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each other, and as blessings to the church. Though I am providentially separated from you, may I still hear that you talk worthy of the Lord; and may every advancing year, and revolving day of life, ripen us more for that happiness, which we hope ere long to share with each other, if the house of our heavenly Father!

If any of you, who were once my care and my hope, have now forsaken the ways and the God of your fathers, and turned aside to the paths of licentiousness and folly, I now repeat the admonitions which I have formerly given you, that these things scill, to you above all others, be bitterness in the end. And I intreat you, that if you have any little regard still remaining, for one, to whom some of you have professed not a little, you would at least attentively peruse the sixth of these discourses, as containing reflections, which must, sooner or later, pierce your hearts, with penitential remorse, or everlasting despair. Oh, that divine grace might concur with it to prevent your ruin, and might give me to see you as wise, as religious, and as happy, as those excellent parents once wished you, whose eyes are now closed in the dust; whose precepts and examples, charges and tears, you seem long since to have forgot!

As for you, my dear friends here at home, I have the pleasure of conversing so often with you, that it is the less necessary now to address you at large. Yet it is but justice to you thus publicly to declare, that, amidst all that goodness and mercy, which has followed me all my days, there is no providence, which I more gratefully own, than that which brought me hither; nor does any thing contribute more to make my ministry here comfortable, than the spirit of seriousness which discovers itself in many young persons amongst us. Oh, that it were as universal as in some it is amiable and exemplary! Permit me to remind you, that, as your remarkable importunity was the consideration, which turned the scales for my coming hither, after they had long hovered in uncertainty, so you are under some peculiar obligations to study the ease and comfort of my life, which you can never so effectually secure, as by the holy regularity of your own. Our aged friends are dropping away apace; nay, the graves have swallowed up many, very many of your own age, who, but a few months ago, promised long and extensive usefulness here. It is you that are to comfort me under these sorrows. I can solemnly say, that I had much rather be numbered amongst them, than live to see the glory of practical religion lost in this society, while it is under my care. Remember, that, under God, you are, its support; and remember, that the bigh hopes you have given me, would make a disappointment sit so much the heavier upon my heart.

But I will not conclude with any thing so uncomfortable, as the mention of a disappointment from you; but rather with recommending you, and those to whom I have formerly stood in the like relation, to the care of Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to the influence of that gracious Spirit, who can cause you to grow in knowledge and piety like the grass, and like willotes by the water-courses. A generous friend* is intending some of you a present of that course of sermons, which I am now preaching on the Power and Grace of Christ, and the evidences of his glorious gospel; and it much sweetens the labour of preparing them for the press, to reflect, that they are in part intended for your service. I hope you will not forget to pray for all that appear concerned for your spiritual edification and eternal happiness, and more es. pecially for

Your most affectionate
and faithful friend and servant,

P. DODDRIDGE. Northampton, Dec. 30, 1734.

* William Coward, Esq.

SERMONS
TO YOUNG PERSONS.

SERMON I.

The Importance of the rising Generation.

Psalm xxi. 30, 31.-A Seed shall serve him, it shall be accounted to the Lord

for a Generation: They shall come, and shall declare his Righteousness unto a People that shall be born, that he hath done this.

It is as its para as of

They which a fair, as those watter of long lamento

It is a very beautiful saying of an ancient jewish writer*, which has its parallel amongst some of the finest of the heathen poetst, that “ as of the green leaves on a thick tree, some fall, and others grow ; so of the generations of Aesh and blood, one cometh to an end, and another is born.” In this respect the resemblance is obvious; but there is another, in which it will not always so evidently hold. We perceive not any remarkable difference between the leaves of one year, and of another : They which open at the return of the spring, are commonly as large and fair, as those which the preceding winter bad destroyed. But it has been matter of long lamentation, that the children of men are continually sinking into deeper and deeper degeneracy. Solomons denies not that the former days were better than the present, when he cautions against too curious an enquiry into the reasons why such an alteration was permitted: And those who know little else of the most celebrated writers of antiquity, can quote their complaints on this melancholy occasion. They can tell you, that Homery observes, “ that children are seldom better, but frequently worse, than their parents ;” and they often repeat that

ser degenerihan the presen reasons while else of

• Ecclus, xiv. 18. + Homer. Iliad. {ver. 146--149. o ver. 463–467.-Mus. apud Clem. Alex. Strom. Lib. VI.

I Eccles. vii. 10.
και Παυροι γαρ τοι παιδες ομοιοι πατρι πελoνται,
Οι πλεονες κακιους, παυροι δε τε πατρος αρειους.

Homer, Odys. B, 276, 277.

lively and comprehensive acknowledgment of Horace*: “ Our fathers who fell short of the virtues of their ancestors, have produced us a generation worse than themselves ; and our children will be yet more degenerate than we.”

These complaints and forebodings have been borrowed by every age since they were published, and are to this day bor. rowed by us, as what we imagine more applicable to ourselves, than to those who wrote them, or to any who have already cited them. I will not say, there is universal cause for such an application ; but I am sure, the face of affairs in many families, and may I not add, in many churches too, is abun. dantly sufficient not only to excuse, but to vindicate it.

In the midst of this mournful survey, the heart of every pious Israelite will tremble for the ark of the Lord, and he will be ready to say, perhaps with an excess of solicitude and of anguish, What will be the end of these thingst? Surely God will utterly abandon those who so basely desert him, in contempt of the clearest revelation of his gospel, and the most engaging or awakening calls of his providence. The very memory of religion will at length be lost; and When the Son of man cometh, he will not find faith on the earthi.”

Now there seems to be something in the very sound of the text, which may relieve our minds under these gloomy apprehensions. A seed shall serve him, it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation : They shall come, and declare his name to a third succession; a people who shall be born of them. Here is an evident promise or prediction, that the knowledge and the fear of God should be propagated from one age and generation to another : And this must be an agreeable assurance, whatever the particular occasion were on which it was introduced. Were this psalm to be considered only as relating to the calamities of David, and the wonderful deliverance which God wronght out for him, the words before us might be improved for our own consolation on the justest principles of analogy ; for if a temporal salvation granted to him were to make so deep and so lasting an impression on distant nations and on future ages, how reasonably might the like effects be expected from that infinitely more important and extensive salvation, which is exhibited to us in the everlasting gospel ?

* Ætas Parentum pejor Avis tulit

Nos nequiores, mox daturos
Progeniem vitiosiorem.

Horat. Lib. III. Od. VI. v.46, &c. + Dan. xii. 8.

Luke xvii. 8.

But after all, the application of this passage of scripture, to the purposes for which I have alledged it, does not depend on so long a train of consequences ; for if we attentively peruse this psalm, and diligently survey the distress and the glory which are described in the several parts of it, we must be obliged to confess, that a greater than David is here. It contains a most lively and sublime prophecy of the sufferings of the Messiah, and the exaltation with which they were to be rewarded*; and particularly mentions the calling of the gentiles into his church, and the propagation of his religion to future agest. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee : All they who are fat upon the earth, i. e. by an usual Hebraism, Persons of eminent rank and in plentiful circumstancest, shall eat and worship, i. e. they shall pay their public homage to him, and enter themselves solemnly into his covenant, as the jewish votaries did by eating of the sacrifices which were offered to him : And, on the other hand, those that go down to the dust, i. e. who are in the most indigent circumstances, shall bow before thems, even he that cannot keep alive his own soull, who is so poor that he wants the necessaries of life: As if it had been said, there shall be an universal submission to him, in which the greatest and meanest shall concur. And the text assures us, that his triumphs shall be as lasting, as extensive : A future seed shall serve him ; they shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation ; i. e. being brought to the knowledge and the profession of the true religion, they shall be owned by God as his people : And it shall be their pious care, to declare this glorious display of his righteousness* to a people who shall be born of them, that he has done this; that it is the hand of God which has wrought out this great salvation. And though there are not many generations mentioned here, yet other scriptures assure us, that the kingdom of the Messiah is to be of perpetual duration, and consequently that such promises as these are to be taken in their utmost extent. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace, so long as the moon endureth. His name shall endure for ever; his name shall be continued as long as the sun ; and men shall be blessed in himt.

* See particularly, ver. 7, 14, 16, 18, 27, & seq. + Ver. 37–31.

See Psal. Ixxviii. 31. Isa. x. 16. Psal. xvii, 10. and compare Psal. xlv. 12., Ixxii. 10, 11. Isa. Ix. 3, 5, 10, 13. Rev. xxi. 24. All which texts speak of the submission of princes and great men to Christ.

$ Compare Isa. xxvi. 19. Neb. iii. 18. 1 Sam. ii. 8.

|| So the French translate this clause, “Mêmes celui qui ne peut garentir sa vie :” And so several famous commentators explain it, particularly Rivetus; “ Famelici, qui non habent quo vitam sustineant.” Thus also Buchanan paraphrases on the words,

Flectet illi poplitem
Pauper sepulchri in limine,
Qui membra fessis artubus languentia

Fugiente vitâ vix trahit. It is certain the phrase here translated, “ keep alive the soul,” is often used for preservation of the animal life ; Gen, xix, 19. 1 Kings xx. 21. Ezek. xiii. 19. And the meat, which was purchased at so expensive a rate at the siege of Jerusalem, is said to relieve or restore the soul, Lam, i. 11.

Upon the whole then, it appears, that the words of the text are a prophecy, that the kingdom of Christ shall be perpetual, and extend itself to the latest generations, as well as the remotest climates : And, through the divine goodness, we must acknowledge, that this day is this scripture in part fulfilled among us. We dwell in a country, which, with regard to Judea, lay at the ends of the earth, and which was long over-run with barbarity and idolatry: Yet we are now instructed in the knowledge of the God of Israel, and are this day assembled for his worship; so that at the distance of more than two thousand years from the publication of this prediction, we are the living witnesses of its truth ; being ourselves A seed who profess to serve the Lord, and accounted to him for a generation.

I hope it is the concern of many of us, that the concluding words may be fulfilled in those who come after us; that his gospel righteousness may so be declared to them, that they likewise might be engaged to serve the Lord, not only in the external forms of the true religion, but with the affections of the heart, and the obedience of the life.

That this concern may be more deep, more active, and more universal, it will be the business of my present discourse, to represent to you at large the importance of the rising generation. And here I would aim, not merely at the demonstration of a speculative truth, which may leave your minds as cold and as irregular as it found them ; but I would labour, by the divine assistance, to possess you with such a sense of the case, as may have a powerful influence on your temper and behaviour ; that so your meditations on this excellent promise may, through the concurrence of God, be the means of its more complete accomplishment

I am now particularly concerned, that you my younger

* Compare Rom. ii, 25, 26..

.

+ Psal. lxxii. 7, 17.

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