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imitate his virtues, I have drawn, though very imperfectly indeed, a picture of his life, hoping that you will have the goodness to give it a place in " The Cottager's Monthly Visitor."
M. B. was born of poor parents, and when they died, being only twelve or fourteen years old, he became dependent on the parish for support. Nothing could be more unpromising than his prospects were at this time. Michael, however, practised the lessons he had been taught at school. He was steady at his work, respectful to those above him, and kind to all. This conduct recommended him to farmer H., who hired him to assist the waggoner, and gave him four pounds a year, besides board and lodging. Here he lived till he was three and twenty, never forgetting, that though the servant of man, he was also the servant of God. Scarcely a day passed away, in which he did not read a psalm or chapter in the Bible ; and never, night or morn, did he neglect to fall on his knees, and thank God for the blessings of redemption and the conveniences of life. It happened that his master, who was not religiously inclined, heard him once praising God for placing him in this Christian land, and giving him so many comforts in it. " What!” said farmer H., “ does this man, who works hard for his daily bread, and fares hard too, feel gratitude for mercies, while I, who am surrounded with plenty, have never yet acknowledged the gift, or felt indebted to the Giver !” From this event, farmer H. was led to consider his ways, and then to repentance; and it would take up too many pages of your work to speak of the present regularity of his devotions and the numerous good offices he does: I will therefore return to the short and simple story of my friend. The place of “ Looker,” (i. e. one who takes care of sheep in the marsh) being vacant, his master gave it him, with a house, rent-free, to live in. Michael had
saved the greatest part of his wages, and therefore found no difficulty in furnishing his cottage. He afterwards married a woman, whom he had known from childhood,
“ Poor, yet industrious, modest, quiet, neat."
They have brought up their family in the same Christian principles which guided their own conduct through life; and, as you may easily suppose, the favour of heaven has not been wanting to them.
I witnessed the last sickness of my friend, which was as calm and peaceful as his life had been virtuous. In full possession of his reason, he called his children to his bed-side, and, after speaking shortly about their worldly condition, he affectionately added, "My dear boys and girls, I have only one dying request to make, and as you have obeyed me in other things, so now do in this--Love God, and observe the laws he has revealed in the Bible; they are the sure guides to contentment here and happiness hereafter; at the same time praying constantly for the grace of the Holy Spirit to render your feeble efforts effectual, and looking unto Jesus alone as the meritorious cause of your acceptance with God." He then shook each of them by the hand, bidding them farewell, and blessing them; and in the morning I was told that he had gently breathed out his soul. We hope it is gone to the regions of the blest. His last words were, " Thanks be to God. through our Lord Jesus Christ.”.
Such characters, I believe, are not uncommon in this kingdom, but I make this known, that those who are erring from wisdom's ways may be encouraged and induced to return, seeing “ all her paths are peace.”
ON VISITING THE OFFENCES OF THE
FATHERS ON THE CHILDREN. I believe it will be found, upon a due examination of the Bible, that those passages in it which seem to contradict one another, are so far from being really at variance, that they may be reconciled together without infringing the truth on either side. Thus, in the 18th chapter of Ezekiel, when God declares that “ The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father," and in the second Commandment, that “ He visits the sins of the fathers upon the children:" He alludes in Ezekiel's chapter to the rewards and punishments of a future state ; whilst the threat in the second commandment refers only to the consequences of sin in this life. The Almighty being willing to keep the Jews from their Heathen neighbours as a separate people, blessed them with much prosperity in this life, so long as they obeyed His laws; and also corrected their neglect whenever they forsook Him for the worship of false gods. We have an instance of this in the Babylonish captivity, and in many other parts of their history detailed in 1 Kings xi. 33., xiv. 22. 26., 2 Kings xxii. 17., which my readers will perhaps turn to in their Bibles.
We see, indeed, children among ourselves afflicted with infirm constitutions, in consequence of their parents' vices. But we cannot for a moment suppose that these children, if they are true Christians, will be shut out from the heavenly inheritance. The chapter I have quoted from Ezekiel forbids the thought, and so do other numerous portions of Scripture, where the Lord declares Himself merciful and gracious, not willing “ that any should perish, but that all should repent and be saved." So that every heart must feel, and every tongue confess, " Righteous art thou, O Lord, and true are thy judgments."
An Evening Hymn for a Family. 543 But it is not enough to explain the second Commandment, let us also attend to the instruction which it affords. The crime forbidden is idolatry, and the punishment threatened must reasonably refer to the commission of that offence only, and therefore we may think that it concerns us not. But though we have never so lifted up our hearts unto vanity, as to worship images of wood and stone; yet whatever we supremely set our affections upon, that is our God, whether it be money, power, or plea
I apprehend also, that those who consult fortune-tellers are guilty of a breach of this command, inasmuch as they ascribe to others a power of knowing future things, which God has reserved to himself. It is an awful thing to give that honour to the creature which is due alone to the Creator, and to suffer the perishable things of this world to withdraw our trust from Him, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, --who supplies us with all the conveniences of life here, and promises eternal blessedness to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and sincerely seek to obey his commands.
I earnestly beseech the Almighty, that those of my fellow-creatures who have been so over-anxious about the affairs of this world as to neglect this second Commandment, may henceforth commit themselves, to God as into the hands of an allpowerful Creator and most merciful Saviourheartily serving Him in righteousness and holiness all the days of their lives.
To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
SIR, SHOULD you think the following lines worthy of appearing in your work, I would beg the favour of their insertion.
AN EVENING HYMN FOR A FAMILY.
(Written by a Shropshire Cottager.)
The joyous sun hath set;
And we are living yet!
Tho' we deserved them not;
And at thy feet appear;
And drop the contrite tear?
Shall, in bis Saviour's name,
Before thy throno in vain :
To view the day that's spent,
And for its sins repent.
With health and strength are blest,
Enjoy this evening's rest:
Our sins and guilt forgiven,
In the bright courts of Heaven ;