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Perhaps he fills important stations in society, where a wider range is afforded for the display of his benevolence, and where it is expected his ac. tivity and exertions must be redoubled. What are now his feelings, and what his language ? Is it not now we hear him making enquiries of an important and useful nature ? « Arrived at a mid. dle age, and holding responsible situations in life, what am I doing? The season of youth and inexperience is past away. Now, while I possess strength and opportunity, while my powers are alive, and my influence extensive, what use. ful objects have I in view ? Do I discharge the duties which devolve upon me with vigour and propriety? and am I ready to adopt and willing to execute plans of utility and good? Should not my time, my talents, iny property, be devoted to the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow creatures ? And, seeing that time is short, life uncertain, and that I must shortly descend to the grave, should I not work while it is day ?” Thus we may consider the christian at this season as stimulated to activity, desirous of doing good, and having it in his power, more than in the season of youth or the time of old age, to be useful to mankind.
But this is not a season of usefulness only as it respects others, but of peculiar gratitude as it respects himself. In the course of his journey, what has he seen? How many has he beheld ru. ined by others; how many ruined by themselves, how many deceived by the world; how many that have been exposed to accidents, losses, bereavements, and trials, while he has been preserved; how many pining under sickness, while
he has enjoyed his health; how many groaning under the iron hand of poverty, while he has been liberally supplied ; how many sinking under a blasted reputation, while his character has been kept unsullied ; and how many have fallen into eternity since he began his course! " Ah! how many blank spaces he can number in the cata. logue of those who were once his companions.'! These things cannot be recollected without grate. ful emotions : he acknowledges the divine hand in his protection and support, and thus addresses the God of his mercies: “ Father of all goodness, Source of all happiness, what obligations am I under to thee for thy continual care! Thou art the God of my life, and the length of my days. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. It was by thy grace I was first directed into the happy path; by thy wisdom I have hitherto been guided through all the various changes and manifold difficulties of my past life: to thee I owe the peace of my conscience, the reputation of my character, the supplies of my table, and the enjoyment of my health; from thee it is I have derived all the knowledge I have, the comfort I enjoy, and the sweet hope of that glorious immortality promised to them that love thee; by thee it is I have been upheld in slippery paths, preserved in dangerous moments, directed in trying circumstances, and supplied in times of need : to thee, therefore, O my God and Saviour, be all the praise. I will bless thee at all times; thy praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. My tongue shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long."
« Thy grace shall dwell upon my heart,
And shed its fragrance there ;
And cordial of its care.
I'll speak the honours of thy name
With my last lab'ring breath,
The antidote of death.”
Lastly, from what the christian has seen of the mutability of all things here, and the faithfulness of his God, he is led to trust more in him. He is conscious that all things are under the guidance of his providence, and that he alone can give wisdom profitable to direct. He reads with delight such passages as these : “ Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will answer thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” Ps. 1. 15. Prov. iii. 5, 6. 1 Pet. v. 5. He has seen the vanity of placing confidence in earthly things. He has been disappointed by his own heart, wounded by the world, deceived by flattering appearances, and injured by trusting to an arm of flesh. He learns therefore the necessity, finds the safety, and en. joys the comfort of depending on Him who is without variableness, or the least shadow of a turning. The remembrance, too, of the divine conduct towards him in days that are påst inspires his confidence. God has conducted him through the dreary valley, enabled him to climb the lofty mountain, kept him from sinking in the deep ri. ver, abated the storm, or sheltered him from its violence. His wants have been supplied, his steps directed, his enemies conquered, his trials sanctified, and his soul encouraged to go forward. It is with pleasure, therefore, he can sing, “ The Lord is my Shepherd : I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil : my cup run. neth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall fol. low me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Ps. xxiii.
Thus we see the christian at middle age, not. withstanding those anxieties and care which attend him in that part of life, possessing serious reflections as to the past, and becoming thoughts as to the future; bearing testimony to the Lord's benignity and care toward him, increasing in judgment and prudence, deliberate in his deter. minations, steady in his work, useful in his situation, grateful for the innumerable benefits conferred upon him, and desirous of giving up him. self to the all-wise disposal of his Sovereign Lord.
Our business in this little volume is rather to pourtray the experience than to point out the du. ties of the christian ; as this Work, however, may fall into the hands of some professors who are busily engaged in the concerns of life, a suitable caution may not be unnecessary. We would say
and prude toward himony to the Lights the affects of this life ordinate love to
exion with injured and
to them, Beware of inordinate love to the world. The cares of this life ensnare the mind, entangle the affections, draw the heart from God, and leave but little time for devotion and improvement. Worldly care and the spirit of religion cannot dwell together; they are two contrary principles : there is no such thing as associating such opposite sentiments. Fire and water, light and dark: ness, heat and cold, cannot be incorporated. How cautious, therefore, should we be, especially too when we see so many injured and ruined through a fatal connexion with the world, and an anxious pursuit of its interests! Lot's wife looked back, but she was turned into a pillar of salt. Esau sold his birth-right for a morsel of meat; but he was rejected, and found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebu. ked for his iniquity, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. Judas betrayed his Master for thir. ty pieces of silver; but, alas! existence became : a burden to him, and he went and hanged himself. These are awful monuments of the divine displeasure towards those who were carried away with the love of the world. We cannot, then, be too watchful, lest, whilst managing the concerns of business, the interests of our families, and pursuing the avocations of life, we should be swallowed up by a love of worldly interest. Reader, if you are called to busy scenes, and to take upon you the cares of temporal things, endeavour to maintain a vigilant spirit: retreat now and then from the hum of business“ into the salutary shade consecrated to devotion and to wisdom.”