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melancholy. If it be so, defend religion, and extend it who may, we will not. Could the statement be proved, that it takes from man one source of real happiness, or that it exposes him to one real evil, we would renounce it for ourselves, and do what we could to scout it from the world. But the result of examination—the facts we have been able to collect -the observations we have made-and the effects we have felt arising from its cultivation, have proved that the service of God and the enjoyment of happiness are the same thing.
Will the reader indulge us with his attention while we endeavour to state a few facts which appear to illustrate the nature of happiness, and to enforce its attainment as a duty ? We think it by no means difficult to prove that he who lives and dies in a state of misery has neither accomplished the design of his creation, nor fulfilled the benevolent will of the great Author of his nature.
And, in the first place, we would observe that God has formed man capable of the enjoyment of happiness. We are aware that
human beings have fallen from their primeval state of innocence and glory. We know that the nature of man is polluted, that his moral sense is depraved, and that he naturally chooses evil in preference to good. We are deeply conscious, too, that by his conduct man has closed the door of felicity against himself, has provoked the awful and infinite anger of the Sovereign of the universe, and has dared omnipotent justice to consign him to remediless and eternal woe. We have wept over the intellectual and moral powers of man as in ruins ; we have traced all around us the melancholy results of rebellion against God, in the sufferings which humanity endures ; while we have contemplated the future with a fear which conscious rebellion against the Judge of all only could inspire.
But what then ? Man has yet a soul which bears so much of the image of the Deity as to be immaterial, to pant for objects more spiritual than earth can give, and to desire something unspeakably grand and important beyond the grave. He yet has powers which examine and choose among the various objects presented to their view ; which grieve over that which is evil, and rejoice in that which is good ;-which at pleasure can wander over the earth, and even penetrate other worlds ; which grasp at the highest enjoyments congenial with their nature, and stretch their desires through the inconceivable duration of eternity. And for what was this soul formed, if it were not for the enjoyments of which it is still capable, but which it cannot grasp ? The very nature of our spiritual part teaches us that our Creator intended us for a higher state of felicity than we now enjoy, and intimates the vast importance of our strenuous labours to obtain it.
Again, however, are we reminded of the apostacy of human nature, while some would even assert the incapacity of man to enjoy happiness. But then it is an undeniable fact that even
our miserable world contains a goodly number of those who have risen above its sorrows, and who already experience a happiness unspeakably greater than what is known to the majority of their neighbours. It would not be a difficult task to introduce to the notice of the reader those who in the very depths of poverty have yet been joyful. They have laid hold of spiritual objects; they have realized the substantial good of eternity; they have been contented with the very few temporal blessings they possessed, “ knowing in themselves that they had in heaven a better and more enduring substance." These happy persons have surveyed the magnificence of palaces without a wish for their possession ; they have looked over the fair scenes of creation, as the work of their own Father ; and then they have risen in faith and affection to the upper world, and contemplated an inheritance infinitely transcending the palaces of kings, or even the works of God on earth. Those who live as travellers to so blissful a state, feeling that they are citizens of that pure and happy country, and that they shall most certainly enjoy it, may well be contented amidst the mutable events of a world which shall shortly reach its termination.
Nor have we been without evidences of the possibility of man being happy in the very midst of the mightiest afflictions. We have seen those who have, like Job, been deprived of property, children, and health, who have yet been resigned, cheerful and happy. Nay, we have heard some of these very persons bless God for the sufferings they have thus endured, because they have brought them to a state of reflection, have taught them the utter insufficiency of the world to satisfy them, and have raised their desires to the
and satisfying blessings of another state.
We have seen more than all this—for we have witnessed joy and triumph in death. We have known the man who has been brought by painful and long disease to the bed of dissolution, who has felt that he must soon close his eyes on all that we think desirable on earth; that he must shortly separate from his dearest and most affectionate friends; and that his soul must appear before the bar of an holy and omniscient Judge, while his body descended to the grave, to become food for worms.