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of the soul cease their own operations, so much the more sensible and intelligible are the motions of God to it. These immediate communications of God with the souls of men are denied and derided by a great many. But that the Father of Spirits should have no converse with our spirits but by the intervention only of outward and foreign objects, may justly seem strange, especially when we are so often told in Holy Scripture, that we are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and that God dwelleth in all good men.”

But this Spirit is considered by the Quakers, not only as teaching by inward breathings as it were, made immediately and directly upon the heart, without the intervention of outward circumstances, but as 'making the material objects of the universe, and

many of the occurrences of life, if it be properly attended to, subservient to the instruction of man; and as enlarging the sphere of his instruction in this manner in proportion as it is received and encouraged. Thus, the man who is attentive to these divine notices sees the animal, the vegetable,

and

and the planetary world with spiritual eyes. He cannot stir abroad, but he is taught in his own feelings, without any motion of his will, some lesson for his spiritual advantage; or he perceives so vitally some of the attributes of the Divine Being, that he is called upon to offer some spiritual incense to his Maker. If the lamb frolic and gambol in his presence as he walks along, he may be made spiritually to see the beauty and happiness of innocence. If he find the stately oak laid prostrate by the wind, he may be spiritually taught to discern the emptiness of human power; while the same Spirit may teach him inwardly the advantage of humility, when he looks at the little hawthorn which has survived the storm. When he sees the change and the fall of the autumnal leaf, he may be spiritually admonished of his own change and dissolution, and of the necessity of a holy life. Thus, the Spirit of God may teach men by outward objects and occurrences in the world. But where this Spirit is away, or rather where it is not attended to, no such lesson can be taught. Natural objects of themselves can excite only natural ideas; and the natural man, look

ing

L 2

ing at them, can derive only natural pleasure or draw natural conclusions from them. In looking at the sun he may be pleased with its warmth, and anticipate its advantage to the vegetable world. In plucking and examining a flower, he may be struck with its beauty, its mechanism, and its fragrant siell. In observing the butterfly, as it wings its way before him, he may smile at its short journeys from place to place, and admire the splendour upon its wings. But the beauty of creation is dead to hiin, as far as it depends upon connecting it spiritually with the character of God; for no spiritual impression can arise from any natural objects, but through the intervention of the Spirit of God.

William Wordsworth, in his instructive Poems, has described this teaching by external objects in consequence of impressions from a higher power, as differing from teaching by books, or the human understanding, and as arising without any motion of the will of man, in so beautiful and simple a manner, that I cannot do otherwise than make an extract from them in this place. Lively as the poem is to which 7

I allude,

any

I allude, I conceive it will not lower the dignity of the subject. It is called "

“ Expostulation and Reply *,” and is as follows:

“ Why, William, on that old gray stone,
“ Thus for the length of half a day-

Why, William, sit you thus alone,
“ And dream your time away?

“ Where are your books ? that light bequeath'd
To beings else forlorn and blind!
“ Up! Up! and drink the Spirit breath'd
“ From dead men to their kind.

“ You look round on your mother Earth,
" As if she for no purpose bore you ;
“ As if you were her first-born birth,
66 And none had lived before you!

“ One morning thus by Esthwaite Lake,
“ When life was sweet, I knew not why,
“ To me my good friend Matthew spake,
66 And thus I made reply

6 The

eye

it cannot choose but see,
" We cannot bid the ear be still;
“ Our bodies feel, where'er they be,
Against or with our will.

“ Nor less I deem that there are Powers
" Which of themselves our minds impress,
« That we can feed this mind of ours
" In a wise passiveness.

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“ Think you, mid all this mighty sum
“Of things for ever speaking,
“ That nothing of itself will come,
“ But we must still be seeking?

" Then ask not wherefore here alone,
“ Conversing as I may,
“ I sit upon this old gray stone,

, « And dream my time away ?"

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