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ought to avoid the temptation altogether, or present himself to it often, that he may be little moved by the occasion.
A man's natural temper is best seen in private ; for there he is off his guard ; in passion, for that despoils him of his maxim and precepts : and in a novel situation, for there custom does not help him. Happy are they whose nature accords with their vocations; for otherwise they may well say, multum incola fuit anima mea,” when they engage in those things they do not like.
In studies, whatsoever a man enjoins upon himself, let him have set hours for it; but in performing that which is agreeable to his nature, he needs take no care for set times, for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves, so that the leisure allowed by other business will suffice. A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one and eradicate the other.
Although it is almost as difficult to unlearn one's errors as his knowledge, yet to things which one bears with impatience he should accustom himself, and by habit he will bear them well. Pythagoras accordingly gave this precept to his disciples : Optimum vilce genus eligito nam consuetudo faciet jucundum : choose that course of life which is the best, and custom will make it the most agreeable. Men whose circumstances will permit them to select their own way of life, are inexcusable if they do not pursue that which their judgment tells them is the most laudable; for inclination will at length come over to reason, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.
As a new cask will long preserve the tincture of the liquor with wbich it was first impregnated; so there are habits contracted by bad example or bad management, before we have judgment to discern, or because the eye of reason is laid asleep, or has not compass of view sufficient to look around in every quarter. But fortunately for mankind, " the Gods,” said Hesiod, "lave placed labor before virtue; the way to her is at first rough and difficult
, but grows more smooth and easy, the further you advance." He who proceeds i: it with steadiness and resolution, will in a little time find that “her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace.” “Not only such actions as were at first indifferent to us, but even such as are painful, will by custom and practice become pleasant. It is an observation of Sir Francis Bacon, ihat our taste is never pleased better than with those things which at first created disgust. He instances claret, coffee, and other liquors, which the palate seldom approves upon the first taste; but when it has once got a relish of them, generally retains it for life. A still more remarkable example, is the inveterate use of the nauseous weed, tobacco. The mind is constituted after the same manner, and after having habituated herself to any particular employment, not only loses her first aversion towards it, but conceives for it a certain fondness and affection A great genius who had been trained up in all the polite studies of antiquity, declared upon being obliged to search into many rolls and records, ihat though the task was at first very dry and irksome yet he at length took an incredible pleasure in it, and preferred it even to the reading of Virgil or Cicero.
If we consider attentively this property of human nature, it may in. struct us in very fine moralities. Let no man be discouraged with that kind of life in which the choice of others, or his own necessities, may have engaged him. It may perhaps be disagreeable to him at first, but use and application will not only render it less painful, but pleasing and satisfactory. The same observation may suggest the particular care required, when we are once settled in a regular course of life, how we too frequently indulge ourselves in any of the most innocent diversions; since the mind may insensibly fall off from the relish of virtuous actions, and by degrees exchange that pleasure, which it takes in the performance of duty, for inferior and unprofitable delights.
Those evil spirits who, by long custom, have contracted in the body habits of sensuality, malice and revenge, and aversion to every thing that is good, just, and laudable, are naturally seasoned and prepared for pain and misery. Their torments have already taken root in them. They cannot be happy when divested of the body, unless we may suppose, that Providence will in a manner create them anew, and work a miracle in the rectification of their faculties. This shows how absolutely necessary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this life, if we would enjoy the pleasures of the next. The state of bliss we call heaven, will not be capable of affecting those minds which are not thus qualified for it; we must in this world gain a relish of truth and virtue, if we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection which are to make us happy in the world to come. The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures, which are to rise up and flourish in the soul to all eternity, must be planted in her during this, her present state of probation. In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as the reward, but as the natural effect of a religious life.
THE DEATH BED.
Tarre are manr hearts which can respond to the sentiment so feelingly and beautifully expressed in the following stanzas:
We watched her breathing through the night,
Her breathing s ft and low,
Kept heaving to and fro.
So slowl moved about-
To eke her living oui!
Our fears our hopes belied-
And sleeping when she died !
And chill with early showers,
Another morn than ours.
THE TRUE L A D Y.
No girl can become a true lady without knowledge of household duties. Whatever may be her literary proficiency and her social qualities, without the ability to do housework, if necessity demand, her education is defective.
Mrs. Washington, the mother of the General, always attended to her domestic affairs, even in the presence of the most distinguished guests. Lafayette paid her a visit before his departure for Europe, in the fall of 1774. He was conducted to her mansion by one of her grandsons. "There, sir, is my grandmother," said he, as they approached the house. Lafayette looked up, and saw at work in the garden, “ clad in domestic clothes, and her gray head covered with a plain straw hat, the mother of his hero." She gave Lafayette a cordial welcome, observing —“Ab, Marquis, you see an old woman; but, come, I can make you welcome to my poor dwelling, without the parade of changing my dress."
Mrs. Martha Washington, the wife of the General, was no lest distinguished for her management of household affairs. She was a good seamstress, a good cook, and a good mother. She understood every department of domestic labor, and was ever ready to do what circumstances required. Mrs. Troupe, the accomplished wife of a captain of the British navy, once visited her, and she gave the following account of Mrs. Washington's appearance : “Well, I will honestly tell you I never was so ashamed in all
life. You see, Madame - and Madame and myself, thought we would visit Lady Washington; and as she was said to be so grand a lady, we thought we must put on our best bibs and bands. So we dressed ourselves in our most elegant ruffles and silks, and were introduced to her ladyship. And, don't you think, we found her knitting, and with a check apron on! She received us very graciously and easily, but after the compliments were over, she resumed her knitting. There we were, without a stitch of work, and sitting in state ; but General Washington's lady, with her own hands, was knitting stockings for her own husband."
Many pictures warm and glowing,
Thrill the heart with vivid power,
Dearer every hour.
Words of deference and truth,
'Nea ththe homestead-roof.
DREAMS OF THE BIBLE.
BY R. P. T.
THE CHIEF BUTLER AND BAKER'S DREAMS.
1. And the chief Butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “in my dream, behold, a vine was before me: and in the vine were three branches ; and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth ; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes. And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand : and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cap, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.” 2. The chief baker said unto Joseph, “I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head; and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bake-meats for Pharaoh ; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.”—Gen. XI: 9, 10, &c.
Hitherto we have been confined to dreams which conveyed the will of Heaven directly to God's chosen and faithful servants. Here we have an exhibition of the same divine purpose communicated in an indirect manner. God is not restricted in this respect, any more to men than to times and places. Hence, the characters before us are to be considered more as the occasion or means through which to effect a design altogether ulterior to themselves, than as being of chief importance in giving significance to the history involved. God did not design to make any special revelation to these men, because they stood in no snch communicative intercourse with Heaven. So far as we know, they were strangers to the true God; yet the Almighty could operate upon their minds through the medium of dreams as well as upon those of Jacob and Joseph-and that too for the accomplishment of the same ultimate object.
Accordingly Joseph is so connected with the whole scene as to play a most conspicuous part, and to set forth at once the unmistakable design of all that transpires. Once a prophetic dreamer himself, he was the better prepared now to act the part of an interpreter of dreams. In both instances the indications of Providence are equally clear in relation to the significance of his own wonderful history. He is still emphatically the hero of the story, while the attending characters appear only to play their minor, but, in their place, equally important parts. He had dreamed of great honor and distinction, and the present crisis was only to show him that the road to such preferment lay through the regions of the seducer and the death-damp of an Egyptian prison.
How strange the occasions and means selected by Providence to elevate Joseph from the pit to the throne! Yet steadily, but surely, he was all the while advancing towards the position todicated by the dreams of his youth. He is now a companion of Egyptian prisoners-condemned without a cause, and humble without measure. Under these circumstances two of Pharaoh's discarded officers dreamed, and their sad countenances at once elicited his tenderest sympathies. They were troubled, both on acconnt of the extraordinary nature of their dreams, and because they supposed themselves entirely cut off from all diviners of dreams_little thinking that he with whom they were in daily intercourse held such intimacy with the revealer of all secrets as to enable him to speak as an oracle of God. But an appeal to the proper source was not long delayed ; and they urged their plea for an interpretation, according to Josephus, with the complaint, that besides the afflictions they underwent from the king, God did also add to their trouble from their dreams."
The truth and faithfulness of Joseph's interpretation was proven within three days, when, on the occasion of celebrating the King's birthday, the butler was reinstated to his office of cup-bearer, and the baker was executed, (crucified, says Josephus) and his body left to be devoured by the ill-omened birds seen in his vision.
What the offence was, for which these chiefs of the several household departments was incarcerated, we are not informed. Some conjecture tha it was nothing less than an attempt upon the life of their sovereigo, whilst others, perhaps for equally good reasons, suppose it to have been one of those simple accidents over which men have no control. But whatever it may have been, it is but reasonable to suppose that they were deeply concerned to know the ultimate issue of their imprisonment. And this anxiety in itself might naturally have filled their minds with frightful dreams amid the disturbed slumbers of the night. But Providence bad another and higher aim in all this, as we have already intimated, than the simply grouping together such an ordinary combination of circumstances.
The whole transaction, indeed, seems to furnish but another of those unmistakable evidences, that the All-wise dispose rof events “can bring good out of evil,” and that He will cause the wrath of man to praise Him,” whilst “the remainder of wrath He will restrain.” It was the unmitigated wrath of Joseph's brethren that caused him to be sold as a slave--the wrath of Potipher consigned him to protracted imprisonment -and it was the wrath of Pharaoh that doomed two of the chief officers of his court to a similar fate.
Yet how necessary, though entirely undesigned on the part of the principal actors, were all these occurrences for the final accomplishment of that praise and honor which shone forth so brilliantly in the sequel. How true that, man proposes, but God disposes.” But while we may deplore the sad fate of one of the criminals, we will not call in question either the wisdom of God, in the perfecting of His inscrutable and mysterious plans, nor the integrity of a naturally haughty and tyrannical king. Perhaps the sentence of each was just.
one shall be taken and another left."
So it was with the two malefactors that hung upon either side of a dying Saviour—the one was saved and the other lost, because the one believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and the other did not—was an infidel. So that whether righteousness always controls the judgment of men or not, we are sure, at least, that God will render unto every man according to his deeds. Even as guilty offenders and convicts, if we comply with the conditions of salvation, no one shall receive condemnation of