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man lead him to the perception, and by the force of motives properly weighed, impel him to the practice of right conduct. The REVELATION with which we are favoured, is in every respect honourable to the divine government. The reasonableness of its doctrines, the purity of its precepts, and the sublimity of its prospects, recommend it to our serious attention. Even the futility of the objections made to its origin, shews in a more striking point of view its divinity for the envenomed shafts of infidelity, recently aimed at the heavenly shield, have been seen to fall pointless to the ground. In such circumstances, and with such views, MAN is empowered to look abroad at the commencement of a century, and to realise the perfections and government of the SUPREME BEING, with whom there is no variableness nor the shadow of turning in neglecting this privilege, he omits to discharge an important duty. He sinks himself upon a level with the brutes, and relinquishes means calculated to promote and secure his perfection.
From the honourable ideas which we have been taught to form of Deity, we cannot for a moment suspect the equity with which he presides over every part of his wide extended empire! The architect prides himself on the proportion and regularity with which his buildings have been raised. The artist contemplates the niceness and accuracy after which his pieces of mechanism have been constructed. The statesman congratulates himself on the sagacity with which his plans have been devised and accomplished. In a similar manner the Deity has regulated every procedure of his government with the profoundest wisdom, in conjunction with a benevolence which exceeds our loftiest conceptions. Immediately after the creation, GoD surveyed the works of his hands, and pronounced them to be-good! And, humanly speaking, he must at all times look down with an eye of distinguished complacency on the subservien cy of his government to general felicity.
MAN, however, furnished with scanty powers of perception, is cooped up on every side, and vainly strives to disclose the secrets of futurity, "We know not what to-morrow brings forth." This is a measure ordained in infinite wisdom. The anticipation of our joys, or of our griefs, is often a burden too heavy to be borne. Pretensions, indeed, are made to a knowledge of our future destiny-but the imposition has been detected and exposed. Our wisest way is to throw the reins over a vain curiosity. Let us never attempt, on any occasion, to lift up the awful veil which divides the present moment from futurity! Such a procedure shews only our own impiety and folly. Contented with that portion of information which is commensurate with our faculties and congenial with our present situation, let us devote our knowledge to the purposes of faith and practice. A larger degree of intelligence cannot, perhaps, in this life, be the legitimate object of attainment. Henceforwards, then, let us dismiss our anxious thoughts, banish our corroding cares, and shudder at the indulgence of impious anticipations. In fine, let us calmly and cheerfully resign ourselves to the disposal of that GREAT BEING who cannot err, and who will with consummate ability conduct the affairs of his wise and righteous government to the happiest termination:
IMMORTAL KING! from all mutation free !
The pensive muse, who thus a mournful sigh
Hath paid to stars that fall, and flow'rs that die ;
Glad she adores, deprest by gloomy wanes,
On Writing Letters.
THE great utility and importance of Epistolary Writing, is so well known, and so universally acknowledged, that it is needless to insist on the necessity of being acquainted with an art replete with so many advantages. Those who are accomplished in this art are too happy in their knowledge to need further information concerning its excellence; and those who are unqualified to convey their sentiments to a friend, without the assistance of a third person, feel their deficiency so severely, that nothing need be said to convince them, that it is both their interest and their happiness to be instructed in what is so necessary and agreeable.
Had letters been known at the beginning of the world, Epistolary Writing would have been as old as love and friendship; for, as soon as they began to
flourish, the verbal messenger was dropped, and the language of the heart was committed to characters that faithfully preserved it, and hereby secrecy was maintained, and social intercourse rendered more free and extensive.
The Romans were perfect masters of this art, and placed it in the number of liberal and polite accomplishments; and we find Cicero mentioning with great pleasure, in some of his letters to Atticus, the elegant specimen he had received from his son in this way. It seems indeed to have formed a part in their education; and in the opinion of Mr. Locke, it well deserves to have a share in ours.
The writing of letters enters so much into all the occurrences of life, that no gentleman or lady can avoid shewing themselves in compositions of this kind. Occasions will daily force them to make this use of their pen, by which their sense, their abilities, and their education are exposed to a severer. examination than by any oral discourse.
Epistolary Writing, in the common and just acceptation of the word, is confined to those compositions which serve to transact the common business of life, or to promote its most pleasing intercourses. In this point of view, letter writing is the most necessary, at the same time it is happily the most easy of all literary accomplishments.
It was a just observation of the honest quaker, that, If a man think twice before he speak, he'll speak twice the better for it. With great propriety the above may be applied to epistolary as well as to all sorts of writing.
In letters from one relation to another, the different characters of the persons must be first considered: Thus a father in writing to a son will use a gentle authority; a son to a father will express a filial duty. And again, in friendship, the heart will dilate itself with an honest freedom; it will applaud with sincerity, and censure with modest reluctance.
In letters concerning trade, the subject matter will be constantly kept in view, and the greatest perscicuity and brevity observed by the different correspondents; and in like manner, these rules may be applied to all other subjects, and conditions of life, viz, a comprehensive idea of the subject, and an unaffected simplicity, and modesty, in expression. Nothing more need be added, only, that a constant attention to the above for a few months, will soon convince the learner, that his time has not been spent in vain.
Indeed, an assiduous attention to the study of any art, even the most difficult, will enable the learner to surmount every difficulty; and writing letters to his correspondents becomes equally easy as speaking in company; and, if he carefully avoids affectation, will enable him to write in the language of the present times; his thoughts will be clear, his sentiments judicious, and his language plain, easy, sensible, elegant, and suited to the nature of the subject. As letters are the copies of conversation, just consider what you would say to your friend if he was present, and write down the very words you would speak, which will render your epistle unaffected and intelligible.
When you sit down to write, call off your thoughts from every thing but the subject you intend to handle; consider it with attention, place it in every point of view; and examine it on every side before you begin. By this means you will lay a plan of it in your mind, which will rise like a well contrived building, beautiful, uniform and regular; whereas, if you neglect to form to yourself some method of going through the whole, and leave it to be conducted by giddy accident, your thoughts upon any subject can never appear otherwise than as a mere heap of confusion. Consider, you are now to form a stile, or, in other words, to learn the way of expressing what you think; and your doing it well or ill for your whole life will depend, in a great measure, upon the manner you fall into at the beginning. It is of great consequence therefore, to be attentive and diligent at first; and an ex