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99 whatever be their pretensions to superiour wisdom, or their claims to your deference. The elevation, or honour, that cannot be gained and enjoyed without a sacrifice of religious and moral principle and duty, you will ever consider below your dignity, and fit for those only who have the meanness to accept it on such base terms. Adopt and keep this resolution of the psalmist, “ I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments;” and, like that of the righteous, may your path shine brighter and brighter, as the dawning light, unto the perfect day,
WARNING AGAINST THE ENTICEMENT
PROVERBS i. 10. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
• This is the monitory language of paren
tal tenderness and solicitude. Every pious father will be ready to adopt it, and every dutiful child to listen to the instruction. With equal affection and concern the virtuous and religious parent would guard both sons and daughters against the snares and enticements of the wicked. What he says unto one, he says unto all, watch, and consent not unto the enticement of sinners.
This subject is chosen for the benefit of youth. May this class seriously attend, while
in the discussion of it we offer several things to their consideration. The speaker gives to all the advice he devoutly wishes his own children to follow. With feelings of tender solicitude, known only to the heart of a parent, he is ready to say, and, in saying it, to drop the affectionate tear, and to raise to God' the fervent prayer for his blessing, “ My son,” my daughter, “ if sinners entice thee, consent thou not ;” and, following the wise king of Israel, to add, “ If they say, come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause, let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole as those that go down into the. pit ; we shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil ; cast in thy lot among us ; let us all have one purse. My son, walk not thou in the way with them ; refrain thy foot from their path ; for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.”
But not against crimes of such a malignant and atrocious nature only, but against every kind of vice and wickedness, to'which you may be enticed by sinners, would he wish to guard and fortify your youthful minds. To effect the object, it will be necessary to point out the danger, and the means of escape, and, if possi
ble, my young friends, to interest your feelings in the subject. It highly concerns you to have your minds and hearts engaged upon it. .
Ushered into being, and unapprized of what iş before you, it is the natural dictate of the benevolent heart to suggest, that you will be ex. posed to numerous temptations, and may have many parts assigned you in the drama of human life ; and, that you may be prepared to meet these, to offer the best lessons drawn from ex. perience, and the oracles of God.
Man has but few inherent principles, by which to determine and govern his moral conduct. He is influenced by motives, and soon becomes, in a great measure, the creature of habit ; and it is of the highest importance that the purest should govern and characterize his youth. He has, indeed, a native power of judging between truth and falsehood, right and wrong; and his discernment of the one, or the other, is always accompanied with an inward approbation, or disapprobation. Although, in forming the mind and fixing its sentiments, much depends on education, experience, and numerous adventitious circumstances ; yet the itative power of perception and judgment, called common sense, and deemed the principal char
acteristick of rationality, must be acknowledged. By this power the mind is enabled to discover the principles of religion and moral obligation, and, when the matter is fairly proposed, to determine what is the duty of a rational creature. But, notwithstanding this ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, and our secret approbation of the one, and disapprobation of the other, we often disregard the decisions of common sense, are drawn from the right, and hurried into the opposite course. From our first entrance into life till we arrive at its utmost boundary, we are surrounded with objects of sense, which allure thousands from the path that reason and religion pronounce the most safe and happy.
Temptations assail us from every quarter ; but none, perhaps, are more irresistible than those which arise from the examples and entice. ments of sinners. These have a baneful effect upon the youthful mind. Next to example, good or bad, the persuasion of those whose fa. vour is desired will influence the judgment and conduct of mankind. According to the nature of the example, and to the object proposed, mankind may be drawn to the side of virtue, or vice. But evil examples and the enticement of