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Wolsey as he retired from the court of Henry the Eighth, to a Monastry, to spend the remainder of his days, “If I had served God, as faithfully as the King, He would not have given me up in my grey hairs." And if you have time, spend a few moments with the great and good, which have adorned tho Panorama of the world. We have not room to name them here, and you will see very plainly what true happiness consists in. And 0, may you be constrained to embrace the principle, then shall you not only be happy this Year, but
When rolling Years shall cease to move. Let me say in conclusion, a few words to you, who have chosen the good part which shall not be taken from you without your permission, and I pray God that it never may, for you have made a proper choice ; I have not the least doubt but the past year has been a happy one, although you may have had severe trials and difficulties to contend with. But these will make our joys more sweet, when we to glory go. The world is a great school, and you and I are going through the first rudiments of our future being, we are schooling for eternity. The Lord bless you, and may this Year be a happy one indeed to you, is the earnest prayer of your affectionate Brother in Christ.
R. B. M.
A WORD TO THE SORROWFUL. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.”—Ps. cxix. 71.
Why am I thus tried? The question is constantly being asked by one and another. Afiction in the present tense is scarce recognised as a good. As in the wrench of an operation the nerves of a patient are distracted, and the whole of the vital force is used up in mere endurance, so in affliction.
Often the soul revolts and rebels under it; its immediate effect seems to be to increase our spiritual maladies. Persons often say, under severe trials, “I used to think I had some self-control, some patience, some good temper. I
thought I had to a good degree overcome selfishness and pride, but these harassments and trials seem to upset all." And, accordingly, a person, when passing through periods of severe trial, often seems to be growing worse, to be becoming hard, and irritable, and unlovely. A writer has said, it is not while the storm is driving the sea one the beach, that we go out to look for treasures; but when the storm is laid, and the sun shines out clear, we find the jewels and precious stones which the sea hath cast upon the beach. Often in the height of an affliction all comfort is in vain, as medicaments in the fury of some diseases. The soul must spend itself, the storm must pass. It may be months, it may be years, before the soul can come to herself enough to look back and say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Nor is the good of affliction often perceivable as the result of one paroxysm, but rather as the aggregate of several. The mechanic who would bring out the clouds and veins of a precious wood, seems to harass and torture it in many ways; and if the wood were a sentient creature, it might well complain as the saw, and plane, and the rude pumice-stone passed successively over it, and each varnish is scraped and rubbed,-nor till the last touch has been given does one see the full result. So of afflictions. Some are like strokes of the axe and hammer, splitting and rending the heart of the soul ; others are wearing and long continued, like the slow work of the file and the polishing-brush, and very seldom, under the process, does the soul recognise their use ; but after long years, a softened melody of spirit is produced as the result of all.
One thing is remarkable of afflictions, and that is that almost every soul feels itself stricken in the precise point where it is least able to bear. “Oh, were it anything but this !- I could bear anything else !" are the most frequent exclamations of the hour of sorrow. We would bear very composedly a suppositious afliction,—an affliction so-called,-against which our peculiar temperament so fortifies us that to us it is no affliction. But when Omniscience puts forth its hands and touches that vital point, known to God alone, where each is most sensitive, that is real affliction, and the soul shivers under it. We woald change our affliction for this or that,- God sees that this and this only can serve his purpose.
Could a diamond speak, when the lapidary is leisurely filing away its glittering particles, and vexing it with weary frictions and polishing, it might say, "I could bear a good hammer stroke, but oh, this is wearing my very soul away." Nevertheless, the artisan knows that it is not the hammer but the weary polish that the diamond must have to make it glitter royally, at last, in a diadem. Such are some of the most common, least valued of our afflictions, -a slow, wearing, heart-eating process,--an affliction, oftentimes known and recognised as such only by God who orders it, and who knows the precise moment when it is possible to let it cease.
Then let the soul deeply engrave in its belief this answer to its oft-recurring question, Why am I thas tried ? Because this affliction and no other could save thee. The great Father is an economist in all his lavish profusion of riches, but of nothing is he more saving than of the sorrows of his beloved ; not one tear too much-not one sigh, not one uneasiness nor anxiety too many, is the lot of the meanest of his people.
Mrs. H. STOWE.
MORAL COURAGE. A great deal of talent is lost in the world for the want' of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves all number of obscure men, who have only remained in obscurity because their timidity has prevented them from making a first effort; and who if they could have been induced to begin, would in all probability have gone great lengths in the career of fame. The fact is, that to do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering, and thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. It will
not do to be perpetually calculating tasks, and adjusting nice chances; it did very well before the flood, where a man could consult his friends upon an intended performance for an hundred and fifty years, and then live to see its success afterwards; but at present, a man waits, and doubts, and hesitates, and consults his brother, and his uncle, and particular friends, till one fine day he finds that he is sixty years of age; that he has lost so much time in consulting his first cousin and particular friends, that he has no longer time to follow their advice.-Sydney Smith.
HOW TO READ THE BIBLE.
O Holy Dove !
This book of love.
Made deaf by sin,
Thy voice within.
Jesu, my Lord ;
Hide thy sweet word.
FINE PREACHING. I am tormented with the desire of preaching better than I can. But I have no wish to make fine, pretty sermons; prettiness is well enough when prettiness is in its place. I like to see a pretty child, pretty flower, but in a sermon prettiness is out of place. To my ear it would be anything but commendation, should it be said to me, “You have given us a pretty sermon.” If I were upon trial for my life, and my advocate should amuse the jury with his tropes and figures, burying his argument beneath a profusion of the flowers of rhetoric, I would say unto him, “Tut, man, you care more for your vanity than for my hanging. Put yourself in my place-speak
in view of the gallows, and you will tell your story plainly it and earnestly." I have no objection to a lady's winding a sword with ribbons and studding it with roses, when she presents it to her hero lover; but in the day of battle he will tear away the ornaments, and use the naked edge to the enemy.- Robert Hall.
“Now" is the only word ticking from the clock of time. “Now," is the watchword of the wise man. “Now,” is on the banner of the prudent. “Now," is the admonition of eternity. Let us keep this little word constantly in our mind. When anything is 'to be done, we should do it with our might, remembering that “Now" is the only time for us. It is indeed a sorry and dangerous way to get through the world by putting off till to-morrow, saying, “ Then I will do it." This will never do. “Now" only is ours. “ Then” may never be. “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."
THE LOVE OF THE DEPARTED. I must confess, as the experience of my own soul, that the expectation of loving my friends in heaven principally kindles my love to them while on earth. If I thought I should never know them, and consequently never lore them after this life is ended, I should number them with temporal things, and love them as such; but I now converse with my pious friends in a firm persuasion that I converse with them forever; and I take comfort in those il that are dead or absent, believing that I shall shortly meet them in heaven, and love them with a heaveñly love,Bacter.