your present Convictions & so perhaps work your Ruin. Consider; your Great Judge keeps an exact Memorandum of all the Motions of His SPIRIT, & your En­tertainment of them; & will one day call you to an Account for them; & how will you answer it, if you quench your Convicti­ons? If you do thus, verily your Guilt & your Folly will be great. This will be to add Rebellion to Sin. Hereby you will fight against GOD, disobey His Voice, abuse His Patience & affront His HOLY SPIRIT. You will impiously & basely fly in the Face of your Great Physician and despise the only Re­medy. You will hereby provoke the grieved Spirit to forsake you; which is a Judgment (I fear) not a few of the risen Youth of this dege­nerate Day are under: And you will highly gra­tify the unclean Spirit, & invite his Return into his old Dwelling with more strength and com­pany than Ever; and so your last State will be worse than the first, more miserable and more dangerous. You will then be in danger of growing worse and worse, & treasuring [Page 43]up wrath against the day of Wrath. You will be in Danger of sudden Destruction, and [...] greater Damnation.

HOWEVER, at the best, if you reject or [...]ose present Convictions, you will be laying [...] for dreadful Remorse and Horror, and will [...]y dear for your Folly in the days of your [...]rious Reflection, if ever you are Converted.

LET these Considerations deter every Awa­ [...]en'd Sinner from a Relapse into Security, and [...]ery thing that tends to, or borders upon it. [...]hatever you do, besure keep Conscience wake; Quench not the Spirit by Neglect, or [...]esistence, or any undue Methods. Now He [...] making a Visit of Conviction to your Cons­ [...]ence, be tenderly careful, lest by any ill [...]reatment or a want of suitable Entertain­ [...]ent, you cause Him to remove from you [...]spleas'd and griev'd.

3. LABOUR to promote the VIGOUR and ge­ [...]ine Efficacy of your Convictions. Endeavour [...] all means to cherish and quicken every [...]od Motion: Lay your self open to the [...]onvictions of the SPIRIT, and let them [...]ve a free and full Operation in you. [...]on't be content, that they should stand at a [...]use, much less languish and decline. Don't [...] to limit the Holy One, either as to the [...]easure or Duration of your Troubles. Take [...]ed you don't deceive your self with only a [...]eming and partial work of Conviction. See [...]at your Convictions be true and sound, [...]m right Principles and Motives. [Page 44]And endeavour to fasten, and perfect them every Day, that they may rise into a clearer Light and stronger Flame, till the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you with Healing under his Wings, and the Day dawn in your Heart. Endeavour to get forward into the Work of Humiliation & Contrition; else your Convictions will be of no real benefit to you. Rest not till you are got into a state of Evangelical Repentance. — Which brings me to the last Thing under this Head,—

4. LABOUR after a true and thorough CON­VERSION to GOD. Rest not in your present State: but seek after the washing of Rege­neration, & the Renewing of the Holy Ghost. Don't stop at Convictions and imperfect Be­ginnings of Repentance: but labour after an unfeigned Close with CHRIST, & complete Con­version to GOD. Peter's Advice to them, who were pricked in their Heart was that; REPENT, and be Baptized in the Name of CHRIST.— Paul [...]s Advice to the trembling Jayler was that; BELEIVE on the Lord JESUS CHRIST. Be exhorted then to return to GOD in the way of Repentance; & hasten to CHRIST in the way of Faith.—Otherwise you can never find Rest to your troubled Soul.—Otherwise all the weary steps you have already taken toward your Salvation will be lost Labour. Thou are not far from the Kingdom of GOD: and will you suffer your self to perish on the very Bor­ders of Canaan? To go to Hell by the Gates of Heaven, as the foolish Virgins did, This is [Page 45]dreadful indeed, & how bitter will be the Reflection? — Now this you are in danger of thro' the Temptations of Satan, and the Treachery of an evil Heart that is ready to side with him.

BE Exhorted then to work out your Salva­tion with Fear & Trembling. STRIVE to enter in at the strait Gate; for many shall seek to enter in and shall not.

AND what Thou doest, do quickly. It is a matter of Life & Death, & requires Haste. No Advantage is to be gotten by Delays. A great deal of Good is lost hereby. Your Troubles are needlesly prolonged; and many Evils incurr'd. And besides, thereby you do forfeit the Grace of GOD, without which you can can't improve your Convictions (admit they be continu'd, which is uncertain) to effectual Repentance. Behold, NOW is the accepted Time. Yet a little while is the Light with you; walk while ye have the Light, lest Darkness come upon you. Now believe in the Light, that ye may be the Children of Light.

BUT let no Man deceive Himself. Beware of mistaking the Nature or the Signs of Conver­sion. Remember; Conversion does not lie in, nor is evidenced by a visible Profession and Form of Godliness; a reformed Life & moral Virtue: or inward legal Terrors & transient Qualms of religious Melancholy: or some volatile Sparklings of devout Affection [...] some sudden Starts of Desire or Plashes of Joy: or [Page 46]a dead Faith, & presumtuous Reliance on the Merits of CHRIST: nor is a seeming Peace & Serenity of Mind, after great Ter­rors of Conscience & an apprehended Work of Conviction, any Argument of saving Con­version. — Too many there are, who deceive themselves with these Things; judging their State good, either upon wrong Principles, or false Evidences. There is a Generation that are pure in their own eyes; and yet are not washed from their filthiness, Prov. 30.12. But the Day is coming when the Searcher of Hearts (who can't be deceiv'd & who won't be mock'd) will judge the World in Righteousness: & Self-De­ceit in this matter will prove of undoing Consequence.—Be jealous then over your own Heart, that you don't deceive your self with a partial or superficial Work of the Spirit, instead of a true & thorough Operation. Be careful that you don't mistake the true Cha­racters of the Regenerate; that you don't content your self with any Thing short of them; neither rashly apply 'em.

USE all proper Means conducive to Conver­sion. Attend on the Ordinances of GOD, es­pecially the Word Preached, which is the ordinary Vehicle of sanctifying Influences.— Study the Gospel: Meditate much on the Promises of GOD, whereby awaken'd Sinners are made Partakers of the Divine Nature; and on the Blood of CHRIST, which only can purge your Conscience from dead Works to serve the living GOD.— Discover your Case, [Page 47]and go for Counsel, to some tender, faithful, judicious, experienc'd Christians; and parti­cularly the Ministers of the Gospel, whose Business as well as Delight it is to shew you the way of Salvation and assist you under your spiritual Troubles. — But see that you use these and all other Means Dependently, with an Eye to CHRIST as the Head of Influences, without whom the best Means will be ineffec­tual. — And use them Diligently. Use all appointed Means public and private. Im­prove all proper opportunities, and spare no Pains. Let Heart and Hand be engag'd, and make a Work on't. Content not your self with lazy Wishes, or cold Attempts; which is the next Reason of many Sinners failing of the Grace of GOD. (See Prov. 21.25.)

YET do not rest in the bare Use of Means, or think to obtain the desired End by your own [...]olitary Endeavors. But open your Case to GOD in Prayer: Carry your Complaint to the Throne of Grace; and beg for converting Influences from above. Have all your Expec­tation from GOD in and through CHRIST. Pray in the Name of CHRIST; Plead His Merits, His Power, and gracious Promises: Plead earnestly. And pray humbly: GOD re­sists the proud, but giveth Grace to the hum­ble. Acknowlege your own utter Unworthi­ness. Adore the Sovereignty of Divine Grace, and submit to the Methods of Divine Wis­dom. Be content, that GOD shou'd take His own way in bringing you Home to Himself, [Page 48]tho' it be through great Terrors and Sorrows: and be willing to wait His Time. Resolve humbly to take no Denial; and Give Him no rest. Tho' there be long Delays, yet wait patiently for the LORD; supporting your Hopes by that word of Promise, in Joh. 6.37. Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out. All that ever obtained Mercy, sought for it on this Encouragement;—It may be the LORD will be gracious. Go thou also, and seek the LORD while He may be found. Ask, and Seek, and Knock, with unceasing Hope and unfainting Importunity. Thus draw near to GOD, and He will draw near to you, (Jam. 4.8.) And will send forth Judgment unto Victory, Mat. 12.20.

Finally, HAVING thus sought to GOD for Help, Now take another Step; Make the TRIAL whether Quickening and Regenerating Influ­ences are not commanded from above for you Remember How, when CHRIST directed the Man with a withered Arm to stretch forth his Hand, he immediately attempted and was ena­bled to do it. Now Imitate this great Action. In the Belief and Hope of Divine Assistance TRY to lift up thy Soul, and stir up thy self to lay hold on GOD and do the Acts of a Soul re­turning to the LORD. Up and be doing. Set thy self in the Strength of CHRIST to go through the whole Process of active Conver­sion. Give not Sleep to thine Eyes, 'till thou' hast endeavour'd this: And leave not Try­ing, till you find the Symptoms of a thorough [Page 49]Work of Repentance toward GOD and of Faith towards our LORD JESUS CHRIST wrought in you:—What this implies, you have been told already in several of the pre­ceeding Sermons; to which I must refer you.

AND so I have finish'd my Address to the awaken'd Youth. And now the good LORD keep this in the Imagination of the Thoughts of your Heart, and prepare your Heart unto Him! I hope I leave some of you inspir'd with never-dying Resolutions to be waiting on the LORD in the Methods now directed to.

THE Third and last Branch of the Exhor­tation is to the REGENERATE, the Converts of Sion.

SOME such (We trust) there be among our Young People, as bad as the Times are: Yea Many (through the Grace of GOD) do we behold walking in the Truth. I hope I speak to not a Few Such at this Time. Now, Ye that fear GOD, give Audience. Hear the the Exhortation, which speaketh to You as unto Children.

1. BE counsel'd to endeavour after a well-grounded HOPE and ASSURANCE of your good Estate.

I begin with this Advice, because to Me it seems to lie in the Foundation of such other Counsels, as are to be given the Regene­rate. Wherefore Brethren, the rather give dili­gence to make your Calling and Election sure, 2 Per. 1.10. Rest not in Uncertainties: But [Page 50]labor after the Assurance of Faith. To this End; Study your own Hearts, and be much in Self-examination. Try your Selves by just Rules; and be deliberate, prudent, impartial, prayerful, and frequent in this Work. And cease not till you come to a rational Satisfac­tion about your Regeneracy: Which will be a mighty incentive to Duty; will enable you to take the Comfort that belongs to you; and will be a great Support and Defense in Hours of Temptation. For want of that, Many lose the Comfort, and neglect some of the Duties of Early Piety; which is sad.

2. STUDY THANKFULNESS to GOD, the GREATEST Thankfulness. Give GOD the Glo­ry of your Conversion. Beware of ascribing too Much to Means, Instruments, and Endea­vors. Let him that Glorieth, glory in the LORD. See His Efficiency; and Adore His Wisdom, Power, and Grace, which have a­bounded toward You. And let your Heart and Mouth be filled with admiring Praises.

TO excite your Gratitude and Wonder, Often look back on your natural Condition, and take a View of the Guilts, Miseries, and Dangers of it. Consider also the superlative Excellency of the Work wrought upon You; and the Blessedness of the State you are brought into; a State of Justification, Adop­tion, and Sanctification, and of habitual Pre­paredness for a glorious Eternity. Consider the special and unnumber'd Advantages of an Early Conversion; and what a far more ex­ceeding [Page 51]glorious Prospect it affords you. And consider, How God hath made you to differ from innumerable Others. Remember also what Provocations you gave the HOLY SPIRIT (while under His Hand) to forsake you. These Reflections bespeak your thankful Ad­mirations. Wherefore take with you Words, and say as in Mat. 11.25, 6. I thank Thee, O Father, because Thou hast hid these Things from the Wise and Prudent, and hast reveal­ed them unto Babes: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy Sight.

3. KEEP up a very HUMBLE Frame of Spi­rit. Remembring what you were before Con­version: Remembring what Humiliations you passed through in Conversion: And Consider­ing what you are at present; still at a Dis­tance from GOD; still a Dependent on free Mercy for all you need; still a sinful Crea­ture, doing little for GOD, often rebelling against Him, and in all Things coming short of His Glory; still feeble and impotent and without His special Help will become an ea­sy Prey to every Temptation; still in danger of such Apostasies, as may blemish your Name, gall your Conscience, and procure the Hidings of GOD's Face. — O remember these Things, and let them check all the Tendencies of a corrupt Heart to spiritual Pride. Be not high-minded; but Fear. — I think fit to add here; don't proudly murmur if you do not pre­sently obtain those Joys, you looked for, If you meet with Temptations, and Troubles within [Page 52]and without, yet don't repine. You are not now dealt with unjustly: Nay all is in Love to you. GOD is now training you up to live a Life of Faith. Perhaps He is (by His pre­sent Methods) ripening you for great Conso­lation; or preparing you for great Usefulness hereafter. Beware then of every murmuring, and of every Self-exalting Thought.

4. BRING forth Fruits MEET for REPEN­TANCE, and walk in Newness of Life. As ye have received CHRIST JESUS the LORD: So Walk ye in Him. Put on the Livery of CHRIST; take upon you the Badges of Christianity; make an open Profession; or­der your Conversation aright, and shew forth the Praises of Him who hath called you out of Darkness. For ye were sometimes Dark­ness, but now are ye Light in the LORD: Walk as the Children of Light. Flee Youth­ful Lusts: And live soberly, righteously, and godlily.

5. SEE that ye walk CIRCUMSPECTLY. Walk by Rule, the Gospel-Rule. Study it; govern your selves according to it in the whole Work of Obedience, as to Matter and Manner, Principles, Motives, and Seasons. The Scriptures were written to give the Young Man. Knowlege and Discretion. And Young Men are directed to cleanse their way, by tak­ing Heed thereto according to God's Word, Psal. 119.9.

THEREFORE keep the Rule over before you: and exercise your selves always to keep [Page 53]Consciences void of Offence. It was David's Resolution in his Early Days, (Psal. 101.2.) I will behave my self wisely in a perfect way; And it should be your's. — Youth is apt to be Heady, Venturous, and Inadvertent, which of­ten betrays into sad Mistakes and Miscarria­ges. But be not you so. Be wary and vigi­lant. Reverence Conscience, consult much with it, & be obsequious to all it's genuine Directions. Look well to your goings. Look about you, and take Example from the Wise, and Caution from the Foolish, and take Heed lest you fall. Be ever sensible of Dangers; keep up a jealous Watch over your Hearts, and a strict Guard over your Senses, Appetites, and Passions. Keep your selves from your own Iniquity. Suppress the first Motions of Lust. Fly the very Occasions of Sin; the goodly Hebrew Youth thus secur'd his Integri­ty. Remember Young Dinah's Folly and Fall; and don't needlesly run into the way of Tem­tations. Be careful with whom you contract year Relations; take heed how you dispose your selves in Apprenticeship, in Marriage, &c. — Be careful in the Choice of a Calling, let it be One that has fewest spiritual Snares, and will afford you most Advantages for your Souls; and therein study to order your Af­fairs with Discretion, so as not to hurt your grand Interests.—Be careful in chusing your Place of Abode; Endeavor to settle where you may have the best Opportunities and Accom­modations for promoting the Glory of GOD, [Page 54]and your own Spiritual Good.—Be watchuful over your selves in all Conditions; Some of you are born to Riches and Honour, Others to Want and Meanness. Let the Poor & Afflicted among you watch against Discontent at the Disposals of Divine Wisdom & Goodness; and against envying at the Prosperity of others; Begin now you are Young to learn the Art of Contentment; and this will have a happy Influence upon you all your Days. And those that are Prosperous, and live in Ease, and make a Figure in the World; Let such be thankful, and humble, and self denying, Heavenly minded, and Fruitful in every good Work: and thus you will be prepard for whatever Changes there may be in the right Hand of the Most High.—Again, Be circumspect in all matters of lawful Liberty; in which case Young Peo­ple especially are very apt to offend, & as hard to be convine'd & reclaimed. Take heed then to your selves in all Things (of an indifferent Nature,) that you act agreeably to the Laws of Charity, by the Rules of Decency & of Expediency, and under the Restraints of Christian Sobriety, and with a just Deference to the wise Counsels & Cau­tions of Parents & Superiors.—See to it that your Diversions be well principle'd and well regulated. Let them be such as are of good Report among Us; let them be seaso­nably enter'd on & timely broken off; mo­derately pursu'd; and well intended, to fit you the better for serving GOD, and your [Page 55]Generation, which should be your primary Delight & Satisfaction.

FURTHER, Be very Circumspect as to your Company & Conversation. Be careful in chusing your Associates. Don't degrade your selves with Nebuchalnezzet to herd with the Beasts. Let a vile Person be contemned in your Eyes: but honour them that fear the Lord, and with David be a Companion of such, as keep the Commandments of GOD, who are most likely to be Friends to your Souls, whose Fruit is a Tree of Life. ‘You may visit wicked Persons, as their Physicians: but not as their Companions, lest you catch Infection from them.’ Take such for your Associares, as may be Assistents to you in the Affairs of your Souls; and for a Special Friend I would advise Young People to chuse One, that is of more Experience than them­selves, and so capable to direct them; and one that is something more advanced in Age and Rank, whose Presence may carry some Awe with it, & whose Admonitions may be of more weight.—And as you should be circumspect in chusing your Acquaintants; so likewise in using of their Society. Be wise and wary in your Visits, that these be not a fruitless Mispense of Time. And in your occasional Conversation at all Times en­deavour wisely to introduce & keep up pro­fitable Discourse; and in your talk of Secular Affairs, let your Language be such as may discover a godly simplicity, and show that [Page 56]the spirit of this World has not the Ascen­dent over you. This is to walk in Wisdom. But if in Conversation your study is to please Men by appearing Worldly-wise, or facetions, and entertaining, rather than to approve your selves to GOD by being grave, pious and edi [...]ying, certainly now you walk not Circumspectly, but as Fools. — Let Young Professors then be exhorted to make their Acquaintance & Converse together as spiritu­al & profitable as may be.

AND here I might add; Let such Young People as live in the same House or Neigh­bourhood, by mutual Agreement oblige them­selves to special watch & care over each other. Speak often one to another. Com­fort your selves together, & edify one ano­ther, even as also ye do. And watch over each other in Brotherly Love. Be faithful Monitors every one to his Brother; and let every one be ready to hearken to friendly Counsels & Reproofs. When the Righteous smite thee, let it be a kindness; and let the wounds of a Friend be as excellent Oyl.

THUS I have shown Young People in seve­ral Instances how they are to walk Circum­spectly. And O that you would all be per­swaded to endeavour it. In order to this, Consider how you are oblig'd by your Pro­fession & Engagements thus to walk. Consider also what Dangers & Difficulties attend the Christian Life, arising from inward Corrup­tion and outward Oppositions; which call [Page 57]for the exactest Care and greatest Watchful­ness. You are setting out in a World full of Snares, and in an uncommon Day of Temp­tation; and without the greatest Circum­spection you will be in imminent Hazard of such Falls into Sin, as will wound Conscience, disturb it's Peace and defile its Purity. More­over, Consider; You are under the most cri­tical Inspection. The jealous Eye of an All-seeing GOD is upon you continually; who will be highly provoked if you are secure and negligent; which should awe you, me­thinks, into the strictest watch over your Hearts & Ways, that you may walk before Him unto all well-pleasing. Again, The Eyes of Men are upon you. Good People have their Eye upon you; Their Desire is toward you, their Delight in you, & their Expectations from you great. This shou'd by a Principle of Ambition lead you to be care­ful in your Walk. But further, Wicked Peo­ple look on you with an evil Eye: These watch for your Halting; They'l be glad to see you careless, and they wish for your fal­ling. This would rejoyce (as well as harden) them exceedingly. Again, The Devils keep an envious Eye over you; they observe you nar­rowly; they are continually longing and labouring to ensnare you; if you are secure and heedless, you expose your selves to their subtil Devices; and if you fall by them, they'l triumph over you, insult & vex you.

[Page 58] BUT in the last place, Consider the many Encouragements you have to be walking Cir­cumspectly. You have an unerring Rule to lead you: You have, to animate you, the Ex­ample of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, and of many Saints who were holy and wise in Be­haviour from their Youth: And you have all needful Assistance tender'd you: And the Pro­mise of great Rewards, which will by vast Excesses more than Counter-balance and com­pensate for all the Cares and Pains of a cir­cumspect walk. In a word, This Christian Vigilance and Prudence is the Strength and Beauty of the Soul. Therefore keep your Heart with all Diligence, that none take a­way your Crown. Watch and Pray, lest ye enter into Temptation. He that trusteth in his own Heart is a Fool, but whoso walk­eth wisely shall be delivered.

6. LET Young People study to ADORN the DOC­TRINE of GOD your Saviour in all Things, and to walk worthy of the holy Vocation wherewith you are called. Ye are the Children of the Day; and we exhort every one of you, that you wou'd walk worthy of GOD who hath [...]lled you unto His Kingdom and Glory, and order your Conversation as becometh the Gos­pel of CHRIST. Let your Light shine before Men: And study to be real and visible Orna­ments to your Profession. For this End; Guard against all Affectation, that your Good be not evil spoken of. Pu [...] away all Childish Vanities, and endeavor to be Manly and Dis­crete [Page 59]in your whole Deportment. Abstain from all appearance of Youthful Lusts, that the Word of GOD be not blasphemed. En­deavor to be Exemplary in all those Things, which are acceptable to GOD and approved of Men, lovely, venerable, and praise-worthy. A bound and excell in all Instances of Piety and Devotion. Shew a profound Vene­ration of all that is sacred; Be strict in obser­ving the Sabbath; Signalize your selves for a very reverent Regard to the holy Scriptures, and to the Ministers of CHRIST, as Stewards of the Mysteries of GOD. Speak with Awe of GOD and holy Things, and exhibit the utmost Gravity in the Wor­ship of GOD, a visible Alacrity in His Service and a well-order'd Zeal for His Glory. And be of catholick Principles and a generous Spi­rit as to the disputable Points and lesser Cir­cumstances of Religion. And further Endea­vor to excell in all Social Virtues and Relative Duties. Distinguish your selves for eminent Justice & Uprightness in your Dealings; Grati­tude to Benefactors; Brotherly Kindness; Charity to the Poor; Peaceableness, and For­bearance, a forgiving Spirit, and Patience un­der Injuries and Affronts; Meekness under Reproofs; Mildness in Disputes; Tractable­ness and Submission to the Advice of Superiors: Dutifulness to Parents; Obedience to Mas­ters, Fidelity to all Trusts; Modesty in Ap­parel, in Speech and Demeanour, &c. Again, Study to excell in all more solitary Virtues; [Page 60]Self-denial, Weanedness from the World, and Mortification to sensual Pleasures; Frugality, and Temperance in Sleep, and Diet; Chasti­ty, Purity, and Reserv'dness; Application to good Business and Industry therein, &c. You shou'd endeavour to exceed and out shine o­thers in these moral Qualifications & Deport­ments, as well as in the Instances of more vital and essential Piety.

Finally, BETIMES begin to study Useful­ness. Aim at being public Blessings in your Day. Young Converts are the Seed and Hope of the next Generation, as old Disciples are the Defence & Delight of the Present. Therefore begin Early to get fit for your Master's Use; get furnish'd for and ready to every good work; cherish a public Spirit in your selves betimes, and do what little Services you are capable of in your respective Spheres now in the Days of your Youth. Shine as Lights in the Fami­ly, in the School or College, in the Church, and in the Common-wealth: Shine as Bright as you can in your several Orbs, and study to be Diffusive Blessings. Particularly endeavor to promote the Conversion of other Young People of your Acquaintance; & take all proper Methods to cultivate good Beginnings in one another; according to the Advice before given.

IN these and other Ways Young People shou'd study to honour the Gospel, and adorn their Profession. This you shou'd be led to from a Principle of Retaliation, considering how the Gospel has been the Means of Ad­vancing [Page 61]you to great Happiness and Dignity: And also from a View to the Glory of GOD, which will be abundantly promoted by such Carriage: and also from a Regard to your own Credit and Interest; Which Consideration shou'd inspire you (Methinks) with Heroick Resolutions. But further this is what the Word of GOD expresly enjoyns as the Duty of Young People; particularly in the 2d. Chap­ter of the Epistle to Titus; which excellent Portion of Scripture you'l do well very fre­quently to consult.

BUT to add only one Word; and I will Conclude,—

7. LET Young Saints endeavour to GROW in Grace. Furthermore then we beseech you Young Men & Brethren, and exhort you by the LORD JESUS, that as ye have received of Us how you ought to walk & to please GOD, so ye wou'd abound more & more. Don't rest in any present Attainments: but study to make Pro­gress in Virtue & all Goodness. "Diligent Trades­men at their first setting up have their Minds intent upon improving their Stock". Herein let not the Children of this World be wiser than you. Let not the Truth of Grace content you: but aspire after a gradual Rise. It was the Apostle's Exhortation to Young Timothy, Thou therefore my Son, Be STRONG in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus. — FOLLOW after Righ­teousness, Faith, Love, &c. — There must be a Patient continuance in well-doing, and studious Endeavours to perfect Holiness in the fear of GOD.

[Page 62] GROWTH in pure & practical Religion is the chief Blessing on this side the Heavenly Places: This is to grow in conformity to CHRIST, who has left us a perfect Example of Early Piety. This is to be changed into the Image of GOD from Glory to Glory. This is the way to grow in the Favour of GOD; and in the Comforts of the HOLY GHOST; in Usefulness to the World; in Ripe­ness for Heaven, Assurance of Salvation, and a Capacity for more exalted Degrees of fu­ture Bliss and Glory. Surely then the thriv­ing Christian is the wisest, the noblest, the richest, & happiest Creature out of Paradise. To flourish & increase in Holiness is infinitely preferrible to the highest Advances in the wealth and wisdom of this World, and Ho­nour among Men.

AND now That is what GOD demands and expects from you. He looks for much Fruit: And O how pleasing to Him will be the fair and rising young Trees, spreading out and hanging full of early ripe Fruits! —And more­over That is what you are under the strictest Engagements to study, and have special Advan­tages to pursue. Now in the Days of Youth, you have fewer Hindrances, and greater Op­portunities; and perhaps you have a long Time of growth before you. O Improve your singular Advantages: And fail no [...] the LORD of His righteous Expectations. How shame­ful will it be for you to be outgrown by later Plants, than your selves? How ignominious [Page 63]to be ourstript in the Christian Race by o­thers that set out after you? And this will be the Event perhaps, if you are idle or trifl­ing present. You will defeat one great De­sign of your Early Conversion, by slack and sluggish Endeavors in Youth. O therefore follow Holiness now with active Zeal, cheer­ful Vigour, and resolute Perseverance. Covet to excell, and strive to out-run, to out-do, & out shine others. This is a laudable Emu­ [...]ation, a happy Contention, which GOD will [...]rown with Approbation and Success. O be­gin betimes to aim at and reach after an emi­nent Proficiency in Religion.

AND for this End; Maintain a humble Sense of your Need of further Sanctification, and mourn under the Reliques of Corruption in you.— And be much in the Exercise of Grace. Repeated Acts corroborate the Habit. [...]t is perhaps a Day of small things with you [...]t present: But if you are diligent and con­stant in the Exercising of Grace, you will make gradual Improvements toward Perfecti­on. Be faithful in a Little; and unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have Abundance.—Industriously use all proper Means. Observe all the Ordinances of GOD; and that with a View to and Desires of Growth in Grace. As new born Babes, desire the sincere Milk of the Word, that ye may grow there­by. Carefully attend on the LORD'S Supper, which is a Means (when rightly used) ad­ [...]itably effective of Increase in Grace; but is [Page 64]too much neglected in these unhappy Times of Apostasy. Be frequent in devout Meditation, & solemn Self-Examination. Learn to do all com­mon actions after a godly Sort; have your Con­versation much in Heaven, by often contempla­ting on it, and by making it the main Scope and Design of your Actions. Keep the holy Ex­ample of CHRIST ever in your Eye. Be also Followers of them, who thro' Faith and Pati­ence inherit the Promises. Frequently renew your holy Resolutions.

Finally BE much in Prayer & the Exercise of Faith, which p [...]rifyeth the Heart. Live de­pendently on GOD in CHRIST. In the hum­ble Sense of your own Wants and Weakness, have all your Reliance on the Father of Lights and seek to Him thro' Jesus Christ for all needful Aids & Recruits of Grace continually. The Life you now live in the Flesh let it be by the Faith of the Son of GOD, in whom it hath pleased the Father all Fulness should dwell: Trust in Him (and in His Name pray to GOD) for confirming and quickening Influences; and for a Blessing on Ordinances and Providences, that all may work together for your spiritul Good. They that thus wait on the LORD, shall renew their Strength: They shall mount up with Wings as Eagles. They shall grow as the Lilie and cast forth their Roots as Le­banon, and their Leaf shall not wither.

[Page 65] NOW our LORD JESUS CHRIST Himself, and GOD even our Father, who hath Loved us, and hath given us everlasting Consolation, and good Hope through Grace, Comfort your Hearts, and stablish you in every good Word and Work: And We pray GOD your whole Spirit and Soul and Body be preserved blame­less unto the Coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST; that the Name of CHRIST may be glorifyed in you and ye in Him. Faithful is He that hath called you, who also will do it. To Him be Glory both Now and for Ever.



ERRATA in this last Sermon.

PAge 3. Line 28. for believeth read believed. p. 16. l. 27. for it may e, r. it be not. p. 10. l. 22. r. full of. p. 10. l. 22. for [...]ices, r. Advices. p. 38. l. 22. r. Dispositions. l. 32. for Again, r. Particularly.



WHEN the Eight Sermons on EARLY PIETY, which are here Exhibited, were coming abroad; the Ministers who Preached them waited on their Venerable Father Dr. INCREASE MA­THER, with a Request, that he would permit Some Dis­course of His on that Important Subject, tho' never so short an One, to be Ushered in by Theirs; which he might Let fall as a Mantle to us, now GOD is quickly taking him away from our Head. In answer to their Desire, (tho' he has already Cultivated the Subject in se­veral Treatises, especially, his, Call to the Rising Gene­ration, which have been formerly Published, and some of them have had several Editions;) he Preached the short Sermon, that is now to fasten the Nails, that have been in the preceding Essays.

IT must be Considered, That this is a Sermon of most uncommon Circumstances; Being of One who is in the Eighty Third Year of his Age, and who may say, Au [...] ­te Senem Juvenes, quem Juvenen [...] Senes audierunt: And as at this very Great Age, the Servant of GOD Preaches, (which he has done all his Days) without Using any Notes, thus also he does it sometimes almost without Writing any. Nor could we have come at this particu­lar Sermon, if we had not been beholden to the Pen of a pious Gentlewoman belonging to his Flock, who gives us this Copy of what the Ready-Writer took from him, as he delivered it.

THE Circumstances mentioned, Oblige us to Conclude, Now these are some of the LAST WORDS, to be Expec­ted from a Faithful Servant of GOD, Finishing his Testi­ [...]y, to those Ways of Early Piety, whereof GOD has made him an Eminent Instance as well as a Renowned Preacher. [...] what we have now to Wish for the Ris­ing Gene [...]n, [...]s, That they may Receive his Testimony, and Walk in the Good Ways of those that have gone be­fore them.

[Page 1]

Advice to the Children of Godly Ancestors.
Given July 9. 1721. And taken in Short-Hand, by One of the Hearers.


They said unto Samuel, Thy Sons walk not in thy ways.

WE have in this Chapter the Chil­dren of Israel weary of the The­ocracy which they had been un­der a long time; and asking for a King after the manner of the Nations. The Reason they give for it is. That the Sons of Samuel did not walk in his ways. Samuel was grown Aged, and made use of his own Sons for his Assistence in the Government; hoping that they would walk in his Ways; but they did otherways. Wherefore the Elders of Israel came in a whole Body to Samuel, and complain'd to him of the [...]ll Government of his Family.

'Tis a Sad Observation, which we have [...]ow before us,

[Page 2] THAT the Sons of Good Men do not always walk in the Good Ways which their Fathers have walked in.

WE shall consider this DOCTRINE in se­veral Propositions.

THE First Proposition. All Good Men do walk in the same way. It is that which is called the way of Good Men, Prov. 2.20. Walk in the way of good Men, and keep the paths of the righteous. It is also called the Old Way, and the way that is holy, (Jer. 6.16.) It is like­wise called, The way Everlasting, (Psal. 139.24.) because Good Men have always walked in that way; from the beginning of the World Good Men have always chosen to walk in that way; Chosen that Way of Truth, laying the Judg­ments of GOD before them.

Particularly First; IT is the Way of Piety. They have always like Samuel Worshipped God and Him only; and have been careful not to take the Name of GOD in vain; and have Sanctifyed the holy Sabbaths of GOD: Yea, Sanctifying the Sabbath is indeed so great a part of Piety that it is put for all Religion, (Isai. 58.13.)

Secondly, IT is the way of Righteousness. They are conscienciously careful to observe the First Table of the Moral Law, and the Second Table also. Therefore Paul could say, Acts 24.16. Herein do I exercise my self to have always a Conscience void of effence toward God and toward Men. Thus it was with Samuel; he was upright, he could appeal to the People as in the 12th. Chapter of this Book; Have [...] [Page 3]wronged any Man? And they all said, No, thou hast wronged no Man. But then his Sons, they were very unrighteous; they did run after Filthy Lucre, they took bribes; they perverted Judgment; which was quite contrary to what their Father did.

Thirdly, IT is the Way of Prayerfulness. Thus Samuel said to the People; God forbid that I should cease to pray for you. Good Men are Praying Men. Psal. 24.6. This is the genera­tion of them that seek him. They that seek the Face of GOD are the Generation that belong to Him Yea, there is not one Godly Man in all the World but what is a Praying Man. Psal. 32.6. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee. As for those that are Prayerless, they are mention'd among the workers of Iniquity, (Psal. 14.4.) If they are Prayerless they are so to be accounted. Thus we see in short, the Good Ways, that Good Men are forever found walk­ing in; The ways of a Samuel!

PROP. II. THE Children of Godly Men have peculiar Advantages to serve the God of their Fathers, and walk in the Good Ways which their Fathers walked in: Divers Advantages which other Children in the World have not. As now,

First, THEY have the Scriptures; they have the Word of God to direct them in the way of Life & Salvation. As is said concerning the Jews, Rom. 3.1, 2. What advantage hath the Jew? much every way; chiefly in that unto them were committed the Oracles of God. They had the Holy Scriptures. Thus it was said of [Page 4] Timothy: he was advantaged in that respect above others, 2 Tim. 3.15. From a Child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make wise unto Salvation. They have also the Word of God Preached unto them; as the written Word of God, so the Gospel Preached unto them: That is a great Advantage; the Preaching of the Gospel is the ordinary means by which true Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is wrought in the Souls of His Elect. Rom. 10.27. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. In that regard, the Children of Godly Men have special Advantages to know the God of their Fathers.

Secondly; THEY are the Subjects of Pa­rental Instructions, they are taught by their Parents how they ought to serve God. Thus the Lord required his People of Old; Thou shalt teach thy Children diligently my Command­ments, Deut. 6.7. And in Psal. 78.5, 6. it is there said, They should teach their Childdren from one generation to another. And the Lord said concerning Abraham, Gen. 18.19. I know Abraham, that he will teach his Children to keep the way of the Lord. Now they that are the Children of Abraham will do the Works of Abraham. So we find the Servants of God have always done. David, he taught his Son Solomon & his other Children. He said, Psal. 34.11. Come ye Children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. And his Son Solomon says, Prov. 4.3, 4. I was my fathers son, he taught me. So did his Godly Mother too, she [Page 5]was careful to Instruct him. We read how his Godly Mother Instructed him. Prov. 31.2. What? my son, and what? the son of my vows? Said she, I have Vowed and Prayed to God ma­ny a time for thee, and wilt thou not hear the Counsel of her that has so often Prayed for thee and Vowed and offer'd many Sacrifices to God on thy behalf?

Thirdly. THE People of GOD, put up many Prayers for their Children, that God would give them His Grace; they Pray at that rate, 1 Chron. 29.19. Give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart. Thus Abraham Prayed for Ishma­el, and God said, concerning Ishmael I have heard thee. Their Advantages are Peculiar in that respect, in that they are Prayed for. Lastly, They have the Blessing of their Parents; which is not a light thing. The Blessing of a Father is not to be despised; it ought to be regarded. We see Esau as bad as he was, yet when he saw he was deprived of his Father Blessing, be Wept, and made a great and bitter Cry upon it. Verily, 'tis a Considerable, a Valuable Thing for Children to have their pious Parents, im­ploring and pronouncing of Blessings upon them in the Name of the LORD. So that the Chil­dren of Godly Parents have Advantages which other Children in the World are Strangers to.

PROP. III. MANY Children of Godly Pa­rents, do prove Godly too, and walk in the Good Ways of their Parents; yet it is too often sadly otherwise. Some well Observe, God has so cast the Line of Election that for the most [Page 6]part it runs through the Loins of Godly Parents. The 2d Epistle of John is, to the elect lady and her Children. If so be the Mother is elected there is more Hope and Encouragement that the Children belong to the Election too. We read, Psal. 103.17. The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, his righteousness unto childrens children. Thus Paul says concerning Timothy, [2 Tim. 1.5.] I am perswaded says he, that Faith is in thee; that thou art a true Believer; when I call to Re­membrance the Faith that was in thy Grand-mother Lois, and thy Mother Eunice. Thy Grand-mother was a Godly Woman, thy Mother an holy Woman; therefore I cannot but Hope the more for thee. Doubtless, if an account of it were taken, it would be found that the greatest part of such as belong to God have de­scended from Godly Parents.

PROP. IV. BUT still the Grace of God is Sovereign. It is not engaged to any Parti­cular Family; He is free in the Disposing of his Grace. He says, Exod. 33.19. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will sh [...]w mercy. So that many Chil­dren that descend from Godly Parents are not Godly but much otherwise, this is a sad Truth. And now, will First, Show the Proof of it; then inquire whence it comes to pass. For the Proof of it,

1. WE find in the Scripture Particular Fa­milies, many of them did degenerate from the Faith of their Forefathers. Let us look back [Page 7]as far as Adam's Family, and we shall find it so. Adam had a Godly Son whose Name was Seth, now the Posterity of that Godly Son in process of Time did Degenerate and became as the rest of the World, Gen. 6.2. The sons of God saw the daughters of men. The Sons of God, that is to say the Posterity of Godly Seth; they did Degenerate and became like the rest of the World. Noah had a Godly Son, scil. Shem, but this Man's Posterity did sadly Degene­rate; Notice is taken of it, that they became Idolaters, [Josh. 24.2.] In Abrahams Family there was an Ishmael that would Scoff at his Brother who was a Godly Man. In Isaac's Fa­mily was an Esau who was a prophane Person. So says the Apostle, Take heed lest there be a­mong you a prophane person like unto Esau that for a mess of pottage sold his birthright. In David's Family; How many wicked Sons sprung up in that good Man's Family! An Amnon, who Committed Incest with his own Sister; An Ab­salom that Murdered his Brother Amnon, and after that would have Murdered his own Fa­ther to have gained the Kingdom! Is it not said of Nabal, who was a drunken Sot, that he was of the house of Caleb? [1 Sam. 25.3.] A sad thing that so vile a wretch as Nabal was should descend from such an house as Calebs was! Josiah was a Godly Man; yet his Chil­dren all of them bad! God said to one of them, Did not thy Father do judgment and justice! But thine heart is for thy Covetousness.

2. IT is true concerning whole Generations. [Page 8]Sometimes whole Generations have Apostatized from God and become exceeding Sinful in his Sight; So when Joshua was Dead it is said, Judg. 2.10. There arose another generation which knew not the Lord, nor the works which he had done. A whole Generation did Degenerate from the Piety of their Fathers that had gone before them. I planted thee a noble Vine, but how art thou degenerate, saith the Lord? Jer. 2.25.

BUT now Secondly; Whence is it that god­ly Men sometimes have very ungodly Children! For answer; First: The Children of godly Men are born Sinful, as well as the Children of other Men. They have Original Corruption in them as much as others have. Hence Da­vid says, Psal. 51.5. I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Yet Da­vid's Mother was a Singular good Woman; a very holy Woman. David when he prayed to God, says, Remember the Son of thine hand­maid: his Father Jesse also was a very holy Man; the Jews call him, Jesse the Righteous: And have such an Opinion of him, that they Hyperbolically say, the Angel of Death could find no Sin, but that of our First Parents, to charge him with. The Son of a godly Father, and a godly Mother, yet was conceived in Sin and shapen in Iniquity. Such are as apt to Sin as the Children of ungodly Men; they are apt to tell lies as scon as they are born: when they commit a Fault they are apt to tell a Lie, because of the Corruption which is natural to them; yea, they are Inventers of evil [Page 9]things, Rom. 1.30. They are apt to commit such Sins, as never any did before them. They are apt to do amifs and to fall in with the Ways of Sin.

Secondly. THIS comes to pass from the Malice of Satan, that does what he can to cor­rupt the Churches. Among the Wheat there springs up a world of Tares. How comes this to pass? Why says the Text, an Enemy has done it. The Devil is that Enemy; the Devil is an Enemy to Purity in Churches; he would have Churches to be like the rest of the World: Therefore he sows Tares in the Lord's Field. He does it, in the Degeneracy that he Labours to introduce among the Children of the Covenant.

Thirdly. IT comes to pass from the remo­val of Eminent Servants of GOD. Thus when Moses was going to be taken away, I know, says he, after my Death there will be great chan­ges among you. Thus Paul, when going from Ephesus, says, after my Departure there will come grievous wolves among you. And how of­ten is it said in the book of Judges, while the good Judges continued, things went well, but when those good Judges were dead, and removed out of the Way, they presently Degenerated, and became like the rest of the World; be­came guilty of such Sins as others in the World were Guilty of. Thus we see the Doc­trine cleared in the Particulars that have been mentioned.

[Page 10]


I. HENCE we see, Men ought not to set their Hearts inordinately upon their Children. Indeed they are apt to do so; apt to promise themselves much comfort in their Children. We see it in Abraham, says he, Lord, what wilt give one, seeing I go Childless? And it is threat­ned as a Judgment, such a Man shall die Child­less. We see it in Rachel, Give me Children or else I die: God gave her Children, and she died for it: And when her Soul was departing, she called his name Benoni, that is, the Child of my Affliction. Indeed when the Children of the Faithful die in their Infancy, there is cause to Hope they are Saved because of the Covenant of GOD; the Covenant of Grace which they have not Violated. But when they Out Live their Infancy, and become Wicked and Vile, the case is much otherwise. Wherefore Pa­rents who know not how their Children may prove, should not set their Hearts inordinate­ly upon their Children. Who knows, but that Child thou art so fond of may prove to thee as Esau did to Rebecca and to his Father? He was a grief of Mind to them both. And Rebec­ca said, I am weary of my Life because of the Daughters of Heth.

II. IF the Children of Good Men may prove ungodly, no wonder that the Children of unged­ly Men do so. Children are more apt to imi­tate their Parents in that which is Evil, than in that which is Good. Jer. 7.18. The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the [Page 11]women knead the dough to make cakes to the queen of heaven. Abominable! To make cakes to the queen of heaven; to Worship the Moon! yet when Parents did so, the Children did so too; and no wonder they did. The Samaritans that succeeded those that were carried Captive, they Worshipped graven Images and Served other gods; as their Fathers did, so did their Children, and their Childrens Children; as did their Fathers so do they unto this Day, 2 King. 17.41. Those Children that did mock the holy Prophet Elisha, that said, go up thou bald head; go up thou bald head; thou sayest thy Master Elijah is gone up to Heaven; do thou go after him; would these Children have done so, if they had not seen the Iniquity of their Fathers? Doubtless their Fathers were guilty of the like Iniquity.

III. WE may see by this, it is not in the pow­er of Parents to give Grace to their Children. They may give them what they have of this World; but that's all. To have Grace given to them, it is a thousand times better, far more desireable than to have a portion of this Worlds Goods. But this is more than they can Give. They can't give them Sanctifying Grace; they can't give them true Repentance; that is the Gift of GOD, not of their Parents. They can't give them Faith in JESUS CHRIST; no that, none but GOD can give. A godly Man can no more make his Children godly than he can Raise the Dead out of their Graves: It is none but God can do it: He alone must have the Praise and Glory of it.

[Page 12] IV. IT is not safe for Children to build up­on having an Abraham for their Father. Mat. 3.9. Think not to say within your selves we have Abraham for our Father. This is a Foundation not to be built upon, thou mayst have a Father as good a Man as Abraham, and yet Perish for ever in thy Unbelief. How was it with one who died and went to Hell, and when in Tor­ments there he cried out, Father Abraham have mercy on me! This Child of Abraham in Tor­ments, adds, I have five Brethren alive in the World, O that one might go from the Dead, and tell them what a terrible place Hell is, that they mayn't come into this place of Torment. Why? Is there any Charity in Hell? No, but they know if their Brethren come there it would be worse for them, an aggravation of their Misery! Therefore hebeg'd, O let not them come here! Well then, you that are the Chil­dren of Godly Parents, I shall Speak a Solemn Word unto you. If thou Livest and Diest in thine Impenitency thou shalt have the most ter­rible Witnesses against thee. Thy Father, and thy Mother that Lov'd thee so Dearly, that has wept and prayed for thee so many times, thy Father, and thy Mother, they will Condemn thee, they will Justify GOD in Condemning of thee: they will join with the LORD in passing a Sentence of Eternal Condemnation upon thee at the Last Day; and say, like the Angel in the Revelations, Thou art Righteous in that Thou hast so Judged: Thus it will be said at the Last Day: Thy Father, and thy Mother will say, [Page 13] Lord I Concur with Thee, thou art Righteous in passing a Sentence of Eternal Condemnation upon this Child of mine; I warn'd him many a Time to Repent and turn to God, but he would not, so that Thou art Righteous in all that is come upon him.

V. THE Children of Godly Men should be careful that they themselves be Godly. Now the Children of New-England are (or, once were) for the most part the Children of Godly Men. What did our Fathers come into this Wilder­ness for? Not to gain Estates, as Men do now, but for Religion, & that they might leave their Children in a hopeful way of being truly Reli­gious. There was a famous Man that Preach't before One of the Greatest Assemblies that e­ver was Preach'd unto, Seventy Years ago, and he told them, I have liv'd in a Country Se­ven Years, and all that time I never heard one Pro­phane Oath, and all that time I never did see a Man Drunk in that Land. Where was that Country? It was New-England! New-England! New-England! But, Ah, Degenerate New-England, what art thou come to at this Day? How are those Sins become common in thee, that once were not so much as heard of in this Land? A sad thing it is! Well then, O turn to GOD, you that are Children of Godly Parents. Remember that God calls you to it. Now He calls you to it in a Solemn Way by a grie­vous Disease, He has sent into this Town, which how far it may proceed we know not. Is not God Speaking to you Now? It will be [Page 14]a wonder it that the Slain of the Lord are not very Many e're this Disease be over. Chil­dren, You are concerned to turn to God, to make sure of a CHRIST. Then you shall be happy; nothing else can make you happy; you cannot be sure of your Lives: You may make sure of a CHRIST. If you make sure of Him, you will be happy whatever befals you.

WELL, What shall we do to make sure of This? A few Solemn Words let me speak to you, and so I leave you.

1. SEEK to God betimes. You read, Prov. 8.17. They that seek me early shall me. O that there may be many Early [...]eckers of God, ma­ny that set themselves in good earnest to Seek Him. When you Seek God, plead with Him the Relation wherewith you are Advantaged, as sometimes Jacob did, O God of my Father A­braham, O God of my Father Isaac; my Father and my Grandfather, did seek thy Face; they were thy Servants; O let me be so too. And remember the Solemn Exhortation that David gave to his Son Solomon, 1 Chron. 28.9. Thou Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and a willing mind, if thou seek him he will be found of thee, but if thou for sake him be will cast thee off forever. Say not, we cannot Convert our selves; Well, but don't do that which will hinder your Con­version? Don't hearken to Evil Counsel. We read in the Scripture of Ahaziah, after the Death of his Father, the house of Ahab were his Counsellours to his destruction. Remember that [Page 15]Scripture, Prov. 13.20. He that walketh with the wise shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. O let not any of you be a Com­panion of such; if you love your Souls beware of Vain Company: For there is nothing more destructive to the Souls of Men than that. If thou choose to follow them, they will be thy ruin, they will u do thee forever.

2. WAIT on God in the use of His own Means, that He would be Merciful to you. Therefore Give diligent Attention, even an Earnest H [...]ed unto the Word of GOD, when it is Preach'd unto you. Don't set your selves to sleep at Sermons. I remember, there was a Man Died in this Place many Years ago, who Died in doleful Despair; this Man when Dy­ing said to me, Sometimes I set my self to Sleep on purpose when you have been Preaching, and do you think there is any Mercy for me? Yes, there was Mercy for him if he Repented; but he Died in doleful Despair. Take heed of set­ting your selves to Sleep, when you should be Hearing as for your Lives, as for your Souls. And then also, Cry to God that He would have Mercy on you, do as Paul; when in the Pangs of the New Birth it is said of him, Behold he prays! Doubtless Saul prayed many a time be­fore that; he was a Pharisee; the Pharisees o [...]ten prayed; but he did not pray in Earnest, now he prayed in good Ear est, as if his Soul was concerned, as indeed it was. Pray as for thy Life and Soul, and God will hear and ans­wer thee.

[Page 16] Lastly. DO not Quench the Spirit of God. It is complain'd of the Jews, Acts 7.51. They Resisted the Spirit of God. That is a dangerous thing; to vex the Spirit of God; to grieve the Spirit of God! God has said, My Spirit shall not always strive. Dr. Preston speaks of a Man, that had been guilty of a great Sin, & was trou­bled very much that he had been guilty of such a Sin; he goes to a vile Companion, that gave him this wicked advice, than which Satan himself could not have given him worse; Go thy way, commit that Sin again, & thou shalt be never trou­bled more; that poor Wretch did so, & he was never troubled more; God gave him up to a repro­bate mind, to hardness of heart. Remember Saul; it is said, The Spirit of the Lord departed from him. And, wo to them, if I depart from them, saith the Lord. If you Sin against the strivings of God's Spirit, you may provoke him utterly to depart from you; But then, wo unto you! Think of an awful Scripture which I shall leave with you, for I knew a Man many Years ago, whose Con­version to God was promoted by serious Medi­tation on that very Scripture; Ezek. 24.13. Be­cause I would have purged thee, & thou wouldst not be purged, thou shalt not be purged any more, till I cause my fury to rest upon thee.

NOW, may the GOD of our Fathers mercifully pre­serve the Children of New-England, from that Apostacy, which may provoke Him to cast them off for ever. May He be with them, as He was with their Fathers, and help them to w [...] in the Good Ways of their Fathers, and in that Faith & Order of the Gospel which they walk'd in; and may He never Leave them nor Forsake them.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.