Sivut kuvina

teazed with the show, or tempted with the trinkets, or mingled with the jostling multitude. When gravity goes into the company of levity, we cannot wonder that the inconsistency of such an introduction excites the merriment of the world.

Primitive Christianity set forth a very opposite proceeding, we never hear that early converts lingered on the precincts of forbidden pleasures, or even neutralized their danger by certain temporizing pleas of necessity or liberality; but instead of going back into the way of the foolish to warn their late companions of destruction, they came out from among them, as if convinced themselves, and as examples evince to others, that there is no safety from temptation, but in determined flight; because temptation finds an ally in our fallen nature, ready to assimilate with every evil which can encounter its frailty; by venturing on the confines of the world ostensibly to allure some few from the throng, we may be impelled into the centre, and get mingled with its votaries, at first by a train of circumstances too insignificant to be foreseen, and finally, when combined, too potent not to be dangerous.


The impulse David received to recount his mercies, actuated him to seize every opportunity of singing the praises of the Lord, but David did not carry his harp into the haunts of opposing or careless multitudes, he struck its chords at a distance from noise or folly, the sound of his voice was borne remote from vanity or controversy, and only heard by those who would quit all other music to listen. come hither and hearken all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul."-Psalm lxvi. 16. This invitation is to a description of persons who have the fear of the Lord before their eyes; who are delighted to track the path of heavenly wisdom, fascinated by the symphonies of grace, till it leads them to a believer's retreat; secluded with such companions, the inspired minstrel recites his history; and all David's brethren have a similar tale of beneficence to proclaim, and equal cause with him to resound the praises of Jehovah with harmony of heart and voice.

A personal view of distinguishing grace has a similar tendency in each of its participators; they severally desire to record those incidents which, under providence, have contributed to

discover effects full of blessedness. In cherishing such testimonies of divine faithfulness, the most insignificant recipient is not behind the highest saint; it is the bounty commemorated, not the object of it, to recall the ways of the Lord, not to authenticate his own, which will give the believer a tenacious memory.

The train of reflections which absorbed me during my journey to the coast of a distant western county, were calculated to prepare the mind for that series of altered principles which were subsequently received into my understanding, and adopted into my affections. How often we shall find this to be the case! Let any one watch the links of life, and they will discern that the mind is frequently and decidedly put under an especial regimen, as a preparative for some remarkable changes in our existence by which precautionary wisdom we are duly dieted for the circumstance that is to mark futurity.

Those who have had the Holy Spirit for their preceptor, will distinguish his balmy instructions to their thoughts, when the aspect of outward events seems threatening, and earthly advisers give comfortless counsel. Even if our

eyes are holden, so that we do not perceive who gives us sweet conversation by the way, our blindness is no impediment to Almighty compassion. Jesus continues to walk by our side, and the Holy Ghost breathes warmth and peace into our hearts.

[ocr errors]

Such was my happy experience in retiring from the diversified scenes of the metropolis, its ample sources of entertainment, its choice store of mental associates, the brilliant and elegant aspect of wit, and wealth, and fashion; these had been exhibited to me, as they have been to every youthful candidate for their favour and celebrity, and I had learnt what others also know how ineffectual the combination of reason and imagination to preserve the attractions of life from fading! I had found their perfume so evanescent, that the flowers were flung away even before their bloom was withered. I thought their graceful colouring valueless, when I discovered that their possession ended in satiety.

If the allurements of the world perish in the using, there is another page in our knowledge which must be often read over with contemplative retrospection. Sorrow is inseparable from our being, and perhaps all the festivities we

frequent, are but so many inventions to mollify the intrusive heart-ach, which corrodes every pleasure. Gaiety, like the festoons of the deadly nightshade, is wreathed round our judgment; and, whilst its clustering flowers show rich and graceful to the eye, its poisonous influence is perishing the stamina of our mind.

In the most ardent pursuit of felicity, have we not been arrested by sickness? Has not the sight of death solemnized our thoughts, bringing us by an unforeseen road into communion with ourselves? And in this examination have we not found sources of remorse which had been smothered by the gaudy spectacle of life; motives of action, which had remained undiscovered because unexplored, and when now beheld, casting a dense shadow of infirmity over our whole character?

Such transitions are often felt by the youngest candidates for happiness; we appear to yield to some impelling circumstance, which throws an impediment on our impatience, while, in truth, the incident which has crossed our wishes and arrested our swiftness, is but an agent in the employ of Providence. Many messengers were sent after me while I strove to win a prize

« EdellinenJatka »