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Reverence, with lowly heart,
After all that has been said on the other side of the question, MAN is by no means a happy creature. I do not speak of the selected few, favoured by partial heaven, whose souls are tuned to gladness amid riches and honours, and prudence and wis. dom. I speak of the neglected many, whose nerves, whose sinews, whose days are sold to the minions of fortune. It is this way of thinking, it is these melancholy truths, that made religion precious to the poor miserable children of men. if it is a mere phantom, existing only in the heated imagination of enthusiasm
“ What truth on earth so precious as the lie!" My idle reasoning sometimes make me a little scope tical, but the necessities of my heart always give the cold philosophisings the lie. Who looks for the heart weaned from earth-the soul affianced to her God--the correspondence fixed with heaventhe pious supplication and the devout thanksgiving, constant as the vicissitudes of even and morn, -- who thinks to meet these in the court, the palace, in the glare of public life! No; to find them in their precious importance and divine efficacy, we must search among the obscure recesses of disappointment, affliction, poverty, and distress.
I approve of set times and seasons of more than ordinary acts of devotion, for breaking in on that habituated routine of life and thought, which is so apt to reduce our existence to a kind of instinct, or even sometimes, and with some minds, to a state very little superior to mere machinery
We know nothing, or next to nothing, of the substance or stricture of our souls, so cannot account for those seeming caprices in them, that one should be particularly pleased with this thing, or struck with that, which, on minds of a different cast, makes no extraordinary impression. I have some favourite flowers in spring, among which are the nountain-daisy, the hare-bell, the fox-glove, the wild brier-ro e, the budding-birch, and the hoary hawthorn, that I view and hang over with particular delight. I never hear the loud solitary whistle of the curlew in a summer noon, or the wild mixing cadence of a troop of gley-plovers in an autumnal morning, without feeling an elevation of soul like, the enthusiasm of devotion, or poetry. Tell me, my dear friend, to what can this be owing? Are we a piece of machinery, which, like the Eolian harp, passive takes the impression of the passing accident? Or do these workings argue something within us above the trodden clod ? I own myself partial to such proofs of those awful and important realities a God that made all things-man's immaterial and immortal nature and a world of weal or woe beyond death and the grave!
· Often as I have glided with humble stealth through the pomp of Prince's-street, (Edinburgh), it has suggested itself to me as an improvement on the present human figure, that a man in proportion to his own conceit of his consequence in the world, could have pushed out the longitude of his
common size as a snail pushes out his horis, or as we draw out a perspective. This triffing alteration, not to mention the prodigious saving it would be in the tear and wear of the neck, limbs, and sinews of many of his majesty's liege subjects, in the way of tossing the head, and tiptoë-strutting, would evidently turn out to vast advantage, in enabling us at once to adjust the ceremonials in making a bow, or making way to a great man, and that too within a second of the precise spherical angle of reverence, or an inch of the particular point of respectful distance, which the important creature itself requires as a measuring glance at its towering altitude, would determine the affair like instinct !
O frugality! thou mother of ten thousand bless. ings-thou cook of fat beef and dainty greens ! -thou manufacturer of warm Shetland hose and comfortable surtouts ;-thou old housewife darning thy decayed stockings with thy ancient spectacles on thy aged ņose ! lead me, hand me in thy. clutched, palsied fist, up those heights, and through those thickets hitherto inaccessible and impervious to my auxious weary feet:-not those Parnassian: crags, bleak and barren, where the hungry worshippers of fame are breathless, clambering, hanging between heaven and hell; but those glittering cliffs of Potosi, where the all-sufficient, all-powerful deity wealth, holds his immediate court of joys and pleasures; where the sunny exposure of plenty and the hot walls of profusion produce those bliss. ful fruits of luxury, exotics in this world and natives of paradise !-Thou withered sylph,, my sage conductress, usher me into the refulgent aud adored presence the power splendid and potent as he now is, was once the puling nursling of thy faith. ful care and tender arms! -Call me thy son, thy
çousin, thy kinsman, favourite, and adjure the God by the scenes of his infant years, no longer to repul- me as a stranger or an alien, but to favour me with his peculiar countenance and protection ! He daily bestows his greatest kindnesses on the undeserving and worthless-assure him that I bring ample documents of meritorious demerits !--pledge yourself for me, that for the glorious cause of lu. CRE, I will do any thing, be any thing—but the horse-leech of private oppression, or the culture of public robbery !
- Religion, my honoured friend, is surely a simple business, as it equally concerns the ignorant and the learned, the poor and the rich. That there is an incomprehensible Great Being, to whom I owe my existence, and that he must be intimately acquainted with the operations and progress of the internat machinery, and consequent outward deportment of this creature which he has made, these are, I think, self evident propositions. That there is a real and eternal distinction between virtue and vice, and, consequently, that I am an accountable creature; that from the seeming nature of the human mind, as well as from the evident imperfection, nay, positive injustice in the administration of affairs, both in the natural and moral worlds, there must be a retributive scene of existence beyond the grave, must, I think, be allowed by every one, who will give hiinself a moment's reflection. I will go farther and affirm, that from the sublimity, excellence, and purity of his doctrines and precepts, uparalleled by all the aggregated wisdom and learning of many preceding agés, though, to apo pearance, he himself was the obscurest and most illiterate of our species therefore Jesus Christ was from God!
Whatever mitigates the woes, or increases the happiness of others, this is my criterion of good. ness; and whatever injures society at large, or any individual in it-this is my measure of iniquity. What think you, madam, of my creed?
Religion, my dear friend, is the true comfort! A strong persuasion in a future state of existence; a proposition so obviously probable, that setting revelation aside, every nation and people, so far as investigation has reached, for at least near 4000 years, have in some form or other firmly believed it. In vain would we reason and pretend to doubt. I have myself done so to a very daring pitch, but when I reflected that I was opposing the most ardent wishes and the most darling hopes of good men, and flying in the face of all ages, I was shocked at my own conduct. I know not whether I have ever sent you the following lines, or if you have ever seen them, but it is one of my favourite quotations, which I keep constantly by me in my progress through life, in the language of the book of Job:
“ Against the day of battle and of war," . spoken of religion. 'Tis this, my friend, that streaks our morning bright, 'Tis this that gilds the horror of our night. When wealth forsakes us, and when friends are few, When friends are faithless, or when foes pursuc ; 'Tis this that wards the blow, or stills the smart, Disarms affliction, or repels his dart; Within the breast bids purest raptures rise, Bids smiling conscience spread her cloudless skies!
What strange beings we are! Since we have a portion of conscious existence equally capable of enjoying pleasure, happiness, and tapture, or of