« AnteriorContinuar »
father had adopted; he did it calmly indeed, yet firmly and perseveringly. The first time she discovered a wish to have her own way, he deliberately contra. dicted her design, and ever afterwards acted in the
Under his stern tutorage, it is a wonder that her high spirit did not break, especially as it was continued with unabated rigour while lie lived, which was for many years. He died; and AUGUSTA again thought herself at liberty. Her only care now was to see realized the hopes she had indulged with respect to her son; but here too they were defeated. Instead of aspiring to that statiou for which his parents designed him, he chose more. wisely for himself, and took a situation lower indeed, but more adapted to his abilities. And now, as she lived quite alone, AUGUSTA was determined that nothing should hinder her from having her own way; yet she was obliged to keep one or two servants, and her proud and peevish, nature found in their most trilling actions something to wound and irritate it.
6 Amidst all the varied ways in which she had gone, or wished to go, during a long life, it had never been her way, (nor indeed is it any one's way by nature,) to listen to the voice of God, and to obey his commands. Yet now, when lover and friend were put away from her,' when she was a lonely widow,-in circumstances comfortable indeed, when compared with some, but poor when contrasted with the affluence and elegance of her early days,-he mercifully led her to the knowledge of those things that did most emphatically " belong to" her 6 peace.” With deep repentance she reviewed her past life; and thankfully acknowledged that it was a great mercy that she had been prevented from having her own way,
plainly perceiving that it would have brought mi. sery on all around her, and eternal ruin on herself. Tired and disgusted with it, she determined for the rest of her life to walk in God's ways, and to turn her feet to the paths of his commandments : she did so, and found them to be a ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace.” And now, though old and infirm, with a heart bowed to the divine will, is she not far happier, than when, in the freshness of youth and beauty, surrounded with all the joys of this world, she leaned her head on a rich damask sofa, and wept because she could not have her own way?
(Extracted from “ A Father's Advice to his Children, by the Rev. J. NORRIS, M. A. Rector of Bemerion ; " and communicated by the Rev. THOMAS EASTWOOD.) MY DEAR CHILDREN,
If ever you live to maturity of age, and I happen to die before you do so, remember and consider the words of a careful and affectionate father, touched with a most lively concern both for your present and future welfare, but chiefly your future, that of your precious and immortal souls, which must be either eternally happy or miserable in another world, according as you live and demean yourselves in this. And, therefore,
1. Be sure that you dedicate your tender years to the service and glory of God, and that
you remember your Creator in the days of your youth. You will then have most need to remember him, and
you will then be most apt to forget him. Set, therefore, a Vol. VI.
double guard upon that part of your life, and be then especially diligent to remember and be mindful of him that made you. It will make your duty easy, and your lives happy. You will have the comfort of it when you come to die, besides the constant satisfaction it will afford you all your lives long.
2. And as you make religion your first, so be sure that
you make it your greatest and chief care ;- not a by-work, (as the general manner of the world is,) but your principal concern, the great business and em. ployment of your whole life. For indeed religion is your greatest concernment, and therefore ought to be your main business and employment. It is for this that you have your being in this world, and it is by this that you can hope for well-being in that which is to come.
Your eternal happiness depends upon it; and therefore, as you tender that, see that you make religion the great affair and employment of your mind and life.
3. Let not a day pass over your heads without serious thoughts of God, and a due performance of religious homage to him; and endeavour to spend every day as well as you can, and to make every day a step towards eternity. You do so in a natural, and therefore take care you do so also in a spiritual sense, making every day some preparation for your last; considering that
you know not when that will be, that you have but a few days in all to spend, and how precious every portion even of the longest life must needs be, upon which an eternity depends.
4. Therefore accustom yourselves upon your first waking in the morning to meditate seriously upon God,, offer to him your first thoughts, and most solemnly dedicate to him yourselves, your souls and
bodies, your designs and undertakings, and the whole succeeding day, which in all likelihood will be better spent for having been so happily begun. And as you thus begin the day with God, so let it end with him too, making him the last subject of your meditations when
you lie down in your beds, and you compose yourselves to your nightly rest; that so you may both wake and sleep in Gov. For the security of the middle part of the day, accustom yourselves to make solemn prayers to God in private upon your knees, at least three times a day, and as much oftener as you find yourselves disposed. And if these times be fixed and stated to some certain hours, so much the better, that so the return of the hour appointed may, as a natural instrument, put you in mind of your devotions. I would have you every morning, before you go to prayer, to read, as attentively and considerately as you can, a chapter in the Bible; this you will find to be a most excellent and advantageous practice. It will serve to inform your understandings, and bring you acquainted with the Holy Scriptures; also to warm and quicken your wills and affections, and to tune your souls, and put them into a due composure for your following devotion.
5. I think it very expedient that you should set apart some certain seasons, wherein to sit in solemn judg, ment upon yourselves, to review and take account of your past lives, to call your sins to remembrance, to confess and bewail them, to humble your souls and bodies in the presence of God for them, and to form new resolutions, and new acts of abborrence and detestation, against them. The great advantage of thus frequently making up your accounts, you will find to be chiefly this, that it will greatly contribute to the present purity of your lives, and to your greater comfort when you come to die. And indeed it will be a sad thing then to have sums to cast up, and reckonings to make, when you are sick and in pain, and have neither understanding, nor memory, nor leisure, nor will, to recollect yourselves.
6. In these and all other times of your devotion, observe this general rule; never put yourselves into the presence of God by prayer, till you have first recollected yourselves by awful thoughts of the Divine Majesty, by some short but serious meditation.
7. After you have duly disposed your heart, then decently bend your knee. And be sure you pray with humility and reverènce, and with affectionate warmth and fervour, which are the very life and soul of prayer; especially when you pray for the forgiveness of your sins. And surely one would think that he who begs God to forgive him his sins, and understands how great a thing he asks, and is sensible in what need he stands of it, and withal how unworthy to receive it, and considers the greatness of the person of whom he begs it, and of the price by which it was purchased, and how much goodness that is whịch bestows it, and consequently how high a favour it must be in case he receives it, need not be farther reminded or admonished to be earnest and fervent in his deyotion.
8. And as you take care that your spirits accompany your bodies in your prayers, so it should be your next care that your bodies accompany your spirits: I mean, that you join bodily worship to spiritual, using the most lowly and revential gestures and postures that you can put yourselves into'; for God has a right to his whole creature, and the right disposition of the