Imágenes de páginas

and think of the ground we have and bebold it is a dream. It is gone over. The anniversary of our gone, as though it had never been. birth, and of any other leading event, « They that buy as though they and especially the commencement possessed not." What though of a New Year, invite us to retro- they accumulate great heaps of spection ; and then we may see how wealth ; they brought notbing into short our days are. It was but as yes. the world, and it is certain they can terday when we were last reminded carry nothing out. Literally nothing: that we had begun a new leaf in the your riches will be nothing to you the bistory of our lives. “Our days as though you had never posse ssed are swifter than a weaver's shuttle.” them. "They that use this world, “They are as a shadow, and there as not abusing it ;" or, to keep up is none abiding.” “ They are pas- the same train of thought, as though sed away as the swift ships,', which they used it not. We deliberate, plough the ocean, and leave no trace with great anxiety, what use we bebind. “We spend our years as shall make of our time, talents, and a tale that is told.” It interested wealth ; where we shall live ; whethour feelings at the time, and that is er we shall pursue this employment,, all. Every year brings us nearer or another; whether we shall buy our" appointed time." And every this thing or the other. It is all year appears shorter than the last. about nothing. The world will soon Every year, therefore, we ought to be all the same to us, as though we realize, more than ever, that our had never engaged in its cares. time is short.

“ For the fasbion of this world pasWe learn, froin the shortness of seth, that we shall soon bid adieu to We learn, likewise the duty of the business, the pleasures, and the avoiding excessive anxiety, about sorrows of life. This is the train of our worldly concerns. Says the reflections, which occupied the apos- Apostle, pursuing his instructive tle's mind. The mournful time is lesson, “ I would have you without at band when they that have wives,” carefulness." Nothing shews the or are rejoicing in the affection of folly of excessive concern about our friends, "shall be as though they bad worldly interests, so' tảúch as the none,” The tenderest ties are bro- extreme shortness of our connexion ken by death, never to be renewed with them. Who would expend 21 as on earth. “In heaven they nei- his thoughts, and all his. estate, upther marry, nor are given in mar- on a paper house? Who would riage.” They will be as though build a palace of marblé, on ground they had never been. “They that which he holds for a year? Who weep; as though they wept not.” would contract an unconquerable “ This light affiction is but a mo- affection, for one that only dined ment.” It will soon pass away, and with him at the inn, and parted from be forgotten, as though it bad never him forever ? Whose heart should been. With the christian, it will break at a separation, even from the be lost in that "eternal weight of dearest friends, for only one night! glory” which it procures him. With Why should our feelings shrink at the sinner, it will be nothing thought the thought of having our earthly of, wbile he is "tormented in that house of this tabernacle pulled flame.” “They that rejoice, as down, to be so soon restored, with though they rejoiced not.” The heavenly' splendor? “I would joys of this life are all like a dream bave you without carefulness." when one awakelb."

The scene

We learn further, the near apmay indeed be a pleasant one, but proach of the scenes of eterniin the midst of it, we are awaked, ty. There is no discharge in

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that war. We cannot add a cubit to

For the Christian Spectator. our stature, nor an hour to our lite with all our anxiety. Shutting our THE CURSE UPON THE GROUND. eyes to the truth, makes it none the

It was a clear, serene evening less true. He who sleeps in his in harvest, that I was returning from journey, is borne along with the an excursion to view a fine prospect same rapidity, as he who is alten- in the neighborbood. The hour was tive to the passing scene.

that one of serious peace when the We have all a great work to do ; sun sheds a softened light, and the and the time is so short, that every lengthening shadows throw an air of moment is precious. Every hour grandeur over the face of the earth. which we waste will be the occa- The rich landscape which I had sion of a loss, which no finite mind been viewing was adapted to fill

the can calculate. “The night is far mind with pleasing images. The spent ; the day is at hand,” and now. town, the water, the fields, the hamit is high time to awake out of lets, the mountains, all appeared in sleep." Every hour brings us their loveliest colours. The earth nearer to the trial. Every hour was bountifully repaying the labors misspent, is curtailing our opportue of the husbandman. The wains nity. Every delay makes further groaned beneath their burden.delay easier, and future action more There seemed to be, on every side, difficult. Awake, or perish. My an overflowing abundance, for the christian friends, if you have any wants of both man and beast. God thing to do for the souls of others, had indeed “given witness of himoh, be admonished to do it quickly. sell, in that he did good, and gave While you are delaying, the world the rain from heaven, and fruitful will get irretrievable hold of their seasons, filling our hearts with food affections ; error will creep into and gladness.” No rational being their minds; their hearts will be could help acknowledging, that the hardened through the deceitfulness earth is full of the goodness of the of sin ; death will overtake them in Lord.” I was reminded of the ectheir unpte pared state. They will

They will static adorations of the Psalmist, in :perish fare fer, while you are wait- the 104th Psalm. Can this lovely ing ::

region be a part of that earth which You, who have wasted the time lies under the curse of Jehovah? or which was given to prepare for eter- rather, can we realize that a world, kity; : Săve crowded the busi- which contains such spots of beauty, ness of your whole lives into very is a cursed world ? narrow limits.

But perhaps you What has become of “the work may yet secure yourselves, if you and toil of our hands, because of the are faithful. There is yet opporlu- ground which the Lord hath curs. nity, but that opportunity is daily ed?" This spot seems more like growing less. “To-day if ye will “the garden which the Lord God hear his voice, harden not your planted where he put the man whom hearts.” “Now is an accepted be bad formed, to dress it, and to time ; behold, now is a day of sal. keep it.” Where are “the thorns vation.” If you begin this day, and and thistles” of the curse? Out of use all your diligence, and strain ev- this ground “groweth every tree ery nerve, and seek for wisdom, that is pleasant to the sight, and as for hid treasure, there is yet time. good for food.” Who now eats But it is exceeding short! Oh, of the herb of the field,” as the only how short ! The angel may even sustenance of his nature? This Bow be receiving his commission “land floweth with milk and honey." to sound in your ears that time Man “sucks honey out of the rock, shall be no longer.

and oil out of the flinty rock, butter

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of kine. and milk of sheep, with fat just to supply us with suitable moof lambs, and rams of the breed of tives to activity. Basban with the fat of the kidneys The spirit of complaining and inof wheat; and drinks the pure blood dolence will yet urge that the earth of the grape.” God said to Adam, is not now as it was before the fall. cursed is the ground, for thy sake; It still abounds with thorns and this. in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the tles, and requires great labour and toil days of thy life: thorns also and to make it bring forth its increase. thistles shall it bring forth unto thee; Our ideas of paradise are drawn and in the sweat of thy face shalt from the representations of the great thou eat bread." The full import poet. We regard it as a kind of of such a curse, seems to be nothing Arcadian vale; where life is a mere less than such a derangement of the course of uninterrupted enjoyment ; course of nature, such a barrenness where there is no care nor' labour and perverseness of the soil, as necessary to subsistence and comshould impose the necessity of con. fort, but men can sit down to eat tinual wearisome toil, so that inan and drink, and rise up to play: should be compelled to snatch a has- where the dressing and keeping of ty morsel in the midst of bis labour, the garden was a mere amusement and literally eat his bread in the to the happy inhabitants, and not sweat of his brow.* But now, the daily business of their lives. among us, if we abate all the labour Such notions are mere dreams of the which is rendered necessary by de imagination. Man is a being pospravity, we shall find that what re- sessed of active powers, which remains is bat like dressing and keep- quire exercise. And the necessity ing a garden of the Lord. Subtract for regular employment in order to from the whole amount of labour in enjoy happiness, springs from bis the community, all which is employ. constitution, as an active being, and ed for the unreasonable gratification not from depravity. We are acof the appetites, all which becomes customed to speak of the necessity necessary by the unruly passions, for labour as a blessing, merely as all which goes to gratify the love of it keeps us from evil. But that is display, all which passes away from not hall the truth.

" A little sleep, him who earns it, into the hands of a little slumber, a little folding of ibe fraudulent and the oppressor, the bands to sleep,” could not afall which is taken to support war and ford happiness, even if we were not government and to pamper national depraved. Such a state is as little apride, and all else, which is called dapted to our nature, as are the wings, for, not by the constitution of man, with which painters sport their fanbut by his depravity, and then see cies, to the organization of our how light would be the burden of bodies. However pretty we may providing, from a bountiful earth, think the picture in either case, we for all the real wants of our nature. should find, if it were realized, that Let the constitution of the earth re- our muscles were not designed for main just as it is, and remove human such exercise, nor our minds adaptwickedness, and there would remain ed to such delights. We know nothno more than labour enough to em- ing of the state of things in Paradise. ploy our powers, and make us bap. We have no sort of evidence that Py; no more urgent necessity than the ground brought forth its fruits

spontaneously, or that thorns and

thistles and the other bindrances to * That such would be the effect of a carse upon the ground, see Lev. xxvi. 19, agriculture were created after the 20: Deut. xxx. 24 : Job xxxi. 40: Is. fall, on purpose to plague the earth. XXÏ. 13: Jer. xii. 13.

Action itself is suitable to our naVol. VII.-No. 1.


ture. Our aversion to labour springs stances, as a standard by which to from depravity. We do know, that judge of the adaptation of other conEden was adapted to the constitution ditions to promote human happiof man to insure his happiness if be ness. If the country of the Arab or had continued obedient. If I mis- the Greenlander, does not yield him take not, it can be shown that the more good than evil, why does be earth is now so adapted. Regard- noi abandon it? If it does not yield ing man, merely as a being formed much more, how is it that he befor happiness, and looking only at comes so much attached to it? Is the present life, and it appears high- it the divine curse, or any of its conly probable that the existing sys- sequences, that binds them to their tem of nature, is the best possible desolate regions ? system for human happiness. If it As to the distresses of savage life, is so, then there is a presumption, it ought to be observed, that they do at least, that the curse of barrenness not flow from the curse upon the denounced upon the earth has been ground, but from human indolence fulfilled and removed. We may and depravity. The constitution of then conclude, that the earth was the earth may remain the same, and substantially the same before the yet the amount of human happiness fall, as it now is; and that the dres- be greatly varied. Our finest garsing and keeping of the garden was dens, if neglected would soon be the business of its cultivators.

overrun with briers and thorns. Our Tbere are two classes of circum- cities and villages, transferred to stances, which are usually brought the original savage owners of the forward, as progfs, either of displeas- soil, would again become a dark and ure, or of a want of benevolence, on tangled forest. And so, on the oththe part of the Creator ; certain er hand, only change the inhabitpermanent conditions of the earth, ants, and“ the desert buds and blosand certain changes which take place soms, like the rose." “Instead of upon it.

the thorn would come up the fir tree, The extremes of heat and cold, and instead of the brier would come in the torrid and frozen zones, the up the myrtle tree. They should barrenness of certain places, and the go out with joy, and be led forth calamities of sarage life, are suppo- with peace, the mountains and bills sed to be fruits of the primeval curse. would break forth before them into But if we look carefully into the singing.” There is no curse upon condition of the Arab, the Green- the earth, besides the depravity of lander, and the savage, we shall find its inhabitants, which has prevented that their cup is not filled with such all this from being realized, as fast unmingled evil as we are apt to im- as the human race peopled their vaagine : and that all the evil which rious territories. Who can calcurenders their situation really worse late the amount of bappiness which than ours, is to be attributed to some the light of religion and science, other causes than the curse upon the even in their present state of adearth. There are, indeed, many vancement, might pour into the circumstances, which would appear smoky caves of Greenland? The to us to be greater evils than fall to rocks, already so dear to their posour lot.

But when we consider the sessors, may yet become the abodes ease with which man accommodates of enlarged minds, the seats of refinhimself to different conditions, and ed enjoyment. Then again, it is the power of habit, in rendering impossible to calculate what may yet even opposites agreeable to different be done further in the progress of individuals, we shall not be willing ages, towards overcoming the natuto set up our own feelings and bab- ral evils of the world. We live in its, tormed under different circum- an age when improvement seems to

advance with accelerating velocity. from the general system, are to be Earth, air, fire and water, are al- charged wpon that, or upon the namost subdued, and brought under ture of things. It is the system the dominion of man. New rela- alone, in its general tendency and tions in the kingdom of nature, are main design, which is to be regardcontinually discovered, and are all ed as an indication of the feelings of successively rendered tributary to its Author. No particular events human happiness. The plain rea- are to be regarded as evidence of son why these things bave not been the anger of the Almighty, if they discovered before, is that the mas- result from the general laws of nater spirits, who now bring forward ture; provided it can be made to these improvements, have hereto- appear, that the general system of fore been too much engrossed in the nature, taken as a whole, is in its tented field, in the intrigues of design and tendency, best adapted courts, or in pulling down or build- to promote human happiness. Now ing up tyranny, superstition and I think it evident, that, as far as our priestcraft. But all this is charge. philosophy understands the nature able to depravity. We may well and tendency of the system, its genbelieve, that an unknown number eral character is benevolent. Al of the laws of nature will yet be we know of the causes of the pardiscovered, and applied to the use ticular events under consideration, of man, instead of perplexing his leads us to suppose that their chief, mind, and deteating his purposes, as use and proper effect, that which they now do.

was uppermost in the mind of the As to the barrenness which pre. Contriver, was benevolent. It is vails in certain parts of the earth, not unphilosophical, therefore, to it will be time enough to examine conclude that those things, with it, when we find the globe so pop- which we are less acquainted, posulous, as to oblige men to inhabit sess the same general tendency, and them. We do not see the effects were created, and put in operation, of the curse in the different cli- for a benevolent end. Thus the mates, soils and other permanent pinching cold of winter, is, as far as conditions of the earth.

we can see, the unavoidable result But it may be supposed that its of the delightful and necessary vichanges exhibit the wrath of Jebo- cissitude in the seasons.

No one vah; that we trace the penal con- supposes that the ecliptic was turnsequences of the fall, in winter, in ed aside on purpose to afflict our the earthquake, the volcano, the bodies with the rigours of winter. lightning, the whirlwind, and the The object was unquestionably a pestilence. Let us see. But these more important one, and was benevcalamitous vicissitudes are all, as far olent. We have no reason to supas we know, the necessary results pose it possible, in the nature of of that system of divine operations things, to have the advantages of called the “general laws of nature.” the seasons, without this comparaIt is obvious that some such system tively trifling inconvenience. So is essential to human happiness. we should think a man was trifling, Without general laws, on which we or blaspheming, who should maintain could found our calculations re- that the electric fluid was created, specting future events, and the con- and kept in operation, as a universal sequences of particular measures, agent; and yet the main design of it we could neither contrive nor act. was to dart an occasional stroke upThe whole world would be con- on earth, to destroy a house or a demned to ignorance, suspense, and tree, a man or an animal, whichever inaction. All those particular events, happened to be in its path. The therefore, which unavoidably follow whirlwind equally appears to be an

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