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3. Are any of you poor and reduced in your circumftances, fet a double watch upon your conduct, and earneftly pray that God may preferve you from fraud and difingenuity of every kind. Rather fuffer yourselves to be stripped of every thing, and apply to the charity of others, which is not finful, and ought not to be fhameful, than take any difhoneft methods of bettering your state. O melancholy thought, that many, when they become desperate in their circumftances, become alfo defperate in their courfes, and drown the reflection of their confciences in flothfulness and fenfuality! Sincerity, integrity, patience and fobriety in a ruined fortune are doubly eminent; at least, whatever they may be in the fight of the world, they are honorable and precious in the fight of God, and of all good men,
Before concluding, fuffer me to make one or two reflections on the fubject in general; the feveral parts of which I have now explained. And,
1. On what hath been faid on this fubject, I would graft this important leffon; that you should not only study to preserve yourselves from fin, but from all fuch circumftances of temptation as are dangerous to human constan. cy. This was the very ground of the prayer of the prophet in my text, and is the fubftance of the reasons he affigns for his request. We are taught the fame thing in the ftrongest manner, by the feveral inftances of human frailty, and the folly of prefumptuous confidence, recorded in fcripture. "Now all thefe things happened unto "them for enfamples, and they are written for our admo"nition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. "Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed " left he fall." We are alfo taught the fame thing by him who knew what was in man, as he has given us directions in the form of prayer which he taught his difciples, to fay, Lord, "lead us not into temptation."
Are you really unwilling to do evil, you will be concerned to keep yourselves out of the way of every folicitation to it. This is conftantly the effect of a judicious and folid piety, and those who act otherwife fhew that they either have no real goodness, or that they are very
weak Chriftians, and little acquainted either with themfelves, or this prefent evil world.
2. You may learn how neceffary it is, that you should look for the divine affiftance and direction, to avoid the temptation of every flate of life. We are truly of ourselves unequal to the trials with which we are furrounded. Not that there is any thing unjuft or oppreffive in the measures of Providence; but because it feems good to our Maker, to oblige us to a conftant dependance upon himfelf and his promised help. "But God is faithful, who will not fuffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with "the temptation alfo make a way to escape, that ye may "be able to bear it."
The least temptation may prove too hard for us, if we neglect to apply for fupreme aid; but in divine strength, we may bid defiance to the moft formidable oppofition. This temper is well exemplified and defcribed by the apoftle Paul to the Corinthians. "And he said unto me,
my grace is fufficient for thee, for my ftrength is made perfect in weaknefs. Moft gladly, therefore, will I ra. "ther glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ "may reft upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in in"firmities, in reproaches, in neceffities, in perfecution, "in diftreffes for Chrift's fake; for when I am weak, then "am I ftrong."
3. From what hath been faid, you may fee what an infeparable connexion there is between true religion and your employments and flate in this prefent world. They have a mutual, ftrong, and constant influence upon one another. It is a fatal, though a common error to feparate them; entirely to confine religion to the times and places of immediate worship, and suppose that it hath nothing to do with the maxims of trade and commerce, or other worldly callings. On the contrary, your impreffions of things fpiritual and eternal, will direct and regulate your views as to the prefent life; and your fuccefs or misfortunes in worldly fchemes, will have a certain and visible effect upon your Chriftian converfation, and the ftate of your fouls. Therefore, let them never be feparated in your own views, and let them ftill be kept in their proper
order and fubordination. Though the light and trivial ufe, not only of the name of God, but of fcripture-language, is both finful and dangerous; and though a forward oftentatious piety may fometimes look fufpicious, yet it were to be wished we had more of a grave and habitual acknowledgment of God in all our ways. This was the language of the Patriarchs of old. In one of the former difcourfes upon this fubject, I took notice of Jacob's prayer, when he fet out for Padan-aram. See after the increase of his family, how he expreffes himself in answer to his brother Efau. "And he lift up his eyes and faw "the women and children, and faid, who are those with "thee? And he faid the children which God hath graci"oufly given thy fervant." See alfo the apoftolical direction for the manner of projecting our future purposes."Go to now, ye that say to-day, or to-morrow, we will go "into fuch a city, and continue there a year, and buy "and fell, and get gain."
4. In the last place, let me befeech, in the tenderest manner, every one of you, rich and poor, to remember an approaching eternity. It will not be long till the honorable, and defpifed, the wealthy and the needy, the mafter and the fervant, shall lie down in the duft. Lay hold of that covenant of peace which is ordered in all things and fure. Hear a great and conftant truth. "What is a "man profited, though he fhould gain the whole world "and lofe his own foul, or what fhall a man give in ex"change for his foul?" How many a Lazarus is now in Abraham's bofom; and how many a rich man, that once lived delicately on earth, is at this moment tormented in hell-fire! The gofpel of peace is now preached in your ears. Believe in the name of the Lord Jefus Chrift, and ye fhall be faved. I cannot promife that you fhall be rich, but all things neceffary are affured to you by the divine promife; food and raiment, fupport under trials, ftrength for duty, and in the world to come, everlafting reft.
ON THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.
Preached in the Old Presbyterian Church in New-York, to a very numerous audience, on the evening of the fecond Sabbath in May, 1789.
MARK X. 13, 14, 15, 16.
And they brought young children unto him, that he should touch them, and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily Isay unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and
HERE are few things in which perfons of reflection, in general, and especially those who fear God, are more agreed, than the importance of the rifing generation; or, which is the true meaning of that expreffion, the importance of the inftruction and government of youth.
This is a fubject of great extent, and may also be taken up in a great variety of lights, I am one of those who think that it may, as well as many others, be, with much advantage, confidered doctrinally; and that a clear view of divine truth upon every fubject, will have the most powerful and happy influence, not only in directing our fen. timents, but in governing our practice.