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of the juvenile years !
Have I not learnt, that prudent gravity and innocent gratifications are closely connected, that virtue and piety are the surest road to contentment and happiness? Do not my tutors, my conductors, my elder friends, assure me, that this course cannot be entered upon too early, that to him who from his early youth has walked in it, it becomes continually easier, continually pleasanter, and procures him advantages and satisfactions totally unknown to those, who, after rambling about in devious mazes and turnings, with enfeebled faculties and an angry conscience enter this only direct and secure path ? Have I not often heard complainings of the misery of
youth passed in frivolity and sin, and wishing for a return of the thus wasted faculties and the years irrevocably lost ? Do I learn ever by my own experience, that I am never more calm and delighted, than when I am discharging my duty, controling my appetites, performing somewhat useful, conceiving and doing somewhat good, and so may boldly look up to God and assure myself of his complacency? Yes, this course which christianity points out, will I cheerfully enter, along it will I steadfastly walk, and to this will I bind myself at the table of my master.
As a christian I should not regulate myself by the example of the multitude, not by what happens to be the reigning mode and practice, but solely by the precepts and example of Jesus.
What is it to me, that one or another of my thoughtless acquaintance, this or that slave of folly and vice, should call me an oddity, or pity me as a miserable creature ? Wisdom and virtue, the favor of God, and the sure and certain hope of a better life after death, are what I have learnt to understand as the only sources of real, permanent happiness. From those wells will I draw ; they stand open to me in every age, at every place, at every season, and never fail. By this solemn act, moreover,
experienced christians adopt me as their brother
(sister) into their society, I will therefore endeavor with the greater assiduity to be and to become a useful member of it. Hitherto I have been receiving benefits from others, and am still daily receiving instruction, assistance, indulgence, guidance and direction from them. I will now earnestly strive to requite their benefactions, to render myself continually more worthy of the association in which I now engage with them, and above all, to do honor by my behaviour to the christianity which I profess.
I need now no longer require the same indulgence from them. They have now a right to demand and to expect more of me; and with thy assistance, O God, they shall not be deceived in their expectations.
Yes, with thy assistance, merciful God, I resolve and bind myself to fulfil all these engagements. I am sensible how greatly I am in want of it, how weak I am in myself, how little able I am without it to surmount the many
obstacles I shall meet with on my way, to vanquish and overcome the tempta
tions and dangers I may encounter. But that assistance thou wilt not deny me, thou who art so ready to help ! Thou wilt farther lead and conduct me as thy child, who hearkens to thy voice and with alacrity follows thy call; and under thy inspection and thy safeguard I shall never forsake the proper, direct path in which thou hast placed me, and not fail of reaching its glorious term, everlasting felicity. Amen.
TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE,
For meditation during the communion ser
vice, or at any other time. .
If ye therefore be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above. Col. iii. 1, 2.
Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. I John ii. 15, 16.
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose
the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. i John iii. 8.
If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify