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55. Virtues of Washington,
134. Extract from Speech in U. S. Senate,
135. Liberty and Government,
136. Midnight Scene in Rome-the Coliseum,
137. Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning
PARKER'S FOURTH READER.
An Address to Young Persons.—BLAIR.
1. I INTEND, in this address, to show you the importance of beginning early to give serious attention to your conduct. As soon as you are capable of reflection, you must perceive that there is a right and a wrong in human actions. You see that those who are born with the same advantages of fortune are not all equally prosperous, in the course of life. While some of them, by wise and steady conduct, attain distinction in the world, and pass their days with comfort and honor, others, of the same rank, by mean and vicious behavior, forfeit the advantages of their birth, involve themselves in much misery, and end in being a disgrace to their friends, and a burden on society.
2. Early, then, may you learn, that it is not on the external condition in which you find yourselves placed, but on the part which you are to act, that your welfare or unhappiness, your honor or infamy, depends. Now, when beginning to act that part, what can be of greater moment than to regulate your plan of conduct with the most serious attention, before have yet committed any fatal or irretrievable errors?
3. If, instead of exerting reflection for this valuable purpose, you deliver yourselves up, at so critical a time, to sloth and pleasures; if you refuse to listen to any counselor but humor, or to attend to any pursuit except that of amusement; you allow yourselves to float loose and careless on the tide of life, ready to receive any direction which the current of fashion may chance to give you, - what can you expect to follow from such beginnings?
4. While so many around you are undergoing the sad consequences of a like indiscretion, for what reason shall not those consequences extend to you? Shall you attain success without that preparation, and escape dangers without that precaution, which are required of others? Shall happiness grow up
to you, of its own accord, and solicit your acceptance of it when, to the rest of mankind, it is the fruit of long cultivation, and the acquisition of labor and care?
5. Deceive not yourselves with those arrogant hopes. Whatever be your rank, Providence will not, for your sake, reverse its established order. The Author of your being hath enjoined you to "take heed to your ways; to ponder the paths of your feet; to remember your Creator in the days of your youth." He hath decreed, that, they only "who seek after wisdom shall find it; that fools shall be afflicted, because of their transgressions; and that whoever refuseth instruction shall destroy his own soul."
6. By listening to these admonitions, and tempering the vivacity of youth with a proper mixture of serious thought, you may insure cheerfulness for the rest of life; but by delivering yourselves up, at present, to giddiness and levity, you lay the foundation of lasting heaviness of heart.
7. When you look forward to those plans of life which either your circumstances have suggested or your friends have proposed, you will not hesitate to acknowledge, that, in order to pursue them with advantage, some previous discipline is requisite. Be assured, that whatever is to be your profession, no education is more necessary to your success than the acquirement of virtuous dispositions and habits. This is the universal preparation for every character, and every station in life.
8. Bad as the world is, respect is always paid to virtue. In the usual course of human affairs, it will be found that a plain understanding, joined with acknowledged worth, contributes more to prosperity than the brightest parts without probity or honor. Whether science, or business, or public life, be your aim, virtue still enters, for a principal share, into all those great departments of society. It is connected with eminence, in every liberal art; with reputation, in every branch of fair and useful business; with distinction, in every public station.
9. The vigor which it gives the mind, and the weight which it adds to character; the generous sentiments which it breathes; the undaunted spirit which it inspires; the ardor of diligence which it quickens; the freedom which it procures, from pernicious and dishonorable avocations; are the foundations of all that is highly honorable or greatly successfu! among men.
10. Whatever ornamental or engaging endowments you