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racter, which the Apostle in my Text re- SERMON commends to youth; piety, modesty, truth, benevolence, temperance, and industry. Whether your future course is destined to be long or short, after this manner it should commence; and, if it continue to be thus conducted, its conclusion, at what time soever it arrives, will not be inglorious or unhappy. For, honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, or that which is measured by number of years. But wisdom is the grey hair to man, and an unspotted life is old age.
Let me finish the subject, with recalling your attention to that dependence on the blessing of Heaven, which, amidst all your endeavours after improvement, you ought continually to preserve. It is too common with the young, even when they resolve to tread the path of virtue and honour, to set out with presumptuous confidence in themselves. Trusting to their own abilities for carrying them successfully through life, they are careless of applying to God, or of deriving any assistance from what they are apt to reckon the gloomy discipline of reli
SERMON gion. Alas ! how little do they know the
dangers which await them? Neither human wisdom, nor human virtue, unsupported by religion, are equal to the trying situations which often occur in life. By the shock of temptation, how frequently have the most virtuous intentions been overthrown? Under the pressure of disaster, how often has the greatest constancy sunk? · Every good, and every perfect gift, is fronz above. Wisdom and virtue, as well as riches and honour, come from God. Destitute of his favour, you are in no better situation, with all your boasted abilities, than orphans left to wander in a trackless desert, without any guide to conduct them, or any shelter to cover them from the gathering storm. Correct, then, this illfounded arrogance. Expect not, that your happiness can be independent of him who made you. By faith and repentance, apply to the Redeemer of the world. By piety and prayer, seek the protection of the God of Heaven. I conclude with the solemn words, in which a great Prince delivered his dying charge to his son ; words which every young person ought to consider
as addressed to himself, and to engrave SERMON deeply on his heart: Thou, Solomon, my son, the know thou the God of thy fathers; and serve him with a perfect beart, and with a willing mind. For the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee ; but if thou forsake him, he will cast tbee off for ever*.
T . : the AGED.' :
Proverbs, xvi. 31.
found in the way of righteousness.
SERMON TO fear God, and to keep his command
ments, is the rule of our duty, in every period of life. But, as the light which guides our steps, varies with the progress of the day, so the rule of religious conduct is deversified in its application by the different stages of our present existence. To every age, there belongs a distinct propriety of behaviour. There arises from it, a series of duties peculiar to itself.
Of those which are incumbent on youth, · I have treated in the preceding Discourse. As we advance from youth to middle age, SERMON a new field of action opens, and a different _XI. character is required. The flow of gay and impetuous spirits begins to subside. Life gradually assumes a graver cast; the mind a more sedate and thoughtful turn. The attention is now transferred from pleasure to interest; that is, to pleasure diffused over a wider extent, and measured by a larger scale. Formerly, the enjoyment of the present moment occupied the whole attention. Now, no action terminates ultimately in itself, but refers to some more distant aim. Wealth and power, the instruments of lasting gratification, are now coveted more than any single pleasure. Prudence and foresight lay their plans. Industry carries on its patient efforts. Activity pushes forward; address winds around. Here, an enemy is to be overcome; there, a rival to be displaced. Competitions warm; and the strife of the world thickens on every side. To guide men through this busy period, without loss of integrity; to guard them against the temptations which arise from mistaken or interfering interests ;