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they are undecided, irresolute, cowardly. To cowardice, my auditors, to Cowardice in daily life, we may impute many, if not most of its failings and infelicities. Hence that strange Auctuation between good and ill apparent in such numbers: hence their want of energy, clearness, efficiency, in what is right : hence their mean subjection, their hameful slavery, to what is wrong. To Cowardice we may generally impute their not thinking for themselves, their not living to their consciences, their not venturing to oppose the tyranny of the mode, their indulging customs of which they are ashamed, their frequenting company which they do not approve, their making compliances which their judgdements condemn; their often fuppressing or dissembling the better feelings of their own hearts, left they should forfeit the applause of such as have none; their sometimes treating with neglect or unkindness those whom they cannot but esteem, for fear of not pleasing an opposite
party, for whom perhaps after all they feel not half the real respect. In a word, they dare not trust their success, or their reputation, to Truth, to Virtue, and to Heaven: they are in bondage to petty interests and dispiriting apprehensions. A few generous, determined, manly efforts, might, with God's assistance, set them free: but they are enfeebled and debased by pufillanimity; a pusillanimity which, on other subjects, many of them would dildain. I verily believe, there are many who could mount a breach, or face a cannon, with more firmness than they could stand the laugh of a titled profligate, or of a rich fool, where religion or morals were -concerned; nay, who could charge like a thunder-bolt through the ranks of war, and yet, like “ a reed shaken by the wind," tremble at the breath of reproach, or derision, from a common acquaintance, on the score of doing well. Nor have I much doubt but there are others who could harangue with boldnefs- before the greateft assembly on earth, and yet be terrified at the idea of being seen, by one worthless companion, to bow with veneration before the Lord of the universe. I even suspect, that among those who pique themselves most on their bravery, there are some so very bashful, that to be caught in the act of conversing like christians, and immortals, would overwhelm them with confusion.
To any one indeed who has not lived where Virtue is unmodish, this may appear incredible: he will not be able to conceive how few in comparison have the courage to assert her rights, or openly to reverence her laws; “ to confess their « Saviour before men,” and follow stedfaftly his exalted standard, independent of temporal regards and reigning maxims. A youth not yet acquainted with thefe would be surprised, were I to tell him that the language I now hold will be pitied by many, and laughed at by more. But what then? Let not this or aught else discourage you, my dear Sir, from cultivating a Manly Spirit in its highest description. Be assured, that Vice in every shape is weak at bottom, let her boast what hardiness she will. Be assured, that bad men are seldom long without their secret terrors, however artfully these may be dissembled. Soon or late, “ Conscience " makes cowards of them all.” The only genuine, comprehensive, and invincible, courage is inseparably connected with universal rectitude and religious hope. Study universal rectitude, and cherish religious hope. Wherever indeed the first is found, nothing but mistake or melancholy can exclude the last. Under their joint auspices you will have nothing to apprehend : animated by a sense of that Divine Presence which guards the righteous, you will even “ mock at fear,” like. the war-horse in the book of Job.But why do I speak of fo noble a crca-. ture? It is wonderful what resolution-the ·
meanest animals derive from believing themselves protected by beings of a higher order. How then should he be tèrrified at the prospect of danger, or the feeling of distress, whose heart tells him that Omnipotence is on his fide; who has no unrepented guilt to dalh his confidence in his Creator, and no unworthy passion to darken his views of that futurity, the faith of which has in every age emboldened the weakest spirits, as well as elevated the strongeft?-_“-Trust not, Gentlemen, trust not fingly to the ardour of an ambitious, or to the force of a masculine mind. In the days of youth, and of expectation, they can perform wonders : bût there are seasons and circumstances, when without superior aid they will prove miferable auxiliariés. A train of misfortunes will generälly disarm them; ill health will spoil them of their trophies; decrepitude will " put them to open fhame ;” and Death, grim Death, will " lay their honour in " che duft."