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in our cloaths, to render them suitable to our rank and condition, as well as years, betrays the levity of an empty mind, which betsows its care on adorning the outward person, to the neglect of furnishing the mind with knowledge and wisdom. When, certainly to avoid the disgusting appearances of the sloven, there is no occasion for assuming all the vain airs of the fop, and wearing the brilliant trinsel of the beau*. Neatness and a plain elegance of dress, are the true and engaging tokens of that manly mind, which, though not indifferent to outward appearance, is principally employed on more interesting and valuable objects than parade and show.
But there is another instance of a great want of sobriety and gravity into which young men are, in this age of indifference to religious principles, frequently betrayed, namely, a levity of discourse ; which, if it does not degenerate into profane curses and oaths, is mingled with the irreverent and careless use of the names of God and the SAVIOUR, and of other terms connected with the great and solemn themes of religion. Indeed, language of this stamp sometimes proceeds from the lips of those who are not estranged to impressions of piety : but it is not to be reconciled to just sentiments of the divine greatness, or to sober apprehensions of the nature of religion.
* Adhibenda est præterea munditia, non odiosa neque exquisita, nimis; tantum quæ fugiat agrestem et inhu. manam negligentiam. Eadem ratio est habenda vestitus ; in quo sicut in plerisque rebus, mediocritas optima est.
Cicero de Offic. p. 97.
Nearly connected with this instance of a want of serious solidity of thought, and as the cause of it is an indifference to religious principles and duties, or rather a neglect and contempt of them. The books that treat of religious topics are thrown aside as handling subjects in which they have no concern; the public worship of the Lord's Day is scarcely attended to with any decent regularity; and the hours that are not given to the public duties of devotion, are spent in a manner wholly foreign to the design of this day of sacred rest. In truth, religion is treated as a thing too grave and solemn for this period of life: while youth do not recollect that this period is under infinite obligations to God the great object of religion, is liable to death, and accountable at the tribunal of the righteous judge.
These are some of the instances of a deviation from that sobermindedness which the apostle would have inculcated on young men. This disposition must be supposed to imply.
Secondly, modesty and humility, in opposition to vanity and conceit. At that period, when the fancy paints every future scene in pleasing colours, when disappointment has not yet convinced us of the vanity of our schemes, when the first opening of our 'mental powers raises in us very hign ideas of their strength and capacity, when not having yet pursued knowledge, science or trade to any great extent, young men are not sensible of the depths, the difficulties and vast compass of each; then they are least diffident of themselves, most tenacious of their own opinions and views, and disposed to pay little respect to the advice and sentiments of others. They scarcely doubt any thing but the wisdom of the aged, and dispute nothing but the judgement of their
elders. Their carriage is assuming, their con.versation is positive and impertinent. They are possessed with flattering conceptions of the wisdom of their own schemes, and of their ability to conduct their affairs : if they ask advice, it is only from mere decency and with a previous determination not to embrace any which thwarts their own settled plan and impetuous inclinations. They are impatient to be masters of themselves, and spurn the restraints of superior authority and years. They ascribe the counsels of others to mean avarice and selfishness, and impute their sentiments on religion and on the conduct of life to a want of taste and an ignorance of the world.
From all such instances of vanity and conceit, modesty is a preservative; and it adds a grace to early life. Young men may, indeed,
, sometimes possess real advantages over others of advanced years, either owing to the more favourable circumstances of their education, or the peculiar turn of their pursuits and genius. But, in many material respects, and especially in what relates to the conduct of life, they niust always be inferior to those whom years have taught wisdom.
Their attention, of course, for the past has been confined almost wholly to the acquisition of knowledge, or to forming an acquaintance with some trade. The world is in a manner a new theatre to them. Few opportunities have offered to give them an insight into mankind. Many of the arts and practices of the world have been concealed, hitherto, from their notice. Their views are confined and limited. They want that calmness of mind which is highly expedient to form a just estimate of things, and they want that experience, which by the retrospect of the past. ufförds an insight into the future, teaches us? whát events to expect in certain circumstances, and is a guide to our designs and schemes. Young men will scarcely believe it, (yet happy will it be, if the conviction of it hereafter is not embittered with sorrow) they will scarcely believe, that the ardor of their hopes renders them incapable of deciding on the propriety and usefulness of many measures, and that things and inen are often very different from the pleasing aspect they wear.
They, who are advanced further in life,