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So the weep

THE power of confirmed habit is almost invincible. It is a

strong man armed." ing prophet considered it, when lamenting over a people that had grown old in iniquity. He did not mean to declare it an absolute physical impossibility to change a natural habit, as it is for the Ethiopian to change his skin or the leopard his spots ; but by a strong expression, in the language of poetry, to assert that it is extremely difficult and is rarely done.

In the present chapter, I solicit attention to your early habits.

We have considered knowledge as preparatory to the formation of principles; and principles, as preparatory to the formation of character, or settled habits of conduct.

I. In regard to the importance of early habits, it is obvious to remark

1. That they are those most easily formed. Childhood and youth, like the pliant clay upon the potter's wheel, are susceptible of being moulded with comparative ease, to various forms. Or to vary the illustration, if life be compared to a race, youth is the setting forth; before an uncontrollable momentum is acquired, almost any course may be taken. Or if human life be compared to the growth of a tree, youth is the twig or the sapling, which may be easily bent in any direction.

2. Not only are early habits the easiest formed, but the hardest to alter. You can with much more ease change or abandon a habit formed at fifty, than one formed in youth. There is always through life a strong proneness to return to the habits first formed. They are the deepest, firmest, most natural, most unwilling to forsake you.

" Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.”

part from it.

“ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." And for the same reason, train up a child in the way he should not go, and when he is old he will not de

Hence it is said of the man who has grown old in iniquity, “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust." It frequently happens that men who had formed vicious habits in youth, but had brought them into subjection during the strength of prosperous manhood, as trouble or age advance fall a prey


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to them again, and sink under them into an igno minious grave.

3. The habits early formed, will go far towards determining the character of your society. In this country, where there is no pedigree of rank, titles, wealth or nobility, it is left for every young man to decide for himself what his society shall be. The kind of society into which he is early introduced, will depend very much upon the habits which he early forms; and in the kind of company with which he sets out, he is most likely to continue. It is very difficult and rare for a man to change his company. He almost never does it, unless from some powerful religious impulse. One of the mightiest holds that Satan has upon his young friends, is through the influence of their companions. Hence the author of the inspired proverbs urges it, as one of the strongest inducements to early right habits, 66 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous."

• He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but the companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

4. By the habits which you now form, you will secure or forfeit the confidence and patronage of the community. By far the greater proportion of young men, are destitute of large pecuniary means, They have no other capital than their character. This if it is good, is the best, but if bad it is the worst capital in the world. Most of those who

have acquired wealth and risen to distinction in other respects, have done it without pecuniary capital to start with. They have accomplished it chiefly through the direct and indirect influence of the habits which they early formed ; and in no respect were their habits more important to them, than in the valuable confidence and support of the community which they secured.

Your success or final failure in business, must therefore depend very much upon your early-formed habits. In rising into successful business without capital, or from a small beginning, many trials must be encountered and many difficulties surmounted. If you do not readily succeed, you are in danger of becoming discouraged and of falling into the gulf of dissipation. But form right habits, persevere in them, so as to secure the sympathy and confidence of good men, and all the trials, difficulties, and disasters which befall your early efforts, will at length give way, and a plain path will open before you. Every young man owes to himself the duty which Paul enjoined on Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth.” It is the duty of every young man not to be despised. He ought so to conduct, as to secure the confidence and esteem of all who know him.

5. It is exceedingly probable that the habits which you form in youth, will determine the future and everlasting condition of your soul. They

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certainly will, if you die young; and they most probably will, if you live to old age. When we consider how large a proportion of our race are cut down in youth, and of those who live to old age in sin, how few then abandon their sinful habits and form a character fit for Heaven, is it too strong to say, that the moral habits which you form in youth, will in all probability fix your character and condition for eternity ?

II. Let us then proceed to specify some of the most important habits to be early formed.

1. A habit of proper subordination and respect towards all superiors in age or rank, is of first importance. It is equally a law of nature, of civilized society, and of religion, which enjoins the duty; and the young man who transgresses this law, must lay his account with a heavy rebuke from both God and man.

Insubordination to parental authority, and a want of grateful filial affection, is a sin of deep die; and none is sooner or more certainly overtaken with judgment. “The eye that mocketh at its father, and despiseth to obey its mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." "He that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." There are scores of scriptures of similar import;

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