Imatges de pàgina

cevere, to which the indulgence of the delusive hopes of youth would have subjected thee.

3. Affliction restrains the young from sensual indulgences. To these they are often strongly solicited. Even to pious Timothy, the apostle judged it necessary to address the exhortation, Flee from youth tul lusts." Before the young, Pleasure displays all her attractions, She exhibits herself

to them, decked in the gayest attire, with a countenance wearing the most enchanting sıniles; and accosts them in language soft and fascinating, “ Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ; and let thine heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth !" "I have decked my bed with covering of tapestry ;-1 have perfumed it with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” So powerful is the influence of the allurements of Pleasure over the hearts of the young, that nunc, bers of them have followed her to their ruin. Many of them have been led by her to the coinmission of crimes, against which Modesty, Reason, and Conscience lifted their voices in vain. Nothing more effectually counteracts the influence of Pleasure, than the rod of sanctified afflictions: by these the young, have been formed to sobriety of mind; — by these they have been led to despise the pleasures of sin, as grovelling, transitory, and destructive. What attractions will the chair of the scorner, the bed of the harlot, or the song of the drunkard, have in the eye of him who is chastened with pain, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain! Does the young man, whom God places in the house of mourning, whom he calls to minister to a dying parent, to receive his last breath, and to commit his body to the grave, does he sigh after the house of feasting, or the assemblies of gaiety and dissipation? Were but a wish to mingle in such scenes, to start upon the bosom of an affectionate youth at a solemn period like this, he would reject it with utter abhorrence. The young who meet with trials, have reason to bless that hand which, by severe sickness, drives them from the paths of sensuality; for alorned though they are with Bljes and roses, they are, in truth, the way to Hell, going down to the chambers of death. Whether think you, ye sons of youth, is it better to labour under the disease of a day? or to have the constitution broken by intemperance? Whether is it better to be stopped in the ways of sensuality ? or to be allowed to run on in them till a dart strikes through your liver, and your course terininates in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone ?

4. Amiction has sometimes been the means of conversion in youth. There have been many instances of young men whoj like the prodigal, when reduced to want, have resolved that ihey would arise and go to their Father. In the season of afAiction,sin is brought to remembrance; that levity of the mind is repressed, which is so unfriendly to inoral seriousness, and death and the tribunal of God are brought into view. This has

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otten led to such applications to God for mercy, as have been attei:ded with the happiest effects. Orton, in his Sermons to the Aged, tells us of a young man wlio had been long contined with a diseased limb, and was near his dissolution, when, at the desire of a friend, his loathsome sore was uncovered. Te said, " There it is ; and a precious treasure it has been to me! It saved me from the folly and vanity of youth; - it made me cleare to God as my only portion, and to eternal glory as my only hope; and I think it hath now bronght me very near to my Father's house." Some young men, when they have met with disappointments in business, have been led to seek after the good part which shall never be taken from them, and to lay up treasures in Heaven ; some, when their friends have dealt treacheronsły with then than which scarce any thing can give a more violent shock to the glowing feelinis vf youth) have becn led to that Friend who reits in his love. While young persons have been taking their last leave of the corpse of a brother or a sister dearly beloved, -- while they have been looking, for the last time, on their pallid countenance, and grasping, for the last time, their cold hand, have had their minds directed to Him who is not ashamed to call us Brethren; and who has said, “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father, who is in Heaven, the same is my mother, and sister, and brother *."

5th. Afliction has often made the young experience the sympathy and compassion of our Lord Jesus. Christ is a friend born for adtveršity; and to tise young of his people in affliction, he manifests peculiar kindness. He shall feed his ffock like a slepherd, and gather the lanbe with his arms, and carry them in bis bosom. It is common with men to express peculiar concern for the young wlien in distress. Who can behold disease robbing their checks of their bloom, and wasting their beauty like a moth, without being disposed to pity! And will the Lord of compassion take no interest in their suiterings! While parcuts are sitting by the bed-side of a distressed son, watching with unutterable anxiety every change of his features, and listening to every gronn that rises from his breast, Jesus is with them, and tends the object of their solicitude with a compassion far more tender, and a care far more assiduous than theirs. His compassionate eye sleep never closes; his ear is never shut to the complaints of his children ; and his kind attentions are never unavailing. “As one wbom his inother coinforts, even so will I comfort


shall be comforted.” How sweet, tender, and efficacious, are the comforts of a mother to a child in distress! Such is the figure einployed to point vot the consolations imparted by the Lord our Reileemer. The Son of man bore the yoke in his youth. In

Foul, and

Job xxxvi. 8, 9, 12.


his infancy, Ilerod sought to murder hun. For years, it is probable, he wrought as a carpenter for the support of his widowed mother. During the whole of his public ministıy, he bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows; and before he was thirtyfour years of age, he was crucified and slain. So heavy was that yoke which was wreathed about his neck, that it made his strength fail, and brought him to the dust of death. We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the failing of our infirurities, but who was in all points tried like as we are, yet without sin. How much must this carly experience of our Lord's compassion, endear him to the souls of the young! and how must it encourage them in their passage through the world, to know that Christ will be a present help to them in every time of need! and that he who has been the Guide of their youth, will be the Comforter of their old

Lastly. A fiction invigorates the minds of the young. The tendency of uninterrupted prosperity to enervate the mind, has been generally admitted. How seldom do we hear of a great or heroic character nursed in the lap of prosperity! But by hardships and trials, the mind is strengthened for sustaining losses the most severe, and cxecuting schemes the most arduous. Prosperous situations in life may be resembled to those countries where the sun shines with a scorching heat, and where nature pours all the necessaries, nay the luxuries of life in the greatest profusion at mens' feet. It is not in such climares that we are to expect to meet with characters which are distinguished for energy of mind, or enterprize in conduct. If we wish to find these, we must look for them upid the ice and snows of the north, where necessity stimulates men to spirited and laborious exertion, By disappointinents and trials in youth, some have acquired such a strength of mind, that they have endured the roughest blasts of distress in atter-liie without shrinking. Or should the man whose mind has been braced by adversity in youth, be raised to opulence and grandeur in the after-periods of his life, the remembrance of the hardships of his early days will give a double relish to prosperity. Remembering his affiction and miscry, the worinwood and the gall, he will feel a higher satisfaction than lie could otherwise have done, when God anoints his head with. oil, and makes his cup to run over. The man whose heart bas been made bitter by the saddening of bis countenance in youth, is least of all likely to be corrupted by the influence of prosperity. Such a man will need no solicitation to stretein out his hand to relieve merit when struggling with distress, without a friend to patronize, withont a comforter to sooth it. He knows the beart of the unfortunate in youth, and to them be feels himself constrained by every rie to show kindness

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Such are some of the advantages of afflictions to the young. It ought to be remembered, that they are also beneficial in. the other periods of life. The cup of sorrow is mingled by a Being wise and compassionate; and he never puts it into our hands, nor holds it to our lips but when he sees it to be necessary. There is not a single drop more in it than he sees will be for our profit, to make us partakers of his holiness. The afflictions which those in middle life meet with, are often blessed for checking their immoderate anxiety about the world, and leading them to seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of it. Let not the aged question the advantages that arise to them from the infirmities of advanced life. Let them not say, The yoke of affliction may be necessary for the stubborn neck of youth, but how can it be so for me !" Let the storin blow on the green bay-trees of youth, let it shape their branches, let it strip them of their leaves ; but let it not blow on the feeble almond-tree of age : it will quickly shatter it in pieces. By the infirmities of old age, God intends to awaken von to serious reflection, to detach your hearts from the world, to lead you to consider your latter end, and to make death welcome. The day will come when God shall wipe away all tears from the eyes of his saints, when he shall take the yoke from their necks, and place the crown of glory on their heads. Elgin.




To the Editor. SIR,' The following letter was written many years ago, by a pious gentleman,

to a lady his friend, on occasion of the death of her first-born child. Similar events are daily recurring in the course of Providence. As the hints suggested in this letter seem well adapted to administer consokation to christian parents, whilst experiencing such bereavements, your inserting it in your valuable Miscellany, may perhaps be gratify ing to other readers, as well as to,


Your most obedient Servant, C. K MY DEAR MADAM,

When I saw, this day, by a letter from your father, that you are now in sackcloth, mourning the death of your first-born, my heart felt pain for you; and I was ready to say, Lord, why is it ihus? What the provocation? Why thus deal in severity with persons whom thou so dearly lovest !-Severity, did I say? Let me recall the imputation ! ”Tis doubtless kindness ; distinguishing love. Infinite Wislom beholds and judges of things

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in quite a different view from what dim-sighted mortals do. Hence the following reflections quieted me while musing upon this mournful event with respect to you. This life was never designed for a happiness or home to the pilgrim of hope: 'tis only designed for a state of probation for eternity. So soon as the time fixed by the eternal decree is ended, and the purposes of this probation, with respect to the divine glory and grace, are accomplished, a release is signed, admission to rest commanded, and a happy translation to the heavenly home effected. To Him, my d. ar Madam, who “ont of the mouths of babes and sucklings per fecteth praise,” and who hath also said, that the child shall die an hundred years old, -to Him, i say, it does not matter at what period of lite he transplants his flowers to his parterre above. With him there is no need of manhood or old age to complete his workmanship, and to finish out the vessel of mercy for the employ of the courts above. He has already effected all he intended, — all that was necessary for fitting your dear little babe for the station and honourable service to which he has now appointed him in his palace yonder. To none, methinks, can the description given of the followers of the Lamb, in Rev. xiv. 4, 5. but to him, and such as him, with equal propriety be applied. A puré, a virgin heart, a guileless, faultless tongue, to be sure, he now possesses : and, dear Madam, does he ride in- such triumphant state? Is lie decked with such robes of glory? Has he so amazingly soon attained to such a perfection of stature and honour, and to such inconceivable endowments of spirit, as lo be a fit attendant upon the Lamb,- following him whithersoever he goeth? Is his speechless tongue so early loosed, to join the choir of his little brethren yonder, in their enraptured songs of praise to God and the Lamb? Sure he regrets not his quick translation ! No. He found, though his stay was truly short, this world was indeed mara, bitterness to him. Think then, my dear Madam, how comfortable the Bethesda, the House of Mercy, where he now is, must be! "Tis true, he knew, wbile here, neither father nor mother ;- but where he is, he acknowledges his Father in Heaven: beholding his glory, and seeing him as he is, he is transformed into the very same image. One day, I doubt not, you shall see him again, and know him too,-- as he will also know you when you have joined the illustrious assembly of the first-born. But ohl. what a wonderful change will you then see made upon your, engaging little babe! Now, perhaps, the pangs of natural affection may, at times, provoke a quarrel with your Lord, who hath so early, removed from you the desire of your eyes; but, in that happy day, you'll thank him for the call,-- you'll praise him for the honour,- you'll admire him for this very instance of love. What! has he made you the mother of a child, so soon fixed as a pearl in his crown

si pot distinguishingly kind in your intinitely gracious Lord,

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