« PredošláPokračovať »
duct of our affairs.' “ One science, however,
there is, of more worth than all the rest, and “ that is the science of living well, which “shall remain when, whether there be tongues, “they shall cease'; whether there be know“ ledge, it shall vanish away *.” The wisdom, which, like our Saviour, came from above, will conduct us whither he is gone.
To close, is it not a delightful and noble thought, that the heavenly world will be the perfection of our understanding, as well as of our felicity. “ Now we see through a glass darkly; 66 but then we shall see face to face ; now we “ know in part, but then we shall know even as 66 also we have known." This is an additional motive to seek knowledge. The seeds of truth, now sown in the mind, will ripen into a rich and everlasting harvest. The powers, that have been already cultivated, will be capable of a higher sphere of knowledge. “UNDERSTAND
ING, saith a wise man, is “ to them that have it.” A greater than Solomon hath declared : THIS IS LIFE ETERNAL TO KNOW THEE, THE "ONLY TRUE GOD,
a WELL OF LIFE
" AND JESUS CHRIST, WHOM THOU HAST “ SENT.
Go on to furnish your minds; to read, to think, to contemplate. Ye have a sublime expectation before you ;--the expectation of en. tering the realms of everlasting light, prepared, in some degree, to receive the discoveries of unclouded truth ;-the expectation of being meet to converse with angels, and the approved spirits of all ages ;—the expectation of being near to Jesus, the WISDOM OF GOD and THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
ADVICE often loses its effect, because a prejudice is conceived against the person who gives it. An unfavourable construction is put upon his views, or the sagacity of his judgment is suspected. But when the maxim, which a friend recommends to our attention, hath the vote of all ages, the approbation of all judgments, and the concurrence of all ranks and complexions of men in its favour, all objections, drawn either from the capacity or design of him who urges it, are precluded and silenced.
There is, perhaps, no point, upon which there hath been a more universal agreement, than the danger of keeping bad company. It is not merely the topic on which the anxious parent repeats his tender admonitions, or on
which the grave divine gives his salutary lessons; but the statesman, the lawgiver, the philosopher, the king, and the poet, however divided by their ranks and pursuits, are here of the same sentiment.
Grotius, when an ambassador in France, was solicitous that such only should be recommended to his son for companions, as were themselves careful to make a proficiency in piety and knowledge. St. Francis Walsingham observes, in a letter to a young gentleman, " they do best provide for themselves, that se
parate themselves as far as they can from “ the bad; and draw as nigh to the good, as by « any possibility they can attain to." We are told that before Pythagoras, the philosopher, admitted any to his school, he enquired “ who were their intimates;" justly concluding, that they who could keep bad companions, would not be much profited by his instructions*.
History acquaints us, that the wise lawgiver of the Thurians, a people of Greece, enacted a law with respect to this evil. He enjoined,
* Dean Bolton's Letters on the Choice of Company, p. 28. et alibi.
that none should engage in any intimacy, or familiarity with immoral persons, and appointed that an accusation might be exhibited for keeping bad company, and laid an heavy fine on such as were convicted of it.
No one can speak with more precision or force on this subject, than doth that prince, whose name stands on record, as synonimous with the wise man. 6. He that walketh with 56 wise men shall be wise; but a companion of * fools shall be destroyed. My son, if sinners 66 entice thee, consent thou not. Enter not into " the path of the wicked, and go not in the “ way of evil men. Avoid it; pass not by it; * turn from it and pass away." To conclude the list of testimonies on this head, we may produce that of a poet, and a dramatic writer, the words of Menander, quoted by Paul ; “ evil communications currupt good manners.” An apostle hath adopted them; and given the sanction of his name to the truth and importance of the remarks, thus strengthening the observation of the Grecian, by the application which he makes of it, and adding a new 'and still greater authority to the names already enumerated.