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" A young man coming forward into active life, in a world like this, unsuspecting, and inexperienced, is worthy of the most serious attention, both as it respects himself and all around him. A smooth world, like a deceitful sea, may promise much; but be on your guard, beware of what earth calls happiness ; in order to be real, it must be internal and abiding. I pity the man who has never found more substantial bliss than the world can impart. There is hidden treasure more precious than gold; sometimes called the secret of the Lord.
" Which nothing earthly gives, nor can destroy,
“ This is a portable happiness which a man may carry about with him, and enjoy in every place, and on every occasion.
“ I well know, my dear friend, that you cannot be happy in any other way than what God has appointed. To miss the mark, is the import of the Hebrew word, ' sin. Yes, he who lives in sin, loses the prize for which all are contending ; for, there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
“ I wish to see you, not only happy, but exemplary in all your deportment; not only a light, but a light shining in a dark place; but I do not wish to see you turn recluse, and seclude yourself from society. Solitude may have its charms ; but an ardent and aspiring mind usually prefers society; yet the experience of all ages teaches us, that much circumspection is necessary in the choice of companions. Let your companions be select, wise, discreet. Never associate the second time (unless compelled by absolute necessity) with the man who pours contempt on religion, but rather avoid his presence, for he carries with him a deadly poison, which he can distil imperceptibly over the mind.-Do not forget to include the
• If the reader wishes to see the demoralizing effects of im., pure society, let him peruse the second number of this series.
Holy Scriptures in the number of your companions. They will improve on acquaintance; will minister divine instruction; will disclose many beauties ;* and make you wise unto salvation. They will point you to a friend, who will adopt you as a son when your earthly parents are no more; and who says, My Son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. To be a Son of God, is to be nothing less than an heir of glory.
Remember, my dear friend, you live upon enchanted ground, and breathe infected air ; may God by his word and Spirit teach you to see through the decoys of sin, and enable you to despise the illusions by which multitudes are deceived and destroyed. The fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, is your only preservative against the contagion by which you are surrounded. If you possess that divine principle, you will escape the destructive snares of the world, and though many may fall on your right hand and on your left, yet the plague shall not come
“When I was about your age, I engaged in business, active and vigorous, full of life and spirits : then it was that I began to perceive the evil of sin, my moral danger, and the absolute necessity of relying on the atonement made by Jesus Christ for pardon, and for endless bliss. But my perverse will refused for a long time to bend, to the convictions of my
*“ Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the imagination. Indited under the influence of Him to whom all hearts are known, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations, grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate. The fairest productions of human wit after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrance, but these unfading plants of paradise, become, as we are accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily heightened; fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets extracted from them. He who hath once tasted their excellencies, will desire to tasto them yet again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best."HORNE,
judgment, and prejudice endeavoured to obscure the lustre of the cross, Sometimes it was insinuated, that if I became religious, I must of course become gloomy and inactive, and bid a final farewell both to pleasure and to business. But he who had convinced me of my danger, and pointed me to the only source of relief, gave me grace to triumph over every false impression and insinuation, and I made the experiment of seeking happiness, in the enjoyment of his favour, through the mediation of Jesus Christ. And did I ever repent? Was I, after I became decidedly religious, less active, less diligent, less happy, less useful ? Oh! no. The retrospective view of my past happy life forbids such a conclusion, and forcibly impels me to direct your attention to the third chapter of the Book of Proverbs, where you will find a beautiful description of what I attained. I sought wisdom, and I found her exactly as there described, with both hands full of blessings, length of days in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour; I cultivated her merchandize, and found it better than the merchandize of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. And if you, my dear Sir, seek her, you will find that she is more precious than rubies, and all things that you can desire (and desire can go far) are not to be compared to her. Her ways are indeed ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace,
“ And now let me ask, What has sin to offer ? Her ways are ways of misery, and all her paths are polluted; she yields neither intellectual nor social enjoyments, but plunges the dagger of remorse in the breast of her votary, and terrifies him with dark forebodings. We cannot look back on sin with pleasure; and this single consideration should fill us with alarm.
'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours,
“ The apostle says, that the most exquisite enjoy:
ments of sin fall short of happiness; Romans, 6th chapter, 21st verse. • What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.' • Whilst godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come.'
“ And tell me, then, is good health of no alue ?* Is it nothing for a man to carry temperance and health with him into the decline of life? When he retires from the busy pursuits of the world, can he enjoy þimself without reflection, and how can he reflect on scenes of sin, but with pain ; and how can he look forward to eternity with pleasure, when conscience condemns him ?
“Let it ever be remembered, that the foundation of a vigorous and happy old age must always be laid in youth. How many of my school fellows have I witnessed dying of old age, before they arrived at their thirtieth year. 'Tis a striking remark which Job makes, when alluding to the effects of intemperance on the constitution ; - Their bones are full of the sins of their youth.' If this be pleasure, tell me what is pain.
Surely then the righteous is more excellent than his neighbour. He as far excelleth the man of dissipation, as light excelleth darkness; his principles are more excellent, the object of his pursuit is more noble, his bliss is more pure, his life more useful, his death more peaceful, and his destiny is more glorious.
“ Those terrestrial objects, which are now invested with such a magic power to influence the passions, and excite the most ardent interest in our breasts, will ere long assume a different aspect; yea, our very comforts and possessions, however lawful and useful, if overrated, will prove snares; as time advances, their
*" Piety in youth,” says a celebrated author, “will have a good influence over our bodies; it will preserve them from disease and deformity. Sin variously tends to the injury of health ; and often by intemperance the constitution is so impaired, that late religion is unable to restore what early religion would have prevented.”
lustre will fade; and when the soul enters the eternal world, they will vanish away. The great secret of haman happiness is to enjoy communion with God, under all the dispensations of his goodness, and unfeignedly to say ; "Thou art of all thy gifts, thyself the crown;
Give what thou wilt, without thee we are poor, And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away. " Seek then above all thíugs an interest in his favour, whose favour is the perennial spring of human bliss; and the manifestations of whose loving kindness surpass the power of language to describe. Build Rot your happiness on the opinions or applause of men ; their opinions invert the order of truth, and their applause is the fatal song which allures to destruction. Who among the giddy throng will stand as your proxy in that great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed; when the piercing eye of the Sovereign judge shall pass through the assembled multitude, and constrain the wicked to retire apart from the righteous. Build not your happiness on the riches or the pleasures of the world, for we read that riches profit not in the day of wrath, and that the pleasures of sin, which are only for a season,
* 6 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that pot bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”—Isaiah v. 20. A justly admired commentator makes the following remark on this passage. “ Virtue and piety are good, for they are light and sweet, they are pleasant and right; but sin and wickedness are evil, they are darkness, all the fruit of ignorance and mistake, and will be bitterness in the latter end. Those do a great deal of wrong to God, and religion, and conscience, to their own souls, and to the souls of others, who misrepresent there, and put false colours on them; who call drunkenness good fellowship, and covetousness good husbandry, and persecution zeal for God; and on the other hand, who call seriousness ill nature, and sober singularities ill breeding; who say all manner of evil falsely concerning the ways of godliness, and do what they can to excite in men's minds prejudices against them: and this in opposition to evidence as plain and convincing as that of sense, by which we distinguish, beyond contradiction, between light and darkness, and sweet and bitter.