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with such youngsters as you." The rich | as the dogmas of religion. Little is it drearot and the poor, the ignorant and the learned, that even in the bosom of a child, untouched the intellectual and the sensual, the polite | by Divine grace, there is a battle-field in and the uncouth-all, as occasion served, which he wars with his Maker, that his have levelled their scorn at the juvenile strongest desires are naturally on the side professor. But not they only. Some from of evil, that God he loves not. All this is whom other and better things might have | conveniently forgotten, or stoutly denied. been expected—some who have declared Hence, when evidence appears of “ a NEW themselves to be “ God's own children” | heart" being given, the mystery is solved -have often branded as an impertinence a at once by attributing it to the influence of religious youth. Of those who are ready parental authority, or preceptoral drilling, to despise you, my young friend, there is or priestly whining, on the ingenuous canno lack, if your conduct or your spirit only dour, tender susceptibilities, and pliable “ let" them.
nature of the youth. It is said to be a BUT HOW CAN THIS PROPEKSITY TO clever piece of work, but very contemptible DESPISE A YOUTHFUL PROFESSION OF after all just what might be expected from PIETY BE ACCOUNTED FOR? In some taking undue advantage of life's morning. measure by the aversion of the human heart Hence, all eyes are eager and strained to to all manner of religion. It has no catch a cloud or speck on its sky, that shall sympathy with its truths, because none at once fulfil the saying, “Young saints with its Author. “The carnal mind is make old sinners," and justify the young enmity against God;" and were it not professor being “ despised." that by some perverse imagining, it can Some passages in the history of youthful look on the heavens, which are bright with profession may account for the contemptuou His glory, and on the earth, which is full of tone in which it is occasionally alluded to. His praise, as the happy result of “the While the majority of instances prove that course of nature," it would strike at the “remembering the Creator in the days of Creator himself, through the works of his youth" issues in a finely-matured and bands. Against “the Book," which He noble piety, cases not a few are on record “has magnified above all his name," it where a profession of religion in early life rises in rebellion. The more any other has been assumed either while there was no volume resembles it, the more is it disliked; experience of its reality, or while the haland when any one ventures to avow his de lowed duties it enjoins were misunderstood termination to embody in his conduct doc or neglected. The consequence has been a trines that sound so strangely, and princi spiritual character of a dwarfisb kind, ples that look so austere, the keener is the stunted, unequal, and even absurd in many alert cordially to “ despise” him.
of its phases. Such youthful professors have The reflection which the youthful pro | opened the mouths of the Lord's enemies fessor virtually casts on the worldling tends to blaspheme. With no ordinary gusto to kindle his contempt. The former takes has the shout been raised, “See them! a position where he appears as “a shining they are walking contradictions! They promark,” inviting an arrow. Hence, an arrow fess 'one way,' and live another! They flies. It is barbed with indignation, that laud their religion to the skies with their what are called the principles of the world lips, and crucify it in their lives! They say should be stigmatized, its maxims abjured, | this, but they mean that!” Soon, there its joys frowned upon, its friends shunned, fore, as they hear of a young person deci its smiles suspected, and all its professions ding for God, they recall illustrations of pronounced only the disguise of the prince the shipwrecks of faith they have seen of darkness as an angel of light. The strewed on the strand of Christendom, and, avowal of piety is deemed by the unrenewed curling the lip of scorn, tell him, “We here man as a libel on him, and on all he is. He bebeld your like more than once. Fine winces under it. "It is a hard saying," he figures they cut! It sickens us at all reli. exclaims; and with an almost withering | gion when we remember what we have look he asks, “ Who can bear it?” while tlie witnessed, and our first feeling is to despise silence that ensues feeds his contempt. the youth who has anything to do with it."
So does the estimate he has formed of IS IT POSSIBLE, WE ASK, TO MAKE AND the pliableness of youth. It is supposed that I TO MAINTAIN SUCH A YOUTHFUL PROFES* the flexibility of juvenile human nature ren. SION OF PIETY AS SHALL NOT, AS CANNOT ders it an easy prey to wbat are denounced | BE DESPISED? Sucb a possibility is beyond
a doubt. This is apparent from the lan- | The governor of Egypt was a youth whose guage of Paul. He never enjoined what adoration of Deity identified him with a was impracticable; and he would not have conquest nobler far than any Alexander said to Timothy, “Let no man despise thy ever achieved : for “ he that ruleth his youth," if it had not been in his young spirit is better than he that taketh a city." friend's power to present such an illustra- | One of tbe most distinguished prophets and tion of religion, and such an every-day one of the most renowned judges in Israel view of its grandeur, as should ward of de was he who had “ministered before the served contempt. He knew that, young Lord, being a child." A reformation in though he was, such was the ineffable Judah--memorable for the blessings that adaptation of the truths of the Gospel to followed in its train-was effected by a his juvenile years, that he might so concen. youth, who, having, from his sixteenth year, trate their variegated beauty in his life, as if not before, done that " which was right to become an orb of moral glory—“an in the sigbt of the Lord,” held on his way, example" to others="in word, in conversa. until, falling in battle, his memory was betion, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity,” | dewed by a nation's tears. Has any courtier an example that believers would admire, of any age or kingdom risen to a loftier and of which even unbelievers would say, eminence than the young man whose "The system that has formed such a young “ excellent spirit,” consummate prudence, man is, must be, divine.”
and sublime piety, rendered his “name The possibility of such a course seems familiar” among the angels "as a household implied in the special promises made to word,” because a “ man greatly beloved”? youthful piety. To none is the Bible When did the Saviour, who had taken his fraught with richer encouragement than to seat on “the right hand of the Majesty in the those who are starting on life's journey Leavens," leave that seat, and stand looking setting sail as young mariners for the skies down with unutterable interest on earth? --and who, though in tender age, are Just when a youth, whose countenance an buckling on the armour to fight the battles enraged court had seen “as if it had been of the Lord. The pages both of the Old the face of an angel," was about to prove Testament and of the New team with that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed golden promises to enrich their hearts, ani of the Church.” Not only do these Scripture mate their courage, stimulate and sustain worthies, but others whose names are entheir zeal. Their position is described as rolled in Christian biography, clearly proye comprising the very quintessence of that that an early profession of piety may so after which the human spirit pants: “It is impress all beholders that none shall“ be GOOD for a man to bear the yoke in his able to gainsay or resist it.” youth.” They are spoken of as the hope But now may youthful piety be shielded of the Church:“Instead of the fathers shall from contempt? How, my young Chrisbe the children”; and as if God Himself re tian friend, must you be distinguished if joiced in the advance of these juvenile dis you would "let no man despise your coverers of his glory, he says, " I love them youth"? that love me, and those that seek me early Resolve that there shall be an obvious BHALL FIND ME." Why such depth of correspondence between your practice and Divine interest in those on whose brow the your profession. Let the relation of the dew of youth still sparkles ? One reason, one to the other be so apparent, that no no doubt, is, that the proofs they can afford caviller shall have reason to ask, “ What of the power of godliness are capable of has this to do with that?" Let your conbeing invested with a sublimity and a bril- duct and your creed be so akin, that perliance unequalled in any other sphere, sons will require only to see what you are, riveting the gaze of the moral universe as in order to ascertain what you profess to their youthful locks are transmuted into a " be. In the closet and in the family, in the diadem angels might seek to wear, for is | Church and in the world, in trial and in not“ a hoary head, when found in the way triumph, let your deportment be so vocal of righteousness, a crown of glory"?
with the music, and so radiant with the Besides, the possibility of which we speak glory, of " pure and undefiled religion," hus, in many instances, been found a cer that not only will no man be able to “ detainty. The first who entered heaven was spise your youth," but all men will be com
who, when on earth, caused an ungodly pelled to join in the eulogy, “ We shall not brother to feel " how awful goodness is." | find any occasion against this young man, except we find it against him concerning vestigate; bid it not pronounce where it the law of his God.”
should only adore. “Every one," said the · Let your mental sobriety be apparent. I Divine Instructor, “ that is of the truth “Exhort young men to be sober-minded,” heareth my voice.” Let that voice be ever is advice replete with meaning. Illustrate | ringing in your ears, and the result will be it by avoiding extremes. Guard against such a combination of sublime simplicity sanctimoniousness on the one hand, and and noble intelligence as shall “ let no man ! levity on the other. Some young people despise your youth.” give the impression that there cannot be Be distinguished by moral heroism. . piety unless accompanied with a sorrowful You “ wrestle against flesh and blood." I countenance and a dolorous whine; they Some of your former companions will love represent it as a power which is to crucify to taunt and to vex you. Be not perturbad not only “ youthful lusts,” but some of by their banter. They indulge in it that the finest emotions of our nature. This is they may test you. They hope to render to render religion despicable; but there are you cross, and then they will seize on your others who live as if it necessarily made failure, in temper or in conduct, as a salvo them buffoons, wherever they go, and in to conscience for their own irreligion. But whatever they engage. “ The foolish talk," if they see you “quit yourself like a man." ; and “the jesting which is not convenient," “standing fast,” attired in the panopls of Li are the version they give of piety. This, invincible attachment to truth, quivering not 1too, is to render it contemptible. Shun before the frowns of fellow-worms, “strong 1-both these caricatures of the Christian pro in the grace that is in Christ Jesus," they fession. Be serious, but let it be the se will slowly, but surely, cease their efforts, riousness of a soul at peace with God, walk retire with fallen crest, and ingenuously ing in the light of his countenance, re acknowledge that piety, with all its beauti? joicing alway in his favour. Be cheerful, ful sensibility, has giant strength. “The but let it be the gladness of one who has glory of young men is their strength." “ meat to eat which the world knows not But you hire to contend with mightier of," of one whose present life takes its com foes than any the world can muster. Its plexion from that which is to come. Prove “ god” will marshal all his hosts. Satsa that none are so truly awake to all that is and his angels are ready to assail you; but solemn and all that is blissful. Then shall take to yourself “ the whole armour," “ no man despise thy youth."
which “ the Captain of your salvation": Attend to intellectual culture. Some supplies. Then will you“ stand in the professors libel religion by the indifference eril day.” “ Having done all, you will they show to their mental nature, to dis stand;" and, when the engagement closes, ciplining its faculties, to filling its treasury recognised by earth and bell as “ more with knowledge. Act not like them. than a conqueror through Him who has Worthily appreciate the powers of think loved you," neither “ man” por demon ing, comparing, judging, deciding, imagin- | shall « despise your youth.” ing, God has given you, and exercise them Be also characterised by social pro." on worthy themes. Become as familiar as priety. “If sinners entice thee, consent 3 your opportunities will allow with the an thou not.” Let your companions be tbose nals of history, with the range of the that fear God's name. Show, by your love i sciences, with the founts of literature, with for their society, your estimate of them si: the beauties of art. Be it a maxim with “ the excellent of the earth.” Let your in• , you that you cannot know too much; but tercourse in all the spheres in which you see to it, while thus diligent in the husband move be at once modest and firm. "Be ing of your time, that you are distinguished not wise in thine own conceit." Imitate by what has ever characterised the pro not some youths, who because they have foundest and the noblest minds—humility. “rights” as unquestionably as older men, Attempt not to solve mysteries which Ga never open their lips in affirming these briel's intellect cannot fathom. Employ rights, but in censorious tone, in carping your reason, but only in provinces where language, and with defiant air, as if by the Creator intended it should be exer. their manner they would overpower those cised. Put it not to work for which it was whom they address, and as if they imagined never given, and which it can never execute; they never looked more graceful than when bid it not teach where it should only learn ; 1 in fencing attitude they exclaim, “ I will bid it not decide where it should only in- ! fight.” Be manly, but bland; be fearless,
but urbane; be courageous, but lovely. I will be changed into the same image from Right principles are never so mighty as glory to glory.” Men“ will take knowwhen throbbing with the pulse of a loving ledge of you,” with whom you have been, nature. “ He that winneth souls is wise." " whose you are," " whom you serve." Be this your motto; then shall “ no man Not only will you thus be happy but usedespise your youth.”
ful, and though not “ Bearer of the sword," In a word, SEEK TO BE LIKE OUR LORD. yet, in the highest sense, you will be Let Him be your model. “Learn of Him.” « DEFENDER OF THE FAITH." “Beholding as in a glass his glory, you !
HOW CAN I LIMIT MY PASTOR'S USEFULNESS ? Much every way, but chiefly,
1. By neglecting his ministry, This will grieve and depress him, and fill his mind with the most torturing anxiety whenever he appears in public. Every. body around you will also see that in your opinion he is not worth hearing, Moreover, it will effectually lessen in their estimation the value of the public ministry, and the importance of attending the worship of God. For how can the Sabbath-breaker and the ungodly of any class attach importance to these, when they see you, who profess to “ love the habitation of God's house, and the place where his honour dwelleth," practically disregarding them? Be assured that you cannot more effectually keep others from hearing your pastor than by neglecting his ministry yourself.
2. Do not pray for him. He may request it a thousand times as the most precious influence you can throw around him; but never give it. Should you occasionally engage in the social circle of your brethren, be sure that they never hear from your prayer that you are interested in the success of his ministry. If you gather your family around you, forget him, lest your children or domestics should incidentally discover that you feel for him. Do not carry his wants, with deep and intense earnestness, before God in the closet. No; withhold all these, and you will accomplish your object. Deprive him of the prayers which his office claims, and you will paralyze his right arm, and deprive him of success.
3. Never speak well of him. Not only never admire or commend him in the presence of others, as one who should be loved for his work's sake, but be sure you play the great man! If occasionally you hear him, be the critic for the remainder of the day. Analyse the whole sermon. If a figure was not quite appropriate, spare it not. If an action was not classical, condemn his want of taste. If any error in language is discovered, expatiate upon his ignorance; and should a sentence be badly constructed, dissect it with great glee. This will effectually serve your purpose. It will eradicate from the minds of your family any feeling of respect for your pastor. Nay, it will do more ; for as you will no doubt exercise your power on other occasions, so a greater number will see, that a profession of religion is only hypocrisy, and that attendance upon the service of God is only for amusement, rather than the solid advancement of the mind in holiness and piety. I will only add,
4. Let your example in daily life be a full refutation of his ministry. Always stand in contrast with the truth he preaches. Never let it be seen in the circle in which you move that it exerts any influence upon you. If he urges you to be heavenly-minded, spiritual, holy, then be as worldly as possible. If he cautions you against the world, rush into it headlong. If he inculcates the spirit of love, and advises you to be clothed with humility, be sure and assume all the airs and pride of the worldling. Whatever he may commend from God's word, admit it, but never practise it. Be satisfied with the form, but never exhibit the power, the reality of religion. Do this, and you are sure of success. He cannot stand before it. He will be weak as an infant in your presence, and the might of your principles will be seen in leaving him powerless for good.
Reader! you will understand us. The success of the pastor, under God, is dependent upon the Church. Its responsibilities are grave, its iniquities are fearful. Long and loud has been the cry about the ministry, and the condition of the Church. We think the former is paralyzed by the latter. Let the Church awake. But the Church will only awake as individuals awake; and it becomes us therefore individually to ask, How far have we limited the success of the ministry! Dear reader, is this your condition? Do you frequently neglect the ministry? Do you never pray with earnestness and faith for your pastor? Are you ever captiously finding fault with his ministry, and lowering him in public estimation? Are you living inconsistently with the high profession you have made ? If so, you have been hindering the Gospel of Christ, and limiting the usefulness of your pastor. The blood of souls is in the skirts of your garment, and God is angry with you. Form immediately the holy purpose, in everything to sustain the ministry, and a new era, we believe, will dawn upon and bless the Church of Christ !
HYMN BY DR. RYLAND,
Blest is the man, O Christ,
Who's grafted into thee!
A fruitful bough shall be.
May I on thee depend !
And constantly defend.
It is in thee I'd dwell ;
Thou everlasting Well.
Which never can be dry,
My blooming branch on high.
That wall which none can scale,
My foes shall ne'er prevail.
Bend their infernal bow,
Their arrows fly too low.
Though oft they grieve me sore;
They shall not hurt me more.
I'll never, never yield;
And I shall win the field. 1774.