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that he accepts; and much consolation does this afford to the contemplative mind of man. We may be very ignorant in spiritual matters, if the ignorance cannot be removed, and yet may be very safe. We may not know in what words to clothe our desires in prayer, or where to find language worthy of being presented to the Majesty of Heaven. But amidst the clouds that surround us, here is our comfort-in every nation, he that worshippeth in humility, worshippeth aright; he that praiseth with gratitude, praiseth well. The pride of establishments may despise him, but the wisdom and the righteousness of Heaven will hear and approve him.'”
With the above extract, we close our notice of Dr. Bancroft's Sermons. We recommend them highly to our readers. Their style is plain and correct, and their temper unexceptionable. And if there be a work of a similar character for sale in the country, containing as much and as various religious information in so small a compass, we are unacquainted with it.
An additional inducement to purchase the volume, will be found in the unusually low price at which it is afforded.
Thoughts for a New Year.
The wise often feel themselves called on, and the most unthinking are sometimes compelled, by various occasions and events, to reflect with seriousness or the great objects and duties of life. Some are easily excited, while others are hardly to be roused; but there are few, or none, who have not their sober, or it
be, sad moments, in which they are brought to acknowledge that life is a trust, and to resolve that it shall be improved, or weep that it has been abused.
The circumstances are not to be numbered, which in this changing world, are the causes of serious thought to thinking men. A withered leaf, or a faded flower, the waning moon, or the setting sun, a public calamity or a private sorrow, the careless gaiety of childhood, and the faltering step of age, magnificence and misery, a splendid pageant, a solitary tear, a baptism, a funeral, accident, sickness and death, have all a voice, a moral, and a warning.
The seasons of the year, too, speak in almost human language; and men have been fond of tracing, in their various phenomena, resemblances to their own existence, feelings, and pursuits. Youth and spring have been joined together with bands of flowers; the fruits of summer have imaged our maturity; our decline is foretold by the brown hues of autumn; and winter has lent to age its hoar-frost and its snows.
The notice so generally taken of the day which has been fixed upon to commence our years, is proof that it is connected with many human sympathies. How, indeed, can we help being affected by the silent marks which measure out our lives, and serve as stated boundaries to the mysterious progression of timer
Religion gives a deep interest to notices like these, and leads us to value and improve them, and raises our thoughts from the divisions and events of time, to Him who is without beginning, and without end.
If we feel in a proper manner our dependence on God, and the responsibility of our actions, we shall often look back on the experiences of the past, and forward to the promises and requisitions of the future. At the commencement of a new year, especially, we shall be disposed to think on what the last has received
and returned, and on what the coming one should accomplish.
In the year which has gone by, we have been supported, as we have always been, by an arm which never tires, and supplied from a bounty which can never be exhausted. We have tasted of joys till we have expected them as our right, and comforts have been so liberally imparted to us, that we have ceased to remark them. We can recal many instances in which we have been rescued from sudden pain and death. Troubles have been averted, griefs have been alleviated, losses have been repaired. We have been saved when we had despaired of help, and snatched from the waters, when they had well nigh gone over
Even the trials and afflictions which we have met with have resulted in our benefit. They have softened our tempers, or humbled our pride, checked us in an evil course, or fixed us in a good one, and thus have assumed at last the aspect, the offices, and the character of blessings.
How have we shown our sense of these favours? What has been our gratitude, and what service have we rendered? If we answer truly, we shall have little reason to be satisfied with our review. Our consciences will repeat a long and fearful account of opportunities neglected, talents unimproved, powers perverted, time mispent, warnings unheeded, and promises unperformed. Many an evil consequence rises up to point at our misdeeds, and our bosoms will acknowledge their own unthankfulness. We shall be obliged to confess, that seifishness has often silenced the voice of our better feelings, that interest has prevailed over duty, fashion over propriety, and habit over conviction. We shall remember, and we ought to remember, with shame and contrition, that we have suffered ourselves to listen, again and again, to the suggestions of passion and temptation to listen and to yield—though experience admonished, and instruction forbade, and principle resisted, and wisdom cried aloud.
We cannot, in our defence, plead ignorance, nor want of means. We cannot deny that we have had ample assistance, motive, and encouragement, from early education, from books, counsel, religion, Christian society, and Christian example.
But we trust that we have effected some good. We trust, that amid all our follies and sins, we have performed some actions which have proceeded from virtuous intentions, and terminated in beneficial results. Notwithstanding our weakness and rashness, we have sometimes resisted with success, and fled when flight was victory. Let us thank God for that; not however in the spirit of the Pharisee's thanksgiving; not to indulge a spiritual vain-glory, nor to flatter a false security; but with a feeling of humble gratitude, and that our souls may perceive the value, and the beauty of holiness. While we lament that we have done so little good, let us be truly grateful for the little which we have done; for if there is any thing to thank God for, it is that we have been able, in any degree, to imitate and
From this train of meditations on the past, our thoughts on the future will naturally follow. We cannot believe that God will cease to be merciful to us, that he will withdraw his support, or shorten his hand. Let us endeavour to evince our gratitude for his unmerited goodness, by complying henceforth more care
fully with his injunctions. If he is our Father, let us do him better honour, and if he is our Master, let us serve him with a more constant fear. Our sorrow for our transgressions, if it is of any value, will stimulate our efforts to amend our lives; and the conviction of past inactivity and unprofitableness, if it is deep and strong, will give form and energy to our consequent resolutions.
And let us not linger, and delay, and look out for a more convenient season, as if we knew the measure of our days, and held time and opportunity in our own hands. The experience of every day, casualty in every shape, death on our right hand and on our left, should teach us a better wisdom. We aggravate our guilt exceedingly, by this foolish procrastination. Could we live the longest life of man, we should have little time enough to finish our task; but here we are without knowledge, and without security. The commencement of another year we may never see.
If we were to lie down in the dust, and in the sleep of death, without a hope of ever waking again, we might indeed, with some show of reason, take our own ways, and defy their consequences. But we shall wake again, and wake to a life whose awards and destinies will depend on the manner in which we have spent the years of our probation, whether they have been many, or whether they have been few.
While we have time, let us employ it as we ought, for time is succeeded by eternity. Let every following year,
while years are continued to us, be more full of good, and more free from evil, than the last; for they must soon be numbered; and then we go to meet our Judge.