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emption from the common fate; life itself decays, and all things are daily on the change.
3. Imprint this maxim deeply in your mind: that there is nothing certain in this human and mortal state; by which means you will avoid being transported with prosperity, and being dejected in adversity.
4. A wise man stands firm in all extremities, and bears the lot of his humanity with a divine temper.
5. Hesuffereth not his happiness to depend on her smiles, and with her frowns he will not be dismayed.
6. Under the pressure of misfortunes, his calmness alleviates their weight, and his constancy shall surmount them.
7. A peaceful conscience, honest thoughts, virtuous actions, and an indifference for casual events, are blessings without end or measure: this consummate state of felicity is only a submission to the dictates of right nature; the foundation of it is wisdom and virtue; the knowledge of what we ought to do, and the conformity of the will to that knowledge,
8. Every virtue gives a man a degree of felicity 'in some kind : honesty gives a man good report; justice, estimation ; prudence, respect; courtesy and liberality, affection ; temperance gives health; fortitude, a quiet mind, not to be moved by any adversity.
9. Virtue is a blessing, which man alone possesses, and which no other creature has any title to but himself.
10. All is nothing without her, and she alone is all. The other blessings of this life are oftentimes imaginary ; she is always real. She is the life and crown of all perfections.
CHAP. XVII. Youth the proper Season for forming virtuous and
3. Re-li"-gi-on, s. is that worship which belongs to God in the best
manner we think is the most agreeable to his will. Re”-fuge, s. shelter from danger or distress; protection. 6. Re-for-ma'-ti-on, s. the act or state of change from worse to bet
(The change of religion from the corruptions of popery, to its primitive state.) 10. So-ci'-e-ty, s. the union of many in one common interest. 11. Vi”-ci ous, a. (pro. vish-us), addicted to vice; committing ac
tions contrary to virtue. 12. Vir'-tue, s. moral goodness, any good action.
So-bri'-e-ty, s. temperance, calmness.
). In the midst of youth, health, and abundance, the world is apt to appear a very gay and pleasing scene; it engages our desires, and in some degree satisfies them also. 2. But it is wisdom to consider, that a time will come, when youth, health, and fortuue, will all fail us; and if disappointment and vexation do not sour our taste for pleasure, at least siekness and infirmities will destroy it. 3. In these gloomy seasons, and above all, at the approach of death, what will become of us without religion ? When this world fails, whither shall we fee, if we expect no refuge in another? 4. Without a boly hope in God, resignation to his will, and trust in him for deliverance, what is there that can secure us against the evils of life?
5. Youth is the season to form religious habits : the earliest principles are generally the most lasting; and those of a religious cast are seldom wholly lost. 6. Though the temptations of the world may now and then draw the well-principled youth aside ; yet his principles being continually at war with his practice, there is hope, that in the end the better part may overcome the worse, and bring on a reformation : whereas, he who has suffered habits of vice to get possession of his youth, has little chance of being brought back to a sense of religion. 7. Some calamity must rouse him. He must be awakened by a storm, or sleep for ever. How much better is it, then, to make that easy to us, which we know is best; and to form those habits now, which hereafter we shall wish we had formed !
8. Youth is introductory to manhood, to which it is, properly speaking, a state of preparation. During this season we must qualify ourselves for the parts we are to act hereafter. 9. In manhood we bear the fruit which has in youth been planted. If we have sauntered away our youth, we must expect to be ignorant men. 10. If indolence and inattention have taken an early possession of us, they will probably increase as we advance in life, and make us a burden to ourselves, and useless to society. 11. If, again, we suffer ourselves to be misled by vicious inelinations, they will daily get new strength, and end in dissolute lives.
12. But if we cultivate our minds in youth, attain habits of attention and industry, of virtue and sobriety, we shall find ourselves well prepared to act
our future parts in life; and, what above all things ought to be our care, by gaining this command over ourselves, we shall be more able, as we get forward in the world, to resist every new temptation as soon as it appears.
On the Neglect of early Improvement.
1. In'-let, s. passage or place whereby any thing may find entrance. 3. Ar-dour, s, zeal, desire, courage.
Am-bi"-ti-on, s. a desire of greatness or fame.
Stag-nate, v. to lie motionless ; (to have no course or stream.) 6. Dis'-si-pate, v. to spend, to disperse. 7. Noʻ-velty, s. newness, something new or different from former
Re mor'se, s. uneasiness; (tenderness.) 13. Li-ter-a-ture, s. learning, skill in books.
1. There is not a greater inlet to misery and vices of all kinds than the not knowing how to pass our vacant hours. 2. For what remains to be done, when the first part of their lives, who are not brought up to any manual employment, has slipped away without an acquired relish for reading, or taste for other rational satisfactions, that they should pursue their pleasures? But, religion apart, common prudence will warn them to tie
the wheel as they begin to go down the hill of life.
3. Shall they then apply themselves to their studies ? Alas! the seed time is already past; the enterprising and spirited ardour of youth being over, without having been applied to those valuable purposes for which it was given, all ambition of excelling, upon generous and laudable schemes, quite stagnates. 4. If they have not some poor expedient to deceive the time, or, to speak more properly, to deceive themselves, the length of a day will seein tedious to those who, perhaps, have the unreasonableness to complain of the shortness of life in general.
5. When the former part of our life has been nothing but vanity, the latter end of it can be nothing but vexation. 6. In short, we must be miserable without some employment to fix, or some amusement to dissipate, our thoughts: and as we can neither command amusement in all places, nor relish it at all times, there is an absolute necessity for employment. 7. We may pursue this or that new pleasure; we may be fond, for a while, of a new acquisition ; but when the graces of novelty are worn off, and the briskness of our first desire is over, the transition is very quick and sudden, from an eager fondness to a cool indifference. 8. Hence there is a restless agitation in our minds, still craving something new, still unsatisfied with it when possessed; till melancholy increases, as we advance in years, like shadows lengthening towards the close of the day.
9. Hence it is, that men of this stamp are continually complaining the times are altered for the worse; because the sprightliness of youth repre