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Title: To a Youth at School

Creator: Religious Tract Society

Release date: June 30, 2020 [eBook #62528]

Language: English


Transcribed by David Price from the A. Applegath (c1800’s) edition, email


No. 18.



London: Printed by A. Applegath, Stamford-street; and sold by
J. Davis, 56, Paternoster-row; and by J. Nisbet, 21, Berners-street, Oxford-street.


Will you permit one, who was once in a similar situation with yourself, to present a Paper, the design of which is to promote your best interest?

Your parents regard you with tender affection and anxious hope.  Should it please Almighty God to spare your life, you will certainly be an instrument of increasing the great mass of sin and misery, or the small sum of piety and happiness.  How desirable to increase the latter!  It is at present uncertain what station you will fill, what influence you will possess, or by what circumstances you will be surrounded.  Man is born ignorant of every thing.  Education is necessary, because you have every thing to learn.  Impelled by duty to God and to you, your parents have placed you under the care of those whose instructions and admonitions, if rightly improved, will make you respectable and happy.  Next to Christian ministers, your teachers and governors sustain, in various respects, the highest and most important office in the world.  And since the time you will spend with them is short, you are under so much the greater obligation carefully to improve it.

When you rise in the morning, fail not to acknowledge your dependence on God, whose watchful kindness continually preserves you.  Adore him for his greatness and goodness.  Confess to him your guilt.  Beseech him to bestow pardon and purity of heart, through his Son Jesus Christ.  Pray earnestly for an increasing aptitude to learn, and for such continued aid as may enable you to realize the best wishes of your friends.  And while you pray for yourself, include your teachers, your schoolfellows, your parents, your friends, and all mankind.

Appear among the earliest in school.  A habit of p. 2punctuality indicates some fixed principle, and will be eminently to your advantage through life.  While in the school, maintain silent attention.  Let the foundation of your grammar-learning be laid deep: you are not to think it unreasonable that you are required to learn the same rules once and again.  This repetition fastens them in your memory.

Indulge a generous spirit of emulation, aiming to excel in every useful acquirement.  Be careful in the formation of intimate friendships.  If any of your schoolfellows discover bad dispositions, prudently avoid them.  Attach yourself to those chiefly who are diligent, thoughtful, and amiable.  Behave always in the most respectful manner to your teachers, and to all that occasionally visit you.  Avoid the extremes of bashfulness, and bold presumption; frankness and modesty form a happy union.  In diet, be moderate; in apparel, neat; among your companions, cheerful and kind.  The law of God is a law of love indeed; for it requires you to love every body; and every body to love you.  Never tell a lie, nor conceal one when it is your duty to make it known; at the same time, remember that a tale-bearer in a school is an odious character.

But my principal object is, to entreat your attention to the important concerns of the everlasting world.  You have read in your Bible, that Adam, the first of our race, was created in the image of God, a perfectly holy, just, and good man; but he soon apostatized from God, and so lost the divine favour and image.  We, descending from him, are necessarily partakers of his nature, and of the depravity with which it was stained.

Consider what you ought to be, and compare with that what you have been in heart and life, ever since you were able to distinguish good from evil; and you will be convinced that you are a SINNER.  It is therefore indispensably necessary that you have a Redeemer, and wonderful is the love of God in providing one:

“Not to be thought on, but with tides of joy.
Not to be mention’d, but with shouts of praise.”

p. 3His name is JESUS: he is a person of infinite dignity; his blood cleanseth from the guilt of all sin.  In that sacred fountain wash and be clean.

You have also as much need of a Sanctifier as of a Redeemer, for none but the pure in heart shall see God.  The Sanctifier is the Holy Spirit of God.  To be happy in Heaven, you must have a heavenly disposition.  “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.”  It is not long since you were born into the world; O that it may not be long before you are born again!

Bear with me, dear youth; let me detain your attention a little longer on a theme so important.  If a soul immortal is superior to a perishing body—if eternity is longer than time—if Heaven is higher than the ground we tread—if God, the great Fountain of being and bliss, is all in all; then your wisdom, duty, and happiness, all unite in this one point—your seeking the glory of God in your present and everlasting salvation.

The advantages of early piety are innumerable.  It is difficult to say how many dangers will be avoided, how many felicities attained!  The profane youth, listening to the advice of evil counsellors, and indulging the worst propensities of his nature, plunges at once into pollution and misery.  Health and peace, reputation and usefulness, are soon lost, but not easily regained.  In some cases all are absolutely irrecoverable.  The heart of a parent is filled with the most bitter anguish—the numbers of the wicked are increased, and their hands strengthened—good men are grieved and wounded—the holy name of God is dishonoured—and the immortal soul is swallowed up in the depths of hell!

On the other hand, if, in early life, you seek after the God of Israel, the most delightful consequences may be justly expected.  God will be glorified, and your everlasting happiness effectually secured.

Indeed, the manner in which you conduct yourself where you now are, creates those hopes on the one p. 4hand, or fears on the other, which most materially affect the happiness of your best friends.  Besides, you will long feel the effects of your present conduct.  If you are now idle, quarrelsome, selfish, mean, and regardless of religion; whatever change of character you may experience afterwards, you will be found to have invited difficulties and pains, which will more or less embarrass and torture you to the latest period of life; while diligence, kindness, liberality, and the love of God, will shed on your path that light “which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”  Thus will useful knowledge be stored up, and correction become unnecessary; your teachers will be well rewarded for their trouble, and your parents for all their cost: from school you will go into the scenes of business, and take your place among those, who, under Providence, are supplying the world with its comforts.

But religion conveys you far beyond these mortal employments: the Almighty Saviour stretches forth his hand to lead you into eternity.  And, Oh! what glorious instructions does he communicate along all the path!  He speaks of the love of God, the life of faith, the joys of heaven; when it is needful, he reproves; nor does he fail to encourage; he administers truth, and, superior to all earthly teachers, he opens the understanding that it may receive it.  But I must conclude.  Accept kindly the information and advice which have now been given with much freedom, but equal cordiality, by

A sincere, though unknown,


London: Printed by A. Applegath, Stamford Street, for the Religious Tract Society; and sold by J. Davis, at their Depository, No. 56, Paternoster Row; and by J. Nisbet, No. 21, Berners Street, Oxford Street.

[Price 1s. 4d. per 100.]
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