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grace to their friends, and a burden on society. Early, then, you may learn, that it is not on the external condition in which you find yourselves placed, but ong the part which you are to act, that your welfare or unhappiness, your honour or infamy, depend. Now, when beginning to act that part, what can be of greater moment, than to regulate your plan of conduct with the most serious attention, before you have yet committed any fatal or irretrieveable errors ? If, instead of exerting reflection forthis valuable purpose, you deliva er yourselves up at so critical a time, to sloth and pleasure; if you refuse to listen to any counsellor but huq mour, or to attend to any pursuit except that of amusement; if you allow yourselves to float loose and careless on the tide of life, ready to receive any direction which the current of fashion may chance to give your what can you expect to follow from such beginnings? While so many around you are undergoing the sad consequences of a like indiscretion, for what reason shall not those consequences extend to you? Shal you attain success without that preparation, and esa cape dangers without that precaution, which is required of others ? Shall happiness grow up to you, of its own accord, and solicit your acceptance, when? to the rest of mankind, it is the fruit of long cultivad tion, and the acquisition of labour and care ? -De. ceive not yourselves with such arrogant hopes. What ever be your rank, Providence will not, for your sake reverse its established order. The Author of
be ing hath enjoined you to take heed to your ways; to ponder the paths of your feet; to remember your Creator in the days of your youth. He hath decreed, that they only who seek after wisdom shall
find it; that fools shall be afflicted because of their transgressions; and that who so refuseth instruction shall destroy his own soul. By listening to these admonitions, and tempering the vivacity) of youth with a proper mixture of serious thought, you may ensure cheerfulness for the rest of life; but by de
vering yourselves up at present to giddiness and levy, you lay the foundation of lasting heaviness of
When you look forward to those plans flife, which either your circumstances have suggest1, or your friends have proposed, you will not hesite to acknowledge that, in order to pursue them with Ivantage, some previous discipline is requisite. Be sured, that whatever is to be your profession, no edution is more necessary to your success, than the quirement of virtuous dispositions and habits. This
the universal preparation for every character, and cery station in life. Bad as the world.is, respect is
ways paid to virtue. In the usual course of human fairs, it will be found, that a plain understanding ined with acknowledged worth, contributes more to trosperity, than the brightest parts without probity honour. Whether science, or business, or public life
your aim, virtue still enters, for a principal share, to all those great departments of-society. It is concted with eminence in every liberal art; with repution, in every branch of fair and useful business; with istinction, in every public station. The vigour which gives the mind, and the weight which it adds to chare ter; the generous sentiments which it breathes, the
daunted spirit which it inspires, the ardour of dili-nce which it quickens, the freedom whichit procuies
m pernicions and dishonourable avocations, are the andations of all that is high in fame, or great in suca ss among men.
Whatever ornamental or enging endowments you now possess,virtue is a necesty requisite, in order to their shining with proper stre. Feeble are the attractions of the fairest form, if be suspected that nothing within corresponds to the easing appearance without. Short are the triumphs is wit, when it is supposed to be the vehicle of malice. ct whatever arts you may at first attract the attention, Lou can hold the esteem, and secure the hearts of others, tly by amiable dispositions, and the accomplishinents
of the mind. These are the qualities whose influence will last, when the lustre of all that once sparkled and dazzled has passed away.
Let not then the season of youth be barren of improvements so essential to you future felicity and honour. Now is the seed-time o life; and according to what you sow, you shall reap. You character is now, under Divine assistance, of your owi forming; your fate is, in some measure, put into you own hands. Your nature is as yet pliant and soft Habits have not established their dominion. Preju dices have not pre-occupied your understanding. Th world has not had time to contract and debase you affections. All your powers are more vigorous, dis embarrassed, and free, than they will be at any futur period. Whatever impulse you now give to your de sires and passions, the direction is likely to continue It will form the channel in which your life is to run nay, it may determine its everlasting issue. Conside then the employment of this important period as th highest trust which shall ever be committed to you as, in a great measure, decisive of your happiness, il time, and in eternity As in the succession of the sea sons, each, by the invariable laws of Nature, affect the productions of what is next in course; so, in huma life, every period of our age, according as it is wel or ill spent, influences the happiness of that which i to follow. Virtuous youth gradually brings for wan accomplished and flourishing manhood ; and suç manhood passes of itself, without uneasiness, int respectable and tranquil old age. But when Nature i turned out of its regular course, disordertakes place i the moral, just as in the vegetable world. If the Sprin put forth no blossoms, in Summer there will be n beauty, and in Autumn no fruit. So, if youth b trifled away without improvement, manhood will b contemptible, and old age miserable. If the begin nings of life have been vanity, its later end can be a other than vexation of spirit.
Piety to God is the foundation of good morals, and is a disposition particularly graceful and becoming in youth. To be void of it, argues a cold heart destitute of some of the best affections which belong to that age. Youth is the season of warm and generous emotions. The heart should then, spontane rusly, rise into the admiration of what is great, glow with the love of what is fair and excellent, and melt at the dicovery of tenderness and goodness. Where can any object be found, so proper to kindle those affections, as the Father of the universe, and the Author of all felicity? Unmoved by veneration, can you contemplate that' grandeur and majesty, which his works every where display? Untouched by gratitude, can you view that profusion of good, which, in this pleasing season fof life, his beneficent hand pours around you? Happy in the love and affection of those with whom you are connected, look
up to the Supreme Being, as the inIspirer of all the friendship which has ever been shewn you by others; himself, your best and your first friend; formerly, the supporter of your infancy, and the guide of your childhood; now, the guardian of
your youth, and the hope of your coming years. View religious homage, as a natural expression of gratitude to him for all his goodness. Connected with so many tender sensibilities of soul, let religion be with you, not the cold and barren offspring of speculation, but the warm and vigorous dictate of the heart. But though piety chiefly belongs to the heart, yet the aid of the understanding is requisite, to give a proper direction to the devout affections. You must endeavour, therefore, to acquire just views, both of the great principles of natural religion, and of the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel. For this end, study the sacred scriptures. Consult the word of God, more than the systems of men, if you would know the truth in its native purity, When, upon rational and sober inquiry,
you have established your principles, suffer them not to be shaken by the scoffs of the licentious, or the cavils of the sceptical. Remember, that in the examination of every great and comprehensive plan, such as that of Christianity, difficulties may be expected to occur; and that reasonable evidence is not to be rejected, because the nature of our present state allows us only to know in part, and to see through a glass darkly. Im. press your minds with reverence for all that is sacred. Let no wantonness of youthly spirits, no compliance with the intemperate mirth of others, ever betray you into prophane sallies. Besides the guilt which is thereby incurred, nothing gives a more odious appearance of petulance and presumption to youth, than the aflectation of treating religion with levity. Instead of being an evidence of superior understanding, it discovers a pert and shallow inind; which, vain of the first smatterings of knowledge, presumes to make light of what the rest of mankind revere.
At the same time you are not to imagine, that when exhorted to be religious, you are called upon to become more formal and solemn in your manners than others of the same years, or to erect yourselves into supercilious reprovers of those around you. The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness and affability. It gives a native, unaffected ease to the behaviour. It is social, kind, and cheerful; far removed from that gloomy and il. liberal superstition which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, dejects the spirits, and teaches men to fit themselves for another world, by neglecting the concerns of this. Let your religion, on the contrary, connect preparation for heaven, with an honourable discharge of the duties of active life. Let it be associated in your imagination, with all that is manly and useful; with whatsoever things are true, are just, are pure, are lovely, are of good report, wherever there is any virtue, and wherever there is any praise. Of such religion