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plan formed, and to an alarming degree executed, for exterminating Christianity, Natural Religion, the belief of a God, of the immortality of the Soul, and Moral obligation; for rooting out of the world civil and domestic government, the right of property, marriage, natural affection, chastity, and decency; and in a word for destroying whatever is virtuous, refined or desirable, and introducing again universal savageness and brutism. All this is to be done under the pretence of enlarged Philanthropy, and of giving mankind liberty and equality. By this mask is carefully concealed the true end, which is no less than to reduce the whole human race under a complete subjugation to these Philosophers; a subjugation of mind as well as of body,
LIFE A RACE.
PREACHED TO THE CANDIDATES FOR THE BACCALAUREATE
IN 1799, 1806 AND 1812.
1 CORINTHIANS ix. 24.
Know ye not, that they, which run in a race, run all ; but one receiveth the prize? So run,
ye may obtain.
The Chapter, of which these words are a part, is chiefly occupied in answering certain objections, made against St. Paul by some individuals of the Corinthian Church. These persons, having formed themselves into a party against their brethren, undertook to deny the Apostleship of St. Paul ; and, among other things, objected against him, that he did not receive a support from the Christians of that city, while labouring there as a Minister of the Gospel. This, they insinuated, he durst not do, because he was not truly an Apostle, and therefore was conscious, that he had no right to receive a maintenance from those to whom he ministered. However strange it may seem to us, this objection was not without weight among the Corinthians; and contributed not a little to disturb the peace of their Church, and to unsettle among them the authority of the Apostle. He, therefore, replies to it in form; and, after asserting his absolute right to all the privileges claimed by any of the Apostles, declares to them the true reasons of his conduct. These, summarily, amounted to this general one; that he expected in this manner to increase the
number of converts to Christianity, and to diffuse more widely the glory and blessings of Christ. To illustrate this conduct of his, and to prove the reasonableness and credibility of his declarations, he reminds them, that their own countrymen underwent great self-denial to prepare themselves for the Isthmian Games, celebrated in the territory of Corinth; and strove in them with excessive exertions, merely to gain a crown of pine twigs. It could not, therefore, be thought strange, that he, for a crown of glory in the Heavens, should undergo even greater self-denial.
The occasion, furnished by this allusion, he seized, as he did every other, to inculcate the duties of Christianity. His own example in this mighty concern he presses upon them; and urges them to strive with the like vigorous efforts for the attainment of the same immortal prize. The eagerness, with which the combatants ran in their races for a fading garland, and for honour equally, perishing, he urges as a powerful stimulus to similar eagerness in the Christian race, of which the reward was a crown of eternal glory. To encourage them still further, he reminds them that of all those, who ran in the Stadium, one only gained the prize; while, in the Christian race, all, who ran with due earnestness, would win, and none, but the slothful and careless, would lose, the destined crown.
The Youths, who are now about to leave, finally, this place of education, are all adventurers on the Stadium of life; and are just entering upon the race. Endeared to me by many considerations; particularly, by my intimate and long continued connection with them, and by their amiable and respectful behaviour, and honourable improvement in learning and science; they claim my best advice and wishes, and ardent prayers for their welfare. On this occasion, therefore, it cannot fail to be useful for me to give, and for them affectionately to receive, the monition, that of such adventurers some at least lose the prize for which they run; nor can it fail to be a timely exhortation to them, so to run that they
To render the monition, here proposed, as impressive as may be, and to produce practical conviction of the extent and importance of the truth which it contains, perhaps nothing will be more advantageous, than a summary exhibition of the different courses,
pursued by different adventurers; together with the attendants, and consequences, of their conduct.
Youths, when they leave this seminary, become divided and distributed, throughout life, by their different professions. If the professions adopted are honest and useful, the distinction between them is of no serious importance. A man may fill up bis days with usefulness in any such professsion; and of course may act well the part assigned him by his Maker. Among those, who enter into such professions, very different conduct is however found; accompanied by very different characters and circumstances, and terminated by very different ends.
One, whose life began with the same prospects, and the same hopes. which were spread before his companions, commences his career with the predominating love of case, and under the powerful influence of sloth. Labour of the hands is naturally irksome to man; and labour of the mind, to which students are usually destined through life, is still more irksome. To most men habit only can make this kind of labour agreeable. Habit can overcome every antipathy; can change reluctance into voluntary effort, transmute pain into pleasure, and convert the man almost into a new being. Especially can these changes be accomplished by habits begun in youth; during the existence of that flexibility of character, which prepares the mind for an easy entrance upon any course to which it is directed. When sober and constant application is, at this period, rendered habitual; all the original reluctance to it will vanish; and the pain, with which it was attended, will be changed into pleasure.
This, however, is far from being uniformly the fact. Of those, who leave this seat of education yearly, some at least carry away their original aversion to industry, increased and riveted, by four years' indulgence in sloth. The evil, in this case, is commonly beyond a cure. Whatever employment they choose, they can endure neither the toil of preparing themselves for it, nor the irksomeness of discharging the duties which it demands. Ambition, the love of Wealth, and the sense of duty, are all overpowered by the dislike of application. The hope of eminence is, in the minds of such persons, relinquished with no great reluctance at the beginning: and the wish for it extinguished at a period, not
very far advanced. The company of those who are already eminent, and of those who promise to be eminent, is yielded, with now and then a pang perhaps, for the society of men of an inferior character; and this society, soon after, for companions still more humble. As the greater part of mankind have some degree of energy, and make exertions of some importance; the slothful man, unable to continue where any degree of vigour is found, slides down, from a total want of both, through one gradation of life after another; because he has not sufficient resolution, and cannot make sufficient efforts, to keep himself in any gradation. All industrious men despise sloth ; and no man can bear to continue where he is despised. A sense of the contempt, which the slothful man meets on account of his predominating character, increases the rapidity of his descent: for it renders him willing to leave a station in which, and companions from whom, he is perpetually exposed to this cutting humiliation. Within a short time, therefore, he arrives at the bottom.
This, however, is far from being all, or even the worst, of his degradation. His sloth is gross vice in itself; and eminently the object of the disesteem of the worthy, and the scorn of the worthless. The contempt, which he experiences, he feels himself to deserve. To every testimony against his useless life conscience joins her solemn Amen; and his heart with shame and silence confesses, that the finger of derision is deservedly pointed at him. A mere drone in the hive, he lives only on the labours of others. Irresistible evidence forces him to know himself, and to discern that others know him, to be a mere burden, hanging heavily on the shoulders of industry; a Nuisance to his neighbourhood, which every man wishes to see removed. Poor he is of course ; and that when all men see, that he might have possessed at least a competence. Ignorant he is, when all men see, that he might and ought to have been learned. Despicable he is, when even himsell feels, and often feels with a sting, that he might have sustain. ed an honourable character: but he wrapped his talents in a napkin, and buried them in the earth.
In the mean time, his sloth is a fruitful source of other vices. To gain the subsistence, and the comforts, which honestly flow from industry only, he is driven to a succession of shifts, and dan