« PreviousContinue »
"all my counsel and would none of my reproof: I also will "laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear cometh; "when your fear cometh as defolation, and your destruction " as a whirlwind, then shall they call upon me, but I will not *anfwer; they will feek me early but they fhall not find me." To avoid these awful calamities, I befeech you by all that is facred, by the happiness of heaven and the torments of the damned, that you would hearken to "Wisdom crying without, "uttering her voice in the streets; turn ye at my reproof; "behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make "known my words unto you. Hear and your fouls fhall "live." My dear youth, I leave you to God, and your own ferious thoughts.
Sober mindednefs warmly recommended to thofe who are Young.
Tit. ii. 6. Young men likewife exhort to be fober minded.
VARIOUS and extenfive are the duties incumbent upon the minifters of the gospel. So numerous, important, and folemn, that the apostle after a review and confideration of them, exclaims, "Who is fufficient for these things?" They are to teach the whole counfel of God; every doctrine, duty and virtue contained in the fcriptures. They are with propriety to address every rank, from the highest dignity of honor to the lowest grade of mankind. From those who sway sceptres and fit on thrones, down to the poor and those who fit on dunghills; all these various degrees are to be instructed by them. How much need have they of all kinds of learning and wisdom, common and uncommon, to enable them to adapt their inftruction to an infinity of cafes. St. Paul taught people of every clafs, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, ministers and people, fervants and children. He inftructed min. ifters how and to whom they should preach. He gave directions
and counfels to Timothy and Titus relative to things of the highest importance. He fometimes prefcribes to them the fubjects on which they should preach, and mentions the various claffes of mankind to which they were to address them. felves, and how their exhortations ought to be ordered. this chapter Titus is counfelled to preach the duties incumbent on every age and fex. He must teach aged men how they ought to conduct: "fo that their hoary head being found in "the way of righteousness might be a crown of glory to them." The aged women also he was to instruct," that they may be "in behaviour as becometh holinefs. That the young women "should be fober, discreet, chafte, keepers at home, good, &c. Young men likewife, exhort to be fober minded." Thus ministers should be particular in their preaching. That by touching every ones cafe, they may affect the confciences of all. They must give to every one his portion in due feason. Alas, how few are disposed to take their portion, and how ready are we to make application to others of that which we ought to take to ourselves?
The young perfons to whom Titus is to addrefs himself, he is to exhort. This word implies inftruction, direction and perfuafion. In order to exhort any person to the performance of his duty, he must be first taught the nature, use and advantages of it; in the next place he must be directed how to comply therewith and reduce the instruction to practice; then persuasion, commonly called exhortation, is neceffary-in which motives and confiderations are used, with the tendereft application to the paffions, to influence and induce perfons to yield. a willing obedience. Here the benefits and bleffings of compliance with duty, and the dangers of non-compliance are to be urged and preffed upon the confcience by every argument.
The exhortation is here directed to those who are young, and the duty to which they are to give their attention is to be foher minded. The whole duty incumbent upon youth is compre
hended in this fingle phrafe. And no doubt infinite wifdom felected this term, as the reverse of it is too incident to the young, to wit, levity, vanity, folly and inconfideration. And I hope, my dear young friends, you will fuffer this exhortation to be preffed upon you with all earneftnefs, as it is the counfel of an inspired apoftle, yea, of God your Maker himself. And according to your conformity to it or otherwife, you will be finally judged and fo faved or loft to all eternity. The whole of this fubject will be confined to these two things,
First, the explanation of sober mindedness.
Secondly, to lay before the younger part of my audience, fome of the innumerable motives which fhould them to be fober minded.
None who are acquainted with the nature and conduct of youth, and the state of the world in general, can deem fuch a fubject either unfeasonable or impertinent.
First your attention is invited to the explanation of fober mindedness, to which the young are exhorted.
First it may be obferved, that this phrafe imports a found mind, and thus it is rendered in another epistle. "For God "hath not given us the fpirit of fear, but of power, of love, and "of a found mind.” A found mind is opposed to one that is difordered and corrupted; and this is unhappily the cafe of every mind by nature. We are born unholy and unclean, vitiated and depraved. "We were fhapen in fin and brought "forth in iniquity. God made man upright but he hath "fought out many inventions." By reafon of our apoftacy our minds are become the abodes of darkness, confufion and diforder. Those powers which were first formed for subjection have ufurped the government in the foul; the inferior paffionsand fenfitive appetites now rule over the fuperior faculties of
reafon and understanding. Reason, which was formed to go. vern and direct in the human mind, is ejected from its throne; the understanding is overwhelmed in clouds of darkness; and the lower propenfities and affections bear fway and triumph; hence all is anarchy and derangement in the foul. In order to become of a found mind, these maladies must be healed, and these disorders must be rectified. And this is done by regeneration, repentance and faith; by a restoration of the loft image of God; of divine love and holiness. Hereby the mind becomes found, and thus persons are formed to be fober minded.
Secondly, it implies in it confideration and thoughtfulness. The heart is naturally full of vain, foreign and impertinent thoughts. When, my young friends, will you command home your roving minds, and begin to think foberly and seriously as you ought to think? When will you turn your minds to matters of infinite moment ?-to think with anxious folicitude about the concerns of your everlasting peace? "Thus faith "the Lord of hofts, confider your ways." Enter into your hearts and lives, and confider whether they are right with God according to the Gofpel. Confider for what your capacities were created; for the fervice of your generation, for usefulness in the world, for the enjoyment of God and happiness forever. Confider whether it be not full time for the youngest of you to meditate upon the defign of your creation, and reflect how you have lived and what you have been doing. Your paffed years are gone as a tale that is told. Surely the feafon is come, that the youngest of you should awake from your flumbers of folly, and turn from your excurfions in the fields of delufion, and begin to exercife your thoughts upon religion and the falvation of your fouls. When the apostle iffues forth this admonition to youth, that they fhould be fober minded, it is the fame thing as to exhort them to be religious. And O that God would imprefs the counfels upon your hearts, in fuch a manner, that you would not allow yourselves peace, nor indulge your eyes in fleep, nor your eyelids in flumber,