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our Gardens: especially, when the fultry Heats render it irksome and fatiguing, to walk abroad by Day.How chearing to the Shepherd, the Use of this univerfal Lanthern; as He tends his fleecy Charge, or late configns them to their hurdled Cots! How pleafing to the Mariner, as He ploughs the Midnight Main; to adjust the Tackling, and explore his Way, under the Influence of this beaming Sconce !-For thefe, and other beneficial Purposes, the Hand of the ALMIGHTY has hung the ftately Branch on high; and filled it with a Splendour, not confined to a fingle Edifice, or commensurate to a particular Square, but diffusive as the whole Extent of the Hemifphere.
THE most faithful of our inferior Servants, are fometimes tardy in their Office, fometimes negligent of their Duty; but this celeftial Attendant is most exactly punctual, at all the stated Periods of her Miniftration. If we chufe to prolong our Journey, after the Sun is gone down; the Moon, during her whole Increase, is always ready to act in the Capacity of a Guide: if we are inclined to fet out, very early in the Morning; the Moon, in her Decrease, prevents the Dawn, in order to offer her Affiftance: and, because it is so pleasant a Thing for the Eyes to behold the Light; the Moon, at her Full, by a Course of un-intermitted WaitG 3
ing, never fails to give Us, as it were, a double Day. How apparently has the divine Wisdom interested itself, in providing even for the pleaJurable Accommodation of Man! How defirous, that He fhould want no Piece of commodious Furniture; no Kind of delightful Convenience! And, in Profecution of these benevolent Intentions, has annexed fo valuable an Appendage to the terreftrial Globe.Juftly, therefore, does the Pfalmift celebrate that admirable Conftitution, which ordained the Moon and the Stars to govern the Night, as an Inftance of rich Goodnefs, and of Mercy which endureth for ever*.
THE Moon, it is confeffed, is no luminous Body. All the Brightnefs, which beautifies her Countenance, is originally in the Sun, and no more than tranfmiffively in her. That glorious Orb is the Parent of Day, and the Palace of Light. From thence, the Morning-Star gilds her Hornt; from thence, the Planetary Circles
Pfal. cxxxvi. 9.
I might, to juftify this Expreffion, obferve; that the Planet Venus, vulgarly called the Morning Star, is found, by our Telescopes, frequently to appear horned; or to have a Crefcent of Light, fomewhat like the Moon, a little before or after her Conjunction. But this would be a Remark, too deep and refined for my Scheme; which proceeds only upon a fuperficial Knowlege, and the most obvious. Appearances of Nature.
are crowned with Luftre; and from thence, the Moon derives all her Silver Radiance.It is pleafing to reflect, that fuch is the Cafe with the all-fufficient Redemer, and his dependent People. We are replenished from his Fulness. What do we poffefs, which we have not received; and what can we defire, which we may not expect, from that never-failing Source of all Good? He is the Author of our Faith, and the Former of our Graces. In his unfpotted Life, we see the Path; in his meritorious Death, the Price; and In his triumphant Resurrection, the Proof of Blifs and Immortality. If we offend, and fall Seven times a Day, He is the LORD our Peace *. If we are depraved, and our best Deeds very unworthy, He is the LORD our Righteoufnefst. If we are blind, and even brutish in heavenly Knowlege, He is the LORD our Wisdom; his Word difpels the Shades, his Spirit scatters the intellectual Gloom, his Eye looks our Darkness into Day. In fhort, we are nothing, and "CHRIST is all." Worse than defective in ourselves, we are complete in Him." So that if we fhine, it is with delegated Rays, and borrowed Light. We act by a Strength, and glory in Merits, not our own.--O! may we be thoroughly fenfible of our Dependence on the Saviour! May we constantly imbibe his proG 4 pitious * Judg. vi. 27. ↑ Jer. xxiii, 6. || 1 Cor. i. 30.
pitious Beams; and never, by indulging Unbelief, or backfliding into Folly, withdraw our Souls from his benign Influences! Left we lofe our Comfort and our Holiness; as the fair Ruler of the Night lofes her Splendor, when her Urn is turned from its Fountain *, and receives no more Communications of folar Effulgence.
THE Moon is inceffantly varying, either in her Afpect, or her Stages.--Sometimes, her Face is all Luftre; anon, a radiant Crefcent adorns her Brow; foon, it dwindles into a lender Streak; till, at length, all her Beauty vanishes, and she becomes a beamless Orb.Sometimes, the rifes with the defcending Day, and begins her Proceffion amidst admiring Multitudes; ere long, fhe defers her Progrefs till the midnight Watches, and fteals unobserved upon the fleeping World.--Sometimes, she just appears on the Edges of the western Horizon, and drops us a ceremonious Vifit; within awhile, she sets out on her nightly Tour, from the oppofite Regions of the Eaft, traverses the whole Hemifphere, and never offers to withdraw, till the more refulgent Partner of her Sway renders her Presence unneceffary.--In a Word, she is, while Alluding to thofe truly poetical Lines in Milton, Hither, as to their Fountain, other Stars Repairing, in their golden Urns draw Light. PAR. LOST, B. VII. 1. 364.
while converfant among us, ftill waxing or waning, and " never continueth in one Stay.”
SUCH is the Moon; and fuch are all fublunary Things; expofed to 'perpetual Viciffitudes. --How often, and how foon, have the faint Echos of Renown flept in Silence; or been con- . verted into the Clamours of Obloquy? The fame Lips, almoft with the fame Breath, cry Hofanna and Crucify.--Have not Riches confeffed their notorious Uncertainty, a Thousand and a Thoufand times? Either melting away, like Snow in our Hands, by infenfible Degrees; or escaping, like a winged Prifoner from its Cage, with a precipitate Flight.--Have we not known the Bridegroom's Closet, an Antechamber to the Tomb; and heard the Voice, that so lately pronounced the sparkling Pair Husband and Wife, proclaim an everlasting Divorce; and feal the Decree with that folemn Affeveration, "Ashes "to Ashes, Duft to Duft?"Our Friends, though the Medicine of Life ; our Health though the Balm of Nature, are a moft precarious Poffeffion. How foon may the one become a Corpfe in our Arms; and how eafily is the other destroyed in its Vigour ?-You have seen, no doubt, a Set of pretty painted Birds, perching on your Trees, or fporting in your Meadows. You was pleased with the lovely Vifitants, that brought Beauty on their Wings, and Me