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that you cannot fin and be wicked at fo cheap a rate as the children of ungodly men. have been train'd up in knowledge, and taught the good ways of the Lord, while they have been brought up in grofs ignorance; you have had good examples fet before you, while they have had very bad ones; I am perfuaded that you feel many checks of confcience which others do not, and I don't much doubt, but the good Spirit of God has been striving with you, and awakening fome early convictions in your minds; certainly, you must be dreadfully harden'd indeed, if you can be easy in fin, and live in the neglect of God and his fervice. Befides all this, you have many advantages for religion which others have not; how many prayers of your godly parents are now, as it were, on the file for you! many fervent and faithful prayers which they have put up for your fouls, and for converting grace for you! you may go to God, and plead with him, his covenant with your parents, for you are not the children of ftrangers; you can call him your father's God; well, and will you not chufe him for your God too, and refolve to ferve him as your good parents have done before you? your own friend, and your father's friend forfake not. would not trefpafs too much on your time, and therefore I fhall haften to a clofe; only let me leave with you these two or three directions with respect to this matter. 'If yoû
are, indeed, willing to make this happy choice and refolution which Joshua did, then
1.) Make it now. Chufe you this day whom you will ferve. Now while you are young is, in many refpects, your chufing time,.. and it is the fittest time of all to fet out for heaven. Some of you, it may be, are now chufing your employments in life: others, perhaps, are now chufing their companions for life: but here is a greater and more important choice which you fhould make first of all, and that is, what God you will ferve in life, and what portion you will have for ever. Now is the properest time for this choice, before you are entangled in the affairs of this world; and perhaps, it may be the only time. you are reckoning, I know, on many years to come; but it is very poffible that you may be mistaken in your account, and these many years may not prove fo many days, nor hours: or fhould 'life be prolong'd, yet hereafter grace may be withdrawn and witholden from you, and then you will be loft beyond all remedy. It is certain that inftances of old converts are very rare. The fcripture speaks of it as a fort of impoffible thing; or however, fuch a miracle of grace as is very seldom wrought, for an old finner to become a new man, Jer. xiii. 23. Can the ethiopian change, bis fkin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye alfo do good who are accustomed to do evil. Now is your time therefore to chufe your
God, and make fure of heaven: if you would live comfortably, and die fafely, and be happy for ever, chufe you this day whom you will ferve.
2.) If you chufe to serve the Lord, chuse thofe for your companions in life who will ferve him with you. Shun the company of wicked perfons, as much as may be, and let those be your companions here, with whom you would wish to live hereafter, and for ever. Gather not my foul with finners, nor my life with bloody men, fays David, Pfalm xxvi. 9. It was well added by a good man, when he made that prayer his own, for I ne ver loved their company.
3.) Refolve and endeavour with Joshua, in our text, that both you and your houses will ferve the Lord. If God brings you into new family relations, you should endeavour that all in your families may be related to God. Set out with this fixed refolution, that your families fhall be religious families, and your houfes fhall be Bethels, i. e. houfes of God, where his worship fhall be duly and daily per formed in the family, as well as in the closet. In order to this, the choice of the nearest relation is of great moment: look to it, in the very firft place, that you chufe fuch a one as will join with you in ferving the Lord; for without this, there can be but little prospect of religion in your families: befides, how uncomfortable will it be for you to be joined
with one for life, who will draw against you in the way to heaven? but when both the heads of a family make this refolution together with one heart, that they and their house will ferve the Lord, then the work goes on with ease and pleasure: as in other bufinefs, fo in religion, fociety and mutualencouragement will greatly facilitate the work, and promote the good fuccefs of it. Then may you hope for a bleffing on your houfes, for a bleffing on your fubftance, and for a bleffing on your fouls. May the Lord blefs you every one, and make you holy and happy from this time forth and for ever.
Early piety, peculiarly acceptable.
JEREMIAH ii. 2.
Thus faith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine efpoufals when thou wenteft after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not Jown.
HESE words were a meffage from God to the Jews, in which he upbraids them with their defection from him, after all the kindness which he had fhew'd them, and after their former expreffions of love and duty to him. The time which they refer back to, is plainly pointed out in the laft clause of the verfe; it was, when God led them through the wilderness, in their journey from Egypt to Canaan, and went before them in those visible tokens of prefence, a cloud and a fiery pillar: when he fed them by miracles for fourty years together, in a barren and de