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longer be dazzled. On what account did the ten tribes revolt from Rehoboam? Because he forfook the counsel of the old men that had stood before Solomon his father; and anfwered after the advice of the young men that were brought up with him (e). When your monitors kindle not with the admiration with which you gaze on the object before you; when they rate it at a value far inferior to that with which your fervid fancy has arrayed it; fay not to yourself; "Their feelings are chilled and "deadened by time. Their understand"ing is darkened by the mifts of years.
They are no longer competent to appre
"ciate the fatisfactions within my reach, "the gratifications belonging to the prime "of life." If, in the fulness of self-sufficient confidence, you refuse them credit for fuperiority in wisdom: recollect at least the obvious advantages under which they exercise their judgement. They have trodden the length of the paths, on which you are but about to enter. They have tried by experiment the attainments, concerning which you decide only from speculation.
(f) 2 Chron. xx. 6, &c.
III. Closely allied with the Christian obligation of docility under the instruction of friends who are advanced in life, is the duty of habitual reverence for age. Thou shalt rife up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man: I am the Lord. Ye younger, fubmit yourselves unto the elder (ƒ). When Timothy was commiffioned by St. Paul to correct with epifcopal control the diforders fubfifting in the church at Ephefus; mark the tenderness which he was commanded to exercife in checking the faulty proceedings of a fuperior in age: : Rebuke not an elder: but intreat him as a father; and the elder women as mothers. Against an elder receive not an accufation but before two or three witnesses (g). If fuch was to be the conduct of Timothy, when invested with judicial authority over the aged: what ought to be your conduct? How repugnant to the injunctions of the Holy Ghost, how abominable in the fight of God, is contemptuous neglect in behaviour to the old! What deteftable enormity refts on the head of those, who convert the infirmities. of age into a fubject of derifion! If to
(f) Lev. xix. 32. 1 Pet. v. 5.
I, 2. 19.
(g) 1 Tim. v.
wards any aged individual neglect or derifion be thus heinous: what is the fin of thofe who defpife or deride a parent? The eye that mocketh at his father, and defpifeth to obey his mother; the ravens of the valley fhall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. What is the first commandment with promife (b)? Honour thy father and thy mother. Observe the impartial equality with which the command extends its protection and confirms its privileges to each of your parents. Within the fcope of this command, all periods, fituations, and circumstances are comprised. But the Spirit of God does not send you forth to the difcharge of filial duties without an injunction immediately referring to the cafe of aged parents. Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and defpife not thy mother when She is old (i). Conformable to this injunction is the admonition of the fon of Sirach
Grieve not thy father as long as he liveth. And if his understanding fail, have patience with him: and defpife him not, when thou art in thy full ftrength (k). Sustain the trembling fteps, fupply the waning faculties, of the protectors who upheld thee
(b) Prov. xxx. 17. Eph. vi. 2. (i) Prov. xxiii. 22. (k) Eccl'us. iii. 12, 13.
while tottering in infancy, and pondered by day and by night for thy good, when thou knewest not thy right hand from thy left. If thy career be prolonged; thou alfo fhalt be old. Thou shalt lean on the arm of duty: thou fhalt call on affection to smooth thy paths.
IV. The obligations to be confidered in the next place may be ranged under the comprehenfive head of self-government.
The fupports of felf-government are, firft, fobermindedness; fecondly, the habit of forbearance.
Sobermindedness, or fobriety, implies the difpaffionate contemplation of objects divefting them of falfe brilliancy and undue importance. On the youth of each fex, as particularly obnoxious to delufion through warmth of paffion, vividnefs of imagination, and the fpeciousness of new attractions, the duty of fobermindedness, enjoined on every age, is diftinctly impreffed by St. Paul. Teach young women to be fober. Young men likewife exhort to be foberminded (1). To youth alfo, in common with their feniors, the general exhortations
(4) Tit. ii. 4. 6.
to fobriety, with which the word of God abounds, are directed. Sobermindednefs leads to felf-government by rectifying the judgement, and exercifing through the medium of the rectified judgement, a chaftifing influence over the affections. If the youthful Chriftian is commanded not to love the world, nor the things that are in the world; how much more reasonable in his apprehenfion is the mandate; how much less eager will be his attachment to the luft of the flesh and the luft of the eyes and the pride of life, when his understanding is opened and his heart fobered by the reflection that the world paffeth away and the luft thereof, but be who doeth the will of God abideth for ever (m)! How much more cheerfully will he turn from the things which are feen to pursue the things which are not seen ; when his foul is penetrated with the conviction that the things which are feen are temporal, but the things which are not feen are eternal (n)!
The transactions of every day are exemplifications of the power of habit. No circumstances are fo trifling, none so momentous, as to be below or above its in
(m) John, ii. 15. 17.
(n) 2 Cor. iv. 18.