« ПредишнаНапред »
close friend of meditation, of serious thoughtfulness, and of freedom of conscience—in so far as it gives that faithful inmate the best of opportunities for administering wholesome reproof.
The day is thine ; the night also is thine and with the like graciousness are they both given, the one for labour, and the other for rest-oor yet for rest alone, but also for a sober survey of past life, and more particularly of the day that had fleeted last. The mantle of darkness, which hides exterior objects, turns the busy mind upon itself, willingly or unwillingly, according to its moral frame and habits.
Human greatness, that lords it by day, is not at all exempt from stern admonishment on the pillow. There, no longer able to show off splendor and prowess, its pride is not flattered, nor its feelings spared. Ahasuerus, for example, the richest, the most splendid, and the most puissant of all the monarchs of the East reigning from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces ;—this Ahasuerus laid him down upon his bed of gold, in a spacious room supported by pillars of marble, and adorned with white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple, to silver rings. Thus he laid him down, amid an unrivalled profusion of eastern magnificence-but on that night, could not the king sleep. The world else was asleep. The man servant and the maid servant, the meanest of slaves, the veriest wretches in the whole realm, were fast asleep.-And could not the lord and master of them all, the monarch in the palace of Shushan-could not he woo slumber to his eyelids ? Alas, no ! It turned, however, to good. Of necessity, rather than choice, the luxurious and effeminate despot, to relieve him from sore restlessness, bethought himself of improving the wearisome vigils of
the night in looking into the affairs of his government. He called for the reading of the book of the records of the chronicles; and finding that an upright and excellent servant, to whom he owed his life, had been utterly neglected, he ordered him a bounteous reward.A righteous deed, which never, in any probability, would he have done, had he not consulted his pillow.
It is upon the pillow, that the book of the records of the chronicles, is most frequently set before the eyes of those mortals, who sadly mispend their time, and abuse the high privileges of their nature. Conscience presents the handwriting, and there is no such thing as turning their eyes away from it. In vain they turn, and toss themselves, on this side, and on that, longing for sleep; the records of the chronicles, are still full in their view—and they are fain to make vows and solemn promises, too often unheeded on the morrow.
Projects of too great hazard-plans of a questionable nature and doubtful issue-resolutions taken up of a sudden, and without being duly weighed :-these, engendered by the fever of the day, are abandoned, or rectified, upon coolly consulting the pillow. So that many a one has risen up in the morning, with more reasonable sentiments and views respecting his personal affairs, than those with which he had lain down. And many a one, also, by consulting the pillow, has cooled hot resentments, and abandoned purposes of revenge.
In consulting the pillow, one thing especially is to be ever kept in practical remembrance; and that is, to offer up the silent adorations of the heart, both at the instant of falling asleep, and at the moment of awaking. 66 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou Lord only makest me to dwell in safety.--I laid me' down and slept ; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me."
And what art thou, Sleep? Of what stuff art thou made ? Whence comest thou when thou visitest our pillows, and whither goest thou, when, ceasing to press gently our eye-lids, thou art borne away upon the wings of the morning ? Thou incomprehensible Somethingthou invisible solace of heavy laden man-should one gain the whole world in exchange for thee, how
preeminently miserable would be that one !
“ The great cordial of nature is sleep. He that can sleep soundly, takes the cordial; and it matters not, whether it be on a soft bed, or on the hard boards. It is sleep only that is the thing necessary.” This sovereign cordial, so often denied to worldly prosperity and grandeur, is, for the most part, bountifully furnished to those in circumstances most deplorable and for lorn.
Behold the wretchedest of the wretched--a captive and slave to the wild Arabs. Day after day he suffers with hunger, with thirst, with fatigue, with terror, the very utmost that human nature is capable of enduring :-night after night he reposes in sound sleep, nor is ever disturbed with even a single unpleasant dream, though stretched upon the bare ground, and in the bleak and open air, or lodged amidst the noisomeness of dungeon filth.*
Perhaps, of all the immense percipient beings, above as well as below us, there is only ONE, who neither slumbers nor sleepeth—from that ONE, cometh the inestimable gift of quiet sleep.
Next to the goads of a guilty conscience, the principal banishers, or rather murderers, of sleep, are these Luxury, Dissipation, Ambition, Avarice, Envy, Mal. ice, together with whatever other of the family of the malignant passions. “O miserable of happy"-more especially upon their pillows-are many, very many, of those, whom the world deems the happiest of men and women!
* I here allude to certain passages in the recently published Narrative of Captain Judah Paddock :-a man, whose habits of strictest veracity are well known to all his acquaintan.
On the contrary, next to pureness of conscience and soundness of health, the most successful wooers of Sweet Sleep, are Temperance, useful Labour, Benevolence, Resignation, Gratitude for the good that Provi. dence bestows.
It is obvious to remark, that Intemperance in sleeping is to be guarded against, as well as Intemperance in eating and drinking. This cordial of nature, should be used as a cordial. The habit of over-sleeping weakens the frame both of body and mind : and besides this, is a clear loss of precious and invaluable time. Only the space of two hours in the twenty-four, if redeemed from unnecessary sleep, to what vast account might it not be turned in the course of twenty years!
Once more ; Sleep has, in several respects, so near a resemblance to Death, that the relation in the Paradise Lost, of the conceptions of Adam when falling into his first slumber, has no less of nature than of beauty,
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers,
Inseasible, and forthwith to dissolve.". As a counterpart to which, I will quote another chris. tian poet—the admirable Montgomery.
“ There is a calm for those who weep,
Low in the ground ;
A star of day !
Of the two opposite errors-the extreme of suspicion
and the extreme of confidence.
MANKIND are alike betrayed by the excess of suspicion, and of confidence. The maxim, that in suspicion is safety, is true only in a qualified sense ; for overmuch suspicion errs as often as overmuch confidence. As to believe nothing, would be quite as wrong as to believe every thing ; so, to trust no body, is no less an error than to trust every body.
Indeed it is the worse error of the two, because there is more evil in causelessly thinking ill, than in causelessly thinking well of our fellow beings.
Bad men, who look chiefly into themselves for information concerning the human kind, are ready to believe the worst of others. Conscious of their own insincerity, they can hardly think that any speak friendly to them or act kindly toward them, with intentions that are really sincere. They suspect religion to be hypocrisy, and that apparent virtue is but a mask to conceal the naughtiness of the heart. Piety, self-government, munificence, and all the charities of life, they impute to corrupt, or interested motives. Hence they repose firm confidence scarcely in any one. Now, as to persons of this cast, they are not only the dupes of their own jealousy, but the victims. A suspicion of every body they have to do with, as it keeps them in perpetual fear and disquietude, and prevents their enjoying the common comforts and benefits of society, so it precludes all likelihood, and almost all possibility, of self-amendment. For their minds are too intent upon others' faults to attend to their own ; and besides,