« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
an old gentleman came too late for a place suitable to his age and quality. Many of the young gentlemen, who observed the difficultty and confusion he was in, made sigus to him that they would accommodate bim, if he caine where they sat. The good inan'bustled through the croud accordingly; but when he came to the seat to which he was invited, the jest was to sit close and expose him, as he stood out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round all the Athenian benches. But on those occasions, there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good man skulked towards the boxes appointed for the Lacedemonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a man, and with the greatest respect, received him among them. The Athenians, being suddenly touched with a sense of the Spartan virtue and their own degeneracy, gave a thunder of applause; and the old man cried out, “ the Athenians understand what is. good, but the Lacedemonians practise it.
· 111... Piety to God recommended to the Young WHAT I shall first recommend, is piety to God. With this I begin, both as the foundation of good morals, and as 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 spontaneously rise into the adıniration of what is great ; * glow with the love of what is fair and excellent; and melt at the discovery of tenderness and goodness. Where can any object be found so proper to kindle these affections, as. the Faiher 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 ? U11touched by gratitude, can you view that profusion of good, ! which, in this pleasing season of life his beneficent band pours around you: Happy in the love and affection of those i with whom you are connected, look up to the Supreme Beiog, as the inspirer of all the friendship which has ever been shewu you by others; himself your best and your first nig 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 home age as a natural expression of gratitude to him for all his goodness. Consider it as the service of the God of your fa.
thers; of him to whom your parents devoted you ; of him wbom, in former ages, your ancestors honoured ; and by whom they are now rewarded and blessed in heaven, 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.
- IV.-Modesty and Docility. TO piety, join modestý and docility, reverence to your parents, and submission to those who are your superiors in knowledge, in station and in years. Dependence and obedience belong to youth. Modesty is one of its chief ornainents; and has ever been esteemed a presage of rising merit. When entering on the career of life, it is your part not to assume the reins as yet, into your hands; but to commit yourselves to the guidance of the more experienced, and to become wise by the wisdom of those who have gone before yon. Of all the follies incident to youth, there are none which either deform its present appearance, or blast the prospect of its future prosperity, more than self conceit, presumption and obstinacy. By checking its natural progress in improvement, they fix it in long immaturity ; and frequently produce mischiefs which can never be repaired. Yet these are vices too commonly found among the young. Big with enterprize, and elated by hope, they resolve to trust for success to none but theinselves. Full of their own abilities, they deride the admonitions which are given them by their friends, as the timorous suggestions of age. Too wise to learn, too impatient to deliberate, too forward to be restrained, they plunge, with precipitant indiscretion, into the midst of all the dangers with which life abounds.
o V. Sincerity. IT is necessary to recommend to you sincerity and truth. These are the basis of every virtue, That darkness of character, where we can see no heart; those foldings of art, Ibrough which no vative affection is allowed to penetrate, present an object upamiable in every season of life, but para ticularly odious in youth. If, at an age when the heart is warm, when thie einotions are strong, and when nature is expected to show herself free and open, you can already smile apd deceive, what are we to look for when you shall be longer hackneyed in the ways of men ; wheu interest shall baye coinpleted the obduration of your heart; and experi
ence shall have improved you in all the arts of guile? Disa simulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age. Its first appearance is the fated omen of growing depravity and future shame. It degradés parts and learning, obscures the lustre of every accomplishment, and sinks you into contempt with God and inan. As you value, therefore, the approbation of heaven, or the esteem of the world, cultivate the love of truth. In all your proceedings, be direct and consistent. Ingenuity and candour possess the most powe erful charm: they bespeak universal favour, and carry an apology for almost every failing. The path of truth is a plain and safe path; that of falsehood is a perplexing waze. After the first departure from sincerity, it is not in your power to stop. One artifice unavoidably leads on to another; till, as the intricacy of the labyrinth increases, you are left entangled in your own snare. Deceit discovers a little mind, which stops at temporary expedients, without rising to comprehensive views of conduct. It betrays, at the same time, a dastardly spirit. It is the resource of one who wants courage to avow his desigos, or to rest upon himself. Whereas, openness of character displays that generous boldness, which ought to distinguish youth. To set out in the world with no other principle than a crafty attention to interest, betokens one who is destined for creeping through the inferior walks of life : but to give an early preference to honour above gain, when they stand in competition; to despise every advantage which cannot be attained without dishonest arts; to brook no meanness, and to stoop to no dissimulation, are the indications of a great mind, the presages of future eminence and distinction in life. At the same time, this virtuous sincerity is perfectly consistent with the most prudent vigilance and caution. It is opposed to cunning, not to true wisdom. It is not the simplicity of a weak and improvident, but the candour of an enlarged and noble mind; of one who scorns deceit, because he accounts it both base and unprofitable; and who seeks no disguise, because lie needs none to hide him.
VI.-Benevolence and Humanity. YOUTH is the proper season for cultivating the benevolent and humane affections. As a great part of your hape : piness is to depend on the connections which you form with others, it is of high importance that you acquire betimes, the temper and the manners which will render such counec
tiops comfortable. Let a sense of justice be the foundation of all your social qualities. In your most early intercourse with the world, and even in your youthful amusements, let no ypfairness be found. Engrave on your mind that sacred role of “doing in all things to others according to your wish that they should do unto you." For this end, inpress yourselves with a deep sense of the original and natural equality of men. Whatever advantage of birth or fortune you possess, oever display them with an ostentatious superiority. Leave the subordinations of rack to regulate the intercourse, of more advanced vears. At present it becomes you to act among your companions as man with man. Remember how upknown to sou are the vicissitudes of the world ; and now often they, on whom ignorant and contemptuous young men once looked down with scorn, have risen to be their superiors in future vears. Compassion is an emotion of which you ought never to be ashamed. Graceful in youth
ar, of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale Let not ease and indulgences contract your affecWrap you up in selfish enjoyment. Accustom
to think of the distresses of human life; of the Ttage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan, ort with pain and distress in any of your amuse.
treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty,
DILIGENCE, industry, and p are material endowed with erting them . Unavailing in li tion that can be given then
VII. Industry and Application.
NCE, industry, and proper application of time, al duties of the young. To no purpose are they
th the best abilizjes, if they want activity for ex. m , Unayailing in this case, will be every direccan be given them, either for their teipporal or welfare. In youth the habits of industry are most
Ired ; in youth the incentives to it are strongest tion and from duty, from emulation and hope, e prospects which the beginning of life affords.
these calls, you already languish in slothful inacosauvancina
will be able to quicken the inore sluggish current.
r e industry is not only the instrument of ht, but the foundation of pleasure. Nothing is to true enjoyment of life, as the relaxed and
of an indoleut mind. He who is a stranger to , bay possess, but he cannot enjoy. For it is law hich gives the relish to pleasure. It is the apFicle of every good man. It is the indispensable,
easily acquired ; in youth from ambition and from du from all the prospects which in lf, dead to these calls, you tion, what will be able toqu
improvement but the rou so opposite to true enjoy · feeble state of an ind industry, m ay poss bour only which giv pointed vehicle of ever
condition of our possessing a sound mind in a sound body. Sloth is so inconsistent with both, that it is hard to determine whether it be a greater foe to virtue, or to health and happiness. Inactive as it is in itself, its effects are fatally powerful. Though it appear a slowly flowing stream, yet it undermines all that is stable and flourishing. It not only saps the foundation of every virtue, but pours upon you a deluge of crimes and evils. It is like water, which first putrifies by stagnation, and then sends up noxious vapours, and fills the atmosphere with death. Fly, therefore, from idleness, as the certain parent both of guilt and ruin. And under idleness I include, not mere inaction only, but all that circle of trifling occupations in which too many saunter away their youth ; perpetnally engaged in frivolous society or public amusements; in the labours of dress, or the ostentation of their persons. Is this the foundation which you lay for future usefulness and esteem ? By such accomplishments do you hope to recommend yourselves to the thinking part of the world, and to answer the expectations of your friends and your country ? Amusements youth require ; it were vain, it were cruel to prohibit them. But though allowable as the relaxation, they are most culpable as the business of the young. For they then become the gulf of time, and the poison of the mind. They foment bad pas. sions. They weaken the manly powers. They sink the native vigour of youth into contemptible effeininacy.
VIII.- Proper Employment of Time. REDEEMING your time from such dangerous waste, seek to fill it with employments which you may review with satisfaction. The acquisition of knowledge is one of the most honourable occupations of youth. The desire of it discovers a liberal mind, and is connected with many accomplishments and many virtues. But though your train of life should not lead you to study, the course of education always furnishes proper employments to a well disposed miod. Whatever you pursue, be emulous to excel. Generous ambition and sensibility to praise, are, especially at your age, among the marks of virtue. Think not that any affluence of fortune, or any elevation of rank, exempts you from the duties of application and industry. Industry is the law of our being; it is the demand of nature, of reason, and of God. Remember, always, that the years which now pass over your heads, leave permanent memorials behind them,