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“ decline of life ; it will preserve you from “ painful and shameful diseases, to which men “ are exposed by their incontinence ; and it “ will bless you with a quiet conscience for
having avoided the enormous sin of having “ seduced the innocent, or having contributed “ to keep those who have been seduced by “ others in the road of worldly infamy, and severlasting perdition *.”
* Bp. Watson's " Address to Young Persons after Conformation," p. 39, ..
The world can not subsist, nor mutual support be afforded, nor the powers of men find suitable exercise, without different professions and callings. It is absolutely necessary, that some should till the earth, and others plow the main ; that some should “work in gold, and in silver, and in brass," or labour at the loom, and that others should conduct commerce, and direct manufactories; that some should practice the ingenious arts, which minister to the com-fort or ornament of life, and that others should apply to the learned professions. The wan'ts of mankind, the difference of sex, age, and condition, and the fluctuation of human affairs create a variety of callings, and give
scope for the mind to display genius, and the body strength, in countless ways. A great portion of our youthful years, is, necessarily, spent in preparing to appear in some calling, by which society is to be served, and the fortune of the individual made. Each trade and profession hath its peculiar principles and rules; of which those, who have not been trained to it, are ignorant, or incompetent judges; and which it least of all belongs to the moralist, or the Christian preacher to explain, or enforce. But there are general principles, there are leading views and maxims, which are founded in universal truth, and applicable to all callings. On these he may, with great propriety, insist ; for they involve in them not only the success of men in their different pursuits, but their honour and reputation, their moral and Christian character.
On such general principles of wisdom and virtue permit me to address those young men, who are about to set out in life, according to the plan, on which the education of their youthful years has been conducted, or as new views and unforeseen occurrences shall deter
mine. Our hints shall be comprised under a few general heads; and as they will carry with them obvious proofs of importance and utility, it is to be hoped that the judgment will readily approve, and the heart embrace them.
1. It is not to be doubted, my young friends, that the calling in which you appear is a law, ful and innocent one; let it then be
your bition to excel in it. An Act passed in the reign of queen Elizabeth, to prohibit, any person following any one of the trades enumerated in it, unless he had served to it an apprenticeship of seven years. The object of this Bill was to prevent persons from entering on occupations for which they were not, by previous instructions, qualified. The view might be good; but the mode of securing it was injudicious and unnecessary. For, though rash and ignorant persons may push into a calling, for which they were not educated, they must depend on meeting with no perma, nent encouragement and support, unless their execution of orders prove their knowledge and skill. A man must understand his business before he can enter upon it with any prospect
of success. Practice may improve skill, and create dexterity; but the mind must be previ. ously stored with first principles, and the hands be trained to execution. There are few occupations, however, which do not admit of something beyond the routine, in which the youth is first initiated. The times and situation may often call him to exceed the elementary limits, to which his attention was at first dis rected. Where is wisdom, if he doth not avail himself of rising circumstances? Where is emulation, if he doth not aim to out-strip his instructors, to possess a perfect command of his art, and to advance skill into excellence ? Be this your ambition. Know your defects, that by exertion and assiduity ye may rectify them. Consider the nature of your art or business, that ye may discérn what improvements it requires, or will admit. Acquaint yourselves with what others, who have gone beyond the usual line, have done to extend or perfect ita Read the inemoirs of improvements in the arts and sciences. Consult the lives of those who have distinguished themselves by discoveries ; or have made a figure in that walk of life,