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same solemn recess, and again converse with our Maker. Thus, a sense of the Divine presence becomes the habitual and controlling state of our minds.
Thus aided, thus cultivated, the good man learns to find God in all places, and in all things. This great Being becomes present to him in every enjoyment which he shares; in every affliction which he suffers ; in every hope which he indulges; and in every advancement which he makes in the Christian life. To the eye of such a man JEHOVAH is present, lives, and acts in all the works of his hands. His smile is the beauty of the spring; his breath its fragrance. His hand pours out the riches of the summer, and the bounty of autumn. The thunder is his voice: lightnings are his arrows. He makes the clouds his chariot; he rides upon the whirlwind. The earth is his footstool : the heavens are his throne. In the sun, the brightest material image of his exaltation, immutability, and glory, he gives light, and life, and comfort, to the unnumbered millions of animated creatures; and holds out to the eye of the mind a magnificent symbol of heaven's everlasting day. Thus, everywhere, he lives, controls, and smiles in all the works of his hands.
In his word he is seen in divine forms. There his goodness and mercy beam with a mild and soft, but immeasurable glory, in the face of the Redeemer. There his voice is heard in the awful threatenings of his law, and the delightful promises of his gospel. There he shines, a moral Sun, into the soul ; and awakens in it the life, which shall never die. Animated, comforted, invigorated with hope and joy, the Christian draws nearer and nearer to God, and beholds him in clearer and brighter views until his soul, entering the regions of eternal rest, opens its eyes upon the glories of heaven, and is admitted to behold his face in righteousness for ever and ever. Amen.
THE YOUNG EXHORTED TO SOBRIETY OF MIND.
TITUS 11. 6.
“ Young men, likewise, exhort to be sober minded.”
In the first verse of this chapter, Titus is directed by St. Paul to speak while performing the duties of his ministry, the things which become sound doctrine. Of such things there is given in the following verses, a catalogue distributed into several divisions, and directed to several classes of mankind. The duties of the aged, and of the young, are summarily pointed out, as are also the obligations of Titus to enforce them by his own authoritative injunctions.
The particular character which he is required to urge upon young men, is sobriety of mind.
The original word owpgoveīv, denotes in its primitive sense, soundness of mind, in opposition to madness, or distraction. In this manner, it is extensively used by Greek classical writers, as the proper contrast to rãivsodas, which signifies to be mad or delirious; and to this sense we are directed by the original words, of which the term is compounded.
But as soundness of mind thus understood, and madness are not at all dependent on our moral efforts, they cannot be the subjects of commands or exhortations. The word owpgovciv therefore, is here undoubtedly used figuratively: the only manner in which, so far as I have observed, it is ever used in the Scriptures.
In selecting this passage of Scripture as the theme of di3course, it is my design,
I. To inquire what is meant by being sober-minded.
II. To suggest some reasons for the adoption of this character by the youths who are before me.
I. I shall inquire what is meant by being sober-minded.
First place, Sobriety of mind denotes that habitual state in which we are prone to estimate things according to their real value.
The members of the Corinthian church were very desirous of those miraculous gifts, which, during the apostolic age, so much engrossed the attention, and awakened the astonishment of mankind. Particularly, they coveted the gift of speaking with tongues, because it engaged this attention, and produced this astonishment in a peculiar degree, and rendered those who possessed it objects of distinguished admiration and applause. Yet St. Paul solemnly declares to these Christians, that he would rather speak five words in the church with his understanding, than two thousand words in an unknown tongue. What was the ground of this decision ? St. Paul himself has told us. “In the church,” he says, “ I would rather speak five “ words with my understanding, that by my voice I might “ teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown “ tongue;" as it is rendered by Dr. MacKnight, I would rather speak five words with my meaning understood, that I might instruct others also. Nothing could with more force teach us, that St. Paul, under the direction of the Spirit of God, felt himself bound to estimate every thing, whether natural, supernatural, or moral, according to its utility; or, in other words, according to its real value.
To this complete decision of the Scriptures, common sense joins her strongest attestation. No man is ever pronounced wise by the dispassionate voice of his fellow-men, who does not estimate things in this manner, and who does not regularly prove by his conduct that this is his habitual mode of judging
I will illustrate the subject by examples.
The value of business, that is, of such as is honest and useful, is incomparably greater than that of amusements, or what is appropriately styled pleasure. Business, wisely followed, procures for us property, knowledge, the capacity of being useful to ourselves and others, reputation, comfort, and many other blessings. Amusements procure none of these blessings, but either prevent or destroy them all; and have no other value, even when innocent, and confined within rational bounds, except as they yield us a trifling degree of enjoyment, or as they invigorate us for future business. When they are immoderate, or in their nature sinful, they are only pernicious.
Still we find a multitude of youths, and among them many of those who are present, consider their amusements as of very great value, and their business as of very little. The appropriate business of these youths is the acquisition of knowledge, of knowledge highly valuable in itself, and invaluable as the means of future usefulness to themselves and others. This preference does not spring from sobriety of mind. It does not accord with the dictates of a sound uncorrupted understanding. It is hostile to the true interests of the man, by whom it is made, and has cut off thousands and millions of youths from knowledge, property, reputation, comfort, and hope ; and plunged them in disgrace, beggary and ruin. Surely such a mode of estimating things is not the result of soundness of mind. The judgment here exercised is that of a mind whose faculties are disordered, whose optics are bedimmed, whose vision is disturbed or obscured.
The preparation for business, and all the means of accomplishing it being indispensable to its existence, have exactly the same value. Study is the preparation for knowledge, and knowledge is the indispensable means of useful business to the youths in this assembly. To prefer amusement to study, is a proof that the mind is disordered, which is exactly of the same nature. Not indeed, that it is disordered by that kind of delirium in which the violent passions predominate, and the miserable subject of it is tossed by wrath, revenge, and fury; but of
the kind which is gay and sportive, engrossed by trifles and gewgaws, and blown about by a spirit of frivolity. Happy would it be for mankind, if this species of madness were never found without the walls of bedlam. Happy would it probably be for some of those who are before me, if it were not found within the walls of this seminary.
Eternal things are of more value than temporal things. The soul is more valuable than the body, as an immortal being capable of endless knowledge, virtue, and enjoyment, is of more value than a mass of clay. Heaven is better than this miserable world. The sufferings of perdition are more numerous and more distressing than any which are undergone by piety, in its struggles to secure the everlasting love of God. Eternity is more enduring than time; and our future being, for all these reasons, of higher importance than our present existence. To realize these truths, according to their solemnity and importance, is in this respect to have a sober mind. But to prefer this world to that which is to come, and our present enjoyments to those which are future; or to esteem the sufferings of this life of more consequence than those which lie beyond the grave, is the strongest proof which can be given of a mind unsound, possessing a perverted judgment, deciding without evidence, or in opposition to it, and bewildered by false lights and a diseased vision.
The performance of our duty is the true preparation for eternal life, and the indispensable means of obtaining it. Its value therefore to us is the same as that of the life itself. Yet how many of those who are before me in all probability prefer to the performance of their own duty what they and others like them call pleasure,-a thing which hitherto, instead of doing them any real good, has only done them harm,-a poison swallowed, because it has been sugared. How unsound, how remote from sobriety will this preference seem when we enter the world of spirits.
Second, Sobriety of mind includes an exact and habitual control of our affections, particularly of those which are customarily denominated passions and appetites.
AN persons who have arrived at adult years, and have ob