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It were to be wifhed, that they who claim greater indulgences, would seriously reflect, that the glaring irregularities of two or three members bring an undiftinguishing cenfure upon a whole body; make a noife in, and alarm the world, as if all flesh had here corrupted their ways: whereas the fober, modeft worth of a much greater number, who here in private attend the duties of the wife and good, muft, in the nature of the thing, escape the notice of the world. Notorious diforders, how few foever are concerned, ftrike upon the fenfes of fome, and affect the paffions of many more; by which (their fenfes and paffions) the grofs of mankind generally judge of things: but it requires fome expence of reflection, to which the bulk of mankind will never put themselves to confider, that great numbers must have spent their time profitably, formed habits of juft thinking here, and laid in that flock of knowledge which they have produced into view in a more public fphere; that those vices, which they complain of, may not be the native growth of the place, but imported from irregular and undifciplined families, from fchools, and from the worst of fchools, the world at large, when youth are entered into it too foon.


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Confider, that it is a fure indication of good fenfe to be diffident of it. We then, and not till then,are growing wife, when we begin to discern how weak and unwife we are. An abfolute perfection of underftanding is impoffible: he makes the neareft approaches to it, who has the fenfe to difcern, and the humility to acknowledge, its imperfections. Modefty always fits gracefully upon youth; it covers a multitude of faults, and doubles the luftre of every virtue which it feems to hide the perfections of men being like those flowers which appear more beautiful when their leaves are a little contracted and folded up, than when they are full blown, and

difplay themselves, without any reserve, të the view.

We are fome of us very fond of knowledge, and apt to value ourselves upon any proficiency in the fciences; one science, however, there is, worth more than all the reft, and that is, the science of living well; which fhall remain, when, Whether there

be tongues, they fhall ceafe; Whether there be knowledge, it fhall vanish away.' As to new notions, and new doctrines, of which this age is very fruitful, the time will come, when we fhall have no pleasure in them: nay, the time fhall come, when they shall be exploded, and would have been forgotten, if they had not been preferved in thofe excellent books, which contain a confutation of them; like infects preserved for ages in amber, which otherwife would foon have returned to the common maís of things. But a firm belief of Chriftianity, and a practice fuitable to it, will fupport and invigorate the mind to the laft, and moft of all at laft, at that important hour, which muft decide our hopes and apprehenfions: and the wifdom, which, like our Saviour, cometh from above, will, through his merits, bring us thither. And indeed, all our other ftudies and purfuits, however different, ought to be fubfervient to, and center in this grand point, the purfuit of eternal happiness, by being good in ourfelves, and ufeful to the world. Ibid.


The Neceffity of peculiar Tempérance in Places of Education.

From a thorough infight into human nature, with a watchful eye, and kind attention to the vanity and intemperate heat of youth, with well-weighed measures for the advancement of all ufeful literature, and the continual fupport and increase of virtue and piety, have the wife and religious inftitutors of the rules of conduct and government in places of education, done all that human prudence could do, to promote the most excellent and beneficial design, by the most rational and well-concerted means. They firft laid the foundation well, in the difcipline and regulation of the appetites. They put them under the restraint of wholefome and frugal rules, to place them out of the reach of intemperance, and to preclude an excefs that would ferve only to corrupt, inflame, and torment them. They are fed with food convenient for them; with fimplicity yet fufficiency; with a kind though cautious hand. By this means, the feeds of vice are stifled in their birth; young



perfons are here removed from temptaons, to which others, from a lefs happy fruation, are too frequently expofed; and by an early habit of temperance and felfcommand, they may learn either to prevent all irregular folicitations, or with eafe to controul them. Happy are they who, by a thankful enjoyment of these advantages, and a willing compliance with thefe rules, lay up in ftore for the reft of their life, virtue, health, and peace! Vain, indeed, would be the expectation of any real progrefs in intellectual and moral improvements, were not the foundation thus Ind in ftrict regularity and temperance; were the fenfual appetites to be pampered in youth, or even vitiated with that degree of indulgence which an extravagant world may allow and call elegance, but in a place of education would be downright luxury. The taste of fenfual pleasures mat be checked and abated in them, that they may acquire a relish of the more fublime pleasures that refult from reafon and religion; that they may pursue them with effect, and enjoy them without avocation. And have they not in this place every motive, affiftance, and encouragement, to engage them in a virtuous and moral life, and to animate them in the attainment of feful learning? What rank or condition of youth is there, that has not daily and hourly opportunities of laying in fupplies of knowledge and virtue, that will in every ftation of life be equally ferviceable and ornamental to themfelves, and beneficial to mankind? And fhall any one dare to convert a houfe of difcipline and learning into a houfe of diffolutenefs, extravagance, and riot? With what an aggravation of guilt do they load themfelves, who at the fame time that they are purfing their own unhappiness, facrilegically break through all the fences of good order and government, and by their practice, feducement, and example, do what in them lies, to introduce into these schools of frugality, fobriety, and temperance, all the mad vices and vain gaieties of a licentious and voluptuous age! What have they to answer for, who, while they progately fquander away that most precious part of time, which is the only feafon of application and improvement, to their own retrievable lofs, encourage one another in an idle and fenfual courfe of life, and by fpreading wide the contagion, reflect a fcandal upon, and ftrive to bring into public difetteem, the place of their edu

cation, where induftry, literature, virtue, decency, and whatever elfe is praise-worthy, did for ages flourish and abound? Is this the genuine fruit of the pious care of our ancestors, for the fecurity and propagation of religion and good-manners, to the lateft pofterity? Is this at laft the reward of their munificence? Or does this conduct correfpond with their views, or with the juft expectations and demands of your friends and your country? Tottie.

§ 51. Valuable Opportunities once loft can

not be recalled.

Nor let any one vainly imagine, that the time and valuable opportunities which are now loft, can hereafter be recalled at will; or that he who has run out his youthful days in diffipation and pleafure, will have it in his power to ftop when he pleafes, and make a wifer ufe of his riper years. Yet this is too generally the fatlacious hope that flatters the youth in his fenfual indulgences, and leads him infenfibly on in the treacherous ways of vice, till it is now too late to return. There are few, who at one plunge fo totally immerge in pleafures, as to drown at once all power of reafon and confcience: they promife themfelves, that they can indulge their appetites to fuch a point only, and can check and turn them back when they have run their allotted race. I do not in deed fay that there never have been perfons in whom the ftrong ferment of youthful lufts may have happily fubfided, and who may have brought forth fruits of amendment, and difplayed many eminent virtues. God forbid! that even the most licentious vices of youth fhould be abfolutely incorrigible. But I may venture to affirm, that the inftances in this cafe have been fo rare, that it is very dangerous for any one to truft to the experiment, upon a prefumption that he fhall add to the number. The only fure way to make any proficiency in a virtuous life, is to fet out in it betimes. It is then, when our inclinations are trained up in the way that they fhould lead us, that custom foon makės the best habits the most agreeable; the ways of wifdom become the ways of pleafantnefs, and every step, we advance, they grow more eafy and more delightful. But, on the contrary, when vicious, headftrong appetites are to be reclaimed, and invererate habits to be corrected, what fec riy can we give ourselves, that we shall have


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licentious attachment, one criminal paf fion, are, by a train of confequences, drawn on to another, till the government of our minds is irrecoverably loft. The enticing and the odious paffions are, in this refpect, fimilar in their procefs; and, though by different roads, conduct at laft to the fame issue. Blair.

$ 53. Order to be obferved in Amufe

either inclination, refolution, or power, to ftop and turn back, and recover the right way from which we have fo long and fo widely wandered, and enter upon a new life, when perhaps our ftrength now faileth us, and we know not how near we may be to our journey's end? These reflections I have fuggefted principally for the fake of thofe, who allowing themfelves in greater indulgences than are confiftent with a liberal and virtuous education, give evident proofs that they are not fufficiently aware of the dangerous encroachments, and the peculiar deceitfulness of pleasurable fin. Happy for them, would they once ferioufly confider their ways! and no time can be more proper, than when these folemn feasons of recollection and religious difcipline fhould particularly difpofe them to seriousness and thought. They would then discover, that though they are awhile carried gently and fupinely down the fmooth ftream of pleasure, yet foon the torrent will grow too violent to be ftemmed; the waves will arife, and dafh them upon rocks, or fink them in whirlpools. It is therefore the part of prudence to ftop fhort while they may, and to divert their courfe into a different channel; which, whatever obftructions and difficulties they may labour with at first, will every day become more practicable and pleafing, and will affuredly carry them to a ferene and fecure haven. Tottie.

§ 52. The Beginnings of Evil to be refifted. Think not, as I am afraid too many do, that because your paffions have not hurried you into atrocious deeds, they have therefore wrought no mifchief, and have left no fting behind them. By a continued feries of loofe, though apparently trivial gratifications, the heart is often as thoroughly corrupted, as by the commiffion of any one of thofe enormous crimes which fpring from great ambition, or great revenge. Habit gives the paffions ftrength, while the abfence of glaring guilt feemingly juftifies them; and, unawakened by remorse, the finner proceeds in his courfe, till he wax bold in guilt, and become ripe for ruin: for, by gradual and latent fteps, the deftruction of our virtues advances. Did the evil unveil itself at the beginning; did the ftorm which is to overthrow our peace, discover, as it rofe, all its horrors, precautions would more frequently be taken against it. But we are imperceptibly betrayed; and from one §


Obferve order in your amufements; that is, allow them no more than their proper place; ftudy to keep them within due bounds; mingle them in a temperate fucceflion with ferious duties, and the higher bufinefs of life. Human life cannot proceed, to advantage, without fome measure of relaxation and entertainment. We require relief from care. We are not formed for a perpetual ftretch of serious thought. By too intenfe and continued application, our feeble powers would foon be worn out. At the fame time, from our propenfity to eafe and pleasure, amusement proves, among all ranks of men, the most dangerous foe to order: for it tends inceffantly to ufurp and encroach, to widen its territories, to thrust itself into the place of more important concerns, and thereby to disturb and counteract the natural courfe of things. One frivolous amufement indulged out of season, will often carry perplexity and confufion thro' a long fucceffion of affairs.

Amusements, therefore, though they be of an innocent kind, require fteady government, to keep them within a due and limited province. But fuch as are of an irregular and vicious nature, require not to be governed, but to be banished from every orderly fociety. As foon as a man fecks his happiness from the gaming-table, the midnight revel, and the other haunts of licentioufnefs, confufion feizes upon him as its own. There will no lon ger be order in his family, nor order in his affairs, nor order in his time. The moft important concerns of life are abandoned. Even the order of nature is by fuch perfons inverted; night is changed into day, and day into night. Character, honour, and intereft itself, are trampled under foot. You may with certainty prognofticate the ruin of these men to be juft at hand. Diforder, arifen to its height, has nearly accomplished its work. The fpots of death are upon them. Let every one who would efcape the peftilential con


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§ 54. Order to be preferved in your Society. Preferve order in the arrangement of your fociety; that is, entangle not yourfelves in a perpetual and promifcuous crowd; felect with prudence and propriety, thofe with whom you chufe to affociate; let company and retreat fucceed each other at meatured intervals. There can be no order in his life, who allots not a due ftare of his time to retirement and reflection. He can neither prudently arrange his temporal affairs, nor properly attend to his fpiritual interefts. He lives not to himself, but to the world. By continual dithipation, he is rendered giddy and thoughtlefs. He contracts unavoidably from the world that spirit of disorder and confufion which is so prevalent in it.

It is not a fufficient prefervation against this evil, that the circles of fociety in which you are engaged are not of a libertine and vicious kind. If they withdraw you from that attention to yourselves, and your domeftic concerns, which becomes a good man, they are fubverfive of order, and incontent with your duty. What is innocent in itfelf, degenerates into a crime, from being carried to excefs; and idle, triffing fociety, is nearly a-kin to fuch as is corrupting. One of the firft principles of order is, to learn to be happy at home. It is in domeftic retreat that every wife man finds his chief fatisfaction. It is there he forms the plans which regulate his pubEc conduct. He who knows not how to enjoy himself when alone, can never be long happy abroad. To his vacant mind, Company may afford a temporary relief; but when forced to return to himself, he will be fo much more oppreffed and languid. Whereas, by a due mixture of public and private life, we keep free of the fnares of both, and enjoy each to greater advantage. Ibid.

555. A due Regard to Order neceffary in Bafines, Time, Expence, and Amufe


Throughout your affairs, your time, your expence, your amufements, your focety, the principle of order must be equally carried, if you expect to reap any of its happy fruits. For if into any one of thofe great departments of life you fuffer diforder to enter, it will spread through all the reit. In vain, for instance, you pur

pofe to be orderly in the conduct of your affairs, if you be irregular in the diaribution of your time. In vain you attempt to regulate your expence, if into your amufements, or your fociety, diforder has crept. You have admitted a principle of confufion which will defeat all your plans, and perplex and entangle what you fought to arrange. Uniformity is above all things neceffary to order. If you defire that any thing fhould proceed according to method and rule, let all things be done in order.'

I must also admonish you, that in small, as well as in great affairs, a due regard to order is requifite. I mean not, that you ought to look on thofe minute attentions, which are apt to occupy frivolous minds, as connected either with virtue or wisdom: but I exhort you to remember, that diforder, like other immoralities, frequently takes rife from inconfiderable beginnings. They who, in the leffer tranfactions of life, are totally negligent of rule, will be in hazard of extending that negligence, by degrees, to fuch affairs and duties as will render them criminal. Remiffness grows on all who study not to guard against it; and it is only by frequent exercife, that the habits of order and punctuality can be thoroughly confirmed. Ibid.

§ 56. Idleness avoided by the Obfervation of Order.

By attending to order, you avoid idlenefs, that most fruitful fource of crimes and evils. Acting upon a plan, meeting every thing in its own place, you conftantly find innocent and useful employment for time. You are never at a lofs how to difpofe of your hours, or to fill up life agreeably. In the courfe of human action, there are two extremes equally dangerous to virtue; the multiplicity of affairs, and the total want of them. The man of order ftands in the middle between thefe two extremes, and fuffers from neither: he is occupied, but not oppreffed. Whereas the diforderly, overloading one part of time, and leaving another vacant, are at one period overwhelmed with bufinefs, and at another, either idle through want of employment, or indolent through perplexity. Thofe feafons of indolence and idleness, which recur fo often in their life, are their most dangerous moments. The mind, unhappy in its fituation, and clinging to every object which can occupy

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or amufe it, is then apteft to throw itfelf into the arms of every vice and foily.

Farther; by the prefervation of order, you check inconftancy and levity. Fickle by nature is the human heart. It is fond of change; and perpetually tends to ftart afide from the ftraight line of conduct. Hence arifes the propriety of bringing ourfelves under fubjeétion to method and rule; which, though at firft it may prove conftraining, yet by degrees, and froin the experience of its happy effects, becomes natural and agreeable. It rectifies thofe irregularities of temper and manners to which we give the name of caprice; and which are diflinguished characteristics of a diforderly mind. It is the parent of steadinefs of conduct. It forms confiftency of character. It is the ground of all the confidence we repofe in one another. For, the diforderly we know not where to find. In him only can we place any truft, who is uniform and regular; who lives by principle, not by humour; who acts upon a plan, and not by defultory motions.


$57. Order effential to Self-enjoyment and Felicity.

Confider alfo how important it is to your felf-enjoyment and felicity. Order is the fource of peace; and peace is the higheft of all temporal bleffings. Order is indeed the only region, in which tranquillity dwells. The very mention of confufion imports disturbance and vexation. Is it poffible for that man to be happy, who cannot look into the state of his affairs, or the tenor of his conduct, without difcerning all to be embroiled? who is either in the midst of remorfe for what he has neglected to do, or in the midst of hurry to overtake what he finds, too late, was receffary to have been done? Such as live according to order, may be compared to the celestial bodies, which move in regular courfes, and by ftated laws; whole in fluence is beneficent; whofe operations are quiet and tranquil. The diforderly, refemble thofe tumultuous elements on

earth, which, by fudden and violent irruptions, disturb the courfe of nature. By mifmanagement of affairs, by excefs in expence, by irregularity in the indulgence of f company and amufement, they are perpetually creating molestation both to them felves and others. They depart from their road to feek pleafure; and inftead of it, they every where raife up forrows. Being

always found out of their proper piace they of courfe interfere and jar with others. The diforders which they raise never fail to spread beyond their own line, and to involve many in confufion and diftrefs; whence they neceffarily become the authors of tumult and contention, of difcord and enmity. Whereas order is the foundation of union. It allows every man to carry on his own affairs without disturbing his neighbour. It is the golden chain which holds together the focieties of men in friendship and peace. Ibid.

$58. Care to be taken in fuppreffing criminal Thoughts.

When criminal thoughts arife, attend to all the proper methods of fpeedily fuppreiling them. Take example from the unhappy industry which finners discover in banifhing good ones, when a natural fenfe of religion forces them on their confcience. How anxiously do they fly from themselves! How ftudioufly do they drown the voice which upbraids them, in the noise of company or diverfions! What numerous artifices do they employ, to evade the uneafinefs which returns of reflection would produce!-Were we to use equal diligence in preventing the entrance of vicious fuggeftions, or in repelling them when entered, why should we not be equally fuccefsful in a much better caufe?

As foon as you are fenfible that any dangerous paffion begins to ferment, inftantly call in other paffions, and other ideas, to your aid. Haften to turn your thoughts into a different direction. Summon up whatever you have found to be of power, for compofing and harmonizing your mind. Fly for affiftance to ferious ftudies, to prayer and devotion; or even fly to bufinefs or innocent fociety, if solitude be in hazard of favouring the feduction. By fuch means you may ftop the progrefs of the growing evil: you may apply an antidote, before the poifon has had time to work its full effect. Ibid.

$ 59. Experience to be anticipated by Reflection.

It is obferved, that the young and the ignorant are always the most violent in purfuit. The knowledge which is forced upon them by longer acquaintance with the world, moderates their impetuofity. Study then to anticipate, by reflection, that knowledge which experience often pur


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