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gives her, and then talk it all over. For certain he's the happiest body in this house, though he's the only blind one in it."
I was not surprised at this remark, as from this short account of Gaffer, it was plain the eyes of his understanding were enlightened ; and Mary was not a little raised in my opinion, by her choice of such a companion. I questioned her mistress further about her, but she referred me to a shoemaker's wife, who lived in the next street, and who knew her mother's history better than she did, adding that as I seemed a curious gentleman, it might be worth my while to enquire.
Having nothing worthy of recital to communicate, I will not detain my readers longer in the work-house. I conversed a little with those few, who had, as the mistress said, better reason to be satisfied with its acco
ccommodations, on account of the bounty of their friends; but had the mortifrcation to hear, even from them, chiefly the language of complaint ; and to observe, that my exhortations to contentment seemed but little to impress: their minds.
As I walked home, I mused deeply on the scene I had just quitted, and endeavoured to trace the reason, why a number of my fellow-creatures, maintained by the charity of their parish, when
they were incapable of maintaining themselves, should be so unhappy. I soon found the reason to be a want of humility. Of all the Christian graces this is the most necessary for our happiness. Those who are most sensible how little they deserve, will seldom feel mortification at the little they may receive. They will consider, that, having forfeited both spiritual and temporal blessings by sin, every thing short of its due punishment is mercy. They will view men as instruments in the hands of God, to convey to them undeserved kindnesses, or de. served chastisements. This is that poverty of spirit, on which our Lord pronounced his first blessing; and which is a needful qualification for the enjoy. ment of heaven itself, where gratitude, the off spring of humility, produces in every spirit the unceasing work of praise.
If then, humility is the way to contentment here, and blessedness hereafter, it is worth our while to enquire, by what means such a disposition is attainable. We are told by the inspired Apostle St. James, “That every good and perfect gift is from above," and that, “ if any lack wisdom they must ask of God.” David also says,
“ He giveth grace." But not to multiply quotations on the subject, which are to be found in almost every page of Scripture, the worels of our Lord are decisive, “If ye then being evil, know how to give good things to your children;, how much more
shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask him?" And that one of the fruits of this Holy Spirit is humbleness of mind, we are informed in many other places. The necessity of prayer then, in this case, is clearly to be seen as the first means. Another means to produce this disposition is frequent meditation on the example of our Lord and Saviour, who set before us a perfect pattern of humility. This subject is indeed amongst the wonders of divine love, the depths of which cannot be fathomed by our weak powers of reflection ; but as far as we are capable, we shall find it profitable to dwell on the interesting truths, “ That he who was Lord of all, became the servant of all;" that he who was the adoration of angels, became a man of sorrows, submitted to every kind of contempt in that world which he himself lrad created ; and though in infinite wisdom and kindness, he had appointed the lowest of his creatures a place of rest and refuge, had not himself where to lay his head. Nor was this the greatest part of our Lord's voluntary humility, for he submitted to become the subject of distress, and even agony of mind, to which bodily sufferings bear no comparison. Here none can follow up
the wonderful theme of meditation, but those who have been exposed to those peculiar temptations, compared to “fiery darts of Satan," and the deepest state of spiritual desertion. Such can ac. company their kind Lord to the wilderness, to the
garden ofGethsemane,and comprehend in some measure the nature of that “ travail of his soul,'' when it was poured out as "an offering for sin.” Surely the impression, which a view of such astonishing facts must leave on the mind will be that of . deep humility! Who can help feeling the deepest self-abasement, and being reconciled to a state of poverty, when he considers that the Lord of glory himself has passed through it?
There is another means, though of less importance, which would tend to promote contentment; and that is, frequently to compare our own lot with that of others. Surely could the inhabitants of our English poor-house, view the cabin of the Irish peasant without a chimney, his unsacked straw-bed, walled round with bricks, giving the idea of a resting place for the dead, rather than the living, he would survey with delight his decent accommodations. Could he visit the hut of the Laplander, exposed to overwhelming snows, and the more dreadful destruction of devouring beasts, how would he congratulate himself on the safety of his English habitation ! And could he know exactly the condition of thousands of his poor fellowcreatures, driven from their homes by the cruel hands of unfeeling soldiers--the victims of fire, of plunder, and all the horrid evils of war, how would the lowest peaceful spot and condition of his own country, be raised in his estimation!
Let none of my readers suppose, that I mean to carry my exhortations to humble contentment so far, as to check the noble spirit of independence becoming every rank of life. That base-born spirit, which is willing to be obliged to charity for its daily supplies, without a struggle to prevent it, deserves nothing but contempt. I like to hear from my poor neighbours, “ I'll work my fingers to the bone, before l'll go upon the parish :"-And I like still better, to hear them add, or before my father or mother shall go to the work-house." I trust the expression does- tiot always arise from pride and ingratitude, but from that honest-love of independence, which I wish to cultivate. I am also sensi. ble, that no accommodations, their parish work house can bestow, will equal those they might experience in their own clean and decent cottage, surrounded by their relations and acquaintance, and where they may enjoy real liberty, the natural delight of every human breast. But when, by age or infirmities, my poor neighbour is unavoidably placed in that situation, I earnestly recommend him to adopt the foregoing sentiments, as those alone which can soothe and reconcile his mind. Alas! the unconverted man will neither be disposed to pray nor meditate ; but though in an unrenewed state when he entered the poor-house, yet he may not so continue. The merciful God has a purpose to answer in all his appointments, and “ he does not willingly afflict." Notwithstanding