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NEW CHURCH RECORD.
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ALL the discourses which I am allowed the privilege of delivering in this place, are addressed to the young as well as to the more advanced in life: for all of us, whether young, middle aged, or old, have eternity before us; to prepare for which is equally the duty, and no less the interest of every one, to whatever period of natural life he may happen to have attained.
To the old indeed, it is certain, that eternity is very near; and most obviously extravagant is their folly, as well as their culpability, if they live unmindful of it, and remain as much engrossed by the world, and devoted to it, as if they were to live in it for ever. Cheerfulness in old persons is doubtless equally agreeable and commendable, and there is nothing in true religion to repress it, but much to promote it, when kept within the limits of order and sobriety. Well may the old man, or woman, be cheerful, who beholds a happy eternity in prospect, and is enabled to cherish a well-founded hope that, by the mercy of the Lord, death will open the gate to happiness everlasting. On the contrary, how incongruous, and hence how disgusting, even to the young, is that assumed gaiety and levity, by which too many in old age endeavour to compensate the absence of genuine cheerfulness, and who, by a continued immersion in all the frivolities of the world, labour to shut out the thought of that eternity which to them appears terrible, insomuch
• “Wherewithal shall a young an cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.”—Psalm cxix. 9, 10. NO. 1.-VOL. I.
that they would' fain drown it in oblivion, or escape from it in annihilation. But if eternity to the aged is obviously nigh at hand, and ought, therefore, to be a thing for which they are prepared, and which thus they can contemplate, not only without alarm, but with cheerfulness and delight,—it may at the same time be equally near to the young : for the
young have no greater certainty of the continuance of their life here, than have the old; since what age alone, is 'sure, ere long, to do for the latter, disease or accident may equally, or at any moment, do for the former. But even were this not the fact, as we well know it is ;-were all sure to attain old age; eternity would still be the concern of the greatest moment to young as well as to old.
Eternity is, with equal certainty, the final home of the young and of the old; and if it is desirable, not only to provide for a happy eternity, but also for a cheerful and comparatively happy old age, this last is an object which can only be certainly and effectually secured, by providing for it while we are young. Every moment of human life has consequences to eternity; and not only so, but every moment influences the complexion of all that comes after it. He, therefore, that would be happy in old age, should choose the path of order and goodness in his youth : and he that would be happy in eternity, should make this the supreme object of his regard all his life long.
Eternity, then, being to every immortal creature the greatest concern of all,—and equally the greatest concern at every period of human life, -and all preaching being designed to assist in promoting man's preparation for eternity; all the discourses delivered by me, being designed to promote the knowledge of true religion and to excite to the practice of it, are equally addressed to the young and to the more advanced.
Occasionally, however, I have been led to address the young more particularly; as I am requested to do again this morning. And I find on examination, that similar is the tenor of the Word of God in this respect. That contains the Revelation of the Lord's Divine Truth, designed to instruct man in regard to God, his Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator, and his duty towards him and towards his fellow-creatures; whilst, in its spiritual sense, that Revelation treats of the regeneration of man, as well as of the glorification of the Lord, and the various states of the Church, throughout. Thus the Word of God is addressed to mankind in general, and especially to the professing members of the Lord's Church, of every age and station : and though admonitions and statements here and there occur, which relate particularly to the young, and most especially to young men, yet passages of this