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gious instruction, that such instances are few. Com paratively speaking, it is certain, that they are few 80 few, as to leave it still an undeniable truth, that a good education is seldom so totally thrown away as that, sooner or later, its fruits do not appear. Those young persons who were religiously educated, yet whom false maxims, or pernicious example, had enigaged to imitate the follies of worldlings, seldom persist in stilling the remorse caused in their hearts, by the opposition between their consciences and their conduct. They are carried away for a time, but often, through the mercy of God, and the bias their minds so eariy received, with no worse effect than to superadd the lessons of their own experience to those of early instruction. They were often told that the pleasures of virtue are the only real pleasures; that those of the world are empty and bitter ; that the fulfilment of duty is the road to contentment, and that serving the world is purchasing insipid enjoymenis at a very dear rate. They perceive, some sooner, some later, but almost all perceive at last, that those maxims are truths, and then it is that they recall and resolve to act on the salutary instructions of their youth. There have been some, it is true, who un fortunately persevered, even to the evening of life, in their ungrateful abuse of the graces conferred in a religious education; but even those have been known to prove on the bed of death, by their contrition and sincere return to their Creator, that the fear of God, which they had early imbibed, had not completely lost its influence, nor the virtuous impressions made on them by a good education had been entirely effaced. However, those are graces due to none, and Feast deserved by those who most presumptuously depend on them. The danger of abusing so great an advantage as a religious education, should ever be present to the minds of those who receive it, and stimulate them to acquire such a store of virtue in
eir youth, as may strengthen them to resist the
dangers they have to encounter iu after-life. The allurements of the world are dangerous to all, but are particularly to be dreaded for females, who seldom possess sufficient firmness to resist example, and who frequently from their cradle manifest a love of the world, of extravagance and show, with a passion for pleasure and endless variety-dangerous propensities, that in sume young persons appear quite destroyed, but afterwards prove to have been only dormant, from the absence of objects and occasions calculated to rouse them. It becomes their duty in particular, to remember their Creator in the days of their youth before the time of affliction come; to endeavour to correct the faults inherent in their characters; to profit of the blessings of a religious education; to guard against inapplication while at school, and to avoid, at their departure, inconstancy, in the virtuous habits they have acquired.
Those being the great evils which sometimes tend to prevent the good effects of the best education, the object of this work is to assist youth in guarding against them—to lead them early into the path of piety, and enable them to persevere in that path during life. The young persons for whom The Ursuline Manual is expressly intended, will perceive that it is nothing more than a collection of their ordinary Devotions, with the addition of such spiritual exer cises as they may require on extraordinary occasions, which will prevent the necessity of multiplying Pray. er Books. The preparation for approaching the Sacraments, in particular, is explicit and detailed ; to give them all the instruction they require for the due performance of such solemn duties; and to impress them with a just idea of their importance. The other abridged instructions comprised in this volume will, it is hoped, refresh and invigorate the impressions already made, and from the brevity of their form bo less easily forgotten than the more ample ones usually given on those important points.
As very few prayers enter into the system laji down for their conduct during the period of their education, for the purpose of leaving more leisure for attending to their studies and attaining the several ends for which they are placed at school, it becomes particularly incumbent on them to sanctify these studies, und not to allow whim or caprice to influence their conduct in the discharge or neglect of wawir school duties, lest the habits of sloth or indifference which they then indulge, may predispose their minds for much more serious omissions in the weighty avocations of after-life. Their principal efforts then should tend to the attainment of piety, and the acquiring of a certain solidity of character, which is founded on good sense, and directly opposite to the fickleness, affectation, and false timidity, which make many young ladies appear almost fools, whom nature did not intend for such.
Solid information and the improvement of their minds are the next objects to be kept in view. They should always recollect that, after the pleasures derived from virtue, those to be found in the pursuit of knowledge, are the purest and most worthy of a rational being. Study improves the memory, forms the judgment, and if diligently and judiciously pursued, will give them such resources in their own minds, as will render them in after-life independent of idle visiters and conversations, with other still more dangerous amusements which a vacuity of mind renders necessary to some young ladies. In labouring tu cul. tivate their minds, they should endeavour to imitate chose great ornaments of their sex, whose knowledge kept pace with their sanctity—such as St. Catharine of Alexandria, St. Catharine of Sienna, &c. The example of the former, in particular, who is the Patroness of many celebrated schools, should direct young persons in the pursuit of learning, and also in the use to be made of mental acquirements. From her humility, meekness, diffidence in herself, and contempt
for all worldly learning, when compared with the inost trifling improvement in virtue, they will perceive the folly of setting great value on their acquirements, and still more of making an ostentatious show of such rosources in conversation or otherwise. That ridicu. lous method of shining would never be adopted by young ladies, could they be convinced that it produces an effect directly contrary to their intentions. In aiming at an exhibition of the extent of their knowledge, they frequently show only its limitsmand, at all events, prove that their conceptions of science in general must be very narrow, when they so much overrate their own trifling acquirements.
The general vocation of christians is, to live in the world—to sanctify themselves in the world and to do good in the world according to their abilities. Therefore young persons should not forget to form their manners, and to qualify themselves in every other respect for mixing in society. The manners of those who profess piety, contribute materially to render it attractive or repulsive in the eyes of the generality of persons who judge only by appearances. Gentleness, forbearance, condescension, deference for others, and forgetfulness of self, are the dictates of charity, which is genuine politeness, and therefore should be observable in every christian's exterior comportment. The elegant manners, and all the forms and ceremonies of refined society, should not be neglected, provided they do not degenerate into those extravagant compliments, which have neither sense nor sincerity. This polish is by no means incompatible with the spirit of religion, as is proved by the example of many great saints, who, though most accomplished in the eyes of the world, were not on that account less plearing in the sight of God.
The period of leaving school is peculiarly critical, even for those young persons who had conducted themselves with most piety, and profited in every respect of the advantages they enjoyed in the course of their education. The liberty which then succeeds to restraint and their intercourse with such a variety of characters, whose principles differ materially from those they have been accustomed to consider as the only safe guides for their conduct, sometimes effect a greater change in a few months, than would be ex. pected after a lapse of years. St. Augustine says of himself, that, “having been recalled home from his studies at sixteen years of age, vices began to spring up in his heart like briers in a neglected ground, and that they multiplied, because there was no discreet hand to pluck them out." Those young persons who would be sorry to say the same from experience, and thus to lose the happy fruits of their early efforts in the service of God, ought to follow the advice of St. Francis of Sales, who counsels " a christian to enter the world with great fear, to live in it with great watchfulness, and to guard against the poisonous infection of its air, by the strong antidotes of serious reflection and devout prayer. They should seriously reflect, before they leave school, on the graces they received during their residence there, and dwell particularly on the fruits that will be expected from those graces. It is to give them leisure for those reflections, and to dispose their minds, by prayer, for profiting of them, that, in several religious seminaries, a short retreat is appointed for those who have finished their studies, and are about to return home. That retreat is a last and very great grace annexed to their religious education, of which they should endeavour to profit, by giving their undivided attention to the means prescribed for going through it fervently, and endeavouring particularly to draw from the reflections of those few days, three very necessary dispositions for persons who are on the eve of entering the world. First, a holy fear of its dangers; because those dangers will never be sufficiently guarded against, if they be not sincerely dreaded-secondly, the utmost diffi. dence in their own strength, knowing that the least of