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I shall leave you “ The Fisherman,” and, even if you have read it before, it will not hurt you to go over it again. Farewell.
Call on a Pious Young Person. You are reading your Bible, then, Joseph; ay, there's nothing like it. Make hay while the sun shines, for what you learn in youth will, with God's blessing, be a comfort to your latter days.
The bud is fragrant on the tree,
The blossom on the thorn;
And balmy breath of morn.
So fresh and fragrant rise,
In heavenly wisdom wise. There are a thousand books in the world, written to lead the youthful mind in paths of usefulness, piety, and peace; but all of them put together do not contain one half what is written in the Bible to reprove the wicked, to strengthen the weak, to encourage the doubtful, and to confirm the believer in the goodness of God; therefore, let the Bible be your bosom friend. If I wanted to give a young person the most valuable present in the least possible compass, I would give him the Bible; for the truths it contains are worth more than a king's ransom. Let the book be your guide, in word, deed, and behaviour,
In light, and in darkness, whate'er may befall,
And cling to the cross as your life and your all.
In joy and in sorrow, in glare, and in gloom;
And stronger the nearer you draw to the tomb. One reason why I wish you to love the Bible is, because you cannot then help loving God. If you
the Bible will rebuke you; if you do right, the Bible will commend you. No bad man ventures to be a Bible reader; and no good man dare become a Bible neglecter. The Bible is honey to the humble believer, but gall to the proud infidel. It is weakness to him who trusts in himself, but strength to him who depends on God. With the Bible, youth may become wise; without it, old age may be passed in folly. Read then your Bible, pray over it, weep over it, rejoice over it, and love it; for it tells us of that merciful Redeemer who shed his blood for transgressors. If we have an interest in Him, we may rejoice in the hope of everlasting life; if we have it not, we may tremble with the fear of eternal death.
MYSTERY OF GODLINESS. A MAN must die that would live; he must be empty that would be full; he must be lost that would be found; he must have nothing that would have all things; he must be blind that would have illumination ; he must be condemned that would have redemption; so he must be a fool that would be a Christian : “If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise," I Cor. iii. 18.
THE CONTRAST. I SAW, at a little distance, a cottage, when the sun was setting. It was a pretty place, and everything around was calm and quiet. The jasmine was in full Hower, and it grew up from the door even to the very thatch. The blue smoke curled up towards the copse so slowly, that I could hardly see it move. It was a sweet and a peaceful scene.
I saw, as I proceeded, some lambs at play in an adjoining hilly field. Innocent and happy creatures, they raced one after another, scampering along the soft and cool green grass; they frisked about, and gamboled, and leaped, climbing to the tiptop of the rising hillocks, and were half wild with joy. I felt as happy as they did.
I saw two doves on a tree whose branches hung over the cottage. They sat close together, and then took a flight, wheeling towards the wood, returning again to the same bough, and nestling beside each other in peace. I looked at them, and loved them. I saw at the cottage door a sleeping infant in his mother's
I gazed on his little waxen, rosy face, while he smiled in his slumbers. It was a lovely babe, and oh, how quiet! how peaceful, and how happy!
I saw, through the opened door, a child in his bedgown,
on his bended knees, offering up his evening prayer. His little hands were lifted, and their palms were together. His soft blue eyes looked upwards, and his voice was very sweet.
“O God," said he, “look down upon me this night, and forgive my sins, and make me a good child, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen." The child arose from his knees, and put up his face to kiss his aged grandfather.
I saw, sitting on an arm-chair, beside the kneeling child, an old man with flaxen hair. His Bible was before him on the table. There was joy in his face; there was peace upon his brow. He was reading the twenty-third Psalm ; “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the. still waters. He restoreth my soul : he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake,” Psa. xxiii. 1-3. The cottage, the lambs, the doves, the sleeping infant, the praying child, and the aged man, altogether, formed a picture of peace—and a lovely picture it was.
I passed on till I came to the skirts of the town; but the wind had risen then, and it blew in fitful gusts, whistling among the dark chimneys. Clamour, and oaths, and discordant voices were heard.
I saw a smoky dwelling, with a dunghill near the door. The windows were dirty, and rags were stuffed through the broken panes.
The little garden at the back was in a wretched plight. “It was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down,” Prov. xxiv. 31. Where sin and poverty dwell together, that habitation must be miserable.
I saw two dogs in the main road; a young fellow, with his stockings about his heels, was setting them on to worry one another. The lesser dog was soon on his back in the mud, and the larger one, with black shaggy hair, and a spiked collar round his neck, caught him fast by the throat. They were grappling, snarling, snapping, and howling. Hateful sight! The very sports of the wicked are cruel.
I saw two cocks, with bare necks and short tails, stretching out their sharp beaks, and flying up, striking each other with their heels. A group of ragged lads were round them, laughing, shouting, and swearing.
I saw at one end of the miserable dwelling a rabbitpen and pigeon-box, and dirt and filth were on the dark Hoor, where three squalling children were quarrelling and
scratching each other's faces. They had neither shoes nor stockings, and their hands and faces were begrimed with dirt. If they were such in their childhood, what were they likely to be when grown up to manhood ?
I saw a lad run into the road with a string and a tin canister in his hand. He caught the black dog by his collar, and then tied the tin canister to his tail, when the dog scampered off howling horribly. The family of the ungodly is a plague both to man and beast.
I saw a man wretchedly clothed, his eyes were red, and his face inflamed with drinking. He staggered through the opened door, railing at his slattern of a wife, who returned him railing for railing. He struck the table with his clenched fist, and took the name of God in vain, cursing his partner.
“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause ? who hath redness of eyes ?” Prov. xxiii. 29. Who but the drunkard ? * The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty,” Prov. xxiii. 21.
The smoky dwelling, the two dogs, and the fighting cocks; the squalling children, the cruel lad, and the drunken man, formed a picture of discord and wretchedness and a hateful picture it was.
What a contrast between the abode of the diligent, sober, and pious cottager, and the dwelling of the idle, the drunkard, and the infidel !
WARNINGS. EARLY in the month of January, 1840, there had been a few days severe frost. On the 13th of the month, being the Lord's day, a number of persons assembled upon a sheet of water in the neighbourhood of Mansfield, Notts., for the purpose of skaiting and other diversions. The frost had not been of long continuance, and it was not safe to venture upon the ice; but this did not prevent a number of individuals from going upon it, and thus to run the risk of losing their lives in the very act of breaking the sabbath.
About four o'clock in the afternoon, four youths playing at bandy, one of them stepping too far to reach the ball, the ice gave way, and he was exposed to a watery grave. Another seeing his danger, jumped in to rescue him, when the first giving a sudden plunge, reached the shore. A third then
fell in, when endeavouring to save the other, and then a fourth, seeing the danger his companions were in, stripping off his coat, and exclaiming, “ Life or death I'll have you, ran forward, fell in, and soon sank to rise no more.
Thus three young men, although surrounded by more than a hundred persons, were suddenly called out of time into eternity. No relief afforded. All in vain their cries for
help, help.” A panic seized those around them, no doubt increased by the consciousness they felt that they were breaking a Divine law. Nearly two hours elapsed before the bodies were taken out of the water. Unavailing were any endeavours to restore them to life. The spirit had fled, and a sad spectacle presented itself to the view of the surrounding multitude.
At the same place, a few days before, a man was crushed by the wheels of a coach, and a young soldier was killed by a fall, all these events showing that “in the midst of life we are in death.” From them the following remarks were suggested.
Why will ye die?” EZEK. Xxxu. 11. My young friends, let me warn you against the indulgence of “ evil deeds,” for because your deeds are evil, Christ“ the faithful and true witness” declares you will “ love darkness rather than light,” and so you will not come to “ the light of life,” but “walking in darkness, you will fall into the gulf of endless perdition. I warn you against the indulgence of sin, because it is “ deceitful” sin; presenting the pleasing bait, while it conceals the fatal hook, as you daily see in many melancholy occurrences; and I warn you against the indulgence of sin, because the “ heart is hardened through the deceitfulness of sin,” so that it rejects the only Saviour and recoverer of man. I warn you, too, against such companions as would entice you to it, reminding you also, that “à companion of fools shall be destroyed, Prov. xiii. 20. Nor is this all-I as earnestly warn you against refusing to receive instruction from God's word, sest he should give you up to a reprobate mind,” or say, in effect, to you, "You will not see, and you shall not see; you will not hear, and you shall not hear.” Oh awful sentence! We know the consequences; often wretchedness here, and assuredly hell torments hereafter! And I warn you against profaning that 'day, which is not your day, but the Lord's day, by unsuitable conduct, or by turning your back upon his house! O, remember, my young friends, that it is written