then cherish and cultivate à temper on which so much of the peace and harmony, order and happiness of private lise depends. Candour is an emi. nent branch of that charity which suffereth long and is kind; vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.



As it is your professed object to mark the prominent features and manners of the age, I am led to state my own case to you, with the hope that you will suggest such counsels and advices, as may prove useful to myself, and to others who are similarly circumstanced. If it be painful to have the mind held in a state of sceptical suspense, with reference to the grand concerns of a future world, it is hardly less so, to fall under the dire spell of procrastination. Through a series of years, and a succession of vicissitudes, I have been subject to this distressing thraldom; and, as many persons in the circle of my acquaintance are apparently in the same condition, a brief outline of my life may serve to characterize a class, as well as to delineate an obscure individual. I was born and brought up in a small country town, and early habituated to attend public worship. Our family, which was large, sat under the ministry of a preacher, whose pungent and faithful addresses often touched and roused my conscience. I sometimes, during these seasons of excitement, retired to read the Bible, and offer

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up prayer to God in secret. One discourse from the pulpit, on the subject of decision in religion, convinced me that both duty and interest required that I should make an immediate surrender of my soul into the hands of the Saviour, and firmly avow my attachment to his truth in the face of an ungodly' world. I had, however, some juvenile companions, who partly by certain proposed schemes of pleasure, and partly by some artsul strokes of raillery and turns of wit, put a check upon the frank and open profession of religion, which I was on the point of making These associates were neither tinctured with infidelity, nor stained with profligacy; but, while they maintained a regard to the decencies of life, it was easy to perceive the strong recoil of their feelings from every thing truly serious and devout. Pleased with their company, and fearful of forfeiting their good opinion, or exposing myself to the light weapons of their ridicule, I partially suppressed the dictates of conscience, and began to search for reasons which might justify my conduct. These reasons seemed all to terminate at one point, viz. that an earnest attention to the great concerns of the soul, should only be deferred for a time, not superseded altogether. During a period of ten years I flattered myself that as soon as I should settle in life, and become my own master, nothing would remain to hinder or delay the serious and resolute prosecution of the one thing needful. At the age of twenty-five, I married and commenced business. But now a new train of engagements and temptations, before I was aware, entangled my mind, and held me back from my original purpose. One worthy and conscientious man, I well remember, upon paying us a wedding visit, did, indeed, impart both to myself and my

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blooming bride, such excellent advice on the subject of religion, as made a considerable impression on my mind; but the effect was in a great measure destroyed by the opposite tendency of the conversation I had with different branches of my father's family, for the Lingers were very numerous, and, in a manner, swayed the whole town. senior, who had the reputation of consummate prudence, and had been very prosperous in the world, advised me to shun the error of those who are righteous over-much; to push on my business with spirit and activity, care and perseverance; to secure a large connexion by accommodating myself to the customs, manners, and humours of my neighbours. I began to act according to this advice, and the success of the trade into which I had entered soon exceeded my most sanguine expectations.

But hardly had I tasted the sweets of gain, before I was attacked by a fever, which threatened to terminate my life. It was a visitation of terror and dismay. The solemn scenes of eternity were disclosed to view, and I felt myself unprepared and afraid to die! I wept, and prayed, and resolved, that, if I recovered, nothing should divert my attention from the things which belonged to my peace. I passed the crisis of the disorder, and slowly regaining my strength, seemed, as it were, brought back from the brink of the grave. For a time the serious impression remained on my mind, and I not only retired to the devotions of the closet, but also began to read prayers in my family. It was not long, however, that this course was pursued. As I entered again into the world, the vivid scenes and awful realities of eternity, and the strong emotions which bad shaken my soul, gradually sunk, till at length a cold creeping apathy took possession of every faculty and every feeling. This change in the frame of my mind was followed by a correspondent change in my conduct. Family prayer was now and then omitted, under the pretext of numerous and pressing engagements, and in a few months wholly laid aside. I continued in this state many years, though not without sharp checks of conscience, and occasionally renewing those resolutions which had been so often broken and destroyed, as bands of flax are consumed by the touch of fire. It is somewhat remarkable, that, though I often felt the preaching of the word like a probe piercing to the very quick, and filling me with anguish, I could never bring myself to neglect attending the house of God. In the spirit and manner of the minister, whom I constantly heard, there was always much affection blended with fidelity, and his life agreed with his doctrine. My convictions and feelings on the Sabbath were usually stifled and chilled by the tumults and cares of the week. At one period, within the short space of a month, I lost two lovely children, and the severe stroke went to my heart; the world appeared stripped of its charms, and I thought this was the time for turning my whole soul in good earnest to the things of God. My friends were alarmed at what they termed the symptoms of melancholy, and pressed me, for the sake of health, to visit my uncle, Timothy Linger, in the metropolis. This relative was of a rather gay and sprightly turn, and in his house and society I soon lost every trace of serious impressions. Not that I ventured into the resorts of loose pleasure, for I never had a taste formed to relish the delights and dissipations of the fashionable world. My snares have been amidst the sober, and in some sense, honourable habits of business. A thousand

times have I said to myself, if I can but acquire a decent competence, which will enable me entirely to give up trade, how glad shall I be to pass the calm evening of life in piety and peace! Figuring in imagination some quiet lovely retreat, I said, Ah, there will I serve God, and seek an interest in his favour, which is the true secret and the only source of happiness ! Yes; there no clamour shall stun my ears, no object of disgust offend my eyes, no disappointments and cares vex and harass my mind!

More than a quarter of a century I continued in business, and have now retired with considerable property. Yet I will frankly confess, that the same fatal spell of procrastination has followed me to the charming rural retreat I now occupy, and once fancied would be so propitious to my early purposes and best hopes. I find a vacancy around me, and feel a listlessness and torpor within, which cannot well be defined. It is true, the passions of youth have subsided, and the anxieties of trade and commerce are abandoned; yet certain mysterious invisible ties still bind me to this world, though growing conviction of its emptiness and insufficiency evinces the folly of making it my rest and portion I have leisure, books, means of religious instruction, motives to watchfulness and prayer, and monitions of my own frailty and approaching dissolution, continually thickening upon me. Whence then this reluctance to think of eternity, or to prepare to meet my God? It is not that I doubt the truth of Christianity, which had been sealed by so many signs and miracles; it is not that I question the importance and value of that felicity, which is doctrines disclosed beyond the dark confines of the grave. The propensity to delay, which has been

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