« ZurückWeiter »
When, in the way of providence, they fairly come before you, instead of fancying a thousand difficulties, where there is not one, receive them thankfully, and make the most of them. Only do not conceive that you were sent into the world merely to feel comfortable, and that when this is not the case, some change must be made in the circumstances which surround you. Believe me, no such change will avail permanently; the change must be inward, for happiness dwells in the mind, and not in the outward estate. View your daily lot, as set before you by your heavenly Father. Then love will sweeten all your labor; resignation soften every trial; and gratitude double each permitted pleasure. The best rule that can be given, either for the quiet performance of accustomed duties, for a temporary variety in them, or an entire exchange of them, is this, simply follow as your Heavenly Guide and Ruler leads you. Commit your way unreservedly to the Lord; and by the directions of his word, and the arrangements of his Providence, it shall be made plain before you.
Walk therein, humbly leaning on Divine grace, and you shall find rest unto your soul. Can you hope, my friend, that you have given yourself to the Lord, by a perpetual covenant never to be forgotten? Mark then the example of his chosen people, at a time when their hearts were right with Him. " At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched : as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle, they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days; then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not,” But “ whether it was by day or by night, that the cloud was taken off, they journeyed.” Numbers ix. 18, 19, 21. May God, the Holy Spirit, enable you, my dear young friend, to follow this beautiful example; to the glory of his grace, to your own unspeakable comfort, and to the sincere joy and satisfaction of
Your affectionate Pastor." Such was the letter so wisely and kindly written ; and it is hoped, profitably received. I will only add an extract, with which I was much struck, from the diary of the Rev. Legh Richmond,-“I find a strong inclination to false fancy, as if some change in my worldly state and residence, were to bring about a correspondent one, in my spiritual condition. Satan struggles
together with the flesh, to keep up the dangerous phantom. Art thou not here, O my God! and is not mine office here, and has not my soul helps sufficient ? Oh yes, give me strength to resist this; and to seek thee here and now. Oh, let me watch as well as pray, lest I enter into temptation.”
Reader, farewell! and may God speed you on your spiritual journey. Truly shall I rejoice, if these remarks have, in any measure, strengthened your desire, to run with patience the race set before you. To run!-surely the figure implies alacrity. Not fulfilling as an hireling, your day, and rendering the scanty service of an unwilling slave; but running the way of God's commandments, He having enlarged your heart with filial love.
S. S. S.
A PAGE FROM THE AUTO-BIOGRAPHY OF OLD TIME.
“I was born in the beginning'—when that was, I cannot exactly say. Men of all ages and countries differed a great deal upon the subject, and came to no conclusions after all. But I think they were wrong when they measured my age by their own, which it now seems clear, is scarcely six thousand years. Men are sadly prone to conceit, and in making those calculations thought only of themselves, as if Time had nothing to do till they came into being. Had they set about “unwinding the eternal dances of the sky,' or examining the structure of our globe itself, they might have found that I had been at work there long before they were called into existence. In this respect the ancients appear to have been wiser than the moderns, for they fabled me to be the son of Heaven, because by the motions of its luminaries my earliest proceedings were regulated. And I think that a slight knowledge of the framework of the earth will be sufficient to convince all who are anxious to obtain information on the subject, that I have been busy there for ages upon ages. For through the recent researches of a race of men with whose visionary theories I have often made sad havoc, mankind are enabled not only to trace various changes in this planet, but to assign to the organic remains discovered in the bowels of the earth their proper place in its history, before it was tenanted by any of our fellow-creatures. The zoology of past ages is now almost as familiar as that of our own times; and if any arguments were wanting to explode the first and wildest theories
which attributed a fortuitous origin to these fossils, and regarded them as mere freaks of nature, we have it in those evidences which are still extant, that the animals to which they originally belonged actually lived, fed, and walked amongst the awful scenery of a world long since demolished, that our own might be built upon its lumber. The foot-prints of a race of tortoises long extinct have been found upon the rocks of Dumfrieshire, and those of a huge unknown animal on the clay at Hildberghausen ; the half-digested food of gigantic saurians has been brought to light from the cliffs of Dorset, and the ink-bag of the cuttle-fish that had long since clouded the waters of a former ocean has been met with, still so far retaining its character of a pigment, as to rival that produced from its recent and degenerate representative. There is something singularly humbling in the thought that the painter's canvass in the nineteenth century should speak through the colors of an age so remote, that in reverting to it, man and his works appear but as of yesterday; and that the artists of our own time, in order to propitiate my favor for a single century, should go back a hundred. But man, on the other hand, may be thankful that whilst his less elaborately organized predecessors in the shattered world which he inhabits, have left their traces in the limestone and the clay of other ages, his errors and his vanity have died soon after
and the next generation has looked in vain for the monumental pile
•That may record the mischief he has done;' “It would be somewhat foreign to my purpose to go at any length into the subject of fossil organic remains, and I shall therefore content myself by stating that I have witnessed a regular succession of existences. Zoophytes, crustacea, fishes, tortoises, sea, land and flying reptiles, all as beautifully adapted to the circumstances under which they lived and moved, as any in the present day, have tenanted our world in former ages, 'wallowing unwieldy' in its grey and melancholy waters, peopling its shaggy forests, and pasturing in its reedy marshes, amongst an exuberance of vegetation and a world of lesser fry, admirably adapted to their several wants, pleasures, and pastimes.
“ There have been men in all periods of history and in every country, who have treated me very well, though the bulk of the world behaved vastly amiss to me. I was misunderstood, slighted,
abused; and very often the world talked of killing me. Though
Time is the stuff life is made of,' there were thousands and tens of thousands who, whilst they clung with the greatest tenacity to the last, squandered away the first in the most reckless manner. For this modified form of felo de se, the law of the land provided no remedy; but it generally brought its own punishment in the listlessness and insipidity which fell to the lot of those who attempted to bring about such a consummation. The infinite variety with which I endeavored to refresh and delight them was lavished to little purpose; and Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, passed before them disregarded and unenjoyed. Nature was not their book, and of the few others which they had, I can only remember that I swept them out of being as suddenly as a whirl-blast strips the trees after a frosty night.
“ It was on a lovely evening towards the close of summer, that I watched a little knot of these conspirators as they sauntered carelessly along on the “wide-watered shore” of one of this world's fashionable watering-places. There were others similarly banded together, and as seemingly insensible to the charms so prodigally spread around them—the cliffs that towered above their heads, blushing in the lingering daylight—the world of waters stretching away into the darkening heavens, or tumbling in loud and impetuous majesty upon the ribbed sea sand' beneath their feet
Restless swallows twittering by,
“It was then and there that Smith met Brown, and Brown met Jones, and Jones met Smith again; and Smith, Brown, and Jones all yawned and gossipped but none of them could tell what made it so unpleasant to please themselves. Once or twice some of the party looked at each other and asked after me; and though I guessed that I was in reality but little wanted, I made bold now and then with one of my thousand voices to remind them I was near at hand, but they took no note' of any of my intimations.
“ It was just after the last of these that evening, that the party of whom I first spoke, was seated in their little lodging, evidently anxious to forget in sleep all the vexations of the past day. Their ramble on the sands had not answered their expectations, and they all found it hard to say whether it was better to be dissatisfied by
the sea-side than dissatisfied at home. One had seen no company, another could not endure the sight of the melancholy ocean, a third had felt chilly, and a fourth, fatigued; but not one of them had found out that each must contribute his own share to the banquet, in order to enjoy
the boundless store Of charms which Nature to her votary yields.' “They had not come to their contemplation influenced by a desire to be pleased, and made wiser by everything around them, and one by one they dropped off to bed, till the youngest remained solus; and for reasons which he scarcely knew himself, turned to the open window as if to feel the cool gushing of the wind, or listen to the breaking of the tide upon the beach below. The night was dark and cloudy, and the falling of a sudden shower soon roused him from a reverie induced by the scenes of the past day : but the rain passed over, and he heard nothing but the 'minute-drops from off the eaves' measuring out the solemn season. Everybody appeared to have retired from the once busy world about him, and he might have fancied himself the last of mortals but for the evidence that there were others still astir, afforded by the lonely light upon the pier-head, gleaming through the thick darkness
* Like to a dragon's eye that feels the stress
Of a bedimming sleep.' “During the loneliness and silence of this period, I thought it not unlikely that I might find him willing to lend an ear to my remonstrances and suggestions, and I accordingly introduced myself into his presence without notice or apology. "You seem,' said I,' wearied with doing nothing, and displeased with your attempts at pleasure : for my own part I should much like to know what brought you here ?
666 We must do as the world does,' replied the young man, Oh! oh, then,' I answered, your best plea is expediency after all.'
666 I don't call it by that name,' said the young man, ' I came here because every body does the same at this season. Think how it would look to be in London now.'
«« Strange enough,' said I, ' if there's nobody to see you-very strange indeed! This doing as the world does, is a bad practice,