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its power in our heart. For here, if any SERMON where, his assistance is requisite. The spirit of devotion is his gift. From his inspiration it proceeds. Towards him it tends; and in his presence, hereafter, it shall attain its full perfection.
On the Duties of the Young.
Titus, ii. 6.
SERMON SOBRIETY of mind is one of those
o virtues which the present condition of human life strongly inculcates. The uncertainty of its enjoyments checks presumption; the multiplicity of its dangers demands perpetual caution. Moderation, vigilance, and self-government, are duties incumbent on all ; but especially on such as are beginning the journey of life. To them, therefore, the admonition in the Text is, with great propriety, directed; though there is reason to fear, that by them it is in hazard of being least regarded. Experience enforces the admonition on the most
giddy, after they have advanced in years. SERMON But the whole state of youthful views and passions, is adverse to sobriety of mind. The scenes which present themselves, at our entering upon the world, are commonly flattering. Whatever they be in themselves, the lively spirits of the young gild every opening prospect. The field of hope appears to stretch wide before them. Pleasure seems to put forth its blossoms on every side. Impelled by desire, forward they rush with inconsiderate ardour: Prompt to decide, and to choose; averse to hesitate, or to inquire ; credulous, because untaught by experience; rash, because unacquainted with danger; headstrong, because unsubdued. by disappointment. Hence arise the perils, of which it is my design at present to warn them. I shall take sobriety of mind, in its most comprehensive sense, as including the whole of that discipline which religion and virtue prescribe to youth. Though the words of the Text are directly addressed to young men, yet, as the same admonition is given in a preceding verse to the other sex, the instructions which arise from the Text are to be considered as common to both.
SERMON I intend, first, to shew them the importance
of beginning early to give serious attention to their conduct ; and, next, to point out those virtues which they ought chiefly to cultivate.
As soon as you are capable of reflection, you must perceive that there is a right and a wrong in human actions. You see, that those who are born with the same advantages of fortune, are not all equally prosperous in the course of life. While some of them, by wise and steady conduct, attain distinction in the world, and pass their days with comfort and honour ; others of the same rank, by mean and vicious behaviour, forfeit the advantages of their birth, involve themselves in much misery, and end in being a disgrace to their friends, and a burden on society. Early, then, you may learn, that it is not on the external condition in which you find yourselves placed, but on: the part which you are to act, that your welfare or unhappiness, your honour or infamy, depend. Now, when beginning to act that part, what can be of greater
moment than to regulate your plan of SERMON conduct with the most serious attention, before you have yet committed any fatal or irretrievable errours ? If, instead of exerting reflection for this valuable purpose, you deliver yourselves up, at so critical a time, to sloth and pleasure ; if you refuse to listen to any counsellor but humour, or to attend to any pursuit except that of amusement; if you allow yourselves to float loose and careless on the tide of life, ready to receive any direction which the current of fashion may chance to give you, what can you expect to follow from such beginnings ? While so many around you are undergoing the sad consequences of a like indiscretion, for what reason shall not those consequences extend to you ? Shall you attain success without that preparation, and escape. dangers without that precaution, which is required of others ? Shall happiness grow. up to you of its own accord, and solicit your acceptance, when, to the rest of mankind, it is the fruit of long cultivation, and the acquisition of labour and care? Deceive not your