« VorigeDoorgaan »
thou remember the boy we met when we first set out together, who was weeping on his way to school, and sighing to be a man ?"
A little way onward they came to a-miserable cottage, at the door of which was an aged woman, meanly clad, and shaking with the palsy : she sat all alone, her head resting on her bosom, and, as the pair approached, vainly tried to raise it up to look at them.
“Good morrow, old lady—and all happiness to you,” cried Hope, gaily, and the old woman thought it was a long time since she had heard such a charming salutation.
“Happiness !” said she, and in a voice that quivered with weakness and infirmity. “Happiness !" I have had it not since I was a little girl, without care or sorrow. O, I remember those delightful days when I thought of nothing but the present moment, nor cared for the future or the past. When I laughed and played and sung, from morning till night, and envied no one, or wished to be any other than I was. But those happy times are past, never to return. O, if I could only once more return to the days of my childhood!
The old woman sunk back on her seat, and the tears flowed from her hollow eyes.
Memory again reproached her companion, but he only asked her if she recollected the little girl they had met a long time ago, who was so miserable because she was so young. Memory knew it well enough, and said not another word.
They now approached their home, and Memory was on tiptoe with the thoughts of once more enjoying the unequalled beauties of those scenes from which she had been so long separated. But, some how or other, it seemed they were sadly changed. Neither the grass was so green, the flowers so sweet and lovely, nor did the brooks murmur, the echoes answer, or the birds sing half so enchantingly, as she remembered them in long time past.
“ Alas!" she exclaimed, “ how changed is every thing."
" Every thing is the same, and thou alone art changed," answered Hope. “Thou hast deceived thyself in the past, just as much as I deceive others in the future.”
" What is it you are disputing about?” asked an old man, whom they had not observed before, though he was standing close by them : “I have lived almost fourscore and ten years, and my experience may perhaps enable me to decide between you."
They told him the occasion of their disagreement, and related the history of their journey around the earth. The old man smiled, and for a few moments sat buried in thought. He then said to them :
“I, too, have lived to see all the hopes of my youth turned into shadows, clouds, and darkness, and vanish into nothing. I, too, have survived my fortune, my friends, my children, the hilarity of youth, and the blessing of health !".
“ And dost thou not despair ?" said Memory.
Memory turned towards Hope, threw herself into his arms, which opened to receive her, and burst into tears, exclaiming
." Forgive me, I have done thçe injustice. Let us never again separate from each other.".
“With all my heart," sạid Hope, and they continued for ever after to travel together hand and hand through the world..
IMPORTANCE OF EARLY CONTROL. , , . It is absolutely a burlesque on human nature to suppose, as some, claiming the character of philosophers, have done, that a child is not to be subject to any control, but be left to its own reason for a guide ; as this strengthens, it is alleged, it will more and more clearly perceive and pursue the direct course. Long before reason can be supposed to have reached that maturity which would answer this purpose, thought is awakened, and passions are called into exercise. These passions are the current by which the mind is first moved. - The child has yet no reason to guide this current, and the philosophy of the father will not permit his reason to interpose; the current is, therefore, suffered to take its own course. These passions are all to be indulged, for denial would be the exercise of authority, and every indulgence increases their strength. .. When reason, at length, easts its first feeble view on the world, through which it is to guide the child, the youth, and the man, it sees that world not as it really is, but as it appears through the perverting medium of the passions. Reason begins to unfold, and to act under the full and established influence of the passions. If the reason of the father, with all his knowledge and experience of the world, did not attempt to control these passions, can the reason of the child be expected to turn their strong and impetuous current? The singularity of this philosophy is, that the child, whose passions are strong, whose reason is weak, whose knowledge of the world is extremely limited, should be expected to accomplish a task which the father, whose reason is fully matured, whose knowledge of the world, both from observation and experience, is extensive, ' has not 'attempted to do. The first conclusion of reason in the child will most probably be of this nature-My father, who loves me, and who is much better qualified than I am to judge of the course I should pursue, has never denied, but always indulged me; I therefore conclude that this is the proper course. Reason comes into exercise-the pupil, or rather the subject of the passions. The reports which the understanding receives from the world without, of what is right and wrong, good and evil, honourable and dishonourable, proper and improper, are all made by the passions. These reports are the material with which reason forms its first decisions; and it is easy to see that they will be in favour of the passions ; indeed, according to the constitution of the human mind, they cannot be otherwise. A character formed on the principles of this philosophy, is one governed by the passions ; reason has no other province, in fact, is permitted to do nothing else, than to devise ways and means for the indulgence of these sovereigns of the mind.
Yet some profess to admire the system as a great improvement in education, as a method calculated to raise the human mind to the highest point of perfection, and thus promote, by rapid strides, the prosperity and happiness of society. We have known a few characters formed after this model; and certainly we could not envy the parents the satisfaction they derived from the experiment; nor could the community very loudly boast of them as a valuable acquisition. You might as well take the reins of civil government from the enlightened and the wise, and place them in the hands of the ignorant, headstrong rabble, and call this a great improvement in political science. You might as well require a man to view every object through an instrument composed of glasses highly discoloured, and of different convexities, and call this a wonderful improvement in optics. You might as well deprive the ship of its compass and its rudder, leave it to drive before the wind and the tide, and call this a great improvement in navigation. Neither of these cases involves a greater absurdity than it does to withdraw entirely the judicious exercise of parental authority, and commit the government of a child to its own blind and impetuous passions.
CONTENTMENT. If we consider the various pursuits of mankind after happiness, they will be found in general concentrated in that sovereign object, riches. The statesman, whose motives would seem to tend wholly to the prosperity and welfare of his country, who makes the most solemn protestations of his attachment to its interest, and pretends to be ready to sacrifice his life and fortune, whenever called on in the defence of it, will, as soon as the grand spring of his action is removed, be found as cool and inactive in support of the common cause, as he was a zealous promoter of its happiness. Self-interest precedes every other consideration, and a thirst after money often prompts the mind to actions of a abase and dangerous tendency. The miser, whose insatiable avarice keeps pace with every other part of his character, knows no happiness but in accumulating wealth, and is as sanguine and diligent in the cause, as if the preservation of his life depended on the pursuit of it. His ambition knows no bounds, but, like a greedy monster, he would rob the indigent of their support, and reduce them to the most abject servility, in order to enrich his own coffers. Contentment is a name he is not acquainted with, his chief pleasure consists in admiring his illgotten riches, and looking disdainfully on all beneath him. Yet after all, his riches serve only to torment him ; surrounded with all the superfluities of life, he murmurs in the midst of plenty, and by looking up to others in a prosperous situation, he not only envies the happiness they enjoy, but loses all relish for his own. When ambition fires the mind, and when avarice petrifies the heart, a man may truly bid farewell to content. It is impossible for a miser to be happy; his name implies misery, and he deserves it; and the ambitious man being of a restless disposition by nature, can never enjoy the blessings of repose.
The way to be happy is to look down on those who suffer, and not up to those who shine in the world. The comparison, then, would be
so much in our favour, that we should cease to complain. So far should we be from repining at the unequal distribution of fortune, that we should sit down contented with our own lot, and be happy with the blessings we enjoy. Our pride would be humbled, and our peevishness turned into pity ; all our murmurings would be hushed at the sight of others ; a little reason and common sense would point out to us, the absurdity of our pursuit, and prove how dangerous it is to follow the deceitful track. How happy, then, people might live, and what a figure might they make in the eye of the world, were they to manage the liberalities of fortune with common sense, and learn to despise the superfluities of it! From a want of this springs all the unhappiness of life, and from a careful observance of it proceeds every satisfaction we can wish to obtain.
If we reflect properly on the miseries with which the majority of mankind are hourly tormented, on the many crosses and disappointments they meet with, and the difficulties with which they are embarrassed, we should, possessing health and a moderate competency, view without emotion the magnificence of the great, and never sigh for the luxuries of the vicious. There is less pleasure in the enjoyment of riches, than the idea of them presents us with ; for the man who, by virtuous industry, moves in a inoderate sphere of life, tastes more real satisfaction than the courtier, with all his pomp, pride, and greatness.
C. K. B.
THE SAVIOUR'S BIRTH. “THE Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.”—John i. 14. In such flesh as we inhabit, except its impurity and sinfulness. O what matter of glory and exultation is this ! How full of triumph, should it fill the souls of men, that such a hope should rise to them, as a resurrection from the dead ! But as the birth of Christ is a matter of the highest, it ought to be of the purest joy also. There is not a little caution requisite in this case, that it be not ignorant rejoicing, that it be not carnal rejoicing, and, above all, that it be not wicked rejoicing, more grossly and sensually wicked.
1. Let it not be ignorant rejoicing. Rejoice we may and must, that the Son of God became man, that he might become a sacrifice for sin. But to rejoice that Christ was born into the world, without understanding, or desiring to understand, why he was so born, is unbecoming men, much more Christians, as they are rejoicing for they know not what. This is but the joy of a fool. It is mean and brutish, insolent and presumptuous, to rejoice in the thoughts of so sacred a thing as this, without having our hearts touched and impressed with the pure and holy design of the coming of the Son of God into the world.
2. Let it not be a carnal joy. How vain and absurd would it be to say, that because the Son of God came into the world to die for our sins, “ therefore let us eat and drink, and be merry ; let us pamper and adorn our bodies," forgetting that they are inhabited by immortal spirits, and were made to be temples of the Holy Spirit. To rejoice
with such a sort of festivity as is only pleasing to our fleshly inclination, without any thought of being recovered and brought back to God by this Christ; of having my soul refined, and body and soul made meet to glorify God, to whom they belong; to rejoice without any thought of this, I say, looks more like a Pagan than a Christian, and is much more suited to a Pagan than a Christian state. We must remember that he took our flesh to make us partakers of his Spirit ; he took our nature to make us partakers of his divine nature, escaping the corruptions that are in the world through lust.
3. Let it not be wicked rejoicing, such as is in its own nature more grossly and sensually wicked. To make the season, when we uncertainly apprehend that Christ was born, the season of indulging in all manner of looseness and debauchery, in direct contradiction to, and in defiance of, the design of his coming, must be an awful affront to him, whose birth we celebrate. This would be to proclaim to the world, that the design of the Son of God in coming into it, was to give men liberty to be safely wicked ; that they may throw off all restraint, and without fear of consequences, abandon themselves to all manner of wickedness, fulfilling the impure lusts of a corrupt and depraved nature, till sin, being finished, ends in an eternal death. Such a line of conduct would indicate that Christ came into the world, that there might be no such thing as Christianity in it; but that men might live with safety in the highest rebellion against the very laws of that Christ from whom they are expecting salvation.
Poetry. ON THE RETURN OF THE REV. And when the storms of life are o'er,
ANDREW REED, D.D. FROM His faith shall rise beyond the tomb, AMERICA, OCT. 19, 1834.
And landed safe on Canaan's shore, (By a Member of his Church.)
The God he serves will take him home. Our pastor once again hath cross'd
M. F. S. The deep Atlantic's billowy foam ; No more by waves or tempests toss'd, The God he serves has brought him
THE DECEIVER REPROVED. home.
MARIA. His anxious people's daily prayers Oh, see this pretty flower,
Were offer'd at the eternal throne, Which I've broken from the stem ! An answer full of love appears,
Mamma will be displeased with me, The God he serves has brought him My conduct she'll condemn : 1 home.
For only yesterday she said, When the glad tidings first were brought,
I must not play out here, ** The ship's arrived-our friend is
And certainly I should obey come,”
Commands from one so dear. Each heart spontaneous own'd the
ANNA. " thought,
Oh, well, you need not tell her, The God he serves has brought him
And then she will not know home.
Who broke her precious flower,
That's the way that I would do.
If you've been down this way, The God he serves has brought him Then who will know but what you did home.
Your ma's commands obey ?