« AnteriorContinuar »
16. Refer all your deliberate actions to the glory of Gon. Because he ought to be the end, as well as the beginning, of all our ways, even our most indifferent actions ought to have a reference to his glory. But in case the action be of a doubtful nature, suspend your. resolution, and consider what you think Jesus Christ, if he were now upon earth, accordiug to the idea you have of him from the account of his life in the Gospels, would do in such a case : for certainly, that which it would not become Christ to do, can never be fit for a Christian.
17. Habituate yourselves to set God always before you, as you are always before him; he is present in every place, and privy to every thought; you cannot go where he is not, nor do what he does ot see.
He is about your bed and about your path, and spies out all your ways, which are better known to him than they are to yourselves. Therefore let your eye be fixed constantly upon him, that you may not dare to commit sin in his presence.
18. Young persons should sedulously pursue knowledge, and perhaps the most direct way to success is by the frequent reading of good books. I call those books the best which savour most of the life and spirit of religion, and are most apt to transfuse it into the hearts and minds of their readers. As for plays and romances, I would have you wholly decline the use of them ; for as to the wit, language, and other embellishments they pretend to, and for which the admirers of them recommend their use, the same may be. met with in better books ;, which have all the beauty and sweetness without the poison.
19. Let this be your general rule and practice, to study the imitation of Jesus Curist, to form your• :
selves upon his model, and to conform your inward spirit and outward conversation to his divine example. The Son of God is proposed to us as our great pattern, without which he would not have been a complete teacher; and indeed he is the only example we can entirely follow, and which can lead us to heaven. Always remember this, that he is the best Christian, not who knows most, or believes most, or can talk most of Christianity, but, who is in the heart and life the nearest follower of Christ.
ON THE READING OF YOUNG PERSONS, It is a commen, but a very correct and striking oba servation, that this life is the seed-time of the next, and that youth is the seed-time of this life. This maxim is intended to set forth the vast importance of duly improving our early years. On that, indeed, every thing depends ;-our character, rank, and comfort through life, and, what are still more momentous, our future and eternal interests. If, then, on a few short years,--and those, too, the years in which, every thing being new to us, we have not the lights of experience to direct our steps, and preserve us from seduction,-and in which, also, being exposed in the highest degree to the war of pas. sions, and the assaults of vain or vicious inclinations, we are in most danger of forming wrong attachments, and entering on dangerous pursuits,-if on these few years so much depends, how carefully ought every thing to be examined that can at all influence the youthful character and conduct. Now few things exert a more powerful influence on us than the books we read. Reading may, with strict propriety, be called sowing seed in the field of the human mind; for, according to the comparison quoted above, the mind, the immortal part of man, is a field which requires cultivation, and which is capable of important productions. It has great capacities; to its improvement no bounds can be set ; and, on the contrary, by neglect
may fall into a state of irrecoverable debasement; For what it essentially possesses are not qualities, but capacities or powers. These capacities may be either enlarged or contracted. They may be filled with either good or bad materials. These powers may be made to subserve either good or bad purposes.
In short, this field may, at the close of life, present the appearance of a well-cultivated garden, or of a nege lected wilderness; it may abound with useful and beautiful fruits and flowers, or it may be overgrown with noxious weeds and brambles; and all this depends very much on the seed sown in youth.
Any thing may be called seed, which communicates ideas or information to the mind; and nothing does this with more effect than Reading. What we read excites our attention ; what we read we easily credit ; and, generally, what we read has the most permanent effect on our minds.
In the first place, it is necessary that youth should imbibe a fondness for Reading. It should constitute one of their chief pleasures; and, in a well-directed mind, this will always be the case.
I do not nove, speak of mere school-boys, at least, not of the younger classes of them, but of those whose minds are so far opened as to he influenced by reason, and capable in some degree of valuing things correctly. Such should make Reading one of their highest pleasures. It is of little use to give directions for the choice of books, if they dislike books'altogether; or to recommend any particular course of Reading, if Reading itself be dis. agreeable to them. But, surely, much need not be said, to excite in the ardent mind's of youth such a taste. The example of eminent mer, the laudable desire to excel, the pleasurable feeling of conscious knowledge, the expansion of the mind which results from it, and the enlarged scope which it gives to the range of thought, are sufficient motives to produce it. Besides, there is a natural propensity in the mind of man, which is peculiarly strong in youth, and which Reading gratifies ; a kind of anxious desire to know. In exalted minds, this is an eager and rational
desire after true knowledge; in others, it is but trifting curiosity. Still it exists in all; and in all it is beneficial, as a stimulus to improvement.
Reading lays open to the view things distant both in
space and time. It carries us back to the earliest ages of antiquity; it leads us into converse with the wisest and best of men, and makes them appear to have lived and written for our advantage. It also carries us abroad to the most distant parts of the earth; exhibiting to our view the manners and curi. osities of every nation, and displaying, in ten thousand instances, the goodness and power of God, whom it consequently tends to exalt in our ideas, and towards whom it thus excites or increases our gratitude.
(To be continued.)
A STRIKING INSTANCE OF THE FORGIVENESS
OF INJURIES. To the Editor of the Youth's Instructer. Tuě following anecdote is extracted from an Ame rican Paper, “ The New York Journal," for August 14, 1821. It is there stated, “ that it is not a creation of fancy, but an occurrence of real life.”, Perhaps its insertion in the Youth's Instructer may be interesting to some of your juvenile readers, as illustrative of the spirit of that beautiful passage, Rom. xii. 20, “ If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head;”-a spirit which they cannot seek too early, or cultivate too industriously.
A.G.J. It is now about fifty years since two young HighJanders, who had both honourably served their apprenticeship, one as a clerk to a solicitor, the other as a merchant's clerk, bid adieu to their friends and the joyous scenes of early youth in their native town of I****s, and departed together, to seek business, wealth, and preferment, in the metropolis of the British empire. The excellent characters which they sustained, enabled them, soon after their arrival in London, to procure employment in their respective occupations; and by their industry and fidelity, they secured the confidence and esteem of their employers. In a few years they both commenced business on their own account. The Solicitor, though not eminently distinguished for talents, was nevertheless highly respectable, and obtained a competent support, but did not advance to wealth. The Merchant, by his enterprise and skill in business, early acquired an independent fortune, which enabled him to move in the highest circles of taste and fashion. His great prosperity, with the high standing which he had acquired upon the Exchange, and in the consideration of the wealthy and the fashionable, excited the jealousy of his respectable, but not equally fortunate countryman. Envy touched the breast of the latter, first blunted the feelings of friendship, and then continued to prey upon its victim till he became entirely estranged from the companion and friend of his youth; and he sought every occasion to lessen his influence and character with the sons of ST. ANDREW. This unkind treatment, which envy alone had prompted, was not unobserved by the Merchant; but he bore it in patient silence till an occasion offered to gratify the demon of revenge, or, by, a noble deed of generosity, to drive unkindness from the bosom of his former companion, and restore the reciprocal good feelings which once existed,
A vacancy occurred in the Solicitorship of an important Society; and the honour and emoluments attached to the office, brought forward a number of candidates, among whom was the once bosom-friend of the Merchant, whose chance against some of his rivals, supported by powerful friends, hardly inspired *a hope of success. He, however, addressed circulars to all the electors, except his former friend, soliciting their support. He knew the influence of the Merchant would turn the election, whichsoever way it should be directed; but the coldness which had so long existed between them, prevented his addressing him even in the customary formal manner. The Merchant, actuated by that nobleness of soul which lifts its possessos