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my eyes this morning, the beautiful frost-work on my window brought to my recollection, as vividly as though it had been but yesterday, the fine, bright January morning, seven years ago, when I awoke in this very chamber in the highest spirits imaginable, with the joyful consciousness of being fourteen. My imagination being then somewhat more sportive than it is at present, formed a sort of indistinct association between the fantastic coruscations of the frosty panes, and my future fortunes. I could imagine groves, spires, cascades, and wide spreading landscapes, representing the bright scenes of life through which I was about to pass. But not to detain you with these chimeras; I arose, as I observed, with a fine flow of spirits; proceeding, not only from a sense of present happiness, but from a sanguine contemplation of the fair series of youthful days that lay, as it were, out-stretched before my view. In seven years I should come of age; which would happen, I found, in the year 1816; and the interval between the present time and that distant date, appeared abundantly sufficient to accomplish all to which my ambition could possibly aspire. I reflected, with exultation, on the vast proficiency I should undoubtedly make in every thing good and desirable, should my life be prolonged to that period. It was my privilege, sir, to have parents, not only kind and indulgent, but such as took the most judicious and unremitting pains with the education of their children; so that I was too well instructed to be looking forward to a succession of vain pleasures and empty frivolous pursuits. I was well aware, that to store my mind with every kind of useful

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knowledge, to cultivate a correct taste, to conquer bad habits, to cherish amiable dispositions, and, above all, to choose our heavenly Father to be the guide of my youth and my portion for ever, were the only objects worthy the ambition of an intelligent being and I believe I did feel a sincere desire and intention so to improve my time and opportunities. But without calculating upon past failures-forgetting the time already wasted, advantages neglected, resolutions broken, and the like; and without forming any distinct plan, or laying any solid foundation for future success in resisting temptation and pressing through difficulties-I imagined that the mere extent of time that was before me, must ensure it, and effect all I desired. What could not be done in seven years!

I was, indeed, aware that much remained to be done; with some thirst for knowledge, I was conscious of a constant aversion to steady application, which occasioned my being, at this time, behindhand with many of my juniors. My disposition was not otherwise than affectionate; but my temper being proud and irritable, caused much uneasiness both to myself and to my friends. I had frequent disputes with my brothers and sisters; and often, indeed, behaved very unbecomingly to my kind parents; and bitterly as I always repented it afterwards, still the habit was unsubdued. With regard to religion, although I was too well taught not to have, at times, very serious thoughts, and some uneasiness on the 'subject, still I stopped short where so many do, at wishes and intentions. I was, however, extremely dissatisfied with this state of things; and

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there was nothing good, or even great, that I dic not fully intend to become by the time my educa tion should be completed. And the elasticity o my spirits on that cheerful morning, the vigour of body and mind I then possessed, together with the sanguineness of youth, made me readily believe that all I wished would certainly be accomplished.

I spent the day merrily with my companions; not troubling myself about my plans of reformation on that day, because it was my birth-day.

The next morning, however, I did rise an hour earlier than usual: for early rising was one of the good habits I intended to acquire; it being one on which, as my dear father used to say, all the rest very greatly depended. Being not a little pleased with myself on this account, I came in to breakfast, after an hour's pleasant application, in great good humour ;-overcame two or three little provocations without expressing resentment; and applied to all my pursuits very assiduously the whole day. Now I imagined every difficulty conquered. The next day I rose but one quarter of an hour later ;-only answered rather impatiently when my elder brother contradicted me; and omitted nothing of my business except getting one of my French verbs. But on the day following, it being a raw and dismal morning, the bell, as usual, rang for prayers before I had finished dressing. This disconcerted me. It is not easy to maintain a good humour and a bad conscience at the same time. To the

first person who spoke to me, I gave a cross an thewer;-had one dispute with my brother, and wo with my sister before dinner ;-sat down to

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did my lessons in an idle mood; did them all indiffer-
ently; and at night hurried over my prayer.just
of as carelessly as usual.




Thus passed that unpromising day. But what will you say, sir, when I inform you, that with a few exceptions, such as I have described above, when under the influence of some present stimulus, or new formed resolution, it is a pretty fair specimen of all the rest, from that period to the present moment! I do not deny, indeed, but that I have made some progress in the various y branches of education; nor that some of my more childish failings have been superseded by maturer and less obvious faults; but I must say, that upon comparing what I now am with what I intended to be seven years ago, or even with what I might reasonably have hoped to be, my disappointment is complete. Nor am I able to alleviate it by laying the blame upon my education. I have enjoyed fair opportunities-had every thing to stimulate and to encourage me: but I wanted that strength of mind, that steady resolution, that constant unfailing effort to resist small temptations, and to conquer slight difficulties, which makes the grand difference between the strong and the weak-the virtuous and the unworthy; between the Christian and the cumBut berer of the ground. Besides, instead of profitdising by past experience, I was perpetually placing









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an unwarrantable dependence on the future. As
one year after another passed away, I still hoped
better things from the next, and the next; and,
ever yielding to the dangerous illusion, neglected


er, an make the effort needful at the present moment.


Oh, to look back upon those golden opportu


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But, sir, I intend not to trouble you with n
complaints any farther than as they may pro
useful to others. Many of your readers ha
probably as long, or a still longer period of the
minority before them. How unspeakable a
advantage! How vast a difference, at this perio
of life, between seven years ago, and seven yeal
to come! However the past may have bee
misimproved, the future-the fair, bright, pro
mising future-is still unconsumed, unwasted
that period of life of all others the most impor
tant, because upon it the formation of the cha
racter almost entirely depends, is yet, as it were
in their own power.
Let them not suppose that
it depends upon the particular bent of their
genius, or cast of their disposition, whether or
not they are to rise above the common level of
intellectual and moral excellence; or upon the
exertions of their parents and teachers; it de-
pends, as a means, upon their own exertions.
All things are possible, I believe-all things, al
least, that are good and desirable for us-to per
severing effort and without this, as I so wel
know, seven years, or seven times seven will de
nothing for us; nothing, but strengthen bad
habits, weaken good resolutions, and remove op-
portunities of improvement. Those temptations
to delay and negligence which we feel to-day
will as assuredly return to-morrow, as the morn
ning light; return too, with increased force
though increased in too imperceptible a degree
to give the alarm.

Perhaps some of your readers may imagine

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