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diversity of our age, of our temper, of our employment, of our place, of our condition. So that every person living need be cautioned against “the sin which doth “ most easily beset him *;" against the sin into which, without continual circumspection and vigilance, he will probably fall.
To you, the candidates for confirmation, who either will be soon left to the guidance of your own discretion ; or who already, but not long since, have entered on that perilous state, it should be said, you will now find the conflict between passion and reason to be strong and dangerous. In your want of experience, it cannot be unseasonable to premonish you of the ridiculous absurdities, the fatal errors, the censurable follies, the pernicious habits, the destructive pursuits, against which you should be on your guard. Beware, then, of selfconceit and vanity ; beware of singularity in opinion, and affectation in manners; beware of indolence and idleness; beware of thoughtless extravagance; beware of improper indulgence, beware of intemperate gratifications ; beware of vicious allurements; beware of ruinous pleasures! For of this be assured, the sad effects of imprudent and of libertine conduct will be felt through a period much longer than you can now imagine!
“ The days of our age are threescore years and ten." + You will not have reached the midway of that term, before
will lament to hear of the gross immoralities practised by such as are indifferent to religion ; the sins committed by others, who are senseless blasphemers ; the crimes perpetrated by those who are utterly abandoned to wickedness. Having their understanding “ judicially darkened f,” and having lost all sense of moral and religious feeling, they consider not that “ for all these things God will bring them into judg“ ment.” * Their flagitious deeds will not finally escape the punishment deserved. For, what
the Scriptures ? The wrath of God is revealed from “ heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness “ of ment;" and He will render “ tribulation and
anguish to every soul of man that doeth evil.” Awful is the conclusion of the first Psalm : « The “ way of the ungodly shall perish.” Beautiful and memorable are the four introductory verses : « Blessed " is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the
ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners; and hath “ not sat in the seat of the scornful: but his delight " is in the law of the Lord; and in His law will he “ exercise himself day and night. And he shall be “ like a tree planted by the water-side, that will bring « forth its fruit in due season." That, through the pardoning mercy and gracious favour of God, such blessedness
your portion ; attend frequently to the reading and hearing of the Holy Scriptures, particularly those which more expressly contain the words of eternal life, and teach us what we “ must do to be “ saved :” observe the appointed ordinances of religion, more especially partaking of the Lord's Supper; and be constant in that which forms a great part of our duty, the exercise of
prayer. In exhorting you to prayer, it is proposed to recommend private, domestic, and public prayer. No individual should omit to thank God, at the return of each morning, for preservation through the night; at the return of each evening, for the temporal and spiritual benefits conferred on him through the day past. No
* Ecclesiastes, xi. 9.
+ Rom. i. 18.
ii. 6. 9.
individual should omit to pray, at each season, for divine superintendence, for divine protection, for divine help. Nor should we deem it enough; yea, rather let us say, nor will it be enough, to call upon God at those times only, when we first rise from sleep, or when we are preparing for long repose. In whatever place we are situated; by whatever employment we are occupied, through all our waking hours; the soul can find, the devout soul will find, moments in which to lift up its thoughts, either in brief supplication, or in short thanksgiving, to the Almighty! Whether you are at home or abroad; whether busy in your house, or labouring in the field ; whether you are prosecuting any works of art or branches of commerce, without which the wants of civilised society could not be supplied ; whether you remain inhabitants of the land, or whether you may be navigating the waters of the sea ; if
you would keep innocency in thought, word, and deed; or if you would be truly thankful for acts of divine benevolence continually exerted, and often signally experienced ; raise your minds either with earnest petitions, or with grateful acknowledgment to God, who heareth all that truly turn to him with a devout though silent prayer; to God, who helpeth our infirmities in body and soul ; to God, who saveth us in all perils imminent from the world, the flesh, and the devil ; to God, who blesseth us with unspeakable abundance of loving-kindness !
If you are punctual in frequenting and serious in attending to the service of our church ; whenever you would secretly and silently entreat, whenever you would secretly and silently magnify, the Lord ; suitable to the feelings of your soul at the moment will occur to your memory some expressions used in our Book of cannot be too well acquainted, with that edifying, pious, and truly Christian book. Well known to you are the subjects of our litany. There is scarcely an evil incident to man, which in a general way is not mentioned in it, and from which we are not instructed to pray that the Lord would deliver us. There is scarcely a blessing desirable by man, which, under a general head, is not introduced, and for granting which we are not taught to beseech the Lord that He would hear us. Accordingly, as the particular and immediate case may require, you can apply for your own purpose a fit
passage, and make the sentiments your own. On emergencies sudden, and occasions unexpected, not the number of your words, but the sincerity of your hearts, will be regarded.
Are you anxious, as indeed you should be anxious, that the Holy Spirit, by His heavenly grace, should direct you to a right judgment in religion ; should give you an increase of faith, hope, and charity; should make you perceive and know what things are good, and also assist you in performing the same? You can call to remembrance, and adapt for your own use, those inimitable compositions, which, though framed with brevity, are replete in substance, the collects of our liturgy. Not only for their variety and comprehension; not only for the devotional spirit and expressive language, are our collects to be admired. They have in them another excellence, which particularly recommends them to the notice and approbation of considerate Christians. For, continually and forcibly do the collects remind us of Him, through whom alone our prayers are made acceptable to God; through whom alone we obtain remission of our sins ; through whom alone we regain the favour and blessing of God: they continually and forcibly remind us of our Mediator, Intercessor, and Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ!
“ There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved *,” but only the name of Jesus Christ!' Therefore, by causing you to be baptized into the religion of Christ, your parents showed a conscientious concern, and a tender regard for you. By its creeds, calculated for that end ; by its catechism, drawn up for that express purpose ; by its appointment for reading the Ten Commandments on every Sabbath Day ; by its ministers continually giving instruction ; the church hath provided ample means for your being taught what you were to profess, when you should be capable of answering for yourselves. You will presently be asked, in a most solemn manner, if
you will now yourselves engage to fulfil the promise given ; if you will now bind yourselves to observance of the vow, which, at the time of your baptism, was made in your name.
True indeed it is, that the very act of your appearing at the altar will imply you do take such promise and vow on yourselves. It is, however, expected, because it is highly proper, that you should with a loud voice pronounce the words which the service for confirmation prescribes. Utterance of those words is but momentary; the meaning of them leads to a consequence deeply important. For, in effect, each of you will say thus : “ I acknowledge it is my duty to “ avoid every thing which is vicious and sinful. I ac
knowledge it is my duty to receive the doctrines, “ delivered by Christ and His Apostles, as the rules of “ my faith. I acknowledge it is my duty to keep « • God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in « « the same all the days of my life.'”. Ponder this in your thoughts. Be attentive while the same sentences are repeated. When you answer, as the service for