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Induce them to listen, an affectionate course will usually influence them to comply with advice, that they can readily see must enhance their happiness, and prepare them to become respectable and useful members of society. Inspire in them self respect, a most powerful lever to insure their safety. Teach them the proneness of human nature to yield to seducing pleasure, and the great safety in avoiding temptation, that they may be kept from evil. Teach them their importance as immortal beings, and curb their pride, by convincing them of their dependence on God for every thing. Show them that they must soon take the places of their fathers and mothers, on the great theatre of life; teach them to think and act like men and women; this will strengthen them and press upon them the vast importance of becoming thoroughly prepared to act well their part, when called on the stage of action. Teach them religion in its native purity and simplicity. Unfold to them its sublime beauties, and contrast them with the distorted features of vice. Picture to them the happy results of the former, and the direful effects of the latter. Do these things with all of our Youth, religion will prosper-our country is safe. Causes will produce their legitimate effects.
To the dear Youth, I desire to say a few words. Listen to an old man, who feels a deep interest in your welfare, and well remembers when he was young, and can appreciate the increasing dangers to which you are exposed, as our country becomes more densely populated.
Love, honor, and obey your parents. From them you received the first kind attentions of humanity. By them you have been fed, clothed, and preserved, under God; from your helpless infancy, to the present moment. During your more tender age, when you knew no care, felt no anxiety, and realized no blessings ; their anxiety, care, and love; impelled them to watch over you, and provide for your numerous and accumulating wants. They first opened the quarry of ignorance in which your intellect lay concealed, and aided in bringing your mental powers from the darkness of nature, to the light of intelligence. If your parents are Christians, they have taught you the necessity of shunning all vice, and of reposing your trust in the immaculate Redeemer. For all this, your hearts should swell with gratitude ; you owe them a debt you can best pay, by loving, honoring, and obeying them, and departing from all evil, and walking in the ways of wisdom, virtue, and truth.
Improve your minds by acquiring a good store of useful knowledge. If the tree put forth no blossoms in spring, we gather no fruit in autumn. If the springtime of your lives passes without improvement; if the vain allurements and trifling amusements of this deceitful and deceiving world engross your minds, to the exclusion of salutary improvement, the darkness of ignorance will remain stamped upon your mental powers, and will most likely push you into the murky waters of shame and disgrace.
At the week day and Sabbath school, improve your time-love your teacher and fellow schoolmates, endeavor to be first in your class, live in harmony and peace with every one, shun all vice, resist every temptation to do wrong; and bear strongly in mind, that you will soon take our places—become fathers, mothers, teachers, ministers, statesmen, governors, presilents—and that the responsibility of preserving our country and nation, will soon devolve on you. Let these reflections raise you above the trifles that only amuse without benefiting you—learn to be men and women, while you are boys and girls.
Above all, study the Bible-seek religion, and remember your Creator in the days of your youth, that your years may be long, prosperous, useful, and happy.
ZEAL, without knowledge, is slavery in its highest refinement. It blinds its subjects, and renders them the dupes of knaves. They constitute a fifth class in the world, belonging not to the minority composed of great men; the majority, composed of the small, the knaves, or the fools. They are mere automatons, walking, talking, fighting machines; like Falstaff's soldiers, afraid of nothing but danger, and not quick in apprehending that.
Zeal is rather paradoxical in its operations upon the human race. It is like some baulky horses—they work best when blinded. It is lamentable to see the want of Zeal in all the benevolent and holy enterprises of the day. Look at the cause of pure and undefiled religion -compare the Zeal of its professed friends, with that of the idolaters, the Mahometan, the wild Arab. For ardent fervor, burning zeal, untiring perseverance, and scrupulous punctuality; the latter far surpass the most devoted Christian. How soon, how very soon, does the Zeal of our revivals die away. Our Zeal is only periodical, and those periods of short duration.
The Bible cause, the missionary societies, tract distribution, and Sabbath school operations; are all zealously attended to but occasionally, and not long at a time. This is Zeal with knowledge misimproved Zeal in causes worthy of the noblest energies and unliring exertions of man. These are self-evident facts, that demand the prayerful attention and most serious consideration of every Christian. This awful indifference, that steals over us like a nightmare; is derogatory to the Christian character, an incubus upon the cause of our Lord and Master, a drag-chain upon the churches of Christ, a clog that retards spiritual advancement, a blot upon Christian graces, a heartchilling disease, that affects the soul, as the ague does the body. It is the mesmerism of the devil, and the electro-magnetism of the world combined.
Awake Christians, lest you sleep the sleep of death. Let your Zeal be according to knowledge-a Zeal that shall convince the world you are in earnest in a glorious cause and prepare to strike a blow for your conquering King, that shall resound through the wilderness of impenitent minds, and cause every tree to bud and blossom like the rose.
ZENO, the great philosopher, born at Cyprus, considered silence one of the cardinal virtues. In a qualified sense this is true. It would be a virtue in those who never say a good thing, to be silent. It would be well to observe silence, rather than talk nonsense, as thousands do, in public speaking and in private conversation. Our tongues are the most consummate prodigals on earth, with this advantage over others—the funds seem inexhaustible, although they may not be of much real value. With nothing are we as careless, as with the use of this little flippant member. We are not only prone to let it run too much at large, but we permit it to become unruly, and intrude upon the rights of others. It was this fact, undoubtedly, that induced Zeno so much to admire silence. But to impose silence, or prevent mischief, is out of the question. We are doomed to suffer from it. We may as soon expect the wind will cease to carry thistle seeds on their feather cars, and plant them a thousand miles from their parent stem. Pythagoras imposed silence on his pupils for days together, but the moment the injunction was taken off, they gabbled more than ever, and much nonsense too.
But if we cannot stop, we can improve, by lessening the quantity and bettering the quality of our talk. This is more desirable than silence. This is what was designed by our great Creator—that we should speak, but speak only good and no evil. It was a saying of Zeno, that men have but one tongue and two ears, and should therefore hear much and speak little. If this hint of nature was better observed, it would be of vast benefit to our race. That too much is said, none will deny. We should have less and wiser talk-more and better work, in every department of life, from the domestic circle, up to the presidential chair. I am aware the present large quantity gives employment to lawyers, justices, juries, legislators, paper-makers, and printers ; rather a problematical recommendation.
Let us endeavor to keep our tongues with all dili