« PredošláPokračovať »
WHEN a man arrives to a certain
he “ becomes sensible of a peculiar sympathy and “ tenderness towards the other sex; the charms “ of beauty engage his attention, and call forth
new and softer dispositions than he has yet felt."* These rising emotions are designed by our benevolent Creator, who has made the heart susceptible of their pleasure and power, to terminate in an union which shall sweeten life by the endearments of the purest friendships, give perpetuity to the human race, and add to society new members, whose minds have been cultivated by instruction, and whose mannars have been formed by education.
* Fordyce's “ Elements of Moral Philosophy.” p. 150.
But the danger is, lest before these emotions have a particular direction to one object of peculiar and permanent attachment, they should rise into ungovernable desires, and impel to a vague and licentious gratification: a gratification not refined by virtuous love, nor sanctioned by marriage.
How happy would it be, if, as soon as the heart is conscious to these emotions, and their progress is felt, the principle of virtue were awake to watch and restrain them; young men are in peculiar danger of being misled by them, The principle of modesty and shame is not so lively and powerful in them as in the other sex, Their virtue is not guarded by so many fences as the more private and retired modes of female life, and the decency of language and behaviour observed before thém, afford. Young men walk more at large, and are often thrown into company and connexions, unfavourable to the government of the passions. The practice of the world spreads a snare for their virtue, and they frequently meet with those who laugh at modesty; and, by example and enticement, call them to throw off its restraints. It is also
greatly ensnaring to them, that "the chastity “ of men is not so highly valued as that of
women;" nor is the male character of so nice and delicate a texture as the female; which shrinks before the least touch, and is ruined by a stain.
But the opinion of the world is a very improper measure of conduct. Reason and Christianity establish the same rules for both sexes, and do not sanction any deviation from virtue in either. It is a duty, that one sex owes to the other, to preserve itself uncontaminated. * And if, through the maxims of a sinful world, young men are under temptation to admit laxer sentiments concerning virtue and purity, it is a warning to them to exercise, and act upon principle and their own sense of duty. To principle I wish to call your attention, and with a commanding sense of duty, I earnestly wish your minds to be impressed. It
** The sentiments of Simplicius are-That to live chastly before marriage, besides its being advantageous on other accounts, is also in justice requisite on this :--That the man should come to his wife as chaste as he expects to find her." Το δε προ γαμη καθαρευειν χρησιμον, και αλλως εσι και δικαιον, να την της παρθενιας πισιν, ην ο ανης σαρα της γυναικος απαιτει, και η γυνη παρα το ανδρος αντιλαμβανη. Dean Bolton's « Αη, swer to the question, “ Where are your arguments against what you call lewdness, if you make no use of the BIBLE ?"
may be of some considerable use to assist, in this instance, self-government, to recollect and bear it in mind, that those desires, which draw you to the other sex, though, for a certain period they may act with great violence, are really occasional, partial and temporary propensities. These desires do not, like the appetite for food, commence with our existence. Years of life pass on before they shew themselves. Years are required to give the body vigour and maturity, for their salu-, tary and destined indulgence. They act not. ever with that frequent and uniform recurrency as do other instincts; and they, adınit only, transient and occasional enjoyments. And ere a man reaches to the full “ days of the years of his life,” they gradually decline, and desire fails; whereas other passions, which, may begin to shew themselves at manhood, furnish daily and hourly employment for the.. mind and heart; whether glory or wealth give , them their direction, and to the last moment of life ambition can seek honour, and avarice hoard its gains. The natural power and duration of the sexual appetite is evidently regulated by its end, which is to continue the species, and to give, as the one generation is passing away, a new race to people the world. It is only a means to an end, of a temporary and transient force, ceasing, when the end is obtained. If you suffer it to rule and govern you; if you are chiefly and unrestrainedly devoted to the gratification of it, ye err from the intention of nature, ye pervert a peculiar and appropriate animal inclination ; ye give it an ascendency, for which it was not designed ; and
ye will not be prepared to acquiesce, with purity of mind and the dignity of virtue, in the debility, which a course of years will unavoidably induce.
That harmony, that proportion between the various instincts and passions of our frame, with which the wisdom of our Creator hath adjusted our constitution, and which moderation and virtue could preserve, will be destroyed; the nian will be lost in the animal; and intellectual, moral, and religious