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ways grows up with self-indulgence and luxury; -pride, that scorns dependence, and yet cannot support itself-pride, that is supposed to indicate a certain greatness of soul ; but is in reality the child of weakness, ignorance, and error. Hence, we frequently see poor bewildered men, instead of passing through the needful, but severe discipline, which adversity affords, with fortitude and resignation, become useless from their despondency, lapse into the most sordid vices, or embrace the desperate resolution of destroying their miserable existence.
If we wish, therefore, to secure as mụch independence as is compatible with our present situation, (for absolute independence is a chimæra)—if we would possess as much power as possible to benefit others, as well as ourselves, let us not “ build our house upon the sand.” Let us not trust merely to riches, or to the emoluments of those offices which are delegated from others; but let us cultivate that independence of the mind, which results from true religion, and which shall remain with us entire, when all things fail.” He whose consequence, whose happiness and power depend merely on the world, or on the estimation of men, is but a splendid slave at best--a sort of state-prisoner, pleased with his chains, because they are gilt, though liable every
hour to be hurried to execution, or condemned to despair.
But the true dignity of man arises from virtue, and greatness of soul. The fortitude and self-denial, the humility, contentment, and resignation of a Christian must give these ; and the best means of obtaining such divine gifts, is to consider ourselves, in every situation of life, as Stewards, acting in the presence of God, the Supreme Lord of all. Every consideration, which the discipline of his good providence might suggest, in the whole course of our lives, should be subordinate to this grand end. If called on to exhibit rare and exemplary proofs of patience and forbearance, contentment, selfdenial, or any other duty, we should consider ourselves as filling a post of honor, and resolve to discharge our duty faithfully as good soldiers of Christ.
We are told of our great Creator, that “whom he loveth he chasteneth ;" and there is no doubt but that his chastening hand, oftentimes severe in mercy, if not resisted, or contemned, will form the creature of his wisdom and his mercy, to virtue, and to happiness. And if to gain the favor of their fellow-creatures, men submit to hardships, privations, and disappointment; if to acquire the perishable riches of this world, they often humbly yield to the capricious authority of men, nay, sometimes flatter their foibles, and administer to their vices and pleasures ; surely we shall stand without excuse, if we cannot prove faithful to our heavenly Father, who is “ the God of mercy and of power, and in whose hands are the issues of eternal life and death."
The grand and obvious truths of religion are, that the soul of man is immortal ;-that the present life is short—and that, after death, we must all
give account before the judgment-seat of Christ of the things done in the body." Thousands have passed through this land of shadows before us, and are gonewe too are hastening unto the place of our appointed rest, and making room for others. A few years in their quick, but silent
progress, will bring us all to the grave; where the favor of the great, the pride of birth, the distinctions of fortune, and the applause of men will affect us no more. There they reach us not, and are as though they had never been. Immortality will be all our concern-the ground of all our hope, and all our dread. Let us, then, remember, that it is only by serving the Lord of Life faithfully, as good Stewards here, we can hope for his divine favor, when called to account at the awful day of judgment; and, after all things on earth shall fail,"we may humbly trust that we shall be received, through the merits and mediation of Christ our Saviour, into everlasting habitations of happiness and glory.
He answered and said, I will not ; but afterward
he repented and went.
THE short Parable from which the text is taken is as follows:-“A certain man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not; but afterward, he repented and went. And he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first."
Were a person of judgment and taste to read the holy Gospel, as recorded by the evangelists, for the first time, he would be particularly struck with the beauty and simplicity, the va