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and that if we have it not, it is in vain to seek it. Certain it is that different persons are endued by nature with very different capacities and powers of mind. But let our powers be what they may, they are still capable, like all things else, of being improved by care, and strengthened by cultivation. Happy ought all those young persons to consider themselves who are possessed of kind and judicious friends to assist them by advice and admonition in this great work. And let me intreat all of you, to whom God has given this great advantage, that you will "hear counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end."
Still all the endeavours of your best friends to infuse wisdom into your minds will be of no use, unless you yourselves are assisting in the work. It is not so much what your teachers and friends can do for you, as what you do for yourselves, on which you must rely; and the sooner you can begin to learn wisdom for yourselves, the better you will learn it, and the easier you will find it to learn. 66 Happy is the man," it is said in
the text, "that findeth wisdom:" but he who does not seek wisdom early may never find it. Do not think then, my young friends, that it is too early yet, or too hard, for any of you to make the attempt. You will make a good beginning, though you devote only a few minutes every day to serious reflection; a few minutes out of those many hours which too many daily waste in frivolous and useless thoughts. When you shall have brought yourselves to do this, you will have conquered the greatest difficulty.
Let me add, that when you thus begin to reflect, your first study should be the study of yourselves; for by examining yourselves, you will know of what you are capable, where are your greatest weaknesses, and in what objects lie your greatest temptations. When you have gained this knowledge, you will have advanced a great step towards wisdom. This holding converse with your own consciences will tell you at once whether you are, or are not, what you ought to be, in relation to your parents, your friends, your instructors, and the law of your God. As your age advances,
and your means and ability of observation increase, you may gain much by reflecting on what you read and see; by comparing one kind of conduct with another, and observing their differences, and the difference of the consequences which they produce; and you will find that this habit of reflection will supply to you the place of experience. You will be able thus to form a just judgment both how to think and how to act, in circumstances in which you might otherwise be at a loss. It is for want of this habit of reflection that
we see many people pass through life with their minds, as it were, blindfolded. They are occupied with the present moment only, and look neither to the events which are past, in which they might find examples or warnings, nor yet to future consequences or probabilities. Persons of this character can never hope to find wisdom, nor to get understanding, and they come to the end of life as foolish and as ignorant as they were when they began it. But you, who are willing to seek after this most valuable possession,-you, I
hope, will begin the search betimes, and in the right manner.
Above all, however, in all you do, in all you see, in all you reflect, your constant, and only sure guide, whether in doing, in seeing, or in reflecting, must be to take the diligent study of your Bible along with you. If you read that holy book attentively, and with a humble desire to be instructed, you will there find lessons of wisdom suited to every circumstance of life; and not only lessons suited to every circumstance of this life, but also those which will guide you in the way of life everlasting. Oh! what poor, blind, helpless creatures should we be without the Bible! What can we render to God for having given us this blessed guide, this staff of support, this storehouse of wisdom! Without this guide, this staff, every one would be wandering about after his own devices. Even if we desired to act well, we should not, without the Bible, know how to act. All our own imaginations, all our own reflections, and even our own experience, might only serve
to mislead us, if we had not that light from heaven which the Bible throws on them all.
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ." Amen.