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and woe. God, whom we thus teach them to forget, will not “ remember them in the day, when he maketh up his jewels." In that day, how deplorable will be the sight of parents who have thus ruined their children, and children thus ruined by their parents, going down together without consolation, and without hope, to one common perdition.
2dly. Another cause, which very extensively prevents the performance of this duty, is Evil Company.
After having discoursed so lately, and so extensively, upon this subject, it would be tedious, as well as unnecessary, particularly to consider it at the present time. I shall dimiss it, therefore, with a few, brief observations.
Evil companions are found every where; are always at hand; and are always at leisure for sin. At the same time, they love company in iniquity. Nay, it is absolutely necessary to their comfortable existence. Solitude renders them wretched : for it obliges them to look into their own hearts, and to read over those dark and dismal records of their lives, which Memory has written down, and which at times she opens to the terrified eye of the shrinking culprit. Such company, therefore, they seek with anxious diligence, allure with every persuasive, and seduce with every art. These companions root out every good, and implant every evil, principle ; laugh and mock at every serious thought, and thing ; recommend by argument, exhortation, and exam. ple, every wicked practice ; ensnare the soul, before its apprehensions are awake ; and harden the heart beyond the power every virtuous motive. The haunt, where they assemble, is the way to hell ; going down to the chambers of death.
But the performance of this duty is not always prevented by others. Those, who finally forget God, often owe this ruinous sin chiefly to themselves. Indeed, they always owe much of it to themselves; for, were they faithful to themselves, it would be beyond the power of others to accomplish their ruin. Many causes of this class have a powerful efficacy to prevent the mind from remembering its Creator. I observe, therefore,
3dly. That Profaneness is another powerful cause of this evil.
Profaneness, beyond almost any thing else, hardens the soul against reverence towards God, and the recollection of his character. When that glorious and fearful name, the LORD our God, has been frequently profaned by us; we acquire, of course, a habit of thinking concerning this great and awful Being with impious familiarity, and gross irreverence. All just and becoming ideas concerning his solemn and tremendous character we exclude from our minds. All loose and monstrous ones we admit, and cherish. From the infinite height, at which he sits enthroned above all beings, we bring him down to our own level; and easily realize, that he is altogether such an one as ourselves. In this manner we think of him so habitually, and so long, that we forget to think of him in any other manner. God thus becomes, when we think of him at all, an object of sport, and a butt of insult; and is summoned into our thoughts only to be treated with abuse, and contempt. No profane person remembers his Creator according to the meaning of the text. No profane person can remember his Creator. No profane person will ever perform this duty, until his own character is radically chang. ed; and this black and dreadful stain is washed out of his soul.
4thly. Another cause of this evil, is Licentiousness of thought, and conversation.
It is but too natural for the mind of man to indulge a licentious imagination ; to roam in thought after the objects, by which it is gratified ; to recollect the scenes, in which desires of this nature have been let loose ; and to paint to itself imaginary scenes, still more sensual and voluptuous. In this manner it is employed, like an idiot, entering a city infected with the plague, and wandering from house to house, to hunt after contagion.
Such a mind, however, is never satisfied with mere thought. It betakes itself, of course, to the company of others, who love the same employment. Here the children of perdition mutually communicate their thoughts in obscene and pestilential conversation. Here they become mutually infected, tainted, and putrid, with a moral plague. Here, every principle from which moral life might
spring, sickens, and dies. Reproof, instruction, alarms, promises, and all other means of religious impression, addressed to such a mind, are addressed to the dead.
Even this is not felt to be sufficient. To pamper this rank disposition still more, it wanders after obscene books, and obscene pictures ; engines, by which the enemies of God and man have contrived extensively to people the regions of perdition.
Such a soul is a vault of death ; a receptacle of rottenness and pollution. How evidently impossible is it, that “ He, in whose sight the Heavens are not clean,” should dwell in such a mansion; or that every thought concerning him should not instanta. neously expire.
5thly. Another cause of this evil, furnished to the mind by it. self, is Levity.
Lightness of thought always gives birth to light and vain conversation : and such conversation in its turn begets and cherishes lightness of thought. Idle words of every kind, produce in the soul an idle, vain, and in the moral sense frivolous, state of thought and affection. They make it less serious, less attentive to its im. mortal concerns, and less reverential to God. This is pre-emi. nently true of all jesting with moral and sacred subjects. He who can make sport of the Bible, the Sabbath, the house of God, religious worship, the duties of Christianity, and persons of piety; will soon sport with God himself. Soon will he forget, that he is a sinner, and infinitely needs forgiveness. Soon will he forget, that he has a soul to be saved ; and that, if it be not saved, it must perish forever. Soon will he make a mock at sin ; lessen his guilt; and laugh out of his remembrance all his own obligations to become holy, and all his need of eternal life. The soul of such a man is as effectually intoxicated by sport, as a drunkard by ardent spirits ; and loses as effectually all its powers of rational thought and affection. More and more insensible both to his duty and his interest, he finally becomes in the spiritual sense a mere sot; on whom arguments, exhortations, and motives, however earnestly urged, are employed in vain.
I have now finished the observations, which I proposed to make under the three heads, mentioned at the beginning of this discourse ; and will conclude with some solemn considerations, addressed to young persons in this assembly.
God, my young friends, has, at the present time, committed you to my care and instruction, as your minister. His language to me, and to every other minister of the Gospel, is,“ Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel. Therefore, thou shalt hear the word at my mouth; and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, 'O wicked man, thou shalt surely die;' if thou dost not speak, to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity ; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way, that he turn from it, if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity ; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Say unto them, ' As I live, saith the LORD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live. Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways: for why will ye die, O house of Israel."
Let me now in obedience to these awful injunctions, sufficiently awful to make every minister tremble when he enters the desk, warn the wicked in this house from their way, that they may turn from it, and save their souls alive. But, however this event may be, let me be faithful, and deliver my own soul: and, whether you hear, or whether you forbear, let not your blood be required at my hand.
In these discourses you have heard the duty of remembering your Creator in the days of your youth explained ; solemn reasons alleged for your faithful performance of it; and several unhappy causes illustrated, which very often prevent it from being performed. Let me now endeavour to impress all these things upon your consciences; and, if possible, persuade you, that they are directed personally to you.
I ask you, then, Have you remembered your Creator in the days of your youth? If you answer this solemn question with the frankness, which it demands, most of you will tell me, thai
you have remembered the world, pleasure, and sin ; but “ have forgotten the Gop, that made you, and lightly esteemed the Rock of your Salvation.” Many of you prove, that this must be your true answer by the eagerness, and constancy, with which you
trifle away this golden period of life in pleasure, folly, and sin; some of you, by a stupid, shameful inattention to your salvation, and your ruin, in the house of God; and some of you by sleeping the sleep of death at the foot of the cross. This is language, which a child cannot misconstrue.
I ask again, When do you design to perform this duty ? You will probably reply, “ At some future season, which, you intend, shall be more convenient ; when you shall be less engrossed by the objects of the present life; when your relish for pleasure shall be blunted ; and when your minds shall be more at leisure for the concerns of eternity." Are you sure that such a time will come? Are you sure that death will not first come, and blast every hope of this nature ? Are you sure that God will not say to you, as he said to Hananiah by the mouth of his prophet, “ This year thou shalt die!" Nay, that he will not say to you, as to the Rich man in the parable, “ This night thy soul shall be required of thee!" Should this be done ; what will be your condition?
But, should you be permitted to live, have you any solid reasons to believe, that the day of reformation will ever be nearer, than it is now; particularly, that it will be brought nearer by your procrastination : that thief, which steals away not only your time, but your conscientiousness, your serious impressions, your resolutions; nay even your thoughts of amendment, and your hopes of salvation. Will you not then be absorbed by avarice and ambition, as you are now by pleasure? Be not deceived : old age, nay, middle age ; is an inauspicious, unhappy day for repentance.
What are the reasons, why you do not now remember your Creator? Your own lusts; the enjoyments of this world; the temptations, which you spread before yourselves ; the snares, set for you by others ; evil communications, and evil examples. Will not these have the same influence upon you, hereafter, which they