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II.

Jofeph was an example of early and conftant SERM. virtue: both in profperity, and adverfity. Mofes, as foon as he came to years of difcre- Hebr. xi. tion, refused to be called the fon of Pharaoh's 23...26. daughter: choofing rather to fuffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleafures of fin, which are but for a season. Nor did he ever repent of that choice. Samuel was early dedicated to God, and was eminent for wisdom and piety all his days to old age. Of Obadiah, chief minifter to King Ahab, we are informed that he feared the Lord xviii. 3. greatly. And we know also, that he feared 12. the Lord from his youth. I might mention Daniel, the three young men his companions, who perfevered, notwithstanding great trials: and others, enrolled in the catalogue of worthies, in the epiftle to the Hebrews, and elsewhere: famous not for one act of faith only, however' eminent and diftinguished, but for a courfe of fteadie virtue and obedience.

1 Kings

John vi

If in the New Teftament we meet with fome, who believed and followed Jefus for a time, and afterwards went back, and walked 66. no more with him; it appears evidently, that they went not upon a good foundation at the

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SERM. begining: but came to Chrift with worldly II. views and expectations. And if it be faid of Simon Magus, that he believed: we know that he never was fincere: his heart was not right in the fight of God. At the fame time, there were churches, or focieties of men, the greater part of which were faithful, and perfevered under many difficulties and dif couragements. The Apoftles of Chrift were for the most part, from the begining, plain, honeft, upright men. And when he called them, they obeyed without delay. And though they had their failings, one only was loft. The reft would not go away: and were, upon the whole, and to the end, an honour to him, and their profeffion: being perfuaded, that he had the words of eternal life.

Acts viii.

13. Ver. 21.

John vi. 68.

Pf. cxix.

You have no reason therefore, to be dif heartened. By taking heed to God's word, the young may cleanse their way, and, always keep themselves pure from the pollutions of an evil world. With the use of the appointed means, the fpiritual life, once begun, will be maintained. And if you watch, and pray, as Chrift has directed; you fhall be preferyed

ed from great temptations, or fhall be victo- SERM. rious therein. II.

III. Let me now propofe to you fome motives and arguments, inducing to early piety, and immediate compliance with the gracious calls of God.

1. The whole of our time ought to be employed in the fervice of God. Nor can we in any part of life knowingly and wil lingly tranfgrefs any of God's commandments, without contracting guilt. We ought therefore, as foon as we are arrived at any maturity of reafon and understanding, to give up ourfelves to God, determining to obey all his laws, and to decline every evil thing. And if we are fenfible of any acts of disobedience, already done, they should be repented of, and every fin forfaken. The reafon of things

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teaches this.

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2. The word of God teaches the fame. Addreffes are there made to the young, as well as to others. The Jewish people Deut. vi. were commanded to teach their children diligently the divine laws that had been delivered to them. The defign of Solomon in his collection of wife maxims was to give fubtil- Prov. i. 4.

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II.

6.

Ecc.xii. 1.

SERM. ty to the fimple, to the young man knowledge and understanding. And children are to be Prov. xxii. trained up in the way they should go. How just is that admonition! Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou fhalt fay: I have no pleasure in them. And, ..ix. 10. What foever thy band findeth to do, do it with all thy might. For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goeft.

All which fhews, that we do not fatisfy the law of God, nor answer the end of our being, by fome acts of religion near the end of life but we ought to be truly religious, and ferve God all the days of our life on earth. We should not, then, content ourfelves with a defign to be religious hereafter, but refolve to be fo now.

Prov. i. 22. 23

3. Confider, how gracious, how affectionate and compaffionate are the calls and invitations of God to finful men. Says Wifdom: How long ye fimple ones, will love ye fimplicity? and the fcorners delight in their fcorning, and fools hate knowledge! Turn ye at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words

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Mat. xi.

unto you. And fays God himself by his Pro- SERM. phets: Turn ye, turn ye from your evil II. For why will ye dye, o houfe of Ifrael! And Ezek. our Lord in his preaching. Come unto me all xxxiii. 11. ye that labor, and are heavie laden, and I will 28...30. give you reft. Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find reft for your fouls. For my yoke is eafie, and my burden is light. And in his ftate of exaltation: Behold, I ftand at the door, and Rev. iii. knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will fup with him, and he with me.

20.

How moving, how affecting is this concern for us! And fhall any of us refift, and grieve the good Spirit of God, and fin against our own fouls?

4. Confider therefore, farther, that by an early dedication of yourselves to God, and serious piety from the begining, you will prevent a great deal of fin, which you might otherwise be guilty of, and a great deal of forrow and vexation, which that would occafion either here, or hereafter, in this world, or another,

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you begin to be religious in the early part of life, you will, probably, be useful in

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