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animate or inanimate, were originally made good; it was sin only that defiled them. May we, through the Redeemer's grace,
be cleansed from sin, and adorn the place our Creator designed we should fill in this world; and at last be transplanted to a fairer world, where sin and sorrow shall blight
« THOU ART BUT A YOUTH.”
My Dear Youth,—At length the time is come- e--and I have actually taken my pen to write you at least a short letter.
As I must say something, I must have somie subject. You know preachers generally have a text- the words of my text are, “ Thou art but a youth.” I am sure this is appropriate, and you will not dispute it—it is also easy and needs no explanation—it is such a clear fact that twenty arguments could not make it clearer ;-but it is, though simple, an important fact which admits of serious improvement. First,“ Thou art but a youth,” and therefore you need a guide. You have never travelled through the world before; there are those in the world who have lived longer, and seen, and heard, and felt more than you have. But be careful what guides you follow, and where they would lead you—some would lead you into scenes of folly, gaiety, dissipation, and vice-and call it pleasure, amusement, recreation, and harmless mirth. Others would lead you to useful employment, to profitable learning, to the retirement of the closet, to the worship of the sanctuary, to the records of inspiration, and to the cross of Jesus. I need not tell you which are the safest and best to follow. Your dear parents are guides, and so are christian ministers, and you may have a few among relations and friends whose affection is sincere, and whose counsels are wise and good. But, my dear youth, you need a Divine Guide, nor can you travel safely, comfortably, and usefully through the world without one.
Jehovah knows this, and therefore he speaks to you on the subject, saying, • Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, my Father, thou art the Guide of my youth ?" and you
will never be at rest till with resignation and satisfaction you replý, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.” Second.
:~" Thou art but a youth," and therefore you need a guard—there are dangers and enemies attending the whole of your journey, and you will never escape them without a guard. You need a guard for your head, your heart, and your feet, so that your judgment, affections, and conduct may be preserved from the contaminating influence of sin, Satan, and the world. The word of truth-the cautions and ad. monitions of friends, and the wholesome restraints of parental discipline are all useful ; but I would have you bespeak a guard of angels, and the presence of the Lord of angels, and then, and then only, you will be secure.
Third." Thou art but a youth," and therefore improvement is expected. Youth is the time for learning and growth. The child Samuel grew before the Lord, and even the child Jesus grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Depend on it, my friend, there is room for growth in you-your mind is not the mind of a giant yet, but it may greatly expand. You do not know every necessary thing, but there are many additional which you will probably learn before you die. It is pleasant to make improvements in person, dress, manners, reading, writing, arithmetic, language, and all useful and ornamental work; but the most important improvement is in scriptural, spiritual, devotional, and heavenly things. The best growth is growth
Fourth.--" Thou art but a youth," and therefore you
need encouragement. We cherish young plants—a tender shepherd will even carry lambs. How does the tender mother nourish the tender babe-almost all creatures in nature are particularly careful and tender over the young ones which they bear. And your dear parents, and several other relatives and friends, and among others your uncle-would encourage you—not to be conceited, self-confident, formal, hypocritical, and vain ; but to be penitent, devotional, thoughtful, circumspect, and persevering—not to be morose, gloomy, fretful, cross, sour, and peevish;-but to be cheerful, peaceable, and sociable-not to despair of mercy and restrain prayer, and give place to the enemy of souls ;-but cleave to the Redeemer, cherish hope, and persevere
in prayer. I would have you humble, but not meancheerful, but not light-candid, but not weak-cautious, but not reserved-particular, but not whimsical-liberal, but not extravagant-confident, but not presumptuous. In short, I wish you to be what I know God only can make you, but what he can easily make you, and which I would have you daily pray for, and never despair of, namely, a decided, consistent, useful Christian.
Finally.-" Thou art but a youth," but things of eternal importance are connected therewith. You are old enough to be a hell-deserving sinner-old enough to repent and believeold enough to choose and refuse life and good, or death and evil-old enough to die and perish for ever-old enough to enjoy the everlasting blessedness of those who die in the Lord.
My dear youth, think of these things-my heart is full of affection towards you, and perhaps you will feel at liberty to write and tell me the state of your mind on the great subject with love to your parents and dear sisters,
I am your sincere friend,
X. X. X. X.
A Letter from a Youth to his Father. My Dear Father.--AGREEABLY to your request, I employ as much time as I can well spare from my ordinary lessons, in order to acquire information on general subjects; and I will try to state the knowledge I gain in the clearest way I can.
It is indeed desirable that I should endeavor to know something of the world in which I live, not merely to gratify a propensity for information, but that I may be fitted to discharge those duties which may hereafter devolve upon me, as a social being.
The poet speaks rationally in saying, that "the proper study of mankind, is man.” I have often heard it said that “ the sons of Adam” compose a family of eight hundred millions of souls. But this expression, though very perspicuous in itself,
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conveys to my mind no distinct idea. How can we know what is really meant by these comprehensive terms? I have seen an extended harvest-field - bowing to the breeze," but I question whether at one view, I have ever beheld eight hundred millions of ears of corn. A wide meadow, on a summer's morning, has presented to my eye an exhibition of beautiful dew-drops, apparently innumerable; yet, on reflection, I doubt whether I ever saw a number amounting to the multitude in question. At least, the sense of vision leaves my mind in dubious anxiety on this subject; I will therefore have recourse to that art of calculation which affords the conviction of certainty. Having supposed eight hours a day to be occupied in counting, at the rate of sixty units in a minute, according to the movement of the common pendulum, I was indeed surprised to find that a period not less than seventy-three years would be occupied in simply telling a number equal to the present population of the globe. And it is affecting to think that if, as on the day of Pentecost, three thousand were converted to the christian faith every day, seven hundred and thirty years must pass away before the great salvation can reach them all, What motives are these to missionary exertions!
It seems that these numerous sons of men scattered over the face of nature, are distinguished by many varieties of feature and complexion. Natural history specifies at least
five varieties, whose aspects are marked by the several tints of white, yellow, red, brown, and black. When we compare these races with each other, it is natural for us to say, are they all brethren? Did they all spring from one original pair, or had each of them corresponding parents ?
The authority of scripture answers this enquiry, by declaring that “ of one blood God made all nations of men that dwell upon all the face of the earth.” But still I was very much delighted to know, that the many variations of form and color, at present existing, are facts not at all inconsistent with the habits and laws of nature. Here I must trouble you with a few observations which I hope you will not regard as too scientific for a boy to make.
First, I have learnt that the cause of complexion is not
superficial. In proof of this I have only to mention a remark of a medical writer, who says, that the thin covering raised by a blister is white, even on the person of a black man. Between this and the true skin is found, in the negro races, a layer of dark matter, which is the seat of color. It appears then, that whatever operates to diminish this body, tends to the production of lighter varieties in color.
Secondly,–Man has an animal nature as well as a rational one. Now, natural history tells me that all wild animals are dark; while those of the same kind in a state of domestication, tend to lighter colors. This is remarkably true with respect to horses, rabbits, cats, and birds. It just occurs to me that our own young canaries are lighter than their parents, one of which resembled a common sparrow; and our friend, Mr. H—'s blackbird, which he has had six years, is, at this moulting season, putting out feathers perfectly white, and which will, I dare say, soon deserve the singular name of a white black bird,
Thirdly,—The prophet Isaiah calls man a flower ; and, though not in allusion to this subject, still you know that flowers have a wonderful tendency to variety. The original tulips were of a dark-red color, not unlike our common poppies. By the process of cultivation, they begin to break out into various streaks; and by the continued operation of the same means, they gradually deviate from the darker to the lighter hues, until they become perfectly white; which florists call “growing out."
Fourthly. A sensible writer mentions a colony of one of the darkest races, who, some centuries ago, were removed to America, if I mistake not, and who are now much less dark than the offspring of the same tribe, who still remain in their original state of barbarism. And it is a fact not to be disputed, that all those nations who are in the depths of ignorance are dark; while those who have arrived at the greatest perfection in the arts and sciences, and other excellences of civilized life, are of lighter colors.
From these statements it is, I think, reasonable to conclude, that what domestication is to animals, and culture to plants, that civilization is to man.