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True happiness has no localities, no provincial tones, no peculiar garb. Where Duty goes, she goes, and she goes with Justice, with Meekness, with Charity, and with Love. Wherever a tear is dried, a wounded heart bound up, a bruised spirit anointed with the dew of sympathy, or a pang of honest suffering is soothed, or an oft repeated injury as often forgiven by love; wherever an evil passion is subdued, or the feeble embers of virtue are fanned; wherever a sin is heartily abjured and left; wherever a pious act is done, or a pious prayer is breathed, or a pious wish is wished; there is a high and holy place, a spot of sacred light, a most religious temple, where Happiness, descending, will sit and smile.
2. It is, we own, a subject of much debate, and worthy men stand on the opposing sides, Whether the cup of mortal life has in it more of sweet or sour? This is a vain question, when asked in general terms, and worthy to be left unsolved. If the most is sour, the drinker, and not the cup, is to be blamed. Each person in himself possesses the means to turn the bitter into sweet, and the sweet into bitter. Hence, from out of the self-same fountain, one drinks nectar, and another draughts of gall. Hence, from the self-same quarter of the sky, one sees ten thousand angels look and smile; and another sees as many demons frown. One hears discord, where another's ear is inclined to harmony. The sweet is in the taste, the beauty in the eye, and in the ear is the melody; and in the man himself · for God has laid upon no one a necessity of sinning — is the power to form the taste, to purify the eye, and to tune the ear, so that all he tastes, all he sees, and all he hears, may be harmonious, and sweet, and fair. Whoever will, may groan; whoever will, may sing for joy.
3. Another question is not seldom debated, Whether, in the joys and pleasures of this world, the righteous man, or the sinner, has the greatest share, and which relishes them the most? Truth thus gives the answer, and gives it distinctly, without need of long reasoning: The righteous For what of earthly growth, that is worthy the
name of good, is he denied? Truth answers, Nothing. Has he not appetites, and sense, and will? May he not eat, if Providence allows, the finest of the wheat? May he not drink the choicest wine? True, he is temperate; but is ever temperance a foe to peace? May he not rise, and clothe himself in gold; and ascend, and stand in the palaces of kings? True, he is honest still, and charitable; but are these virtues foes to human peace? May he not do exploits, and gain a name? Most true, he treads not down a fellow's right, nor walks up to a throne on skulls of men; but are justice and mercy ever foes to peace? Has he not friendships, and loves, and smiles, and hopes? Do not there sit around his table sons and daughters? Is not his ear pleased with music? his eye with light? his nostrils with perfumes? and his lips with pleasant relishes? Do not his herds grow? Does not the rain fall upon his meadows? Does he not reap his harvests? And does not his heart revel, at his will, unconfined through all the charities and sympathies of nature? And are not all these sweetened and sanctified by the dews of holiness, which are shed from above? May he not walk through the airy halls of Fancy? May he not survey the ample page of History? May he not, finally, explore the depths of mental, moral, natural, and divine Philosophy? But why thus enumerate? One word is enough. There is no joy in all created things, no drop of sweet, that turns not in the end to sour, of which the righteous man does not partake; and partake, invited by the voice of God, by his Father's voice, who gives him all his heart's desire. And over the sinner, the Christian, whether he be the noble or the peasant, the novice or the philosopher, has still this one more advantage; that when his earthly pleasures fail- and fail they always do to every soul of man - he sends his hopes on high, looks up, and reaches his sickle forth, and reaps the fields of heaven, and plucks the clusters from the vines of God.
1 Kings, xxi, 2.
AND AHAB SPAKE UNTO NABOTH, SAYING,
GIVE ME THY VINEYARD, THAT I MAY HAVE IT FOR A
IN THE Days of the Kings, there was in Samaria a wicked king, who had a very wicked wife. They lived about nine hundred years before the Messiah's Advent. The king's name was Ahab. The queen's name was Jezebel. And they had a poor, but pious neighbour, whose name was Naboth. Naboth had a little vineyard, in Jezreel, hard by the king's palace. And Ahab spake unto his neighbour Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto mine house; and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. This vineyard was near Jezebel's palace, and the king, thinking it would be a pretty addition to his grounds, set his heart upon it; he must have it for his own. And he made a fair proposal for it, had it been lawful for Naboth to have sold the vineyard; but the law forbade the Israelites to sell or alienate any ground, except in extraordinary cases, and then only until the year of jubilee. And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. He esteemed it to be, not only unlawful, but injurious and dishonourable to his successors, to part with the vineyard. And Ahab went into his house heavy and displeased, because Naboth would
not give up the inheritance of his fathers; and he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. But Jezebel his wife came in to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? And the king said, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, saying, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it; and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. He stated it falsely; he said, I may not do it. And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. This Jezebel was a heathen princess, and Ahab had broken the law of God by marrying her; and we shall soon see the evil of improper matrimonial connexions. She says to the king, her husband, It is not becoming thy dignity and power as a monarch, to lay to heart the denial of a subject. Hast thou set thine eye upon the vineyard? Show thyself an absolute prince, and seize upon it by force. Fear not; I will procure it for thee. Ahab wanted neither wit nor wickedness; but, compared with Jezebel, he was a mere novice. So Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal; which could not be done, probably, without the king's consent. Perhaps, it was the same seal, wherewith, before this event, she had sealed the death-warrants of the Lord's prophets. And this audacious woman sent the letters, thus royally sealed, unto the elders, and to the nobles, that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth. And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people; and set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king; and then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. As if done with a pious design, this artful woman proclaimed a fast, and ordered Naboth to be set on high, that every body might see him, and hear what was alleged against him. These suborned witnesses, called sons of Belial, were men of no conscience, ready to swear any thing for reward. Jezebel had joined both God and the king in the accusation, because if he had
blasphemed God, he would have been put to death, but his estate not forfeited; but if he had blasphemed God and the king, his estate would also be confiscated. And it is very strange, and melancholy, that the men of Naboth's own city, even the elders and the nobles, either through envy of Naboth, or fear of the queen, did as Jezebel had ordered them in her letters. They proclaimed the fast; they set Naboth, their neighbour, on high; they suborned the two children of Belial, as they are aptly named; and the men of Belial witnessed against innocent Naboth; and he was condemned. Then they carried him forth out of the city, that the city might not be polluted, and stoned him with stones, that he died. Naboth had blasphemed neither God, nor the king. But these perjured men wished to ingratiate themselves with queen Jezebel, and perhaps envied so conscientious a man as Naboth, who worshipped Jehovah, as they worshipped Baal. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead. And when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead; with a remorseless pleasure, that she had obtained it without pay, she said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead. And when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab rose up, and without any crimination of the queen, or self-accusation, as we learn, he rode down in great pomp to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
But judgment will overtake the guilty. Now the Lord called unto Elijah, the prophet, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. And speak thou this to him, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And then prophesy this unto him. Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. And Ahab, consciencesmitten Ahab, said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, 0 mine enemy ? Ambitious and covetous men are prone to think all their enemies, who oppose, or do not sanction, their wicked schemes. And Elijah answered, I have