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what we allow ourselves to wish, we soon believe; and will be at last incited to execute what we please ourselves with contriving.
It is for this reason that we are assured, on the authority of Scripture, that what it is a crime to do, it is also a crime to think. No one has ever been drawn to commit wrong actions, but could tell how easily he might at first have repelled the temptation, and how readily his mind would have obeyed a call to any other subject. Such, therefore, is the importance of keeping a constant guard over imagination, that we have otherwise no security for our virtue, but may corrupt our hearts in solitude, or amidst the innocent and necessary pursuits of life.
Our thoughts regard the past, the present, or the future. When, in recalling the past, we find ourselves dwelling with complacency on scenes or incidents in which pride or vanity, or any of the selfish passions have been called forth, let us summon off our imaginations as from an unlawful pursuit, and endeavour to refer the consideration to a time when, stripped of all false gloss, they will be viewed in their true colours. Such an hour will certainly come, for the impressions of past plea
sure are continually lessening, while the sense of accountability which respects futurity continues the
Our thoughts on present things are determined by the objects before us, and it is not perhaps possible so to discipline the mind, that it shall never be subject to the intrusion of vain and improper imaginations; but when inclined to too great anxiety or dejection on this account, we should ever bear in mind that thoughts are only criminal when they are chosen, or voluntarily continued.
Evil into the mind of man
May come and go, so unapproved, it leaves
In futurity chiefly are the snares lodged by which the imagination is entangled. The youthful mind especially, is prone to indulge in waking dreams of the future, and when the fancy has thus taken wing, it will not always be bounded by the regions of probability. In the mean time, life, with its important duties, and its numberless opportunities for self-discipline, is rapidly passing away, and a dissipated habit of mind hourly gaining strength, which
in after life will greatly retard our progress in the Christian journey. When, therefore, the mind is detected wandering in the regions of futurity, and picturing scenes of worldly pleasure or aggrandizement, we should immediately arrest the truant thoughts, and subject them to the rigid scrutiny of
In the ability to select profitable subjects for reflection, to pursue a connected train of thought, and to prevent the intrusion of such as are irrelevant, lies a means of moral and intellectual improvement, which cannot be too highly appreciated, and this can only be fully acquired in early life.
"THIS IS NOT YOUR REST."
Is there not rest within our cottage dwelling?
The echoes by the murmuring river made,
That laves our garden-foot, still shedding round
Is there not rest for one whose best affection
Is deeply shared by those on whom bestowed; Whose smiles have still the power to chase dejection From this our calm, our beautiful abode? In strife and turmoil lies the world aroundBut here, oh! surely here, may rest be found.
How beautifully bright the sunbeam glancing,
Casts rosy radiance through the apple-bloom; O'er the cool ripple, on the waters dancing,
Wakening each flowret to more rich perfume! How soft the green of yonder verdant plainAn Eden of repose from care and pain!
Yet even there, a breath may blight the roses;
May change, and pass as if it ne'er had been!
Here, all thy best beloved may fade before thee;
Here bright hours fleet, which time may ne'er restore thee;
Only here live, on heavenly Love relying,