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A60149 Seasonable advice to youth A funeral sermon on Psal. 119. 9. Preach'd upon the death of Mr. Richard Walter, jun. In the eighteenth year of his age. January 13th, 1691/2. By John Shower. Shower, John, 1657-1715. 1692 (1692) Wing S3685; ESTC R220294 25,103 44

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Judas What is that to us look thou to that Such is the Strength and Power of Sense and Fancy in the Days of our Youth such is the Weakness of our Reason as not having attained to any great Consistency of Judgment which must be ripened by Consideration and Experience such is the violence of our Passions and the Inconstancy of our Resolutions so variable and uncertain the Objects of our Affections and Choice such the venomous Influence of Self-Flattery and that of others about us such the force of Examples and so great the number of ill ones so deep the Impressions we receive by the Company we converse with especially if Atheistical or Licentious Youths are the Instruments of the Devil to entice us so little command have we of our selves to bridle those Impetuous Lusts that are easily Fired by every Spark of Temptation and so intolerable is the Reproach imagined of being singular of not complying with the Customs of those of the same Age with our selves that on these and the like Accounts the Devil hath a mighty Advantage against us in that Portion of our Time For the most part Young Men are Changeable and Unsteady Heedless and Unwary are but little Fortified against the Wiles of the Devil are little used to consider things with any Strength and Intensness of Thought and prone to flatter themselves with foolish hopes and projects of the wonderful things which they shall be able to compass to do and be and enjoy and reach before they leave the World c. That 't is no wonder that the Principal because most hopeful Attempts of the Devil are directed against such to deceive and destroy them by Youthful Lusts Children are not capable of doing him such Service or themselves such Prejudice or of being employed to so many ill-purposes And commonly Old Men are already fix'd in their way The Minds of Youth are more flexible and withal sharper for any Undertaking their Bodies stronger and more active for most kinds of Wickedness their Blood more warm their Spirits more Vigorous as their Sinful Desires are more Raging and all their Passions more vehement On which account the Wisdom of the Ancients would not admit Persons very Young to the Lectures of Moral Arist Ethic Lib. 1. Chap. 1. or Civil Philosophy as supposing them to be so very much under the Government of their Passions that good Counsel would be lost upon them and all such Discourses prove in vain But though the Philosophers despaired of being able to reclaim and reduce Young Men by their weak and naked Rules of Morality we need not do so who are under the dispensation of a Gospel of Grace and are acquainted with the power of the Divine Word The Precepts of Philosophy may assist our Recovery from the grosser Immoralities in practice such as violate the plain Sentiments of natural Conscience or are Scandalous in the view of Men. But the Divine Word accompanied with the power of the Spirit can work an effectual Cure in Heart and Life by healing our Corrupt Nature and making us partakers of the Divine This is one special Priviledge of the Gospel State and is much for the honour of Divine Grace recommending at the same time the Excellency of the Word of God as the holy means of it Which leads us to consider Thirdly That the Word of God is the sufficient and only means of Cleansing and Reforming the sinful ways of Youth This Enlightens the Eyes Psal 19.6 7 8. Psal 17.4 Psal 37.31 Prov. 6.23 Converts the Soul makes Wise the Simple shews us the way of Life and keeps us from the Paths of the Destroyer It was for this end that our Blessed Lord gave himself that we might be Sanctified and Cleansed with the Washing of Water by the Word Eph. 5.26 He declared that his Disciples were Clean by the Word he had spoken to them John 15.3 He prays that they might be Sanctified by the Truth which Truth is his Word and makes the same Request for all those who should afterwards believe John 17.20 And here we might distinctly consider that hereby we are made acquainted with the Nature and Necessity of this Sanctification and Cleansing And that by Divine Appointment this is the ordinary Means of effecting it And farther that herein the Wisdom of God is honoured by its exceeding Fitness to that end 1. Without the knowledge of this Word we could not fully have understood the loathsom Depravity and Corruption of our Hearts or the manifold Transgressions of our Lives How wretchedly we are Polluted and how often we Offend how Defective are our best Duties how short we come of our Rule and Pattern and what need there is of seeking to recover the Divine Image and Life This Blessed Word instructs us how the Ground of our Sanctification is laid in the Satisfaction of Christ how it is procured Acts 3.26 and how we may partake of it What we owe to the Blood of the Cross and what to the influence of the Divine Spirit The Treasury of Heaven was opened by the Sacrifice of Christ that the Holy Spirit might be given to Convince and Convert the World His Departure or going away John 15. which comprehend his Death and Ascension was necessary and expedient unto this We are also here instructed how this Sanctification is carried on by our perfecting Holiness in the Fear of God For this Water of the Spirit hath a continual Cleansing Virtue upon all true Christians until their Purified Souls ascend to Heaven He that pitied them when they were in their Pollution will not leave them after they are Cleansed till he hath finished his Work It is from this Word that we are acquainted with the Necessity and Extent of this Sanctification as reaching to Soul Body and Spirit It tells us the very Mind and Conscience are defiled and that there needs not only the Cleansing of our Hands but the Purifying of our Hearts Tit. 2.11 12 13 14. For the Doctrin of the Grace of God teacheth us to deny all Vngodliness and Wordly Lusts James 4.8 to kill the Lusts of the Eyes to mortifie the Pride of Life to crucifie the Desires of the Flesh and bring the Understanding and Conscience and every Thought into Subjection to the Laws of Christ 2 Cor. 7.1 This tells us what the Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit is from which we must be Cleansed and how indispensably necessary this is to our Acceptance with God and our Communion with him This represents the Divine Purity which we are to imitate and resemble as every way Amiable and Excellent As that the Blessed God essentially hates every Sin earnestly forbids it and terribly threatens it and patiently dissuades us from it and severely punishes it and hath mercifully sent his Son to destroy this Work of the Devil Therefore that he cannot tempt any man to evil or necessitate and cause the Sins of Men which he warns them against on pain
of Damnation Never was inward Purity so pressed by any Law before or the universal Sanctification of our Nature advanced to such a pitch No other Law pretends to reach to the inward Thoughts of the Heart as those in the Word which forbids us to Covet to Lust or hate our Brother in our Heart This ransacks every filthy Corner and pierceth into the Secrets and Recesses of every Man's Breast speaking with absolute Authority to the very Grounds Principles and Ends of every Action dissecting the whole Body of Sin uncovering the inward Ulcers of the Soul manifesting that a Lustful Desire impure Mouth or an unclean Hand will make a Man polluted before God and stand guilty of the Breach of his Commandment This Law is exceeding Broad it forbids not only the sinful Acts but the Instruments of 'em what would begin or promote 'em or is chosen for the Sin 's sake with relation or in order to it This shews us whence our Infection did first arise tracing it unto its Spring-head the first Apostacy from God manifesting the spotless Holiness of the Divine Majesty and his perfect abhorrence of every Sin so as to judge and condemn the invisible risings of Disobedience and Contrariety to it in our very Thoughts Yea by the measures of the Gospel we are unclean unless we have active Purities If we are not crucified to the World we are covetous we are malicious and hate our Brother if we do him not all the Good we can tho he have treated us injuriously we dishonour the Name of Christ if we do not to our utmost advance his Glory Eph. 5.13 This is that Light which maketh manifest discovering that Deformity in Sin which we never saw before and so much of it in the Heart as we never before believed with the aggravating Spots of many plausible Duties and the provoking circumstances of our particular Faults For when we thought our selves very Absolons for Beauty by looking into this Glass we appear as vile and loathsom as Lepers and all our Secret Sins which are always in the Light of God's Countenance are by the Word set in order before us What is said of the Sun in the Heavens is true of this Word its Circuit is to the Ends of the Earth and there is nothing hid from the Light and Heat thereof Psal 19.6 2. This may be also consider'd as the ordinary Means which God hath appointed for the cleansing of our Hearts and Ways And therefore the Sanctification of the Spirit 1 Pet 1.22 2 Thess 2.13 Acts 15.9 and believing of the Truth are joyned together The Sense of some particular more notorious Sin is commonly the first means to humble the Soul When the Charge is brought home by the Word to this or that Person Thou art the Man or Thou art the Woman who hast scorned and slighted the Authority of thy Maker in this or the other Instance Thou art the Fool-hardy Rebellious Creature who hast affronted thy Sovereign who hast despised that Goodness which should have led thee to Repentance abused that Patience which hath a tendency to thy Salvation rejected that Grace that would have helped thee and contemned that Redeemer who shed his Blood for thee This Voice of the Lord is powerful to shake the stoutest Cedars and make a Felix on the Bench to tremble when preached but by a Prisoner at the Bar. They that Crucified the Redeemer and scorned his Doctrin were pierced to the Heart and cry out Men and Brethren 1 Cor. 14.26 2 Acts. what shall we do be saved By this the Chains of the Devil are knock'd off and his Captives recovered into the Liberty of God's Service You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free John 8.32 In this Jordan the most polluted Creatures have been washed and Hearts full of loathsom Filth have been changed into Vessels of Purity Such were some of you but ye are washed but ye are justified but ye are sanctified 1 Cor. 6.9 3. This therefore is the most likely fit and proper Means For besides the Encouragement of these Examples to seek for cleansing we have others propounded as our Patterns to imitate Sometimes the Blessed God himself and our Lord Jesus Christ that we may not rest in low Attainments and sometimes the Examples of the Saints that we might not despair of being healed For the same powerful Grace that hath sanctified others is able to do the like for us Therefore while our Impotency and Impurity is declared in this Word we are directed by it to a Fountain open for sin and for uncleanness We have Promises and Precepts most graciously connected What God commands us in one Place as our Duty he promiseth to do for us by his Spirit or enable us to do in another or at least gives us ground to hope he will Let us then consider the exceeding great and precious Promises which are the Motives and Means of our being cleansed from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit 2. Cor. 7.1 For by them we are made Partakers of the Divine Nature 2 Pet. 1.4 It 's by this means Divine Impressions are made upon the Soul Mr. Howe 's Blessedness of the Righteous p. 268. the obdurate Heart of a Sinner melted and overcome and transform'd into the Image of God Compare this Means God works by with the Subject to be wrought upon and the Effect to be wrought and none can be conceived fitter It is the Office of the Word by Precepts Promises and Rewards to inform the Judgment and awaken Conscience and persuade the Will It is some Encouragement to expect the Influence of the Spirit in the use of this means because it is so excellently fitted to this End to heal our Impotency which is not Natural but Moral And God would not appoint us Means which should be altogether in vain Dr. O. of the Dominion of Sin and Grace p. 14. Grace is tender'd unto Men in the preaching of the Gospel to enable them to perform and comply with that which God requires For altho we know not the Way and Means of the effectual Communications of Grace unto the Souls of Men This is certain That Grace is so tender'd in the Preaching of the Gospel that none go without it none are destitute of its Aids and Assistance but those alone who by a Free Act of their own Wills See to the like purpose Mr. Howe 's Blessedness of the Righteous ch 17. do refuse and reject it Ye will not come unto me that you may have Life And all Unbelievers have or may have Experience of this in themselves that they do voluntarily refuse the Assistance of Grace which is offer'd for their Deliverance Therefore is their Destruction of themselves The common Grace * Redeemers Tears p. 53. Append p. 192. which is generally afforded to them who live under the Gospel extends so far as that they have thereby a Day allow'd them to provide for their
and powerful sharper than a Two-Edged Sword to pierce and wound by Conviction It is the Word of God's Grace to heal those Wounds Act. 20.32 1 Tim. 2.3 able to build us up and give us an Inheritance among them that are Sanctified What Sins are to be avoided how Temptations are to be resisted how Bosom Lusts are to be Mortified and a Pure Acceptable Worship to be performed and what otherwise is necessary to the pleasing of God and Communion with him is taught us in this Word Hereby we are acquainted with our Sin and Misery and told the only way of our Recovery and Happiness The Malicious Arts and Stratagems of the Devil are here unfolded hence we are instructed how to conceive of God how to approach to him converse with him and resemble him Our Steps are hereby directed by unerring Light our Purposes setled and our Course stated and Directions given us how to use our Selves and all we have for the Service of our Maker Redeemer and Sanctifier By taking heed to this Light we are safely led out of those Labyrinths where others have lost their way and may prevent stumbling into the Pit of Destruction into which others fall All the Doctrins and Precepts of this Word tend to our Healing and Recovery to promote the perfection and felicity of our Nature to bring us to the best kind of Life for the present in respect of duty to God comfort to our Selves and usefulness unto others And this in the expectation of the Heavenly Reward enabling us in some measure to partake of the Earnest and enjoy the Fore-tastes of it In short It is by this Word that we believe in Christ and have hope towards God and are enabled to love him and so to dwell in Love Our Faith our Hope our Love to God and Christ are all begun cherished and maintained by the influence of this Word To this we owe that Faith whereby we are vitally united to the Son of God that Hope whereby all our Grace flourisheth and that Love whereby we are Fruitful For as by Faith we have a Spiritual Life by Hope we gather Strength and by Love we become active in all the Fruits of Holy Obedience 2. This will justifie the extraordinary Esteem and Affection that Good Men have for the Word of God Who after such experience of its cleansing Virtue but must profess that the Sayings of this Book are Faithful and True and Worthy of all Acceptation more to be desired than Gold than much Fine Gold sweeter than the Hony and the Hony-Comb Psal 119.93 97. O how love I thy Law saith David It is my Meditation all the Day I will never forget thy Precepts for by them thou hast quickened me O that this Law might be continually within my Heart to enlighten counsel and refresh me that it may dwell richly in me be always an Ornament of Grace to my Head and a Chain of Gold about my Neck Health to my Navel and Marrow to my Bones I heard its Voice I felt its Power and beheld its glorious Beauty and so have been changed into the same Image and shall I not love it If any should seem to wonder and think such Estimations and Affections strange you may answer with the Man born Blind John 9.30 This is a marvellous thing that you know not what it is or why I so much prize and love it when it hath opened my Eyes I was Spiritually Dead and Defiled and by this Word I received quickning and cleansing No wonder therefore if I account all things but Dross and Dung in comparison of this Knowledge Phil. 3.7 8. 3. What Thankfulness should they express whose Hearts have been seasoned with Holy Principles and Affections betimes and their Way cleansed by the Word of God If through the Knowledge of Christ you have escaped the Pollutions that are in the World through Youthful Lusts when so many others are thereby Drowned in the Gulph of Perdition should you not be very Thankful When you behold Multitudes who wallow in the Mire and take Pleasure in the ways of Sin are regardless of God and Christ and the Eternal World you may say I was as Mad as they or should certainly have been so if Free Grace had not prevented What Gratitude do I owe to my Redeemer and his Mighty Spirit who makes me thus to differ Many of you can look back with Joy and Praise upon the Early Experience you have had of this kind You can reflect how early God began with your Souls so early that your Baptism seemed to have had its effects and influence presently so early with some that you cannot tell the very time when God first began Others can remember the special Instruments whom God imployed from time to time to do them good by what careful and prudent Education Prov. 4.4 by what useful Examples of Holy and Affectionate Relations by what convincing Sermons Ch. 5.3 4. by what awak'ning Providences by what repeated Motions and Strivings of the Spirit of the Grace you were brought to the knowledg of your Sin and Duty and enabled to own and avow your Baptismal Covenant and seriously out of choice come under the Bond of it To which Purpose David acknowledgeth God Psal 16.2 7. O my Soul thou hast said to the Lord thou art my Lord therefore I will bless thee who hast given me Counsel and enabled me to receive it who hast enlightened my Darkness removed my Prejudices cleansed me from my Pollutions softned my hard Heart subdued my Enmity and Disaffection to thee and made me willing in the Day of thy Power to come to Christ that I might have Life and Healing by him Lord how is it that thou dost manifest thy Self to me and not unto the World That I should be quickned and cleansed while others are left under Spiritual Defilement and Death 4. What need have Superiors to be careful and diligent to bring Young Persons under their Charge acquainted with the Word of God It is mentioned not only to the Praise of Young Timothy but of those who were concerned in his Education that he knew the Holy Scriptures from his Childhood 2 Tim. 3.15 i.e. those of the Old Testament for scarce any other were then written when he was a Child He was also acquainted with what was necessary to be known concerning Christ as is mentioned in the same Verse under the Expression of the Faith which is in Christ Jesus Women and Children had then the Scriptures in a Language they understood for his Grandmother Lois and his Mother Eunice instructed him very early in the knowledge of God and Christ The Debauchery of Youth is very much owing to the want of good Principles instilled into their Minds in their Tender Years By that means they are a more easie Prey to the Devil having little or nothing to oppose to the Snares he lays for them or to their own corrupt Inclinations You therefore that
Holy Scriptures While the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading in the Prophet Isaiah Acts 8.26 though he understood it not God did so far reward and bless him that he sent Philip to instruct him farther and his Conversion to the Faith was the Issue of it When ever you hear the Word Preached remember in whose Name and upon what Arrand the Message comes Therefore lay aside every Prejudice Jam. 1.21 Luk. 8.18 Act. 10.33 and place your selves as under the Eye of your All-seeing Judge We that speak to you in the name of the Lord have very much to blame our selves for God knows that we are not Serious enough and Compassionate enough to the Souls of Men not adapting our selves to the Capacities and Necessities of the Younger and more Ignorant sort Alas we see and know but little and feel less of the great important things we speak of And though we hope we find Mercy to be Faithful yet how short do we come of that Affection and Vigor and serious Importunity which the case of Sinful Perishing Souls doth need How unlike those that know the Terrors of the Lord the value of an Immortal Soul and the nearness of Eternity How unbecoming those who speak every Lord's Day unto Men and Women unto whom we may never speak more And it may be such and such of you shall never hear a Sermon more take heed therefore how you hear Fourthly Be most Importunate with God for the Spirit of Holiness and Sanctification He alone can restore Life to thy Dead Soul and conquer the Enmity of thy Heart against Holiness For we are Saved by the Washing of Regeneration and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost 3 Tit. 5. Beg the Holy Spirit with an Earnestness answerable to your Necessity of what you ask that he may be a Living Principle to cause you to walk in his Statutes and keep his Commandments Ezek. 36.26 27. Forgiveness of Sin is not all that you need you are Diseased and Defiled and need to be Cured and Cleansed If you ask the Holy Spirit with an apprehension and feeling of your need of his powerful Influence you may supplicate and plead the Promise in Hope that God will more readily grant you than any Father upon Earth gives Bread to his Children Mat. 5.6 Chap. 7.11 They that seek him early and earnestly shall find him Our Lord is exalted to give Repentance and Saving Faith his Powerful Grace can subdue the most Impetuous Lusts of Youth You may be earnest and importunate with God for these things he does not require or expect you should be contented to perish in your Filthiness and Unbelief despairing of Helo as if the case of Man were like that of Devils He requires you to Hope and is pleased with it See Mr. How 's Redeemer's Tears p. 118. And if you find any Motions and Strivings of this Blessed Spirit in answer to Prayer cherish every Beginning of it as an Earnest of more Be thankful for every Beam of Heavenly Light from the God of all Grace it may prove the dawning of a more perfect Day Beg that this mighty Spirit would open your Eyes and Hearts that being convinced of the certainty and reality of the Gospel Revelation by the view of its suitableness to your case and the many glorious advantages that are offered by it you may be brought to love it as Amiable and yield up your selves entirely in compliance with it Fifthly Take heed of Declining after good and hopeful Beginnings How many Young Persons have begun in the Spirit and ended in the Flesh Light hath shone in upon their Minds they have been under awakning Convictions by the Word strong Affections have been excited by it they delighted to hear and read it they kept up a course of secret Prayer for some time c. and yet have afterwards fallen away to a Vicious Life It may be they had not considered and counted the cost of being Resolved Christians what they must abandon and forsake what pleasing Temptations they must avoid and resist what instances of Self-denial they must consent to c. And therefore by the Sollicitation or Sophistry or Jears of their Old Companions through the Subtilty of Satan and the Power of Youthful Lusts they have been intangled again with the Pollutions of the World and the Strong Man hath re-enter'd the House with Seven Evil-Spirits worse than himself How Miserable is the case of such after they have been enlightned and in part delivered 2 Tim. 2.26 who return to their former Bondage and are led Captive by the Devil at his Will They were not far from the Kingdom of God they seemed to consent to be the Lord's they were almost perswaded to take the Yoke of Christ upon them as his resolved Followers but now have taken leave of him and are at the Command of Satan his Will is theirs If he bid them think as little of God as they can despise the Holy Scripture make light of Sabbaths and Sermons and all good Counsel they do it If he bid them gratifie their Carnal Appetites indulge their Sensual Inclinations and frequent such and such ensnaring Company they do it They are led Captive by him at his Will With what Hearty Compassion should we think and speak of the case of such and many such there be But if you are not harden'd through the deceitfulness of sin past all feeling I would feign ask you whether you are not yet willing to return If Mercy may be had and you may yet be recovered out of the Snare of the Devil Dare you solemnly and expresly in so many Words take leave of Christ and bid him farewel for ever Are you content to forfeit his Favour and throw up all hopes of it and venture his Eternal Displeasure Would you not yet return if God would receive you If there be Balm in Gilead and a Physician there that you may be healed May I not tell you in the Name of Christ that there is and that if you return with your whole Heart you especially who are the Children of Holy Parents he will yet receive you He will meet you half-way and bid you welcom Hos 14.1 2 3. Isa 55.6 7 8. He will heal your Backslidings and blot out your Transgressions and remember your Iniquities no more He pawns the Authority of his own great Name for this Three several times in one Verse to assure you of it Zach. 1.3 Prov. 1.23 Turn ye at my Reproof and I will pour out my Spirit upon you is the Voice of Wisdom I might likewise direct you in your Addresses to God for his Purifying Grace to Eye the Blood of * Christ as the procuring cause of your Sanctification and the Holy Spirit the Purchase of that Blood as the great Sanctifier of Souls I might urge you farther * that with an hearty abhorrence of every Sin you would penitently and thankfully renew the Covenant you made with God in