Imatges de pÓgina
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to them, they will certainly be protected and defended by the almighty power of a just and a merciful God, who is no respector of persons.

6. It is also undeniable, that DEATH is the common lot of mortals, for what man is he that shall not fee death? The thread of every man's life will certainly wear out in a few years, and is continually fubject to be cut by a thousand accidents. Intemperance of all kinds, but particularly drunkenness, lewdness, and quarrels, often fnap it fhort in a moment, in the midst of our youth. It is very plain then, that every man in his right mind thinks it of the highest importance to live prepared for that great change which is appointed for us. You must, therefore, earneftly beg of God to teach you to number your days, that is, to be watchful how time paffes, that you may apply your heart unto wisdom. As death puts us all on a level, it is no lefs obvious, that the mechanic, or laborer, who lives a virtuous and religious life, will enjoy a crown of everlasting glory in the presence of that great God, whofe laws he obey'd; whilst those who are now the most exalted by riches and titles, if they defpife or neglect thofe laws, will fuffer everlasting torments after death. This appears from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, which you have read in the Holy Scriptures; and, indeed, it is plain from every paffage in the Sacred Writings, and is the fenfe and common belief of the civilized part of mankind, but particularly of chriftians.

7. THUS, my dear boy, you fee, in few words, the fituation of the whole race of men, from the lowest clown, up to the highest lord. Therefore, I take this occafion, out of the particular regard the fociety has for your welfare and happinefs, most seriously to entreat you to confider these things well, and cherish a belief of them in your heart, as much as you believe any thing that you fee before your eyes. For in good truth, what man in his right mind can observe the changes of day and night, fummer and winter; the beautiful face of the earth, with the fun, moon, and stars in the heavens, all in fuch perfect order, and not believe there is a God, who directs and governs them? must delight in those who believe in him, and obey him.

And, if there is a God, he What we are to believe, and what

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his Maker. It is a proof of a weak mind to do as other people do, and give no better reafon for it; but it is the moft foolish, and the most fatal of all follies, to think of fcreening ourselves behind numbers, and to follow a multitude to do evil with our eyes open, and knowing it to be evil. Your punishment will be just the fame, as if you was the only finner upon earth.

14. HABITUATE yourself to the great law of confideration. ACCUSTOM yourfelf to think, that it is the fame to you, with respect to a FUTURE STATE, as if you was the only man living: that you are accountable for yourself, and, if you discharge your focial duties, to others, for yourself only: that there is no caufe in nature, no foundation in justice, reafon, or common fenfe, why you should perish, because you see another in the broad ways of destruction.

15. REMEMBER that the glory of a man, is the exercise of his REASON: for without this we cannot have faith; we cannot believe or understand any thing. Cherish and cultivate your reafon continually; reflect on your condition as a man; meditate on your last end, and you will avoid being carried down the stream of iniquity, into the gulf of destruction. Use the means which are pointed out to you, and be not fo foolish, as men too often are, to think of arriving at the end without the means. Thus you will ftem the tide of wickedness, and in proportion as you find it difficult to refist, your reafon will lead you to exert the ftrength and vigor of your mind, in earnest and HEARTY prayer to God, for his grace and affiftance. Nothing can be done well, where men are not in earnest. Mean what you say; and be refolved in what you mean. To be in earnest about what is to happen to you for a few years, in regard to that which you see, and not to be fo with refpect to thofe millions and millions of ages, in a state into which you will certainly be foon changed, though you do not fee it, can only prove that you are a babe in understanding, an infidel in heart, or stupid beyond defcription.

16. My dear boy, you must be courageous: COURAGE is abfolutely necessary to carry you through the dangers and intricate paths of life. You know that the life of a chriftian is called a warfare; and it is certain, the most renowned amongst D 3 christians

chriftians of old time, have heen always remarkable for their courage and conftancy, under trials the most severe : besides a coward can hardly be a virtuous man, and it is impoffible he can be a happy one: for every one who thinks at all will fometimes meditate on death, and to live in fear of dying is as great a misery, even to a good man, as it is a fhame to a warrior. TRUE COURAGE and TRUE BRAVERY arife from INNOCENCY, and confift chiefly in the LOVE OF GOD; in CONFIDENCE in HIS mercy, with an ENTIRE RESIGNATION to HIS WILL and PLEASURE. Submit to HIS WILL with all your HEART, and with all your soul, in all events, DEATH not excepted, is a proof of a great and a good mind; and every man who thinks, and means to act like a man, fhould afpire at this refignation and fubmiffion, with the utmost freedom of thought, and the most chearful and pleasing tranquility. But to DARE to do what is right, and to refufe doing what is wrong, require refolution and steadiness of mind.

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17. LET me repeat, my dear lad, that your reafon, must be your guide in the first place; without reafon we ceafe to be men, and how can we have the faith of chriftians? The beaft that follows his inftinet, obeys his appetites, and acts as God intends he fhall act. But the man who giving himself up to the directions and guidance of his paffions and appetites, leaves his reafon asleep, or is hurried away by his prejudices or opinions, even in religious matters, without examining what is right, or what is wrong, will be called to fevere account for neglecting his reafon, as well as acting against it.

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18. BEWARE not to deceive your own foul, by giving the name of natural to any one kind of vice, as diftinguished from another, and then think it an excufe fufficient to justify you. This is taking pains to deceive your own foul. You may be fure you are a reasonable creature as well as a finful one. Your paffions and appetites are fubjected to your reafon; and you may be also affured, the more reasonable you act, the fairer you ftand to obtain that grace which fo abundantly countervails the finful difpofitions with which we are born; for if you pray to God for his grace to affift you, have faith in his word, and avoid that which your reafon whispers to you, you ought to avoid, you will not be

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tempted beyond your power to refist. For the truth of this you have the word of God himself.

You must expect to find some pain and difficulty in the ftruggle between your reason and your passions, but remember it is a pain which will lead into the paths of true pleasure, the pleasure of being wife, even to the falvation of your foul. "The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." On the if contrary, you fuffer your paffions to rule over you, be affured they are hard task-mafers, for though they fometimes flatter, they both deceive and chaftife. Difcontent and difquiet of mind, are the wages of ungoverned paffions: they are also frequently attended with loss of fortune, and loss of health, whilst difgrace and infamy generally follow them. The fears of future punishments, without the hopes of future happiness, attend ungoverned paffions. Upon the whole, then, it is a duty which you owe to yourself, in the strongest manner, to begin early to keep your paffions in fubjection to your reafon.

19. RESOLVE to do, what, in your confcience you believe to be right, and not to do that which you think to be wrong. This alfo requires you to use your reason, and to confider well what you are about. With refpet to religion, every thing which brings on difcord, or confufion in public, or diftrefs in private life may be well fufpected as not true; I mean that you are certainly under some mistake, tho’ you mean well. To maintain peace, and good order in the world, is one of the chief precepts of our great lord and master Jefus Christ: you will find it fo, in almost every paffage of the New Testament. Therefore, promote Love and HARMONY amongst your fellow citizens, your fellow fubje&is, and mankind in general. Shew bonor and respect, and pay the obedience due, to magiftrates, to men in authority, and to all your fuperiors. These are duties interwoven with christianity, and cannot be feparated from it. Without them you cannot obey the high commands of the great God of heaven and earth, who delights in the happiness of his creatures, which happiness depends on the good order of fociety. For the fame caufe, particular refpect is due to the clergy, for without minifters of the gofpel, we should be apt to forget that there is any gospel: and those who D 4 defpife

defpife the preachers of the word of God, generally neglect, if not defpife the word itself.

20. As it has now pleafed ALMIGHTY GOD, in the gracious difpenfations of his providence, to make provision for you, and by the BOUNTY of the Stepney Society, thus happily to place you out APPRENTICE to a good mafter, confider how many boys, born of virtuous parents, would rejoice at fuch an advantage, and cannot have it. Therefore always be glad of an occafion to express your gratitude to God, and to your benefactors as the inftruments of his mercy, ever carrying this reflection in your mind, that there can be no true religion, no folid virtue, where gratitude is wanting.

21. THE very fame reafon teaches you to make conftant and fervent prayer to God, morning and evening, for the creation, redemption, and prefervation of mankind, and for all his bleffings to yourself in particular. The Common-prayer book furnishes an abundant fupply of admirable prayers, not lefs proper for private, than public devotion. Exprefs your thanks to God, for all his mercies, with great humility, and entreat his bleffing on your labors with great earnestness. Beware, however,

of longer prayers than your mind can bear: there are very few perfons in the world, who can be fo attentive, as we ought always to be in prayer, for any length of time. I have composed some short ones for your occafional ufe: I hope they will be of fervice to you. If at any time you find yourself uncommonly drowzy, make your prayer the shorter; but never kneel before God, in a careless, and a trifling manner. Confider how aweful a thing it is to approach the throne of the ALMIGHTY! "Remember that God is in heaven, and thou upon earth." He is all perfection; thou a miserable finner! To pretend to pray, and not to attend to the the meaning of the words we utter, is aptly called by the royal Pfalmift, the facrifice of fools: and you cannot imagine, that God will attend, to that which you do not attend to yourself. Be, therefore, very flow and deliberate, so that your mind may go along with you; and, that you may attend to the sense of every word you utter. For the fame reafon moderate the warmth of your paffions: worship God with all the powers of your foul, not with a transport which will weaken or destroy those powers, but calmly, in fpirit and in truth.

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