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SERMON which you have found yourselves un
equal, with as much care, as you would shun pestilential infection. Break off all connexions with the loose and profligate. When sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Look not on the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup: for at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Remove thy way from the strange woman, and come not near the door of her house. Let not thine heart incline to ber ways; for her house is the way to hell. Thou goest after her as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
By these unhappy excesses of irregular pleasure in youth, how many amiable dispositions are corrupted or destroyed! How many rising capacities and powers are suppressed! How many flattering hopes of parents and friends are totally extinguished ! Who but must drop a tear over human nature, when he beholds that morning which arose so bright, overcast with such untimely darkness; that good humour which once captivated all hearts, that vivacity which sparkled in every company, those abilities which were fitted for adorn
ing the highest station, all sacrificed at the SERMON shrine of low sensuality; and one who was formed for running the fair career of life in the midst of public esteem, cut off by his vices at the beginning of his course, or sunk, for the whole of it, into insignificancy, and contempt!~These, O sinful Pleasure! are thy trophies. It is thus that, co-operating with the foe of God and man, thou degradest human honour, and blastest the opening prospects of human felicity:
of the young.
VI. DILIGENCE, industry, and proper improvement of time, are material duties
To no purpose are they endowed with the best abilities, if they want activity for exerting them. Unavailing, in this case, will be every direction that can be given them, either for their temporal or spiritual welfare. In youth the habits of industry are most easily acquired. 'In youth, the incentives to it are strongest, from ambition and from duty, from emulation and hope, from all the prospects which the beginning of life affords. If, dead to these calls, you already languish in slothful inaction, what will be able to Vol. I.
SERMON quicken the more sluggish current of ad
Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of plea
Nothing is so opposite to the true enjoyment of life, as the relaxed and feeble state of an indolent mind. He who is a stranger to industry, may possess, but he cannot enjoy. For it is labour only which gives the relish to pleasure. It is the appointed vehicle of every good to man. It is the indispensable 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. powerful. Though it
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 yoú 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 of ruin. And
under idleness I include, not mere inaction SERMON only, but all that circle of trifling occupations, in which too many saunter away their youth ; perpetually engaged in frivolous society, or public amusements; in the labours of dress, or the ostentation of their persons.- Is this the foundation which
yoti 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 requires. 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 gulph of time, and the poison of the mind. They foment bad paffions. They weaken the manly powers. They sink the native vigour of youth into contemptible effeminacy.
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 accomplish
SERMON ments, and
virtues, But though your train of life should not lead you to study, the course of education always furnishes proper employments to a welldisposed mind. Whatever you pursue, be emulous to excel. Generous ambition, and sensibility to praise, are, especially at your age, among the marks of virtue. Think
affluence of fortune, or any clevation of rank, exempt 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. From your thoughtless minds they may escape ;
but they remain in the remembrance of God. They form an important part of the register of your life.
life. They will hereafter bear testimony, either for or against you, at that day, when, for all your actions, but particularly for the employments of youth, you must give an account to God.
Thus I have set before you some of the chief qualifications which belong to that seber mind, that virtuous and religious cha