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some unmeaning song, which was lodged in the memory of my boyish days, too frequently rises to my recollection, in spite of all my endeavours to suppress it ;• and I fear that, if encouraged, I could repeat it with the greatest exactness.— Pause, to observe with me what a decisive proof this is of the remains of indwelling corruption *
It was an ill effect of this kind, which the sceptical conversation of the brothers left upon my mind. By the ludicrous turn which they gave to some portions of Scripture, and the impious and bold reasonings which they made on others, they gave birth to a train of images within me, which, like a spectre, arose continually to my view.
I stop the reader one moment again to remark, and what (I humbly conceive) if closely adopted, will not prove an unprofitable remark; how little they consult their own happiness, who mix indiscriminately with the world; and who are not sensible of the dreadful consequences of seeing and hearing the corruptions which are going on in life. What from the lightness and indifference to Divine things, with which some treat the truths of God; and what from the open contempt poured upon them by others; it is really like running into the midst of pestilence, to come within the circle of their society. Our eyes are purveyors of the evil; and' our ears inlets of the corruption. And never was that aphorism of Solomon more necessary to be observed, than in the present moment: Enter not into the path of the wiched, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it; pass not by It; turn from it, and pass away* For my own part, I have never found my peace of mind so unbroken, as since I have totally withdrawn myself from all but the necessary and unavoidable intercourse with men of the world, By ceasing from their communion, we live out of the reach of the contagion of their principles; and we live above the influence of their good or bad opinion. And it is a maxim of as much salutary consequence to the mind, as it is to the body, to breathe a pure atmosphere. You cannot come within the region of any thing filthy and corrupt, but its poisonous effluvia will attach themselves to you.
I have often thought what a peculiar providence it was, that, while my mind was under the impression of such accumulated trials, God should direct my steps towards the means of relief. But so it was, that in prosecuting the path of my pilgrimage, as I passed the road, there stood an house on my right hand with this inscription in the front of it;
THE HOUSE OF THE INTERPRETER.
I cprijfsiDERED it then, as experience hath taught me to regard it many' times since, as among, the special appointments of a covenanting God, that my path was directed this way. He hath promised to bring the blind by a way that tkcy know not; and in this instance nothing could be more pointed.
1, • Prov. iv. 14.
1 pity the man from my heart, who passeth through life and discovers nothing of Divirte wisdom arranging and ordering all the events of it; and particularly in those instances; where the Lord's enemies are promoting and forwarding by their unconscious conduct the very designs, which they are seemingly opposing. There is something very striking in proof of a Divine superintendance, when men unintentionally fiilfil that will, which all their designs and actions are directed purposely to thwart. When the sons of Jacob sold their brother for a slave, little did they dream that Joseph's future dignity and Israel's salvation were to result from this cruelty. Nay, (what is infinitely more important, and an higher testimony than this) when the Jews had nailed the Lord of life and glory to the cross; who should have thought that from that very cross all'the everlasting happiness of His people was to spring? And, (to compare small things with great) when the persecutions of my relations, the false reasonings of the author whose book I had read, and the conversation of the infidel brothers, which all conspired to give me such distress, became the very foundation under God of my establishment in grace; who will but conclude, that such a peculiar coincidence of circumstances cannot * be the result of any thing fortuitous, but vometh forth (as the prophet speaks) from the Lorv of
Hosts, which is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.*
, It will be, no doubt, one portion of the felicity of heaven, to look back and trace the whole of our eventful history to the full. But it is now, in my esteem, walking in the highway of communion with God, when at any time we are enabled to trace it in part here below.— The house of the interpreter.—I had read of such an house and of such a character, as being in the pilgrim's path, when in my days of childhood. But I knew not at that time, that I should myself live to behold either of them realized.—A thought, however, struck me as I read the inscription; 'Perhaps.I may find here some help to explain to me the difficulties, with which I am at present exercised!' I recollected what Job had said, that if there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness; then He is gracious unto him.\ Encouraged by these considerations, I drew near to the house. The door was wide open. Jesus hath said, Behold I have-set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.\ I found that it opened into a spacious vestibule; in one of the compartments of which there was written, in large characters, as follows:
* Isaiah xxviii. 2g. f Job xxxiii. 93. § Rev. iii. 8.
THE RULES OF THIS FAMILY.
First, It is expected that every one who comes under this roof, fail not to be present at Family Prayer, and the reading of the Scriptures.
Secondly, It is hoped that beside these things, attention be given to the private engagements of the closet. They who begin the day in praver, will probably find cause to end it in praise.
Thirdly, The Apostle's maxim is to be in-
Lastly, Whatsoever is done in word or
To every one who, looking up for grace to
Thus invited, I entered the door, and found that it led into a large room like an hall. There were several persons seated round a table, at the head of which a venerable old man appeared to preside. Having taken my place at the bottom, to which the kind looks of the master at the top seemed to invite me, I soon discovered, by