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The woodman, to his cottage bound,
Close to that grave is wont to tread :
Break not the silence of the dead.
Obedience to the Commandments of God rewarded.-MOODIE.
The heathen, unsupported by those prospects which the Gospel opens, might be supposed to have sunk under every trial; yet, even among them, was sometimes displayed an exalted virtue : a virtue, which no interest, no danger, could shake : : a virtue, which could triumph amidst tortures and death: a virtue, which, rather than forfeit its conscious integrity, could be content to resign its consciousness forever. And shall not the Christian blush to repine ?-the Christian, from before whom the veil is removed; to whose eyes are revealed the glories of heaven?
Your indulgent Ruler doth not call you to run in vain, or to labour in vain. Every difficulty, and every trial, that occurs in your path, is a fresh opportunity, presented by his kindness, of improving the happiness, after which he hath taught you to aspire. By every hardship which you sustain in the wilderness, you secure an additional portion of the promised land. What though the combat be severe ? A kingdom,--an everlasting kingdom,-is the prize of victory. Look forward to the triumph which awaits you, and your courage will revive. Fight the good fight, finish your course, keep the faith : there is laid
a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give unto you at that day,
What though, in the navigation of life, you have sometimes to encounter the war of elements ? What though the winds rage, though the waters roar, and danger threatens around ? Behold, at a distance, the mountains appear: your friends are impatient for your arrival : already the feast is prepared, and the rage of the storm shall serve only to waft you sooner to the haven of rest. No tempests assail those blissful regions which approach to view : all is peaceful and serene :--there you shall enjoy eternal comfort;
and the recollection of the hardships which you now encounter shall heighten the felicity of better days.
The Promises of Religion to the Young.-- ALISON.
In every part of Scripture, it is remarkable with what singular tenderness the season of youth is always mentioned, and what hopes are afforded to the devotion of the young. It was at that age that God appeared unto Moses, when he fed his flock in the desert, and called him to the command of his own people. It was at that age he visited the infant Samuel, while he ministered in the temple of the Lord, “in days when the word of the Lord was precious, and when there was no open vision.” It was at that age
that his spirit fell upon David, while he was yet the youngest of his father's sons, and when, among the mountains of Bethlehem, he fed his father's sheep. It was at that age, also, “that they brought young children unto Christ, that he should touch them: And his disciples rebuked those that brought them : But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said to them, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.''
If these, then, are the effects and promises of youthful piety, rejoice, O young man, in thy youth !-rejoice in those days which are never to return, when religion comes to thee in all its charms, and when the God of nature reveals himself to thy soul, like the mild radiance of the morning sun, when he rises amid the blessings of a grateful world.
If, already, devotion hath taught thee her secret pleasures; if, when nature meets thee in all its magnificence or beauty, thy heart humbleth itself in adoration before the Hand which made it, and rejoiceth in the contemplation of the wisdom by which it is maintained; if, when revelation unveils her mercies, and the Son of God comes forth to give peace and hope to fallen man, thine eye follows, with astonishment, the glories of his path, and pours, at last, over his cross those pious tears which it is a delight to shed; if thy soul accompanieth him in his triumph over the grave, and entereth, on the wings of faith, into that heaven “where he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” and seeth the “society of angels, and of the spirits of just men made perfect,” and listeneth to the “everlasting song which is sung before the throne :"-if such are the medita
tions in which thy youthful hours are passed, renounce not, for all that life can offer thee in exchange, these solitary joys. The world which is before thee,—the world which thine imagination paints in such brightness,-has no pleasures to bestow which can compare with these; and all that its boasted wisdom can produce has nothing so acceptable in the sight of heaven, as this pure offering of thy infant soul.
In these days, “the Lord himself is thy Shepherd, and thou dost not want. Amid the green pastures, and by the still waters” of youth, he now makes “thy soul to repose." But the years draw nigh, when life shall call thee to its trials; the evil days are on the wing, when thou shalt say thou hast no pleasure in them;" and, as thy steps advance, “the valley of the shadow of death opens, through which thou must pass at last. It is then thou shalt know what it is to “remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” In these days of trial or of awe," his spirit shall be with thee," and thou shalt fear no ill; and, amid every evil which surrounds thee, “he shall restore thy soul. His goodness and mercy shall follow thee all the days of thy life;" and when, at last, “the silver cord is loosed," thy spirit shall return to the God who gave it, and thou shalt dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
On the Swiftness of Time.-DR. JOHNSON.
The natural advantages, which arise from the position of the earth which we inhabit, with respect to the other planets, afford much employment to mathematical speculation, by which it has been discovered, that no other conformation of the system could have given such commodious distributions of light and heat, or imparted fertility and pleasure to so great a part of a revolving sphere.
It may be, perhaps, observed by the moralist, with equal reason, that our globe seems particularly fitted for the residence of a being, placed here only for a short time, whose task is to advance himself to a higher and happier state of existence, by unremitted vigilance of caution and activity of virtue.
The duties required of man are such as human nature does not willingly perform, and such as those are inclined to delay, who yet intend, some time, to fulfil them. It was, therefore, necessary, that this universal reluctance should be counteracted, and the drowsiness of hesitation wakened into resolve; that the danger of procrastination should be always in view, and the fallacies of security be hourly detected.
To this end all the appearances of nature uniformly conspire. Whatever we see, on every side, reminds us of the lapse of time and the flux of life. The day and night succeed each other; the rotation of seasons diversifies the year; the sun rises, attains the meridian, declines and sets; and the moon, every night, changes its form.
The day has been considered as an image of the year, and a year as the representation of life. The morning answers to the spring, and the spring to childhood and youth. The noon corresponds to the summer, and the summer to the strength of manhood. The evening is an emblem of autumn, and autumn of declining life. The night, with its silence and darkness, shows the winter, in which all the powers of vegetation are benumbed; and the winter points out the time when life shall cease, with its hopes and pleasures.
He that is carried forward, however swiftly, by a motion equable and easy, perceives not the change of place but by the variation of objects. If the wheel of life, which rolls thus silently along, passed on through undistinguishable uniformity, we should never mark its approaches to the end of the course. If one hour were like another; if the passage of the sun did not show that the day is wasting; if the change of seasons did not impress upon us the flight of the year, quantities of duration, equal to days and years, would glide unobserved. If the parts of time were not variously coloured, we should never discern their departure or succession; but should live, thoughtless of the past, and careless of the future, without will, and, perhaps, without power, to compute the periods of life, or to compare the time which is already lost with that which may probably remain.
But the course of time is so visibly marked, that it is even observed by the passage, and by nations who have raised their minds very little above animal instinct : there are human beings, whose language does not supply them with words by which they can number five, but I have read of none that have not names for day and night, for summer and winter.
Yet it is certain, that these admonitions of nature, however forcible, however importunate, are too often vain ; and that many, who mark with such accuracy the course of time, appear to have little sensibility of the decline of life. Every man has something to do, which he neglects; every man has faults to conquer, which he delays to combat.*
So little do we accustom ourselves to consider the effects of time, that things necessary and certain often surprise us like unexpected contingencies. We leave the beauty in her bloom, and, after an absence of twenty years, wonder, at our return, to find her faded. We meet those whom we left children, and can scarcely persuade ourselves to treat them as men. The traveller visits, in age, those countries through which he rambled in his youth, and hopes for merriment at the old place. The man of business, wearied with unsatisfactory prosperity, retires to the town of his nativity, and expects to play away his last years with the companions of his childhood, and recover youth in the fields where he once was young.
From this inattention, so general and so mischievous, let it be every man's study to exempt himself. Let him that desires to see others happy, make haste to give while his gift can be enjoyed, and remember, that every moment of delay takes away something from the value of his benefaction: and let him, who proposes his own happiness, reflect, that, while he forms his purpose, the day rolls on, and “the night cometh, when no man can work.”
Lines written by one who had long been resident in India, on his
return to his native country.--ANONYMOUS.
Where all are strange, and none are kind,--
That pants, that struggles, for repose.
* Pron. cum'-bat.