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“ It is impossible to calculate how large a portion of human misery is the result of the violation of this very simple rule, that of profiting by the experience of others. The more minutely, however, we examine the connexion of events in the history of individuals, the more shall we be convinced that this portion is a very extensive one. All who have passed a certain period of life, see the errors into which they fell. Even where there is no charge of gross violations of the divine law, they can tell of those bad habits which have entailed on them many inconveniences and distresses, or which have prevented them from making those attainments in knowledge or active usefulness whichy by the early cultivation of habits of a different description, they might have reached : and yet such is the folly of human beings, such their blindness and obstinacy, that one generation is found blundering on after another; treading in the same path, instead of improving by the experience of those who have gone before them. If I shall succeed in leading any of my young readers to become exceptions to this too general description of human character, I am certain they will acknowledge in the issue that I have furnished them with a secret of incalculable value.
66 While I am speaking of the importance of children being willing to bow to the instruction or reproof of their parents, it may be useful to mention a very striking example of the melancholy effects of disregarding parental admonition, which came under my own observation several years ago.
“ A gay and thoughtless young man, who had often opposed a pious father's wishes, by spending the Sabbath in idleness and folly, instead of accompanying his parents to the house of God, was taking a ride
on a Sabbath-morning. After riding for some time at great speed, he suddenly pulled up his horse, while the animal, by stopping more suddenly than he expected, gave him such a sudden jerk that it injured the spinal marrow; and when he came to his father's door, he had totally lost the use of the lower extremities of his body. He was lifted from his horse, and laid on that bed which was destined to prove to him the bed of death; and there he had leisure to reflect on his ways. It was when in this situation I was asked to visit him, and he then discovered the deepest solicitude about the things that belonged to his eternal peace. He eagerly listened to the representation that was given him respecting the evil of sin, its dreadful consequences, and the ground of hope to the guilty. He seemed much impressed with a sense of his need of pardoning mercy, and thankfully to receive it in the way that God hath revealed. Many parts of the conversations I had with him, have now escaped my recollection, but some of his expressions I shall not easily forget. On one occasion, when referring to his past life, and finding himself now unable to attend public worship, he exclaimed,
Oh! what would I give now for some of those Sabbaths which I formerly treated with contempt!' He seemed deeply to feel and to deplore his guilt in having so heinously misimproved the precious opportunities of waiting on the public ordinances of religion, which, in the day of health, he had enjoyed. While, on another occasion, he expressed his sense of the infinite importance of the Gospel, I suggested to him the propriety of his telling his dissipated companions, when they called upon him, the light in which his former life now appeared to him. In reply, he told
TO THEIR PARENTS.
me that though he would be most happy to do so, he had no opportunity; that his former companions had now quite deserted him; that if they called at all, it was merely to inquire about his health, but that they seemed quite uneasy while they remained, and would not spend even a few minutes in his company. Ah ! what a picture of the friendship of the world! It possesses no ingredients which can furnish a topic of consolation in the day of adversity. It was in reference, however, to this subject, and to the hope that, though he had no access to his former companions, his history might prove useful to them, that he uttered the last expression I shall quote. With an ardour and an emphasis which I cannot describe, he said to me, at one of the last interviews I had with him, “ I earnestly pray that I may be a warning to them that forget God.” May this solemn and affecting exclamation of a young man, on the bed of sickness and of death, be fastened on the recollection, especially, of every young reader; that, instead of forgetting God, he may remember his CREATOR in the days of his youth, and be found, in the season of youth and of health, supremely valuing that Gospel which alone can give solid happiness in life, comfort in affliction, and peace in death.”
(To be concluded in our next Number.)
THE CONFECTIONERS' SABBATH:
AN ANECDOTE, with REMARKS. A FEW years ago, as a little girl, between three and four years old, was going with her mother to a place of worship, in London, on a Sabbath-morning, seeing several confectioners' shops open, she said, “ Mother, the Jews keep their sabbath on the Saturday, and we keep ours on the Sunday : when do Confectioners keep their Sabbath ?” She might have added, when do Grocers, Butchers, Green-Grocers, Fruiterers, Slopsellers, &c., &c., keep their Sabbath?
This striking question from a child shows,
1. The adyantages of a religious education, and the benefit of a holy example in the conduct of parents. If this child had never been taught to observe the Sabbath-day to keep it holy, she would not have seen it to be the duty of other persons to keep Sabbath at all.
2. It shows that children, when young, if properly instructed, are more observant of men and things than is generally imagined, and that impressions are made on their tender minds by the example of others, beyond what is generally supposed. When children see in their parents a conscientious care to keep the Lord's day holy, to speak truth, and to promote genuine piety, their hearts are frequently touched, and their memories are stored with good things. Trained up thus in the way they should go, they may be expected not to depart from it when they are old. On the other hand, if parents be wicked, and keep open shop, or follow their occupations, on the LORD's day, or if they lounge away the Sabbath in idleness and dissipation, what can be expected from their children?
3. This question of a child calls on all persons who keep shops open for business, or who go to them to buy, on the Lord's day, to ask themselves, when they keep their sabbath? Is it a small evil to disobey the eternal Jehovah, who hath commanded us to keep one day in seven holy, and to do no manner of work on that day? Is it a light thing to rob God of the glory due to his Name, to profane his day, and to neglect his worship? Are not such persons treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath ? And if they be parents, are they not training up their chil. dren for endless misery ? O that men were wise, that they would duly consider their latter end !
4. This anecdote reproves those children who dislike the worship of God, and the strict observation of the Sabbath; who would prefer play to prayer, ESSAY ON DISCRETION.
and the company of wicked children to that of good people; who think their parents too severe because they will not suffer them to spend the day of the LORD in sinful mirth, and foolish conduct. Such children are wicked : they offend God, and grieve their pious parents.
5. It calls on those children who have been, or are now, favoured with religious instruction and example, to be very thankful to God for such blessings, and carefully to improve them to his glory, and their own everlasting benefit. They are not without knowledge of what God requires of them, of the way of salvation by Christ, of the things which make for their peace. May those dear children accept the offered mercy of God, and become a blessing to mankind ! Liverpool, Aug. 29, 1822.
ESSAY ON DISCRETION. I have long esteemed the Book of Proverbs as the best collection of maxims for our direction in civil and domestic life that was ever put into the hands of man. The intention of this book is specified in the first six verses of the first chapter, which may be considered as a preface to the whole work. Youth are particularly regarded by the Wise Man; and he often addresses himself to the juvenile reader. Happy is that young person who receives the instruction thus communicated, and walks in the paths of wisdom. " When wisdom entereth into his heart, and know. ledge is pleasant to his soul, then understanding shall keep him, and DISCRETION shall preserve him.” Of all the qualities of the mind, Discretion is one of the most useful, as it is that by which we use every other quality aright, and improve every circumstance in life in a proper manner. We often see great and shining gifts possessed, without discretion to apply them to a right end; and when this is the case, the deficiency of the character is the more striking ; because our expectations being raised by observing something above the common level of mankind, we are disap. pointed by finding the want of prudence in the appli