« AnteriorContinuar »
his grandfather with his sprightliness and wit, and gained every body's favour by his noble and engaging behaviour. I shall only mention one instance, whereby we may judge of the rest.
AstyAGES, to make his grandson unwilling to return home, made & sumptuous entertainment, in which there was the utmost plenty and profusion of every thing that was nice and delicate. All this exquisite cheer and magnificent preparation CYRUS looked upon with great indifference; and observing ASTYAGES to be surprised at his behaviour: “ The Persians,” said he to the King, “ instead of going such a round-about way to appease their hunger, have a much shorter way to the same end ; a little bread and cresses with them answer the same purpose.” Asty. AGEs having allowed Cyrus to dispose of all the meats as he thought fit, the latter immediately distributed them to the King's officers in waiting ; to one, because he taught him to ride ; to another, because he waited well upon his grandfather; and to a third, because he took great care of his mother. Sacas, the King's cup-bearer, was the only person to whom he gave nothing. This officer, besides the post of cup-bearer, had that likewise of introducing those who were to have audience of the King ; and as he could not pose sibly grant that favour to Cyrus as often as he desired it, he had the misfortune to displease the Prince, who took this occasion to show his resentment. AsTYAGES testifying some concern at the neglect shown to this officer, for whom he had a particular regard, and who deserved it, as he said, on account of the wonderful dexterity with which he served him : that all, Papa ?” replied Cyrus: “ if that be sufficient to merit your favour, you shall see I will quickly obtain it; for I will take upon me to serve you better than he.” Immediately CYRUS was equipped as a cup-bearer, and advancing gravely with a serious countenance, a napkin upon his shoulder, and holding the cup nicely with three of his fingers, he presented it to the King with a dexterity and a grace that charmed both ASTYAGES and MANDANE. When he had done,
OBSERVATIONS ON YOUTIIFUL PIETY.
he flung himself upon his grandfather's neck, and kissing him, cried out with great joy : “ O SACAS! poor Sacas! thou art undone ; I shall have thy place.” AsTYAGES embraced him with great fond. ness, and said, “I am mightily well pleased, my dear child ; nobody can serve me with a better grace : but you have forgotten one essential ceremony, which is that of tasting :"-for the cup-bearer was used to pour some of the liquor into his left hand, and to taste it before he presented it to the King. “ No," replied Cyrus, " it was not from forgetfulness that I omitted that ceremony.” “Why then,” said AstyAGES,
“ for what reason did you omit it?” “ Because I apprehended there was poison in the liquor.” 6 Poison, child ! how could you think so ?” “ Yes; poison, Papa; for not long ago, at an entertainment you gave to the lords of your court, after the guests had drunk a little of that liquor, I perceived all their heads were turned ; they sung, made a noise, and talked they knew not what : you yourself seemed to have forgotten that you were a King, and they that they were subjects; and when you would have danced, you could not stand upon your legs.” “Why,” said AstyAGES, “ have you never seen the same thing happen to your father?” “ No, never,” replied Cyrus. 66 How is it with him when he drinks ?" when he has drunk, his thirst is quenched, and that is all.”
OBSERVATIONS ON YOUTHFUL PIETY.
(By Mr. W. B. BROWNE, of Kettering.)
“ I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.” 1 Kings xviii. 12.
These are the words of OBADIAH, a resident in the palace of AHAB, King of Israel. Though under the control of a wicked Sovereign, yet, it is said, that “he feared the LORD greatly.” This excellent man served the true God in the worst times, and that even from the days of his youth; on this subject, the following observations may be made.
1. The season of youth is the fittest and best opportunity for engaging in the service of religion. This is peculiarly the time of warm and generous emotions, the heart should then rise into the admiration of whatever is morally great, grand, and glorious. Youth is the seed-time of life. Habits are not fully formed, prejudices have not pre-occupied the powers of the understanding. The energies of youth are more lively than they will be at any other period of life. Virtuous youth leads to flourishing manhood, and to respectable
But if youth, the very best time for improvement, be'tritled away, manhood will be unprofitable, and old age exceedingly miserable. Youth then is the most propitious season for religion. During that auspicious period, lift up your souls in early devotion to your adorable CREATOR. You now have the fewest obstacles, and the greatest number of helps, and upon the improvement of the spring of youth, depends the beauty of summer, and the abundance of autumn. Early piety is the express command of Heaven's Immortal King: 6 Remember now thị Creator in the days of thy youth.” An early acquaintance with religion is taught by the authority of ancient practice. Under the law the claims of the ALMIGÅTY were asserted and regarded. The first was consecrated to God; the first-born of men, the firstborn of animals, and the first-fruits of the earth. A blighted spring is followed by an unfruitful year. The vernal blossom issues in autumnal fruits. Young trees, under proper culture, produce the greatest abundance.
“ Youth is the time to serve the LORD,
The time t' ensure the great reward." 2. The earlier your commencement, the higher your acquisitions; and the more illustrious your attainments. This axiom holds good in human science, as well as in genuine religion. They both require diligence and application, and the attainment of the end can only be accomplished by the use of the means. By far too many, who are very assiduous, yea, even laborious, in the culture of their minds in philosophy, and the
OBSERVATIONS ON YOUTHFUL PIETY.
acquisitions of the liberal arts and sciences, are at the same time very remiss in the practice of religion and the fear of the LORD. Be assured, my young friends, the one may be pursued, yea, and ought to' be, without the neglect of the other. And the sooner' you begin, the greater and more apparent will be your proficiency. Recollect, that the fame derived from the most profound learning, will avail you now thing, if you have not acquired the knowledge of salvation, and learned the important lesson of true religion. We would strongly recommend human learning, but never so as to supersede the knowledge of God, in and through Christ Jesus the LORD. " This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and JESUS CHRIST whom thou hast sent." But at the same time your progress up the hill of science need not hinder your ascent to the mount of God.' And let it be frequent in your remembrance, that the sooner you begin, the higher and more illustrious will be your attainments. The noblest and most how nourable Christian in age, is the person who, like the excellent O BADIAH, has feared the Lord from his youth. We remark,
3. A prompt, early, and cheerful compliance with the requisitions of the Almighty, is a sacrifice the most acceptable in his sight. The admirable lines of Dr. W Arts are quite in point upon this part of our subject :
“ When we devote our youth to God,
'Tis pleasing in his eyes;
Is no vain sacrifice." Jesus, looking upon a certain young man, " loved kim.” And the Eternal Gop says expressly, “I love them that love me, and they who seek me early shall find me.” The Gospel precept is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness ;” and when this is obeyed, with such a deportment Gop is well pleased.
It has been said that “late religion is seldom sincere, and that sincere religion is seldom late." Early dedication to God proves the reality of your VOL. VI.
motives, and renders your offering so much the more acceptable. When you enjoy health of body, strength of mind, and vigour of spirits, then is the heart a noble sacrifice, and best worthy of being presented to the great CREATOR of heaven and earth. But, alas ! when the prime of your life has been devoted to the ways of pleasure and folly, with what confidence can you offer to God the dregs of vice and iniquity, an old age broken with infirmity, and groaning under the load of misery. To all procrastinators, will not the Prophet's interrogatories be very apposite? “If we offer the blind for a sacrifice, is it not evil ? and if we offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil ? Offer it now unto the Governor : will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of Hosts.” Let not any one attempt to put off the Almighty with the gleanings of life after the enemy has secured the golden harvest. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” And while the aged sinner presents to God “ wood, hay, and stubble,” the youthful saint offers “ gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
4. To embrace religion at an early period of life, is to imitate the example of some of the most noble and honourable characters recorded in the sacred Scriptures. There are many other bright examples, as well as that of OBADIAH, of persons early embracing religion, and “ adorning the doctrine of God their SAVIOUR.”
Let me begin with JOSEPH, one of the youngest sons of Jacob, who, when only seventeen years of age, was sold into Egypt; but he feared the LORD, and his God was with him, and raised him to high elevation and honour. Moses, also, early ir life, when surrounded with the delusive pleasures of a court, and the fascinations of a palace, preferred suffering with the people of God, and considered ever the " reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” Young SAMUEL was early devoted to God, and through a long protracted life he glorified God his Maker. Josial, when only eight years old, was vested with regal authority; and though