perished in the preceding autumn, we are filled with the most pleasing sensations at the universal re-animation of nature.

5. The warm and invigorating sun produces myriads of insects, which have been lifeless through the hoary frosts of winter. The herds go forth to graze on the verdant plains. The numerous flocks quit their folds with their young, to feed on the distant mountains. The matin lark, with all the charming choir which nature wakes to cheerfulness and love, tune their melodious voices to hail the welcome return of spring. The busy bee flies over the fields, and extracts the liquid sweets from

every flower.

6. How pleasing ! how wonderful! how delightful are the scenes presented to our view! The spring of the year is strikingly emblematical of that grand and universal resurrection, which shall commence at the final consummation of all things. May its beauties, therefore, raise our affections to those superiour regions of bliss, into which the truly virtuous shall then enter, and forever enjoy an unfading and eternal spring.

Comforts of Religion. 1. THERE are many who have passed the age of youth and beauty; who have resigned the pleasures of that smiling season; who begin to decline into the vale of years, impaired in their health, depressed in their fortunes, stript of their friends, their children, and perhaps still more tender connections. What resource can this world afford them? It presents a dark and dreary waste, through which there does not issue a single ray of comfort. Every delusive prospect of ambition is now at an end; long experience of mankind; an experience very different from what the open and generous soul of youth had fond

y dreampt of, has rendered the heart almost inaccessible to new friendships. The principal sources of activity are taken away, when those for whom we labour, are cut off from us; those who animated, and those who sweetened all the toils of life. Where then can the soul find refuge, but in the bosom of Religion? There she is admitted to those prospects of Providence and futurity, which alone can warm and fill the heart. I speak here of such as retain the feelings of humanity; whom misfortunes have softened, and perhaps rendered more delicately sensible : not of such as possess that stupid insensibility, which some are pleased to dignify with the name of philosophy.

2. It might therefore be expected, that those philosophers who think they stand in no need themselves of the assistance of religion to support their virtue, and who never feel the want of

[ocr errors]

its consolations, would yet have the humanity to consider the very different situation of the rest of mankind ; and not endeavour to deprive them of what habit, at least, if they will not al. low it to be nature, has made necessary to their morals, and to their happiness. It might be expected, that humanity would prevent them from breaking into the last retreat of the unfortunate, who can no longer be objects of their envy or resentment; and tearing from them their only remaining comfort. The attempt to ridicule religion may be agreeable to some, by relieving them from restraint upon their pleasures ; and may render others very miserable, by making them doubt those truths, in which they were most deeply interested; but it can convey real good and happiness to no one individual.

Filial Piety and Obedience. 1. Filial piety is the prime affection of the soul, and one of the most sacred and important of all social relations. It is the voice of nature, sanctioned by the authority of reasop and revelation, and derived from the best and purest feelings of the heart. Consider that its violation was always regarded, by the wisest and most enlightened people, as the most flagrant bweach of morality, and therefore was punished with the severest rigour. Reason fully justifies the principle upon which the laws of the Jews, the Romans, and the Chinese, against refractory and undutiful children, were founded ; for filial disobedience is a sure mark of that insensibility, as well as of that ingratitude and injustice, which have a direct tendency to a violation of order, and the commission of crimes.

2. Filial love, on the contrary, is the certain indication of such an amiable temper, as will display itself with uniform. benevolence in all relations, in which hereafter, as a man, ya will stand to society. It is the root of the most endearing change rities; its branches are vigorous, and will bear the most precious, and the most delicious fruit. There is the best reason to presume that an affeetionate son will become an affectionate brother, friend, husband, and father. When arrived at the age of mature reason, you will be sensible that the restraints formerly laid upon you by your parents were the effects of true regard, intended to shield you from evil, not to debar you

from good, to guard you from danger, not to contract the circle of your pleasures, for the sake of asserting authority, or displaying power.

3. Let, therefore, no foolish vanity, no levity or caprice of temper, no arrogance, arising from superiour fortune, or the

[ocr errors]

consciousness of superiour or more fashionable accomplishments, so far possess your mind, and blind

your understanding, as to induce you to treat your parents with inattention or disrespect. Always remember that your duty to them is inferiour only to that which binds you to the great Author of your being; and that neither the implicit submission of childhood, nor the return of affectionate offices in a more advanced age, can ever cancel your obligations for a father's protection, or repay the solicitudes of a mother's tenderness.

4. Reflect that time pursues his flight on rapid wings, and that the hours of youth, like the waters of an impetuous stream, roll on never to return. You must be sensible, that the portion of life appropriated to your education, is not, if duly considered, a season for pleasure and pastime alone ; that the days will come, when you will have no leisure, from the engagements of the world, to increase your stock of knowledge by study, and to improve by regular application those talents which Providence has committed to your care, for the use of which you are accountable to conscience, to society, and to Heaven; from the abuse and neglect of which will spring sad regret and unavailing sorrow; but from the cultivation of which will arise the delights of a self-applauding mind, and the respect and honour of the virtuous and the wise.

5. In whatever station you may be placed, fail not to improve every opportunity, and to seek every means of acquiring knowledge, afforded by tutors and professors ; cultivate the acquaintance of the learned, the accomplished, the serious, and well disposed; disregard the solicitations of the idle, and resist the allurements of the dissipated, the intemperate, and the irregular, who may urge you to drain the bowl of intoxication, and transgress the bounds of discipline. Look to the result of their misconduct, and you will remark, that far from affording any true pleasure to an ingenuous mind, it terminates in disgrace, punishment, and ruin.

6. Consider that no habit is so conducive to the accomplishment of the great ends of education, as a habit of diligence. Idleness is the parent of every vice ; but well directed activity is the source of every laudable pursuit, and honourable attainment. It is peculiarly adapted to the frame and constitution of youth, promotes good humour, and is conducive to health. : Indolence and inactivity are no less subversive of every purpose of mental improvement than of the general happiness of life. An idle boy will gradually lose the energy of his mind, will grow indifferent to the common objects of pursuit, except such as sti

mulate his passions with force; and when he advances into life, he will with difficulty be prevailed upon to make any important exertion, even for the promotion of his own interest, and much less for that of his friends.

7. The character of a sluggard--of him, who loses the pleasant, the healthy, and the precious hours of the morning in sleep, and the remaining part of the day in indolence, is justly reputed contemptible. While his powers of mind remain torpid, the diligent applies his activity to the most useful ends. His steps may not be uniformly rapid, or his actions always conspicuous; he may not attract the gaze of mankind, or move in the circle of fashionable levity and dissipation : but you may observe, that by habitual dexterity of conduct, and the practice of business, he is qualified to meet the difficulties, and fulfil the duties of any situation in which he may be placed ; and you will frequently see him, by his unremitting perseverance, acquire objects of fortune, distinction and honour, which man of unimproved talents very rarely, if ever, obtain.

8. Excellence is never granted to man, but as the reward of labour. It argues indeed no small strength of mind to persevere in habits of industry, without the pleasure of perceiving those advances, which, like the hand of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so-slowly as to escape observation.'

9. If you take an extensive survey of the world, you may remark that nothing great or laudable, nothing splendid or permanent, can be effected without the exertion of diligence. Are not the treasures of fortune, the fruits of industry, the acquirements of learning, and the monuments of glory, to be attributed to its animating influence ? Behold the student engaged in poring over the volumes of knowledge by his midnight lamp, and stealing his hours of study even from the season of repose ; be hold the peasant, roused by the dawn of the morning to pursue his daily toils along the furrowed field : repair to the manufac tory of the artificer, and amidst the various divisions of labour, observe with what alacrity all the sons and daughters of indus fry are plying their incessant tasks; or visit the crowded haven. avhere the favourable gales call the attention of the vigilant mariners; and you will remark that the whole scene is life, motion and exertion.

10. In these various situations, in every nation of the globe, from the ardent and enterprizing sons of America, to the almost countless myriads which people the wide plains of China, you may observe that the principle of diligence, like the great ław

of creation, which causes the planets to perform their invariable revolutions, pervades each busy scene, and throughout the world actuates the race of men for some useful purpose,

Education of Youth.

See the Author's Mirror and Academician. 1. The great and extensive advantages which must necessarily accrue to society at large, from the proper education of youth, will appear from considering the influence of their examples upon all around them. If ignorance should be suffered to cloud their understandings, and immorality, resulting from a want of proper discipline, should disgrace their conduct, the injury done to society will extend to all its mercbers. But if our youth be well instructed in their duty, and their conduct prove the rectitude of their principles, the beneficial effects of their actions, like the overflowing waters of a fertilizing stream, will spread far and wide in every direction, and the final result to the state will be highly important and eminently beneficial, as it will consist in general stability of principles, general regularity of conduct, and general happiness.

2. The rising generation, brought up in the true principles of religion, enlightened by general knowledge, and encouraged not less by the examples, than improved by the advice of their parents and their teachers, will be freed from the imputation of degeneracy; they will follow their ancestors in the paths of integrity, honour, and true nobleness of conduct; they will be fortified against the attacks and the artifices of infidelity, and will persevere, as they advance in life, in every virtuous and honourable pursuit.

3. And may this indispensable and invaluable truth be forever inculcated by parents and teachers, with a degree of solicitude and zeal proportioned to the importance of the subject, and forever remembered by the young, that the honour, liberty, and independence of America must depend upon religion, virtue and knowledge, as their firmest and best supports. In all ranks of society, and more particularly among professional men, it is more immediately requisite that these constituents of personal merit should be carried to the greatest perfection.

4. Every sincere lover of his country, therefore, will be eager to promote, by all expedients in his power, that rational, enlightened and comprehensive system of education, which improves and perfects all of them; and he will determine that every channel to useful information ought to be opened, every suitable reward, proposed, and every honourable incitement held out, which may stimulate our ingenious youth to improve

« ForrigeFortsett »