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care, vigilance, and attention, should, at the most critical period of his existence, be not only left without a monitor and guide, but be exposed to all the dangers and mischiefs, the open temptations, and secret seductions, of such a town as this.
In answer to any multiplied remarks on this interesting, and, as I conceive, very important subject, it is easy, under the consciousness of omission, or transgression of duty, to say-We admit the evil, but where is the remedy?—With respect to the indifferent, the lukewarm, and worldly-minded man, it is useless to offer weak motives as any sufficient counterpoise to stronger; and it is folly to expect the performance of any social duty from those, whose paramount object is such gratifications, as are in direct opposition to it.
But, not to go into extremes,-it must be confessed, that the great mass of human society consists of beings of ordinary goodness, and ordinary frailties. They go smoothly on with the world, therefore, and, to regulate their own conduct, they only consider, for the most part, what their neighbours do. Thus, circumstances grow up around them, and conditions of life are gradually formed, which, though fraught with
the most serious evils, cause no rebukes of conscience; and, till they demand the interference of the legislature, excite no efforts towards reformation. Whatever might be the mischief, or the evil, they plead that it could neither be caused nor prevented by them; and as it is shared among an indefinite number, no single responsibility, on the present occasion, is either felt, or acknowledged. But if there be an individual, who is really actuated by the love and fear of God;-who, like the virtuous Hezekiah, does what the divine law commands "with all his heart," and hopes to prosper; he will consider, that the great duty of doing good, and preventing evil, is co-ordinate and reciprocal; he knows that, whatever others may do, he must hereafter be answerable for his own conduct at the awful day of judgment; and therefore he will be prepared, like Joshua, to take a decided part, and say, "As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord."-Now, if there be such an individual, and many I trust there are, then I should expect him, after due deliberation on the present subject, to express his sentiments in some such terms as these-" No consideration of comfort and convenience, of ease, or gain, shall ever induce me to take a youth of fair ex
pectations into my house, without offering him something like paternal protection and a home. I see the dangers and the evils of neglect, and of liberty without restraint, at a time of life, when every thing that is valuable often depends. on vigilant circumspection, and judicious control. I know what the feelings of a father are, and can fully enter into all his anxious cares and duties. Knowing, therefore, what I should hope and expect in a similar situation myself, my conduct, not to mention other obligations, resolves itself into that divine law of our heavenly Redeemer, which says, 'Do unto others, as ye would that they should do unto you.""
The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
THE Parable of the wheat and the tares, of which the text forms a part, recognises the existence of moral evil, not only in former times, but under the gracious dispensation of the holy Gospel, and in the kingdom of Christ on earth. The imagery, which is taken from rural life, and familiar to every one's mind, teaches us, that there is an unavoidable mixture of virtue and vice, or of good and bad men, in the world; and, at the same time, it manifests, in language plain, simple, and intelligible to all, the forbearing mercies of God.
As this subject, in the contemplation of some minds, has been connected with the doctrines of necessity and predestination, and as others have considered it as giving strong support to the lax tenets of antinomianism, or as impeaching the justice of the Deity, it deserves to be approached with reverence, and with a degree of caution bordering on timidity; but, after due meditation, it may be made, I trust, conducive to all the practical duties of a Christian, and shew the wisdom and the goodness of our great Creator.
In the first place, the Parable is evidently calculated to check that outrageous and intolerant zeal, which many persons are forward to display, on contemplating the ordinary failings and transgressions of their fellow-creatures. If other men happen to differ from them, even in opinion, on the widely extended subjects of politics and religion, they cannot help considering them as so many tares among their wheat, and would be glad to receive authority from "the lord of the harvest to root them out, and cast them into the fire." We need only cast a transient glance at past times to perceive what this evil spirit has done in every part of the Christian world ;-how, by corrupting the law of God and man, it has