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logise not for them. We do not obtrude them. But we honour the martyrs who bled for them the earliest in the Marian persecution,—who died the felon's death under the more cruel dragonade of Elizabeth,--who gave themselves to winds and waves more merciful than their enemies, and braved the exile's fate. We see no reason to be ashamed of maxims to which all legitimate enquiry appears to be leading forward the minds of men. Glorious is the goal at which they shall sooner or later meet ! The right of man to think in all matters of religion for himself,-the prerogatives of individual conscience,—the sole authority of Scripture,—the spiritual independence of Christianity, —the voluntary nature of its support and promotion,-the exclusive headship of the Saviour, -our personal accountability,–our rejection of all human mediation and substitution. If these avowals be now more distinct and uncompromising than they formerly were, knowledge has made the question more plain, examination has proved it more important, and events have shown it more binding. May our fathers never be ashamed for our degeneracy, nor their cause blush for our desertion | In looking this morning upon the dear youth before us, we almost necessarily follow them into their future,—we unwittingly think of their lot in after life. They, if they live, must fill an important place in our world. If we might read prophecies going before upon them, we should see each in his sphere, and, if our votive prayers be heard, each honouring and adorning it. Here is the merchant upright and benevolent, with other God than Mammon and other godliness than gain,—uniting the ends of the earth in useful interchanges, subordinating commerce to knowledge, civilization, liberty, and religion,—his ships harbingers of good to the farthest shore, and his freights means of melioration to the meanest tribe. There is the jurist meditating the principles of his science, holding forth law as the shield of defence, and the sword of punishment; construing all, without chicane and partiality, into the breadth of constitutional right and freedom; or he shall stand the pleader asserting the cause of the poor and oppressed, and hurling defiance at the judgmentseat, if it be venal and corrupt. Now the navigator launches forth, redeeming the noblest adventure from the undeserved opprobrium cast upon it, converting the fulness of the seas to their destined use, and not only in seamanship but in religion, guiding his voyage by heaven. Then is seen, by the side of the sick and dying bed, the skilful healer, plying the secrets of nature which he has gathered up into his art, adding the graceful tenderness to the inevitable severity of treatment, lifting up from sickness and bringing back from death. This teeming mind pours out its stores of erudition: that hand creates the painting and the sculpture which ennoble a country and mark an age. The voice of the reciting boy in these examinations may one day be heard in the senate. The tender child, shrinking from the test of these publicities, may attain the high distinction of being the teacher of the young. But above all, I pray that from these forms,—“for this cause I bow my knee!”—may issue pastors for our churches, men of light and love, men of knowledge and zeal, men of power and earnestness, “helpers of the truth,” “good ministers of Jesus Christ:” and also missionaries in a great company, ambassadors to the heathem, of a spirit which shall surpass and throw behind all that discoverers have known of ardour, philanthropists of disinterestedness, and heroes of dint. My dear young friends, I congratulate you on your pupilage; on the scene of your dwelling and the order of your training. I congratulate you on your proficiency. Be true to your studies and loyal to your instructors. You all know, however young, that you have lost much time. Redeem what is lost. Waste no more. Nothing is so precious. As to your studies I will only say, Be diligent, and when you cannot perceive the advantage of any particular branch of learning, pursue it as though you did, for you must be assured it would not be required of you were it not for your profit. Let early piety be manifest in you. While your hearts are tender seek unto the Lord God of your fathers. Shun evil communications. Be afraid of nothing but sin. Repress the curiosity of the youthful heart. Prayerfully resist each form of temptation. “Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” Connect your path in life with your eternal destiny. Raise for yourselves the supplication,—it is so very beautiful, for the ways of ambition, and voluptuousness, and heedlessness, are ways which perish,-“Lead me into the way everlasting.” Should you die in early life, yours will be a blessed grave, if you are born again. The Grecians buried their youth in the morning twilight: that of the evening would have reminded them of night —but this led on to the orient, the day-spring, the meridian sun ? With better right should we remember you and hail you, as we laid you low, amidst the dawn and progress of your eternal day ! It may not be improper to remind you, that most young persons continue to unfold the same character which has been formed in their earliest years. A skilful observer is seldom in error when he takes his forecast of their future bearing. The listless are still listless, the ingenuous are still ingenuous, the diligent are still diligent. Habits are forming now: they are clinging things. Passions are opening now : they are unappeasable things. Aims are settling now : they are undiverting things. The presages and germs bespeak your whole future character and course ! But this is deeper insight: it is not formed upon the inspection of a day. We who are the casual witnesses of such a scene are often disappointed. The quick and brilliant youth may be well calculated for a part in some public display,– he seizes the prize and catches the applause. But so will not his teachers reckon him. Let the honours of this exercise,— doubtless well awarded !—be the incentives to a yet more vigorous application, and let those who win the race also consider that they must keep it. Pitiable will it be if any laureate brow should this day show itself to be no more seen ' If hopes be excited only to be deceived ! As in the Epigraphae of Homer we read of Nireus thrice,—only in form inferior to Pelides,—we see him bounding over the main,-but in council and in battle we never hear of him more !
Let me especially urge you to keep your station. You are of gentle descent and blood. Beware of low habits, and pursuits, and terms, and haunts, and associates. Never speak lightly of rectitude and independence. It is very fashionable to boast, in these times, of an unprincipled recklessness. Affect no liberalism at the sacrifice, and to the disdain, of your ancestral and educational principles. Think, at least, no worse of any cause because it is contemned of the unreflecting and the wicked.
“Suffering for Truth's sake,
Now begin to form your library. The sight of books, on which your youthful eyes were bent, will not suffer your maturer studies to relax. “Procure,” says the author of the Aywyn IIo.16wy, “Procure for youth the ancient writers, to make a collection of them as husbandmen do of all instruments for their employ. For of the same nature is the use of books to scholars as being the tools and instruments of learning.” Resolve, in the strength of God, to prepare yourselves for useful lives.
We see you coming forward on the stage which we must soon forsake. We welcome you to it. We resign our places for you. You have opportunities of action which our youth did not command. You possess facilities of education which we did not enjoy. Transcend us, -easily you may, -by your deeds. Take a station which we could never reach. Wield a hitherto unessayed power. The old man can only speak of the past, yet it may be a glorious reminiscence. The middleaged feel that their strength, though impaired, is haply not exhausted. The young pant, and fill the future with dreams of fame. Thus the three choirs of the Spartan festival were wont to sing:—
* We were once young, courageous in battle!