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Half hours, when well and wisely spent, 
Yield hours of joy and calm content, 
Correct our daily hopes and fears, 
And cheer and bless our future years. 


Instituted 17 99: 





Introduction 1 

On Time 3 

Taggard's Tump 10 

Inquiry to a Christian Soldier 23 

In Search of the Beautiful 28 

On High Coloured Advertisements 39 

The Friendly Quiver 49 

The Refining Pot 60 

On Fox Hunting 77 

On the Tract called Thomas Brown 88 

On Being put by 100 

The Man in the Fustian Jacket 108 

On Rising and Setting Suns 117 

On Getting back again 127 

On the Exercise of Prudence . * 136 

John Strong the Boaster 149 

The Old Church Porch . . . 163 



The Cobweb in the Corner 173 

On God's Messengers 180 

On Hobby Horses 190 

On Inconsistency 199 

The Great Bell 211 

On the working up of Things 222 

On Thoughts . . . . . 230 

On Cruelty 240 

On Miry Roads 254 

On Walking-sticks 267 

On the Symbols of Sin 279 

Old Humphrey's Review 288 

On Good and Bad Matches 297 

A Word for the Poor 303 

On Wrecks 312 

On Heavy Burdens 324 

On being taken by Surprise 335 

On Beginnings and Endings 345 


I HAVE entitled this book " HALF HOURS WITH 
OLD HUMPHREY," under the impression that its 
longest chapter will not occupy the reader more 
than half an hour in its perusal. I purpose to he 
cheerful and grave, descriptive and monitory, as 
the case may require ; hut as I mean, also, to play 
the part of a kindly bowman, let me, reader, take 
thee for my target, and quarrel not thou with my 
unskilfulness if, aiming at thy head, I should oc- 
casionally lodge a friendly arrow in thy heart. 
Half an hour's exercise at a time is all that I 
require ; and if in that limited period thou shouldest 
become weary of being shot at, I will gladly 
become thy target, and thou shalt try thy hand 
in shooting at me. 





FOR a brief season let us talk together of Time. 
Few subjects are more important, though hardly 
any occupy less of our thoughts. We do, now 
and then, it is true, indulge in an ejaculation, 
" How time flies !" and sagely advise others to 
" take time by the forelock," but rarely do we 
make time the healthy and profitable subject of 
our meditation. 

Were I to content myself with telling you 
that time is " the measure of duration," and that 
this measurement is made apparent to us by the 
revolutions of the heavenly bodies, by the changes 


of the seasons, and by the returns of day and night ; 
as well as by human contrivances, such as hour- 
glasses, clocks, and watches, you would perhaps 
think, and with great propriety, that I might very 
safely have given you credit for knowing all this 
quite as well as myself ; but, as I do not mean to 
content myself with giving you this unnecessary 
information, I feel that I have some claim on your 

It is much better to improve time than to be 
able to define it ; and if I can impress your minds 
with the value of time, I may do something 
towards the attainment of this desirable object. 
Listen, then, to the words of Old Humphrey. 

Time silent, stealthy, and unstaying Time, 
with sinewy frame and capacious wings, watched 
his hour-glass. The elements were around him ; 
war was at work ; plague, pestilence, and famine 
pursued their course ; disease was slaying his 
thousands, and intemperance his ten thousands ; 
but Time regarded them not. He only regarded 
his hour-glass, and the sands ran on. 

Time rigid, pitiless, and implacable Time, 
as he moved on, held in his hand his scythe, 
which he seemed to have newly sharpened. 
The captive, who longed for liberty; and the 
swain and maiden betrothed in marriage ; and 
th fundholder, who looked onwards to his 


dividends, urged him to increase his speed ; 
but he would not. Others there were whose 
plans were not matured, whose money was not 
ready for the day of payment, and whose lives 
were nearly spent, who begged hard of Time, yea, 
besought him with tears for some delay ; but he 
deigned not to notice them ; his keen grey eye 
rested on his hour-glass, and the sands ran on. 

Time aged, hard, and inaccessible Time, 
reclines on a sofa at the end of a ball-room, where 
Beauty leads the dance. Pleasure and joy live in 
her smile ; the glance of her eye is felt from afar, 
and a thoughtless crowd flutter around to pay her 
homage. She is tastefully and splendidly arrayed ; 
for riches are hers and power, and this is a season 
of revelry and delight. Alas ! even now her cheek 
is pale ; the diamonds in her eyes are dim. A 
mortal stroke, to which all are liable, has suddenly 
palsied her frame ; she is hurrying to eternity* 
A moment she revives. Time, she is faintly 
shrieking thy name ! she has a neglected Bible 
to read ; neglected poor relations to relieve ; and 
she has to prepare for her latter end. Hark ! 
she is raving for thee. Time seems not to hear ; 
for, as she is carried away, he leisurely adjusts 
his hour-glass, and the sands run on. 

Time selfish, severe, and immovable Time, 
sat at his ease in a chamber, while a miser grap- 
B 2 


pled with Death, whose summons to quit the 
world he declared himself willing to obey ; hut 
not then. The conflict was desperate ; and almost 
had Death overpowered him, when the miser, as 
his last resource, turned to bribe Time to assist 
him. He offered him silver and gold : hundreds, 
nay thousands for another year ay, for another 
hour. Fool that he was, to suppose that golden and 
silver dust would be taken in payment for the sands 
of life. 'Time gave no answer to his appeal, 
but occupied himself with his hour-glass, and the 
sands ran on. 

Time rigorous, ruthless, and resistless Time, 
lingered in the precincts of a palace. A mighty 
monarch was drawing near his latter end, and 
an important document affecting a kingdom's 
welfare was being drawn up for the royal signa- 
ture ; dominion hung on a spider's thread. The 
order of peaceful succession, and the anarchy of 
a contested throne, were suspended in the balance. 
Among men, " where the word of a king is, there 
is power." 

" But wealth and power, and courts and kings, 
With Time are very trifling things ; 
No more they are, nor will they be, 
Than bubbles on the boundless sea." 

The expiring. monarch, the princes of his court, 
and his physicians, were urgent and importunate 

ON TIME.* 7 

with Time, for an hour was worth a diadem ; but 
Time was deaf to their entreaties ; he was busy 
with his hour-glass, and the sands ran on. 

Time austere, callous, and insensible Time, 
had seated himself at night on the stump of an old 
tree near a cottage. Alice was sober, honest, 
industrious, and cleanly ; but, oh ! it is fearful 
to be everything for this world, and nothing for 
another. Alice had found no time for prayer, 
no time to read her Bible ; and when she wanted 
it, it was not to be had. A fire broke out ; the 
flames caught Alice in her bed, and she was burned, 
dreadfully burned, before she was rescued. Then 
it was, when eternity appeared in view, that she 
entreated Time to let her read and pray; but 
princes and peasants, courts and cottages, are 
alike with Time. Alice's entreaties were disre- 
garded; Time shifted his hour-glass, and the 
sands ran on. 

Time hoary-headed, obdurate, and relentless 
Time, walked on the billowy beach. A vessel was 
about to sail to a distant land, having on board 
a broken-hearted father, whose abandoned son had 
forced him by his profligacy from the land of his 
birth. That son, repentant and reformed, was 
flying to throw himself at his father's feet, that 
he might bathe them with penitent tears. In 
another hour he would have arrived, and sorrow 


would have been turned into joy. Did Time grant 
him the space he required ? Only one little hour ! 
Not he. The son came, but the father was gone for 
ever. Time heeded them not ; he heeded his hour- 
glass only, and the sands ran on. 

Time remorseless, inflexible, and flinty-hearted 
Time, stood on a scaffold. The rope was around 
a culprit's neck, but as yet the cap was not pulled 
over his face. The wretched man strained his 
eyes toward the distant road, for he expected a 
reprieve. As he gazed with agony, the clammy 
sweat hung about his brow, for in his excited ima- 
gination he saw at a distance a horseman urging 
on his flying steed, waving a handkerchief the 
symbol of pardon and flying as a saving angel to 
his rescue. He turned to Time, with all the fear- 
ful energy of one grappling for life. He begged, 
he prayed, he raved for a few minutes' delay in 
vain ! The cap was pulled over his distorted 
face ; Time only looked on his hour-glass, and 
the sands ran on. 

Time stern, unsparing, and inexorable Time, 
leaned against a bed-post in a sick chamber. A 
backsliding reprobate had sinned away his season 
of grace ; his mortal hour was come. The pangs 
of remorse were tearing him ; the horrors of de- 
spair were gathering around him. He cried aloud 
that a space might be allowed him for repentance ; 


a year, a month, a day, an hour, nay, only a 
quiet minute to put up one prayer one cry for 

mercy one breath to . Sin chuckled at the 

frightful scene, and Death smiled in derision, as 
Time, iron-hearted Time, turned his hour-glass, 
and the sands ran on. 

And will Time tarry for neither youth, beauty, 
nor riches ? Will he neither stand still for princes 
and peasants, nor allow a moment's respite to the 
dying reprobate ? How, then, reader, canst thou 
expect him to deal more tenderly with thee ? 
Trust him not, but improve thy flying moments 
with all thy power, so shalt thou survive the 
tyranny of Time. Turn thee from Time to the 
Eternal ; for with the Lord ' ' one day is as a thou- 
sand years, and a thousand years as one day," 
2 Pet. iii. 8. Seek the mercy of Christ, like the 
dying thief on the cross ; for the only opportunity 
may be the present. Adore his name, implore his 
grace, believe his gospel, obey his word, give him 
thy heart, and then 

Though Time, exhausted Time, shall die 

An old, forgotten story; 
Yet shalt thou live and reign on high, 

In everlasting glory. 


IF, reader, you are a lover of sylvan scenes, give 
me your company for half an hour. Next to the 
enjoyment of gazing on the goodly objects of 
God's glorious creation is, perhaps, the delight of 
musing upon them pleasurably and profitably ; 
this added delight, springing as it does from a 
principle of admiration and thankfulness, gives 
freshness to the verdure of earth, and brightness 
to the beams of heaven. He who, looking on 
green trees and kindling skies, can truly say, " My 
Father made them all," has that within him 
which is worth more than the gold of California. 

On the skirt of a village of some note, and at 
bowshot distance from the toll-gate road, stands 
a romantic mound of earth, called Taggard's Tump. 
From time immemorial it has borne this name, 
and many wild traditions are current among the 
older inhabitants of the village concerning its 
origin ; but as these are very vague and very 
improbable, it is hardly worth while to dwell 
upon them. 

At the present day, Taggard's Tump, which ia 


a knoll, or round hill of small dimensions, is partly 
covered with a group of ancient elms forming a 
circle, whose diameter may be some eight or ten 
yards. The spreading branches of these trees, 
canopying the green sod in the circle beneath, 
render the place attractive ; and many a stranger, 
before he passes on, pauses there, and turns aside 
for a moment to meditate in the grateful shade. 
It is, indeed, an imposing spot, and a lover of 
nature will not stand unmoved in that natural 
temple, whose living columns, shooting far up- 
wards, terminate in a roof of verdant foliage 
fluttering in the breeze, every interstice admitting 
the grateful brightness of the azure heavens. 

The elm is, and always has been, my favourite 
tree ; nor have the gigantic stems, the goodly 
branches, the beauteous bark, or the flaky foliage 
of other forest treeSj won away from it aught of 
my fondness and regard. I find in it taking it 
altogether more grandeur, picturesque beauty, 
and variety, than in any other British tree. No 
wonder that, with so strong a predilection for the 
elm, I should frequently, in my rambles, have 
sought the friendly shelter of Taggard's Tump, 
both from dazzling sunshine and the passing 
shower. I have stood alone, surrounded by those 
bulky stems and aspiring branches, when the 
morning dews spangled the grass with pearls, and 


when the shades of evening were gathering 
When the midday sun was blazing in the south ; 
and when the midnight hour prevailed, and all 
around was obscurity, stillness, and solemnity. 

The clustering elms on Taggard's Tump are 
the first to catch the beams of the rejoicing sun, 
and the last to lose his retiring rays ; among their 
branches, the feathered songsters warble their 
morning jubilee and evening thanksgiving ! The 
busy world goes by unheeded : the beggar with 
his wallet, the peer with his goodly equipage ; 
Beauty in her gay apparel, and Want in rags ; Joy, 
with his smiling face, and Sorrow with her brow 
of care ; as well as the passing pageants of the 
gay bridal party, and the solemn funeral pro- 

There is that in natural and rural scenery 
which always excites me ; and whether it be the 
stately tree, or the bladed grass and tufted moss 
beneath my feet, that attracts my attention ; in 
either case my heart opens to pleasurable emotions. 
Had I no more gratifying object to call forth my 
admiration and joy, I could ponder with pleasure 
on a bed of stinging nettles, and rejoice over a 

Having just returned from a summer ramble, I 
have left the high road, and sought the imposing 
shade of the goodly elms on Taggard's Tump, 


waving, as they do, their redundant foliage in 
the breeze. All is still, but the whispering of the 
goodly grove above and around me. Not a foot- 
fall, nor a distant sound breaks upon my ear. 
As I gaze upward at the leafy canopy, that bold 
and striking metaphor of holy writ comes to my 
remembrance, "The mountains and the hills shall 
break forth before you into singing, and all the 
trees of the field shall clap their hands," Isa. 
Iv. 12. 

Many, in such a place and season as this, would 
be a little fanciful ; and, to own a truth, I feel 
that I am becoming so ; my mind is presenting 
to me figures such as may have stood where I am 
standing, and painting scenes which may have 
occurred, by day or by night, beneath and around 
these trees. While I am in the mood, I will note 
down such of these imaginary scenes as have an 
air of probability. 

It is the afternoon of a summer's day, and 
three or four Sunday-school girls are sitting be- 
neath the grateful shades of the overbranching 
elms, learning their lessons. They have had a 
scamper around the Tump, and one has occasioned 
another to fall. A hasty word of reproach from 
tlie fallen, and a declaration from the offender 
that she did not intend to throw her school-fellow 
down, have passed ; the dusty frock has been 


shaken ; a reconciling grasp of the hand has heen 
given ; and, with good-humour in their faces, and 
peace in their hearts, they are conning over the 
Scripture texts required on the coming Lord's 
day. How many precious texts of Scripture are 
stored up in the memory of Sunday scholars, of 
which many of the worldly-wise know nothing. 
"I thank thee, O Father," said the Redeemer, 
" Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid 
these things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father : 
for so it seemed good in thy sight," Matt. xi. 
25, 26. 

It is spring, and a piefmch has built her nest 
in one of the branches of an elm, ten or a dozen 
feet from the ground. There she has sat on her 
speckled eggs, and there she has hatched her 
little ones. Who can tell the fondness of the 
feathered race for their young ! Alas ! the nest 
is robbed, and the poor unfledged helpless ones, 
after being pushed along the ground, by the foot 
of their oppressor, to make them tumble over, 
are being inhumanly pelted with stones from a 
distance, to the great anguish of the parent bird. 
It is Robert Andrews that does this cruel deed ; 
but little does he get for his pains, for a com- 
panion, in throwing at the birds, has struck him 
in the face with the stone, and quenched the sight 


of one of his eyes for ever. Months have passed : 
there is a dog-fight beneath the trees, and one of 
the dogs is just worried to death ; the fight was 
got up by Robert Andrews, whose thumb has 
been bitten half off in the scuffle. Years have 
rolled away: a battle is being fought in the green 
circle by two young men ; one of them, a brawling 
and blaspheming reprobate, has his collar-bone 
broken. It is Robert Andrews. Again it is 
summer, and a ruffian-like fellow is being taken 
by in handcuffs ; he has committed a burglary ; 
the burglar is Robert Andrews. It is autumn, 
and an inhabitant of the place is reading the 
newspaper to a friend ; and among the names or 
the felons who have been transported for life is 
that of Robert Andrews : " There is no peace, 
saith the Lord, unto the wicked," Isa. xlviii. 22. 
The yellow leaves of October are hanging on the 
trees, and the night is fine and clear. The church 
clock has struck ten, and the moon is shining in 
the blue sky. A young man, with a bundle in his 
hand, has arrived in breathless haste, as though 
he were fearful of having trespassed on an ap- 
pointed time. It seems to be some relief to find 
himself alone ; but he now begins to pace back- 
wards and forwards as one impatient of delay. 
Fretful ejaculations escape him, as at every two 
or three turns he pauses a moment to listen. A 


light footstep is heard, and a youthful female 
glides hastily to the spot. 

The young man is angry, and reproaches her ; 
the whole world, he says, is against him. He 
has quarrelled with his parents, and in wrath 
and bitterness has quitted the dwelling of his 
childhood, determined never again to return. He 
has contrived to let Alice know that if ever she 
wishes to see him again it must be at nine that 
night, beneath the overshadowing boughs of the 
elm trees of Taggard's Tump. Alice has stolen 
away from her father's house with some difficulty, 
and many qualms of conscience, running all risks 
to keep the appointment ; and there they are 

Excited, unreasonable, and implacable, he rails 
against his father, and entreats Alice to accompany 
him in his wanderings through the world. Again 
he paces to and fro, smiting his forehead with 
his clenched fist, urging his distressed companion 
to share his mad-headed career. But oh ! how 
sweetly does she reply? for a time she opposes 
not the wildfire of his anger, but by degrees she 
wins upon him with her gentleness. She mildly 
sets before him his madness and his folly, con- 
jures him to bear with his parents as they have 
borne with him, and asks him how he can hope 
his heaveuly Father to forgive him if he cannot 


forgive his earthly parent. With such meekness, 
fidelity, and affection does she address him, that, 
like a chastened child, he resolves to return to the 
habitation of his father. "Wait upon the Lord," 
says Alice to him, as they walk from the spot 
together ; for, " they that wait upon the Lord shall 
renew their strength." 

Seven years have passed : it is a summer's even- 
ing, and two rosy-faced children are playing on 
the grass, while their happy parents sit together 
on the seat beneath the trees. " Alice," says the 
father, " do you remember that night ?" " Indeed 
I do," she replied, looking upwards with a thankful 
tear in either eye. Her grateful husband takes 
her by the hand, affectionately repeating the text, 
"They that wait upon the Lord, shall," indeed, 
" renew their strength ; they shall mount up with 
wings as eagles ; they shall run, and not be weary; 
and they shall walk, and not faint," Isa. xl. 31. 

The wind is high, and the night terribly dark, 
and two men with hurried feet turn aside from the 
road ; one stands leaning against a tree, while the 
other seats himself o,n the ground, and draws up 
the slides of a dark lantern to examine the flint 
of his pistol. Seen by the light of the lantern, 
one, dressed as a sailor, with a black beard, has a 
ferocious aspect. The other wears the faded 
jacket of a soldier, and both are armed with 
c 2 


deadly bludgeons. Their faces are flushed, and 
their hearts are inflamed with drink. 

The clatter of a horse's iron hoofs is heard be- 
tween the fitful blasts of the wind. The slide of 
the lantern in an instant is shut down, the sailor 
starts to his feet, and hurries forward to the road 
with his companion. The report of a pistol fol- 
lows, a horse gallops by, riderless, and soon after 
the two men return to the shade of the trees. 
They have wounded the horseman, and robbed 
him of a few coins ; but a quarrel takes place in 
the division of their spoil, and they grapple hard 
together, grasping each other by the throat. The 
lantern is crushed beneath their feet, the coins 
are lost, and the blaspheming ruffians, empty- 
handed, announcing bitter imprecations against 
each other, take different paths. Truly, "the 
way of transgressors is hard," Prov. xiii. 15. 

A group of little children are playing at such 
childish games as accord with their inclination ; at 
Taggard's Tump. It is proposed by one to pluck 
some flowers from a neighbouring garden, which 
can easily be reached through the palisades ; and 
all save one of them agree to the proposal. He tells 
them, " It is a sin to steal a pin," and that it will 
be wicked to steal a flower. As the child grows, 
he often comes here with his book, and whenever 
his playmates do wrong Iw reproves them with all 


the simplicity of childhood. " It will be wicked," 
" God will be angry," and such-like expressions 
which escape him, show -plainly that he has a 
tender conscience, and that he is being brought 
up in the fear of the Lord. Years have rolled 
away. He came here when he was quite a child ; 
he came here when he was a young man ; and 
he frequents the place now in his gray hairs. No 
longer ago than yesterday he was here, reading 
in peace and with manifest pleasure a chapter in 
his pocket Bible. One of the verses he read was 
this, " Train up a child in the way he should go : 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it," 
Prov. xxii. 6 ; and another was, " The fear of the 
Lord is the beginning of wisdom : a good under- 
standing have all they that do his commandments," 
Psa. cxi. 10. 

Come, I have given free liberty to my fancy ; 
let me draw one more scene ; let me relate one 
more history, and I have done. The widow 
Allen once lived in a cottage near, which has 
long since been removed from the place. The 
poor widow was what mankind called deformed ; 
but He who made all things, knows best what 
form to give them. Men think this outer tree 
deformed; but the birds never thought so, for 
they have built their nests in it, and sung in it 
their morning and evening songs. The sun never 


thought so, for he has shone upon it as favour- 
ably as upon others ; and spring never thought 
go, for she has ever given it a leaf as green as 
those of its companions. 

The crooked and poverty-stricken widow had a 
son ; but the poor lad, frightened by his play- 
mates at school, at the age of nine years became 
an idiot. This was a heavy affliction, though not 
without some alleviation, for her son grew up 
affectionate, tractable, inoffensive, and happy. To 
roam about with younger children, and to do as 
they bade him do, was his delight ; but if ever he 
was scared he ran off directly to his mother. It 
was a strange sight to see a human being run to 
so weak a thing for protection ; but weak as she 
was, to him she was a tower of strength. 

The poor widow was pious, and though her son 
showed it not as others do, yet what he had been 
taught in his earlier days of holy things, clung to 
his heart in his idiocy. When his mother knelt 
in prayer, he knelt beside her ; when she went to 
the house of God, he went also, and was as her 
shadow. Her Bible, though he never read it, 
was to him as a holy thing. Twenty times a day, 
at least, did he repeat the words, "Above the 

Often did the poor widow come here with her 
son ; but once she came in great distress, for the 


few articles of furniture she had were about to be 
taken from her for rent. " Where is the friend that 
will help us?" said she, for a moment giving way 
to her grief. Her son directly gave utterance to 
his accustomed expression, "Above the stars!" 
The widow wept, but her tears were not tears of 
grief. Her wavering faith had been revived by 
the words of her son. She returned home, relief 
was at hand, she was not forgotten by Him who 
watches over the widow and the fatherless ; as 
she walked away her words were, " My soul mag- 
nifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my 

Let such as have children weak in their intel- 
lect receive patiently the mysterious visitation, 
looking upwards. Such children are usually made 
happy by trifles, which otherwise would yield 
them little pleasure. They are strangers to many 
solicitudes, and in their weakness they are under 
the care of One who is mighty. If the widow's 
son afflicted his mother by his helplessness, he 
comforted her by his affection. 

The widow died as all must die and her 
weak-minded, inoffensive son came to this place 
alone, looking about as though he would find her. 
<c Where is your mother ? asked one of his play- 
mates." His eye glanced upwards for a moment, 
and then burst forth from his lips his wonted 
words, " Above the stars!" 


The sun is now getting westerly, and I must 
bid farewell to Taggard's Tump. Haply many a 
musing wanderer, tempted by the pure breath of 
heaven to walk abroad, here drinks in the glories 
of creation, and ponders the gracious promises of 
the gospel, till he feels, as I have done, his heart 
to be filled with thankfulness, and his spirit to be 
lifted up "above the stars !" 


THOUGH about to talk to you, reader, as if you 
were a soldier, yet do I not suppose that you either 
array yourself in red apparel, or wear a sword 
dangling from your side. My business now is with 
you, and not with the army. Give me your best 

Christian soldier, bearing the banner of the 
cross, you have enlisted yourself on the Lord's 
side ; a word with you, then. How do you carry 
your colours? Are you inclined to consider the 
days of persecution at an end ? If you only dis- 
play your colours on field-days, you had better 
pass no opinion on the subject, for you are no 
judge at all of the matter. 

No wonder that a soldier should pass unmo- 
lested through the camp of the enemy when he has 
disguised his uniform and concealed his colours. 

Christian," in " Pilgrim's Progress," found a 
smooth path under his feet when he got over the 
stile, and turned out of the straight road ; and so 
may you, fellow soldier, by a little manoeuvring 


and hiding of your colours. Keep a laugh for the 
gay, and a long face for the grave ; wear your 
clothes of a fashionable cut ; ' ' eat, drink, and be 
merry," and the world will let you go on pretty 
quietly ; but I can promise you a crimson blush 
on your cheek when you come to kneel before God 
in secret. 

I knew a valiant soldier of Christ who shoul- 
dered his colours so manfully, that he could not 
enter a house at any hour, or on any business, 
without being known as a Christian soldier. He 
had, it is true, the hatred of the world for his 
pains ; but he had, also, great peace, and the testi- 
mony of a good conscience. But I will tell you 
of a few stout standard-bearers, men who thought 
it a small thing to die in a good cause, and whose 
hands would still have clutched their colours as 
with hooks of steel, even had those hands been 
wounded and bleeding. 

Daniel refused to conceal his colours ; he threw 
open his window, and continued to pray to God in 
the face of those who were able to kill the body, 
but were not able to kill the soul ; he would not 
hide his colours, so he was thrown into the den 
of lions. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to 
conceal their colours ; they would not bow down 
to the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar had set 


up, but worshipped boldly the living God ; so thej 
were cast into the burning fiery furnace. 

John the Baptist refused to conceal his colours ; 
he was found true to his Captain's cause before 
king Herod, so he was beheaded in the prison. 

Paul refused to conceal his colours ; he stood 
up boldly before kings and rulers, so he was called 
mad, put in bonds, smitten, and stoned. 

Look about you, Christian soldier : if the world, 
that crucified the Captain of your salvation, is 
receiving you as its friend and companion, let this 
question be a home thrust to you how do you 
carry your colours ? 

Do you talk like the world ? If so, you conceal 
your colours. No wonder that the days of per- 
secution are at an end with you, and that your 
company is sought after. Oh, degrade not your- 
self as a soldier, deny not your Commander ; take 
heed to your ways, that you sin not with your 
tongue. Hoist up your colours, and let your watch- 
word be known : " Our conversation [citizenship] 
is in heaven ; from whence also we look for the 
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ," Phil. iii. 20. 

Do you dress like the world ? Do you wear the 
same trinkets that the world wears ? No wonder 
your enemies should not detect you; you have 
concealed your colours. We say, when we see him 
at a street's length, " Yonder goes a soldier, by 



his scarlet jacket !" Oh, let it be said of you, 
" There goes a Christian." " Put ye on the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, 
to fulfil the lusts thereof," Rom. xiii. 14. 

Do you walk like the world ? What ! as careful 
and as anxious in the affairs of this life as those 
around you, yet professing to be a stranger and 
pilgrim upon earth 1 " Come out from among 
them, and be ye separate." Unfold your colours, 
and let the record on your actions be legible : 
" Here have we no continuing city, but we seek 
one to come," Heb. xiii. 14. 

I dare not tell you, nay, I could not tell you, 
how often I have been tempted to hide my colours, 
and how often I have been covered with shame on 
account of my cowardice. When I go forth into 
the world, and stand my ground, even though 
I do get wounded in my Master's cause, it makes 
it the sweeter to draw nigh unto God ; but when 
I conceal my colours, I feel ashamed of myself, 
and am more than half afraid to enter into my 
closet. Fellow-soldier ! take a word of admonition 
from one who has suffered many a cheek-burn, and 
heart-burn too, through a dastardly spirit ; and 
mind how you carry your colours. 

Remember when Peter concealed his colours, 
and forgot, and even denied the Captain of sal- 
vation, one look from his suffering Lord melted 


his heart, and "he went out, and wept bitterly." 
Ever remember that " the carnal mind is enmity 
against God." As in the old time, " he that was 
born after the flesh persecuted him that was born 
after the Spirit," so it is now. If you have no 
scar about you, if you have never yet been wounded 
in the cause of your King and your country, look 
well to yourself, lest you be charged one day with 
concealing your colours ; or, indeed, lest you be 
found one day without colours to conceal. 


You will hardly object to accompany me for half 
an hour in search of that which, in every part of 
animate and inanimate nature, affords us all so 
much delight. So long as the eye has power to 
view the works of God, and the heart to heat 
with satisfaction, so long will they both be plea- 
surably excited by the beautiful in creation : 

"How passing sweet, and free, and fair, 

The scenes of earth arise ! 
How goocily, bright, and beautiful, 
The glowing summer skies !" 

" I will go," thought I, "in search of the 
beautiful ; but where shall I be likely to find it? 
The wide- spread world is before me ; the wonders 
of the east and west, the north and south, are 
great. To wiiat part shall I direct my atten- 
tion ? Where is it likely that the beautiful will 
be found?" 

When a man resolves to travel, without mak- 
ing up his inind where he shall go, he has 


usually a long journey before him, especially if, 
as in my case, he means to dispense with steam- 
ers, horses, carriages, and railroad conveyances, 
and travel only in imagination. " I will go," 
thought I, "in search of the beautiful;" and 
splendid visions immediately presented them- 
selves to my view. The mountains of Switzer- 
land, the clear sunny skies of Italy and Spain, 
the temples of Greece and Rome, the icebergs of 
the pole, and the immeasurable forests of the 
New World, were only a part of the gorgeous 
panorama that my fancy spread around. "In 
some of these/' thought I, "I shall find the 

Much as we say or sing about there being " no 
place like home," whenever we sigh for health, 
wealth, knowledge, or pleasure, we are almost 
always inclined to look for it abroad ; it is, there- 
fore, not a little creditable to me that, on this 
particular occasion, before I in earnest packed up 
my imaginary trunk and mental portmanteau, to 
go abroad, I began to look about me in my search 
at home. "Here," thought I, "is a splendid 
city, well-stored museums of all kinds, zoological 
gardens, and rural scenery, all within my reach, 
to assist me in my inquiry : let me look about 
me in my search after the beautiful." 

I looked at the skies when the king of day 



came, "rejoicing in his strength," lighting up 
the heavens and the earth with glory ; when the 
mid-day clouds curtained the blue vault above ; 
when the setting sun flung around him a flood of 
molten diamonds and gold ; and when the moon 
in her tranquil majesty passed through the blue 
arch of heaven. My eye and my heart were 
alike open to their beauty. In the transport of 
my delight I clasped my hands together with 
energy. These things are, indeed, beautiful : 
" The heavens declare the glory of God ; and the 
firmament showeth his handywork," Psa. xix. 1. 
I saw beauty in the mighty oak, in the stately 
cedar, in the towering elm and the pine, in the 
solemn cypress and the yew, in the graceful 
poplar, in the silvery bark of the birch, in the 
upright blossom of the chestnut, and in the pen- 
dent branches of the laburnum and the weeping 
willow. There was beauty in the green leaf of 
spring, and the sere leaf of autumn, in the hill 
and the valley, the mountain and the moor, the 
tangled copse and the running brook, the waving 
corn-fields, and the young lambs racing in the 
sunny mead. Gaze where I would, something 
beautiful met my sight. When, humble, and 
prayerful, and grateful, we walk abroad, we see 
and feel the beauty of creation. Then it is that 
"the mountains and the hills" appear to "break 


forth into singing, and all the trees of the field " 
to "clap their hands," Isa. Iv. 12. 

How attractive were the fruits of the earth ! 
I regarded them with unwonted pleasure. The 
red shining apple, the mellow pear, the downy 
apricot and peach, the grateful gooseherry, the 
juicy currant, and the hlooming plum, vied with 
one another in beauty. These fruits are so com- 
mon that we are not struck with their attrac- 
tions; but each is a picture on which we may 
pause with delight. But when, with admiring 
eyes, I regarded with fixed attention the ripe 
cherry, the luscious grape and strawberry, the 
mottled melon, the yellow orange, and the golden 
pine, I felt thankful to the Father of mercies for 
the beauty with which he had decorated his boun- 
teous gifts. No wonder that Solomon should 
make him gardens and orchards, and plant trees 
in them of all kinds of fruits ! How rich, how 
free, how abundant is the goodness of God ! 

And was there no beauty in the foliage of the 
trees? Let the crumpled leaf of the oak, the 
soft leaf of the lime, the glossy leaf of the holly 
and ivy, the broad leaf of the sycamore, the scal- 
loped leaf of the chestnut, and the green and 
variegated leaves of the laurel give the reply. 
Never had I so closely inspected them in their 
form, colour, veiniug, and variety. They moved 


me much while I regarded them, and the ejacu- 
lation "Wonderful!" broke from my lips. Pre- 
cious are the words of holy writ that speak of 
the man who delights himself in the law of the 
Lord : "He shall be like a tree planted by the 
rivers -of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in 
his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and 
whatsoever he doeth shall prosper," Psa. i. 3. 

What a world of beauty seemed suddenly 
opened before me when I turned to gaze upon 
flowers ! We know that these grow from the 
ground ; but I have often fancifully thought that 
they were flung by angel hands from heaven ! 
What a profusion of cowslips and buttercups and 
daisies and daffodils meet the eye in the fields ! 
'What glowing poppies and elegant foxgloves! 
And, then, in the garden, 

" The sweet, the light, the lovely rose, 
The fairest flower on earth that grows." 

The gaudy tulip, the stately hollyhock and lily, 
the sweet-scented pea, with hyacinths, convol- 
vuluses, forget-me-nots, geraniums, anemonies, 
japonicas, pansies, passion flowers, and a hundred 
others. Why, had we never seen these things 
before, they would overwhelm us with delight. 
If we look at ten thousand flowers, we shall find 
them all beautiful : 


" Long a* there's a sun that sets, 

Primroses will have their giory; 
Long as there are vio:ets, 
They will have a place in story." 

Nor did I overlook the grass of the field. The 
common meadow grass, Timothy, canary, and 
cocksfoot grass, the quaking grass, the slender 
spiked panic grass, and the feather grass, are all 
wondrously formed. I examined them with care, 
and greatly marvelled at the delicacy of their 
structure. There were others, also, that attracted 
me, and the corn-plants, wheat, harley, oats, and 
rye gave me more joy than they had ever given 
me before. I not only saw, but felt their beauty. 
Have you ever looked on these things, as on the 
workmanship of the Almighty's wonder-working 
hands ? Have you regarded them as gifts from 
above, for your express gratification ? They are 
full of beauty. 

Of all earthly hues, perhaps the hues of the 
precious stones are the most brilliant. On these 
I fixed my eyes with an intensity of wonder. If 
beauty can be found in colour and brightness, 
then are precious stones beautiful. The dazzling 
diamond and the crystal, the red ruby and garnet, 
the blue sapphire and turquoise, the green emerald 
and jasper, the violet amethyst, and the yellow 
topaz, to pass by the onyx, the opal, the corne- 
lian, the agate, and the coral, are surpassingly 


arresting. I cannot tell you my emotions while 
my eyes drank in greedily the splendid and 
glowing hues that glittered before me. 

I glanced rapidly at the shells of the mighty 
ocean, and could hardly forgive myself in not 
having before regarded them with greater at- 
tention. Univalves, bivalves, and multivalves were 
all goodly to gaze on, some having beauty of form, 
and others beauty of colour. The nautilus, the 
cone, and the cowry, the bubble, the wreath, and 
the trumpet, the limpet, the tusk, the hoof, and 
the turban shell, had each enough of interest to 
call forth my astonishment. Again and again I 
handled the sheath-shells, the gaper, the wedge, 
the Venus, the ark, the thorny oyster, the sea- 
wing, the stone-piercer, and the coat of mail ; it 
seemed as though my eyes had never before been 
opened clearly to discern the beauty of shells. 
And these curious formations are so plentiful that 
we tread them under our feet. Wonderful ! won- 
derful ! Truly, " the Lord is a great God, and a 
great King above all gods. In his hands are the 
deep places of the earth ; the strength of the hills 
is his also. The sea is his, and he made it : and 
his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us 
worship and bow down : let us kneel before the 
Lord our Maker," Psa. xcv. 3 6. 

I next looked at animated nature; and if the 


half-reasoning elephant, the huge rhinoceros, the 
.shaggy bear, the patient camel, the wild buffalo, 
and the grinning baboon were not alluring to the 
e y e > y e t there were not wanting things that at- 
tracted me. The figure of the horse with hi? 
neck clothed with thunder, the symmetry of the 
antelope with his limbs of grace, the tawny 
covering of the lion, the striped skins of the tiger 
and the zebra, the spotted hides of the leopard 
and giraffe, and the fur of the ermine, bewildered 
me with their beauty. I gazed again and again 
and again and again my astonishment was called 
forth. If you have never seen these things with 
an eye of delight, you have never yet regarded 
them with attention, for God has moulded them 
in forms and painted them with colours peculiarly 
their own. 

I gazed on the plumage of birds, and my wonder 
was called forth till I became dumb with admi- 
ration, laying my hand upon my mouth. The 
dunghill cock strutted before me in his feathery 
grandeur, the graceful swan presented her snowy 
bosom, the canary warbled in his yellow doublet, 
the kingfisher skimmed along the brook in his 
brilliant attire, and the proud peacock spread his 
tail of glittering glory. What varied attitudes! 
what glowing colours ! And then the dazzling 
hues of the humming-bird, the radiant feathers of 


the flamingo, the glittering apparel of the gold 
and the silver pheasant, and the entrancing light- 
ness and elegance of the bird of paradise! Oh! 
they were beyond all praise, and beauty seemed 
not to beam only, but to blaze amid the radiance 

And did the finny inhabitants of the waters 
fail to wake my wonder ? Did I gaze on the 
sparkling salmon, the yellow carp, the gold fish 
and the silver fish, without emotion ? On the 
contrary, their glittering, glowing, ever-changing 
hues made my eyes sparkle with amazement. 
Yet even these, if possible, were exceeded by the 
radiant hues of the serpent tribe. In every pos- 
sible form and colour, beauty appeared to be 
presented to my eyes. My heart was eloquent, 
but my lips were dumb. 

I looked at the insect world, and a new beauty 
rose up before me. The industrious bee was 
abroad, the warrior wasp in his shining yellow 
coat of mail, and butterflies were fluttering in the 
air. The latter were like flying flowers of every 
conceivable attraction. Ruby reds, brilliant blues, 
dazzling yellows, and glittering greens, were mingled 
with every other colour. The dragon-fly flitted to 
and fro over the stream in his burnished armour, 
and the diamond beetle crept beneath the grass, 
spangled with radiant hues of almost unequalled 


intensity. The same heavenly hand that painted 
the rainhow had given them their brighter co- 
lours, and sent them forth as glowing specimens 
of his almighty workmanship. 

I turned my eyes upon mankind ; on the smil- 
ing babe, and the gray hair and the wrinkled brow. 
What a thrill ran through my heart as I gazed 
on the lovely infant with dimpled cheek 

Secure in slumber, fearless of alarms, 
Cradled in peace, and clasp'd in beauty's arms. 

Youth and maturity attracted me. The graceful 
figure of man, the fairer and lovelier form of 
woman, were a beauteous pair, 

For contemplation he, and valour form'd 
For softness she, and sweet attractive grace. 

Was there no beauty here ? My heart felt there 
was ; and when I saw age with meekness and 
forbearance on his brow, wisdom on his lip, and 
heaven in his desires, his hopes, and his expecta- 
tions, there was a beauty in the scene that sank 
into my soul. "Enough! enough!" said I. 
" Good and great is the Lord ! ' He hath made 
everything beautiful in his time,' " Eccles. iii. 11. 
I have looked at the heavens and the earth ; 
I have gazed on trees, fruit, leaves, flowers, and 
grasses ; on precious stones, shells, animals, fish, 
reptiles, and insects, and lastly on mankind, and 


there is beauty in them all. No longer will I 
wander in search of the beautiful, for when our 
eyes and hearts are open, the beautiful is every- 
where to be found. Oh that we may love the 
beauty of creation and revelation ! and oh that we 
may seek to obtain the beauty of truth, the 
beauty of love, the beauty of peace, the beauty 
of virtue, "the beauty of holiness," and the 
beauty of heaven ! 


As children are attracted by gaudy colours, so are 
grown-up people affected by vivid descriptions. 
What the red, the blue, the green, and the yellow 
are to the boy, the inflated phrase and high- 
wrought description often are to the man. With 
many people the more highly a thing is praised, 
the stronger is its attraction, and it is on this 
assumption that so many high-coloured advertise- 
ments appear. 

Whoever would know what is passing in the 
world should read the newspapers ; for he will 
find in them much to inform his understanding, 
to assist his judgment, and to move him to mirth, 
applause, pity, and indignation. Having recently 
turned over a file or two of journals, I am disposed, 
in a somewhat humorous mood, to make some 
allusion to a portion of their contents. 

We read in holy writ of a disposition on the 
part of a purchaser to cry down the article he is 
about to buy : " It is naught, it is naught, saith 
the buyer ; but when he is gone his way, then he 


boasteth," Prov. xx. 14. Hardly do I think that, 
in this respect, any alteration for the better has 
taken place since the days of Solomon; but, how- 
ever this may be, mankind have certainly not 
declined in the art of crying up the articles they 
wish to sell. From a mansion, or an estate, to a 
pill-box -and packet of needles, everything, accord- 
ing to the advertisements in the newspapers, may 
be had of the very highest quality, and at the very 
lowest price. 

Again : if we look at the amazing establishments 
of some of those who cater for the wants of the 
people, and so freely advertise in the public jour- 
nals, it may incline us to think that there is no 
little truth in the adage 

He that in the world would rise, 
Must read the news and advertise. 

Admitting, for a moment, that all which I 
have been reading is correct, and that there are, 
really, such excellent bargains to be made as are 
publicly set forth, I have, for a long time, been 
standing sadly in my own light. Let me look at 
the affair a little more narrowly, for he is not a 
wise man who throws away his money by bad 
management, when he has so many opportunities 
of laying it out to advantage. 

I have no positive intention of quitting the 
house now occupied by me, and if I had, the pur- 


chase of an estate is not exactly the thing that 
would suit me, and yet there is something very 
attractive in the announcement, " That snug little 
freehold, ' Rose Cottage/ with an excellent orchard 
and eight acres of land, free from all encumbrance, 
delightfully situated in a healthy and pleasant 
neighbourhood, commanding an extended prospect, 
is now to be sold, with immediate possession, on 
very moderate terms; any part of the purchase- 
money may remain on mortgage." There is such 
a kindly spirit of accommodation in all this, such 
an evident disposition to meet every wish, to anti- 
cipate every objection, and remove every impedi- 
ment, that, to say the least of it, one can hardly 
regard the advertiser as anything less than a 

Then, again, there are so many " eligible invest- 
ments" of all kinds, in houses and land ; so many 
" lucrative partnerships in established concerns," 
and so many shares to be had in assurance, 
railroad, mining, and other companies, all pro- 
fessing to enrich those who secure them, that the 
wonder is, how owners of such property can mani- 
fest such careless indifference to their own interest, 
as to part with such undeniable advantages. 

In the article of clothing, the liberality of those 
who undertake to meet our wants, almost amounts 
to benevolence. What a supply, a profusion, 
E 2 


a prodigality of coats pea, pilot, and polka ; 
fur, Russian, and Chesterfield ; Athol, Pembroke, 
and American ; Bedford, Taglioni, Codrington, 
and Albert ; a man must, indeed, be difficult to 
please, who can find nothing among these to suit 
him. In waistcoats though I believe vests is 
the modern word there is the same unsparing 
plenteousness. Plaids, Thibet s, Mexicans, cassi- 
meres, Persian, satin and velvet, plain and figured, 
are all provided at prices to suit all pockets ; with 
trousers, cloaks, blouses, liveries, and ladies' riding 
habits, in unstinted abundance : the money paid 
by a purchaser for any of these articles to be on the 
instant returned, where the slightest dissatisfaction 
prevails. Talk of tradesmen being covetous, and 
given to take advantage ! Why, what can be more 
honourable and open-hearted than these pro- 
fessions ? 

I have now before me an advertisement of an 
"immense stock" of " substantially-made," and 
" fashionably-cut" clothes, according to which it 
seems beyond dispute very practicable for a man 
to make his appearance in a " splendid" frock 
coat, a "gentlemanly" waistcoat, and " a pair of 
fine black cloth trousers," for the sum of one 
pound eleven shillings and ninepence. I have 
been looking at the cuffs of my best coat for some 
time, and really, really, it hardly seems reasonable 


to wear clothes at all questionable, when such an 
unquestionable suit can be obtained on such easy 
terms. Be not surprised, should a fit of extrava- 
gance come over me, and you should meet me 
one of these days, " spick and span." 

I see but little about butcher's meat in the 
papers, but of York and Westphalian hams, real 
Wiltshire bacon, and excellent Welsh butter, 
there seems no difficulty in laying in a stock on 
most economical terms ; while cod-fish may at 
times be bought at twopence per pound, and soles 
at the same price per pair. Mackerel, too, whose 
rainbow tints bespeak their freshness, are said to 
be unusually low. Peace and plenty are excellent 
things ; we have been blessed with the former 
now for a long season, and no one, judging from 
advertisements in the newspapers, can reason- 
ably doubt the existence of the latter. 

There are many who drink neither Scotch, 
Burton, Alton, nor Bass's pale ale, nor Barclay's 
porter, nor Guinness' s XXX Dublin stout, and to 
these especially the article of tea is one of consi- 
derable importance. Were we to form an opinion 
from the advertisements of the many " depots," 
"marts," and "establishments" in the tea-trade, 
and the peculiar and especial advantages that each 
enjoys, one might be led to suspect that they 
employ their own ships and carry on a direct trade 


with the Hong merchants of the celestial empire. 
In pekoe, souchong, congou, and bohea , twankay, 
hyson, and gunpowder teas, all our wants are anti- 
cipated with the greatest care, and almost affec- 
tionate philanthropy. We can, all of us, if we 
like, drink, on very moderate terms, just such tea 
as is supplied to the royal table. Is not this 
enough to tempt us to take an extra cup, if not 
two ? There is, it appears, an admirable mixture, 
made up of forty different rare black teas, every 
kind grown on a different plantation, and pos- 
sessing some peculiar quality, or flavour. These 
various kinds are blended together in such proper 
proportions, that they produce a compound abso- 
lutely perfect. What more can we wish for ? 
Unfortunately, however, as everything has a 
shadowy side, this excellent mixture is only known 
to one tea-dealer, though five hundred others un- 
dertake to supply it, every one vending his own 
mixture. It follows, then, that of the five hundred 
medleys, or mixtures, only one is genuine ; the 
remaining four hundred and ninety- nine being 
spurious. This is a somewhat knotty point, which 
I must leave to the tea-dealers to settle. When 
I order my next chest no, not chest, for that 
is a little above my mark when I next order tea, 
I must see if I cannot get it of the genuine 


When I was a boy, I never dreamed of putting- 
Macassar oil, the toilet gem, bear's grease, and 
Circassian cream, on my head, nor had I my hair 
cut by a " physiognomical haircutter and peru- 
quier." These are all advantages of modern times ; 
and to them may be added, "tally-ho razors, 
genuine magnet paste, and superior badger-hair 
shaving brushes." I am not a wig-wearer ; but 
as none of us can see into futurity, nor divine what 
our wants may be in days to come, it is some- 
thing to know that there are such things, to be 
had on very moderate terms, as " patent wigs of 
a cobweb texture," and " ventilating gossamer- 
web perukes, light as thistle down." Had it 
not been for the advertisements in the papers, 
these things might have altogether escaped my 
attention. Truly ours are extraordinary times ! 

I hardly dare trust myself on the subject of medi- 
cine, being sadly sceptical as to the sovereign influ- 
ences of many nostrums which are freely advertised. 
Scarcely is there an infirmity to which humanity 
is liable, which some favourite pill, or potion does 
not profess to cure that is, if you take enough of 
it. A short time ago, the " Times" newspaper, in 
a fit of caustic jocularity, exclaimed, " You com- 
plain that you have taken fifty pills every morning, 
and fifty every evening, these six weeks, and find 
yourself at death's door. Then take more. Roast 


them for your coffee butter them for your toast 
boil them for pea-soup stew them for kidneys 
fry them fricassee them scallop them eat them 
raw drink them devour them nibble them 
crack them play with them take them for food 
take them for medicine take them for pleasure. 
They are the essence of health and strength, take, 
take them nothing but them, and you must live." 

This is a tolerable dose for the pill advertisers. 
I hope it will agree with them, and do them good. 

But it is not in houses, and food, and clothing, 
and physic alone, that advantages are offered, but 
in numberless other things. The savings which 
are to be effected in the purchase of household 
furniture are " immense," according to the adver- 
tisements, making us look coldly on our old friends 
and companions, our chairs and tables, as though 
we were half ashamed of their company. Pillar 
and clawfoot, Pembroke and dining-tables ; cottage, 
cane, mahogany, and japanned chairs ; French, 
tent, and four-post bedsteads, with hangings of all 
sorts ; and Brussels, Turkey, Wilton, and Kidder- 
minster carpets, may be had at twenty different 
establishments, every one of them the " most 
extensive," the "cheapest," and the "best" in the 
kingdom. Young housekeepers may well congra- 
tulate themselves on the privileges they enjoy. 

Such as are disposed to add to their facilities 


of obtaining knowledge, have now an admirable 
opportunity, for books are printed in abundance 
to teach languages, without the assistance of a 
master ; and lessons from real natives are given in 
French and German, " at sixpence each." Who, 
under these circumstances, would rest satisfied with 
only a knowledge of his native tongue ? 

Nor are those who, having property, are dis- 
posed to enjoy it, at all overlooked by advertisers ; 
for carriages, chariots, phaetons, stanhopes, til- 
buries, and cabs ; hunters, hackneys, ponies, car- 
riage-horses, and cobs, of most undeniable merits, 
are proffered daily in the papers, with many pro- 
fessions of upright and liberal dealing. Delightful 
excursions also are planned for them, in the 
swiftest steamers, to the most agreeable countries, 
touching at the most interesting places, on the 
most economical terms ; so that Etna and Vesuvius, 
the falls of Niagara, the pyramids of Egypt, the 
Alhambra of Spain, the Acropolis of Athens, and 
the Colosseum of Rome, are no longer the impro- 
bable and impracticable places to visit that they 
have usually been supposed. 

Thus might I go on enumerating the great 
advantages of modern times, and the wondrous 
facilities set forth in advertisements, for extending 
our knowledge, our comfort, and our pleasures ; 
but, perhaps, I shall do better by applying a 


remark, and putting a searching question to my 
own heart, and to yours. 

I have been somewhat pointed, if not severe, in 
my observations on the overdrawn, high-coloured 
advertisements of others, without sufficiently con- 
sidering my own. Every man is an advertiser, 
and our profession of Christianity is an advertise- 
ment, wherein we undertake, not only to love one 
another, to do to others as we would have them do 
to us, to fear God and kpep his commandments, 
but, also, to " live soberly, righteously, and godly, 
in this present world ; looking for that blessed 
hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ ; who gave himself 
for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, 
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works," Titus ii. 1214. While, then, 
we so freely comment on the advertisements of 
others, do we honestly act up to our own ? 


AND now, reader, let us spend together a half- 
hour in serious thought and solemn reflection. 
Though I alone speak, yet will we hoth he lis- 
teners, for the words spoken to thee will not be 
the less addressed to my own heart. It is a good 
and a profitable thing to meditate on the dealings 
of the Most High with the creatures he has 
formed of the dust : 

The more we think of man below, 
The more of guilt and shame we know; 
The more we think of God, the more 
We love, and wonder, and adore. 

Servant of God ! believer in Christ ! disciple of 
the Redeemer ! whether the gray hairs of age, or 
the ruddy cheek of youth be thine ; whether thou 
art bending with infirmity, or walking erect with 
health and strength ; listen while I describe some 
of the arrows with which the Heavenly Archer is 
wont to wound, not only his enemies, but those 
he loves. 

Shall the servant fare better than his Master ? 
Shall thy Lord be wounded, and thou go free? 


He who was himself sorely wounded by the archers, 
oppressed and afflicted ; he who was wounded for 
our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, 
has too much love for thee to let thee escape 
without affliction. He who was made "perfect 
through sufferings," Heb. ii. 10, will not with- 
hold thy needful portion. There is such a thing 
as wounding to heal : the skilful surgeon does this, 
when he cuts away the gangrene that would de- 
stroy the precious life. There is such a thing as 
destroying peace to save from destruction : this 
is done when a fire breaks out and the unconscious 
sleeper is rudely roused from his luxurious yet 
dangerous repose. 

Some of the arrows of the Heavenly Archer are 
sent to alarm us, some to convince us of sin, some 
to prevent us from sinning, some to kill our pas- 
sions, some to slay our infirmities, and others to 
make us acquainted with the Great Physician, the 
Almighty Healer, of his people. 

If thou hast not yet been wounded, there are 
winged shafts in store for thee ; and if thou hast, 
thy spirit will go with me while I venture to 
describe some of the arrows that are to be found 
in the friendly quiver of the Heavenly Archer. 

There are THREATENING arrows. The bow is 
bent, and drawn, but the arrow is not yet sent 
forth. Such are the general denunciations of God 


against sin: "Be sure your sin will find you 
out," Numb, xxxii. 23 ; " The soul that sinneth, 
it shall die," Ezek. xviii. 4. 

Some seeds that are set in the ground spring up 
in a very short time, while others remain heneath 
the earth for a very long time. Even so it is with 
the seeds of sin ; whether sooner or later, up they 
will come : therefore, keep your eye on every 
threatening arrow. 

Agag, the king of the Amalekites, when he was 
the prisoner of Saul, deceived himself into the 
belief that because his life had been spared for 
a season he was secure. " Surely," said he, " the 
bitterness of death is past." But, for all this, 
" Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord 
in Gilgal," 1 Sam. xv. 32, 33. 

Shimei, who cursed David, was not punished 
till after David's death ; but then Solomon com- 
manded Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, who went 
out and fell upon him, that he died, 1 Kings 
ii. 46. 

Say not to thyself, " God will not hear vanity, 
neither will the Almighty regard it," Job xxxv. 
13 ; for though the arrow that is set against thee 
be held awhile on the string, be sure it will over- 
take thee at last. Sometimes days, and sometimes 
years, may pass before the sinner is punished. 
Hast thou never read the words, " Remember not 


the sins of my youth, nor me transgressions,*' 
Psa. xxv. 7. Again I say, keep thine eye upon 
the threatening arrows of the Almighty. 

There are WARNING arrows of various kinds ; 
and these are for ever falling around our paths. 
By these we are reminded of our infirmities and 
sins : they tell us that we are mortal creatures ; 
that we are liable every hour to die ; and they 
draw our attention to errors committed and duties 
neglected. But though they come near, they 
hardly touch us ; though we see them, we scarcely 
feel them ; they seem rather to whisper to us 
than to cry aloud. These are warning, and not 
wounding arrows ; and well is it for those who 
profit by them. 

The ruin of a neighbour, the death of an ac- 
quaintance, the burning of a house in an adjacent 
street, and all the afflicting incidents of life we 
witness, are warning arrows : we should prepare 
for trial when others are troubled. The punish- 
ment, also, of the errors of others is a warning to 
us to correct our own. Never disregard a warning 

It was a warning arrow that reached Joseph in 
a dream, when he was forced to fly from his home : 
" Arise, and take the young child and his mother, 
and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I 
bring thee word ; for Herod will seek the young 


child to destroy him," Matt. ii. 13. The arrow 
was regarded, and the infant Redeemer escaped. 

Warning arrows are merciful things, and often 
prevent much of sin and sorrow. Be quick to 
discern them, prompt to apply them, and ever 
ready to profit hy their friendly instruction. 

There are BROKEN arrows, that shiver in pieces 
or ever they reach the heart. Such are, particular 
threatened evils and expected calamities that, after 
all, come not upon us ; dangers in which we are 
protected, and destructions from which we are 
snatched as brands from the burning, in conse- 
quence of prayer. 

Are- we threatened with a lawsuit that would ruin 
us, but it is given up ? Are we at sea in a storm, 
with nothing but shipwreck before us, yet reach 
the land in safety ? Are we afflicted with a disease 
that seems to be unto death, and yet recover our 
health? These are broken arrows, that would 
have destroyed us had they not been shivered in 

It was such an arrow as this that was directed 
against Nineveh, "that great city," wherein were 
more than six score thousand persons that could 
not discern between their right hand and their left 
hand ; and also much cattle, Jonah iv. 11. 

Such an arrow also was aimed against Hezekiah : 
" Set thine house in order : for thou shalt die, and 
F 2 


not live,*' Isa. xxxviii. 1 ; but it was broken ere 
it reached him, for he turned his face to the wall 
and prayed, and the word of the Lord came to 
him by Isaiah, ' ' I will add unto thy days fifteen 
years," Isa. xxxviii. 5. 

Value prayer, love prayer, practise prayer. Hast 
thou sinned ? Is the arrow about to smite thee ? 
Turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, that 
the arrow may be broken. " Return unto the 
Lord, and he will have mercy ; and to our God, 
for he will abundantly pardon," Isa. Iv. 7. 

There are SWIFT arrows, that reach us almost 
as soon as the sin is committed which calls them 
forth. When a child touches the fire with his 
finger, it is a swift arrow that wounds it. These 
arrows have smitten God's people and God's ene- 
mies in all ages ; they have been curses to the 
latter, and blessings to the former. 

It was a swift arrow that struck Pharaoh when 
the river was turned into blood ; when he was 
visited with a murrain on the cattle, with boils 
and blains, with frogs and flies, hail, locusts, and 
darkness ; when the first-born of Egypt were slain, 
and when his host was overwhelmed in the Red 
Sea, Exod. xiv. 2328. 

It was a swift arrow that smote those young 
men who mocked the prophet Elisha : " Go up, 
thou bald head," had scarcely passed their lips 


before the bears came that tore them in pieces, 
2 Kings ii. 23, 24. And it was a swift arrow that 
struck Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to 
the Holy Ghost, Acts v. 111. 

Tempt not the Lord, lest an arrow, not only 
swift, but fatal, go forth from his quiver : lest he 
say, " Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be 
required of thee," Luke xii. 20 ; or swear in his 
wrath, Ye " shall not enter into my rest," Heb. 
iii. 11. 

There are STRONG arrows, that are not to be 
resisted ; they come as shot by the hand of a 
strong bowman, weighty and powerful, and bear 
down all opposition. Truth is a strong arrow, 
and its flight is irresistible. It is like the spear 
of Abishai, that slew three hundred men, 2 Sam. 
xxiii. 18. 

All sudden convictions are strong arrows, whe- 
ther they proceed from God's holy word or God's 
providences. Job was struck by a strong arrow 
when he cried out, " I have heard of thee by the 
hearing of the ear ; but now mine eye seeth thee : 
wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and 
ashes," Job xlii. 5, 6. 

It was a strong arrow that our blessed Lord 
drew against the Pharisees when he was at Jeru- 
salem, and sorely it wounded them ; for " no man 
was able to answer him a word, neither durst any 


man from that day forth ask him any more ques- 
tions," Matt. xxii. 46. 

Saul was struck to the heart by one of these 
arrows as he journeyed to Damascus, breathing 
out persecutions and slaughter against the disciples 
of the Lord. Well might he fall to the ground 
when he saw the great light, and heard the words, 
" Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? it is hard 
for thee to kick against the pricks," Acts ix. 4, 5 ; 
for then it was that a strong arrow entered his 

Struggle not against convictions, but humble 
thyself beneath the mighty power of God ; then 
shall his strong arrows be suspended, or otherwise 
prove a blessing to thy soul. 

There are SHARP arrows, that win their way 
freely, and inflict pain, smarting, and agony. They 
make the wounded writhe, for they pierce even to 
the dividing asunder of the joints and the marrow. 

Bodily affliction is a sharp arrow, as all know 
who have lain beneath the knife of the surgeon, 
or are acquainted with the rheumatism, gout, 
gravel, stone, and other painful diseases. Job 
knew something of a sharp arrow when he took 
a potsherd to scrape himself withal, and when his 
friends sat down with him upon the ground seven 
days and seven nights, and none spake a word 
unto him, Job ii. 13. 


Bereavements are sharp arrows, and no doubt 
they have wounded thee in thy time ; for few 
altogether escape them. Loss of property is a 
sharp arrow, too, and not many are there who 
endure its smart patiently. And then, what 
sharp arrows are a wounded spirit and sorrow 
for sin ! Even the apostle Paul cried out, in the 
bitterness of his spirit, " O wretched man that I 
am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ? " Rom. vii. 24. 

As the sharpest arrow, however, will not, with- 
out God's grace, be profitable to thy soul, seek 
that grace in whatever way thou art wounded. 

There are POISONED arrows, that not only 
wound and tear us with their sharp points, but 
that rankle and fester within us on account of 
some burning quality that attends them ; such 
as heavy afflictions and overwhelming trouble 
that we bring on ourselves by our thoughtless- 
ness, our folly, or our sins. 

When God sends affliction, the arrow may be 
sharp, and yet not be poisoned ; but when we 
bring affliction on ourselves, we poison the arrow, 
and destroy our own peace. The arrow of a 
guilty conscience is indeed a poisoned arrow. 

It was a poisoned arrow that struck David 
when Nathan said unto him, "Thou art the 
man," 2 Sam. xh. 7. And it was another that 


wounded the poor prodigal, when he was con- 
strained to return home to his compassionate 
parent, and to say, "Father, I have sinned 
against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no 
more worthy to be called thy son," Luke xv. 21. 

And, oh! what a poisoned arrow must that 
have been which struck home to the heart of 
Judas, when " he cast down the pieces of silver 
in the temple, and departed, and went and 
hanged himself," Matt, xxvii. 5. 

Sanctified affliction is a precious thing ; but 
pray fervently, pray incessantly, that thou may- 
est never be wounded by a poisoned arrow. 
If, however, it should be the case that thou 
shouldest ever be struck down by one of these 
rankling and raging shafts, go to the Great 
Physician : " Humble yourself under the mighty 
hand of God, that he may exalt you in due 
time," 1 Peter v. 6. 

Besides these arrows that I have mentioned, 
there are many more ; and thou must make up 
thy account to be wounded by them. Servant 
of God ! believer in Christ ! disciple of the Re- 
deemer! whether the gray hairs of age, or the 
ruddy cheek of youth be thine ; whether thou 
art bending with infirmity or walking erect with 
health and strength ; the threatening arrow shall 
hang over thee, the warning arrow shall fall iiear 


thee, the broken arrow shall be shivered in pieces 
at thy feet, and the swift arrow, the strong arrow, 
and the sharp arrow, shall wound thee for thy 
good. So sure as thou sinnest, a poisoned arrow 
will overtake thee, and bring thee to the ground ; 
yet, though cast down, thou shalt not be de- 
stroyed ; though sorely perplexed, thou shalt not 
be in despair ; for He whom thou servest is 
mighty to redeem. He has found a ransom for 
thy sins; a price is paid for thine iniquities. 
Here thou shalt share his grace, and hereafter 
his glory : "He shall cover thee with his fea- 
thers, and under his wings shalt thou trust : his 
truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou 
shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor 
for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the 
pestilence that walketh in darkness ; nor for the 
destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thou- 
sand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at 
thy right hand ; but it shall not come nigh thee," 
Psa. xci. 4 7. Though arrows of all kinds fly 
around thee, humbly, hopefully, trustfully go on 
thy way, thinking lightly of earthly calamity. 
Let this be the language of thy heart to the 
Lord of glory : 

O God of grace ! whate'er may be my v/oes, 
Thy powerful arm shall shield me from my foes ; 
Though fierce and mighty in their wrath they be, 
Thou art Almighty I I will trust in Thee. 


I CANNOT but think, reader, that if you have 
half an hour's leisure, and are not likely to be 
broken in upon while listening to what I have to 
say on the subject of the Refining Pot, you will 
be benefited by what will be set before you. The 
subject is serious ; you must, therefore, expect it 
to be treated seriously, but I trust that you will 
find enough in it of narrative and variety, to pre- 
vent it from becoming tedious and wearisome. 

The sun, on the evening of a sabbath day, was 
throwing its setting beams upon an ancient man- 
sion, whose turrets and projecting windows were 
partly hung with ivy, and the rooks and crows 
were flying heavily towards their place of repose, 
when an old man walked slowly across the wide 
hall of the mansion, and seated himself on a chair 
in a recess formed by one of the projecting win- 
dows. A table stood before him, on which lay a 
large Bible, wide open. The old man began to 
read, and in a short time he was joined by a 
friend, who took his seat on the other side of the 

It was a delightful evening, for the singing 


birds had not yet returned to rest ; the trees 
were arrayed in their freshest verdure ; the sky, 
for the most part, save here and there, where a 
silvery cloud added to its beauty, was of the 
deepest blue ; while, in the west, the retiring sun 
shot upwards its golden glory. 

To the lowly disciple of Christ, who regards 
God as his heavenly Father, and worships him in 
spirit and in truth, the earth and the heavens 
appear to possess additional charms on the sabbath- 
day. Not that the birds sing more pleasantly, or 
that the tree puts forth a greener leaf; not that 
the sky is brighter, or that the sun is adorned 
with greater .splendour ; but, because the services 
of the sanctuary raise, and purify, and make 
grateful, the heart of the Christian, so that he 
regards the works of God with a more devotional 
spirit. And, while the kindly influence of the 
gospel of peace steals over him, and he feels that 
"the Lord is gracious, and full of compassion, 
slow to anger, and of great mercy," he looks 
around him with joy, and is ready to cry aloud, 
in the fulness of his heart, " The heavens declare 
the glory of God ; and the firmament showeth his 

The hall, wherein the two persons were sitting, 
was very spacious, and paved with stone, and an 
armorial bearing of stained glass glittered in the 


window. Around the oak-panelled walls hung 
portraits of some of the ancient owners of the 
place ; but the colour of the pictures had faded ; 
the canvass was tattered, and the massy frames 
were much impaired by time. The mansion, in a 
distant period, had been a religious establishment, 
and the cruel, and bigoted, and superstitious 
delusions of Popery long found a stronghold 
where, now, the two lowly servants of the Lord, 
professing a purer faith, and practising a more 
holy life and conversation, were sharing the un- 
searchable riches of Christ, by taking sweet counsel 
together, and reading in company the word of the 
Most High. 

Save that of the warbling birds around the 
mansion, there was no sound heard, but the voice 
of the two persons sitting together, given back, as 
it were, in a lower tone by the echoing walls. The 
very spirit of repose seemed to dwell there; 
nor was that peace withheld which the world 
neither gives nor takes away. 

The elder personage of the two was a sober- 
looking man. Threescore and ten years had 
passed over him, his hair was gray, and his coun- 
tenance bespoke him to be a reflecting Christian. 
He had that gravity in his face which might, at 
the first glance, have been taken for severity; but 
the kindliness of his manner, the subdued tone of 


his voice, and the words which fell from his 
lips, fully proved him to be a servant of the Re- 
deemer, fervent in spirit, and anxiously desirous 
to persuade his fellow-sinners tq accompany him 
to the fountain opened for all uncleanness, and to 
partake of the living waters of salvation. 

Being much older than his companion, who 
listened to him with attention and respect, he 
acted the part of a Christian counsellor, and fre- 
quently paused in reading the Scriptures, and 
made remarks of his own, with an air of earnest- 
ness and anxiety which showed how desirous he 
was to confirm the heart of his companion in his 
love and reverence for Divine truth. He had 
found too much benefit from the word of God 
not to recommend it to others, well knowing that 
" all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and 
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for cor- 
rection, for instruction in righteousness." 

After reading and conversing upon many parts 
of the word of God, he came to the passage, " But 
who may abide the day of his coming ? and who 
shall stand when he appeareth ? for he is like a 
refiner's fire ;" which having read, he pulled off 
his spectacles, and, placing them by the side of 
the Bible, thus, in an earnest manner, addressed 
his companion : 

If God trieth " the hearts and the reins ;" if 


"he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver ;" 
if " he shall bring every work into judgment, and 
every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether 
it be evil ; what manner of men ought we to be 
to endure such a trial? and in what manner of 
works should we abound ?" 

How necessary it is that we should not deceive 
ourselves, but rather seek to know the real value 
of what we possess. This knowledge is necessary 
to the young and to the old, to the rich and to 
the poor ; but, of all the people in the world, it 
is the most necessary to those who are looking 
far beyond the present world, believing that, after 
the joys and sorrows of earth are passed, there 
will be an " inheritance incorruptible, and unde- 
filed, and that fadeth not away ;" that there is 
"a building of God, an house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens," prepared for the 
lowly followers of the Lamb, the humble and 
sincere disciples of Jesus Christ. If our pos- 
sessions are partly dross and partly pure gold, 
how shall we estimate them aright ? If we ask 
the opinion of our fellow-sinners, they will lead us 
astray. If we inquire of our own hearts, they are 
sure to deceive us ; the only way, then, appears to 
be, to put them all into the crucible of the Scrip- 
tures ; the refining-pot of God's most holy word. 

Had we to live in this world only, it might 


be easy enough to find out the worth of our pos- 
sessions without casting them into the refining- 
pot ; hut as we are to live in another world, also, 
and as God is to sit in judgment on us, " as a 
Refiner and purifier of silver," they must be put 
into the refining-pot before we shall know their 
value. It would be folly to value that very 
highly to-day which can be of no use to us to- 
morrow ; and so, in like manner, will it be foolish 
to think too much of those possessions in time, 
which will be valueless in eternity. 

We can only tell the worth of what is put into 
the refining-pot, by that which comes out of it 
after it has passed through the action of the fire. 
The Bible is before us ; let us, then, humbly look- 
ing for the teaching of God the Holy Spirit, try 
the worth of earthly things, by casting them into 
the refining-pot. 

But what shall we first cast therein ? Let us 
take all that is considered desirable among man- 
kind; the power, the riches, the greatness, the 
glory, yea, all that the heart of man naturally 
desireth ; all " the lust of the eye, and the pride 
of life;" let us keep back nothing which the 
world considers valuable ; let all be put into the 
refining-pot, that we may know what the fire will 
spare, and what it will consume. Let us begin 
with the kings of the earth, clad in robes of purple 
G 2 


and crimson, with their sceptres in their hands, 
and their sparkling diadems upon their brows ; 
let us take their might and their majesty, with all 
their goodly possessions, and see what will remain 
of them after they have been placed in the re- 
fining-pot, and passed through the fire. Alas ! 
the possessions of kings must be tried in the same 
manner as the possessions of other men, for " God 
is no respecter of persons : but in every nation 
he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, 
is accepted with him ;" while " the wicked" (even 
though they are kings) " shall be turned into hell, 
and all the nations that forget God." God hath 
said unto kings, as well as unto others, " Dust 
thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return ;" and 
" We must all appear before the judgment seat of 
Christ ; that every one may receive the things 
done in his body, according to that he hath done, 
whether it be good or bad." When " the kings 
of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take 
counsel together, against the Lord, and against his 
Anointed," " He that sitteth in the heavens shall 
laugh : the Lord shall have them in derision. 
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and 
vex them in his sore displeasure. Be wise now 
therefore, O ye kings : be instructed, ye judges 
of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and 
rejoice with trembling." 


We see, then, that the might, and majesty, and 
glorious possessions of kings are no more than the 
dust of the balance before God. If a king be 
allowed to wear a crown in heaven, as well as on 
earth, it will not be because he was a ruler of men, 
but because he was a servant of God. Such kings 
as trust in Christ and reign in righteousness in 
this world, will reign in glory in the world to 
come ; but other kings may expect to be broken 
"with a rod of iron," and " dashed in pieces like 
a potter's vessel." To the lowliest of the children 
of men it is said, as well as to a king, " Be thou 
faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown 
of life." 

Thus it appears that the pride, and splendour, 
and all the worldly possessions of a king, are but 
dross before Him who is " King of kings, and 
Lord of lords." Of all the glorious things which 
we put into the crucible, not a particle remains. 
They are all consumed, there is nothing left in 
the refining-pot. 

Let us try the merchants, and all those who 
compass sea and land, to bring back from the 
remote parts of the earth that which is valuable. 
They have crossed the trackless deep ; they have 
endured peril and hardship, and have returned 
richly laden with their choicest merchandise. 
Bring their gold and ivory, their costly bales and 


precious spices ; bring all they have obtained, 
and put them into the refining-pot. 

If these things were neither obtained in the fear 
of the Lord, nor used to extend his glory, they 
shall not endure. They will yield their owners 
no comfort in death, nor eternal treasures. The 
time shall come when " the merchants of the 
earth shall weep and mourn ; for no man buyeth 
their merchandise any more." They have com- 
passed the waters, but have not sought out " the 
river of the water of life." They have crossed 
the mountain and the valley to obtain what 
"satisfieth not," but what will their merchan- 
dise avail them in the dark "valley of the 
shadow of death?" Had they striven to ob- 
tain " the Pearl of great price," their possessions 
would have been sanctified by Divine grace ; 
their merchandise would have been " holiness 
to the Lord," and they would have possessed 
themselves of true wisdom : " Happy is the 
man that findeth wisdom, and the man that 
getteth understanding. For the merchandise of 
it is better than the merchandise of silver, and 
the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more 
precious than rubies ; and all the things thou 
canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 
Length of days is in her right hand, and in 
her left hand riches and honour. Her ways 


tre ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are 

Look at the refining-pot ; the costly cargoes 
and precious things which were put into it are 
gone ; the trial-fire has consumed them all. 

Seeing that the merchandise of the world will 
not bear the trial of the refining-pot, let us seek 
after that which will endure it, even heavenly 
wisdom ; for " wisdom is the principal thing, 
therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting, 
get understanding." When the merchandise of 
the world is consumed, when the ships are de- 
stroyed, and the sea itself dried up, then will the 
promise of eternal life retain its value, for the 
hope of the righteous shall not be cut off ; it will 
endure the trial of the refining-pot. 

"Every man," untaught of God, "at his best 
estate is altogether vanity." Let us look, then, 
at the possessions of the learned and the worldly- 
wise ; men who have laboured hard to obtain 
knowledge, whose company is desired, whose 
names are held in great estimation, and who 
are looked upon as the lights of the world. The 
books are many which they have compiled to 
instruct and amuse us on earth, but where are 
those which they have written to guide us to 
heaven ? We will put their works and their 
reputation together into the refining-pot. 


The worldly-wise possess all knowledge but the 
knowledge of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ -, 
and lacking this, all other knowledge is vain : 
" Of making many books there is no end ; and 
much study is a weariness of the flesh." " The 
wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." 
If this is the case, how could we reasonably 
hope that such wisdom would endure the trial 
of the refining-pot? See, the books and the 
reputation and all belonging to the worldly-wise 
which we put into the crucible all is consumed ; 
not a fragment can be found in the refining-pot ; 
not an atom is left for eternity ! 

It is not earthly, but heavenly wisdom which 
will endure : " The fear of the Lord is the be- 
ginning of wisdom : a good understanding have 
all they that do his commandments." If the 
worldly-wise knew more of the plague of their 
own hearts ; if they knew more of the glad 
tidings of salvation; if they knew Him, whom 
to know is eternal life ; then would their works 
endure : but now, they perish in the fire, and 
abide not the trial of the refining-pot. 

What are the possessions of the mighty men 
of war, who have dyed their swords, and rolled 
their garments in blood? They have dared to 
meet danger and death ; their names are recorded 
in history, and repeated by thousands, as the 


champions of their country, and the conquerors 
of the earth : "Verily, they have their reward ;" 
the homage of their fellow men in their lives, and 
a marble statue over their mouldering remains, 
But bring the homage of mankind, and the 
sculptured marble, and the page of history which 
records their deeds, and cast them at once into 
the refining-pot. How will they bear the trial- 
fire of the word of the Most High : " Blessed 
are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy;' 1 
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" 
"A new commandment I give unto you, that 
ye love one another;" "Love your enemies, 
bless them that curse you, do good to them 
that hate you, and pray for them which despite- 
fully use you, and persecute you ;" " Scatter 
thou the people that delight in war?" 

The possessions of the warrior are consumed 
as flax, and the refining-pot is again empty. 

Let not him who delighteth in war pretend to 
love God : " If a man say, I love God, and 
hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that 
loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how 
can he love God whom he hath not seen?" 
Had the mighty warriors of the world been 
readers of the Bible, they might have been 
startled by the words, "Whosoever hateth his 
brother is a murderer." Had they been sol- 


diers of Christ, they would have " resisted lusts 
which war against the soul." Had they fought 
under the banner of the cross, they might have 
been " more than conquerors," and, instead of 
shedding the blood of others, have served Him 
who shed his blood for them. As it is, their 
hands are stained with the blood of their fellow- 
sinners, and " instruments of cruelty are in their 
habitations." Oh for the reign of the Redeemer, 
when they shall " beat their swords into plough- 
shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks ;" 
when " nation shall not lift up sword against 
nation, neither shall they learn war any more." 
The possessions of the warrior can never endure 
the fiery trial of the refining-pot. 

There are in the world those who delight in 
laying up silver and gold, and cheat themselves 
of the mercies which God has so abundantly 
bestowed upon the children of men ; who delight 
to see their golden store increase, though it cost 
them their peace here, and their salvation here- 
after. Gold is their desire, gold is their delight, 
and gold is the god they idolatrously worship. 

We must put that gold into the refining-pot, 
and see if it be as valuable as it appears to be. 

" Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon 
earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and 
where thieves break through and steal ; but lay 


up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where 
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where 
thieves do not break through nor steal ; for where 
your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 
"Labour not to be rich; cease from thine 
own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon 
that which is not ? for riches certainly make 
themselves wings ; they fly away as an eagle 
toward heaven." "What shall it profit a 
man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose 
his own soul ?" 

" Lose his own soul !" What a mockery then 
are riches ! All that we heaped together in the 
refining-pot is destroyed. If riches could pro- 
tect us from calamity ; if they could preserve us 
from pain, disease, and death; if they could 
purchase an inheritance in heaven ; then every 
man might be anxious to obtain them : but if 
they cannot do these things, then "set your 
affections on things above, and not on things 
on the earth." "Better is little with the fear of 
the Lord, than great treasure and trouble there- 
with." The covetous man makes but a bad 
bargain, for riches can at best but serve him a 
little in this life, while "Godliness is profitable 
unto all things, having the promise of the life 
that now is, and of that which is to come." 
Though the riches of the world may endure for 


a few short years, they never will endure the 
trial of the refining-pot. 

But let us now put something into the refining- 
pot that appears more likely to stand the fire. 
Let us take the deeds of a man renowned for 
his goodness among mankind. He has helped 
to build churches, and erect hospitals ; he has 
fasted and prayed. The almshouses on the hill 
were raised at his expense, and the charity-boys 
were clothed by him. His name is inscribed in 
gold letters as the patron of the poor, and a 
thousand tongues, far and wide, praise his piety 
and benevolence. But have these things been 
done for God's glory or for his own? To extend 
the Redeemer's kingdom or his own reputation? 
Put his piety and benevolence put all his deeds 
into the refining-pot. See how his works perish 
in the flame ; for they were all done to obtain the 
praise of man. They may give reputation in 
life, but they will yield no hope in death ; they 
will neither preserve their possessor from hell, 
nor guide him to heaven : " Not every one that 
saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the 
kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will 
of my Father which is in heaven." "What is 
the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath 
gained, when God taketh away his soul?" " The 
hypocrite's hope shall perish : whose hope shall 


be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web." 
Nothing that hypocrisy can bring, will bear for a 
moment the trial-fire of the refining-pot. 

Come, lastly, thou tried and tempest-tossed 
believer, whose heart is sinking within thee on 
account of thy manifold unworthiness, and of the 
hiding of God's countenance ; who considerest 
thyself poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked ; 
bring the little that thou hast, that we may cast 
it into the refining pot. Haply He, whose are 
the silver and the gold, may open the treasuries 
of his grace, making thy little much, so that thou 
mayest yet abound in enduring riches. 

Thou feelest thyself to be a sinner, and repent- 
est of thine iniquity. Though sadly tried, and 
sorely tempted by unbelief, yet hast thou faith in 
the death and sufferings of the Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ. Thou art a sinner. "This is a 
faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners." Thou believest in the Son of God, and 
that "He is able also to save them to the utter- 
most that come unto God by him/' " God so 
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life." Thy repentance and 
thy faith are the gift of God, they are his work 
in thee ; and resting upon him, they are uninjured 


in the refining-pot. Thou hast no costly deeds 
to offer up as a sacrifice ; thy heart is broken, and 
thy spirit cast down on account of thy utter 
un worthiness ; but " the sacrifices of God are a 
broken spirit : a broken and a contrite heart, 
God, thou wilt not despise." Take courage, then, 
thou fearful servant of Christ, for thou art a 
child of God, an inheritor of the kingdom of 
heaven. When the majesty of the king faileth, 
and the merchandise of the merchant is consumed; 
when the weapons of the warrior are broken, and 
the wisdom of the worldly wise is forgotten ; when 
the gold of the covetous has crumbled in the dust, 
and the hope of the hypocrite has perished, thy 
repentance and thy faith shall endure. A new 
song shall be put into thy mouth, and thou shalt 
" enter into the joy of thy Lord." 

Of all that we have tried in the refining-pot, 
the repentance and the faith of a pardoned sinner 
have alone endured the fire. Let us, then, humbly 
seek repentance and faith of Him who can alone 
bestow them. 

The sun had now set, and the shadows of even- 
tide were gathering around. The old man closed 
his Bible in a manner which showed his reverence 
for the word of God, and rising from his seat he 
once more slowly retraced his steps across the 
spacious hall, attended Uy his companion. 


WERE I calling on the fast-riding, fence-leaping 
Mazeppas of the turf and the field to meet me 
at Oakwood, Kentland Copse, or on the Common 
of Furzy Scrubs, they would hardly like to be 
limited to a half hour's pastime ; but my readers, 
being more sober, will be sooner satisfied^ Think 
not, however, that I am going to draw a cover, or 
to drag you through the woods, thorns, and furze 
bushes, though the title I have chosen might 
almost lead you to suppose so. If you go with 
me, neither a red coat nor boots and spurs will be 

Perhaps you may say, ( ' What have we to do 
with fox-hunting or fox-hunters ? There are some, 
nay, many, whom the subject might suit, but it 
is not at all adapted to us. It is quite out of our 
way : we are not fox-hunters." Now I am not 
quite certain of this. Nay, to speak plainly, it is 
because I half suspect that many of you are fox- 
hunters, that I thus address you. 

I half suspect that, in some degree, most of us 
are fox-hunters ; that, in following our favourite 


objects, " Hark away !" is the cry of us all. Every 
one pursues his own game, and hedges and ditches, 
and all other impediments, are cleared by us with 
wonderful dexterity. 

A fox-hunter is thought little of by his com- 
panions in his break-neck diversion, unless he be 
a man of energy. Caution and prudence are not 
the most striking among fox-hunting qualities. 
He must be thoroughly ardent and impetuous to 
join in the chase. 

Not only is the fox-hunter wrong in this, that 
he pursues trifles with ardour, and important 
things with apathy; but, during the chase his 
whole soul is absorbed in his amusement : he 
has neither ear, eye, nor heart for anything else. 
When, then, I see any one so vehemently ardent 
in any favourite pursuit, as to make him unmind- 
ful of things equally important, I call him a fox- 
hunter. The object he pursues may be good, nay, 
excellent, but if it stop his ear, blind his eye, or 
otherwise render him insensible to things equally 
good and equally excellent, as I said before, that 
man, in my estimation, is a fox-hunter. 

Having thus far explained myself, I will proceed 
to notice some of the fox-hunting pursuits which 
have at different times brought, and are still 
bringing, so many sportsmen into the field. I 
trust you now begin to perceive that, according to 


my definition, a man may be a fox-hunter without 
wearing a red coat, boots, and spurs ; and go fox- 
hunting without clearing double fences, or risking 
his neck over five-barred gates. The objects of 
mankind are various, and even the best of them are 
sometimes moderately, and sometimes immode- 
rately pursued : it is the immoderate pursuit of 
them that will principally call forth my remarks ; 
which, whether just or unjust, will, at least, not be 
made ill-naturedly. 

To render myself as intelligible as possible, let 
me divide my subject into three parts ; pursuits 
which are wicked ; pursuits which are indif- 
ferent ; and pursuits which are praiseworthy. 
Among the first, with which I trust you have 
nothing to do, drinking, gambling and fighting, 
may be enumerated. Among the second may be 
mentioned politics, political economy, currency, 
corn-laws, public companies, hydropathy, mes- 
merism, dress, and a score of others. And among 
the last, savings banks, temperance societies, abo- 
lition of slavery, missions, Sunday schools, dis- 
tribution of religious tracts, and circulation of 
the Bible. A word upon each of these. 

When a man falls in love with the glass, he is 
pretty sure to go down hill all his days ; and yet 
how many are there who boast of the bottles they 
can empty, or the cups they can drink ! Men are 


not apt to boast of their infirmities the ague, 
fever, rheumatism, and gout; why then should 
they boast of their drinking disease, which is 
far worse than all the rest put together, since it 
not only jeopardizes the body, but the soul ? A 
leap at full cry over a brook and a double fence, 
is a daring and desperate deed ; but what is 
this when compared to a leap into destruction ? 

As Epsom and Ascot races come round, numbers 
who have business to attend, and whose situation 
in life has not qualified them for such unen- 
viable pursuits, are seized with the mania of 
gambling. By their conversation they appear as 
much at home in making up " a book" and taking 
the " long odds," as though they had been born 
at Newmarket, and brought up in a betting-box, 
with the first jockeys of the day for their com- 
panions. Steeple chases, yacht races, fights, 
wrestling, and walking matches, come all alike to 
them, so that a bet can be made, though the race- 
course is their favourite amusement. They will 
tell ycru the points of a good horse as familiarly 
as if they kept a stud of their own. Talk of 
horses, and you will see them in their glory. 
They are intimate with the exploits of Eclipse 
and Flying Childers, Diamond and Hambletonian, 
Beeswing and Cotherstone. 

Some have a taste for prize-fighting, and a 


strange taste it is. They love to read of barbarous 
encounters when they cannot see them, and inter- 
lard their conversation with the low epithets of 
pugilists. The supporters of drinking, gambling^ 
and fighting run such imminent risks, and are so 
reckless in their abandonment, that I cannot but 
class them among the most desperate of fox 

We now come to pursuits which may be said 
to be indifferent, because to engage in them is not 
necessarily either a vice or a virtue. Politics shall 
be first mentioned; and in politics many have 
made worse plunges than they have in fox-hunting. 
To entertain an opinion on points affecting the well 
being of our country is natural, and it is natural, 
also, for a man of warm feelings to feel warmly 
on such matters ; but what a sight it is to see 
men, who ought to be brothers, rabid as mad dogs 
and running over with bitterness. Since party 
politics zeal " separateth very friends," and makes 
them " sharper than a thorn hedge" one towards 
another, I am doing party politicians no very great 
injustice in ranking political zealots among fox- 

In like manner, when a man engages in any 
other pursuit or question, say political economy, 
or the currency, or the corn-laws, he is justified 
in concentrating the resources of his mind in his 


pursuit ; but if, forgetful of the courtesies of life, 
and the commandment, " Love one another," he 
becomes arrogant, arbitrary, and dictatorial, urging 
on the fiery steed of his passions unduly, wantonly, 
and recklessly, how can I call him by a more 
appropriate name than that of a fox- hunter ? 

Did you never hear of any taking the field in a 
high-flying temper, standing up in their stirrups, 
eager as " greyhounds in the slips straining for 
the start ;" ready to go all lengths in their 
pursuit of shares in private speculations or public 
companies ? When once the money-getting mania 
affects a man's heart and soul, it urges him 
onward at all hazards. No game comes amiss 
to him ; mining, metal, waterwork, railroad, 
steamboat, or banking shares all or any of them 
will do : away he goes ! You may call such a 
man what you will, but I must call him a fox- 

I have known some who have been so inordi- 
nately attached to hydropathy, so much in love 
with the water system of curing diseases, as 
almost to induce the suspicion that a worse cala- 
mity, in their opinion, might happen to the world 
than a second deluge ; and I have met with others 
so carried away by mesmerism, with its somno- 
lency, somnambulism, clairvoyance, and introvision, 
as to credit the wildest visions that a distempered 


imagination could invent. Now, I am not at all 
inclined to dispute the position, that the water 
system, judiciously applied, may, in many cases, be 
attended with advantage ; and that mesmerism may 
have produced some extraordinary effects ; but 
when one is thus, as it were, ready mounted, booted, 
and spurred to run all lengths, and to overleap 
the highest barriers of probability, he certainly is 
duly entitled to figure among-fox-hunters. 

I may be thought to be a bold man to venture 
even on the supposition of a lady going fox- 
hunting ; and, certainly, the subject must be 
handled by me very tenderly, though truth re- 
quires me to admit, that I have numbered some 
fair fox-hunters among my friends and acquaint- 
ance. A fox's brush is not the only thing in the 
world that is thought worth attaining ; there are 
furs of other animals, and there are also such 
things as silks and satins in the world, as well as 
precious stones and jewelry. It would bring a 
blush on my cheek to know that I had made an 
ill-natured remark ; but so strong is my imagina- 
tion, that I can suppose the case just possible 
that a fair fox-hunter might occasionally be found 
in full cry, not only after a piece of poirit-lace, 
or a cashmere shawl, but even after a fan or a 

It may be, my readers, that at present I have 


hardly come home to you ; but it would neither 
be wise nor safe for you to conclude, because you 
have not joined in the chase after any of the 
things already mentioned by me, that you never go 
fox-hunting after others. As I have a little more 
to say, I do not absolutely despair of finding out 
your hunting-grounds yet, and perhaps I may 
even stumble, unexpectedly, against your hunter, 
as he stands ready saddled and bridled in the 

Let us now proceed to things that are praise- 
worthy. One man is of opinion that the peace, 
prosperity, and happiness of society, depend mainly 
on the prudence and forethought of its members ; 
and therefore regards savings banks as very im- 
portant things ; so important, indeed, that he has 
quite a mania for them, highly extolling all who 
encourage them, and blaming those who do not, 
though they may encourage twenty other good 
things. He regards savings banks as almost a 
specific against public and private, national and 
domestic calamity. His principle is a good one, 
but he follows it out too urgently. It is his hobby, 
and on this hobby he goes out fox-hunting. 

Another man is an intemperate temperance 
man ; a red-hot teetotaller. His object is also 
good, but he regards it as better than all others, 
and has a private quarrel with you, if you do not 


regard it so too. You may practise all the cardi- 
nal virtues and all the Christian graces ; but if you 
have not signed the pledge, you have a blot on 
your escutcheon and a mark on your brow. Surely 
this has some resemblance to fox-hunting, and 
such a one is very like a fox-hunter. 

"Talk not to me," says a third, "about your 
sobriety and your temperance ; I have no notion of 
such nibbling ; I like things on a larger scale. 
Slavery is one of the blackest curses that covetous- 
ness and rapacity have flung upon the world ; and 
if your heart and soul are not set on its abolition, 
you have but little humanity." Now, I dearly 
love freedom, and heartily hate slavery ; ay, and 
I am a thorough abolitionist too ; yet still I 
hold the possibility of an abolitionist being a 

"You make," says a fourth, "a great noise 
about an ti- slavery ; but, to my mind, it is much 
more important to attend to the soul than to the 
body. The body will soon moulder in the grave ; 
but the soul, the immortal soul, will live for ever. 
To abolish slavery would certainly be an excellent 
thing, but I cannot think it right, nay, I abso- 
lutely think it wrong, that a man should give his 
money as an abolitionist, and yet not subscribe to a 
missionary society." Here, again, I discover the 
" Hark away !" of the fox-hunter. 


"No doubt," rejoins a fifth, " that missionary 
societies are excellent institutions ; but we ought 
first to look to the wants of our own country 
before we go abroad to redress the wants of others. 
'Charity begins at home.' Sunday-schools are 
the things to which we should attend. ' As the 
twig is bent, the tree will be inclined.' The 
welfare of mankind depends on the proper educa- 
tion of youth ; and he who is not an active 
supporter of Sunday-schools has very little 
Christian philanthropy, though he supports a 
dozen other benevolent institutions. " If the 
fox-hunter's "Hark away!" was heard in the 
last example, his " Tantivy !" is heard in the 

" Sunday-schools are not to be compared in 
importance with the distribution of religious 
tracts," says one, who sees in every tract a seed 
that is to spring up, and bud, and bear fruit a 
hundred fold. " Nor can the distribution of 
tracts be compared with the circulation of the 
Bible," cries another. "The word of God is the 
great engine to be employed in evangelizing the 
world. You do but little with all your subscrip- 
tions, unless you subscribe to the Bible Society." 
The contention grows warm, until these brother 
Christians might, with very great propriety, shake 
each other by the hand as brother fox-hunters ! 


Thus have I somewhat humorously alluded to 
a few of the many pursuits in which fox-hunters 
engage, and I make no doubt that many others 
will present themselves to your minds. You may 
smile at my odd way of treating the subject, but I 
think that you will hardly call in question the 
correctness of my conclusions. 

When anxious to put things in a strong light 
we are somewhat given to caricature ; and, no 
doubt, I have caricatured on the present occasion ; 
but in caricatures strong likenesses are often found, 
and some of you, in my fancies, may discover your 
own faces. If for a moment I have dipped my 
pen in satire, it has been, in a playful spirit, to 
point out an infirmity in others which I have 
long since discovered in myself; for, in one 
way or other, Old Humphrey has been a fox- 
hunter all his days. 

And, now, what practical lesson have I sought 
to set forth by my remarks on fox-hunting ? 
Simply this, that in pursuing even the best and 
highest objects, charity and kindness should never 
be lost sight of ; that in provoking each other to 
good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, a 
sound judgment should be blended with Christian 
forbearance, and an ardent zeal with Christian 


WHEN gazing on the goodliest tree of the forest, 
we never think of asking who it was that set the 
acorn in the ground; it is otherwise, however, 
when regarding works of art. Every production 
of the chisel, the pencil, or the pen, that becomes 
popular, excites some degree of curiosity to ascer- 
tain the source whence it proceeded. It may 
neither be remarkable for genius in its design nor 
talent in its execution, but that circumstance does 
not prevent our desire to obtain some information 
respecting its author. 

Again and again have I been asked to furnish 
some information respecting the popular tract 
called " Thomas Brown ; or, a Dialogue on Sunday 
Morning." This tract has now (1849) been flut- 
tering and flying about in cities, towns, and villages, 
for more than thirty years. The hawker has car- 
ried it in his pack, the traveller has dropped it on 
the road from his gig, the shopkeeper has read 
it leaning on his counter, and the cottager has 
conned it over by his fire-side ; it has wandered 


from Europe to Africa and Asia, it has crossed 
the Atlantic to America, and few tracts are better 

That which, at one period of time, is of no 
moment, often becomes, at another* an object of 
interest. So long as " Thomas Brown" was limited 
in its circulation, there was no reason for advert- 
ing to its original obscurity ; but now that it has 
become both popular and influential, there may 
be some propriety in making known its origin and 
its history. Who shall say that the humblest 
rightly directed effort to do good shall be wholly 
ineffectual? or, indeed, that it shall not become 
eminently successful ? Should my readers call in 
question the justice of this remark, let them ponder 
the following observations on "Thomas Brown." 

It must be now about thirty-three years ago, 
since a respected relative of mine was engaged, 
during the leisure hours of an active life, in a series 
of literary undertakings, all intended to arrest the 
progress of vice, and promote the cause of virtue. 
One of these was the preparation of an abridged 
Bible, a work of time, labour, and great difficulty, 
which at length arrived at maturity. The book 
was not the substance of Holy Scriptures con- 
densed in common language, but an abridgment 
of the Bible in the very words of the Bible the 
abridgment being exclusively effected by cancelling 
i 2 


all repetitions. Biblical readers know that words, 
verses, and even chapters, are repeated in the 
Bible; but in this abridgment neither chapter, 
verse, nor word that could be dispensed with, 
without injury to the sense, was repeated ; so that 
the whole was of a reduced size. 

It was not intended that this book should, in 
any case, become the substitute for the Holy Scrip- 
tures, but that it should be put into the hands of 
young people, as smaller than the Bible, that they 
might, at an early age, the more readily acquire a 
knowledge of God's holy word, which is able to 
make us " wise unto salvation through faith which 
is in Christ Jesus," 2 Tim. iii. 15. The work is 
now most likely under lock and key, a mere me- 
morial of labour and perseverance ; but I can bear 
record to the single-eyed object of the compiler 
through the whole of his career, as well as to the 
humble and instant abandonment of his design, 
the moment he knew that the late Rev. Josiah 
Pratt entertained grave doubts as to the effect that 
might be produced by its publication. 

Another undertaking was to set aside, as far as 
possible, the immoral songs that were vended in 
our adjoining manufacturing town ; and in this 
undertaking I joined. To buy up the faulty pub- 
lications, and to write and print others of a less 
objectionable kind, was the adopted course, but 


it did not succeed. When the printer found that 
his customers would have the faulty songs, he 
failed not to supply them. It was his apparent 
interest to do so ; but it is never a man's real in- 
terest to do evil. " If Balak," said Balaam, 
" would give me his house full of silver and gold, 
I cannot go beyond the commandment of the 
Lord," Numb. xxiv. 13. 

Now and then, even at this remote period of 
time, I find among my papers some of the poetical 
products of my pen, in furtherance of the laudable 
end we had in view ; but perhaps the less I say 
about their poetical merit the better. They cer- 
tainly were not " inscribed with immortality." 

It was at the time of these literary undertakings 
that my worthy relative handed me a rough sketch, 
in a kind of poetical prose, of a dialogue which he 
thought might be made useful to the working 
people on the farm attached to the mansion at 
which he resided. From this rough sketch I wrote 
the tract " Thomas Brown," with the simple object 
in view already stated ; and though since then, 

" My brow by time has graven been, 
And grey hairs on my head are seen," 

it seems but as yesterday when the report was 
made to me of the effect produced, by my poor 
doggerel verses, on the rustic throng for whose 
benefit they were composed. The sing-song stanzas, 


and the plain tale they told, were just suited to 
the taste and comprehension of the simple-minded 
country people, who were caught at once while 
listening to the artless history of the sabbath- 
breaker. No sooner were the words read, 

" Where have you been wandering about, Thomas Brown, 

In your jacket so out of repair ? " 
" A ramble I 've been o'er the meadows so green, 

And I work in the jacket I wear," 

than a general expression of interest and pleasure 
lighted up their faces. Never was a more attentive 
auditory. With breathless attention they drank 
in, with greedy ears, the words of the reader, until 
Thomas Brown was represented as attending the 
village church. The description that followed 
won every heart. 

Again and again, on different evenings, was 
"Thomas Brown" read to the rustic throng, 
who listened with undiminished interest. One 
of them, I think it was Betty the housemaid, 
committed the whole piece to memory; and a 
farm-servant declared, that " the man must have 
a rare yeadpiece (headpiece) that writ ' Thomas 
Brown.' " 

Soon after this the dialogue appeared in print 
in different editions. A young friend, a printer, 
applied for, and obtained permission to publish it. 
The late Dr. Booker, if I am not misinformed, 
had an edition printed for his own circulation. 


The number of editions published by Houlston 
and Son, and by the Religious Tract Society, (with 
some revision and additions by one of the Com- 
mittee,) must be very considerable ; in short, 
hundreds of thousands of copies must have been 
spread abroad in the world. How strange is 
oftentimes the working of human events ! The 
persevering effort of years, in the " Abridged 
Bible" of my valued relative, appears dead and 
buried ; while the impulsive effort of an hour, in 
the rough sketch of the dialogue he sent me, will, 
most likely, live in " Thomas Brown" for cen- 
turies to come. What was intended for the 
community is now hidden in privacy, while the 
verses written for a few rustics alone is appealing 
to the population of different countries. What 
short-sighted beings we are, with all our boasted 
wisdom ! 

Perhaps, while thus avowing myself to be the 
author of " Thomas Brown," I may as well 
admit, that from my truant pen have fallen many 
productions of a similar kind, wherein I have 
sought, by commonplace doggerel poetry, to catch 
attention in order to impart profitable instruction. 
"Honest Jack the Sailor," " The two Widows," 
"There's no time to spare," "Ten thousand 
bright Guineas," and "The Infidel Blacksmith," 
are among them. 


"When "Thomas Brown" was first printed, I 
felt heartily ashamed ; having persuaded myself 
that I had some aptitude for poetry, the homely 
composition of the Dialogue humbled me. So 
long as it remained written only, and was 
regarded as an off-hand production addressed 
to a few country people, it did not offend me ; 
but when it came forth publicly, I shrank from 
the humiliation of being considered its author. 
Many a time in company, with a blushing face, 
have I smarted under the galling lash of compli- 
mentary remarks addressed to me as the author of 
" Thomas Brown." 

Among the admirers of " Thomas Brown" 
was a friend, who took a lively interest in spread- 
ing the tract as widely as he could ; and many 
a packet of the Dialogue accompanied the mer- 
chandise he sent to different parts of the world. 
"Thomas Brown" made its appearance in Van 
Diemen's Land at an early period of its history ; 
and I cannot but think that to the exertions of 
the friend alluded to, both at home and abroad, 
much of the popularity of the tract may fairly be 

On one occasion I was present when a sabbath- 
breaker, who had been reproved, replied that she 
was not so bad a person as people supposed her 
to be, for that she could repeat many passages of 


Holy Scripture by heart, and the whole of 
" Thomas Brown," from the first verse to the 
last. It did not appear that the Dialogue, in her 
case, had been very influential, but the occurrence 
at least showed how high the tract stood in her 

On another occasion, when conversing with an 
educated friend on the subject of poetry, he burst 
out into this complimentary ejaculation, " I had 
rather be the author of ' Thomas Brown' than 
the writer of an epic poem !" To withhold alto- 
gether these proofs of the estimation in which the 
tract has been held, would be an affectation of 
modesty ; though I am well aware, that to add to 
iheir number might justly be censured as unblush- 
ing egotism. Let me pass on to a few details of 
another kind. 

" Thomas Brown" used to be familiarly chanted 
in the streets of London. Here and there, 
two persons gave life and variety to the recita- 
tion ; while, in other instances, the whole weight 
of the piece was sustained by a single individual. 
One man was so constantly engaged in reciting the 
tract, that he seemed to have no other occupation. 
A respected friend of mine used often to joke me 
on this circumstance. " I have met with your 
friend Thomas Brown," he would say, "and I 


really think that you ought to allow him a pension 
for his good services." 

Once, when passing down Wilderness-row, I 
observed a man elevated on a chair, ahout to 
address the throng gathered round him. Curi- 
osity led me, during a pause in the proceedings, 
to make my way almost up to the chair on which 
the orator stood, when, to my surprise and con- 
fusion, he suddenly broke out, in a loud voice, 
looking at me, 

" Where have you been wandering about, Thomas Brown, 
In your jacket so out of repair ?" 

I felt as much " taken to" as if I had been 
called to account, as the identical Thomas 
Brown in the Dialogue. There stood the elevated 
orator, proud of the numbers collected to hear 
him ; and there stood Old Humphrey, hemmed in 
by the people, fancying that the throng were 
looking at him, and almost as much ashamed as 
if he had been detected in inadvertently passing 
a bad shilling. It was really no easy matter to get 
out of the magic circle, the charmed ring that 
encompassed him. 

My readers may laugh at the circumstance of 
my having public minstrels to chant aloud my 
doggerel productions, an advantage that the poet 


laureat cannot boast ; and truly often have I 
laughed at the circumstance myself. The bards 
of other days were highly favoured : 

Time was, ere Modred peal'd the song resounding, 
Ere yet Cadwalla's muse outstretch'd her wings, 

That poets pourM their lays on palfreys bounding, 
And bards were canopied in courts of kings. 

But such times are over now : and, therefore, 
notwithstanding his high poetic fame, as the 
author of " Thomas Brown," Old Humphrey 
is neither likely as a bard to bestride a prancing 
palfrey, nor to be accommodated with apartments 
in Buckingham-palace. 

The tract, on which I have said so much, has 
afforded pleasure to thousands ; what amount of 
profit it has imparted is only known to Him who 
knoweth all things. It may he self-love that 
whispers in my ear the soothing conviction, that 
some of my readers will value it none the less 
when they know that it fell from the pen of 
Old Humphrey. Such as it is, it will be influ- 
encing the thoughts, the words, and the deeds of 
many, when its author is no more. How truly 
may it be said, that from a small seed a great 
harvest of good or evil may arise ! Well may we 
be cautious of what we write or speak. Evil 
words may be as thorns in many sides, while 
words "fitly spoken are as apples of gold in 
pictures (or baskets) of silver." 


While round us hours and years unceasing roll, 
A word may warp, or warn, or win a soul. 

Thus have I given, in a plain and intelligible 
form, the origin and history of the tract called 
" Thomas Brown." My own opinion respecting 
tracts is this, and I think experience will bear 
out the remark, that, however desirable it may 
be to attract the attention of readers, either by 
peculiar poetry, or striking prose ; however great 
may be the advantages of interesting anecdotes 
and sprightliness of style, it has pleased God 
to make those tracts the most useful, which are 
embued with the simplest and purest truth, and 
which have been written with the fullest depend- 
ence on the influences of the Holy Spirit. Aware 
as I am that the observation is, as a winged arrow, 
aimed at my own heart and my own productions, 
yet cannot I withhold the honest conviction of 
my mind, that those tracts have been most eminent 
in extending man's good which have most emi- 
nently sought to promote God's glory. 

If, as the author of "Thomas Brown," I 
cannot congratulate myself on the talent I have 
displayed, let me take comfort in believing that 
the tract has been kindly received. As already 
stated, I have aforetime been ashamed of the 
work ; but neither Old Humphrey, nor yet the 
archbishop of Canterbury, need be ashamed, ia 


putting into the head and the heart of a poor man 
either the thoughts or the words of the conclud- 
ing verses : 

" For myself, as becomes a poor, weak, sinful man, 

I will pray for support from on high, 
To walk in God's ways, my Saviour to praise, 

And to trust in his grace till I die ! 

" And though poor and unwise in the ways of the world, 

I believe in the truth of God's word, 
That true riches are they, which will not pass away, 

And true wisdom, the fear of the Lord 1" 


I AM not aware that the subject of being " put 
by" has been handled before, though very likely 
it may have been. To conclude that a thing is 
not in existence merely because we have not met 
with it, is unwise. I will, therefore, rather try to 
persuade myself that, even though the subject may 
not be so new as I suppose, I may yet succeed in 
attaching to it some novel remarks. It is certainly 
a subject entitled to attention. Dismiss then, if 
you can, other considerations a while from your 
mind, and accompany me in my observations. 

In this changing world mutability is written 
upon all things. The beast of the field perishes, 
and " man that is born of a woman is of few days." 
Youth, in process of time, becomes age, health is 
changed to sickness, strength declines into weak- 
ness, and life gives place to death. As it is 
with the body, so it is with the mind ; its ener- 
gies are abated, its attainments become neglected, 
and wisdom itself is often succeeded by second 

But though we all " do fade as a leaf," and 


" spend our years as a tale that is told ;" though 
life is " even a vapour, that appear eth for a little 
time, and then vanisheth away ;" and though the 
general sentence has been passed on every one, 
" Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return ;" 
yet it is not this general and universal decay that 
I allude to, when I speak of being " put by/' but 
rather to those sudden visitations of weakness, 
sickness, infirmity, or accident, that oftentimes 
arrest a man in the very noontide of his strength 
and usefulness. An hour ago, while busied with 
my books and papers, this subject suddenly came 
upon me, and set me talking to myself. The fol- 
lowing may be considered as a fair account of what 
passed in my mind : 

" Hark ye, Humphrey ! Here are you sitting in 
your study, as you are wont to do, hale and well, 
dipping your pen into your inkstand, and address- 
ing your readers with a consciousness of standing 
well with them. Here are you, persuaded, by the 
kind expressions of your friends and by the flat- 
tering suggestions of your own heart, that you are 
doing some little good in the world ; whether you 
are or not is perhaps more questionable than you 
suppose ; but let that pass, and honestly answer this 
question Has the liability of your being put by 
ever been fairly and fully anticipated by you?" 

" Put by ! Why, we must all be put by. We 
K 2 


cannot expect to live for ever. Life is short, death 
is certain. Every one knows that, some time or 
other, he must of necessity be put by." 

" Very true ; but you are not, by a general 
reply, to get rid of a particular inquiry. You 
have not been asked anything about every one ; 
whether every one knows, or does not know, that 
he must be put by, is not the question. The in- 
quiry is, Has the liability of your being put by 
ever been fairly and fully anticipated by you ?" 

" I must certainly have thought about it, be- 
cause " 

" Because what ?" 

" Because all people think, now and then, of 
their latter end ; they cannot help it. The most 
thoughtless people in the world have their mo- 
ments of reflection." 

" But you were not questioned about what all 
people think, or whether they can help it or not. 
You were plainly asked whether the liability of 
your being put by had ever been fairly and fully 
anticipated by you ?" 

" To confess the truth, I hardly think it has." 

" Well, then, it is high time that it should be ; 
and you may just as well reflect a little upon the 
matter now. You have lived in the world many 
years, and if ever any man had reason to praise 
God on an instrument of ten strings, you have, 


for mercy and goodness have followed you all the 
days of your life. If, then, unexpectedly, your 
powers should fail, or mischief should befall you 
by the way, so that you could no longer do as 
) T OU have done, or as you do now, should you sub- 
mit, think you, without a murmur, or should you 
indulge in a spirit of repining ? Would the lan- 
guage of your heart be, * Oh that I were as in 
months past, as in the days when God preserved 
me ; when his candle shined upon my head, and 
when by his light I walked through darkness ; 
when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock 
poured me out rivers of oil?' Job xxix. 2 6. Or 
would it be, ' I know, O Lord, that thy judg- 
ments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast 
afflicted me?' Psa. cxix. 75. ' Shall we receive 
good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive 
evil?'" Jobii. 10. 

" It is hard to say how any of us would act if 
suddenly placed in a position of unexpected trial, 
but it is my desire to be prepared for every earthly 

" No doubt it is ; but as there are thousands 
who desire to die in peace, who, nevertheless, 
make no preparation for eternity, so Old Humphrey 
may desire to act patiently and acquiescingly if 
put by, without duly considering his liability to 
such a visitation." 


" Well, I admit that this matter is fairly stated, 
and honestly set before me, and I hereby promise 
to give the subject my best consideration." 

And now, having made you acquainted with 
what has passed through my mind with regard to 
the possibility and liability of being put by, let us 
now pursue the subject together, for it applies to 
you as well as it does to me. You may be put by 
as well as myself. How many have been called 
unexpectedly from the world ! How many have 
been suddenly put by in the midst of plans and 
performances that occupied the whole of their 
waking hours ! As the needle points to the north, 
so these occurrences point to us, and had they 
speech their language would be 

Of present thoughtlessness beware ! 
For future hours, prepare! prepare! 

Among the many points of preparation, there 
are three which strike me as very necessary. A 
lively remembrance of past mercies, including 
thankfulness of heart that we have not been put 
by. An attempt so to arrange our plans and per- 
formances, that we, and all around us, may be as 
little inconvenienced as possible, should we be put 
by. And, lastly, habitual sympathy for, and re- 
spect and attention to, such as are put by. Bear 
these points in mind, and I will endeavour to bear 
them in mind ako. 


It must needs be a heavy trial to such as act 
in prominent situations of importance and useful- 
ness, to be, as it were, shorn at once of their 
powers, and to quit the sphere of their exertions. 
Do we then feel and manifest for such that sym- 
pathy and attention which, if put by, we should 
desire to receive? In this respect I feel rather 
strong ; how is it with you ? 

I carry my sympathy in such things even to 
the brute creation, and never see a bullock loosed 
from the yoke through an accident, nor a coach- 
horse unharnessed through exhaustion while run- 
ning his weary stage, without feeling kindly 
towards the poor brute, and saying to myself, 
" There is one who has done his duty ; he deserves 
attention." If, then, I feel this towards the low- 
lier creatures of creation that labour for the benefit 
of man, hardly can it be otherwise than that strong 
feelings of respect and affection should gather 
round my heart when I see a human being, whose 
best energies have been employed and exhausted 
in promoting man's good and God's glory, with- 
drawn either by age, sickness, or infirmity, from 
the stage on which he has played bis part. If 
I know myself in such a case, my heart does feel 
enlarged towards him, my sympathies are drawn 
out in his favour, and I do hold him in high esti- 
mation. Again I say, How is it with vou ? How 


beautifully the word of God guides us in our deal- 
ings with one another ! " As ye would that men 
should do to you, do ye also to them likewise," 
Luke vi. 31. 

This subject of being put by is really one that 
should be often entertained by us, and we should 
regard it in a favourable as well as in an unfavour- 
able light ; for how often in God's providence, as 
well as in his creation, does sunshine break forth 
from behind a cloud ! We may be put by to try 
our passive graces. Oh, how hard it is to be 
quiet ; to look on and see God do his own work 
without us, when we think that we could render 
much aid ! Difficult as this duty is, it may be 
required of us. There is much that is heart- 
lifting in saying, " Come with me, and see my 
zeal for the Lord," 2 Kings x. 16 ; and much that 
is spirit-humbling in communing with our own 
hearts and being still : " Be still, and know that 
I am God," Psa. xlvi. 10. A Christian man should 
be ready, in God's hands, to be somebody or no- 
body ; to go up higher, or to take the lowest seat ; 
to build the temple, or to hew wood and draw 
water. I hear you say, " This is fine talking, iMr. 
Humphrey, but do you practise what you preach ?" 
To which I reply, " You ought to practise it whe- 
ther I do or not. My infirmities are no warrant 
ibr your neglect of duty." 


Once more ; we may be put by for a time, that 
we may, afterward, be restored with renewed 
powers, bringing forth, like a field that has lain 
fallow, fifty and an hundred fold. As an unbent 
bow launches with jresh vigour the winged arrow 
to its mark, so may we, after affliction, strength- 
ened by the Strong, and made wise by a heavenly 
Instructor, become mighty in our thoughts, our 
words, and our deeds. 

Try if you cannot make more of this subject 
than I have done ; and that you may do so, call 
to your remembrance the three points already 
mentioned by me ; a lively remembrance of past 
mercies, including thankfulness -of heart that you 
have not been put by ; an attempt so to arrange 
your plans and performances, that you and all 
around you may foe as little inconvenienced as 
possible, $h<mld you be put by; and, lastly, 
habitual sympathy for, and respect and attention 
to, such as are put by. 

Of present thoughtlessness beware 1 
for .future hours, .prepare ! .prepared 


Do you know, reader, what the sunshine of 
the heart is, when the sky looks so blue, so 
bright, and so beautiful, that you cannot choose 
but climb up above it with your thoughts and 
desires, that you may be the nearer the throne 
of the Eternal, to pour forth for unnumbered 
mercies your thankfulness and praise ? A half- 
hour of such sunshine is enough to make us 
patiently endure a half year of dreariness and 
gloom. I am now in a cheerful mood, and will 
therefore relate to you my uncle's account of 
the man in the fustian jacket. Oh ! how I loved 
to hear him tell the tale ! Again and again did 
he repeat the story, and always with as much life 
and spirit as if he had never told it before. You 
shall have it, as near as I can remember it, in 
his own words : 

" It is an excellent thing for a man to be 
diligent in what he undertakes. If business is 
to answer, it must be attended to. If a plan is 
to succeed, it must be followed up with spirit. 


You shall have an instance of this. I will tell 
you of the man in the fustian jacket. 

" Soon after I came to live in this house, as I 
was painting the palisades of my little garden 
to the front, a man in a fustian jacket stopped 
at the gate. ' You have a pretty little garden 
here, sir,' said he, ( and it looks all the better for 
the fresh paint on the palisades. I live just round 
the corner, and if you should ever want colours of 
any kind, I should be happy to supply you. I have 
ivory-black, drop-black, blue-black, and lamp- 
black ; very good browns, purple, Spanish, and 
Vandyke, and though I say it, nobody has better 
blues, ochres, and umbers. Those who deal with 
me say I am famous for my gamboge, king's-yellow, 
and chrome-yellow; and as for vermilion, both 
English and Chinese, white lead and flake-white, 
Brunswick-green, emerald-green, and mineral- 
green, there is none better than mine to be had.' 

t( No sooner had I told him that no colour of 
any kind was wanted by me, than he thanked me 
civilly, again spoke of my pretty garden, and went 
on. ( I wish,' thought I, rather hastily, * that 
he would keep his gamboge, king's-yellow, and 
his vermilion to himself what do I want with 
his colours ?' 

"The very next morning, as I stood in my 
little garden, again came by the man in the fustian 


jacket, carrying a large jar. * How nice and fresh 
the shower that fell in the night has made your 
garden, sir/ said he ; 'I am taking a jar of 
my neat's-foot oil to one of your neighbours. 
If anything in the oil way should at any time 
be wanted, linseed or boiled, common train, 
seal, sperm, or Florence in flasks, I shall be 
happy to serve you ; I live only just round the 

" f What does the man mean ?' said I to myself, 
when he was gone, ' pestering me with his 
linseed and boiled oil. I want none of it. I am 
not to be compelled against my will, I suppose, 
to buy his greasy oils. Why cannot the man 
keep quiet V 

" ( Rather warm, sir,' said the man in the 
fustian jacket, as he paused for a moment, on 
passing by in the middle of the same day. 
' Rather warm, sir ! Not exactly the day for hot 
joints, but better suited for cold meat and 
pickles. I am running with a pot of pickles to 
the house with the green blinds yonder. If you 
are fond of pickles, sir, my capers and cucumbers 
would just suit you ; but I have all sorts olives, 
both French and Spanish ; onions, gherkins, wal- 
nuts, French beans, cabbage, capsicums, and 
cauliflower. I live rather handy for you, sir 
only three doors round the corner.' 


" ' Yes, thought I, s you live handy enough to 
torment me \ One would think it would be quite 
time enough to tell me all about your capers and 
your cucumbers, your capsicums and your cauli- 
flowers, when I ask you ; but that will be some 
time first, I promise you. I begin to be sadly 
out of temper.' 

" On the evening of the same day, just as I 
was entering in at my garden gate, once more 
went by the man in the fustian jacket. ' Almost 
time to light up, sir,' said he ; ( I somehow forgot, 
when I was out with my basket this morning, to 
leave four pounds of mould at one of my cus- 
tomer's, and so I am taking them now. If you 
should want candles of any kind, sir, you will find 
my store dips, fine wax, spermaceti, cocoa-nut, 
composite, and metallic wicks, excellent. Perhaps, 
sir, you will give me a trial some day ; for I 
am, as I may say, a sort of neighbour of yours, 
my shop being only just round the corner.' 

" Hardly could I keep my temper while he was 
talking to me, but when he was gone I gave way 
sadly. * He will be a daily plague to me,' said I, 
' and I wish that I had never come into the 
neighbourhood, or that he and his tallow candles 
were a hundred miles off.' 

" I was pulling up a weed or two on the follow- 
ing day in my little garden, as Betty came out 


to the door with her broom to sweep the steps, 
and at the same instant I heard the voice of the 
man in the fustian jacket who, as usual, was on 
his way to take some article or other to his cus- 
tomers. 'You deserve a garden, sir,' said he, 
'for you keep it so nice and tidy. Your girl, there, 
knows how to handle a broom, I see. I sell 
brooms, sir, and brushes of all kinds; best 
shoe brushes in sets, scrubbing brushes, stove, 
furniture, tooth, clothes, and hat brushes, 
as well as thrum mops, and hemp and wool 
mats. I supply everything in the kitchen 
way: housemaid's gloves, black-lead, servant's 
friend, bees' -wax, turpentine, scouring paper, 
emery, fuller' s-earth, whiting, pipeclay, paste in 
pots, hearthstones, knife-bricks, mason's dust, 
firewood, and matches; I think I told you, sir, 
that I live just round the corner ?' 

" ' Yes, you did tell me,' thought I, ' and I have 
a great mind to tell you something. Hardly can 
I stir out into my front garden without being 
annoyed with a long catalogue of oils, pickles, 
candles, and kitchen articles ; but of one thing 
I am determined, that neither oil, pickle, candle, 
nor kitchen article, from your shop, shall ever 
come into my house.' 

" From that time not a single day passed with- 
out my seeing, and hearing too, the man in the 


fustian jacket. He seemed not only always ready 
to catch me in my garden, but always ready to 
take advantage of any little circumstance that 
occurred. At one time, coming up as Betty brought 
in a fish, he thought it a very fine one, and told 
me that he kept the best of fish sauces, and, 
indeed, sauces of all kinds, anchovy, Burgess' 
essence, catchup, mushroom, walnut, Indian 
soy, and currie powder ; as well as all kinds of 
spices, nutmegs, cinnamon, pimento, cloves, ginger, 
mace ; peppers, both black, cayenne, Chili, long, 
and white. At another time, when I had hung 
up my canary in the front, there he stood by the 
gate, calling it a pretty creature, and telling me 
that he sold bird-seeds of every sort, and bird's 
sand. On a third occasion, he overtook me just 
as I stepped across to the post-office with a letter. 
' We are both on the same errand, sir,' said he, 
* for I have a letter to put in the office myself. It 
was directed by my son. See, sir, what a beauti- 
ful hand he writes !' and then he failed not to tell 
me that he sold writing-paper, good ink, sealing- 
wax and wafers, and excellent black-lead pencils, 
not forgetting to remind me, as before, that his 
shop was no distance from my house, being only 
just round the corner. In short, morning, noon, 
and night, when at home in my garden, or walking 
abroad, I never seemed secure from having the man 
L 2 


in the fustian jacket at my elbow. Again and 
again he enumerated the articles he sold, and 
again he informed me that he lived just round 
the corner. 

" Man is a changeable creature, and in many 
respects it is well that he is so, for if all his angry 
feelings and unjust opinions were to remain 
ever the same, he would be more unlovely than 
he now is. In my anger I thought unjustly of 
the man in the fustian jacket, but, in a little time, 
my anger passed away, for he turned out to be an 
honest, industrious, kind-hearted, and benevolent 
man. True is is that he pursued his business 
with more ardour than tradesmen usually do, but 
then he was attentive, punctual, and as upright in 
executing his orders as he was active in obtaining 
them. His perseverance prevailed ; I tried him, 
made inquiries about him, liked him, and at last 
so heartily respected him, that, from that time to 
this, all the colours, oil, pickles, candles, kitchen 
articles, sauces, spices, bird-seed, writing paper, 
ink, sealing-wax, wafers, and black-lead pencils 
that I have required, have been bought of him, 
nor have I ever once regretted the circumstance 
of his shop being only three doors round the 

"Now why," continued my uncle, "cannot 
we be as much in earnest in holy things, as the 


man in the fustian jacket is in his business ? Here 
he is awake when we are asleep ; he is moving 
while we are sitting still ; he is busy while we 
are idle. He sets us an example that we might 
follow with advantage. 

"Go where he will, the man in the fustian 
jacket makes it known that he is a tradesman ; 
but go where we will, we too much hide our pro- 
fession as Christians. He acts as if he thought 
highly of his trade ; we almost as though we were 
ashamed of our religion. He tells all he meets 
of the articles he sells, and we tell hardly any one 
of the truths we believe. If we talked of our 
Bibles as much as he does of his goods, and were 
half as anxious to spread abroad the gospel of 
Jesus Christ as he is to extend his business, it 
would be to our credit, and greatly to our advantage. 

Much have I learned from the man in the 
fustian jacket, for he continually wins his way 
by perseverance. What he does in temporal 
things, we should do in eternal things ; what 
he does to advance his welfare on earth, we ought 
to do to secure our happiness in heaven. 

"Think of the little value of his articles, 
and the exceeding great value of the truths 
of the gospel ! Surely if he prizes his posses- 
sions, we ought to prize ours a hundredfold 
more. To know, sinners as we are, the way, 


and the only way, to salvation through Jesus 
Christ, who died, the just for the unjust, to 
bring us to God, is to know that which is beyond 
all price; the more inexcusable then are we, 
when we fail to value it ourselves, or to make 
known its value to others. 

" Trulv, ' the children of this world are in 

/ 3 

their generation wiser than the children of light,' 
but this ought not so to be. While we are ' not 
slothful in business/ we should be f fervent in 
spirit, serving the Lord. 5 

"Forget not what I have said," continued 
my uncle, "for it applies, perhaps, as much to 
you as it does to myself. Should you get any 
good by it, it will do me good to know it. In the 
meantime, should you stand in need of any of the 
articles mentioned by me in the oil and colour 
way, I hope you will buy them of my neighbour, 
the man in the fustian jacket, whose shop from 
my house, as I dare say you remember, is only 
three doors round the corner." 


THERE are some subjects that seem, of neces- 
sity, to call up joyous emotions ; and there are 
others which are equally influential in awakening 
solemn considerations. The subject of Rising 
and Setting Suns is calculated to do both ; let 
us see, then, if we cannot turn it to advantage. 

It is quite as much as I can do, not to envy 
those who reside in rural situations, or among 
mountainous scenery ; for there is so much that 
excites me to joy and thankfulness in such posi- 
tions, that, when in the country, I live in a state 
of mind something akin to that of a schoolboy, 
enjoying half-a-day's holiday. It may be that the 
schoolboy's pleasure and mine are both height- 
ened by the same conviction the shortness of 
the tenure on which we hold them. Certain it is 
that, among exciting scenery, I am no little of an 

Some time ago, I was abroad as early as two or 
three hours after midnight ; but the immediate 
object of my shadowy ramble needs not now to 
be told. I had kept, " ever and anon/' my eye on 


the east, from the gloom of night to the grey 
of approaching dawn. By-and-by came a pale, 
silvery light, that faintly spread itself in the 
shadowy vault, succeeded by a somewhat rosy 
tint. It seemed as though angels were busy in 
unbarring the windows of heaven ! And now, 
wider and wider, shot upwards a glowing beam, 
while clouds of yellow hue, azure, purple, and 
crimson, adorned the skies : but even these were 
but the heralds of greater glory ; for, at last, came, 
in unendurable splendour, the source of light,, 
the fountain of effulgency. I felt excited and 
solemnized by the presence of the ambassador of 
the Eternal, as he flung from his resplendent car 
light and life, and proclaimed to earth and heaven 
the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of his 
Almighty Maker ! 

It is well for man that he has duties to per- 
form, as well as pleasures to enjoy ; otherwise he 
might be wasting his energies in unprofitable en- 
joyment, or dreaming away his days in listless 
ease. Our daily duties narrow the fountain of 
our delight, and make it play the higher. I had 
active duties to perform through the day, and in 
their discharge I forgot the pleasure that the 
rising sun had given me. When filled with occu- 
pation, time flies quickly. Hour after hour passed 
away, and I set off on my return home. 


The day was well-nigh spent, though the west 
was still Hooded with light. Above the round, 
red sun, which might just be looked on without 
the eyes being blinded, the sky was almost as 
bright as the sun itself; while below, the dark, 
purple clouds afforded a fine relief to the golden 
orb that rested on and glittered above them. 
More remote, the attendant clouds were faint and 
scattered, as though overawed by the glory that 
beamed upon them, or fearful to intrude on re- 
tiring majesty. By degrees, the king of day 
sank down in his chariot of gathered clouds, 
and, hiding his face with his purple robe, with- 
drew himself from the world. Nature was sen- 
sible of his absence ; heaven and earth put on 
sackcloth, and creation mourned the monarch of 
the skies. 

I have now given you a rising and a setting 
sun, such as you may have seen more frequently 
than myself, and, perhaps, you may not be stran- 
gers to that delightful excitement which an ardent 
love of nature, combined with a deep and solemn 
reverence for its Almighty Creator, is calculated 
to inspire. But it may be otherwise, for all are 
not moved in the same manner, nor by the same 
things. Indeed, among the numberless paradoxes 
that puzzle the head of Old Humphrey, this is 
not the least that so many who highly value 


God's book of revelation, should lowly estimate 
his book of creation ; that thousands who ponder 
a text of Holy Scripture with delight, should re- 
gard with apathy the rising and setting suns of 
the Eternal ! 

But is there no other sun than that which 
shines in the heavens ? The royal psalmist says, 
"The Lord God is a sun," Psa. Ixxxiv. 11 ; and, 
indeed, he is a sun, compared with which the 
glittering luminary of the skies is as clouds and 
darkness ! But I am disposed, just now, to re- 
gard lesser things, from which we derive especial 
advantage, and of which we may be suddenly de- 
prived, by their being taken from us, or by our 
being removed from them ; I am disposed, I say, 
for a passing moment, to regard such things as 
rising and setting suns. The thought may be 
fanciful, but it may possibly be made both plea- 
surable and practically useful. 

A new year is a rising sun ; it will be a setting 
sun by-and-by. Regard it as His gift who in the 
beginning created heaven and earth, called light 
into being, and rolled the stars along the firma- 
ment above. Receive it as the gift of God to 
you, and turn it to account. Look at its seasons, 
its sunshines, and its sabbaths ! its green leaves, 
its flowers, and its fruits ! its facilities for glorify- 
ing your heavenly Father, and its opportunities 


for doing good ! Regard its moments, its minutes, 
and its months as a part of time, nay, rather, as 
a part of eternity, and that part which, to you, 
may be the most important. Estimate it highly, 
receive it gratefully, and improve it gladly, so that 
God's gifts may set forth God's glory. 

Books and periodicals may, in a sense, be re- 
garded as rising and setting suns. Some of these 
fling a radiance around them, and shine with a 
steady light ; while others, sadly beclouded, begin 
to set almost as soon as they have risen. A 
well-conducted periodical is an influential thing, 
giving new life and energy to the circle in which 
it moves. Do you profit by periodicals? Do 
they inform your head, correct your heart, and 
help you on your way to heaven 1 

In my younger days, a publication appeared 
under the name of "The Comet," and, being 
pleased with the first number, I sent a contri- 
bution to the work. Soon after this, I was sur- 
prised to see placarded on the public walls an 
announcement of " The Comet's" second appear- 
ance, in which the title of my contribution 
figured away in large letters as the most at- 
tractive part of the placard. Writers are not 
apt to set too low a value on their productions, 
nor do I think it likely that I fell into this 
error. The editor of the periodical, however, 


went beyond me in the estimation of the paper 
of his unknown correspondent. My vanity heing 
excited, I again set to work, and wrote a sparkling 
piece, well calculated, in my own opinion, to add 
to the lustre of " The Comet." With some im- 
patience, I awaited the day of publication ; but, 
alas ! alas ! ere that day arrived, " The Corned- 
office was closed ! The blazing star had disap- 
peared 1 The sun had set ! and my sparkling, 
meteor -contribution was never made visible to 
the public eye. More important publications than 
" The Comet " have been suddenly withdrawn 
from their sphere. Are you turning to account, 
then, those that you are accustomed to read? 

But while I make these remarks, rising and 
setting suns seem to multiply around me. What 
suns are well managed, benevolent institutions, 
whether they seek the welfare of the soul or of 
the body ; whether they mature the seeds of 
piety, humanity, and virtue, or destroy those of 
infidelity, cruelty, and crime. There is in them 
a reviving principle. They call forth a renewed 
energy of thought, word, and deed. They drive 
away the dark shadows of despondency, and 
doubt, and difficulty, and spread around the 
beams of hope, determination, and success. If 
there be aught in the heart of man planted there 
jy his Almighty Maker, of hallowed purpose or 


benevolent design ; aught of reverence for the 
Great Giver of good, or of love for mankind ; 
these institutions are calculated to mature it, and 
to make it bring forth fifty and a hundred-fold. 

Faithful ministers of the Most High, humble- 
minded, yet ardent proclaimers of the gospel of 
Jesus Christ, are all suns, shining with more or 
less intensity. Not always do they beam forth 
with power, scattering the mists of ignorance and 
unbelief. Not always do they enlighten the dark 
places of the earth, making the desert to rejoice, 
and the wilderness to blossom as the rose, for He, 
from whom they derive their influence, in his wis- 
dom limits their power ; yet is it a fearful thing 
for these suns to be withdrawn. " It is usually,'* 
says one, " a sign of displeasure, when a sove- 
reign recalls his ambassador." Do we value these 
lights of the earth, and do we profit by their 
emanations ? 

Show me a man whose heart and soul are ani- 
mated with the desire to do good ; and whether 
he is seeking to instruct the young, to correct 
the vicious, to inform the ignorant, to relieve the 
destitute, to heal the sick, to liberate the slave, 
to extend the comfort of the suffering sons and 
daughters of affliction, or to protect the lower 
creatures of creation from cruelty, I will regard 
him as a sun ; I will rejoice at the radiance of 


his course, and mourn when he is shorn of his 

Authors are suns in the sphere in which they 
move ; and though, you may say, some of them 
give but little light, others there are who fling a 
radiant beam on the paths of thousands, and 
whose lustre will continue to shine when they are 
withdrawn from the world. Oh! how I yearn, 
at times, to grasp and press the influential hand 
that has quickened my pulse, and made my heart 
feel too big for my bosom. And think not that 
I allude only to those who treat on holy things, 
for I am an excursive reader, and often revel in 
the flowery realms of imagination and poetry. 
Very kindly do I feel towards such as contribute 
to the hoard of human happiness by their lively 
fancies, and free-hearted, though ephemeral works 
of genius ; but remembering how many resplen- 
dent risings and sorrowful settings we have had 
among these glittering suns of literature, I can 
hardly be out of order in mingling with the kindly 
emotions I entertain for them, the ardent desire 
that, while they have the wit to sparkle through 
time, they may have the wisdom to prepare them- 
selves and their readers for eternity. 

Artists, too, have a claim on my regard, for 
I owe them the amount of many a beaming hour. 
If you know what it is to be carried away by the 


pencil of the painter, the chisel of the sculptor, 
and the pointed tool of the engraver ; if you have 
marvelled at the skill that could give life and 
animation to canvass, impart all but breath and 
motion to marble, and extend vitality to dots and 
lines on paper, you will not quarrel with me 
for putting painters and sculptors, and engravers 
among my rising and setting suns, nor for feeling 
interested in their prosperous course. 

Have I said enough on the subject of rising 
and setting suns? or shall I give you another 
page or two of my wandering thoughts ? Hardly 
do I think it advisable to proceed ; for if my 
fancies afford no pleasure, the sooner they are 
brought to an end the better ; and if, on the other 
hand, you enjoy them as a feast, it is an excellent 
thing to rise from an entertainment with an appe- 
tite. Whichever the case may be, have a care, 
whether I have been trifling or not, that you do 
not trifle with yourselves. The viper has a fang in 
his head, and the scorpion has a sting in his tail. 
I hope that no sting will be found either in the 
head or tail of my remarks, but I do wish the close 
of them to be influential. Whatever may be your 
years, the sun of life will soon set with you 
improve your advantages. " Make haste ! make 
haste!" said the aged New Zealander, when he 
M 2 


wished missionaries to be sent to him, " for my 
sun is fast going down." 

Yes, Christian reader, whether thou art young, 
middle-aged, or old, thy sun is fast going down, 
and therefore I again say to thee, improve thine 
advantages ! Let the present year he an especial 
period in thy life for good. Make the most of 
its rising and setting suns, and of all the gifts 
of thy heavenly Father. Seek, with redoubled 
ardour, the Sun of righteousness, and keep ever 
in view that fast-approaching eternal world, in 
which " the sun shall be no more thy light by 
day ; neither for brightness shall the moon give 
light unto thee : but the Lord shall be unto thee 
an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory," Isa. 
ix. 19. 


HARK ! the clock is striking. Let me, then, at 
once enter on my undertaking, and see if I cannot 
say something about "Getting back again" that 
will be listened to with attention, and retained 
with profit. Many a half-hour have I wasted ; 
let me turn the present one to some good ac- 

Many are the days that have rolled over my 
head, since the time when I first went sqmrrel- 
hunting with my companions. We were all of us 
very young, and it was about as likely that we 
should catch squirrels by chasing them from tree 
to tree, as it was that we should catch birds by 
putting salt on their tails : however, squirrel- 
hunting we went. It would ill become me to boast 
of our success ; if we did not bring any squirrels 
away with us, we did a much better thing, we left 
them behind us, leaping from bough to bough, 
enjoying the liberty their Maker had given them. 
I hold it no light affair now, wantonly to rob 
God's creatures of their birthright, and had rather 
see one nimble-footed, happy-hearted tree-climber 


at freedom in his native woods, than fifty running 
round their wiry prisons. 

When we came to the great wood where we 
expected to catch squirrels in abundance, being 
strangers to the place, we asked a countryman if it 
was easy to find our way into the wood ? " Easy ! 
ay," said he, " nothing easier in the world than 
to find your way into a wood ; the only difficulty 
is to find your way out again. To get forwards 
will cost you little trouble, but I question if it will 
not cost you a great deal to get back again." 
The countryman was right, and before we did 
get back, we all had quite enough of squirrel- 

But have there been no other adventures beside 
squirrel-hunting, in which having engaged, I would 
willingly have retraced my steps ? Has there been 
no inconsiderate act committed, no rash course 
pursued by me, that has wrung my heart-strings ? 
The mariner who too ardently ventures on the 
deep, when a storm hangs threateningly in the 
sky, should his anchors be lost, his sails be torn, 
and his masts be carried away by the board, sighs 
for the friendly port he has left. And the aerial 
voyager, who has recklessly soared to the skies, 
with but little knowledge of his balloon, when he 
finds himself nearing the sea, or discovers that his 
gas is rapidly escaping through some rent in the 


silken globe above him, yearns once more to set 
his foot safely on the firm earth he has so rashly 
quitted ; but never yet did any voyager of the bil- 
lowy sea, or azure skies, yearn more intensely for 
a place of safety, than I have yearned to get back 
again to the point that I have abandoned. What 
would I give, or rather what would I not give, to 
recover some of my stumbling steps ; to retrace 
gome of my wrong turnings ; to get back again to 
the point whence I started, and thereby relieve my 
heart from much bitterness and sorrow ! 

How does this matter aifect you? Have you 
always held on your way, rightly pursuing a right 
object; never getting into "by-path meadows," 
nor turning aside a moment from the turnpike- 
road, the King's highway to the celestial city? 
But why do I ask such a question ? " There is not 
a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sin- 
neth not," Eccles. vii. 20. You doubtless, also> 
have shadowy remembrances, corner cobwebs in 
the chambers of your hearts, which, as Christian 
people, have given you disquietude ; then will you 
both understand me, and go fully and freely with 
me, in my present observations. 

When our parents fell, and when Cain cried out 
in his agony, " My punishment is greater than I 
can bear," how bitterly they must have repented 
the past, and how earnestly they must have desired 


to get back again to their former state ! But there 
was none to help them ; they had sinned, and they 
must of necessity sorrow also. 

Pharaoh was greatly troubled in the midst of 
all his chariots and horsemen, when the waters 
of the Red Sea came upon him; and willingly 
would he have given the land of Egypt as his 
ransom to have got back again : but that was 
quite out of the question. 

Balaam, the son of Beor, " the man whose eyes 
were open," supplies me with another illustration. 
" And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, 
I have sinned ; for I knew not that thou stoodest 
in the way against me : now therefore, if it dis- 
please thee, I will get me back again," Num. 
xxii. 34. Ay, Balaam ! Balaam ! there are very 
many of thy mind who are ready enough to go 
back, when going forward has led them into 

How gladly would Hezekiah have got back 
again, if he could have done so, after he had fool- 
ishly showed his silver and his gold, his precious 
ointment, his armour, and his treasures, to the 
messengers of Merodach-baladan, the son of Bala- 
dan, king of Babylon ! But no ! the deed was 
done, and it could not be undone. Half his 
kingdom nay, the whole of it, would not have 
enabled him to retrace his steps ; he had gone 


forwards foolishly, and he could not get back 

What would not David have done to have 
blotted out the past, and get back again, when 
he said, " I acknowledge my transgressions ; and 
my sin is ever before me?" Psa. li. 3. Or 
Hainan, when he led the king's horse, while 
Mordecai the Jew sat thereon, habited in the 
king's apparel, and wearing the king's crown? 
Or, still more, when he was about to be executed 
on his own gallows? There can hardly be two 
opinions about the sincerity of David and Haman 
in their desire to get back again. 

What a burst of heart-affecting eloquence broke 
from the lips of Job, when his soul was wrung 
with anguish, and he wished to get back again to 
where he was before ! " Oh that I were as in 
months past, as in the days when God preserved 
me ; when his candle shined upon my head, and 
when by his light I walked through darkness ; as 
I was in the days of my youth, when the secret or 
God was upon my tabernacle ; when the Almighty 
was yet with me, when my children were about 
me ; when I washed my steps with butter, and 
the rock poured me out rivers of oil. But now 
they that are younger than I have me in derision ; 
whose fathers I would have disdained to have set 
with the dogs of my flock/' Job xxix. and xxx. 


When Judas "repented himself, and brought 
again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests 
and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have 
betrayed the innocent blood." And when Peter 
" remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto 
him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me 
thrice ;" and " went out, and wept bitterly." 
They would have given their all to have got back 
again. Alas ! the one had betrayed, and the other 
had denied his Master ; and they might just as 
easily have scaled the battlements of heaven, as 
have blotted out their sins. 

I could abundantly multiply my scriptural illus- 
trations, but it is hardly necessary ; for they have 
already been numerous enough to show that some 
of the best, and some of the worst characters of 
the world have had equal reason to lament their 
forwardness, and the utter impossibility of re- 
tracing the steps they had taken. 

Yet think not that these remarks on getting 
back again are to be limited to things that have 
been done; it is not so much the "past that I 
have in view, as the future. Whatever mistakes 
have been made, whatever errors may have been 
committed, to weep over them in a faint-hearted, 
despairing spirit, is neither the way to remove, 
nor to mitigate them. My object is to prevent 
the evil consequences of an error. I place in a 


strong point of view the difficulty of getting 
back again, to deter you from going recklessly 

When a duty is before us, we ought neither to 
get back, nor even to look back. The wife of Lot, 
when she looked back, " became a pillar of salt," 
Gen. xix. 26. And it is said in the ninth chapter 
of Luke, " No man, having put his hand to the 
plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom 
of heaven." But there is a great difference be- 
tween getting back to the path of duty, and turn- 
ing back from it. So long as we are walking in a 
right way, we ought not to fear the consequences .; 
better is it to lose life in a good cause, than a limb 
in a bad one. Go forward then, boldly, when your 
duty is before you. Get back again, as fast as 
you can, when it is behind you. 

When we think how often a momentary act 
embitters a long life, it behoves us to pause before 
such an act is committed. The poor lad who runs 
away from his home to roam the sea as a sailor, 
has the heart-ache for years ; but that heart-ache 
does not enable him to get back again to the home 
he so rashly left. No ! no ! The raging of the 
winds, and the roaring of the waters, are the only 
reply to his repentance and his tears ; and the 
man who by a sudden act of folly wounds his 
conscience, or injures his reputation, is in much 



the same situation. Even though he would part 
with his right arm, or his right eye, to get back 
again, he cannot do it. The horse-hair shirt of 
the self-tormented devotee may be more endurable 
than his daily and nightly remorse, yet still his 
sorrow must be borne ; what he has done, he has 
done for ever. 

By this time I hope you begin to see that this 
subject of mine is capable of universal application, 
and that it befits us all to ask ourselves the ques- 
tion more frequently than we do in our under- 
takings and actions, Should this turn out to be a 
false step, shall I be able to get back again ? 

What an especial mercy it is, that, though in 
a thousand lesser things we cannot get back again, 
we may in the most important of all things. Yes ! 
far as you may have gone astray from God, you 
may through his grace return, and then, " though 
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as 
snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall 
be as wool," Isa. i. 18. However wide you may 
have wandered, there is a way open by which you 
may get back again to the favour of your heavenly 

I am not speaking peace, where peace ought 
not to be spoken ; I am not robbing a single 
denunciation of the Almighty of its terrors, nor 
attempting to soften down the Divine threatenings 


against sin, but simply giving utterance to a plainly 
expressed and glorious truth, that Christ came 
into the world " to seek and to save that which 
was lost," and that " whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life," John 
iii. 15. The promises in the word of God are the 
property of a contrite sinner, who applies to the 
Saviour. If the promises of God are not for peni- 
tent sinners seeking mercy, for whom were they 
given ? "God was in Christ, reconciling the world 
unto himself," 2 Cor. v. 19 ; and, "This is a faith- 
ful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," 
1 Tim. i. 15. And the Redeemer saith, " Him that 
cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," John 
vi. 37. May the God of grace cause this con- 
viction to sink into every soul. 

You have now something before you to think 
of, and I am not without hope that some of my 
present remarks will remain in your memory ; so 
that, whether you go into a wood, squirrel-hunting, 
or enter on more important undertakings, you will 
be circumspect enough honestly to put the ques- 
tion, Am I quite sure that, if I desire it, I can 
get back again? 


You may never have devoted half an hour to 
the consideration of prudence, for the subject 
has somewhat of an unwelcome aspect to many 
readers. It is to a man, a little like what a 
" good hoy's book" is to a child, he expects 
from it nothing that is attractive and joyous, and 
apprehends from it every thing which is for- 
bidding and grave. But though this may seem 
to be the character of the subject of prudence, 
yet may we so muse upon it as to be well repaid 
for the brief season devoted to its consideration. 

One of the rarest things in the world is pru- 
dence. Riches may be gained, learning Acquired, 
reputation won, and all of them be possessed to- 
gether, without prudence. The wise man says, 
"I wisdom dwell with prudence," Prov. viii. 12"; 
and no wonder, for what wisdom would do with- 
out prudence I cannot tell. You may find two 
witty men, ten clever men, and twenty foolish 
men, before you will find one prudent man. But 
though, as I said, prudence is oiie of the rarest 


things in the world, and I might have added, 
also, one of the most valuable, yet is it by 
many estimated very lightly. This is much to 
be lamented ; for even truth, with her open brow 
zeal, with her glowing heart love, with her 
melting eyes and kindness, with her ever-help- 
ing hands, would form but an unhappy household 
without prudence. 

As few know the value of money better than 
those who are slenderly provided with it, so, on 
the same principle, I may not be unqualified to 
discourse on prudence. Without laying claim to 
a great amount of it myself, I may yet success- 
fully recommend prudence to my neighbours. 

Without prudence the human character is as 
a house built without mortar ; its elements of 
strength and durability are not cemented to- 
gether, and are not, therefore, for a moment to 
be relied on. As the imprudent boy outruns the 
butterfly he pursues, or crushes it in his eager 
grasp, so does the imprudent man fail to realize 
the ends of his desires. Give him a hundred 
good qualities, the want of prudence will neutral- 
ize them all. He may have industry to obtain, 
frugality to amass, zeal to pursue, swiftness to 
overtake, courage to attack, and strength and 
skill to overcome, and yet his imprudence may 
rob him of his prize. One throw of the dice 
N 2 


sometimes ruins the successful gamester, and one 
act of imprudence on the part of youth or matu- 
rity, not unfrequently overclouds a fair prospect 
for ever. 

Having thus, as it were, by my remarks, placed 
prudence on a pedestal to attract particular at- 
tention, let me now proceed, in a more familiar 
manner, to show how frequently the exercise of 
prudence is disregarded. If my memory did not 
fail me, I should find myself at little loss for 
illustrations, even from my own conduct, but as 
it is, that course need not be adopted. 

In many cases what we call prudence is of a 
very doubtful character ; for as we judge of it by 
its success alone, so is it equally liable to be 
approved and condemned. When a man on an 
excursion wraps himself up in a great coat, and 
takes with him a large umbrella, if the day proves 
stormy, and heavy rains descend, he is regarded 
as one possessing much forethought, discretion, 
and prudence ; but should the day turn out to be 
very fair and sunny, the same person is laughed 
at for his over care and unnecessary precaution. 
If, travelling on an unknown road, our companion 
boldly takes the path across the fields, and thereby 
saves us a mile of our distance, he becomes in our 
opinion a man of penetration and prudence ; but 
woe betide him, if, by adopting this course, he 


gets boggled among cross roads, and subjects us 
to an hour's unnecessary toil, for then we call 
him rash and imprudent. Perhaps one-half of 
the instances in which men get credit for pru- 
dence, are of this doubtful kind. 

It may be, reader, that you pass for a very 
prudent character ; if that be the case, it will 
not hurt yoil to consider whether there is not 
some truth in the remark, that, in common esti- 

Success metes out the praise of human deeds, 
And he most prudent is, who best succeeds. 

There is a great deal of this sort of judgment 
in the world. The schoolboy, who in wandering 
out of bounds picked up his master's watch, 
obtained a reward; but had he lost anything 
belonging to his master, under the same circum- 
stances, he might have been caned for his dis- 
obedience in trespassing beyond the precincts of 
his play- ground. 

We are not likely to hear of a prudent man 
setting a house in a flame, by playing with fire- 
works, nor of being carried out to sea by the 
tide, through thoughtlessly entering a boat on 
the shore, nor of ruining himself by reckless 
speculations, nor of greatly annoying another, to 
obtain a trifling advantage himself. These are 


not the actions of the prudent, but of the in- 

A prudent course is a course of order, of peace, 
and of comfort, not only to ourselves but to all 
connected with us ; and well would it be for us if 
we could invariably pursue a prudent course in 
every relation of life " never beginning that of 
which we had not well considered the end," and 
" always letting the conduct of to-day be such as 
to bear the reflection of to-morrow." On the 
unstable and imprudent there is no dependence 
to be placed, but the (< prudent man looketh well 
to his going," Prov. xiv. 15. 

How excellent is the lesson set forth to the 
imprudent man, in the fourteenth chapter of St. 
Luke : " Which of you, intending to build a tower, 
sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whe- 
ther he hath sufficient to finish it? lest haply, 
after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able 
to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 
saying, This man began to build, and was not 
able to finish." How it may be with you I know 
not ; but for myself, I have begun many a tower 
in my time, that made very little progress after- 
wards, though at first I meant it to attain a lofty 

An intemperate schemer, whom I knew in my 
younger days, once oifered to lend me a thousand 


pounds, if I wanted it, in a month, but in the 
meantime he borrowed from me a shilling. Now 
had I calculated on the proffered thousand pounds 
of so unstable a character, I must have lacked 
prudence even yet more than he did. He was one 
of the many who look not before them ; whereas 
" the wisdom of the prudent is to understand his 
way," Prov. xiv. 8. 

I was once present at the reading of a report 
which, though drawn up with great ability, sadly 
wanted prudence. It contained many personal 
and bitter remarks, and much matter which had 
nothing to do with the subject on hand; but 
when it was proposed to blot out the extraneous 
matter, it was laid down as a rule by several per- 
sent, not a very prudent rule certainly, that every 
part objected to in the report should be tried by 
this single question, "Is it true?" And if that 
question could be answered in the affirmative, then 
the disputed point should stand. Let me here 
show the extreme absurdity of such a course. I 
will put my supposed case in a strong light, that 
it may exhibit more conspicuously the folly I 
would reprove. 

Suppose a committee, appointed to consider the 
expediency of erecting a hospital in a populous 
neighbourhood, are met together to draw up a 
report of their deliberations, they lay down the 


rule that every questionable point of the report 
shall be tried by this inquiry, and by no other, 
" Is it true ? " A comical member among them, 
having sense enough to see the absurdity of the 
rule, and being desirous to make others see it 
too, proposes that the report shall begin with a 
description of the room in which they are assem- 
bled, its length, breadth, and height, together with 
an account of the chairs, tables, and pictures it 
contains. One of the party objects to this infor- 
mation, as altogether unnecessary, but the cynic 
insists on the rule being observed. The question 
is put, "Is it true 1 " which being answered 
affirmatively, a full description of the room is 
introduced into the report. 

Our cynic next suggests that it may be as well 
to introduce some account of themselves, such as 
a brief statement of their birth, parentage, and 
education. This suggestion is strenuously resisted, 
as a course that would subject them to derision ; 
but the resistance is in vain ; the rule is appealed 
to, and the statements having passed the ordeal 
of the inquiry, become also part of the report. 

By this time, several of the members, supporters 
of the rule, begin to entertain a doubt of its wis- 
dom ; but our cynic allows them no quarter, for 
he proceeds to propose that a list of the kings 
who have governed our happy island shall form 


part of the report. Some laugh at him, some 
are angry with him, and some almost question his 
being in his right mind ; but neither their doubt, 
their anger, nor their laughter, prevents him from 
appealing to the rule, or from carrying his point 
in the report. 

The affair now assumes so discreditable an ap- 
pearance, that every one wishes to escape from it ; 
when our cynical member, as the crowning act of 
his policy, proposes lastly, the insertion of an 
acknowledgment, on the part of the committee, 
that they are heartily ashamed of the ridiculous 
attitude in which they have pla.ced themselves, in 
drawing up so extraordinary a report. This is so 
obvious a fact, that it cannot be denied, and the 
committee, unable any longer to sustain their 
indefensible position, give themselves up to the 
guidance of him who has convinced them of their 
error. He tells them that, even in recording 
truth, prudence is necessary, and gives them this 
better rule to assist them in drawing up their 
statement. Let every point introduced be not 
only a truth, but also a truth fit and proper to be 
introduced into the report. 

It becomes, you see, an important inquiry to 
us, whether the principles we lay down for the 
regulation of our conduct are what they ought to 
be, and whether we carry them out in a proper 


manner. Oh for the constant desire to give " glory 
to God in the highest," and to cultivate " peace 
and goodwill towards men," doing to them as we 
would they should do unto us. 

But if the exercise of prudence he necessary in 
common affairs, how much more so in holy things ! 
And yet by many pious people, prudence is regarded 
merely as a time-serving principle of expediency, 
forgetful of the injunction, " Be ye wise as ser- 
pents, and harmless as doves." Numberless are 
the errors of truly religious people owing to their 
lack of prudence and discretion. We ought not 
to undervalue hearing, because God has given us 
eyesight, nor the sense of taste because he has 
mercifully endowed us with that of feeling. If 
this be true, then, neither ought we to despise 
prudence on account of our possessing piety. 

Prudence is not only a restrainer of evil and an 
adorner of good conduct, but, also, a helper in the 
great and the little affairs of life. A prudent man 
will attain his ends with small means, when an 
imprudent man will not effect them with large 
resources. Churlish Nabal would hardly have 
done that with five hundred men which his pru- 
dent wife Abigail accomplished with her loaves and 
cakes, her raisins, her parched corn, and her wine. 

I once heard of two boys who wanted to pass 
a furious dog who was chained to his kennel. 


One of them, to effect his purpose, thoughtlessly 
armed himself with a stout stick, which he held 
out in a menacing manner ; but this only rendered 
the fierce creature more furious than before, so 
that the boy durst not approach him through 
fear of being torn to pieces. The other boy, some- 
what more prudent than his companion, so pacified 
the enraged animal by throwing him pieces of the 
bread and butter he was eating, that in a little 
time the dog was seen wagging his tail, while the 
good-natured boy patted his head in perfect safety. 
Can we learn nothing from this little adventure ? 
I think we may, for to me it seems somewhat 
akin to that text in the Proverbs of Solomon, 
c< A soft answer turneth away wrath ; but grievous 
words stir up anger." 

Suppose, in a peaceable and well-regulated 
neighbourhood, there lives one who is a cheat, 
a drunkard, a wrangler, and a sabbath-breaker, 
keeping open his shop on a Sunday, and setting 
his neighbours at open defiance. Now send to 
him a well-meaning man, hot-headed, hot-hearted, 
and possessing no prudence, and he will begin, 
perhaps, to tell him at once that his conduct 
is shameful, that he is a disgrace to the neigh- 
bourhood, and that such an ill -behaved man 
deserves to be set in the stocks, if not to be put 


in the pillory for bis pains. The consequence 
of this course would probably be, that instead of 
this imprudent person effecting any good, he 
would be kicked out of the habitation of the 
sabbath-breaker; while, had a prudent-spirited 
Christian undertaken the same mission, a very 
different effect would have followed. Zeal in holy 
things is an estimable quality, but without pru- 
dence it will lead its possessor into sad predica- 

Think not that I am dealing altogether in 
suppositions. Too many instances have I known 
of imprudence among otherwise worthy people, 
not to have frequently regretted that the want 
of one quality should have so materially dimin- 
ished their usefulness. A Christian man should 
be an attractive, and not a forbidding character. 
He should be forbearing, and not severe; he 
should be considerate, and not hasty. Prudence 
and piety are a lovely pair a pity it is that they 
should ever be divided. 

But if I have known some Christian people 
lamentably deficient in prudence, others have I 
known who largely possessed it. It corrected 
their errors, guided their zeal, increased their 
usefulness, imparted consistency to their course, 
richly adorned their lives, and made them models 


of humility and of ardent devotion to the Re- 

Are you prudent, reader, at home and abroad ? 
among friends and strangers ? among religious and 
irreligious people ? Are you prudent in worldly 
affairs, as well as in using the means of grace, 
and encouraging the hope of glory ? Is your trust 
solely and unreservedly in Him in whom whoso- 
ever trusteth shall never be confounded? We 
should deem him an imprudent man who erected 
his house so close to the river that every flood 
inundated his habitation ; or began to build it on 
the sand of the sea shore, where the coming tide 
would be sure to wash it away. How much more 
imprudent he must be, then, who builds not his 
house, but his eternal hope, on any foundation 
less substantial than the Rock of ages. To be 
imprudent for time is bad enough, but unspeak- 
ably worse to be imprudent for eternity. 

It is very possible, having said so much on the 
subject of prudence and imprudence, that some 
of my readers will set me down as a very prudent 
old gentleman. Alas ! alas ! a purse of very little 
value may contain a great deal of gold, and he 
who can repeat all the proverbs of Solomon, may 
not be remarkable for reducing them to practice. 
I am not over solicitous that you should trouble 


yourselves to ascertain the exact extent of my 
prudence ; better leave it to me, and then you 
will be the more at liberty to estimate the amount 
of your own. There is nothing like every one 
attending to his own affairs ; let us try, then, 
seeking assistance from above, to be prudent in 
all things. 


IT is by no means a good plan for any one who 
wishes to do good to others, to be always ding- 
donging them with good advice. You never yet 
met with a man who was not shunned rather 
than sought, and hated rather than beloved, who 
continually occupied himself in nothing but cen- 
sure, correction, or admonition. There is a proper 
time and place for everything. An interesting tale 
will oftentimes impress the mind more profitably, 
than a very severe, though very eloquent exhor- 
tation. This being the case, listen to my narrative 
of John Strong, the Boaster. 

"Now wha dare meddle wi' me?" said John 
Strong, repeating a line of an old ballad, as he 
sat on his own chair, in a saucy attitude, with a 
jug before him. "Wha dare meddle wi' me?*' 
said he, half in jest, half in earnest, talking to 
his companion and admirer, William Wallis, the 

" Why, a man would look twice at you before 
he handled you or tried to talk you down," said 
Wallis. " You are strong in name and strong in 
o 2 


nature, John. At all events, I am not the man 
to meddle with you in the way of quarrelling." 

" I fancy not, William ; you are too fond of 
sound bones to cross one of my sort," said John, 
saucily ; " but make no mocks at my name ; I 
will not allow it, Mr. Billy Button, and so I tell 

"No offence, no offence, John; I meant no 
mischief," said the tailor, taking no notice of the 
nick-name John had just given him ; for he well 
knew the quarrelsome nature of the man with 
whom he was talking. It was, as they say, a 
word and a blow with Strong ; and one of John's 
blows, as the tailor knew very well, was no light 

" Well, well, take another glass of ale, William, 
and do not talk so fast. One cannot put in a 
word edgeways where you are," said John, who 
always treated those he liked with the best in his 
house ; and that was the reason why the tailor 
went often to see him, and bore with his snubbings 
and saucy ways. 

William Wallis was a stooping, mean sort of 
fellow, after all, and would have agreed with any 
one, if they had given him good eating and drink- 
ing while they talked to him. He was a fine- 
weather friend, who would have forsaken his com- 
rades on a rain? dav, and turned his back on old 


acquaintance when they were poor and down- 
hearted. Frankness and upright dealing are a 
credit to a man ; but he to whom the " bread of 
deceit is sweet, his mouth shall be filled with 

" You cannot call me an old man, William," 
said John ; " look at my arm ! Is it like the arm 
of an old man ? I shall be forty next June, and 
I say a man at forty is in his prime." " To be 
sure he is," answered the wheedling William. 

" The miller's man, you know, who is but five 
and twenty, called me an old fellow, and said I 
must not think to crow over youngsters as I had 

" He ! he ! he ! so he did," said William, affect- 
ing to giggle, "but it might have been a man- 
slaughter business, if his friends had not taken 
him away ; you did pummel him handsomely." 

" Wife ! Mary ! I say, bestir yourself a little, 
and bring us the pork-pie out of the pantry," 
shouted John, in great good humour; "Mr. Wallis 
may like to eat a bit of something with his beer. 
He shall make me a coat at Midsummer, for there 
is not a better tailor in the parish, and I say it, 
whose word stands for something, for folks dare 
not contradict me !" 

Strong's wife, a mild, good-tempered, healthy- 
looking woman, spread a white cloth upon a table 


and placed plates, knives and forks, and a large 
pork-pie before the wheelwright and the tailor, 
and John went on with his boasting while William 
was occupied in eating. 

" The miller had a narrow escape, as you say, 
Mr. Wallis. Old, indeed ! He will not call me 
old again in a hurry. I have stopped his chatter- 
ing, for he knows what to expect if he crosses me. 
Then there was Phips, the wrestler, he challenged 
me last Whitsuntide at the club, but when we met 
at Simpson's green, did not I give him a fair back 
fall for all his tricks and trippings? Why the 
man was not himself again for the whole day." 

"I have heard say that you did," said the 
tailor, thoughtlessly, eating heartily at the pork- 
pie, which took up his attention so much, that for 
a moment he quite forgot to try to please the 

" Heard say ! do you doubt it ?" shouted Strong, 
in a rage. " What do you mean by * heard say,' 
master William ? " 

The tailor turned pale, put away his knife and 
fork, and tried to soften down the wheelwright. 
" I mean," said he, " that I did not see it done, 
because you know I was not on the spot, Mr, 
Strong ; but as for doubting it, that would be 
foolish indeed, when the whole parish knows that 
you flung the wrestler. 5 * 


"And I shall be after flinging you too, if I 
have any more of your ' heard says,' master 
tailor," said Strong, threateningly ; " but, how- 
ever, as you do not doubt the matter, there is no 
harm done. There is not a man in the parish 
that dare meddle with me. Look at that mastiff, 
master William," said Strong, pointing to a large 
dog that came just then into the kitchen ; " folks 
say Towzer 's fierce and surly, and, to be sure, he 
has bitten a few folks that teased him ; now, some 
have threatened to shoot that dog; some say 
they will poison him, or cleave his head : but let 
them touch a hair of him, only let them do it ; 1 
shall like to see them, that is all. ' Love me, love 
my dog,' you know. I can take care of Towzer." 

" To be sure you can," said the coaxing tailor ; 
" no one will touch Towzer when you are in sight ; 
they know better than to get into trouble for the 
sake of a dog." 

" For the sake of a dog !" said Strong. " What 
do you mean by that, master tailor ? The dog is 
worth his weight in gold. Do not speak slightly 
of my dog, for I shall not allow it." 

"Well, it is a fine animal, to be sure," said 
William, " but I do not know much about dogs, 
Mr. Strong." 

" No ; you know more about geese than dogs, 
master tailor," replied Strong ; " but still you may 


believe me when I say that Towzer is worth his 
weight in gold." 

" No doubt of it," said the tailor, again taking 
up his knife and fork, and cutting a fresh piece 
from the pork-pie. 

" Well, well, you are a sensible man/ ' said 
Strong, "taking you altogether, though foolish 
at times ; and we think alike on most things. Now, 
where will you find a working man's cottage so 
well stocked as mine, Mr. William? Look at 
that Bible with the tea-caddy on it, why it is as 
big as a church Bible, and cost me a pretty penny ; 
but my wife had set her heart upon having it. 
Look at the two sides of bacon over our heads, 
dangling from the ceiling; and did you ever see 
a finer ham than that hanging in the corner? 
Our cellar's small, but there are two good 
barrels of ale in it, and there is a leg of mutton 
and a round of beef in the pantry, where that 
pork-pie came from, master tailor." 

" I always said," replied William, talking with 
his mouth filled with pie-crust, " I always said, 
that those would never starve that lived with Mr. 

" 1 should think not," said the wheelwright, 
"for when that bacon is gone I can hang up 

" To be sure you can, and fill your barrels 


again when empty," said the tailor, drinking a 
ejlass of ale off at a draught. 

"To be sure I can," said Strong, vauntingly, 
"and help to empty them ; for I can drink 
down any man in the parish, and get up neither 
sick nor sorry, to do a good day's work next 

A proud, boasting fellow was Strong, the 
wheelwright, as the reader has been told. He 
possessed great strength, he had a comfortable 
cottage, and he obtained a great deal of money 
for a working man, and these things were his pride. 
He trusted in his strength as though he thought 
it would never fail him, and was puffed up with 
his gains, little thinking that money makes itself 
wings, and that health and strength often sud- 
denly pass away. Foolish man ! money may be 
ours to-day, and belong to others to-morrow ; it 
may be stolen: we may lose it, or be wronged 
out of it. If, then, our pleasures lie in having 
money, it may be taken away in an unlooked-for 
hour ; for no one can be sure of keeping his money. 
And as for health and strength, which are worth 
more to us than money, we may lose them in a 
day, ay, in a moment ! It ought to be the lan- 
guage of every heart, " Lord, make me to know 
mine end, and the measure of my days, what it 
is ; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, 


thou hast made my days as an handbreadth ; and 
mine age is as nothing hefore thee : verily every 
man at his best state is altogether vanity," Psa. 
xxxix. 4, 5. 

John Strong, puffed up with pride, continued 
to go on in the same way for a time, disliked by 
most people in the village, and only friendly with 
those who agreed with him for what they could 
get from him, like fawning William, the tailor : 
but a cloud was coming over him. 

Strong was not one of those who harden them- 
selves against God, but he was carried away by 
the foolish pride of a vain-glorious heart. He 
took credit for his health and strength, as if they 
depended on himself. Though he received those 
gifts from God, he gave not God the glory. 

How many are there in the world who, hour 
after hour, and year after year, partake of un- 
numbered mercies, altogether regardless of the 
Almighty hand that bestowed them ! How many 
are there who make a boast of what ought to fill 
their hearts with thankfulness, and their mouths 
with praise. Oh that men would humble them- 
selves, and give God the glory ! " Oh that men 
would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for 
his wonderful works to the children of men!" 
Ps. cvii. 8. 

John Strong had health, but health could not 


protect him from accident. John Strong had 
strength, but strength could not defend him 
from broken bones. He was called on to take 
off the wheel of a heavily laden cart, but the 
instrument called the "jack," with which he had 
lifted up the body of the cart, suddenly slipped, 
and down came the cart upon the unhappy wheel- 
wright. His thigh was broken, and besides this, 
he was otherwise injured : maimed, and in sad 
agony, he was carried into his cottage. 

Stout-hearted John Strong struggled hard 
against low spirits, even when made to possess 
days and nights of weariness and pain. Agony, 
restlessness, and impatience quickened his pulse, 
and fevered his tongue, till his great strength gave 
way, and he became weak as an infant. 

While lying helpless on his bed, one day, he 
heard some one running up the stairs, arid his wife 
burst into the room, holding her apron up to 
her eyes, and sobbing as though her heart would 

" What is the matter, Mary ? " said the wheel- 
wright. " Tell me, I say, directly, who has crossed 

" O John, John ! " said the weeping woman, 

" there is Towzer lying dead in the lane. They 

have cleaved his head. It is the black-heartedness 

of the man that vexes me. The wheedling fellow 



always had the best in our house when he looked 

"Who has done it? Was it the miller's man?" 
shouted John, giving way to sudden passion. 
*' Was it the wrestler I threw at Simpson's green? 
Was it " 

" It was William Wallis, the tailor," said the 
sobbing woman. " The dog had hold of one of 
his children's clothes, and would not loose ; so 
Wallis struck him on the head with a hammer." 

" Did you tell him how I would serve him out 
for it?" cried Strong. 

" Yes, John, I did," answered his wife, " and 
the saucy fellow laughed in my face, and said 
you were crippled for life, and could never hurt 

"We will see about that," said John, for a 
moment forgetting his afflictions. " My clothes, 
Mary! my clothes !" and he sat upright in bed, 
but directly fell back again through weakness. 
The wheelwright's proud heart then gave a groan. 
He had kept up till then, but Wallis' s behaviour 
struck him down ; he turned his aching head on 
his pillow, and cried like a child. It was the first 
time Mary, who loved her husband with all his 
faults, had seen tears in his eyes, and the sight 
cut her to the heart. " Never mind the tailor," 
said she, " I wish I had not told you, John ; I 


was foolish in speaking about it till you had got 
strong again." 

" You did right to tell me, Mary," said John, 
mildly. " Do not keep things from me, and use 
me like a baby ; I will not stand it. Now, leave 
me in quiet a bit, and then I can think about the 

Mary left the room directly, for John was one 
who would not be crossed. When alone, he tossed 
and rolled about on his pillow, muttering bitter 
threats against ungrateful William Wallis, and 
thinking how he would serve him when he got 
upon his legs. But the wheelwright's passion 
did not last long. He grew quieter, and began to 
think he might, perhaps, grow worse, and never 
leave his chamber till they carried him away in 
his coffin. 

" Look at my arm, Mary ! " said John Strong 
one day to his wife, as he lay on his sick bed, 
half wasted away. " Would any one believe that 
this stick of an arm ever mastered the miller's 
man, and grappled with Phips the wrestler, laying 
him fairly on his back? No, that they would 
not. I am but the shadow of what I was." 
What John Strong said was true enough ; but his 
proud, boasting spirit was to be brought down 
too. His heart was to be humbled, as well as 
his frame wasted. " I think, Mary, that I shall 
die ; but I am not fit to die." 


Sometimes it pleases God to take a man and 
shake him with the terrors of eternity, so that he 
cries out aloud, in the bitter agony of his soul 
for the rocks to hide him, and the mountains tc 
cover him from the wrath of the Almighty ; and 
sometimes he allows the gracious promises of 
his holy word to descend gently as the dews of 
heaven on his heart, so that by degrees his soul 
is led to magnify the Lord, and his spirit to 
rejoice in God his Saviour. The grace of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fel- 
lowship of the Holy Ghost are enjoyed by him, 
without having to pass through those fears that 
many endure. It was in a gentle way, by little 
and little, that John Strong was brought to be an 
altered man. 

A working man in health, who has a pork-pie, 
a leg of mutton, a round of beef, a ham, two 
sides of bacon, and two barrels of ale in his house, 
may feel independent ; but in sickness, with these 
comforts gone, and with no gains, he is altogether 
in a different case. Like Samson of old, John 
was shorn of his strength, and found himself to 
be, indeed, as weak as another man. 

There were a few Christian people, who, in 
John Strong's heavy affliction, took occasion to 
show him kindness. They now and then called 
in to know how he went on, and took him little 


comforts and niceties, while some rendered him 
more suhstantial kindness, till, by degrees, they 
were regarded by John as friends. Then, too, 
followed in its turn, Christian conversation, till at 
last Mary, by her husband's desire, was seated at 
his bed-side with the big Bible in her lap. When 
Mary went for the Bible, she felt ashamed to find 
it so dusty. Willingly would she have read it 
every day from the first hour it came into the 
cottage, but her husband gave her no encourage- 
ment. The day ought not to pass without the 
word of God being read, by those who possess 
the treasure, in every habitation. Husbands and 
wives should attend to this, and help one anothet 
on the way to heaven. " Search the Scriptures," 
John v. 39 ; and, " Let the word of Christ dwell 
in you richly in all wisdom," Col. iii. 16. 

John was always as proud of his big Bible a8 
of his ale barrels ; but the time drew near when 
he was to understand its value ; to be taught by it 
that he was a sinner, and led by it to Him who 
died upon the cross, the only Saviour. 

At first little more was done with the Bible 
than turning over the leaves and talking about 
the pictures ; but better things were to follow. 
A verse or two, and then a chapter was read, and 
the soft voice of his wife Mary fell sweetly on the 
listening ears of John Strong, as she pronounced 
p 2 


the graven brow. There is that in the thin, 
straggling locks, the subdued features, and the 
quiet demeanour of old age hopefully looking 
onward and upward, which harmonizes with my 
spirit. No wonder then, that, having a full hour 
to spare, I turned my steps to the old church- 

I had walked, as a stranger, through the plea- 
sant village, and loitered for some tinte in the 
churchyard among the tombs, gazing on the un- 
couthly sculptured stones, and reading their sim- 
ple inscriptions, when, turning towards a group 
of hillocks by themselves, one of which was un- 
turfed and unbriered, I observed an old man, 
with a strip of black crape round his hat, sitting 
alone in the porch. The declining sun shone 
upon him as he sat bending forward, leaning on 
his stick, which he held with both his hands. In 
a little time I was seated beside him. 

It was a lovely evening ; for not only were the 
green leaves shining on the trees, and the birds 
singing in the bush, but the pleasant breeze was 
abroad, and the snowy clouds in the blue sky, as 
well as the churchyard, the fields, and the distant 
hills, were lit up with sunshine. Some say that 
man, on his pilgrimage to a better world, has no 
time to muse on the natural creation ; but let 
them say what they will, where a holy influence 


has led the eye and heart to regard earth and 
skies as the handywork of the Creator, a deeper 
reverence will be felt, and a warmer glow of 
thankfulness will be enjoyed. That old man, in 
the quiet musings of his mind, sitting as it were 
in the garden of death, seemed to drink in the 
beauty and calmness of the summer scene. There 
was no despondency on his brow, but hope and 
peace were there visibly portrayed. True are the 
words of the prophet, " Thou wilt keep him in 
perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee," 
Isa. xxvi. 3. 

For more than fourscore summers, and as many 
winters, had that aged man lived in the village, 
rarely roaming a dozen miles from the place. He 
had whistled in the fields as a ploughboy in his 
childhood, guided the share through the soil in 
his youth, and ploughed and sowed, re<iped and 
mowed, with a lusty arm, in his manhood, the 
broad acres which had been tilled by his fathers 
before him. From his discourse, I soon gathered 
that he had been one among the better class of 
cottagers, looked up to by those below him, and 
respected by those above him, and that then, in 
the latter end of his days, his trust being in Him 
whom to know is eternal life, he was looking "for 
a city which hath foundations, whose builder and 
maker is God." 


While we sat together in the porch, my gray- 
headed companion ran over the names of the 
several pastors who, in his time, had guided the 
village flock. Some of these ministers had re- 
moved to other benefices, and some had "fallen 
asleep." He had seen, in his day, the church 
once new-roofed, and the spire twice new-shingled. 
There were but three men in the neighbourhood 
who were older than he, and not one among them, 
like him, could walk about in the sunshine, and 
inhale the pleasant breeze, "There were," said 
he, " Gaffers and Gammers in my younger days, 
but such names are now seldom or never heard 

He spoke of the monuments in the chancel of the 
church : some had been erected in the life time of 
his grandfather ; and that of the knight in chain 
armour lying on his back, with his two-handed 
sword beside him, was much older. He spoke 
also of the broad, flat, grey stones inlaid with 
brass, that were so much worn away by the foot, 
across which the shepherd and part of his flock 
frequently walked, and over which the little 
lambs of the Sunday schools were continually 
passing : 

Marble shall moulder and decay, 
And solid brass shall wear away ; 
While God's eternal word secure 
Mid rolling ages shall endure. 


Many were the green hillocks and graven 
stones in the village churchyard, and not a few 
of those who were placed beneath them had been 
known to the aged cottager, who seemed to take 
a pleasure in relating what he knew about them, 
and on looking back on days some joyous, and 
some sorrowful which had long gone by. He 
told me of the old 'Squire who lived at the Hall, 
and of Madam Bloxham, who once inhabited the 
large house called the Rookery. She had consi- 
dered the poor, and the Lord had delivered her 
in the time of trouble, strengthening her upon the 
bed of languishing, and making all her bed in 
her sickness. The 'Squire was lying in the vault 
with the marble tomb over it, at the north end of 
the church ; and the dust of Madam Bloxham 
reposed beneath the plain monument near the 
belfry-door, surrounded by the iron palisades. 

As the old cottager sat talking, his eyes were 
often turned to the group of graves clustered 
together, as though they belonged to the same 
family. One of these, as I said before, had 
neither brier nor green turf upon it. " Tell me," 
said I, "who are lying there." The manner of 
my aged companion, as he entered on his account, 
led me to suppose he had more than a common 
interest in his relation. I remained silent while 
he gave me the following story. 


While we sat together in the porch, my gray- 
headed companion ran over the names of the 
several pastors who, in his time, had guided the 
village flock. Some of these ministers had re- 
moved to other benefices, and some had "fallen 
asleep." He had seen, in his day, the church 
once new-roofed, and the spire twice new-shingled. 
There were but three men in the neighbourhood 
who were older than he, and not one among them, 
like him, could walk about in the sunshine, and 
inhale the pleasant breeze, "There were," said 
he, " Gaffers and Gammers in my younger days, 
but such names are now seldom or never heard 

He spoke of the monuments in the chancel of the 
church : some had been erected in the life time of 
his grandfather ; and that of the knight in chain 
armour lying on his back, with his two-handed 
sword beside him, was much older. He spoke 
also of the broad, flat, grey stones inlaid with 
brass, that were so much worn away by the foot, 
across which the shepherd and part of his flock 
frequently walked, and over which the little 
lambs of the Sunday schools were continually 
passing : 

Marble shall moulder and decay, 
And solid brass shall wear away ; 
While God's eternal word secure 
Mid rolling ages shall endure. 


Many were the green hillocks and graven 
stones in the village churchyard, and not a few 
of those who were placed beneath them had been 
known to the aged cottager, who seemed to take 
a pleasure in relating what he knew about them, 
and on looking back on days some joyous, and 
some sorrowful which had long gone by. He 
told me of the old 'Squire who lived at the Hall, 
and of Madam Bloxham, who once inhabited the 
large house called the Rookery. She had consi- 
dered the poor, and the Lord had delivered her 
in the time of trouble, strengthening her upon the 
bed of languishing, and making all her bed in 
her sickness. The 'Squire was lying in the vault 
with the marble tomb over it, at the north end of 
the church ; and the dust of Madam Bloxham 
reposed beneath the plain monument near the 
belfry-door, surrounded by the iron palisades. 

As the old cottager sat talking, his eyes were 
often turned to the group of graves clustered 
together, as though they belonged to the same 
family. One of these, as I said before, had 
neither brier nor green turf upon it. " Tell me," 
said I, "who are lying there." The manner of 
my aged companion, as he entered on his account, 
led me to suppose he had more than a common 
interest in his relation. I remained silent while 
he gave me the following story. 


" Those who lie there, as you seem to suppose, 
all sprang from the same stock, and I humbly and 
heartily trust that their names are all ' written in 
the book of life.' Abel Hay croft was an upright, 
hard-working man, fearing God, and acting a 
kind part to his neighbours. Such a man ought 
not to have had an enemy in the world ; but he 
had one, and a bitter one too, who wronged 
him, forced him to go to law, and ruined him. 
When I say, ruined him, I mean, that he took 
from him his earthly property ; for Abel had a 
heavenly inheritance, that no one could take 
away. It seemed a hard thing that he, who had 
owned land as a master, should be compelled to 
till it as a servant ; but it was so, and Abel left 
the house on the farm to live in a cottage. Where 
the fear of God is, no one can be altogether 
unhappy. Abel repined not at the loss of his 
lands. ' The Lord gave,' said he, ' and the Lord 
hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the 
Lord.' Abel, after all, was a richer man than he 
who oppressed him ; for, ' Better is a little with 
righteousness than great revenues without right,' 
Prov. xvi. 8. 

" Abel Hay croft had three sons, Ambrose, 
Gideon, and Gregory. ' The lads must work as 
I have done,' said he ; ' but that will not hurt 
them, for the " sleep of a labouring man is sweet." 


They have learned to read God's holy word, and I 
hope some of it is in their hearts.' Abel lies under 
the third hillock yonder ; for the first, with the 
head-stone, is the resting-place of his father, and 
the second that of his uncle. He died as he had 
lived, a humble disciple of the Redeemer ; and I 
can fancy, though I was but a lad when he left 
the world, that I now hear the minister giving out 
the text for his funeral sermon : ' The Lord gave, 
and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the 
name of the Lord, 5 Job i. 21. 

"Ambrose, Gideon, and Gregory loved as 
brothers should love one another. ' How good 
and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell 
together in unity !' While they were together 
they felt strong, for ' a threefold cord is not 
quickly broken ;' but a time came when they were 
to part. 

" A man, to our sorrow, came to the village who 
had been at sea, and he talked so glibly about 
gallant ships, and studding sails, and the white 
foam, and the green ocean, and ivory, and gold- 
dust, and sunny islands, and macaws, and cocoa- 
nuts, that the head of poor Ambrose was fairly 
turned, so that nothing would do but he must go 
to sea. To sea he went ; and however it might 
be with the other matters, right little of the ivory 
and gold-dust came to his share. Of the sun, 


poor fellow, he had enough ; for he came back, 
after living in India twenty years, with neither 
health nor wealth. It was well that his brother 
Gregory had stuck to the plough, and had got a 
little beforehand, for it enabled him to give Am- 
brose a home in the cottage of his father. 

"Before Ambrose came home Gideon went 
abroad, for he had heard that, in the west, land 
was to be had for little or nothing. A labouring 
man was sure to prosper there, for food was cheap, 
and they had no taxes. Childhood is the proper 
time to blow bubbles, but some people are inclined 
to blow them all the days of their lives. Poor 
Gideon was one of this sort, but even he was tired 
of the sport at last. He had a log-house, with 
plenty of swampy land that he could not drain, 
and fir-trees that he could not fell. Hard was 
his struggle ; but, at last, the hot sun and the 
swampy fog were too much for him, the fever laid 
hold of him, and he came back to the land of his 
fathers poorer than he left it. Gregory opened 
his cottage-door wide to receive his broken-down 
brother ; and, to make a long story short, the 
three brothers dwelt together in affection and 
peace, and the blessing of God rested upon them. 

" Whatever else we may forget, sir, it behoveth 
us never to forget God ; for his mercy is in the 
heavens, and his faithfulness reacheth unto the 


clouds. The three brothers, as I said, dwelt 
together. They read God's holy word, bent 
together at the throne of grace, and would have 
continued to walk together to the house of God 
in company to their lives' end, had not the infir- 
mities of Ambrose and Gideon gained upon them ; 
but their faith was strong in Him who lived and 
died for sinners, and they trusted in him. It is 
fifteen years come Christmas since Ambrose was 
carried to the grave, and his brothers, knowing 
that he had looked onwards to a glorious resur- 
rection, were enabled to say, with submission to 
God's holy will, ( The Lord gave, and the Lord 
hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the 
Lord.' " 

Having thus spoken, the old man stood up, 
and walked gently to the hillock which had neither 
brier nor green turf. " And here lies Gideon," 
said he, his voice a little faltering, " for yesterday 
he was carried to the grave, the ' house appointed 
for all living ;' but he knew in whom he trusted. 
It becomes us all, sir, to be ready to depart, but 
especially such an old man as I am, for ' there 
is but a step between me and death.' s All the 
days of my appointed time will I wait, till my 
change come.' Let me die the death of the 
righteous, and let my last end be like his!'" 
Numb, xxiii. 10. 


" And what became of the remaining brother T* 
said I, feeling sure that he then stood before me. 
"What became of Gregory?" said I, as he lifted 
his broad- brimmed hat, with the crape round it 
from his hoary head, and bent to me, about to 
take his leave. " He remains," said he, " an in- 
habitant in the village still, preparing for the 
future ; for though he is yet able to hobble about 
the scenes of his childhood, and to sit at eventide 
in the old church porch, looking on the graves of 
his brothers, he well knows that his time is short. 
Many have been God's unmerited mercies," con- 
tinued he, wiping away with his sleeve the tear 
that had risen in his eye, "and this is not the 
least of them, that, rejoicing in the hope set before 
him, he can still say, though health and strength 
have departed, c The Lord gave, and the Lord hath 
taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord*' " 


I ONCE read an epitaph on a tombstone, which 
contained this striking expression : " Oh that this 
mouldering stone may remind a sinner of the 
mercy that may be found in a Saviour!" and 
since then, often have I applied the same lan- 
guage to my pen that was there applied to the 
stone. In holy things, however, we must be con- 
tent to take aim, and shoot, for God alone can 
direct the arrow to its mark. Who can tell but 
that what I have now to say to thee, reader, may 
tend to thy peace ? 

In the days of my youth I once had to call at 
a very elegant mansion, where I was shown into a 
fair apartment, to wait till the lady of the house 
joined me. Never had I before seen a room so 
elegantly furnished. The walls, which were covered 
with a paper of the most tasteful description, had 
a few choice paintings hung upon them ; the costly 
carpet was delicately white, fit only for a satin 
slipper ; while the chair-bottoms had worked upon 
them such beautiful flowers on a white ground, as 
Q 2 


made me afraid to sit upon them. I regarded the 
room with wonder, for, altogether, its walls, carpet, 
furniture, and pictures seemed to form a piece of 
perfection. On raising my eyes, however, to the 
ceiling, to examine the cornice, I saw, as if it were 
there to point a moral, a cobweb in the corner. 
How it came about that a spider could be suffered 
to weave her web in such a chamber is more than 
I can divine, though it might be that the extreme 
delicacy of the room was, after all, the cause. Had 
the apartment been less costly, a servant might 
have been allowed to enter it more frequently ; 
but however this might be, there was the black 
web on the snowy white cornice. The lesson it 
afforded me could scarcely be made plainer ; and 
I must have been dull indeed not to have under- 
stood it, for it said, as intelligibly as the web of a 
spider could say anything we must not expect to 
be without annoyances. In the fairest earthly 
apartment there is a cobweb in the corner. 

This lesson has very likely been impressed on 
your memory as deeply as on mine. Sometimes 
a trifling circumstance, and at other seasons an oc- 
currence of importance, may bring it home to our 
hearts ; and yet we go on, day after day, fondly 
persuading ourselves that when we have got rid 
of a certain trouble, and gained possession of a 
certain good that we desire, we shall be at ease. 


No such thing ! There ever was, there is, and 
there ever will he, a drop of gall in our honey- 
pot, a shadow in our most sunshiny path, and a 
cohweb in the corner. 

A short time ago I attended a well-conducted 
wedding. The day was fine, the carriages arrived 
at the church with their company at proper time. 
The bride and bridegroom looked as a bride and 
bridegroom should look, and cheerfulness and so- 
lemnity were alike visible in the bridal group. I 
was about to say that all were appropriately dressed 
and decorated, with white kid gloves on their 
hands and bouquets in their bosoms ; but no, 
there was one solitary exception to the general 
propriety. One of the party attended with a 
black crape hatband; and who was he that was 
thus so unbridally attired, casting a shadow where 
a gleam of sunshine would have been more in har- 
mony with the occasion ? Alas ! it was Old Hum- 
phrey. Ay, and the inadvertence, or blunder, or 
whatever else it may be termed, cost him some- 
thing too ; for though he did all he could to hide 
his best beaver, bearing the symbol of sorrow, 
the thing was impossible. There he was, handing 
out the bride and bridegroom from their carriage, 
with a black crape hatband above his brows ! The 
wedding was, as I before told you, a well-conducted 
wedding ; but you see that for all this there was 


a cobweb in the corner. Ay, and a cobweb there 
will ever be. It is the poet only that finds a 
paradise beneath the stars, and he only finds it in 
his own poesy. He rhymes of 

Mossy banks of verdant green, 
Where creeping thing was never seen; 

but it suits him better to rhyme about them, than 
to point out the exact locality where they are to 
be found. Gratefully to enjoy, and patiently to 
endure, is better than to spend our lives under 
the delusion of ever being perfectly free from 
care. As the traveller, in an alpine country, sets 
his eyes on a higher hill than the one he has 
ascended, so do we set our hearts on a higher 
hope than the one we have realized. We are 
never thoroughly satisfied. Oh that we could at 
once set our hearts on heaven, for on earth there 
will ever be a cobweb in the corner. 

Well would it be if the truth were more pre- 
sent to our recollection, that we never were, and 
that we never shall be, on this side heaven, per- 
fectly happy. There will always be with us 
something present that we wish to be absent, or 
something absent that we desire to be present. 
If we want nothing else, we shall be sure to want 
durability, whereas mutability is written on all 


There is, where every man has been, 

So wayward is our will, 
E'en in the most delightful scene, 

A something wanting still : 

And the wanting that, is the cobweb in the corner. 
It is better to be simple than aspiring in our desires ; 
it is better to be lowly than exalted in our expec- 
tations. As a kite in the air often has a broken 
string, or a tangled tail, so in our high-minded, 
sky-aspiring moods, something usually happens to 
bring us down to the common level of humanity. 
We cannot keep up in the atmosphere of our 
excited hopes. 

For though, high for a season, we ride on the blast, 
We are sure to come down to one level at last. 

To be thankful for sunshine is very desirable, 
and not less so to be prepared for shadows for 
come they will. Surely as night follows day, joy 
will be associated with sorrow. Some trouble, 
some anxiety, some vexation, we must have ; 
wherever we go, and wherever we stay, we shall 
assuredly find a cobweb in the corner. 

Great and small have, and will have, their 
annoyances, all the world over. The monarch 
finds his people intractable ; the statesman is out- 
witted by a rival politician ; the victorious warrior 
is at last defeated ; the rich merchant loses his 
cargo ; the farmer has a blighted crop ; the land- 


lord meets with a bad tenant, and the tenant with 
a harsh landlord; the beau at the ball has a 
wrong partner, and the belle bursts her satin 
slipper; the soldier gets a shattered arm, and 
the sailor a splintered leg ; the master is insulted 
by his servants, and the servant is turned away by 
his master. In short, every one finds a cobweb 
in the corner. 

The various changes of life should make us 
thoughtful. When all that has been esteemed 
great passeth away, we need not expect that 
which is little to remain long. Babylon, the great 
Babylon, is thrown down ! The hundred gates 
of Thebes are gone ! The glory of Jerusalem is 
departed ! The mosque of Omar occupies the 
place of the temple of Solomon ; the Parthenon 
is tottering ; and the heroes of olden times, where 
are they ? Time is writing ruin on the Pyramids, 
and the spider hath woven her web in the palaces 
of the Caesars ! Truly the lesson should be graven 
with a pen of iron on our hearts : "Set your 
affection on things above, not on things on the 
earth/ 1 Col. iii. 2. Change is universal, weak- 
ness follows hard upon strength, sickness upon 
health, and death upon life. There are shadows 
everywhere, and in every place a cobweb in the 

The language of the Redeemer was not, " In 


the world ye may have tribulation ;" but, " In the 
world ye shall have tribulation." Trouble is our 
inheritance, our property, our birthright. Ours 
it is, and we cannot do without it. " Man is born 
unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward," Job v. 7. 
Let us desire less, and try to deserve more ; endure 
patiently, as well as enjoy gratefully, and look up- 
wards as well as around us ; setting our affection 
on things that are above, remembering, as I said 
before, that there ever was, there is, and there 
ever will be a drop of gall in our honey-pot, a 
shadow in our most sunshiny path, and a cobweb 
in the corner. 


FOR the last hour or so I have been thinking 
of God's messengers. Our thoughts often appear 
to be carried away, as dry leaves fluttering from 
the bough, by every wind that blows ; but for all 
this, they are sometimes turned to a useful end by 
the Father of mercies. How infinite is his wisdom ! 
and then think of his almighty power. If it be 
put forth in thy favour, what shall harm thee ? 
If it be directed against thee, who shall preserve 
thee from destruction? 

It is not unlikely that the term God's messen- 
gers may have set you thinking of the angels 
employed by the Almighty. You see them go 
forth with lightning-like speed on their errands 
of mercy or judgment, and marvel at the wondrous 
celerity with which they perform His holy will 
who " sitteth upon the throne," now occupied 
in the weal and woe of mortal men, and now 
riding on the whirlwind and directing the storm. 
But no ! In using the term God's messengers 
I have no intention to speak of angels as repre- 
sented by painters or sculptors. 


You are now, perhaps, supposing that I have 
taken for my subject those who minister in holj 

The messengers of grace to guilty men ; 

and have, in the eye of your fancy, hishops in 
lawn sleeves, rectors, and curates of parish 
churches, or ministers of other congregations, as 
the case may he, discharging the all-important 
duties of their several positions; still you are 
wrong in your conception. Highly as I estimate 
the ministerial office, ranking his calling above all 
others who, truly moved by a heavenly influence, 
devotes his noblest energies to glorify the Re- 
deemer, and to help his fellow-sinners on their way 
to heaven yet have I no design, in my observa- 
tions on God's messengers, to allude to those who 
publicly proclaim the gospel of peace. 

The messengers of God are many, and they 
are also good and evil ; for all things are his 
messengers that go forth and accomplish his 
designs. Sometimes they are mighty as embattled 
monarchs, and terrible as an army with banners, 
while at other times they are mean and low: 

They come not forth as conquerors, 

Their hands no weapon bear ; 
No falchions glitter on the thigh, 

And their brows no laurel wear. 

At one time, they are fearful to gaze on, for 


they are messengers of destruction; at another, 
they are lovely in our eyes, as the messengers of 
peace. " How beautiful are the feet of them that 
hring glad tidings of good things," Rom. x. 15. 
Now they go forth to a kingdom : " Go, ye swift 
messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled," 
Isa. xviii. 2 ; and now their errand is only to one 
man : " I have a message from God unto thee," 
Judges iii. 20. When we regard the varied mes- 
sengers of the Almighty, and the means whereby 
he accomplishes his designs, we see, indeed, that 
" his ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts 
as our thoughts." 

We cannot always see the messengers of God, 
for the acts of the Holy One are sometimes per- 
formed by viewless agents : " Let there be light : 
and there was light," Gen. i. 3. Sometimes 
they are but imperfectly discerned : " A spirit 
passed before my face ; the hair of my flesh stood 
up : it stood still, but I could not discern the 
form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, 
there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 
Shall mortal man be more just than God ? 
'.,hall a man be more pure than his Maker ? " 
Job iv. 1517. The agents of the Most High 
are not the less his accredited messengers, because 
they are but imperfectly discerned. The more 
we are accustomed to regard the affairs of the 


world as under heavenly control ; and the more 
clearly we discern, in the things which affect 
them, the messengers of God, the more ready 
shall we be 

To take the gold of life with life's alloy- 
Patient to suffer; grateful to enjoy. 

Surely, while we believe that He who made the 
mammoth and the elephant made also the moth 
and the ant while we acknowledge that 

" The voice that rolls the stars along 
Speaks all the promises," 

it ill becomes us not to discern the messengers of 
the Holy One. They ascend and descend in their 
heavenly errand : they go abroad to and fro in 
the earth ; they are about our path and our pillow; 
nor is there a spot unvisited or uninfluenced by 
their presence. God is everywhere ; the mighty 
mountain and the minute sand on the sea- shore 
are equally his agents : 

The passing clouds of heaven his will obey; 
And winds and waves his messengers are they. 

Weak and diminutive as is the coral insect, as 
a messenger of God, it goes forth to do the 
bidding of its great Creator, and extended islands 
are formed in the sea. The warring elements, 
decay and time, are messengers, also, of the 
Eternal, whether swiftly or slowly they execute 
his almighty mandates. " The monument becomes 
a ruin. The battle of the elements, the withering 



sweep of the lightning's fiery wing, with its accom- 
panying death peal ; the slow, snail-like march of 
unerring decay, leaving behind the traces of its 
progress; the yawn of the earthquake; these do 
their work. Upon the tangible works of man, his 
temples, palaces, pyramids, monuments, columns, 
the foot of time is placed, and will eventually 
crush them; stone blocks, thick-ribbed arches, 
roof and roof-tree, king-post, queen-post, beams, 
rafters, and all." 

He who rules in the armies of heaven, and 
among the children of men, has mighty messen- 
gers, when he chooses to despatch them on 
errands of destruction. Plague, pestilence, and 
famine, battle and murder, and sudden death. 
These roam abroad in the world, and waste it, 
for the sins of its inhabitants ; yet take courage, 
thou lowly follower of thy Lord, for " He shall 
cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings 
shalt thou trust : his truth shall be thy shield 
and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the 
terror by night ; nor for the arrow that flieth by 
day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in dark- 
ness ; nor for the destruction that wasteth at 
noonday. Because thou hast made the Lord 
which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy 
habitation," Psa. xci. 4 6, 9. 

(Jod sometimes scourges the world with his 


messengers the mildew and the caterpillar, and 
effectually do they execute their errand ; making 
the garden a waste ground, and the fruitful field a 
scene of desolation. When Pharaoh, the hard- 
hearted Egyptian king, and his armed host 
oppressed the people of God, what were the mes- 
sengers of the Holy One? Did he send the 
whirlwind to destroy them, or the earthquake to 
swallow them up ? No ! For he can clothe the 
weakest of his creatures with power sufficient to 
execute his commands. He had armies ready to 
obey him, for he is the Lord of hosts, and can 
control the wills and affections of sinful men. 
He could have sent the wild beasts of the earth 
on the mission of destruction; but instead of this, 
diminutive and impotent creatures, such as the 
frog, the locust, and the fly, became the mes- 
sengers of the Almighty to plague the stubborn 
heart of Pharaoh. Nor was it till these had 
done their work, that he sent thick darkness 
upon the Egyptians, and slew their firstborn, 
forcing even Pharaoh to rise up in haste by night 
and to cry unto Moses and Aaron, " Get you 
forth from among my people." 

Sometimes accidents, sometimes sickness, and 

sometimes human laws, become the messengers of 

our great Creator, in removing human beings 

from the world. We must not, however, nay, 

R 2 


we cannot, if we duly reflect, suppose that the 
greatest offenders have been those who have en- 
dured the heaviest punishments. Malefactors are 
not of necessity the worst of their species, they 
are only delinquents that happen to have been 
discovered. There is, I feel persuaded, a more 
fearful catalogue of crimes than that contained 
in the Newgate Calendar ; and there have been 
more fearful offenders than the culprits who have 
perished on the scaffold and the gallows. Among 
those who have been honoured among men, and 
had marble monuments erected to their memory 
among those who have lived in credit, and died 
in apparent peace, doubtless have been some of 
the blackest monsters that ever bore the image 
of humanity. Successful villany and practised 
hypocrisy may escape the quick-sighted vigilance 
of man, but they cannot escape the lightning 
glance of the all-seeing eye of God. 

In reading the word of God, we can hardly fail 
to be struck by the many messengers sent from 
the Eternal throughout the whole of the Scrip- 
ture history. I will mention a few of these as 
they occur to my memory. The ravens were 
messengers to Elijah, as the bears from the wood 
were to those who mocked Elisha. The ram 
caught in the thicket was a messenger for good 
to Abraham and Isaac, as the blast of the ram's 



horn was a messenger of evil to the city of 
Jericho. Pleasant messengers were the cruse of 
oil and the barrel of meal to the widow of Zare- 
phath. Poor Job was almost overwhelmed with 
messengers; for what with the Sabeans, and the 
fire from God, and the Chaldeans, and the great 
wind, and the plague of boils, and his injudicious 
friends, he had quite as much as he could 
patiently endure. The handwriting on the palace 
wall was an alarming messenger to Belshazzar; 
and the smooth stone of the brook from the 
sling of David was a very unwelcome one to the 
giant Goliath. Gehazi would not approve of the 
leprosy sent to him, but it was not on that 
account the less a messenger from God. The 
same remark may be made of the crowing of 
the cock, that smote the conscious heart of 
repentant Peter; and the light from heaven 
that blinded Saul. Those that I have enume- 
rated should be regarded as the messengers of 
the Almighty, as much as the flood that drowned 
the world, and the Holy Scriptures of eternal 
truth, setting forth the way of salvation by Christ. 
God has warning messengers, reminding mes- 
sengers, consoling messengers, and encouraging 
messengers. The rainbow is his messenger of 
hope, and the sparkling stars are his messengers 
of faith, Lidding us look upwards when the 


world is wrapped in darkness. Many, too, are 
his messengers of joy. Look at spring, with its 
fresh buds ; summer, with its beauteous flowers ; 
and autumn, with its abundant fruits ! The 
fertilizing dew and the descending showers are 
kindly messengers, and so are the refreshing 
hreezes that, morning and evening, breathe health 
around the land. What think you of sunshine, 
and the warbling of birds, and the hum of bees, 
and the waving of butterflies' wings ? These 
are messengers expressly commissioned to make 
the heart happy; surely, then, we ought to be 

Remember that I am reasoning with myself, 
as well as with you ; for it by no means follows 
that because I talk about the messengers of God, 
I am more apt in discerning them than you are. 
While a man has the credit of being ns quick- 
sighted as a lynx, all the time he may be blind as 
a beetle. 

Our hopes and fears are often heralds of mercy 
to us ; and oh ! what a messenger is the " still 
small voice," that reaches the deafest ear and 
the hardest heart ! Not more influential than 
this is the pealing thunder, that seems to rend 
both earth and heaven. This is a messenger that 
is irresistible. Dominion, and power, and riches, 
and wisdom, and strength, oppose it in v&in. 


Compared with this the torrent of the river and the 
tide of the roaring ocean are weak and uninflu- 
ential. Has this messenger been sent to you? 
Has it broken in upon your privacy, when the 
doors and windows of your chambers have been 
closed, and when darkness has spread over you its 
shadowy wings ? Has it told you that " all have 
sinned, and come short of the glory of God ?" 
that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die?" and 
warned you to " flee from the wrath to come," 
and to hasten to the "fountain opened for all 
uncleanness ? " In a word, has it told you that 
without faith in Him who died on the cross you 
have nothing to hope, and that with it you have 
nothing to fear ? 

You will see, by what I have said, that the pen 
of a ready writer might soon fill a book with a 
catalogue of only part of the messengers of 
God. Try if you cannot make out a much more 
extended list than that with which I have pre- 
sented you. 


WHAT darling pursuit, reader, are you following ? 
What favourite hobby-horse are you riding? 
The mews, or menagerie of this wide world, is 
well supplied with all kinds of steeds ready sad- 
dled and bridled for those who choose to mount 
them. Most men ride a hobby at some period of 
their lives ; as for myself, I have ridden many, 
and hardly has one among them been less than 
eighteen hands high. The whimsical caprices of 
mankind are numberless, and he who had time 
and inclination to select from them the most sin- 
gular and striking, might present a paper to the 
public highly instructive and vastly entertaining. 

The inclination to ride a hobby is confined to 
neither age, sex, nor situation. Young and old, 
men and women, princes and peasants, simpletons 
and sages, have all had their hobbies. The other 
day I noticed a child astride on his wooden horse, 
which he had ridden so desperately that it had 
neither head nor tail remaining. " Oh," thought 
I, " my little friend ! you are not the only one, 


by a great many, that I have known, who has 
ridden off the head and tail of his hobby." 

If every one who mounted a hobby was expert 
at horsemanship, we should not see such ridicu- 
lous spectacles as we now sometimes do ; but the 
misfortune of it is, that in hobby-riding we are 
the last persons to suspect our want of address 
and ability ; so that we may positively be the 
laughing-stock of those around us without ima- 
gining, for a moment, that we have had any hand 
in provoking their unaccountable mirth. Though 
he who has a black mark on his brow, or a white 
mark on his back, cannot see ife, yet the rest of 
the world can ; and though the hobby-rider may 
be blind, his neighbour will have the eye of a 
lynx on his peculiarities. 

Some men ride musical hobbies very varied in 
their character ; and hardly is a musical hobby- 
rider to be outdone, whether his forte lie in pour- 
ing forth in wild notes 

The vile shrieking of the wry-necked fife, 

or in directing the diapason of the thundering 
organ. In my youthful days I knew a most in- 
veterate violin-player, whose boast was, that he 
would not play second fiddle to any man in the 
world. He was a fine performer, certainly, and 
well he might be, for report said that in his intern- 


per ate and sinful fervour, he sometimes played 
twelve hours a day on his violin for a week toge- 
ther, including the day of the Lord ! 

Hobby-riding amateur painters are by no means 
uncommon, though very many of them sadly over- 
rate their ability. So long as they confine them- 
selves to talking about the Florentine, Roman, and 
Venetian schools, and are content with making 
the great master painters the subject of their con- 
versation, they are secure ; but when once they 
take the brush in hand the case is otherwise. 
Lamentable productions have I gazed on in my 
time productions which have made it very evi- 
dent that a great love of painting, and a very 
little ability to paint, may exist together. 

But neither the musical nor painting hobby- 
rider ever equalled the vagaries and the caprioles 
of the poetical one. Many write verses in abun- 
dance, and with facility, who seem to have no par- 
ticle of poetry in their hearts or souls. I have 
known men of talent, judgment, and discrimina- 
tion, fond of rhyming, and fond of appearing in 
print, who were never able to discern their utter 
inability to write poetry. While I make this re- 
mark, a poem of a very imposing kind, highly 
dedicated, and beautifully printed, is lying beside 
me. Its very subject must have excited curiosity 
among those who were well qualified to discern its 


demerits at a glance ; and yet so unhappy is the 
production, that its author, though to my know- 
ledge much elated with his performance, has real 
reason to hide his face with both his hands. Of 
all hobbies, let him who is unskilful avoid the 
Pegasus of poetry ! 

I remember passing the residence of a maiden 
lady of property, whose hobby was said to be that 
of keeping an extraordinary number of cats. 
These tabbies were regularly fed and furnished, 
petted and provided for, in the most costly and 
careful manner. Every arrangement was made as 
to bed and board for their comfort, and a regular 
course pursued of washing and combing, exercise 
and diversion, so that the health and happiness 
of this feline family appeared to be by far the 
most important object that occupied the lady's 
attention. It was even said that a cat-doctor was 
in occasional attendance ; and I can the more rea- 
dily believe the report, when I recall to mind the 
circumstance, that a lady, who once lived near 
me, in the excess of her sympathy for an invalided 
tabby, had a chicken boiled for her benefit. 

I know one whose hobby is his aviary; and 
there he spends, perhaps, his happiest hours amid 
the twittering of small birds, the murmuring of 
doves, the cooing of fan tail pigeons, the chatter- 
ing of jays, the quacking of ducks, the gabbling 


of geese; and the talking, calling, hooting, 
screaming, and shrieking of parrots, paroquets, 
macaws, and cockatoos. Often have I playfully 
wished him joy of his hobby, telling him that 
when his favourites join in full chorus, the discord 
of a butcher sharpening his cleaver on a grinding- 
stone is to me, in a musical point of view, greatly 

Another whom I know rides a pyrotechnic 
hobby, and he is quite as hard a rider as he of the 
aviary. His delight is to be among fireworks and 
fire-arms. It seems to be quite necessary to his 
enjoyment that there should be something glitter- 
ing, sparkling, and flashing before his eyes, and 
something hissing, cracking, and roaring in his 
ears. Not only has he pleasure in seeing and 
hearing fireworks, but he is also an adept in mak- 
ing them, being quite at home among gunpowder, 
touch-paper, fusees, squibs, crackers, wild-fire, 
Bengola-lights, golden rain, tourbillons, stars, 
katharine-wheels, rockets, and Roman candles. 
The wonder to me is that he has never been in 
the army, for in his case one might almost sup- 
pose that the danger of attacking or defending a 
beleaguered city would be counterbalanced by the 
beauty of a bombardment. What strange hob- 
bies do men ride ! 

I have aforetime mentioned the hobby-horse of 


Michael Holmes, but as it falls in suitably with 
my present subject, once more shall it be referred 
to. Many men have many minds, and had not 
Michael's disposition been different to that of 
most men, he would never have chosen so extra- 
ordinary a hobby as he did Michael's hobby- 
horse was a big drum. Now, as a man can hardly 
go a-hunting without treading on his neighbour's 
produce, neither can a man play much on the big 
drum without trespassing on his neighbour's 
peace. Early and late, morning, noon, and night, 
houses, chimneys, roofs, rafters, walls, and win- 
dows were ringing with the loud reverberations of 
Holmes' big drum. It was a visitation that tried 
the patience, soured the temper, and called up the 
bad passions, of all the inhabitants around. I 
hope that you fully comprehend the annoyance 
that such a course must occasion in a neighbour- 
hood, and fully sympathize with those who had to 
endure it ; because, if you do, you will the more 
readily agree with me in the remark : we should 
endeavour always to keep in remembrance the 
fact, that there really are other people in the 
world besides ourselves, and that we should also 
let our hobby-horses, be whatever they may, take 
care that they trespass not on the peace of our 

You have come in contact, no doubt, with 


autograph-hunters, some of whom ride their hob- 
bies with such desperate energy that they will 
beg, borrow, or steal, the autograph of any 
remarkable person, without the slightest com- 
punction. No name of celebrity for talent, oddity, 
wit, wisdom, whim, weakness, wilfulness, or wick- 
edness, comes amiss to them ; for they would 
prize as no common treasure, but rather highly 
estimate as a delightful melange of precious gems, 
the signatures of Walter Scott, Grace Darling, and 
Bonaparte, Mungo Park and Mrs. Fry, king 
Charles and Oliver Cromwell, Daniel Lambert and 
the Living Skeleton, Alfred the Great and Tom 
Thumb the Little, Jack Sheppard the house- 
breaker, and Howard the philanthropist, the man 
Levy who leaped from the Monument, and the 
" Boy Jones," who three times won his way into 
Buckingham Palace. But think not, because I 
thus humorously speak of the lovers of autographs, 
that I think evil of them, or censure them for 
riding their hobby. It is only after such as are 
reckless that I send a flying arrow of good- 
tempered satire. 

I have a somewhat vain, broad-breasted young 
friend, whose hobby is a showy waistcoat, and 
with this hobby he goes prancing about in all 
directions. This is a weakness, but he is not 
without his good qualities. Time has been when 


I have regarded a new waistcoat of my own with 
no small degree of complacency ; and if now, in 
my age, I am more sober in my attire than 
formerly, it would scarcely become me to be very 
hard on my young friends for doing what I have 
done so long before them. 

The musical, painting, and poetic propensities , 
the tabby -loving and aviary hobbies, with the 
pyrotechnic, autographic, and fine waistcoat incli- 
nations, are but a very small part of the peculiari- 
ties existing among us. As I at first intimated, 
we are quick-sighted to the oddities of others, but 
blind as beetles to our own. 

It becomes every reader to examine his heart 
and his ways in some such way as this : Is my 
favourite pursuit consistent with the Christian 
character ? Is it a right improvement of the ines- 
timable jewel, time ? Will it bear the scrutiny of 
the great day ? Oh let us ever remember that in 
the commonest duties we are to keep our Master 
and his honour in view, and whether we eat or 
drink, or whatsoever we do, do all to the glory 
of God. 

Though I have thus rapidly glanced at a few 
of the many hobby-horses that are favourites with 
different people, there is not an ill-natured thought 
in my head, nor an ill-natured feeling in my heart, 
towards any hobby-rider in the wide world, who 
s 2 


acts kindly to the lowlier creatures, and who nei- 
ther willingly dishonours God, nor wantonly tres- 
passes on mankind. We must correct one another 
in love ; shoot folly as it flies ; reprove error and 
cruelty, and put a brand on the brow of vice : but 
in doing even these things, our own defects should 
ever be before our eyes. Let us, then, showing 
meekness and kindness to all, " consider one 
another to provoke unto love and to good works," 
Heb. x. 24. 


HE who undertakes to treat on inconsistency may 
be said to have a full subject for his reflections. 
Turn where he will, and tarry where he may, he 
will be at no loss for illustrations : within doors 
and without, in spring, summer, autumn, and 
winter, they abound everywhere. Reader, into 
whatever follies thou mayest fall, and whatever 
may be thy inconsistencies, be not thou among 
those who, to obtain the trinkets of time, are 
willing to give up the treasures of eternity. 

I have, I believe, aforetime dropped a word or 
two on consistency, but I do not remember having 
before taken inconsistency as a subject for my pen. 
"Whether you know an inconsistent man or not, 
I do. I know one who practises pride, while he 
preaches humility ; feels the influence of folly, 
when he talks of wisdom ; loves this world, while 
he directs those around him to another; and treats, 
with his pen, on humanity, prudence, virtue, and 
piety, without sufficiently illustrating them by his 
own example. 

It would be a long chapter that would contain 


my own inconsistencies, leaving alone those of my 
neighbours ; and be assured I am not at all dis- 
posed to attempt a catalogue of either one or the 
other. When farmer Brown or farmer Ball, as 
the case may be, has a hundred bags of red Lam- 
mas wheat to dispose of, he never thinks, not he, 
of ordering out his wagons to carry the whole to 
the neighbouring town, but, taking a handful 
of the grain, and tying it up in a small canvass 
bag, he puts it into his pocket, mounts his black 
mare, and trots off with it to market, where he 
expects to find a customer. The sample of grain 
answers all the purposes for sale that the hundred 
bags will effect, and then it is much easier to 
carry. Profiting by the course pursued by the 
honest farmer, I will content myself in showing 
you a few samples of human inconsistency. 

It now and then happens that a farmer, mis- 
taking the amount of grain in his granary, sells 
more than he possesses, and is unable to fulfil his 
contract. This is an awkward predicament to be 
placed in, but it is one in which I am not at all 
likely to be found. However large may be the 
demand for examples of inconsistency, I am in a 
position ready to meet it. In an eastern tale, 
wherein two owls are adjusting the dowry of 
ruined villages to be given on the approaching 
marriage of a son and daughter, one of the old 


owls says of the war-loving sultan Mahmood, that 
so long as he lived they would never be in want 
of ruined villages ; and in like manner may I say, 
that so long as mankind are what they are, there 
will be but too many instances of inconsistency. 

We are told that a shrewd pope, who had acted 
so inconsiderately and inconsistently as to make 
almost unlimited promises to his friends, was 
waited upon by them, with the petition that he 
would graciously vouchsafe them two harvests in 
a year ; when, not only was he pleased to grant 
the request, but also indulgently to allow them, 
for the future, to reckon twenty-four months to 
their year instead of twelve. It is not every one 
who can get rid of the bad effects of his incon- 
sistencies so adroitly as this cunning pope did. 
As the best of all modes of treating a wild bull, 
is to keep out of his way, so the best of all plans 
to prevent inconsistencies from involving us in 
difficulty, is never to commit them. 

There are some actions that are not so incon- 
sistent as they seem to be. It must have been a 
fine sight to see the lame man who was healed 
by Peter and John at the gate called Beautiful, 
entering " with them into the temple, walking, and 
leaping, and praising God," Acts iii. 8. Some of 
you may think he acted inconsistently, and blame 
him for his unseemly leaping, when about to enter 


the hallowed temple, but I am not a whit sur- 
prised at his lively movements. What would have 
heen the use of reproving him? Why if they 
had tied the man's legs, they could not have kept 
his heart from dancing. 

A thought occurs to me at the moment which 
I will just mention. No one is more sensible than 
I am of the advantage of having a few minutes to 
spare in the house of God before the services of 
the sanctuary begin ; for, besides a tranquil pre- 
paration for prayer and praise, it affords us other 
benefits. After quietly seeking Divine assistance, 
oh, what kindly emotions, when we are in a right 
spirit, does one quiet glance around call up in our 
hearts ! We think kindly and favourably of our 
fellow-worshippers. We look on the young as on 
youthful Samuels, and Timothys, and Lydias, 
whose hearts God has opened ; on the middle- 
aged, as on those who are giving their strength 
and the prime of their days to holy things ; and 
on the aged, as on fathers and mothers in Israel. 
We feel kindly towards all, from the pastor to the 
people in the furthest pew, and breathe the prayer, 
that we may not only worship together on earth, 
but also unite our voices in the hallelujahs of 
heaven. But seeing so clearly as I do the advan- 
tage of these few minutes, am I prompt and 
punctual in securing them? Ashamed should I 


be to answer the question. What have you to say, 
reader, on this point? Do you feel strong or 
weak ? Steady or wavering ? Consistent or incon- 
sistent ? It may be well for us both to think over 
this subject. 

If we could see our own inconsistencies as plainly 
as others see them, it would humble us in our own 
estimation. What should we think of one who, 
striving with all his energies to gain possession of 
a kingdom, should be found wasting his time in 
running after a butterfly ? We should be struck 
with his inconsistency. But are we struck with 
our own ? We either are, or ought to be, striving, 
and striving hard, too, for a kingdom. " Seek ye 
first the kingdom of God/' Matt. vi. 33. Yet, 
notwithstanding this, often are we found, with all 
our hearts and souls, pursuing the butterfly trifles 
of the world. 

There is hardly a vice that we hate more, or 
censure more, than that of ingratitude. If we 
render kindness to one who lifts up his heel 
against us, we instantly take the alarm, and are 
ready indignantly to exclaim 

Freeze, freeze, thou winter sky ! 
Thou dost not bite so nigh 

As benefits forgot; 
Though thou the waters warp, 
Thy sting is not so sharp 

As friends remember'd not. 


And yet this burst of virtuous abhorrence, this 
disgust at the sin of ingratitude, proceeds from 
those who receive from the hands of their heavenly 
Father multitudes of unacknowledged mercies. 
Were our inconsistencies to assume shapes as 
monstrous as the ingratitude they manifest, we 
should regard them with astonishment and terror. 

I must not pass over the inconsistency of Chris- 
tian people presenting a rough, churlish, and for- 
bidding exterior to those around them. " There 
are," it is said, " some men with whom we seem 
on the instant to get acquainted. An hour's acci- 
dental association in a stage-coach, a railroad car 
riage, a steam-packet, or an hotel, does more 
towards banishing reserve and restraint than many 
months of daily communication with beings less 
congenial. They seem to suit us : we part from 
them with regret ; and long afterwards, when their 
names are forgotten, we remember our pleasant 
companions, and the happy hour we spent in their 
society. It is not then that friendship can be 
made ; but we may learn from this the advantage 
of unpretending good-humour and frank benevo- 
lence.'* If this be true as applied to men, is it 
not especially so when applied to Christian men ? 
There is hardly a greater inconsistency practised 
than that of a Christian whose very breath should 
be love, and whose every act should manifest 


kindness " going about churlishly as a hog in 
armour, or playing the fretful porcupine," by 
setting up the bristly quills of unamiable and 
unlovely tempers. Oh! how I hate myself, or 
rather, how I hate my own inconsistency, when, 
forgetting the courtesy and forbearance that are 
due to all, I give way, outwardly or inwardly, to 
uncharitable feelings. 

As it is said of Elymas the sorcerer, represented 
in one of the cartoons of Raphael as groping 
about, seeking some one to lead him by the hand, 
" that he is blind in his head, blind in his foot, 
and blind all over ;" so should it be said of the 
Christian, that he is kind in his manner, kind in 
his matter, kind in his thoughts, kind in his 
words, kind in his deeds, and kind in everything. 
" Be kindly aifectioned one to another/' Rom. xii. 
1 ; for it is sad inconsistency to be otherwise. 

Should we not, think you, be ashamed to go 
out with a top-boot on one leg, and a black gaiter 
on the other ? with an embroidered silk waist- 
coat over the bosom, and a sleeveless coat on the 
back? with a gaudy new handkerchief round 
the neck, and a crownless old hat on the head ? 
Why, if in such a case shame could make us 
blush, our faces would be red as crimson. But 
are inconsistencies in dress half as objectionable 
as inconsistencies in temper and behaviour ? Cer- 


tainly not; and yet the former are visited with 
derision, while the latter pass almost without 
observation. We think more of the shell than 
the kernel ; more of the dross than the gold ; and 
much more of the temporal things that affect the 
body, than of the eternal things which concern 
the soul ! 

How inconsistent it would be for a pensioner 
on another's bounty to be proud and for a beg- 
gar to give himself airs, while asking alms. Were 
we to see such a sight, it would not only call forth 
our wonder, but excite our indignation : and yet 
thousands of such sights are to be seen for the 
proudest man is a pensioner on the bounty of our 
heavenly Father; and what is the richest man 
but a beggar for his daily supplies ? " Give us 
this day our daily bread." Hardly is there any 
end of human inconsistency. 

I often please myself in thinking that many of 
my readers feel as kindly towards me as I feel 
towards them ; and yet I should rather not be 
within hearing of your remarks, if, one of these 
fine summer mornings, you were to catch me in 
my garden, neglecting my lilies and roses, and 
watching, and watering, and tending with care 
the toadstools, chickweed, groundsel, and nettles, 
which I may have suffered to spring around 
them. You would very soon, I fear, connect with 


this strange vagary all my other eccentricities, 
and at once conclude that I was beside myself. 
" Aha !" you would say, " we have for some time 
observed a strangeness about the old gentleman, 
an odd inclination for what is singular and fan- 
tastic ; and now the thing is accounted for. "Who 
would have thought that it would have come to 
this ?" If you, then, would feel justified in thus 
speaking freely of me in the case that I have 
imagined, shall not I be justified in speaking 
freely of you in a case that is real? Are you 
not, in the garden of your heart and mind, neg- 
lecting the goodly flowers of gratitude, and love, 
and gentleness, and forbearance, and kindness; 
and do you not therein foster the funguses of 
pride and hatred, and nourish the stinging-nettles 
of resentment against those who have offended 
you? If you know this to be so, be honest to 
yourselves, and treat your own inconsistencies 
as you would treat mine. 

We read in the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel 
of St. Matthew, of a certain servant, who, after 
being forgiven a great debt, instead of having a 
heart brim full and running over with kindly 
emotions towards other debtors, went forth and 
savagely took by the throat a fellow-servant who 
owed him a trifling sum. I wonder how many, 


after reading this account, and feeling almost 
angry enough to strangle the cruel ruftian of a 
servant, have, in their dealings with mankind, 
acted with as little compassion themselves ! We 
have no excuse for cruelty. If we compare for a 
moment our demerits with our mercies ; if we put 
side by side human transgression and Divine 
forbearance, an act of cruelty to our fellow-men 
will be seen to be an act of the grossest incon- 

The fable of the Cat and the Fox you may 
have read over and over again ; but it seems so 
well adapted to the subject before me, that I 
cannot resist the temptation to relate it here after 
my own fashion. A fox and a cat, says the fable, 
who were travelling together, made their journey 
appear shorter by discourses of a moral kind. 
" How great is justice !" said the fox; " when we 
make it our guide we never err, and are kept 
from wantonly trespassing on the rights of others." 
" How exalted is mercy!" exclaimed the cat ; " it 
ought to be practised through every day and 
every hour." 

While thus they proceeded, they were absolutely 
horrified by seeing a wolf rush from the wood 
upon an innocent lamb. The lamb, poor thing, 
struggled and bleated for mercy. "Mercy!" says 


the wolf, " no ! no ! that will not do ; for I am 
hungry, and mutton is not always to be had. You 
will make me an excellent supper." 

" What a wretch," said the cat, " to feed upon 
flesh, when herbs and roots are in abundance 
around him !" " What a tyrant," cried the fox, " to 
spill innocent blood, when the oaks are laden with 
acorns !" Just in the midst of this fit of virtuous 
indignation, they came to a mill, where some 
poultry were raking up a heap of chaff with their 
heels, when reynard, without ceremony, pounced 
upon a pullet, and grimalkin sprang, with talons 
extended, on a poor little mouse that happened 
to venture from a hole. A spider, sitting in her 
web that she had woven against the mill, was quite 
distressed at the unhappy end of the poor victims. 
" I cannot think, " said she, " how creatures can 
be so cruel!" and saying this, she ran off to suck 
the blood of a thoughtless young fly, which at 
that moment was entangled in her web. I must 
give you the moral of the fable in the words in 
which it is already written, for I should fail were 
I to attempt to put an inconsistency in a clearer 
or a stronger light : 

" The faults of our neighbours with freedom we blame, 
But we tax not ourselves though we practise the same." 

We are, indeed, inconsistent creatures ; and 
this knowledge should, at least, keep us from 
T 2 


bitterness in pointing out the errors of others. 
The yearnings of the sinful heart, and the aspira- 
tions of the renewed spirit, are so much at vari- 
ance, that many a Christian man lamenting his 
inconsistencies may say, 

Oh what a silly thing am I to swallow 

The bubbles of the world so light and hollow I 

To drink its frothy draughts in lightsome mood, 

And live upon such empty, airy food ! 

While I have health, my moments I despise them, 

And when I cannot have them, then I prize them ; 

Decline a gift in value past excess, 

And cringe and fawn for what is valueless. 

Fool that I am, to follow forms that spurn me, 

And spend my breath in fanning flames that bum met 

I do the thing I hate, and would pursue not; 

And what I most desire to do, I do not ; 

Leave what 1 dearly love, with weeping eyes, 

And closely cling to what I most despise. 

We shall all do well, looking upwards for aid, 
and around for knowledge, to meditate deeply on 
our infirmities, that thereby we may at least avoid 
the glaring inconsistency of branding the brow, 
and wounding the heart of another, for the very 
same errors that we ourselves commit. 


How rapidly seasons pass with us when we are 
fully occupied, and how fully occupied we are 
when expressing our thoughts on subjects which 
are pleasant to us ! It does not, however, follow 
that the same subject is always equally agree- 
able to the talker and the listener, and this fact 
should be borne in remembrance by every one who 
desires to indulge in discourse profitably. I will 
try not to be tedious in my remarks on the Great 

How clanlorously the bells are ringing, and 
with what a full, solemn, and majestic voice the 
big bell joins the striking chorus ! It thrills 
through my very heart: the belfry shakes, and 
the spire is rocking with the deep-mouthed music. 
Fifty years have passed since the great bell was 
hung where it is. It cries aloud to the old and 
the young, the sad and the joyous; but it cries 
louder to me than to all, for I was at the founding 
of it, with many men who are now asleep under 
the green hillocks of the grave-yard. I am the 


last man alive who was present at the founding of 
the great bell. 

It was enough to scare any one to gaze on the 
fiery furnace that panting, and raging, and 
glowing, and glaring, reminded me of the fire 
prepared for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, 
seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated. 
It was a fearful sight, and an undefined sense of 
danger thrilled through my frame as I looked 
upon it, such as he feels who is near some latent 
enemy that may suddenly spring upon him in his 
fury. The roaring blast that urged on the fire 
was terrible, and the tormented volcano writhed 
with vehement wrath. 

But if the furnace was fearful when its rage was 
pent up within it, how much more terrible was it, 
when, bursting from the massy iron doors, the red 
molten flood poured forth in a tor/ent of fire, 
burning its way till it had filled up every crevice 
of the mighty mould prepared to receive it, man- 
tling the brim as a huge cup of ruddy wine 
sparkling, and moving itself aright. Some said 
the burning stream resembled a fiery serpent, 
coiling itself round in its rage. 

Not soon did the great bell lose its fiery 
intensity, and cool down to an approachable tem- 
perature ; nor was it then a light undertaking to 
dig it from its bed of earth, to liberate it from 


the clayey manacles that bound it, and make 
manifest its fair proportions; but it was done, 
and I lifted up my hands at its beauty. It was 
a masterpiece of workmanship, and excited 
universal admiration. The mighty mass was then 
furnished with a clapper ; and thus a tongue was 
put into its giant mouth, that might alarm a host, 
or rouse, with a voice of thunder, the population 
of a parish. 

It was borne to the church in state, as a con- 
queror in a triumphant car. The old looked on with 
astonishment, and the young clapped their hands 
The horses that drew it had to put forth their 
strength, striking fire with their iron-shod hoofs 
against the straggling stones beneath them ; and 
the wheels were crushed by the weight of their 
load deep in the yielding ground, A crowd 
was gathered at the churchyard gate, and the 
churchyard wall was peopled. How few of that 
gathered throng could now be mustered ! Life is 
" even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, 
and then vanisheth away," Jas. iv. 14. 

Hardly did I think that human power could 
have hoisted the bell up into its elevated dwelling- 
place; but the levers used were many, the chains 
strong, and the ropes tough and pliable. The 
crank and the pulley did their duty, the scaf- 
folding stood firm, and the great bell, huge and 


mighty as it was, hung at ease hy the side of its 
attendant wheel in the belfry. Never before had 
the tower of St. Michael's such a noble tenant, 
and never was the dark winding staircase so 
thronged with visitors. Rumour ran babbling 
with her hundred tongues, and the question was 
in every one's mouth "Have you seen the great 

Not long was the great bell quiet, for many 
were eager to hear its early music to catch its 
first melodious clang, that they might know if it 
were equal to the hopes it had awakened. And 
well did it endure the trial, winning its way to all 
hearts; for its voice, full as the organ, and clear 
and sonorous as the brazen trumpet, was felt as 
well as heard from afar, .amid the voices of the 
mighty choristers of the belfry, while delighted 
ears drank in the wondrous diapason. The great 
bell was loudly applauded, and the fame of the 
founder widely spread abroad. 

I never knew the weight of the great bell, nor 
its exact dimensions, but I know that many bells, 
huge as it is, are much more bulky. The Great 
Tom of Lincoln weighs five tons ; Peter of 
Exeter still more; and Mighty Tom, of Christ 
Church, Oxford, weighs more than seven tons. 
What a ponderous mass! Once in my young 
and thoughtless years, I ventured near the great 


bell, when it stood with its mouth uppermost, not 
knowing that the ringers were helow. All at 
once it was pulled off and oh ! with what a mur- 
derous plunge it swung round, within a few inches 
of my head. The heavy timbers creaked with the 
fearful strain, and the very wind that smote me 
made me tremble. Never again did I venture 
on so near an acquaintance with the great bell. 

Soon after the great bell was hung in the belfry, 
a fire took place below. Some said it was an 
accident ; but others looked mysteriously, and 
whispered their misgivings of foul play on the 
part of the ringers of the neighbouring parish. 
The matter was never decided, and it is too late 
to settle it now. The fire was happily extin- 
guished : had the tower been burned down, great 
would have been the fall of the great bell. 

Many a time have I sat in the church-yard on 
a tombstone, listening to the voice of the great 
bell, when the busy ringers, stripped to their 
shirts, have been making merry music, testing 
their skill and strength in a peal of treble bob 
majors and gransire cators. Some of these feats 
have been legibly recorded on wooden tablets in 
letters of gold trophies of tintinnabular achieve- 
ments, which may yet be seen suspended against 
the walls. 

When the vicar's daughter she was the friend 


of the poor, and the nurse of the sick, and every* 
body loved her when she was married* 

" Merrily, merrily rung the bells 
The bells of St. Michael's tower:" 

but the great bell beat them all, right nobly doing 
its duty. That was a happy time for some, but a 
doleful day with many ; for it took away one who 
was the delight of her father's house, the solace 
and joy of the neighbourhood around her. I said 
that the great bell right nobly did its duty ; but 
for all that, the aged people in the almshouses, 
with tears in their eyes, declared that the sound 
it made was fitter for a funeral than for a mar- 

Every one heard the great bell when the good 
old vicar died, for it lifted up its voice aloud, and 
made many weep. A father and a friend was 
departed; a guide and a comforter was taken 
away ; a shining light was extinguished. The 
sound of the great bell smote mournfully on the 
ear, and it seemed to speak audibly to the strong : 
" Boast not thy self of to-morrow ; for thou knowest 
not what a day may biing forth," Prov. xxvii. 1. 
To such as had bound up their lives in that of 
their aged minister : " Cease ye from man, whose 
breath is in his nostrils : for wherein is he to be 
accounted of?" Isa. ii. 22. And to all: "Man 
that is born of a woman is of few days, and full 


of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and 
is cut down : he fleeth also as a shadow, and con- 
tinueth not," Job xiv. 1, 2. 

I might speak of many beside the vicar for 
whom the great bell has swung to and fro, toll- 
ing their knell with solemn sound ; for death has 
been busy with his freehold, the churchyard, 
digging and delving, and piling up the green 
sods, and raising sculptured stones to record his 
achievements. Death called away Arrowsmith the 
infidel, and the blaspheming blacksmith that feared 
neither God nor man, and old grey-headed Hollins 
the sexton. Hollins, with a light spirit, had 
earthed up many, and cracked his jokes upon 
their mouldering bones, before he himself was 
kid in the ground by another. He had grown 
grey among the graves, a jester at holy things to 
the last ; but death snatched the ready joke from 
his lips, and put terror in his heart. Loth should 
I be to tell all that I know of his latter hours- 
" There is no peace unto the wicked," Isa. xlviiL 
22. He died, and 

I heard the toll 

Of the great solemn bell: 
It said " A soul 

Is gone to heaven or hell." 

Well do I remember the loud alarm that the 
great bell spread among us when a threatening 


foe was expected to attack our shores. The giant 
of the belfry, with brazen lungs and iron tongue, 
shouted aloud, calling on English hearts and 
hands to defend their homes, their hearths, and 
their native land, The great bell called up the 
apprehensions of the weak, and the energies of 
the strong. Fear trembled, dismay ran to and 
fro, despondency wrung her hands, while courage 
and self-possession stood up in their strength, with 
all the majesty of stern determination. It was a 
trying time : the timid turned pale, and the bold 
ran to their weapons, holding " hard the breath," 
and " stretching the nostril wide :" but it was 
a false alarm, and the great bell ceased its 

The great bell rang outrageously to celebrate 
the battles of the Nile, and Copenhagen, and 
Trafalgar, and Navarino, and the battle of all 
battles Waterloo. On these occasions, people 
looked up towards the belfry, as if they almost 
expected the spire to topple over with the clamour. 
They thought of the victory and the national 
glory, but not of the dead and the dying of the 
widow and the orphan. The great bell made noise 
enough, but the clapper did not seem to me to 
strike the side fairly ; the sounds were discordant 
in my ears ; they did not reach me as the frank 
and free exultation of a generous heart, but more 


like the uproarious clamour of a blustering bully, 
out-brawling his hectoring companions. 

Times without number have I heard the music 
of the great bell, but not soon shall I forget that 
day of general rejoicing when it outdid itself in 
pouring forth a peal of energetic harmony in the 
celebration of peace. We had suffered enough on 
account of war ! We had paid dearly for our vic- 
tories ; for where was the man or the woman, who 
had not lost a brother, a husband, or a friend ? 
Oh, the sounds were glorious ! They seemed to 
come from the skies, as though there was a belfry 
above ; and I could have fancied that the angel 
Gabriel was bending from the battlements of 
heaven, at the command of his Almighty Master, 
to proclaim peace and goodwill to the inhabitants 
of the earth. 

The voice of the great bell has by turns glad- 
dened the heart, and saddened the spirit of many ; 
now publishing the joy or sorrow of a family or a 
neighbourhood, and now proclaiming a nation's 
weal or woe. It has sounded a dirge when life- 
less monarchs have been heralded in state to the 
sumptuous mausoleum 

Where beauty, youth, and power, and fame. 

In silent pomp were sleeping ; 
And royal heads, and royal hearts, 

Were held in death's cold keeping ; 


and it has boomed from the belfry when the dust 
of a pauper has been committed to the ground. 
The other bells were more manageable ; but strong 
were the arms and athletic the frames of the ringers 
of the great bell of St. Michael's tower. 

The great bell plays, or appears to play, dif- 
ferent characters mourning or making merry, as 
the case may require. It is a herald in war and 
peace, a preacher on the sabbath, a brawling rioter 
at the wake, and chief mourner at a funeral. I 
never hear its ponderous voice as I walk round 
the churchyard, without musing on the past, the 
present, and the future ; and I never mount the 
belfry-steps to gaze upon it, without living over 
again the seasons that are gone. How rapidly has 
my life passed away ! My days appear " swifter 
than a weaver's shuttle." 

It may be that for distant years and ages the 
great bell may fling on the gale the joyful or 
mournful accents of its iron tongue, making either 
mirthful or melancholy music for the rejoicing or 
the desponding heart ; but the time will come, 
yea, must come, when it will be heard no more, 
when it will no longer sound the funeral knell, 
nor join in the marriage peal. Not only bells, 
and towers, and churches, and the busy throng 
that people the world, and all created things, but 
time itself will be destroyed. 


Hark how clamorously the bells are yet ringing, 
and with what a full, solemn, and majestic voice 
the big bell joins the striking chorus ! The bel- 
fry shakes, and the spire is rocking with the 
deep-mouthed music. I said that fifty years had 
passed, but it is more, since the great bell was 
hung up where it is. It cries aloud to the old 
and the young, the sad and the joyous ; but it 
cries louder to me than to all ; for I was at the 
founding of it, with many who are now asleep 
beneath the green hillocks in the grave-yard. 
No wonder that its solemn sound should thrill 
through my very heart, for I am the last man 
alive who was present at the founding of the 
"great bell." 


I ONCE heard a discussion on the best mode 
of improving fragments of time. One thought 
the most eifectual way was to reflect on the past. 
Another preferred the practice of laying down 
practicable rules for the future ; while a third 
entertained the opinion that no general plan could 
be adopted, inasmuch as the circumstances of 
different people so materially varied. To this 
latter view I felt inclined to subscribe. There is 
no doubt that much good results from habitual 
reflection. Let us now, then, reflect on the 
" working up of things." 

It is a matter of no small importance, that in 
our communications one with another, we make 
ourselves thoroughly understood. Without this, 
time is lost, mistakes are committed, and disap- 
pointments ensue. How, then, shall I make 
myself thoroughly understood on the present 
occasion ? How shall I best explain what I mean 
by the working up of things ? 

If you happen to know a statuary, or a cabinet- 


maker, and are at all conversant with his occupa- 
tions, you will be aware that the purchase of a 
block of marble, or a log of mahogany, is often a 
mere lottery, for whatever may be its outward 
appearance, no one can tell how it will turn out. 
It is in the working up of it only that this is to 
be ascertained. Some flaw or vein in the marble, 
and some decay or want of beauty in the grain 
of the mahogany, may materially diminish their 
worth, whereas, if they work up well, their value 
is greatly increased. As it is with the mahogany 
log, and the marble block, so it is with a great 
many other things in the world; their appearance 
may be favourable or unfavourable, but it is only 
in the working up of them that we become 
acquainted with their real value. To be unduly 
elated when our prospects appear fair, and to be 
unreasonably depressed when they are beclouded, 
are equal errors. A healthy self-possession, and 
a hearty confidence in the continual goodness 
of our heavenly Father, are invaluable. 

I have been led into this train of reasoning, by 
a consideration of our short-sightedness, and our 
disposition to judge of things by their outward 
appearances. But the appearances of things very 
frequently differ from the reality. The newspa- 
per before me relates the instance of a poor man 
suddenly coming into possession of property. At 


the first view of the case, this appeared to he a 
good thing ; hut, alas ! on the working up of the 
affair, it turned out to he the very worst thing that 
ever befel him. His feeble mind could not bear 
his prosperity, and he became the inmate of a 
lunatic asylum. 

I remember myself an occurrence of a disastrous 
kind, that certainly had a very cloudy appearance. 
A man, who was struggling hard, as we say, to 
keep his head above water, was suddenly visited 
with a calamitous fire, that burned down his 
house, and all he possessed in the world. WJiy, 
the man was ruined in the estimation of all ; but 
mark the working up of all this ! His misfor- 
tune excited such sympathy among his neigh- 
bours, and raised him up such friends, that his 
loss became the foundation of his prosperity. He 
became eventually not only the owner of his new 
house, but the landlord also of many of the man- 
sions that surrounded him. 

I might, in my own case, give you a specimen, 
that things are not what they seem. My house- 
hold weapons of offence and defence, at the first 
view, might be considered rather formidable ; for 
to say nothing of the dagger that for years has 
hung up over my study chimney-piece, I have 
always a pistol, that I can readily lay my hand on 
in the day-time, and a blunderbuss standing in 


the corner by my bed's head at night. Would 
not a stranger, think you, instead of regarding 
me as a man of quiet and peaceful habits, put me 
down at once as a desperate fellow ? I think he 
would. But now for the working up of these 
deadly implements, for they say that oftentimes 
" the lion is not so bad as his picture." My dagger 
is a wooden one, from New Zealand, and occupies 
its elevated position merely as a curiosity. My 
pistol is a very old one, and if it ever had a lock 
upon it, it must have been before it came into my 
possession. Lastly, my terrible-looking blunder- 
buss has no barrel. You see, then, that after all, 
I am not so much to be dreaded as a stranger 
might suppose ; for a man who leads a temperate 
life is not likely to do much mischief with a 
wooden dagger, a lockless pistol, and a barrelless 

We cannot see the working up of things all in 
a moment. When a man, going a journey by the 
seven o'clock railway train, oversleeps himself 
through the neglect of a thoughtless servant; 
when he can get no boiling water to shave with, 
and has to wait half an hour for his breakfast ; 
when, after packing his trunk, he requires some- 
thing that he has safely stowed at the bottom of 
it ; when, disappointed by one cabman, he has 
hastily agreed with another ; when, hurrying 


along, the wheel of his cab becomes locked in the 
wheel of a wagon, at the distance of a stone's 
cast only from the railway ; and when, after 
hurrying to the station, with his trunk on his 
own shoulders, he arrives just in time to see the 
train start off without him he is very apt to feel 
in a somewhat unamiable state of mind. He 
thinks all things have been against him, and is 
out of temper with himself and with the world. 
But let him read, in the next day's news, that a 
sad and disastrous accident, attended with loss of 
life, happened the day before to the seven o'clock 
train, the very train by which he intended to tra- 
vel, and he then congratulates himself on his nar- 
row escape, talks of a merciful deliverance, and 
reckons UD all the hindrances which had before 
annoyed him, as evidences of providential protec- 
tion. The scales fall from his eyes, and he sees 
clearly that the working up of his hindrances 
and vexations has been for his good. 

Little doubt have I that many of my readers 
will be able to fall back upon instances as much 
in point as those I have narrated, showing clearly 
that things are not what they appear, and that 
the working up of many of their affairs has pro- 
duced very unexpected results. Oh, what crooked 
paths have been made straight, and what rough 
places have been made plain, to most of us in our 


time ! Experience ought to make us wise, and a 
knowledge of God's goodness ought to give us 
confidence in his continual care. Do we love 
him, fear him, obey him, and trust him ? 

Do we possess, while knowledge freely flings 
A ray of golden light o'er human things, 
The only cure for worldly cares and strife. 
And know Him whom to know is endless life ? 

A month or two ago, in my wanderings by the 
sea-side, I came to what I took to be a heap of 
dry earth and stones, but no sooner did I put my 
foot upon it, than into a puddle I went, half up 
my leg. This puddle was occasioned by a land- 
spring, of which there were many in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood, of a much more formidable 
kind. I cut but a very uncouth figure certainly, 
with my muddy leg ; but for all this, the working 
up of the affair was greatly to my advantage. It 
sharpened my sight, added to my knowledge, and 
increased my caution, so that it kept me from 
greater mishaps, into which I should otherwise 
most likely have fallen. If our very bemirings, 
then, in the working up of them, may turn to 
our advantage, how unwise it is to give way to idle 
lamentations under temporary trials, and how 
much better it is to extract, if we can, an abiding 
benefit from a passing trouble. 

How many cruel decrees have been passed 


against reading God's holy word in English. In 
the reign of Henry the Fifth it was enacted, 
et That whatsoever they were that should read 
the Scriptures in the mother tongue, they should 
forfeit land, catel, lif, and godes, from theyre 
hey res for ever ; and so be condemned for here- 
tykes to God, enemies to the crowne, and most 
errant traitors to the lande." One might have" 
thought that such interdicts would have effec- 
tually put an end to Bible reading, but how has 
the matter turned out in the working up of it ? 
Why that millions of money since then have been 
spent in printing the Bible in the English tongue, 
and that millions and millions of Bibles and Tes- 
taments have been spread about in the world. 
Here is a working up of things, with a witness, 
in which the mercy of God has scattered to the 
winds the cruelty of man. 

Though I have but, as it were, broken the shell 
of my subject, and not given utterance to a half 
of what I intended to say, yet hardly can I do 
better than leave off while the above striking fact 
is present to your memory. It may be, now and 
then, a good thing to think for you ; but when it 
can be done, it is a much better thing to set you 
thinking for yourselves. Think, then, of the past 
instances in which the Almighty Ruler of earth 
and skies has overruled untoward occurrences for 


your good, so that the working up of them has 
turned your darkness into day, and your sorrow 
into joy ; and let it be for the future our mutual 
determination to " hope against hope," and never 
to withdraw our confidence from God. Let the 
language of our hearts be, "Though he slay me, 
yet will I trust in him," Job xiii. 15. "Although 
the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit 
be in the vines ; the labour of the olive shall fail, 
and the fields shall yield no meat ; the flock shall 
be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no 
herd in the stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation," Hab. iii. 
17, 18. "And we know that all things work to- 
gether for good to them that love God, to them 
who are the called according to his purpose," 
Rom. viii. 28. 


ONE half-hour spent in quiet musing is worth 
more than an hour passed in unmeaning bustle. 
The calm and unruffled serenity of meditation, 

" The quiet stillness of a thinking mind, 
Self- occupied," 

prepare us to endure more patiently our daily 
trials, and to enjoy more gratefully our daily 
mercies. Let us further pursue the subject of 

When the " Lord God formed man of the dust 
of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the 
breath of life ; and man became a living soul ;" 
when God blessed man, and gave him " every herb 
bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the 
earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of 
a tree yielding seed ;" when he gave him " do- 
minion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl 
of the air, and over every living thing that moveth 
upon the earth," he conferred on him that ines- 
timable gift the power of thought. The pro- 
perties and faculties of the body, with the senses 
of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling, 



were indeed a gift worthy the Almighty Giver ; 
hut immeasurably greater was the gift of the power 
of thought, and the operations of the mind. 

How wonderful is thought ! it pervades the 
past, the present, and the future. In the twink- 
ling of an eye it traverses all space ; in a glance 
of the mind it descends the deepest depths, and 
mounts up even to the throne of the Eternal. 
Grateful should our hearts he for the blessings that 
surround us, but pre-eminently grateful should we 
be for our thoughts. 

But thoughts are good and evil, joyous and 
afflictive. Sometimes they are dressed in rainbow 
hues, and at others in the mourning weeds of 
sorrow. Sometimes they yield us a harvest of 
delight, and at others they becloud our prospects 
and blight our peace. That is a sunny season of 
the mind, when our thoughts 

Come trooping onward pure and free 

To meet the smiling hours, 
All glittering bright with living light, 

And garlanded with flowers. 

And that is a shadowy period, when oui 
thoughts are unlovely, unthankful, angry, envious, 
bitter, or desponding. In such a season, 

In awful pomp and melancholy state 
Our reason frowning takes the judgment-seat; 
Around her crowd Distrust, and Doubt, and Fear, 
And thoughtful Foresight, and tormenting Cate. 


He who has bad thoughts has quite enough to 
torment him : you need do nothing to augment 
his distress. There is no necessity to add the 
weight of a feather to the burden on his spirits 
and his heart : his very enemies may pity him ; 
for until he gets rid of his bad thoughts, the 
whole world can never make him happy. What 
an awfid description is that in the sixth chapter 
of Genesis, "And God saw that the wickedness 
of man was great in the earth, and that every 
imagination of the thoughts of his heart was 
only evil continually !" 

There are wandering thoughts, that occasion 
much mischief by preventing us from getting 
much good. I know one who is sorely troubled 
with them ; for, though he has years on his brow, 
and grey hairs on his head, they lead him on to 
trifling pursuits, and objects that are valueless. 
Oftentimes, too, they take him at a disadvantage; 
and when in the house of God his whole heart 
and soul should be occupied by the consideration 
of eternal things, he is running " over the hills 
and far away," after the fluttering butterflies of a 
wayward imagination. It is no easy undertaking 
to control wandering thoughts ; but when a Chris- 
tian finds himself in such a situation that he can 
do nothing, he should lose no time in applying to 
Him who can do all things. 


There are grateful thoughts, that yield the ex- 
ulting heart more, much more, than common joy. 
These are felt when some unexpected good occurs, 
or when some expected evil passes by harmlessly. 
Oh! what a moment of grateful emotion and 
tearful delight is that, when suddenly the heavens, 
which have been as brass above our heads, appear 
brightly blue, and the earth, that has long been 
as iron, becomes clothed with fresh verdure, and 
beautiful with flowers ! Do you know anything 
of these thoughts and emotions ? if not, you have 
yet something to learn worth knowing, and some- 
thing to feel worth feeling. No doubt Abraham 
of old knew them, when, after binding his son, 
his only son Isaac, to the altar, and stretching out 
his hand against his life, he heard the voice from 
heaven, "Abraham, Abraham, lay not thine hand 
upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: 
for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou 
hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from 
me," Gen. xxii. 11, 12. Ruth, the Moabitess, 
must have had grateful thoughts, when, after 
gleaning in the fields of the benevolent Boaz, that 
very Boaz became her husband ; and Naomi must 
have had grateful thoughts, and a grateful heart 
too, when, after all her troubles, she took the 
child of her daughter-in-law Ruth, and laid it in 
her bosom, while those around her said, " Blessed 
x 2 


be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day 
without a kinsman, that his name may he famous 
in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer 
of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age : for 
thy daughter-in-law, which loveth thee, which is 
better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him," 
Ruthiv. 14, 15. 

There are bitter thoughts oh, very bitter! 
wormwood and gall are not half so bitter to the 
taste, as they are to the spirit. They know them, 
who, having set their hearts on earthly idols, find 
those idols broken to pieces, as it were, by death, 
and removed from them for ever. They know 
them, who let the golden sands of life run on, 
doing what ought not to be done, and leaving 
undone what ought to be performed, till their 
opportunities are passed by to return no more. 
They know them, who indulge in malice and re- 
venge. Fathers know them, who forgive not their 
erring and repentant children till they lose them. 
Children know them, who bring down the grey 
hairs of their parents with sorrow to the grave ; 
and all know them who sin against God and 
against themselves, by the commission of crimes 
which, in the moments of their remorse, they 
would willingly blot out with tears of blood. 
Rachel knew what bitter thoughts were, when she 
refused to be comforted for her children, "be- 


cause they were not." Bitter were the thoughts 
of Cain, when he said his punishment was greater 
than he could bear ; and those of Judas, when he 
cast down the thirty pieces of silver in the temple, 
and went and hanged himself. 

There are proud thoughts: have you never 
been plagued by them ? Hainan had them, and 
smarted for them. "God resisteth the proud, 
but giveth grace unto the humble," Jas. iv. 6. 
There are obstinate thoughts, such as Pharaoh 
entertained, when, in spite of the plagues with 
which he was visited, he "would not let the 
people go." And there are also vain thoughts, 
which all of us have. Away with them, and let 
our language be, " I hate vain thoughts ; but thy 
law do I love," Psa. cxix. 113. 

Who is there that has not been visited with 
solemn thoughts? Sometimes these arise from 
trivial, and sometimes from weighty occurrences. 
A birthday whispers in our ears that we are older 
than we were, and the shadowy future seems to 
be presented to our view. A tooth gives way, an 
eye is aifected with dimness, or a sudden lameness 
seizes us, and speaks audibly, " We all do fade as 
a leaf." An unexpected bereavement cries aloud, 
" Prepare to meet thy God." These and a hun- 
dred other causes are made the means to impress 
our minds with solemn thoughts. In this manner 


the Father of mercies deals gently with us ; re- 
minding us, from time to time, of our latter end, 
and solemnizing us with considerations of eternity. 
Some are threatened with death ; as Hezekiah, 
before he turned his face to the wall : " Thus 
saith the Lord, Set thine house in order ; for thou 
shalt die, and not live," 2 Kings xx. 1. And 
some are struck with death, as Ananias and 
Sapphira. Let us then be grateful for solemn 
thoughts ; and, regarding them as messengers of 
mercy from the throne of the Eternal, entertain 
them suitably, and profit by their presence. 

We must not neglect to dwell a moment on 
happy thoughts, for they are, as it were, the sun- 
shine of our lives, the joy of our hearts, oil to 
our joints, and marrow to our bones. When a 
man can say, "Thou hast put gladness in my 
heart, more than in the time that their corn 
and their wine increased," Psa. iv. 7 ; when his 
thoughts are so happy that he is ready to take 
up the timbrel and harp, and praise God on an 
instrument of ten strings ; when his very being 
rejoices, and his mouth is filled with hallelujahs 
oh ! there are few things so delightful on this side 

There are few of us who have not, at one 
time or other, been under the influence of fearful 
thoughts thoughts against which we could not 


make head, so terribly have they set themselves 
in array against us. I speak not here of a de- 
sponding mood of mind, merely, that disposes us 
to look on the shadowy side of things ; but of 
express and particular thoughts that come up 
against us as a flood, threatening to overwhelm 
us. Some long-apprehended calamity is antici- 
pated with as much certainty as if it had really 
occurred ; some painful visitation of mind, body, 
or estate, appears inevitable ; it comes over the 
spirit as a thick cloud sometimes darkens the 
sunny sky on an autumnal day. We take the 
fearful thought with us to our repose, and when 
we awake, a dread something oppresses the mind, 
and the frightful thought overwhelms us. We 
have no strength to grapple with it no courage 
to look it in the face; we are paralysed we 
hope nothing, and fear everything. Eliphaz the 
Temanite knew something of these thoughts : 
" In thoughts from the visions of the night, 
when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon 
me, and trembling, which made all my bones to 
shake," Job iv. 13, 14. Well it is that these 
fearful thoughts are not usually of long duration. 
The anticipated evil either passes away, or if it 
comes upon us, we are mercifully strengthened to 
endure it it is not so terrible as we supposed. 
Cheer up, then, Christian friend 1 arm thyself 


from the arsenal of God's holy word, and do 
battle with these fearful thoughts, for they shall 
not endure ; the cloud on thy mind shall yet be 
dispersed with sunshine. 

There are thoughts at once beautiful and ter- 
rible, irresistible and sublime, that pervade the 
mind, and absorb the soul, rendering it ready to 
endure and to achieve. A deep impression of the 
awfulness of the Eternal, a solemn recognition of 
his holy law, fills our very being with dread of 
his judgments, and yet a reverence of his holi- 
ness. We would not, if we could, arrest the 
righteous arm of the Most High, though wield- 
ing the lightning and the whirlwind! The so- 
lemnized soul adores the dread majesty of the 
Almighty, and would at any risk uphold his 
sanctity and glory. Rather would it say to the 
uplifted sword, " Smite ! " than make any abate- 
ment of the holiness or the majesty of God. 

And there are other numerous thoughts, some 
of which have no doubt occurred to you while 
you have been reading these remarks. The 
tender and the cruel, the confiding and the 
mistrustful, the sober and the enthusiastic, are 
among them. Much might be said upon them 
all ; but perhaps it will be enough now, if in 
addition to what has already been advanced, the 
remark be added 


Thoughts are the seeds 
Of words and deeds. 

That " the thoughts of the wicked are an abomi- 
nation to the Lord," Prov. xv. 26. And that 
"the word of God is quick, and powerful, and 
sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even 
to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of 
the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the 
thoughts and intents of the heart," Heb. iv. 12. 

Read, then, God's holy word, with faith and 
prayer, and watch your thoughts, for they are 
your weakness or your strength. Earnestly pray 
that the Holy Spirit may dwell in your hearts, 
and regulate all your thoughts and feelings. Ever 
remember that bad thoughts will be traitorous 
rebels in your camp good thoughts will be faith- 
ful guards in the citadel of your hearts 


OH how I hate cruelty ! There is no blacker 
mark on the brow of a man than that which 
is branded there by the wilful desire to inflict 
unnecessary pain. I speak not of thoughtless, but 
of wilful cruelty. It may be that on this subject 
your views may be similar to my own. If they 
are, you will not be displeased with my remarks ; 
and if they are not, you will at least have some- 
thing laid before you not undeserving of your best 

Were the question put to me, " Why has Old 
Humphrey never written a paper expressly on the 
subject of cruelty?" hardly should I know how to 
shape a satisfactory reply. True it is, that by 
nature and habit, principle and practice, from the 
days of childhood until now, I have been opposed 
to cruelty, whether exercised to man, or beast, bird, 
fish, reptile, or insect; but as this information 
has not been prominently imparted to my readers, 
many have fallen into the error, as some to my 
knowledge have done, of supposing that I have no 
verv definite notions of humanitv. 


A complimentary letter now lying before me, 
mingles reproof with praise in the following ob^er- 
vations : " While I highly estimate the character 
of your writings, I cannot but lament that such 
favourable opportunities as are there presented 
for discountenancing cruelty and enforcing huma- 
nity should be so apparently lost ; but probably 
your attention has never been directed to the 
subject. I allude to your remarks in 'Pithy 
Papers' on angling and on racing. The idea of 
'treating with humanity and handling tenderly 
the worm,' while at the very moment you are in- 
flicting on it the most excruciating agony, all for 
sport, to become the bait of some harmless, unfor- 
tunate fish who next awaits your torture ; this 
appears a direct contradiction of terms, which I 
most sincerely regret as coming from your pen." 

My correspondent seems not aware that the 
language complained of is not my own, but- 
quoted from Izaac Walton, and used by me ironi- 
cally. I am not at all surprised that a little 
wonderment should be manifested by any one 
who could suppose it possible, that while impaling 
a worm on a barbed hook, I could affect to 
handle the writhing reptile "tenderly," and treat 
him as a friend. Leaving it to the followers of 
the meekminded Walton, and the lovers of 
angling, to reconcile such apparently irreconcil- 


able terms, I have only for myself to disclaim 
the inconsistency into which it was supposed I 
had fallen. When an ironical sentence is taken 
literally, it makes sad confusion with the sense 
intended to he conveyed. I must in future look 
more narrowly to my language to prevent the 
possibility of being misunderstood. 

But now, being in a suitable mood for the un- 
dertaking, let me venture a few remarks on the 
subject of cruelty. In doing this, I will endea- 
vour to avoid any affectation of susceptibility. 
Freedom of opinion and boldness of language are 
not inconsistent with respect for the opinions of 
others; let me try, then, to be honest without 
illiberality, and earnest without severity. 

Cruelty is defined by Dr. Johnson to be 
"inhumanity, savageness, barbarity, delight in 
the pain and misery of others, and intentional 
affliction;" and in this definition the learned 
Doctor may be quite correct; but I must be 
indulged with a wider signification believing, as 
I do, that one-half, if not three-fourths of the 
cruelty practised among us, is thoughtless and 
unintentional. If I could only open the eyes of 
all who are now blind to the inhumanities they 
practise, my confidence would be strong that very 
many would shrink with abhorrence from cruelty. 

Wliat a blurred and blotted page is that of 


unkindness, in the history of the world ! What a 
blood-red record of sin and sorrow is that of in- 
humanity! What Satanic bitterness, what tor- 
ments, and what tears are included in the word 

Among the more striking instances of existing 
cruelty may be mentioned slavery and the slave- 
trade ; these are crying evils, against which phi- 
lanthropists, for the most part, lift up their 
voices : but oh, how feebly in comparison with 
their indignant declamation, when smarting under 
personal oppression! Selfishness is ever the asso- 
ciate of cruelty; reasons of the silliest kind have 
been advanced to support slavery. W r hen a slave- 
holder defends slavery on the ground that the poor 
negroes are brought by it within the influence of 
Christianity, no one for a moment supposes the 
slave-holder to be really actuated by a desire to 
benefit the slave. The veil of this excuse is too 
flimsy to hide, for an instant, the monstrous 
deformity of the crime. Slavery is cruelty in 
one of its most unmitigated forms. There may 
be, among slave-holders and the advocates of the 
slave-trade, kind-hearted and merciful men, excep- 
tions to a rule but how, if merciful, can they 
advocate so merciless a system? Simply because, 
being far removed from the cruel scenes of slavery 
and the slave-trade, they neither see nor reflect on 


the misery they uphold. Were the iron of slavery 
once to enter into their souls, or were they once 
conscious of the terrible judgments in store for 
the unrighteous and unrepentant oppressors of 
their fellow-men, they would weep tears of blood. 
Nor is war less hideous in its visage, nor less 
cruel in its actions. With what merciless havoc 
have the scythe and sickle of contention mown 
down the human harvest of battle fields ! When 
unblinded by military pomp, and unexcited by 
national glory, we gaze on slaughtered hosts and 
pillaged cities, the devastation appears more like 
the work of demons than of men ; but the war- 
horse, the unfurled banner, the voice of the 
trumpet, the clamorous bells announcing conquest, 
and the marble piles in Westminster Abbey pacify 
us; and war, instead of being execrated as a cruel 
scourge, is almost regarded as a holy thing. The 
common soldier who enlists in a drunken frolic, 
and the officer who enters the army to secure a 
gentlemanly provision, have the credit of being 
actuated by the generous motive of serving their 
country, though the object of the one may have 
been his pay, and that of the other a peerage and 
a pension! My opinion of war may be gathered 
from the assertion, that in my belief most heroes 
have cause to repent of their heroism, and much 
reason to pray that their victories may be foi given 


them. What an orphan-maker and widow-maker 
is cruel war! Truly may it be said, 

Among the monsters of the vrorld, 

In nature's varied plan, 
That plague, oppress, and scourge mankind, 

The fiercest far is man. 

I might dwell on the religious persecutions 
of the earth, the slaughter of the Jews, the de- 
struction of early Christians, the burning of 
martyrs, the massacre of St. Bartholomew's day, 
and the unholy and barbarous inhumanities of the 
"holy inquisition;" but these are happily gone 
by. True it is, that the very remembrance of 
them is enough to call forth a malediction from 
every unrestrained heart; but thankfulness and 
gratitude that the world is delivered from them 
should be indulged rather than bitter impreca- 

There is something dastardly, as well as brutal, 
in cruelty to defenceless animals : their Almighty 
Maker has given them to us for our use, and 
not to be wantonly tormented. Why should we 
urge beyond his strength the generous horse, 
whose foot for us is shod with swiftness, and 
whose neck is clothed with thunder ? Why treat 
unkindly the faithful dog, which serves us with 
fidelity by day and night, and submissively licks 
the hand that smites him ? Or why, indeed, 


should we inflict unnecessary anguish on the; 
meanest creature that God has made ? 

We hear but little now of the brutal practices of 
bull-baiting, badger-baiting, and cock-fighting; yet 
have they all had, within my memory, advocates 
in a British House of Commons. I myself, in 
my boyhood, have seen the game-cock clipped for 
the pit, and armed with steei spurs for the mortal 
combat. I have witnessed ferocious dogs attacking 
the chained badger in his tub ; and once I was 
present when a bull, fastened to a stake, had a cord 
thrown over his horns, that he might be held fast, 
while puppies were encouraged to gnaw his nose, 
and suck the flowing blood. Is not this horrible ? 

But though there can scarcely be two opinions 
about the cruelty of bull-baiting, bear-baiting, 
badger-baiting, and cock-fighting, there are thou- 
sands who are advocates for horse-racing, steeple- 
chasing, hunting, shooting, and fishing, as manly, 
healthful, and perfectly justifiable amusements. 
Those, however, who follow these diversions are 
not, I think, much givento debate or reflect on the 
humanity or inhumanity of their pursuit, but are 
influenced simply by motives of profit, pleasure, 
or inclination. It would require a clever man to 
convince me, while gazing on a horse at the 
winning-post, urged beyond his strength, panting, 
trembling, and staggering on ; or on one who had 


broken his back in a steeple-chase ; or on a hare 
dappled with blood, and all but torn in pieces 
by the yelling dogs ; or on a bird with a broken 
wing, languishing to death in a hedge or ditch ; 
or on a worm writhing on a barbed hook ; or on 
the lacerated gills of a leaping, gasping, and 
bleeding fish that these pursuits are altogether 
free from inhumanity. In my apprehension, 
wherever pain is inflicted needlessly there must 
be cruelty. 

It does not follow that the patron of the turf, 
the follower of the chase, the sportsman, or the 
fisherman, has pleasure in inflicting pain, he only 
wishes to follow his favourite pastime, and may, 
in many cases, lament the pain he inflicts. But 
the question with me is this, am I right in follow- 
ing out my inclination, when it necessarily involves 
such an amount of suffering ? I think not ; and 
thinking so, it would be unjustifiable in me to 
become either a frequenter of the turf, a follower 
of the hounds, a sportsman, or an angler. 

It is on record, in many books, that in the Isle 
of Wight they had neither fox, pole-cat, nor bad- 
ger, until a few years ago, when some foxes were 
introduced, that they might be hunted. Fox- 
hunting is sometimes upheld by its advocates, on 
the ground that foxes, making so much havoc 
among the poultry as they do, ought to be 


destroyed. It is said that doctors differ, and it 
seems by the above, that fox- hunters differ also; 
for while some are cruel enough to doom reynard 
to destruction for killing poultry, others fancy 
themselves merciful in keeping him alive, that he 
may be hunted. 

I should hardly like to venture the present of half 
a dozen young dead foxes to a sportsman in whose 
woods I had killed them ; or a score of pheasants' 
eggs, that I had been fortunate enough to find on 
his estate ; for in spite of his professed desire to 
preserve poultry, and to prevent birds getting too 
numerous, I suspect he would be half ready to 
hunt me with his own dogs, if not to shoot me 
with his own gun, for my officious folly in inter- 
fering with his sport. Fox-hunters are about as 
anxious to lessen their foxes, and sportsmen to 
diminish their pheasants, as schoolboys are to do 
away with nut-boughs and blackberry-bushes. 

It can be no cause of wonder that the destruc- 
tion of savage animals should be more popular 
than the destruction of such as are less fierce. 
No doubt, were wolves to be still found in our 
woods, the public would regard a wolf-hunt still 
more favourably than a fox-chase, just as they 
now consider the latter more justifiable than a 
bare-hunt. A similar remark may be made with 
regard to otters ; for as they live on the finny 


tribe, so most persons would be advocates for 
their being destroyed. There are, however, dif- 
ferent opinions entertained respecting the otter's 
usefulness. "The destruction of otters," says 
one, " is both cruel and injudicious, inasmuch as 
that the otter preys upon the eel, which latter 
creature causes much mischief, in robbing the 
streams of both trout and grayling, by feeding 
upon their spawn." " This most ridiculous idea," 
says another, "is fully beaten, and the argument 
frustrated, in the knowledge that the trout and 
grayling exist only in a rapid and clear stream, 
whilst the eel is seldom to be found therein, pre- 
ferring still water and deep mud." It may be all 
very well to ascertain whether otters eat eels, or 
eels devour the spawn of the trout and grayling ; 
but he must be rather a bold-faced otter-hunter 
who would unblushingly maintain that the pas- 
time of the hunt was not the principal motive 
with him in taking out his dogs. 

But whatever may be said in favour of horse- 
racing, a man can hardly raise his voice too loudly 
against steeple- chasing. Too black a brand cannot 
be put on the brow of this inhuman sport. A 
kind-hearted correspondent thus writes me. : " I 
have recently heard much of steeple-chases, and 
deem them among the most flagrant cruelties of 
the day. The more I consider the subject, the 


more fully convinced I am that but little good 
will be effected till the religious world, the people 
of God, of all denominations, see their responsi- 
bility, and arouse themselves to active interference 
in correcting an evil so manifestly opposed to the 
will of God, whose ( tender mercies are over all his 
works.' A steeple-chase took place some time 
ago, in which, at one of the fences, one horse 
broke his leg, and his misery was ended by a 
pistol-shot being fired through his head. Soon 
after, a horse named ' Larry,' which had been 
spurred and whipped till he was unable to stand, 
fell and broke his back, and was killed on the 
spot. Another horse, lord Waterford's e Cheroot,' 
fell at a fence, and was likewise killed. At a 
steeple-chase in Liverpool, several horses were 
goaded till they fell down exhausted, one break- 
ing his leg, another his back, and a third his 
neck. Is not this wilful, wanton, reckless, and 
unmitigated barbarity? When the steeple-chaser 
lies groaning on his bed of sickness, the remem- 
brance of the torture he has ruthlessly inflicted 
will afford him but little consolation." 

Before I conclude, let me bring together, for a 
moment, the weak arguments that are advanced 
in support of pursuits which inflict anguish. 
Slavery, it is said, places slaves within the in- 
fluence of Christianity ; war is necessary, to de- 


fend us from our enemies ; horse-racing improves 
our breed of horses ; bull-baiting, cock-fighting, 
and the prize-ring, are necessary to keep up our 
old English courage ; hunting destroys animals 
which are injurious ; shooting keeps down the 
birds that would otherwise be too numerous ; and 
fishing is favourable to quiet musing and profit- 
able meditation. I now think I might venture to 
assert, that not a single pursuit here mentioned is 
followed on account of the reason assigned for it. 
The real reason is, and it would be more upright 
and manly to avow it, than to palter and prevari- 
cate the real motive for these various pursuits 
is, a selfish desire for profit, glory, or pleasure. 
To me it seems mere mockery for the slave-dealer 
to talk about Christianity, the horse-racer to 
boast that he attends Epsom, Ascot, and New- 
market, to improve the breed of British horses ; 
and the pugilist to assert, that he enters the prize- 
ring, or the cock-fighter the cock-pit, to keep up 
the declining courage of his country ! Just as 
soon could I believe the owner of a gin-palace 
or of a gaming-table, were he to maintain that 
the object of the course he pursued was, the good 
of the neighbourhood in which he resided. 

But let me not say more than I ought, for a 
snan may be cruel even in his remarks against 


cruelty. Honestly would I express my opinion 
without bitterness or self-sufficiency. We are all, 
perhaps, too much given to follow out our several 
inclinations, without duly considering the conse- 
quences they involve. I doubt not, while calling 
in question the humanity of others, I am myself 
in many respects liable to the like reproof. 

There are many kinds of cruelty beside cruelty 
to animals. While manifesting much tenderness 
to the lower creatures, we may exhibit a sad want 
of it to our fellow-men. How do we stand as 
masters, servants, parents, children, friends, and 
neighbours? Believe me, it is very possible to 
desire the abolition of slavery, to support the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 
to be an advocate for peace, and to abstain from 
racing, hunting, shooting, and fishing, and still 
systematically to practise cruelty every day of our 
lives. A bitter husband, a negligent wife, a severe 
parent, a disobedient child, an unkind master or 
mistress, and a dishonest servant, are all very 
cruel characters. 

As I have aforetime somewhat overlooked the 
c nsideration of this subject, and as you may 
have fallen into the same error, it is high time 
that we should now try to amend our fault. Let 
us abhor cruelty to the lower creation, and prac- 


tise kindness one to another, neglecting neither 
the body nor the soul. If we are not anxious for 
our own souls, we are cruel to ourselves. If we 
are careless about the souls of others, then are we 
cruel to our neighbours. 


THE narrative that I am about to give will, I 
doubt not, entertain you, though I suspect you 
will smile at my. expense while you are listening 
to my story. Personal adventures are usually 
interesting, when simply told ; nor does a sprink- 
ling of cheerfulness, or even of drollery, at all 
diminish the agreeable influence they exercise over 
us. Seldom am I better pleased than when I 
make rny readers smile, if I can give them some 
good hints at the same time. 

I have been spending a week, and a pleasant 
week too, at a cottage in a garden, and I found 
the place an excellent school to teach me humility 
and circumspection ; not merely because it was a 
cottage, for a man may be as proud and careless 
in a cottage as in a king's palace, but on account 
of the homeliness of its construction. 

In the dark, narrow passage leading to the bacfc. 
room on the ground floor was a low beam, that 
supported the ceiling ; so low that I could not 
pass it without stooping. Above the staircase, 
also, was a beam, just like the other, and the 


passage to the door leading to the garden was 
constructed in a similar manner ; so that, go in 
what direction I would, a stooping attitude was 
necessary. In addition to all this, in each of the 
shadowy narrow passages there was a step, down 
which one unaccustomed to the premises would be 
likely to trip. 

For the first few days, scarcely an hour passed 
without my being reminded, either that I carried 
my head too high, or that I did not take heed to 
my steps. If I passed into the back room, or 
ran up stairs in a hurry, my head received a re- 
primand that sometimes made me stagger ; when 
I attempted to sally forth into the garden to 
enjoy the fresh air, my best beaver was often 
knocked from my head by the projecting beam ; 
and whether I went to the right or to the left, I 
found it hard to escape a stumble. Often might 
I have been seen, rubbing my chastised brow, 
pushing my misshapen hat into its proper form, 
or trying to recover myself from a trip. 

These repeated rebukings, however, had their 
influence, so that, by degrees, they became less 
frequent ; until, at last, accommodating myself to 
my circumstances, I crept along the low passage 
to the back apartment in a very humble way, 
ascended the staircase with my head bowed down, 
walked in the direction of the garden with my 


hat in my hand, and bore in mind the descending 
step. This humility and watchfulness, brought 
about by reproof, were not without their recompense, 
for I no longer had my best beaver crushed into 
uncouth forms, nor received blows on my brow, 
nor was scared by repeated stumbles. In short, 
though I held my head high in the beginning of 
my visit, I carried it very low at the latter end ; 
and, though for some time I was always in danger 
of falling, I at length learned to walk circum- 

It is recorded in the book of truth, that " Pride 
goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit 
before a fall,*' Prov. xvi. 18 ; and this being the 
case, we ought not to repine, but rather to re- 
joice at those reproving providences that keep us 
humble. Into how many troubles does pride lead 
us ! The blows on my brow, the crushings of 
my beaver hat, and my repeated stumbles, trifling 
as they were in themselves, may yet serve to 
set forth the weightier troubles that a proud 
heart and an inconsiderate spirit bring upon 
themselves. How striking are the words of the 
prophet, " The pride of thine heart hath deceived 
thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, 
whose habitation is high ; that saith in his heart, 
"Who shall bring me down to the ground ? Though 
thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou 


set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring 
thee down, saith the Lord," Obad. 3. My visit 
to the cottage has done me good, and I look back 
to it with thankfulness and pleasure. 

But it was not to speak of the cottage that I 
took up my pen : a very different subject occu- 
pied my thoughts. Often, when I purpose to 
treat on one subject, another presents itself sud- 
denly to my mind, and wins away, for a moment, 
my regard. As I meant to treat on miry roads, 
I will now proceed to follow out my intention. 

Most of my readers must be aware of a fond- 
ness on my part for my own personal adventures. 
To relate, now and then, the particulars of some 
enterprise or undertaking in which I have had 
my share, is pleasant to me ; and if, in telling my 
story, I can mingle the cheerful and the grave, 
the humorous and the useful, so much the more 
am I gratified. Were I 'to relate one-half of my 
rambling adventures in the rainy month of Janu- 
ary last, I should run no small risk of wearying 
others, while I ministered to my own pleasure ; I 
cannot, however, resist the temptation to describe 
one of them. In doing this, I will try to trespass 
on my reader's patience as little as possible. 

Having already put on record several of my pri- 
vate peregrinations, I will here indulge in a hasty 
glance at one or two of them. Some of you may 


remember the hopeful disposition manifested by 
me in a rainy ramble, many years ago. In the 
midst of the shower I hoped for fine weather, 
and in the dirty lane I looked forward to the 
fields. "When the long grass wet my feet, I said 
to myself, the fields will not all be grass ; when 
the saturated bossy clover blossoms bobbed 
against my legs, I trusted the fields would not 
all be clover ; when the broad leaves of the po- 
tatoes emptied the waters they contained upon 
my shoes and stockings, I sustained myself with 
the thought that they would not all be potato 
fields. In this manner I went on, till 1 came to 
a snug lane, abounding with blackberries. " The 
storm abated, the roads got drier, the sun shone 
in the skies, and Old Humphrey banqueted on 

On another occasion, after a shower of rain, I 
asked a countryman to direct me the best road to 
a farm-house, to which I was going. " I cannot 
go across the fields," said I, " for the long grass, 
and the vetches, and the corn-stalks are too wet." 
"You may safely venture, sir," replied he, "for 
there is nothing to hurt." Nothing to hurt ! 
Why the grass-field took away all the bloom of 
the blacking-brush from my boots, and Day and 
Martin would have been ashamed of me. Nothing 
to hurt ! Why, before I had crossed the piece of 


retches, my feet were wringing wet. Nothing to 
hurt, indeed ! Why long before I had cleared the 
corn-field, my stockings were soaked through and 
through, up to my knees, as thoroughly as if I 
had walked across the horse-pond, instead of 
across the fields. " Well !" said I, " had my poor 
legs and feet been defended with the thick leather 
leggings, and hob-nailed water-tight shoes of the 
countryman, there might have been nothing to 
hurt ; but accoutred as I am in a pair of London- 
made boots, by no means remarkable either for 
thickness of sole or strength of upper-leather, 
the case is indeed different. Let me, however, 
make the best of it. The countryman meant no 
evil ; he thought but little of a wet foot ; and, 
therefore, I will try to think but little of it too.'* 
So I walked myself dry when I came to the road, 
and found nothing to hurt after all. 

There are few people who have not had, at 
one time or other, some experience in miry lanes. 
Such as live in the country are familiar with 
them ; and those who dwell in towns and cities, 
from the circumstance of their not being accus- 
tomed to them, and being too thinly shod to con- 
tend with them without great inconvenience, are 
absolutely affrighted at their very appearance. 
A countryman, with his thick-soled boots tied 
firmly round his ankles, and a pair of rough 


brown gaiters over his legs, may go through any 
thing ; but to a townsman, in thin-soled shoes 
or boots, and black cassimere trousers, a soft, 
clayey lane, thoroughly softened by a fortnight's 
rain, and thoroughly cut up with cart and wagon 
wheels, is by no means a trifling calamity. I 
wish you could have seen the lane through which 
I had to walk. 

Blame me for it who will, I am fond of a clean 
shoe, and a clean boot, and so long as there is 
any choice of roads, I am somewhat particular in 
choosing the cleaner one ; when there is no choice, 
however, when the case is inevitable, I can dash 
through a puddle as resolutely as most of my 

For the preceding fortnight the rain had been 
almost incessant, so that many a good road had 
been made bad, and many a bad road had become 
abominable, when I set off, with a stick in my 
hand, and an umbrella under my arm, in the 
direction of the river. I had a walk of about 
five miles before me, reckoning as the crow flies ; 
but the distance I made it in my devious wander- 
ing in search of cleaner pathways, must have 
been ten, if measured by any land-surveyor in 
the county. Fancy me, if you can, in my pere- 
grinations, a gray-headed old man, with a cheer- 
ful heart, picking his way over muddy crossings, 



through clayey fields, and along miry lanes. Oh, 
the inestimable blessing of a grateful and elastic 
spirit, that can turn all occurrences to the best ad- 
vantage, find gratification in unpromising scenes, 
and hope in the darkest hour ! 

The long, and seemingly interminable lane, 
through which I plodded, as it descended lower 
and lower, grew worse and worse, until it became 
so bad, that serious thoughts of turning back 
forced themselves on my mind. Pride and pru- 
dence had a hard struggle ; but a strong desire to 
see the friends that awaited me decided the con- 
tention, and on I went, bolstering up my courage 
as well as I could. " I hear people talk of being 
up to their knees," said I, " why, I am not yet 
up to my ankles." 

By-and-by I came to a gate that led from the 
lane into a field ; and this gave me a choice of 
roads very opportunely, for hardly could I plod 
any further along the miry lane. The field pre- 
sented but a cheerless prospect, for I knew that 
the wet stubble would soon saturate my trousers. 
There had, however, been a narrow pathway 
close up to the sloping bank under the hedge; 
though the sheep, by treading it down, had re- 
duced it to one general puddle. Along this puddly 
pathway I wound my way, bending my body, and 


leaning on my stick in one hand, and my um- 
brella in the other, as I pressed up close under 
the hedge : " What odd forms circumstances crush 
us into," said I, soliloquizing with myself. " Had 
I hut a dog and a string, I should look like a 
genuine beggar." Even in this forlorn situation, 
sorely tried by the slippery bank, the wet stubble, 
and the clayey puddle, I found comfort. 

In one place flat stepping-stones had been laid 
down ; in another, a hurdle had been put across 
a ditch ; and in a third spot a gate-post lay in a 
shallow pool of water that I could not avoid. No 
doubt this had been done for the benefit of those 
who placed them there, but I felt as grateful 
as if it had been all done for me. Now and 
then, too, I saw footprints in the mud, which the 
sheep had not obliterated. " Come ! come !" said I, 
" there have been pilgrims here before me, and if 
they have won their way, why should not I?" 

After skirting several fields in this way, I arrived 
at another gate that led into the long miry road 
which was, at that spot, very much worse than it 
was where I had last seen it. At the moment, a 
butcher's boy, mounted on a horse half covered 
with mud, rode up the lane. From him I learned 
that it was "onpossible" for anybody on foot to 
go down the lane ; that it was ten times worse 


lower down, under the wood ; and though there 
was another road, if I crossed the fields, yet I 
should find it rather the worst of the two. 

Sad as my dilemma was, one glance at the 
road up which the butcher's hoy had floundered 
with his horse, convinced me that I ran but little 
risk of meeting with a worse pathway : so, with- 
out further hesitation, I struck across the fields 
with a light heart and determined spirit. The 
buoyancy of my disposition prevailed ; and I went 
on, thus talking to myself, " Come ! come ! things 
are not so bad, after all. I cannot say much, it 
is true, for my appearance, for in truth I am in a 
pretty pickle; but, there is no one here to see 
me. Then, again, by trudging along the miry 
lane, I have avoided the flooded fields yonder by 
the brook ; and besides, a fourth part of my 
iourney is now performed. The moles, I see, 
have been at work here, burrowing under the mud, 
and the rooks yonder are flying over it. Yes, 
yes, my friends ! well you may caw, for you 
have the upper hand of me now, winnowing your 
way through the fresh balmy sky a thousand feet 
above the mire. I hear the gabbling of geese 
in the distance, as if they were flying to the pond, 
and the pleasant voices of sportive children reach 
rny ears ; so that there are happy beings in the 
world yet. Things are not so bad with me, after 


all. So long as I see the bit of blue in the skj 
yonder, and hear, as I do, the song of the singing- 
bird, well may I be cheerful." 

In this manner I continued my walk ; at one 
moment glancing ruefully at my muddy boots, 
and at the next, crying out, "Well! well! it 
cannot be helped. I wonder," thought I, still 
endeavouring to make the best of things, " what 
sort of roads the new settlers have in some of 
the colonies ; rather rough, I am thinking. Would 
Humboldt, Bruce, or J5elzoni, or Mungo Park, 
or Campbell, or Waterton, or Parry, or Ross, or 
Catlin, or Lander, when on their travels, have 
cared a rush about having to perform such a 
walk as mine ? Not they. You are well off, Mr. 
Humphrey ; you are very well off, after all." 

The felled trees, the fresh-cleared coppice, the 
swollen brook, and other objects, interested me 
much as I walked on; but many of the wet 
stubble-fields were ploughed in patches, and the 
soft, saturated, ploughed clay would not bear my 
weight ; I was therefore obliged every now and 
then to take a flying leap over the ploughed 
furrows, to prevent my sinking in half up to my 
knees. At last I came to the critical point a 
narrow lane. 

The lane, if such a clayey-puddle deserves to 
be dignified by the name, reached from the stone 


basin of clear water, filled by the brook used for 
sheep-washing, to the cottages, a distance of less 
than a third of a mile ; and such another mud- 
pit of communication from one place to another 
is hardly, I should think, to be found, flanked 
as it is by an impenetrable hedge on the one side, 
and a running brook on the other : the miry 
lane up which the butcher's boy had floundered 
on horseback was, compared with it, a very re- 
spectable pathway. At the first view of this for- 
midable object, it did appear to me to be " a com- 
plete stopper ;" no wonder that, like a prudent 
general, I paused to reconnoitre. 

While I stood up in the hedge, reduced to 
extremity, three horses came wading along the 
lane, attended by two youthful countrymen, whose 
hobnailed ankle-boots bore full testimony to the 
depth of the trouble through which I had to pass. 
I saw with dismay the bemired legs of the young 
rustics ; and I saw also ay, and felt it too the 
merry leer in their eyes, as they touched their 
hats in passing, leaving me " alone to my glory." 
It would be painful to describe the ridiculous posi- 
tion in which I was constrained to put myself in 
passing that lane : now, with the bottoms of my 
trousers turned up, perched on the top of the 
bank ; now up to my ankles in the yielding clay ; 
now forcing my way through the hedge ; and 


now wading the flooded ground by the side of the 
brook. Well, somehow or other, I achieved the 
undertaking ; scraped the muddy clay as well as 
I could from my bemired boots ; arrived safe on 
the summit of the rising ground, and pursued 
my way across the fields ; singing with my heart, 
rather than my tongue, my favourite hymn, 

" When all thy mercies, O my God !" 

There are other miry roads besides those that 
are found in country places, and among them are 
the miry roads of sin and sorrow. Fain would I 
dwell upon them for a moment, but already have 
I written more than I intended. Whether up to 
our knees in mire, or up to our necks in trouble, 
let us encourage an unrepining and grateful spirit, 
in looking to Him of whom David spake when 
he said, "He brought me up also out of an 
horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my 
feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even 
praise unto our God," Psa. xl. 2, 3. 


IT is a common saying, " When a ship gets under 
weigh, no one can tell the port she will make ;" 
and something like this is true of general readers ; 
for the contents of the hooks, pamphlets, and 
paragraphs they read, are often so very different 
to their titles, that they are led hy them where 
they never expected to go. In reading a newspaper, 
we never can be sure that the announcement, 
" The British Parliament," will not introduce to 
our notice " Parr's Life Pills ;" " A national dis- 
covery," lead the way to the clothing establish- 
ment of " Moses and Son ;" and " The greatest 
fact of the age" end in " Holloway's Ointment." 

Sometimes, however, we are agreeably sur- 
prised when a book or paper branches out into 
unexpected subjects of interest, giving an unlooked- 
for fulness and variety to the topic under consi- 
deration, just as the embellishments of architecture, 
though they add nothing to the strength of an 
edifice, greatly enrich it, and add to its beauty. 
It is possible, nay, indeed, highly probable, that 
this paper or chapter, " Old Humphrey oi> 


Walking-Sticks," may branch out a little in the 
same way. 

Many of my readers may care hut little 
about walking - sticks, and I, perhaps, running 
into the opposite extreme, value them beyond 
their real worth. Certain it is, that I cannot 
take into my hand the walking-stick of a friend 
who has quitted the world before me, without 
some emotion : an inclination to muse and medi- 
tate on the past comes over me, and a desire to 
recall those seasons in which we have walked 
together, and taken counsel one of another. Call 
it a weakness if you will ; but the walking-stick 
of one whom I have respected and loved, has 
much influence over me. There are some relics 
that I prize. Were the staff in existence, and 
in my possession, with which father Jacob passed 
over Jordan, it would be estimated by me very 

A man who uses a walking-stick, has a quick 
eye in observing the walking-sticks of his neigh- 
bours. Not easily would you pass by me with 
a stick or staff of any kind in your hand, without 
a glance of inquiry. One man walks with a stick 
close under his arm ; another carries it horizon- 
tally, poising it by the middle ; a third holds it 
up as a soldier on duty holds up his sword ; a 
fourth bears it on his shoulder, as though it were a 


log of timber ; a fifth twirls it round and round 
by the hook ; a sixth walks with it so that it is 
up in the air and down on the ground alternately, 
every fourth step; while a seventh, who really 
stands in need of its support, sets it firmly on the 
^arth every second step that he takes, looking 
narrowly before him, lest inadvertently he should 
place it on a piece of orange-peel, or other 
substance of a slippery kind. 

What a variety of pictures, connected with 
walking-sticks, are now flitting before me ! An 
old gentleman, with high-quartered shoes, and 
the flaps of his embroidered waistcoat half down 
his thighs, is grasping his gold-headed cane as he 
walks up the hill to the parish church. An old 
lady in ruffles and stiff brocade is holding her high 
walking stick a full foot from the top, as she takes 
her way to the almshouses, her heart beating with 
kindness towards the poor. A venerable man, in 
a loose coat, with white, flowing hair, is talking 
kindly to a party of boys, and pointing with his 
staff to the setting sun. And a cottager, as he is 
passing by the skirt of the coppice, pulls down a 
nut-bough with the hook of his stick, for a group 
of ragged children. 

But we must not be satisfied in thus treating 
on walking-sticks generally; let us enter more 
into particulars; for as there is a great difference 
2 A 2 


between a hazel and a holly-stick, an ash -plant 
and a Malacca cane, a whangee and a warted crab, 
a bamboo and a blackthorn, so every sort has its 
kindred associations. Try to fancy yourself stand- 
ing with me in the shop of a stick -seller, with an 
assortment of walking-sticks spread out before 
us, from the thin cane that would delight a child, 
to the club almost suited to the grasp of a giant. 
The different bundles around, of sticks of all kinds, 
excite my fancy. Listen to the thoughts that they 
call up in my mind. 

The carved-headed, old, oaken staff reminds me 
of the fine carved oaken chimney-pieces that I 
have seen, and the beautiful carved stalls and 
screens in cathedrals. It reminds me of Damory's 
oak, more than threescore feet round the stem, 
and of the tree in which king Charles concealed 
himself from his pursuers. It brings before me 
the oak, under which the angel of the Lord sat, 
when he appeared unto Gideon; and it brings, too, 
the oaks of Bashan, and English forests, to my 
fancy. I see the woodman wielding his sharp 
axe, while the dry, white chips fly around him ; 
and I hear the crash of the mighty trunk and 
the splintering of its goodly branches. I go to 
the dockyard, and gaze on the building of ships. 
I see the launching of a noble vessel, and accom- 
pany it through all the changes of an eventful 


voyage. At one time it is in the calm, sitting 
motionless on the waters ; and at another, in the 
storm, seemingly the sport of angry ocean ! No\? 
it is among the icebergs of the north, and now 
passing the line under the burning beams of the 
meridian sun. Yesterday it was proudly plough- 
ing its way through the foaming waves, and to-day, 
dismasted and wrecked, it is beating its shattered 
hull against the pointed rocks. 

The twisted vine, scraped and varnished as it 
has been, is very unlike the stem and the branch 
of the tree that bears the grape, but it fails not to 
remind me of the countries where vines abun- 
dantly grow light-hearted France, and Spain 
and Portugal, troubled with intestine broils. It 
reminds me, also, of the Holy Land, where the 
once highly-favoured, but now widely-scattered 
Jewish people, sat in safety under their own vines 
and fig-trees. It brings to my memory the words 
of the Redeemer, " I am the true vine, and my 
Father is the husbandman," John xv. 1; and it 
presents to my remembrance the picture of many 
a peaceful English cottage, standing on a sunny 
slope, with neatness and simplicity inside, and 
outside a clustered vine running up the white- 
washed wall. 

The gold-headed cane, with the silk tassel, is 
certainly a noble-looking walking-stick; but the 


precious metal of the handle is more eloquent than 
4he cane itself; though the latter, coming as it 
does from Malacca, says much to me of the tawny 
black-haired Malay, usually classed among the 
most treacherous, the most fierce, and the most 
ferocious of the human race. Gold ! gold ! What 
crimes and what cruelties have been committed 
to obtain thee ! Thou art called worthless gold, 
sordid gold, and guilty gold thus bearing on 
thine innocent head the guilt of those who 
misuse thee. How often do we require to have 
the words sounded in our ears, " Labour not to 
be rich;' 5 " If riches increase, set not your heart 
upon them;" "Better is a little with the fear of 
the Lord, than great treasure and trouble there- 
with;" and, "What is a man profited, if he should 
gain the whole world, and lose his own soul !" Matt. 
xvi. 26. Gold has been found in many countries ; 
but we now look to the New World, as America is 
called, for the golden treasures of the earth. Mexico, 
Brazil, Peru, Chili, and California are the principal 
storehouses of the precious metals. Gold is found 
in grains, lumps, and veins; but were it found in 
masses equal in size to the mountains, it would 
not repay the miseries which its guilty gainers 
have inflicted on the world. As I look on that 
gold-headed Malacca cane, I cannot but think it 
would be well could the earth, with its yawning 


mouth, swallow up for ever every atom of the 
gold possessed by mankind, could it, at the same 
time, cancel the accusing scroll, written in tears 
and blood, that is now lying before the throne of 
the Eternal ! 

The dark walking-stick, in the. corner bundle, 
is formed of whalebone. It has been taken from 
the huge leviathan of the mighty deep, in the 
midst of the Frozen Ocean. What dreary scenes 
of ice and snowy peaks, and seals and walrusses, 
are in my fancy gathering round ! True, there is 
some variety even here; for at one time all is 
motionless, while at another, the boats from the 
ship with the frozen rigging, are seen in pursuit of 
a whale struck by the harpooners. For a season 
the energies of the exiled crew are taxed to the 
utmost, and all is life, effort, and animation ; but 
this subsides, and round the headland is a wide 
expanse, where solitude and silence prevail, un- 
broken by the sight and sound of living thing, 
save of the polar bear, which, on an iceberg borne 
onwards from the distant shore, is moaning as he 
raises himself on his hind legs to gaze around : 

The white, shaggy king of the keen northern clime, 

Is standing erect on his ice-throne sublime ; 

But it seems a fit adage for men and for bears, 

That the great must know grief; that a king has his cares. 

For hark ! as he floats to the ocean profound, 

What a howl through his icebergs is echoing round. 


The sight of that bamboo cane takes me at 
once to China, into the very presence of his 
celestial majesty, Taoukwang, or Reason's Glory 9 
and his proud mandarins. I seem to see at the 
same moment, Pekin and Canton, Amoy, Foo- 
choo, Ningpo, and Shanghae; and tea, and opium, 
and vermilion, and sycee silver, and parasols, and 
umbrellas, and lanterns, and Chinese junks, and 
pagodas are flitting before me. There is the 
grand canal yonder, the great wall, and the bare- 
headed, long-tailed followers of Confucius. The 
inhabitants of the celestial empire are all around : 

You have seen on a fan or a tea-chest, no doubt, 
Their figures mid gardens and temples drawn out; 
Well ! the pictures and sober-faced people, so odd, 
Are as like one another as peas in a pod. 

Yes! the sight of that bamboo has called up 
to my imagination three hundred millions of 
Scriptureless, Sabbathless, and Saviourless beings. 
What a thought! Enough to bring me down on 
my knees to the very dust in prayer, on account 
of their destitution, and to raise my heart to the 
very heaven of heavens in praise for my own 

That blackthorn bludgeon has an ugly look, nor 
would I willingly meet a man carrying such an 
unsightly weapon, in a narrow, retired lane, after 
sunset. It sets me to think of vice and villauy, 


of crime and cruelty, of highway robbery and 
deeds of violence. Oh that we could all cast aside 
anger, and hatred, and malice, and uncharitable- 
ness, and violence, and live togethejj in quietness, 
in peace, and in love! 

What an oriental medley of Hindoos and 
brahmins, lascars and sepoys, rajahs and rupees, 
priests and pagodas, does the ivory-hooked handle 
of that high walking-cane, obtained as it has 
been from the tusk of an elephant, set before 
me! I see bungalows and budgerows, swamps 
and alligators, thick jungles and striped tigers, 
elephants and hooded snakes without number. 
Ignorance, superstition, and idolatry have a wide 
domain: under their influence the brahmin is bow- 
ing down to his wooden god, the deluded devotee 
flinging himself beneath the wheels of Juggernaut, 
and the Hindoo widow burning herself on her 
husband's funeral pile. I see Madras, with its 
batteries and bastions, and the high surf beating 
on the shore; Calcutta, with its citadel, Fort 
William; and Bombay, with its oriental trees, 
and inhabitants from different countries : 

The spreading banana and cocoa-nut rise, 
And the tall Tara palm lifts its head to the skies; 
The turban'd Mohammedan, long-tail'd Chinese, 
The Malay and the Tartar, chat under the trees ; 
The merchant from Persia, with shawls from Cashmere, 
The Fakir and Arab horse-dealer are there 


And the Hindoo looks round, with his caste on his brow, 
For a bride from Circassia is visible now. 

"With that ivory-hooked, high walking - cane 
before me, I q^uld prate for an hour of India and 
Indian affairs. 

The sight of that mottled hazel-stick surrounds 
me with waving woods, the rich garniture of 
glowing fields, and witching visions of coppice 
scenery, wherein howery branches, and sequestered 
nooks, and clustered nuts, and wild strawberries, 
and field-flowers, and feathered songsters, are 
strangely blended. Something more than "the 
time of the singing of birds is come," when the 
voice of the turtle is heard in the land, for 
autumn's sun is in the skies, and autumn's many- 
tinted foliage is on the trees. I walk abroad; 
I roam the coppice ; I revel amid the hazel 
bowers ; I breathe the sweet air of heaven, and 
burst into a song of joy and thanksgiving. A 
hazel -stick is a cheerful text from which I 
preach myself many a sunny sermon of green 
fields, glowing foliage, waving woods, and kindling 
skies. Hardly would I wish, when I wanted to 
discourse freely, for a better subject to excite my 
sympathies than that of walking-sticks ; for it 
would awake my fancy, send my thoughts round 
the world, and call up in my heart a general 
interest for all mankind. And think you that 


a Christian man can get no good from his walk- 
ing-stick ? no lesson of humility, when he finds 
himself fain to lean on the perishing branch of 
a tree to steady his steps ? no suggestion of cau- 
tiousness, when it keeps his faltering foot from 
falling? no emotion of thankfulness, when it 
reminds him of the sustaining power of the 
Eternal, and almost puts into his mouth the 
words, "Though I walk through the valley of 
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou 
art with me ; thy rod and thy staff they comfort 
me/ 5 Psa. xxiii. 4 ? and no holy resolution to 
lean more unreservedly on the promises of the 
Most High, and to walk more humbly, heartily, 
and confidingly before God in the land of the 
living? A disciple of the Redeemer knows, from 
holy writ, that neither a fading leaf, a grain of 
mustard-seed, nor even the dust of the balance, 
is too small a thing to impart to him profitable 
instruction ; and therefore he will not undervalue 
any useful admonition or encouragement that 
may be suggested to his mind, by the staff that 
sustains his steps. 

You have now seen, by my remarks, that 
walking-sticks may suggest much that may be 
profitable to their owners. That an oak stick 
may remind us of the oaks of Bashan, and the 
forest trees of England, conduct us to the dock- 
2 B 


yard, and pilot us over the world of waters ; 
a vine present us with lovely cottage pictures, 
and he our guide to the Holy Land; a gold- 
headed cane reprove our covetousness, and remind 
us of riches that are eternal ; a whalebone walk- 
ing-stick paint the dreary scene of the Frozen 
Ocean, and the harpooning of the huge leviathan 
of the deep ; a bamboo direct our attention to 
China, with its three hundred millions of Scrip- 
tureless, Sabbathless, and Saviourless people ; a 
blackthorn excite our abhorrence of violence, and 
call forth an inclination to peace, kind-hearted- 
ness, and love ; a stick with an ivory top discourse 
largely on India ; and a hazel conjure up before 
our eyes rural delights, that call up within us 
emotions of joyousness and praise. 

You have been shown that I have scriptural 
authority for my belief, that nothing in the world 
is too trivial to be made a means of imparting 
to us profitable instruction ; and now it remains 
for such of my readers as carry walking-sticks, 
in common with myself, to remember, that we 
shall not make the most of the staffs that sustain 
us, if we get not from them lessons of humility, 
emotions of thankfulness, and hearty desires, in 
all earnestness and sincerity, to "walk before 
God in the land of the living," Psa. Ivi. 13. 


SOME time ago a letter reached me from a friendly, 
though unknown, clerical correspondent. There 
is no necessity for my entering into particulars ; 
suffice it to say that the writer resided at a York- 
shire parsonage, and that his communication 
abounded in those cordial and affectionate out- 
pourings of heart that so often bind us to those 
whom, in the providence of God, we are not per- 
mitted to take by the hand. 

One object of my correspondent in addressing 
me was, to call my attention to the signs of sin, 
abounding in every city and town. " We cannot," 
said he, " walk along the streets, and look at 
the various signs over the different shops, with- 
out being struck with the many mementos they 
afford us of the introduction of sin and its evil 
consequences into our world. 

" For instance, we look on the signs indicating 
the sale of the various articles of dress, and we 
are led to think that if it had not been for sin, 
we should have had no need for these coverings. 
Again ; the signs indicating the sale of drugs, or 
the residence of medical men, remind us that sin 


brought disease into the world, and therewith the 
necessity for those remedial means. So also the 
bookseller's sign shows us that knowledge, whe- 
ther of a worldly or of a spiritual nature, is only 
to be obtained by the labour of perusing books, 
oftentimes with much weariness to the flesh ; 
whereas had it not been for sin, knowledge would, 
probably, have been acquired in a far different, and 
more pleasurable manner. Then, again, look at 
the gunsmith's sign, and at those murderous wea- 
pons of which it speaks, and see one of the most 
deadly significations of the introduction of sin. 
Turn again to the locksmith's sign, and what does 
it teach you, but that there would have been no 
need for locks and bolts, if it had not been for 
sin ; in short, you can scarcely look at any sign, 
but this idea finds some corroboration or exem- 

The quotation above is, at least to me, novel 
and striking, and then it is thoroughly practical. 
If, indeed, my kind correspondent had carried out 
his subject a little further than he has done, it 
would hardly have been a question with me, whe- 
ther the printing of his letter would not have 
been preferable to the publication of any com- 
ments of mine. As it is, I have nothing more 
to do than to follow up his hints, to proffer him 
my best thanks for the subject with which he has 


supplied me, and to try at once to turn it to ad- 

Oh, sin ! sin ! sin ! to what shall I liken thee ? 
for neither plague, pestilence, nor famine, will 
furnish me with an apt comparison. They slay 
their thousands, but thou thy tens of thousands ! 
They spread misery and mortality far and wide, 
but thou coverest the earth with thine abomina- 
tions ! At thy command go forth envy, anger, 
hatred, malice, and all uncharitableriess. Hypo- 
crisy hastens to deceive ; covetousness to grasp 
his unjust gain ; treachery to betray ; tyranny to 
oppress ; cruelty to afflict ; and grim-visaged war, 
the most savage of thy sons, seeks in vain to 
quench his slakeless thirst of human blood. The 
burning lava, rolling headlong from the flaming 
volcano, is not more fearful and destructive in its 

It is not, however, by a burst of impulsive 
feeling, however faithfully portrayed it is not 
by an impassioned ejaculation against sin, that I 
would deal with this subject. Neither apostro- 
phizing, nor railing against an evil, will remove it. 
I will rather, therefore, adopt the plainer and 
more practical course of my correspondent, and 
trace some of the commonplace records of sin, 
which are seen around us on every hand. 

It is continually the case in a state of society, 
2 B 2 


that the origin of manners and customs becomes 
by degrees more or less obscure. We adopt man- 
ners, and observe customs, without making them 
the subject of our reflection. Were it not so, we 
should certainly be more aware than we usually 
are, that our fallen nature is universally set forth 
by the provision we make for our wants and our 
indulgences, and that sin is signified, directly or 
indirectly, by the most familiar objects that meet 
our eyes. 

In the shops of the tailor and milliner we see 
garments of the most attractive kind, and the 
most alluring colours, and we feel, when arrayed 
in them, no small addition to our importance and 
respectability. I speak of my own feelings as well 
as of yours ; for never would I, willingly, affect 
to be free from what I censure in another, when a 
consciousness of my infirmity cries aloud. I say, 
then, that Old Humphrey, when he goes forth 
habited in a new suit of clothes, feels the influence 
of infirmity in his heart, and that he does not re- 
member one solitary instance, on such an occasion 
of saying to himself, " Are you aware that sin is 
the origin of dress, and that every new garment 
you put on is an additional proof of your fallen 
nature?" I say, that I cannot fall back upon a 
case of this kind, and yet a Christian man should 
not be without such reflections. 


Think not for a moment that I am either cen- 
suring, or affecting to censure the feeling of clean- 
liness, comfort, and satisfaction, that new garments 
communicate to their wearers ; on the contrary, 
I would inculcate in your heart and my own a 
strong emotion of thankfulness to the Father of 
mercies, for allowing us, in our defenceless state, 
such a source of comfort and gratification. This 
emotion, however, is not inconsistent with a full 
knowledge that the origin of dress is sin. We 
ought not, then, to be proud of our dress ; nor 
do I think that I am occupying untenable ground 
in asserting, that as a crutch of ivory and an ear- 
trumpet of gold would only make the infirmity of 
lameness and deafness the more conspicuous, so 
fine clothes, in the estimation of a reflecting Chris- 
tian man, must set forth more conspicuously the 
sin in which they had their origin. 

What has been said of the shops of the tailor 
and the milliner is applicable also to those of the 
hatter, the hosier, and the shoemaker; for the 
articles that these exhibit only set forth more 
strikingly the fact, that sin has exposed us to 
weakness and infirmity, from the crown of the 
head to the sole of the foot. The different arti- 
cles, then, of dress that we wear to clothe our 
bodies, and defend us from the inclemency of the 
seasons, in the midst of the comfort they afford 


us, are symbols of sin which ought not to foster 
but to reprove our pride. 

Regard the crimson and purple illuminated 
globes that attract the eye at night, in the win- 
dow of the chemist, and the vivid-coloured lamps 
over the doorway of the doctor. If you are not 
grateful for the advantage of medicine, and me- 
dical men, you ought to be so ; but what a tale is 
told by these illumined globes and high-coloured 
lamps! Sorrow, and pain, and death have all 
their origin in sin ; and thus every shining light, 
that announces the amelioration of human in- 
firmity, announces also that man is a sinner. 

And what shall I say to the shop of the gun- 
smith, and that fearful display of murderous 
weapons with which sin has supplied mankind, 
that brother may take away the life of brother ? 
It is not enough that evil passions should rage ; 
they must have ready-made to their hands in- 
struments of swift destruction ! Can a Christian 
man gaze on such a spectacle without deep humi- 
liation ? Can he pass on without a prayer that 
the time may be hastened, when swords shall 
become ploughshares, and spears pruning-hooks, 
and when the nations of the earth shall learn war 
no more? Sin is here written in more conspi- 
cuous characters, and he that runs may read a 
record of fallen humanity. 


The window of the locksmith is altogether a 
symbol of sin ; for what has called forth so much 
ingenuity to lock up the glittering dust, and poor, 
pitiful, perishable treasures of every kind that 
man amasses together? Nothing less than sin. 
Man is afraid to trust man, and hence the neces- 
sity to conceal and protect his possessions by the 
ingenuity of the locksmith. What a humiliating 
thought it is that man, in a state of society, locks, 
and bolts, and bars his door not to keep out the 
lion, the tiger, the bear, and the wolf, but to pro- 
tect his property and his life from that prowling 
robber, that red-handed murderer, his brother 
man ! 

Hardly need I speak a word on the house of 
the undertaker ; for every passer-by confesses by 
his fears, that he knows too well the sign of the 
undertaker is a symbol of sin. Sin 

" Brought death into the world,, ai.d all our woe." 

In short, look where I will, I read sad memen- 
tos of the dire calamity that has inundated the 
world. Every proud palace, and every lowly 
hovel ; every hospital, and every jail, are monu- 
ments whereon are recorded the fallen state of 
man : the pride, the weakness, the sin and sorrow 
of humanity, are all set forth in our comforts 


and luxuries ; in our food, our dress, and our 

Think not that because I have thus dilated on 
things, in some instances, at a distance from me ; 
think not, I say, that Old Humphrey has any 
occasion to walk abroad, to traverse the streets, in 
search of symptoms and symbols of the malady 
of sin ! No, no ! he has not the signs only, but 
the proofs near at hand, in his neighbourhood, in 
his habitation, and in his own heart 1 Within his 
own bosom he finds the fever of angry passions, 
which the great Physician alone can allay; the 
plague-spot of evil desires, which the heavenly 
High Priest alone can arrest ; and the leprosy of 
indwelling sin, which the blood of sprinkling alone 
can cleanse ! Though he may ramble awhile to 
give some variety to his thoughts, he comes home 
at last to the place whence he wandered, and 
exclaims, while smiting his own breast, " God 
be merciful to me a sinner I" 

But if sin be thus publicly proclaimed, ought 
not the antidote to sin to be proclaimed as uni- 
versally ? Shall we be told at every turning that 
sin and death have come upon us, and only be 
occasionally reminded of the forgiveness of sin, 
and the hope of everlasting life ? These symbols 
of sin ought to produce symptoms of godly 


sorrow, and lead us as burdened pilgrims to the 
Redeemer's cross : 

If thus, in every spot where man is found, 
Symbols of sin are widely scatter'd round ; 
Let proofs of love Divine, compassion true, 
And pardoning grace, be fully noticed too. 

Spread wide the gospel let it freely fly 
To every realm beneath the glowing sky; 
Wherever sin has spread its woe and shame. 
Proclaim salvation in the Saviour's name ! 


WHEN mariners draw near the end of their voyage, 
they keep a sharp look-out for land ; and I must 
keep a sharp look-out too, for I am drawing near 
the end of my book. I talked in the beginning 
of it about setting up my readers as a target to 
shoot at ; and I mean to do something very like it 
in this chapter. I mean to review them, and with 
a keen eye too. Now, then, let me have your 

Were my readers military readers, the title of 
"Old Humphrey's Review" might deceive them ; 
they might possibly picture me as a field-marshal, 
capering about on a white horse, at the head of 
a battalion, reviewing the troops. A pretty figure 
I should cut dressed up in a scarlet double-breasted 
coat, richly embroidered ; gold epaulets, gilt but- 
tons, white trousers, ankle boots and screw spurs, 
with a cocked hat on my head, plumed with 
drooping white swan feathers, twenty inches long, 
with scarlet ones underneath ! Not that I should 
have the bravery of fine apparel all to myself 
the poor brute that carried me would come in for 


his share ; for what with his shabracque of dark 
blue cloth, trimmed with gold lace, his surcingle 
of blue web, his ornamental bridle, his bridoon, 
headstall, and rein of red morocco, gold lace and 
roses, and his breastplate and crupper with gilt 
bosses and buckles, he would look almost as fine 
as his master. However, I am not a field-marshal ; 
and so low is my influence at the Horse-Guards, 
that much do I question, if I wanted it, whether 
I could obtain the appointment of a trumpeter I 
In one word, my review is not a military one. 

And now having told you what my review is 
not, you will expect me to tell you what it is ; or, 
in other words, whom I am going to review. The 
truth is, then, that I am about to review my 
readers. There can be no harm done, regarding 
them as Christian soldiers, in inspecting the state 
of their weapons and their clothing, and making 
inquiry about their obedience, care, skill, courage, 
and fidelity. In military inspections, I believe, it 
is the usual practice for the troops to be put 
through their manoeuvres by the senior major and 
captain ; but as on this occasion I am inspector- 
general by my own appointment, so I mean to 
take all the duties of the review upon myself. 

It may appear an odd thing, when we have a 
new year, to be regarding the old ones to be 
" lagging astern" when the whole world is "going 
c c 


a-head," and in January to turn our faces towards 
December; but Janus, you know, from whom 
January is derived, had two faces a back face and 
a front face. Besides, we often do one thing, to 
qualify ourselves well to do another. You never 
yet saw a man take a spring upwards, without his 
first stooping downwards ; and I have long ago 
told you, that he who would stand up firmly on 
his legs, had need to fall down frequently on his 
knees. There is such a thing, then, as looking 
backwards, that we may be better enabled to go 

It does, indeed, seem to me but as yesterday 
since I began to write for the press. The years 
have fled by swifter than the wings of the wind ; 
death has dealt around us his darts, and angels 
have gathered in heavenly harvests : 

The proudest of earth, who made princes their trust, 
With their brother the worm have lain down in the dust; 
' And the lowly and meek, with delight and surprise, 
Have enter'd, rejoicing, their home in the skies 1 

Yet here am I still ! But, old man-like, I am 
prating about myself, while I ought, in agreement 
with my undertaking, to be reviewing you. It is 
time that I began to move among your ranks. 

And now, then, having you drawn up before 
me, shall I first of all harangue you, and tell you 
of the glorious exploits of the great captains or 


olden time the battles they fought, and the vic- 
tories they won ? Shall I rehearse the deeds of 
Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and 
Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and Moses ? 

If the idolized heroes of later days, some of 

Led on by mad ambition's lure alone, 
Keen-eyed to glory, but to justice blind, 

Have waded on through " slaughter to a throne, 
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind-." 

If the warriors of the world, with the glittering 
tiara or the laurel wreath on their brows, have 
had their doubtful deeds inscribed in marble and 
gold, how ought the deeds of those of whom I 
have spoken to be recorded ? Oh how eloquent 
might I be, if eloquence were mine, in narrating the 
conflicts and the triumphs of the people of God, 
true subjects and soldiers of the King of kings, 
and Lord of lords ! But " time would fail me to 
tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and 
of Jephtha, of David also, and Samuel, and of the 
prophets : who through faith subdued kingdoms, 
wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped 
the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, 
escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness 
were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned 
to flight the armies of the aliens," Heb. xi. 3234. 
I must leave these matters, for they are above my 


powers to describe. A dwarf cannot wield the 
sword of a giant, nor should the mean occupy 
the place of the mighty. It would require the 
gifted powers and inspiration of an apostle to do 
justice to the achievements of the followers of 

Whether you are on horseback or on foot, 
whether you are in command, having men in sub- 
jection under you, or exercising no command, but 
obeying those who are in authority over you in 
either case, as soldiers of the cross, you have been 
well provided for. Food and raiment, and good 
quarters, pay, and fair prospect of high promo- 
tion, are yours. How, then, are you discharging 
your duties ? 

In what state are your weapons? I am not 
asking you about your swords and your pistols, 
your firelocks and your bayonets, for I suppose 
you have little or nothing to do with such things. 
If you carried firelocks, I might be peeping into 
their pans ; and if you had swords, I might be 
drawing them from their scabbards, to see if they 
were clean and bright, and fit for service; but 
Christian weapons are of another kind. In what 
state is your humility, your patience, your self- 
denial, your forbearance, your love, your faith, 
and your zeal ? Are they in a state fit for imme- 
diate service, if you should be called upon to bear 


a calamity, to forgive an injury, to attack a sin, or 
to jeopardize your lives in following out the com- 
mands of the great Captain of your salvation? 
I must examine your weapons. 

In what state is your clothing ? Not your scarlet 
jackets, your white pantaloons, your brass helmets, 
or your high caps of felt or bear-skin, but your 
general conduct and demeanour. Are you orderly, 
sober, and civil ; for order, sobriety, and civility 
should form a part of the uniform of every 
Christian soldier. I must examine your clothing. 

Are you obedient, obeying in all things, with- 
out a moment's hesitation, the voice of your great 
Commander ? Have you attained to a skilful use 
of your weapons ? Eemember these are " not 
carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling 
down of strongholds ; casting down imaginations, 
and every high thing that exalteth itself against 
the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity 
every thought to the obedience of Christ," 2 Cor. 
x. 4, 5. Are you strong and of good courage, fear- 
ing nothing in your conflicts against evil ? You 
are not required to enter into the death-grapple 
with your fellow -men, to sweep them with your 
gunnery from the plain, and to hew them down in 
the stormy breach, with the edge of the sword. 
It is not your duty to charge the embattled line, to 
storm the bastion and the battery, and to spread 
cc 2 


around fire, and sword, and destruction ; but fear- 
lessly to attack sin in all its forms, and to resist 
Satan in all his deceits. Is your fidelity to be 
relied on, and are you determined, with your lives 
^n your hands, to be faithful unto death? 

I have passed through your ranks, glancing at 
your arms, your clothing, and your appoint- 
ments, and I have noticed your movements, your 
marching, and your manoeuvres ; and now shall 
I compliment you on your soldierlike bearing 
and general appearance, on your steadiness and 
promptitude under arms? Shall I say that the 
correctness and precision of your movements are 
highly creditable to you, and that I trust a spirit 
of emulation will be kept up among you, that you 
may never forfeit the high reputation you have 
attained ? I cannot go so far as this. I must 
address you in a different manner. 

Christian soldiers, thefe is much among you 
that I must commend, but there is also much that 
I cannot but condemn. There are, no doubt, 
before me, men, whose arms and regimentals show 
their care, men whose obedience is prompt, whose 
skill is great, whose courage is not suspected, and 
whose fidelity has been fully proved. Why is it 
not so with all ? I have too much reason to believe 
there are among you the careless, the disobedient, 
the unskilful, the cowardly, and the unfaithful. 


Shame, shame on such unsoldierlike behaviour! 
Is it thus that, shrinking from enduring hardness 
as good soldiers, you sully the banner of the cross ? 
I say of some of you, that your weapons are rusty, 
your clothes are soiled, you are wanting in godly 
vigilance, you have given intelligence to the enemy 
of souls, and you have been found sleeping at your 
post of duty. I now take my leave ; but to such 
of you as are faulty I say, Have a care, or punish- 
ment awaits you ! Amend your conduct, or " be 
sure your sin will find you out." 

But, " Stop ! stop ! " say you ; " go not off thus 
with a flourish of trumpets I Leave us not while 
the kettle-drums are rolling, and the cymbals 
clashing, to your honour, as if you were a real 
field-marshal, with the colonel of the regiment, 
and the adjutant, and your staff-officers around 
you, while a crowd of gazing spectators press for- 
ward to catch a glance 'of your feathery head, or 
a glimpse of your horse's flowing tail. Come back 
again, field-marshal Humphrey, for the principal 
part of your duty remains unperformed ; you have 
reviewed us with a witness, but, as yet, you have 
not reviewed yourself!" 

Pardon me, my friends ! but in this you do me 
wrong, for I have been reviewing myself the whole 
of the time that I have been addressing you. Not 
an error have I attacked, not a sin have I put to 


the sabre, but it has been my own ! Instead of 
losing sight of myself in my review, I have hardly 
had anybody else but myself in my eye. Far be 
it from me to put one under arrest, and confine 
another in the guard-room, while I, having com- 
mitted the same offence, walk at liberty. No ! no ! 
comrades, you shall never say, with truth, that I 
screened myself from deserved punishment, while 
applying the cat-o'-nine tails to another. I have 
been sadly too careless of my clothing, and my 
arms ; and my deficiencies in obedience, skill, 
courage, and fidelity, are to my reproach. Let us 
try, then, together, to become, for the future, more 
vigilant as soldiers of Christ, and more faithful as 
followers of the Redeemer. 


SOME persons will suppose, from my title, that 
I am about to give a lecture for half an hour on 
unsuitable marriages ; others may imagine that 
my matches will be either lucifer, brimstone, or 
magic congreve : while it is possible that, know- 
ing me to be a little excursive, a third party may 
expect from me a few remarks on the matches of 
running-horses at Ascot, Epsom, and Newmarket, 
or on those of sailing yachts on the river Thames. 
A few words will do away with every ambiguity, 
and render my subject clear and intelligible. 

Such of my readers as are acquainted with 
London, know very well that there is, in Lud- 
gate-hill, a draper's shop, of an imposing appear- 
ance, with a very high door, reaching up to the 
height of two stories. Having met with attention 
there, and good articles, now and then I have 
stepped in with a friend to become a purchaser. 
While there this morning, a lady, who was 
sitting at the counter ordering silks, satins, and 


other things, made use of the expressions, " That 
is a bad match !" " Oh, that is no match at all !" 
"Do you think this will match?" and, "That 
is a very good match indeed !" There was enough 
in these expressions to catch my attention. I 
came away, turning them over in my mind ; and 
here am I, seated at my study table, writing this 
article on Good and Bad Matches. 

A week ago I saw, in a party, two sisters, whose 
dresses showed great taste. They seemed to be 
perfect in fit, form, and the harmony of their 
colours. The conduct of the sisters was in 
keeping with their clothes : mien, manner, and 
behaviour, all was ladylike. The dresses and the 
wearers were an excellent match. 

Well do I remember seeing a stranger, who 
seemed to have a decent black coat on his back, 
go suddenly into the sunshine, when it appeared 
that his coat was made of two kinds of cloth, 
very ill matched, for the body of the coat was of 
jet black, and the sleeves of blue-black ; the latter, 
in the sun, having a purple hue. The stranger 
was a perfect fright. Thus it is with many ; they 
are not what they appear to be, and they can no 
more bear the light of truth, than the black coat 
could bear the sunshine. 

A man with a new hat, and a pair of shoes out 
at the toes, a gold chain round his neck, and no 


gloves on his fingers, would be out of order; his 
gloveless hands and shattered shoes would be a 
sad match to his new hat and gold chain. In 
like manner, for one to be very poor, and exceed- 
ingly proud; very rich, and extremely parsimo- 
nious, must be out of order too ; for parsimony 
and riches, poverty and pride, are unquestion- 
ably bad matches. I do not point out these 
things by way of information, for every body 
knows them, but merely to make myself clearly 

The more I reflect on this subject, the more 
interesting it seems to become. It is as though I 
were looking through a multiplying glass, for it 
presents itself in such numberless forms. Good 
matches there are, nay, excellent ; but oh, what a 
number of bad matches are to be seen ! What a 
strange, unsuitable mixture of wisdom and folly; 
prudence and recklessness ; learning and levity ; 
profession of piety and polka-dancing, there is in 
the world ! 

Let us try to put the subject in a yet stronger 
point of view. Who would wrap himself up in a 
shaggy great coat in summer, and dress in nan- 
keen during the winter ; take coals to Newcastle 
to sell, or build a house for fresh air in St. Giles's ; 
use water to trim a lamp, or oil to extinguish a 


fire ; walk for pleasure in the fields when the 
storm was abroad, and remain in-doors when the 
sun was in the sky ? These things would be out 
of the question ; but are there none as strange 
as these that we perform ? We see the mistakes 
and bad matches of others ; are we equally lynx- 
eyed with regard to our own ? 

We think it odd that in Paris they should have 
masses in the morning, and masquerades at night; 
but do we never go to divine worship in a light- 
hearted, merry-making spirit, and return home 
from the house of God talking of sticks and 
straws, or of things equally unimportant ? We 
regret that heathens should bow down to stocks 
and stones, and worship what is made by men's 
hands ; but have we no idols to whom our desires 
cling, and to whom we devote more time than 
we give to our heavenly Father? Let us be 
honest to ourselves, let us come home to our 
own hearts, and let our good and bad matches be 
more narrowly inspected than they have been. 

I could not but observe that the lady, whose 
exclamations in the draper's shop supplied me 
with the title of this paper, did her best, not to 
hide, but to discover, the bad matches before her. 
She turned them to the light, and examined them 
again and again. Now I fear that many of us 


are apt to reverse this practice, and to do our 
best, where we discover a bad match in ourselves, 
to hide, and not to make it appear. 

When Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, 
and slew him ; when the children of Israel made 
the molten calf ; when Korah, Dathan, and Abi- 
ram rebelled against Moses ; when Judas betrayed 
his Master; and when Ananias and Sapphira 
kept back part of the price of the posses- 
sion they had sold, and lied to hide what they 
had done ; how ill did their actions match with 
their duty ! and what a price did they pay for 
their transgression ! Were history, sacred and 
profane, to be searched, for instances of disagree- 
ment, and want of consistency and harmony ; or, 
in other words, for the bad matches it contains, 
the exhibition would aff right us. A smooth 
tongue and deceitful bosom ; an erring heart and 
an unforgiving spirit ; promised bread and a given 
stone ; a smile and a dagger ; a kiss and a stab 
under the fifth rib, have too often gone together. 

At this period of my reflections, a hasty glance 
at my past life presents so many bad matches to 
my view, that, had I availed myself of no other, 
they would abundantly supply me with ample 
materials to illustrate my present remarks. Indeed 
I am by no means certain that the chapter now 
occupying my pen will not be considered by 

D D 


some as one of my most striking examples. I 
will here, then, leave the subject to your consi- 
deration, only just reminding you that there are 
not only good and bad matches in dress, but also 
in language, manners, morals, politics, philan- 
thropy, and religion. 


" THOSE scraps of mutton !" said I, musing as I 
went along ; " those scraps of mutton !" 

It never answers, in writing a piece that is 
intended to affect the heart, to begin fiercely and 
end faintly. We ought rather to gain than to 
lose strength as we go on. It is such a sad fall 
off, when treating on an elephant to descend to an 
ant; when dealing with sunshine, to decline to sha- 
dows ; and when dwelling on the glory of heaven, 
to come tumbling down to the glooms of earth. 
Better, a great deal, to reverse this method; 
better to go from ants to elephants, from shadowy 
scenes to sunbeams, and to mount up from earth 
to heaven. 

There would be something really amusing in 
giving up an hour, or so, to consider how dif- 
ferently the world provides for those who have 
money and those who have it not, if it were not 
for the heartache that would accompany the inves- 
tigation. Old Humphrey is not the man to envy 
and rail against the rich, nor to make the poor 


discontented with their portion; much rather 
would he remind both that the advantages of 
riches and the evils of poverty are of very short 
duration. He cannot, however, see human depri- 
vation without feeling human sympathy. 

Yes ! the rich are provided for in one way and 
the poor in another, and it must of necessity be 
so. There is some difference between the linen- 
drapers' shops of St. James and St. Giles's, 
and not less difference in the costliness of the 
articles they sell. The rich lady makes her pur- 
chases at the former establishment ; the poor 
woman buys what she requires at the latter. They 
are both descendants from him who was formed 
in the image of God, both fashioned by the hand 
of the Most High, and both of them may be, in 
the best sense of the word, " King's daughters," 
heirs of the kingdom of heaven ; and, yet, while 
the one with ease pays fifty pounds for a Cash- 
mere shawl, the other perhaps with difficulty lays 
out two shillings for a cotton petticoat. 

In some of the first-rate shoemakers' shops, the 
boots and shoes in the windows are so exquisitely 
formed that a droll friend of mine once affected 
to regret that he could not have his leg made to 
the boot, instead of having the boot made to his 
leg. To these shops go the rich ; but Monmouth- 
street is the place for the poor, where thousands 


of patched-up old trampers, both boots and shoes, 
are daily to be seen, looking, with the " bloom of 
the blacking brush" upon them, better than they 
are. While the rich order their new boots else- 
where, here the poor purchase their second-hand 
shoes. Strange scenes have I witnessed in Mon- 
mouth-street, and you may witness them too, if 
you have any interest in seeing the poor wrestling 
with their poverty. 

A pleasant thing it is to look in at the shop of 
a seller of second-hand books, and to roam over 
the old lettered stores. Some of the worthy old 
volumes are in parchment jackets, some in leathern 
jackets, and some in no jackets at all. What goodly 
rows of encyclopaedias, voyages, travels, divinity, 
and books of all kinds, in folio, quarto, and 
octavo, for those who have money ! and for those 
who have it not, or but little of it, there is the 
box of oddments at the door ; so that while a 
" well to-do" customer lays out a pound, the poor 
purchaser in the threadbare coat buys a book for 
a penny. 

When I took up my pen, it was not with the 
intention of writing about linendrapers, shoe- 
makers, and booksellers' shops, and yet I have 
touched upon them all. It is now high time 
that I begin to tell you what I have to say about 
" those scraps. of mutton !" 

D D 2 


As I passed a butcher's shop in the city, 
could not but notice how differently, as I said 
before, the rich and the poor were provided for. 
There were hanging up in front, and spread out 
on benches covered with clean cloths, inside the 
shop, quarters, sirloins, and rounds of beef, with 
saddles of mutton, haunches, and other joints of 
the very first quality. Just at the moment came 
up to the shop a good-looking, light-hearted, 
broad-breasted man in a white waistcoat, jingling 
his gold seals, and making a low, half-whistling 
sound with his mouth. He looked carelessly at 
the prime joints, bargained for a sirloin, a haunch, 
and a tongue, obtained a little abatement more, 
I suspect, because it was business-like, than for 
any other reason and walked on in the direction of 
the Exchange, tninking, I believe, no more of the 
money he had paid, than he did of the penny 
which a minute before he had given to the sweeper 
of the crossing. 

But while the light-hearted, white-waistcoated 
man thus bargained for the prime joints on the 
benches covered with clean cloths, I observed 
another bench which had no cloth at all upon it. 
It stood at one end outside the shop, almost like 
a separate concern. Hardly need I say that it 
was intended for the poor. It had upon it 
scarcely anything else than scraps of mutton. 


The white-waistcoated man, I verily think, never 
saw them, never thought of them, never knew 
that they were there. If he had, he was as likely 
a looking man as any one I know to have given a 
hundred of them away to the poor. It is often 
rather want of thought, than unkindness, that 
keeps the wealthy from performing deeds of 
charity. " Those scraps of mutton !" thought I ; 
"those scraps of mutton !" 

A poor, meek-looking woman, with famine in 
her face, passed hy with an old hasket in her 
hand, and she paused and looked at the scraps of 
meat wishfully, then ventured to lift up one of 
them, to turn it round, and to ask the price. I 
warrant you, by its appearance, that it had been 
handled by twenty people at least before her. The 
poor woman shook her head at the price, and 
walked slowly on, returning, however, in a little 
time, and making a bidding, when the good- 
humoured butcher told her to take it, and make 
it out to him another time. But though this 
poor woman bore away her scrap of mutton, many 
others did not do so who appeared to be in as 
much need as she was. Some, who had short 
tempers, told the butcher that he ought to be 
ashamed to ask poor creatures so much for such 
wretched scraps ; others went away in silence ; 
and one, tall, thin, sharp-faced man, very dirty 


and very ragged, seemed quite ready to beg, to 
borrow, or to steal. In a word, I saw in a little 
time a great deal of misery, and walked away with 
a heavy heart. " Those scraps of mutton !" said 
I, musing as I went along ; " those scraps of 

Again it occurred to me, how differently the 
rich and the poor are provided for. The light- 
hearted man in the white waistcoat never looked 
at the scraps of mutton, not he ! he never dreamed 
of such things they were quite out of his way. 
The poor woman never looked up to the sirloins 
and saddles that were hanging up. Why should 
she ? She might just as well have gazed up at 
the gilded ball at the top of St. Paul's, for she 
was about as likely to obtain the one as the 
other. " Those scraps of mutton ! " thought I ; 
" those scraps of mutton !" 

You may, perhaps, be thinking, reader, and I 
hope you are, that I ought to have helped some 
of the poor creatures described by me. Supposing, 
however, that I was deficient in kindness, that 
will not justify you in following a bad example. 
I am about to propose to you how, providing you 
have leisure, ability, and inclination, you may pass 
an hour and expend a few shillings very plea- 
santly. Post yourself, then, on a Saturday night, 
within view of a butcher's shop, and exercise 


your discrimination and kindness by helping the 
poor people who come to purchase the scraps of 

Take care, however, that you do not fall into 
an error. You must not expect to find them all 
cleanliness, propriety, good manners, and grati- 
tude, but rather take them as you find them. 
Poverty is not the less real because it is attended 
with unlovely qualities. Now and then you may 
fall in with a poor widow dressed in her clean cap, 
whose manners may proclaim that she has " seen 
better days," and whose thankfulness may more 
than repay you for your kindness ; but, more 
frequently, you will meet with a want of clean- 
liness, a want of good manners, and a want of 
gratitude. The words of holy writ are not, 
Blessed is he that considereth the neatly dressed 
poor, or the well-behaved poor, or the thankful 
poor; but, "Blessed is he that considereth the 
poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of 
trouble," Psa. xli. 1. 

It is hardly well to expect too much fro 
poor humanity. Some people never think of th 
martyrs without imagining them to be a compan 
of quiet, wise, grey-headed men, as comely to 
behold as good father Latimer himself, and women 
as prudent in their conduct and matronly in their 
appearance as we suppose Sarah, the wife of the 


patriarch Abraham, to have been ; but instead of 
this, they were of all ages and appearances, and 
many of them, no doubt, deficient in worldly 
wisdom and good manners, having very little to 
recommend them to notice ; but this only sets 
forth the grace of . God more strikingly, that such 
people should have faith and courage enough to 
die a cruel death, rather than deny the Lord. 

A poor woman may be uncleanly and forbid- 
ding, and yet be suffering grievously through 
distress ; a poor man may be uncivil and unthank- 
ful, and yet poverty may be gnawing him to 
the bones. Take the poor, then, such as they 
are, bear with them, speak kindly to them, correct 
their bad habits if you can ; but, at any rate, relieve 

Broken and unconnected as my remarks may 
appear to have been, they have all had one 
common end and bearing; the Cashmere shawl 
and the cotton petticoat, the exquisitely formed 
boot and the Monmouth-street patched-up second- 
hand shoes, the folio volumes and the box of 
oddments, the sirloins and saddles, and those 
"scraps of mutton," all have been intended to 
call forth your sympathy for those whose bits and 
drops are precarious, whose comforts are small, 
and whose lives are one continued struggle with 
the evils of poverty. 


Mistake me not in thinking that I regard a 
lowly lot as a misfortune; that daily labour, 
common food, and coarse clothing are evils. On 
the contrary, I believe that many a poor, hard- 
working man has less care, less sorrow, and more 
health, sound slumber, peace, and real enjoyment 
of heart, than his richer neighbours ; but there is 
this difference between the rich and the poor, that 
in trying times the one can retrench with advan- 
tage, while the other cannot retrench at all. 
Hundreds and thousands of poor people, at the 
best of times, struggle hard to meet their daily 
wants, and these, when trouble comes in any shape, 
are of necessity reduced at once to great distress. 
Think of these things and look around you; 
show that you have hearts in your bosoms ; and 
that you have not only gratitude to the Father 
of mercies for the comforts he has bestowed, but 
also sympathy for those who are battling with 
distress. Practice economy, kindness, and charity. 
Be assured that " There is that scattereth, and 
yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth 
more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. 
The liberal soul shall be made fat ; and he that 
,?atereth shall be watered also himself," Prov. xi. 
24, 25. 


No doubt, on reading my title, a sea-scene will 
present itself directly to your fancy. Some good 
and gallant ship that left the chalky cliffs of dear 
old England, with her sky-scrapers flying, and 
every inch of her canvass spread to the gale, has 
been crushed by icebergs in the northern ocean, 
had her masts carried by the board in the Bay of 
Biscay, or been stranded on a headland off Antigua. 
There she lies, beating herself to pieces against 
the reef of rocks, like a huge whale flapping him- 
self to death on the shore ! 

Or, it may be that your lively imagination may 
paint a yet more vivid scene. The tempest is 
abroad, and the hull of a large ship, which had 
well nigh foundered at sea, is now stranded, only 
a cable's length from the shore. Her bows and 
bulwarks are smashed in ; the spanker boom, 
hoisted as jury-mast, was but a poor substitute for 
the three stately forest trees that once rose from her 
deck. A chain cable is twice wrapped round her, 
to hold her together, but in vain, for she has 
parted amidships, and the shrieking crew of men, 


women, and children aboard, are partly hanging to 
the forecastle, partly dropping from the poop, and 
partly swallowed up by the snow-white surf, or the 
yawning, inky waves. Half a dozen sailors are 
crawling along the hawser, that has been carried 
ashore. The captain and first mate are doing all 
that men can do to keep order and save the lives 
of those around them ; nor will they leave the 
broken ship, wreck as she is, while her ribs or 
planks at all hold together, or so long as a single 
soul remains on board. 

Such scenes as these may very likely rise before 
you, but they are not such as I am about to dwell 
upon. I could, if I would, describe shipwrecks 
in abundance. I could tell you of the Albion, that 
was forced on the Irish coast ; of the Winterton, 
the Margaret of Newry, the Doddington, and the 
Maria mail-boat, that struck on rocks ; of the 
Amphion, that was lost by explosion ; of the 
Helen Macgregor, wrecked by the bursting of her 
boiler ; of the Essex, struck by a whale ; of the 
Cumberland, broken by the hurricane ; of the 
Prince, and Kent Indiaman suffering by fire ; of 
the Jacques, and the famine that raged on board 
her ; of the Neva, and Amphitrite, in which between 
two and three hundred female convicts found a 
watery grave ; and of the far-famed Royal George, 
that went down at Spithead, with eight or nine 

E E 


hundred souls on board. I might, also, say a few 
words about the President, that is now, perhaps, 
lying a thousand fathom deep in the heaving ocean, 
though the particulars of her wreck may remain 
unknown until the sea shall give up its dead. On 
these events have I mused and moralized, making 
myself familiar with them in all their distress and 
fearfulness ; but, now, other objects are before me. 
Sad scenes there are on the heaving ocean, but 
hardly more sad than many on the land. There 
are wrecks on both wretched wrecks, that ought 
in every case to excite our sympathy, to put us 
on our guard, or to make us grateful for Almighty 
protection. Leaving others, then, to paint prosper- 
ous scenes, I will try to depict a few of the wrecks 
of life. Metaphors, like shadows, only imperfectly 
represent the substance of things, therefore away 
with comparison. They are not ships, but men 
that I would describe. Men, hopeless and heart- 
stricken, proscribed and banished from sunny 
paths to the gloomy haunts of poverty and 
neglect. Children of the shade poor, solitary, 
perishing castaways ; wrecked, ruined, and strand- 
ed, objects of derision, and spectacles of commi- 
seration and reproach, serving, 

As sober thought or fancy may prevail, 
To point a moral or adorn a tale. 

And here I could all but weep with anguish at 


the misery that mine eyes have seen, hrought 
about by thoughtlessness, folly, error, and crime. 
True the sufferers were erring creatures, but their 
sufferings were none the less severe on that ac- 
count. True they had trifled with opportunities 
of getting good and doing good, neglected their 
duties, and some of them had transgressed, griev- 
ously transgressed, against God and man; but 
this only added to their trouble. The bitterest 
ingredient in the cup of sorrow to him who 
drinks of it, is the knowledge that he himself 
has prepared the nauseous draught. An ac- 
cusing conscience adds poignancy to calamity. 
" The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity ; 
but a wounded spirit who can bear V 

In looking at the wrecks of life, cast away 
all unkindness, and think not more highly of 
yourselves than you ought to think. Take my 
word for it, if you have no better authority, 
that the cleanest walker sometimes splashes his 
stockings; that the most vigilant sentinel is, 
now and then, given to be drowsy ; and that 
every son and daughter of Adam has reason 
enough to wish some deeds blotted from remem- 
brance that have been done, and others done 
that have not been performed. Look at the 
errors of some of the best men as recorded in 
Scripture. It would be unlawful to refer to 


these as an apology for transgression, but it is 
quite lawful to refer to them to repress bitterness, 
to stop the boasting mouth of self-estimation, 
and to humble our souls at the Redeemer's feet. 
Again, I say, cast away unkindness, show con- 
sideration, and encourage thoughtfulness, while 
reading my remarks. 

Rapidly have 3own the days since, as a visitor, 
I saw gathering round a friendly hearth a do- 
mestic group. Youth and beauty presided at 
the piano-forte, agreeable maturity engaged in 
cheerful conversation, and matronly age spread 
a sobriety and sedateness around. Daughter, 
mother, and grandmother, each had advantages, 
and property and respectability were theirs. 
Thus was it then ; but how sad, how solemnly 
sad, was the change in future years ! " Look 
not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it 
giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth 
itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, 
and stingeth like an adder," Prov. xxiii. 31, 32. 
To the allurements of the intoxicating cup, age, 
maturity, and youth, fell victims. Melancholy 
enough was the career of the latter ladies, but 
of the aged one the end was awful. A night 
of excess was followed by a morn of fearful re- 
tribution, for she was found on the floor burned 
to a cinder. What a wreck was here ! 

ON WRECKS. 3 17 

I knew one who, in the former part of his life, 
was proud, by far too proud to accost me without 
an air of superiority ; but a change came over 
him, and brought him down very low. Pride, 
and idleness, and error, were his companions, 
and for years his life was spent in appealing to 
the charity of his former friends. While I write 
these remarks his last letter is before me, in 
which, thanking me a " thousand times" for 
past favours, he pleads as "a dying man" for 
an additional " shilling." I saw him on his 
death-bed, the wretched remains of his former 

It was, as it were, but the other day that I was 
in company, listening to the remarks of one who 
stood high, very high in the world's regard ; his 
lip was eloquence, his words were wisdom, and 
thousands would have regarded his acquaintance 
as an honour. Alas ! he wandered in crooked paths, 
and lost not only what he possessed of this 
world's wealth, but his reputation also, till he 
became a by-word of reproach, a target for the 
shaft of ridicule and scorn. Why, the crazy hull 
that lies stranded on the rocky shore ; nay, the 
broken ship that went down headlong a hundred 
fathoms to the dark bottom of the heaving ocean, 
is not a more melancholy wreck. Oh, it must be 
a bitter thing, after walking erect and fearlessly 
E 2 


among men, to go stooping, and blinking, and 
skulking through the dark avenues of life to 
avoid the glance of a human eye ! Such as en- 
dure this have a downhill-path, for their view 
of to-morrow is more gloomy than that of to- 
day. Time has no treasures in store for their 
future enjoyment, hut rather bears them trouble 
on his outstretched wings. 

I once knew a music-master, whose profession 
brought him in a handsome income. He was 
a brilliant performer on several instruments, and 
by no means an unsuccessful composer. Even 
now, in my fancy, do I hear the enthusiastic ap- 
plause that so frequently attended the exhibition 
of his skill. His connexions were respectable, 
and his admirers manifold; so that reputation, 
and the acquirement of property, appeared, if 
not sufficiently possessed, to be within his grasp. 

Though we need not be on the watch for ca- 
lamity, he is unwise who is not prepared for its 
approach. An accident partly deprived him of 
the use of one of his hands. His instruments 
answered not as usual to his touch. His fine 
execution, on which he prided himself, was gone 
for ever. He had still the head to direct, but 
not the hand to achieve. His inferiors in know 
ledge became his superiors in execution, and 
gloried in the triumphs his accident permitted 


them to win. Family troubles added to his 

Instead of making the best of his altered posi- 
tion, and looking upwards for consolation, he 
took his misfortunes to heart, and gave way to 
hard drinking, that ready resource of the weak- 
minded, which aiforded him temporary relief, 
but failed not to plunge him into poverty. He 
became a wreck a deplorable wreck, surrounded 
by distress and misery. 

In my list of the wrecks of life, occurring for 
the most part under my own notice, I must not 
omit the case of a young man, seemingly born 
and bred to high expectations. Presented at the 
Spanish court, with affluent and influential con- 
nexions, he appeared on the high road to wealth 
and honour ; but thoughtless follies undermined 
the fabric of his expected greatness, and it crum- 
bled into ruins. When I last saw him, he was 
receiving the pence at the door of a trumpery 
exhibition, painted and dressed up as a merry- 
andrew. His associates called him the " baron," 
by way of distinction, but this hollow and empty 
title only rendered his degraded position the 
more striking. Think not th&t I call a lowly 
position in life of itself a wreck. Oh no I Lowly 
and poor men there are that the high and wealthy 
mav well envy, for they are contented and grate- 


ful, and "rich in faith, and heirs of the king- 
dom" of heaven ; hut when titles and wealth have 
been striven for ; when peace on earth, and the 
very hope of heaven, have been abandoned to 
obtain them, then a reverse in life is indeed a 
wreck. He of whom I speak was a wreck, foi 
the expected Spanish grandee became an English 

No lengthy period has passed over my head since 
I read of the death of one who in height stood 
among men as Saul stood above his brethren. 
In power, too, he was a prodigy ; and perhaps 
his equal in stature, bodily strength, and agility, 
altogether, was not to be found on British ground. 
I gazed upon him with wonder. But how did 
he die ? Worn to the very bones ! Had his 
hope been eternal, I would not have called the 
minishing of his body a wreck, for the goodliest 
mortal temple must of necessity fall ; but as the 
unusual endowments of his body were his hope, 
his confidence, and his glory, he must have been 
a wreck when deprived of them. He died in a 
hospital, of atrophy and consumption, almost 
a skeleton. 

Years ago I was at a feast which might well 
remind me of that made by Belshazzar to a thou- 
sand of his lords, for though there were present 
neither kings, nor princes, vessels of gold, nor 

ON WRECKS. '321 

vessels of silver, yet was the number of guests 
on a princely scale, for three thousand sat down 
to partake of the prodigal entertainment that 
was set before them. As I spoke to the founder 
of the feast, his eye proudly rolled over the ex- 
tended multitude ; but when I next conversed 
with him, his riches had made to themselves 
wings and fled away. Shorn of his affluence, 
and his influence, he was, in comparison of his 
former greatness, a wreck indeed. 

To my cost, for many years, I was acquainted 
with a schemer. He was a man of parts, ad- 
dress, and conversational powers, nor did he lack 
respectable friends. His eccentricities were strik- 
ing, but he stood well with all around him till he 
took to the glass. He had ever been a schemer ; 
some new invention, or other, was always on the 
very point of making his fortune ; but when 
poverty came upon him as one that travel- 
leth, and want as an armed man, his inventions 
multiplied in number, and increased in extent. 
When in the depths of want, his ideal riches 
were unbounded. When penniless in purse, he 
promised thousands to those who contributed to 
his support. The rags of his own personal ward- 
robe prevented him not from undertaking to 
clothe comfortably the whole of the inhabitants 
of the regions of the north : neither did the 

322 * ON WRECKS. 

sicknesses his irregular life brought upon him, 
hinder him in aspiring to cure all the diseases 
to which royalty was subject. Scheming and the 
glass were his ruin ; they brought him to the 
depths of penury ; they stripped the very coat 
from his back, and led him at last to a lunatic 
asylum. Surely the word " wreck," in this case, 
is not improperly applied. 

I have just been reading of one who fell from 
the highest pinnacle of wealth to the lowest abyss 
of poverty and distress. His riches appeared to be 
almost without limit ; nobles were his associates, 
and crowned heads his occasional companions ; 
but, alas ! he was a gamester; and " what is a man 
profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and 
lose his own soul?" After inhabiting palaces, 
companioning with kings, and living in luxury 
and excess, the fiend that had lured him on with 
golden temptations, forsook him. Ruined, for- 
saken, and despised, he wandered as an outcast 
in the public streets, and died the death of a 
miserable vagabond. 

Think on the wrecks I have presented to your 
view. How largely might I add to their number I 
Ask the question, " Who hath made me to dif- 
fer ?" and let your humble, grateful prayer ascend 
to God and the Lamb. Cast away unkindness ; 
show consideration, and encourage thankfulness. 


When a man loses that which is the strength of 
his heart, let it be what it will, he is a wreck 
indeed ; but with the well-grounded hope of 
eternal life through Him who suffered, the just 
for the unjust, a Christian may rejoice : 

" Unhurt amid the war of elements, 
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds I" 


LITTLE doubt have I of touching some of my 
readers to the quick, while dwelling on the subject 
of heavy burdens. In spite of the light and 
elastic tread of some, and the smirk and smile 
on the countenance of others, we may safely adopt 
the saying as true, that every one carries a load 
on his shoulders, or on his heart. If he has it 
not on his body, he has it on his mind ; for the 
word has gone forth, " Man is born unto trouble, 
as the sparks fly upward," Job v. 7. 

Many a heavy-laden pilgrim, whose eyes are 
too much taken up in weeping over his own 
sorrows clearly to discern the grief of others, 
limps along the rugged pathway of his daily 
calling, with the mistaken notion, that such as roll 
by in carriages, or ride by on prancing steeds, 
with well-dressed forms and laughter-loving faces, 
have no loads to carry; but this is a mistaken 
notion indeed. One half the world are about as 
anxious to hide their burdens, as the other half 
are to make theirs manifest. 


What a book might be written on heavy bur- 
dens! The largest folio would be sadly too small to 
contain a list of the weighty loads that bow the neck 
and bend the back of suffering humanity ! Some 
burdens are put upon us, but a far greater number 
we put on ourselves. Some may enjoy more than 
others : 

But all must bear, for " all are men, 

Condemu'd alike to groan ; 
The tender for another's pain, 

The unfeeling for his own." 

There is that in the very sight of a great load, 
or of a weighty object, that appears to oppress 
the mind. Hardly do I ever think of very heavy 
weights, without thinking at the same time of a 
loaded wagon, of the crushing car of Juggernaut, 
of Stonehenge, or of some bulky building; and 
sometimes I wonder that the very ground does 
not give way beneath the load that is put upon it. 
It has been said of Vanbrugh, the architect of 
Blenheim-house, in allusion to his heavy style of 

" Lie heavy on him, earth, for he 
Laid many a heavy load on thee." 

Things are light or weighty merely by compari- 
son. Massive and heavy are St. Paul's and St. 
Peter's, and yet they are mere atoms when put 
beside " the everlasting hills ;" what are they 
when compared with Hecla, Vesuvius, and 


Etna ; the Alps, the Apennines, and the Andes ? 
But I must not allow these matters, weighty as 
they are, to draw me away from my subject, which 
refers rather to persons than to things, to men 
more than to mountains. 

Some men pride themselves on the heavy loads 
they can carry. A friend tells me that he has 
seen a man carry thirty stone for a considerable 
distance, and that he had heard of two others who 
far outdid this feat ; for one carried fifty, and the 
other sixty. I grant you there is a great differ- 
ence between speaking of what we have heard 
and of what we have seen ; but let me give you 
two quotations, one from the Times newspaper, 
and the other from the letter of a correspondent 
just received. The former says, " Extraordinary 
feat. There is at present a Highlander employed 
on the Scottish Central Railway, near the bridge 
of Forteviot, who will take a rail in each hand, and 
carry them a distance of from forty to sixty yards. 
In carrying the rails where they are to be laid, 
he saves the labour of sometimes, six, and never 
less than four men. Six rails is the burden 
allowed for the railway horses to carry, and these 
weigh 21 cwt., which makes two equal to 7 cwt., or 
3 cwt. each. A weight sufficient for a Hercules." 

The quotation from my correspondent is the 
following: "It is often to me a great pleasure 


to enjoy a solitary ramble, either in winter or 
in summer ; for at all times and at all seasons, 
even in the worst of weather, rich, abundant, 
free, and unexpected mercies meet us at every 
step ; and if I have learned nothing more from 
you than the value of cultivating a thankful and 
cheerful spirit, that one lesson lays me under a 
debt of gratitude too much for thanks ; my 
thanks, however, I tender to you with an over- 
flowing heart. You pointed where the lesson 
might be learned, and I trust I learn it there ot 
Him, whose Spirit only can communicate true 
gratitude and thankfulness of heart. But I wanted 
to tell you of a ' heavy load,' that if you thought 
a few words respecting it worth conveying to your 
readers, they might be benefited by your remarks. 

" Last week the walls of our ancient city were 
placarded with immense bills, announcing the 
intended visit of a travelling equestrian company, 
with camels, elephants, and other animals. These 
people had with them a man of amazing strength. 
They say he can lift a ton. Persons who were 
present tell me that they saw him do it. Weights, 
each four stone and forty in number, were piled 
upon a platform, resting on supporting legs, so that 
the strong man, arching his body, and creeping 
under it, just raised it for a second or two." 

But though my correspondent, who is evidently 


blessed with a good understanding, reflective habits, 
and true piety, thus writes, it is clear, from some 
of his remarks, that he is not a hearty believer in 
what he relates. He has, I think, some misgiv- 
ings, some lingering doubts, about the affair. For 
myself, indeed, I must go further than this, and 
frankly own that I am a complete sceptic, not 
only with regard to the verity of this fact, but of 
many others that appear to be performed. Too 
many wonderful occurrences have I seen, not to 
be cautious in declaring a thing to be impossible ; 
and quite enough of deception have I witnessed, to 
keep me from hastily adopting the marvellous as 
true. Our five senses, without the correction of 
judgment, are five deceivers. Like young chil- 
dren, they are not fit to go forth alone. 

Leaving, however, this particular instance of 
bodily power, let me dwell a little on the subject 
of "heavy loads." My kind correspondent evi- 
dently wishes me to draw a few comparisons 
between the strong man of whom he speaks, 
" elevated on a mock throne and drawn by 
elephants, and Him who, possessing all power 
and riches, when he came to bear the 'heavy 
load' of all our sins, was content to ride upon an 
ass ;" but this I must courteously decline. Too 
often have I run into the error of calling up 
and mingling unsuitable associations with holy 


things to venture now, with my eyes open, into 
a temptation so favourable for the manifestation 
of my infirmity; let me, therefore, content myself 
on this part of my subject, by simply quoting the 
well-chosen words of my correspondent, concern- 
ing the frivolous sights to which we so frequently 
throng: "May we all be equally anxious and 
ready for that great day, of which we have so 
long had notice, when the Son of man shall come, 
with power and great glory, to be admired and 
adored by all those that love him." 

Truly, the heavy loads of humanity are many ; 
I can only glance at a few of them. Riches, to 
some, are a heavy burden, heavy enough to press 
their possessors to the earth, and to keep their 
very desires from mounting towards heaven. So 
much is this the case, and so much is their course 
to a world of glory impeded by the load they 
carry, that holy writ says, " It is easier for a 
camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for 
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." 
Seen in this light, what a fearful thing is a heavy 
load of un sanctified riches ! 

Po'verty is, also, a heavy burden, very grievous 
to bear ; and when a man is so oppressed by it 
as not only to be poor, but also to steal and take 
the name of God in vain, he is indeed in a pitiable 
case. No wonder that the prophet should cry 
F F 2 


out, " Give me neither poverty nor riches ;" for 
it would be hard to say which of the two, without 
God's blessing, is the heavier burden. 

The diseases of the body are sad burdens to 
many, and you may not be altogether strangers 
to them. From the crown of the head to the 
sole of the foot we are, as it were, targets for the 
arrows of affliction ; sometimes they strike us in 
one part, and sometimes in another. You may 
be neither lame, nor deaf, nor dumb, nor blind, 
and yet your burden of pain and anguish may be 
weighty. The head, the eye, the throat, the 
chest, the spine, and the foot, are all vulnerable 
points in the human citadel, and disease may 
make an attack upon any of them without notice 
of his approach. Great patience is required to 
endure the burden of bodily affliction without 
repining, and something more than patience, to 
enable us to rejoice in tribulation, or to say, " I 
know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and 
that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." 

Not long since, one well known to me, who had 
a heavy load to bear, was called away from the 
earth. He lived a useful life, doing good to those 
around him, helping them in temporal things, 
and pointing them to the realities of an eternal 
world. Many thought kindly of him, as his 
remains were borne beneath the waving plumes 


to the house appointed for all living, but some 
judged him harshly. For years before his death, 
without any one knowing the cause, he abstained 
from paying or receiving visits ; and there were 
not wanting, among his friends, those who sus- 
pected him of singularity, selfishness, and parsi- 
mony. Alas ! his nearest friends knew him not. 
During all this time he had been heavily bur- 
dened, enduring, night and day, the frequent and 
violent paroxysms of a painful disease. The 
course he had adopted was the effect of necessity. 
It is believed that, for more than a dozen years, 
he bore, in uncomplaining silence and secrecy, the 
heavy burden of his agonizing affliction. Oh how 
cautious should we be in judging others ! how 
forbearing in estimating the conduct of our neigh- 
bours ! What a treasure to a man is that charity, 
or love, that "hopeth" as well as "endureth" 
all things ! 

What a heavy burden is a doubting and de- 
sponding spirit ! This is enough to break the 
strongest back, and bow down the stoutest heart. 
It is sad to think of heaven being freely offered, 
and despondingly rejected ! If, reader, thou car- 
riest this heavy burden of doubt and despondency, 
try yet, again and again, to take heart, and to 
trust thy Leader and Lord. Go with thy burden 
to him, and give over to him the whole load ; 


but fail not to remember, as I have elsewhere 
said, that as he undertakes to bear the whole of 
thy burden, so he requires the whole of thy con- 
fidence. Ay ! and if thou art one of his disciples, 
he will make thee give it him. Art thou blind, he 
will deprive thee of thy guide, that he alone may 
lead thee. Art thou lame, he will take away thy 
crutch, and compel thee to lean upon him. There 
is nothing to be got by doubting him, and every- 
thing to be obtained by trusting him. Give him, 
then, the whole of thy heart, the whole of thj 
trust, and the whole of thy troubles. 

In reading "Pilgrim's Progress," we feel for 
Christian, as he travels heavily onward, and re- 
joice with him when he comes before the cross, 
and his heavy burden falls from his back. "We 
may soothe with our sympathy, when we cannot 
remove from those around us their burden of 
sorrow. There is a woe denounced against those 
who " lade men with burdens grievous to be 
borne," and yet touch not the burdens with one 
of their fingers, Luke xi. 46. 

It is a sad sight to see the overstrained muscles 
and staggering form of one grappling with a 
burden too heavy for him. A sprained back is 
no light affliction, but it is not like that of a 
bruised spirit, which ointments cannot heal, and 
that takes away hope from the heart. 


Worldly disappointments, and the loss of health 
and friends, are heavy afflictions ; and there are 
mental burdens, which furrow the face with pre- 
mature wrinkles, and make men appear aged before 
their time. Some are piled upon us by our pride, 
some by our folly, and others by our anger, our 
avarice, or our discontent. These are hard to 
bear, embittered as they are by the consciousness 
that we have deserved them ; but the heaviest and 
the hardest, the weightiest and the worst of all 
burdens, are those which sin lays on our minds. 
Lead is light compared with the load of a sense 
of sin, and a guilty conscience. Under such a 
burden as this human strength avails us nothing ; 
we cannot bear up against it, but go on groaning 
amid grief and tears. The spirit is wounded ; 
and " a wounded spirit who can bear ?" 

" Up to the fields where angels lie, 

And living waters gently roll, 
Fain would my thoughts leap out and fly, 
But sin hangs heavy on my soul." 

Such is the language of him who is tied and 
bound, and burdened with a sense of sin, and fear 
of eternal woe. He is in extremity it is an affair 
of life and death with him. One way only is left 
to him, and well it is if he takes it. There is 
yet hope, for there is One "mighty to save" 
One who hath " borne our griefs, and carried our 


sorrows" One who " was wounded for our trans- 
gressions," and "bruised for our iniquities." 
" Come unto me," says the merciful Redeemer, 
f ' all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest," Matt. xi. 28. 

And should we not think much, amid our own 
burdens, of the intolerable load, the heavy burden 
that He bare, who suffered on the cross ? Should 
not this make us ashamed of our fears, stop our 
repining, endue us with patience, and call forth 
our wonder and thankfulness ? 

" Alas ! and did my Saviour bleed, 

And did my Sovereign die ? 
Would he devote that sacred head 
For such a worm as I ? 

" Well might the sun in darkness hide, 

And shut his glories in, 
When God the mighty Maker died, 
For man the creature's sin." 

But time it is that I should individually ask, 
as I have elsewhere asked, What, Christian reader, 
is thy load ? Are thy bits and drops in jeopardy ? 
Is the fountain of thy customary supplies nar- 
rowed, and thy meal-barrel and thine oil-crusd 
all but exhausted ? Is it a body-trouble ? Does 
thy poor tenement begin to shake? Are the 
beams and rafters of the old house giving way, 
and threatening to fall ? or is thine a soul-trouble ? 
Is the hope that was in thee dead ? Is the voice 


of thy rejoicing hushed ? Art thou looking on 
darkness instead of sunshine ? Art thou poring 
over thy sins, instead of pondering the merits, 
and mercy, and promises of the Saviour ? Whe- 
ther any or all of these be thy trouble, the grace 
of God will be sufficient for thee. Cast all thy 
care, then, on Him who cares for thee, and who 
knows both thy weakness and the weight of thy 
burden. Let the language of thy tongue, thy 
heart, and thy soul be, " My keeper for eternity 
is God ; to him I give over the whole load." 


NOT five minutes have passed since the double 
rap of the postman rang in my ears. The man 
of many messages has brought, among other 
communications, a request for a paper "forth- 
with from Old Humphrey, to complete the matter 
of a work already in the hands of the printer t " 
Now it happens, although I have a score or two 
of papers on different heads partly written, that 
not one among them is on a suitable subject, so 
that the request altogether takes me by surprise. 
It would be idle, in two senses, to spend a 
moment in useless regrets. To the printer the 
work is gone, and to the work a paper from Old 
Humphrey must go also ; so that, you see, the 
subject chosen by me, "on being taken by sur- 
prise," is a most appropriate one. 

Reason have I to cry out for Speed with his 
flying finger, Wit with his ready tongue, Fancy 
with her creative power, and Wisdom with his 
learned stores ; and if I had any expectation of 
their obeying my call, with a voice like that of a 


town-crier would I summon them to my assist- 
ance. As it is, I must proceed without such an 

How natural it is, when we are in need, to 
look around us for help. Had I a good friend 
at my elbow who is now among the buttercups, 
seeking that health which I hope he will abun- 
dantly find, my difficulty would vanish, for he 
would soon touch some chord that would make 
my pulse throb, and set me scribbling away in 
right earnest. Some absorbing subject, some 
pithy sentence, compressing much meaning in 
little space, or some striking lesson not hitherto 
sufficiently estimated, would be set before me, to 
excite my fancy, quicken my sluggish faculties, 
and animate my heart: 

How subtle are the viewless links that bind, 
Inform, affect, and agitate the mind 1 
A word will kindle or repress desire ; 
A mental spark will set the soul on fire. 

I have a talented friend, whose epistolary com- 
munications are at times such a delightful con- 
fusion of sudden thoughts, happy phrases, 
humorous suggestions, classic allusions, Scripture 
texts, rushes of feeling, proud imaginings, child- 
like simplicity, and various other disjointed 
qualities and qualifications, that reading them is 
like roaming, not in a garden where the beds are 
G G 


laid out with monotonous regularity, but in a 
patch of broken ground with a brook at the 
bottom, and a tangled hedge and ditch, gorgeous 
with plants and wild flowers, where you may at 
once enjoy separately, severally, collectively, and 
generally, bees and brambles, knolls, moss, and 
heath flowers, furze bushes and broom in all their 
glory, butterflies and blue skies, blackberries and 
sunshine, thistles and shaggy donkeys, warbling 
birds, balmy breezes, and grateful scents. Had 
I one of his epistles at hand, long enough for a 
paper, it might serve me in good stead ; but this 
not being the case, and being left completely to my 
own resources, I will see what I can say on being 
taken by surprise. 

The first thought that strikes me is this. 
There will come a time when it will no longer be 
possible to call for a paper from Old Humphrey. 
The publications which for years have made 
room for my lucubrations, will, in all probability, 
some day go forth on their Christian errand 
without my homely name appearing in their 

This prosy, prating pen of mine 

Must soon be cast away ; 
And this warm heart and active hand 

Become as cold as clay. 

The weighty consideration that this involves 


should not be lost sight of by me. It should 
induce me, first, to resolve that, while mercifully 
permitted to use my pen, no idle and worthless 
expression shall fall from it ; and secondly, to 
take care that when called upon to lay it down, I 
may not be taken by surprise. 

Some time ago I was listening to Dr. Wolff, 
who went to Bokhara to rescue, if possible, from 
captivity and a cruel death two British officers. 
Honour be his on earth, and happiness in heaven, 
who jeopardizes his life, whether successfully or 
not, in an errand of humanity ! I was listening 
to the doctor's vivid description of Aleppo. 
There were the people, gay and light-hearted, 
dressed in all the bravery of their many-coloured 
flowing robes, sitting and walking, and exulting 
and singing on the tops of their flat-roofed houses ; 
when suddenly the earthquake came upon them, 
changing their laughter into mourning, and their 
joyous songs into bitter lamentations. Multi- 
tudes were overwhelmed with sudden destruction : 
alive they went down into the pit, or were crushed 
by the falling ruins. Try for a moment to realize 
this fearful scene! The people of Aleppo were, 
indeed, taken by surprise ! 

This subject of being taken by surprise seems, 
as a coming tempest, to grow while I gaze upon 
it. Look at London as it was some two centuries 


ago, in health, peace, and prosperity. The south 
side of Cheapside, between Bread-street and 
Friday-street, then called Goldsmiths' -row, glit- 
tered bright with the precious metals ; so that if 
the street was not paved with gold, the shops 
blazed with its abundance. A range of proud 
palaces then occupied the south of the Strand, 
connecting the city with Westminster ; and those 
goodly mansions bore the names of the high and 
mighty nobles who inhabited them Norfolk, 
Essex, and Arundel, Exeter, Worcester, and 
Salisbury, Howard, Hunger ford, York, and Nor- 
thumberland. London was healthy, and wealthy, 
and proud ; but her health was to be abated, 
her wealth to be diminished, and her pride to be 
humbled. The plague came upon her, leaping 
over her gates, entering the portals of her palaces, 
and the doors and windows of her habitations; so 
that the dead became too numerous to receive the 
rites of sepulture. Men went about with carts, 
ringing a bell, and crying out dolefully, " Bring 
out your dead ! " Large pits were dug in the 
suburbs of the city as promiscuous graves. Grass 
grew in the very Royal Exchange, and White- 
chapel was as a green field. In six months a 
hundred and sixty thousand human beings were 
swept away by the pestilence. Well may we say 
that the people were taken by surprise ! 


" Mute was the voice of joy, 
And hush'd the clamour of the busy world. 
Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad ; 
Into the worst of deserts sudden turn'd 
The cheerful haunts of men : the sullen door, 
Yet uninfected, on its cautious hinge 
Fearing to turn, abhors society : 
Dependants, friends, relations, Love herself, 
Savaged by woe, forget the tender tie, 
The sweet engagement of the feeling heart. 
Thus o'er the prostrate city black Despair 
Extends her raven wings ; while, to complete 
The scene of desolation, stretch'd around, 
The grim guards stand denying all retreat, 
And give the flying wretch a better death." 

You have read, no doubt, of the fright fill 
accident which once took place at Yarmouth. A 
clown from a company of equestrians undertook 
to proceed up the river Bure a certain distance, 
in a washing tub drawn by four geese, elegantly 
harnessed and caparisoned. To get a peep at 
this trumpery spectacle, many of the people of 
Yarmouth rushed to the suspension-bridge, which, 
not being able to sustain the unusual weight 
pressing unequally upon it, gave way. The sus- 
pending chains snapped, one after another, and 
crash came down the bridge into the water, where 
nearly a hundred human beings, most of them 
in the bloom of childhood and youth, found an 
instantaneous death. The suddenness, as well 
as the destructive havoc of the dreadful calamity, 
smote the heart of every spectator with horror. 


Fear stood still with blanched cheek ! Amaze- 
ment held up her hands ! Terror shrieked aloud ! 
and Rumour, with her hundred tongues, hastened 
abroad to magnify the catastrophe, and multiply 
the number of the victims it had destroyed. This 
was indeed to be taken by surprise ! To pass, as 
it were, in a moment from pleasure to pain, from 
ease to agony, from life to death, from time to 
eternity ! 

The consideration of these great calamities may 
be made useful, by leading us to reflect on our 
own individual perils. Every hour, ay, every 
moment, we are surrounded with danger ; tempt- 
ation may creep upon us, and calamity may leap 
upon us. Sin may waylay us in our path when 
abroad, and sorrow may, unknown to us, be 
awaiting our homeward return. How know we 
but sickness or death may be at the door ? Surely, 
then, we should be prayerful and watchful. A 
worthy friend of mine, a Christian minister, writes 
me these beautiful and appropriate expressions in 
contemplating his retiring from the field of his 
labours : 

" How I long, or, as poets write, ' sigh' for the 
quietude of the country! There should be an 
interval, some time, between fighting and dying ! 
a time of pause, of review, of revision, which is 
more than review, of prayer, and of holy aspira- 


tion ! Well, c there remaineth a rest to the 
people of God.' Now, this interval, this pause for 
review, revision, prayer, and holy aspiration, is 
very desirable for us all ; and well is it for us, if 
our hearts yearn for it; but well it will be, also, 
to remember that we cannot calculate upon it. 
No, no ! To-morrow may not be ours. ' To-day 
if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts !' 
Need have we, among many prayers, to put up 
one to the Father of mercies, that neither sin nor 
sorrow, sickness nor death, may take us by sur- 

But while this prayer is zealously preferred, 
we should be the willing agents, in Holy hands, 
for its fulfilment, by fostering in our hearts a higher 
estimate of eternal things, and a stronger confi- 
dence in our heavenly Father. If we would not 
be taken by surprise, we must not be found 
slumbering at our post. To sleep at his post 
is to a soldier a very serious thing, as will be seen 
by the following words in the articles of war : 
" Any officer or soldier who shall be found 
sleeping on his post, or shall leave it before 
regularly relieved, shall, if an officer, suffer death, 
or such other punishment as by a general court- 
martial shall be awarded ; and, if a soldier, shall 
suffer death, transportation, or such other pun- 
ishment as by a general court-martial shall be 


awarded." A Christian soldier whose weapons 
are love, and whose banner is that of the cross, 
may profit by this quotation, and resolve, in 
the strength of the Captain of his salvation, 
whatever may be his duties and his hardships, 
never to give way to lethargy never to be taken 
by surprise. 

I hardly need ask you, reader, if you are ever 
taken by surprise ; because, in one case or other, 
in great things or in little things, this must O A 
necessity be the case ; but, depend upon it, that 
to you and to me also, a humble, watchful, 
prayerful, grateful, and trustful spirit will ever be 
the best protection against unlooked-for occur- 
rences, unexpected calamities, and sudden sur- 
prises. We are all liable to lose, in a moment, 
our earthly possessions ; but, the loss of property^ 
health, and life, may be well borne by him who 
has laid up treasure in heaven, and who looks 
forward to eternal life through Jesus Christ our 

Thus have I done my best, on the spur of 
the moment, to put together a few suggestions, 
likely, I hope, to prove profitable ; and if you, 
on your part, will promise to endeavour to turn 
them to account, I, on mine, will undertake never 
again, if I can possibly avoid it, when a paper is 
requested from me, to be taken by surprise. 


PASS with me one more short half hour, reader, 
and then we will bid each other farewell. I have 
been thinking what a book it would be, that 
should contain the history of human actions, from 
the time when our first parents left paradise till 
now ! Milton says : 

" Whereat 

In either hand the hastening angei caught 
Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate 
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast 
To the subjected plain ; 

* * * * 

Some natural tears they shed, but wiped them soon ; 
The world was all before them, where to choose 
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide : 
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, 
Through Eden took their solitary way." 

A solitary picture truly ; but, since then, sin has 
drawn many pictures still more lamentable. Let us 
take a rapid glance at " beginnings and endings." 
Some people gather where the grapes are few, 
and glean where the ears of corn are scanty ; 
but, at this moment, their case is not mine, for I 
have a whole vintage, a full harvest before me. 
Beginnings and endings ! What a prolific theme ! 


what a field ! what a forest ! what a continent ! 
nay, what a world to enter on ! " In the beginning 
God created the heaven and the earth ;" hut who 
shall speak of the end ? Neither men nor angels 
can grasp the immeasurable. We must take a 
more limited view of our subject ; we must " go 
on with another part of the picture." 

A grain of wheat is sown in the ground, that 
springs up again in a cluster of goodly ears. In 
their turn the grains of these ears are cast into 
the soil, and bring forth fifty and a hundred 
fold; which abundant produce being committed 
to the earth, year after year, fails not to multiply 
exceedingly, till a wide-spreading harvest is seen 
to cover the ground. Small is the beginning, but 
s .he end is very great. 

Myriads of golden ears adorn the plain, 
The goodly produce of a single grain. 

I took an acorn in my hand, and walked with it 
to a grassy field, where lay a giant oak, that the 
woodman with his axe had brought to the ground. 
Its bark had been stripped off for the tanner, its 
leaves were collected for the dyer, its boughs had 
been lopped for the carpenter and charcoal-burner, 
and its huge trunk, an enormous ruin, was intended 
for the use of the ship-builder. I looked at the acorn 
the beginning ! I surveyed the oak the end ! 
A.nd did that, which seemed a burden to the ground, 


really spring from a light seed, similar to what I 
held in my hand ? Wonderful ! wonderful ! 

In the morning of a summer's day I visited a 
stream that trickled from a mountain's side, and 
before the sun declined I sailed on a flowing river, 
which poured its rushing waters into the mighty 
deep. The trickling stream was the beginning, 
the flowing river was the end ; for the former, fed 
by tributary currents, had increased to the latter. 
How limited and feeble was the one ! how ex- 
panded and powerful the other ! 

From acorns springing, oaks arrest our eyes ; 
From little streamlets mighty rivers rise. 

It was on the 2nd of September, 1666, when 
midnight had shrouded the great city, and 
slumber had sealed up the senses of its inha- 
bitants, that a fire broke out, near the spot 
where the Monument now stands. Every one was 
made acquainted with its ending, though no one 
<iould describe its beginning. It might be that 
a spar in some chimney took fire ; or that a half- 
smoked pipe, with the tobacco burning, was 
thoughtlessly thrown among shavings ; or that 
some negligent master or mistress, or servant girl, 
put out a candle carelessly. I can fancy that I see 
the extinguished taper standing on the little table 
of a close room, near the bed-curtains. A small 
portion of the snuff of the candle has fallen on the 


table-cover, and a spark, a mere spark of fire, is 
seen in the midst of it. The spark is almost gone 
out, nay, it must go out, if it does not catch one 
of the fine threads of the table-cover. The spark 
runs along a thread, and in its course sets other 
threads on fire ; a piece of curl-paper is now lighted 
at its edge it flares upward it has caught the 
cap hanging on the cap-stand the cap, nay, the 
bed-curtains are on fire. The slumberer awakes 
half suffocated, and hurries from the chamber, 
unconscious that her own carelessness occasioned 
the calamity. And now the flame rapidly spreads 
to the bedstead, the table, the floor, and the 
window-frames. The glass -panes fly, the fresh 
air feeds the fire the ceiling falls the rafters 
are blazing the adjoining houses, one by one, are 
involved in the catastrophe, till the whole street is 
wrapped in a sheet of fire. Now the conflagration 
is fearful. As it gathers strength it runs down to 
the bridge, wrapping Magnus church in flames on 
its way. After burning down the houses on the 
bridge, it hurries back to the city, like a giant 
tossing about firebrands in sport. Thames-street 
is in a glow people hurry to their windows, and 
" Fire I fire ! fire !" is the universal cry. On goes 
the flame, roaring like a hundred blast furnaces ; 
houses, churches, and streets, add to the general 
conflagration. It was as though the day of judg- 


ment had arrived, and angels of destruction were 
commissioned to wrap the doomed city in remedi- 
less ruin. London bowed down before the all- 
devouring fire as before an idol. The effigied kings 
at the Royal Exchange broke their sceptres and 
leaped from their pedestals, prostrating themselves 
in the dust ; and towers and spires humbled them- 
selves to the ground. Hour after hour, day after 
day, and night after night, hurries on the relentless 
element, sparing nothing that it meets in its all- 
devouring course. Its beginning was a spark of 
fire its ending is the destruction of a city. Ten 
millions of property is destroyed ! Halls, ancient 
edifices, hospitals, schools, libraries, eighty-nine 
churches, four hundred and thirty streets, thirteen 
thousand two hundred dwelling-houses ! From the 
Tower by the Thames side to the Temple church, 
and from the north-east part of the city-wall to 
Holborn, all is a fiery, smoking ruin. Think of 
this, ye careless ones, and reflect on beginnings 
and endings ! 

The beginnings of sin are often too small for 
the powers of the magnifying-glass to discover. 
The seeds of selfishness, covetousness, ambition, 
and cruelty, are smaller even than the mustard- 
seed, spoken of in holy writ as the smallest of all 
seeds ; and yet these brought forth the unholy 
Inquisition, the cruel slave-trade, and the greater 

H H 


part of the murderous wars that have wasted the 
world. How much of unmitigated misery how 
much of anger, hatred, malice, and all uncharitable- 
ness how much of sin and sorrow, is contained in 
the words inquisition, slavery, and war ! It has 
been computed, if the seeds of an elm-tree were 
sown, every seed bringing forth a tree, and the 
seeds of all the trees again sown in succession, 
that in the third or fourth generations there would 
be elms enough to cover the superficies of the 
earth and the whole planetary system. What an 
elm-seed is sin ! what trees of evil spring from it ! 
and what innumerable scions of iniquity branch 
out on every hand ! He who has not yet reflected 
on the beginnings and endings of sin, has a suit- 
able subject for his meditations ! 

What endless griefs on human hearts 

Have evil actions hurl'd ! 
What shadows, plagues, and poison M darts 

Has sin flung on the world! 

Hateful are the beginnings of cruelty, whether 
practised against mankind, or against the unof- 
fending creatures of the lower creation. How 
subtly they spread their odious influence on the 
heart of a child, and set his hands to work in 
doing evil ! The fly is caught on the window- 
pane, and torn to pieces. The painted butterfly 
is pursued and crushed; the frog and toad are 
stoned to death; the cat and dog are tormented; 


in course of time the fish-hook and the fowling- 
piece become favourites, and racing and steeple- 
chasing are added to the catalogue of his cruel 
pastimes. The love of war follows ; and thus he 
who began by impaling a fly, is able to end by 
helping to sack a city. Sad are both the begin- 
nings and the endings of cruelty ! 

It is a universal error to undervalue, if not 
altogether to overlook, beginnings, when they are 
small. The stealing of a pin may be the begin- 
ning of dishonesty; we cannot tell from what 
trifling causes roguery and ruffianism may take 
their rise; but from whatever source dishonesty 
may spring, both fact and fiction hold forth the 
warning moral, that he who will cheat another of 
a penny will soon be led on to defraud him of a 
pound. The boy who began his guilty career by 
stealing a hornbook, ended it by expiring on the 
gallows. There is not a thief nor a highwayman, 
whose daring deeds are recorded in the Newgate 
Calendar, who was not, once, an unconscious, guile- 
less infant in his mother's arms. Men no more 
become rogues at once, than acorns become oak 
trees; there is a beginning and a growth in each 
of them. Jonathan Wild, Jack Shepherd, and 
Dick Turpin the highwayman, may have been 
at one period of their lives as free from inten- 
tional evil to mankind as Howard the philan- 


thropist. Parents, neglect not your lisping 
children! no, nor even before they lisp. In- 
structors of youth, have your eyes on the youngest 
of your charge. Be quick to discern the begin- 
nings of evil in their hearts, guide them by 
precept and example, and shield them with your 

The beginnings of contention often lead to 
frightful endings. Who is there that has not 
witnessed a quarrel, in which the taunting expres- 
sion has been followed by the gust of passion. 
" The beginning of strife is as when one letteth 
out water : therefore leave off contention, before 
it be meddled with," Prov. xvii. 14. How 
rapidly one hard word calls forth another ! the 
rushing stream becomes a torrent ; the rising blast 
becomes a whirlwind; angry thoughts are suc- 
ceeded by bitter words, and bitter words by fearful 
actions. At the moment I am writing these lines, 
a heart is beating with shame and remorse within 
the massy walls of Newgate for a deed of blood. 
Angry debate ran high, the knife was ready in the 
grasp of the wretched malefactor ; he sprang upon 
his opponent, and took the precious life. What 
would he not now give to recall his words and his 
deeds ! But it is too late : no created being can 
cleanse him of his crimson transgression. A word 
was the beginning of his wrath, and it led him on 


to murder. Ye slaves of hasty temper and sudden 
passion, pause for a moment, and think on the 
beginnings and endings of anger! 

The good things, as well as the evil things of 
the world, are oftentimes very small in their 
beginnings. Who would have supposed that 
an unseen and unknown benevolent thought, 
cherished in a human heart, would ever be the 
means, in heavenly hands, of calling forth myriads 
of Sunday-school scholars? or that the same 
agency, under other circumstances, should spread 
abroad millions and millions of Bibles and reli- 
gious tracts in the world? Look, ye lovers of 
mankind, at the beginning and the ending in 
these cases, and let it strengthen your hands 
and animate your hearts. The love of mankind is 
a lovely thing. Oh that it may take root, as a 
mighty tree, and spread forth its branches to the 
ends of the earth! He who is in earnest in his 
desire, to the extent of his ability, to discounte- 
nance vice and encourage virtue, to restrain evil and 
to do good, will do well to cherish the smallest 
beginnings of humanity and kindness. 

But all beginnings are not small, neither are 
all endings great. How many bright bubbles do 
we blow, that burst into the empty air! How 
many painted balloons we send up in the skies, 
that suddenly descend, and fall into the mire! 


How princely we sometimes begin in the pur- 
poses of our benevolence, and how pauper-like is 
the ending of the same undertakings! Our 
pounds dwindle down to pence, and our warm 
hearts grow cold. In holy things, too, we begin 
largely, driving on furiously, like Jehu the son of 
Nimshi, and, like him, saying as it were to those 
around us, " Come with me, and see my zeal for 
the Lord," 2 Kings x. 16. But what does it end 
in? Alas! alas! we can condemn all sinners 
but ourselves we can slay all sins but our own. 
Jehu smote even to death those who walked un- 
worthily, but he " took no heed to walk in the 
law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart." 
He " destroyed Baal out of Israel ; howbeit from 
the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who 
made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from 
after them," 2 Kings x. 28, 29. How many 
begin by determining never to forsake the ways of 
righteousness, and end by denying the Lord of 
life and glory ! 

Though I have but touched on my subject, I 
must leave it to your consideration it is wor hy of 
your deepest regard. And now comes a question 
that may well call up the energies of our intellect, 
and all the resources of our souls That question 
is not what will be the end of the high, or of 
the mighty, or of the earth, or of the heavens ; 


not what will be the end of others but what will 
our end be ? To answer this inquiry we must 
examine our hope. Is the house of our expecta- 
tion built on a rock, or on the shifting sands of 
the sea-shore? Have we fled for refuge to the 
hope set before us of eternal life in Jesus Christ 
our Lord? Have we done the will of our 
heavenly Father ? Do we seek, whether we eat or 
drink, or whatsoever we do, to do all to the glory 
of God? 

What will be our end ? Let us not evade the 
inquiry, for why should we be enemies to our- 
selves? In the end, station, and standing, and 
acquirements, and worldly reputation will avail us 
nothing ; for God is no respecter of persons. In 
the end, the great will be little in their own eyes, 
and heroes will be things of small concern. Czars 
and Csesars will be bereft of their tiaras, and 
emperors and kings will be lightly esteemed. The 
Diveses of all nations will be stripped of their 
purple, and the lowly Lazaruses clad in goodly 
raiment. The humble in heart will then be 
exalted, and the proud in spirit will be brought 
low. Death is a complete leveller, for he steals 
from the monarch his crown, from the bishop 
his mitre, from the soldier his scarlet coat and 
gilt epaulets, from the scholar his books, and 
from the miser his money-bags. The judgment 


day will make the mighty mean, bring down the 
haughty look, afflict the cruel, unmask deceit, 
and make oppression tremble. What then is 
our hope? and what will be our end? Let us 
be mindful of the apostle's admonition : " The end 
of all things is at hand : be ye therefore sober, and 
watch unto prayer," 1 Peter iv. 7. 


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