You sober-minded christians now draw near,
Labour to learn these pious lessons here;
For by the same you will be taught to know
What is the cause of all our grief and woe.
We have a God who sits enthroned above;
He sends us many tokens of his love:
Yet we, like disobedient children, still
Deny to yield submission to His will.
The just command which He upon us lays,
We must confess we have ten thousand ways
Transgressed; for see how men their sins pursue,
As if they did not fear what God could do.
Behold the wretched sinner void of shame,
He values not how he blasphemes the name
Of that good God who gave him life and breath,
And who can strike him with the darts of death!
The very little children which we meet,
Amongst the sports and pastimes in the street,
We very often hear them curse and swear,
Before they've learned a word of any prayer.
'Tis much to be lamented, for I fear
The same they learn from what they daily hear;
Be careful then, and don't instruct them so,
For fear you prove their dismal overthrow.
Both young and old, that dreadful sin forbear;
The tongue of man was never made to swear,
But to adore and praise the blessed name,
By whom alone our dear salvation came.
Pride is another reigning sin likewise;
Let us behold in what a strange disguise
Young damsels do appear, both rich and poor;
The like was ne'er in any age before.
What artificial ornaments they wear,
Black patches, paint, and locks of powdered hair;
Likewise in lofty hoops they are arrayed,
As if they would correct what God had made.
Yet let 'em know, for all those youthful charms,
They must lie down in death's cold frozen arms!
Oh think on this, and raise your thoughts above
The sin of pride, which you so dearly love.
Likewise, the wilful sinners that transgress
The righteous laws of God by drunkenness,
They do abuse the creatures which were sent
Purely for man's refreshing nourishment.
Many diseases doth that sin attend,
But what is worst of all, the fatal end:
Let not the pleasures of a quaffing bowl
Destroy and stupify thy active soul.
Perhaps the jovial drunkard over night,
May seem to reap the pleasures of delight,
While for his wine he doth in plenty call;
But oh! the sting of conscience, after all,
Is like a gnawing worm upon the mind.
Then if you would the peace of conscience find,
A sober conversation learn with speed,
For that's the sweetest life that man can lead.
Be careful that thou art not drawn away,
By foolishness, to break the Sabbath-day;
Be constant at the pious house of prayer,
That thou mayst learn the christian duties there.
For tell me, wherefore should we carp and care
For what we eat and drink, and what we wear;
And the meanwhile our fainting souls exclude
From that refreshing sweet celestial food?
Yet so it is, we, by experience, find
Many young wanton gallants seldom mind
The church of God, but scornfully deride
That sacred word by which they must be tried.
A tavern, or an alehouse, they adore,
And will not come within the church before
They're brought to lodge under a silent tomb,
And then who knows how dismal is their doom!
Though for awhile, perhaps, they flourish here,
And seem to scorn the very thoughts of fear,
Yet when they're summoned to resign their breath,
They can't outbrave the bitter stroke of death!
Consider this, young gallants, whilst you may,
Swift-winged time and tide for none will stay;
And therefore let it be your christian care,
To serve the Lord, and for your death prepare.
There is another crying sin likewise:
Behold young gallants cast their wanton eyes
On painted harlots, which they often meet
At every creek and corner of the street,
By whom they are like dismal captives led
To their destruction; grace and fear is fled,
Till at the length they find themselves betrayed,
And for that sin most sad examples made.
Then, then, perhaps, in bitter tears they'll cry,
With wringing hands, against their company,
Which did betray them to that dismal state!
Consider this before it is too late.
Likewise, sons and daughters, far and near,
Honour your loving friends, and parents dear;
Let not your disobedience grieve them so,
Nor cause their aged eyes with tears to flow.
What a heart-breaking sorrow it must be,
To dear indulgent parents, when they see
Their stubborn children wilfully run on
Against the wholesome laws of God and man!
Oh! let these things a deep impression make
Upon your hearts, with speed your sins forsake;
For, true it is, the Lord will never bless
Those children that do wilfully transgress.
Now, to conclude, both young and old I pray,
Reform your sinful lives this very day,
That God in mercy may his love extend,
And bring the nation's troubles to an end.
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