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carried to excess, and if it be sanctified by the Word of
God and prayer.
Bnt, alas ! many never think of this. “ Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,” would seem to be the principle upon which they act. “The harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts : but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands,” Isa. v. 12. Yes, God is forgotten by common consent in many families. The God in whose hand their breath is, and whose are all their ways, they do not glorify, Dan. v. 23. They act as if they were the authors, and had a right to be the disposers of their own being. And though no hand may come and write upon the wall where the unsanctified festival is held, though no prophet come from God to rebuke the feasters, and though each may depart well pleased with his ungodly mirth and carousals; yet an eye “which is in every place beholding the evil and the good” hath seen all, and a sentence is written which, unless repentance intervene, must shortly be fulfilled; “ because they regard not the work of the Lord, nor the operations of his hands, he shall destroy them and not build them up,” Ps. xxviii. 5. How many flourishing, but godless, families have been witnesses of the truth of this solemn declaration!
Oh! it is sad to see immortal beings merry while
they remain enemies to God. To behold them dwelling in security while the thundercloud of God's wrath is lowering over them. It is mournful to hear them rejoicing in the beginning of an existence, which, after a few years of thoughtless mirth, will be one of unmitigated and eternal misery. Christians, try and wake the sleepers, faithfully warn the careless ones, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but, as a child of the day, seek grace in the possession of heavenly joys, and the manifestation of holy dispositions, to show that religion is happiness.
THE BIRTHDAY NEGLECTED.
WHILE many persons keep their birth-days, some profitably, and others improperly, there are those who neglect them altogether. Some because they do not know the day of the month, or even the year in which they were born; and others who do know the exact time of their birth, neglect to commemorate the day for various reasons.
Most persons who have felt solicitous about their fellow-creatures, have met with those who did not know exactly how old they were, or the day on which they were born. In most instances such persons had their lot cast in the lowly classes of society, their parents were reckless and careless, while the poor children were brought up in crime and ignorance. A few have struggled out of this deep quagmire, and have become rich in earth's treasures; others have been assisted by the hand of Christian kindness, and some have been made monuments of Divine grace. Though such know not their natural birthday, they know their spiritual birthday. But, alas ! how many still remain in the fearful state referred to, neither thinking of the God who made them, nor the end for which they were created. May Christian effort and supplication on behalf of such be multiplied a hundredfold.
But some persons who know the day of their birth, do not at all distinguish it from other days. This may be a matter of taste with them, they may choose to be singular, or there may be other and deeper reasons. Their life, perhaps, has been one of trial and sorrow, there has been in it little which appears desirable, and at times they are almost ready to regret the day of their birth, and to wish that their existence was at an end. “ With whom,” say they, “should we keep our birthday?” Our friends were always few, and those few are gone, or have proved false-hearted. We are left alone in an unfriendly world, and have little cause to rejoice in the day when we commenced our cheerless existence."
To such we would say, do not conclude too hastily.
Remember that those who cursed the day of their birth lived to repent of their words, and that one of them hath thus testified, “Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” Sad though your case may be, you are yet “a living man.” Life, the seed time for eternity, is yet left to you. Your days may be few, eternity may be close at hand. Spend not your time in murmuring, provoke not God by discontent, but humble yourself under his mighty hand, who can turn the shadow of death into the morning, and make a life of disappointment the portal to endless happiness.
“If thou woulds't reap in love,
First sow in holy fear;
To a bright endless year.”
Is life full of trouble? The gospel is full of comfort, and close to where you lay repining, the waters of life are welling forth, and inviting your parched soul to drink and be refreshed. Are your friends dead, or have they proved untrue? There is a loving and Almighty Friend in heaven, who, bending down from his glory, invites you to come and reason with him ; yea, to be reconciled to him, and engages to be your faithful and all-sufficient friend.
Say not then, with Jonah, that you do well to be angry, but like Job cry, “Behold I am vile, I will lay
my hand upon my mouth.” So shall you, with weeping Jeremiah, prove “that it is good for a man that he both hope, and quietly wait, for the salvation of the Lord.”
“Heaven's peace can gild with gentle ray,
The scenes which sin has made forlorn.
He did but add the thorn."
THE BIRTHDAY IMPROVED.
WHILE some abuse and others neglect their birthdays, the grateful Christian will seek to get some good to his own soul, and to bring some glory to God, by a right observance of his birthday. If we read the diaries of the most eminent saints, we shall generally find, that it was their practice not only to recollect this day in the family, and to receive the greetings of their friends;
but to call it to mind in the closet, and in the exercise of various graces to seek intimate communion with God.
The birthday should be a day of remembrance. We should endeavour to look back as far as the eye of memory can reach, and round to the verge of our moral horizon. We have been living in a world full of incident, in which millions of immortal beings have been acting their part, in which numerous associations