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until He was thirty years old, although in His twelfth year He gave proof of the powers of His mind before the scribes. By this we are taught not to appear in public at too early an age, but rather to think about great and godly things while young, and thus to acquaint ourselves with them.
Shall I warn a Christian youth against avarice and ambition, when these vices were considered despicable even among the ancient heathens ? Whoever is given to avarice will not become a Christian ; for this vice has not only ruined individuals, but has also annihilated flourishing empires, demolished powerful cities, and destroyed every republic that has been infected by it. Whenever it overpowers a human being, it stifles every noble aspiration. Avarice is a fatal poison, which is spreading rapidly and has become one of our powerful adversaries. Yet through Christ we are enabled to overcome it if we are His earnest followers ; for He Himself has battled with and overcome this vice.
I will not speak against fencing, although I think that it behooves a Christian to abstain from the use of arms as far as is compatible with public peace and safety. For God, who crowned David with victory when he met Goliath with no other weapon than a sling, and who protected the defenceless Israelites against the pursuing enemy, will also keep and protect us ; or, if He sees fit to do so, He can strengthen our hands and fit us for the strife. Hence, if the youth would practise fencing, let it be for the purpose of defending his native country and protecting his own kin.
Finally, I would that all youth, especially those that are intended for holy orders, might think as the inhabitants of ancient Massilia did, who admitted only those to citizenship that had learned a trade, by means of which they were able to provide for their own necessities. If this rule were enforced among us, idleness, the cause of all wantonness, would soon be eradicated from our midst, and our bodies would become much healthier and stronger.- Education ; translation of VICTOR WILKER expressly for THE LIBRARY OF UNIVERSAL LITERATURE.