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age and country, He says to us as he did to Philip,-Follow me. He speaks to the young,-Follow me. He speaks to those in the strength and vigour of manhood,-Follow me. He speaks to those in advancing life, whose strength begins to yield and vigour to diminish,-Follow me. And he speaks to the aged, whose toil is nearly done and whose steps are tottering,-Follow me. Do we wish to know his meaning, when he addresses persons of such various ages and condition? How shall the feeble, the manly, and the decrepid equally attend upon him? He desires them to follow him in the path of goodness and piety. He desires them to live religiously in the world, to be obedient to all the commandments of God, to endeavour to please that exalted Being, to regard him with sincere veneration and profound love, and to esteem his favor as their highest earthly good. Perhaps it may be said that these important things require the attention chiefly of those persons who are advanced in life, and approaching the end of their days. Their attention is, indeed, required to them-but why chiefly? Is it because their engagements in the world are more important than some others, and their approach to the end of life much nearer? To an eye which looks upon all the engagements of men at a glance, they are not so greatly varied in importance as we are apt to imagine; and there is so much uncertainty in life, that all may consider themselves but at a moderate distance from the grave. And it must be remembered that all the teachings of Jesus, are to the end, that every situation of life, and every age of it, have their duties, to be attended to
and performed with care and zeal, and in obedience to the divine will.
If, then, the young are disposed to consider themselves free from obligations of this kind, and would leave to others all attention to serious and religious affairs, we would affectionately admonish them of their error, and remind them of their Saviour's invitation, and place before them their Saviour's example. Is it, indeed, true, that the young are not required to be obedient to God? Have they no interest in religion? Is there nothing in its duties to occupy their time and to do them good? Are they incapable of feeling the excitement of its motives? Know they so little of life as not to comprehend the meaning of eternal life in heaven? Let them not give a hasty answer to these important questions. Let them reflect a little while, and they will be aware of the necessity of leading a religious life, and of being as willing as any on whom Jesus calls to obey his summons.
It may be allowed that the duties of the young are not of the same magnitude as those of persons of mature age. There is a difference in degree, and no more than this. But they are enjoined by the same sacred authority which appoints the duties of every human being: and it is enough for the young to feel this and understand it, to make them apply themselves seriously to every thing which is expected from them. Are they living in the home of their parents? What a variety of things, to which they should attend, is suggested by the very name of home! They are living with brothers or sisters, members of the same family; and they are enjoying the protection, the care, and the support of those who have given them birth. To
speak of brothers and sisters, is to call to mind the affection which should subsist between all who are so closely connected together. It calls up ideas of kindness, mutual forbearance and love-ideas of peace and concord-ideas of mutual endeavours to make home a scene of smiling joy and hope, and to fill the breasts of parents with delight towards their children and gratitude to God. Happy the young, who give life to such a picture! We have spoken of their duties-these, then, are their duties. They should avoid every thing which is likely to give pain or sorrow to the other members of their circle. They should take more pleasure in gratifying a brother or a sister, than in procuring their own gratification. They should be exceedingly careful not to be guilty of meanness or deceptionnot to be artful or cruel-not to indulge a quarrelsome disposition-not to give others cause for disliking and avoiding them. They have the ability of making their home a sad, a quarrelsome, and a miserable spot-or a cheerful, an harmonious, and a lovely abode; and who can hesitate between these two extremes ? What youthful bosom but beats with the warm desire to be the means of securing for his family domestic concord and domestic happiness!
We will remind the young, that they have parents. But we can scarcely tell how much they owe them of gratitude and obedience. It will not be easy to describe what parents undertake and perform for their offspring, from the first moment of infant life till the tie, which binds them together, is severed by the hand of death. How many anxious days-how many sleepless nights! What watchings by the sick-bed-what endurings of infant petulance
what fears and sorrows, caused by early imprudence and thoughtless disobedience? What exertions to procure the necessaries and comforts of life, and self-denial to give the chief of these to the object of their love! What prayers to heaven for the welfare and virtue of the child! It becomes the young to cherish an ardent affection for their parents, and to honor them with a grateful obedience. The incessant kindnesses and attentions which they receive, demand this from them; and they fulfil one of their chief duties in complying with the demand. It will encourage them, perhaps, in this becoming and lovely devotion to their best earthly friends, to remind them that Jesus, their exalted Saviour, was, during his abode on earth, as dutiful and pious a son as he was a faithful and distinguished Messenger of God. The Evangelist tells us that he was subject unto his parents; and the expression plainly denotes that they found in him a kind, an obedient, and an affectionate son. His is an example for the youthful to copy. And when with an outstretched hand he beckons them, and with a gracious smile says unto them, Follow me; he invites their attention to the earliest and more private scenes of his own innocent and beautiful life; he leads them to his home in Nazareth, and permits them to behold the dutiful attentions he pays to his mother; the joy he feels in learning her wishes and ministering to her comforts; and the respect and reverence with which the injunctions of both his parents are listened to. They see him in the artless and undisguised expression of his filial feelings, and witness the throbbings of delight and joy which move the hearts of his earthly protectors: and when cares of the most serious kind occupied his thoughts,
when schemes of benevolence to man and efforts of love to God drew off his mind from other objects; even when his soul was stung with ingratitude, and pain and agony oppressed it, his heart still beat with filial love-and he was still anxious to fulfil its suggestions. On the cross he thought of his mother; to the keeping of his beloved disciple he commended her.
And have not the young intellectual and moral powers that require attention and zealous culture? We will suppose that every one would like to be well thought of by his family and friends, and the world. Surely there is no one living who would not prefer the good opinion, the esteem, and the love of others, to their bad opinion and dislike. It may be the case that very different exertions are made for the securing the good opinion of mankind, and the characters of the young and the aged differ as widely from each other in their good and bad qualities ;— still we observe, that, live as they will, in zealous attention to good things or a miserable pursuit of the bad, they are pleased with the thought that there are persons who like them and have a regard for them. If, then, the young desire to be loved and esteemed, it is in their power to secure this acknowledged good, without making it their chief object--and this it should not be-by carefully improving themselves in knowledge, by acquiring what are usually called moral habits. These habits are formed by paying a regular and sacred attention to individual duties -and especially to those of a religious kind. We have spoken of the fraternal and filial duties of the young; there are many others which require their attention. Not engaged in the most active pursuits, they still are required to be