Imatges de pÓgina
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sincere, honest, and faithful in their words and actions; to shew a strong regard for truth and integrity, in addition to that modesty of deportment and that kindness of manner, which are peculiarly attractive in the young. Whilst they are informing their minds according to the means of their parents, and the nature of their prospects, they will thus be preparing themselves in the best manner, for every situation in which Providence may place them; they will go into the world accompanied by that general good opinion which will, in a measure, reward their exertions and facilitate their success ; and what is more serious and more encouraging, the blessing of heaven will be their rich reward.

The summons of Jesus, their beloved Master, urges the young thus to act :-to acquire knowledge, to practice goodness, to be attentive to all good and wise rules, to seek religion and the divine blessing; and his example, which they should learn to love and imitate, wins them forward to the same prudent and righteous 'course. Can it be doubted how he passed the years of youth? The Evangelists speak but little of his early life; but that little is full of instruction and encouragement to the young. It was an extraordinary reply with which he met his mother's chiding question—“Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"-80 early was his mind opening to the prospect of extensive usefulness, and preparing itself for the grand undertaking on which he afterwards entered. So early had he the feelings and thoughts of a child of Heaven, and those views of duty which connected his life with God, and caused him to labour and suffer, with the sole thought that it was his Father's business and he was honored by being called upon to perform it. From this moment, till he appeared in public as a divine mess ger, the youthful Jesus was intent upon the duties which immediately pressed upon him, and also in preparing for those which he afterwards fulfilled ; and all that we read of him in the Gospels proves that he had admirably prepared his mind and heart for the work to which God called him. But the young cannot take such an exalted and benevolent work upon them. No: they may, however, prepare by similar means for all they will have to perform in the world. Their beloved Master calls upon them to do this; and reminds them that he has preceded them in the blessed work. They may retire, as he did, from noise and folly, to meditate upon their duty to God and their fellowcreatures. They may shun, as he did, improper companions, whose society is altogether hurtful—and shelter themselves at home, seeking counsel from their parents, and knowledge from books. They may speak, in the reverence and thankfulness of their hearts to God, as their Saviour was wont to do-be frequent and regular in their worship of Him-and endeavour, by intercourse with Him, to acquire and sustain a vigorous and practical piety.

It is a great recommendation of this early training that renders more easy and pleasant subsequent endeavours to be upright, and pious, and holy. The time at which it should be engaged in, is the very best which can be chosen for the purpose, because more leisure is then afforded than can be afterwards commanded by any one who intend to be active and useful in the world; and the good foundation being once laid, additions may be subsequently made to it, till a goodly fabric of integrity and righteousness be upreared. The young, who thus commence the Christian life, will be better disposed than others to the mode of conduct which is disliked by the thoughtless, and called rigid and austere, but approved by the wise : and they will continue to tread in the footsteps of the Saviour, making it their constant endeavour to fulfil all the purposes of life, and to pay a reverential and grateful submission to the will of God. So much, at least, may be hoped for themmeantime, they will increase in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

On Reading the Scriptures.

CHAP. I.

Happy the parents who see around them dutiful and ainiable children, listening with attention and respect to parental advice and exhortation, shewing a sincere regard for all that is good and pious, and learning to love and practice religion as they see it loved and practised by those for whom they feel the highest regard! And happy the children of pious parents, whose young feelings and thoughts are excited in favor of goodness, who are induced both by the lessons and example of their parents, to love their spiritual Father, to reverence his will, and to delight in the revelations He has been pleased to make of that will in the sacred Scriptures !

These thoughts arise in the mind, as we read in the New Testament, of an excellent young person, a sincere disciple of Jesus, and a beloved friend of the Apostle Paul. Timothy, to whom the Apostle addressed two wise and affectionate letters, was a young man of great promise. It was his advantage and happiness to be the son of a very pious Jewess, who, from his earliest infancy had been careful to form him to good habits, and to instruct his mind, who had inspired him with a love of virtue and religion; had taught him what is the true excellence of human beings, and had trained him for being a very useful and valuable member of society. As the young Timothy rose to manhood, his fond and anxious mother soon perceived that her lessons had produced good effects; she beheld the child of her hopes putting forth the fair promise of excellence, and she enjoyed in the prospect a satisfaction and delight which more than repaid her for years of labour and anxiety. At an early period of his life, Timothy became a convert to the religion of Jesus. Well instructed in the Jewish religion, and taught to entertain different views of it from those of the multitude, he was prepared for receiving the messengers of the glorious Messiah, and taking upon himself the profession of a disciple. The religious education through which he had already passed, was now of great service to himself and the cause he had undertaken. A deep sense of religion was ever present with him; an ardent desire to be zealous in the discharge of its duties filled his mind; and his profession of Christianity opened a wide field for exertion and pointed to a noble, an immortal career. Beholding the kingdom of God, which the pious elders of his people had long expected, and sensible of its greatness and benevolence, he was not disposed to be a careless subject, nor to remain inactive in the enjoyment of its privileges. He was grateful to God for these privileges, and active in his service; he soon distinguished himself by his labors, and gained the esteem of the brethren to whom he became known. He was well-reported of by them; and their favorable report induced the Apostle Paul to make him his friend and companion. The Apostle, indeed, esteemed and loved the youth. He calls him “his own son in the faith,” imply. ing, probably, the fact that Timothy was his own convert. But the Apostle could with great propriety, and in other respects, affectionately entitle him,

66 his son." He and his disciple were of a kindred spirit. They were alike devoted to the cause of truth. They possessed the same activity and energy of mind, the same zeal guided by knowledge, the same sincerity and boldness. The motives of both were pure, the actions of both were upright; and whilst, in supporting the best of causes, they put on the whole armour of faith, and wore on their feet the preparation of the gospel of peace, holiness shone around them, and gave additional interest to the enterprising and successful champions. No wonder, then, that Paul loved the youth-loved him with the affection of a father, and gave him the most encouraging testimonies of his strong attachment.

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