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So was it when Washington Irving, in his visit to Walter tt, spoke to him of the barrenness and unattractiveness he Scottish hills. The great poet soon convinced our tryman that an enthusiastic eye may find them invested numberless attractions.

en sometimes express themselves as if they supposed one but a gifted few possess the power of which we But it is not so. It is the property of our common Who is there that does not gaze with delight even homely face, if it be that of a mother, or a child, or ed friend? Who does not perceive a fascination in less landscape, if it be the environs of his birthplace, cene which lay around him in his youth? Does not w-encompassed Greenlander cling to his forlorn ith as much ardor and constancy of delight, as the

of the most luxuriant vineyard of the south? not the Swiss mountaineers, inhabitants of a rude in the midst of sterility, danger, and frost, rerough the world for the strength and tenderness cal attachments? All these see, and feel, in the utward nature, something much more than their hey read in them a meaning; they invest them. ent. They look upon them through the imaginaheart. They contemplate them in their poetical ad he who cultivates the habit of doing this will ch a meaning, and such power over the feelings, only in the spots that he has long known and the objects that have been associated with his afflictive fortune, but in every thing. To him hills, and rivers, flo nd stars, have sig

hindhand and going down hill. What was the reason? It could not be the farm - what was it?"

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John did not answer, for he more than suspected that his friend was beginning to make a parable out of his own history.

"No," continued David, "it was not the farm that was in fault, but the farmer. He did not use his opportunities; he neglected his land; he lounged about, doing nothing, and talked, and smoked, and drank; and as he grew poorer every year, he kept wondering how it could be that so fine a farm would not support him in plenty and ease." "He found out at last," whispered John.

Yes, he found out at last; and then what did he do? He just attended to his business; gave up idle and dissipated habits, and minded his farm; and then he had no difficulty in winning from it a handsome support. Now, you are doing with preaching just as you used to do with your farm neglecting it; and how in the world can you expect it to do you good? How can you be so foolish as to be surprised that you have no grain to reap, and no abundance on your board, when you have not sowed the seed, nor tended the crop?"

"But that is not quite fair," replied John. "I do not neglect preaching; there is not a man in the village more constant at meeting than I am.”

"Just as you used to live on your farm, — always at home, never away from the homestead; but that availed nothing, while you were an idler. And so in this case. Of what use to be at church, if you do nothing more? Sitting there, and taking into your ears the voice of the preacher, is no better than sitting by your back-door, and musing on the beauty and fertility of your lands. Nothing can grow up in either case, if this is all you do."

"" 'But that is not all I do."

"Perhaps not quite. You used to go out to work sometimes, and plough and hoe a little, just enough to keep off actual starvation; and about as much as this you do in religion. But suppose you were to make a business of it, as you did of your farm when you took the right turn; suppose you were now to make the most of these religious means, as resolutely as you did of your goodly lands; do you think you should find reason to complain any longer

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They walked on for some moments in silence. John was evidently getting a little new light on the dark subject, which inclined him more to muse than to speak. But he presently felt the silence to be growing awkward, and he therefore broke it, somewhat at a venture, by saying, that, after all, he did not perceive that he was so very negligent; he could not see but that he did as much as other men.

"As other men!" cried David. "There is the rock on which so many are lost; they compare themselves to ' other men.' But you have already said, that they are not profited by preaching; how, then, can their case be any guide to you? It only shows how they are lost, not how you may be saved. Look to yourself for the present. One at a time, as I said before. Let us settle the case of John Smith,


fore we undertake any other. And now, to begin at the beginning, let us just remember what preaching is for. Is it to be listened to, or to be practised upon?"

"To be practised upon, certainly."

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Very well. Which do you do? You listen, but do not practise."

"Why, there, now," said Smith, "that is the very thing I am lamenting, — that I do listen, and yet my practice is not affected."


"To be sure," said David; "you expect the practice to come of itself; you take pains to go and hear, which is the least part of the business, and take no pains to return and act accordingly, which is the essential thing. You think this is to come of itself; just as you used to fancy that looking at your fine farm, and talking and boasting about it, would do as well as working upon it. You recollect what we were saying, the other Saturday evening, about the improvement of that season? Well, you acknowledged that it never occurred to you to use it as a preparation for public worship. The same of Sunday morning. Without any preparation, then, you go to church and hear the sermon. How? That you may really learn something? that you may receive some wholesome advice? that you may be raised to a better way of living? No. You merely hear. You just sit and listen; — in at one ear and out at the other, as the saying is. Do you think about it afterward, muse on its truths, try to recall and re-impress its doctrine, and turn its advice into real practical rules? I suppose you never pretended to do this. You have not dreamt of any thing more than just to hear the sermon. So it is with thousands; therefore no wonder that they are none the better. It would be a wonder indeed if they were. Why, the plain fact is, neighbor Smith, that you and they are doing all you can to prevent preaching from doing you any good. If the devil had hired you to help him defeat the ordinances of God, you could not have contrived a more effectual means. To enter on them without preparation, to attend them without any purpose or effort of self-application, to think no more of them afterward, and to spend the rest of the day in visiting, talking, eating, riding, or thinking, just as on any other day; all this seems as if expressly designed—a careful plot to destroy the impressions of God's house, and to

prevent the two hours of worship from interrupting the dominion of earth in the soul."

"That's rather a long sermon, husband," said Jane.

"And a pretty close one, too," added Smith, soberly. "But it is all true, every word of it. Yet I do not see how I can help it. What can I do? What shall I do?"

"I can tell you what rules helped me," replied David, "and I dare say that by observing them you will find yourself essentially benefited. Will you try?"

"Let me hear them, and I will tell you."

"They are three. First, listen to the preacher religiously; that is, in a devout frame of mind, as if you had just 'said your prayers, and were holding out your hand to receive the blessing you had asked. Secondly, apply it to yourself all along; say Amen to every truth, and say Yes, I will, to every good advice. This will excite a strong interest in the matter. Thirdly, think it over afterward. Don't go at once about other things, and forget it all, but retire by yourself, and recall what you heard and felt; consider what you ought to do in consequence; and lay out a distinct plan of doing accordingly during the week. Then, make it a regular part of every day's business to think over and act upon that particular lesson, and so mix it up with all your prayers and all your work. Follow these rules, and you never will say again that preaching does no good."

"I believe so," said Smith; "and I will try them.


I am afraid I never shall have resolution enough to succeed."

"Do it in faith, nothing doubting; or, if you doubt yourself, do not doubt God, but pray for his blessing till you receive it."

They had for some time reached David's house, and were

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