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puts on a smiling appearance. All nature wears a face of beauty, and is animated with a spirit of joy: You walk up and down in a new world; you the unblown rose, and drink the untasted spring. Full of spirit, and high in hope, you set out on the journey of life: Visions of bliss present themselves to view: Dreams of joy, with sweet delusion, amuse the vacant mind.

You listen, and accord to the song of hope, "Tomorrow shall be as this day and much more abundant." But ah! my friends, the flattering scene will not last. The spell is quickly broken, the enchantment soon over. Ilow hideous will life appear when experience takes off the mask, and discovers the sad reality? Now thou hast no weariness to clog thy waking hours, and no care to disturb thy repose. But know, child of the earth, that thou art born to trouble, and that care through every subsequent part of life, will hunt thee like a ghost. Health now sparkles in thine eye, the blood flows pure in thy veins, and thy spirits are gay as the morning: But alas! the time will come, when diseases, a numerous and direful train, will assail thy life; the time will come, when pale and ghastly, and stretched on a bed, " chastened with pain, and the multitude of thy bones with strong pain, thou wilt be ready to choose strangling and death, rather than life."

You are now happy in your earthly companions. Friendship, which in the world is a feeble sentiment, with you is a strong passion. But shift the scene for a few years and behold the man of thy right hand become unto thee as an alien. Behold the friend of thy youth, who was one with thine own soul, striving to supplant thee, and laying snares for thy ruin! I mention not these things, my friends, to make you miserable before the time. God forbid that I should anticipate the evil day, unless I could arm you against it. Now, remember your Creator, consecrate to him the early period of your days, and the light of his countenance will shine upon you through life. Amid

all the changes of this fluctuating scene, you have a friend that never fails. Then, let the tempest beat, and the floods descend, you are safe and happy under the shelter of the Rock of ages.

Section XIV.

DEVOTION A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS.

Whatever promotes and strengthens virtue, whatever calms and regulates the temper, is a source of happiness. Devotion produces these effects in a remarkable degree. It inspires composure of spirit, mildness, and benignity; weakens the painful, and cherishes the pleasing emotions, and, by these means, carries on the life of a pious man in a smooth and placid tenor.

Besides exerting this habitual influence on the mind, devotion opens a field of enjoyments, to which the vicious are entire strangers; enjoyments the more valuable, as they peculiarly belong to retirement when the world leaves us, and to adversity when it becomes our foe. These are the two seasons, for which every wise man would most wish to provide some hidden store of comfort. For let him be placed in the most favourable situation which the human state admits, the world can neither always amuse him, nor always shield him from distress. There will be many hours of vacuity, and many of dejection, in his life. If he be a stranger to God, and to devotion, how drear will the gloom of solitude often prove! With what oppressive weight will disease, disappointment, or old age, fall upon his spirits! But for those pensive periods, the pious man has a relief prepared.

From the tiresome repetition of the common vanities of life, or from the painful corrosion of its cares and sorrows, devotion transports him into a new regiou; and surrounds him there with such objects as Bb

are the most fitted to cheer the dejection, to calm the tumults, and to heal the wounds of his heart. If the world has been empty and delusive, it gladdens him with the prospect of a higher and better order of things about to rise. If men have been ungrateful and base, it displays before him the faithfulness of that supreme Being, who, though every other friend fail, will never forsake him.-Consult your experience, and you will find that the two greatest sources of inward joy are, the exercise of love directed towards a deserving object, and the exercise of hope terminating on some high and assured happiness. Both these are supplied by devotion; and therefore we have no reason to be surprised, if, on some occasions, it fills the heart of good men with a satisfaction not to be expressed.

These are pleasures which belong to the highest powers, and best affections of the soul.To thee, O Devotion! we owe the highest improvement of our nature, and much of the enjoyment of our life. Thou art the support of our virtue, and the rest of our souls in this turbulent world. Thou composest the thoughts: Thou calmest the passions: Thou exaltest the heart. Thy communications, and thine only, are imparted to the low, no less than to the high; to the poor, as well as to the rich. In thy presence, worldly distinctions cease; and under thy influence, worldly sorrows are forgotten. Thou art the balm of the wounded mind. Thy sanctuary is ever open to the miserable; inaccessable only to the unrighteous and impure. Thou beginnest on earth the temper of heaven. In thee the hosts of angels and blessed spirits eternally rejoice.

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Section XV.

REFLECTIONS ON GOD AS OUR
CREATOR.

The contemplation of God in the light of a creator, cannot fail to excite in us the most profound veneration. This idea of deity is adapted to plunge us into the depths of that astonishment, into which it is pleasing to the mind of man to be thrown by a sublime object. He who has pleasure in looking at what is grand in the highest degree, will hither repair to receive it. He that delights to have his mind distended to the utmost stretch of admiration, must come to this idea for his delight.

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It is impossible to think of the maker of all things, without being fixed in all the stillness and stupor of astonishment; whether we consider the amazing multiplicity and magnificence of his productions, or the complete sense in which he is the author of them, compared with the imperfect sense, in which man is the maker of what are called the works of man. If some of the greater works of man excite our amazement, how much more is this idea adapted to awaken it, who made the materials out of which those works were framed: who formed the fingers by means of which they were fashioned; and who inspired the understandings by the light of which they were designed. If we admire the inventors of inanimate machines that move, with what admiration must we think of him who made "the moving creature that hath life."

All the works of all the human race combined, all the fabrics they have constructed, all the systems of matter or motion they have composed, how complicated soever their parts, or extensive their dimensions, or beautiful their appearance, or powerful their effect, or excellent their uses, are proofs of a faint and feeble power, compared with the production of a fly.

All the engines which human ingenuity has framed, whatever the variety, or the vigour, or the value of their movements, display a hand that shrinks into nothing before that energy, that rolls the blood through the veins of a reptile; that communicates to a worm its faculty of creeping upon the earth; that indues the meanest creature, which moves and feels, with its wondrous power of willing and perceiving-Where is the artist, beneath the sun, who can breath into insensate clay the breath of life? who can kindle a soul of the dullest degree? who can animate, for one moment, one particle of dust?

The consideration that God is our maker, makes it evident that he must be our preserver. This inference cannot be made with respect to any human artist; because no human artist is the framer of any thing, in that radical and strict sense, in which the Almighty is the former of all things. That which man has made may continue to be what he made it, when its maker is distant, when its maker is dead. The work of man may subsist in the absence, may survive the dissolution of its author: it may exist for successive ages, and for successive ages remain "a work to wonder at," when the hand, that gave it its beauty and excellence, has lost its cunning for ever.

For want of deeply reflecting upon the difference between the forming hand of the creature, and that of the Creator of all, we are some of us apt, perhaps, carelessly and inconsiderately, to conceive of our continuance in life as depending upon certain powers and properties in our animal composition, which were originally communicated to it by its author, but which are now entirely its own; inherent in itself, without hanging on the divine support. We do not, with sufficient closeness to the idea, consider, that he who put together, and put into motion, the great machinery of nature, is its author in a scene, which requires the incessant action of his hand, in order to hold it together, and to support its operations.

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