« ForrigeFortsett »
ON A HABIT OF ATTENTIOX.
Though there are many, things, my dear, of which at present you are ignorant, yet you well know, that knowledge is only to be acquired by a desire to be informed ; and if you do not endeavour to listen to those instructions which you receive either at church or at home, you ceriainly must lose the benefit of improvement, and will still continue in a state of ignorance.
Though at present you are incapable understanding every thing that you may hear, yet this ability is not to be acquired by neglect ; while you spend your time in play, and employ your thoughts on toys and trifles, such parts of a discourse as might be suited to your capacity, and calculated to
enlighten your mind, will be passed over with equal negligence as the rest.
Young as you are, you have been instruct. ed that there is a God who observes all your actions ; you have been taught your duty to him, as your Creator and Preserver : you know likewise what are your obligations to your fellow.creatures, and that a regard to a right conduct, and the practice of virtue, is a duty that you owe to yourself.
It is a part, therefore, of the performance of those duties, to do all in your power to improve in knowledge ; to learn every day more and more in what those obligations consist, what. are the sins you should particularly endea. vour to avoid, and the virtues you are most called upon to practise. As you advance in years, your opportunities of usefulness will be increased; but even at present you have some things incumbent upon you to observe ; and the Almighty will be as watchful over your conduct, as
over those who are your superiors in age.
Every state, my dear, has its particular duties to fulfil. To acquire a clear idea of what God expects from you at this period of your life, is what I now mean particularly to
recommend ; and to thiş end, you must lis. ten with a design of improving by the ad. vice of your older friends. You must not allow yourself to be impatient when they reprove, or negligent when they would instruct you: nor must you, on any account, if you design to render your behaviour pleasing to the Deity, forget the serious admonitions you receive ; since, in that case, you will resemble those hearers whom our Sa. viour describes in one of his parables, as receiving the word into stony ground, or into a barren soil, where, for want of earth, the seed which was sown withered away. The meaning of which is, that what you may learn from reading, or your
be so kind as to teach you, will be of no use, unless you resolve to act as you are desired. A determined obedience to those instructions is, therefore, evidently your present duty ; since, though you may have sufficient sense to comprehend what you are taught, it will never “ spring up," or bring the fruits of virtue to perfection, unless it be sown in good ground,-unless you reflect so seriously on the consequence of your actions, as to resolve to observe the precepts of religion,