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Wherever private affections gain the mastery, there violations of justice open the bitterest springs of human wretchedness. Man then becomes the enemy of man. Love is banished from his breast, and all the dark and malignant passions occupy its room.
Before you, my young friends, this scene is opened. Two ways are pointed out to you ; the one, which leads into the course appointed by Heaven, and which, under the favour of God, and amidst the gratitude of man, will conduct you to“life, and honour,and immortality.” The other path is that which your own passions will recommend the path of private gratification, of selfish interest, of unconcern for the good of mankind. Every thing that is great and generous in your nature calls you into the first or these ways; and be assured, if you persevere in it, your ultimate reward will be
great beyond every thing that it has entered into your hearts to conceive. To the other you are drawn by all the low and little affections, by worldly views, and temporary interests ; when you yield to these,
your minds at present will be debased and degraded, and they will lose all the aspiring hopes which point to futurity.
It is our earnest prayer, my brethren, when we look
young, that they may be enabled to keep the right road, and to avoid every path that is destructive! When we look back upon our own conduct, we shall too often find, that we have ourselves followed the road which ought to have been avoided. In the mean time, life is advancing, years are casting their shade over us, and we are going forward to that final country from which there is no return. How important, then, that we should pause in our journey, and
meditate, with serious resolution, on the course which is yet before us! Whatever laws we have infringed, it is yet in our power to make reparation ; whatever duties we have neglected to perform, in these we may yet bestir ourselves with more strenuous exertion.
If it is possible that any meditations can awaken such resolutions of amendment, those in which we have, of late, been engaged, and which we are now entering upon with still more profound feeling, will surely not be in vain. The day is approaching when we shall contemplate the death of the Son of God, and shall behold that love which binds, in one connected chain, all the universe of goodness and innocence, making one mighty effort to restore whatever is corrupted and fallen! If so great an effort has been made, shall not wę exert ourselves along with it; and shall all the pains of the Cross, and all the triumphs of the Resurrection, be to us of no avail ?
Go, my brethren, to the altar of your Saviour, and ask the assistance of his Spirit, to strengthen you in your labours of duty: go to him, with sincere hearts, and he will be found of
of you: he will lift your souls above this narrow and empty scene, and lead you to his Father, whom he requires you to “ love with all your hearts, " and with all your souls, and with all “ your minds :” and to your and his brethren of mankind, whom He alone can teach you “ to love as yourselves!”
ON THE DUTIES OF THE YOUNG.
HEBREWS, vi. 12.
“ Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying
“ on of hands.
THERE.cannot, my brethren, be a more interesting rite, than that by which the infant is at first initiated into the Church of Christ. It is of the simplest kind in itself, but it signifies privileges of the most important nature; and we cannot too often call to mind the benefits which are
* Preached on the Sunday before Easter, and after a General Confirmation.