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youth is the proper time for subduing them. In other instances, the obstructions you encounter serve only to stimulate your industry and animate your efforts; and why then not in this? Be the discouragements what they will, the consequence is not, that you ought to desist from the attempt, but, that you ought to begin the sooner. For these obstacles, instead of lessening, will grow upon your hands; every moment you delay will but rivet your chains the faster, and give habit time to strengthen appetite. Besides, you have here advantages and helps towards this great work, which no other place, no other time, can afford. The retirement you enjoy from the great world, and the admirable order here established, were purposely meant to assist you in the science of selfgovernment, no less than in the acquisition of learning. The exclusion of all the most dangerous allurements to vice, of those amusements which excite the softer passions, of those cares and contests which provoke more violent emotions; the frequent and stated returns of divine worship, the exact distribution of time, the allotment of almost every hour to its proper employment, the necessity

necessity of a modest and uniform apparel, of temperate and public meals, of reposing at night under one common roof; all these things are most wisely calculated to keep the attention fixed on innocent and useful objects, to curb the imagination, to restrain extravagant desires, to induce habits of modesty, humility, temperance, frugality, obedience; in one word, SOBER-MINDEDNESS. It may be thought, perhaps, that the regulation of dress, and diet, and amusement, and such-like trifles, are below the notice of a great and learned body. But it is a mistake to think so. Order and regularity in the minutest points, tend to introduce them, nay, are necessary to introduce them, in the greatest; accustom the mind to restraint, and insensibly form it to the practice of vigilance and self-denial.

It is in short, the excellent discipline established in these societies, which is their greatest glory, and must be their firmest support. It is what most eminently distinguishes the Universities of Great Britain from all others in the world, and justly renders them the admiration of every one whom curiosity draws from other climes to visit them. This distinction,


distinction, then, so honourable to ourselves, so beneficial to those we educate, it is of the utmost importance for us to maintain with inflexible firmness and resolution. We cannot, without some hazard, give up the smallest article of good government; but in those points which relate immediately to morals, the least relaxation must tend to subvert our credit, and even endanger our existence. In a place sacred to virtue and religion, no species of vice, no kind of temptation to vice, can, for one moment, be tolerated or connived at. We shall not be allowed to say in our defence, that we only kept pace with the manners of the age: this will be deemed our reproach rather than our excuse. It is our business, not meanly "to follow a multitude to do evil;" not to conform to the corrupt fashions of the times, but by our precepts and our example to fortify our young disciples against them. It is evident that the world expects from us a more than ordinary degree of watchfulness over our conduct. It expects that the correction of national abuses should begin here. And the expectation is not unreasonable. Whence




should general reformation take its rise, if ever it rise at all, but from the two great sources of Learning and Religion? We are as lights set on an eminence, shining at present, indeed, in a dark place, in the midst of luxury and profusion, but able, perhaps, by degrees, to disperse the gloom of the surrounding prospect. If we cannot check the excesses of the present age, we may at least crush future extravagancies in their birth, by infusing into our youth those lessons and those habits of frugality, abstinence, and sober-mindedness, which are essential to the welfare both of the universities and of the state.

II. The other great branch of sobermindedness, which we must recommend to is the government of the under

young men, standing.

There is a great variety of intellectual errors, into which, without a proper conduct of the understanding, or, in other words, without a sound and well-cultivated judgment, the young student will be extremely apt to fall. Of these I shall single out only one, against which it seems at present more



peculiarly necessary to caution him, and that is an insatiable thirst for novelty. The Athenians, we know, in the decline of their state," spent their time in nothing else but “ either to tell or hear some new thing* In this respect, whatever may be the case in others, we fall very little short of that ele gant but corrupt people; and the greater part of those who write for popular applause, are determined at any rate to gratify this extravagant passion. For this purpose they hold it necessary to depart as far as possible from the plain, direct road of nature, simplicity, and good sense; which being unfortunately pre-occupied by those great masters of composition, the ancients, and such of the moderns as have trod in their steps, leave them no room in that walk for the distinction at which they aim. They strike out therefore into untried and pathless regions, and there strain every nerve,


and put in practice every artifice, to catch the attention and excite the wonder of mankind. Hence all those various corruptions in literature, those affectations of singularity and originality, those quaint conceits, abrupt


Acts xvii. 21,

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