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in life. Let him weigh well its various precepts ; let him study carefully its examples; let him meditate on its awful sanctions ; let him lay hold of its promises ; let him pray for its holy comforts and energetic assistances. Let this, which is the first business in importance, be also the first business of life in his thoughts and attention.
· But let him not, in the second place, despise or neglect the subsidiary aids of human prudence and precaution. We are not to give ourselves up, as some vainly pretend, to sudden illapses and secret illuminations. For reason, as well as revelation, is called in scripture the candle of the Lord, and the superior blaze of the one was never meant to extinguish the light of the other. And sure I am, that feebly will that virtue be guarded amidst a deceitful world, which joins not something of the wisdom of the serpent to the harmlessness of the dove.
Let the young man, therefore, who would secure his virtue, despise no aid, neglect no ad, vantage. Is he inclined to any particular faili ing? Let him watch the part in which he is most vulnerable, with double diligence. Is he disposed to mirth and pleasure? Let reason ever stand as a watchful guard over imagination, to
check the first sallies of intemperate gaiety. Is he allured by the distinctions or honours of ambition? Let him retire sometimes from the world, and set its views at a distance: let him listen to the dictates of age, and the declarations of experience, that all is vanity. Does his heart wander from God, and incline him to wickedness? Let him frequently contemplate the various motives to early piety, and the wisdom of remembering our Creator in the days of our youth. Is he tempted to commit a small sin ? Let him remember, that every sin is a transgression against a God, and that the descent of vice is slippery and dangerous. And above all, in every temptation, let him ask himself these two plain, but weighty questions :-“What is $* it I am going to do? Will the pleasure of a “ moment compensate for the loss of my inno
cence, the favour of my God, the peace of “ my conscience, and the hope of eternal salva: “ tion?” Should he, after this, fall, instant rés pentance must succeed to his crime: for the tears of contrition can alone wash away the stains of guilt. And to the tears of a contrite, he must also add the firm resolution of a manly and christian heart; for vain and fruitless is that repentance, which mourns over past failures in conduct, but produces not a detestation and abandoning of sin.
Nor Nor let the young Christian think it a hard or unnecessary task which is here enjoined him. For if he does not thus resolve to take heed to his ways, sin will soon gain the dominion over him, and he will soon have cause to lament the happiness from which he has fallen. He will look back with horror upon his past life, and with envy regret those days of innocence and tranquility he once enjoyed.' " There was a time,” he will say, when I awaked with com“ fort, and lay down in peace: yonder sun of * the morning never rose, but to light me to 56 new happiness; my thoughts were as chearful
as his beams: the star of the evening invited " me to undisturbed repose: for then my heart “ was a stranger to care, and a foe to fraud : , • my soul felt no pain; for it knew no guilt. s But now, the present hour is clouded with “ anxiety, the past is armed with the stinging “ reproaches of conscious guilt; and the future “ comes on, arrayed in all the terrors of “ vengeance and eternal despair.”
· Neither let the young soldier of Christ complain that the trial is too hard for him, and beyond his strength. Are his enemies strong? Heaven is on his side, and is stronger. Are his temptations powerful? The grace of God is more powerful, and will not fail him, if he does
not first fail himself. “ Ye are of God, little “ children,” says St. John, “and have overcome & them: because greater is he that is in you, " than he that is in the world.” Do his spirits faint? Let him look up to heaven, and compare an eternity of joy with momentary sufferings. Does his faith fail? Let him view the first den fenders of Christianity, who sang praises to God amidst excruciating torments and surrounding flames. Let him remember too, that his time of trial is short; that nothing is required of him but what is practicable, because it has been practised; that every conquest makes his difficulties less; and that virtue, by becoming habitual, becomes, at the same time, easy and delightful. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, " and all her paths are peace.” Suffer me to add farther to this consideration, how beautiful religion appears in youthful minds and early age, Can there be a nobler sight, than to behold a young person sequestered from the follies of the world, and holding a spiritual intercourse with his Maker? Can there be a spectacle more worthy for a God himself to look down upon with pleasure, than the un affected piety of a youthful mind, rejecting all the allurements and temptations of sense, and, in the language of Solomon, addressing himself to heaven, for that wisdom which is from above:
- O God "O God of my fathers, and Lord of all mercy; * who hast made all things with thy word, and “ ordained man through thy wisdom, that he * should have dominion over the creatures " which thou hast made, give me wisdom that « sitteth by thy throne, and reject me not from * among thy children. For I thy servant, and * son of thine handmaid, am a feeble person, *** and of a short time, and too young for the ", understanding of judgment and laws. O send “ her out of thy holy heavens, and from the * throne of thy glory, that, being present, she “ may labour with me, that I may know what “ is pleasing unto thee.”
How must such a sight as this eclipse the laboured finery of the proudest beauty! How must it add inexpressible charms, not only to the bloom of youth, "but make even deformity itself amiable ! How must it warm the anxious heart of a parent! With what a pleasing radiance must it gild the evening of his days, and make him go down in comfort to the grave of his fathers !
· It would be almost too shocking to say what effect a contrary behaviour must have upon the tenderness of a parental breast. Let every dissolute and abandoned child conceive it for him