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ÆTAT. 21] DIDACTIC AND DEVOTIONAL APHORISMS. 137
tremendous power of habit into the service of mental and moral excellence."
"Such is the power of habit that the manner in which I spend this Sabbath will determine in some measure the manner in which I shall spend every succeeding one. If I lose this day it will be impossible to estimate the loss."
"The beginnings of evil must be resisted. How far easier to crush a nest of vipers in the egg than to catch and kill them after they are hatched!"
"To render evil for evil is to augment evil; to render good for evil is to diminish it. When we return injuries we co-operate with the wicked in the augmentation of that which God hates."
"Evil passions themselves are misery. God has inseparably connected happiness with holiness. He has made love to Himself and to our fellow-men the only true happiness to be found on earth."
"The more good I receive from God the more shall I transmit to others. Benevolence to my fellow-men ought to induce me to seek my own spiritual welfare."
"Often inquire what there is peculiar in which I can benefit mankind. Is there any course out of the usual channel for which by my education and habits I am expressly fitted?"
"Some eminent saints have practised rising very early to wrestle with God. This was undoubtedly one secret of their strength. If we will deny ourselves to plead with Him we shall receive a peculiar blessing.'
"I clearly see that if I do not live in the spirit of prayer unbelief will soon explain away those precious promises upon which my faith has rested. Their true meaning is to be seen only in the light of faith."
"A delusion has secretly been preying upon my mind. I have been expecting happiness in the future. It is my privilege to have it now. If I do not secure it now I may
never get it."
"If I desire a good thing for a good end, I may confidently expect that in due time God will either give me it, or something better."
"Whatever we make the subject of thought takes possession of us and imprints its character upon our minds. It is by thinking of Christ that we become transformed into His image. What then may be the consequence of entertaining one sinful thought!"
-"O man! so prodigal of words, in deeds
Make them friends!
Those dread seed-planters for Eternity,
Those sky-reporting heralds-make them friends.”
AT CATTERTON. His ardent love of nature-Hatred of partyspirit-On letter-writing-Blackstone's Commentaries-On selfreliance-Little things indicators of mind and character-On sermonizing-Ruth the Moabitess-Niebuhr's History of RomeGoethe-Aphorisms relative to preaching.
"I have sat down this morning to write to you because I can do nothing else," he says in a letter to me dated Howden, July 16th. "This is paying you no great compliment, but it is the truth. I purpose leaving here on Monday to spend a few weeks at home. I feel it hard to break off the attachment I have formed to this place. The fields and trees and lanes, and above all, the noble river, have all become intertwined with the thoughts and feelings of the last months. You know how I love nature. You know it is not in mercenary notes I chant her praises. You know that the innermost recesses of my soul are smitten by her charms. I have lately conversed with her in her best moods and lived upon her beauty, but must now hie away to parts where her smiles are unknown. Judge what I must feel. But the course of true love never did run smooth." " To those acquainted with the localities it will probably appear strange that Mr. Hessel should regard the scenery around Howden as more attractive than that in the neighbourhood of Catterton. Most other persons would unhesitatingly award the palm to the latter place. But for "the noble" Humber there would be no comparison. The neighbourhood of Howden is flat, that of Catterton beautifully undulated. A mental cause determined the preference. Associations, arising from pleasant friendships, invested Howden with its charm.
After some humorous remarks he proceeds: "I know, my dear Priestley, it will give you pleasure to learn that my mind is in a much happier state than it was. What the ultimate issue will be, the doctors cannot say. It is a question which does not trouble me. I am not necessary to the salvation of the world. The divine government has resources to carry on its plans without me. I would rather be anxious to turn to best advantage the time afforded, than be concerned to know the length of it.
"I think I am much altered since I left Airedale. If I have not gained much wisdom, I hope I have lost much folly. I now see it is not well to be too fastidious. Our wisdom is to take things as they are and make the best of them. Never was party or sectarian spirit more odious in my estimation than now. It seems criminal to be quibbling about trifles when there are so many grand objects to be advanced in which all Christians concur. I fear there is too much of this spirit among us Dissenters, as well as among our brethren of the Establishment. This was not the spirit of Howe, and I do not know where to meet with a finer model of human excellence. In my estimation he stands next to the Apostle John."
In two or three days he again addressed me :sat down to do what probably I never did before, viz.—to write an epistle I intend to deliver myself. I should at this very moment have been upon the York Packet on my way home, but unluckily or luckily, it had got past Howden Dyke when I arrived. I cannot pin my mind to any serious employment. It has been rather hard worked of late, and I thought it should have a holiday and ramble where it pleased. If I should happen to stumble upon any happy conception, well; if not, we will have a laugh at my dulness when we meet.
"Nothing is more delightful to me than letter writing when I know my correspondent, and am in the writing
mood. To let one's ideas form their own winding channels is a luxury not unlike some kinds of delicious dreaming. Here is no inventing argument or hunting words, but both words and ideas arrange themselves just as it happens. Other kinds of writing resemble travelling upon dry, dull, dusty roads, without a turn or bend or any kind of variety. Letter writing is just like threading your way among tangled bushes and overgrown thickets, where, knowing that you cannot get far wrong, you saunter along 'heedless how far, and where, their mazes stray.'
"My sentiments upon this subject have undergone some change. I like a letter to be a letter, and not a treatise or an essay. What is the use of troubling your friends with long rigmarole dry discussion, when you must know that they can find far better reading in books. Say to them what you would say by 'word o' mouth' if you were to meet them. I confess I have been as arrant a proser as any one, but I hope I now know better. The best model for letter writing I am acquainted with is Cowper. The way in which the unhappy bard has acquired celebrity in this department was by just putting down such things as came into his head. But it must not be supposed that every one can arrive at equal excellence by the same plan. Cowper's head was doubtless rather different from that of many persons.
"I have been reading Blackstone's Commentaries. I am much pleased with his clear and lucid arrangement of thought, and his neat, chaste, and vigorous style. I would recommend him much to all who have a propensity for grand writing; and I must confess that your humble servant has not been without an itching for that species of composition.
"I have had a walk up Wood-lane, which doubtless you remember. Yesterday I fully determined to play the man and meet all the changes and evils of life with stern indif