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and not the state of mind which led to the commission of it. It is time that these truths were rehearsed in the hearing of all the people in the plainest language, not only from the pulpit, but from the magisterial bench and the seat of the superior judges. We have noticed with much satisfaction that within the last few days the Times and other journals have taken up the subject in a becoming tone. The facility with which, in common conversation, great crimes are instantly excused on the plea of insanity, without a shadow of evidence to prove anything except intense wickedness, and that consequent obscuration of the reasoning faeulty which prevents the criminal foreseeing the almost certain detection that will follow, is one of many painful instances how little the principles of Christianity influence the opinions of the mass of society in daily life.
We close with a postscript, on the 28th of August, gratefully acknow. ledging a propitious change in the weather during the last few days. A terrible judgment seemed to impend; but God has in the midst of judgment remembered mercy, and we hope that the appointed days of harvest are reserved for us. May we not hope, likewise, that the thanksgivings of many will abound? To-day the long session of parliament is to be closed by commission; her majesty the queen being happily retired in the midst of her family at Balmoral. All England shares in the pleasure which she must enjoy in a high degree, from the welcome which awaits the prince of Wales upon his progress through Canada at every town and village, and from the enthusiastic accounts the Canadians send home of his princely bearing and perfect courtesy. We expect daily to hear of his arrival at New York. The president of the United States has invited his royal highness in a letter to his royal mother, written with a dignified simplicity which is felt to do honour to his office and himself. We are not sure that Englishmen will say enough on the subject of the welcome the young prince may receive, to satisfy all good Americans; but we can assure them of this, that there is not a home in England in which this act is not interpreted as one of affectionate regard for the old country, and one which binds the United States to us again by warmer ties than have ever existed since the first of our unhappy differences.
We should be glad to assist J. H. S. in his researches; but his letter is, in fact, an advertisement.
The paper on human fossils in our next number.
The Christian's path through this world is a chequered one. It abounds with trials. It abounds in consolations also. We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but we have our full share of happiness and sunshine upon earth. Neither the world nor the church itself deals quite fairly with religion; for both are too ready to describe her usual state as one of darkness and of tears. And yet this is not the real state of things. Religion is happiness. The purer it is, the happier it is. But as in history, so in the church of Christ, and in the experience of every Christian. The stirring scenes lie in periods of calamity. There may be a long season of national happiness, but it affords no incidents. One year of panic or invasion, a bad harvest, a dis- . astrous campaign, will fill a volume. It is so in the Christian life. That which stands out from the rest, and flings a broad shadow over the whole scene, is some " hill Mizar," some mountain of perplexity; and yet it bears, as you approach it, but a small proportion to the glorious plain, full of loveliness and verdure, on the edge of which it stands. The uses of adversity no man questions. Philosophers, heathens, and moralists join with Christians of experience in commending them. Let us touch upon another chord. We find the Christian in prosperity. Health, and friends, and competence are yours. The lines have fallen to you in pleasant places, and yours is a goodly heritage. condition; and your only fear, if you are conscious of a fear, is lest it should not always last.
We have no wish to darken so fair a landscape with foul anticipations, no wish to persuade you that you are less happy than you seem to be. We do not wish to forget that we are to rejoice with them that do rejoice. Let us consider the uses of prosperity; and surely they are not a few. Sorrow is sent to purify, to humble, to break the spell that binds us to the earth, and to make us sigh
Vol. 59.-No. 274.
Men envy your
for a nobler inheritance. In like manner prosperity is designed to promote God's work within our souls; and when sanctified, prosperity may be as great a blessing to the soul as adversity under any of her thousand forms.
Prosperity is sent to excite our gratitude. " What shall I render unto the Lord,” exclaims the psalmist, “ for all his bene. fits ?” And the heart must be cold indeed, which, in the midst of its prosperity, is never moved to offer a similar inquiry! Gratitude is one of the strong impulses of nature; and under such circumstances, to be without it is to be in practice an infidel or an atheist. The heathen erected their votive temples, and paid their offerings when prosperity attended them. And shall a child of God be more insensible than they?
When a sudden change in our condition, some unexpected blessing, first arrives, a burst of gratitude is often to be seen in men little to be suspected of deep devotion. But this is transient. God is soon forgotten; and they exult in the profusion of their blessings without a thought of their unseen Benefactor ; for they walk by sight, and not by faith. A Christian, too, has frequently to chide his heart for its insensibility; his blessings, when he is once used to them, are received too often with indifference, or at least with a gratitude cold and formal in comparison with that glow of emotion which they so well deserve. Is it thus that our prosperity has ceased to inflame our love and excite our praises ? Review the circumstances under which your mercies found you, and you will surely perceive cause enough to awaken you lethargy
Consider how little you deserve the mercies you possess. Christian, you disclaim all merit; but, to speak comparatively, how little you deserve them in comparison with many a fellow Christian, who would thankfully receive the crumbs that fall from your well-furnished table. How many, in the circle of your own acquaintance, without a tithe of your comforts, you can call to mind, whose piety you envy, but have not yet reached. And perhaps you have not failed to mark sometimes that their scanty pittance excites a warmer gratitude, and is received with a more thankful heart, than your abundance, or it may be your prosusion, of blessings. God, as a righteous Father, may distribute to each of His children according to the sovereignty of His will; and to others, this seeming inequality of His distributions may be sometimes perplexing. But you, prosperous Christian, can feel no difficulty; you derive a practical lesson from it, while others speculate, perhaps, in vain. You acknowledge that it is the Lord who, without respect to your demerits, has heaped His benefits upon you ; and praise and adoration are the sentiments most becoining your condition. Now such distinguishing mercy should excite your gratitude.
If we consider the returns we have made hitherto for the
blessings we possess, we shall discover another motive to awaken our gratitude. If we have not first of all given our own selves to God, we have, in fact, made Him no return whatever ; we have hidden His talent in the earth, and when the Lord comes fearful will be the reckoning. But presuming that this was not the case; granting that we have, with some degree of zeal, and some humility, devoted ourselves to the service of God; how imperfect, how cold, how intermittent has been our service. Yet there has been no coldness, no imperfection, no intermission on the other side. We have often forgotten the service of God; but God has never forgotten to be gracious. We have often been weary in well-doing; God has never been weary in heaping His benefits upon us. So, then, prosperity may well excite our gratitude. It has been a blessing unrequited. It has not met even with the poor returns which it was in some measure in our power to make.
And prosperity should impress us, too, with a deeper sense of the goodness of God, -of His essential goodness. For why does He delight in the happiness of His creatures ? Perhaps it may be because the sight of our happiness is made in some way to contribute to His own. But this is not selfishness, it is essential goodness. Selfishness rushes on to grasp its object amidst the overthrown hopes and prostrate happiness of all around. But of goodness we have no better definition than this: It is the disposition which creates happiness. A good man is the centre of happiness to his little circle. He is so because he resembles God; for God himself is the centre of happiness through all creation. So that our joys and pleasures are a proof to us that God is love, and that He delights in showing mercy and pity. The extension of happiness is the end and purpose of human existence.
We may trace the subject further. All our comforts upon earth, no less than our hopes in heaven, are the purchase of the Son of God. Had He not made our peace with God, no bright beamings of hope or joy had ever played across our path through life. The whole land must have been as the valley of the shadow of death, -a land of unmixed wretchedness; despairing, and filled with misery. Why are not all our comforts nipped in the bud? Why is the world the abode of so many joys ? and why does it contain 80 many glad hearts? It is because Christ Jesus hath stayed, at least--and this with regard to all of us—the outpouring of the anger of the Lord. There is a time of much long-suffering purchased to a guilty world by His intercession ; and in this interval of mingled joys and sorrows, He bids us accept salvation. For ought we know, the prolonged existence of the world,-certainly its existence as affording a season of mercy,—is owing to the death of Christ.
Prosperity should lead us again to trust in God with a perfect reliance on His goodness. “And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved; thou, Lord, bast made my mountain to stand so strong." This was David's confession. And it shows the use he made of his prosperity. He clung with confidence to God. He was wrong, not in his principle, but in the application of it. True, the believer clinging to the cross shall never be moved, but he may live to see a cloud pass over the bright day of his prosperity. David, no doubt, did well to infer that God, who had been so gracious, would not capriciously desert him on some future day of trial. He erred in supposing that a necessary proof of God's continued love would be a continuance of his own felicity. Let Christians draw this distinction, and impress it on their hearts. Can we allow ourselves to doubt the compassion of God, after all the proofs of it which our own past history presents ? Can we not trust to One who hath so blessed us in past life? Would not this be ungrateful in the last degree? And especially as we confess that all our blessings have been undeserved ; that they flowed from God's mere goodness. We are a proof to ourselves that He is a God of goodness and of love. He does not promise that we shall suffer no reverses; far from it; but the love which has been so apparent in our prosperity will shine with even a brighter ray in the dark night of our adversity when it comes upon us.
Religion has, from day to day, bright examples of those who, languishing in deepest sorrow, and even drawing near to death, profess that Christ alone is a sufficient refuge in those awful moments. But this avails but little with the giddy throng in health and ease; it makes but little impression upon the world! The world—busy, restless, vain-does not listen to the thin voice which trembles upon pale and dying lips. Religion, too, has
, many amongst the disappointed and unhappy, who profess to have retrieved all their losses, and more than all, in the consolations of the gospel. But what impression does their testimony make upon the world ? They are disappointed men; their testimony is received with caution. The world scarcely deigns to listen to it at all.
But the man whom every comfort surrounds, the prosperous, the happy man, he too makes a profession of religion. He says, I count all things but loss, that I may win Christ. And now the world begins to listen. He is not sick, he is not disgusted. In him it is not the language of vexation. He has all things richly to enjoy; he knows the delights of power and the comforts of affluence. He is a man having authority; and he saith to one, Come, and he cometh; and to another, Go, and he goeth; and to his servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And does such an one really take up the cross—and does he follow Christ? The world listens to such a tale; the world follows such a man as this; at least their wonder is aroused; they come forth to gaze, to question, to admire.
The world's measure of character is success in life; " When