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his Divine Majesty, who wills and ordains every thing, “ that all may work together for the good of them that love God."
Let your readers, then, who, in times of troubles and calamities, would hope to find comfort with Him who “ is a very present help in time of trouble,” and who “comforteth us in all our tribulations,” endeavour, at all times, to calm the fever of their minds, by laying to their hearts this gracious assurance of their almighty and merciful Father: “ The Lord preserveth the faithful.” Let them earnestly and seriously examine themselves, whether they are faithful; and, if not, wherein their conscience condemns them as being unfaithful. Then if they hope for God's protection, let them seek it, in resolving to amend whatsoever they find amiss; and in praying for his grace to strengthen and assist them: then, whatever shall be the disturbances abroad, they will, in a measure, find peace and comfort at home; and, learning to trust him who orders all things by night and by day, they will lie down in humble confidence, assured that his infinite love and mercy will preserve them from all trouble and calamity in this present life, which an all-wise God does not see absolutely necessary in order to warn them farther to flee from sin, that they may, through Christ Jesus, be preserved unto the life everlasting.
In this, (besides working for his own good,) each person thus engaged might hope to be doing something individually for the good of his country. Nothing is so likely to bring down God's blessing on it, to restore it to tranquillity and prosperity, -as the faith and righteousness of its people. We should not think our individual efforts incapable of influence in so public and great a cause, though they appear trifling and insignificant. Example, whether good or bad, will provoke imitators and followers, (or the numbers of misguided people who partly cause our present distresses would not be so great). And did not the Lord graciously promise to save the city of Sodom, even for Prayer before writing a Book. 135 the sake of ten righteous people, if so be that so many could have been found therein?
Let him, then, who earns his bread by honest industry, with him who out of his abundance provides for the wants of those who labour, turn with equally grateful hearts to God; who, according to his good pleasure, giveth all things; and let them together resolve, with praise and thanksgiving, to take, with cheerful contentment and satisfaction, what in his bounty, love, and mercy, he shall see fit to send them; so that they be graciously permitted to enjoy it in peace and quietness. Then shall they both enjoy peace with God, and a comfortable hope of happiness hereafter.
PRAYER BEFORE WRITING A BOOK. BEFORE Dr. Johnson began to write his celebrated work, “ The Rambler," he offered up a prayer to God to bless his undertaking, and to make his book a means of religious good to himself and to others. Well would it be if every man who set about writing a book would set about it in this spirit. If this had been so, numbers of books which we now see would never have been written; and many of the afflictions which have harassed this and other nations, would have been avoided. The following is the prayer which Dr. Johnson offered up, and which is printed in his works.
“ Almighty God, the giver of all good things, without whose help all labour is ineffectual, and without whose grace all wisdom is folly; grant, I beseech thee, that, in this undertaking, thy Holy Spirit may not be withheld from me; but that I may promote thy glory, and the salvation of myself and others. Grant this, O Lord, for the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ.. Amen."
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When we have alluded to the mischiefs and miseries produced in the world by bad books, we must at the same time be thankful that there are so many books of a better character fitted to instruct, and improve, and bless mankind; and these, we feel assured, are much studied, and much good is produced by means of them. There is no doubt whatever that a great deal of good has for a long time been going on in this nation, and is still going on, notwithstanding many appearances of a dreadful character, which would lead us at times to believe that every principle of good, and every mark of God's favour was departing from us; but, if we look on the other side, we certainly have much to be thankful for.
Those who publish bad books-books against religion, and contrary to common decency–will always find plenty of readers: it is the sinful mind of man that loves these things, because “ the carnal man is at enmity against God." Whatever, therefore, were the progress that religion was making amongst us, those who did not delight in the truth, and wish to walk in the right path, would always exert their powers for the promotion of error and vice-and would see that, to gain the applause of an ungodly multitude, and to find among that multitude purchasers of their books, those books must encourage the loose and ungodly notions in which such readers delight.
But there is, at the same time, great encouragement for those who are desirous of drawing others from the path of destructive error, and leading them into the safe path of divine truth. Perhaps there never was a time when the writers of religious books, or the readers of them, were so numerous as at the present day;—and the effect of this is what we might expect. If we were to choose to draw up an article containing a statement of the good that has been going on in this country for the last thirty years, and is still going on, we should get beyond the limits of our little book, and then give but a small portion of
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Prayer before writing a Book. 137 the whole ; for the effect produced by good principles is of a quiet nature, and works in inward happiness, and unseen comfort, producing nothing to be shewn or to be talked of. But the followers of what is bad will be in constant agitation, and their deeds of disturbance, and acts of outrage are seen; and, if these alone are considered, we may be led to believe that their mode of acting and thinking is a true mark of the state and the character of the country. There are writers who delight in pointing out every thing that seems to go wrong, and who are careful to say not one word of any thing that is right. A great deal is said and is written in our days for no other purpose but to produce discontent, and to bring ambitious men into notice, and to make bad books sell :-and the whole tale is a list of the grievances of our country, and the abuse of our rulers. But, notwithstanding all this, there is not a man of common sense or common honesty who can deny, that, if people would really enjoy all the good that is within their reach, instead of exercising a discontented spirit, and making troubles for themselves, there is not a better country upon earth to live in than this of ours. As to the State,ếour constitution is formed upon the best possible principle. As to religion,-a constant supply of ministers is provided for, by charges on land left many hundred years ago by pious persons out of their own estates, which estates have since been bought or sold, or rented at a price regulated according to these charges, so that the public are not called upon for the support of the clergy. But both in Church and State, the lapse of time will produce irregularities ;-and moreover, corruptions will creep in, because man's nature is corrupt. These irregularities and these corruptions we do not defend; but should be glad to see them removed :--but those who are so quick to see all that is wrong, shew not the least disposition to see what is right:-if there were twenty things in favour of what exists, and one thing against it, they would point out the bad, and be silent about the good. These men would be the very worst people of all to reform; there is no reasonable expectation that any reform coming from them would be for the better. It must be done by men who have a real value for religion,-by those who write, not for the sake of pleasing those who are ignorant, or of disturbing those who would be peaceful; but by those who write for the sake of promoting the truth, and who can ask God's blessing on whatever they undertake.
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To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthlg Visitor.
SIR, A LETTER appeared some time since in the Morning Post, suggesting early attention to economy of bread and flour, to obviate as much as possible, the distress which must accrue from the advance of price caused by the great destruction of corn. Some valuable recipes have since appeared in the same paper, which I enclose in the hope of their being useful, if indeed they are not already, in your work; and if they are in some of the early volumes, would it not be desirable in these pinching times, to reprint them, for the bene. fit of those who have not access to the whole series? Your obedient servant,
IGNOTA. The reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, though much read at the time, are not sufficiently mentioned among the plans of the present day. So much benevolent intention is now abroad, and a good direction is so valuable, that it might perhaps be worth considering, whether a selec