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cal sagacity. Bow at no such shrine. Offer incense at no such
altar. Teach such gods that they are but men, and throw no impedi-
ment in the way of their speedy return to the real obscurity, from
which they fancy they have risen.

Should official responsibilities devolve on you, be cautions that
you do not fall into the mistake of supposing that the office was
created for your special emolument, and that your first and great
duty is to calculate its pecuniary resources, ascertain its probable
income, direct or indirect, legitimate or illegitimate, estimate the
market value of the office and its worthy incumbent; but ever act
on the principle that duty, not personal gain, is the chief end and
purpose of official life and labor. Never aspire to the immaculate
purity, the peerless glory and the matchless attainment of the
man who boasts that his partisan fealty cannot be questioned, for
he has never failed to vote an unscratched ticket. Seek no such
inglorious honor, nor place yourself in any such equivocal position,
for it would require, on even the most favorable terms, at least five
such partisans to make three free men. Whether such party
hacks, such pitiful apologies of men, such mere voting machines,
merit the pity, or contempt, of cotemporaries is a question of
doubtful solution. What else is such blind subserviency to party,
than a virtual surrender of one's own independence, personal con-
viction and right of private judgement, a virtual reflection on his



591

own competency to form an intelligent opinion of public men and
measures, a practical illustration of doughfacedness of the most
unquestioned stamp?

Beware of men of one idea, either in politics or morals. The
former, with a wise reference to the well known seven principles,
goes with his party, right or wrong; and the latter, too often be-
comes a bitter, intolerant and fanatical reformer, of the most un-
compromising character. Never prostitute the noble powers God
has given you to so vile and reckless a use. Deplore the evils you
cannot remedy, but never seek their correction by means, which
can be justified only by the standard that receives no sanction
either from the word of God, or the example of wise and good
men. The most that such reformers can claim, is honesty of pur-
pose and sincerity of conviction, but their wisdom and prudence
are more than questionable. Moral evils imbedded in the very
structure of society, inwrought into its very fabric, familiarized by
long habit and tolerated by immemorial usage, cannot be eradi-
cated by violent means, nor removed by rash and reckless meas-
ures. Time and patience, light and love, purpose and well directed
effort, are the only reliable instrumentalities for their safe and per-
manent removal.

Never prefer policy to principle, nor let an unrebuked falsehood
pass for truth for the sake of personal or party success. The con-
sciousness of pure intention and noble and upright purpose will
prove an ample compensation for any loss sustained by doing right.
Nothing is more despicable than official life shaped and controlled by
the mere mercenary consideration of self perpetuity. Endorse the
sentiments of neither party nor persons without due examination,
and let it be a cardinal maxim with you through life, both in reli-
gious and political faith, that you will do your own thinking and
your own voting.

Success in the great enterprise of forming a sterling character,
will depend in no slight degree on a thorough knowledge of its
peculiar helps and hindrances. These must be known in order to
a proper appreciation of their character, the right employment of
the former and the most effective disposition of the latter. They
will often be readily recognized by their family affinities of natural
antagonism.

Industry and indolence are the true exponents of much of the
success or failure, that has attended human endeavors. Of no
class of individual effort is this remark more emphatically true
than of the delicate and difficult work of a wise development of
character. On this point, experience shows the necessity of line
upon line, in order to counteract the latent power of native indo-
lence, and to rouse to their highest activity, the recuperative ener-
gies of heaven-prompted industry. Let every youth have some
legitimate pursuit, some congenial employment to occupy his
time, enlist his energies, awaken his mental and moral sympathies,
and impress his heart with the conviction of the realities of life



592

and the responsibilities of his earthly being. Industry is not only
an element of success, but a perennial source of enjoyment. None
are more happy than those engrossed in the prosecution of some
laudable enterprise, and none are more wretched than those whose
mental faculties and moral sympathies are left without any worthy
object of concentration. The farmer's boy, the mechanic's son,
the merchant's clerk, who are fully occupied from day to day and
week to week, have sources of rational enjoyment, unknown to
the heir of princely wealth, whose pride and indolence have taught
him to regard labor as menial, industry and toil as plebeian pur-
suits. Who is the happiest, the cheerful youth who goes forth to
his daily avocation with the consciousness of being in the line of
his duty and the discharge of a worthy mission ; or the pampered
son of the millionaire, whose highest ambition is to sport a profu-
sion of gold ornaments, cultivate a splendid mustache, consume
the costly Havannas, raise a magnificent goatee, the envy and
rival of his quadruped cousin, and assert his imaginary superiority to
the plebeian sons of toil, by the exquisite nourish of the dandy
ratan, the legitimate sign and symbol of the worthless loafer.
Look at the two sketches, contemplate their real worth, their in-
trinsic value, and then judge, which is worthy of present imitation,
and which will ultimately evolve the character of a man of intelli-
gence and unquestioned integrity. With such results before you,
the legitimate fruits of industry on the one hand, and indolence on
the other, you can be at no loss to decide which to practice and
which to shun.

Another group of antagonistic kindred is independence and inde-
cision of character. Inability to utter the simple negative mono-
syllable to temptation has ruined thousands of our most promising
youth, quenched the most brilliant hopes, blighted the fairest pros-
pects, and carried to a premature and dishonored grave many a
prop of declining years. Many have been led like the sheep to the
slaughter, simply and solely for the want of this moral power, and
thousands more are still crowding the same path to ruin, for the like
reason. It was a noble sentiment uttered by one of our nation's
worthies, recently passed away: "I would rather be right than be
the President of the United States." Imitate that moral heroism,
my young friends, and you will find it the brightest gem in your
coronet of earthly fame, whose lustre will not be dimmed by the
reverses of time, nor your subsequent transfer to eternity. Never
be ashamed of the singularity of doing right, even if it does tempo-
rarily subject you to the displeasure of those who have not the
moral principle either to imitate, appreciate, or approve. Ever
show yourselves the cordial and consistent advocates of the true
nobility of labor. Never be ashamed to work. Assiduously culti-
vate, and daily exhibit the noble intrepidity of doing your duty
promptly, faithfully and cheerfully in all your relations, whether
involving mental toil, or physical effort. This habit will be of in-
valuable service to you in subsequent life. It will disarm tempta-



593

tion of half its power, and vastly increase your capacity for
resistance. It will also prove an impregnable rampart, behind
which you will always be secure. Beware of being drawn from
its protection. Lured from its shelter you may be, by the se-
ductions of vice, but forced you never can be, while within the
line of its legitimate defense. Carefully read and thoughtfully
ponder that beautiful and felicitous illustration of this thought,
furnished by Hannah Moore, in her allegory of "Parley the Porter."
Cultivate a noble, manly independence of both thought and action.
Dare to think for yourself. Surrender this inalienable right, this
ancestral patrimony of freedom of thought and freedom of speech to
no one. Tolerate no encroachment, submit to no dictation of
either party or sect, and yield to no enticement luring you to the
alienation of such a birthright. Let it be known by a uniform
kindness of manner, benevolence of heart and firmness of purpose,
that you have a mind of your own. It will always command the
respect of others, be a shield to yourself in a thousand instances,
and not unfrequently an important aid to associates of feebler
purpose.

Let our youth be not only men of firmness and sterling worth,
but let them add to these elements of character a lively sympathy
with the spirit of genuine progress. Let them be open to convic-
tion, accessible to light, earnest in the search and candid in the re-
ception of truth. Let them also cultivate a spirit of noble, gener-
ous and christian liberty, and respond to the calls of benevolence,
the dictates of patriotism, and the demands of philanthropy, in a
style and manner that shall evince their superiority to the control
of selfishness, or the promptings of avarice. In this, as in all other
matters, let them act from principle, not impulse. Indiscriminate
aid may be little else than selfish weakness, or childish pity, merit-
ing neither the approbation of God, nor the commendation of good
men. They should be controlled by higher considerations and
more intelligent views in this department of duty, this sphere of
usefulness and privilege. Read the life of Amos Lawrence, that
prince of merchant princes, and also peruse two additional volumes,
The Successful Merchant, and Gold and the Gospel. Let their
characters possess amplitude and strength, symmetry and force,
commanding the confidence and admiration of both compeers and
country. Let them be prompt and generous in impulse, frank and
undisguised in purpose, pure and refined in sympathy, firm and
reliable in action, fearless and uncompromising in principle. Such
a character is not the result of a few feeble desires, nor the pro-
duct of any ephemeral effort. Like the gold of the mine, it does not
receive the sterling stamp till it has endured the scrutiny of time,
borne the test of age, and received the endorsement of experience.
Coin, bearing the impress of such a mint, will not only pass current
in the commerse of earth, but it will be received on deposit in a
better world. With such deposits, you can honor, at sight, any
draft that may be drawn on you.



594

The youth of no nation on earth have such abundant facilities,
and so strong inducements for self improvement, as the youth of
this land. Born to the inheritance of sovereigns and soon to as-
cend the throne of self-government, no ordinary dilligence should
be employed by such heirs to meet their coming responsibilities.
The youth of this commonwealth are peculiarly favored in respect
to one means of self culture. No one need remain in ignorance of
the treasured knowledge of the past, so far as books can aid him
in the worth of mental discipline and literary acquisition. In the
township libraries may be found interesting, instructive and valua-
ble books, in the various departments of literature and science.
These stores will soon receive large accessions of standard works,
of both history, biography, travels, the practical arts and ethics of
life.

It will be most emphatically his own fault, if any one of our
youth reach mature life, ignorant of the history of his own country
and the biography of her more prominent actors and distinguished
worthies. Let our sons and daughters faithfully improve the
means within their reach, and make themselves familiarly ac-
quainted with the lives of those, who achieved our independence
and laid the foundations of our government, with the history of
the toils, sufferings and noble heroism of our revolutionary grand-
mothers, and they will soon be brought into sympathy with their
noble deeds, and self-sacrificing patriotism. Let them sit at the
feet of the Historic Muse, and listen to Bancroft, and Prescott,
and Hildreth, and Holmes, and Botta, and Graham, and Win-
throp. Let them hold frequent and earnest converse with Mar-
shall, and Sparks, and Hale, and Ellett. Let them imbibe con-
stitutional and political knowledge from the lips of Story, and
Kent, and Webster, and Hamilton, and Clay, and Woodbury,
and DeToqueville. Let them associate with Irving and Everett,
Longfellow and Lowell, Simms and Sedgwick, Neal and Pauld-
ing, Tuthill and Arthur and Abbott.

They will find the poetical wit and humor of Saxe and Holmes
and Whittier, more entertaining, refining and elevating than the
gossip of the social circle, or the badinage of the convivial club.
The converse and company of such literary worthies cannot fail
to give character and tone to the intellectual pursuits of our youth,
awaken a thirst for knowledge, refine their taste and give them
a command of language, in power, scope and purity, which they
would not otherwise attain. Such knowledge would not only be
a valuable possession, but the very process of its attainment would
prove an important element in the estimation of its practical
worth. The moral influence, as well as the literary results of such
a method of acquisition, would be exceedingly happy. The habit
of gathering up the fragments of time and converting them into
literary aliment, while under the parental roof, of filling up the
interstices of labor with the materials for thought and reflection,
of passing foreign coin through one's own intellectual mint,



595

leaving the impress and evidence of having been thoroughly fused
and mingled with the bullion of his own, will not only withdraw
the individual from the companionship and converse of vicious
associates, which have ruined countless multitudes of our youth,
but it will also furnish ample materials for literary exchange, and
themes for social conference and discussion in place of the topics
of scandal, so frequently composing the principle staple of neigh-
borhood gossip.

Let such habits of literary economy be cultivated by our youth,
and they cannot fail to become wiser, happier and more useful to
themselves and others. It will strengthen them for many of the
conflicts of subsequent life, and furnish them with materials for
superior attainments in mental discipline, moral culture, social
influence and political power. A disciplined mind and a culti-
vated heart are elements of power, as well as unfailing sources of
enjoyment, recognized and felt in all the relations and pursuits
of life. They are capital that is unaffected by the fluctuations of
trade, the depressions of the market, or the vicissitudes of the
stock board. Make large investments in these stocks, young
friends, for they will always command a premium, and spare no
pains necessary to secure such property, for it will both protect,
enrich and bless its possessor.

Multiplied, ingenious and subtle are the devices of Satan to
tempt youth from the path of rectitude, and seduce them into for-
bidden practices and destructive habits. The victims of his fiend-
ish cunning are neither few nor far between. Let the unensnared
beware of his toils. Let them heed the wailings of the lost,
regard the counsels of experience, and not presume on their own
unaided powers. Remember, my young friends, that thousands, as
wise and wary as yourselves, have been snared in an evil hour and
taken, and are now bewailing their folly.

Of the more common and fatal of his seductive devices, the
wine cup claims a sad pre-eminence. It has slain its thousands,
carried death, desolation and disgrace into myriads of otherwise
happy family circles, and swept our earth with the besom of des-
truction, wailing and woe. It has prostrated the most towering
intellects, debased and brutalized minds of the finest mold and
tenderest sensibilities. It has crushed and annihilated the noblest
sympathies of our nature. It has mocked a mother's tears, despised
a father's prayers, turned a deaf ear to a wife's heart-bursting en-
treaties and worse than orphans' cries. What more deep and
damning seduction ever beset mortal footsteps? Its pathway is
strewed with wrecks, its history is written in blood, its memorials
are lamentation and mourning over blighted hopes, blasted pros-
pects and impoverished families. Let our youth be warned and
heed the admonition that comes from the revelations of heaven,
the disclosures of earth and the experience of perdition. Let
them contemplate the glowing pictures, the graphic sketches of
rum's conquests and ruin, portrayed in Sargent's Temperance
1 I>. J.-43



596

Tales, The Mysterious Parchment, Ten Nights in a Bar Room,
Dick Wilson, Uncle Sam's Farm Fence, and other works of
kindred character. Let them ask themselves in the light of such
heart sketches and life pictures, are we safe, till we have inscribed
on life's banner, "Touch not, taste not, handle not?"

The theatre and its fiendish concomitants have lured many to
ruin, temporal and eternal. It has robbed many a thoughtless and
inconsiderate youth of his peace, purse and principles, and left
him to bewail his folly in sorrow, poverty and the penitentiary.
Beware of them as you would the gates of death, for their end is
ruin, their final result everlasting exclusion from the Paradise of
God. Read, ponder and regard the counsels on this and kindred
themes contained in the work entitled " The Three Great Tempt-
ations."

The companionship of vicious associates is also a fruitful source
of ruin. Be cautious, circumspect and wary in opening the
chambers of your heart to any one, till you have read and re-read
the character of your contemplated guest, is wise counsel at all
times, and cannot be disregarded with impunity. With vicious
companions there must be neither compromise nor parley. Cut their
acquaintance the moment their true character is discovered. —
Withdraw from all intimacy and communion with such, for you
are in peril every hour, till you are beyond the fascination of their
converse and company. Many have thus been unsuspectingly led
astray, seduced from the path of purity and peace, became familiar
with the dialect of the profane, and ultimately the partners of their
remediless retribution, just because they heeded not admonition,
and foolishly thought themselves invulnerable against all the fiery
darts of the adversary. Forgetful that human virtue, unaided by
the grace and untaught by the word of God, can interpose but a
feeble barrier to the temptations and seductions of satanic cun-
ning, under the garb and disguise of an agreeable but corrupt and
vicious associate, they have fallen victims to their own temerity.

Beware also of the spotted serpent, whose fangs have sent the
fatal poison to the very citadel of life. Many a thoughtless one
has gazed on its seemingly harmless folds, glistening crest and
basilisk eye, till lured within the reach of the deadly stroke, he ha?
learned too late his fatal mistake. No region is free from it?
ravages, no locality exempt from its intrusion. It creeps into the
social circle, lies coiled in the cabin, is found on the hay -loft and in
the grove, visits barns and unfrequented tenements. It is some-
times timid and retiring, ashamed to be seen and unwilling to be
recognized; at other seasons, casting off all timidity and shame,
it assumes a bold front and an impudent air, challenging attention
and notoriety. Shun the deceptive coil lest you be crushed in its
resistless folds. The dull monotonous color of its back is no indi-
cation of the significant spots on its under surface ; the fiery red,
symbolical of the flames that consume and annihilate the sympa-
thies of the gambler's soul, and the black a significant emblem of



597

the blackness of darkness forever, that awaits him in another
world. Shun the gambler's implements would you escape his
perdition. Amusement is no apology, no shield against its seduc-
tions. The social entertainment is no protection against the fatal
tendencies of a custom, whose proclivities are no equivocal index
of its author. Touch not, handle not these symbols of satan. —
Remain in profound and perpetual ignorance of this algebra of
hell.

As you prize peace of mind, and value the hopes of heaven,
regard these counsels. Remember that you will be secure, as
long as the first game is unplayed, the first vicious book unread,
the first intoxicating cup untouched, the first theatrical exhibition
unwitnessed, and the first vicious companionship unformed. —
Beware of the first mis-step, and decline the first and every invita-
tion to scenes of doubtful issue. Let the flames purify the obscene
volume before you attempt its perusal. As long as the first ticket
is unbought, the first blank will remain undrawn, whether it be in
stealthy, disguised gift prize distribution, or the open legalized
lottery swindle.

In conclusion, my young friends, let me say by way of eminence
and emphasis too, honor God in a proper observance of the Sab-
bath, would you be honored of him, who has said to the young,
" remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth;" and to all, both
youth and age, "them that honor me I will honor, and they that
despise me shall be lightly esteemed." The Sabbath was made
for man, by One who thoroughly understood his physical wants and
his moral necessities. Let no one presume to trample on that insti-
tution, which underlies all national stability, prosperity and moral
progress, as well as individual welfare and happiness. Scan well
the history of nations and the experience of individuals, before the
desecration is either contemplated or attempted. Let our youth
honor that institution, which has proved a shelter from a thousand
evils and temptations, to all who have sought its protection and
blessings, and which, trampled on and despised, will find One
both competent and willing ultimately to vindicate its claims to
national regard and personal reverence.

There is perhaps no fact in the history of individuals more
striking, obvious and fully established, than the intimate connec-
tion of the violation of the fourth commandment with the ruin of
character. The career of almost all, who have been inmates of
our penitentiaries, or have made their exit from earth on the
gallows, commenced with the desecration of the Sabbath. " The
youth, who habitually spends that day in amusement and utter
desertion of the house of God, deliberately places himself beyond
those moral restraints which his creator has kindly connected with
that institution, and graciously ordained to shield him against the
seductions of Satan, as well as the promptings of his own corrupt
nature. The legitimate consequences of such a habit is an im-
paired confidence reposed in him by others, a diminished power ot



598

resistance of temptation, an increased exposure to solicitation to
evil and a stronger probability of being overcome." Let no one,
either in the confidence of his own strength, or the hardihood of
his skepticism on this point, presume to disprove, by his own sad
experiment, a point, which finds such ample and melancholy con-
firmation in the experience of thousands, whose warning voice
comes to us from the jail, the penitentiary and the gallows.

"Day ever bless'd!

Thy light, thy rest,
I hail with glad emotion;

Ordained for man

When time began,
For solace and devotion.



Day ever bless'd!

Type of the rest,
That for the saints remaineth,

Happy is he

Who joys in thee,
And ne'er thy hours profaneth."

Cherish a spirit in sympathy with the sentiment of the above
stanzas, and that, embodied in a corresponding practice, will in-
sure you a welcome admission to that world, of which sabbath is but
a type. Read Edwards' Sabbath Manual, and you will meet with
abundant facts, well suited both to corroborate the views above
expressed and dissipate any doubts entertained on this subject.

If character be the only permanent possession, the only earthly
acquisition that admits of transfer to another world, let no one shrink
from the enterprise of its right formation, because of the difficulties
associated with the. work. Nothing great, good, or permanently
valuable, can be attained without effort, sacrifice and perseverance.
Labor, toil, and present self-denial is the price God has placed on



Online LibraryIndiana. General AssemblyDocumentary journal of Indiana 1856, part 1 (Volume 1856, pt.1) → online text (page 50 of 53)