« السابقةمتابعة »
are known no more, the society of the excellent of the earth is in a measure abandoned, and, what is still more, the hope of being hereafter admitted into the immediate presence of God and the Redeemer, and of joining with angels and perfected saints in everlasting songs of praise, will be destroyed. Every thing worthy of a rational desire is in effect sacrificed, or relinquished, by yielding to the enticement of sinners; and what can any promise themselves that will compensate them for the degrading service into which they enter ? What can they propose as an equivalent for innocence, virtue, purity, and piety? Do sinners persuade you that there is no pleasure, no enjoyment, without their enchanted circle? They of all men are the greatest strangers to true and rational pleasure. Let those who have been seduced from the path of virtue and innocence into criminal indulgences be honest, and say if they have not been disappointed. Let them show the mighty ad. vantage they have gained at the expense of reJigion, virtue, and character. Deluded mortals! this they will find a task not less difficult than unpleasant. The pleasures of sin leave a sting behind; those of religion and virtue, peace and joy. Say, is there no happiness, no satisfac140 tion, to be enjoyed in the society of the virtuous and good ? None, perhaps, for one who hath chosen to be a companion of evil doers. But sublime pleasures, increasing delight, and animating hope, are the portion of those, who are pure in heart, who fear God and keep his com. mandments. Be ye persuaded, therefore, my young friends, who have not yet been insnared, to guard against every temptation, enticement, and allurement, to join with the wicked in their folly; and if any have consented, let them be intreated instantly to burst the bands by which they are bound to their sinful associates; to forsake the foolish, that they may live. May the divine power and mercy rescue them from the snares of death, and raise them to virtue and piety, to glory, honour, and immortality.
1. The view we have taken of the subject will teach you, my young friends, the necessity of family government, and convince you that it is the duty of your parents, masters, guardians, and instructors, to watch over, counsel, and direct your course. Your want of experience, natural ardour and vivacity, the heat of your
passions, and, I may add, your fondness for novelty, expose you to many unseen dangers, and render you extremely liable to be drawn into folly and ruin by the enticement of sinners. If you are convinced of this, you will acknowledge that those, to whom providence hath intrusted the care of your infancy, childhood, and youth, ought to exercise their utmost skill and authority to guard and restrain you from the 'paths of wickedness. Are they not bound in duty to God, and to you, to watch, counsel, instruct, and govern you. Can you pretend, whatever your feelings of opposition may be, that parents and masters, or the heads and directors of any literary institution, in which you may be placed, would be faithful to their trust, unless they take care to preserve you from the corrupting influence of those, who would entice you to evil? When instruction, advice, and example fail to effect the object, ought they not to interpose authority? If God hath commanded you not to consent when sinners entice you, will you think your parents, masters, or instructors unreasonable, if they endeavour to enforce the divine precept? They are account able to God for their conduct towards you, and can never be justified in his sight if they do not
use their influence and authority to preserve you from every evil practice, and lead you into the paths of honour, virtue, and pięty.
It was a charge against Eli of old, on which was grounded an awful sentence against him, and his house, “ that his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” He admonished and reproved them ; but did not exercise the authority he possessed to restrain their wick: edness. God therefore determined to cut off the house of Eli, and declared that it “ should not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever.” The sentence was executed; and is recorded for the admonition of parents, in all succeeding ages, to exercise their authority to restrain their children from vice and wickedness. Consider what is their duty, and you will easily discover your own in respect to them.
It will not be denied that much of the sin and folly of youth is to be imputed to the neglect of parents, masters and instructors, in not attending to the inclination and habits of those under them, and early imposing proper restraint. In some instances, heads of families, by their own instruction”and examples, entice their children and domesticks into gross folly and iniquity. How melancholy the thought! If those, to
whom the direction and government of youth are committed, felt the importance of the trust, and would consider how much depends on the faithful execution of it, they could not fail to watch over those under their care with the most tender solicitude, and, as much as possible, guard them against every snare and temptation.
It is an important branch of duty, which devolves on all who have the care and government of youth, early to impress their minds with re. ligious sentiments, with the idea of the divine presence, and to excite a 'dread of offending God, and a desire of approving themselves to him; to represent vice in its true colours, and convince them that it is degrading and ruinous to every human being. They should, at the same time, exhibit examples of piety and virtue, and the best evidence that these afford true pleasure and satisfaction,
There can be no doubt that youth are sometimes prejudiced against religion and virtue by the gloomy, or austere appearance, and indiscreet management, of those under whose care and government providence hath placed them. This is a great infelicity. It is an errour that should be carefully avoided. Tlie parent, or master, should endeavour to persuade the young,
pleasure and best evidence is of piety a