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can survey the present desolate scene without par. taking in a degree of the gloom that pervades it? And who can remember the hopes with which the early year was greeted, without sorrowing for the light that has fallen upon some, and the destruction that has happened to others ? Periods and seasons are undoubtedly beneficial to us when we use them aright. Thus the present, which so naturally attunes the spirit to melancholy, and induces a review of the lost hopes of the year, should also lead us to enquire for consolation under disappointment, and lead us to those better hopes, which no earthly changes can effect, but which bud and blossom here, and bear sure fruit in heaven. But we mourn not alone over hope deferred or banished. Where are the friends, who with us welcomed the commencement of the year, and with whom we fondly trusted to have trodden its round ? Death, separation, and estrangement, have removed some from our sight, and others to walk at a distance from us.
This is a painful subject, yet to the mourner we would say, " There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother ;” and remind him of the precious promise of God to his people, “I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them and not forsake them.” Where are the resolutions for good, the aspirations after high things with which we began the year? The first vanished as the morning dew when the heat of temptation assailed us; and as the snow wreath melted at the first glance of spring, the latter disappeared when the world smiled upon us.
What then has survived the year, on which we may reflect without sorrow or dismay? What a
mount of gratitude have its blessings inspired ? What of benefit have its trials produced ? What has been our spiritual growth? What has been done in our Master's service? And what from love to our brethren? Let each narrowly search his conscience for the answers! and then let our resolves for future amendment and good be made, not in our own strength, or they will assuredly fail, for there is no sure foundation for them but the Lord Jesus Christ, and if we invoke the Holy Spirit's aid to enable us to build on him, then we shall find that “ we can do all things through Christ who strentheneth us."
A New Year opens to our view.—Let us, with the gloom of the passing year, “cast away the works of darkness,” and “put on the armour of light;" then, as it unfolds its roll of promised gifts, whether they be for temporal good or evil, we shall not only resist the allurements of prosperity and sustain the weight of adversity, but shall even be prepared for the spiritual conflict, which, if we live through it, we shall assuredly have to endure !
HINTS FOR REFLECTION. HUMILITY seeks neither the first place nor the last word.
There is no danger of economy degenerating inte covetousness, when what is saved from our needless gratification is devoted to the real wants of others.
A religious education is the richest gift that a parent can bestow on a child. The want of it can never be made up by any wealth which it may be in his power to leave him,
The flower of youth never appears more beautiful
than when it bends towards the Sun of Righteous
Oh! happiness, how far we flee
ON THE DEATH OF MR. NASMITH.*
His labour is ended,
His trials are o'er-
Has reach'd the blest shore !
The welcome has giv'n-
Inherit my heav'n!”
Enjoys his reward
The gift of his Lord.
The fruit of his zeal,
Comes many a seal.
He praises the Lamb;
Has ransom'd from shame.
He falls at his feet,
His conquest complete.
Our captain and guide,
Is summon'd above,
As flaming with love! B. C.
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN.
Your beloved is in the upper part of the presencechamber. You are, for a while, in the lower. But the distance is imaginary. You are both still looking at one and the same object. You by faith; he in
Christ is the meeting-point. And even the difference of deriving happiness from the well-spring of life will be but of short duration. You are on the threshold of glory, as a believer in Jesus; whereas your beloved has stepped over it. All that is between you is the narrow threshold of a few years or days. The partition is so thin, that the sound of your beloved's voice may, by faith, be heard, and you join in his notes of praise. His notes and yours harmonize; and Jesus is the object of celebration in both.
“A TIME TO LAUGH, AND A TIME TO WEEP.” (A Letter to an absent daughter, by the Rev. J. Williams,
of Kidderminster. MY DEAR
I doubt not these lines find you in the enjoyment of many good friends, who are making you as welcome as your heart can desire, or theirs contrive: nor do I doubt you are making yourself as agreeable to them as you can, by the cheerfulness of your temper and courteousness of behaviour, as well as readiness to serve them on all proper occasions. I need not tell you how much cheerfulness, joined with humility, adorns and recommends; how much preferable it is to noisy mirth, which does not seem too well to suit with our condition as rational beings or as Christians, as sinners, or as probationers for an eternal state. Not that we either should or can
A TIME TO LAUGH, AND A TIME TO WREP.”
maintain at all times, a strict uniformity of temper : No! There is a time to weep and a time to laugh : which denote those extremes in our temper that are equally distant from the medium of cheerfulness. When we visit a friend, on whom the hand of God lies heavy, no doubt it becomes us to give a patient and solemn hearing to his complaints, and to weep with them that weep; but much more it is our wisdom and duty to humble ourselves before God, and to give way to all the emotions of grief and Godly sorrow, when in our religious retirements we reflect on our original depravity and actual sinfulness, or on any sensible tokens of the Divine displeasure that we lie under, whether through some external affliction, or through the hiding of his face, and the withdrawment of his quickening influences from our souls. On the other hand, we may be innocently merry on many occasions, particularly when God has favoured us or our friends with extraordinary deliverances, or instances of prosperity. Certainly it becomes us on such occasions to “rejoice with them that do rejoice." We may also innocently laugh over a merry story, if it be pure of guilt, at a smart repartee, or at any lively turn of wit; though here, old Herbert's is a very good rule
“ Laugh not too much: the witty man laughs least,
For wit is news only to ignorance,
Thy person thou and the conceit advance." But we should never laugh at indelicacy: if any person should be so rude as to introduce any thing of that kind into conversation, whether directly by impure words, or more remotely by corrupt meanings, couched under words in themselves unblamable,