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of Israel, I would ask, and strongly too, Is the account of justice towards that nation settled? Is the long arrear of Gentile gratitude to that nation discharged ? For to what blessing shall we refer, in the long catalogue of our own mercies, which we have not derived from Israel ?
Amidst the sorrows and vicissitudes of life, do we find daily consolations from God? Under the terrors of conscience, do we behold a peaceful asylum in the Gospel of Christ? By the bed of dying worth, or at the oft-frequented grave of departed friendship, do we wipe away our tears in the prospect of a sure and certain hope of a resurrection to the life eternal ?
From whence do all these consolations flow? They flow to us from Judah. The Volume of God was penned by Jewish hands; the Gospel was proclaimed by Jewish lips; yēa, that Sacred Victim on the cross the world's only hope, the sinner's only joy,—wears not even he the lin'ěaments of the children of Abraham ? And, without the blush of self-abasement, can we speculate any longer on our indifference to the Jewish cause, and coldly complain, that we feel not here that energy of sympathy, which we can feel on other appeals to our compassion ?
Christians ! at length remove the stigma; repay the debt; redeem the time; admit the claims of justice ; yield to the impulse of gratitude; feel, toil, supplicate for those, whose forefathers felt, and toiled, and prayed for you!
Think, I pray you, of all their former grandeur, and contrast it with their present desolation. Such a contrast raises, even under ordinary circumstances, a keen emotion in the human heart. No sympathy is so strong as that, which is drawn forth by fallen greatness. The extent of the ruin is the very measure of that emotion. Why does the traveller fondly linger amidst the scenes of ancient art, or power, or influence? Why, for so many a year, has the poet and the philosopher wandered amidst the fragments of Athens or of Rome? why paused, with strange and kindling feelings, amidst their broken columns, their mouldering temples, their deserted plains ? It is because their day of glory is passed; it is because their name is obscured, their power is departed, their influence is lost! The gloomy contrast casts a shade over the renown and the destiny of man.
Similar emotions have, indeed, been often felt amidst the scenes of Jewish fame. The forsaken banks of Jordan, where the Psalmist once might tune his lyre, and utter his prophetic songs; the blighted plains of Galilee, where the Saviour might often bend his lonely steps to cheer the widow's dwelling; the ruined city, once the terror of surrounding nations, the forgotten temple, whose walls once echoed back the accents of that voice," which spake as never man spake;"—these images and memorials of former days have often produced a solemn sadness in the minds of those, who have visited the shores of Palestine; and these feelings have responded to the affecting complaint, “Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem is a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire, and all our pleasant things are laid waste.”
But is there no emphasis of sadness to be found in the sordid and degraded state of those, who wander through the world forgotten and forlorn, though once the honoured servants, the favoured children, of the Lord ?
Shall the sculptured stone, the broken shaft, the timeworn capital, even the poor fragments of some profane sanctuary_shall these affect so deeply the heart? and shall the moral ruin, the spiritual decay, the symptoms of eternal perdition--shall these vestiges of desolation excite no feeling in our bosoms? And where is a ruin to be found so mournful, and so complete, as that which the moral aspect of Judah now presents to our view ?
The Influence of Devotional Habits and Feelings, happy at
In every age, and in every condition of life, the influence of devotion is highly needful and important. The adoration of the great Source of all enjoyment, by whose providence all exist, and from whose goodness all derive the comfort of their existence, is an employment worthy of the human faculties, reasonable in itself, and productive of the most excellent dispositions.
In the day of prosperity, what more natural or becoming, than the language of praise at the throne of God? in the hour of adversity, what more suitable or consoling, than the expression of confidence in the divine government, and the wish that devotion breathes, " Father, not my will, but thine, be done?” in the whole conduct of life, in all the events of this ever-varying scene, what more likely to keep the mind in a calm and tranquil state, or to render the present moral discipline efficacious in preparing us for future eminence and glory, than the habit of devout intercourse with the great Father of our spirits ?
A practice so excellent in maturer life, is recommended to youth by reasons peculiarly forcible. Piety, a crown of glory to the hoary head, is an ornament of peculiar beauty upon that which has not seen many years. It is the language of the most absurd and fatal folly, that religion and its duties are not suited to the innocent gayety of youth; that devotion belongs to those only, who have passed that period; and that it will be sufficient to think of preparing for a future state, when we begin to lose our relish for the present
Such sentiments as these are not, I hope, adopted by any of those young persons, to whom I address myself. The reverse are such as they ought to maintain; such as, alone, are worthy of a rational mind. Is it reasonable, my young friends, that, living as you do upon the bounty of Providence, you should feel no gratitude, nor express any thankfulness for its bounties ? that, dependant as you are upon
God for life, and health, and all things, you should live without any regard for your unceasing Benefactor, and think yourselves improperly employed when celebrating his praise ?
Are the blessings you receive undeserving of your thanks? Are you
insensible of the value of kind relations, judicious friends, and wise instructers; of bodily strength and activity; of cheerfulness of mind; of all the numberless means, by which life is not only supported, but rendered happy? Is it possible that you should not see and feel the ingratitude of employing your best days, and your most vigorous powers, without one thought of God; and of contenting your selves with the resolution of devoting to his service the imbecility of old age ?
With so many monuments of death around you; with so many awful warnings of the uncertainty of life, even at your period of it; is it not the height of presumption and folly, to defer the formation of a religious and devotional temper to a period, which, it is probable, or at least possible, may never arrive?
Have you seen so little of life, as not to know, that the feeling and conduct of maturer years, and of old age, are almost invariably marked by the character which distinguished the youth; that the man, who neglected God and religious duties when young, becomes more averse from them as he advances in life, and leaves the world with the same irreligious temper with which he entered upon it; unimproved by the events that have happened to him, bearing no similitude to God, without the favour of his friendship, and unprepared for the joys of his presence? Or, is this the envied character you desire to form ? is this the happy end to which you aspire ? is such the life you wish to lead? or such the death you hope to die?
My young friends, let not any evil suggestions enslave you, and prevent you from pursuing that conduct, which reason and Scripture pronounce to be honourable and safe. If it be an awful thing to die without hope of future happiness, it is an awful thing to live every moment liable to death, without those dispositions, which, by the wise appointment of Almighty God, are necessary to obtain the blessedness of the world to come.
The Seasons.--MRS. BARBAULD.
Who may she be, this beauteous, smiling maid,
Who from the south is this, with lingering tread
From her the brooks and wandering rivulets fly;
Who may he be that next, with sober pace,
Who is he from the north that speeds his way?
ye can, The name and lineage of this aged man.