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then has the soul lost its dignity, and its strength; then is the rational being fast hastening to decay; then is it time to remember, that these things, also, are but vanity.
Among other objections to dissipation, it will be found to proceed from erroneous notions of pleasure; if it necessarily involved any struggle between duty, and gratification, it would be more easily understood why the latter so often triumphed over the former consideration; but the most dissipated men are the first to complain of the dullness, and sameness of the pleasures they pursue; they cannot quit what they do not love; they are wearied, but have no asylum; wisdom, and virtue are not to be recalled at pleasure; there is no retreat; they are doomed to be irrevocably frivolous, to trifle on to the brink of the grave, though conscience whispers at every step, this is not pleasure; it was not for this, that man was made after the image of his God.
How changed is our estimation of all worldly things, when sober experience
awakens us from the dreams of youth.-
melancholy dejection, which says, "I have
get the height of science, to which he might have ascended; the useful functions he might have fulfilled; the career of glory he might have run: the religious wisdom he might have treasured up. He has ́no excuse in a natural indelible mildness of character, which may betray the firmness of resolution, and communicate a greater force to the social feelings; he sins against the most exalted, and popular qualities of a man, without gaining any others in return; he is trifling, without being amiable; weak without being delicate; and ignorant without being affectionate, or humane. Neither let any shelter themselves under the plea, that dissipation does not sacrifice that time which ought to be given up to more important occupations, religion bids us all prepare for an hereafter; benevolence bids us alleviate the miseries of the present scene, Knowledge invites us to contemplate, and understand it: the first, hallows the mind, the next, softens it, the last, strengthens, exalts, and adorns it. To love religion, is to love eternity, and to love salvation; but to love knowledge, as a means of complying with the injunctions of that religion,
may not be sufficiently impressed upon the minds of us all. In an advanced period of society, it is the most effectual preventative" against the perils of idle opulence; it economizes the most useful possessions of a state, its talents; prevents the mournful waste of genius, and turns the powers of our minds into the real channels in. which they ought to flow. Against the fair, and moderate pursuit of pleasure, I hope no one imagines me so mistaken as to contend, the love of knowledge will render the extravagant, and dissipated pursuit of it as distasteful as it is pernicious; nothing frees a man so effectually from the shameful dependance on foreign aid, and renders him so contented with himself, and his own home; he is no longer compelled to flee from the restless activity of the mind, to a circle of melancholy, and insipid amusement: This is not all; to exercise the mind is a duty, it is an essential part of righteousness ; the agency upon the world, the power of doing good, increases immensely with the increase of our intellectual powers: It matters not by what science, by what studies our minds are exercised, if they be ready to be turned on
the conduct of life, the interests of mankind, and the promotion, and defence of religion; take, for instance, the task of early education commonly devolved upon mothers; is there one of greater importance in the whole circle of human affairs? and what daily ravages are committed on the characters of future men, by affectionate parents, who mean to do well without any adequate power of seconding their good intentions, and who lament, when too late, that they wasted in dissipation the season of improvement, that their minds have never been strengthened by difficulties, or fertilized by thought.
Dissipation is not less injurious to the qualities of the heart, than to the powers of the mind:-The dissipated become impatient of any thing which is not immediately amusing, they cannot submit to the present sacrifice which virtue requires, or wait for the remote gratifications which it affords: The passing moment must yield its tribute of pleasure at every expence of health, fortune, and inward satisfaction:All control over inclination is gradually