Imatges de pÓgina
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humbly with his God. Why, then, do we hesitate? Why is a moment suffered to pass by unimproved, which can be devoted to the great purposes of final and eternal salvation, and we stand careless and inactive? Time rolls rapidly along. Death, without any violent convulsion of nature, approaches all that live. To work while it is day, is a duty imperious upon us-a privilege the most important; and 'tis to value this privilege, to perform this duty, and to aspire after the rewards which heaven at present conceals from the eyes of the faithful.

If virtue be our aim-if the practice of it be our conduct -We inay look up to our Heavenly Father with the sacred confidence of faith and hope. He will not desert us now, nor hereafter ; and though he should require us to suffer pain, and experience inisfortune-though, for the purposes of his wisdom, he should make our lot hard to be bornehe will teach us to confide in him, to trust his providence, and to share and to improve the riches of his grace.

Then shall we meet all the frowns of a frowning world, with fortitude and magnanimity. Then will not the wrongs of man, nor the convulsions of nature, shake our peace. Then a flood may sweep us from the face of the earth, but it will not remove us from the presence of God. It will rather be the propitious stream which bears us from the land of mortality to the celestial world—from trial and probation, to eternal rewards of well-doing.

Knowledge and Wisdom must be acquired in Youth.

“There is a time," said the sage of ancient times, “ for all things.” There is a time to enrich the mind with useful and valuable knowledge, to form an acquaintance with the works of nature, and to discover in them the proofs of the existence and perfections of the Omnipotent and Beneficent Creator-to study what wise and good men have recorded of their own discoveries and experience, and to learn what God has been pleased to communicate of his gracious will and merciful designs by means of prophets and messengers, and, more than all, by his son Jesus Christ. There is a time to plant good principles in the mind, to learn to distinguish between good and evil, to refer to the best of men and to divine revelation, for just and sound maxims and rules of conduct, and to fix them so firmly on the memory and the heart, as to be able to refer to them on every occasion of difficulty, and to act upon them with decision whenever there is danger of doing wrong, or any doubt presents itself as to the expediency, the propriety, or wisdom, of a particular action. And there is a time to form prudent and thoughtful plans for the life which it may please divine Providence to prolong—to look with calmness upon the various occupations of men—to reflect on the different pursuits to which their time and powers are givento consider what are the first, the great purposes of human existence and to resolve that these shall have the chief attention, whatever be the affairs to be attended to, or the gratifications to be sought after beside. Every one will allow that this is a most important time, and some will ask, When is it? We answer, It is the season of youth. For although it would not be easy to point out any portion of man's existence in which it is not necessary and useful to increase the stores of the mind, to strengthen its moral feelings, and to open it to the suggestions and purifying principles of religion ; youth is especially the time when duties like these should be attended tothat a provision may be carefully and duly made for the future

that religious knowledge may be collected to spread its light over the path of human duty-and moral strength gathered for resisting the temptations by which, in this state of discipline and trial, the virtue of human beings is proved and perfected. But why is youth the best time for this preparation ? and why must a season which appears particularly formed for gaiety and every enjoyment, be occupied with such serious and weighty concerns ? Let us find an answer to these questions, and that answer is, because it is the most suitable and convenient time. When would you devote the hours of the day to the acquiring of knowledge and listening to the voice of instruction, but when those hours are free from other engagements? When would

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learn to judge correctly of human life and the duties of it, but when there is leisure for consulting the wise of past ages or those of the present, and the cares and anxieties of the world do not distract the thoughts, nor feelings of selfinterest endeavour to warp the judgment? And when would you wisely prepare for a great undertaking, after it

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has actually commenced, and decisive steps have been taken-or previous to its commencement, when it can be brought fairly and fully before the mind, and the right course clearly marked out? The right improvement in human life must be allowed on all hands to be a great undertaking, and nothing promises so effectually to aid and secure this improvement, as a careful and serious preparation for the duties which men have to perform, before they are actually undertaken. Will it now be denied that he who makes an early and judicious preparation for the part he has to perform in the world, uses unnecessary haste and troubles himself too soon?

Let the young consider that the leisure which they at present enjoy, must pass away with the season to which it belongs. Once arrived at maturity, they will engage with zeal and earnestness, as all have done before them, in the various pursuits of the world; their connexions will increase, their employments will be far more numerous and more weighty ; they will covet and eagerly seek the profit and advantage which so constantly invite human pursuit ; one will make riches his pursuit-another, honors ; this, will strive to win his way to fame-that, to extend his influence over others; and all, generally speaking, will follow

up their objects so closely and devotedly, as to leave themselves a very few moments for rest or thought. Unless they employ their present leisure in the way we suggest, they will hereafter have bitter cause to regret that the opportunity was, indeed, presented to them, but not wisely improved. They will lament that such an important period

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of their life passed away in thoughtlessness and neglect, and sigh in vain for the benefits which it is now in their power to secure for themselves. They will experience how the cares which pertain to mature and active life, distract the mind and engross all its powers; and how the business, and the amusement, and the sorrow, and the joy that seize upon them in turn, cause their days and years to disappear with the speed of lightning, whilst they form fruitless wishes for relief from corroding care, and a freedom from almost incessant toil.

But we wish, as we pass on, to put the young on their guard against the deceitful and ruinous maxim, that theirs is the time for enjoyment and pleasure. What enjoyment ? what pleasure? If by these terms be meant anything which is not strictly innocent, and prudent, and good, and religious, nothing can be more false nor more mischievous than the notion that they, more than persons of advanced age, are at liberty to seek it. Say, however, that youth is the season for innocent and rational enjoyment—let the maxim, which in its common acceptation has ruined tens of thousands, be thus limited in its signification, and we shall not object to it. On the contrary, we urge the young to seek innocent and rational enjoyment, to taste of the allowable pleasures of their age. We urge them to roam among the fields and the woods and to inhale the breezes of health, whilst they learn to admire the works of God. We urge them to delight themselves at home, and to be the delight of their parents and dearest friends. We urge them to seek society, but it must be the society of the virtuous and

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