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Shall we then feel less gratitude in this case than towards a human benefactor? Shall not his cause be our cause? His glory our desire, aim, and end? We cannot come before him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh; but we can offer him the richer oblation-the purer incense the costlier gift of our homage, and our heart. We can devote to him our life; we can consecrate to him our talents; our influence over others; our wealth, if we possess property. We can promote the interests of truth and piety by our example; we can diffuse the knowledge of his name by the dissemination of his word; we can comfort the afflictedsuccour the oppressed—relieve the needy-instruct the ignorant. To the unsheltered, we can point out a hiding-place from the wind; to the houseless, a covert from the tempest; to the persecuted, a refuge from the storm; to the weary, a shadow from the heat; to the wanderer, a guide who will never leave him. The only return which Jehovah demands is the HEART; My son, give me thine heart for if the heart be his, all the faculties and powers of the soul and mind-body and spirit will be but the tools and instruments of its devotedness. Let our prayer then be that the Lord would put his fear into our hearts, and we shall not depart from him; that he would put his Spirit within us, and we shall not forsake him; that he would cause us to hear his voice, and we will run after him; above all, that he would seal to our souls this promise of the Friend that sticketh closer than a Brother-" As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave THEE."
WHAT CAN IT BE.
AFTER family worship, Mr. Harrington was accustomed to explain to his children some of the leading truths which they had just heard. On one of these occasions the chapter was Luke x. the last verse of which is, "One thing is needful," &c. The following dialogue took place between Mr. and Mrs. Harrington and their three sons, James, Thomas, and William:
James.—Papa, will you be so kind as to tell me what that one thing is of which you have just read? I really do not know, I ask for information.
Father. You shall have that information presently; but
you are to understand that the one thing there referred to is needful for every person, and needful in every situation, in every part of the world, and for every purpose; that it makes the possessor of it wiser, better, and happier than any thing else can do; and that not only the individual, but all his friends and acquaintance, and even society at large, are greatly improved by it. Now, my dear children, What can it be?
Thomas. O dear, I cannot think what, papa; can any one thing answer all these ends?
Father. It can, and I hope, my dear children, you will not only admit the truth, but feel the force of my observation. Come, who will first tell me what he thinks it can be?
After some time spent in reflection, William said," Mamma, I think many things are needful for different purposes; as fire to warm, water to cleanse, a cow to give milk, a horse to ride, and a ship to sail; but I am at a loss to know how any one thing can answer all purposes. It seems to me just as reasonable to expect that one garment would fit every person, or one medicine cure every disease."
Mother.-Certainly, in general, different articles are necessary for different purposes; but, nevertheless, your father's observations are strictly true.
James.—Is it needful for you, papa?
James.-And for mamma, too?
Father.-Yes, equally so.
James.—And for us boys too, papa?
Father. Yes, for every one of you, and my best wishes are, that you may all possess and enjoy it.
Thomas.—What can it be? Pray, papa, tell us. Is it riches? Father.-No, for if all were rich there would be no laborers, and society would be disorganised.
James. Is it pleasure?
Father. No, for a continual round of pleasure would not promote individual happiness; and if every person was constantly addicted to pleasure, all business must be suspended. William.-Is it honor?
Father.-No, for a title does not confer either wisdom or happiness.
James. Is it health?
Father. No, for strange as it may seem, there have been persons who were strangers to it while in health, yet have found and enjoyed it in a time of severe affliction.
William.—Now, papa, I think I have found the right answer. Mother.-Well, what is it?
Father.-Good boy, William, that is the best answer I have heard. Yet though truth is certainly needful for all persons, and under all circumstances, yet even truth alone will not accomplish every thing.
James.-What can it be? Mamma, can you tell?
Mother.-I think I can, and it is all contained in one word. Thomas.-What can that be?
Mother.-RELIGION, and I dare say your papa will now explain to you what religion is.
Father.-Religion, my dear children, is good for body and soul; for time and for eternity. It is, to know Jesus Christ; to enjoy the favor of God through Christ; and to exercise love to God and our neighbour. Thus explained, I think it must be acknowledged that religion is the one thing needful.
Thomas. But, papa, why is it called ONE thing?
Father.-Religion, although made up of many distinct parts, yet forms one grand whole. You know the house in which we reside is composed of different materials; as bricks, timber, glass, &c.: that a watch, a ship, a steam engine, and in fact, almost every thing which is useful to man, contains several parts, which yet bear the general names of a house, a watch, a ship, &c.: so in the human body there are, the head, the feet, the hands, &c. yet altogether they are called one body. William.-Papa, is there any other reason why religion is called one thing?
Father.-There are other reasons. One is, on account of its paramount importance, for it is superior to all other things, and the possession of all other things without religion, would not, nor could not, promote our happiness, either here or hereafter. Can you tell me, James, any text of scripture which establishes this point?
James." What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the
whole world and lose his own soul? Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul." Mark viii. 36, 37.
Father. Very good, James. Religion is also designated one thing, in opposition to the many needless things in which men are too apt to employ themselves, it is, in short, the grand business of life.
Mother. What would you think, James, if I were to send a servant on a particular errand, and he, instead of attending to my business, were to loiter away his time in idle company? Father. Or, suppose an ambassador were sent from our Sovereign to a foreign court, and instead of attending to state affairs, he were to traverse the country, and employ his whole time in viewing its natural curiosities.
James. Certainly both the ambassador and the servant would deserve punishment.
James.-Because they were severally entrusted with one special mission, which they neglected for objects at least inferior, if not absolutely sinful.
Thomas.-I remember, papa, you told us so a short time ago, when you explained to us the parable of the talents.
Father. I did so, and the answer which James has given is right: and now, I hope, my dear boys, you will admit that religion is the one thing needful.
The young people were both convinced and delighted with this explanation, and Mr. Harrington found, as he had often done before, that his agreeable mode of imparting instruction was productive of considerable benefit to his beloved offspring. I hope my readers will be of the same opinion..
THE WORK OF TIME.
(From the Querists' Society.)
THE Swiftness of Time is a common topic. The "Indian arrow," the streaming meteor, and the eagle's path, are among the images employed to picture it forth to the imagination, and its broad pinions" are represented as "swifter than the wind." But the ancients represented Time as furnished also with a
scythe, and the latter emblem of his character has not become inappropriate. He has continued to crumble down the pillars of human glory, to sweep empires into darkness, and to yield up successive generations of man to death. Nature is ever rearing up her young saplings, and adorning the earth with fresh luxuriance. Yet still Time is working at the root or at the core; he scatters her shewy honors, and plies with unwearied perseverance the work of destroying her most durable productions. The shapeless mass of rock which defies the edge of the chisel, he grinds to a smooth pebble, and the monarch of the forest, which has withstood a thousand years of tempests and of whirlwinds, must ultimately fall beneath the hand of Time.
Art rebuilds her palaces and repolishes their ornaments, lays deep her foundations, and cements her materials; but the earth is covered with proofs of the futility of her endeavors. Who that has traversed the aisles of Westminster Abbey, has not been struck with an unutterable feeling at the mouldering scene? The sharp edges of sculpture are rounded off by Time: the monuments of more recent date are but monuments of decay, amidst decay itself; the passenger shudders as he treads, to think that even these splendid memorials will gradually, though slowly, fall a prey to the consumer. In every churchyard there is an inscription on many a moss-covered stone, if we would but read it, as striking as that which the tool of the artist has engraved. Many a hillock Time has trodden down, and many a memento has he destroyed, till "The very generations of the dead
"Are swept away-and tomb inherits tomb."
How quickly do the dwellings of the living fall to decay! If one of them has stood through a few centuries, it becomes an object of interest to the curious eye of the antiquary.
On every side we perceive how general, and yet how ineffectual are the labors of art in counteracting the effects of Time. The struggle furnishes employment and subsistence to numberless individuals.
Nature however carries on the contest with Time under advantages, and accomplishes the renewal of her works with a facility entirely unknown to art. Broken arches and mouldering