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The Morning of Spiritual Youth Improved in the prospect of Old Age and its Infirmities

The Morning of Spiritual Youth Improved
in the prospect of Old Age and its Infirmities
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Author: Church John
Title: The Morning of Spiritual Youth Improved in the prospect of Old Age and its Infirmities
Release Date: 2018-10-02
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Morning of Spiritual Youth Improved, byJohn ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: The Morning of Spiritual Youth Improved       in the prospect of Old Age and its InfirmitiesAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: October 2, 2018  [eBook #58012]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MORNING OF SPIRITUAL YOUTHIMPROVED***

Transcribed from the [1814] R. Thomas edition by David Price,email [email protected]

Public domain book cover

THE
MORNING
OF
SPIRITUAL YOUTH
IMPROVED,
IN THE PROSPECT OF
Old Age and its Infirmities;

BEINGA

LITERAL AND SPIRITUAL PARAPHRASE

On the Twelfth Chapter ofEcclesiastes.

In a Series of Letters.

 

By J. CHURCH, V. D. M.

 

“Rejoice, O young Man, in thyYouth.”—Solomon.

“The prudent Man foreseeth the Evil, and hidethhimself.”

“—and add to your FaithVirtue.”—Peter.

 

LONDON:
PRINTED BY R. THOMAS, RED LION STREET,BOROUGH.

 

p.3PREFACE.

CHRISTIAN READER,

I need make no apology far publishing the followingLetters, as the Subject was first delivered in severalDiscourses, and is now by the particular desire of manyfriends, published to the Church in the form of familiarLetters—appearing in the homely dress of plain speech,they will, doubtless, meet the censure of thecarnal critic, but my mind is fully made up on thatpoint—that which is highly esteemed amongst such men,is abominable in the sight of God.

Being favored with much of the presence of God in preachingthe Sermons, and since then in writing some of theseLetters, I trust every wise, spiritual, andhumble Christian, into whose hands this Work may fall,will be edified, reproved, comforted, andbuilt up on their most holy Faith.—

So prays thy wittingServant
in Christ Jesus,

Signature of J. Church

p.5LETTER I.

TOAMICUS.

Lambeth, 1814.

DEAR FRIEND,

Having waded through many deepwaters of late, and, I hope, learned many interesting lessons inthe School of the Cross, I cannot forbear dropping you a fewthoughts on the great things of God.  It is my mercy andyours, that our salvation is the joint work of the adorableTrinity in Unity, originating in eternal love, planned ininfinite wisdom, and executed by almighty power.  Thissalvation I have been led to prise, of late, more than ever Idid; and to bless a covenant God that I ever heard its joyfulsound; that I was ever convinced of my need of its blessings;that I ever was enabled to receive it as my own: which glorioussalvation consists in the pardon of sin—the acceptation ofthe Saviour’s obedience—the clear witness ofGod’s Spirit—and the happy heart-felt communion withGod.  This is the salvation of the p. 6Gospel I have been made acquaintedwith in some degree, and trust I shall yet more abundantly, evenin this present life, and beyond the grave be favored with it inbody and soul for ever.  This is what I have in humble hopeand expedition, and God declares it shall not be cut off. The Spirit of God is given us as an earnest of this, and faith isthe evidence of it—and though I am not yet in the enjoymentof it, the promise still stands firm, Thine eyes shall see theking in his beauty—they shall behold the land that is faroffThine eyes: are you inclined to ask, Whoseeyes?—the answer is ready—those who are in possessionof a good work of grace—hence, having begun the goodwork, he will perform it unto the day of JesusChrist.—Sometimes you hope, you believe, you trust, nayyou are sure this work is begun; then I am sure it will becarried on, and must be completed; for the Man will not be inrest till the great work is done, and he presents us to himself aglorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, nor any suchthing.  May you and I live in the pleasing prospect of this,and finally, die to enjoy it—no doubt it will be an heavenworth dying for—when I contemplate this glory, I forget thetrials of the way.

But, perhaps, my dear friend, while reading this, isparticularly tried in the way; for as vinegar uponnitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavyheart.  Well, then, I must pay you a visit p. 7inAchor’s vale, where I know you are truly safe, thoughmiserable; reflecting on the days that are past, and contrastingthem with what you now feel and fear—once feeling light,joy, peace, comfort, love, zeal, activity, and diligence; but nowyou feel darkness, insensibility, lowness the workings of inbredsin, and too often have to lament the out-breakings ofthem.  This may be succeeded by legal bondage, unbelief,fretfulness, enmity, and a sad distance between God and the soul;and instead of activity and diligence, a general stupor; callingall in question, because you cannot act as you have formerlydone—quite forgetting him that has said, and who is nowmaking good his promise, Even the youths shall faint and beweary, and the young men shall utterly fail, butthose who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

Permit me, my brother, just to intimate, that there is nothingsingular in your trials; it appears to be the very path theRedeemer went, and the very footsteps of the flock.  Hencewe read, directly after the Baptism of our dear Lord, when hissoul was filled with all the fulness of God; when the Father,with an audible voice, proclaimed from above, This is mybeloved Son!—and the Holy Spirit was seen hovering overhis head, in a body of light, just like a Dove in itsdescent—the Redeemer rising from the watery tomb, and thegazing spectators astonished at the solemnscene—immediately p. 8after this transaction we find him ledinto the Wilderness to be tempted of the Devil; and he was withthe wild beasts, and evil angels came to him; and upon the backof this, Satan, the head, the chief Devil, most daringly temptedhim to presumption, to doubt his Sonship, and to commitsuicide!—and can my brother wonder that he is a subject oftemptation—that he has forty days of mourning,without a spiritual entertainment, or the manifestative presenceof Christ—that he is among the wild beasts of hisinbred sins—that evil thoughts stirred up by evil angels,should ever trouble or visit him?  And can you wonder thatyou should be tempted to doubt your sonship—tempted topresume—that is, forbear to use the scripture means in timeof trouble, or even tempted to suicide?  You think somestrange thing has happened to you, but this is the path theRedeemer trod, in his measure—and, recollect, the servantis not greater than his Lord—it is enough to be as he was,that we may be as he is.  This part of yourexperience was strikingly exhibited in the case of theIsraelites, who came through the Red Sea with joy andpraise—shouted victory, through the mercy ofJehovah—and felt happy that they were delivered.  Buttheir felicity was soon abated, for they were ordered to encampat Marah, in the Wilderness.  So you find it: you have beenconvinced of your lost state; you have felt the slavery of sinand the Devil; you have felt the bondage of the Law; you haveseen p. 9theRedeemer making an atonement for sinners: your faith has receivedthis; your hope has enjoyed this; your love has been led out tohim in sweet return; and though you still felt yourself a sinner,yet your mind was happy in Jesus, his glorious Person, and hisgreat Work.  Here you sung with Moses and Miriam, withgospel ministers and people, The Lord is my strength and mysong, he also is become my salvation, and I willexalt him.  But your note was soon changed, for youpresently found yourself in the wilderness of fears, lest you hadbeen deluded, and lest you had presumed—lest your grief hadbeen like Esau’s, and your joys the raptures of a way-sidehearer; quite forgetting that that religion which comes from God,always leads to God, as our salvation and our eternal all. This was certainly your experience; then why doubt the reality ofit?  The commandment has gone forth, that you, for wise andGod-glorifying purposes, should pitch your tent at Marah; hereyou must taste of the bitter cup of sorrow.  This will onlyendear the Tree of Life to you, who was cut down, and cast intodeeper waters than you can possibly go into; and will lead yourfaith to apprehend, that though your waters are deep and bitter,yet faith tastes them sweet, by virtue of Christ’s removingthe curse—

Thus believing we rejoice,
To see the curse removed.

p. 10Yourpath may indeed be hard and thorny, but, bless God, there is nocurse in it; let this console your mind, I am sure it will, ifthe Holy Spirit gives you power to believe it.  Your presentexperience of darkness, guilt, deadness, bondage, contraction ofspirit, and great stupor, are the days of evil that Solomonspeaks of, which are many, but must at last issue in an exceedingand an eternal weight of glory.  But seeing such are thedays that must come on the followers of the dear Saviour, howtruly important, and how highly interesting that exhortation inthe twelfth of Ecclesiastes, Remember now thy Creator,in the days of thy youth, while the evil days comenot, and the years draw nigh, wherein thou shaltsay I have no pleasure in them.  Solomon could well talkof these things, for he had a wonderful share of them, and wrotethe whole Book of Ecclesiastes upon the subject.  The wordis said by some, to mean the Preacher, but others think itsignifies Restoration to the Church.  It was also written byhim in his old age, after his recovery from backsliding; as suchit must be a precious treasure in the hands of a poor sinner, whoknows the plague of his heart, the weakness of human nature, theinconstancy and mutability of all transitory things, of allterrestial objects.

This book shews the vanity of all things out of Christ; thatthey are fleeting, insubstantial, and disappointing; that theyelude the grasp of their p. 11followers, and leave the soul indarkness, misery, and woe.  Having learnt so much by deepheart-felt experience, of the power of grace and the power ofsin, and having been deeply taught by the Holy Ghost, he advisesas a father to his children, how to act, before the sad days oftribulation come on; and this is agreeable to his owndeclaration, The prudent man foreseeth the evil (i.e.)day and hideth himself, but the simple pass on and arepunished.  Thus in this chapter he exhorts, which,through God’s assistance, I shall consider in anexperimental manner; and shew, I hope, the mind of the Spiritupon this important theme.

I have often been grieved when this precious text has beentaken by mere Moralists, who knew nothing of the Spirit’swork upon the heart, as the testifier of Jesus; and applied toyouth, literally, who are destitute of the grace of God—andby a mere moral harangue, they have set youth to perform a taskthey themselves never did.  Hence, in general, Sermons arepreached to young people from this passage, when the very passageshews they are characters that have been taught of God; else whyexhort to a remembrance of that glorious object, Thy Creator? itmust imply some knowledge of him; and this great Creator can onlybe known by his own Word and Spirit; only seen in his own light,for the world by wisdom knows not God, nor p. 12can all theworks of God lead us to God, as some dream; there is no coming toa knowledge of trusting in, or loving, or obeying God, but by theglorious Mediator, and the impulse of the Holy Ghost.  Iconsider it necessary then, my dear Brother, to shew you,First, The Characters addressed in this importantexhortation—the YouthSecondly, thegrand object recommended to their attention, ThyCreatorsThirdly, What is implied in the ideaof remembering himFourthly, TheArguments the wise man makes use

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