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ADVERTISEMENT.

THIS Advertisement is not in the nature of an apology. If the Work be good it needs none, if bad it deserves none. But it is to intimate the reasons of the Author's engaging so soon again in a similar Publication with the former. They were, the peculiar acceptance "The Morning Exercises for the Closet" have met with; the many testimonies of their usefulness he has received; and the various applications addressed to him by Christians and Ministers, (the names of some of whom it would seem vain were he to mention,) exciting him to send forth a companion to them for the Evening. He is fully aware that "the importunity of friends," So frequently urged by writers for their appearing before the Public, is a justification perhaps never sufficient, and not always very true— Yet it is certain, that, but for this provocative, the following reflections had never seen the light.

The Author hopes, however, that this second series of three hundred and sixty-five Exercises to aid the retired Christian "at evening tide to meditate," will be no less approved and useful than the preceding number. He has not paid less attention in the selection and execution of the subjects—but that attention has been paid amidst the numerous engagements of an extensive charge, and through the greatest period of the Work also, under the anguish and anxieties of the most trying domestic affliction. He has no doubt but in seven hundred and thirty Exercises of this kind, the same thought and illustration sometimes, and perhaps nearly in the same words, may occur. But they occur in new positions and connexions; and the prevention was almost impossible. Many of his readers will perceive marks of that haste which was also inevitable; and they who are accustomed to composition themselves,

will know how hard it is to write on any interesting and fertile topic, under the restraints of a great and prescribed brevity; and how unfriendly to ornament is perpetual effort at condensation. "If I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto."

Percy Place, Bath, December 10th, 1531.

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1848

EVENING EXERCISES

FOR THE CLOSET.

JANUARY 1.—“ And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me." Acts xx. 22, 23.

PAUL here speaks of himself as an Apostle. But the facts he expresses with regard to his official destination, will apply to our experience as men, and as Christians. And we may derive from them a reflection peculiarly seasonable, at the commencement of another annual period of our time-With regard to the future, he was both ignorant and informed; unacquainted with some things, but well apprized of others.

Though Paul sometimes prophesied, he could not command the attribute of foreknowledge when he pleased. The use of it was always a miracle, and limited to a particular subject. He was therefore left uninformed of the ordinary cou.se of life; and had to learn the will of God by events. Hence he says to the Philippians, "I hope presently to send Timothy, as soon as I see how it will go with me." It is the same with us; and as he was now going up to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that would befall him there, so are we entering into another year, not knowing what a day may bring forth. But is this to be lamented? "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight." The concealment is wise, and kind. We may judge of this by our past feelings. Had we been previously informed of the scenes through which we have passed, our hearts would have failed at the thought: yet when the dispensations came, we were able to bear them, and had been really though unconsciously prepared for them. And suppose we were now informed of some of the changes we may be called to endure in the months before us, we should be seized perhaps with an overpowering surprise and oppression, rendering us dead to all present enjoyments, and incapable of every present engagement. He therefore says, "I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight: these things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." Let us trust in Him. He claims the full confidence of the heart, not only by his goodness but by his wisdom. Although we go out not knowing whither we go, He knoweth the way that we take. Nothing can deceive or

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