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SERM.
VII.

3. This hiftorie teaches us the right of young perfons, to be present at the worship of God and feems to hold forth the duty of thofe under whofe care they are, to bring them early to it. Some brought little children to Chrift, that he might lay his hands on them, and bless them. And he received them, and did as he was defired. Though children do not understand every thing that is faid, yet they have ears to hear, and eyes to fee, and will obferve. And gradually a reverence for the Divine Being, and an apprehenfion and perfuafion of invifible things, will be formed in their minds, and fuch principles implanted in them, as will bring forth good fruit.

4. We infer from this historie, that it may is not below perfons of the greatest eminence for wifdom and piety to fhew affection and tenderneffe for little children. Jefus Chrift is a good pattern of imitation in all his condefcenfions. And his disciples fhould do, as he has done. Let us receive kindly, and, as we are able, recommend to the divine favour and protection fuch little children, as Jefus himself, when on earth, received and blessed.

5. We hence learn, that all of us, ar- SERM. rived to years of knowledge and understand- VII. ing fhould fee to it, that we bear a refemblance to little children. For of fuch is the kingdom of heaven.

Let us be always like them in freedom from prejudices, being open to conviction, disposed to learn, and make farther emprovement by all discoveries proposed to us.

Let us refemble them alfo in humility, or freedom from pride, and high conceit of ourfelves: which obstructs emprovement, excites to a haughty and imperious behaviour, and difpofes to ftrife and contention, anger and refentment.

Let us refemble them in indifference about worldly things, or a freedom from an inordinate affection for riches, honour and preferment, pre-eminence and authority.

Lastly, let us resemble them in innocence, being as free from all evil practises, as poffible.

In a word, according to this obfervation of our Lord, we should always endeavor to be, in many respects, what we once were, and what we still fee little children to be. So fhall

SERM. fhall we do no evil. So fhall we be Ifraelites indeed, in whom is no guile.

VII.

6. This hiftorie affords encouragement to young perfons, arrived to the use of reafon and understanding, to come to Chrift, and offer up themselves to God in and through him. Jefus received the little children, who were brought to him: and he proposed them to others as patterns of refemblance, they being free from cuftoms of fining. But after all, they were rather emblems of virtue, than virtuous themselves. Much more then will they be received by him, who being still without guile, have an actual propensity and difpofition to virtue and goodneffe. If you should neglect yourselves, when you have attained to the use of your rational powers, and are entering into the world; bad principles and habits will grow up, like weeds in a rich foil, of which no care is taken: and you will foon lofe all that innocence and fimplicity, which endears little children to the Lord Jefus.

Let me therefore propound to you the few following counfels and directions.

1.) Be induced to give up yourselves to God with deliberation, and with all the fe

riousneffe

VII.

rioufneffe and folemnity you are able, engag- SERM. ing and refolving, that you will not fin against him, or do any thing contrarie to his holy commandments, fo far as you are acquainted with them. Such a fixed and deliberate purpose and refolution of mind, once formed, may be of great and lafting advan→ tage to you.

2.) Be diligent, and emprove your time for gaining knowledge. You are not to be like little children in every thing. You should resemble them in innocence: but in under Aanding you are to be men. Befide attending to the inftructions you receive, in order to qualify you for fome honeft and reputable employment, whereby you may gain a subfiftence, without being burdenfome to any, and be useful to others: as you may have opportunity, employ yourfelves in reading the Scriptures, especially the hiftorie of the Pa triarchs in Genefis, and the Pfalins, the Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apofles and indeed all the books of the New Teftament, and alfo other ufeful and inftructive books. You may likewife endeavor to emprove by conversation with perfons of sobriety and discretion, and, if it may be, of fuch

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1 Cor. xiv. zo.

VII.

ments.

SERM. fuch as are somewhat advanced above you in
years and knowledge. Hereby the mind will
~ be enlarged.
be enlarged. You will gain generous fenti-
Your usefulneffe, when you are fet-
tled in the world, will be more extenfive.
You may have the greater influence and repu-
tation. And you will certainly lay a founda-
tion for a great deal of entertainment and fatif-
faction within yourselves, which fome others

want.

3.) Pay a regard to every branch of duty: not doing one thing, and neglecting others, as many do, but, aiming at every part of holineffe. You know that St. Paul fays: The grace of God which bringeth falvation teaches us to deny all ungodlineffe, and to live foberly, righteously, and godly in this prefent world.

Live godly: Fear and reverence the divine majesty in your thoughts. Frequent the afsemblies of divine worship, and forfake them not: as fome do, who fanfy themselves wifer than others, without really being fo.

Live foberly: Govern your affections, and take care, not to be led by evil examples to any exceffe, or indulgence, contrarie to ftrict fobriety.

Tit. ii. 11. 12.

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