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fluence of evil communications. In his exile, and at the beginning of his reign, he spent his time well, and prescribed so many hours of the day to retirement in his closet. He discovered the excellent temper and justice of his own nature, was kind and affectionate, and piously sensible of his obligations to the providence of God. After he was established on the throne, he spent much of his time with confident young men,who abhorred all discourse that was serious; and in the liberty they assumed in drollery and raillery, preserved no reverence to Godor man; but laughed at all sober men, and even at religion itself. The consequence, the fatal consequence was, that the king took every day less care of his affairs, and delivered himself up to the niost enormous course of vice, without any sort of restraint*.
Shall I add the name of Rochester to the list of those who have fallen victims to the snares of bad company? who, after he had laid aside the riotous and licentious manners of his earliest years, by falling again into company
* Dean Bolton's Letters, Appendix.
that loved these excesses was, though not without difficulty, and by many steps, brought back to his former courses, and that in a shocking degree. To complete his ruin the licentiousness of his temper, with the briskness of his wit, disposed him to love the conversation af those who divided their time between lewd actions and irregular mirth; and thus he came at last to bend his wit, and direct his studies and endeavours to support and strengthen those evil principles, both in himself and others.
Were we to collect all the instances of well disposed youth, contaminated by their companions, it would supply voluminous memoirs of corrupted innocence-of ruined constitutions --of lives, an untimely sacrifice to vice. On every page the eye would weep at the affecting detail ;-the heart would bleed for the fond parents, whose pleasing hope was blastedwhose grey hairs were brought with sorrow to the grave : it would bleed for lovely youth, lost to the world and to themselves ;-and, to finish their misery, in most instances lost for ever ; being cut off, ere repentance had mada any compensation for their folly, or reformation had purified their hearts.
What resolution, my friends, should these considerations, awaken in your breasts? To what determination should they bring you ?but to shun all society with the bad. Ye would not, without the calls of necessity, take your walks through the wards, where the sick were dying with the pestilence.— Ye might do that with as much safety to your health and life, as you can associate with the loose and profane, and be secure of your virtue and your souls. Form then this purpose ; establish this as a sacred rule with you-that ye will be the companions of them that “ fear God, of them that keep his precepts."
Others are your enemies, your worse enemies. They will betray you into the courses, that will planı daggers of guilt in the inind, and entail disease on the body :-into courses that will most materially affect the satisfaction ye should afford your friends, and the services ye should render to the world :-into courses that lead to death, the glory of which is shame, and the happiness of which is destruction.
But be ye the companions of the wise, the chaste, the good and pious; their conversation will be always innocent and safe, generally agreeable and improving. They will be not only the companions of an hour ; but the counsellors, the friends of life : they will keep you in your duty; the most important service young men can derive from their associates. Their example will be a spur to whatever is excellent and praise-worthy; their attachment will support and encourage your own best purposes.
Happy those young men, who are disposed to form connexions with the good. Their parents and friends congratulate them. Wisdom embraces them as her sons.
Virtue rejoices over them as her votaries. Happy are ye, my friends, if ye be inclined to seek, and do, in fact, relish the company of such. “ Think how many, in other respects your
equals in wisdom and capacity, are in this “ instance making a foolish choice ; and bless “the Lord who hath given you counsel *."
ONE of the greatest alleviations of the 66 cares and troubles of life," it hath been well observed, " is the amusement and relaxation
receive from the satisfactions of conver“sation. They heighten the enjoyments of " the table, which, without their season“ing, would be merely sensual, and are grate* ful interruptions of our serious and interested “pursuits. They excite a mutual desire to "please, foster benevolence, friendship, and “good-humour ; they brighten wit, exercise
memory, and gently solicit all the powers of fancy, imagination, and reason
But these pleasing effects of conversation can not be secured, unless good sense and
* Memoirs, Moral and Historical, p. 353.