« הקודםהמשך »
obfcure, and even unintelligible. Julius and his father could not conceal their vexation and disappointment; and the guests, perceiving that they laid them under a painful restraint, withdrew, as soon as decency permitted, to their respective habitations.
II. Refpect due to Old Age. IT happened at Athens, during a public representation
of some play exliibited in honour of the commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late for a place fuitable to his age and quality. Many of the young gentlemen, who obferved the difficulty and confusion he was in, made figns to him that they would accommodate him if he came where they fat. The good man buftled through the crowd accordingly: but when he came to the feats 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 Lacedæmonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a inan, and with the greatest respect Teceived him among them. The Athenians being iuddenly 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 Lacedæmonians practise it.”
III. Piety to God recommended to the Young. WHAT I fall first recommend, is piety to God.
With this I begin, both as the foundation of good morals, and as a dilpofition 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, spontaneoully, rise into the admiration 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 to proper to kindle those affections 28 the Father of the universe, and the Author of all fe
licity ? Unmoved by veneration, can you contemplate that grandeur and majesty which His works everywhere display ? Untouched by gratitude, can yon view that profusion of good which, in this pleasing lealon of life, His beneficent hand pours around you? Happy in the love and affection of those with whom you are connec. ted, look up to the Supreme Being, as the inspirer of all the friendship which has ever been shown you by others; himself
first 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 homage as a natural expression of gratitude to him for all his good. nels. Consider it as the service of the God of your fa: thers ; of him to whom your parents devoted yon; of him whom, in former ages, your ancestors honoured; and by who n 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 off-spring of speculation, but the warm and vigorous dictate of the heart.
IV. Modesty and Docility. TO "O piety, join modesty and docility, reverence of
your parents, and submission to those who are your fuperiours in knowledge, in station, and in years. pendence and obedience belong to youth. Modesty is one of its chief ornaments; 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 wifa dom of those who have gone before you. Of all the follies incident to youth, there are none which either deform its present appearance, or blaft the prospect of its future prosperity, more than felf-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 enterprise, and elated by hope, they resolve to trust for fuccefs to none but themselves. Fu!
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.
V. Sincerity. IT is necessary to recommend to you fincerity and truth.
These are the basis of every virtue. That darkness of character, where we can see no heart; those foldings of art, through which no native affection is allowed to penetrate, present an object unamiable in every season of life, but particularly odious in youth. If, at an age when the heart is warm, when the emotions are strong, and when nature is expected to show herself free and open, you can already smile and deceive, what are we to look for when you shall be longer hackneyed in the ways of mer; when interest thall have completed the obduration of your heart, and experience shall have improved you in all the arts of guile? Disfimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age. Its tirst appearance is the fatal omen of growing depravity and future shame. It degrades parts and learning, obscures the loftre of every accomplishment, and sinks you into contempt with God and man. 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 poffets the most powerful 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 maze. After the first departure from fince. rity, 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 fnare. 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 fpirit. It is the resource of one who wants courage to avow his designs, or to reft upon himself. Where. as 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 intereft, betokens one who is destined for creeping througe the inferiour walks of life: but to give an early prefe. rence 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 oppofed to curining, not to true wisdon.. It is not the fimplicity of a weak and improvident, but the candour of an enlarged and noble mind; of one who scorns deceir, because he accounts it both base and unprofitable ; and who seeks no disguise, because he needs none to hide him.
VI. Benevolence and Humanity. Youth is the proper season for cultivating the benevo
lent and humane affections. As a great part of your happiness 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 connections comfortable. Let a sense of justice be the foundation of all your focial qualities. In 'your most early intercourse with the world, and even in your youthful amusements, let no unfairness be found. Engrave on your mind that sacred rule, of “ doing in all things to others according as you with that they should do unto you.” For this end, impress yourselves with a deso fenfe of tha original and natural equality of men, Whatever aclvantages of birth or fortune you possess, never display them with an oftentatious superiority. Leave the subordinations of rank, to regulate the inter. course of more advanced years. At present it becomes you to act among your companions as man with man. Remember how unknown to you are the vicissitudes of the world ; and how often they, on whom ignorant and contemptous young men once looked down with scorn, have risen to be their superiours in future years. Compallion is an emition of which you ought never to be
alaned. Graceful in youth is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of wo. Let not cafe and indulgence contract your affections, and wrap you up in selfish enjoyment. Accustom yourselves to ilink of the distreffes of human life ; of the folitary cottage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Never sport with pain and distrefs in any of your amusements, nor treat even the meaneft insect with wanton cruelty.
VII. Industry and Application. DILIGENCE, industry, and proper improvement of
time, are material duties of the young. 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 strongeft, 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 languilla in flothful inaction, what will be able to quicken the more fuggish current of advancing years? Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of pleasure. Nothing is fo 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 poflessing a found mind in a found 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 fowly-flowing stream, yet it undermines all that is stable and flourithing. It not only faps the foundation of every virtue, but pours upon you a deluge of crimes and evils. It is like water, which first putrifies by ftagnation, and then sends up noxious vapours, and fills the atmosphere with death. Fly, therefore, from idleness, as the certain pas rent both of guilt and of ruin. And under idienels I