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The mixed circle affords an excellent opportunity to acquire a knowledge of the different customs and habits of mankind, as well as their peculiar modes of thinking. There are many prejudices imbibed in early life, which nothing but an extensive acquaintance with men and
manner, we may trace out the peculiar excellences and defects of our owo national character, or of the circle in which we move; and be able to satisfy ourselves, better than we otherwise could, what are real excellences and detects, and what are only apparent, and arise from local situation or external circumstances.
(For the Monitor.]
RELIGION OF CONVENIENCE.
THERE is a large class of mankind, who are frequently promising themselves that they will enter into the great business of religion, when it shall better suit their convenience. At present they are busily engaged in the prosecution of a particular object; after the attainment of which, they promise themselves more leisure. The present period of life appears to them, perhaps, not the best suited for seriousness; and they choose to defer all attention to their eternal interests, till a more convenient season, So did Felix; and so have thousands done, and never found that convenient season, which they flattered themselves, was just before them. “Procrastination is the thief of time :” and, if religion is infinitely important, as most men are ready to acknowledge, then, most assuredly, it demands immediate attention, and has a claim on our earliest and best affections. In deferring an immediate compliance with the terms of the gospel, we not only lose a large portion of enjoyment which we might secure, but run uncommon hazard; for we are assured, in the word of God, that without holiness no man can see the Lord : and we are conscious, that, while exclusively devoted to the
objects of this world, we have no such principle in exercise. But this is not all : it is the height of ingratitude. Has Christ done so much to save us from ruin, and shall we refuse to accept those precious blessings which he has so dearly purchased ? But suppose our imagination picture ont some future scene, which we think will be favourable to the cultivation of piety, and we are actually brought to realize those very circumstances; and enter as we fondly imagine, on this important business. What can we expect of such religion, but that it will be mere matter of convenience? Piety, that springs from the occasion, can exert little controlling influence over the heart and life. It will, necessarily, be like " the morning cloud and the early dew ;" will pass away with the occasion that gave it rise.
I know of a youth who entered into life with flattering prospects, in regard to the general seriousness of his character. There was about that time, a revival of religion where he lived, and many considered young Henry a sharer in the work. Some of his associates, particularly those whose company he most highly prized, became pious; and, of course, it suited his convenience and promoted his happiness to engage, in a certain degree, in the duties of religion. A change in his place of residence, however, soon convinced his pious friends, that his religion was of that kind which passes off with the occasion. He was now thrown into circles, composed of those who made no pretensions to seriousness, but possessed many of those amiable qualities which characterized the society in which he had previously mingled, and which had so powerfully won bis affections. A few years of security passed away, when some of the companions with whom he then associated, embraced the truth, in the love of it. He prized their society too bighly to quit it; nor could he well keep up that cordial entercourse, which had previously subsisted without manifesting some interest in those subjects which so delightfully occupied the attention of his friends : so he did; and in future life, when his connexions, or his success in business, seemed to require the aid of religion, he was ever ready to call it insuch as it was: rotten, indeed, at the core.
Sich is the religion of convenience, and such are some of its effects. It lulls the mind into a fatal security and conceals from its view, the real nature of our holy religion. But what else can be expected of piety like this, but that it will vary with circumstances ? Genuine piety takes a deep hold on the affections, and exerts a controlling influence over the whole character. Hence, it remains the same efficient principle, through all the varying scenes of life. It may not, indeed, and does not, as usually, exert an equal influence at all times; but it is an undying flame enkindled by the spirit of God,
" The countenance will generally be agreeable in proportion to the goodness of the heart.”
The great Creator seems to delight in variety in his works. From the highest to the lowest of the intelligent creation, as far as comes within our knowledge, this variety prevails. Nor is it less to be observed in the mere animal and inanimate world. Considering the vast multitude of mankind that live in a single age, and especially all that will have lived from the beginning to the end of time, one would hardly suppose that vari. ety could so far exist that each could be distinguished by pecularities of countenance and features. But it is believed to be a fact. Variety in countenance and fear tures seems to be almost infinite. Not, perhaps, so much so in the mere mechanical form of the features as in the cast of countenance : for we sometimes find persons of great similarity of features, yet on near scrutiny, there will always be found some distinguishing mark :-still the most striking variety and distinguishing peculiarity is in the cast of countenance; or the effect of the soul's looking out through the eyes and producing
the expression. In this there is an endless variety, which probably will exist forever: and in this way believers may be distinguisded from each other in heaven as they are now on the earth. · In this endless variety in our species, it were to be expected as existing in fact, that some are more beautiful than others. Symmetry of proportion, regularity of features, fair complexion, and a pleasing cast of countenance, comprise what is called beauty. I know, indeed, that different nations, and different individuals have various ideas of beauty. Much is the result of education and of taste which varies in different communities. But aside from the result of cultivation, I believe there is something in the mind which pronounces symmetry, regularity, and benevolence in the appearance of our species, beautiful.
At least, the proportion of the various parts to each other, and the adaptation of them all to their different ends, together with the appearance in the countenance of a mild disposition, seems to comprise what would naturally be called heauty. But though this may be called beauty, it is not exactly the same which the world on all occasions calls so.
Yet it is not the mere form, and features, and complexion that are of so much consequence as many seem to suppose-it is the disposition of the mind which bearns upon the countenance or the soul looking out of its windows--displaying benevolence or goodness of heart. Here is the grand secret of being beautiful and appearing beautiful-it is being good and appearing good.
How often in public assemblies, has my eye caught the self-devotee, who having paid homage to the fair image that her glass reflected, and having embellished, or rather deformed her native loveliness with all the trappings of fashionable dress and ornament; and sallied forth to excite and extort the admiration of others; and who seemed careless of every thing but to roll the eye, and attract public attention :--how often, with disgust, have I turned from such an object, to contemplate the fair child of nature, whose modest, pious, and retiring loveliness, was such as angels would delight to witness !
I close this essay with saying, though it is not in the power of every one to be what the world calls handsome Lit is in the power of every one to be what is equal, if not better-comely or pleasing. Every person that is good, and does good, will appear good, and consequently, pleasing. The most vile pay homage to virtue. And the female who believes even bad men regard her more for her want of moral or religious principles is exceedingly mistaken. A man esteems virtue in females, though himself may be vicious. If any one would be really beautiful and pleasing, let her be really good, If she would be really good, let her be really pious. Real goodness is devotion of heart and life to God, and the fruits of it are good works.
All the defects of nature may be made up, and more than supplied, by the cultivation of that spirit, whicb, in the sight of God, is of great price. This will form the soul to virtue and glory-ensure the resurrection of the body--and introduce them united into the kingdom of heaven, where they will shine like the stars forever and ever.
[For the Monitor.]
ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNGER SISTER.
A Letter from one young Lady
Yes, it was our sister-our dear little Jane. It was not a sudden stroke of death which tore her from us two long weeks in which we did not realize the succession of day and night, our house was filled with anxiety, which often rose to anguish.
A delirium darkened almost the whole of this period; and there was no opportunity of mentioning to her our fears, and our anxious desires for her union to the Lord Jesus. But our agonized feelings freely vented