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wretched all day, without a single real trial, and angry with all around them, without a single provocation. Was there any thing, my child, this morning, to prevent you from being as happy as you were yesterday. Had you not the same sources of enjoyment?" "Yes, but I was disappointed, so I could not enjoy them." "Your will had been crossed, and so you resolved to be unhappy; but if you had good humouredly turned to something else; and said,—“ then we must walk another time”--you would have felt no unhappiness. There was no real trouble, excepting as you made one, and depend upon it, those we make are always the worst to bear. Therefore, remember, Jane, as the first lesson I teach to-day,—those who make troubles of trifles, will always find trouble enough. Thus far I have been speaking to you on the folly of suffering our minds to be discomposed, and placing our happiness at the mercy of every little accident. But now I must come to the sinfulness of those intemperate expressions, which you dared to make use of; and I do indeed think your sin far greater than John's, and more displeasing to our Heavenly Father.” “Mamma, I might speak improperly, but I am sure I did not use such words as John did."
"I dare say not, my child," said Mrs. Melville, drawing kindly towards her, for Jane had buried her face in her handkerchief, and was sobbing aloud, "and you may be quite certain that mamma would not wound her little girl, by being needlessly severe. But when I have explained my meaning, I think you will yourself see its truth. Don't you suppose, that your heart was as angry as John's this morning?"
"Yes, I dare say it was."
"And what does God look at?"
"And undue anger is displeasing to Him."
"Both your hearts then were full of the abominable thing that God hateth, even sin."
Jane timidly answered, "yes."
"But which has been most carefully taught, by precept and example, to avoid sin?"
"Yes, John has been brought up with every disadvantage, and
you with every privilege. I question whether he ever received one word of religious instruction till he came here, and that has been only a few times. No doubt he knew that he was wrong, for conscience works within us all; yet he could be very little sensible, how wrong, for he would only seem to be doing what all around him do continually. But in indulging passion, you have no such ignorance to plead. Throughout the family, how does your dear papa enforce the importance of holy tempers, and how powerfully does he enforce them, by appealing to the word of God, and by shewing their excellence in his own example. Then may not our Heavenly Father say to us, 'You have I known of the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities.' Now, Jane, which was most guilty, you or John, in giving way to passion?"
"I was, dear mamma.”
"And now, my love, with respect to the language of both. suppose John said the worst he could think of; the most violent expressions he is ever in the habit of using or hearing."
"Yes, mamma, he did indeed."
"And how far did my little Jane fall short of this ;-in fact might she not be said to go beyond it? Not only were your expressions the worst you could think of, but such as you never hear used by those around you." Thou hast done evil as thou couldest," therefore, is a text most applicable. And depend upon it, when this may be said to us, our exemption from other evil, is chiefly owing to circumstances. Had you been brought up in Fielding workhouse instead of your own happy home, nothing more would have been needed to call forth the most awful words, than the same degree of anger you felt this morning."
Jane was effectually humbled; and when her kind parent had prayed suitably and affectionately with her, of her own accord she ran to Hannah and confessed her fault.
My reader! consider in how many instances" Thou hast done evil as thou couldest." Learn self-abasement and watchfulness; intreat divine aid; and be tenderly considerate of the circumstances of others. Surely this will be one great means of assisting us to obey the apostolic injunction, "Let no man think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than himself." S. S. S.
LETTER OF A FATHER TO A DAUGHTER.
MY DEAR M. A—,
As every thing relating to those of our friends and relatives who have passed into the other world carries with it a solemn and persuasive importance, I trust you will, while attending to your necessary studies at school, not forget the wise and judicious instructions, instilled into your mind, in early life, by your kind and indulgent mother. It is true she is not with you now to instruct you by her counsel, or shield you by her solicitude; but I trust you will prove, by your walk and conversation, that she still lives in your remembrance; and that her labor bestowed upon you was not in vain. You enjoyed, in the soft and impressible season of childhood, the unspeakable advantages of pious admonition and religious examples; and it is my intention, in this letter, to call some of the truths which you have been taught to your remembrance.
And, first, you have been taught that there is a God, the great architect of nature, and moral governor of the universe; who created the heavens and the earth, and who continues to guide and uphold them by His wisdom and power. That He is the great benefactor who supplies you with every temporal comfort and spiritual good; that His omniscient eye sees all your actions, and that He knows even the thoughts of your heart; and that having made you a reasonable, and therefore a responsible creature, you are accountable to Him for all your words, thoughts, and actions.
You have been taught the difference between good and evil, and instructed in your duty towards the Author of your existence; that it is your duty to pray to Him for the good things you need, to thank Him for all past favors, and to solicit His grace to guard your steps from evil and destruction.
You have also, my dear, other duties which devolve upon you, to obey with kindness and submissive cheerfulness your teachers; to fear and shun the meanness and wickedness of falsehood; to be strictly honest in all your promises; to avoid the least appearance of pride or haughtiness in your demeanour; and esteeming others better than yourself, to shew yourself worthy the friendship, esteem, and imitation of all around you.
Endeavor, at all times, my dear, to govern your temper;
remember that great maxim-" temper is every thing;" and never lay the foundation for future repentance by hasty or intemperate conduct. Remember that you are not only to forgive seven times, but seventy times seven; that you need youself the momentary forgiveness of that Holy Being whose air you breathe; and that it is only because His compassions fail not that you are not consumed.
You have often heard at home, that God is holy, a solemn and awful attribute for fallen nature to contemplate; and that His anger is denounced against those who despise or neglect His commandments, whilst He has promised unnumbered blessings to those who reverence and keep them.
You have been taught, that there is another state of existence after death, where the soul must live for ever, either in ecstatic bliss, or unutterable woe; that after the death of the body, those who have loved and obeyed God, will rise to heaven, and those who have lived sinful and wicked lives, will sink into everlasting anguish and despair.
You have also been taught, the doctrine of the resurrection, that at the last day the bodies of all mankind will be raised from their graves, and that the Judge will separate the righteous from the wicked, saying to those on his right hand, "Come ye blessed of my Father, &c." and to the others, "Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire."
You have likewise been told, (and I trust you feel,) that the state of man by nature is corrupt and sinful; that the transgression of our first parents brought death into the world, and all our woe; and that in consequence of this fall, man is now naturally inclined to evil, and utterly incapable of changing his nature, or subduing his evil propensities. In consequence of this inability on the part of man to redeem or sanctify himself, God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who, out of compassion to poor sinners, left the realms of bliss, and, assuming our nature, came into the world as the Saviour of mankind; and after a life of spotless holiness, offered Himself up as a sacrifice for sin, by His death upon the cross, thereby making an atonement for sin, and opening a way to the Divine favour and forgiveness for all who truly believe in His name. He is now in heaven, where He pleads for all who follow Him on earth; and He has sent His Holy Spirit to
· sanctify our natures, and prepare us for a state of perfect felicity hereafter. It is then, my dear child, a matter of everlasting importance that you should not only know, but believe these grand truths, and diligently commune with your own heart. Have you thought seriously of the evil of sin? Are you in the habit of praying to God for His Holy Spirit, to enable you to walk in holiness and righteousness before him? Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.
In your worldly connexions endeavor to cultivate sweetness of temper and suavity of manners; endeavor to rise above those mean passions which always indicate weakness as well as wickedness; such as anger, revenge, slander, and malice. Let the beautiful example of the meek and lowly Jesus be the rule of your conduct. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths." Remember too, that not only your own happiness but also that of others is bound up in your future conduct. Solomon says, "A wise son maketh a glad father;" and bearing that affectionate relation to you, I humbly pray that you may, by affection and duty, and above all, by real and fervent piety, abundantly reward me hereafter for all my present anxiety and solicitude. R. P.
INSTINCT, REASON, AND REVELATION.
CHARLES, having read a small volume of natural history, in which the author had treated of the nature of instinct, which the all-wise Creator has implanted in animals, but feeling puzzled about the distinction between that and reason, as his father one evening was sitting by the fire-side, he requested him to explain wherein the difference existed. His father said,
"Instinct, my dear boy, differs from reason in that it is not progressive; the same sort of birds build exactly the same nests they ever did, and in the same kind of shrub or tree without any alteration or improvement, while man, endowed with reason, has improved upon the plans and experience of his forefathers, and nations that were once rude and barbarous have become polished and civilized."
"But does not reason, father, need opportunities and means whereby it may enable men to turn it to the best advantages?"