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their course by the resemblance of this shadowy form to the substance of their anxious hope; but when land appears, the fallacy of that pursuit which mocked them is immediately discovered. The soul as truly wanders over a boundless waste of conjecture in pursuit of an ideal Saviour, while we endeavour to illustrate Scripture by the delineations of unaided reason, and it as surely discerns the illusive phantom to be a dissolving pageantry of the fancy, when the gospel as it is in Jesus rises in simple majesty to our view.
Resolutions of prudence dictated to the youthful parents of an increasing family, that it was better to withstand the allurement of pleasant introductions; and the limited competence possessed made it equally appropriate on my part to assent to their wishes, consequently the retirement of our little circle was uninterrupted.
My kind hostess was constantly active in the blithe and varied industry of housewifery: her mornings passed between these hospitable cares and maternal pleasures, while the summons to every meal collected our trio round a neat and moderate board, the focus of family endearment, and cheerful familiarity. We were
none of us too wise to be happy at trifles, so that we gathered a great deal of innocent mirth into each day's possession, which would have been rejected by those who never receive pleasure, when it is not acquired with difficulty, and then it arrives after its expectants have been so fatigued in the preparation that their spirits are too weary to give it a welcome.
Having such an affluent supply of time, I determined to expend it alternately in contemplations upon the knowledge I had purchased, and in gathering stores from every source for wider investigations. Our sojourn on the suburbs of a large town was to me as a quiet resting-place, by whose refreshing silence I sat down to ruminate ere I was called to go forward on the way side, which terminates in "the valley of the shadow of death.”
My reason having renounced its expectations from the busy intricacies of general intercourse, I determined to seek the abode of piety and virtue among the sheltered recesses of lifeanxious not to suppose them visionary because they were hidden from public gaze.
In order to profit by my lucubrations, it was
needful to fix a plummet line, by which deviations from the standard of attainment might be positively discerned.
The law of honour is only binding upon those classes which are sufficiently refined to be actuated by its requisitions: while its statutes correct the asperities of selfishness, they do not extend to its extirpation. The inefficiency of the law of honour has been expressed by an eminent orator, who in eulogising its ascendancy did not seem aware how he betrayed its imbecility.
In his eloquent sympathy over the afflicted Majesty of France, Mr. Burke laments the decay of that ennobled pride, which subjugated reason and sentiment to its dominion, while it took the manners under its tuition, and beneath whose chivalrous influence "vice itself," adds Mr. B. "lost its evil by losing all its grossness."
When the world's most accomplished companion lends the organ of his elegant taste for the proclamation of such an avowal, we must reject the weak pretensions of that law of honour to supremacy, which instead of seeking a remedy for guilt, only supplies a mantle of attractive hypocrisy to enwrap that "horrid
sight, a naked human heart." This, then, is all that the moral legislation of man can effect, when confederated with every principle, and habit, and passion of his nature. He can polish sin till it irradiates the hemisphere, and its artificers may see to walk by their own sparks; but to extinguish sin is so utterly beyond his power, that even the hope seems far from his expression.
Let us, then, abandon the code of honour they acknowledge, to its framers and supporters among the statesmen, the warriors, the noble and philosophic in life's voluminous annals, and seek elsewhere a model which shall be proportionate to that purity the soul so eagerly desires.
To what law shall we resort, which while it is commensurate with the need of man, is at the same time commensurate with the holiness of his Creator? When sin entered, it defiled the natural conscience, which is now become an ignorant guide, a self-seeker, and a selfpleaser. Though oftentimes efficient in our dealings with each other, because adequate to the moral associations of the world, conscience partakes too much of the stain of a ruined
nature to be a right expositor of the will of God.
Notwithstanding all our boasted strength, how easily does a misled imagination, or a perverted judgment, surrender this very principle into the dominion of error. Paul acted conscientiously in persecuting the Christians; and many zealots since the Apostle have a similar plea for their cruel devastations; but the sincerity of any purpose does not of course constitute that purpose to be holy, just, and true.
The thunderbolt of the fall blasted the conscience of the creature, and reduced all its exertions not only within a confined circle, but gave a ubiquity of motion which will not dare to encounter the requisitions of a divine command; for in every thing that his natural conscience dictates, man consults his own benefit in priority to the sovereignty of God.
Selfishness in every act of our reason, every enjoyment of our affections, and every amiable quality of our temper, is that deadly infusion whereby Satan rendered man a heresiarch to his Maker; the religion of natural conscience, as it is called, is the religion of self, so that all we pray, and all we purpose upon such a