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fame if not clouded by intervening accidents. You are to act in such a manner as to "let your light shine before men." Yet the motive enjoined is, that they, as well as you, "may glorify your Father who is in heaven." "Be not, then, ashamed of the gospel of Christ," but let virtue have the aid of your practice in all companies and in all conditions. Joseph evinced his attachment to the same cause, alike in his father's house, in the mansion of the opulent Potiphar, in the gloomy walls of a dungeon, and in the court of the powerful sovereign of Egypt. If you pray to God in secret, deny him not in society. He is equally the witness of your actions at home or abroad. The most congregated multitude cannot hide you from his observation; and if you deny his cause in the assemblies of men, you will be denied as the disciple of his Son, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven. Allow me to conclude the subject with a further observation, that if you are actuated by a proper spirit of love to mankind, or of affection towards those with whom you associate, you cannot evince it more strongly than by extending your influence to its utmost limits by a generous and pious con
duct. The weak may be in danger of falling, and such a seasonable aid as the countenance of your example may re-establish them in virtue. The poorer sort of your acquaintance, less instructed, and more ignorant than yourself, may look up to you with deference, and copy your manners without reflection. Lead them not astray by inattention on your part; if you are in a superior rank, you are placed there to shine. with benignant lustre, to engage the lower orders of men to piety and goodness, by the attractive force of superior merit; if, from this eminence of station, you emit the baleful light of a misguiding meteor, you will ensnare them into wickedness, and must answer to the Almighty Ruler of the world, for the misuse of such an advantage; and if you do not lay the foundation of virtue in youth, the register of your evil deeds will precede your future entrance into public life, and prejudice the world in your disfavour. Thus will you add to the difficulty of obtaining unblemished reputation, and be received with disgust by those who have preconceived an opinion to your disadvantage. If you are the elder child in a family, consider that it becomes your duty to show
your brothers and sisters that example which you parents would wish them to copy, and that you may prove of great assistance in leading them forward to those attainments in which it is praiseworthy to excel. Το this conduct you are engaged by every motive of fraternal love and filial obedience, added to the general considerations already suggested. May they have their proper weight upon your youthful mind, and, by inducing you to a pious behaviour, secure the best blessings of this life, and the final rewards of immortality.
ON THE CHARACTER OF ST. PETER.
THERE is nothing more likely to promote your improvement, and advance your progress in the great duties of the Christian character, than a serious inquiry into the state of your own heart. To trace the secret springs which actuate your conduct, and impartially to examine the motive of your actions, will be well worthy your most attentive reflection; without such an inves
tigation you may proceed in a fancied security, while you are in reality degenerating in your religious course. The Scripture informs us, that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, "Who can know it?" and it certainly requires a very minute and painful scrutiny, to become acquainted with ourselves. When we begin the important examination, we are apt to find so many disagreeable circumstances to mortify our pride, and humble the vain opinion we had formed of our excellence, that we are seldom willing to support the view of so much deformity; and instead of seeking to amend our ways, we endeavour to gloss over past imperfections with some deceitful excuse. But consider, my dear reader, that however you may palliate your former failings, and stifle that just sensation of remorse which they occasion, yet, by endeavouring to escape from present uneasiness, you do but in effect put off the evil day to a more distant period; when it will return with additional horror. Although you may become insensible to the sorrow of guilt, it will not restore your innocence; and if you can forget your faults, they will be still remembered by an offended God. Be
persuaded therefore to save yourself from the dreadful state which must await those who are ignorant of their own condition, and endeavour to acquire such a knowledge of your heart, as may enable you to rectify every evil inclination, and to subdue those passions which you find are most ungovernable.
When a young person first sets out in the career of life, he is naturally disposed to admire virtue, and in all the ardour of juve. nile hope is ready to engage in her service, and to promise that he will never desert her cause. He looks round with an eye of presumption, and is ready to condemn without mercy all those who have fallen into guilt. He surveys their errors with a discerning glance, and can immediately assign the cause of their weakness; but he flatters himself that he shall be secure from a similar surprise he shall be on his guard against the attacks of his spiritual foe; and he regards the crime with such abhorrence, that he conceives it utterly impossible he should so offend. But many are the examples, my self-confiding friend, of those who have fallen from a height of virtue equal to that elevation on which you stand. Have you