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man as easily as He could save you or me. Had I been called to do so, I should have knelt by his cot in the prison and prayed for his soul with as much confidence as I would kneel by your bedside. Oh! the Lord, longsuffering, merciful, and gracious; height above all height, depth below all depth, and any man who cries for mercy shall get it. "But who would want to live a life hostile to the best interests of society, even though in his last moments he could make his peace with God and enter heaven? So I stand here before the young men, and I am going to have a plain talk with you, and I am going to offer you some safeguards. I shall not preach to you as a minister preaches to a formalistic congregation. I have no gown, or bands, or surplice; but I take you by both hands, my dear brother, and from what I know of life, and from what I know of God, and from what I know of the promises of Divine grace, I shall solemnly yet cheerfully address you. God gives me a great many young men here Sabbath by Sabbath, and it is my great ambition not only to reach heaven myself, but to take them all along with me. And I will, I will, God helping me.
The first safeguard of which I want to speak is a love of home. There are those who have no idea of the pleasures that concentrate around that word “home.” Perhaps your early abode was shadowed with vice or poverty. Harsh words, and petulance, and scowling may have destroyed all the sanctity of that spot. Love, kindness, and self-sacrifice, which have built their altars in so many abodes, were strangers in your father's house, God pity you, young man ; you never had a home. But a multitude in this audience can look back to a spot that they can never forget. It may have been a lowly roof, þut you cannot think of it this morning without a dash of emotion. You have seen nothing on earth that so stirred your soul. A stranger passing along that place might see nothing remarkable about it; but oh! how much it means to you. Fresco on palace wall does not mean so much to you as those rough-hewn rafters. Parks and bowers and trees on fashionable watering-place or country-seat do not mean so much to you as that brook that ran in front of the plain farm-house, and singing under the weeping willows. The barred gateway swung open by porter in full dress, does not mean as much to you as that swing-gate, your sister on one side of it, and you on the other; she gone fitteen years ago into glory, That scene coming back to you to-day, as you swept backward and forward on the gate, singing the songs of your childhood. But there are those here who have their second dwelling-place. It is your adopted home. That also is sacred forever. There you established the first family altar. There your children were born. In that room flapped the wing of the death angel. Under that roof, when your work was done, you expect to lie down and die. There is only one word in all the language that can convey your idea of that place, and that word is home.” Now, let me say that I never knew a man who was faithful to his early and adopted home who was given over at the same time to any gross form of wickedness. If you find more enjoyment in the clubroom, in the literary society, in the art-saloon, than you do in these unpretending home pleasures, you are on the road to ruin. Though you may be cut off from your early associates, and though you may be separated from all your kindred, young man, is there not a room somewhere that you can call your own? Though it be the fourth story of a third-class boarding house, into that room gather books, and pictures, and a harp. Hang your mother's portrait over the mantel. Bid unholy mirth stand back from that threshold. Consecrate some spot in that room with the knee of prayer. By the memory of other days, a father's counsel, a mother's love, and a sister's confidence, call it home.
Another safeguard for these young men is industrious habit. There are a great many people trying to make their way through the world with their wits instead of by honest toil. There is a young man who comes from the country to the city. He fails twice before he is as old as his father was when he first saw the spires of the great town. At twenty-one years of age he knows Wall Street from Trinity Church to East River docks. He is seated in his room at a rent of $2,000 a year, waiting for the banks to declare their dividends and the stocks to
After a while he gets impatient. He tries to improve his penmanship by making copy-plates of other merchants' signatures! Never mind-all is right in business. After awhile he has his estate. Now is the time for him to retire to the country, amid the flocks and the herds, to culture the domestic virtues. Now the young men who were his schoolmates in boyhood will come, and with their ox teams draw him logs, and with their hard hands will help to heave up the castle. That is no fancy sketch; it is every-day life. I should not wonder if there were a rotten beam in that palace. I should not wonder if God should smite him with dire sicknesses, and pour into his cup a bitter draught that will thrill him with unbearable agony. I should not wonder if that man's children grew up to be to him a disgrace, and to make his life a shame. I should not wonder if that man died a dishonorable death, and were tumbled into a dishonorable grave, and then went into the gnashing of teeth, The way of the ungodly shall perish. Oh! young man, you must have industry of head, cr hand, or foot, or perish. Do not have the idea that you can get along in the world by genius. The curse of this country to-day is genius--men with large self-conceit and nothing else. The man who proposes to make his living by his wits probably has not any. I should rather be an ox, plain, and plodding and useful, than to be an eagle, high-flying and good-for-nothing but to pick out the eyes of carcasses.
Even in the Garden of Eden, it was not safe for Adam to be idle, so God made him an horticulturist; and if the married pair had kept busy dressing the vines, they would not have been sauntering under the trees, hankering after fruit that ruined them and their posterity! Proof positive of the fact that when people do not attend to their business they get into mischief. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise; which, having no overseer or guide, provideth her food in the summer and gathereth her meat in the harvest.” Satan is a roaring lion, and you can never destroy him by gun or pistol or sword. The weapons with which you are to beat him back are hammer, and adze, and saw, and pickaxe, and yardstick, and the weapon of honest toil. Work, work, or die.
Another safeguard that I want to present to these young men is a high ideal of life. Sometimes soldiers going into battle shoot into the ground instead of into the hearts of their enemies. They are apt to take aim too low, and it is very often that the captain, going into conflict with his men, will cry out, “Now, men, aim high !" The fact is that in life a great many men take no aim at all. The artist plans out his entire thought before he puts it upon canvas, before he takes up the crayon or the chisel. An architect thinks out the entire building before the workmen begin. Although everything may seem to be unorganized, that architect has in his mind every Corinthian column, every Gothic arch, every Byzantine capital. A poet thinks out the entire plot of his poem before he begins to chime the cantos of tinkling rhythms. And yet there are a great many men who start the important structure of human life without knowing whether it is going to be a rude Tartar's hut or a St. Mark's Cathedral, and begin to write out the intricate poem of their life without knowing whether it is to be a Homer's “Odyssey" or a rhymester's botch. Out of one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine have no life-plot. Booted and spurred and caparisoned, they hasten along, and I run out and I say: "Hallo, man! Whither away?” “Nowhere !" they say. Oh! young man, make every day's duty a filling up of the great life-plot. Alas! that there should be on this sea of life so many ships that seem bound for no port. They are swept every whither by wind and wave, up by the mountains and down by the valleys. They sail with no chart. They gaze on no star. They long for no harbor. Oh! young man,
have a high ideal and press to it, and it will be a mighty safeguard. There never were grander opportunities opening before young men than are opening now. Young men of the strong arm, and of the stout heart, and of the bounding step, I marshal you to-day for a great achievement.
Another safeguard is a respect for the Sabbath. Tell me how a young man spends his Sabbath, and I will tell you what are his prospects in business, and I will tell you what are his prospects for the eternal world. God has thrust into our busy life a sacred day when we are to look after our souls. Is it exorbitant, after giving six days to the feeding and the clothing of these perishable