« PreviousContinue »
VALUE OF THE SABBATH TO YOUNG MEN.–BARNES,
Didactic. 1. There is no more interesting object of contemplation than a young man when he is about entering on life. Those of us who have passed through that season, have a melancholy pleasure in looking back to it in our own lives, and in comparing our hopes and prospects as we looked out on the world, with what we have found to be the reality; and we cannot but feel that we have a sort of right to come and tell those who are just beginning the world, how we felt; what plans we formed; what mistakes we made; how these mistakes might have been avoided, and what we have found the world to be.
2. A young man, just entering on life, embarks on an unknown and a perilous voyage. If the interest of the fact itself will not suffer by the comparison, bis condition may
be likened to that of a ship that has never yet tried the waves and storms, as it first leaves the port. This world, so full of beautiful things, furnishes few objects so lovely as such a vessel, when, with her sails all spread, and with a propitious breeze, she sails out of the harbor.
3. But who can tell what that vessel is to encounter; into what unknown seas she may yet be drifted; between what masses of ice she may be crushed ; on what hidden rocks she may impinge; what storms may whistle through her shrouds, and carry away her tall masts; or on what coasts her broken timbers may be strewed ? Now, as the waves gently tap her sides, nothing can be more beautiful, or more safe ; but storms arise on that ocean which now looks so calm, and in those storms her beautifully modeled form, her timbers framed together to defy the tempest, her ropes and her canvas, will avail nothing; and if she is saved, none but He can do it, who “rides on the whirlwind and directs the storm.”
4. A young man enters on the perilous voyage of life. We come to recommend the Sabbath to him as adapted to be a means of security in that dangerous way. The Sabbath presents itself to a young man, as it does to all others, in two aspects; - as a day of rest from worldly toil and care, and a day of leisure to be employed in higher and nobler pursuits.
5. Its primary aspect is that of a day of rest from worldly toil. It meets man at a season in which the cares of life are to be suspended. The plow is to be left standing in the furrow; the store is to be closed ; the sound of the hammer and of the mill is to be hushed; the loom is to stand still; the voice of worldly amusements is to die away; the marts of commerce, thronged on other days, are to be vacated; the judge is to descend from the bench ; the noise of debate in the halls of legislation is to cease; the lawyer is to lay aside his brief; the wayfaring man is to pause in his journey ; and the streets of the usually crowded capital, and of the busy village, are to unite in solemn stillness with the remote hamlet, and with the lonely cottage standing far from the busy haunts of men, in a suspension from the toils and agitations which pertain to this world.
6. The elementary notion is that of rest from worldly toils and cares ; rest, for the body; rest, for the wearied mind. If the body has been worn down with fatigue throug? other days, by traveling, or by hard labor at the plow or the forge; if the intellect has been exhausted by distracting mer cantile pursuits, or by conflicts at the bar, or by stern application in the pursuits of science; if the passions have been lashed into excitement amidst the storms of political strife; if the affections of the heart have been jarred and dislocated in the jostlings and conflicts of the world; if the memory has been taxed by severe mental effort,— the Sabbath is designed to furnish for each and all these, a season for repose.
7. The other aspect, in which the Sabbath meets man, is that of a day to be devoted to other than worldly pursuits. We have other interests than those which are connected with mere labor, whether of body or mind. We sustain other relations than those which pertain to “ business,” to gold, to honor, to pleasure. We have not only a body, but a soul; not only an intellect, but a heart ; not only an imagination, but a conscience. We are not merely working animals, but are intelligent and accountable moral agents ; we live not only here, but we are to live hereafter ; we are not only plowmen, machinists, merchants, lawyers, physicians, ministers of religion, professors, and teachers, but we are sons, brothers, husbands, fathers; we are not only men with understandings, but men with sympathies and affections, in a world, too, where there is the amplest room for the play of all our faculties.
8. Our Maker has formed no susceptibility of the soul which he has not designed should be developed, and for whose development, in just proportions, he has not made ample arrangements. The bodily powers, the muscles, the organs of sense, the whole frame, the intellect, the memory, the imagination, the social affections, the sympathetic powers, he designs should be fully developed. He would not have the one stinted, that the other may expand to a monstrous growth; he would not have us mere intellectual beings, cultivating the mind for purposes of cunning and selfglory.
9. There is not a faculty of our nature, pertaining to body or mind, demonstrative or imaginative, individual or sociai, binding us to home and kindred or to the world at large, uniting us to this world or to the next- or to distant worlds, which it is not designed that we should cultivate, if we would secure the perfection of our being,
INDUSTRY NECESSARY TO GENIUS. – Knox.
Argumentative. 1. From the revival of learning to the present day, every thing that labor and ingenuity can invent, has been produced to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge. But, notwith standing all the Introductions, the Translations, the Annota tions, and the Interpretations, I must assure the student that industry, - great and persevering industry, - is absolutely necessary to secure any very valuable and distinguished improvement. Superficial qualifications are, indeed, obtained at an easy price of time and labor ; but superficial qualifications confer neither honor, emolument, nor satisfaction.
2. The pupil may be introduced, by the judgment and the liberality of his parents, to the best schools, the best tutors, the best books; and his parents may be led to expect, from such advantages alone, extraordinary advancement. But these things are all extraneous. The mind of the pupil must be accustomed to submit to labor; sometimes to painful labor.
3. The poor and solitary student, who has never enjoyed any of these advantages, but in the ordinary manner, will, by his own application, emerge to merit, fame, and fortune; while the indolent, who has been taught to lean on the supports which opulence supplies, will sink into insignificance.
4. I repeat, that the first great object is, to induce then mind to work within itself; to think long and patiently on the same subject; and to compose in various styles, and in various meters. It must be led, not only to bear, but to seek occasional solitude. If it is early habituated to all these exercises, it will find its chief pleasure in them; for the energies of the mind affect it with the finest feelings.
5. But is industry, such industry as I require, necessary to genius? The idea that it is not necessary, is productive
of the greatest evils. We often form a wrong judgment in determining who is, and who is not, endowed with this noble privilege. A boy who appears lively and talkative, is often supposed by his parents to be a genius. He is suffered to be idle, for he is a genius ; and genius is only injured by application,
6. Now it usually happens, that the very lively and talkative boy is the most deficient in genius. His forwardness arises from a defect in those fine sensibilities, which, at the same time, occasion diffidence, and constitute genius. He ought to be inured to literary labor; for, without it, he will be prevented by levity and stupidity, from receiving any valuable impressions.
7. Parents and instructors must be very cautious how they dispense with diligence, from an idea that the pupi possesses genius sufficient to compensate for the want of it. All men are liable to mistake in deciding on genius at a very early age; but parents, more than all, from their natural partiality. On no account, therefore, let them dispense with close application. If the pupil has genius, this will improve and adorn it; if he bas not, it is confessedly requisite to supply the defect.
8. What is genius worth without knowledge? But is a man ever born with knowledge? It is true that one man is born with a better capacity than another for the reception and retention of ideas; but still the mind must operate in collecting, arranging, and discriminating those ideas which it receives.
9. I most anxiously wish, that due attention may be paid to my exhortations in recommending great and exemplary diligence. All that is excellent in learning depends on it; and without it, no sound literary attainments can be reached.