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fluence. No ftep within the ability of man is fo eafy, or fo difficult, as not to be ef fentially retarded or advanced by the oppofition or the co-operation of customary practice. Of all human attainments, felfgovernment is the moft arduous. Better is he that ruleth his fpirit, than he that taketh a city. Yet arduous as it may be, to falvation it is indifpenfable. Is it then a matter of indifference whether the aid of habit be cultivated, or defpifed: whether habit be fecured as a faithful ally, or converted into an obftinate foe? Is not habit equally potent to ftrengthen you in forbearance as in action? Behold the advantage which the children of this world derive from the affiftance of habit in bridling their paffions, in reftraining their tongues, in reducing their very geftures and looks under fubordination. Will not you feek the fame aid for nobler ends? Is it not your wif dom, is it not your duty, to make a covenant with your eyes, and with the thoughts of your heart; univerfally to keep under your body and bring it into fubjection; nay even to refrain on many occafions from innocent indulgences for the very purpose of forming and upholding that habit of forbearance, whofe power, when confirmed,
is in the hands of divine grace of fuch fignal efficacy in fupporting you against tempt
The importance and the right application of a steady principle of self-government may be illuftrated by an examination of its bearings on various Christian duties.
A fanguine temperament; buoyant spirits; want of familiarity with viciffitudes, obftacles, and disappointment; confpire to hurry the young into levity, impatience, hastiness, petulance, and impetuofity. Gravity is deemed ftupidity: caution, fearfulness. Delay becomes intolerable; oppofition, grievous. Behold a scene for the exercise of felf-government. By gentleness towards others, by firmness of command over yourfelf, by ferenity, by kindness of temper, by patient acquiefcence, prepare yourself to remain unruffled amid the trials of life. If the veffel is incapable of regulating its course under the fhifting gales and fluctuating tides, which await its early departure from the harbour; how shall it ftem the waves and blafts of the middle ocean?
Temperance displays a spacious field for felf-government. Who bath woe? Who bath forrow? Who hath contentions? Who bath babbling? Who bath wounds without caufe?
cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine. The most con
firmed abominations of excess arife from fmall beginnings. Are you temperate ? There was a time when the habitual drunkard was as temperate. Would you ftand fast in temperance? Would you be preserved from the additional enormities, the fucceffive ftages of profligacy, to which intemperance inftigates and hurries. its victim? Abftain from the confines, from the very appearance of evil. Place the restraint on the defire. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup. At the laft it biteth like a ferpent, and fingeth like an adder (o). Keep the natural appetite for food under uniform difcipline. Every appetite, however natural, however useful or requifite, encroaches and enfnares. Take heed to yourselves, left at any time your hearts be overcharged with furfeiting (p). To gluttonous men their belly is their God. Abhor faftidiousness of taste, and a folicitous preference of one kind of viands to another. Meats for the belly, cries St. Paul: but I will not be brought under the power of any (q). Take no thought, says your
(0) Prov. xxiii. 29-32. (g) 1 Cor. v. 12, 13.
(p) Luke, xxi. 34.
Lord, what ye shall eat, and what ye shall drink: for after these things do the Gentiles feek (r). That critical acuteness of palate, that scientific infight into the composition and qualities of meats and drinks, in which modern pupils of Gentile principles make their boast, is disgraceful to a Christian at any period of life, and fingularly disgraceful to the young.
Moderation is temperance extended from the gratifications of the palate to every other worldly indulgence, accommodation, and pursuit. Let your moderation be known unto all men: the Lord is at hand (s). In this emphatical precept, which as relating to a leading branch of felf-government, advances claims particularly forcible to the obedient attention of youth, the first object to which the mind is called, is the duty enjoined; moderation. Confider its nature. Guard against prevailing mistakes on the fubject. Not to be immoderate is not moderation. To abftain from intemperance is not to be temperate. Not to be intemperate is a negative abftinence from fin. To be temperate is the positive prac tice of virtue. Between that abftinence and this practice, how broad is the fepara(s) Philipp. iv. 5. Cc 2
(~) Matth. vi. 35, 32..
tion! Apply this example. How often do men take credit to themfelves for moderation, when they ought to take shame for the want of it: credit for not proceeding fo far as others, instead of shame for proceeding farther than the genuine spirit of Christianity allows. The fource of the delufion is obvious. They compare themfelves with others; not with the word of God. Be it your care to judge by the true ftandard. If the habits of perfons in your ftation, however moderate the individuals may be deemed by the world, would prove immoderate when brought to the teft of Scripture; how fhall you ftand guiltlefs, if, with the bible in your hands, you follow them? The measure of the duty in every inftance being thus afcertained; attend to the manner in which the duty is to be discharged. Let your moderation be known unto all men. Mark the energetic import
of the terms. It is by no means fufficient that your own confcience, after a folemn and fcrutinifing appeal to the word of God, pronounces you moderate. Your moderation must be known; unoftentatiously but decidedly known. There muft be no opening left for equitable doubt. Your conduct must be unequivocally such,