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in the fulness of time, shall come to pass : he has made his warnings profitable to every intermediate period of the church ; but, inasmuch as it is not his will to add another revelation to what is already perfect, he has laid down marks and signs, whereby his people may safely judge when the events predicted are about to take place. Around us, in this our day, every sign is rapidly accumulating,-and shall we close our eyes to the awful fact?-Shall we refuse to watch, and to expect the fulfilment to which God himself vouchsafes to direct our attention ?-Shall we arraign his wisdom, in preparing us for those things that are beginning to come upon the earth? Long has Satan triumphed over all that was created so beautiful and good, crushing it into a scene of wintry devastation, and sending over it many a storm, originating in the perverted elements of depraved humanity; and surely it is a glorious hope that spreads before us a speedy termination to this satanic reign—that gives promise of another and a brighter spring, when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise and shine, throughout the wide range of our beautiful sphere, and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our God, and of his Christ.
ON THE USE OF HOSPITALITY.
Not irrelevant to the subject of a former paper, which I expressed some intention to pursue, is that which I have now chosen; although more immediately suggested by an article in a recent number of this work. In nothing, perhaps, is God's creative purpose more completely traversed than in the social intercourse of the world. That the desire of such intercourse, apart from what is necessary, is of his implanting, can need but little proof-all nature bears witness to the fact. There is not an animal, I could almost say there is not a flower, that likes to be alone. Every bird will chirp at the sight of another bird ; and every lamb will answer to another's bleating. In all existence, there is only God who is sufficient to himself; and even he willed to communicate his happiness, by peopling the universe in which he dwelt alone, with beings who could at least derive it from him, though add to his they could not. If ever man, fallen from God, falls from his own nature too, loses all desire for association with his kind, and would dwell in total separation, if he could-he got not that disposition from his Maker. The morbid feelings of his mind are no more the healthful action of nature, than are the low throbbings of the heart, when disease has turned its fleshly lobes to stone. How soon the infant cries for its companion! How instinctively the school-boy runs when he sees others play. Sin, and its progeny of ills, have not yet taught them to seek their pleasures independently.
The use which Satan and the world have made of this natural propensity to associate, is a dark story indeed. Hand has joined in hand to do what no one had dared to do alone—to contemn their Maker, and forget Him. How well the guilty compact has succeeded, is attested by the fact, that when God would get himself a servant upon earth, he called him out from his kindred and bis father's house: and when he would keep himself a people, he forbad them all amalgamation with the nations round; and still says to every one who desires to be his, Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” Upon the customary exercise of hospitality, the established modes of visiting, and what are called the pleasures of society in the present day, I do not intend to dwell; still less to draw a darkened picture. If I had some one by me well versed in the usages of the world, still living in its focus, and of candid mind, she should sketch the portrait for me with her own pencil : she should say what she intends when she sends out the invitation : what she aims at when she prepares the entertainment: and what is the result when all is over. Wanting such unsuspected testimony, I pass by the world's society ; of the stamps that memory sets upon it, restlessness in youth, and joylessness afterwards, are the strongest impressions. The believer knows he must not seek his enjoyment in worldly association ; and if he might, he would not find it; for there is nothing in it that could please bim. The experiment of continuing in society beyond
what duty or benevolence require, often as it has been made, has been a universal failure ; which, if not in shame, has ended in disgust. Perhaps it would not as often have been tried, nor so painfully and disgracefully have been defeated, had a due estimate been made at first, of what is of God in our social appetency, and what is man's perversion of it: and in what manner the natural impulse, instead of being hastily interdicted, or perilously indulgent, might be restored to the uses for which it was intended.
It cannot be doubted, I suppose, that God intended our love of society to be a source of enjoyment, as well as of improvement,-of intellectual as well as spiritual improvement; to the promoting of each other's happiness in this life, as well as to the assisting of each other's preparation for eternity. These are objects of such magnitude and extent, as, if I have named them rightly, will answer at once the question whether religion should extinguish the social taste, or make us unmindful of its demands. It has perhaps a tendency to do both. As soon as the world's society becomes unsuitable, and its pleasures are relinquished, interests só new, so vivid, so sufficient, take possession of the soul, no void is felt from what is parted with : or if it is, a sense of duty and safety in the relinquishment substitutes tranquillity in the stead of pleasure. Self thus satisfied, it is but too much in our nature to forget the claims of others. If we do not want society, society in vain wants us : when our own cup is full, we do not care to see whose else is empty ; or while our own spirits flow, to inquire whose may stagnate. Thus religion, contrary, I believe to the divine intention, acquires a tendency to render us unsocial : to say nothing of the weakening of all those mighty counteracters of self-indulgence in the world, which tend so much the other way; vanity, and ostentation, and the love of praise.
But should it be so ? Are religious people, whose pious occupations prove sufficient to fill up their time and keep their minds employed without society, at liberty to withdraw from it? Is it what is good for themselves, or due to others, or in order with the design of providence? These are questions that constantly recar to me, when I hear religious people say, they have not time to visit: their duties do not admit of their receiving company : and higher interests are made a reason for the suspension of all exercise of hospitality. To put the query in its simplest form, is man at liberty to live apart, as soon as he likes to do so?-in which term we include of course his domestic circle, which is but an extension of individual existence: it is his own, and so himself. I do not pretend to make individual applications of the principles : the degree of intercourse, the means, and the occasion, as we have observed with reference to other subjects, must vary in every case, and makes an endless variation in the exercise of hospitality ; but principles never vary ; and once made clear to the understanding, the single in heart will seldom err in the application of them.
If social intercourse is the appointment of God, it is almost superfluous to show that it is good for us : for his appointments are never the arbitrary exercise of his will, but in all cases the beneficent arrangements of his wisdom. Still it would not be difficult to show, the self-magnifying, self-pre