« AnteriorContinuar »
Cicero among the ROMANS, che third of thefe renowned men, the wiseft and best of his time and nation, had a special view to the benefit of YOUNG MEN, in divers of his admirable writings ; particularly in that very valuable book his OFFICES, inferibed to his fon MARCUS. He also took great pains in some of his other writings, to expose the folly, superstition and knavery of the priests and augurs, and other supposed holy men of those times; and to preserve both the Old and Young from the sad effects of their delufions and hypocrisy, cho' he was himself One of their order. He was, accordingly, accounted an heretic by them. And tho' he did not fall at last as a martyr directly for true religion ; yet he fell as one of the most glorious advocates for LIBERTY, that the world ever saw : An honor next to that of suffering martyrdom for religion ; and, in some fort, the same thing ; true religion comprising in it the love of liberty, and of One's country'; and the hatred of all tyranny and oppression.
It is evident, moreover, from the epifcles of the great apostle Paul, and of
JOHN 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
ge: neration, in this way. To say the least, therefore, I have no occasion to blush,for having employed my meaner talents with à particular view to the benefit of my YOUNG brethren, when I consider these, illustrious examples : Especially, when I also reflect on what passed 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. JESUS saith to Simon © Peter, Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou
me more than these? He saith unto « him, Yea, Lord'; thou knowest that « I love thee. He saith unto him, FEED
While others, who are rich in wifdom, cast in of their abundance into the treasury and offerings of God, for the immediate service of the YONUG, the
Lambs of CHRIST's fold ; I may be permitted, like the poor widow, of my penury to cast 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 spoken with another view, on a particular occafion :'" Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I you.” If what I here offer, as my own, is neither gold, silver nor precious stones ; yet, I trust, it is not wholly dross, wood, hay or stubble. And, mean as it is, I am already assured, my beloved young brethren, that you will not despise it : Nor do I doubt, but that the infinitely good and merciful God will graciously accept it thro' JESUS Christ, as sincerely intended for his glory.
It is said 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 man
There is doubtless always room, and great occasion - in this present evil world, for reformation. I am not certain, however, that the above-mentioned
charge is strictly just : Possibly they who bring it, may not“ inquire wisely conçerning the former times," or the present, when they think that those were so much“ better than these.” Be that as it may ; yet I am persuaded, the most likely way to produce a reformation, is not to rail at the times, or to make such invidious comparisons betwixt the age present, and those which are past. I have, therefore, wholly declined this kind of rhetoric and declamation in these discourses : Contenting myself with plainly telling you the truth and your duty; and urging it upon you by such considerations, as are at all times proper. But if there is any real foundation for such a charge against the YOUTH of the present age, these discourses will be fo much the more seasonable, and claim attention accordingly.
I HAVE addressed you in them, and endeavoured to treat you, as reasonable crea
You will not, it is hoped, think it lefs incumbent upon you to shew yourselves men by your conduct, tho? but young, than it was upon me to treat you as such. To the many arguments and
motives to that end, used in these difcourses, let me here subjoin, that a number of you have been blest 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 disgrace your education, and bring a reproach upon that respectable fociety the COLLEGE, whose public hon ors you have received, by a conduct un worthy both of that and yourselves ; either by a vicious and profligare, or even by a low, fordid and vulgar behaviour. In either of which cases, especially the former, you may be assured, that what would otherwise be for your honor, will, in the end, turn to your shame and reproach. I say 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