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ceive any unreasonable benefits from others, so you ought not to consider yourselves as bound to comply with any unreasonable or extravagant expectations which others may form from
Another rule is, that you should endeavour to judge of the wants and feelings of others, not exactly by what you want or feel yourself in your own situation of life, but by what you should, or ought to feel if you were in their case, and they in yours. If a poor child be in want of food or clothing, you should not give him a toy or a book, though these may be the things which you would be best pleased that another should give to you. The food or the clothing which he wants are the things which you should wish to bestow on him, though, in the abundance with which your own lot has been blessed by God, you consider the supply of these necessaries to yourselves as matter of course.
This is the manner in which even your best intentions ought to be guided. In all you do you must use your understandings to the best of your ability, and pray to God to direct and
bless your endeavours. And then you may be certain that in striving to do to others as you would wish, and may reasonably expect others, in like circumstances, to do to you, you are keeping God's commandment. "In keeping his commandments there is," as St. Paul has told you, and as you will find both now and hereafter, "a great reward."
"Not slothful in business."-Rom. xii. 11.
THAT idleness is the root of all evil has been an acknowledged truth ever since the world began. The experience of every day confirms it; and we must every one of us, the old as well as the young, be obliged to acknowledge that our own hearts and feelings prove hourly to us that it is so. As long as we are usefully, or at least innocently employed, all goes well with us, and we are out of harm's way. But the moment we are idle, temptations assail us; folly lures us, and vice beckons to us to follow them.
There is not any one, you may be assured, whom God wills to be idle. Every rank and condition of life, and every age, has its own appointed work, in addition to that most important work, the salvation of the soul, which is common to us all. Those who are grown up, and are entered on the business of the world, have always enough to do; some in
earning their own living, others in bringing up a family, others in the discharge of some public duty, others in managing and in dispensing wisely the gifts of fortune which God has bestowed on them.
But you also, my young friends, have your work to do. You must all feel how helpless and how ignorant you are, and how much you have to learn, before you can acquit yourselves as you ought in those stations of life which, as men or women, you will one day have to fill. The appointed work of your youth is to learn those things which will then be necessary to you; and if you neglect this work now, you will in future bitterly repent your folly and indolence. Remember, therefore, and observe, while you are yet young, the wise admonition of Solomon. "Take fast hold of instruction: let her not go: keep her, for she is thy life." God, who is considerate in all things, has kindly given to children a more ready power of learning than is possessed by those who are grown up. In childhood the organs are more flexible, the memory unclogged by the perplexities of
worldly affairs; and what we then learn is not only sooner, but also better learned and remembered, than anything tempt to learn in after life.
which we at
How often do
we hear grown-up people there are such and such things which they cannot do well, because they did not learn to do them while they were young! How much do they regret that they then either had not the opportunities which you have, or would not take the pains which it is now in your power to take, to acquire the knowledge which it would now be most useful to them to have! while the very same things which to them are so difficult, are so easy to those who have learned them during youth, as to be like a second nature to them.
Does not all this show you, my young friends, that youth is the season for gaining knowledge, and for training yourselves in the practice of those things which are to be the employment of your after lives? Above all, it is the season for training your hearts and your tempers, so as both to enable and dispose you, when you are grown up, to do