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the most elevated of creatures, or even were it possible, should the Deity himself choose and proceed in opposition to that eternal rectitude, which it is the glory of his character to have maintained, still, that which is wrong would never become right; neither would that which is right ever become wrong. In truth and morals, there is perfect immutability.
Now he who acts from principle, has regard to this unchangeable rectitude;—that rule, with which the proceedings of angels and of God are in perpetual unison. By this have been influenced all, who have deserved reputation in this world, or who will enjoy it in the next. This will preserve you from indolence, instability, and profaneness, from licentiousness, and dishonor. It will give you confidence before men, and humble hope in the day of final retribution. For though“ by the deeds of the law can no flesh living be justified,” it is the gracious establishment of Christianity, that the offences of all, who possess this inward rectitude, this holiness of temper, sball be freely pardoned at the day of judgment.
I conclude this lecture in the well known words of Dr. Price: “ Virtue is of intrinsic value and of indispensable obligation; not the creature of will, but necessary and immutable; not local and temporary, but of equal extent with the divine mind; not a mode of sensation, but everlasting truth; not dependent on power, but the guide of all power. Virtue is the foundation of honor and esteem. The use of it is not confined to any one stage of our existence, nor to any particular situation, but reaches through all periods and circumstances of our being. Many of the endowments and talents, which we now possess, and of which we are too apt to be proud, will cease entirely with the present state ; but this will be our ornament and dignity in every future state, to which we may be removed. Beauty and wit will die ; learning will vanish away, and all the arts of life be soon forgot; but virtue will remain forever.-One virtuous disposition of soul is preferable to the greatest accomplishments and abilities, and of more value, than all the treasures of the world. If you are wise, then, study virtue, and contemn every
thing, which comes in competition with it. Remember, that nothing else deserves one anxious thought or wish. Remember, that this alone is honor, glory, wealth, and happiness. Secure this, and you secure every thing; lose this, and all is lost.”
LECTURE ON THE VALUE OF TIME.
For the present lecture I have not taken a subject, which, if we speak with accuracy, ought to be denominated theological. My object is by a plain and practical address, to enforce the necessity of making a sedulous use of your time.
However difficult it may be for a philosopber to give a satisfactory definition of this term, the difficulty seems not to be attended with any practical inconvenience. The importance, and, if the language be permitted, the efficiency of time, are too obvious to be concealed or called in question. By its agency, infantile weakness is exchanged for the stature and strength of manhood, and these are succeeded by the deformity and decrepitude of age. Rich establishments and large possessions are the result of time; whose ability to dissolve, dissipate and destroy, is not less than its power to create, adorn, and establish. To some it brings learning, influence, and character ; while from others it wrests every possession, and spares not even hope itself. Ages are formed by accumulated years; and ages give existence, form, and stability to nations and governments, or they change and annihilate those which are already established.
When we say that all these changes are the effect of time, it is evident that we speak in figurative language. Time of itself can do nothing. Every change is effected by some intelligent agent. Those changes which have been mentioned, are the result of human efforts, employed for certain periods. Character is formed by a series of actions. Knowledge is obtained by mental application. Wealth is acquired by activity, discretion, and perseverance. Political establishments are formed from extensive views of the nature of man, and the relations of human society. It is not the existence, therefore, but the improvement of time, to which we can attribute all changes and all events.
Hence it appears why greater importance is attached to some periods of life than to others. Existence itself, that is, the duration of an object, is not susceptible of any change. Its value can be altered only by the circumstances under which it is enjoyed. Why are the years of infancy less precious than those of youth or manhood? For this reason only, that the infant is not capable of such exertions, either of body or mind, as can be made with much facility by those who are further advanced in age. For a similar reason, that part of life is most valuable, in which advantages for intellectual and moral improvement, or for beneficent exertion, are possessed in greatest abundance.
When you look abroad on that part of the world which is subject to your remark, you perceive a striking diversity of condition and character. Some men have their minds disciplined, and their manners softened; others continue in the ignorance and rudeness of nature. Some are justly the objects of confidence and love; while others are viewed with hatred or suspicion. Many, by their knowledge, integrity, and beneficence, seem created to bless society by acting in spheres of great extent; while a more numerous class hold their existence in obscurity, or have a limited notoriety from their vices alone.
Nor, if you take into view those only who have received a public education, will the diversity be much less remarkable.Among these you observe some of very high standing in society, and many who with less splendid powers, have acquired solid reputation, and are exerting a virtuous influence on those around them. You behold others who are the pest of society, a burden to themselves, and a disgrace to the seminaries from which they issued. There are some whoin it would be your joy to resemble—there are others, an anticipated likeness to whom would cause your hearts to sink within you. Now it is to be considered, that this difference, and even contrast of character does by no means exclusively result from inequality of native powers.
It arises from the cultivation which these powers receive, and the different uses to which they are applied. In other words, it proceeds from the abuse of time, or from a right employment of it.
But there is yet a more interesting view to be taken of this subject. All who once participated in earthly existence, do not at present, come within our observation. Yet their place in the universe is not vacated. They are still living agents, with great enlargement of powers, capacity, and knowledge. Open then the world of spirits. By the aid of religion, draw aside that broad curtain, so impervious to the light which nature has thrown over the future destiny of human beings. Behold them in full activity, reaping a harvest corresponding with the seed which was sown during their existence on earth. Contemplate the slothful servant cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Contemplate others, who having improved their talents, are now admitted into the joy of their Lord. On one side, everlasting life; on the other, shame and everlasting contempt.
All this too is the result of time. Characters so different were formed during a very limited probation.
“ Time is eternity;
A power etherial, only not adored." - Young. I now proceed to enumerate some of the ways in which time is frequently wasted by young gentlemen, who are professedly engaged in literary pursuits.
1. Your time will be partially lost, if your reading is not conducted agreeably to some plan or method. The accomplishment of any thing valuable, must be preceded by design. To effect any thing to good purpose, it is necessary to know previously what we mean to effect. The object aimed at must be well defined ; and the path leading to it must be distinctly marked. The importance of what is here recommended will be