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to rejoice and do good all the days of our life when I have any spare time, I shall gladly spend it in reading, with reverence and attention, some portions of the Bible. In all my common conversa. tion, I shall have my eye continually up to him, who alone can direct my paths to happiness and improvement, and crown all my endeavours with the best success : I shall try to be something the better for every scene of life I am engaged in; to be something the wiser for every day's conversation and experience : and let me not fear, but that if I daily thus faithfully strive to grow in holiness and goodness, be my growth at the present never so imperceptible, I “ shall in due time arrive at the measure of the fulness of stature in Christ." ;
That I may be the better for the last twenty-four hours, let me examine a little what temper I have been in all that time. In general, perhaps, I can recollect nothing much amiss in it; but let me descend to particulars : things are often very faulty, that appear, at first sight, very trifling. Perhaps I have so fond a conceit of myself, as to think, that I can never be in the wrong. Has any uneasiness happened in the family this last day? Perhaps I think the fault was wholly in others, and the right entirely on my side: but ought I not to remember, that, in all disputes, there is generally some fault on both sides? Perhaps they began :--but did not I carry it on ?—They gave the provocation :-but did not I take it?-Am not I too apt to imagine that it would be mean entirely to let a quarrel drop, when I have a fair opportunity to reason, and argue, and reproach ; to vindicate my injured merit, and assert my right? Yet is this agreeable to the precepts and example of him, “ who, when he was reviled, reviled not again? Is it agreeable to his commands, who has charged me, if my brother trespass against me, to forgive him, not seven times only, but seventy times seven? Is it agreeable to that Christian doctrine, which exhorts us, not to think of ourselves highly, but soberly, as we ought to think; and that, in lowliness of mind, every one should think others better than himself? And, alas, how often do I think this disrespect, though a slight one, provoking to me! This situation, though a happy one, not good enough for me! How often have I had in my mouth that wise maxim, that a worm, if it is trod upon, will turn again! Wretch that I am, shall I plead the example of a vile worm of the earth for disobeying the commands of my Saviour, with whom I hope hereafter to sit in hea. venly places ? * :
• It is proper to observe, that this excellent illustration of these unchristian passions, though expressed in the first person, conveys no sort of idea of the mild and humble disposition of the writer herself.
The Duty of constant Employment.
“ I MUST work the work of Him who sent me, while it is day.”—If our blessed Saviour, infinitely great and excellent, was, when he assumed human nature, so far from being exempted from the general law of nature imposed on our first father and all his race, who is there amongst men that sha!! plead an exemption ? The duty of employment is two-fold : first, as we are active and spiritual beings, ill would it become us to sit wrapped in indolence, and sleep away an useless life : constant activity and extensive usefulness is the perfection of a spiritual being : the great God himself is infinitely active. “My Father worketh hitherto,”: saith our Saviour, “and I work.” In their various degrees, all the orders of angels are “ministering spirits.” In the happy worlds abové, all is life and activity: and shall man, who is so fond of life, lose his little portion of it in a lazy, slothful, half state? Shall he quench those sparks of immortality that glow in his bosom, and content himself with being, for three parts of his time, little better than a lump of organized clay? Innocent man in Paradise was not made for idle
ness; but guilty fallen man is peculiarly born to labour and to trouble. Equally just and merciful was the doom pronounced to Adam, “In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread.” Human nature, corrupted and depraved by the fall of our first parents, would be incapable of employing ease and leisure to any happy purposes. Greatly do we need constant employment to keep us out of the reach of those temptations from within and from without, that in idleness particularly assualt us: greatly do we need to have much of our minds taken up with perpetual attention to necessary business and hourly duty, that they may not prey too much upon themselves. Labour and pain are the necessary, though unpalatable medicine of our souls. Shall we refuse to follow the prescription of that heavenly Physician, who drank the bitterest cup for us? Toil and trouble are the just punishments of guilty human nature : shall we rebel against our awful Judge ? Activity and employinent are the law of our being : and shall we uot obey our sovereign Ruler, our great and good Creator ?
What then is my proper business and employment, that I may set diligently to it? In most sta. tions of life, this is too evident to be asked : and it is equally certain, that every station, even the very highest, has its proper work and labour, which whoever performs not to the utmost of his power, is a wicked and slothful servant; for we have all a Master in Heaven.
Come, then, my heart, let us cheerfully set about our business: be it study and improvement of the mind, toil of the body, or industry of the hands; be it care of our families, and domestic affairs; be it care of the public, and distribution of justice ; be it care of our neighbours, and charity to the poor ; be it education of children, instruction of the ignorant, attendance on the sick, culture of the ground, defence of our country : whatever it be, let us do it diligently and heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men. As subjects, children, servants, let us obey our rulers, parents, masters; and if it be the will of Providence to disable us, for the present, from all active service, by confining us in chambers of sickness, in a weak and useless state, let us set the example of an uncomplaining submission and cheerful resignation; and let patience, at least,“ have its perfect work.”
This submissive, this humble, this obedient disposition, is poverty of spirit : we ought to think nothing beneath us, nor to desire any thing but what is allotted to us : we ought to imagine nothing our own, and surely, therefore, not our time : yet how apt are we to think it quite a hardship put upon us, if any small portion of it is to be spent disagreeably, and if we have not hours, and days, and years, to indulge in careless idleness and giddy pleasure !
Among other works, that of reforming my temper is surely a most necessary one: let me, therefore, take myself a little to task. How have I behaved the last day?