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19 LIFETITS TRITER.

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ing ead and study the Bible. fret my 'neglect of thi I taken heed unto it, I

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g my passions to desobservations on evils with which I had to contend; and by which you, with every young person, must, more or less, be endangered. The modesty which is natural to you, will preserve you from ridiculing or despising a letter, that professes to counsel you; and without apology, therefore, I shall freely impart my sentiments.

“Let me then, in the first place, as a point of the highest importance, entreat you-to beware what company you keep. As one stream mixing with another insensibly partakes of its nature; so you will necessarily be influenced by your common associates. If you mix with the trifling, you will trifle; if you mix with the gay, you will be thoughtless ; if you mix with the wicked, you will become wicked. Do not think it is enough to see their faults, and to resolve to avoid them; if you seek their society, and delight in it, whatever may be your resolutions, you will gradually be reconciled to them, and afterwards adopt them. Youth are too apt to be rush in their friendships. They meet together, sympathize on a few common points, and then determine to be one for ever. This is not wise. I would not have you basely suspicious of every body; but in forming your connexions, I would have your acquaintanceships grow out of a knowledge of character, and your friendships-spring from tried and solid merit. This will be acting with prudence. You must not go by appearances ; if you do, almost every thing will deceive you. You must go by experience and proof ; and then you will go safely. Choose your friend, -not because he is spirited and witty, clever and daring,--not because he is of good presence or pleasing manners,not because he flatters your foibles, and applauds profusely your excellencies;

LEFEVRE'S LETTER. .

19

you read.

but choose him, because you have found him prudent and benevolent, pious and faithful, ready to admonish you of a fault, to warn you of a danger, and to encourage you amidst the duties and difficulties of life. “ Another caution should be directed-to the books

Books are the companions of retirement, and what I have said on the choice of your friends, may be well applied to your selection of them. Indeed, in some respects, the books you peruse are of more importance than the company you keep. We pay more deference to the author than the companion ; we have easier access to him; and we are less jealous of bis opinions. Here, then, you should be very careful. Affect not to read many books; this will feed your vanity, and leave you empty and superficial. Let your books be few, but well chosen and well read. Take the opinion of those whose knowledge and real excellence qualify them to judge, before you decide on reading any book. Despise the affectation of a false liberality, in reading erroneous works. This shows an alarming presumption in young persons. Remember your mind is naturally inclined to error, and averse from truth. Your character is not yet formed ; and if we would venture to try the spirits,' we must first be careful to know what spirit we are of.' Reject, as you would arsenic, those books that exhibit sentiments which you could not read, without shame in good society ; to touch them is to be polluted. If one thing more than another succeeded in blinding me to vice, and raising my passions to des. peration, it was improper reading.

“Especially I would say, read and study the Bible. I can never sufficiently regret my 'neglect of thi incomparable book. Had I taken heed unto it, I might have cleansed my way through the early walks of life; but I was foolish. Do you improve by my folly. As ALEXANDER used HOMER, do you use the Bible ; make it your companion all day, and your pillow all night. Nothing can be half so important to you. It is your guide, your counsellor, your judge. It contains the key to history, the finest models of eloquence, the purest morality, the conveyanee of immortality. Make it the standard of all other books. Read them as a judge, but consult it as a disciple. Knowledge, elsewhere, is tinctured by the earthly channels through which it flows ; but here, it dwells as in its fountain,-pure, spiritual, living, and life-imparting. In many other works you will find good opinions grafted on bad principles, weak conclusions gathered from just premises, the spirit of the world encumbering the spirit of piety,-a strange mixture of clay, iron, and gold; but in the Scriptures, all is gold, pure unalloyed gold, authorized by the image and superscription of JEHOVAH that rests upon it. Search the Scriptures, as the miner searches the bowels of the earth for the precious metals; for in them is eternal life, and they testify of Jesus.

(To be continued.)

BE MERRY AND WISE. Tuis is a precept of proverbial sagacity; and, according to the general character of the instruction thus conveyed, it possesses the rare advantage of saying much in a few words. This happy combination, as the result of a cheerful, well-regulated mind, may fairly be regarded, not only as an object of innocent desire, but also of thankful acknowledgment. But while, to youth in particular, may be

BE MERRY AND WISE.

21

occasionally allowed those expressions of hilarity which the elasticity of the spirits, in that blithe season of life, renders so natural, yet the regulation of that liberty, both as to time and degree, requires the salutary intervention of a principle which is not always so immediately at hand. Wisdom suggests that the expression of our feelings should accord with the occasions which excite them; and here she places the distinction between genuine cheerfulness, and the immoderate sallies of unmeaning mirth.

These considerations are perhaps more frequently lost sight of, during the present festive season, than at any other period of the year : yet if the great event in which this annual festival originates, were kept more distinctly in remembrance, would not a holier character be given to our rejoicings; and giddy dissipation, and tumultuous revelry, give place to that religious, rational, and social cheerfulness, which piety and gratitude may blamelessly indulge?

By divine appointment, the Israelites, in yearly feasts, commemorated the illustrious interpositions of Jehovah in behalf of their much-favoured nation, in order that a livelier recollection of the benefits received might be continually preserved upon their minds. The Christian Church, for the same weighty reason, has conformed to their example; and celebrates, with equal care, those great transactions on which she rests the whole foundation of her faith and hope.

While thankfully reflecting on the various and unmeasured blessings which flow to him through the mysterious incarnation of Jehovah, his REDEEMER ; the Christian and the Protestant will find his gratitude increased by calling to remembrance his eman.

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