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he carries a fecret enemy within him, ever ready to take advantage of his weakness and inexperience that however wife and fagacious he may fancy himself, his own heart is deceitful above all things, and will, without great care and circumfpection, lead him on, by imperceptible gradations, to the brink of infamy and wretchedness: and that it will, therefore, behove him to watch and examine every fecret propenfity and dawning refolution of the foul; knowing that, however inconfiderable they may at first fight seem, they are, in reality, no less than the iffues of life and death.
Nor will it, fecondly, be of lefs importance to the young Christian to know, that he carries with him a dangerous enemy from without that the temptations of the flesh are strong by nature, that they are still stronger by indulgence that it will, therefore, be indifpenfably neceffary for him to cleanse his way by early habit, from all fin and filthinefs of the flesh; left brutal luft and confirmed appetite drown him in perdition both of body and foul.
Let him remember, thirdly, that there is a dangerous and deceitful world to encounter, which will endeavour to seduce his innocence, under a thousand difguifes. Is he difpofed to mirth and gaiety? It will rush upon his foul with all the charms of novelty and pleasure : it has the power of beauty to invite, and the force of example to allure: it has the bowl of intoxication to stupify his reason, and it has the emiffaries of hell to awake his paffions, by instilling the inflammatory poison of wanton description or obfcene representation, in those scandalous books and prints, which, to the eternal disgrace of our civil policy, are publicly expofed to fale, and are the bane and ruin of thousands in these kingdoms.
Is he inclined to bufinefs and the active perfuits of life? It has the kingdoms of the world and all the glory of them to set before him it will accoft him in the fpecious language of the tempter, “All these will I give
"thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship
me:" an offer how often fatal to the conscience, and, like its diabolic author, the father of rapine, fraud, lies, and injustice!
There is a fmiling world too, which he has to encounter, no lefs dangerous to the youthful mind. The proffers of friendship, the entanglements of ambition, the glitter of titles, honours and diftinctions, will all difplay their tinfel finery, to catch his unfuspecting eye, and miflead him from the road of virtue. And, what is worse, should he once yield to their allurement, they will act like a powerful opiate upon his foul, they will benumb the feelings of nature, and render him infenfible of danger, till death or disappointment awake him to the stings of conscience and the horrors of eternal vengeance.
Let him expect too, to find a frowning world, to act upon his fears, and drive him from the steady fortrefs of integrity. He must be prepared to encounter the black train of misfortune, flander, treachery, ingratitude, pain, exile and dereliction: a task how difficult to the man of the most spotless virtue and collected refolution; and yet how neceffary to every one, who travels the rough and dangerous road of human life!
Let him know too, that he has a fpiritual adversary ever near him, to take every advantage,
vantage, to ftrengthen every temptation, and as a roaring lion walking about, feeking "whom he may devour :" that it will therefore behove the young Chriftian not to be ignorant of his devices, not to throw himself off his guard, but rather, as the Apostle advifes, to "be fober, to be vigilant."
Need I add, will not every young perfon too foon experimentally find, that he has a weak and corrupt nature, ever ready to receive the impreffions of evil, and add ftrength to outward temptation, to fecond the affaults of corruption, and yield by treachery the fortress of virtue, where open force has failed? Even the strongest will always find it a task of fufficient labour to counteract the prevailing bias of a frail and corrupt nature: how arduous a task, therefore, will this be to the unconfirmed imbecility of youth, always pliant and ductile, when formed to the best adyantage, and too often foft and unrefifting, from the feel tenefs of a natural false modefty, or the misfortune of a vitious or neglected education!
These are some of the difficulties which every young man has to encounter at his B 4
entrance into the world. Highly, therefore, will it become him to walk circumfpectly. Nor let him confider this as the task of leifure, or the employment of liftlefs indifference. The trial is arduous, and the iffue no less than endless happiness or misery. It will require him, therefore, to summon all his abilities, and to call in all the aids of reafon and religion. He must watch the dawnings of fin in his foul with a jealous eye, he muft examine every defign, he must weigh every confequence, he must stand firm and immoveable against every affault.
And the best method of doing this, will be that recommended by the Pfalmift in the words of the text: " he must take heed to "his ways, according to God's word."
Nor need he wish for a better or more complete direction for his conduct. Its precepts are few, plain, and fimple; yet contain a most perfect rule of life and manners. They were many of them delivered by illiterate fishermen and mechanics; yet exceed all the boasted rules of philofophy, and all the treafures of antient wifdom. They point out to