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much as yourself. If a fish could see the hook, and the line, and the rod, and the fisherman, as plainly as he sees the bait, he would never be taken; and if a dishonest man could discern the enemy of souls as clearly as he discerns his temptations, he would not so greedily grasp at the ill-gotten gain, that allures him to his destruction.
But if it be wrong in a baker to give us bad bread, which may injure our health ; it must be worse in a minister to give us bad doctrine, which may injure our souls. As good bread strengthens the frame of the natural man, so sound doctrine invigorates the soul of the Christian. It is a blessed thing to be fed with wholesome food, and to be nurtured and nourished with Divine truth. My dealing with you in the way of trade, is a pretty sure proof, William, that I have a good opinion of you; and, therefore, you must not think my remarks hard. Read this tract, and then give it to one of your customers: it may be useful temporally and spiritually; for peace of mind is, after all, the best medicine for the health of the body. In your industrious attempts to get forward, forget not that “to have a portion in the world is a mercy, but to have only the world for a portion is a misery.” But I am forgetting the errand on which I came. You must send me a peck of
your best flour, for we have not enough left to make a pie-crust. Good day to you. Mind and read the tract, and bear in your memory that “ without God's providence nothing falls cut in the world ; without his commission nothing stirs; without his blessing nothing prospers.”
A CALL WITH A PRESENT OF A BIBLE.
I have brought you the Bible, Thomas, which I promised you; and I do hope that it will be a treasure to you and to all around you—an inexhaustible treasure: if it be not, you will have no one to blame but yourself.
The family Bible should be regarded, in every house, as the ark of the Lord was regarded among the children of Israel. It should be holy unto the Lord ; and we should read it, value it, and look upon it as the especial gift of God to us for the benefit of our souls.
~ Though many a page to lead our feet
In wisdom's ways be given,
To guide the soul to heaven.”
Read it at the dawn of day, when you are refreshed with slumber, and the sun shines in the heavens. Read it at eventide, before you commit yourself for the night to the care of the
great Shepherd of Israel, who neither sleeps nor slumbers. Read it in company with the followers of Jesus Christ, to strengthen your faith one with another. Read it in solitude, to brighten your hope of immortality. Read it in the day of prosperity, when your heart is thankful. Read it in the season of sorrow, when you require consolation. Read it when tempted to do evil, to fortify your soul against sin. Read it on the Lord's day, before and after attending the house of God. Read it, in short, at all times, and at all seasons, when you have the opportunity; for the more you know of the word and will of God, and of the grace of his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, the happier you will be, and the more anxious to obey him, honour him, love him, and praise him all the days of your life.
A CALL ON A BUTCHER.
Have you a nice little scrag of mutton this morning, Mr. Haines ? Ay, that looks as though it would be the very thing. Just put it upon your steel-yard, that we may know what it weighs, and send it to good old Mary Watkins. Poor thing! she looks as though meat had not entered her mouth for some time. A little nice broth may comfort her, and do her
good. In her day she has comforted many a one, and ought not to be forgotten now.
Butcher. True, sir, true. The old lady has bought many a joint of meat at my shop; but she has sadly come down in the world since
Visitor. She has indeed; but the poorer she gets in worldly goods, the richer she seems to be in heavenly hopes and Christian graces. I look upon her to be the richest woman I know; for if peace of mind, a spirit of contentment, a knowledge that God has done all things well concerning her, and a well grounded hope of eternal life, through the merits of her Saviour, be not riches, I know not where to look for them. She has her sorrows, to be sure; but
“ The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrows are unknown.”
There will always be something or other here, Mr. Haines, to try us. Look at the flies there! no doubt they are a sad plague to you this hot weather. You do well to cover over your beef in cloths, as I see you do; but, with all your care, the flies are no doubt too many for you.
Butcher. Ay, sir, they are little things; but nobody knows how they torment is.
Visitor. I dare say they do. As it is with your meat, so it is with our hearts. While you
have a swarm of flies buzzing about, bent on doing mischief, we have all a swarm of evil thoughts, evil desires and temptations, ready to do us an injury. You are always on the watch with your whisk against the flies ; and we ought ever to be on the watch against our temptations. A humble, watchful, prayerful spirit is our best defence; and a hope of everlasting life through Jesus Christ our best consolation.
A CALL ON A SLUGGARD. Walters, if I speak the truth, I must say that I am ashamed of you. At six o'clock exactly, you were to be with me to begin your job of white-washing; and now the clock has struck nine, and you are at your breakfast. When a labouring man does not rise in good time in a morning, it makes us suspect that his nights are not spent soberly. You are a good-tempered man, Walters, and a decent workman; what a pity it is, then, that you cannot get up in a morning!
“ Plough deep while sluggards sleep,
And you shall have corn to sell and to keep." But if you are not to quit your bed till eight or nine o'clock, at this time of the year, it is not likely that you will have much corn, or much