Imatges de pÓgina
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step. No trifles allure him on either side, nor cause him to forget the errand on which he is going. Still, his mind is alive to the interest of the scene through which he moves, he enjoys the beauty of it as he proceeds. The flowing river and the rippling brook, the valley and the lake, the forest, the mountain, and the soft colors of the receding landscape, all have charms for him; but he does not loiter on his way; he gazes, admires, and passes on; he arrives at the place of his destination, and his journey and the day are ended together.

We have in the Old Testament a memorable instance of the desire for wisdom in the youthful mind. We allude to Solomon, and we borrow the language of the historian of the Kings." In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Give thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy so great people? And God said unto him, Behold I have done according to thy words; lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.”—To do justice to the merit of Solomon in preferring such a request, we must remember that he had just taken possession of the throne and dominions of his father David. Peace smiled upon him, and wealth was pouring into his treasury. The delight of the eye and the pride of life were his; pleasure and delight would have sprung forth in ten thousand forms at his bidding. He was young-a prince-but he

judged, with the gravity and correctness of mature years, that "wisdom is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her." And the history of his reign tells us how successfully he sought after wisdom, and how fully his prayer was answered by the Lord. It is not to princes alone that the example of the youthful Solomon may be commended as worthy of imitation. By the youthful of every condition, his earnest and ardent pursuit of knowledge and wisdom may be imitated: at their age, if at any time, they have leisure for such a pursuit; whilst they are engaged in it they will experience the rational pleasure of it, and afterwards, at least, they will reap the profit thereof. We cannot, indeed, promise them the riches of a prosperous government, nor the honors of a throne; but they may secure for themselves under the blessing of Providence, a tranquil and generally prosperous course, the favorable opinion and esteem of the best part of mankind, the honorable fame of a virtuous life, the sweet satisfactions of a contented mind and an approving conscience, and the hope of divine favor and immortality. Their choice of wisdom is the promise of these noble things-may they enjoy the fulfilment of the promise!

The example we have adduced, like all human examples, is imperfect. If we commend the youth of Solomon, we cannot commend his age. Alas! he forgot that wisdom crowns the hoary head with honor. But let us draw the veil of pity over his weakness, and remember that we must persevere even to the end. It is not enough that we wisely

prepare ourselves for the active duties of life, and the changing circumstances of human condition; we must move in the sphere of our duty with circumspection and wisdom, and continue to do so till the latest period of human existence. We would not be objects of pity to the moralist, nor beacons to warn others not to fail of the promise of their youth, nor dishonor the weakness of declining life by the decay of moral strength and imbecility of religious motives.

On Prayer.

There is a great and glorious Being in the world and in the universe, although he is unseen by the eye of men. We believe that he exists, that he is the author and governor of all things, and that we are the creatures of his forming hand. As his power is exercised every where, we cannot imagine any spot on this earth, or throughout all worlds, where the energy and glory of his presence are not felt and displayed; and wonderful as it is to our thoughts that he should be near us, and we not see him—that he should be on our right hand and on our left, without our being able to perceive his presence-yet are we fully convinced that he is thus present with us and with all his creatures. On this Being-the good and eternal God-we feel that we depend. After we have experienced, at least how

little we can effect for ourselves, what a slight provision we can make for our own support and comfort, what a poor protection we can interpose between ourselves and danger, and how soon we must sink away and perish, did we depend on our efforts alone for life, and breath, and all things; we become fully sensible of the agency and support of another, and learn to see in the Father of all the families of the earth, a kind and beneficent Friend, who causes his providence to shed its blessings upon all that live, who guards them from danger and destruction, perpetually renews the produce of his bounties, that their souls may rejoice; and with a wise and merciful regard for the happiness of their life, prepares to their hand an almost infinite variety of blessings, and teaches them how to adapt them to their own use, and to form from them a succession of innocent and rational enjoyments. Knowing, therefore, our dependence upon him-and believing, as every thoughtful mind must do, in his omniscience-that is, in his universal presence; is it not natural that we should seek communion with him that we should express to him the pious thoughts of our minds that we should endeavour to thank him for his innumerable mercies-that we should ask of him guidance and support in every portion of our existence? This sacred communion with our Maker-this expression of our pious thoughts-this thanksgiving for mercies this request for future guidance and supportis Prayer.

It is scarcely necessary to prove at length that prayer to God is essential and becoming. But consider what is com

monly and justly thought among men respecting the kindness and favor they shew to each other. Is not that considered to be a thankless heart, which makes no return of feeling and words for benefits received from another? Does any one commend the benefited who slights and neglects his benefactor? Does ingratitude pass for a virtue among us? or is he esteemed wise, who, knowing that he has a friend kindly disposed towards him, both willing and able to render him even a signal service, is too proud or too indolent, to apply to him for the aid which is most important to his own success? We need not answer these questions; every one who reads them can do it without much reflection. But if it be ingratitude not to acknowledge the good deeds of our friends, and folly not to seek their assistance when it is of great consequence to us, and would be most freely given; how much more is it ingratitude and folly, neither to acknowledge the unremitting kindness and mercy with which we are honored and blessed by our heavenly Father, nor to supplicate him still to regard-and treat us as his children.

Deeply convinced of the sanctifying power of a prayerful spirit, we desire to see it more generally acquired. We affectionately entreat the young, in the words of an Apostle, "to pray without ceasing;" to cultivate the habits of prayer, frequently to address themselves to the Father of of our spirits, frequently to kneel before the throne of his grace. Do they still enquire, Why pray to God? We answer with another question-Have you a sense of the blessings he gives? If you can look around you from

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