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He cursed David by his Gods. — 1 Sam. xvii. 43. It is highly probable that this was a general practice with idolaters, who, supposing themselves secure of the favour and protection of their deities, concluded, that their enemies must necessarily be the objects of their displeasure and vengeance. Hencé, anticipaiing the certainty of divine wrath upon them, they cursed and devoted then to destruction. So did the Philistine act towards David; and so the Romans used to do, saying, Dii deaeque te perdent, And the horse that the King rideth upon, and the crown royal,
which is set upon his head. - Esther vi. 8. HERODOTUS relates, that the Kings of Persia had horses peculiar to themselves, which were brought from Armenia; and were reinarkable for their beauty. If the same law prevailed in Persia as did in Judea, no man might ride upon the King's horse, any more than sit on his throne, or hold his seeptre. The crown-royal was not to be set upon the head of the man; but on the head of the horse. This interpretation is allowed by Aben-ezra, by the Targum, and the Syriac version. No mention is afterward made of the crown, as set upon the head of Mordecai; nor would Hamau have dared to have advised that which could not be granted; but it was usual to put the crown-royal on the head of a horse led in state ; and this we are assured was a custom in Persia, as it is with the Ethiopians to this day; and so with the Romans, horses drawing triumphal chariots were crowned. Sl. allians.
ON CHRISTIAN PRUDENCE.
As prudence is so highly necessary in all spiritual as well as temporal concerns, it may be profilable to shew its nature and advantages. It bas been thus defined :-“ Prudence teaches us to speak our words, and to perform our actions, at a suite able time, in a proper place, and to adapt our behaviour towards others according to their rank, or the relation in which we stand to them.” To this definition we may add, that Christian prudence gives some degree of sagacity, lespecting future events, as it is written in Prov. xxii. 3, “The prudent man foresees the evil, and hideth himself.” A great part of prudence also consists in knowing when to refrain from speaking, according to the well known maxim, “ We must hot always tell all we know, nor speak all we think.”
Religious Prudence is, however, very different from carnal policy, which has only selfish aims, and generally sticks at nothing to obtain success; but in true discretion the motives are good, and the means are laudable. Avarice also may assume the naine of Prudence; but the difference is great, as covetousness is only a carnal ant greedy disposition, — whereas Christian prodence is a commendable frugality.
With respect to what favours Prudence, or is unfavourable to it, the following reinarks may be made :- A good judg. ment, some knowledge of the world, and Christian experience, are requisites to make a person truly prudent; but passion, and a rush or fickle disposition, are cnenies to discretion. Here it may also be observed, That a want of prudence is as much, or more, seen in some minute circumstances, than it is in those which are greater. For this reason, Christians should earnestly pray for discretion, and watch against the beginnings of imprudencies, as none can tell to what sins they
As to the excellencies of Christian discretion, they will plainly appear, if we properly consider, First, some of the bad effects of the want of prudence; and then shew a few of its advantages. With regard to the former, if we confine our views to professors of the gospel, it is certain that many of them sometimes speak inconsiderately, — undertake too much business, or live beyond their income. By these, and similar imprudencies, such persons injure their character, involve themselves in trouble, and disgrace the gospel : whereas those who are discreet in conduct, otten thereby avoid these evils; and when afHictions do come, can bear them much better than those who are not circumspect. Respecting other advantages of prudence, Dr. Watts has the following judicious remarks: -" Every one, in the different ranks of society, stands in need of discretion ; nor is there any hour of the day, nor any place wherein we spend that hour, whether alone or in public, but gives occasion for some exercise of this virtue. It does not belong to human nature to possess it in perfection, for perfect prudence dwells with God alone. He that come's nearest to it is the wisest of men; and his conduct in life is of singular advantage to those who converse with bim, as well as to himself. Such a man is consulted as an earthly oracle ; and, by his advice, he saves many from ruin. Thus he wins and wears their honour and their love."
I shall close this essay with the following quotation from a celebrated modern writer: “ There are many more shining qualities of the mind, - but there is no one so useful as prudence; and it is that which gives value to all the rest. Unless we are prudent, religion may degenerate into superstition, zeal into bigotry or persecution, and courage into rashness. If we look into communities, we shall see that, in general, it is the prudent, and not so much the learned or the wise, who govern society and guide conversation. It therefore
appenrs plainly, that though a man should have all other talenis, and want discretion, he will be of no great use in the world; but if he has prudence, and only a moderate share of other accomplishments, he may become truly respectable and usetul."
G. G. S. Buckingham.
On a Saturday night, some time since, a poor man went into a bookseller's shop, in Holborn. “I coine," said be,“ to ask what may seem very unreasonable : I am very poor, I canpot buy a Bible, nor can I leave the value of one, trust my honesty, and lend ine one till Monday inorning? I will return it faithfully.” The bookseller consented; and at the appointed time it was returned, with many expressions of gratitude. . He afterwards came regularly for it; and as regularly returned it. A person, who heard of the circunstance, desired the bookseller to give him a Bible, and place it to his account. When he returned to ask the usual indulgence, and found that he had a Bible of his own, the poor man was in a transport of joy, imploring many blessings upon the head of his unknown benefactor; declaring that it was a treasure he never expected to possess !
Reader, How large a blessing a small pittance may communicate! Whatever is in the power of our hand to do, may it be done immediately, and with our night, remembering that in this world only can the believer benefit a fellow-creature !
In Heaven there are no sons of need ;-
THE TYRANT REPROVED BY HIS SLAVE,
[ An Anecdote communicated by a Sailor.] A POOR West Indian Negro, employed as a domestic in the house of his master who had purchased him, having bought a trifling article of a fellow-negro, who had procured it by clandestine means, was detected with the property about him; and, therefore, ordered by his master to be very severely whipped. After he had received the punishment, he said to the officer who inflicted it, “Why you no flog white man?" “So we do,' answered the officer, when they buy stolen goods, knowing them to be stolen.' The negro replied, “ There stand my massa; why you no flog him, as you tog poor me? He buy me; he know me stole."
To the Editor. I Have been much edificd by some things which appeared in print respecting the present state of our country, especially by those which have been directed against what may with propriety be called Political Self-righteousness. I ain persuaded this is a sin which cleaves closer to iner, and even religious men, at the present time, than most of its are aware of; and that we are more in danger froin it than from alınost all our other national sins put together.
I have heard it said, in conversation, wben the sins of the Nation have been mentioned as a ground of fear, “True ; bat we are not so bad as our enemies." - Vii Robert Hall, in his Fast Serinon lately publislied, has shewn, with great force of evidence, the folly of this way of speaking; for that thie thing itself, considering our religious advantages, is very doubtful; and if it were otherwise, it has been common with the Great Disposer of events to punisti a vation that has had a portion of true religion in it, bi one that has been utterly irreligious, though afterwards he has poured out liis wratlı upon the laiter.
I have heard it said siill more frequently, “ The Lord bas many praying people in this country; surely, therefore, he will not deliver us np.” A praying people may, indeed, avert the divine judgments; but it we trust to the efficacy of our prayers, we shall be more likely to bring thein npon us. This notion was well combated in your last Number, by a correspondent from Knaresborough, p. 71. Ms soui unites with his in trembling for the consequences of our religio:is self-complacency! Alas, our mary and our army, it is to be feared, will too generally trust in themselves; but let not them thai fear God do so too! Our brethren iu distant countries may hope the best of us; the good minister at Berlin * may be allowed to mention tile“ numbers whose prayers continually rise to God in this country;" but we must not depend upon them ourselves, for this will render then of none eilect,
There is a passage in that admirable book The Holy War, which I could scarce ever read without tears.
When lansoul, in the day of her distress, had drawn up a petition to Emitnuel, a question arose, by whom it should be sent : " om," savs the writer, there was an old man in the town, and his name was Mr. Good-deed; a man that bare only the naine, but had nothing of the nature of the thing. Now some were for sending him; but the recorder (Conscience) was by no means for that; for, said be, we now, stand in need of, and are plearling for inercy ; wherefore, to senci our petition by a man or his name, will seem to cross the petition itselt. Should we make Mr. Good-deed our messenger when our petition cries for mercy? Besides,” quoth the oid gentleman,“ should the prioce
now, as he receives the petition, ask him, and say, What is thy name? and nobody knows but he will, and he should say, old Good-deed, what think you would Emanuel say but this, Ave, is old Good-eleed yet alive in Mansoul? then let old Gooddeed save you from your distresses.' Aut if he says so, I am sure we are lost, nor can a thousand old Good-deeds save Mansoul!"
We subscribe to all this in matters which respect our eternal salvation; but it is no less applicable to things of time. Instead of religious people flattering themselves with the idea of being the bulwark of their country, it becomes them to take heed lest they prove the contrary. Though the religious people in a pation may, by their interest with ilearen, be its greatest blessings, yet there are cases in which they may prove the reverse. To Paul was given, not only his own life, but the lives of all them that sailed with him: but Jonah had weil nigh been the destruction of those that sailed with him. God does not looke
ose things, as I may say, from the ignorant and ungodly, as he does from them that know him : it is their province to stand between God and their country. But if they be loose, light-minded, vain, or worldly, what is to be expected? We may declain against the wickedness of the slave-trade, and many other things; but are there not with us, even with us, sins against the Lord our God?
Thus spake the Lord by Ezekiel :-"The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy; yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully : and I sought for a inan aining them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none : therefore have I poured out inine indignation upon them: I have consumed them with the fire of iny wrath +.”
God's ancient people were compared to a vine, and their country to a vineyard : this vine was cultivated with great care and expence, and a hedge of defence was set about it. But when he looked that it should bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes, What was the consequence? “ Go to, saith the Lord, I will tell you what I will do to iny vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. If God's vine bear not fruit, the wall that protects it may be expected to be broken down on its account; and thus our unfruitfulness may not only dishonour God and injure ourselves, but reuder us a cuse to our country.
I write not thus, Mr. Editor, to promote dismay: I have. vever for a moment been the subject of such it feeling; but to çut up, as far as may be, self-righteous hope, and to excite that humble and holy trembling which becomes sinful creatures, whether in respect to this world or that which is to come.