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vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
Is this presenting a gloomy and discouraging view of human life, which ought to be suppressed in tenderness to the buoyant hopes and fond anticipations of the young? No. Dear reader, we would not chill your present enjoyments, nor damp your rising hopes; when all its vicissitudes and disappointments are taken into account, there is still much to be enjoyed on earth. It is still a world “rich in bounty to rebellious men:" but enjoyment will best be promoted, and disappointment best averted, by forming a just estimate of things; not expecting too much from that which is limited, nor depending too much on that which is mutable. Those enjoy earth most, whose dependence is most placed above and beyond it. While we recognise the hand of God in all, if He present to us a cup running over with worldly bliss, it is right that we should enjoy it with cheerful gratitude, and, at the same time, with that submission and dependence of spirit that will prepare us, if anon the same hand should give us the bitter cup of adversity, to receive it with tranquil resignation. which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it ? " If we are brought into this happy state of mind, though we are not authorized to depend on the bestowal or the continuance of this or that particular enjoyment, we are warranted in saying in general, “ The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want: surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
3. The transient and changing nature of worldly
ir The cup
things should stimulate us in the faithful and diligent discharge of the duties of our present condition, whatever it may be ; to-morrow the connexion
may be cut asunder, or the means, and opportunity of doing good may be removed ; therefore, " whatsoever our hand findeth to do, let us do it with our might.”
4. The uncertainty of human affairs should also suggest lessons of prudence ; that we indulge not in that extravagance which is so often the occasion, indeed the immediate cause of painful changes in circumstances, and which always greatly embitters them. It would be well for young people, while surrounded with plenty, not to spend quite so much on dress, ornaments, and pleasure, as their circumstances might justly warrant. Of course it is not supposed that they are to spend all they have upon
themselves ; but that a due and liberal proportion is cheerfully consecrated to works of benevolence and piety. Beyond this allotment of property, even in the disposal of the portion which the young female regards as her own, it would be well that she should sometimes say of a contemplated expense, “I can do without it. It is not necessary to comfort, decency, or propriety." Little acts of self-denial like this, will make it much easier to her, should changing circumstances place her in the condition in which she must dispense with it. For this reason, also, young people in prosperous circumstances should learn to wait upon themselves, that they may not be helpless and distressed, should they be deprived of the attendance of servants; and that they should devote their time not merely to frivolous accomplis!
ments, but to the acquisition of knowledge and skill that may be turned to account, should they at a future time have to seek their own mainten
5. The vicissitudes we witness should make us very solicitous to prepare for the great change which we must all experience. We may have to exchange affluence for poverty, comfort for privation, social endearments for solitary desolation. We may have to say,
“ Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness." All these transitions, and many more, may await us between this and the grave; but one change is before us, greater than all-it is that of time for eternity. Of whatever else we are ignorant, we know that we shall be brought to the grave, and to the house appointed for all living; and if it be wise to prepare for inferior and uncertain circumstances, how transcendently important is it to prepare for the great and inevitable change! Daily and seriously should we inquire, What can render death safe and easy? Do I possess it? “The sting of death is sin; the strength of sin is the law." “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away
the sin of the world." “ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” “He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life.”
“ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” Happy for us if we can say, “Lord, I believe ;
help thou mine unbelief.” More privileged still if we are enabled to advance, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
6. Amidst the vicissitudes we witness and experience there is one solid comfort, that God never changes. If we go to Him as humble penitents, through Jesus Christ, we shall always find Him ready to receive and forgive ; if we depend on Him as our Father and our Friend, we shall always find him able and willing to protect and supply: then, whatever shocks we may sustain, we shall prove that " the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. “ God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble; therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the
7. The vicissitudes of this world should stimulate us to secure an interest in, and direct our affections to a world that is unchanging. We may well be content, like holy men of old, to “have here no continuing city,' and to confess that we
strangers and pilgrims,” if, indeed, we “ look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God;" and "know in ourselves that we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance."
And now, dear young reader, in taking leave of you, permit the writer affectionately to wish yo
much happiness in every sense of the word. May you be favoured in your person ; may you enjoy health, intelligence, and tranquillity of mind.
be favoured in your circumstances. May your wants be mercifully cared for, and the bounds of your habitation be happily fixed. May you be blessed in your connexions ; may you be amiable and endeared, loving and beloved ; may the eye of affection kindle at the sound of your voice and the mention of your name; throughout the circle in which you move, may you ever be conferring and receiving delight. But I wish, above all things, that your soul may prosper, and be in health. Whatever else you possess or want, may you not be destitute of those“
salvation." May you possess the fear of God, for “that is wisdom; and depart from evil, for that is understanding.' Job xxviii. 28.
“ Fear God, and keep his commandments : for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Eccles. xii. 13, 14. May you be the subject of repentance. Repentance unto life consists in sorrow for sin, hatred of it, and forsaking of it; and except we repent, we shall all perish. Luke xiii. 3.
May you experience regeneration. This is no outward form, but an entire change of heart, wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit; and
except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John iii. 3.
“ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold all things are become new; and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself.” 2 Cor. v. 17, 18.