Imatges de pÓgina
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righteous person, beyond his own family, worthy to shelter with him in the ark? Behold how frail how liable to sin, is man! how much does he require instruction, and counsel, and guidance, to preserve him in the virtuous path, and to make him the upright being his Maker designed him! Surely the best of men may not boast, though he have attained a high degree of moral excellence, for he owes it to the judicious labors of others, of his parents and instructors, that his mind has been preserved free from impurity; he owes it to the Being who observes and promotes the welfare of the upright, that he has been able to preserve his resolutions unbroken, and to flee from all unrighteousness."Be ye clothed with humility," is an apostolic injunction, which it is prudent and wise to observe. The pharasaical pride that would lead us to say, "Stand off, I am holier than thou," should never find a place in the breast of him who, if he surpass his fellows in moral and religious attainments, is still of like passions with them and liable to err. The good may rejoice that they have profited by the means of virtue which are granted to every one; but they will be humbled by the thought that, in every age of the world, many of their brethren have been wicked, and that, in one era, the world itself was defiled by universal impurity. The bad can never be proud,-for to the remorse of conscience for sin committed, will be added sorrow for having despised the counsel and reproof of those, who were anxious for their welfare.

Yet mingled with the melancholy which the view of God's just judgments on the wicked induces, there is consolation

and joy from the certainty that the upright are his delight. The preservation of the righteous Noah is a grand and animating proof that human goodness is observed and loved by the Almighty. This man walked with God. He made his laws the rule of his life; he engraved them on the tablets of his heart; he moulded his disposition and habits to their dictates. His was not that unwilling and tardy obedience which fear induces. He did not presume to render to God an eye-service; but a wise and expanded zeal in the cause of his Maker, filled his soul-impelled him forward in his excellent career-and gave purity and inexpressible value to his actions. Soaring far above the grovelling train of evil men, he would not stain himself with their impurities; and if he sought their presence, it was to admonish and to Such a man the Divine Being regarded with complacency. Such a man he preserved as a deserving object of favor and an example to posterity, and as a pledge that the righteous are had by him in everlasting remembrance.

warn.

Let this be the firm conviction of our minds; and may it be equally our resolution, that sin shall not triumph over us. We need no incentives to virtue stronger than we already possess. The Scriptures read us one continued lesson of the folly and danger of a wicked life of the safety and wisdom of one that is virtuous. Every inspired teacher who has been sent by the benevolent Father of our race, to shew the sinner the error of his ways, and one more eminent than all, promised, with the authority of the Most High, that peace and happiness shall be the companions of him who doeth justly, loveth mercy, and walketh

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 natúre, 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 may 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 misfortune-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.

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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 to-that 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 you 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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