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perceived as I came. The words of Job struck my mind with great force as I left them:

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty, instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it*.'


It was a considerable time before I was enabled to shake off the ill effects induced in my mind, by reason of the conversation which I had overheard between the brothers. Not that my faith, (I bless the Great Author and Giver of it,) was in any danger of being overthrown thereby. For a faith like mine, founded in grace, will ultimately triumph over all the powers of nature. He that is born of an incor921, ible seed, liveth and abideth for ever; and therefore nothing corruptible can destroy it. It may apparently be choked with weeds, and 'may at times languish, and seem ready to die; but die it cannot, for the seed is incorruptible. And, by the way, I would desire my reader to 'set this down in the memoranda of his mind, as an everlasting maxim, that what originates in God cannot be lost by man. Divine teachings baffle all the malice of human reasonings.

-But my distress, induced by the conversation which I had heard, sprung from another source. There is in every man's heart, even

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when in a renewed state, a much stronger propensity to evil than good. Hence nothing is more easy than the introduction of a train of corrupt thoughts into the mind, which the greatest exertions, void of divine aid, cannot afterwards expel; while, on the contrary, the chaste and pure images of grace, tending as they do, in every instance, to mortify and subdue the corrupt desires of our nature; nothing but an higher influence than what is humani, can gain admission for them at the first, or cause them to be cherished when received. And this explains why it is that false impressions, from being more congenial to our nature, are more easy of access, and more permanent in their duration, than the true.

I know not, reader, what your feelings on this point are; but with me, I confess, this is quite the case. It is a work of much difficulty with me to keep alive in my mind the remembrance of some sweet portion of Scripture, or some delightful verse in a psalm or hymn, tó help me on to the hour of meditation and prayer. Whereas the idle, corrupt jingle, of some unmeaning song, which was lodged in the memory of my boyish days, too frequently rises to my recollection, in spite of all my endeavours to suppress it; and I fear that, if encou

raged, I could repeat it with the greatest exactness-Pause, to observe with me what a decisive proof this is of the remains of indwelling corruption !

It was an ill effect of this kind, which the sceptical conversation of the brothers left upon my mind. By the ludicrous turn which they gave to some portions of Scripture, and the impious and bold reasonings which they made on others, they gave birth to a train of images within me, which, like a spectre, arose continually to my view.

I stop the reader one moment again, to remark, (and what, I humbly conceive, if closely adopted, will not prove an unprofitable remark,) how little they consult their own happiness, who mix indiscriminately with the world, and who are not sensible of the dreadful consequences of seeing and hearing the corruptions which are going on in life. What, from the lightness and indifference to divine things, with which some treat the truths of God-and what, from the open contempt poured upon them by others, it is really like running into the midst of pestilence, to come within the circle of their society. Our eyes are purveyors of the evil, and our ears inlets of the corruption. And never was that aphorism of Solomon more neces

sary to be observed, than in the present moment: Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it; pass not by it; turn from it, and pass away*.' For my own part, I have never found my peace of mind so unbroken, as since I have totally withdrawn myself from all but the necessary and unavoidable intercourse with men of the world. By ceasing from their communion, we live out of the reach of the contagion of their principles, and we live above the influence of their good or bad opinion. And it is a max im of as much salutary consequence to the mind, as it is to the body, to breathe a pure atmosphere. You cannot come within the region of any thing filthy and corrupt, but its poisonous effluvia will attach themselves to you.

I have often thought what a peculiar providence it was, that while my mind was under the impression of such accumulated trials, God should direct my steps towards the means of relief. But so it was, that in prosecuting the path of my pilgrimage, as I passed the road, there stood an house on my right hand with this inscription in the front of it:

* Prov. iv. 14.


I CONSIDERED it then, as experience hath taught me to regard it many times since, as among the special appointments of a covenant God, that my path was directed this way. He hath promised to bring the blind by the way that they know not;' and in this instance nothing could be more pointed.

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I pity the man from my heart, who passeth through life, and discovers nothing of divine wisdom arranging and ordering all the events of it; and particularly in those instances where the Lord's enemies are promoting and forwarding, by their unconscious conduct, the very designs, which they are seemingly opposing. There is something very striking in proof of a divine superintendance, when men unintentionally fulfil that will, which all their designs and actions are directed purposely to thwart. When the sons of Jacob sold their brother for a slave, little did they dream that Joseph's future dignity and Israel's salvation were to result from this cruelty. Nay, (what is infinitely more important, and an higher testimony than this,) when the Jews had nailed the Lord of life and glory to the cross; whọ

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