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"l'is this can toil, anil grief, and pain assuage,
Secure our youth, and dignify our age;
"Tis this fair fame and guiltless pleasure brings,
And shakes rich plenty from its brooding wings ;
Gild's duty's roughest path with friendship's ray,
And strews with roses sweet the narrow way.'
Two are better than one, in numberless respects. But among the rest it would be unpardonable to omit, the peculiar advantages which the marriage state af. fords for religious improvement. When a married couple (like you and your dear partner,) are of one mind respecting the one thing needful, being heirs together of the grace of life, they have the greatest of all possible advantages, to be helpers of each other's faith and joy ; and especially in provoking one another to love and to good works. They have opportunities of knowing each other so entirely, that the effect of the principles of christianity in each, must be conspicu. ous to the other. And if either should become lukewarm, the other cannot but observe it: and by mutually watching over each other in love, they may quicken one another to run with diligence the race set before them. For as good John Bunyan has expressed it :
*Saints' fellowship, if it bé manag’d weil, . • Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.'
It is indispensible that you be watchful, that your prayers be not hindered. If you cannot keep one another in the mind constantly to pray together, there is reason to fear that much of your comfort will be diminished. Let me, therefore, recommend to you both, as ye are desirous of enjoying all the advantages your union is capable of producing; that each of you be careful to watch against everything that would prevent your holding communion with God, in the performance of social religious duties; reading, conversation, and prayer. The niore frequently you are engaged in these exercises, the more pleasure you will enjoy in each other's company: and you will be better prepared to endure the sorrows inseparably connected with the marriage state. Milton has given us a pattern in the original parents of mankind.
• My dear associate, to me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear,
Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd,
How we might best fulfil the work which here
God hath assign'd us, vor of me shalt pass
Unprais'd; for nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study household good,
And good works in her husband to promote :
Yet not so strictly has our Lord impos'd
Labour, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason fow,
To brute deny’d, and are of love the food,
Love not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight,
He made us, and delight to reason.join'd.' What more rational or delightful, than occasional conversations on the ground of our hope? How pleasant ! how interesting! to enjoy the assurance, that when this short frail life shall terminate, we shall be elevated to the rank of the spirits of the just made perfect; and enjoy for ever that state of felicity and honour, which Jesus Christ has promised to all that believe in him.
To encourage one another in the exercise of a well grounded hope of future happiness, is to fortify our minds against all the afflictions of life, and to prepare ourselves for that stroke which will separate us from all mortal things, and from each other, till we meet together in that state of blessedness, where the days of our mourning will be ended...
Come, turn thine eyes aside
From Bethle’m, and climb up the doleful steep
Of bloody Calvary, where naked skulls
Pave the sad road, and fright the traveller.
Can my beloved bear to trace the feet
Of her Redeemer, panting up the hill
Hard burthen'd ? can thy heart attend his cross ?
Nail'd to the cruel wood he groans, he dies,
For thee he dies. Beneath thy sins and mine
(Horrible load!) the suffering Saviour groans,
Aud in perce anguish of his soul expires.
Adoring angels pry with bending head,
Searching the deep contrivance, and admire
This infinite design. Here peace is made
Twixt God the sovereign, and the rebel man.
Here Satan overthrown with all his hosts
In second ruin, rages and despairs;
Malice itsell despairs. The captive prey,
Long held in slavery, hopes a sweet release,
And Adam's ruin'd offspring shall revive
Thus ransom'd from the greedy jaws of death.
So spake the husband:
The fair disciple heard; her passions move
Harmonious to the great discourse, and breathe
Refin’d devotion; while new smiles of love,
Repay her teacher. Both with bended knees
Read o'er the covenant of eternal life
Brought down to men; scal'd by the Sacred Three.
In heav'n; and sealid on earth with Christ's own blood,
Here they unite their names again, and sign
Those peaceful articles. (Hail, blest co-heirs
Celestial ! ye shall grow to manly age,
And spite of earth and hell, in season due
Possess the fair inheritance above.)
With joyous admiration they survey
The gospel treasures infinite, unseen
By mortal eye, by mortal ear unheard,
And unconceiv'd by thought; riches divine,
And honours which th' Almighty father God
Pour’d with immense profusion, on his Son,
High treasurer of heaven. The Son bestows
The life, the love, the blessing, and the joy,
On bankrupt mortals, who believe and love
His name. " Then, my Charissa, all is thine.
'. And thine, my Mitin, the fair saint replies.
Life, death, the world below, and worlds on high,
And place, and time, are ours; and things to come,
And past, and present, for our interest stands
Firın in our mystic head, the title cure.
'Tis for our health and sweet refreshment (while
We sojourn strangers here) the fruitful earth
Bears plenteous; and revolving seasons still
Dress her vast globe in various ornament.
For us this cheerful sun, and cheerful light
Diurnal shine ; this blue expanse of sky
Hangs, a rich canopy above our heads
Covering our slumbers, all with starry gold
Inwrought, when night alternates her return.
For us time wears his wings out: nature keeps
Her wheels in motion; and her fabric stands.
Glories beyond our ken of mortal sight,
Are now preparing, and a mansion fair
Awaits us, where the saints imbody'd live;
Spirits releas'd from clay, and purg'd from sin :
Thither our hearts with most incessant wish
Panting aspire; when shall that dearest hour
Shine, and release us hence, and bear us high :
Bear us at once unsever'd to our better home
O blest connubial state! O happy pair!
Thus by communion your delight shall grow :
Thus, streams of mingled bliss swell higher as
they flow, Thus angels mix their fames, and more divinely
glow.' Let it be your study, my dear friends, to animate and encourage each other to pursue the path of wisdom, and live a life of obedience to all the will of God,