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with the primeval forests around you, and where there are next to no taxes ; but are there no taxes think you, in getting there, and in remaining there?
Is it no tax to be blown by the storm out of your course ; to sail the salt sea for days and nights, for weeks, and perhaps months, till your heart is sick at the sight of it ; to drag a thousand miles up the muddy Mississippi, gazing on the floating drift-wood, the monotonous wall of forest trees and the swampy shore, with here and there an alligator basking in the mud and slime, and myriads of musquitoes swarming around you?
Is it no tax to dwell in the depths of solitude, in the back-woods of a new country, where the heart yearns in vain for society and friends ; where the sabbath-bell is never heard, and the gospel is seldom preached ? And is it not a heavy tax to bend over the couch of sickness, when assistance and sympathy are distant, and to bury your own dead with your own hands in a strange land ? Yes! these things are enough to make a man cry out in his very dreams, “ Old England for ever!”
I grant that if it were possible to be set down all at once, with our fresh feelings about us, untired by travel, and unsoured by deprivation, it would be truly delightful to gaze on the grand
and glorious scenes of nature that man has never meddled with : but we are not to have things after our own fashion ; we must take them “ for better and for worse,” for the taxes must be paid.
If we desire the good things that others possess, we must be content to have them on the same terms that others hold them.
“ You have no such woods and waterfalls in England as we have in America,” said a transatlantic friend to me. Why no," replied I, certainly have not; neither have we such dreary swamps, such myriads of musquitoes, such shaggy bears, bisons, and wild oxen, such sharp-teethed cougars, such poisonous rattle-snakes, such widemouthed alligators, such -:" It was needless to go on, for my friend had shuffled away, not expecting that I should so suddenly open upon him with a list of the taxes he had to pay for his waterfalls and his woods.
There are too many among us more desirous to obtain what we have not, than to improve what we have ; too many, who, like poor Pearson, strive hard to get rid of one tax, even though it subjects us to the payment of another.
We want to be picking and choosing, without considering the justice of the observation, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?"
We want the “great treasure,” without the “ trouble therewith,” and “ both hands full,” without the “ trouble and vexation of spirit.” As well may the pilgrim hope to cross the desert without heat and thirst, and the mariner to roam the trackless deep without storm and tempest. We had better be quiet, for all our attempts make a heaven upon earth will certainly end in disappointment.
I have often thought what a world this would be, if we had had the making of it. The wisdom of the Eternal produced order out of chaos; but if we had any hand in the affairs of the universe, we should soon produce chaos out of order. Like paper kites in the air, we do pretty well while checked with a strong string ; but cut the string, and let us have our own way, and, like the poor kite, we come tumbling down into the mire.
Oh! it is a happy thing when the Christian gratefully accepts God's blessings with God's restrictions, God's summer with God's winter, God's parental encouragements with God's fatherly chastisements.
Now, think over these kindly-meant observations in a quiet and teachable spirit. If I know my own heart at all, they are meant for your real good.
The taxes laid upon us by the Father of mercies (which we ought gladly to pay) for the enjoyment of his favours, are comparatively very light; but the taxes we bring upon ourselves by our pride, waywardness, follies and sins, are heavy indeed.
THE UNCOMPROMISING CHARACTER
I REMEMBER once being sadly annoyed by an old oak tree. A crowd of people were assembled, and I was among them, when a celebrated personage was passing by. Most of the throng saw him, and I should, unquestionably, have seen him too, had it not been for that provoking tree. It was no use my standing on tiptoe, or stretching my neck out on one side, or pressing against the tree. There it stood, and there it would stand. My fuming and fretting was all in vain, not an inch would it stir.
And thus it oftentimes is with a text of Scripture. Do what we will with it, there it stands. It may reprove us, it may annoy us, it may grieve us, but for all this, it will not alter its signification: it will not abate aught of its uncompromising character.
Let us take an instance. There is that text of