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CICERO among the ROMANS, the third of thefe renowned men, the wifeft and best of his time and nation, had a special view to the benefit of YOUNG MEN, in divers of his admirable writings; particu·larly in that very valuable book his OFFICES, inferibed to his fon MARCUS. He alfo took great pains in fome of his other writings, to expofe the folly, fuperftition and knavery of the priests and augurs, and other fuppofed holy men of those times; and to preferve both the Old and Young from the fad effects of their delufions and hypocrify, tho' he was himself One of their order. He was, accordingly, accounted an heretic by them. And tho' he did not fall at laft as a martyr directly for true religion; yet he fell as one of the most glorious advocates for LIBERTY, that the world ever faw: An honor next to that of fuffering martyrdom for religion; and, in fome fort, the fame thing; true religion comprifing in it the love of liberty, and of One's country; and the hatred of all tyranny and oppreffion.
Ir is evident, moreover, from the epiftles of the great apoftle PAUL, and of
JOHN the beloved disciple of our Lord, that both of them had a particular attention to the YOUNG, in their writings: Not to mention the many excellent divines, or other learned and good men, who, in later ages, have devoted a great part of their time, and their noble talents, to the service of God and their generation, in this way. To say the least, therefore, I have no occafion to blush,for having employed my meaner talents with a particular view to the benefit of my YOUNG brethren, when I confider these illuftrious examples: Efpecially, when I also reflect on what paffed betwixt our LORD and PETER, when the former, the chief Shepherd, was just ascending to his FATHER and our FATHER, to his GoD and our GOD. 66 JESUS faith to Simon "Peter, Simon fon of Jonas, lovest thou 66 me more than thefe? He faith unto "him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that "I love thee. He faith unto him, FEED 26 MY LAMBS.
WHILE others, who are rich in wifdom, caft in of their abundance into the treasury and offerings of GOD, for the immediate fervice of the YONUG, the LAMBS
LAMBS OF CHRIST's fold; I may be permitted, like the poor widow, of my penury to caft in a mite or two. In which respect, I may also accomodate to myself, and adopt the words of the last-mentioned apostle, PETER, originally fpoken with another view, on a particular occafion" Silver and gold have I none; but fuch as I have give I you." If what I here offer, as my own, is neither gold, filver nor precious ftones; yet, I trust, it is not wholly drofs, wood, hay or stubble. And, mean as it is, I am already affured, my beloved young brethren, that you will not defpife it: Nor do I doubt, but that the infinitely good and merciful GOD will gracioufly accept it thro' JESUS CHRIST, as fincerely intended for his glory.
It is faid by fome, that these times are very corrupt and degenerate, in comparison of those of our fore-fathers; and particularly, that the YOUTH of these days are remarkably light and vain, loose and profligate, both in principle and manners. There is doubtlefs always room, and great occafion in this prefent evil world, for reformation. I am not certain, however, that the above-mentioned
charge is ftrictly juft: Poffibly they who bring it, may not " inquire wifely concerning the former times," or the present, when they think that those were fo much "better than thefe." Be that as it may; yet I am perfuaded, the most likely way to produce a reformation, is not to rail at the times, or to make fuch invidious comparisons betwixt the age present, and those which are past. I have, therefore, wholly declined this kind of rhetoric and declamation in these difcourfes: Contenting myself with plainly telling you the truth and your duty; and urging it upon you by fuch confiderations, as are at all times proper. But if there is any real foundation for fuch a charge against the YOUTH of the prefent age, these discourses will be fo much the more seasonable, and claim your attention accordingly.
I HAVE addreffed you in them, and endeavoured to treat you, as reasonable creatures. You will not, it is hoped, think it lefs incumbent upon you to fhew yourfelves men by your conduct, tho' but young, than it was upon me to treat you as fuch. To the many arguments and motives
motives to that end, ufed in thefe difcourses, let me here fubjoin, that a number of you have been bleft with a liberal and learned, as well as religious education; and, that the more is expected of you both by GoD and man, on this account. Take heed, my brethren, that you do not any of you difgrace your education, and bring a reproach upon that refpectable fociety the COLLEGE, whofe public honors you have received, by a conduct un worthy both of that and yourselves; →→ either by a vicious and profligate, or even by a low, fordid and vulgar behaviour. In either of which cafes, especially the former, you may be affured, that what would otherwise be for your honor, will, in the end, turn to your fhame and reproach. I fay this, you know, as your friend, not as your enemy.
THE great regard and kindness with which I have been treated by your parents, and the honoured and beloved people of my pastoral charge in general, lay me under fome peculiar obligations, not only to them, but to you; to do what ever in me lies, to promote your honor, your temporal and eternal good. If, there