« AnteriorContinuar »
to all; for many auses, pass their d with care, no racting thoughts, augment in prothem: they count ne drags heavily and the cheering sence of pleasur eir friends. The mental distraction of mankind, weed eg and peace neerified s are surof pleasueselg to les of of bed fo asure pe cpeci shadega pesan
pret out) Come
ch,songs heaviivsed eg an Breae cheerisado 9 rall calatof pleasueselg to
God's Love for Man daily manifested.
To enumerate all the blessings which the mercy of God has bestowed upon us from the first moment of our existence to the present period, would be as impossible as to stand upon an eminence and count the stars of heaven. How many benefits have we received in our infancy, which are now entirely forgotten! From how many dangers, open or concealed, have we been delivered! From how many impending evils have we escaped; and how often has God provided for our wants, and confounded the incredulity of those who regarded assistance as hopeless! Each day of our lives adds to the sum of the favours we have received. Each time that the sun illumines the eastern horizon, and that his departing beams leave a radiance of glory in the west, the goodness of God is manifested. And what greater and more striking proofs can we have of his Divine love, than our being redeemed through the sufferings of Jesus Christ! that we have the holy scriptures of truth to point out those certain rules, which lead to life and to happiness! and that from our earliest infancy we are permitted to imbibe the pure principles of Christianity, safe from the machinations of bigotry and the terrors of persecution!
From these considerations it will appear to be wholly impossible to number the blessings we receive from God. Let us confine ourselves to a single day, and endeavour to compute the mercies we receive in that short space: light, air, food, strength, a habitation, and friends, amusements and pleasures, and the renewed powers and activity of the mind, with a thousand others each individual may enumerate. May our minds be impressed, and our hearts softened, by these daily instances of God's love; and by frequently meditating upon them, may our gratitude be elicited, and our virtue strengthened and improved! The more
The author calculates that we receive from God 12 blessings every minute relative to respiration; 30 relative to our understanding and will; and 6000 relative to the different parts of our bodies: consequently God grants us, each minute, 6042 blessings, and 362,520 every hour of life.'
we employ ourselves in such reflections, the more we shall be disposed to reverence the power of the Almighty, and be delighted in celebrating his praise.
Tranquillity of the Night.
THE care of Providence to secure our repose during the absence of day claims the utmost gratitude and admiration. When night spreads her sable mantle over the earth, a universal stillness reigns, and announces to all creatures a cessation from their toils, and invites them to soft repose. To aid this general calm, nature suspends the action of those things which, by their vivid impression, would interrupt its duration. Animals, whose restless activity might disturb our sleep, have themselves need of repose; the birds retire to their nests, and the domestic animals sleep around us. But this dead calm is not alike agreeable to all; for many who, from pain, sickness, and various causes, pass their nights in dreary watchfulness, oppressed with care, no sooner lie down, than, preyed upon by distracting thoughts, their sufferings and their troubles seem to augment in proportion as every thing is tranquil around them: they count the hours as they slowly pass, and the time drags heavily till the first streaks of morning break, and the cheering rays of the sun restore to them the presence of pleasurable objects, and the intercourse of their friends. The number of these victims of disease and mental distraction are few compared with the great mass of mankind, whom health of body, ensured by temperance, and peace of soul, obtained by good works, always procure sweet and uninterrupted slumbers. After the fatigues of the day, we hail the approach of evening with pleasure; and as the gloom thickens, and spreads a deeper shade, we feel the influence of sleep gradually diffused over our frame, and, stretched along at ease on the downy couch, soon confess its grateful power. But how often does man break in upon the midnight hour, and disturb the general calm of nature!
The tumultuous uproar of the drunkard, and the wild levity of the libertine, often trouble the repose of the peaceable, and interrupt their slumbers. Can these thoughtless beings ever reflect upon their general disturbance of the peace, or have any respect for the ordinances of God! At the very hour of their heedless noise, and riotous mirth, they are, perhaps, rendering more distracted the last moments of some poor helpless creature that imagines a short repose might ease her agony, or they break the slight repose of some unfortunate person who has long solicited it in vain.
How happy are the true believers, who have passed through the sleep of death to their God! They are released from all the miseries and vexations of a life passed in continual dangers and alarms, and their repose is no longer disturbed by numberless pains and anxieties! Freed from all misery, their souls no more shall be oppressed by grief, nor their joy be exchanged for sorrow and bitterness; but blessed in the Lord, their peace shall be perfect.'
Winter is an Emblem of Life.
DURING the winter days we experience a continued succession of vicissitudes; flakes of snow, showers of rain, clouds and sunshine, storms and calms, quickly follow each other. Scarcely has the snow enveloped nature in its pure veil, when it vanishes from our view; and scarcely does the sun reveal his splendour, when he becomes obscured by the dark clouds. So in the moral world we witness as frequent variations. If, during winter, many days are dark, gloomy, and dull, so also are many of the scenes of life; and as storms and darkness are necessary and conformable to the wise laws of nature, so also adversity will strengthen the mind, and render better the heart of man.
Who can prevent the day from being darkened by clouds, or our happiness from being the sport of contingencies, and at the mercy of other men? It is as impossible for our souls to enjoy an uninterrupted calm, as for the
face of the heavens to be continually smooth and serene; and as impossible for our frame to be free from pains and accidents, as for the air to remain always destitute of clouds. Passions which often produce good effects will, likewise, sometimes occasion the most fatal consequences, and may be justly compared to the storms and tempests which perturb the face of nature. And as the winter is a source of fertility to the earth, so the afflictions and hard treatment we sometimes experience may be a means of increasing our wisdom and our virtue. Darkness teaches us how to esteem and value the presence of light, the continued brightness of which would dazzle and fatigue our sight; and a fine serene day never gives us more pleasure than when it is preceded by gloomy and tempestuous weather. Neither should we be so sensible of the blessings of health, if we had not learned its value by painful experience.
We are in general too apt to exaggerate our evils, and magnify our sufferings; the events of the world, and the accidents of life, are rarely so lamentable, as in the gloominess of our thoughts, and the ardency of our imagination, we represent them. We are so blinded by pride, self-love, and affectation, that we consider every little evil that befalls us as of the first consequence; whilst we never think of the many advantages and comforts with which we are favoured, and which far exceed the trifling inconveniences we may suffer. Even what we regard as the greatest evils may be converted to our ultimate gain, if we conform ourselves to the views of Divine Wisdom. Do we not see the snow, the tempests, the winds, and the frost, and all the changes of the season, are the means which God uses to grant us new favours? When the sky has long been lowering, and the clouds gathered thick, when the storm and the tempest have threatened, how soon has light been restored to the heavens, and joy and gladness again smiled on the earth! The heavier the showers are, the sooner the clouds are drained; the more intense the darkness, the greater is the pleasure when the sun restores the day. Adversity only fills up a part of our life, and often when the storm threatens to break over our heads we are going to be relieved from our trouble.
Let us therefore bow without murmuring to the dispen