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penfive Thoughts drop their Load of Sorrows, and the bufy ones reft from the Fatigue of intense Application. Moft reviving Cordial! Equally beneficial to our animal and intellectual Powers. It fupples the fleshly Machine, and keeps all its nice Movements in a proper Pofture for easy Play. It animates the thinking Faculties with fresh Alacrity, and rekindles their Ardor for the Studies of the Dawn. Without these enlivening Recruits, how foon would the most robust Conftitution be wafted into a walking Skeleton; and the most learned Sage degenerate into a hoary Idiot? Some time ago, I beheld, with Surprize, poor Florio. His Air was wild, his Countenance meagre, his Speech roving and difconcerted. Inquiring the Cause of this strange Alteration, I was informed, That, for several Nights, he had not closed his Eyes in Sleep. For Want of which noble Restorative, that sprightly Youth, who was once the Life of the Discourse, and the Darling of the Company, is become a Spectacle of Mifery and Horror.
How many of my Fellow-Creatures are, at this very Inftant, confined to the Bed of Languishing, and complaining, with that illuftrious Sufferer of old, Wearifome Nights are appointed to me? Inftead of indulging foft Repose, they are counting the tedious Hours; telling every friking Clock; or measuring the very Moments
Job vii. 3.
by their throbbing Pulfe. How many, harrassed with Pain, moft paffionately long to obtain some little Truce from their Agonies, in peaceful Slumbers? How many, fick with Difquietude, and restless even on their downy Pillows, would purchase this tranfient Oblivion of their Woes, almost at any Rate?-That, which Wealth cannot procure, which Multitudes figh for in vain, thy GOD has bestowed on Thee, times out of Number. The welcome Vifitant, punctual at the needed Hour, has entered thy Chamber, and poured his Poppies round thy Couch. Has gently clofed thy Eye-lids, and fhed his flumberous Dews over all thy Senfes. '
SINCE Sleep is fo abfolutely neceffary, so ineftimably valuable, observe, what a fine Apparatus Almighty Goodness has made, to accommodate us with the balmy Bleffing. With how kind a Precaution He removes whatever might obftruct its Access, or impede its Influence. He draws around us the Curtain of Darkness, which inclines us to a drowfy Indolence, and conceals every Object that might too strongly agitate the Senfe. He conveys Peace into our Apartments, and impofes Silence on the whole Creation. Every Animal is bidden to tread foftly, or rather to ceafe from its Motions, when Man is retiring to his Repofe. May we not difcern, in this gracious Difpofition of Things, the tender Cares is helple 12
of a Nurfing-Mother; who hufhes every Noife, and fecludes every Disturbance, when She has laid the Child of her Love to Reft? So, by fuch foothing Circumftances, and gently-working Opiates, HE giveth, to his Beloved, Sleep*.
ANOTHER fignal Inftance of a Providence intent upon our Welfare, is, That we are preferved Safe in the Hours of Slumber. How are we then loft to all Apprehenfion of Danger, even though the Murderer be at our Bed-fide, or his naked Sword at our Breaft. Deftitute of all Concern for ourselves, we are unable to think of, much more to provide for, our own Security. At these Moments, therefore, we lie open to innumerable Perils: Perils, from the refiftless Rage of Flames: Perils, from the infidious Artifices of Thieves, or the outragious Violence of Robbers; without either Vigilance to obferve the Foe, or Strength to refift the Affault: Perils, from the Irregular Workings of our own Thoughts, and especially from the Incurfions of our fpiritual
* Pfal. cxxvii. 2. 1
+ I think, it is referable only to a fuper-intending and watchful Providence, that We are not hurried, when our Imagination is heated, and our Reafon ftupefied by Dreams, into the most pernicious Actions.
We have fometimes heard of unfortunate Perfons, who, walking in their Sleep, have thrown themfelves headlong from a Window, and been dafhed to Death on the Pebbles. And whence is it, that fuch difaftrous Accidents are only related as Pieces of News,
tual Enemy. What dreadful Mischief might that restless, that implacable Adversary of Mankind work, were there not an invifible Hand to controul his Rage, and protect poor Mortals? What
News, not experienced by Ourfelves, or our Families? Were our Minds more fober in their Operations, or more circumfpect in their Regards? No, verily : nothing could be more wild, than their Excurfions; None more inattentive to their own Welfare. Therefore, if we have laid Us down, and flept in Peace; it was because the LORD vouchfafed Us the sweet Refreshment: if We rofe again in Safety; it was, becaufe the LORD fuftained Us with his unremitted Protection.
Will the candid Reader excufe me, if I add a fhort Story, or rather a Matter of Fact, which I know to be true?-Two Perfons, that had been hunting together in the Day, slept together the following Night. One of them was renewing the Purfuit in his Dream; and, having run the whole Circle of the Chace, came, at laft, to the Fall of the Stag. Upon this He cries out with a determined Ardour; I'll kill him: I'll kill him: and immediately feels for the Knife, which He carried in his Pocket. His Companion, happening to be awake, and obferving what paffed, leaped from the Bed; and, being fecure from Danger, ftood (for the Moon fhined into the Room) to view the Event. When, to his inexpreffible Surprife, the infatuated Sportsman gave feveral deadly Stabs, in the very Place, where a Moment before, the Throat and the Life of his Friend lay. This I mention, as a Proof, that nothing hinders Us, even from being Aaffins of Others, or Murtherers of Ourselves, amidit the mad Sallies of Sleep, only the preventing Care of our heavenly Father,
What Scenes of Horror might he reprefent to our Imaginations, and "scare us with Dreams, "or terrify us with Visions *?" But the Keeper of Ifrael, who never flumbers, nor fleeps, interpofes in our Behalf; at once to cherish us under his Wings, and to defend us as with a Shield. It is faid of Solomon, "That Three"fcore valiant Men were about his Bed, all ex"pert in War, every one with his Sword upon "his Thigh, because of Fear in the Night †.” But One greater than Solomon, One mightier than Myriads of armed Hofts, even the great JEHOVAH, in whom is everlasting Strength, HE Vouchfafes to watch over our fleeping Minutes, and to ftop all the Avenues of Ill.-O! the unwearied and condefcending Goodness of our Creator! Who lulls us to our Rest, by bringing on the filent Shades; and plants his own ever-watchful Eye as our Centinel, while we enjoy the needful Repose.
REASON, now, refigns her fedate Office; and Fancy, extravagant Fancy, leads the Mind
*What a compleat Mafter that malignant Spirit is, in exhibiting vifionary Reprefentations, appears from his Conduct towards CHRIST on the high Mountain; and that he is too ready, if not reftrained by an over-ruling Power, to employ his Dexterity in afflicting Mankind, is evident from his Treatment of Job. See Luke iv. 5. Job vii. 14.
+ Cant. iii. 7, 8.