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of wisdom, goodness, and righteousness, which is the appointed and only real sustenance of our souls in our journey through life.
As the husbandman, therefore, watches diligently over his fields of springing corn, so I entreat you, my dear children, diligently to watch over all the seeds of goodness which are now springing up in your young hearts. Suffer not, through any neglect of yours, the seeds of selfishness, of pride, of anger, or of any other noisome weed, to grow up amongst them. So may your spring-time be to you the beginning of a virtuous and happy life. So may your earthly life be followed by a life not of mixed but of perfect happiness in the world to come; that world, you all of you recollect, is eternal. In that world the good shall dwell for ever in the presence of Him their merciful Lord, who, to the bounteous provision which he has made for them in the childhood of their existence here, adds an inheritance of glory hereafter.
ON THE SUMMER.
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?"Psalm cxix. 9.
THE Spring has passed away, and the Summer advances, decked in all her charms. How lovely is this season of the year! The genial beams of the great luminary have warmed the soil, and are bringing forward the work of vegetation. The profusion of plants and flowers, that spring up on every spot of earth, makes each bank a bed of flowers, and every field a garden. The air is animated by the birds, which enjoy the summer and its abundance. Winged insects in endless variety are everywhere flying abroad, making the most of their brief existence; and when the mid-day sun becomes oppressive, the trees with their luxuriant leaves form canopies which shelter us from the sultry beams. Oh! how beautiful is the face of nature at this delicious season! The sight
of it fills the heart with joy and gladness, and leads every good man to exclaim with fervency, "If God has provided such a glorious world as this to be the dwelling of sinful men, what, and how delightful, must be that heavenly paradise which he has prepared for the habitation of the just ?"
And now, my dear children, after we have admired the beauty of this earthly scene, and raised our hearts in wonder, love, and praise, to its divine Creator, let us consider what comparisons may be made between the summer of the year and that period of the life of man which may be called its prime. In the one, the promise of the spring is fulfilled, the tender buds are expanded into the full-blown flowers, and the perfect foliage; and every summer plant has come to its strength and to its fulness of beauty. In man, in like manner, the mental and the bodily faculties have attained their greatest power. His body has acquired its growth, his education is supposed to be completed, and he may be said to have entered on the summer tide of life.
Many, if not all of you, are, I doubt not,
looking eagerly forward to this period, and are fondly anticipating the amusements, the pleasures, and the variety of happinesses, which it will then be in your power to enjoy ; and you will, I trust, enjoy much happiness and many pleasures. But you will not, you cannot, enjoy them in peace; they cannot afford you any happiness which will be felt at your hearts, unless your conduct be regulated by reason, and your desires kept in check by virtue and religion. You must remember that you are not born like the summer flowers, to bloom for a while, and then to fade, and fall, and be as nothing; not like the insect which flutters out its day, and then dies, as if it had never been. No! you must never forget that you are immortal beings, and accountable for all you do at the righteous judgment-seat of God. You must bear in mind that this world is no abiding city, and that it is not a place in which you have nothing to do, except to take your pastime in it as well as you can. You must not suppose that, as soon as you have thrown off the restraints of youth, you may be allowed to devote your
selves solely to enjoyment. You have high duties to perform, and serious work to do. And though the all-gracious God places pleasures within your reach, you must not suffer them to engross your whole attention, but you must be content to use them as refreshments to cheer you on your path, and to render the fatigues and annoyances, which you must expect to meet with in your journey through life, more endurable.
In speaking to you of the pleasures which God has placed within your reach, you may be certain that I am speaking to you of innocent pleasures only. The pleasures of sin are placed in your way not by God, but by the enemy of salvation; not to cheer, but to destroy; and cannot be even looked upon without contamination. But even the most innocent pleasures must be enjoyed with moderation. If too much indulged in, they enfeeble the mind, and take from us our ability to apply to our duties as we ought to do. When I think of you, my dear young friends, of your ardent hopes, of your inexperience, and of the many snares which will inevitably