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man, and that wisdom which is from above. The former, as you have just seen in the instance of the antient philofophers, does violence, by its falfe refinements in fome of the most effential truths of religion, to the cleareft principles of nature and of reafon. The latter illuftrates, corroborates, improves, and perfects them. This has been shown to be the cafe in one very important doctrine, and might be shown in more. Our divine mafter is indeed, in every inftance, and especially in that we have been now confidering, "WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE * " ;' and whenever we are tempted to defert this heavenly guide, and to go away, either to philofophy or to any other inftructor, we have qur anfwer ready prepared for us, in that noble and affecting reply of St. Peter to Jefus,
Lord, to whom fhall we go? Thou haft "the words of ETERNAL LIFE; and we be-" "lieve and are fure that thou art THAT LIVING
THE SON OF THE
* John xiv. 6.
+ Ib. vi. 69.
TITUS ii. 6.
YOUNG MEN LIKEWISE EXHORT TO BĘ
HERE is fcarce any fubject of exhortation fo neceffary to youth, as that which is here recommended by St. Paul, Alacrity, emulation, benevolence, franknefs, generofity, are almost the natural growth of that enchanting age. What it chiefly wants is fomething to regulate and temper these good qualities; and to do that is the province of SOBER-MINDEDNESS. Let not the young man be frighted with the folemnity of the name. It implies nothing unfuitable to his years, or inconfiftent with his most valuable enjoyments. It tends to improve his chearfulness,
fulness, though it may restrain his extravagances; to give the warmth of his imagination and the vigour of his understanding a right direction; to fingle out fuch enterprizes for him as are worthy of his natural vivacity and ardour; to prevent his talents and industry from becoming mischievous, his pleasures from proving ruinous, and to render his pursuits fubfervient, not only to prefent delight, but to substantial and permanent happiness.
It is evident that there is both a moral and an intellectual fobriety; a modest reserve, a rational guard upon ourselves, not only in acting, but in thinking: and the original word on povery, which we translate, to be soberminded, includes both these kinds of sobriety. Its primary fignification is, to be wise, prudent, temperate; and this wisdom chiefly confifts,
I. In the government of the paffions.
II. In the government of the understanding.
First then, we are commanded to teach young men the government of their paflions, "To flee youthful lufts*," is an apofto
2 Tim. ii. 22.
lical admonition, not very grateful, perhaps, to youthful ears; but fo indifpenfably requifite both to temporal and eternal happiness, that it muft, at all events, and by every poffible means, be inculcated and enforced. It comprehends all those irregular defires, to the influence of which is owing much the greatest part of the vice and mifery that defolate mankind. "From "whence come wars and fightings among
you? Come they not hence, even of your lufts, which war in your members +?" From whence (may we add) come murders, frauds, breaches of truft, violations of the marriage-bed, the ruin of unguarded and unfufpecting innocence, the distress and disgrace of worthy families, the corruption and subverfion of whole kingdoms? Come they not all from one and the fame impure fource, from the violence of headstrong and unruly appetites, which, in pursuit of fome unlawful object, burst through all restraints of decency, justice, honour, humanity, gratitude; and throw down every barrier, however facred, that ftands between them and the attainment of their end?
↑ James iv. 1.
The paffions, then, must be governed, or they will govern us; and, like all other slaves when in poffeffion of power, will become the most favage and merciless of tyrants. But at what time shall we begin to govern them? The very moment, furely, that they begin to raise commotions in the foul: the moment we know, from confcience, from reafon, from revelation, that the gratifications they require ought not to be granted. This period may in fome be earlier than in others; but it can fcarce ever be later in any, than the usual time of being transplanted to this place *. Here then you ought at once to enter on the difpofition of your studies and the regulation of defires. There is no danger of your undertaking fo arduous and neceffary a task too foon. If you hope to acquire any au-. thority over your paffions, you must inure them to early obedience, and bend them to the yoke while they are yet pliant and flexible. It will, even then, indeed be a difficult task. But what is there worth having that is to be obtained without difficulties? They are infeparable from a state of probation, and
Cambridge; where this fermon was preached. See the table of contents.