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your duty to yourselves, to your fellow-creatures, and to God.
Perhaps some of you may ask what your duty is to yourselves? and say that this is a duty which you never heard of. I reply, that we all owe it to ourselves not to throw away the advantages which God has bestowed on us; not to act so as to bring shame and disgrace on ourselves: that we must not forget that we are God's creatures, and accountable to him for all we do, and bound to live as heirs of that immortality which he has promised to all those who obey him. This then is your duty to yourselves. If there are any amongst you who, from obstinacy, or indolence, or from want of knowing better, have got into a habit of setting yourselves against your lessons, or against making that use of your time which your friends and teachers exhort you to make of it, I do exhort you to think very seriously of this your duty to yourselves. And this your duty to yourselves is of the greater importance, because the injury which your neglect in this matter is doing to yourselves directly, is also an ingratitude to your
parents, who probably deny many things to themselves that they may procure the means of instruction for you. It is a mortification to your teachers to see the pains which they take for your benefit thrown away by your own wilfulness and folly. I own that lessons are not often amusing, and that even a good child may prefer play to work. But a good child will strive against this reluctance to work; and a wise child will soon find that "labour is profit," that if he applies himself with diligence to his tasks he will have his reward. The reward of his attention to, and of his endeavour to understand, what he is set to learn, will be, that his lessons will very soon be less irksome to him. The more knowledge he acquires, the more pleasure he will have in gaining every addition to it. After a time, usually a short time, his school hours will be no longer wearisome, and his play hours will be the more enjoyed because he feels that he has earned and has deserved them. He will have no punishments, no after reckonings to dread. His heart will
be light. He will feel that he has been doing his duty to himself, to his parents, and, above all, to his God; to that God, who requires of all his servants that they be not slothful in business.
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."-Proverbs iii. 13.
WE see that people pass through life with very different objects in view.
seeking riches, others are seeking distinctions, and many devote themselves to the pursuit of pleasure. But few seek wisdom; and yet wisdom is, after all, the most valuable possession which we can obtain. "All the things thou canst desire," it is said in the next verse but one to that which I have taken as my text, are not to be compared unto her."
That you may the more clearly comprehend the value of wisdom, I will now explain to you what it is. It is not what is called cleverness, it is not talents, it is not accomplishments, it is not knowledge. The most untaught person may be wiser than the most learned. Wisdom depends on the strength
of the mind much more than on the quickness of perception. It consists in a right and sound judgment of things: it has no prejudices, no blind partialities, no selfishness. It is true and just in all its dealings: it is honesty itself; an honesty never confounded, never abashed, never shaken: it is like a rock immovable amidst the storms.
And why is wisdom so firm, so true, so just? Because true wisdom is founded on virtue, and springs from religion. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." And this wisdom that cometh of the Lord is as much superior to, as it is distinct from, that worldly spirit which sometimes goes by its name. That spirit of this world only is crafty and dissimulating, is narrow in its notions, and seeks only after earthly things; but the true wisdom which springs from righteousness is open, and candid, and sincere, and looks to higher rewards than anything which this world can give.
There may be some of my young hearers think that wisdom is born with us,