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the secrét causes of the different phenomena which the world presents ; the labour is long, the task is difficult, the subjects in a state of perpetual mutation, and death takes him off just at the dawn of his discoveries. In vain does the politician wish to form sound maxims from the conduct and opinions of those with whom he converses ; what can he learn from man, who by the levity of his humour, the change of his passions, and diversity of his interests, is incessantly changing, and who disappears before he has time to be acquainted with him. In vain does the man of the world labour to acquire a knowledge of mankind; the world is in perpetual motion, the preceding race has succeeded to the former, and we who ocupy their places, must soon give way to those who follow us ; " One generation passeth away, and another cometh.” Every where we see only visionary phantoms, which glide before us ; fleeting and unsubstantial personages, who after having acted their part on the theatre of the world, give place to others as airy and uncertain as themselves. Now I ask, what profit, what solid instruction, can we derive from these things, unless to learn that they are a fading inheritance. And this is what God intends to teach us, by placing us in this unsubstantial world. He designs that we should look at the things which are seen, not so as to penetrate and understand the secrets of their nature, but to feel their nothingness and vanity; he hath shewn us only the surface of his works, that we seeing their unsubstantial nature, might despise their false splendour, be raised above the power of temptation, and acknowledge that the pleasures which temporal things promise are flattering and delusive.

2. From whence I proceed to the second proof. Looking not at the things which are seen, that is, not esteeming them too highly, because they are temporal, and on this account of little value. The shortness of their duration, without any other argument, is sufficient to convince us that they are unworthy of our esteem ; for had they possessed real worth, God, who has made every thing by number, weight, and measure, and who justly appreciates his own works, would have given them a duration equal to their value. It is wisdom which has proportioned the continuance of visible things, to their worth ; and it would have been goodness to us to have lengthened out their existence, had they been truly great and worthy of esteem. Seeing then, that God assigns them a duration so limited, judge of the worth by the rule which Sovereign Wisdom gives ; judge of them, if you please, by your own conduct. Is it not true that we esteem things according to their stability and

permanence, and reckon as nothing what is only lent us for a moment? The most elevated situations are not valued unless We consider them permanent; even a crown loses much of its

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worth when it is soon to be laid aside. Hence in the kingdom of Sparta, where a new king was elected every year, there existed as great an indifferency towards royalty as there does eagerness aster it in other States, where the crown is for life. Sensible people hardly considered sovereign power an elevation, where they were so soon to return to the situation of pri. vate individuals. Ah! did we use the same good sense in estimating all terrestrial things, instead of saying, " This fortune shall pass away in a year," we should say, All will totally vanish at farthest in thirty or forty years.

We should see that greater or lesser durations, not altering the nature of these things so as to make the one less changeable than the other, they are in their whole amount but as nothing. Were we to carry our thoughts forward into futurity, and represent to ourselves this body devoured by worms, and these titles obliterated for ever, we should feel ashamed at having valued them so much; our pride would be brought low, our lofty imaginations would vanish, and we should see things in their proper colours, viz. as unworthy of consideration or regard. Moses made use of the following scheme to cure the Israelites of idolatry: he ordered the golden calf to be thrown into the fire and reduced to ashes ; he then took the ashes and mixed them with water, with a view that the people might reflect, the making of this idol cost us much; our wives brought their jewels, we offered our gold and our silver, but of all the wealth there remains only ashes, it is therefore for a little dust that we have exhausted our treasures. It was by this, says Philo, that he cured their attachment to idols ; " What,” said they, three days ago we feasted and sung around the image, rendering it worship and adoration, but all to terminate in dust! and is this the object of our reverence, and the great divinity to which we conse crated our persons and possessions." This thought filled them with shame and confusion, and eradicated their idolatry. Ah! you who feast around that idol, who make it the object of your worship and adoration, were I permitted to open its tomb, what shame and confusion should I not give you. Is this the creature thou madest thy divinity? Is it this which thou thoughtest worthy of so much respect and honour ? which made thy bad or good fortune? It cannot save itself either from corruption or worms. To expose it, such as it shall one day be, is sufficient to remove the vail which covers you, dissipate your blindness, and convince you that whatever is fading and perishable is but of little worth,“ Looking not at the things which are seen."

3. Looking not at the things which are seen, through the medium of our affections, with covetous and eager eyes, because they are temporal, and we cannot long either possess or enjoy

them. Admitting they were excellent and worthy of esteem, something more would be required to fix our hearts upon them; for whatever excellency any thing may possess, we only value it as related unto us, or connected with us, either by right or actual enjoyment; if it is not our property we cannot turn it to our advantage; and, though considerable in itself, it is nothing with regard to us. Now whatever is but temporal, cannot properly be considered ours, because the enjoyment of it must ever be uncertain, and there is little difference between possessing only for a little space and not possessing at all. What folly must it be to place our affections on that which we can never obtain ; or which if obtained, we must soon part with, in deep regret for having loved it loo much, and in despair for having lost it for ever? If we love the things which are seen, it ought to be with a love proportioned to their nature; as they are but transitory, so .ought our affection for them to be also. In one word, we should look upon them as servants, and use them for our conveniency, and not give them a place in our hearts, or seek our happiness in them. Both the righteous and the wicked are agreed that the things which are seen are temporal; but the conclusion drawn from this principle by the one, is widely different from that which is drawn from it by the other. This is the language of the wicked--Our life is short and insipid, we cannot avoid death, and no one ever returned from the grave; we came into the world by chance, and shortly we shall be as if we had never been ; the breath of our nostrils is but smoke, and our spirit is a spark produced by the motion of the heart. Come then, let us rejoice in the present, and hasten to enjoy what we have ; let us drink precious wines, anoint ourselves with odoriferous ointments, and suffer not the flowers of the spring to pass away:

Let us deck ourselves with garlands of roses before they wither, for this is our portion and lot.-Since then, say they, our portion in this life is so limited, it behoves us attentively to improve the present moment; seeing our pleasures pass so quickly, we ought to give up ourselves unto them, that we may enjoy all they are capable of yielding, and anticipate whatever can be anticipa. led. St. Paul reverses the conclusion, as it regards the righteous, " But this I say, brethren, the time is short : it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and those that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use the world as not abusing it for the fashion of this world passeth away.This world is an exhibition, a play, representation, or public spectacle. This exhibition or spectacle is passing away, carthly things are leaving us ; let us therefore, by a prudent foresighi,

- Vol. IV.

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detach ourselves from them, and close our eyes betimes on those deceitfal objects which are about to disappear. “Looking not at the things which are seen."

Finally. We ought not to look at the things which are seen, so as to bound our views and wishes by them, and rest in them as the end which terminates our pursuits, because they are temporal. Their transitory nature teaches us that we are destined for something higher; and the shorter their duration, the more ought we to be weaned from them.

Yes, my brethren, the consideration that these things are temporal, sufficiently convinces me that man is created for nobler enjoyments; for how can we conceive that he who is endowed with powers so capacious, and gifts so eminent, shall in a few days be no more? What, shall man, whose vast mind grasps the whole world, forms immortal projects, runs through the past, the present, and the future, and reaches into eternity ? Man, who penetrates and unfolds the mysteries of Providence, the wonders of nature, and the greatness of divinity itself; who, Lord of the inferior creation, by his conception penetrates the intellectual world ;-Man, who after having passed the weakness of infancy,

and with so much labour at length begun to live like a rational creature, that is, to love God and to adore him.-Shall he view all his vast projects, bounded by the duration of a moment, his illimitable schemes suddenly disappear, his researches and meditations serve only to abridge his days, and all his virtues sink into eternal oblivion? God forbid, my brethren, that we should attribute to the Deity a conduct so unworthy of his wisdom! for on this supposition the beasts would enjoy a greater share of felicity than man. Therefore, from visible and temporal things we ought to raise our thoughts to an end more perfect, a state beyond the bounds of time, where our just projects shall be accomplished, our light be enlightened, and our virtues take a character more noble and sublime. The more the things of earth are transitory, the more ought we to fix our thoughts on the felicity which shall succeed them, as the shorter our time is, the nearer is eternity. In this state, penetrated by the view of the infinite blessings which we discover before us, we forget the things that are behind ; far from considering the present world as our final state, we regard it merely as an inferior and subordinate means to acquire that good which our hopes place before us. What do I say? we look upon it as an obscuring cloud, which darkens and hides from our view our future felicity. We are only strangers here, far from our own country; we have here no continuing city or permanent habitation. The men of the world build; we only have tabernacles : in short, we are men who, losing sight of visible and sensible objects, turn our attention and care solely

to the things that are invisible : "Looking not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

(To be continued.)

Biography

FROM THE LONDON METHODIST MAGAZINE,

An Account of the Life and Conversion from Heathenism to

Christianity, of George Nadoris De Silva, Samara Mana Nayeka, late a Budhist Priest in the Island of Ceylon.

(Copcluded from Vol. III. page 453.) George NADORIS DE Silva is another proof of the power of the gospel to change the heathen. Since his baptism he has chiefly resided at Colombo, and regularly attended the Mission House, as one of the native translators of the Holy Scriptures; an office for which he is well qualified by his profound and critical knowledge of the primitive languages of the East. He is always extremely willing to render us any assistance, and I believe takes an interest in our prosperity.

Even before his baptism it has been seen that he was the subject of strong religious feelings; and those feelings have been frequently visible in him since that time, and to the pres

There is a decided seriousness and thoughtfulness in his whole deportment. There can be no doubt that, under the Divine influence, his mind, piercing through the externals of religion, has a distinct perception of the spiritual nature and sanctifying tendency thereof. And, in a conversation with Mrs. Harvard, upon Divine things, some time before we left the island of Ceylon, he wept much, and was observed to be very greatly affected. He has certainly not inclined the least to heathenism since his baptism; he is, however, in critical circumstances ; is much exposed from various quarters, and needs an interest in the prayers of those who prevail at a throne

James y. 16–20. He has regularly met in class with us for some time past, and retains his desire to be not only a nominal, but a true and spiritual Christian. On these occasions I have often met and conversed with him myself, and have had every reason to be satisfied with his very apparent sincerity and simplicity. He has, since then, been for a considerable time absent in the interior pro

of grace.

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