« PreviousContinue »
ing before his death, that the Indians were a worthier people than ourselves *.”
But as I write not to philosophers, as I write not to those who are ignorant of a better principle than that which influenced the heathen world, my pen naturally directs itself to enforce, what all are particularly interested in, the revelation of the gospel of Christ.
Do we wish to account for the irregularities which we have observed in human nature? we find them here. Do we look for the true motives on which all our actions should be founded? They appear before us. Every thing that can reconcile us to a variable world, every thing that can improve our condition, and comfort a desponding heart, may be met with in the book of good tidings. If our faith in this revelation be as firm as it ought, (and firm it cannot but be if we dispassionately consider it,) a prospect will open to our view which will recompense our severest sufferings, and the
Vol. III. p. 41%.
genial dew of heaven will gently fall upon our grateful bosonis.
Far be it froin me to place virtue in a degrading light, or to rob her of those natural graces which Providence has bestowed upon her. Far be it from me to vilify the original distinction of right and wrong, or to depreciate those principles which have sometimes formed the discriminating qualities of uncultivated nations. My wish is to draw the diamond from the mine, and, by the polish of a new power, to render its utility as eminent as its beauty. This can only be effected by the pure doctrines of christianity. To produce this beneficial effect, morality and religion must flow together in the same channel. Religion, unaccompanied by the moral virtues, is like the barren fig-tree of the gospel : morality without religion, is too slender to support the reasonable hopes of man.
Let us retire then to the retreats of solitude, and by- the aid of coutemplation endeavour to unite these amiable principles. Let us from thence look back upon a world agitated' by contending interests, and tựa
frequently the scene of tumult and of
Here let us repose without remorse and without resentment; and let us look forward with complacency to an hour of tranquillity and comfort. The assurances of the gospel bring these visions nearer to our view; we look upon them as a weary traveller on a delightful prospect; we consider them as the last retreat of the afflicted, the abundant reward of virtuous and laborious exertion. Admire that retreat, emulate that repose which enables you to distinguish between the deceitful colours of an affected philosophy, and the honest glow of true religion. Innocence and peace are the genuine offspring of so sweet a solitude. Though we hear the roaring of the distant tempest, we smile with thankful hearts at our own security; conscious that our support is not in this world, we rest with confidence on a better; and while we endeavour to relish those blessings which a kind Providence has spread around us, we are not forgetful to pursue those paths which lead to an happier, and more permanent establishment.
Religion's All-descending from the skies
OTHING can be more desirable than happiness. -To accomplish this state of ideal perfection has been the attempt of men of all ages and of all conditions, the old and the young
the rich and the poor, the sage and the peasant. I mean not to point out in this place how many have succeeded in this pursuit, or how many have returned dissatisfied from the fruitless search. Discontent, however, is far from being my mótive in making the observation. Though remote from the busy haunts of men, my seclusion is 'voluntary, and I know that,
with some abatements, happiness may be found under every colour of human life. If you add, that the same is true of misery, you
will not be far mistaken. But in the midst of this chequered scene, Providence has kindly administered a cordial drop to invigorate our spirits and support our hearts. That drop is religion. “Oh! taste " and see, how gracious the Lord is, and " how blessed are all they that put their " trust in him !"
Religion's all--and therefore cannot be that abstract principle which employs the reason of the philosopher only, nor yet that speculative doctrine which amuses the mind, and envelopes the understanding of the visionary. Unless it be the object of religion to influence the practice of mankind by motives, which, without her help, they could not have discovered, or could not have applied to this useful purpose, religion would indeed have been nothing but a name. But when we find many appearances in the natural world cleared up by the view which revelation offers; when we are taught how the degeneracy of human nature may be