Page images
PDF
EPUB

your fellow-creatures. God is a spirit; worship him, therefore, in spirit and truth; not with unmeaning jargon and ostentatious ceremony. Come before Him with the incense of an innocent and virtuous life, and, wherever you address him, either with prayer or praise, he will not be slow to hear, or backward to accept the grateful offering. As to consider that you are constantly acting in the sight of Him who knows your heart, and will reward your virtue, is a great sourse of consolation to the mind; so to remember that all your actions, words, and thoughts, will be rigorously examined, and form the criterion of the final sentence that will be passed upon you in the great and awful day of judgment, will deter you from wilful sin.

Finally, ingenuous youth! though you ought unquestionably to consider the present life as a state of probation, and the future as the certain rectifier and rewarder of all the good and evil committed here; yet, live innocently, live honestly, live usefully, if possible, at all events. Men discharge their duty to the world, who act uprightly; whatever is their motive; but they are best acquitted to themselves, who love and practise virtue for its own divine beauty and perfections.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Of maintaining an independent spirit of thinking , and acting for yourself; and persevering in

the line of business you are originally brought ..up in." .s " i

The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

PROVERBS

[ocr errors]

: I DO not know any feature in a great and good

character more truly manly, honourable, and wor. thy of admiration, than that of thinking and acting independently, in opposition to the general torrent of opinion; it is the infallible sign of an honest, strong, and valuable mind, above mean imitations or humble compliance with the vices and weaknesses of others..

In the outset of life, ingenuous youth! there is not a more useful and necessary, or a more manly quality that can be intervoven with your chafacter. It is from weak compliance with the vices and follies of youthful" companions, and the not having spirit enough to discountenance their bad actions, and resist their solicitations to imitate them, that most young men are corrupted in their morals, and acquire those habits of confirmed depravity which gain strength with their years, and render them sooner or later martyrs to their servile complaisance,

Man

Man is born to think and act for himself, and his guides are the law of nature, the light of reason, and revelation. He is not, therefore, ta take his opinions at second hand, and blindly follow the general current of licentious opinion, ,or, as Solomon terms it, “ follow a multitude to do evil;" but he ought to enquire and reflect how far the sentiments and actions of those who solicit his acquiescence correspond with his duty to God, society, and himself; he ought also to examine his own heart, and weigh the opinions he himself holds, in opposition to those he is thus called upon to subscribe to. And when his mind is once convinced, he ought to be decidedly resolute in maintaining his own way of thinking, and act upon it accordingly, in spite of every attempt to induce him to the contrary. i,

At your first entrance into the world you will, most probably, be assailed by the jeers and taunts of your companions; they will, in your hearing perhaps, laugh at religion, morality, and virtue ; innocence they will make a joke of, and your modesty and diffidence will become the subjects of their laughter and ridicule. ---All this you must expect, and the only chance you háve to escape their poisonous contagion, is, by avoiding their company; or; ifi you cannot do that, by, opposing them with thếir wn weapons, and ridiculing their false opinions, a id vicious practices, by retorting wit for wit, and raillery for raillery; shewing them

· that

that you think for yourself, and are resolved to act" for yourself too, independent of their low, pitiful, and mistaken ideas of things. (* 1; }

, If, therefore, they solicit, and the bottle tempts; if business calls, or you dislike the conversation, or incline to go home; or whatever the call. is, if it is reasonable, obey it. A man ought to be able to say---No, upon occasion, as well as a woman; and not to have a will of your own, renders you ridiculous, even to those very persons who govern you. ; .

:;:43 , · From whatever cause, then, your determination arises, take leave resolutely, but civillyg, and you will find that a very few instances of steadiness on such occasions will secure you from future importunities.: '111.

And this decided manner of thinking and acting for yourself you, must carry with you through life, in religion, business, company,and amusement, making your conscience the rule and guide of your decisions, and on all occasions following its unerring dictates, its gentle, still admonitions; carefully shunning and despising all false complaisance, and that too easy ductility of temper, of being led by other people's humours. i.

If your youthful companions are extravagant and foppish in their dress, enemies of sobriety, prodigal in their expences, riotous in their living, despisers of religion, breakers of the Sabbath, dis honest in their actions, negligent in business, and

addicted addicted to pleasure, their example ought not only to warn you from imitating them, and to point out to you the folly of their proceedings, but should operate as an inducement to you to give them good advice, and endeavour to reclaim them; and, if they refuse to listen to you; your duty requires you to abandon their company. -Arm yourself, therefore, ingenuous youth! withi a spirit of independence and magnanimity, that may place you out of the reach of being corrupted by the vicious, or ridiculed with impunity by the depraved ; to whom it is the greatest of gratifications to draw others, and especially the wellinclined, into the same course of life, to which they have themselves weakly and wickedly submitted, from the same reason or feeling that old bawds, who have themselves been seduced in early youth, are never so happy as when they can be the means of the seduction of young and innocent females; conceiving, mośt probably, that the more there are like themselves, the less their fault will appear. ---He that, by force of arms, conquers realms and kingdoms, is a great man ; but he is the true hero who conquers himself, subdues his passions, and despises to be led ingloriously by others in the chains of vice, or basely dragged at the chariot-wheels of triumphant wickedness.

He that willingly becomes a slave to the humours and opinions of others, loses sight of the

dignity

« PreviousContinue »