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DUTY OF CONSTANT EMPLOYMENT.

Pray'r is the simplest form of speech,

That infant lips can try;
Pray'r, the sublimest strains that reach

The Majesty on high.

Pray’r is the Christian's vital breath;

The Christian's native air ;
His watchword at the gates of death;

He enters heav'n by pray'r.

Pray'r is the contrite sinner's voice,

Returning from his ways;
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And
say,

« Behold he prays !"

The saints, in pray'r, appear as one,

In word, and deed, and mind,
When with the Father and his Son,

Their fellowship they find.

Nor pray’r is made on earth alone:

The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on th' eternal throne,

For sinners intercedes.

0 Thou, by whom we come to God,

The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of pray’r thyself hast trod;

Lord, teach us how to pray.

DUTY OF CONSTANT EMPLOYMENT.

“ I must work the work of Him who sent me, while it is day.”—If our blessed Saviour, infinitely great and excellent, was, when he assumed human nature, so far from being exempted from the general law of nature imposed on our first father and all his race, who is there amongst men that shall plead an exemption? The duty of employment'is two-fold. First, as we are active and spiritual beings, ill would it become us to sit wrapped

DUTY OF CONSTANT EMPLOYMENT.

in indolence, and sleep away an useless lite. Constant activity and extensive usefulness are the perfection of a spiritual being. The great God himself is infinitely active. “ My Father worketh hitherto,” saith our Saviour, "and I work.” In their various degrees, all the orders of angels are s ministering spirits." In the happy worlds above, all is life and activity : and shall man, who is so fond of life, lose his little portion of it in a lazy, slothful, half state? Shall he quench those sparks of immortality that glow in his bosom, and content himself with being, for three parts of his time, little better than a lump of organized clay? Innocent man in Paradise was not made for idleness; but guilty fallen man is peculiarly born to labour and to trouble. Equally just and merciful was the doom pronounced on Adam, “ In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread.” Human nature, corrupted and depraved by the fall of our first parents, would be incapable of employing ease and leisure to any happy purposes. Greatly do we need constant employment to keep us out of the reach of those temptations from within and from without, that in idleness particularly assault us: greatly do we need to have much of our minds taken up with perpetual attention to necessary business and hourly duty, that they may not prey too much upon themselves. Labour and pain are the necessary, though unpalatable medicine of our souls : shall we refuse to follow the prescription of that heavenly Physician, who drank the bitterest cup for us? Toil and trouble are the just punishments of guilty human nature : shall we rebel against our awful Judge ? Activity and employment are the law of our being: and shall we not obey our sovereign Ruler, our great and good Creator? What then is my proper business and employment, that I may set diligently to it? In most stations of life, this is too evident to be asked : and it is equally certain, that every station, even the very highest, has its proper work and labour, which whoever performs not to the utmost of his power, is a wicked and slothful servant; for we have all a Master in Heaven..--Come, then, my heart, let us cheerfully set about our business. Be it study and improvement of the mind,

28 THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE GLOW-WORM. toil of the body, or industry of the hands; be it care of our families, and domestic affairs ; be it care of the public, and distribution of justice; be it care of our neighbours, and charity to the poor ; be it education of children, instruction of the ignorant, attendance on the sick, culture of the ground, defence of our country ; whatever it be, let us do it diligently and “heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men.” As subjects, children, servants, let us obey our rulers, parents, masters; and if it be the will of providence to disable us, for the present, from all active service, by confining us in chambers of sickness, in a weak and useless state, let us set the example of an uncomplaining submission and cheerful resignation ; and let patience, at least, “ have its perfect work." This submissive, this humble, this obedient disposition, is poverty of spirit. We ought to think nothing beneath us, nor to desire any thing but what is allotted to us. We ought to imagine nothing our own, and surely, therefore, not our time. Yet how apt are we to think it quite a hardship put upon us, if any small portion of it is to be spent disagreeably, and if we have not hours, and days, and years, to indulge in careless idleness and giddy pleasure !

FABLE OF THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE GLOW-WORM

A NIGHTINGALE, that all day long
Had cheer'd the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark.
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm aware of his intent,
Harangu'd him thus, right eloquent-

ON KEEPING THE SABBATH HOLY.

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“ Did you admire my lamp," quoth he,
“ As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For 'twas the self-same Pow'r divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night."

The songster heard this short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Releas'd him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.

Hence, jarring sectaries may learn
Their real interest to discern;
That brother should not war with brother,
And
worry

and devour each other ;
But sing and shine, by sweet consent,
Till life's poor transient night is spent ;
Respecting, in each other's case,
The gifts of nature and of grace.
Those Christians best deserve the name,
Who studiously make peace their aim :-
Peace, both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps, and him that flies.

ON KEEPING THE SABBATH HOLY.

REMEMBER the Sabbath day to keep it holy. It is a matter of deep regret and lively sorrow to see how much that holy day is profaned, both by old and young. Religion can never prosper with those who devote the Sabbath to idleness or amusement. If you are in the habit of violating its sanctity, you deliberately break one of the divine commandments. And, while the breach of one of the commandments naturally leads to a disregard of the rest, as temptation may occur, the neglect of the fourth commandment is particularly to be deprecated and lamented, because the Sabbath is the wise and gracious appointment of God, for providing us with a season of instruction and meditation, that we may be htted for the duties of the succeeding week, that we may

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APPEARANCES OF NATURE IN JANUARY.

be fortified against the temptations of the world, and that we may attend to all our spiritual interests. Accordingly, wherever there is a degeneracy in the observance of the Sabbath, there is sure to be a corresponding declension of religious principle and moral conduct. Almost all those who have advanced in the path of iniquity till it became their ruin, who have suffered from the hand of justice for their crimes, and have died, whether in penitence or despair,--almost all of them have confessed that : Sabbath-breaking was the commencement of their guilty career; and that this vice, so prevalent and so little heeded, contributed more than any other cause to hasten them on to the consummation of their fate. O, my dear children, let me conjure you to sanctify the Sabbath. It was sanctified by God, who on that day rested from all his works. It is sanctified by Christ, whose resurrection from the dead it commemorates. It is sanctified by the prospect of heaven, which is represented under the delightful idea of a Sabbath of everlasting rest. It is sanctified by all our spiritual necessities here, and by all our hopes of happiness hereafter. Do not then profane it. Devote it scrupulously to the purposes for which it was instituted. Abstain from all wordly employments that are not necessary. Never think of vain amusement. Occupy yourselves with religious" exercises-reading the Scriptures

conversing on sacred subjects-attending public worship-praying in 'secretreflecting and meditating seriously on what you are, and on what you ought to be--and using every means with which providence has furnished you, for your improvement in knowledge, in piety, and holiness.

APPEARANCES OF NATURE IN JANUARY

Stern Winter's icy breath, intensely keen,'
Now chills the blood, and withers every green..
Bright shines the azure sky serenely fair,

Or driving snows obscure the turbid air. CIVILIZED nations in general have agreed to date the commencement of the year on the 1st of January

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