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up and hang their heads on the slender stalk, waiting the return of day.

The birds of the grove have ceased their warblings; they sleep on the boughs of the trees, each one with his head behind his wing. The chickens of the farm-yard are gathered under the wing of the hen, and are at rest; the hen, their parent, is at rest also. There is no murmur of bees around the hive, or amongst the honeyed woodbines; they have finished their work, and now lie close in their waxen cells.

The sheep rest in the fields upon their soft fleeces, and their loud bleating no longer resounds from the hills. There is no sound of the voices of the busy multitude, or of children at play, or the trampling of feet, and of crowds hurrying to and fro. The smith's hammer is not heard upon the anvil; nor the harsh saw of the carpenter. All men are stretched upon their quiet beds, and the infant reposes in peace and security on the bosom of its mother. Darkness is spread over the skies; and darkness is upon the ground; every eye is shut, and every hand is still.

Who takes care of all people when they are sunk in sleep? when they cannot defend themselves, nor see if danger approaches? There is an eye that never sleeps; there is an eye that sees in the darkness of night as well as in the brightest sunshine. When there is no light of the sun, nor of the moon; when there is no lamp in the house, nor any star twinkling through the thick clouds ; that eye sees every where, in all places, and watches continually over all the families of the earth.

The eye that sleeps not is God's; his hand is always stretched over ns. He made sleep to refresh us when we are weary: he made night that we might sleep in quiet. As the affectionate mother stills every little noise, that her infant be not disturbed; as she draws the curtains around its bed, and shuts out the light from its tender eyes; so God draws the curtains of darkness around us; so he makes all things to be hushed and still, that his large family may sleep in peace.

When the darkness has passed away, and the beams of the morning sun strike through your eye-lids, begin the day with praising God, who has taken care of you through the night. Flowers, when you open again, spread your leaves and smell sweet to his praise. Birds, when you awake, warble your thanks among the green boughs! Let his praise be in our hearts when we lie down; let his praise be on our lips when we awake.




LET us take care, that every morning, as soon as we rise, we lay hold on this proper season of address, and offer up to God the first-fruits of our thoughts, yet fresh, unsullied, and serene, before a busy swarm of vain images crowd in upon the mind. When the spirits, just refreshed with sleep, are brisk and active, and rejoice, like that sun which ushers in the day, to run their course; when all nature, just awakened into being, from insensibility, pays its early homage; then let us

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join in the universal chorus, who are the only creatures in the visible creation capable of knowing to whom it is to be addressed.

And in the evening, when the stillness of the night invites to solemn thoughts, after we have collected our straggling ideas, and suffered not a reflection to stir but what either looks upward to God, or inward upon ourselves, upon the state of cur minds; then let us scan over each action of the day, fervently entreat God's pardon for what we have done amiss, and the gracious assistance of his spirit for the future: and after having adjusted accounts between our maker and ourselves, commit ourselves to his care for the following night. Thus beginning and closing the day with devotion, imploring his direction every morning as we rise, for the following day; and recommending ourselves, every night before we lie down, to his protection, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, the intermediate spaces will be better filled up each line of our behaviour will terminate in God, as the centre of our actions: our lives, all of a piece, will constitute one regular whole, to which each part will bear a necessary relation and correspondence, without any broken and disjointed schemes, independent of this grand end, the pleasing of God. And while we have this one point in view, whatever variety there may be in our actions, there will be an uniformity too, which constitutes the beauty of life, just as it does of every thing else; an uniformity without being dull and tedious, and a variety without being wild and irregular.


How would this settle the ferment of our youth

ful passions, and sweeten the last dregs of our advanced age? How would this make our lives yield the calmest satisfaction; as some flowers shed the most fragrant odours, just at the close of the day! And perhaps there is no better way to prevent a deadness and flatness of spirit from succeeding, when the briskness of our passions goes off, than to acquire an early taste for those spiritual delights, whose 'leaf withers not,' and whose verdure remains in the winter of our days.

And when this transitory scene is shutting upon us, when the soul stands upon the threshold of another world, just ready to take its everlasting flight; then may we think with unallayed pleasure on God, when there can be little or no pleasure to think of any thing else; and our souls may undauntedly follow to that place, whither our prayers and affections, those forerunners of the spirit are gone before.

One of the great philosophers of this age being asked by a friend, who had often admired his patience under great provocations, by what means he had suppressed his anger, answered, 'that he was naturally quick of resentment; but that he had by daily prayer and meditation attained to this mastery over himself. As soon as he arose in the morning, it was, throughout life his daily practice to retire for an hour to private prayer and meditation: this, he often told his friends, gave him spirit and vigour for the business of the day this he therefore recommended as the best rule of life. For nothing, he knew, could support the soul in all distresses but a confidence in the supreme Being: nor can a rational and

steady magninimity flow from any other source, than a consciousness of the divine favour.'

Of Socrates, who is said to have gained an ascendant over his passions, it is reported, that his life was full of prayers and addresses to God. And of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, another great example of virtue, it is expressly recorded, that (contrary to a fashion now prevailing) he never did eat of any thing, but he first prostrated himself, and offered thanks to the supreme Lord of heaven. Leave not off praying,' said a pious man, for either praying will make thee leave off sinning, or sinning will make thee leave off praying.' If we say our prayers in a cold, supine, lifeless manner, now and then, I know no other effect they will have, but to enhance our condemnation: in effect, we do not pray, we only say our prayers; we pay not the tribute of the heart, but an unmeaning form of homage; we draw near to God with our lips, while our heart is far from him.' And without the perseverance in prayer, the notions of the amendment of our lives, and a sacred regard to the deity, will only float for a while in the head, without sinking deep, or dwelling long upon the heart. We must be inured to a constant intercourse with God, to have our minds engaged and interested, and to be rooted and grounded in the love of him.' But if we invigorate our petitions, which are otherwise a lifeless carcase, with serious and attentive spirit; composed, but not dull; affectionate, but not passionate in our addresses to God; praying, in this sense, will at last make us leave off sinning; and victory, decisive victory, declare itself in our favour.


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