« PreviousContinue »
such a combination of wisdom, and power, and love, surely never before met within the expression of language.
With this scripture as my companion, I dismissed the herd of boding thoughts which had Alitted round my heart like bats circling round a ruin, and I sat down on a gentle elevation in a spacious field. The situation harmonized with the portion on which I meditated; the serenity of its influence was like the breath of blessing; the amplitude of its prospects like the boundless promises of Jehovah God. In coincidence with this theme, fancy adapted her pictures to the character of my reflections and the pastoral objects under my view.
Methought I perceived that a right city of habitation stretched far into the perspective. Its walls glittered in the ray of the gospel, and its entrance gates appeared thronged with messengers of glad tidings; some going forth under a commission to preach the revelation of grace and truth by Jesus Christ, others returning with fruits of the ripening harvest. I could almost listen for the echoed name of Christ, to give “ resounding grace to all heaven's harmonies.” As I beheld the city of Zion through this distant vista, she appeared the beauty of the whole earth, and my wishes increased to get within the shelter of her bulwarks, but the road between was very discouraging ; nevertheless, its difficulties were provided against by various means, which, though simple in their instrumentality, effected an entire change in the ruggedness of the way. At the spot nearest to my eye, I discerned a direction post, with an inscription selected from Isaiah xl. 12, 13. “ Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
“ The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a high way for our God.
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”
The scripture was so suited to the tissue of my thoughts, that imagination vividly realized its oriental imagery, and I beheld all obstructions levelled before the presence of the Lord.
I looked at the barren heights above, and the gloomy vales beyond, and could adopt the undaunted inquiry of a prophetic servant. “What art thou, thou great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” Zech. iv. 7.
In some of the most dreary spots I could perceive that travellers had a banquet prepared for them; “ A feast of fat things, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined.” Isaiah xxv. 6. And when this public refreshment was suspended, in the darkest valleys encircled by rocky and briery ascents, there was a well of copious freshness, and on its stones were engraven these condescending words of welcome : “ Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” Isaiah lv. 1. The wayfaring man was sure to need this draught, and happy in accepting its gratuity. What so delightful as benefits conferred without solicitation, and showered on objects whose extremity of need is their only recommendation!
Oftentimes those pilgrims, who had overcome the chief impediments on their journey, had left a narrative of their trials and mercies; the perusal of which had afforded much comfort,
and renewed courage to succeeding brethren. At suited opportunities they were joined by some companions, whose discourse by the way, full of sympathy and grace, subdued faintness of body and weariness of spirit.
These were a few among the various anodynes, appropriated to soften the distresses of a dismal journey, and the terrors of a stormy atmosphere. The wisdom in their arrangement was best discovered in their effects; but though fancy might employ her skill in tracing the outline of divine providences, she asked the torch of hope to throw radiance over her picture. “ The path of the just shall shine more and more unto the perfect day.” To fulfil this delightful expectancy, faith must substantiate every promise, hope must enlighten every enjoyment, and love must not only accept every offering, but bestow eternity on every blessing.
Summons to Supper-Courtesy to each other exemplified in St. Paul's words to the Philippians—Conduct to weak Brethren-A parcel received—Its contents-Contrast between the aspect of Life on Natural and Spiritual Feelings.
The poet of domestic life has described all those comfortable enjoyments which awaited my return home after the wanderings of an excursive day. The simple and frugal supper " a radish and an egg ;” the varied themes of converse and the recreations of industrious tempers impart a glow to the affections which morbid sensibility will never experience. So inimical is selfishness to felicity that we must forget ourselves in contributing to the pleasures of another before any charm can be extracted even from the full possession of natural blessings. There must be a diffusion of mind in partici