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And we should see how wrong it was, by our morose tempers, to make our fellow-creatures unhappy, when our great Creator placed us together in this world that we might be a comfort and a help to one another.
Then, again, how often do we slight those public religious advantages, which, in a Christian country, are placed within our reach. When the Sabbath bell invites us to worship, how many are there who neglect the call! If we were on a desolate island, and had lost such a blessing, we should perhaps then be ready to lament,
“ That the sound of the church-going bell,
Those vallies and rocks never heard.”
When we reflect on the privations which perfect solitude inflicts, we should learn to be thankful for all the great blessings and benefits, which, as social beings, a gracious Providence has bestowed on us ; and we ought to learn to be thankful for all our blessings, whilst we have them, and to use them for the purposes for which they were bestowed, lest, prosperity failing to teach us gratitude, we should tempt the Almighty to try us with afflictions, to bring us, for our own good; to a knowledge of Himself,
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.
It is not probable that any readers of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor should be ignorant of the Ten Commandments, and nearly all, most likely, can repeat them. But perhaps some people may do so, without having fully considered the extent of their meaning, and to such, with great humility, I offer the following observations. In each Commandment, (excepting the fifth) some sin is forbidden, and wben any thing is forbidden, we are not only to avoid doing it, but it must be understood that we are to do the reverse. When the minister repeats the Commandments, we are directed to say after each, “ Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law." When we say this, we confess that we have, in some way, been guilty, or at least have had an inclination to be guilty, of the partieular sin there forbidden; we pray for God's mercy, and beseech_him to incline our hearts to avoid it in future. Though our consciences tell us that“ in many things we all offend," James iii. 2, yet a person who hears the words of the first Commandment, " Thou shalt have none other Gods but me," may think himself in no danger of committing such a sin in the present times as that of worshipping other gods, and may suppose that this Commandment was intended for the Israelites only, to whom it was first given, who were going into a country where the worship of false gods
was universal, and who had just left the land of Egypt, in which the people were all idolaters. But we have the authority of our Blessed Saviour himself for saying, that all the Commandments are binding on Christians. To his disciples he said, John xiv. 15, * If ye love me, keep my Commandments.” When the
young man asked, Matt. xix. what he should do a to inherit eternal life, he answered, “ If thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments.” One of the Pharisees afterwards said to him, Matt. xxii.
Master, which is the great Commandment of the Law?” Jesus said to him, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first, and great Commandment.” Here we are taught the full extent of the meaning of this Commandment; that it is not enough that we do not actually worship
any other god, but that we must give our hearts to the Lord our God.
This may well be called, " the great Command. ment,” for the love of God is the foundation of true religion, it is the only motive which is strong enough to make us always do our best to act well, whether we are alone, or in sight.
We know that, when we truly love and respect any human being, we endeavour to learn what would please him, and we act accordingly, to the utmost of our power. If we truly love God, we shall, in like manner, seek above all things to do, with earnestness, what the Holy Scriptures have taught us to be his will, and we shall do so, because it is his will ; and feeling, as we must, our inability to do this, steadily, of ourselves, we shall, from our hearts, pray to him to enable us at all times, and under all circumstances, both “ to will and to do" what he has commanded.
Now, if our consciences tell us, that we have allowed the wish to please, or the dread to offend any human being, to lead us to the commission of a sin, or to the neglect of a duty, we have broken this Commandment. If we have suffered self-love, indolence, anger, covetousness, pride, or any other besetting sin, to have more influence over our actions than the love of God, we have broken this Commandment, and we ought most humbly, and most heartily, to join in the petition, “ Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.'
If we thus seriously reflect upon the various duties set forth in the Commandments, and recollect that we must seek to perform them “ if we would enter into life," we shall most devoutly beseech the Lord" to write (or fix deeply) all his laws in our hearts,” that so " among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, they may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found, through Jesus Christ our Mediator and Redeemer."
My son, know thou the Lord, vai
Thy father's God obey; ,
And seek bim while he's near;
Then shalt thou find his mercy sure,
And learn his holy word.
The teipple of their God: ::
To spread his praise abroad.
Are thus for heav'n design'd!
With friends so wise and kind.
LETTER FROM A FATHER TO HIS SON, AN AP. PRENTICE BOY.
Feb, 11, 1824. MY DEAR BOY, As we have seen that Queen Elizabeth was never married, and consequently left no heirs, you will perhaps wonder who is to be the next king. We must therefore look back a little into our history to find the right heir to the throne. We must go back as far as Elizabeth's grandfather Henry the VIIth. This king's daughter Margaret married the king of Scotland, James the IV th.; and their direct descendant, James the VIth. of Seotland, was consequently the right heir to the crown of England too. Accordingly he was crowned under the title of James the First of England, and thus the crowns of England and Scotland became united under the same king. Though James was undoubtedly the rightful King of England, it was not long before a number of persons entered into a conspiracy to dethrone him. My history tells me that this was set on foot by Lord Grey, Lord Cobham, and Sir Walter Raleigh, who were all condemned to die. Lords Cobham and Grey were, however, pardoned: but, No. 39,-VOL. IV.