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self-reflection does it bring, that I should neglect my own; hardly teaching them to read at all, and never taking them to church.”
There was too much reason in these reflections made by the unhappy man, for me to attempt a contradiction ; tho' I strongly urged him to entire resignation, and the encouragement of hoping that the consequences of his sins might not be so fatal as he apprehended. That possibly his daughters might return to him, and he might yet escape the curse inflicted by disobedient children, in bringing his hoary head in sorrow to the grave. A gleam of sunshine seemed to arise on his countenance as I spoke ; and I took leave of him, with a promise of sometimes calling to enquire if my wishes were realized,
The apostle might well exclaim, “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. How awful are his judgments even in this life. Diseases, elements, and wicked men are his instru. ments ; and when no outward means of chastisement are used, he has access to our minds. There, he can afflict those of his creatures endued with most sensibility, far more painfully than by bodily feeling a wounded spirit who can bear? nor can it be healed by any other hand than his, who inflicts the wound. Thus we see and feel a part of his ways, when he arises to punish sin.
And surely it should excite the greatest dread of sin, and instruct us in the only true wisdom,—to serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling, -to be subject unto him lest he be angry, and we perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little."
On my return home I found much confusion, and some concern amongst my neighbours, occasioned by the melancholy discovery of a man hanging on a tree in a retired lane of the village. On the fol: lowing day. his afflicted relations appeared and proved to the satisfaction of the jury,that the rash act was the effect of insanity. The insanity itself was supposed to be produced by the severe wound his feelings had received a few months previous, by the ill usage of a pretended friend. This poor man's unhappy end, naturally led me to reflection on the instability of human friendship. It is one of the evils of life which calls forth the utmost exercise of our fortitude to sustain. How bitter does holy David lanient it, and we may account it a considerable part of our Lord's mental sufferings, when he beheld all his disciples flying from him in the hour of his greatest need. To most of his martyrs
he allotted faithful friends to sympathize with, and encourage them to the end : but He drank the full cup of human sufferings; thus setting an example of patience, and submission to the will of our heavenly Father.
My dear readers, before I conclude these pages dictated by me with the warmest friendly regard for your best, your eternal interests, suffer me to lead your thoughts to the all-important purpose of securing a friend, of whom no accident can deprive you. While you conduct yourselves by the rules of honest industry, all your superiors are your friends. They are willing to assist you in times of sickness or poverty unavoidably produced. Your king and governors, while they are terrors to evil-doers, are for the praise and encouragement of those who do well. Your minister is your friend. If faithful, he watches over your better part, your immortal souls, as one who must give an account. He is willing to aid you by his counsel, te instruct you at all times; and it is a duty you owe yourselves, to avail yourselves of such an able friend, and to seek from him private as well as public admonitions. But, on these friends there is no absolute dependance. The providence of God may remove your rich neighbours to a distance ; or their riches, dependant as they generally are upon a variety of fluctuating events, may take unto themselves “wings and Aly away." Turbulent and rebellious
spirits may deprive you of the protection of your lawful governors ; death may call away your faithful pastor, and he may be succeeded by another who cares not for the flock committed to his charge. If then you would secure a durable friendship, you can look only to him, who offers himself to your acceptance, under the endearing name of friend. Great as was the condescension of our Lord, when he said to his disciples, “ Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you," it would have afforded no hope to the convinced soul, on the first apprehension of its true state; or it would have led it to the attempt of working out a righteousness in the vain expectation of purchasing the promised friendship But adored be the riches of his
grace, he has not only declared himself the friend of his faithful followers, but the friend of sinners; inviting them to accept of pardon, justification, and holiness “My Shepherd," exclaims David, " is the living Lord." And the Christian asserts the same; for Jesus Christ has called himself the Shepherd of his people; and He is the same "yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” . The same yesterday, this implies his eternal existence. One of his names, as revealed to his prophet Isaiah, was "The Everlasting Father,” that is, the Father of eternity. To his prophet Micah he was revealed as the " Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old from everlasting.” To his enemies, the unbelieving Jews, he styled himself the great I Am