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nobody could know anything about it." After a few moments' pause Charles agreed; others now are invited to accompany them-" the more the merrier," say they; one by one they give their affent, and all, except Samuel, who forgot not his parents' injunction, and who preferred trudging through the drifts of fnow over the mountain, to difobeying his parents' command-all resolve to take the smoother and pleasanter way across the lake. They doubt not but it will bear; they anticipate a fine time; they hesitate not to truft the ice, though they will not truft the word of their parents. On they venture-away they glide o'er the flippery furface, with the wind behind them-full of delight they flide along; they see Samuel working his way through the fnow; full of fun and laughter, they with difficulty ftop to ridicule him, when behold! their entire weight is more than the ice will bear; fuddenly it breaks-in, in they go, down! down! they fink; the cold waters close over themthey are loft. The school-bell rings, but they are not there; one only of the party has arrived to tell to the teacher and the reft of the scholars the dismal tale.

From the commoneft events in life we may gather inftruction; the bee disdains not to gather honey from the meaneft flower. The Almighty is the great Parent of all, the Father of the spirits of all that live. He has not forgotten the work of his own hands, he takes pleafure in the fecurity and happiness of his children; he governs

the world by laws-fixed, unalterable lawsexcept when he alters them for fome efpecial purpose, as in the cafe of miracles. His natural laws prevail in the heavens above, in the earth beneath, and in the waters under the earth; the law of gravitation, by which a body unfupported falls, exists everywhere, extends to the remotest ftar or planet, and binds all material objects to a common centre; the law of motion, by which a body once put in motion continues in that state, if it be not refifted by the action of an external cause these laws and others govern the universe of matter, and they are uniform. Fire always burns, water always drowns, and ice supports bodies in exact proportion to its quality and thicknefs.

But for fpirits, God has given laws that are spiritual; in wifdom he has given them to his creatures; thefe, too, are all fixed and unalterable: "Except ye repent, ye fhall perish." The way of fin always leads to difgrace, forrow, and eternal death; the path of duty or piety always to honour, happiness, and everlasting life; they have always done fo, they ever will do fo; God has admonished the children of men of this truth: he has plainly pointed out the two paths, their character, tendency, and end; and having done this, he, in the most affectionate manner, urges us to follow the path of life. "Behold," fays He, and wonder at the announcement, "I fet before you Life and Death, Bleffing and Curfing; choofe Life, that you may live."

"Placed for his trial on this bustling stage,
From thoughtless youth to ruminating age,
Free in his will to choose or to refufe,
Man may improve the crifis, or abuse ;
Elfe, on the fatalift's unrighteous plan,
Say to what bar amenable were man?
With nought in charge he could betray no truft;
And if he fell, would fall because he muft.
If Love reward him, or if Vengeance strike,
His recompenfe in both unjust alike.

Divine authority within his breast

Brings every thought, word, action, to the test;
Warns him or prompts, approves him or restrains,
As reafon, or as paffion, takes the reins;

Heaven from above, and conscience from within,
Cries in his startled ear-abstain from fin;
The world around folicits his defire,
And kindles in his foul a treacherous fire;
While all his purposes and steps to guard,
Peace follows virtue as its fure reward;
And Pleasure brings as furely in her train
Remorse, and sorrow, and vindictive pain.”

The boys who broke through the ice and perished, had been faithfully warned; the two ways had been diftinctly marked out to them; they followed their own courfe; they prefumed their parents might not know everything, they might not know how hard it had frozen during the night—that the ice was ftrong enough to bear them—there was no danger. The fact was, the way of duty looked difficult, and the way forbidden eafy and delightful: they had their reward. So it is with the finner, man; he prefumes that he violate the laws of God with impunity, that he will not punish, that the way is a fafe one—


although God has faid, "the end thereof is death." The truth is, the way of piety seems hard, fteep, and difficult, and the way of fin smooth and agreeable to his carnal nature; hence he ventures on, at first with diffidence, afterward with vain confidence; he entices others to accompany him in his finful pleasures-this makes it more dangerous; they ftrengthen each other in wickedness, but "though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished.'

To fhow the influence of bad example, and the danger of prefumption, Baxter has related the following anecdote: "A man was driving a flock of fat lambs, and fomething meeting them and hindering their paffage, one of the lambs leaped upon the wall of the bridge, and his legs flipping from under him, he fell into the stream; the reft, feeing him, did as he did, one after one leaped over the bridge into the stream, and were all, or almost all, drowned. Those that were behind did little know what was become of them that were gone before, but thought they might venture to follow their companions; but as foon as ever they were over the wall and falling headlong, the cafe was altered. Even fo it is with unconverted, carnal men; one dieth by them and drops into hell, and another follows the fame way; and yet they will go after them, because they think not where they are gone. O, but when death hath once opened their eyes, and they see what is on the other fide of the wall, even in another world,


then what would they give to be where they once


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Laft fummer I noticed a little incident that may serve to illuftrate our fubject; the fame thing, no doubt, is of frequent occurrence. An infect had entered the house and was upon the back of a chair; having walked to the end, it very circumfpectly employed its feelers above, below, and all around. Afcertaining that the fide was flippery and precipitous, it turned round and went back again; this it did several times, nor would it leave its pofition until it could do for with fafety. And yet man-man, with the powers almost of an angel, rushes blindly on to ruin.

It is well known that the elephant, when about to cross a bridge, puts his foot down inquiringly to afcertain its ftrength, nor will he proceed unless he is fatiffied the bridge is fufficiently strong to fupport him; but the tranfgreffor ventures on the bridge of fin, beneath which rolls the river of eternal woe, bearing with him the weight of his immortal interefts, the "vaft concerns of an eternal ftate."

By the laws of motion, the boy fliding or skating on the ice cannot eafily ftop himself, and sometimes he rushes into the openings or airholes, that are often found on the surface, and meets with an untimely end.

It is fo with the laws of fin; the finner increases his momentum as he advances; from hearkening to the counsel of the "ungodly," he proceeds to the way of open "finners," a little

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