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For this cause merited punishment is allotted to us; for this we are assailed with wars and rumours of wars; for this public faction stalks abroad, and private misery abounds— "for this cause, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."

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If we make this use of the agitation of the world in general, as well as of our own individual offences, we shall find it operate as a genial balm. All the doctrines of the gospel are of an healing nature. They probe the wound, 'tis true, but they effect a cure. The bread of life and the cup of blessing are too precious to be rejected. Let us then put forth our hand and take of the fruit of that sacramental tree which stands in the midst of the garden of God, and we shall eat and live for ever.



On Books of Piety.


Ah! yet ere I descend the grave,

May I a small house and large garden have!'
And a few friends, and many books, both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too!


IN enumerating the blessings of retirement,. it will not be thought extraordinary, that many books should be added to the agreeable catalogue of comforts.. Friends are not excluded, because the soul of the good man is most susceptible of the consolations of friendship; and books, those silent friends, are admitted, to improve those hours which are dedicated to peace and tranquillity. I mean not to decide the controverted point, whether happiness be more complete amidst the busy hum of men,.. or in that calm retreat where every one doth

doth lice his own. I may be allowed, however, to subscribe to the sentiment of the poet without dictating to the opinion of others.

The tide of life, swift always in its course,
May run in cities with a brisker force,
But no where with a current so serene,
Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.


But as man is not formed for one purpose only of society, he must mix in various situations. His mind and his habit must accommodate themselves to that useful occupation which Providence assigns him; yet even in the most busy scenes of life he will find it an indispensable duty to form a temporary retirement for himself, lest the continued hurry of living should indispose him for the performance of those higher obligations which he owes to heaven. after all, it must be remembered, that it is not the situation, but the proper enjoyment of the situation, which produces comfort. If friends and books are introduced into the sequestered cot or fragrant gardent 'midst



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"And sighs embalmed, which new-born flowers unfold *,”

they must, as Cowley says, be both wise and both delightful. The same must be the choice, if the selection be made in towns, "where merchants most do congregate." It is true that we are most subject to the intrusion of vice in populous situations, but solitude is not without its dangers. "As it is with freedom," says a modern writer, so it is with solitude: it ennobles


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none but the noble; it increases the vice "of the vicious. Tiberius resigned himself "in his solitude to his lusts, and his "misanthropy t."

It becomes us, therefore, to guard in every state, by the most obvious and important means, against the dangers peculiar to it. It becomes us also to fill up our department in life in the most acceptable manner; which cannot be done without the assistance promised in the gospel. It has been the object of these meditations to

*Drummond of Hawthornden.

+ Baron Stolberg's Trav. Vol. II. p. 95


enforce this truth.

Moral conduct, independent of the gospel, has no stable foundation. Moral writings are in the same situation. They may, it is true, help to civilize the human heart, but unless the motives of revelation complete the study, it will not bring forth the plentiful fruits of righteousness.

Far be it from me to depreciate the channels of knowledge. On the contrary, every branch of useful learning deserves. encouragement; inasmuch as it is a part of that wide overspreading tree" whose "leaves are for the healing of the nations." The further we extend rational service, the more we promote the ends of our creation; and the deeper we penetrate into the mine of wisdom, the more valuable are the treasures we discover. It is the superficial philosopher only, who looks not on the world with a microscopic eye. He is contented with viewing the surface, whilst the diamond lies far beneath. The reasonings of the modern sceptic may make disciples of an interested few-alas! his influence may, and has extended over many-but it


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