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SERM. 3. This historie teaches us the right of
young persons, to be present at the worship
infer from this historie, that it is not below persons of the greatest eminence for wisdom and piety to fhew affection and tendernesse for little children. Jesus Christ is a good pattern of imitation in all his condescensions. And his disciples should do, as he has done. Let us receive kindly, and, as we are able, recommend to the divine favour and protection such little children, as Jesus himself, when on earth, received and blessed.
· 5. We hence learn, that all of us, ar- Serm. rived to years of knowledge and understand
VII. ing should see to it, that we bear a resemblance to little children. For of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Let us be always like them in freedom from prejudices, being open to conviction, disposed to learn, and make farther emprovement by all discoveries proposed to us.
Let us resemble them also in humility, or freedom from pride, and high conceit of ourselves : which obstructs emprovement, excites to a haughty and imperious behaviour, and disposes to strife and contention, anger and resentment,
Let us resemble them in indifference about worldly things, or a freedom from an inordinate affecțion for riches, honour and preferment, pre-eminence and authority.
Lastly, let us resemble them in innocence, being as free from all evil practises, as posfible.
In a word, according to this observation of our Lord, we should always endeavor to be, in many respects, what we once were, and what we still see little children to be. So
Serm. fhall we do no evil. So Thall we be Ifraelites VII. indeed, in whom is no guile.
6. This historie affords encouragement to young persons, arrived to the use of reason and understanding, to come to Christ, and offer
themselves to God in and through him. Jesus received the little children, who were brought to him: and he proposed them to others as patterns of resemblance, they being free from customs of sining. But after all, they were rather emblems of virtue, than virtuous themselves. Much more then will they be received by him, who being still without guile, have an actual propensity and disposition to virtue and goodnesse. If you should neglect yourselves, when you have attained to the use of
powers, and are entering into the world; bad principles and habits will grow up, like weeds in a rich soil, of which no care is taken: and you
will soon lose all that innocence and fimplicity, which endears little children to the Lord Jesus.
Let me therefore propound to you the few following counsels and directions.
1.) Be induced to give up yourselves to God with deliberation, and with all the seriousnesse and solemnity you are able, engag- SERM.
VII. ing and resolving, that you will not sin against him, or do any thing contrarie to his holy commandments, so far as you are acquainted with them. Such a fixed and deliberate purpose and resolution of mind, once formed, may be of great and lasting advantage to you.
2.) Be diligent, and emprove your time for gaining knowledge. You are not to be like little children in every thing. You should resemble them in innocence: but in under- 1 Cor.
xiv. 202 standing you are to be men. Beside attending to the instructions you receive, in order to qualify you for some honest and reputable employment, whereby you may gain a subfistence, without being burdensome to any, and may be useful to others : as you have
opportunity, employ yourselves in reading the Scriptures, especially the historie of the Pa. triarchs in Genesis, and the Psalıns, the Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apoftles : and indeed all the books of the New Teftament, and also other useful and instructive books. You may likewise endeavor to emprove by conversation with persons of fobriety and discretion, and, if it may be, of
m be enlarged.
Serm. such as are somewhat advanced above
years and knowledge. Hereby the mind will
have the greater influence and reputation. And
you will certainly lay a foundation for a great deal of entertainment and satisfaction within yourselves, which some others want.
3.) Pay a regard to every branch of duty: not doing one thing, and neglecting others,
as many do, but, aiming at every part of hoTit. ii. lineffe. You know that St. Paul says: The
grace of God which bringeth salvation teaches us to deny all ungodlinese, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.
Live godly : Fear and reverence the divine majesty in your thoughts. Frequent the afsemblies of divine worship, and forsake them not: as some do, who fanfy themselves wiser than others, without really being so.
Live soberly: Govern your affections, and take care, not to be led by evil examples to any excefle, or indulgence, contrarie to stria fobriety.