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strong for either piety or prudence. I mean to caution you, at present, on a particular fault of the tongue, which effects my own profession, which is far from being foreign to the subject, and on which I deem myself both qualified and entitled to advise you.
Women, among other favourite objects, have their favourite systems of religion, and their favounite preachers; and, following the impulse of an honest affection, they are for establishing their favourite object on the ruins of every competitor. What is the conse. quence? In the event of difference of opinion, or of attachment, one man is unmercifully, unrelentingly run down, and another is, with equal want of reason, mag. nified and exalted. Women, young women, good young women, think they are only yielding to the impulse of a pious affection, when they applaud or censure this or the other public character. But what are they doing indeed? Blowing up one poor vain idol of straw into self-confidence and importance; and piercing through, on the other hand, an honest heart with anguish unutterable; perhaps robbing a worthy, happy family of its bread, or, what is more, of its peace and comfort. I am no stranger to what is by some termed religious conversation, and I am seriously concerned about the topics of it. It generally turns upon persons, not things. Now, it ought to be just the reverse. Persons always mislead us, for no one is wholly impartial: but truth is eternal and unchangeable. Apply then the rest.-Does the conversation dwell upon this man or his neighbour, his rival or his enemy-check it, away with it; what have the interests of piety to do in the case? Had he never been born,“ the foundation of God” would have stood as it does, without his feeble aid. Call no man master in sacred things, but Christ: and take care that you measure neither orthodoxy, sense nor virtue, by the imperfect, fluctuating standard of your own caprice, affection or understanding. Were similar punishment instantly to follow
the vices of the tongue, as in the case of Miriam, I shud. der to think how many a fair face now lovely to the sight, must by to-morrow morning stand in need of a veil; but not for the same reason that the face of Moses did on his descending from the mount, to temper its lustre; but to shroud its loathsomeness and de. formity. Consider what hath been said, and “set a watch on the door of your lips,” and “keep the heart with all diligence.”
HISTORY OF AARON.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in Mount
Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying, Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not en. ter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto Mount Hor: and strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there. And Moses did as the Lord commanded: and they went up into Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount. And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned
for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel. -NUMBERS XX. 23—29.
THE love of life is one of the most useful and important principles implanted in human nature; and death, the necessary end of all men, is an event, mercifully and in wisdom hid from our eyes. Hoping that we may live till to-morrow, we feel ourselves impelled to exert ourselves to-day, to make some provision for it. Not knowing the time of their death,
men are engaged to act as if they were immortal. And though no wise man would “ wish to live always,”
can deem it possible, yet the precise period never comes, when we find ourselves so entirely unoccupied with temporal prospects or pursuits, so totally mortified to the world, as to be disposed with cheerfulness to leave it. Hence the business of the world goes on, which would otherwise stand still; and that God of whose years there can be no end, is carrying on designs of everlasting moment, by frail and shortlived instruments. This man makes a few feeble, dying efforts, and expires. Another comes after him, takes up the instrument which his fellow had laid down, makes his stroke or two, and expires likewise; and yet by means of efforts so weak, so interrupted, and self-destroying, the purposes of Heaven proceed, the building of God rises; every loss is instantly repaired, every defect supplied, and no chasm in the chain of Providence is permitted to take place. Hence men are dignified with the title of fellow-workers with God, and the perishing attempts of perishing creatures are employed in maturing the plans of infinite wisdom, and are honoured by the acceptance and approbation of Him who “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” What a motive to diligence, exertion and
“I paint for eternity,” replied the great artist of antiquity, when reprehended for an over curious, painful and laborious attention, to the more nice and delicate touches of his favourite pieces. What a lesson of encouragement, admonition and reproof to christians! They are indeed acting for eternity; not like the painter, pursuing the empty bubble, reputation, but aiming at “the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls. They are striving continually to bring a new tribute of praise to God, and to promote the everlasting happiness of mankind. It is truly pitiable to see a poor creature cleaving to
life after the relish of it is gone, merely from a fond attachment to the things of time. It is more lamentable still to behold a miserable wretch shrinking from death, through a well-grounded horror of its consequences. But to desire life from a desire of doing good; to be willing to continue in the flesh, for the greater good of the church and of the world, argues a great, a noble and disinterested spirit; it excites our love and admiration. That man is indeed immortal, the daily language of whose conduct is, “Let me perform at least one good action more.
I know I am to die; let my tougue, then, yet once again speak praise to God and instruction to man, before it becomes for ever silent. Before the cold hand of death freezes up the genial current at my heart, let it pour out the gentle stream of kindness, sympathy and love. While this arm is able as yet to extend itself, and this hand to expand, let it be extended to protect the oppressed, to support the weak; let it be expanded to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to relieve the miserable. Ere my eyes close, to open no more, let some one of the wonderful things of God again pass through them, to revive my drooping spirits, to cheer and elevate my sinking soul; and before I divest myself of my robes of office, never to resume them, let me humbly endeavour to minister to the Lord, and to the spiritual wants of men, in the duties of my station."
Calm and composed as was the death of Aaron, we advance toward it with slowness and reluctance, and therefore with eagerness seize the occasion which scripture affords, of adverting to some further incidents of his life, before we come to the history of that fatal event.
It was with astonishment and grief, we saw him engaged in a plan of disaffection and sedition against his amiable and excellent brother; and in wonder mixed with terror, we observed the mingled lenity and severity of the punishment inflicted by God on that impi