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"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Ps. cxix. 105.

"Ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a

light that shineth in a dark place.'

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-2 PET.

THE SURE GUIDE.

19.

Alone, bewildered, and in penfive mood,
A traveller wanders through a pathlefs wood;
Forward he goes, then back, then round and round;
And lifts in vain to catch a friendly found.

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Soon night o'ertakes him on her ebon car,
Robed in thick darkness, without moon or star
No lonely light gleams through the mifty air,
And tremblingly he wanders in defpair;
At length he finks, and now for once he prays,
And lo! a compafs clofe befide him lays;
A light he gets and holds it at its fide,
That he may well confult the faithful guide;
Within his breast hope now exulting springs,
And painful doubt and fear away he flings;
But now falfe guides advance across his track
One ftrives with speeches fair to turn him back;
Another bawls with bold and bluft'ring shout:
"Here! through this pleasant opening lies your route.”
"I tell you," fays a third, "it is not so;

This, and this only, is the way to go;"

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He fhuns them all, and trims his light anew,
And heeds his compass, and it guides him through.

AN honeft traveller having, on his way home, to pass through a lonely foreft, lofes his way. Bewildered, he knows not which way to turn. Now he goes forward; now backward. Then, after wandering about for fome time, finds himfelf where he firft ftarts from. He is difcouraged; he liftens, hoping to catch from the whispering winds, fome tidings of companionship or safety. 'Tis all in vain. Thick mifts now gather beneath the leafy canopy. The fhadows of evening prevail, and night wraps the earth in her mantle of pitchy darkness. He gropes his way with fear and trembling; he becomes exhausted; hopeless and overcome, at last he finks on the wet ground. For awhile he muses. A thought ftrikes himhe will pray. He lifts up his hands in prayer,

and as they fall again at his fide, he feels a fomething. Behold! it is a compafs. Now he ftrikes a light, and looks with intense interest on his new-found guide. Hope now fwells his bofom; he will again fee his beloved home, Doubt and fear are thrown to the winds, and he fprings up to pursue his journey.

As he moves forward, with a light in one hand and compass in the other; feveral perfons, attracted by the light, rush towards him and proffer their affiftance; one pointing out an opening to the left, roomy and level withal, with many fair speeches and much earnestness, presses him to take it. Another pointing to the right, in a very confident manner, urges him to take that. It is fmoother and lefs obftructed than the way ahead. The traveller, honest in his purpose of finding home, and relying upon his compafs, rejects all their offers of advice. He trims his lamp afresh; looks again at his guide, and following implicitly the way it directs, he gets out of the wood, and arrives at home in peace.

The lonely foreft denotes this prefent world. The traveller, man; home, happiness; the compaís, the Holy Bible; the light, the Holy Spirit; the falfe guides, those deceitful directors and false doctrines that abound in the world. The world, apart from the facred light and holy influences of heaven, is dark, cheerlefs, and impenetrable. Through fin, the darkness of ignorance and the fhadows of death prevail. "Darkness has covered the earth, and grofs darkness the minds of the people."

Everywhere, fnares and pitfalls abound; dangers, pain, and death. With the defire of happinefs ftrongly implanted in his bosom, man wanders in the midft of mifery and uncertainty. What he is; what he muft do; whither he is going; he cannot tell. What is life? what is He taftes of life with

death? He knows not. bitterness; he approaches death with horror. If there is a God,-what is His character? how fhall he worship him? If there be a state after death, what is its nature? where is the place of its abode ?

In this state of diftreffing anxiety, he wanders on, pathless, guidelefs, lightless, hopeless-he is loft! In the anguish of his foul, he exclaims, "Who will fhow me any good?" “God, for ever bleffed," hears his prayer. He has been tenderly watching him while in trackless mazes loft, and in His providence presents him with a BIBLE. He opens it-he reads. Wonderful Book! It tells him all about the darkness; of what it is made, and how it came to overfpread the earth. It tells too, of a Sun, a glorious Sun, that can disperse the gloom: who he is, and how he becomes the light of the world. It points out to him more diftinctly than he ever faw, the fnares and pitfalls, and the way to efcape them. Wherefore pain, and how to endure it. Why the defire of happiness is implanted in the human breaft, and how it may be gratified. It makes known to him, what he is; what he ought to do; where he is going, and what he may be

come. It tells him of life, and how to enjoy it : of death, and how to ftrip it of its terrors.

It reveals to him a God, tremendous in power, glorious in holiness, accurate in justice, infinite in love. The Almighty Maker and Ruler of the universe. It prescribes the way in which He would be worshipped, through "Jesus Christ the Righteous." The facrifices He would accept, "a broken and a contrite heart; " this is more acceptable to Him than

"Arabia facrificed

And all her spicy mountains in a flame.”

It

He has

The Bible reveals to him Futurity. It raifes the curtain of the hidden world. Here he beholds the tormenting flame, the parched tongue, the useless prayer; there, the glory of Paradife, the blifs of heaven, the fong of praise. becomes to him juft what he needs. found a way, a guide, a light, to happiness. Still he understands its mighty truths but imperfectly, yet he reads on; scales fall from his eyes; he beholds men as trees walking. But the confolations of hope are his; he has found God; he seeks for wisdom at its fount-for light at its fource. "Open my eyes," he prays, "that I may behold the wonders of thy Law." Light celeftial fhines upon the facred page; he reads and understands enough for knowledge, enough for duty, and enough for happiness.

As foon as the honeft inquirer after truth has discovered the right path, begins to walk in it,

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