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"Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid." Rom. 3. 3, 4. And whatever trials may be permitted to attend the church, we may remember that "the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.” 2 Tim. 2. 19. And the language of the Divine Master is peculiarly animating to his humble followers: "Fear not little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
The youth of this Society possess many privileges. To you, of this class, it may be said: "Other men have labored, and you have entered into their labors." Our predecessors, some of whom were very young in years, not only labored--but deeply suffered for those principles, which distinguish the Society of which you are members. They suffered the scorn of their intimate associates-and the frowns of those whose sentiments they highly esteemed. Their property, their liberty, and even their lives, they freely gave up, rather than lose that peace of mind which is found in obedience to manifested duty or suffer those testimonies to fall to the ground, which they believed had been committed to them. These very testimonies have now devolved upon you to maintain. Your corrupt passions are the greatest sacrifices called for at your hands. Faithfulness to your profession is no reproach to you. You are not called upon to breathe the damp and pestilential air, of dark and filthy dungeons: nor to encounter the rage of an infuriated mob: nor to be exposed at the whipping post or the cart's tail, as many of our predecessors were, while their sufferings drew tears from the eyes of strangers.* If the invincible Arm of Divine Power
*In adverting to those times of persecution, arising from a mistaken zeal for religion, we may find much cause for thankfulness, in the diffusion of light which has taken place on the subject. The rights of conscience are
sustained them, and so filled their hearts with consolation, as to enable them to sing songs of thanksgiving, even in the midst of their tortures, would not the same Arm of Power sustain you, and enable you also to commemorate his praise, on the banks of deliverance? If they were bound to "hold fast the profession of their faith," even through such severe sufferings, what will become of you, if you turn aside from the very same profession-without object, or advantage?
There is a species of levity-and even of denying Christ before men, against which it is important that the youthful mind should be guarded. The visitations of Divine Love, have not been permitted to attend your minds, to be trifled with or rejected. Youth is the season of improvement-not of vanity and frivolous amusements. You see how many end their days in the bloom of youth: and if such take no serious thought of religion, where will be their preparation for the world to come? And even among those who attain to old age, how many do we see become hardened in guilt and depravity, who nevertheless were favored in their youth, with humbling and tendering impressions! So that the language remains to be applicable, "To-day, to-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." You are "called to glory and to virtue" and if you neglect so great salvation, with all the privileges you enjoy— surely great will be your condemnation. But suffer the word of exhortation. Be willing to give up "the pleasures of sin, which are but for a season," if they deserve to be called pleasures at all. Submit
not only recognized, and in a good degree secured, by the institutions of civil society, but there is among the different denominations, a feeling of charity towards others. Where this charity is cultivated, and suffered to rise into its just pre-eminence, all animosity and bitterness is removed, and thus the very ground of persecution will cease to exist.
to the tendering impressions of the love of God, on your minds. Cherish those feelings which that love will inspire; wait in silent introversion of mind, for the renewal of these impressions: and you will find yourselves in a course of preparation for heaven, and be admitted to a foretaste of its joys. And in the fulfilment of the promises of Jesus Christ, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him," (John 14. 23,) you will find "strength in weakness, riches in poverty, and a present help in every needful time."
To those in the meridian of life, who hold no particular station in Society-wish well to the cause, and perhaps apprehend themselves discharged from those active duties, which. the support of the doctrines and testimonies of the Society demand-I would make a few observations.
The apostle Paul compared the individual believers to the different members of the human body. Though their offices were various, yet all were useful, and a certain dependence and mutual feeling prevailed through all. "Whether one member suffer," said he, "all, the members suffer with it, and if one member rejoice, all the members rejoice with it." Thus, friends, however humble or obscure your stations may be, you are to contribute either to the suffering or the rejoicing of the living members of that body, to which you belong. Your lukewarmness and indifference to the great objects of religious regard, cannot fail to increase the weakness of the Society, and those painful exercises which arise in consequence of that weakness. And on the contrary, your close attention to what passes in your own minds, and the secret exercises, into which you would be led, like the prayers and
alms-deeds of Cornelius, would rise as a memorial before him that sees in secret. And thus you might not only know an increase of religious experience and religious enjoyment, but also contribute to the prevalence of that power, which is the crown of our most solemn assemblies.
But, by settling down into a belief, that there is nothing for you to do-you will deprive yourselves of that improvement, usefulness in Society, and peace of mind, which would otherwise be your portion. It is not always from among the most wise, according to the wisdom of this world, nor from those who possess the brightest natural talents, that religion has found its ablest advocates, or christianity its brightest ornaments. Suffer therefore your minds to be aroused from that state of ease, into which you may have fallen-not to an unqualified activity in the church, but to an entire submission to the renovating power of Truth. You will find that a remembrance of God, and a submission to the regulating, sanctifying operations of his Spirit, will not interrupt the right order of your domestic conBut through the seasoning virtue and illuminating nature of that influence, which would regulate your feelings and direct your conduct, you would take your portion of that character, which our Lord gave of his disciples, when he called them "the salt. of the earth," and "the light of the world."
What if your opportunities of improvement may have been limited--or your capacities, in your own estimation, be small-or your natural energies already begun to decline? you have souls to be saved or lost-you have no continuing city here, and are bound, by the most solemn obligations, to prepare for the final change; "and so much the more as ye see the day approaching." In that very preparation for the world to come, from which no age
nor condition in life can exempt you-you will experience a preparation for the various duties that devolve upon you, in civil and religious society.
Whatever may be our name, as to religious profession-whatever our stations in the militant Church, the closing address of the apostle, on a very interesting occasion, may be suitably applied: "I commend you to God, and to the word of his Grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."