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vellers, having reviewed the ruins of Palmyra with greater attention and more scientific skill, declared that what they beheld there exceeded the most exalted ideas which they had formed concerning it."
Messrs. Wood, Dawkins, and Bouverie, travelled to Palmyra in 1751, and in 1753 Mr. Wood published the result of their observations in the form of an Atlas: the ruins of this once mighty city were represented on 57 copper plates, 16 inches by 12, admirably executed. Captain Mangles, Bruce, Volney, and others, have since visited that scene of desolation, and confirm the accounts previously given of these celebrated ruins.
RUINS OF PALMYRA.
THESE astonishing ruins consist of temples, palaces, and porticoes of Grecian architecture; and lie scattered over an extent of several miles. They may be said to consist of a forest of Corinthian pillars, erect and fallen, amounting to many thousands. The most remarkable of them is the Temple of the Sun, of which the ruins are spread over a square of 220 yards. It was encompassed with a stately wall, built of large square stones, and adorned with pilasters within and without, to the number of 62 on a side. Within the court are the remains of two rows of noble marble pillars, 37 feet high, with their capitals of most exquisite workmanship. Of these only 58 remain entire, but they appear to have gone round the whole court, and to have supported a double piazza. The walks opposite the castle appear to have been spacious. At each end of this line are two niches for statues, with their pedestals, borders, supporters, and canopies, carved with the utmost propriety and elegance. The space within this enclosure seems to have been an open court, in the middle of which stood the temple, encompassed with another row of pillars of a different order, and much taller, being 50 feet high; but of these only 50 remain. The whole space contained within these pillars is 59 yards in length, and about 28 in breadth. The temple is 33 yards long, and 13 or 14 yards broad. It points north and south, and exactly in the middle of the building, on the west side, is a most magnificent entry, on the remains of which are some vines and clusters of grapes, carved in the most masterly imitation of nature that can be conceived. Just over the door are discerned a pair of wings, which extend its whole breadth; but the body, whether of an eagle or an angel, is destroyed. The north end of this temple is adorned with the most curious fret-work and bas-relief; and in the middle there is a dome or cupola about 10 feet in diameter. North of this place is an obelisk, consisting of 7 large stones, besides its capital. It is about 50 feet high; and just above the pedestal, is 12 feet in circumference. About a quarter of a mile from this pillar, to the east and west, are two others, besides the fragments of a third. About 100 paces from the middle obelisk, is a magnificent entry to a piazza, which is 40 feet broad, and more than half a mile long, enclosed with two rows of marble pillars, 26 feet high, and 8 or 9 in compass. Of these there still remain 129; but there must have been originally no less than 560. The upper end of the piazza was closed by a row of pillars. To the left are the ruins of a stately banqueting-house, built of better marble, and finished with yet greater elegance than the piazza. The pillars which supported it were of one entire stone. It measures 22 feet in length, and in compass 8 feet 9 inches. In the west side of the piazza are several apertures for gates into the court of the palace. Each of these was adorned with 4 porphyry pillars, placed by couples in front of the gate facing the palace, two on each side. Only two of these re
main entire. They are 30 feet long, and 9 in circumference. On the east side of the piazza stands a great number of marble pillars, some perfect, but the greater part mutilated. At a little distance are the remains of a small temple, without a roof. Before the entry, which looks to the south, is a piazza supported by six pillars, two on each side of the door, and one at each end. The pedestals of those in front have been filled with inscriptions, both in the Greek and Palmyrian language, which are become totally illegible. Among these ruins are many sepulchres: they are all square towers, 4 or 5 stories high. There is a walk across the whole building: the space on each hand is subdivided into six partitions, each wide enough for the largest corpse; and in these niches there are 6 or 7 piled upon one another. Many of the inscriptions found at Palmyra have occupied the attention of the learned. Nothing relating to the Jews is found in those which are Greek; and the Palmyrian inscriptions are entirely unknown, as well as the language of that country.
Tadmor retained its original name until the time of Alexander the Great, when it received the Greek name Palmyra, which it preserved for several centuries. During this period, it is supposed by Gibbon, “the~ wealthy Palmyrians constructed those temples, palaces, and porticoes of Grecian architecture." It became a Roman colony during the reign of Trajan, in the beginning of the second century. It continued in this relation to Rome for about one hundred and fifty years, when Odenathus and his famous queen Zenobia, made it the seat of their empire in the East. It became indeed the rival of Rome; in the time of Gallienus the emperor, Gibbon observes, that, "with the general applause of the Romans, and the consent of Gallienus, the senate conferred the title of Augustus on the brave Palmyrian."
Odenathus was assassinated by his nephew Moonius: but Zenobia, by her extraordinary talents, continued to maintain her dignity and her throne, until the emperor Aurelian besieged and took her capital, A. D. 272. Longinus, a celebrated Greek writer, fell a sacrifice to "the cruel vengeance of Aurelian," of whom Gibbon says, "the fame of Longinus, who was included among the numerous and perhaps innocent victims of her fear, will survive that of the queen who be trayed, or the tyrant who condemned him. Genius and learning were incapable of moving a fierce unlettered soldier, but they had served to elevate and harmonize the soul of Longinus. Without uttering a complaint, he calmly followed the executioner, pitying his unhappy mistress, and bestowing comfort on his afflicted friends."
When the Saracens became masters of the East, they restored the ancient name of Tadmor, which this place has ever since retained. Thirty or forty families of miserable Arabs are now the only inhabitants of this once splendid city.
"If those who are apt to take things amiss, would carefully examine their own hearts, they would generally find this temper owing to something very much amiss there. Pride and self-will are commonly the parents of it."-Sir R. Hill's Deep Things of God.
"Think only of what the will of God is, and how you can live so as to please Him; and do not act from any lower motive."-Anon.
"From an humble and contented spirit, a cheerful one will arise."-Anon.
"Temptations are a file which rub off much of the rust of self-confidence."-Fenelon,
CAIN AND ABEL.
Abel a Type of Christ. "RIGHTEOUS ABEL," as our Saviour called him, has always been considered, by the wise and pious, as bearing a resemblance to our blessed Lord. That resemblance may be perceived in many instructive particulars, a few of which it will be important for our young readers to notice. Like a flower of the field, young Abel sprang up and flourished. Fair was the appearance and sweet the odour of his virtues. But a brother's envy, like a blighting wind, went over him and smote him to the earth. The days of his pilgrimage were quickly ended, and he hasted away to an abiding city. Disinherited of the earthly paradise, from a wilderness grown over with thorns, he departed to the garden of everlasting delights. And so the holy Jesus, that King of saints and Prince of martyrs, made but a short stay among us in the days of his flesh. The envy of his brethren pursued him even unto death; and the fairest flower that ever bloomed on earth, borne down by the stormy tempest, bowed his head and died.
1. Abel was a type of Christ in the low human estimation in which he was held. Though the most lovely of the sons of Adam, he was called Abel, vanity-a vapour-a thing of no account. So our Divine Lord was disesteemed. Though he was "fairer than the children of men"-the perfection of human naturevirtue itself embodied-"holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners"-"who went about doing good as his only business, and as his meat and drink ;" yet he was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." The foulest names were applied to him he was called even Beelzebub, a title of the prince of the devils.
Let our young readers reflect upon this particular in the life of their Lord, when at any time they may be reviled or ridiculed for the name of Christ their Saviour. He said to his disciples, "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" Matt. x, 25. "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." I Pet. iv, Î4.
2. Abel was a lively type of Christ in the nature of his occupation. Abel was a shepherd: so is our blessed Lord. He says of himself, "I am the good shepherdand I lay down my life for the sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John x, 11, 15, 27, 28. He is "the great Shepherd of the sheep; Heb. xiii, 20, "the Shepherd and Bishop of souls;" 1 Pet. ii, 21; and in this encouraging character, the people of God have delighted to confide in Him. May every one of our young readers rejoice in this inviting office of Christ; and, delighting to hear him still speaking in his precious Gospel, sing continually
I love my Shepherd's voice;
His watchful eye shall keep
The thousands of his sheep:
He feeds his flock-He calls their names:
3. Abel was a type of Christ in the nature of his death. Abel fell by the violent hands of his murderous brother, and that "for righteousness' sake." Christ was incessantly persecuted by his brethren, the Jewish ple. Those who bore the sacred name of priests, and who, like Cain, pretended to worship God, conspired against him. They wickedly corrupted and hired one
of his attendants to deliver him into their hands. He was basely betrayed by one of his disciples, on whom inestimable favours had been conferred; and, though the Roman governor testified his innocence, the nation of his brethren according to the flesh" manifested their Cain-like malice, in crucifying him as the vilest malefactor!
4. Abel may be considered a type of Christ in the prevailing efficacy of his blood.
"Blood has a voice to pierce the skies,
But the dear stream when Christ was slain
"We are come to the blood of sprinkling, that speak eth better things than that of Abel." Heb. xii, 24. The voice of the blood of Abel cried to Heaven for vengeance upon the murderer; but the blood of Christ seeures pardon for every penitent believer: such indeed is its efficacy, that "repentance and remission of sins was preached at Jerusalem," before any other place, to those who were "both the betrayers and murderers" of the Lord Jesus! If we are the true disciples of Christ, we are "translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Col. i, 13, 14. No one, therefore, however guilty his conscience may declare him to be, need despair of mercy and salvation with God, for "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin." 1 John i, 7.
Happy is he beyond expression, whether young or old, who follows the example of Abel, in faith, in worship, and in patience; for though he may be persecuted by those who should be his brethren in affection and sincerity, his sufferings shall terminate in glory everlasting and when the evil days of his pilgrimage are ended, the "Shepherd and Bishop of souls" shall give him the reward of Abel, in the mansions of his heavenly kingdom.
The Family of Cain, and their Scientific Inventions.
"Cain went out from the presence of the LORD," and deserted the appointed ordinances of his worship. Having abandoned the society of his father's house, and the place where the symbols of the Divine glory were often visible, he wandered in the cast country, his children increasing into a vast multitude. The heads of the several families of his descendants for seven generations, are distinctly recorded in the word of God.
For the purpose of diverting his restless mind, Cain soon began to build a city, which he called by the name of his son Enoch. This erection would necessarily call forth the inventive powers of its builders, and from this the arts and sciences were cultivated.
The earth being cursed on account of man's transgression, and no longer yielding its luxuriant fruit without toilsome labour, the sons of Cain, by various experiments, discovered several arts and sciences of the greatest utility. Implements of husbandry and tools for building were indispensable, but those of the first age must have been exceedingly simple: probably they were all made of wood, and not of very convenient application. It is reasonable to conclude that the nature and use of metals were revealed to Adam, and that he availed himself of some of the benefits which they afforded but to what extent they were improved, we have no means of ascertaining, beyond the few brief notices given by Moses, and which relate to the family of Cain.
Lamech, the fifth in descent from Cain, took unto himself two wives; therein transgressing the divine law of marriage. Himself indeed appears to have been an imperious tyrant in his family; yet his children were eminently distinguished-not for their goodness, but
Jabal was a celebrated grazier: his chief delight was found in keeping cattle. His ingenuity and skill were successfully employed, in devising methods of rearing and feeding them to the best advantage. So great were his knowledge and experience in this occupation, that others profited by his instructions, and he was called "the father of such as have cattle."
Jubal was distinguished as a musician: he is noted as an organist and a harper. He was the first that reduced music to a science, and formed rules for the regulation of that delightful means of recreation and devotion. It is supposed that from his name, the jubilee trumpet of the Israelites was so called: whether this be correct or not, the Hebrew jubilee was a blessing, and the trumpet that announced it was worthy of a peculiar name. But the most joyful sound, the sweetest music, is that which makes known the gospel jubilee of our eternal redemption by Christ.
Tubal-Cain was a brass and iron-founder, an artificer capable of producing the most extensive good or evil. The implements of husbandry, and, it is probable, instruments of cruelty, if not of war, were of his manufacture.
"Here was a father of shepherds, and a father of musicians, but not a father of the faithful: here is one to teach in brass and iron, but none to teach the good knowledge of the LORD: here are devices how to be rich, and how to be mighty, and how to be merry: but nothing of God, or of his fear and service among them. Worldly things are the only things that carnal wicked people set their hearts upon, and about which they are most ingenious and industrious."-Matthew Henry.
From what is recorded of these skilful artificers in the apostate family of Cain, we may learn, that those who are destitute of the fear of God, may yet he exceedingly wise in the things of this world. It is also truly remarkable, that in modern times, many of the most ingenious mechanics and scientific engineers have been found in ungodly families; and they have been themselves men whose dispositions and habits proved them in a state of alienation of heart from God, and enmity against him.
Let our young readers, therefore, beware of putting ingenuity in the place of godliness; lest they be found among this class of skilful, but irreligious men, rejecters of Christ and exposed to condemnation. Even in this case, God deals mercifully with his church: for while the ungodly are busily occupied in the things of this world, they are prevented from doing that inischief, to which their alienated minds would naturally incline them; and their inventions and discoveries are now being rendered subservient to promote the blessed knowledge of the great salvation of Christ to all the nations of mankind.
ON THE COMMERCE OF ANCIENT INDIA.
THE Indian trade, in all ages a source of wealth to those by whom it has been carried on, seems to be very distinctly mentioned in numerous places in the Bible; indeed, the more one is in the East, the more is one astonished at the correctness of the delineations of oriental productions, customs, and countries, and with the spirited and graphical descriptions which abound in Holy Writ.
At this period vessels from India, Arabia, and Persia, sail to distant countries, coasting along as in the days of King Solomon, whose ships were three years going to and returning from Tarshish. "For the king's ships
went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; every three years once came the ships of Tarshish, bringing gold and silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks."
This is so exact a description of a native voyage, and of the commodities produced in India, that I believe King Solomon actually traded there; and indeed coasting along in the country vessels, and stopping for the different winds and monsoons in the Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean, it would not be easy to make the voyage shorter now.
In the twenty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, there is a sort of inventory of the principal articles of the Indian trade, as carried on with Tyre, 588 years before Christ. The passages, Many isles were the merchandize of thine hand-they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony," would almost appear to refer to India, to the islands of Ceylon and of the Eastern Archipelago. "Cassia and calamus were in thy markets;' if these articles be, as some suppose, cinnamon and sugar-cane, they are both productions of the East, as are "all spices, precious stones, and gold."
Moses, as mentioned in the thirtieth chapter of Exodus, was commanded to make "an holy oil of ointment of pure myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia," and to make a perfume of "sweet spices, stacte, onycha, and galbanum, with pure frankincense;" and these all seem to be Indian articles of commerce. Even still earlier, in the days of Joseph, the Ishmaelites are represented as "with their camels, bearing spicery, and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt;" so that by caravans, or by merchant ships, the productions of India seem to have been from the earliest ages transported to all parts of the then civilized world.
It has been said, that commerce is, in the hands of Providence, only one of the means by which distant nations are brought together, in order to the eventual spread of Christianity over the face of the earth; and it would be a pleasing idea, that the coffee of Arabia, the spices of India, and the tea of China, humble plants and shrubs in themselves, but which have now become necessaries of life to all the civilized inhabitants of the world, may ultimately lead to the introduction of the knowledge of the Gospel in the benighted countries that produce them, by inducing the Christian merchant to frequent their shores for the purposes of worldly traffic.
THE BLACK EWE.
As a gentleman was passing over one of the extensive downs in the west of England, about mid-day, where a large flock of sheep were feeding, observing the shepherd sitting by the road-side, preparing to eat his dinner, he stopped his horse, and entered into conversation with him to this effect: "Well, shepherd, you look cheerful and contented, and I dare say have very few cares to vex you. I, who am a man of pretty large property, cannot but look at such men as you with a kind of envy." "Why, sir," replied the shepherd, 'tis true I have not trouble like yours; and I could do well enough, was it not for that black ewe that you see yonder amongst my flock. I have often begged my master to kill or sell her; but he won't, though she is the plague of my life; for no sooner do I sit down to look at my book, or take up my wallet to get my dinner, but away she sets off over the down, and the rest follow her; so that I have many a weary step after them. There! you see she's off, and they are all after her!" "Ah! friend," said the gentleman to the shepherd before he started, "I see every man has a black ewe in his flock to plague him, as well as
WHICH IS THE HAPPIEST DEATH TO DIE?
"Oh," said one, "If I might choose,
With bright celestial views.
Mine were a lingering death without pain,
And mark how bright and sweet would be
Fain would I catch a hymn of love
All bliss without a pang to cloud it,
Were the realms of light
I long to go!
These parting hours, how sad and slow!"
His voice grew faint, and fix'd was his eye,
The hue of his cheek and lips decayed,
His spirit had fled
Painless and swift as his own desire :
The soul undrest
From her mortal vest,
Had stepp'd in her car of heavenly fire,
THIS city is certainly one of the most beautiful, though not the largest, capitals in Europe. Its situation in a rich country, and surrounded by the picturesque Appennines, is delightful. It is built on both sides of the river Arno, and joined by four handsome bridges. The houses are lofty, and of handsome architecture. Its palaces are magnificent. The streets are paved entirely with flag stones. The markets are abundantly supplied, not only with all the comforts, but all the luxuries of life. The arts and sciences long made this place their favourite residence; and for many years the
protection of the magnificent princes of the house of Medici, and after them that of Leopold and his worthy successors, contributed to bring them to their highest perfection.
It is the seat of plenty, hospitality, and politeness. To men of letters it recals a thousand delightful ideas, as the spot where learning first revived; to those whose pursuit is pleasure, it offers at an easy expense all the conveniences and elegances of life, accompanied with those of polished society; and students and admirers of the fine arts find in this city every thing which taste can require, or genius produce.
As to the inhabitants, they are generally civil, honest, and obliging, and even the lower classes are distinguished for urbanity of manners. The higher orders are still remarkable for their hospitality to strangers. The cathedral is a very handsome building, being formed entirely of black and white marble. Florence is adorned with statues scattered about the streets; La Loggia, a kind of open portico, is decorated with several celebrated figures. The gallery of Medici, that celebrated collection, is well known in every part of Europe. The different cabinets contain several valuable pictures. There is a museum of natural history. The anatomical collection is dreadfully fine, and perhaps unequalled in the world. The collection of insects, worms, shells, coral, petrifactions, seeds, fruits, minerals, and flowers, is magnificent: attached to this institution is a good botanical garden. The celebrated mausoleum of the princes of the house of Medici is adorned with the rarest and most precious stones: it has never yet been finished, yet the family whose honours it was intended to commemorate is extinct. Such is the history of human vanity! Addison seems to have foreseen this circumstance. "The chapel of St. Lawrence, says he, will perhaps be the most costly piece of work on the face of the earth when completed; but it advances so very slow, that 'tis not impossible but the family of the Medicis may be extinct before their burial place is finished."
There is an academy of arts, in which three hundred young men are brought up in the study of the fine arts. Among the grandest peculiarities of this city, must be ranked the manufactories of alabaster and marble. The statues, lamps, and vases made here are indeed beautiful, and being modelled after the finest originals of antiquity, attract unrivalled admiration. - Lemaistre.
An English lady, a recent traveller, says, Florence, the Etrurian Athens, the capital of Tuscany, possesses in an eminent degree that nameless charm, that indescribable fascination which is derived from the associations connected with departed genius. Her churches are consecrated to the imagination by the ashes of the mighty dead which they contain, whilst her swelling domes and splendid palaces, canvass that glows and marble that breathes, show what mind has done and can do. She is rich in reminiscences of the middle ages, and "Not a stone
In the broad pavement, but to him who has
Surrounded by a majestic range of hills, she stands in a fertile plain, on the banks of the poetical Arno, whose clear and placid waters add considerably to the beauty of her situation.
Advantages of trials.-" Afflictions weaken sinful affections; temptations promote humiliation and love to the Saviour."—Anon.
"Can we contemplate Gethsemane, and hesitate to say, 'Thy will be done?"-Newton.
POPISH HAUGHTINESS. MANY instances of priestly haughtiness might be readily adduced, illustrative of the same principle as that represented in the Engraving in our last Number; we select the following from Timpson's "Church History." "The lofty pretensions of the pope were still maintained, and those ecclesiastical usurpers arrived in this century (the eleventh) at the most elevated point of their dominion. They now received the extravagant titles of Universal Fathers,' and 'Masters of the World. Notwithstanding vigorous opposition from several sovereigns, they carried their insolent pretensions so far, as to proclaim themselves 'Lords of the universe, arbiters of the fate of nations, and supreme rulers of the kings and princes of the earth!' To notice a particular instance of the abominable assumption of the pope cannot fail to be instructive, however it may shock the feelings of a Christian. From among others, we select the ignominious degra dation of the emperor Henry IV. For opposing the arrogant claims of Hildebrand, or, as he is called, Gregory VII, the emperor was excommunicated. The haughty pontiff excited the princes of the neighbouring states to make war upon their monarch. Being terrified at the anathemas of the pope, he was persuaded to throw himself into his holy hands, to yield to his clemency, and await his decision. Filled with the superstition of the times, Henry consented; and as it was prescribed to him, he submitted to stand, with his empress and family, at the gates of the fortress of Canusium, during three days, in the open air, in a severe February, A. D. 1077, with his feet bare, his head uncovered, and with no other raiment than a piece of coarse woollen cloth thrown over his body to cover his nakedness. The fourth day, he was with difficulty admitted to the presence of that lordly priest, who with much ceremony granted him absolution; but forbid him ever after to assume the title or ensigns of sovereignty! Such a daring outrage upon humanity as well as royalty excited universal abhorrence; but none had the courage to utter a reproof directly to the terrible antichrist!"
REFLECTIONS ON THE JEWISH RELIGION. Or the diversified systems of theology that have been adopted, since the world, on the dispersion after the great deluge, degenerated from the pure worship of the Deity, Judaism must be considered the most ancient. Devotional exercises were, till its introduction, obscured by the mists of ignorance and superstition, and dictated by the arbitrariness of temporal domination or fanaticism. The theogony of Hesiod is so obscured by fable, and mixed up with the groundless vagaries of philosophic speculation, as to be rendered most absurd and incredible. Other authors increase in the stead of elucidating the mystery, while every pretender to science and sagacity vaunts forth some new romantic conjecture, till in the end all becomes benighted in the impervious mazes of idolatry.
It is not till the conversion of the patriarch father of the faithful, that we are enabled to trace out any evidences of a system of religious worship, which have feasible pretensions to authenticity.
It was then, when God revealed himself to Abraham, that the bright Sun of righteousness first dawned on minds before immersed in the unfathomable depths of superstition.
This doctrine, limited to one family, became in a few years the characteristic feature of a mighty nation, and retained its ascendancy over the minds of its disciples,
with a vigour which time could not impair, nor prosperity effectually relax.
Of the numerous other systems of religion that have swayed the human heart, and enrolled their countless votaries, all have experienced the vicissitudes of life; and from the co-operation of contingencies, have vanished away as visions of the night; the remembrance of them has perished, and they are but as a tale that is told. They have survived not the ruins of their tem ples, and their fall has evinced their terrestrial imperfections.
"Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up," is a prophecy which Heaven is still occupied in accomplishing.
Where is Diana of Ephesus? and that long list of divinities which policy and priestcraft united to establish? Their worshippers have long since too fatally discovered their delusion—the cup of their iniquity has overflown-they have fallen before the fierce anger of the Almighty-their polluted temples have become the abodes of desolation and solitude, or disappeared from the face of that earth which their impurities contaminated!
It is only by the protection of Omnipotence that this religious distinction has survived the shock of so many ages, and risen more illustrious from every persecution. Any system originating in man, would be liable to the mutability of earth, and succumb to superior power; but no interdicts or excommunication have prevailed against this; and no extraneous power has been able to effect its subversion, for the most righteous God has made bare his arm in its defence, and He alone has been the lion of the tribe of Judah.
But the Jewish religion acquires its most pleasing feature by its close connection with Christianity, of which it is as it were the groundwork; and when we reflect that the antiquity and long duration of Judaism is so closely allied to its internal evidences, as to form an inseparable chain of argument in its favour, how great must be our adoration of that providence which ordereth all things aright; and how unbounded a display is opened to our view of that divine wisdom, which worketh out good from evil, renders the devices of man of none effect, turns back the fury of malignant persecutors on their own heads, and causes that circumstance which has been urged most strenuously against the divinity of Christianity, to become its most important defence and fundamental pillar!
Yet what is it, but that engaging demeanour, proceedfrom a disposition alike liberal to give as to receive what ought to be acceptable to the loftiest mind and proudest spirit? What is it but to gild our home with the smile of peace; and in our excursions abroad, to make the best of what we see and hear by the way?
Where our road through life is rugged, it softens its asperities by temper or forbearance; and amidst the sullen silence of the brooding tempest, whether a storm of the elements over us, or the more furious and destructive hurricane of man's bosom, it is wonderful of what importance is this courteous amenity. It steals a sunbeam over the most gloomy parts of nature and society, and adds a ray to their brightest splendours. It is everywhere of inestimable price. Like the divine quality of mercy, it is twice blessed. It blesses him that gives, and him that takes.—Pratt's Gleanings.