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to this resolve : you owe it to yourselves, to each other, to your parents, to your sisters, to your friends, to society, and to God. Let not the unclean thing pollute your lips, poison your health, darken your minds, and kill your hearts. In learning to war, conquer first of all your own passions. As long as the fort is strong within, a thousand enemies may dash upon it, but only to be broken. “He that ruleth his own spiri is stronger than he that taketh a city.”
Be Intelligent. We are born with active minds, and if we do not employ them in a right way, they will employ themselves in a wrong way. It is an old proverb, that "an idle brain is the devil's workshop;" and equally true is the old couplet, which you have all learned from your school books,
« Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do."
An industrious lad, who has a taste for the cultivation of his mind, is not likely to become a street rowdy. Those who every evening throng the corners of the streets, and proclaim their own shame and the shame of the families to which they belong, are there because they are destitute of all taste for the higher enjoyments of mental improvement. The precious time which they spend in that way is not onl useless to them, and annoying to others, but it is the almost infallible introduction to an intemperate, useless and wicked life. Such are, indeed, in a course of training; but, alas! it is a training not towards an honorable conquest over evil, but for stratagem, and spoils, and final ruin.
I know nothing this side of true piety to recommend to you, young men, that will aid you more in avoiding the path of idle and low profligacy than a love for books-a love for the cultivation of your minds, a love for the pursuit of useful knowledge. This will give employment to your leisure hours—it will give you company in loneliness—it will tend to destroy all taste for the lower enjoyments of sense and vanityit will open to your minds a vast field of pure and elevated happinessand, above all, it will aid in fitting you for a life of usefulness and honor.
You hare abundant facilities for such a pursuit. Books are plenty on all subjects; and the society and counsel of intelligent persons can always be enjoyed by such as show themselves worthy of it. country, too, where honor and station do not descend by inheritance, but are conferred upon those who make themselves worthy of them, there are the strongest inducements to diligence. Intelligence, when sanctified and consecrated by piety, leads surely to influence and honor. What is most encouraging of all is, that no one is excluded, either by poverty or obscurity, from entering into this path to excellence. The mighty river, that sweeps in such grandeur along, bearing navies and the wealth of nations upon its bosom, may be traced back into some obscure dell or valley, where it rises, feeble and slow, from among rocks and roots; so, many of our ministers, statesmen, authors, literary professors and teachers, may trace the history of their lives back to a childhood of the most retired obscurity—they once lived amid the “bleating of sheep,” like the great sweet-singing monarch of Israel; or played rough and in rags, around some hut of poverty, like hundreds who have afterwards astonished and blessed the world with their wisdom.
I am tempted to give you, young friends, a few examples of persons
who rose from obscurity to eminence and honor by their own industry in the cultivation of their minds. It may act as a stimulus to you to enter upon and to persevere in the same path.
Æsop, the author of the celebrated Fables, was born a slave. Publius Syrus and Terrence, two great men, were originally slaves. Epictetus, a celebrated ancient Stoic philosopher, spent many years of his early life as a slave. He was so poor, even while he was engaged with the greatest ardor in cultivating his mind, that he lived in a house without a door; with no furniture except a table, a small bedstead, and a miserable coverlet. In modern times the celebrated Rev. Lott Cary, at first pastor of a large colored congregation, and afterwards a distinguished missionary to Africa, was long a slave in Richmond, Va., employed in a tobacco warehouse. He learned to read by his own perseverance at first, and, after purchasing his own freedom, by patient perseverance in a course of a self education, raised himself to great usefulness and honor.
Another instance of a similar triumph over difficulties is well known, as it went the round of the papers a few years ago.
It is that of a negro slave, who made himself master of the Latin and Greek grammers, while working hard, from morning till night, at the blacksmith fire. The alphabet he wrote upon the hearth-stone before him with a coal, and thus made himself gradually master of it. The grammer he fixed, leaf by leaf, ivto the inside of his hat, which he held before him with one hand. while he drew the bellows with the other, and thus committed its contents to memory.
He was afterwards delivered from slavery by good men, whose attention he had arrested by his singular perseverance and success in the pursuit of knowledge, anů who were induced thereby to purchase his freedom. He is now in Liberia, in Africa, a minister of the everlasting gospel, and is known throughout the Christian world as the “ learned slave !"
When were circumstances more against men ? When was any one called to struggle with greater difficulties in the pursuit of knowledge ? and where do we behold such glorious triumphs, such well-earned laurels, as the reward of perseverance and industry? These heroes, though dark in their skin, and doomed and damned to a shameful bondage by men who deserve not to be free-these heroes deserve to be called men ! Their example will remain, as an eternal protest against the foul sentiment, that black men are born to lick the dust! We only intend these instances, at this time, to show that the path to literary excellence and honor lies open to all, however low and humble their birth and station. We wish to show, by these examples, that any difficulties, however great, will yield before manly perseverauce and industry. There is no one who hears me that ought not to be aslıamed to speak of difficulties as an excuse for remaining in ignorance. Let only the wish and the will exist, and there will always be a way.
Let me give you a few more examples. The great Erasmus was so poor that he had to stint himself in clothes to get books. “ As soon as I get money,” he exclaimed, “I will first buy Greck books, and then clothes ;” and he became one of the greatest classical scholars of that age. The German naturalist, Schäffer, lived on a half-pence a day in order to keep himself at the University; a little bread, and a few vegetables boiled in water, were his daily food; and although the winter was severely cold, he had no fire in his room; yet he bore all this that he might pursue his studies. Magliabecchi was once a seller of pot-herbs; and by his own private studies, he rose to be “the most learned man of his age.” The parents of Prof. Gottleib Heyne were extremely poor. His father was a weaver. During the first thirty-two years of his life he was not only in obscurity, but in a constant struggle with the most distressing poverty. He was obliged to borrow all his books, and to copy them for bis own use; yet be attained at last to imperishable honors. He was for half a century one of the most learned and renowned Professors of the University of Gottingen ; and died venerated and beloved by all. The celebrated Dr. John Prideaux sustained himself in Exeter College by becoming an assistant in the kitchen : and yet he rose to become Bishop of Worcester, and author of a work of History which is a text book in many Theological Seminaries. The famous Ben Jonson worked for some time as a bricklayer and mason ; but when he had the “trowel in his hand, he had a book in his pocket." Henry Kirke White, one of the sweetest of the English Poets, when a boy, carried the butcher basket for his father; and when he was fourteen years of age he was apprenticed to learn stocking weaving. Both Henry Bullinger and Martin Luther, celebrated Reformers, got their bread, while pursuing their studies, by singing in the street under the windows of the rich. The celebrated divine, Thomas Scott, was the son of a poor man, and was compelled when young to do all “the most laborious and dirty parts of the work belonging to a grazier.” He became eminent entirely by his perseverance in the course of self-education. Alexander Murray first learned the alphabet from the back of an old wool card, upon which his father wrote it for him with the black end of a stick snatched from the fire. Afterwards he was sent to the hills to keep sheep; and afterwards still, he became “one of the most learned men that ever lived !"
I must, however, stop with these examples. But let me assure you, my young friends, it would be easy to go on in the same way for a whole hour; so abundant are the examples of men who, by their own industry and desire after knowledge, have reached their aim; and at last
“Upon the loftiest top
Of Fame's dread mountain sat." You must permit me to give you one more instance, because he is still living, and is a resident of this State. He has been President of a College in Pennsylvania, and is now the pastor of a large church in an Atlantic city-has written a work in two volumes, which is to be seen in almost all the book stores and in most of the private libraries. This man, when be was a boy, had such a strong knowledge, that he went to a college and offered to black boots and shoes for his boarding! At first even this berth was refused him: but the boy looked so pitifully and beautifully in earnest, that it was finally granted him. He commenced by blacking boots, but, as Old Humphrey says, he did not end there ! Does any one say he stooped low; we answer he did not The mightiest oak once crept, an humble thing, out from beneath the clods. Those birds that soar the highest in the air build on the earth their lowly nests. The path to honor, and even to immortality, begins in the dust. troth bigh and etearnal as the Heavens—“ He that bumbleth himself shall be exalted ; and he that exalts himself shall be abased.”
Imitate these examples, young friends. Gird on your strength, and resolve to be men 1-sober men-intelligent men, and useful men!
Be Good. This is my last advice. This is the crown of all honorthe oruament of all excellence. Being sober may make you men. Being intelligent may make you great and honorable men. But to be good will not only make you sober and great, but also happy. This will make you like God, like Christ, like angels. How to be good I need not tell you here; we will speak of that on another day. On any Sabbath day, go to any of those buildings in this town whose towers point heavenward, and you will hear how to be good. There stands the legate of the skies; he will tell one way, and the only way to be good.
“There, as a bird, each fond endearment tries,
Allures to brighter worlds, and leads the way!" In conclusion, I must recite to you a short poem, which most beautifully inculcates the idea of seeking to rise, wbich I have endeavored to exhibit to you in this discourse. A youth, struggling through difficulties, towards eminence and honor, is compared, by the poet, to a traveler ascending the Alps. The Alps abound in lovely and peaceful valleys, where every object invites the traveler to tarry, especially as before him rise cold, icy and dreadful mountains, where the path is overhung with threatening glaciers and avalanches in “awful grandeur piled," above the traveler's head. In one of these beautiful valleys, at the foot of the Alps, just at evening, a youth comes along, whose home is afar; and who seems bent with full purpose of heart to scale the dangers before him, and to reach his home and his friends beyond the cold and frowning peaks of the Alps. He bears in his hand a banner, upon which is written his motto, EXCELSIOR—which means higher-indicating his purpose to ascend the dangerous steeps before him. The peasants warn by the dangers before him not to proceed, and they invite him to their own quiet homes in the valley ; but he flourishes his banner, like a true hero, and passes on. EXCELSIOR-.higher—is his motto, and higher he determines to climb, though danger and death frown in his way. But to the poem :
The shades of night were falling fast,
IIis brow was sad; his eye beneath
In bappy homes be saw the light
“ Try not the pass!" the old man said ;
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
“Oh stay," the maiden said, “and rest
“Beware the pine-tree's withered branch !
At break of day, as heavenward
A trav'ler, by his faithful bound,
There in the twilight cold and gray,
Let this, young men, be your motto, EXCELSIOR— higher! Always look upwards, that is the destiny of spirits. Beneath is the dust, and worms, and hell! Grasp with a firmness, that yields not even to death, the banner upon which is written your glorious purpose. When difficulties threaten, and when the sirens of ease would allure you onward and upward path, wave your banner into their faces, and, in the strength of God, purpose in your hearts to take another step.
VERSES TO MY FIRST-BORN.
Sleep on my breast, the breast which gladly loves thee!
It loves to see thy thousand smiles come o'er thee
Yes thou wilt smile, to see my joyful guise ;
And thou hast learned to look into her eyes.
The fountain which thy small lip press'd at pleasure ?
Be wisdom, virtue, courtesy thine aim: