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From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.
HERE is in children, a strong inclination to do as other children do; to imitate their conduct, manners, and disposition. If some one has attained great honor and success, by any method which is open to others; they will naturally crowd into the same path, will endeavor to do what he did, in order that they may enjoy the same
I would therefore set before you an example of a child; who pursued a noble
path, and attained in it true honor, and substantial reward. If you will follow in the same path, the same honor and reward shall be yours also. It is the example of Timothy, who from a child knew the holy scriptures. This is a high character. A great estate would not have been so honorable, nor have done him so much service. That, could only have provided for his body; this, supplies the wants of his soul; nay, makes him wise unto salvation.
First, Let us inquire how he obtained. this knowledge.
1. We see that he had good teachers, 2 Tim. i. 5. His grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice, were good people themselves; and did, as all parents should do, they endeavored to bring their child up in the fear of God, and in the knowledge of the scriptures.
What a privilege it is to have good parents, or friends who will take care of us in our youth. Have any of you such? Be thankful to God for them; be thankful to them for their care; are any of you destitute of parents to instruct you; Pray God to supply their place, and use diligently the means of knowledge given to you at these schools.
2. You observe he not only had teachers, but he attended to them. Else he would have learned nothing. Many of you know, that it is not in a teacher's power to bring children forward if they pay no attention. If they despise their instructors, pay no regard to what they say, neglect what they command, mock at them behind their backs, and, either through stubbornness or carelessness, omit their tasks, no good can be expected. Had Timothy done so, he would have known no more of the scriptures than you do.
But he gave his time to it; all that time which his parents bade him so employ, all that he could spare from business or necessary recreation. He gave his care and diligent attention to them; he was not thinking of other things, and wishing they had done; but he listened diligently; he did not lose a word of what they said; but minded their instructions, as earnestly as any of you do your play. He endeavored to remember what he was taught, not merely by learning it by heart, but by putting it in practice.
3. It is evident he was industrious. Whatever persons may undertake, it is not likely they should succeed without industry.
In learning as well as in business, it is the hand of the diligent that maketh rich. In a man of industry, love to the work, and a sense of duty, produce constant application. If a child does not love the book, though for fear of anger he may read it, yet he will never apply diligently to it, or make any thing like progress. Timothy loved to read, loved to learn. It was as much his pleasure as it was his duty. Had his parents not bidden him, he liked it too well to have neglected his book; and as they did command him, it would have been very wicked indeed, if he had not been industrious.
Do any of you hate your books, and grudge to come to school; do you omit the tasks which are set you, and neglect the instructions given? then be ashamed of yourselves for it; and imitate the industry of Timothy; that like him you may from a child know the holy scriptures.
4. He was prudent. Even among children some are wise and some are foolish. 'Tis a fool that hateth instruction, a wise person desires more knowledge. A man will not be satisfied with the husks which swine eat; neither will a prudent person choose those things which delight a fool: