« ZurückWeiter »
ces: for it must needs be that offences come: but woc to that man by whom the offence cometh. Oh that men would consider, that they do in effect teach that which they do or say before the younger fort; for childhood is the imitating age.
4. To those who do not check the outbreakings of corrupt nature in those of the younger fort, especially parents in their children. Othe cruelty of fome parents, who, by their ceasing to nip sin in the bud in their children, betray them into such babits of fin, as afterwards it is too late to correct. They will neglect prayer, profane the sabbach, swear, lye, and meet with no check: they will steal little things, and the parents will make them welcome. And thus, by their parents means, some so accustomed to sin, that as they grow, it grows, till it brings fome to an ill end. Re member the children of Bethel, 2 Kings ii. 23. 24.
5. To those who propagate irreligion to the rising generation; who teach young generation to despise serious godliness, to contemn the ordinances of God, and to lead loose and licentious lives impatient of restraint. Do they not propagate irreligion, who keep up their minced oaths, Haith, Faith, &c. which would die out of our language, were it not that they were propagated from father to fon, from the old to the young ; who keep up the obfervation of superstitious times and customs, Yule, Fastens-even, &c. the relics of Popery, and Paganism, which might be razed out of memory, were it not that they are carefully propagated from one generation to another?
6. To those that go about to debauch a young generation, by instilling into them loose and licentious principles, which youth is ready to fall in
with ; by taking a liberty with them in obscene filthy speaking, making youthful lufts the fubject of their mirth and sport ; leading them in to drunkenness, an inlet to all other vices; tempting them to the commission of the fin of uncleanness with them, which will be bitterness in the end to the feducer and the seduced; encouraging them to acts of dishonesty, cheating and Itealing from their pa rents or masters. These are factors for hell, who do what in them lies to destroy souls Christ died for.
7. To those that are ready to bide and cloke the scandalous fins of others, working that they may not be brought to light. How many poor fouls of the younger sort, whom Satan has got led aside into the ways of sin, might have been recovered out of the fnare of the devil, if it had not been the cruel kindness of fome, who bestirred them Telves to cover their sin? But thereby they have been hardened in their sin, and have gone from evil to worse, till at length they have been ruined for altogether. See what an awful threatening there is pronounced against such, Lev. v. 1. If a foul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath feen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.
8. lastly, To those who cannot see themselves under any obligation to propagate religion, and concern themselves as little about it. They think that may be the business of ministers, and possibly of fathers to their own children ; but not theirs. As soon as the Spirit of God touches your hearts in earnest about your own falvation, ye will change your mind ; ye will find a natural concern for the advancing of the kingdom of Christ : John
iv. 29. Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did : is not this the Chrift? The love of God, and of your neighbour, planted in the heart, will create a concern this way : and not daring to be against him, and scatter, ye will be for Chrift, and gather with him. The leaven will seek.
use 2. of Exhortation. Make it the special bufiness of your lives to propagate religion to the rifing generation.
Motive 1. There is the strongest obligations on you for it. Ye are in that point under the tie of,
ist, Divine authority. God commands you to do it, requires it of you. It is commanded to all to edify one another, 1 Theff. v. 11.; yea, all things must be done for that end, i Cor. xiy. 26. And the reason is plain, that God has placed men in fociety, and in Christian society for that end, Rom. xiv. 7. And the elder fort are made rutors and teachers to the younger for that end, Deut. iv. 10. and xi. 19,
2dly, Gratitude to God. Is not God ator, Preserver, and Sustainer ? And what can yę. do for him, for all the goodness bestowed on you, if ye do not propagate his name and praise, and strive to ftir up the love and fear of him in the ri. sing generation? If ye have any share in the redemption of Christ, ye cannot but find yourselves under the strongest ties of gratitude for redeeming love, to labour that his name may be transmitted from generation to generation. Hençe says the Pfalmit, Pfal. lxxii. 17. His name shall endure for ever : his name shall be continued as long as the fun: and men shall be blessed in him; all nations Jhall call him blessed. zdly, Justice to former generations, who have
propagated religion to us. What case had we been in this day, if it had not been for the sufferings of confeffors, and the blood of martyrs, which they underwent, that religion might be transmitted to us, and by us to succeeding generations ? Had they given up with it, it had been loft as to us. Now, they have an interest in succeeding generations ; and if we propagate it not to them, we betray our trust, and are unjust to them, and denude the fucceeding generation of the inheritance of their fathers. We should, like those spoke of Pfal. lxxviii. 3. 4. utter the things which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us ; not hiding them from our children, Shewing to the generation to come, the praises of the Lord; and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
4thly, Our own interest. That maxim, Prov. xi. 24. There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that with-holdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty, holds in this, as much as in any thing. Religion is a fire, which being smothered, goes out ; but getting a vent, increaseth. It is like the widow's oil, that increased in the pouring out, and like the bread that increased in the breaking. Were men more set on propagating religion to others, they would have more to themselves.
5thly, Charity to the rising generation. Their eternal state, as to well or wce, depends on their embracing or continuing strangers to religion. They need your help: for the bias of their nature lies the wrong way; the devil and an evil world cease not to ply them to walk according to that bias; and if their spiritual enemies gain their point, they are ruined. Mot. 2. This is the chief part of your generation
work. The work of our own salvation must be feen to, Philip. ii. 12. ; but that is not all we have to do. We are to do that for ourselves : but then, for the honour of God and the good of our fel.. low-creatures, we are to ply our generation-work, Aets xiii. 36. ; and that mainly lies here: Pfal. cxlv. 4. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and Mall declare thy mighty acts. Ye are all doing: but what are ye doing for the honour of God, for the service of your generation ? Ye have a room in this generation; and God who set you in it, will call you to account how ye fill it up.
Mot, 3. As ye carry yourselves in this matter, your fin or your good works will be going on, after ye are dead and gone, in this world. The last judgment we must undergo, is not without reason delayed to die end of the world; for the fins of wicked men, and the good works of the godly, will then be bugely increased beyond what they are at their death. Good Abel is useful to this day : Heb. xi. 4.--He being dead, yet speakcih. Haman in his life set a mischief a-going, which continued after he was gone, "Esth. viii. 3. ; and the sin of feroboum the first king of Israel, continued till that kingdom was at an end, 2 Kings xvii. 22. 23. If ye propagate religion to the riling generation, that good work will survive you ; and if ye neglect it, your criminal omission may live and destroy fouls long after ye are gone, which will be laid to your charge at the great day.
Mot. 4. It is a noble and beneficial work. Hence says the Apostle Jumes, chap. v. 19. 20. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert hint; let him know, that he which corruerteth the