Sidor som bilder

observes, that most of the unhappiness in the world arises rather from disappointed desires than from positive evil; and adds, that “it is, therefore, of the utmost consequence to attain just notions of the law and order of the universe, that we may not vex ourselves with fruitless wishes, or give way to groundless and unreasonable discontent. The man who has well studied the operations of nature, in mind as well as matter, will acquire a certain moderation and equity in his claims upon Providence.”

Real misfortunes, those which must be admitted as putting our fortitude to the test, we should find considerably lightened by the force of contrast. Not by comparing our condition with the condition of those apparently less afflicted than ourselves, but with that of thousands infinitely more so. One glance into the haunts of actual want and wretchedness, or a circuit of one of the public hospitals of a large city, with its terrible array of almost every ill flesh is heir to, would do more, methinks, to check habitual repinings, and bring the mind into a state of resignation, than volumes of printed moralizing. But far above even such a lesson, is the true Christian's motive of resignation. As Hannah More beautifully remarks, these four little words, “ Thy will be done,” contain a charm of more powerful efficacy than all the discipline of the Stoic School.

Meeting common cares with a right spirit,” observes the same author in another place, “would impart a smoothness to the temper, a spirit

[ocr errors]



of cheerfulness to the heart, which would mightily break the force of heavier trials. We apply to the power of religion in great evils; why not in lesser ones? as no calamity is too great for Christianity to mitigate; so none is too small to experience its beneficial results."

The loss of friends by death-the severing of those tender ties which have been the joy and support of our own existence, must be considered as one of the severest trials to which, in our probationary state, we are subjected: but for this affliction, heavy as it is, religion, unless our sorrow be tinctured by remorse, has a balm and a consolation which nothing else can afford. We are not as those who sorrow without hope; confident in the promises of the Gospel we believe that the loved ones whom it hath pleased the Omniscient to take from us, are gainers by the change; and that they have only preceded us on that mysterious journey, which all must take. With the eye of faith, we behold them ascending to those immortal habitations, where there shall be no more sin, neither sickness, nor sorrow, and where all tears shall be wiped away. The void their departure has left in our own path on earth is fearful, that is, when we feel as all ought to feel, all must feel whose sympathies have been properly awakened; but time reconciles, and, above all, our Christian hope enables us to bear it with fortitude.

Among the evils of this world, inflicted by our

fellow mortals, and which, we are called upon to bear with passive courage, none prehaps are more trying than those that are occasioned by unjust opinions. Against injuries of this description, woman has frequently no other weapon of defence than patience. She must bear the weight of calumny, until time and circumstances work together to make her innocence manifest to the world. Man, as society is constituted, finds other modes of redress; he is not compelled to await the tardy justice awarded him by time; but woman must sit down silently under the cruelest misrepresentation; her only consolation and support, an internal consciousness of rectitude; any attempt to compel justice on her part, being liable to additional misrepresentation.

SUSPENSE. SUSPENSE is another grievous trial, entailed by our mortal condition. It assails all alike with an impartiality, equal to that displayed by the grim Tyrant himself. Few are exempt from its harassing power, at one period or other of their lives. Here, also, resignation is our only resource; but these are times and occasions when that fails us sorely, for suspense is perhaps, after all, the most insupportable of human miseries.

“What can match the sickness of suspense?
To act, to suffer, may be nobly great,-

But nature's mightest effort is to wait !”
How many, suffering the torments of suspense,

[blocks in formation]

have longed for the wings of the winds, that they might overcome space, and learn the issue of some event kept from their knowledge by distance: but to attempt to enumerate the trials to which suspense condemns us, or the mental agony with which they are often fraught, would require an abler

pen than mine. To teach children patience and fortitude, is, in fact, to educate them; since nothing short of a well conducted education can produce the virtues in question. Children are naturally impatient; habits of self-control and of submission to the will of others, early acquired, will do much towards overcoming this fault, and making them understand that crying when they are hurt, or in pain from illness, cannot possibly alleviate their sufferings, but, on the contrary, will augment them, and cause much trouble and uneasiness to those they love and revere. The difficulty of teaching patience and fortitude must necessarily be greater or less, according to the temperament and constitution of the child.


The subject last under consideration naturally leads to the consideration of the greatest privilege enjoyed by Christians, as well as one of the greatest duties incumbent on them, PRAYER, which is also best calculated to endue them with patience and fortitude.

Prayer, though positively enjoined by the great

Author of the Christian religion, cannot properly be considered as an institution, it being the natural and inevitable consequence of a belief in the existence and omnipotence of God, and of a consciousness of our own want of his aid and protection. Mrs. H. More, in her “ Practical Piety,” thus explains the nature of prayer, and rarely has any definition at once so elegant, so simple, and so comprehensive, proceeded from the pen of a female writer.

“Prayer is the application of want to Him who can alone relieve it; the voice of sin to Him who can alone pardon it. It is the urgency of poverty, the prostration of humility, the fervency of penitence, the confidence of trust. It is not eloquence, but earnestness; not the definition of helplessness, but the feeling of it; not figures of speech, but compunction of soul. It is the ‘Lord, save us; we perish,' of drowning Peter; the cry of faith to the ear of mercy. And let us ever bear in mind, that the end of prayer is not answered when the prayer is finished. We should regard prayer as a means to a farther end. The act of prayer is not sufficient, we must cultivate a spirit of prayer; and though, when the actual devotion is over, we cannot, amid the distractions of business or company, always be thinking of heavenly things; yet the desire, the frame, the propensity, the willingness to return to them, we must, however difficult, endeavour to maintain."

We may, it is true, lose the inestimable benefits

« FöregåendeFortsätt »