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entirely killed my myrtle, which I valued as a memorial of departed friendship. It is an indulgence I little expected, to see it revive; but thus it has been with many of those minor mercies, with which our gracious heavenly Parent so liberally indulges his children. Having been long habituated to the indulgence, we imagine it essential to our well being, and forget the hand by which it is bestowed. Then it is removed, or threatened, to teach us submission and dependence; and, when the soul is even as a weaned child,' it is sometimes most unexpectedly restored. 0 sir,” said she, addressing herself to the minister, “God has been very gracious in the dispensations of his providence to me, enabling me to enjoy what he bestows and continues, and teaching me that I can do without what he sees fit to withhold.”
“Yes, my dear friend, God has dealt very graciously with you, in still permitting you to be surrounded with all that is needful for your temporal comfort and enjoyment; and incomparably more so still, in sanctifying the dispensations of his providence to you; teaching you that les. son of high Christian attainment, in whatsoever state you are, therewith to be content;' and enabling you to experience that you can do all things, or resign all things, through Christ which strengtheneth you."
We were summoned to dinner. The repast was simple, but admirably served. It needed no apology, and Mrs. W. had too much good sense and taste to offer any; though it is probable her mind, as well as the minds of her guests, for a moment reverted to the elegance of her table in by-gone days.
But if it were so, I
can venture to say that, in point of real enjoyment, no one of the party was disposed to raise a comparison unfavourable to the entertainment of one dish and one attendant.
We were to sleep at Mrs. W.'s, the gentlemen having made a day on their way, returning from London, for the purpose of visiting their old friend. Next morning, we were to proceed to my uncle's. In the afternoon, a walk was proposed, to visit some Roman antiquities. Before we started, our venerable hostess, with a very slight degree of embarrassment, apologized for having only two spare bed-rooms at command, and those of very confined dimensions; and expressed a hope that her young friend (myself) would kindly consent to accept the accommodation offered by her next door neighbour. The arrangement was quickly effected, and the subject dismissed, with regret that it should have occasioned one moment's perplexity ; but also with a feeling of admiration at the power of Christian principle in producing conformableness to circumstances, manifested in very minute particulars, which are often apt to irritate and goad the pride and petulance of the unsanctified mind.
As we pursued our walk, the respectful and grateful manner in which our friend was accosted by all who knew her, both rich and poor, together with some other circumstances that casually came under our notice, clearly indicated that she was not less benevolent, less useful, or less respected, than when the exercise of benevolence required no effort of contrivance or self-denial. On the whole, I shall never forget the pleasure of that interview, nor, I trust, ever lose the impression then
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made on my mind, of two interesting truths which are too much practically disregarded–That happiness consists in a right state of the heart, and is comparatively little in the power of outward circumstances, either to confer or to disturb; and, That religion, when it operates aright, tends to soften and correct the little imperfections of temper and character, as well as to separate from pursuits that are grossly and glaringly vicious. Mrs. W., in the time of her prosperity, was reckoned a pious woman; but what a vast improvement had taken place in her character, under the advancing influence of genuine piety, called into exercise by circumstances which for the present seemed not joyous, but grievous, but which afterwards wrought the peaceable fruits of righteousness! Heb. xii. ll.
My dear sir," said the minister to my uncle, as we pursued our journey, “you were right when you anticipated the probability of affliction being employed to check the corruptions and call forth the graces of our friend. It was well worth bestowing a little time, and making a little circuit in our journey, to witness such an example of the power of Divine grace. It forms a living comment on the text, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted,” Psa. cxix. 71.
Man, as a social creature, is very dependent on the pleasures of social intercourse. It is wisely and mercifully ordained by the Creator that it should be so. The social affections greatly facilitate the discharge of a most important class of our duties, and form the source of some of our purest pleasures; so remarkably has our benevolent Creator connected the enjoyment of his creatures with whatever of active effort on their part he has