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THE HUSBANDMAN'S SONG.
Wake every soul ! with rapture sing
Jesus ! the smiling scene around
THE GREATEST BLESSING ON EARTH.
Peace, health and strength, food raiment and content.
ETERNITY. ARITHMETICIÁNS have been much puzzled with given numbers i but none ever attempted eternity, or the duration of the world to come, though they have shown mighty art in figures. Here the finite mind has no idea of eternity but by succession of ages, and yet succession belongs to time, not to eternity. Though all the angels in heaven, and all the men in the world, since their creation, had been employed in dotting down figures, which at the end of the world were to be arranged into one straight line, stretched through an unmeasured space, which would give every figure ten times its force, yet this line would not be so much to eternity, by all the disproportion of comparison, as the number one bears to it; for one bears some proportion to the greatest numbers, but the greatest numbers bear none to eternity.
Days, weeks, and months are nothing there ; years, ages, and generations are lost there; hundreds, thousands, and millions are no more there; times, æras, and determinate durations are past for ever there; all is fixed, all eternal there ! There is no first and last, sooner and later, in eternity ; for though Abel, with respect to time, was sooner plunged into perpetuity, yet no sooner than the saints that shall be alive at the last day, with respect to eternity. For it is like a circle, which, besected any where, is always in the middle. The saints are like so many guests assembling to a feast, some are set down, some sitting down, some standing ready to sit down, some entering the door, and some at a little distance from the house, yet all come in due time for the feast. Adam, Enoch, and Elias, are set down at the banquet of love ; the prophets and apostles are set down at the marriage-supper of the Lamb; some are entering the door of bliss, and many are on their way thither; but they shall all come time enough to the divine entertainment which shall satisfy all the guests in the mansions of glory.
Alas! with what desperate madness am I chargeable that I am thus taken up with transitory trifles, and neglect the realities of the everlasting world? When I consider the vanity of earthly glory, I cannot help concluding, that such as pursue after it are intoxicated with poison more dangerous than that of the tarantula, which makes men die by dancing ; as the one affects the soul, the other only the body. But though the pleasures of this world were real and solid, yet they are so transient, that they are not worthy our pursuit. O bow wise for time, but how improvident for eternity ! for what man, to appear in all the majesty and grandeur of a king for one day, would forfeit his estate, and spend the rest of his miserable life in poverty and reproach ? And yet for vanity, for trifles of a day, we throw ourselves away for eternity! I look forward a few years, perhaps a few days, and see myself in eternity ; but I cannot look still more forward, and see myself out of eternity into another state. O Eternity! I am to be in thee for ever; and why shouldst thou not be in all my thoughts? Thou shalt shortly overtake me ; why then should I chase thee from me, or fly myself from thee?
It matters not much to him who is going bat out of one door into another, whether it be in a summer-blink, or winter-blast, since a few steps finish his journey ; nor does it much more concern him who comes out of the door of the womb, and enters by the gate of death into the palace of the great King, his mansion for eternity, whether it be under the sunshine of prosperity or the bitter blast of adversity; because the one cannot profit him, nor the other pain him there. And our journey, from our coming into this world, till our going into the world of spirits, though we should reach the age of Methuselah, is performed sooner with respect to eternity, than our going from one room to another in respect of time. Now, my moments are numbered, and precious ; but, О that blessed state when numbers are no more! No incursions there on the adoring soul, from the world, or from vanity, from sin, Satan, or the flesh. No weariness there, where mine adorations shall not be measured by minutes, cramped by corruption, or out short by bodily indisposition. But when I have stood an ardent adorer before the throne ten thousand years, I shall be as vigorous in my love, as active in my adorations, as in the first moment I began the work of angels, the employment of heaven. Now vain thoughts mingle with my contemplations, distractions
with my devotions, impertinent ravings with my most importunate prayers ; unbelief resists my faith, carnality is a clog to the heavenly mind, corruption a dead weight on the soul, and the things of time an hindrance to all. But then I shall be delivered into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Once a great king made a great feast to his grandees for an hundred and fourscore days; nothing less than a royal treasury could support the expense of such an entertainment. But the King of kings shall feast and satiate all his mighty angels, all his chosen people, on his own undiminished fulness through eternity itself! There is bliss without a blank, abundance beyond all bounds, and possession without period ! No matter, then, what years I lose ; for whenever the lamp of life expires, the sun shall rise and shine forever.
FAMILY GOVERNMENT. It may be taken for granted, that every pious" parent feels very strongly for the future 'happiness of his children, and that his own comfort and happiness are intimately concerned in that of his family. Now this commendable passion, which is certainly improved by religion, will lead the parent to converse frequently and familiarly with them, and to teach them betimes the distinction between good and evil, vice and virtue, and to express his abhorrence of evil, and his approbation of virtuous actions.
It is a mistake, which there is reason to believe many parents are chargeable with, to suppose that however perverse children are when they are in their childhood, they will correct themselves as they grow up. I allow that in some instances this may be the case : childish things, which are but mere foibles, will be outgrown; but vicious dispositions, froward and undutiful tempers, if not corrected in time, will grow up with them, and the young masterless cub will grow up to be a lawless, ungovernable, and mis. chievous bear; grow up to be at once the disgrace and plague of the parents, a pest to society, and, what is infinitely worse, a hardened rebel against God, a despicable outcast from the society of all wise and good men, and at last sink into remediless ruin. On the other hand, where a wise and judicious discipline in the management of a family is exercised, it may, in general, be expected that the members of it, and especially the children of it, who are more immediately the care of parents, will be dutiful, affectionate, obec dient, and obliging in their tempers and manners ; they will be conscientious in their whole conduct; be preserved from the vices and follies of youth ; grow up in habits of modesty and virtue, of industry and govdness; be held in esteem by all who know how to value real worth, and will be kept under the means of grace, which through the blessing of God, will make them wise, holy and happy in time and to eternity. There is an important meaning in the words of the wise man, and it becomes the duty of every parent to learn the meaning of them ; " Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it ;" and there is a wise meaning in that apostolic exhortation. Eph. vi. 4, “ And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The first thing then that I would recommend to the attention of parents is, the beginning to exercise government at an early period. As soon as reason begins to dawn, let the child know that you will be pleased by being obeyed, or, in other words, by the child aiming to comply with your will, no matter in what, but in every little action of which it is capable, and that you will be offended by a refusal.
Secondly, the conduct of a parent should be exactly uniform, and all of a piece, firmly maintaining that authority which the law of God and of nature gives him ; and at the same time, let that authority be exercised with that due mixture of mildness and affection, which is calculated to beget and inspire reverence and love, and to convince his child or children of the reasonableness and propriety of his conduct in all the restraints which he lays them under, and the duties he enjoins upon them ; and that it is his love to them, and his desire to promote their good, which dictate such a conduct.
Thirdly, another rule which a wise parent will lay down to himself, will be this : Never in any instance, to suffer himself to be disobeyed; but to insist perseveringly on it, that he will be obeyed, that he will have his directions and injunctions regarded. Now if this rule be strictly adhered to, it will become a law to the family, and children will regard the parent's will as the rule of their conduct, and will not ordinarily depart or deviate from it ; but will feel themselves happy in having their parent's approbation, and proportionably feel themselves unhappy, if, through indiscretion, they have incurred the parents displeasure, and will not be reconciled to themselves, till the parent is reconciled to them, and harmony is restored.