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sary to be observed, than in the present mo. ment: “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 For my own part, I have never found my peace of mind so unbroken, aş since I have totally withdrawn myself from all but the necessary and unavoidable intercourse with men of the world.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 maxim 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.
THE HOUSE OF THE INTERPRETER.
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 no- thing could be more pointed.
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 tes. timony than this,) when the Jews had nailed the Lord of life and glory to the cross; who
should have thought, that from that very cross all the everlasting happiness of his people was to spring? And, (to compare small things with great,) when the persecutions of my relations, the false reasonings of the author whose book I had read, and the conversation of the infidel brothers, which all conspired to give me such distress, became the very foundation under God of my establishment in grace ; who will but conclude, that such a peculiar coincidence of circumstances cannot be the result of any thing fortuitous, but cometh forth, (as the prophet speaks,) from the Lord of Hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working*'
It will be, no doubt, one portion of the felicity of heaven, to look back and trace the whole of our eventsul history to the full. But it is now, in my esteem, walking in the highway of communion with God, when at any time we are enabled to trace it in part here below.
· The house of the interpreter. I have read of such an house, and of such a character, as being in the pilgrim's path, when in my days of childhood. ; But I knew not at that time, that I should myself live to behold either of them realized. A thought, however, struck me, as
* Isaiah xxviii. 29.
I read the inscription : "Perhaps I may find here some help to explain to me the difficulties with which I am at present exercised!' I recollected what Job had said, that if there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness; then he is gracious unto him*.' Encouraged by these considerations, I drew near to the house. The door was wide open. Jesus hath said, “Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut itt.' I found that it opened into a spacious vestibule ; in one of the compartments of which there was written, in large characters, as follows:
THE RULES OF THIS FAMILY.
First, It is expected that every one who comes under this roof, fail not to be present at Family Prayer, and the reading of the Scriptures.
Secondly, It is hoped that beside these things, attention be given to the private engagements of the closet. They who be. gin the day in prayer, will probably find cause to end it in praise.
Thirdly, The Apostle's maxim is to be invariably followed, under the Divine blessing: in all things having conversation as becometh the Gospel of Christ: that no corrupt communication may proceed out of the mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephes. iv. 29.
Lastly, Whatsoever is done in word or deed, all is to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Coloss. iü. 17.
To every one who, looking up for grace to render it effectual, sincerely desires to act in conformity to these rules, the good man of the house saith, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord, wherefore standest thou without ?' Gen. xxiv. 31.