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till six or seven o'clock in the evening. Mistress is so particular in her ways, that it is of no use to attend to all her directions, said the uncivil and self-willed Margaret to ber fellow-servant. The door must be shut at one hour, and the bed-room windows must be closed at another, and the shutters must be fastened back as soon as the windows are opened in the morning. I declare I can't pretend to remember so many orders, and I don't choose to be found fault with for such trifies. She may get herself better served if she can, and so I shall tell her before long. She was, however, spared the trouble of “giving warning," for Mrs. Clifford sent for her the next day into the parlour and said, I find, Margaret, that you allow your acquaintances to meet you at the back door. You know how strictly I have forbidden such a practice. Margaret felt that her mistress was about to dismiss her. She thought she would be before-hand, and she answered very pertly, If I can't give satisfaction I had better leave. That is just my opinion, returned Mrs. Clifford, your conduct is in many respects far from giving me satisfaction, and I not only think that it will be better for you to leave, but I wish you to do so, and that too without delay.
Margaret had again and again a new place to seek, for she staid a very short time in any situation. At last she found it no easy matter to obtain one. She would have accepted of situations far worse than those which she had once despised, but all her applications were unsuccessful. She had lost that respectability which a servant gains by continuing a long while in the same place. She had moreover begun to imitate the foolish finery of some of ber numerous acquaintances, and had given way to that love of dress which has been the means of ruining many female servants. Flounces and flowers, curls, ear-rings, and tawdry coloured ribbons, succeeded her former neat and plain and becoming attire. She began to take pleasure in the society of loose and idle companions. She became fond of attending wakes and dances and frolics of every kind. In short, she frequented those scenes of idleness and folly and vice wbich proved at length her utter ruin. Short was the course of iniquity which she ran.
A few months passed away, and tbe once blooming and modest country girl left Chester, with a pale and wretched countedance-a heavy and an aching heart. She entered her mother's quiet cottage, in her own dative village, with her character gone, her peace of mind sacrificed, and her health fast sinking into premature decay. During the few weeks tbat she lingered, her life was a life of woe ; and she expired, broken hearted, and almost hopeless, a mere wreck of her former self, alas! at the still youthful age of twenty six. “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Prov. xxix. 1. It is painful to dwell on scenes like these. Let us return to Mary Dalton.
To be continued.
happiness; but now degraded by the sad effects of sin, which has infected our nature, disfigured, so as hardly to allow it to be recognized, the image of God in which we were created, and left us for our wages its necessary consequence, wretchedness?
Let us therefore no longer wonder at the darkness and misery within us, nor at our ignorance by nature of those truths most essential to us, neither at the disposition to seek self in every thing, and to refer every thing to self, by which, though we cannot but know it to be wrong in the extreme we allow ourselves to be governed: no, nor at the thirst we feel for all the pleasures of sense. Alas! though at the very time we are constrained to blush for ourselves, we still permit them to exercise more or less on every one of us a baneful influence, some even being led captive by them. Let us no longer wonder to find within us side by side with these degrading feelings, and a world of others as debasing, some noble sentiments, and some generous impulses. Let us no longer wonder at seeing ourselves exposed to so many evils, which under the direction of an infinitely good and just God, would never have found their way into this world, had man fulfilled bis primary destiny. The sin of Adam, the transmission of that sin to all his race explains every thing, and is a sufficient answer to all the difficulties which our actual state presents. The vestiges of good that remain in us, the traces of the image of God, and of our original state of innocence! are the remains of a magnificent edifice fallen into ruins. The darkpess of our minds, the habitual ill-regulated will, ever leading us astray, this, alas, is the sad inheritance which we have received from our first father, and the consequence of that ever to be lamented sin, by which he separated bimself from his God, to follow bis own desires, and thus drew all his posterity with him in his fall. The trouble and sorrow which have become our portion, are the natural fruits of sin, which, sinners as we all are, we have no right to cry out against.
We must therefore own, that if the doctrine of original sin appears difficult to explain in its principle, it would be difficult to find one more plainly demonstrated by its effects. If there is none which astonishes us so much, there is also none which accounts more distinctly for all the contradictions of our hearts and minds, so that, however incomprehensible it may appear to us, we should be, without this mystery, still more incomprehensible.
ORIGINAL SIN. From the “ Meditations Chrétiennes ” of the Rev. G. F. Gonthier. In the doctrine of original sin is contained the whole secret of our present condition; it is as it were, the key, of our hearts, it clears up the mystery of this dark abyss ; and by it alone can we attempt to reconcile the innumerable contradictions in our nature. From whence indeed, proceeds the extraordinary mixture of dignity and vileness inherent in us? How comes it that we are at the same time eager after truth, and yet given up to continual error---that the good we would, we do not, but the evil that we would not, we do, -that we are
lways aspiring and striving after perfect happiness, and yet always meeting with trouble and dissappointment : how could all this be, if we were not fallen creatures, originally created for truth, for goodness, and for unmixed
The Poor Man's Hymn. As much have I of worldly good As e'er my Master had ; I diet on as dainty food, And am as richly clad; Though plain my garb, and scant my board, As Mary's Son, and nature's Lord. The manger was his infant bed, His home the mountain cave, He had not wbere to lay his head, He borrowed e'en bis grave; Earth yielded him no resting spot, Her Maker-but she knew him not. As much the world's good-will I share, Its favours and applause, As He whose blessed name I bear, Hated without a cause; Despis'd, rejected, mock'd by pride, Betray'd, forsaken, crucified. Why should I court my master's foe; Why should I fear its frown? Why should I seek for rest below, Or strive for brief renown? A Pilgrim to a better land, An beir of joys at God's right hand.
THE LORD'S DAY.
To the Editor of the Christian Beacon. Rev. MR. EDITOR,.--I am not much of a hand at writing for print, as I dare say you and your readers may soon find out; but Sir, I am the master of a Christian bousehold, and I am right glad to find that you intend to speak out about abuses in these days of disorder and confusion, when so many men are not only given to change, but given up to barefaced ungodliness. I beg leave to tell you plainly that I was pleased with an address in your first number of the Christian Beacon, “to the Keepers of Public Houses, Beershops, &c." It was said to be from a Christian Minister, and so much the better if it was: for my part I beartily wish you Ministers of the Gospel would speak out on all occasions both to high and low. I like a plain spoken Minister, one of the spirit of honest Hugh Latimer, of whom they tell the story (I dare say you know it) that when the smiling courtiers and the other great folks about the palace of King Henry the VIII. of this country, were making their new year's gifts to the king, be brought a Bible as his new year's gift, with the leaf folded down at that sacred commandment of the King of Kings, “Thou shalt not commit adultery." This was the offering which that honest man of God put into the hands of a great king, but bad man, and an adulterer.
Rev. Sir, I am no tee-totaler, but I like to see good things kept to good uses. I would not argue against the use of a blessing from its abuse, but I do see such an abuse of many blessings, and so unfair an advantage taken in many ways by men, greedy of gain, and heedless both of the law of God and of the land, that I do hope you will write pretty often on such subjects yourself, and sometimes allow me to occupy a corner in your paper.
Now, Sir, putting religion out of the question, which I would by no means do myself, what right has John Jones of the “Leg of mutton and trimmings," (I give neither the name of a real person, or of any sign I know of here, kept by such a person) what right has John Jopes to keep bis drinking shop open at unlawful hoars. I look upon all the gold, silver, and copper which he may get at those hours, when, by the law of the land, his shop ought to be shut, as almost as bad as stolen from his more honest and God fearing neighbours in the same business. I would apply the same remarks and the same rule to all tradespersons, who, from greediness of gain open their shops on the Lord's Day mornings, while men who reverence the laws of the land, and value the blessings of a day of rest, would rather offend an old customer, than serve him with a single article from a closed shop on that sacred day. I do not say that any religious man would wish for the gains so unlawfully gotten; but tbat is neither here nor there, and I do say that I hope the police of the place will have their eyes open, for if they have not been able to see such shops open, I have. I have wandered away from my intention in sending you this letter, but do let us hear now and then about ungodly ways in common houshold and shop practises. I dare say, Reverend Sir, you are well acquainted with a little tract, entitled, the Poor Watchmaker of Geneva. I call it a very touching story, and I have not a doubt but its a true one. Now I can tell you a story of just such another humble Christian, also a poor bard-working man (at least he was such at that time), but none tbe worse you will agree for being an Englishman. - I am, Rev. Mr Editor, your humble servant,
coming Sabbath, and be accompanied his order with a temptation, promising extra wages as a stimulus for extra work. There was one individual among his workmen, a young man, whom, probably, he expected to find unwil. ling to do any work on the Lord's Day; and he waited upon him, and told him that he was very sorry to be obliged to make the demand upon him, but that the extreme urgency of the case compelled him to order all his men to work on the following morning, and he added that of course he could not make an exception in his favour. The young man told him that he could not conscientiously obey him, because it was the command of God that we should keep holy the Sabbath day. But he offered, if his master would allow him, to work till midnight, and commence his work again at the following midnight, and said he was sure that he could accomplish his portion of the work by the time required. No, replied the master, this cannot be, I will listen to no such excuses, you must either go to your work with the other men tomorrow morning, or look out for another situation; and so be left him.
The poor man in great trouble made his trial a subject of earnest prayer---and was enabled to act according to the convictions of his conscience, and stand firm in obedience to the word of the most High God.
In the morning, a little before church time, his employer again called at his house, and in a violent and very angry mapner, demanded a reason why his orders had not been obeyed. The young man modestly endeavoured to point out the sin of Sabbath breaking, and added that he was sure he could accomplish his work by the appointed time, if allowed to work at extra bours when the Lord's Day was over, but he spoke in vain. He was there and then discharged. This indeed was a great trial to the poor fellow, for he had a wife and child, and a prospect of an increasing family. But He, who has the hearts of all men in his band can and will protect those that put their trust in him, and in this instance He showed his loving-kindness to His faithful servant. A friend pretty well to do in the world was present, and as soon as the master bad left the house, he said...Well done, thou bast spoken ont like a man and like a christian too, and I will keep thee and thy family for twelve months or more if necessary.
That very evening wben the man and bis little family were going to the House of God, he met his late master, and they turned aside, but he made up to them, and in the kindest manner told him to be at his work when his conscience would allow him to come.
The young man continued in his master's employment long enough after that period, to testify to all around him, that he was sincere and consistent in the profession which he made, and from that time to this very day he has never known the want of a day's employment. It happened indeed a few years after that a gentleman, who was bimself a decided christian beard of him, and placed him in a far better situation; and though he bas bad many trials, he has met with heavy afflictions since he has always been enabled to declare from his own experience, that his Heavenly Father is a very present help in every time of trouble ; for he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about on every side.
TO TRACT BURNERS,
An Authenticated fact. “ You need not leave your tracts here,” said an angry man to the devout and honest bearted colporteur, who held out to him a few of those short and simple statements of the truth. “Don't leave them here, for I give you a fair warning, that I shall burn them if you do.” “I hope not,” answered the colporteur, “and at any rate. I will leave the tracts with you, praying that God's blessing may accompany them.” On saying this he put down the tracts, and turned to depart, the man still calling out “I said I would burn them, and I will keep my word."
ABOUT fifteen years back, a great spirit of speculation took place in the neighbouring town of Liverpool; when all, from the heads of the establishments to the errand boys who swept the office, seemed to be brought under the dominion of mammon. It was when the mania raged highest that the Master of a large establishment ordered all his assistants to active work on the morning of the
A little girl, walking out one fine summer morning with her father, an avowed infidel, and admiring the beautiful and wonderful works of God, in ber innocent prattle asked him, Father, who'made the sky, the clouds, and the sun? Nature, he replied. And who made the fields, the trees, and the pretty flowers ? Nature, was again the reply. And, Father, who made Nature? This was a question he did not expect; he was speechless. “God bath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty ;" and so bath be “ made foolish the wisdom of tbis world."
A year passed away, and the colporteur found himself in the same part of the country again. He remembered the circumstance which I hare just related, and he felt anxious to know what bad become of the violent man who had been so determinedly opposed to the reception of his little books. He enquired after him, and soon found him out. He was surprised at receiving a kind welcome from him, and still more so when he eagerly asked, if he had a bible to sell him. The colporteur looked astonished, and said, “ why, how is this, my friend, I thought you were determined not to read even the tracts, much less the bible; nay, did you not threaten to burn the few tracts which I left with you, when I was last here?” “I know that I threatened to burn them," said the man, "and I did burn them: and yet it was one of the very tracts you left with me, that was the means of producing the change at which you wonder.” “How could the tract do this if you burnt it without reading it?" asked the hawker. “I threw them all into the fire, as soon as you were gone,” replied the man, “ and I watched them as they gradually consumed away: but while I was doing this, the flame caused a leaf of one of the tracts to curi itself round, and to cast its light, as it burnt, upon a single sentence, which presented itself timidly before my eyes. It was this sentence which struck at once to my heart." “And may I ask what this sentence was?” said the colpor. teur. “It was a verse," replied the man, “out of the Bible, and one which I can nerer forget, it was this,'heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away,' and as I read it, the thought struck me at once, why, I may burn these books as much as I choose, but I cannot burn the word of God, that must endure for ever; and I may refuse the word of God, but it is true notwithstanding." That man has since become a devoted and consistent follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a faithful professor of that imperishable truth which he once attempted to destroy.
WHERE is the freshness of our early love,
Our earnest longings after Thee, O God, Our constant heart which valued Thee above
Thy blessings, and found comfort in thy rod ? There is no Truth beside Thee-yet we choose
For Truth the judgements of our carnal sense ; Or knowledge, which Thou givest, we abuse,
To deck ourselves with golden ornaments. There is no Love but Thee-and yet we turn
To seek Love's joy where thou wilt not be found,
Within, and are encompassed all around.
Resisting Thee in whom alone “ we live
And war to get what Thou dost freely give. Change us, o God, and then we shall be changed;
Call back our wand'ring hearts and thoughts to Thee; That we, no longer from our home estranged,
May henceforth thine obedient children be.-FILIUS.
SCRIPTURE READINGS. REVEREND SIR, -I take the liberty of sending the following short remarks on some portions of the Bible, which I have col lected from various sources, and at different times, during my course of reading and study, and which have appeared to me both useful and interesting, Should you think them worth inserting in the Beacon, I hope to have it in my power to contribute oc. casionally a few more of the same kind. The object of many of them is an endeavour to shew the full force of some terms used in the original languages, for which our language has no correspon. ding single terms; and in addition to these, there are some His. torical and Geographical remarks which, I trust, may be found useful.
F. D. Gen. i. 4. “ Light,” in the original or, so called from its wonderful fluidity. In v. 16, “lights," meoroth, or “ kindles," from which the light is to flow.-- The 70 have phosteres, “light bearers.”
Gen. ii. 4, 5...-Otherwise thus translated. “These are the generations of the beavens and of the earth when they were created; in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens: and that before any plant of the field was in the earth, and before any herb of the field grew," &c.
Gen. iii. 20. As soon as Adam bad received the blessed promise, that " The seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head," he called his wife's Dame Eve, Hawah, “the Manifester," because she was, or was to be, the mother (kot-hai) of all who live, i.e. to God spiritually and eternally, as being the mother of Christ the seed, who is the life of all believers. To this reason of Eve's name St. John plainly alludes 1 Ep. i. 2, “the life (i. e. Christ,) was manifested," &c.
Gen. iv. 3....« In process of time (mi-qets yamim) or at the end of days." The only period of days yet alluded to is a week. Therefore, " at the end of a week, or on the seventh day or Sabbath."
CONTENTS. A Memorial of God's Providence Dr. Chalmer's Letter to Mrs. Fry on District Visiting SCRIPTURE PORTRAITS-Introductory Remarks The Merchant's Clerk, Chapter II . Verses by De Foe........ On the dangers of Philosophy The False Friend ..... Socialism .......... A friendly Caution .... The inclining Atheist ....... The Faith of a Socinian, or Anti-Trinitarian “ The grass withereth, the flower fadeth." Temperance in the United States of America The Servants' Home and Registry......... The Origin of Sin ....... The Poor Man's Hymn ..... The Lord's Day .. To Tract Burners....... Scripture Readings ...... Interesting Anecdote .... Poetry by Filius ........
NOTICE TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We are obliged to reserve several contributions for another num.
ber of the Christian Beacon. We hope the Lady who has kindly sent us The Servants' Home
will excuse our keeping the other half of her interesting paper for our next number.-“ Homilies preached at the High Cross
of Chester' to be continued in the next number. We beg to reply to the suggestions of some of our friends, that
the next number will have a cover, and, perhaps, present a more elegant appearance.
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & Co.; HAMIL
TON, ADAMS, & Co.; AND R. GROOMBRIDGE; BANCKS & Co. MANCHESTER; H. PERRIS, LIVERPOOL; J. SEACOME, CHESTER; WRIGHTSON & WEBB, BIRMINGHAM.
T. Thomas, Printer, Eastgate Back Row, Chester.
THE PASTOR'S STUDY.
PART THE FIRST. The Pastor's Study is a pleasant place as to its external | deeper sense of his own utter insufficiency. Old as he situation and appearance—not large but lofty-one was, and experienced ; and tried by afflictions endured window looking out upon the trim and somewhat formal meekly, and temptations surmounted gloriously, the flower borders of the rectory garden, the other over the burden of his complaint before God was still, “What is Thy broad and silver stream of the River Dee, with its op servant but a little child ?” Nay, more, in the depths of posite bank of rock and emerald green-sward. The his despondency he was inclined to give up all for lost, room is much such another as that in which good Matthew and to cry, “ It is enough, now, O Lord, take away my Henry wrote his Commentary on the Holy Bible, (which life; for I am not better than my fathers.” is still to be seen in Chester), only of larger dimensions, One that had come into his study at that time, and and receiving more of the sweet air of the open country seen the many infidel books and papers which lay loose through its heavy sashed windows. It is a pleasant upon his table, might have supposed that his thoughts place when the sunbeams of the earliest morning hours were occupied with the bold attacks of unbelievers ; shine through the fresh leaves and the blossoms of the but he took a deeper view of things, he was thinking of old pear tree, which grows partly over the window, when his Holy Church, nay, of his own beloved flock. He felt the thrush that builds there, sings his loud, sweet, thrilling little fear of the most violent assaults from without the song for hours together, and the blue bells and cowslips sacred camp, so long as there was no spirit of indifference peep up in the sloping fields beyond the river; or again, and ungodly carelessness within. in a calm summer evening when the arches of the old But he was deeply depressed, for he was thinking of bridge, and the low mountain tops which appear above it, a Pastor's often solitary state amid a crowd of careless oppose their dark masses to the clear crimson spreading and nominal Christians. Among his own fock in over the western sky, and reflected on the river, “ flowing how many the love of their Saviour had waxed cold ! at its own sweet will;" when the pear tree has lost its how many were neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm ! in blossoms, and the jasmine, with its silvery stars and its others their once flaming zeal had burnt out, or they had rich eastern perfume, hangs like a festal garland round gone back from following Christ, and left the narrow way the window, and fills the mild air without, and the soft of self-denial, to seek again the broad way of selltwilight within, with its exquisite sweetness; or when a indulgence and of death. Some had gone off to month or two earlier in the season the scent of the new preach Christ, “ of envy, and strife and contention;" and mown bay comes with every breath of the southern breeze. few, if any, in heart and in spirit stood by him. These simple blessings of the open air, and of our own There was a dropping off among the teachers of the pleasant English climate, are dear to an unspoiled taste, young in his schools, and the visitors of the poor in and are as freely offered, and may be as fully enjoyed his districts, and the torpor and the chill of an apby the poorest child, who strolls upon the river's bank, as proaching deadness seemed coming over everything. by that aged pastor in his study above. He was an The morning cloud was gone, the early dew had disapaged man, but hale and young in constitution. Manly peared ; and yet, to common observers, all might seem to in his habits of thinking, manly in all his ways, and, prosper. The great assembly still crowded within the therefore, gentle and patient in the midst of the little per church walls ; and there was no lack of political warmth plexities and provocations of the ministerial life, as well and party zeal among them; and there was a loud boast as on occasions which might seem to the world more about externals, and a loud cry of the church in danger ; trying.
and a readiness to fight in a worldly warfare, with Do we say this? The words which follow may ap weapons that are carnal. pear almost a contradiction. There was a heavy sadness But the aged Pastor, though ready to accuse himself of upon the spirit of the venerable man, as he sat in deep timidity and apathy as he sat and trembled for the ark and silent meditation. The Holy Bible lay open before of God, was no Eli. He might tremble when he sat by the him, and his eyes had, a few minutes before, been resting wayside, but when his spirit went into the sanctuary of upon these affecting words, “ Eli sat upon a seat by the God, and, when in communion with the Father of Spirits, wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark he looked up simply to God by faith, and prayed for of God." There are epochs, and tbis was one of them light and for guidance, and for support, and for strength, we may better call them seasons, for they occur too often his fears passed away-his despondency left him. The in the life of a minister of the sanctuary, when he views still small voice had been heard, and the spirit of the every thing around him, not, indeed, with despair, but man of faith had been enabled to regain its energies. with great despondency, and when from the aspect of No, not to regain them, but to receive fresh from the everything he feels that he has grounds for doing so. sanctuary above the energy of spiritual hope, and the The Pastor felt deeply his own wretched unworthiness, vigour of spiritual life. Oh, where there is no consciousness and that of his people, and he had been brought to a still l of weakness, the strength of God can never be known!
To the Editor of the Christian Beacon.
and it is only in weakness that it is made perfect. The Pastor rose up from prayer to enquire again at the Oracles of God. “What am I ? and who am I ?” said he to himself, as he turned over the sacred leaves, "that I should dare to despond? Yes, yes, the great difficulty, but the great duty of spiritual life is to PERSEVERE. I have my appointed work to do, the blessing and the increase come from Him. Even if I were called upon to stand quite alone, I should have nothing to do but to obey. When the standard-bearer fainteth, where shall the soldier look for the rallying point of conflict and of victory ? Here are the blessed words," he exclaimed aloud, as the Apostle's second letter to the Corinthians lay open before him, “ We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed.”—2 Cor. iv. 8, 9,
But now a sweet and cheerful voice was heard at the study door, and in another moment the door was opened, and a tall, noble-looking boy entered the room. If there was a being on earth peculiarly dear to the aged man, it was this boy, his orphan grand-child. He came forward with a few words of affectionate salutation, and then stood in silence before his grand-father, with his head meekly bowed, waiting for his morning blessing, and the old man placed both his hands upon the child's head, and blessed him. “God bless you, my child, and make you good, by His Holy Spirit, and keep you safe this day, and evermore, for Jesus Christ's sake."
“ Grand-father,” said the boy, after he had stood earnestly and thoughtfully gazing on the aged man for some little time, “shall I love to read old books when I am old ?” The old man smiled, “Whether young or old," he replied, laying his hand reverently upon the Holy Bible, “ I trust you will always love this oldest book the best.” “But all old books," said the boy, looking all round the room with a stare of wonder, “ Do old men always read old books ? Should I understand that very old book? Will you read it aloud to me?” His grandfather had closed the Bible, and another book was in his hand. “I cannot answer for your understanding this old book,” said he,“ but I will read it aloud. When you are old,” he added, fondly passing his hand over the child's hair, “perhaps you will love these old quaint simple words as well as I do:"_*
“How much the higher a hill is, so much is the wind there greater; so, how much higher the life is, so much stronger is the temptation of the enemy. God playeth with his child when he suffereth him to be tempted, as a mother rises from her much beloved child, and hides herself, and leaves him alone, and suffers him to cry, Mother, mother, so that he looks about, cries and weeps for a time, and at last when the child is ready to be overset with troubles and weeping, she comes again, clasps him in her arms, and kisses him, and wipes away the tears. So our Lord suffereth his loved child to be tempted and troubled for a time, and withdraweth some of his solace and full protection, to see what his child will do; and when he is about to be overcome by temptations, then he defendeth him, and comforteth him with his grace. And therefore, when we are tempted, let us cry for the help of our Father, as a child cries after the comfort of its mother. For whoso prayeth devoutly, s'all have help oft to pray.”
See Wickliffe's Poore Caitiffe.
ON DISTRICT VISITING. Sir, I read with great interest the letter which appeared in your number of last month, from the Rev. Dr. Chalmers on the subject of District Visiting; and I feel that much gratitude is due to you for having given a permanent and acceptable form to a document which might otherwise have been swept away by the wind, and been lost from public observation for ever. Everything that falls from Dr. Chalmers, bears on it the stamp of his master mind, and deserves the serious attention of the world. If this simple acknowledgement therefore shall lead any casual reader to enquiry, or send any careless reader of the letter in question to a second and more attentive perusal, I shall not have penned these lines in vain; for I shall have guided a fellow creature to a source from which all may draw with benefit, and be made wiser and better by what they learn.
It has often been remarked as one character of truly great minds, that while they are capable of grasping the greatest subjects, they can pay attention to the least; and prove their general sufficiency by passing without an effort from topics which exceed the average standard to those objects which are supposed to stand below it. Dr. Johnson, I think, in claiming this intellectual distinction for the King of Prussia, by some called the Great; describes him as a man, who, after presiding at a Council of State, could sit down to table, and tell his servant to go to such a corner of the cellar, and bring up such a bottle of wine; thereby proving that his Majesty's mind was as well informed as to the resources of his table, as he had been just before shewing himself as to the balance of power in Europe. I do not stop to discuss the justness of the proof, but I am pleased to trace this indication of power in a very different Individual ; and I rejoice to see the Professor of Moral Philosophy, the man who exercises the widest influence on the minds of his countrymen in Scotland, not more from the conviction of his moral than of his intellectual excellence, bringing the powers of his mind to bear upon a topic so simple as that of District Visiting; and entering with all his usual ardour on a subject, which Philosophers may think beneath their notice.
But Philosophers, who acknowledge Dr. Chalmers's eminence as a Moralist and a Theologian, may, perhaps, be led to suspect that the subject of his letter is not so inconsiderable as it seemed to them at first; and if they reason justly, they cannot deny that there must be something of importance in that which interests a mind like his. What that something is, it