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a loose to all nature that smiles around me, or shall I cona fine my daily walk to this shady and delightful garden? Oh, no: neither of these will relieve my anguish. Serena has too often blessed me with her company, both in this garden and in these fields. Her very name seems written on every tree : I shall think of her, and fancy I see her in every step I take. Here she pressed the grass with her feet, here she gathered violets and roses, and refreshing herbs, and gave the lovely collection of sweetness into my hand. But alas ! the sweetest violet and the fairest rose is fallen, is withered, and is no more. Farewell, then, ye fields and gardens, with all your varieties of green and flowery joys! Ye are all a desert, a barren wilderness, since Serena has for ever left
and will be seen there no more. But can friends do nothing to comfort a mourner? Come, my wise friends, surround me, and divert my cares with your agreeable conversation. Can books afford no relief? Come, my books, ye volumes of knowledge, ye labours of the learned dead; come, fill up my hours with some sooth. ing amusement. I call my better friends about me, I fly to the heroes and the philosophers of ancient ages; to employ.' my soul among them. But alas ! neither learning nor books gmuse me, nor green and smiling prospects of nature delight mę, nor conversation with my wisest and best friends can entertain me in these dark and melancholy hours. Solitude, solitude, in some unseen corner, some lonely grotto, overgrown with shades, this is my dearest choice. Let me dwell in my beloved solitude, where none shall come near me; midnight and solitude are the most pleasing things to a man who is weary of day-light, and of all the scenes of this visible and busy world. I would eat, and drink, and dwell alone, though this lonesome humour sooths and gratifies the painful passion, and gives me up to the tyranny of my sharpest sorrows. Strange mixture that I am made of! I mourn and grieve even to death, and yet I seem fond of nothing but grief and mourning. Wo is me! Is there nothing on earth can divert, nothing
telieve me? Then let my thoughts ascend to paradise and heaven, there I shall find her better part, and grief must not enter there. From this hour, O my soul, take a new turn, and never think of Serena but as shining and rejoicing among the spirits of the blessed, and in the presence of her God. Rise often in holy meditation to the celestial world, and betake thyself to more intense piety. Devotion has wings that will bear thee high above the tumults and passions of lower life; devotion will direct and speed thy flight to a country of brighter scenes.
Shake off this earthliness of mind, this dust of mortality that hangs about thee; rise upward often in an hour, and dwell much in those regions whither thy devout partner is gone : thy better half is safely arrived there, and that world knows nothing but joy and love.
She is gone; the prophets and the apostles, and the best of departed souls, have marked out her way to heaven : bear witness ye apostles and holy prophets, ye best of departed souls, bear witness that I am seeking to follow her in the appointed moment. Let the wheels of nature and time roll on apace in their destined way. Let suns and moons arise and set apace, and light a lonesome traveller onward to his home. Blessed Jesus, be thou my living Leader? Virtue, and the track of Serena's feet, be my daily and delightful path. The track leads upward to the regions of love and joy. How can I dare to wander from the path of virtue, lest I lose that beloved track ? Remember, O my soul, her footsteps are found in no other road.
If my love to virtue should ever fail me, the steps of my Serena would mark out my way, and help to secure me from wandering. O may the kind influences of heaven descend from above, and establish and guard my pious resclutions ! May the divine powers of religion be my continual strength, and the hope of eternal things my never-failing support, till I am dismissed from this prison of the fleshi, and called to ascend to the spirits of the just made perfect ; till I bid adieu to all that is not immortal, and go dwell
with my God and my adored Saviour ; there 'shall. I find my lost Serena again, and share with her the unutterable joys of paradise.
Here Lucius threw himself on the couch, and lay silent in profound meditation.
When Florino had heard all this mournful rhapsody, he retired and stole away in secret, for he was now utterly ashamed of his first barbarous design : he felt a sort of strange sympathy of sorrow, such as he never knew before, and with it some sparks of virtue began to kindle in his bosom. As he mused, the fire burnt within, and at last it made its way to his lips, and vented itself. “ Well," said he, “ I have learnt two excellent lessons to-day, and I hope I shall never förget them. There must be some vast and unknown pleasure in a virtuous love, beyond all the madness of wild and transient amours; otherwise the loss of the object could never have wrought such deep and unfeigned wo in a soul so firm and manly as that of Lucius. I begin now to believe what Milton sung, though I always read the lines before as mere poesy and fable.
Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
" Blessed poet, that could so happily unite love and virtue, and draw so beautiful a scene of real felicity, which till this day I always thought was merely romantic and visionary! Lucius has taught me to understand these lines, for he has felt them; and methinks, while I repeat them now, I feel a strange new sensation. I am convinced the blind poet saw deeper into nature and truth than I could have imagined. There is, there is such a thing as a union of virtuous souls, where happiness is only found. I find some glimmerings of sacred light rising upon me, some unknown pantings within after such a partner and such a life'.
“ Nor is the other lesson which I have learned at all inferior to this, but in truth it is of higher and more durable importance. I confess, since I was nineteen years old, I never thought virtue and religion had been good for any thing, but to tie up children from mischief, and frighten fools : but now I find, by the conduct of my friend Lucius, that as the sweetest and sincerest joys of life are derived from virtue, so the most distressing sorrows may find a just relief in religion and sincere piety. Hear me, thou almighty Maker of my frame, pity and assist a returning wanderer ; and O may thy hand stamp these lessons upon my soul in everlasting characters !”
X. Thou hast received gifts for men, Psalm lxviii. 18. Jesus the Mediator emptied himself for our sakes, when he descended to earth in order to die for us, and by his death to subdue our enemies. Now the Father has filled him again, at his ascent into heaven, with every glory and every blessing, with all authority and power to bestow blessings, graces, and glories on the sons of men. pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell. All power in heaven and earth was given into his hands," Col. i. 19. Matth. xxviii. 18. And when he received the power he distributed the blessings, see Acts ii. 33. Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of
the Father the promise of the holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. He hath shed abroad miracles and graces in abundance amongst the inhabitants of the lower world.
The triumphs of majesty must have some mercy in them, and ensigns of victory must be interwoven with signal displays of bounty and grace. When he led captivity captive, he received gifts for men. Our conquering Redeemer was not so elevated with the pomp of his triumphs over the angels his captive enemies, as to forget the captives that he released among the children of Adam. He received many donatives from his Fathet on high, to shower down among them upon his coronation-day, that illustrious day, when “ He, that in righteousness had made war and conquered, received on his own head many crowns." Rev. xix. II. 12.
He that could take so much pleasure on earth in his la-' bours of love, takes more delight in heaven in the distributjons of grace. This is the sweetest part of his triumph, and the most visible among men, even the gifts of the Spirit that he sent down after his ascension. It was necessary that his grace should have some share of the glory of that day.
What was said of the great day of deliverance, when the Jews obtained victory over their designed murderers, may be applied with honour to the day when our Lord ascended to heaven, and celebrated his triumph over the spirits of darkness. “ This was a good day for Israel, for all the saints ; a day when Jesus rested from his enemies, and a month which was turned unto him from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a day of gladness. This was a day of receiving portions for his brethren, and of sending gifts to the poor.” Esther ix. 22.
Jesus our King is the Prince of power, and the Prince of peace, he solemnized his victory with acts of mercy, and begun his reign with gifts of grace. He led Satan the arch-traitor bound at his chariot-wheels, and scattered dona