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berly-how frequently it destroys the very stamina of sound constitutions, induces a train of ailments, and immaturely peoples the grave! A healthy body is dieted into a consumption by plying it with physic instead of food.

An Italian nobleman, whose fatal folly it was not to let well alone, ordered, as a solemn warning to others, the following line to be engraven upon his tomb. “I was well. I wanted to be better--and here I am!

Mark the children that are gorged with dainties, and enticed to eat before they are hungry, who, like young chickens in an oven, are kept from cold and moisture, and even from the open air, and drugged, in way of prevention, as well as for the slightest ailment; mark their spindle-legs, their pale and sickly faces, the feebleness of their whole frame. And now observe, on the other hand, the broods that have experienced none of this queasy care ; whose food is plain, and but just enough, to satisfy the cravings of nature ; whose beds are any thing else than down, and in rooms, through which the winds whistle; who are always in the free air, and often exposed to cold and wet :-observe their freshness of health, their ruddy countenances, their musculous limbs, their strength and agility.

Numerous, and almost innumerable, are the instances of well-conditioned men and families, who are mourning over the ruin of their wordly circumstances :--not by any direct providential stroke of adversity, nor by means of conduct of their own that was morally bad, but solely because they did not let well alone.

On e“ sells the pasture to buy the horse.” He barters away his fast estate for goods. A single turn of the wheel of fortune, turns him to a bankrupt.

Another, not content with being a farmer merely, hankers for the distinction of office. Luckily for his feelings, but unfortunately for his circumstances, he

obtains it. He neglects his farm, and his farm neglects him ; his expenses increase, and his income diminishes ; he goes behindhand daily, and ere long, runs out.

A Third, scorning to be outshone by bis more wealthy neighbour, tries hard to rival him in worldly show. He is as good, and his children inherit as good flesh and blood ; his credit enables him to borrow; and genteelness of appearance will put his family on a level with the best. So he goeth ; and “his poverty cometh as an armed man.

A Fourth, though snug and comfortable at home, fancies he can do better, a great deal better, abroad. He has heard of the goodly lands which yield astonishing abundance, and almost without labour. He sells all he possesseth, and on he goes, at random. He arrives ; when, lo! he finds, even there, a full measure of the thorns and thistles of the curse, and peradventure finds himself cheated at last out of his all.

In sober truth, there is in our nature such a restlessness of disposition, that we commonly make to ourselves the full half of the ills we suffer. There is a something more, which we are ever in search of, and never get at ; and, in this blind and restless chase, we poison the cup by our endeavours to sweeten it.

Of all morbid habits, that of being dissatisfied with even the comfortable conditions of life which Provtdence has placed us in, is one of the most unfortunate. With persons of this cast, it makes no difference though their success in life be never so great ; the same sickliness of heart cleaves to them as a garment, even after their fortunes have never so much exceeded their own expectations.

One of this sort, was the Prince Potemkin of Russia. From a low family, he had been raised to the greatest wealth and the highest dignities. And his biographer, who was a familiar acquaintance of that prince, observes of him, as here follows :-“He is melancholy in the midst of pleasures ; unhappy from the excess of good fortune ; satiated with every thing."

The following form of devotion used by one of the ancients, is suitable to blind mortals of Adam's race, who know not, nor can know precisely, either the quantities or the qualities of worldly enjoyment most conducive to their own good." Give me whatsoever may be good for me, though I should neglect to pray for it; and deny me whatsoever would be hurtful, though I should ignorantly make it the object of my supplications.” The ways of divine providence are mysterious, but unerring; its kindness is manifested frequently in withholding as well as in giving ; as well in restraints as in indulgences; as well in disappointments as in crowning our wishes with success. How oft, in our journey of life, has providence thwarted our inclinations, and by this means prevented our wanderings? How often have we been walking blindly upon the edge of a precipice, prepared to take the fatal leap, when an invisible

power

diverted our course by disappointing us of our purpose ?. How oft have incidents that seemed evil to us at first, been productive of good ; and how oft might the things which our hearts desired and of which providence disappointed us, have been hurtful in the enjoyment ? As little children cry for what would injure them, and struggle with the hand that restrains them from running into dangers; so we, children of a larger size, but in many instances not knowing what is good for ourselves, frequently desire, with most eagerness, what would be most for our hurt, and perversely repine even at those providential restraints and trials which are the effects of a merciful purpose.

“ During the violence of a storm,” says a German fable, “ a traveller offered up his supplications, and besought Heaven to assuage the tempest. But the storm continued with unabating fury; and while he was drenched with the flood, fatigued with his journey, and exposed without shelter, he became peevish, and even complained aloud of the ways of providence. Approaching at length the borders of a forest, he said to himself, “ Here I shall find protection, notwithstanding Heaven has neglected me, and turned a deaf ear to my prayers.” But as he went forward a robber sprang out suddenly from behind a bush, and the traveller, affrighted at the prospect of instant death, fled out of the forest, exposing himself again to the tempest, of which he had so grievously complained. The robber, in the mean time, fitting an arrow to his bow, took exact aim ; but the bow-string being relaxed by the moisture of the weather, the arrow fell short of its mark, and the traveller escaped unhurt. As he continued his journey a voice proceeded awful from the clouds : 6 Cease mortal, to repine at the divine dispensations; and learn to acknowledge the goodness of God in refusing as well as in granting your petitions. The storm which you complained of so bitterly has been the means of your preservation. Had not the bow-string of your enemy been rendered useless by rain, you had fallen a victim to his violence."

NUMBER CXI.

Of a restless desire to know what others say of us.

“ Take no heed to all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee,”

SOLOMON.

Almost no weakness of our fallen, feeble, and erring nature is more disquieting to ourselves, or more troublesome to our acquaintances, than an overweening curiosity to know what is said of us. A person of this turn is never at his ease.

Jealousy is, in him, an ever-waking centinel. His veriest familiars, he fears will slander or undervalue him ; and if he happens to hear that any one of them has spoken of him slightingly, he instantly regards that one as his foe, and thenceforward is the more jealous of all the rest.

In company, he views every look with a suspicious eye. He reads a plot against himself even in a nod, or a whisper. If what he finds to have been said of him can admit of a double meaning, he gives it the worse meaning of the two. If he finds himself commended as to his general character, but censured in some particular instance, he is wounded, just as though the whole of his character had fallen under reprobation.

This restless curiosity to know what is said of him, keeps his mind perpetually as upon the rack. Day by day he is anxiously inquisitive upon this point. If he fail of the object of his enquiries, and can hear of little or nothing said about him, either one way or the other; then he is stung at the heart with imagined neglect. And, contrariwise, if he chance to find that which he so anxiously enquires after, he finds it perhaps to his own cost and discomfort. He will have gained an article of intelligence which he had better have been without. His exp erience, peradventure, will have accorded with what we are plainly advertised of in the above-cited pithy admonition of the Wise Man.

The distemper of mind here spoken of, may arise from an ardent desire of esteem and the consequent dread of disesteem, and it may be found in persons possessed of some very estimable qualities of heart. But whatever be its origin, or in whomsoever found, it is

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