Page images

will inevitably prove the result of shaking off his fear, and not remembering your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days of age and disease overtake you, when you will with anguish complain that you have no pleasure in them. I am only now in the prime of life, and yet premature old age has overtaken me, not so much from the effects of vice and dissipation as from those of late and painful experience in the affairs of life. The only. consolation I have left is, that of doing right, and devoting my time to useful labours and studies ; endeavouring to guard the young against my errors and misfortunes, to master my headstrong passions, and establish my mind in virtue and goodness, however late in the day it is to attempt it, and however small the honour when effected; for the greatness of the triumph consists in resisting sin in early life, and when the passions and temptations are the strongest. --- There, ingenuous youth! all the honour lies.

It is with dread of mind, and faltering, trembling nerves, that I sometimes go up to the house of God, as conscious that I devoted too much of my youth to do my own pleasure on the Sabbath day, and am now only offering up the worn-out tatters and remnants of age, instead of the vigour and energy of youthful life, as a sacrifice to my Creator.---May this not be your case. Frequent early and regularly the temples of the Most High,


and worship him in spirit and in truth, in the days of your youth; for such a sacrifice only can be well-pleasing in his eyes, and consolatory to yourself at the close of life. ---Did you but know what it is to smart under the lashes of an awakened, vengeful conscience, it would harrow up your soul, and make you shudder. I speak from experience: it is my own fatal lot ! Avoid it, therefore, with all your might.

[blocks in formation]

Liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire : i and brimstone.


In the course of my experience in the transactions of life, I have always found that speaking the Truth, however much it may have cost me, was the best and most advantageous practice in the end. ---Falsehood is always sure to be detected sooner or later, and the author of it is certain to meet with that just contempt and disdain which so pitiful, mean, and base a vice deserves: where one lie is told, it frequently happens that others must be added to it to support the deception, till at length so many are risqued, that the memory can no longer retain them, and their author is embarrassed, confused, and detected, by his pre


[ocr errors]



varications and contradictions; whereas 'Truth is clear, plain, and simple ; it requires no art or mean deceptions to support it, nor is it any pairr'ful exercise of the memory to retain the necessary recollection of its facts.

If we could personify Truth and FALSEHOOD the transcendent beauty of the former, the ma jesty of her demeanour, and her noble, undaunted mien, would strike us with love, admiration, and pleasure; while the detestable ugliness, sneaking gait, and downcast timid countenance of the latter, would fill us with abhorrence, contempt, and disgust.

My young friend ! I would advise you, in the journey of life, frequently to picture to your hesitating mind these two opposite female characters; and when you are tempted to incline to the slightest breach of truth, candour, and sincerity, pause--and view for a moment the extreme ugliness and abject nature of that vice you are about to substitute for the divine beauty and excellence of Truth, which, though simple and unadorned, is superior, in every attraction, to the painted deceit and varnished colouring of Falsehood.

There is something in the nature of TRUTH SO manly, honourable, and excellent, that, if our grosser faculties could but discern it more clearly than their limited powers enable us to do, we could not fail of being charmed with it, and making it the guide of all our words and actions.


---But, alas! we have not always courage to prac=*: tise its rigid laws, to relish its plain and simple beauties, or to bear the manly bluntness of its language. com

A STRICT REGARD FOR TRUTH, however, it is our first duty to impress upon our minds; and its : is the more to be recommended by the moralist, as the contrary practice is so often observable in youth, which, if not checked in time, seldom.' fails to introduce a false and crooked disposition of heart, a disposition which is the very bane of all virtue, and one of the greatest pests of society. Youth should remember, that God hears as well as sees * . and knows, and that not a single word escapes the tongue, but it is recorded for or against the speaker in the volume of the great account from which he will be judged.

. · Falsehood is of such a vile, low nature, that it ought to excite horror in the breast of every ingenuous youth: it requires only to be seen to be hated and despised ; it is the surest mark of an abject mind, and robs one of the very dignity of a man, and the character of a gentleman. : .

On the contrary, Truth and Sincerity are always .. admired and applauded, as the proofs of a' soul" ; truly great, too conscious of its own dignity to !.. use any of the little tricks of Falsehood. Honour". and nobleness of mind are naturally associated in

* He that formed the ear, shall he not hear? He that planted the eye, shall he not see? Isaiah.


our ideas with openness and veracity ;; and infamy, and littleness of soul, with dissimulation and falsehood. : To lie, to the prejudice of others, argues malice and villany; to lie in excuse of ourselves, guilt, meanness, and cowardice; both ways, a design to. delude with false representations of things, and to benefit ourselves by the deceit. Now, however, artfully we may carry on this practice for a while, in the end it is always discovered, and it is hardly to be imagined what infinite contempt is the consequence : nay, the more plausibly we have conducted our fallacies before, the more severely shall we be censured afterwards : from that moment we lose all trust, all credit, all society ; for men avoid a liar as a common enemy: truth itself, in his mouth, loses its dignity, being always suspected, and often disbelieved. ---This I have found, from fatal and hard experience, to be the inevi. table and sure effects of swerving from the truth; and, however extraordinary it may appear, it is a fact, that falsehood is born with many of us, and, from the corruption of our nature, is actually in-, herent in the moral constitution of our depraved minds. I need not, I suppose, observe to you, that the natural constitution relates to the body, and the moral, to the mind.

In support of the above remark, with Socrates, not hesitate to avow, for your instruction, that it was born with me; that it was the only vice

[ocr errors]

I was

« PreviousContinue »