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at that period, when the passions become peculiarly strong, and when he was exposed to all the temptations of a court, then he began to seek after the God of David his Father.
Seeking God,' signifies the whole of religion. God, indeed, is not far from any one of us ; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.' We need not go far to find him. If we do but open our eyes, we behold the ever present God. But, alas ! few are willing to behold him ! Most men live as much - without God in the world,' as if he were at the greatest distance. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are disposed to seek him ; and for this purpose he convinces us that his favour is better than life. We are satisfied that nothing but an interest in his pardoning love, through Jesus, can render us safe or happy. Josiah possessed a crown ; he was surrounded with numerous friends, and furnished with all the means of sensual gratification ; but these could not satisfy ; his soul thirsted for God, the living God.'
It was the God of David his father,' that he sought. Not that Josiah was the next in descent from David ; he was at several 'removes distant; and there had been a great falling off in some of his ancestors ; but David was that excellent prince whose pious example he wished to imitate, and chiefly because of his eminent zeal for the worship of God.
Children may take much encouragement from the remembrance of their godly parents. God is ever ready to be found of all the children of men who seek him in Jesus ; but the seed of a faithful Abraham, or a holy David, are peculiarly acceptable to him.
We have a striking proof of Josiah's sincerity in regard to the Bible. That holy book had been much neglected in his father's, time ; and copies of it seem to have been so scarce, that the king, and even the ministers of religon, appear to have been unacquainted with its sacred contents; but when a copy (probably the original one) was found in the temple, and it was read to Josiah, be was greatly affected ; for he perceived how far the nation' had de. parted from God, and to what dreadful wrath they were exposed.
O children ! value the word of God! Be thankful that you can read and hear it with so much ease ! and may you be among those that “tremble at the word of God,' where it denounces his wrath against sin, while you rejoice in the precious promises of salvation with which it abounds !
Josiah’s sincerity was manifested by the zeal with which he propagated the knowledge of God's word among his subjects. He called the people together, and was not ashamed to appear as a preacher among
them. He read to them what had so deeply impressed his own heart, and he publicly entered into a covenant with God to serve him faithfully, engaging them to do the same.
Thus he continued for many years an eminent blessing to his country ; and he obtained this honorable character, That there was none like him for the firmness of his trust and confidence in God.
Children ! if you begin betimes to seek and own the God of your fathers, you may indulge a hope of being permitted, for many years, to glorify him on earth, by being useful in your several stations, and then of being admitted to his glorious presence, where there is fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore.'
PRIDE. O God! what is man !—even a thing of noughta poor, infirm, miserable, short-lived creature, that passes away like a shadow, and is hastening off the stage where the theatrical titles and distinctions, and the whole mask of pride which he has worn for a day will fall off, and leave him naked as a neglected slave.Send forth your imagination, I beseech you, to view the last scene of the greatest and proudest who ever awed and governed the world—See the empty vapour disappearing ! one of the arrows of mortality this moment sticks fast within him : see, it forces out his life, and freezes his blood and spirits.
Approach his bed of state-lift up the curtain regard a moment with silence.
Are these cold hands and pale lips, all that are left of him who was canonized by his own pride, or made a god of by his flat. terers ?
soul ! with what dreams hast thou been bewitched ? how hast thou been deluded by the objects thou hast so eagerly grasped at ?
If this reflection from the natural imperfection of man, which he cannot remedy, does nevertheless strike a damp upon human pride, much more must the consideration do so, which arise from the wilful depravations of his nature.
Survey yourselves a few moments in this light,-behold a disobedient, ungrateful, untractable, and disorderly set of creatures, going wrong seven times in a day,-acting sometimes every hour of it against your own convictions--your own interests, and the intentions of your God, who wills and proposes nothing but your happiness and prosperity –What reason does this view furnish
you for pride ? how many does it suggest to mortify and make you
ashamed !--Well might the son of Syrach, say in that sarcastical remark of his upon it, That pride was not inade for man~
-for some purposes, and for some particular beings, the passion might have been shaped but not for him-fancy it where you will, 'tis no where so improper-it is in no creature so unbecoming
But why so cold an assent to so incontested a truth perhaps thou hast reasons to be proud :-for Heaven's sake let us hear them-Thou hast the advantage of birth and title to boast of-or thou standest in the sunshine of court favour-or thou hast a large furtune-mor great talents or much learning—or nature has be. stowed her graces upon thy person-speak-on which of these foundations thou hast raised this fanciful structure? Let us examine them.
Thou art well born - hen trust me, 'twill pollute not one drop of thy blood to be humble : humility calls no man down from his rank,-- divests not princes of their titles ; it is in life what the clear obscure is in painting ; it makes the hero step forth in the canvass, and detaches his figure from the group in which he would otherwise stand confounded forever.
If thou art rich-then shew the greatness of thy fortune--or what is better, the greatness of thy soul, in the meekness of thy conversation; condescend to men of low estate-support the distressed, and patronize the neglected. --Be great ; but let it be in considering riches as they are, as talents committed to an earthen vessel—That thou art but the receiver, and that to be obliged and to be vain too,-is but the old solecism of pride and beggary; which though they often meet-yet ever make but an absurd society.
If thou art powerful in interest, and standest deified by a servile tribe of dependants,why shouldst thou be proud. --because they are hungry?--Scourge me such sycophants ; they have turned the heads of thousands as well as thine
But it is thy own dexterity and strength which have gained thee this' eminence :—allow it; but art thou proud, that thou standest in a place where thou art the mark of one man's envy, another man's malace, or a third man's revenge---where good men may be ready to suspect thee, and whence bad men will be ready to pull thee down ? I would be proud of nothing that is uncertain : Haman was so, because he was admitted alone to Queen Esther's banquet ; and the distinction raised him, -but it was fif ty cubits higher than he ever dreamed or thought of.
Let us pass on to the pretences of learning, &c. &c. If thou hast a little, thou wilt be proud of it in coprse: if thou hast much, and good sense along with it, there will be no reason to dispute against the passion : a beggarly parade of remnants is but a sorry object of pride at the best ;-but more so, when we can cry out upon it, as the poor man did of his hatchet,-Alas ! master for it was borrowed. 2 Kings vi. 7.
It is treason to say the same of Beauty;—whatever we do of the arts and ornaments with which pride is wont to set it off: the weakest minds are most caught with both ; being ever glad to win attention and credit from small and slender accidents, through disability of purchasing them by better means.
RUSTIC FELICITY. Many are the silent pleasures of the honest peasant ;, who rises cheerfully to his labour ;-look into his dwelling,--where the scene of every man's happiness chiefly lies :-he has the same domestic endearments,-as much joy and comfort in his children, and as flattering hopes of their doing well,—to enliven his hours and glad his heart, as you could conceive in the most affluent station.—And I make no doubt, in general; but if the true account of his joys and sufferings were to be balanced with those of his betters,—that the upshot would prove to be little more than this.,--that the rich man had the more meat, but the poor man the better stomach ;the one had more luxury,-more able physicians to attend and set bim to rights; the other, more health and soundness in his bones, and less occasion for their help;-that, after these two articles betwixt them were balanced, -in all other things they stood upon a level :-that the sun shines as warm, the air blows as fresh, and the earth breathes as fragrant upon the one as the other ; and that they have an equal share in all the beauties and real benefits of nature.
A REMARK. HERE is a similitude between the cultivation of a young and tender mind, and that of a garden.--The same precautions are necessary to be used. Even the rough gardiner perceives bow much better he succeeds, when he plants the young shrub with a tender hand ; and, instead of tearing by force the noxious weed that entwines the tender twig, he gently lops it off, and takes infinite pains throughout not to destroy, where it is his intention to improve. The reason why flatterers are better received than real friends is, because they endeavour to win upon their prey by softness and persuasion, which gains the contidence of the deluded, and by that means gives power to destroy. Why is not the same assiduity and gentle persuasion used by real friends ?-For though the motives are diametrically opposite, yet the same means would undoubtedly produce the desired effect.
AFFECTION. GENUINE affection is the lot of a few; it requires too many qualities to be general. It demands too much constancy for the volatile, too much restraint for the turbulent, too much delicacy for the simple, too much enthusiasm for the cold and icy, too much activity for the indolent, too much desire for the philosopher, too much self-denial for the libertine.
Genuine love demands a considerable degree of elevation and energy of soul ; generosity, sensibility, and rectitude of heart; a warm imagination, and an inviolate attachment to the principles of virtue and honour. It cannot exist in the bosom of luxury and pleasure, in the midst of tumult, and the distractions of numerous and polite assemblies. It requires simplicity of manners, and retired life.
PROSPERITY AND ADVERSITY. CHARACTERS enervated by prosperity, feel the smallest inconvenience as a serious calamity; and, unable to bear the touch of rude and violent bands, require to be treated, like young and tender flowers, with delicacy and attention ; while those who have been educated in the rough school of Adversity, walk over the thorns of life with a firm and intrepid step, and kick them from the path with indifference and contempt. Superior to the false opinions and prejudices of the world, they bear with patient fortitude the blows of misfortune, disregard all trifling injuries, and look down with proud contempt on the malice of their enemies, and the infidelity of their friends.
FRAGMENT. CONSIDERING the make and complexion of man, it is in vain to spur them with notions of generosity, to engage them to declare
We must let them see their account, in the advances we would have them make, and convince them that we are not useless creatures. Interest is the only spring that can put them in motion. It is hope of gain, not pity for misfortune, that actuates them in giving succour to the unhappy. They commiserate themselves,