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that the highest satisfaction results from true religion and virtue, that their honour and happiness depend on their shunning the society of the vicious, and keeping themselves pure. Children and youth should be taught to respect themselves, and not to degrade their nature, and pervert their powers and faculties. Parents, and others, on whom parental duty devolves, should watch, and, when occasion requires, interpose their authority, that good impressions may not be obliterated by sinful associates, and that the minds of those committed to their care may not be prejudiced against the lessons of wisdom, by the arts of the wicked.
You will at once allow, my young friends, that the admonition, or advice, in the text is proper for a parent to give to a child ; and that, if given in sincerity, the parent must feel solicitous to enforce it, and give it a practical influence, by every mean in his power. You must therefore perceive and confess in the next place,
2. That it is your duty to receive the advice, and to submit to the authority by which the parent would enforce its practical observance. Whatever the parent, master, or instructor, is in duty bound to enjoin, youth are not at liber
ty to resist, or censure ; but must be under obligation to observe and obey. Contempt of parental authority and government, disobedience and opposition to the regulations of families, schools and seminaries, are among the vices and follies into which sinners entice their more virtuous companions. Their first efforts are often directed to this object; which, in many instances, is too easily accomplished. Youth are disposed to live and act without control, to manifest impatience under any kind of restraint, and to think they are more capable of directing their own choice and conduct, than their parents, or instructors. They frequently imagine, without the least reason, that parents, masters, governours, or instructors, have an interest opposite to theirs, and that they impose restraint, or establish rules of conduct, to gratify their own humour, and not for the benefit of those under their care. This is, in general, a most groundless suspicion, arising from a predisposition of mind, which gives great advantage to those sinners, who are determined opposers to order and government in families, schools, and other literary institutions, and enables them to gain an extensive consent to their enticement to evil. That they may possess this advantage,
sinners will, if possible, excite such suspicion in minds that never entertained it, and produce impatience under a government they before esteemed mild, equitable, and good. The consequence is dissatisfaction and resentment at the exercise of the authority God and nature have committed to heads of families, and of such institutions, for the benefit of those placed under their inspection and government. But, my young friends, every expression of this dissatisfaction and resentment, more especially every act of opposition and resistance, under parental discipline and restraint, or under the laws and regulations of the institutions in which you may be placed for your improvement, indicates a perverse temper, and leaves very little reason to believe you will resist the enticement of sinners, to whatever folly and excess it may lead. It is their wish to excite a spirit of hostility in your bosoms against your best friends, and to flatter you with the idea that you are capable of selfgovernment, and that it is mean to submit to the direction and control of any authority but your own reason and inclination. But this is contrary to the order of nature, and to the hap
piness of society. Parents were no more obliged · to guard your infancy, than they are to guide
your youthful steps; and filial duty requires your submission to their authority and direction. · Weigh and apply the subject, and you will, in this respect, guard against the enticement of sinners. But,
3. As you possess a power of judging, and have a rule by which to determine what is right, and what wrong; as you are in danger of consenting, in some, if not in the highest degree, to the enticement of sinners; and as every degree of consent is destructive in its tendency, and forbidden, you ought to examine well the nature of your conduct, and see to what it will lead or expose you. Pains must be taken to inform your minds, and respect paid to the sober dictates of your own consciences. You must not suffer inclination, as many youth have done, to blind your understanding, or to bias your judgment. You should suppress inclination, until you have determined whether its indulgence would be lawful and right. Nor ought you to consent, in any degree, to the conduct of others, if it do not first meet the appprobation of your own reason and conscience; if you do, you will be partakers of their sins. Look well to your own hearts, and be careful how you order your steps. Many have fallen by the
devices of the wicked, never to rise again to virtue and happiness. Shun their path, that you may not come into the same condemnation. We add,
4. That, as innumerable evil consequences follow a consent to the enticement of sinners, and as you are liable to be insensibly drawn into it, and by your example to draw others into the same snare, you ought to arm yourselves with the most fixed resolution against yielding, and watch that you may shun the rock, which has proved fatal to thousands. “ Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.” If you see your danger, it may be avoided; and you must see it, unless you shut your eyes.
But, my friends, while you guard against the enticement, the corrupting influence and examples of sinners, be exhorted not to become dangerous companions to others, by your own improper conduct and conversation; but strive to allure them into wisdom's ways, to the love and practice of every thing excellent and praiseworthy.
That you may be preserved in the midst of the dangers that await you, and be guided in the way of truth and righteousness, humbly seek to God, through Jesus Christ, for the wis.