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of the keenest feelings. May these considerations have their due influence on your hearts! And may we, my reverend brethren, never forget that it is in our power, by our future conduct, to give these considerations whatever weight we think fit! If we do not give them all we can ; if, in proportion as we stand more in need of public favour, we do not redouble our endeavours to deserve it by a discreet, inoffensive behaviour and conversation, by residence on our preferments, by a close attention to the proper studies and functions of our profession, by fervent piety, by extensive charity, by meekness and humility, by a disinterested and ardent zeal for the advancement of religion, and the salvation of mankind; if, I say, by these, and such like evangelical virtues, we do not support the credit of our character, and by real usefulness acquire veneration and esteem ; we shall be no less blind to our interest, than unmindful of our duty both to God and man.*
See Archbishop Secker's truly pastoral Charges throughout; which well deserve the serious attention of every sincere and conscientious clergyman in every rank of the profession.
ECCLESIASTEs xii. 1.
DAYS OF THY YOUTI.
THE reason why we are here, and in other
places of Scripture, more particularly enjoined to REMEMBER GOD IN OUR YOUTH, is obvious; it is, because we are then most apt to forget him. Indeed, in every stage of life as well as this, the cares and pleasures of the world too often engross our chief attention, and banish for a while the remembrance of our Maker. But it is in youth only we seem to be sunk in a total forgetfulness of Religion, and “ to have not “ God in all our thoughts.” In a more advanced age, reason becomes so strong, or appetite so weak, that even in the busiest and the gayest scenes, we must have some intervals of thinking, we must have our solitary and serious moments, in which the
idea of a God will recur and force itself upon our minds. The calamities and disappointments which we meet with, as we travel forwards in this vale of tears, the loss of friends or of fortune, acute pains, and lingering diseases, are so many awakening instances of our weakness and dependence, and compel us, in spite of indolence or pride, to look up to Heaven, and our Father that is in Heaven, for assistance and protection. But in youth, these faithful monitors are wanting; there are, then, generally speaking, no cares or afflictions to remind us of our Creator, and bring us to a just sense of our duty. The novelty of the objects that successively surround us at our first entrance into life, supplies us with a perpetual fund of entertainment; and an uninterrupted flow of health and spirits, “ fills our mouth with laughter, and our 6 tongue with joy.” We find ourselves happy, and consider not who it was that made us so; we find ourselves in a wide theatre of action, and without thinking how we are to perform our respective parts upon it, survey with rapture those enchanting scenes that every where open to our view,
and launch out in pursuit of the pleasures that are before us with so much eagerness and precipitation, as to leave no time either to trace them backwards to their source, or forwards to their consequences. From these false steps in our setting out, flow most of the fatal errors and miscarriages of our future conduct; and for want of a little recollection when we are young, we too often lay up a store of misery for the remaining part of our existence here, and for all eternity hereafter.
Since, then, in our early years, we are for the most part destitute of those useful mementos, and those favourable seasons of recollection, which occur so often in the other parts of life; and are, therefore, more particularly prone to forget our Maker, at a time when it least becomes us so to do, the admonition contained in the text must seem highly proper, and cannot be too often inculcated, in order to supply, in some measure, that unhappy insensibility, that inattention to every thing serious and religious, which is so generally observable, and so much complained of, in youth.
No man could be more sensible of this, or more seriously, lament it, than the ROYAL PREACHER from whom these words are taken. He saw a melancholy instance of it in the conduct of his own son, who began now probably to give some indications of that fiery and ungovernable temper, which afterwards proved so fatal to himself, and to his kingdom. He, therefore, urges the necessity of remembering God in our youth, not only with all the authority of an experienced sage, and an inspired writer, but with all the tenderness of a parent solicitous for the welfare and prosperity of his child.
And this may, perhaps, be one reason of those frequent and pressing exhortations to an early piety, which are every where scattered up and down in his writings. They had, however, no doubt, a view to the depravity of youth in general, as well as of Rehoboam in particular ; and as we may, I think, venture to say, that there is at least as much occasion for a repeated injunction of this duty in the present times, as in the days of Solomon, it shall be the business of this discourse to recommend and enforce an early piety, by showing first, the reasonable