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passions may be compared to smugglers, who are always on the watch to introduce their prohibited articles, to the injury of the fair trader, and the public revenue. And as the same ship may convey both useful and pernicious commodities ; so the eye, the ear, and the tongue, are capable of receiving or imparting valuable or useless ideas. The eye and the ear may in one respect be compared to a sheet of writing paper, which may either receive the noble discoveries of a Newton, or the lowest effusion of the worst of writers. The eye imports the contents of the Bible; the ear, the discourses of the living instructor. The eye and the ear were both concerned in the fatal introduction of sin into our world. The ear imported the first gracious promise, and has ever since been liable to receive the impressions of truth or error; the sublime language of an apostle, or the silly sophistries of infidelity. Vain, trifling, and even wicked and sinful ideas, are too often conveyed to the youthful mind in the most alluring forms, either by speech, or in books, pictures, poetry, or music; and in such cases, the situation of a young and inexperienced person may be likened to that of a fly, when sipping a liquid in which quassia has been infused, but which is concealed by the admixture of sugar ; and when the incautious fly ventures to taste, it invariably meets its own death. Hence the necessity of employing the greatest caution on the part of parents and instructors, in order to prevent the importation of improper articles to the minds of their juvenile charge; and my young readers should never complain of this kind of restraint, for they may rest assured that, like a salutary medicine, it will prove highly conducive to their moral and intellectual health.
A few examples will suffice to exemplify the general truth of the foregoing observation. Cleon has seen several panoramic exhibitions, and on his return home, he carefully compares what he had seen, with the accounts of travellers who had visited these places. The consequence is, that Cleon is capable of conveying to others intelligent and interesting narratives, and of conversing profitably even with travellers themselves; and this valuable addition to his stock of knowledge was imported by the eye.
Crispus has often attended lectures on astronomy, and from seeing the apparatus, and hearing the lucid explanations of the professor, the eye and the ear of Crispus imported so much useful matter, that he was able to commit to paper a good abstract of the entire subject; and one evening lately, he entertained a whole company by reading it to them. Brumio, a youth under parental instruction, was accustomed to hear Clemens, an evangelical clergyman, and his friends began to entertain a hope that he would soon become a decided christian. But in an evil hour Brumio visited the masquerade, and the loose and licentious ideas which he there imported, have well nigh obliterated all the valuable instructions which he had before imbibed. Meuron, a smart forward youth, went once to the theatre, without the knowledge, and contrary to the injunctions of his tutor. Alas! on that fatal night, the eye and the ear of Neuron imported such a train of unhallowed images, as paved the way to bad company, and at length to his utter ruin!
It would be easy to draw the parallel between the trading and the intellectual merchant to a much greater length, and to show that it embraces all the principal events and circumstances in life; but I prefer closing the subject with some general directions, and a few citations from the sacred scriptures. Dr. Watts says, “ the arts of reading and writing are of infinite advantage, for by them we are made partakers of the sentiments, reasonings, and improvements of all the learned world, in the most remote nations, and in former ages, almost from the beginning of mankind. Conversation calls out into light what has been lodged in the secret chambers of the soul. By mutual discourse the mind is awakened and allured to bring forth its hoards of knowledge, and learns how to render them most useful to the community. It is by meditation that we fix in our memory whatever we learn, and form our own judgment of the truth or falsehood, the strength or weakness, of what others speak or write. Let the enlargement of your knowledge be one constant view and design in life, since there is no time or place, no transactions, occurrences, or engagements, which exclude us from this method of improving the mind. From the scripture I shall cite by way of example, the following: Matthew vi. 22, 23. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” 1 John ii. 16. “All that is in the world, the last of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father; but is of the world.” As to the ear, I quote Proverbs i. 5.“ A wise
man will hear, and will increase learning.” And Proverbs xviii. 15. “ The ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” As it regards the tongue, I mention Proverbs xii. 18. “ There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword; but the tongue of the wise is health.” Psalm xxxiv. 13. “ Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” Also the very weighty and important instructions given by the apostle James, chap. iii. 18. I forbear citing examples from the Bible, but particularly request every one of my readers to search the scripture for them ; and I hope that by so doing they will become wise merchants, and that their exports and imports may be productive of real benefit to themselves and others.
CONSIDERATION. A New year presents a fitting opportunity for all to consider their ways; but especially the young. The rapid flight of time is more clearly discernible when beheld in retrospect. Without occasionally taking this view of our course towards eternity, we resemble travellers who are ascending a hill of imperceptible acclivity, and who arrive at the summit before they are aware. Then awakening from their reverie, they look down with astonishment at the height they have gained, and the space they have passed over.
It is to be feared that many of the countless travellers to an unseen world have acted in the same manner; and when laid on a death-bed have looked back with self-reproach and terror on the years they have lamentably wasted, or grievously mis-spent. What more important subject can employ our thoughts during the first fleeting moments of a new year than our own salvation? What better can occupy our minds than the person of our gracious Redeemer? To assist my young readers in their meditation on these particulars so intimately connected with their everlasting happiness, I will recommend to their attentive study, the third chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, the substance of which may be briefly summed up in these two words, “ Consider Jesus.” My readers may probably recollect that the Greek word which is here properly rendered consider, is very emphatical in the original language, and generally signifies to fix the eyes or the mind very intently upon a
thing. I purpose to make a few observations upon the word itself, and the practical uses to which it may be applied in the connexion in which it is employed by the apostle.
When we consider a thing, we are supposed to examine it in every respect; we do not merely look at it, but we think of and guard against the possibility of mistake, and in proportion to the importance of the subject, we take what measures we think best adapted to facilitate an acquaintance with the object that occupies our attention. We shall perhaps best arrive at the idea intended by the word, if we contrast it with some others of a different import.
To consider, is not simply to look. The most careless and inattentive person looks at the stars; but the astronomer considers with a holy admiration their orbits and revolutions. The beholder looks to little purpose; whilst the “ consideration” of the last, leads to a forcible demonstration, that “ the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work.”
To consider, signifies, very often, more than merely to think upon ; thus when we are commanded to consider our latter end, we are not only to think upon it, but to think practically upon it, and be prepared to act accordingly, it being for the very purpose action that consideration is to be taken. When Paul preached to Felix, the latter might have thought, but he did not consider and resolve.
But it is time that we should contemplate the uses to which this short but expressive passage may be applied; and here let it be understood that my observations are principally intended for the younger portion of my readers; the experienced christian will find perhaps little that is new to him, but it will be recollected that truth is no less truth because we have heard it many times. I will suppose the reader to be young in the christian course-he sees that “ the world lieth in wickedness ;” but he has not his senses in full exercise to discern good and evil-he often errs, not solely from a desire to gratify sinful inclinations; but because he is deceived by the opinions of others, and by the concurrent reasonings of a deceitful heart, and is thus impelled to do those things which his awakened conscience is too tender to approve, but not sufficiently enlightened to condemn, I would not give to such an one, precepts only to direct his way; (though the precepts of God would make wise
the simple,) but I would say to him, “ consider Jesus.” “ Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself;" then you shall not be wearied and faint in your mind. Are you tempted to do what you think may be wrong and inconsistent with your new and holy profession? Consider Jesus, who was not afraid to testify of the world that the works thereof were evil. Do your former companions in sin deride you?-Consider Jesus when before Pilate's tribunal. Do even those you once deemed your friends forsake you ?-Consider Jesus when all forsook him and fled. Are you afflicted with acute bodily suffering ?-Consider Jesus crowned with thorns. Do your sins press heavily upon you?Consider the atonement of Jesus. Do you think of your own weakness ?-Consider his strength. Are you afraid that after all you may miss the prize of your high calling, and come short of heaven? Consider Him whom you have trusted, and believe that He is able to keep that which you have committed unto Him. In whatever state you are, be therewith content-knowing that this is not your rest; and while travelling your christian course, be daily looking to Jesus for assistance, and when in difficulty, consider him as your prophet to direct you; if you fall into sin, consider him as your priest to atone for you; and every moment of your life consider him as your king to govern you ; so shall you have a peaceful conscience in this life, and a happy immortality in that which is to come.
But there is another class of readers to whom I would speak, those who are not christians, or only nominally such. Shall I direct them to consider Jesus? I would indeed do so, but I cannot exhort them as “ holy brethren," as those who are partakers of the heavenly calling, to consider Ilim as the “ high priest of their profession.” No, my young friends-wide as the world is, and numerous as are the characters that compose it, all persons may be radically divided into two distinct classes,—those who belong to the true flock of Christ; and those who have their part with the world. If you belong to this latter class, (and your immortal interests are concerned in ascertaining to which you do belong,) I would say to you, consider Jesus, for he died that you might be saved. Consider, therefore, that in rejecting him you reject your own happiness. It behoves you to consider him because he considered you; he looked down with a pitying eye upon our