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OF THE NECESSITY OF RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION.
[Preached on possession being taken of the Benefice.]
2 PETER i. 12.
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in
remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
The various powers and faculties of the human mind have afforded matter for useful investigation to the learned and inquisitive of all ages. They have been defined and classed with the most laborious accuracy; their excellences and defects pointed out and illustrated ; and methods have been recommended of strengthening the former and rectifying the latter; and there is no doubt but that all the powers of the human mind, when submitted to the discipline advised by those who have made that subject
their , may be, wicien ze. carried on to a mi cemete o perfection then if it to their retire items and developed in the ordinary De, by increasing year, and commerce wih the world. But matting aside the other important endowments of our intellectual nature for the prebent, the faculty with which we have to do, and to which the text summons our attention, is that of memory. Now the observations that are usually made upon this head are to the following effect : that the incidents of youth make a more durable impression and are less easily effaced than those of advanced age: the first observable defect in the memory is, that the old man forgets the occurrences of his intermediate life, nay even the speeches or the observations of but yesterday; while the lessons or events of youth have retained an inseparable hold on his mind, and, though they may seem for a while to have been overlaid by the business of life, they are frequently brought forth to his recollection by the most trivial circumstances, by some similarity to present objects, some association with passing ideas : and the more recent images still fade, while the pristine impressions recur unimpaired, if they be not even strengthened by the recal.
To cultivate these advantages, therefore, and to remedy these defects of memory, in a religious way, it is evident that two courses must be adopted, early instruction and frequent admonition. It is necessary that lessons for our good conduct through life, and for the attainment of a happy eternity after life, should be inculcated at an early period, and that they should be invigorated by repetition: the instructor and the monitor are alike indispensable. A great master of moral wisdom · has said, that “what is “ known is not always present;" and as religion was meant for the regulation of our daily intercourse with our fellow-creatures, a pious maxim that slumbers whilst it should be put in action is like one never inculcated and not known: it may come hereafter to render our regret more poignant, but the loss sustained from its temporary absence
· Dr. Johnson, Preface to his Dictionary.