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ought to produce. Mr. and Mrs. Inever failed so to order their domestic affairs, that this time might be to all their household a kind of sabbath after the toils and cares of the year. The servants were rendered as comfortable as possible, by the kindness of their employers in allowing them a partial rest from their severest labours. The children were of course happy. Mrs. L~, whose constant care for the interests of her family had given her countenance a gravity quite foreign to its natural expression, now looked and felt almost young again amidst the felicity that surrounded her. Mr. L-, too, whose various and important engagements allowed him but short intervals of intercourse with his children, now reposed awhile from his mental exertions, and when talking to, or playing with them, forgot the deep meditations and mysterious thoughts of the study. Secluded as this family was from most others, their pleasures must of course result, at this season particularly, from themselves; and they were of the simplest kind, They consisted chiefly in a longer and more free enjoyment of domestic love, than would have been right at any other time of the year.
“O love of loves ! to thy white hand is given
Of earthly happiness the golden key."Their mornings were generally occupied with long walks, whenever the weather at all permitted. Frequently, during their rambles, they entered the cottages of the poor, who were more pleased than ever, to see them, when their dwellings were decked with evergreens, and themselves in their best temper and dress. The long evenings usually began with lively recreations, in which parents and children equally joined. When they grew tired of these, they drew around the fire, and engaged in pleasant talk. Conversing on the pursuits of the past year, or anticipating those of the coming one, they felt how intimately dear they were to each other, and how closely their interests were united ; and thus they laid up a stock of love and kindly sentiment for the future.
These conversations constantly ended with a reference to the history which the time was set apart to commemorate ; and as they thought of the scenes of Bethlehem, they saw to whom must be attributed the blessing of domestic affection, even to Him, at whose birth the angels sang, “ Peace on earth, goodwill to man.” And while thanking their Saviour for this temporal delight, the spiritual and eternal gifts which he came from heaven to bestow afforded them still greater reasons for gratitude and joy.
It was in the expectation of these returning pleasures, and thinking that, after they were over, other engagements would require her attention and time, that Jane told her sisters and brother she could not give them any more Tales. After directing them to other sources of amusement, she added, “ I am sure I have told you stories enough; and only hope that you will remember their most important part, I mean the instruction they are designed to communicate. If you learn from them, that Religion alone can effect the lovely and necessary union of domestic and intellectual qualities in a woman ;-that the same principle which gives the mind, will also bestow the power to do the will of God cheerfully and diligently;--that it can give as easily resignation under great as under little sufferings;- that it at the same time, however, teaches you to avoid the contrary of resignation, namely,
indifference, as the bane of every thing valuable; and prohibits what is still more sinful, the desire to order your own way, to be in fact a god to yourselves ; that, while it teaches you that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,' it enables you to trust in God's Providence, which can make all things work together for good;' and, can not only turn unfriendly circumstances into advantages, but increase and perpetuate the joys of happier situations by uniting closely and constantly the hearts of relations, whether few in number or many ;-that it inculcates, too, besides this natural union, an enlarged charity towards all, even the most unpromising, and a particular charity to yourselves, in leading you to seek for happiness, • there only where true joys are to be found ;'-if you have this impression, from all these histories, that Religion is to you, individually, the one thing needful;' if you learn from them that whatever you may be now, piety can make you all you ought to be,-can cure your particular faults, can purify and exalt your peculiar excellencies, can change your hearts, and thus secure your honour and happiness in this world, while it prepares you for eternal life in the next;-and if from these convictions you seek and obtain of God, through faith in our LORD JESUS Christ, the Spirit of Grace to assist and render effectual your own endeavours, and thus become true Christians,--then will the end be answered of A SISTER'S TALES.
THE DANGER OF BAD COMPANIONS, AND OF
NEGLECTING RELIGIOUS ORDINANCES,
Exemplified in the Dying Confessions of a Young Infidel. “ Many a young man has been able to trace his first disregard of parental authority and friendly admonition, to the influence of those early companions with whom he was disposed to connect himself; while he can as clearly see, that tủe neglect of this authority was the first step which led the way to his ruin.
“ I cannot thus refer to the danger arising from unprincipled companions in early life, without ad. verting to a very affecting illustration of it, which lately came under my own observation.
“ I was some time ago called to visit a stranger in affliction. This person I had never seen before ; but he sent to request that I would call upon him, in consequence of my having formerly attended a relation of his, when on the bed of sickness and death. Soon after I entered his room, we were left alone, and while he was labouring for breath, he thus addressed me: I have been living, Sir, for fifteen years, without God and without hope in the world. I had the benefit of a religious education. I regularly used to go with an aged relative, with whom I then lived, to the house of God. But I soon left
father's house, and then I went far astray indeed. I most unhappily fell into dissolute habits, and into the company of some who had imbibed themselves, and too successfully instilled into me, the maxims of the French philosophers. I went on in this course for several years. But I now clearly see, that men have recourse to such systems, not from a conviction of
ON THE DANGER, OF BAD COMPANIONS.
their truth, but to palliate, if they can, a life of licentiousness. I can say from experience, these maxims never gave me satisfaction, even at the time I
professed to embrace them. I never got quit altogether of my early impressions. I felt a secret conviction, that there was a truth in what I had been taught in early life, and that I was now quite wrong. I always looked for some favourable opportunity when I should retrace my steps; but, when I was making resolutions to do so, every new assault of temptation quite overcame me, and bore down all the resolutions I had formed. I now feel that there is nothing in these systems under which I tried to shelter myself, which I can lay hold of in the time of trouble.'
Being asked if he was accustomed to attend any place of worship, he replied, "At first I did ; but I afterwards gave it up, and used to spend the Sabbath either lounging in my room, or walking about the streets. For some years past; I have gone regularly nowhere. In the prospect of death, however, he seemed deeply impressed with a sense of his guilt, and to cling to the doctrine he had heard in early life, but had long forgotten, that an atonement has been made for the guilty, and that the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin. He seemed to experience the deepest remorse at the recollection of his criminal conduct; and most feelingly lamented that he could not get his mind impressed, as he wished, with what he now saw to be deeply interesting truths contained in the word of God. In this state, his strength gradually declined. I saw him repeatedly, and in a few weeks after I visited him, he expired. What a me. tancholy picture have we here of the dreadful danger arising to the young from associating with unprinVOL. VI.