« PreviousContinue »
The friends of the subject of the following Memoir have felt themselves constrained by their affection for him, and by a desire to diffuse the influence of so bright an example of moral excellence, to embody in a more enduring form the memorials that are left of a brief, yet honorable and well-spent life. We are told by a wise man, that "honorable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor is measured by number of years. But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.” That life is long enough which fulfils life's great purpose ; and to the mature in virtue, no death can be untimely.
There never was a time, perhaps, when there was more need that honorable mention should be made of high moral attainment in early life. There is a strong tendency, in our age and country, to overlook and underrate the importance of character in the young. There is great
ambition in parents to give their children the best advantages of intellectual education, to hurry them into the world, and then to push their fortunes by every expedient. The signs of thrift and enterprise are watched with the most anxious eye.
But the formation and development of character, which is, after all, the only sure basis of permanent prosperity, are looked upon with comparative indifference. The consequence is, too often, ultimate and bitter disappointment. Without character, talent, acquisition and the most flattering prospects, are sure to make early and total shipwreck. Hence the spectacle, which all our large cities exhibit, of multitudes of young men, to whom life, though commenced under the most favorable auspices, is a complete miscarriage; who, instead of being ornaments to society, are its pests and scourges; instead of being the joy and comfort of their parents, are their sorrow and disgrace, bowing down whole families, in the midst of affluence and splendor, to mourning and tears. It is salutary, to show the young of our large cities, that the paths of temptation may be trodden, even by the inexperienced, uncorrupted and unsoiled ; that contact with the multitude by no means involves contamination with their vices; that the soul may maintain its purity in the midst of a tainted at