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of your Divine Master in every possible view! Would you transcribe in your practice the virtues of his life, they are suited to every exigence and to every age. We are now treating of a duty that is immediately suited to the present period of your life. You, my young friend, as yet inexperienced, should look up with an eye of submission to your superiors. They have toiled through a long part of that road in which you are beginning to travel. They can assist you with a chart which may prove not unuseful to your future journey. The path of life abounds with such intricate ways, that they are most happy who take the advantage of every previous precaution; nor is your interest in this respect the only argument for submission and respect to your seniors. The youngest person must live with the hope of one day becoming old, and there is no character more truly engaging than "the hoary head when found in the way of righteousness:" but will a youth who now treats with scorn the infirmities of age, and its counsels with contempt, expect hereafter to meet with reverence when his own strength shall be exhausted, and his powers decayed? It must be acknowledged that people in ad
vanced life have in general lost that vivacity which is pleasing to youthful spirits, and the lessons of wisdom have usually a serious turn, when delivered from those who are sinking into the vale of years. But there are numbers of respectable characters, who, though ancient in regard to the term of their lives, yet maintain that agreeable cheerfulness more pleasing than even the gaiety of youth; and this sweet serenity of temper is usually produced from early habits of gentleness and piety. The custom of self-government must be formed from the dawn of reason, or it will not continue to bloom when surrounded with the cares and vexations of a mature age: yet we will allow that some dispositions may acquire a degree of asperity and impatience, from the continued trials in which they have been engaged; add to which there are num. berless disorders that too frequently afflict the venerable sufferer, with a degree of bodily pain which it is difficult to sustain. But should not the youthful and robust endeavour to bear with their infirmities, which are most commonly the consequence of former active exertion, and to which the present generation are indebted for many valuable improvements? Human nature has
its frailties in every age and in all condi tions but let not the young exult in the weakness of their ancestors, or in the faults of distinguished persons; although it is a proper subject of humility and compassion to all, it can afford to none cause of triumph. We should be candid to undesigned errors, because we are all equally liable to their influence; and we should not be too severe in our judgments of actual failing, till we have been tried with the like severity of temptations. If Paul, in his admonitions to Timothy, whom he addresses as the Bishop of the church, and as having the govern. ment of all matters relative to it, thus ad. vises him :-" Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and though this particular refers to their office as deacons, yet from what follows it may be supposed to allude to their age likewise, as he adds, "and the younger men as brethren, the elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters ;" and in the conclusion of the same chapter, he repeats the exhortation, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour;" which plainly marks that this distinction was from their age; and, agreeable to what we have said above,
he enjoins him not to receive an accusation against an elder, but before two or three witnesses. As a bishop he was to act impartially, and therefore the Apostle tells him, "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear;" because we are never to countenance vice even in favour of the highest human character. But this is only addressed to persons in a public and official capacity, such as magistrates and ministers, but does not extend to young people, who have no authority to reprove their superiors. They are not to imitate wickedness, however dignified the rank or quality of the offender; but it would be highly unbecoming to assume the liberty of a censor towards those who from their age are entitled to civility and respect; much less then, can it be allowable to laugh at their weakness or infirmity; to sport with the feelings of a venerable person whose faculties have suffered, or whose outward senses are impaired by the ravages of time, or the inroads of disease. Think but a moment, my dear reader, on the inhumanity, as well as irreligion of such a conduct, and you will blush to give it your countenance by the least approbation. Shall a frame
that is sinking into ruins, as it approaches to the end of its course, be derided with contempt, because its strength has been exhausted in the service of that God to whom the immortal spirit is soon about to return, The signs of its decay are the indications of its speedy departure to a better state, and ought rather to excite veneration than
occasion digust. The indulgence of Providence has blessed every period of our existence with some comforts that are suited to its respective circumstances: and the respect of young persons towards those in declining life, is a pleasing token of atten. tion and regard, which is often found to cheer them under the pressure of those evils incident to their situation.
We are presented with a very striking example of modesty and propriety of conduct, in a part of scripture history, to which we have before had occasion to refer. I mean that of the young prophet Samuel, in his discourse with the venerable Eli, when he communicated to him the sad denunciation of the Lord against his children and family. Samuel had been committed from his childhood to the care of the High Priest, and there is no doubt but his virtues