Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

their errors, and with painful resolution tread back the wrong steps, which they have taken! But happiest of men is he, who by an even course of right conduct from the first, as far as human frailty permits, hath at once avoided the miseries of fin, the forrows of repentance, and the difficulties of virtue; who not only can think of his present state with composure, but reflects on his past behaviour with thankful approbation; and looks forward with unmixed joy to that important future hour, when he Thall appear before God, and humbly offer to him a whole life spent in his servicem.”

Let me then continue most seriously to exhort you, my young Readers, to listen with all earnestness to the sacred commands of the great Founder of Christianity. Continue to embrace with the most unshaken firmness, and to maintain with temperate yet unabating zeal, the Religion which he defcended from heaven to establish in the world. Recollect that the characteristic tenets of that Religion are Faith, Hope and Charity. Faith does not merely consist in the affent of your judgment to the Evidences of Christianity, which have been laid before you, but is a pure and lively fource of obedience to the divine commands. It is a principle which subdues the pride of human reason, gives to God the glory of our salvation, and to Christ the merit of it. Like a good tree it may be known by its abundant and excellent fruits, it

on Archbishop Secker's Sermons.

sanctifies

fanctifies all the moral virtues, and renders them acceptable in the fight of God.-Charity, the bright, the lovely ornament of the Chriftian character, extends its benign influence to all men without distinction of country, feet or opinion, and in its various relations and comprehensive exercise for the good of all, whom it is in our power to benefit, raifes us to a resemblance, as far as human nature will allow, of our Father in heaven. To keep the spirit of religion' warm and operative in your hearts, maintain a hallowed intercourfé with the Almighty by public and private devotion: to the fame end, the perusal of the holy Scriptures will materially contribute. In them you will find that the Saviour of the world has illustrated his precepts by the most pleasing and striking parables, enforced them by the most awful fanctions, and recommended them by his own greatest and best of all examples. There he unfolds the great mystery of redemption, and communicates the means, by which degenerate and fallen man may recover the favour of his offended Maker. He gives a clear view of the divine superintendance of all human affairs : and he represents this mortal life, which forms only a part of our existence, as a short period of warfare and trial. He points to the folemn scenes, which open beyond the grave; the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, and the impartial distribution of rewards and punishments. He displays the completion of the divme mercy and goodness in the final establishment of perfection and happiness. By making such won- VOL. 1.

: .

derful

[ocr errors]

derful and interesting discoveries, let him excite your zeal, and fix your determination to adorn the acquirements of learning and science with the graces of his holy Religion, and to dedicate the days of health and of youth to his honour and service. Amid the retirement of study or the business of active life, let it be your first care, as it is your duty, and your intereft, to recollect, that the great Author and Finisher of your faith has placed the rewards of virtue beyond the reach of time and death; and promised that eternal happiness to the faith and obedience of man, which can aloné fill his capacity for enjoyment, and alone satisfy the ardent defires of his soul.

CLASS

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Language in General. THE principles and distinguishing features of Language render it a subject of pleasing and useful inquiry. It is the general vehicle of our ideas, and represents by words all the conceptions of the mind. Books and conversation are the offspring of this prolific parent. The former introduce us to the treasures of learning and science, and make us acquainted with the opinions, discoveries, and transactions of past ages; by the latter, the general intercourse of society is carried on, and our ideas are conveyed to each other with nearly the same rapidity, with which they arise in the mind. Language, in conjunction with reason, to which it gives its proper activity, use, and ornament, raises man above the lower orders of animals; and, in proportion as it is polished and refined, contributes greatly with other causes to exalt one nation above another in the scale of civilization and intellectual dignity.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Inquiries into the nature of any particular Language, if not too abstruse and metaphysical, will be found to deserve our attention. So close is the connexion between words and ideas, that no learning whatever can be obtained without their asfistance. In proportion as the former are studied and examined, the latter become clear and complete; and according as words convey our meaning in a full and adequate manner, we avoid the inconvenience of being misunderstood, and are secure from the errors of misconception, and the cavils of dispute. It must always be remembered, that words are merely the arbitrary signs of ideas, connected with them by custom, not allied to them by nature ; and that each idea, like a ray of light, is liable to be tinged by the medium of the word through which it paffes. The volumes of controverfy which fill the libraries of the learned would have been comparatively very finall, if the disputants who wrote them had given a clear definition of their principal terms. Definition is one of the most useful parts of logic; and we shall find, when we come to the examination of that subject, that it is the only solid ground upon which reason can build her arguments, and proceed to just conclufions. : : : : :

In order that the true sense of words may be afcertained, and that they may strike with their whole force, derivation lends its aid to definition. It is this which points out the source from whence a word springs, and the various streams of figni

« ElőzőTovább »