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shall certainly be exposed, of lowering down our views to our state, instead of endeavouring to rise to the level of our views. Let us rather determine to know the worst of our case, and strive to be suitably affected with it; not forward to speak peace to ourselves, but patiently carrying about with us a deep conviction of our backwardness and inaptitude to religious duties, and a just sense of our great weakness and numerous infirmities. This cannot be an unbecoming temper in those who are commanded to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.” It prompts to constant and earnest prayer., It produces that sobriety, and lowliness, and tenderness of mind, that meekness of demeanour and circumspection in conduct, which are such eminent characteristics of the true Chrig. tian. Nor is it a state devoid of consolation. O tarry thou the Lord's leisure; be strong, and he shall comfort thy heart.”
They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” These divine assurances soothe and encourage the Christian's disturbed and dejected mind, and insensibly diffuse a holy composure. The tint may be solemn, nay, even melancholy, but it is mild and grateful. The tumult of his soul has subsided, and he is possessed by complacency, and hope, and love.—238.
FEAR will deter from acknowledged crimes, and self-interest will bribe to laborious services; but it is the peculiar glory of this more generous passion to show itself in ten thousand little and undefinable acts of sedulous attention, which love alone can pay, and of which, when paid, love alone can estimate the value. Love outruns the deductions of reasoning; it scorns the refuge of casuistry; it requires not the slow process of laborious and undeniable proof, that one action would be injurious and offensive, or another beneficial or gratifying, to the object of its affections. The least hint, the slightest surmise, is sufficient to make it start from the former, and fly with eagerness to the latter.—252.
MEN who, acting from worldly principles, make the greatest stir about general philanthropy or zealous patriotism, are often very deficient in their conduct in domestic life, and very neglectful of the opportunities fully within their reach, of promoting the comfort of those with whom they are immediately connected. But true Christian benevolence is always occupied in producing happiness to the utmost of its power, and according to the extent of its sphere, be it larger or more limited: it contracts itself to the measure of the smallest; it can expand itself to the amplitude of the largest. It resembles majestic rivers, which are poured from an unfailing and abundant source. Silent and peaceful in their course, they begin with dispensing beauty and comfort to every cottage by which they pass. In their further progress they fertilise provinces and enrich king. doms. At length they pour themselves into the ocean, where, changing their names, but not their nature, they visit distant nations, and other hemispheres, and spread throughout the world the expansive tide of their beneficence.-307.
HUMILITY is, indeed, the vital principle of Christianity ; that principle by which, from first to last, she lives and thrives; and in proportion to the growth or decline of which she must decay or flourish. The practical benefits of this habitual lowliness of spirit are too numerous, and at the same time too obvious, to require enumeration. It will lead you to dread the begin. nings, and fly from the occasions, of sin; as that man would shun some infectious distemper who should know that he was predisposed to take the contagion. It will prevent a thousand difficulties and decide a thousand questions concerning worldly compliances, by which those persons are apt to be embarrassed who are not duly sensible of their own exceeding frailty, whose views of the Christian character are not sufficiently elevated, and who are not enough possessed with a continual fear of “grieving the Holy Spirit of God," and of thus provoking Him to withdraw His gracious influence.—335.
A LITTLE religion is, it must be confessed, apt to make men gloomy, as a little knowledge is to render them vain: hence the unjust imputation often brought upon religion by those whose degree of religion is just sufficient, by condemning their course of conduct, to render them uneasy; enough merely to impair the sweetness of the pleasures of sin, and not enough to compensate for the relinquishment of them by its own peculiar comforts. Thus these men bring up, as it were, an ill report of that land of promise which, in truth, abounds with whatever in our journey through life can best refresh and strengthen us. When the pulse, indeed, beats high, and we are flushed with youth, and health, and vigour; when all goes on prosperously, and success seems almost to anticipate our wishes; then we feel not the want of the consolations of religion: but when fortune frowns, or friends forsake us; when sorrow, or sickness, or old age comes upon us; then it is that the superiority of the pleasures of religion is established over those of dissipation and vanity, which are ever apt to fly from us when we are most in want of their aid. There is scarcely a more melancholy sight to a considerate mind than that of an
old man who is a stranger to those only true sources of satisfaction. How affecting and, at the same time, how disgusting, is it to see such a one awkwardly catching at the pleasures of his younger years, which are now beyond his reach ; or feebly attempting to retain them, while they mock his endeavours and elude his grasp! To such a one, gloomily indeed does the evening of life set in! All is sour and cheerless. He can neither look backward with complacency, nor forward with hope: while the aged Christian, relying on the assured mercy of his Redeemer, can calmly reflect, that his dismission is at hand, and that his redemption draweth nigh: while his strength declines and his faculties decay, he can quietly repose himself on the fidelity of God; and, at the very entrance of the valley of the shadow of death, he can lift up an eye, dim perhaps, and feeble, yet occasionally sparkling with hope, and confidently looking forward to the near possession of his heavenly inheritance, even “to those joys which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.” The essential superiority of that support which is derived from religion is less felt, at least it is less apparent, when the Christian is in full possession of riches, and splendour, and rank, and all the gifts of nature and fortune. "But when all these are swept away by the rude hand of time, or the rough blast of adversity, the true Christian stands, like the glory of the forest, erect and vigorous; stripped, indeed, of his summer foliage, but more than ever discovering to the observing eye the solid strength of his substantial texture.—342.
INFIDELITY is generally the offspring of prejudice, and its success is chiefly to be ascribed to the depravity of the moral character. “Infidelity is in general a disease of the heart more than of the understanding.” If Revelation were assailed only by reason and argument, it would have little to fear. The literary opposers of Christianity, from Herbert to Hume, have been seldom read. They made some stir in their day: during their span of existence they were noisy and noxious ; but, like the locusts of the East, which for a while obscure the air and destroy the verdure, they were soon swept away and forgotten. Their very names would be scarcely found if Leland had not preserved them from oblivion. In the course which we lately traced from nominal orthodoxy to absolute infidelity, Unitarianism is indeed a sort of balf-way house, if the expression may be pardoned ; a stage on the journey, where sometimes a person, indeed, finally stops, but where, not unfrequently, he only pauses for a while, and then pursues his progress.—351.
“It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment” than for them who voluntarily shut their eyes against that full light which the bounty of Heaven has poured out upon them.- 355.
It would be an instance in myself of that very false shame which I have condemned in others if I were not boldly to avow my firm persuasion, that to the decline of religion and morality our national difficulties must both directly and indirectly be chiefly ascribed; and that my only solid hopes for the well-being of my country depend, not so much on her fleets and armies, not so much on the wisdom of her rulers, or the spirit of her people, as on the persuasion that she still contains many who love and obey the Gospel of Christ; that their intercessions may yet prevail ; that for the sake of these, Heaven may still look upon us with an eye of favour. Let the prayers
of the Christian reader be also offered up for the success of this feeble endeavour in the service of true religion. God can give effect to the weakest effort; and the writer will feel himself most highly honoured if, by anything which he has written, a single fellow-creature should be awakened from a false security, or a single Christian, who deserves the name, be animated to more extensive usefulness. He may seem to have assumed to himself a task which he was ill qualified to execute. He fears he
may be reproached with arrogance and presumption for taking upon him the office of a teacher. Yet, as be formerly suggested, it cannot be denied that it belongs to his public situation to investigate the state of the national religion and morals; and that it is the part of a real patriot to endeavour to retard their decline and promote their revival. But if the office in which he has been engaged were less intimately connected with the duties of his particular station, the candid and the liberal mind would not be indisposed to pardon him. Let him be allowed to offer in his excuse a desire, not only to discharge a duty to his country, but to acquit himself of what he deems a solemn and indispensable obligation to his acquaintance and friends. Let him allege the unaffected soli. citude wbich he feels for the welfare of his fellow-creatures. Let him urge the fond wish he gladly would encourage, that while in so large a part of Europe a false philosophy has been preferred before the lessons of Revelation; while infidelity bas lifted up her head without shame, and walked abroad boldly and in the face of day; while the practical consequences are such as might be expected, and licentiousness and vice prevail without restraint; here, at least, there might be a sanctuary
and land of religion and piety, where the blessings of Christianity might still be enjoyed; where the name of the Redeemer might still be honoured; where mankind might be able to see what is, in truth, the religion of Jesus, and what are its blessed effects; and whence, if the mercy of God should so ordain it, the means of religious instruction and consolation might be again extended to surrounding countries and to the world at large.-360.
SMITH.-WEALTH OF NATIONS. (1850.) When only three years of age he was stolen from Strathenry, to which place he had been carried by his mother, by a party of gipsies. Fortunately, however, for the best interests of mankind, he was speedily recovered by the exertions of his uncle.-M.Culloch. Life, i.
He received the first rudiments of his education in the grammar-school of Kirkcaldy. The weakness of his constitution prevented him from indulging in the amusements common to boys of his age.
But Mr. Stewart states that he was even then distinguished by his passion for books and by the extraordinary powers of his memory; that he was much beloved by his schoolfellows, many of whom attained to great eminence, for his friendly and generous disposition; and that he was thus early remarkable for those habits which remained with him through life-of speaking to himself when alone, and of absence in company.
WHETHER, indeed, we refer to the soundness of its leading doctrines, the liberality and universal applicability of its practical conclusion, or the powerful and beneficial influence it has had on the progress of economical science and on the policy and conduct of nations, the “ Wealth of Nations" must be placed in the foremost rank of those works that have helped to liberalise, enlighten, and enrich mankind.—7.
Dr. Smith survived the publication of the “Wealth of Nations” fifteen years. He had the satisfaction to see it translated into all the languages of Europe; to hear his opinions quoted in the House of Commons; to be consulted by the Minister; and to observe that the principles he had expounded were beginning to produce a material change in the public opinion and in the councils of this and other countries; and he must have enjoyed the full conviction that the progress of events would ensure their ultimate triumph, by showing that they were productive of signal advantage, not only to the