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countenance, there was a certain something, which reminded him of a once adored object, and soothed, or charmed, whilst it wounded him. He had acquired his wealth by commercial pursuits ; but for many a year he had led a most retired life, shunning society, despising appearance, accounted a miser, but in reality a most benevolent soul, and attached to scarcely an individual, till accident brought him acquainted with my little pet. My acquaintance was then courted by him, and in his oddities I took great delight. He used to drop in whenever he pleased ; at times he almost became troublesome, yet I never could prevail on him to accept a special invitation. Since my return we had not exchanged a letter. This is all I know about my munificent friend, Peter L-, Esq. The circumstance of his making me his heir is another proof of the strange flights which riches take. Surely there was less folly in Mr. L.'s bequeathing me his wealth, than in Lord Kilmorey's leaving his estate to a stranger, because he bore the name of Needham.
Out of the news-room I hastened to the inn, and called for my horse, that I might, with all possible
speed, apprise those I loved of our astonishing fortune ; but, just as I reached my own door, another occurrence was communicated to me, which surprised me as much as the two I have related. Here I must pause, to express my wonder at the extraordinary conjunctions which sometimes impart to the common accidents of life all the visionary air of
Yet I am convinced, that almost every one, in the course of his existence, may recollect circumstances in his own history equally fortuitous, and perhaps as interestingly simultaneous.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
I HAVE alluded to the salutary effects of Dr. Malcom's preaching on my mind, when sinking under misfortune. The irreligious may scoff at such ideas, but experience will discover that our only consolation in real trouble is to be found in the refuge of piety. When assured of the coldness of this world, is it not warming ourselves to turn to the benevolence-of Heaven? He whose portion is present misery, may enrich himself by drawing on futurity. For this reason, I would not too severely censure-in some instances I could almost applaud -even hypocrisy in Christianity. What chance has the practical atheist of improvement ? He never goes near the house of God—the hypocrite does; and, therefore, is in the way of having his heart affected by some powerful appeal to his understanding
In this point of view, I consider a good preacher as one of his Majesty's most valuable subjects. It is deeply to be regretted, however, that so few Dr. Malcoms ornament the pulpits of this religious land. It is not sufficient that a clergyman be a good and irreproachable character; he must be a talented, a gifted one, practically to benefit his country. It is not enough that he is able to write an unexceptionable sermon; he must possess the power of delivering it impressively, and with unction, or he may as well let the town-cryer read his labours. If we enter nine places of worship out of ten, we must be convinced that not one clergyman in nine ought ever to have been ordained. It is in vain that we are told not to go to church for the purpose of criticizing a sermon, but to humble ourselves, and examine our own hearts, if the preacher possess not the energy to arouse our attention, and
engage the ear to drink the music of his tones and sentences. How often have I experienced the strongest inclination to fix my whole soul on what I was hearing; when, in defiance of that inclination, the monotonous and stupid manner in which the preacher delivered his discourse has so wearied me, that my busy mind has flown for refuge to unsolicited fancies! Ay, they will tell you, it is the devil that puts these fancies into your head; but ask them, How it comes that you are never subjected to wandering thoughts, whilst a preacher of eminence is addressing you, more than when a celebrated actor is delineating life? Each takes complete possession of your senses; under the dominion of either, your ear and eye are not their own masters, more than your fancy and understanding.
How careful, then, should those men be, with whom it rests to sanction the claim of candidates for the clerical profession, not to allow one to pass who is not stamped by nature with the will, and the power, to enforce the doctrines of divine truth. Alas! this can never be while interest fills the church. Hence the coldness to all the duties of religion, which we too frequently behold.